Amongst the teeming daemonic hordes of Chaos, a Greater Daemon is the most powerful. They are incarnations of their Chaos God, living embodiments of everything Chaos represents. They are the guardians of their god's realm and the executors of its will.
Often the Greater Daemons lead incursions into the mortal world, and act as the heralds of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos to Champions of Chaos and Chaos Sorcerers. Yet, they still have their own ambitions and plans, each contributing a part to the greater consciousness that is the Dark Gods.
In realspace, Greater Daemons manifest as huge, terrifying creatures capable of slaying scores of warriors and destroying even main battle tanks. They have strange, sorcerous powers drawn from the psychic energy of the Warp and are virtually impervious to mortal weapons.
Summoning such a creature demands a high price, for it takes a tremendous amount of psychic energy for a Greater Daemon to achieve corporeality in the material universe. The price is always a sacrifice, the death or possession of a living being that acts as a gateway from the Immaterium into the material realm.
The rampant energy of the Daemon passing through into the material universe inevitably destroys this host. As such, the sacrifice is not usually the one performing the summoning.
Great Unclean Ones
Great Unclean Ones are massive, bloated disease carriers, whose decaying flesh bulges with corpulent cancers who are the chief servants of Nurgle, the Lord of Plague. They usually carry a titanic rusted blade into battle.
They generally act as the leaders and father figures for the other Daemons who serve the Lord of Decay, epitomizing Nurgle's joyful, paternal nature, but fly into terrifying rages if their "children" are threatened.
Due to their bloated bodies, Great Unclean Ones are extremely hard to kill. They are so disgusting in form that many mortals cannot even bear to look upon them without feeling nauseous. It is from their bloated bodies that the Lesser Daemons called Nurglings are born.
Great Unclean Ones can take enormous amounts of physical damage before being banished back to the Warp, making them perhaps the most difficult of the Greater Daemons to kill. Unlike the Greater Daemons of the other Chaos Gods, Great Unclean Ones are not just extensions of their patron god's will, but are actually less powerful avatars of Nurgle itself, having both the same physical form and personality as the Chaos God.
Essentially, the Great Unclean Ones are Grandfather Nurgle and are often called such by Nurglite cultists who summon one of these entities. These Daemons share Nurgle's essentially paternal nature and display emotions like sentimentalism and gregariousness, especially towards their fellow Daemons, who are Nurgle's "children", and towards Nurgle's mortal servants like its Plague Marines and Chaos Cultists.
Keepers of Secrets
Keepers of Secrets, the hermaphroditic Greater Daemons of Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure, are huge and powerful creatures whose very presence is capable of bringing the bravest warrior to his knees in anguish and ecstasy.
They typically have bovine faces, two female breasts and four arms: two which end with Human-like hands and two which end with large crab-like claws. However, a Keeper of Secrets' appearance ultimately depends on Slaanesh's mood when he created the Greater Daemon and can be more or less bestial in appearance as a result. A Keeper of Secrets is a very powerful foe in close combat.
Keepers of Secrets love to use their sorcerous powers to invade the minds of their enemies with thought of pleasure. They love to play upon a mortals' innermost secret desires to stun them or lead them astray, perhaps even corrupting them to the service of Chaos. There are few mortals in the universe, particularly among the race of Mankind, who possess the mental self-discipline and fortitude to fend off the temptations of a Keeper of Secrets.
A Keeper of Secrets is the emobodiment of sensation, both pleasure and pain, and they enjoy nothing less than providing both to mortals, especially noble men and women who believe themselves above the petty search for pleasure.
For Slaanesh, all beings can be drawn to its service through the exploitation of their desire and it loves to see its Daemons feed off the nobler emotions like hope, valour and love and reshape them into their more selfish counterparts of despair, cowardice, self-regard and lust.
Lords of Change
Lords of Change are the Greater Daemons of Tzeentch, the Master of Change and Sorcery, and typically manifest as large, bird-like winged Daemons of vast intellect and mighty sorcerous power, which is combined with a surprisingly childlike personality to make a dangerous foe.
Lords of Change are described as large winged bipedal creatures with snake-like necks and avian heads, although being Tzeentchian Daemons their form often alters drastically and without warning. The creatures are often multi-colored, especially their wings.
Like their patron, Lords of Change are capable of limited foresight and so are very difficult to defeat, since they are always capable of planning several steps ahead of their enemies. Yet Tzeentch is a capricious god whose plans are so convoluted and secret that not even its own daemonic servants truly understand the mind of the Lord of Change.
As a result, these Greater Daemons can sometimes be defeated because their destruction represents just another cog in Tzeentch's eternal plotting.
