40K: Reworking the Chaos Lords

  • Posted by
  • at
This image displays the chaosstar, which is a symbil for anti-cosmos or simply chaos

As part of the general community effort to update Chaos Marines, here are redone CSM bigshots befitting mortal princes of the Ruinous Powers.


Across  gaming  forums and  hobby clubs, the relatively weak treatment  some  factions  have been getting from Games Workshop  has  manifested  in a veritable wave of  house rules, fan-made codexes and  such. I’ve seen more alternate rules for Orks, Dark Eldar and Chaos Marines in the  last  month than I have  in the  previous 3  years  put together (For some reason, I don’t see as many Tyranid projects…). Except this time, I decided to go for  it  myself, together with a small group of hobby veterans. Some have  played CSM for ages, others  play other factions but  like the challenge  of designing/fixing  a faction. The  part that landed on my lap was special Characters, Marks and Psychic Powers.

Before we get to profiles, let’s talk a bit  about the why’s and how’s  of the changes. I tried to incorporate elements from the Black Library books, some 30k rules and ideas, and most  importantly, bring the general baseline to that of loyalist Chapter Masters instead of Captains. These guys  have been leading thousands  of Astartes and allied forces for longer than we have  had written language, in the  most  dog-eat-dog, dangerous  environment  imaginable. It stands to reason they’d be on par with a 400-year-old Chapter  Master, at the very least. I  also tried to give  most  of them  a few drawbacks,  but  ones that add  nuance  instead  of just  jinxing  them for no reason (Hello, Obliterators). I also lowered the Leadership of some of them to a 9 because let’s face  it, not all of them are meant to be inspiring leaders; their role  is to crush the  opposition.

Gearing up these guys  is also tricky if you want to make sense. I mean, you’re telling me that Huron Blackheart, after hundreds  of  years  as the top dog  of a sector-wide empire, with thousands  of traitor  marines, terminators, Dark Mechanicum tech, sorcerers and warpsmiths at his  beck and call, never  managed to find anything better than bog-standard power armor? Or loot a relic axe from enemies (Hell, he sacked an Astartes  homeworld fortress not that  long ago!)?  But  if you  keep thinking  that way, you end up with everyone wearing terminator/artificer  plate and with master-crafted everything, and that’s boring.  I buffed stuff  here and there, but  in the end the concern was  playability and  point cost, not  common sense. And given the amount  of  Strength D and AP 2 stuff at initiative  in the new meta, worrying too much about armor saves  might be a  moot  point.

So without further ado, let’s have the  stats. Read them, test them, change them, ignore them, use them. It was fun to write.

ABADDON The Despoiler (280)



“The real war. The Long War. Not a  petty rebellion swallowed by Horus’ pride and his hunger for the Terran Throne. A war for the future  of mankind. Horus would have sold the species to the Pantheon for a chance to sit  on the Golden Throne for a single  heartbeat. We cannot allow ourselves to be  used the way he was. The Powers exist and we cannot  pretend otherwise, but nor can we allow a sacred duty to devolve into weakness, as Horus did.”

-Talon of Horus, Aaron Dembsky-Bowden

WS 7
BS 5
S 4
I 6
A 4
W 4
LD 10
Sv 2+/3++

Wargear: Cataphracti Terminator Armor, Mark of Chaos Ascendant, Talon of Horus, Frag Grenades, Drach’nyen

Special Rules: Fearless, Champion of Chaos, Eternal Warrior, Veteran of the Long War.

Mark of Chaos Ascendant: Abaddon counts as possessing all marks of  chaos.

Warmaster of the Long War: Ezekyle Abbadon is a veteran of ten millenia  of  total war to spread the  stain of Chaos across the galaxy. He must always be Warlord  of your army if included. At the start  of each game, before deployment, D3 non-vehicle units can gain one of the following traits: Favored Enemy (Any), Stealth, Tank Hunter. No trait can be given to more than one unit. If Abbadon is removed from play, the traits are  lost. In addition, whenever Abaddon is removed from play, the opposing player receives an extra VP.

