"You sought to cower behind your walls, weakling? Instead, by the will of Khorne, you shall die behind them!"
- — Reavax the Cruel, Lord of The Harvest
Khorne Daemonkin are fanatical devotees of the Chaos God Khorne and his brutal creed of killing for its own sake. Like-minded Chaos Space Marines and their mortal followers form these warbands dedicated to murder and destruction on a galactic scale. Many of these warbands begin as zealous but completely mortal hosts, each worshipping one of the terrible and mighty Greater Daemons of Khorne, known as Bloodthirsters.
As the Daemonkin perform ever greater acts of violence and carnage, Khorne's daemonic cohorts are gradually lured forth from the Realm of Chaos to take their place within the warband's ranks. When, eventually, the host is as much daemon as mortal, one of Khorne's Bloodthirsters will burst forth into the material realm through one of his chosen vessels to lead them in glorious, never-ending slaughter across the stars.
Roaring, blood-soaked butchers with an endless thirst for murder, the warriors of Khorne's Daemonkin carve a red swathe across the galaxy. These are the Blood God's true faithful, zealots who worship Khorne's Bloodthirsters as divine beings and who will pay any price to see them and their daemonic legions unleashed upon realspace. United by their fanatical worship of the Blood God, a warband of Daemonkin is a frenzied mass of Heretic Astartes, daemons, Chaos Cultists and monstrous Daemon Engines. The Daemonkin offer praise to Khorne through violence and war as they flood onto the battlefield in a chanting, gore-drenched horde. Their hymns are the screams of the dying, their prayer books the edges of their blades, for the only sacrament Khorne demands is bloodshed.
The ultimate desire of the Daemonkin is -- through acts of bloodthirsty devotion -- to summon forth the daemons of Khorne and fight in glorious battle alongside them. To this end, Khorne's faithful seek out arcane lore in order to better understand the beings they worship. Some hunt down ancient tomes that detail the names and nature of the daemonic cohorts of Khorne, or seek to undertake horrific vision quests into the Blood God's own realm. Others capture lesser Warp entities in great brass cages, torturing from them the names of those Bloodthirsters most worthy of their devotion.
Their bloody rituals do not go unnoticed by their patron. Though it may take solar months or Terran years for a sufficient offering to be made, the frenzied devotion of the Daemonkin acts as a summons for the foot soldiers of Khorne; the veil is sundered as blood-red daemons spill into the material realm, and the remaining Daemonkin continue the massacre in enraptured vindication.
Should one of their number prove themselves worthy, a mighty Bloodthirster of Khorne may even possess his mortal flesh, the supplicant giving his life gladly so that the lord of one of his master's legions can be set loose upon the galaxy.
Though they begin their journey as a mortal force, the warriors of most Daemonkin warbands are eventually supplanted by the Warp-born daemonic legions of Khorne. A favoured few will attain ascension, becoming immortal Daemon Princes, but many more willingly pay the martyr's price to prove their zeal. They care nothing for petty empire-building and ancient grudges; their only desire is to give themselves over, body and soul, to Khorne.
Path to Glory
Most who treat with daemons risk a violent death in the hope of gaining great power. The Daemonkin care not, for both outcomes are worthy to the followers of Khorne. When a Daemonkin warband first forms, it will be predominantly a mortal army. Renegade Space Marines and Khorne Berzerkers charge into battle amid masses of chanting Cultists, growling Daemon Engines stalking at their side. These are true devotees of Khorne, who praise the Blood God and his daemons with every axe-blow, every blood spray, every bellowed war cry.
Any powerful emotion of a sentient being in realspace causes a flare of psychic energy in the Warp, so the inferno of rage and devotion generated by the Daemonkin draws the attention of Khorne's daemons like razorfish to a fresh kill. Before long, monstrous, malformed fiends begin to appear amongst the Daemonkin's ranks.
Their armour seethes with blood-wet muscle and plates of spike-studded brass. Their helms are deformed into fang-mawed horrors from which bestial horns curl. Their limbs are jagged blades or lashing, spiked tentacles. These are the Possessed, those whose living flesh and blood serve as crucibles for Khorne's daemons. These changes are agonising, yet the Possessed welcome every surge of pain, knowing that each enables them to better shed blood in their god's name.
Eventually, empowered by the Daemonkin's violence or by their deaths, the murderous warriors of Khorne's legions will cross over, coursing from the Immaterium like blood from a wound to fight alongside the mortal host. Called forth by the sacrifice of the Daemonkin, and sustained by their adulation, they do not require the succour of the Warp to maintain their corporeal forms. Thus are these Daemons able to fight in realspace alongside the Daemonkin -- and later their own, fully summoned cohort -- almost indefinitely. The faithful laud their appearance with howls of devotion; it matters little that many of them have died in the name of this dark miracle, for they know that Khorne welcomes bloodshed no matter its source.
On occasion, one of the Daemonkin's Chaos Champions may achieve their ultimate desire, transcending their previous form to become an immortal Daemon Prince who fights in Khorne's daemonic legions. Most will fall in battle long before this, of course, but another destiny awaits a rare few. Should they achieve some titanic act of butchery, one of Khorne's Bloodthirsters, the generals of the daemonic legions, will reward their devotion by possessing their mortal flesh.
The vessel is inevitably killed in the process, shed like a snakeskin by the monster emerging from within, but he will give his life gladly so that the Bloodthirster may be set loose upon the galaxy. Draining the last of its host's life force in one mighty draught, the Greater Daemon bursts from its enfolding prison of flesh to the roars of mortal and daemon alike.
Slaughter Without End
Khorne has been worshipped since the galaxy was young. Knowingly or not, every warrior that ever raised a blade in violence has offered the Blood God praise. Still, there are few mortals that have proved as fervent or faithful as the Khorne Daemonkin, whose ten thousand year rampage has seen Khorne presented with tribute like never before:
- A Bloody Beginning (ca. 014.M31) - The Warmaster Horus, favoured champion of the Chaos Gods, fails in his bid to overthrow the Emperor. Defeated, his Traitor Legions are hounded across the galaxy by the vengeful armies of the Imperium during what becomes known as the Great Scouring. Upon reaching the dubious safety of the Eye of Terror, what little cohesion the Traitor forces retained is lost. Horus' erstwhile hordes fragment into countless warring factions. It is at this time that a number of Renegade hosts turn their backs upon the notion of revenge. They choose instead to lose themselves in the bloodthirsty worship of Khorne, becoming the Blood God's first Daemonkin warbands.
- Sworn to Glory (ca. M33) - Taking the Scriptures of Slaughter from the Infernal Maze, Chaos Lord Barkor the Bloody forges the first warband of The Skullsworn. For over a century, he leads his followers on a violent rampage across the stars, depopulating more than a dozen worlds before he finds his ascension to become a Daemon Prince on the plains of Ossedor II.
- Heroes Become Beasts (ca. M37) - While defending the Fortress of Intolerance against daemons on the world of Ghahalla, the garrison of Golden Blades Space Marines are overcome by a strange madness. Defacing their war machines with horrific symbols, they use blood rituals to subdue their daemonic assailants and trap them within the tainted vehicles. So are born the first seeds of the Daemonkin who will soon become the Brazen Beasts.
- Carnage of Kalledula (ca. M39)
- Immortality's Price (166.M40) - The Skullsworn fall upon the Hive World of Rebas. They are opposed by over one hundred regiments of the Astra Militarum, each well dug-in and supplied. The war that follows is horrific in its intensity and bloodshed, but after the slaughter of eighty-eight of the defenders' regiments, the eight surviving Skullsworn Heretic Astartes ascend to become Daemon Princes simultaneously. Soon enough, nothing remains on Rebas but mountains of skulls.
- Sorcerer's Bane (230.M40) - On the Daemon World of Ylligith Maeraxes, the Brazen Beasts lay siege to the Azure Fortress. The Tzeentchian Sorcerers who defend it wield the unbound fury of the Warp to drive the attackers back, but soon the Beasts' Daemon Engines smash a string of breaches in the fortress' walls. Maulerfiends prowl into the stronghold at the head of pack upon pack of Flesh Hounds, and in a matter of days the Sorcerers are hunted down, their skulls crowning their own battlements for the glory of the Blood God.
- Martyr's Glory (301.M40) - A Daemonkin warband known as the Fists of Brass hurl themselves into the teeth of WAAAGH! Badstomp. Explosive carnage breaks out across the seventeen moons of the Madrakae as the two war-hungry hordes collide head on. Massively outnumbered, the Fists of Brass are wiped out within solar days. However, the oceans of blood they spill draw eight legions of Khorne's daemons into reality, starting the war afresh.
- Paradise Lost (366.M40) - The Wrath fall upon the verdant Aeldari Exodite World of Klithaine. In just three solar months they reduce the paradise to a blood-drenched hell and then slaughter the Asuryani Biel-Tan warriors who attempt to intervene, devouring their corpses in a horrific feast.
- The Blood Hunt Unleashed (412.M40)
- The Threefold War (784.M40) - On the planet Skardenfel, the White Scars' 3rd Company fights a guerilla war with a warhost of Craftworld Ulthwé. Into this conflict plunge the Khorne Daemonkin of The Eightscarred. Among the fireswamps, the Khorne worshippers slaughter with abandon, the warband bringing forth half of their chosen daemons in a single solar day.
- The Skull Storm (088.M41)
- Red Saviours (183.M41) - The Bloodgorged board a fleet of Emperor's Children warships. After solar days of bloody deck-to-deck fighting, the Daemonkin are victorious. They scuttle the ships and depart, unaware that they have inadvertently saved the Imperial Hive World of Pyros from a terrible fate at the hands of Slaanesh's servants.
- Dangerous Prey (316.M41) - After fierce fighting amid the macrotemples of Skeros, the Wych Cult of Tortured Hopes capture a Chaos Lord of The Skullsworn. Bearing him back to Commorragh, the Drukhari throw the Daemonkin champion into their gladiatorial arena. Their sport is spoiled, however, when a Bloodthirster bursts from their captive mid-battle. The daemonic incursion that follows is catastrophic, and results in the utter destruction of an entire sub-realm of the Dark City.
- Exultance (424.M41) - On the Imperial Shrine World of Idyll, The Skullsworn overrun the Sisters of Battle of the Order of the Bloody Rose. In doing so, they summon a mighty daemon cohort; since the Heresy, this is the fifth cohort they have brought forth of their chosen legion.
- The First War for Armageddon (444.M41) - Several hosts of Khorne Daemonkin, including The Wrath and the Blades of Rage, join the Daemon Primarch Angron's attack upon Armageddon.
- Gods and Monsters (678.M41) - The Brazen Beasts go to war against the Knights of House Hawkshroud on a Death World known only as XIII. Vast war engines duel across the haunted ruinscape, rendering all to rubble. Finally, the Brazen Beasts are victorious after the Caged God slays Hawkshroud's Baron Arcus in a titanic duel.
- All is Death (793.M41) - Like the fury of Khorne himself, The Wrath and The Eightscarred fall upon the T'au colony of Shau'Nesh. The aliens fight bravely, deploying incredible technologies to blast great furrows in the Khornate ranks. Still, the T'au are outnumbered and, despite their heroics, overrun. Crazed with battle-lust, the two Daemonkin hosts then fall upon one another, battling frenziedly until both are all but wiped out.
- The Great Beast Stirs (888.M41)
- Into the Maelstrom (938.M41) - Leading a frenzied mass of lesser Daemonkin warbands, The Bloodgorged invade the Maelstrom. In a series of psychotic assaults, they cripple several of Huron Blackheart's outlying strongholds. Furious beyond words, the Tyrant of Badab turns the might of the Red Corsairs upon his aggressors. The war that follows lasts for long, bloody years.
- The Threat Within (946.M41) - The Harvest erupt from blood-portals within the fortress-monastery of the Black Ravens Space Marines Chapter. Days of fierce fighting follow, during which the Harvest kill every last Loyalist within the monastery's walls and use its Defence Lasers to blast apart the Black Ravens' orbital shipyards. Bloodied and exalting, the Daemonkin drop the fortress' Void Shields and prepare for the true battle as a tendril of Hive Fleet Behemoth fills the skies.
- Red Star Rising (964.M41)
- A Clear Message (983.M41) - The Warmaster Abaddon sends envoys to demand The Skullsworn swear allegiance to his cause. Some solar months later, the envoys' corpses are returned to Abaddon by leering daemons, their heads missing and the rune of Khorne carved into their chests.
- Mired in Blood (985.M41) - The Brazen Beasts face a splinter of Hive Fleet Behemoth on Horos. Though all but exterminated, the Daemonkin are victorious, drowning the planet in Tyranid ichor.
- The Road to Hell (992.M41) - Inquisitor Bastapol Harg tracks a trail of murders back to a Khornate cult on Falchat. In eradicating the threat, Harg earns the ire of The Bloodgorged, to whom the cult paid fealty. The Daemonkin soon fall upon Falchat's hive cities and slaughter everyone they find, the Inquisitor included.
- Disaster on Yngroth (994.M41) - Whilst pursuing Harlequins of the Masque of the Silent Shroud, The Wrath battle their way through the Grey Canyons of Yngroth. Just as the Harlequins seem cornered, an Asuryani warhost from Craftworld Yme-Loc springs from ambush, catching The Wrath in a devastating crossfire. For long moments the Aeldari plan looks set to work, until Arbra'Gax, Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage, bursts into reality. Led by this unstoppable demigod of war, the Khornate horde smash their way out of the Aeldari ambush, which swiftly devolves into a massacre as the Blood God's forces punish their devious foes.
- One Hundred Skulls (997.M41) - Responding to a daemonic incursion on Hyraq II, a Brotherhood of Grey Knights plunges into battle. Crimson lightning tears the skies as the Grey Knights drive the daemons back into the Warp, only to face fresh assault by The Bloodgorged. Retreating to a ruined temple, the surviving Grey Knights fight for their lives. In death, every Daemonkin they slay brings forth one of the daemons the Grey Knights had already banished, until they are overrun by the screaming horde.
- The Swallowed World (998.M41) - Gha'Kharax, Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury, leads The Eightscarred and The Skullsworn against the Imperial Fortress World of Almarit. The Daemonkin face elements of the Imperial Fists and Raven Guard, reinforced by several regiments of Tempestus Scions. The war grinds on long and bloody, but one by one the Daemonkin reconsecrate the planet's furnace-temples in bloody ceremonies of ritual sacrifice. As the last shrine falls, Almarit is dragged whole into the Warp, claimed by Khorne as a new Daemon World.
- Visions of Blood (999.M41) - The Warmaster Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade bursts from the Eye of Terror and falls upon the Cadian Gate. At the same moment, all across the galaxy, Khorne's Daemonkin are stricken by bloody visions of murderous carnage on a scale none have seen before. Compelled by their wrathful god, the Daemonkin turn as one and begin to carve a path toward the Cadian Gate. It seems likely that, while there is blood still to spill, neither side will be safe in the great conflicts to come.
The Ironghast Foundry
A planet-wide industrial hell that would destroy the sanity of most mortals, the Ironghast Foundry is a Chaos Hell-Forge sworn to the glory of the Blood God. Bristling with vast, brazen gun towers and spike-studded battlements, the Ironghast Foundry is all but impervious to invasion. Within its towering manufactorums, caged volcanoes provide near-limitless power to roaring furnaces that march away into the shadows.
Brass conveyor belts clank and grind, bone pistons rise and fall with murderous speed, and everywhere boiling blood greases the cogs and gears of infernal industry while slave gangs labour beneath the lash of cruel daemons. A conclave of Warpsmiths rule over the Ironghast Foundry, led by a cruel and violent slave-driver known only as the Overseer. It is their oath that, while a single soul remains to man the machineries of their global factory, it will never cease churning out weapons for the Blood God's innumerable wars.
The Foundry produces everything from Chainaxes and Helbrute sarcophagi, to vast Daemon Engines such as the Lord of Skulls and Lord of Battles. Their blood-encrusted runic circles flare night and day, dragging daemons from the Empyrean to be bound into rank upon rank of waiting Daemon Engines.
This is a place of vast, horrific industry, and serves as the weapons factory for a great many Daemonkin warbands. The Overseer and his conclave maintain bloody pacts with such diverse Khornate hosts as the Skullsworn, the Brazen Beasts, and the Eightscarred. In return they demand raw materials, junked war engines, precious metals, and corpses harvested from the fields of war.
Khorne's Infernal Legions
To wage bloody war is to offer praise to Khorne. The Blood God cares only for slaughter and butchery, craves only violence and death. Armies assembled for battle are his only true congregation, the battlefield his only shrine. So it is that, in this bloody age, Khorne is the mightiest of the Chaos Gods, and his daemonic legions the greatest.
The daemon cohorts of Khorne march to battle with their brutal blades held ready for slaughter. Hissing Bloodletters advance behind gore-drenched icons, each band of warriors hungry to outdo its rivals in the taking of lives and skulls. Prowling around the Bloodletters' flanks come packs of Flesh Hounds, Juggernaut-mounted Bloodcrushers thundering at their fore.
Roaring salvoes of fire are spat forth by clatter-limbed Soul Grinders, rumbling batteries of Skull Cannons, and the vast, terrifying Lords of Skulls. Meanwhile, above the brazen howl of war-horns, Daemon Princes, Heralds of Khorne and Bloodthirsters of Khorne roar commands at their frenzied cohorts.
Such a throng of blood-hungry fiends may look, to the mortal eye, like Chaos in its rawest form. Appearances can be deceiving, however, for a rigid hierarchy governs Khorne's daemonic legions. This system revolves around the eight ranks of Bloodthirsters, for it is they who rule over the legions.
Directly below Khorne are his eight Bloodthirsters of the first host. These are daemons of untold power who can crush entire armies of mortals single-handedly. Each of these Exalted Bloodthirsters commands eight Bloodthirsters of the second host, who in turn command eight Bloodthirsters of the host below them, and so on down to the eighth rank.
