- "With a mighty shout he rose, brighter than the sun and more fierce. In his hand he held a rod of twisted bone, crossed and double-crossed to form the sign of his dark lord, a symbol of his power and fruit of mortal longings well-fulfilled. He rose above the company, far taller than they, and looked with black pride upon these, his frightened slaves. He snarled and heard the sound of noble hatred echoing from the skies. He stared the savage stare of immortal fury and death was in his gaze. And on that blasted hearth his ashen servants burned, cowed by fear and awe alike to see their lord transfigured into that most mighty of creatures which mortals call a Daemon Prince."
- —Liber Malefic.[2a]
Daemon Princes are amongst the greatest and most powerful servants of Chaos.
These beings are those who follow Chaos with a deep and fervent faith, pledging themselves body and soul to the service of the Dark Powers. They know that there is a great prize for those who show unflinching devotion. Should a champion survive the endless battles and the ravaging mutations granted by their masters whilst still finding favour in the eyes of his fickle gods, he may attain the ultimate reward. The patron of the champion will elevate him to his side as a Daemon Prince, a being of godlike power, forever bound to darkness.[1a]
Despite the fact that they were not born as Daemons, those Chaos Champions that attain the status of Daemon Prince gain immortality and become the enemy of all that is true and natural in the world. All who set foot upon the path of Chaos eventually seek this apotheosis, the glorious moment of metamorphosis where they shrug off their mortal shell and become a being of undying darkness. But for every Champion who raises his horned head and roars his triumph to the skies as a newborn Daemon Prince, untold thousands perish on the field of battle or end their lives as mewling Chaos Spawn.[1a]
At the point of a Chaos Champion's transformation, bat-like wings or mighty feathered pinions will sprout from his back, bearing him aloft that he might rule the skies as well as the earth. Other Daemon Princes might soar on crackling pillars of flame, arms outstretched as they cry praise to their blasphemous gods. Some are granted an ethereal beauty or hellish foulness that can freeze a man in place as the Daemon Prince descends from the skies to feed. There are even those with the ability to reshape reality itself, as skilled at manipulating the Winds of Magic as the most puissant of Sorcerers.[1a]
Daemon Princes are vast in stature, their gigantic forms twisted into new shapes more pleasing to their masters. They wield unholy weapons and abilities, and are bedecked in chains and jewellery covered with the symbols of their patron. The variations between these masters of misrule are legion. Nonetheless, it is common for these Princes of Chaos to retain their intellect and their memory, the better to recall the humanity they left behind. Some Daemon Princes enter the Realm of Chaos to serve their gods on other worlds and dimensions, but most serve as commanders of the mortal armies of Chaos, waging eternal war in their patron's name. Tirelessly they hunt the enemies of their masters, for their meat is human flesh and their wine mortal souls.[1a]
Ultimately all Chaos Champions walk a path to glory, hoping to earn the eye of their chosen patron and be found worthy of transformation into a Daemon Prince. These are large and powerful Daemons, second only to the mighty Greater Daemons. In order to please Khorne a mortal has to become a killer of men, slaying his foes without compunction or pause and hunting down magic users in particular. If a mortal is found worthy in the eyes of Khorne he undergoes a transformation. The recipient of daemonhood grows in size, becoming a hulking creature over ten feet tall and bulging with slabs of iron hard muscle. He sprouts a tail and horns and fearsome claws. Those gifts of Chaos and mutations he earned in life remain, only scaled up to suit his new size.[6a]
Princes of Khorne
The Daemon Princes of Khorne are far from uniform, for each represents the personalities and trademarks of the champions they were in life, but there are some factors they hold in common. Many of them have large leathery wings like those of a Bloodthirster, scaled skins the colour of blood, heads of massive hunting hounds.[6a] Many Daemon Princes bear arcane weapons or suits of magical armour. Because Khorne is the patron of warriors, his daemonic servants are even more likely to bear such wargear than those Daemon Princes of other gods. Like all of Khorne’s servants his Daemon Princes never use magic, and may well wear items that ward them from spells such as Brass Collars.[6b]
Princes of Nurgle
Mortal Chaos Champions who excel in service to Nurgle, bringing plague and ruin to the civilised lands, are sometimes rewarded by their patron. The unlucky perish from their diseases, or are bequeathed so many mutations that they devolve into mindless Chaos Spawn. A favoured few are brought before Nurgle himself, and if they survive the terrors of his foul garden, he raises them to daemonhood. Their body enlarges. Horns, talons, a tail, and sometimes wings sprout from their changing form. All manner of contagion erupts over their new body, yet they treasure each festering cyst and scabrous blister. Nurgle grants them a daemonic blade that can split flesh with a mere touch.[4a]