Victory at All Costs: Once  per game, at the start  of his Movement Phase, the  player can choose any one  unit to receive the Objective Secured  USR. This  lasts until the end of the turn.

Chtonian Blade Style: Abaddon is able to split his natural attacks (those granted by his  Attacks stat) between  both of his weapons, but loses the +1 attack granted by dual weapons when doing so. The  player  must declare how  many attacks are being made with each weapon before the dice are rolled.

Talon of Horus

Combi-Bolter: Range 24‘, S5, AP4. Rapid Fire, Twin-linked.
Talon: S+1, AP3; Shred, Armorbane, -1WS and S if target suffer  unsaved wounds, stacks for each wound. Grants Hatred to Blood Angel units engaged in CC.

Sx2, AP 2; Daemon Weapon, Reality Piercer (can spend the extra attacks from Daemon Weapon to  reduce enemy  Invulnerable saves; each 2 attack reduces saves by 1 for that fight Sub-phase).

Commentary: Abby is  hard to work with. You  need something that will give  pause to the biggest  heavyweights  in the setting, but still need a bit  of planning to use. I added some tactical boons to let him help the army and represent both his  Justaerin tactics and focus  on  winning  over serving the gods. At the same time, tried to represent what a warchief who has spent millenia on the frontlines taking on enemy heroes and collecting artifacts would be like. Balancing out  both the Talon and  Drach’nyen is really tricky: make one too strong, and there’s no reason to use the  other.  Make both weak to work together, and they end up being worse that basic crap any Lord or Captain totes around.  So I chose to make the Talon  more reliable anti-vehicle and a debuff for  larger enemies, and the sword a strong weapon that can possibly break any defense.

KHARN the Betrayer (210)


“OUR TURN!!!” – Kharn at the Battle of Armatura (Betrayer, Aaron Demski-Bowden)

WS 7
BS 5
S 5
T 4
I 5
A 5
W 4
Ld 9
SV 2+/5++

Wargear: Artificer Armor, Aura  of Dark Glory, Frag Grenades, Master-crafted plasma pistol, Gorechild.

Special Rules: Mark of Khorne, Fearless, Furious Charge, Champion of Chaos, Veteran of the Long War.

The Butcher’s Nails: Kharn gain +d3 attacks and Initiative  in any turn in which he charges. In addition, whenever an enemy  unit disengages and flees from his after losing a combat, his unit always gains +d3 to the die roll for Sweeping Advances.

Blessing of Khorne: When resisting  enemy Psychic  powers, Kharn and his  unit  deny enemy  WCs  on 2+. He also has a 2+ save against force weapons and they lose the instant death rule against him. However, all beneficial powers  used  on him and his  unit require an additional Warp Charge to take effect.

Betrayer: Kharn will hit close combat enemies on a roll of 2+, regardless of WS. Rolls of 1 are inflicted upon his current unit, allocated toward the closest  model.

Gorechild: S+1, AP 2; Armorbane, Fell Strike (To-hit rolls of 6 count the enemy’s Toughness as being one less for the purpose of determining  Instant Death).

Commentary: Kharn is hard to balance. Ideally, he should be someone able to demolish anyone and anything, but not be really much more resilient than any other T4, non-EW HQ.  I focused on his aggression and volume/lethality  of attacks, made them faster on the charge to encourage tossing him at things, and gave him a 2+ to let him actually reach combat (wrestled with giving  back Eternal Warrior instead, but decided against it), especially if you walk him. Added a drawback to his psychic resistance because it’s fluffy and could result in some laughs, especially  if you Perils trying to cast Endurance on his unit (which you should).



“The warp is limitless in power and its secrets are infinite; it is knowledge and strength, life and death, and the untapped potential to make and remake worlds. It takes only the discipline and the will to shape it; those who lack that clarity of purpose are liable to be shaped by it instead.”

WS 5
BS 5
S 4
T 4
I 5
A 3
W 3
Sv 3+/4++

Wargear: Bolt pistol with Inferno Bolts, Power Armor, Aura  of Dark Glory, Mark of Tzeentch, Black Staff of Ahriman, Spell Familiar.

Special Rules: Fearless, Veteran of the Long War, Adamantium Will.