It is the Bloodthirsters of Unfettered Fury, the Bloodthirsters of the Eighth Host, who command the daemonic foot soldiers, each ruling over a legion of eight cohorts led by attendant Heralds or Daemon Princes. These lesser lords each command eight packs of Bloodletters, Flesh Hounds and other daemons that form the bulk of Khorne's legions.
Thus the Blood God's might is frighteningly vast, his servants virtually numberless. Each cohort has a name to evoke its particular strengths. The Skullharvest and the Gorekin march to war alongside the Bloody Butchers, the Skull Rippers, the Bloodgorgers, and many more. Some cohorts field a preponderance of one kind of warrior, and have earned particularly proud or unusual names that reflect their specialisations. So it is that forces such as the Skull Cannon batteries of the Gorethunder Cohort and the massed Heralds of the Bloodlords are infamous throughout Khorne's realm.
Each Bloodthirster's daemonic legion comprises eight cohorts of daemons, each led by a Herald of Khorne or Daemon Prince. Some cohorts, such as the infamous Charnel Cohorts, boast a diverse array of Khorne's Daemonkin, while others will devote themselves to a single manner of dealing death on the battlefield.
Organisation of a Charnel Cohort
- Daemon Prince / Herald of Khorne
- 8 packs of Bloodletters
- 4 packs of Flesh Hounds
- 4 packs of Bloodcrushers
- 4 Skull Cannons
The Scriptures of Slaughter
The Daemonkin dedicate every axe-blow struck and skull taken to their wrathful god. The devotion of these fanatical murderers is such that many warbands even emulate Khorne's daemonic cohorts in their martial structure, hoping that to do so will bring them closer to the hellish entities they see as the Blood God's chosen warriors.
Often, Daemonkin warbands will initially appear similar to any other band of Renegades or raiders. Such warbands comprise a core of battle-hardened Heretic Astartes, each drawn to follow a powerful leader haloed with the ruddy aura of Khorne's favour. Fanatical Chaos Cultists flock to fight and kill alongside the Renegades, and dark bargains are struck to secure the service of blood-crazed Khorne Berzerkers.
As warbands grow in influence and purpose, however, many devote themselves further to Khorne by imitating the structure of one of his daemonic cohorts, until they eventually become twisted mirrors of their daemonic equivalents. The dark rites that make this transition possible are dictated by a brutal creed known as the Scriptures of Slaughter.
Scrawled down by those raving madmen who have looked upon the Burning Books of Khorne, the scriptures describe the organisation of unholy crusading armies known as "Slaughtercults." The formation of these ritual military hierarchies resonates symbolically with Khorne's sacred number, usually taking the form of eight bands of eight Chaos Space Marines or Khorne Berzerkers, fighting beneath the Chaos Lord or Daemon Prince who leads the warband.
These squads represent the Bloodletters that typically serve a Herald of Khorne or Daemon Prince in the Blood God's own cohorts. These bands will be joined by other mortal Renegades and twisted engines of destruction to form "Blood Hosts," gore-soaked armies of devoted slaughterers who massacre entire planetary populations in Khorne's name.
Without exception, Khorne Daemonkin tolerate no Sorcerers amongst their ranks. They have no need of such loathsome psychic spellcraft; when a warband's bloody actions in the mortal plane attract the attention of the Blood God himself, their fervour alone is sufficient to summon forth a daemonic cohort from the Realm of Chaos.
Furthermore, the Daemonkin's dedication to relentless violence and butchery in the name of Khorne allows the daemons to endure alongside the Slaughtercult in realspace without the sustenance of the Warp. Even the mightiest mortal armies quail in the face of such a cursed alliance, for it is a vision of hellish future in which blood, war and death is all.
Structure of a Slaughtercult
Slaughtercults echo the structure of Khorne's daemonic cohorts -- eight units of the Blood God's fiercest warriors led by one of his fell champions, accompanied by lesser devotees and those truly blessed in Khorne's sight.
- Champion of Khorne - Each Slaughtercult is a led by a mighty Chaos Champion of the Blood God, fated either to die in battle or be horrifically warped into a daemon of Khorne.
- Favoured of Khorne - The Possessed are the Favoured of Khorne, savage hosts for his possessing daemons.
- Anointed of Khorne - The Anointed are Khorne's footsoldiers, either bands of ferocious Chaos Space Marines or summoned packs of immortal daemons.
- Chaos Cultists
- Chaos Spawn
Notable Khorne Daemonkin Warbands
Charging to war beneath their bloody banners, countless Daemonkin warbands slaughter their way across the galaxy. Amongst their number are certain warbands whose deeds are infamous, and whose names are bywords for terror.
- The Skullsworn - The Skullsworn are an infamous and vast Khorne Daemonkin warband that has risen seven times to plague the galaxy, carving a bloody swathe across the stars in Khorne's name. Its mortal ranks have been entirely replaced by packs of frenzied Daemons. Now, as the doom of the all draws nigh, they begin their eighth incarnation, seeking to summon not a cohort, but an entire Daemon legion.
- The Wrath - The Wrath are a Khorne Daemonkin warband that bring butchery to an unimaginable scale. Even in such murderous haunts as Commorragh and the Eye of Terror, these Daemonkin are whispered of with awe. Ferocious beyond the bounds of sanity, the Wrath are little more than power-armoured beasts. The source of their monstrous savagery is the Daemonkin's object of worship - the Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage name Arba'Gax. The Wrath's devotion is such, that Arba'Gax's fury has seeped into their souls, setting them alfame with hate.
- The Brazen Beasts - The Brazen Beasts are a Khorne Daemonkin warband that possesses a proclivity for fielding Daemon Engines, which stems from their worship of the Gorethunder Cohort. In imitation of their chosen cohort, the Brazen Beasts have assembled a mighty stable of Forgefiends, Maulerfiends and Defilers. These they transport deep within the bowels of their Space Hulk, the Oblivion Shadow, following the frenzied visions of their mightiest infernal engine, the Lord of Skulls worshiped as the Caged God.
- The Harvest - The Harvest are a Khorne Daemonkin warband that has a predilection for casting themselves as defenders of mighty strongholds in the most bloodthirsty fashion imaginable. Desperately eager for battle, the Harvest have little patience for building fortifications. Instead, they target a world that lies in the path of a vast, onrushing threat such as an Ork WAAAGH! or Tyranid splinter fleet, and using the element of surprise, quickly massacre the defenders of a stronghold. Reconsecrating their stolen strongholds with the blood of the slain, the Harvest man the battlements of their newly captured fortress and wait for the full fury of the impending foe to break upon them like a glorious, terrible storm.
- The Eightscarred - The Eightscarred are a Khorne Daemonkin warband that is utterly uncompromising in their violent faith. They are unhinged fanatics who see themselves as Khorne's only true disciples. Their zealotry is horrific in its intensity, driving them from one war zone to the next amid a never-ending tidal wave of gore. As a member of the Eightscarred, one must prove their worth in eight battles. A Bloodthirster of the third rank named Gha'Kharax sits ever in judgement of his worshippers, and carves a livid scar in a warrior's flesh should he prove himself. One by one, these bloody wounds form the rune of Khorne, marking the warrior as worthy to fight alongside Gha'Kharax's cohort. Should an aspirant ever fail to earn his scar, they will gladly fall on their own roaring Chainsword as an act of penance.
- The Bloodgorged - The Bloodgorged are a Khorne Daemonkin warband that see all those who worship the other Chaos Gods, aside from the Blood God, as having misplaced faith, a slight which cannot go unpunished. They further believe that there is no greater offering to Khorne than the violently obtained blood and skulls of those who worship his brothers. To this end, the Bloodgorged prey upon the followers of the other Chaos Gods. Their attack ships haunt the Eye of Terror, the Maelstrom and many other hunting grounds where Renegades dedicated to the Ruinous Powers may be found. Meanwhile, Chaos Cultists labour in their name all across the galaxy, stamping out rival sects and preparing the way for Bloodgorged invasions.
- Blades of Rage - The Blades of Rage are a little-known host of Khorne Daemonkin of unknown origin. Their most notable actions occurred in 444.M41, when they joined their fellow Daemonkin host, The Wrath, in the Daemon Primarch Angron's attack upon the Imperial Hive World of Armageddon.
- Bloodblessed - The Bloodblessed are a Khorne Daemonkin host that makes great use of Chaos Spawn. These fanatics round up great hordes of the mutated beasts, believing them to be the true form that Khorne desires for all mortal men. Not only do the Bloodblessed accord Chaos Spawn the status of holy warriors but, stranger still, their own Champions aspire not to ascension to daemonhood but to spawndom. Thus, what is seen by most as a dire punishment for failure has become, to the Bloodblessed, the ultimate reward.
- Fists of Brass - The Fists of Brass were a host of Khorne Daemonkin of unknown origin. Little is known of them from Imperial records aside from their involvement in a fatal clash with WAAAGH! Badstomp in 301.M40.
Forces of The Khorne Daemonkin
Whole worlds die upon the orders of the Chaos Lords that lead Khorne's Daemonkin. In their wake they leave oceans of spilt blood and great mountains of skulls, all to prove their worthiness in Khorne's eyes. These are atrocities the Lords of the Daemonkin gladly commit, for their fanatical devotion to the Blood God is terrible in its intensity. It is a Chaos Lord that forges each Daemonkin warband and ensures it holds true to its gruesome purpose. It is he who marshals his warriors according to the Scriptures of Slaughter, and who dictates which Bloodthirster his host will worship.
The Lord must guide his frenzied horde to each new battle, and hack down those who foolishly think to challenge his rule. In this way he fulfils a role somewhere between warrior-king and demagogue, feeding the fervour of his followers with every new war. Whereas the fleeting glory of battle alongside Khorne's daemons is enough for many of their followers, Chaos Lords strive instead to ascend as a Daemon Prince of Khorne.
Such a path is perilous, for the Lord is more likely to end their days as a horrific Chaos Spawn than to be raised up to daemonhood. Furthermore, there is always the risk that the Bloodthirster they worship will choose to honour its servant by using his flesh as its conduit into realspace. Should such a demand be made, it means certain death for the Chaos Lord and an end to all they have striven for. Still, most choose this glorious martyrdom in Khorne's name over the truly dreadful punishment they will suffer should their faith prove lacking at the last.
Immortal avatars of the Blood God's wrath, recipients of the greatest boon a mortal champion can earn, the Daemon Princes of Khorne are ferocity given form. These daemonic champions tower over even the mighty Chaos Space Marines whom they command. Their strength is so great that they can smash down a fortress' gates with a single blow. Their unnatural resilience is such that they can stride heedless through thundering bombardments of fire.
Yet for all this they are slaves as surely as any who follow the gods of Chaos, for with immortality comes an eternity of servitude. So lost to zealotry and madness are Khorne's Daemon Princes that they do not care. Embracing an existence of constant war, many take their place in the hierarchy of Khorne's daemonic legions. Others become the godlike leaders of the Khorne Daemonkin, beginning again the cycle of slaughter that saw them gain their own bloody ascension.
Towering, savage, unstoppable, the Bloodthirsters of Khorne hack down all who oppose them. Their roar is a volcano's wrath, the beat of their wings the crack and boom of cannon fire. Wreathed in the charnel stench of the billions they have slain, Bloodthirsters lead their daemonic brethren in Khorne's eternal war.
To stand in the shadow of a Bloodthirster is to know death. Bellowing avatars of the Blood God's fury, these Greater Daemons share their master's insatiable hunger for murder, and will kill anyone who dares stand in their way. Bloodthirsters know nothing of mercy or compassion, for to them the inhabitants of the material realm are but blood and skulls to be harvested in Khorne's name.
They never tire, never waver, never rest, for their vast, muscle-bound forms are fashioned from the raw stuff of rage. Once unleashed upon the battlefields of realspace, a Bloodthirster will not stop killing until it is banished to the Warp once more.
Were they simply warriors and nothing more, Khorne's Greater Daemons would be terrifying enough. His foes are not so fortunate, however; these demigods of war serve as the generals of the Blood God's daemonic legions. There are eight distinct hosts of Bloodthirster, but it would be a fatal error to believe that even the lowest ranked -- the Bloodthirsters of the eighth host -- are in some way lesser warriors than their kin, or that they pose a reduced threat. In truth, only those versed in daemonic lore have any notion that varied ranks of Bloodthirster exist, for all seem equally terrifying and destructive to the mortals who feel their ire upon the battlefield.
Nonetheless, each of the eight ranks of Bloodthirster possess their own lethal skills, armaments and title. Those of the eighth host, for example, are known as Bloodthirsters of Unfettered Fury. These monstrous beings are skilled if unsubtle generals and, armed with their infamous combination of axe and whip, are most often seen commanding Khorne's daemonic legions in their attacks on realspace.
By comparison, those of the sixth rank, known as Bloodthirsters of Insensate Rage, are berserk destroyers who wield immense axes as tall as a fortress gate. Nothing can stand before such terrors on the battlefield, and the Daemons of Khorne are drawn instinctively on in the wake of their furnace-hot fury.
The infamous Bloodthirsters of the third host, meanwhile, are known as the Wrath of Khorne. These beings are fire-breathing braggarts, hunters after glory who delight in humbling the mightiest heroes of the foe and butchering them in the name of their bloody lord.
Though each Bloodthirster is accorded his status by Khorne himself, any can attempt to fight his way up through the ranks of his peers. This is hardly uncommon, for even those of the eighth host -- the Bloodthirsters of Unfettered Fury -- are unquestionably murderous warriors, and loath to accept the demands of their more senior kin.
Should a Bloodthirster issue a challenge to another, the earth-shaking duel to the death which inevitably follows is usually fought within the Bloody Pit, a massive amphitheatre of obsidian and brass in Khorne's realm. Sometimes, however, these titanic single combats are fought in realspace, amongst the carnage and ruin of battle. For those followers of Khorne fortunate enough to witness such a contest of demigods, there is no experience more edifying, for all know that Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows.
A Daemonkin warband will pledge themselves to the victor even as he holds aloft the head of his defeated opponent and claims their rank for his own. There is one amongst these Greater Daemons whose name is spoken darkly, and over whose worship wars have been fought: Skarbrand the Exiled One. Cast out for daring to strike the Blood God himself, no few Daemonkin warbands have seen Skarbrand as the paragon of Khorne's creed, despite his outcast status.
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury
Ferocious killing machines capable of hacking apart whole armies of the foe, the Bloodthirsters of Unfettered Fury are the most numerous of Khorne's Greater Daemons. In one fist, these colossal, sulphur-wreathed fiends carry a massive axe of Khorne. This daemon-forged blade hungers for hot blood, and a single swing of its smouldering edge can carve a battle-tank in two or behead even the largest monster.
In its other hand, the Bloodthirster wields a vicious lash of Khorne. Immense whips studded with brass spikes, these weapons slice through the air with a thunderous crack, breaking necks, entangling limbs, or smashing enemies off their feet.
Clad in baroque armour and bellowing their wrath to the sky, Bloodthirsters of Unfettered Fury strike abject terror into all who witness them in battle. Too swift to outrun, too resilient to gun down, and far, far too strong to outfight, these godlike Daemons are the death of all who face them in battle. It is no surprise then that the Daemonkin worship these monstrous entities as demigods of war.
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage
Bloodthirsters of Insensate Rage are the most mindlessly savage of their kind. The fires of Khorne's forge fill their chests, stoking their fury to a state of apoplexy that renders them utterly incoherent with anger. So great is their ire-fuelled strength that these daemons are able to heft massive brass axes -- weapons as tall as the horrors that bear them.
With these great axes of Khorne, Bloodthirsters of Insensate Rage are more than capable of hacking the leg from a Warhound Scout Titan with a single swing, or splitting the greatest mortal heroes in two from head to toe.
The arrival of such an entity on the battlefield heralds the coming of the end. The beat of their wings shudders through mortal minds, causing waves of terror to roll before them. Those who fall beneath the Bloodthirsters' night-black shadow taste the sudden tang of ash and sulphur in their throats, and feel their will to live evaporate like mist. As the beast roars its endless fury, those of weak will simply collapse dead upon the spot. Yet even the brave do not have long to live...
Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster
Soaring through the skies on vast, leathery wings, Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirsters scour the battlefield for their prey. These arrogant huntsmen of the third host are charged by Khorne with a sacred duty. Each is given a quarry to track down, some braggart or hero who has earned the personal ire of the Blood God himself.
Upon locating their prey, the Bloodthirster must humble them in battle; he must slaughter those who follow them, crush them in body and spirit, and finally drag their soul back to Khorne's realm for punishment by the Blood God himself. This is the task set before the Greater Daemon, and it is one in which he dare not fail lest Khorne's rage be turned upon him.
Fortunately for these Bloodthirsters, they have many tools to aid them in their hunt. Each is armed with a mighty Axe of Khorne and a clattering bloodflail, a weapon that combines the reach of a lash with the crushing force of a sledgehammer. As if this were not enough, the Wrath of Khorne wear runic crowns upon their brows that ward off sorcery, and can breathe great gouts of hellfire upon their foes.
Bloodletters are the savage foot soldiers of Khorne's daemonic legions. Their lean bodies are corded with muscle, while their eyes burn like the heart of a furnace. As echoes of their master's endless rage, they are driven by the desperate desire to kill; a need that their hellblades and razor sharp claws and fangs leave them only too well equipped to fulfil.
Even a single Bloodletter is a deadly foe, while a whole pack of these daemonic killers assembled for war is truly terrifying. Though they march to war in cohorts and obey the commands of their masters, Bloodletters are in no way strategic creatures. They care nothing for stealth and subtlety. Rage burns through their Warpborn frames, seething in every sinew and pumping like fire through their blackened veins.
Bloodletters do not simply feel anger; they are anger personified, and they desire nothing more than to hack apart endless ranks of the enemies while bathing in their jetting blood. As such, unless guided by a higher intellect, Bloodletters simply hurl themselves toward the foe with their blades held ready. They care nothing for their own casualties, and will gladly charge headlong through the most intense storm of enemy fire if it means coming to grips with their victims that much sooner.
When brought forth into the material plane by the efforts of a Daemonkin warband, packs of Bloodletters make good use of this innate fury. Loping forward with bolt shells and artillery blasts whipping around them, the daemons allow their mortal supplicants to provide covering fire while they set to the real business of Khorne -- hacking their enemies limb from limb in bloody close quarter combat.
The Daemonkin, in their turn, are inspired beyond words by the manifestation of Khorne's unholy warriors. They scream their devotion as the Bloodletters tear their way through the veil into realspace. The mortals' fanaticism soars to such heights that they foam at the mouths and tear at their own flesh in religious ecstasy.
Simply to summon such daemons from the Warp brings the Daemonkin to the edge of rapture; by comparison, fighting alongside these hissing, snarling terrors is enough to drive many warriors permanently mad. Some Daemonkin have even been known to attempt to emulate those Bloodletters they have witnessed in battle.
They scarify their flesh to resemble scales, sharpen their teeth and nails to sharp points, and hammer broken jags of bone into their skulls like horns. The Bloodletters care nothing for such worshipful imitation, of course. Their only interest is in the slaughter of their foes, their only source of pleasure the feel of their hellblades hacking deep into mortal flesh.
Blood sprays in sheets and severed heads tumble from hewn necks wherever the Heralds of Khorne charge into the fray. Ferocious beyond mortal measure, these daemonic champions wield their Hellblades with blinding speed. Even the greatest warriors find themselves hard-pressed to keep pace with a Herald of Khorne in battle, for the skill and strength of these daemons is breathtaking.
Worse, as daemonic entities, they neither tire nor waver, and their fury is inexhaustible. Countless duellists and vaunted heroes have fallen to the onslaught of a Khornate Herald, arms numbed by repeated hammerblows against their guard, spirit broken by the daemon's relentless hate, head finally lopped from their shoulders by its victorious strike.
Heralds of Khorne are more than just warriors. They are exemplars of all that their bloodthirsty god demands, able not only to butcher their foes but to direct the fury of their lesser kin with a commander's strategic skill. Within the ranks of Khorne's legions these entities serve as ranking officers, directing the Daemon packs beneath them to enact the will of their ruling Bloodthirster. Thus they are the counterparts of the Chaos Lords who lead the Khorne Daemonkin, and will often fight alongside these mortal champions in the greatest slaughters.
Said to be Khorne's executioner, the Herald known as Skulltaker revels in the ritual duel. To refuse Skulltaker's bellowed challenge is a death sentence in its own right; those who try to flee the daemon's wrath will be hacked down and trampled into the filth of the battlefield for their cowardice.
Still, these forgotten victims are perhaps the lucky ones. Those who stand and face Skulltaker find themselves on the receiving end of a whirlwind of blows, the Herald's brazen blade moving faster than the eye can follow. Skulltaker expertly dismembers his foe, lopping off one limb at a time and dedicating every hot spray of blood to his wrathful creator. Only when his victim writhes screaming and helpless upon the ground does Skulltaker end his ritual, tearing their skull free of their spine with a wrenching snap, and claiming it for Khorne.
Heroes beyond number have fallen in this manner since Skulltaker began his endless war, and Khorne holds his appointed executioner in high esteem. So it is that a band of the greatest Bloodletters serve at Skulltaker's command. Known as the Cohort of Blood, this assemblage of Warp-spawned champions is selected by Skulltaker from amongst the daemonic legions' ranks. They are forced to fight each other regularly to weed out the weak, for Skulltaker will lead none but the mightiest to war.
Chaos Space Marines
Bolters thundering and Chainswords roaring, the Chaos Space Marines of the Khorne Daemonkin hurl themselves at the foe with maniacal fury. Every enemy they hack to pieces is an offering to their wrathful god, every bloody deed one of sacred worship. These are Renegades who care nothing for revenge upon the Imperium. Instead, they devote themselves entirely to the murderous creed of the Blood God.
Every Space Marine has within him the capacity to cast off the shackles of the Imperium in favour of following his own selfish desires. As warriors regarded with awe by Humanity, those Space Marines who turn Renegade fall far and fast, rebelling against a life of servitude with gross acts of betrayal. Some few Traitors throw off the leash of their masters altogether, owing no allegiance to any but themselves. However, though a Space Marine may declare that he is free, it is near impossible for him to fight against a lifetime of psycho-conditioning, which compels him to follow and obey.
As such, many simply exchange service in the Emperor's name for worship of the Ruinous Powers, eschewing one brand of slavery for another without ever recognising the grim irony of their choice. So it is with the zealots of the Khorne Daemonkin, who believe themselves free to indulge their innate bloodlust. Instead they become ever more Khorne's slaves, their sanity wearing away until violent self-sacrifice in the Blood God’s name seems the most glorious reward the galaxy can offer.
Ultimately, this tragic mania only makes the Renegade Space Marines of the Daemonkin all the more dangerous. Alongside genetically engineered strength and resilience, peerless martial training, and near-boundless courage, these Traitors possess a selfless fanaticism that drives them to the very edge of endurance. While caught up in the frenzied act of worship through war, Daemonkin Chaos Space Marines have been known to literally tear their enemies limb from limb.
They will throw themselves into the attack no matter the odds they face, giving no thought to their own survival in their desperation to shed blood. In a normal human, such devotion would make them dangerous enough; in a Space Marine, it is absolutely terrifying. The Dengua IV Slaughter, the Butcher's Rampage on Zarathusican, the Magdal Atrocity; all of these infamous massacres were perpetrated by Daemonkin in the grip of fanatical frenzy, and all have entered Imperial records as examples of the horrifying atrocities that the worshippers of Chaos are capable of.
Monstrous howls herald the onset of the Possessed. Every swing of their taloned limbs sends sprays of blood fountaining into the air while, in return, the blows of the enemy rebound from armour thickened with daemonic sinew and scale. These are Chaos Space Marines with daemons bound to their souls, the true Daemonkin, and their savage onslaught is terrible to behold.
Khornate Possessed are especially vicious examples of their kind, for the inherent fury of the possessor daemons infects their host bodies, warping each into a brutal mass of horns, fangs, blades and armour. The murderous rage of the daemon becomes manifest in the flesh of the Daemonhost, driving them on to kill again and again. All the while, the daemon feeds upon the psychic energies of death, finally becoming so saturated with power that it can burst forth onto the material plane.
Driven into battle by the frenzied need to kill, Khorne Berzerkers slaughter everything in their path and leave nothing but twitching corpses in their wake. These murderous lunatics have been ritually lobotomized to remove all trace of fear or compassion. In place of these emotions, the Berzerkers receive cortical implants that heighten their aggression to psychotic levels.
These horrific augmetics amplify the adrenaline rush of combat to the point where fighting and killing become the Berzerkers' sole reason to be. The heart of battle is the only place in which a Khorne Berzerker feels truly alive. The release of butchery is so addictive for them that they will gladly turn their blades upon their allies, should they run out of foes to kill.
For the Berzerkers, murder is all, for blood is all their god demands. There is great competition amongst the Daemonkin to attract bands of Khorne Berzerkers to their cause. After all, these are the holy warriors of the Blood God, and their presence upon the battlefield is certain to win Khorne's approval.
So determined are many Chaos Lords to recruit these maniacs that they will fight furiously over the surgeons and facilities required to create berzerkers. For the Khorne Berzerkers' part, they care little whose banner they fight beneath. Their wars are fought for the Blood God alone, their victims slaughtered in his name, and the loyalties or causes of those they kill mean nothing to them.
The Butcher's Nails
When the Chaos Gods snatched the nascent Primarchs from Terra, they flung them far and wide across the galaxy. The amniotic pod of Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters, came to rest upon the world of Nuceria. Seized by slavers while still virtually a child, the young Primarch was subjected to a horrific form of psycho-surgery.
The Nucerians implanted Angron with an augmetic cortical implant whose design dated back to the Age of Technology known as the Butcher's Nails, an aggression amplifier that turned the Primarch into a virtual living weapon. For a time, Angron became the king of the Nucerian cyber-gladiatorial arenas, until finally his gene-coded greatness drove him to lead a pit-slave revolt against his masters.
Angron would have died in battle at the head of his rebellion had the Emperor not snatched him away during their final, desperate battle. Consumed by a conflicting sense of resentment and inadequacy, Angron violently rejected his Legion at first. By the time he came to name himself their leader, the Primarch's gene-sons were desperate to win his approval.
Angron, for his part, sought to transform the World Eaters into an approximation of his lost army of gladiators. Thus, in an act of the grossest betrayal, the father mutilated his sons, bestowing upon them the Butchers Nails so that their rage and aggression would echo his own. The degeneration of the World Eaters began upon that day, and it was not long before noble Legiones Astartes had become the first Khorne Berzerkers.
This cruel form of psychosurgery has proliferated since those ancient days of the Great Crusade, with bastardised versions of the gory techniques involved spreading throughout the Eye of Terror and beyond. Still, it was the World Eaters and their Daemon Primarch who first loosed this barbaric practice upon the galaxy, and it is one that the Khorne Daemonkin hungrily exploit at every opportunity.
Guns blazing, servos whining like damned souls, the Chaos Terminators of Khorne stride into battle. The advance of these hulking killers is relentless and unstoppable. The thick plates of their Terminator Armour absorb or deflect anything the enemy can hurl at them, allowing them to push through even the heaviest bombardment.
Meanwhile, the Chaos Terminators' weapons reap an ever-increasing tally of lives, one that climbs steeply once these ironclad butchers reach combat. Crackling Power Weapons scythe through flesh and armour, while Power Fists and Chainfists crush and mangle. Daemonkin Terminators decorate their armour with brazen spikes, chains and butcher's hooks. These hang heavy with the skulls of defeated foes, and are daubed with runes that praise the Blood God.
Amongst the ritual organisation of a Blood Host, Chaos Terminators are the mortal equivalents of Khorne's Bloodcrushers, and the heavy, brutish Terminators have a twisted affinity with the trampling daemonic fury of the Juggernaut-mounted daemons. When a daemonic legion's Bloodcrushers emerge into realspace, the two units will often advance as a single wedge of brass-bound armour and crushing mass, punching into the enemy's ranks like the fist of Khorne himself.
The Bloodtusk Brotherhood
Amongst the ranks of The Skullsworn warband there marches a group of Renegade Terminators whose deeds have become infamous. Calling themselves the "Bloodtusk Brotherhood," these brutish murderers have earned great favour with Khorne.
It was during the Slaughterstorm of Icos IV that the Bloodtusk Brotherhood first rose to prominence. Amid the fire and madness of a teleport assault gone terribly wrong, the Bloodtusks fought their way clear of a Raven Guard ambush through sheer brute force. Ignoring wounds that would have seen most warriors dead on the ground, the Terminators waded through the fire of the Raven Guard and smashed into their lines with Power Axes swinging.
After their Chaos Champion, Agorath, hacked down the Raven Guard Captain, the Bloodtusk Brotherhood were joined by a howling mass of daemons that clawed their way from the Warp to join the battle. A whole world's fate turned upon that deed, and as the massacre of Icos IV began, the dark renown of the brotherhood was assured.
Bloodcrushers of Khorne smash into the enemy like battering rams, heads lowered and piston limbs pounding madly. Foes fall screaming beneath the Juggernauts' churning hooves, or else are hacked apart by the Bloodletters that ride them. Tanks are smashed off their tracks and rolled onto their roofs amid showers of sparks as the Juggernauts plough past them. Barricades explode into showers of shattered masonry as the Juggernauts ram straight through them at full tilt.
Nothing can stand before the devastating charge of these daemonic shock cavalry, the impact of which has been likened to an armoured avalanche sweeping into the enemy lines. Juggernauts are amongst the Blood God's most savage and belligerent daemons. Neither wholly machine nor entirely infernal beast, they are gifted as steeds to those daemonic warriors mighty enough to claim them. Once broken in by a sufficiently determined Bloodletter, the combination of daemonic rider and steed is terrifyingly effective.
Within the ranks of Khorne's daemonic legions, these shock cavalry provide the sledgehammer force required to crack open even the most determined enemy defence staged by the foot soldiers of Khorne's infernal brothers. The Bloodcrushers' role is much the same when fighting alongside Khorne Daemonkin.
Thundering in at the head of the warband's attack, packs of Bloodcrushers head straight for the toughest parts of the enemy battle line. Lowering their armoured heads, the Juggernauts slam straight through the enemy's midst, ripping gaping holes in the defences of the foe through which their mortal allies can pour toward victory.
Writhing masses of bloody muscle and pulsating horror, Khornate Chaos Spawn are as dangerous as they are revolting. Each Spawn is a unique vision of insanity, an impossible amalgam of flesh, bone and armour that was once a Chaos Champion of the Blood God. Wet muscle squirms, lipless mouths gape amid knots of bulging skin, fanged tentacles lash and twitch. All the while, unblinking eyes stare in horror from amidst the ruin of a mighty warrior now fallen from grace.
Many Daemonkin warbands include Chaos Spawn amid their ranks, goading them into battle where they serve as expendable shock troops. Some are the god-cursed remnants of the Daemonkin's former leaders, those Chaos Champions who proved unworthy to become Daemon Princes. Others are gathered by the Daemonkin from the hellish worlds upon which they have fought, or are brought to the fight by Khornate Chaos Cultists who venerate them as blessed beings. Whatever the case, in battle the Spawn attack like the mindless beasts they have become. Hungry, savage, and utterly insane, these mutated horrors feel nothing but a furious aggression that sends them flailing into the midst of the foe. There they rend and tear until death takes them, or until there is nothing left to kill.
Amongst the many warbands of Daemonkin, none make greater use of Chaos Spawn than the Bloodblessed. These fanatics round up great hordes of the mutated beasts, believing them to be the true form that Khorne desires for mortal man. Not only do the Bloodblessed accord Chaos Spawn the status of holy warriors but, stranger still, their own Champions aspire not to ascension but to Spawndom. Thus what is seen by most as a dire punishment for failure has become, to the Bloodblessed, the ultimate reward.
Ragged and wild-eyed, the Chaos Cultists of Khorne scream praises to the Blood God as they flood across the battlefield. Armed with chattering machine-rifles, crude bludgeons, or even just their bare hands, great hordes of Cultists fling themselves upon the foe in a desperate bid to prove their devotion.
Their flesh seared with Khornate runes, their threadbare garb stained with blood, these lesser mortals are at just as fanatical as their Chaos Space Marine masters. Yet Khorne respects only strength, and so it is a rare Cultist indeed who succeeds in earning his wrathful god's favour.
The Chaos Space Marines of the Daemonkin are no more forgiving of their Cultist followers than is Khorne himself. As such, they think nothing of driving thousands of Cultists to their deaths, simply to choke the guns of the foe.
Many Chaos Lords will even butcher their Cultist underlings as blood sacrifices to Khorne, slaughtering them mercilessly when better offerings cannot be found. For all this, there is no shortage of Khornate bloodcults hidden throughout the Imperium, for even the most desperate grasp for power is better than the hopeless grind of Imperial servitude.
Slicing their way into reality with razor-sharp claws, packs of Warp Talons burst out of thin air to rip their prey limb from limb. Blazing with unnatural flame, shrieking like avian predators, the Warp Talons slaughter everything within reach before taking to the skies in search of fresh victims. Warp Talons were once Renegade Space Marines, though over time the Warp has twisted them into degenerate pack-hunting beasts of savage instinct.
Naturally inclined to bloodshed and slaughter, many packs of Warp Talons are drawn to the debased worship of Khorne, for they sense in some crude way that he is their true patron. In turn, the Blood God welcomes their devotion, for the Warp Talons are able to hunt his chosen quarry through the Empyrean itself. As roaming predators, Warp Talons do not forge formal alliances with the Daemonkin.
However, the psychic pyre of bloodshed created by a Slaughtercult at war draws the Warp Talons to it like vultures to a corpse. Thus, when a warband of Khorne Daemonkin is in the thick of battle, packs of Khornate Warp Talons will often tear their way into reality in order to join the carnage and slay their quarry for Khorne.
The arrival of Warp Talons is considered almost as auspicious as the summoning of true daemons. After all, these empyric predators follow the same psychic blood trails as do Khorne's true warriors, and their sudden, shocking arrival often foretells the imminent onset of a Khornate cohort.
Plunging from the skies on trails of fire, the Raptors of the Khorne Daemonkin fall upon their prey with blades held ready. Arrogant and twisted, these airborne warriors venerate Khorne as the galaxy's ultimate apex predator, while believing themselves to be his most favoured servants. To show their devotion, the Raptors daub their armour in Khornate symbols or smear it with the lifeblood of their fallen foes.
Gone are the terror raids in which most Raptors rejoice, replaced by a headlong plunge into the foe in search of blood and skulls. Though fervent in their faith, Khornate Raptors see themselves as aerial predators far superior to the worms who fight upon the ground below. This attitude leaves them ill-inclined to take orders from even the mightiest Chaos Lords.
At the same time, Khorne Daemonkin are hesitant to include Raptors in their ranks, for their kind do not sit within the Scriptures of Slaughter. Yet there can be no denying the psychological impact that a band of these assault troops has upon the foe, and their strategic versatility makes them valuable. So it is that many Daemonkin Chaos Lords will grudgingly recruit mercenary packs of Raptors, winning their temporary allegiance with promises of war and glory.
No warband makes greater use of Raptors than the mysterious Murderghosts. This bloody-handed host of Daemonkin are thought to have formed less than a standard century ago, yet already their lightning-fast raids upon outposts and shipping lanes in the vicinity of Fenris has won these piratical warriors quite a name.
Their latest attack -- which has come to be known as the "Battle of Crimson Snows" -- saw one of Midgardia's principal cities left a collapsed ruin, and earned the personal ire of Wolf Lord Egil Iron Wolf. Twenty of Iron Wolf's finest warriors fell in Midgardia's defence, their heads taken as trophies by the Murderghosts, and the Wolf Lord has vowed to avenge this insult no matter the cost.