Lords of Change are the mightiest practitioners of psychic sorcery in the universe. They can destroy armoured vehicles and steal the souls of legions of troops with the merest whisper of a spell and love to appear to mortals as omniscient beings.
Their greatest pleasure, like that of their patron, is to corrupt mortals to the service of Chaos and the Lord of Change by offering the knowledge and power of sorcery that can only be granted by Tzeentch. Many of the greatest Chaos Sorcerers among the forces of Chaos have been apprenticed at one time or another to a Lord of Change Daemon.
Lords of Change enjoy weaving complex plots that are ultimately designed to rebound to the benefit of Tzeentch's labyrinthine schemes and they are the only known entities of Chaos who have sometimes actually aided the forces of the Emperor or the Asuryani outright in order to serve a more complex plot of their master.
Bloodthirsters are the Greater Daemons of Khorne, the Blood God. Of all the Daemons, they bear the greatest resemblance to the stereotypical Judeo-Christian demons of ancient times, having a Human body, cloven hooves instead of feet, leathery bat-like wings and horned canine or humanoid heads.
They wield a whip and a massive, double-bladed battleaxe simultaneously in battle. As the greatest daemonic manifestation of the Blood God, the dreaded Bloodthirster is one of the most powerful warriors that can be found on the battlefields of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Bloodthirsters' appetite for slaughter and bloodshed is beyond mortal comprehension. They are said to be masters of melee combat, and the only mortals capable of overpowering them one-on-one successfully in battle were the Human primarchs of ancient days.
All Bloodthirsters are clad in the Brass Armour of Khorne and the mighty battle axes they wield were forged before the Skull Throne of Khorne by the heat of the god's eternal wrath. These terrible weapons then have the essence of another Greater Daemon bound into them.
Bloodthirsters love to manifest in the material universe where the opportunities for the slaughter of mortals is so much more satisfying than killing the Daemons of the Warp who simply reform from the essence of their Chaos God not long after their "deaths."
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 13-15, 17, 19, 272, 326, 339, 345-346, 357-359
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pp. pp. 8-9, 11-13, 19, 40-41, 45, 61, 63, 66, 86-87, 118, 120, 134, 137, 139
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate (RPG), pp. 15, 28, 33-34, 69, 94
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (6th Edition), pp. 28, 34-35, 37, 42, 53
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), pp. 18-20, 26, 28-30, 48-49
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, Revised Codex), pg. 23
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Codex: Daemonhunters (3rd Edition), pp. 50, 59
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pp. 14-15, 39
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 31
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), pg. 58
- Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pp. 204-205
- Dark Heresy: Daemon Hunter (RPG)
- Deathwatch - Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pp. 100, 102, 104-106
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Imperial Armour: Apocalypse, pp. 97-98
- Imperial Armour: Apocalypse, Second Edition, pp. 100-103
- Imperial Armour: Apocalypse 2, pp. 62-69
- Imperial Armour Volume 7 - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pp. 165-169
- Imperial Armour: Update (2006)
- The Inquisition (Background Book), pg. 62
- Liber Chaotica
- Liber Chaotica: Khorne, pp. 76-79
- Liber Chaotica: Nurgle
- Liber Chaotica: Slaanesh
- Liber Chaotica: Tzeentch
- Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1st Edition)
- Realm of Chaos: Lost and the Damned (1st Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Battle Missions, pg. 17
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (4th Edition)
- White Dwarf 368 (UK) "Daemons," pp. 7, 25-27
- White Dwarf 341, pp. 16-29
- White Dwarf 274 (UK), "Index Malleus"
- White Dwarf 273 (US), "Index Malleus: Infernal Threat -- An Investigation into the Foul Daemons of the Warp", pg. 93
- Ragnar's Claw (Novel) by William King
- The Emperor's Gift (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Sanctus (Novella) by Darius Hinks
- Fateweaver (Novella) by John French
- Accursed Eternity (Novella) by Sarah Cawkwell
- Endeavour of Will (Novella) by Ben Counter
- Atlas Infernal (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Fire Warrior (Novel) by Simon Spurrier
- Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising (PC Game)
- Fire Warrior (Video Game)
- Games Workshop Catalogue: Chaos Daemons Bloodthirster
- Forge World: Bloodthirster, Greater Daemon of Khorne
- Games Workshop Catalogue: Great Unclean One
- Forge World - Great Unclean One, Greater Daemon of Nurgle
- Games Workshop Catalogue: Keeper of Secrets, Greater Daemon of Slaanesh
- Forge World: Keeper of Secrets, Greater Daemons of Slaanesh
- Games Workshop Catalogue: Daemons of Chaos, Lord of Change
- Forge World: Lord of Change, Greater Daemon of Tzeentch