Daemon Princes of Nurgle often remain at their master’s fortress as his devout servants yet sometimes return to their old tribe in the Chaos Wastes. They lead their former companions into battle, feared and revered as a veritable god, yet in reality they are nothing but the slaves of the Plague Lord, doomed to serve his every whim.[4a]
Princes of Slaanesh
Tales from the Liber Malefic tell how once-great warriors, consumed by their desires and temptations, have literally transformed in front of others. At the moment of final, amazing alteration, skin falls from muscle, bone reshapes, wings and horns sprout, and all manner of foul appendages surface, basking in the glory of their fell master. Often three times or greater in size than their former stature, these creatures rightly inspire thoughts of absolute terror. Once in such a state, these favoured champions also shrug off their mortality, destined to serve their god for eternity. They gain an intense thirst for souls and rampage through the mortal and daemonic realms, hunting their master’s enemies.[3a]
As perverse as any other follower of Slaanesh, these Daemon Princes are twisted into a form more pleasing to their master. While sharing common traits such as wings, a powerful tail, and razor sharp talons, Slaanesh’s Daemon Princes are lither and far more graceful in their actions than Daemon Princes that serve the other Ruinous Powers. They may even wear fine robes or armour in a vile mockery of their original form. Their armour is often imbued with disgusting runes, and their potent weaponry is ancient and magical in nature, able to carve through flesh with the greatest ease. Even more so than such creatures of the other Ruinous Powers, a Slaaneshi Daemon Prince will be at the forefront of its army, whipping the troops into the lust of battle, caressing their senses with its words, and tearing through flesh with masterful strikes.[3a]
Princes of Tzeentch
The ambition of every mortal worshipper of Tzeentch is to achieve ultimate power and be elevated to the rank of Daemon Prince. However, only the most treacherous, deceitful, manipulative, and dedicated of Tzeentch’s servants will ever achieve this glory. When a mortal is transformed into a Daemon Prince, he grows immeasurably in size, and sprouts a long, snaking tail of sinewy flesh. His hands and feet become fearsome talons, and large horns erupt from his distended skull.[5a]
However, these distinguishing features are the only similarities that Daemon Princes share, as their personalities, traits and even the mutations they received in their former life can dictate the outcome of their transformation, and they are infinitely varied in shape and hue. These Daemon Princes are powerful spellcasters, many of them having been sorcerers or powerful lords of Tzeentch before their daemonic rebirth. They often have enormous, feathery wings in a similar style to the Lords of Change. A Daemon Prince is so large and powerful that it can kill a man with but a casual swat of its murderous talons, but most of them carry an ornate blade or a lavishly decorated staff, the better to slay their victims.[5a]
Daemon Princes of Tzeentch are second only to the Lords of Change in power and prestige, but retain much of their individuality, and are not merely extensions of their master’s will in the same way as the other Daemons of Tzeentch. The fact that they were once mortal themselves allows the Daemon Princes a far greater understanding of those that serve them, and they ruthlessly use this knowledge to corrupt and manipulate their pawns to achieve their goals. Existing as they do in both the physical and magical realms, they can perceive the various strands of fate with a skill that not even the most favoured of Tzeentch’s mortal vassals can rival.[5a]
Notable Daemon Princes
- Aggramon (Slaanesh) - Keeper of Dorghar, Steed of the Apocalypse
- Azazel (Slaanesh).
- Be'lakor (Undivided) - The first Daemon Prince.
- Kz'ar'aka (Khorne) - Harbinger of Sorrows and Chosen of the Blood God.
- Kastragar (Khorne)
- Knut the Bloody (Khorne).
- Ghur'urgh Bu'yuel (Nurgle) - Also known as Bubonicus.
- Slaa'Ulaan (Slaanesh) - Known to the Lizardmen as "The Nether-thing of the Second Moon." Defeated at Xuhua Lake.
- Surthrond (Khorne) - Purported half-giant half-dragon, patron of the Dragon Fleet of Valbrand Fireblade.
- Thorgar the Blooded One (Khorne)
- Tzy'y chy ikch (Tzeentch) - Also known as Flamefist.
- Valkia the Bloody (Khorne) - Daemon Princess.
- Vhar'keth (Khorne) - An ancient Daemon Prince from before the time of Sigmar.
- U'zhul the Skulltaker (Khorne) - A legendary prince of Khorne who takes the form of a hulking Bloodletter.
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Warriors of Chaos (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 30
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Warriors of Chaos (7th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 53
- 3: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED: The Book of Pleasure
- 3a: pg. 14
- 4: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED: The Book of Plague
- 4a: pg. 24
- 5: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED: The Book of Change
- 5a: pg. 24
- 6: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED: The Book of Blood
- 7: Warhammer Armies: Core (6th Edition)
- 7a: pg. 103
- 8: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED: Tome of Corruption
- 9: Warhammer: Age of Reckoning (Video Game)
- 10: Knight of the Realm (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds