- "The Champion of Chaos, once wholly given to their Chaos Powers, will find one of three fates. Most find an ignoble death, joining the countless others in the final shuddering tearful moments as their bodies die. Others become Spawn, too far twisted by Chaos’ energies to retain their intelligence. But the prize, the fate all seek, is Daemonhood."
- —Silus Helbrecht, Witch Hunter.[3a]
Exalted Heroes, or Chaos Champions as they are commonly called, are paragons of deadly ability and lethal intent. Some ascend to command entire nations, some pursue the esoteric paths of the arcane, but the majority dedicate themselves to little more than the brutal butchery of all who stand in their path.
The history of many Exalted Heroes, recorded in scattered chronicles by the free people of the Old World, is a catalogue of woes and evil deeds. Their infamy shines bright as they capture the notice of the Dark Gods of Chaos with ever greater feats of slaughter.[1a]
An Exalted Hero striding to war in full battle armour is a sight that strikes fear into the hearts of all Man. A single Exalted Hero is the equal of a score of lesser men upon the battlefield. As with all those that dedicate themselves to Chaos, an Exalted Hero has been blessed by many gifts that grant him the means to bring about destruction in his wake.[2a]
Exalted Heroes frequently seek out others of their kind to engage in ritual combat. When two of these Champions of Chaos clash, they duel to the death in the manner of gladiators, using the full force of every weapon at their disposal. When a victor emerges, bloodied but triumphant, he will cut a grisly trophy from his foe, claiming both his vanquished enemy’s weapons and followers as his own. If the triumphant champion has truly excelled, he may even succeed in attracting the attention of the Dark Gods and, in doing so, receive a more permanent reward for his deeds in the form of a mutation or daemonic gift. With each victory, the Exalted Hero grows ever closer to becoming a Chaos Lord, with whole armies to command and daemonhood within his reach.[1a]
Marks of Chaos
Some Chaos Champions choose to pledge themselves to a single Chaos God. Forgoing the dilute blessings of all four, they instead receive a single, mighty gift in exchange. Those Champions who earn the favour of one particular god are marked by them. The appearances and powers of these mortals are shaped according to their deity's persona, the signs and stigmata of patronage proclaiming a warning to the other Dark Gods that this soul has already been claimed...
- Champion of Nurgle - Disease and death are sacred to Nurgle and the Champion of Nurgle embodies all of these. These warriors are swollen and bloated, often little more than moving sacks of pus and infectious diseases. Whilst slow their bodies have been dulled to pain and as such can endure immense amounts of damage before they die. Many can even regenerate their wounds.
- Champion of Khorne - The most bloodthirsty and savage fighters of chaos, Champions of Khorne lust after the spilling of blood and the roar of battle to satisfy the desires of the Blood God. They are often blessed with strength and bloodlust beyond any normal human and are masters of brutal melee combat.
- Champion of Slaanesh - The senses of Slaaneshi Champions are often greatly increased and their minds are so fast to react that they fight in a blur which many enemies struggle to even see, let alone defend against. Slaaneshi Champions are often the greatest among swordsmen in the Old World.
- Champion of Tzeentch - Highly powerful sorcerer-warriors. The power Tzeentch grants his Champions allows them to become true masters of magic, which mixed with their skill in combat, makes them truly powerful foes. They are not to be confused with Tzeentchian Sorcerer Lords, who are purely wizards.