Daemons are entities of the Warp, and servants of the Gods of Chaos. They are created at the whim of a Chaos god from a fraction of the god’s own power and act as an extension of their will. A daemon’s appearance and character reflect the god’s own nature. These daemons may be reabsorbed into the god at whim.
Daemons in realspace
Being an entity of the Warp (a dimension of the immaterial) a daemon cannot exist for long periods of time in realspace, any more than a mortal can survive unprotected in warp space. There are a few ways a daemon can breach the walls separating warp from real space and gain entry into the mortal universe. Deamons can be fought in a physical sense whilst in realspace but are rarely killed, more frequently they are banished back into the warp to fester and brood until their next chance into realspace presents itself.
Instead of being summoned into real space, a daemon may enter the mind of a mortal (the mind of a psyker is the most susceptible to this), and turn the individual to its will and, through its host, affect reality. Some heretics offer themselves as hosts through daemonic pacts such as the Possessed Chaos Space Marines.6
In order to enter real space in greater numbers Daemons need to use Warp rifts. These are breaches in the fabric of reality that can vary in nature and size. At times a Daemon can possess a mortal and turn him into a portal through which whole hosts can pass. These daemonic incursions can taint real space severely, often twisting and reshaping whole planets until they are lost and turned into Daemon Worlds.10 It is not surprising that the Imperium’s Daemonhunters are granted unlimited resources to deal with such threats.6
Types of daemon
A Daemon of Slaanesh by Adrian Smith.11
The followers of Chaos try to gain the attention of their gods in order to gain terrible power and great rewards. Those striving in the way of their god are known as Chaos Champions, whose ultimate, driving goal is to transcend mortality by becoming a Daemon Prince.4, 9 Those who become Daemon Princes are counted among the most powerful creatures of Chaos, second only to the Chaos Gods themselves. However this path can as easily lead to another extreme. Throughout the path to power the Champion undergoes constant change, until either the god judges him worthy of Daemonic ascension or his form finally is overcome by the accumulated mutations and he descends into a mindless Chaos Spawn.9,10
Greater Daemons are the most powerful of the Chaos Gods servants. They act as wardens of their patron’s realm and have authority over the lesser Daemons of their respective God. It is often they who lead Daemonic Incursions.1 9 10
Such is their might that they cannot simply be summoned like Lesser Daemons. A greater Daemon needs to possess a living body in order to manifest itself.3, 4 5
Greater Daemon of Khorne: Bloodthirster Greater Daemon of Nurgle: Great Unclean One Greater Daemon of Slaanesh: Keeper of Secrets Greater Daemon of Tzeentch: Lord of Change
They are the foot soldiers of Chaos, building the core of the Daemonic Legions. They are usually anthropomorphic in appearance and possess a calculating, malevolent intellect.4 Among the Daemons of Chaos they are ones most likely to answer the call of mortal heretics.6
Lesser Daemon of Khorne: Bloodletter Lesser Daemons of Nurgle: Plaguebearer, Nurgling Lesser Daemon of Slaanesh: Daemonette Lesser Daemons of Tzeentch: Pink and Blue Horror, Flamer
These more primal entities are lowest type and least intelligent of Daemons. They are often granted to other Daemons and occasionally, one of the Gods more powerful mortal followers. Daemonic Creatures can be further divided into Daemonic Beasts and Daemonic Steeds.1
Daemonic Beasts are driven by a feral intellect and commonly used as hunting beasts by Chaos forces.1 4
Beast of Khorne: Flesh Hound Beast of Nurgle: Beast of Nurgle Beast of Slaanesh: Fiend Beast of Tzeentch: Screamer
Daemonic Steeds are prized mounts for more experienced Champions of Chaos. Earning one of these creatures can be as dangerous as facing them in battle.
Steed of Khorne: Juggernaut Steed of Slaanesh: Mount of Slaanesh Steed of Tzeentch: Disc of Tzeentch
Apart from the four major powers that form the Pantheon of Chaos, there are numerous minor spirits in the Warp who are chaotic in nature too. The Gods tend to have less direct control over them.4
Fury, Daemonic Beast of Chaos Undivided Soul Grinder, former Daemon of the Chaos Pantheon. Dedicated to the Forge of Souls.