Psyker: Mastery  Level 4. Can select powers from Biomancy, Pyromancy, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Tzeentch, Divination, Daemonology.

Master of the Corvidae: Ahriman can re-roll results whenever selecting powers on the Divination Discipline.

Peerless Sorcerer: In addition to his usual Disciplines, Ahriman can make  one roll for a Psychic  Power on a discipline table  available to another army  in  play, friend or foe. He generates Warp Charges on a 3+ until the first time he fails at casting a  power (or  it  is denied), when it reverts  back to 4+.

Black Staff of Ahriman: S+2, AP 4; Force, Aetheric  Focus (allows the  user use  one  of the following abilities  in his  Psychic Phase: use the same witchfire  power twice in the same turn; extend a single ranged power’s range by 6  inches; Increase its Strength by 1; Reduce  its AP by 1.

Commentary: Bumped some stuff to make him more  of a  psyker  powerhouse and channeling  more easily, as well as add more flexibility and  punch to his powers, so it’s not like any old Smite anyone can cast. Thought  it would be fun to let him have limited access to enemy Disciplines  just to drive home his eternal search for  occult  lore and how much he has accumulated so far. Removed Champion of Chaos because  it’s a dumb rule, particularly  for  wily, brilliant manipulators who are not even going  out  of their way to please the Dark Gods  in the first  place.


LUCIUS the Eternal (205)


Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it’s lonely here,
there’s no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
Over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that’s an order!

Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St Paul
I’ve seen the future, brother:
it is murder.  

– The Future, Leonard Cohen

WS 8
BS 5
S 4
T 4
I 7
A 4
W 4
Ld 9

Sv 3+/5++

Wargear: Frag&Krak grenades, Pomp&Circumstance, Doom Siren, Armor  of Shrieking Souls, Aura  of Dark Glory, Mark of Slaanesh.

Special Rules: Fearless, Veteran of the Long War, Champion of Chaos, Fleet.

Flash of the Blade: Enemies in combat with Lucius that also have a lower Initiative than him  suffer a penalty  of D3 to their WS.

Unbreakable Parry: While fighting in a challenge, Lucius can re-roll any failed saving throws.

Soulthief: If an enemy Character kills Lucius, he  must  roll a d6 and  add his Leadership to the result, against a similar roll by Lucius’  player. Should Lucius  win, the model that killed him will be under your control for the next Assault  phase. If the model  attached to a unit when this takes effect, he counts as  having charged that unit.

Pomp & Circumstance (Blade of Laer and Whip combo)
S as user, AP 3; Shred, Master-crafted, counts as an extra CC weapon, -1 Attack to enemies  in base contact.

Armor of Shrieking Souls: The vile melange of chemicals this armor injects into Lucius’ bloodstream hones his reflexes to surreal levels. Enemies who roll 1’s in close-combat with Lucius can never re-roll them by any means. Lucius gets to make one additional attack against anyone rolling a 1 after all attacks  have been resolved (Initiative step 0), and these are resolved as AP2 as he exploits gaps in defenses from their mishaps.

Commentary: This  one was  hard. Making  just another combat beast  with AP2 at  initiative is easy, so I went for  resilience, debuffing enemies and  hijinks  instead. He’s supposed to be someone who will tear through lesser  foes, but also dangerous to send your heavy hitters after. Flash of the Blade  is  meant to actually have someone hit someone  on a 5+ in melee for a change.

TYPHUS the Traveler(255)


Look upon me and know that I can slay you at will.”

-Typhus the Traveler

WS 7
BS 5
S 4
T 5
I 4
A 4
W 5
Sv 2+/4++

Wargear: Terminator Armor, Manreaper, Plague Grenades, Sigil of Corruption.

Special Rules: Fearless, Feel No Pain (5+), Champion of Chaos, Veteran of the Long War.

Destroyer Hive: Once per game, place the Large Blast Marker on top of Typhus in any Phase you choose, even on your  opponent’s turn. All models that are not Daemons of Nurgle  or  Marked by Nurgle under the template suffer a single attack with the following characteristics: S4, AP 2, Haywire.

Plague of Undeath: Chaos Cultists in a force with Typhus becomes Plague Zombies. They lose all ranged attacks, gain the Feel No Pain, Poisoned (4+) Fearless and Slow and Purposeful USRs. In addition, whenever they cause an enemy casualty, roll a d6 for each slain model at the end  of the turn. On a 5+, another Plague Zombie joins the unit.

Psyker: Mastery Level 2. Can select  powers from the Nurgle and Daemonology disciplines. All successful channeled powers of the Nurgle discipline count as having one extra Warp Charge for the  purpose of being Denied.

S+1, AP 2; Force, Fleshbane, Unwieldy.

Commentary: Typhus  is not difficult to work with, as his role  is very well-defined. Focused his  talents a bit toward  plague and undeath, and  gave  him a wound to make him more of a brick wall, but  otherwise not  much change. Since  he’s getting an extra attack, I changed Manreaper from a Daemon Weapon to wounding  on a 2+, favoring quality  over quantity in this case. I wanted to let him generate  Warp Charges on a 3+ to summon Nurgle Daemons (Really, all marked sorcerers should have such a bonus), but  too many rules  makes for a clunky HQ.

HURON (195)


“The Strong are strongest alone.”

-Huron Blackheart, at the Skull Harvest.

WS 6
BS 5
S 4
T 5
I 5
A 4
W 4
Ld 10
Sv 3+/4++

Wargear: Power Armor, Sigil of Corruption, The Tyrant’s Claw, Frag Grenades, Master-Crafted Power  axe.

Special Rules: Fearless, Feel No Pain (6+), Champion of Chaos, Veteran of the Long War.

Extensive Bionics: Over  half  of Huron’s body has  been reconstructed with extensive augmetics. It increases his Toughness  by 1 (already included  in his  profile), grants him the Feel No Pain rule (6+), and the Slow and Purposeful USR.

Piratical Opportunism: Any Chaos Marine unit that arrives via Deep Strike or Outflanking can re-roll its scatter dice (for Deep Strike) or  the dice roll to determine which side they enter from. Once  per game, you can  add or subtract 2 from a single reserve roll. This can  be  used after the die  is rolled.

The Hamadrya: On his turn, Huron can use the Hamadrya to cast a randomly determined  power from the Divination or Telepathy Disciplines, counting as a ML 1  psyker for that  purpose. If  he  chooses not to, he gains 4 extra dice for his  army’s  dice  pool for Deny the Witch attempts  the following enemy turn.

The Tyrant’s Claw
S+2, AP3, Master-Crafted, Shred, Armourbane, Heavy Flamer.

Commentary: There’s  just so much fun stuff you can do with Huron, and I don’t even like pirates that  much. I went for ambushes and focusing  on his mangled, reborn malevolence. And  if  Ortan Cassius can boast T6 for some implants, someone who is over half machine earns a T5 in  my book.

~What do you think – are these reworked characters worthy of leading the Chaos Marines?

  • Евгения Ремезова

    God, stop, please? We all know that Failbaddon should be both Armless and Harmless. Be respectful towards traditions.

    • Karru

      Yeah, where is the rule where Chaos player loses automatically on the last turn due to plot when fielding the mighty Failbaddon?

      • Darth Bumbles

        Any army lead by Abaddon must role a D6 at the start of each turn.
        Should the result be 1 then they automatically lose because Abaddon made some stupid mistake.

        • Alpharius

          I can’t hate on Abaddon after Talon of Horus, in many ways he’s smarter than Horus. Andrew turns everything he touches into gold.

  • Alpharius

    Some interesting ideas, except the Lucius thing doesn’t really mesh with the background. He takes over for one round and then reverts to normal? I would just say the model that kills Lucius counts as destroyed at the end of the game and you get a VP for giving Lucius a thrill.

    • John Pfeiffer

      if it that model dies lucis going into reserve lol

  • Spacefrisian

    Where is our favorit character Fabius, or is he left out fot a new article?

  • Christie Bryden

    like what you do with arhiman, but I feel he (and all tzentch) should have some form of protection to perels of the warp.

    • Sylvester Holmes

      The warp is fickle and a cruel mistress.

      • Shiwan8

        Yes. It kept them alive 10000 years just to kill them for trying to be spooky and scare the enemy.

  • tinythebig

    How about adding the extra characters from the BL books from other legions? I want Forrix, first captain of the Iron Warriors!

    • 6Cobra

      Forrix isn’t in the list of home-brew character rules? So make some for him!

    • clint73

      Forrix died in storm of iron. Killed by a warhound titan.

  • Agent OfBolas

    Only Huron can see some gameplay, the other guys are …well … top dust collectors on my shelf. Basically as whole CSMs.

  • Karru

    I have yet to reach this part in my own version of the Chaos book, but I’ll be taking some ideas from here. Here are my thoughts on the matter. I approach most of these from fluff perspective so take that into consideration.


    Warmaster of the Long War, how exactly does this make sense? He having to be the warlord, yes. Gaining special rules for D3 units that are lost if he dies, no. Why would these “veterans” suddenly forget who to hide or where to aim after their leader falls? I can see why you wouldn’t include the warlord traits thingy on him, but this is where comes the part where you fix the useless chaos traits.

    Victory at All Costs: Should be non-vehicle as making your land raider ob. sec. on the last turn and just planting it on the crucial objective doesn’t really sound balanced.

    Giving him Eternal Warrior but 3+ save would be okay in my book. Considering that he is the favoured greatly by Khorne this would make sense, he also has hard time accepting the whole dying concept. The blessing of Khorne should make it so he and his unit cannot be targeted by friendly Psychic Powers or they are also affected by the 2+. Again, this makes him more balanced.


    You give Kharn 2+ armour save but the guy that travels the universe searching for artefacts and scrolls in the search of the black library and is amongst the favourite playthings of tzeentch, gets 3+?

    Master of the Corvidae, understandable, but this mostly means he buffs his own unit. Should be along the lines of Storm of Fire from the Space Marine codex or help with reserves. Yes, this would make him more like Tigurius, but re-rolling powers from a single discipline makes him less flexible.

    Peerless Sorcerer, okay Imma gonna stop you here. Really? I mean really? Casting your opponents psychic powers? In what reality is this considered balanced? No. Just no.

    Black Staff of Ahriman, I personally don’t see the problem with the original one, maybe make it so he can cast same psychic power multiple times? Increasing strength, range and all that makes it a bit unbalanced.

    Lucius the Eternal

    Now we are going into the silly territory. From what I understood about the lore behind “Soulthief”, the process is slow and doesn’t take control of the model, in other words no. This rule is just dumb as hell on him. He is supposed to be the master duellist, not Lucas the Trickster with his suicidal charges.

    I also see that you nerfed his ability to duel a bit by taking away his Duellist’s Pride. The point behind Lucius was always to seek the biggest and baddest enemy character in field and just duel them to death. Making him rely on enemy throwing 1’s is, while understandable, still makes it way too easy to kill him.


    Destroyer Hive, why is it haywire? I want this to be explained to me from lore perspective. From what I understand, Destroyer Hive contains diseases that are lethal to anything that that the bugs carrying it reaches. It doesn’t damage vehicles, at least not fast enough to matter.

    His psychic prowess doesn’t really need the extra buff, IMO.


    I think you made him a bit too powerful for his point cost. 190pts for a guy that has T5 and 4 wounds, with S6 Armourbane attacks feels a bit too much.

    The Hamadrya is just no. There is nothing wrong with the old rules, he doesn’t need to have the best disciplines to choose from to be useful. He is supposed to be extra thing for Huron. Also there is the slight problem with the +4 dice thing. How is this guy this powerful??

    There were some good ideas, but mostly it was just getting insane. Compared to other named characters that exist in other books these were just going all over the place.

    • 6Cobra

      Ahriman shouldn’t be balanced, frankly. He’s supposed to make all other mortal psychics look like chumps. He should be the single most powerful psyker in the game, bar none including Eldar. Just increase his point cost appropriately. *However* based on the novels about him, he should be the one to have some kind of “Foiled Again” rule where he loses VPs at the end of the game or something because Tzeentch or Magnus or somebody interfered to stop him from achieving his goal.

      I think you’re right about Lucius.. sort of. He’s not supposed to be a troop mulcher, he’s a character dueler. Even just adding rending to his rules depicted here would help. I’d also have it so if he dies in a challenge, Lucius’ player gets a VP, or something that makes enemy CC monsters hesitate to take him on especially if they will probably win.

      • Darth Bumbles

        “My failure occurs, just as I planned”: Ahriman’s defeat was only part of a wider strategy. Both sides get a VP.

    • Brettila

      I have played CSM for the past 21 years, and they have never sucked so bad as now. While I might not agree with everything here, you seem to think they should stay as is. CSM’s blow compared to guys like Calgar or Tigurius. Heck, standard non-named characters blow through anything we can muster. Our characters have pitifully few options and make no sense. For instance, no generic demon weapons, AP2 or a Nurgle lord not being able to get Feel No Pain. The stupid list is endless.

      • Karru

        This is something that I’ve been trying to work on in my codex. Chaos Lords are supposed to be terrifying forces of evil, not something that IG Sergeant with a power axe can just kill like it’s a flower. Tigurius is insane compared to Ahriman, even though compared tigurius is literally a god damn kid with staff who calls himself a psyker in the lore. Abaddon is supposed to be a force of destruction, just speaking his name turns bravest guard commander cold. In game he is over-priced and weaker than your average Space Marine Captain. Our characters don’t give as same tactical flexibility or killing power than most others get in their books.

  • 6Cobra

    I like that you followed “Rule #1 for making home-brew characters”: give them at least some kind of drawback and some kind of gap in their items. You’re exactly right that having them all be 2+/3++, AP2@I, EW would be boring, as well as a bunch of other bad things.

    I’d quibble with your choices for Kharn and Lucius based on fluff as I understand it, but that’s mox-nix. Well done.

    *edit: except.. where’s Fabius? You could have some fun making rules for that dude!

  • Djbz

    I’d say Ahirman should have access to every Psychic lore except the Ork, Tyranid and Harlequin unique powers (he has been collecting Psychic knowlege for 10,000 years.

    Also I mostly agree with Huron’s stats there- Why does a guy who is literally described has a rouge Chapter Master only has a Captain statline in the current codex?

    • Sephyr

      Almost everyone got an extra wound and attack in their profiles, improves saves and more synergy/army-affecting abilities. I wouldn’t call that ‘barely any improvement.”

      I skipped Fabius because with that one I really had no solid ideas to test. I haven’t yet read enough of his lore, and models that boost other units are a tricky thing to balance. I look forward to seeing people put up ideas for him, though!

      Thanks for the comment.

  • benn grimm

    Cool effort, but I think we need some new special characters for CSM, the old guard have too much baggage. Here’s my attempt;

    Honsou, Warsmith of Iron Warriors, Half Breed, Opportunist, Total Badass -200pts

    WS BS S T W I A Ld

    6 5 4 4 4 6 4 9

    Half Breed;

    Honsou is considered as a mongrel curr, by many in the Iron Warriors chapter, he may never confer his leadership to other units. He may also not benefit from ‘look out sir’ and is able to refuse duels without penalty. He also has hatred/preferred enemy; Imperial Fists, Ultramarines.

    Opportunist; Known for his stealthy attacks, questionable battlefield honour and utter ruthlessness;

    Any Chaos army including Honsou may add +1 to seize the initiative. Honsou may confer infiltrate to three Iron warrior squads, chosen before deployment.

    He may also attempt to retrieve weapons from his fallen enemies; following a round of combat in which Honsou slays an enemy with a better sword or gun, he may attempt to retrieve his fallen opponents wargear. To be successful, he must roll higher than the slain opponents WS on a single D6, a roll of a 6 always passes. If successful, Honsou may now wield the weapon as his own, (tyranid weapons not affected)

    Total Badass;

    Has the following universal special rules; Acute senses, Fearless, fleet, furious charge, Infiltrate, tank hunter, monster hunter, move through cover, relentless, rending, rage, scout, stealth.