Engines roaring like wild beasts, the Chaos Bikers of the Khorne Daemonkin slam headlong into the enemy lines. Using the armoured bulk of their mechanical steeds, the riders plough through the press of the enemy ranks, grinding their victims beneath churning tyres or slashing off limbs with their bikes' scythe blades. By the time they burst back into the open, the bikers' armour is slick with gore, while the crude machine spirits of their vehicles snarl with pure savagery.
Many armies in the 41st Millennium make use of bike-mounted warriors for reconnaissance or raiding, but the Daemonkin have no use for such subtleties. Instead, they deploy their bikers as fast-moving line breakers. The Khornate bikers carve through the enemy time and again, looping around after each pass with howls of bloodlust before gunning their engines and charging into the foe once more.
Nowhere was this tactic more successful than during the Skullsworn attack upon the T'au colony of Ral'eth. Led by Agrand the Annihilator, hordes of Daemonkin fell upon the orbital defence batteries nestled amid Ral'eth's polar crags. They overran the garrisons they found there, before pouring out of the mountains toward the towns that dotted the tundra beyond. Here, however, T'au resistance suddenly stiffened to spectacular effect.
Evacuating their civilian populace south with calm efficiency, the T'au then deployed swift mechanised Hunter Cadres against the invaders. Hitting and fading with practised skill, the T'au forces used the open terrain and the psychotic fury of their foes to their advantage. The Skullsworn were soon strung out across the icy grasslands. They chased furiously after T'au gunlines that rapidly deployed, fired several punishing volleys, then vanished once more like smoke on the breeze.
Only when Agrand loosed a great wave of Chaos Bikers did the battle shift in favour of the Daemonkin. Racing forward through the T'au firepower, the Chaos Bikers drove their charges home before the foe could make their escape.
Suddenly, the Hunter Cadres found their lines smashed and their transports crippled by the headlong assault of the bike-mounted Renegades. Soon enough, with their foes reeling, the main Daemonkin forces were able to amass once more and push forward, finally overrunning the cornered T'au upon the marshy Yl'aeth peninsula.
Merciless and unrelenting, the Flesh Hounds of Khorne hunt their prey throughout reality and beyond. With senses attuned to the psychic spoor of their victims, these ferocious daemon-beasts can find their quarry no matter where it may hide. Once they have the scent, they will not give up the hunt until their victim is torn to shreds.
Within Khorne's daemonic legions, Flesh Hound packs are used as terror troops. The hounds' heavy brass collars shield them from the craven sorceries of the foe, while their foot-long fangs and jagged claws ensure they can rip a bloody path through their chosen prey. Their role amid Daemonkin warbands is similar, as the hounds are loosed upon their prey to rend and tear at will. The predatory spirits of Flesh Hounds feel a bloody kinship with fast-moving attack troops like Raptors and Chaos Bikers, and so it is most often these feral warriors who fight alongside them.
Lord of the Slaughter
According to the whim of Khorne, the daemons of his realm take part in an immense tournament. Khorne takes the Daemonsword known as Khartoth the Bloodhunger, which is capable of cutting through not only matter but also time, and hides it within one of his Flesh Hounds. The legions of Khorne fall upon each other with sword and axe, slaughtering and butchering whilst hunting the Flesh Hounds, who tear apart any daemon who approaches.
The daemon brave, strong or fortunate enough to finally slay the Flesh Hound containing the Daemonsword becomes the Lord of the Slaughter and may wield the Bloodhunger. For a day or an age, as Khorne sees fit, the Lord of the Slaughter enjoys great privilege in battle.
When Khorne wearies of his Lord of the Slaughter's exploits, the Blood God begins the tournament again. A Flesh Hound devours both wielder and sword, combining their essence, and the daemons battle again until Khorne finds a new Lord of the Slaughter.
The ground quakes beneath the tread of Khornate Helbrutes. Skulls beyond count are claimed as their guns roar, and their vicious combat weapons tear and crush. Yet for all their might, these beings are truly cursed.
Within the shell of each Helbrute is interred a Daemonkin Chaos Space Marine warrior, wounded almost unto death but sustained by the machineries of his walking tomb. Trapped, the pilot endures endless purgatory, able neither to ascend to glory, nor simply die and end his torment. As a result, Daemonkin Helbrutes are utterly insane, and all the more dangerous for it.
Some Daemonkin Helbrutes are driven to mindless nihilism, seeking simply to annihilate everything within their reach in order to exorcise the worst of their anguish. Yet there are those who, even through the madness, cling to the hope that they may still redeem themselves in the Blood God's eyes.
These are the most dangerous of their already lethal breed. After all, a Helbrute pilot who still clings to hope is one who will strive all the harder to slaughter his foes and avoid his own destruction at their hands.
Black smoke and swirling sparks belch from gargoyle-mouthed exhausts as the twisted battle tanks of the Daemonkin roll into battle. Driven forward by devolved Machine Spirits (artificial intelligences) that resemble ravening animals, these Khornate war engines hunt the living like prey. Their engines rumble like the wet growls of carnivorous monsters, and the flickering light that spills from their hatches and vision-slits is a dark, hellish red.
Whether it be massive traitor Land Raiders or bladed Rhino APCs, the battle tanks of the Daemonkin provide crucial support to the warriors who fight in their shadow. Vast brazen guns blaze, their shots piercing through the thickest armour to blast enemy tanks to pieces or smash breaches in bunkers and barricades.
Meanwhile, the thickly armoured hides of the Daemonkin battle tanks provide much needed -- if little desired -- shelter from heavy enemy fire, ensuring that Khorne's worshippers reach battle without the cowardly foe gunning them down en route. Amid the maddened throng of a Daemonkin warband, battle tanks provide heavy, reliable lynchpins around which the attack can hinge.
Meanwhile, if all else fails, the heavy, grinding treads and spiked hulls of these Khornate vehicles allow them to plough over screaming infantry and ram aside enemy vehicles with impunity.
Thudding into battle on bladed limbs, the Defiler is a nightmare wrought in bloodied brass. Its scissoring claws chop proud warriors into offal; its roaring arsenal of heavy weapons shivers the air with its constant fury. The Daemon Engine's bellows echo across the battlefield, promising violent death to all who fall beneath its jagged shadow.
Serving as the armoured prison for a daemon of Khorne, each Defiler deployed by the Daemonkin is considered a walking idol. No matter that the entity within rages constantly against its captivity; the mortal warriors of the Khorne Daemonkin see only the tally of skulls such a mechanical monstrosity can reap for their bloody god. Thus Defilers are a common sight among most Daemonkin Blood Hosts, acting as the realspace counterparts of Khorne's Soul Grinders.
It is a rare Khornate warband that does not contain at least one Defiler, for the lords of the Daemonkin go to great and bloody lengths to secure the service of these infernal engines. However, no warband can match the mighty stable of Daemon Engines kept by the Brazen Beasts.
Reports exist of entire armoured spearheads of Defilers scuttling at the head of Brazen Beast offensives, the Daemon Engines smashing everything from their path like the wrath of Khorne himself. None can say what dark pacts the Brazen Beasts have sealed in order to acquire such an overwhelming swarm of Defilers, but the effectiveness of the machines on the attack is undeniable.
During their assault upon Shenhemesh, the Brazen Beasts faced the mighty warhost of Craftworld Ulthwé. The Aeldari poured from the Exodite world's Webway gate led by four towering Wraithknights. These Ghost Warriors drove deep into the Daemonkin ranks, annihilating everything in their path. For long moments, it seemed the Brazen Beasts would be wiped out.
Then, with a thunderous clatter of ironclad limbs, the Defilers charged. Though many were blasted to scrap, the Demon Engines swarmed around the Wraithknights. Claws crunched through wraithbone, dragging the constructs down even as they tried to leap clear. Cannons thundered point blank into slender helms, and graceful limbs were ripped free. The Defilers tore their foes to pieces in a frenzy of destruction and -- though the battle raged on for several solar hours more -- any chance for Aeldari victory was murdered then and there.
Guns hammering out a staccato roar, Soul Grinders of Khorne smash through the enemy lines in a storm of blood. Horrific amalgams of seething flesh and wheezing, blood-fuelled machinery, these are war engines from beyond the veil of reality. Their animating daemonic entities are trapped within their vast, weaponised bodies, railing furiously against their eternal debt to the Forge of Souls that fashioned them.
Far more terrible than anything wrought by mortal hands, these monstrous engines are impossibly resilient. The heaviest enemy fire splashes off their unnatural hides, or simply passes through their flickering forms. In return, it is a Soul Grinder's burden to slaughter all before them, and a Daemonkin warband boasting such berserk engines amongst its ranks is sure to win great favour from Khorne.
Daemons take to the field as Soul Grinders only as a means to circumvent the thousand Terran years of banishment they would normally suffer when defeated in realspace. This is a swift route to both vengeance and power, for there can be little doubt that each Soul Grinder is mighty indeed. Yet the price that a daemon must pay for this accelerated rebirth is terrible.
The leering masters of the Forge of Souls drive a hard bargain in exchange for the horrific metamorphosis they offer, and in many cases entities that take the Iron Pact will never able to pay their way to freedom. Thus, while they are daemons of Khorne, and therefore possessed of their master's endless desire for war and death, Khornate Soul Grinders do not kill their foes just to honour their lord.
Instead, every life they take is not only another skull for Khorne, but one more spark of living essence paid to the Forge of Souls. With each such death, another link in the Soul Grinder's chains is broken, bringing them incrementally closer to freedom. Yet the forgemasters raise their price with every passing day, and many Soul Grinders will fight for eternity without ever earning their release.
Among the daemonic cohorts of Khorne, Soul Grinders are universally scorned. Though mighty warriors, they have damned themselves doubly in the eyes of their comrades. Not only have these daemons suffered the ignominy of defeat in battle -- sin enough in the Blood God's eyes -- they have then compounded their failures by bending the knee to another rather than the Blood God.
Tzeentch delights in such an entanglement of loyalties, Slaanesh in his daemons' submission to their pride, while Nurgle chuckles with paternal sympathy at the foolishness of his beauties. Khorne is not so forgiving. As such, Soul Grinders within the daemonic legions of Khorne suffer a singularly ignominious existence. They are wielded as enslaved weapons by their contemptuous masters, herded forward to soak up the spells and missiles of the foe. A Soul Grinder that falls in battle will see its debt to the forge increase exponentially, it slavery made all the more inescapable by the price of its repeated resurrection.
The daemon lords of Khorne's cohorts know this full well, and care not at all. To them, the faithless Soul Grinders deserve the eternity of slavery into which they have trapped themselves. In a mortal, this inescapable cycle of misery would lead to madness and despair. Instead, Khorne's imprisoned daemons simply become ever more furious, and fight all the harder to regain the respect of their comrades.
When summoned onto the battlefields of realspace this killing fury redoubles in its intensity, for the Soul Grinders are determined not to suffer the shame of banishment a second time. Ironically, these violent rampages lead the Daemonkin to worship Soul Grinders as virtual demigods. Yet the regard of mortals means less than nothing to these Daemons, and a Khornate Soul Grinder battling in realspace remains just as much a slave as those that fight within the Realm of Chaos.
Forgefiends and Maulerfiends
Hellfire and blackened ash billows from the power plants of Forgefiends and Maulerfiends as they prowl into battle, wreathing them in a brimstone reek. Hulking and bestial, these brazen war machines roar their fury to the skies as they advance, each deafening hunting cry sending enemies fleeing before them in abject terror.
Forgefiends are walking gun platforms designed to blast the enemy apart from afar. Carrying enough firepower to match the heaviest battle tanks, these warped constructs provide the Daemonkin with long-range support. They lumber into battle with ectoplasma seething through their cable-like veins, guns sweeping left and right as their daemonic sentiences scan for targets. At the first sign of the foe, the Forgefiends brace their clawed feet before laying down storms of fire, their sustained volleys shredding infantry and blowing apart battle tanks with ease.
Maulerfiends, meanwhile, are more akin to huge hunting beasts. Loping across the battlefield on piston-driven limbs, these snarling monsters possess a terrifying turn of speed. Able to smash their way into the heaviest bunker or scale sheer fortress walls, Maulerfiends run down their victims before tearing them to pieces. The ferocious, predatory instincts of these Daemon Engines are put to good use by the Daemonkin, who loose the beasts upon the enemy like gigantic, terrifying attack dogs.
Engines of Murder
Daemon Engines of Khorne are rampaging monsters of brass and forge-flame. Each contains a daemon of Khorne, caged with runic wards and arcane bindings. It is this furious entity that drives the machine, the daemon venting its anger at its captivity in explosive displays of violence. The vast majority of these abominations are constructed by the Warpsmiths, though reports abound amongst the Ordo Malleus of stranger phenomena -- of agglomerate engines birthed from the blood and wreckage of Chaos-cursed battlefields.
According to the malefic lore of the Warpsmiths, certain kinds of daemon are drawn more easily into particular models of Daemon Engine. Flesh Hounds or Juggernauts are most commonly trammelled within Forgefiends and Maulerfiends, for example, while only the vast frame of a Lord of Skulls can hope to contain the raging energies of a Bloodthirster.
Most daemons rage against imprisonment in a Daemon Engine, but there are those few that see their cage as the perfect weapon. This is most common amongst Bloodthirsters of the eighth rank, some of whom see the Lord of Skulls as a mighty suit of armour within which they may wage war upon the denizens of realspace.
Lord of Skulls
Grinding across the battlefield on rumbling tracks, the Lord of Skulls towers over its terrified foes. The very ground cracks apart in its wake, yawning chasms gaping wide to vomit skulls and fire onto the battlefield. Given life by the raging spirit of a Bloodthirster bound within its hull, and powered by the boiling blood of murderers, this unholy engine of war is death to all who stand before it.
Its devastating guns reduce swathes of victims to ruin, drowning them in jets of red-hot gore or burying them under rains of gnashing skulls. As it ploughs through the enemy ranks, the Daemon Engine wields its roaring cleaver with a speed and skill that is entirely horrifying in something so huge.
Entire ranks of enemy warriors are swept away with a single swing, tanks and monstrous beasts swatted through the air like toys. Even towering war engines such as Stompas or Titans are made to look clumsy and sluggish as the Lord of Skulls hacks off their limbs and tears open their armoured torsos amid blossoms of dirty flame. Few warriors can face the Lord of Skulls and live, for it is a machine of absolute destruction.
Being the brazen vessels of Bloodthirsters, many Lords of Skulls are worshipped by the Daemonkin, and followed into battle as living altars of Khornate worship. Their track guards will be heaped with skulls and runic fetishes, offerings made by the warriors who charge to war in their shadow.
Their every deed is met by howls of adulation from the blood-mad throng, the Daemonkin inspired to new heights of fanatical devotion by the Lord of Skulls' unstoppable rampage. Even manifested Daemons pay deference to these super-heavy Daemon Engines, for the Bloodletters and Juggernauts of Khorne recognise the essence of the Bloodthirster that rages within.
Artefacts of Slaughter
- The Blade of Endless Bloodshed - Even the slightest nick or cut from this weapon's blade causes grotesque sprays of gore to jet forth from the wound. In battle, the blade's wielder and his comrades are swiftly drenched in the gushing lifeblood of his horrified victims.
- The Blood-forged Armour - Legend tells that Khorne forged this armour himself, heating it in the fires of his fury and quenching it with the blood of murdered kings. Ever slick with runnels of gore, its plates are as hard and unyielding as the mountainous hull of a starship, and are able to withstand the mightiest of blows.
- The Brazen Rune - Khorne's hatred of witchery made manifest, the Brazen Rune is a burning brand that sears itself into the very skull of its bearer. Though agonising, the rune wards off the psychic machinations of the foe, preserving its bearer from pernicious spellcraft. Furthermore, the bearer can expend the rune's power, sending its energies roaring forth like a hurricane to shatter sorcerous incantations and burn out the minds of enemy psykers.
- Cloak of Skulls - Skulltaker's iron-hard cloak is adorned with the still-screaming skulls of his most prized opponents.
- Goredrinker - Revered by Khorne's warriors as much as it is feared by the Blood God's foes, this terrible weapon houses a powerful daemon that hungers for the life essence of its victims. The more the murderous axe feeds, the greater its potency, and once glutted upon its bloody feast, Goredrinker 's mere touch is death.
- Kor'lath, the Axe of Ruin - The essence of a mighty Bloodthirster rages within every axe of Khorne, the entities bound forcibly within the blades by leering daemonic smiths. Of all these imprisoned demigods it is Kor'lath of the Unfettered Fury, caged within the Axe of Ruin, who rails most violently against his imprisonment. Should this berserk entity ever break free, he will vent his murderous anger upon those unfortunates caught nearby, before plunging back into the Warp to seek revenge on those who caged him.
- The Skull-helm of Khorne - This ancient helm was carved from the skull of an unknown entity in an age long since forgotten. It is emblazoned with the rune of Khorne, and imbues its wearer with a shadow of Khorne's own terrible aspect and potency in combat.
- The Slayer Sword - Mortals and daemons beyond counting have fallen to this hungry blade, wreathed in psychic flames. This fell weapon is currently wielded by Skulltaker.
With the release of Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition, the Khorne Daemonkin are no longer a supported faction. Players who utilise Khorne Daemonkin will have to mix their Khorne faction units with either Chaos Daemon or Chaos Space Marine armies until some form of official support is restored for the faction as a whole.
- Codex: Khorne Daemonkin (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Khorne," "Path to Glory," "Khorne's Infernal Legions," "The Scriptures of Slaughter," "The Bloodsworn Hordes," "The Wrath," "The Brazen Beasts," "The Harvest," "The Eightscarred," "The Bloodgorged," "Slaughter Without End", "Forces of the Khorne Daemonkin," "Artefacts of Slaughter"