    Chosen of the dark Gods;

    The gods have a plan for Honsou, which only the great Gra’ham McN’eill can possibly fathom, Honsou has a 3plus inv save due to plot armour…


    As a warsmith of the Iron warriors, he implicitly comprehends and embodies a brutal approach to siege warfare. Any army with Honsou as its warlord benefits from the following special rules; All havoc squads may purchase Tank hunters at a cost of 5pts per model. Cultist squads are amended as follows; cost 1 pt less per model, lose 1 pt in WS, BS, S and T and are fearless. The army has an additional heavy support slot and one less fast. The army may also select the following units from the Imperial Guard/Cult Mechanicus codexes representing Iron Warrior access to heavy siege weaponry and Dark Mechanicus support; Kataphron Breachers/destroyers, Hydras, Basilisks, Manticores, Wyverns, Deathstrikes.

    Wargear; power armour, living metal arm(counts as power fist), frag grenades. He may also select a single melee weapon and a single ranged weapon from the wargear list in Codex CSM, selecting as if a Chaos Lord.

    • Shawn

      Overall Benn, that doesn’t seem like too bad of a design. Tell me though, since I haven’t read those books, how is Honsou a half-breed?

      • benn grimm

        Cheers Shawn.) He’s half Imperial fist, they combined the gene seed somehow when he was created. It says online that it was Fabius Bile who did it, but I’ve not read that in any gw/bl book.

        • Shawn

          Thanks Benn, Cheers to you as well.

      • clint73

        Fabius bipe created Honsou using both the gene seed of an imperial fist captain and one of the honored on the iron warriors inner circle. More details can be found in the book Angel Exterminatus.

        • Shawn

          Thanks Clint. I’m surprised Honsou doesn’t have conflicting emotions/desires. I guess this makes him the bastard son of Dorn, or is it the bastard son of Perterabo?

    • amaximus167

      “Honsou has a 3plus inv save due to plot armour…”


      • benn grimm

        Glad you liked that 😉

  • nurglitch

    It’s quite a bugs-eye-view of things. No comments on how they work in the game, how they give players unique and interesting content. No discussion of army or formation rules, or even missions.

  • Shiwan8

    Everything there is roughly 2 times as expensive as they should. Only Ahriman is fieldable. The rest are just waste of points. One has to remember that the field of battle is full of deathstars and things that fit better in Apoc.

    • Orodruin

      This idea that homebrewed stuff must not be very good, lest someone accuse the creator of building overpowered units.

      I really disagree with this idea, not because people should be making overpowered units, but because their homebrew efforts at improving existing characters should actually … improve them.

      • Shiwan8

        I agree. Besides, even if these were free it would still not compensate the rest of the codex. 😀

  • Deacon Ix

    always feel that all Named Characters should have Eternal Warrior…

    • Karru

      I agree with you there, increase point cost a bit and there you have it. Named characters should be hard to kill since they are not that easy to take down in the lore.

  • Shawn

    I enjoyed this article. It’s good to see house rules suggestions pop up. I’ve always felt that 40k could always benefit from them, especially when making your own characters. House rules are something I’ve noticed the players in my area always shy away from.
    Thanks Sephyr.

    Here are my thoughts on each character. These are points that struck out to me as being the most significant. Take these with a grain of salt. I am no long veteran of the game, starting to play at the tail end of 5th and I have read very little of chaos from friend’s codices, or much of the literature. Most of what I know is what I’ve faced on the table. Here we go:

    Abaddon: I am not familiar with all the Marks of Chaos, but possessing all of them does seem a bit overpowered. Does his modified profile reflect those marks?

    Kharn: A DtW of 2+ is better than good. Personally, it irks me that the basic DtW rolls are 6+ which to me is the worst, since you’ll almost never deny powers. However, I feel that Kharn’s Blessing of Khorn too good. He’ll never fail to DtW, unless he only has 1 or 2 wc dice. That’s insane. It’s bad enough that he’ll wreck face without it.

    Ahriman: I didn’t see anything here that appeared too powerful, but I only know one player who plays him and Thousand Sons and I have never been able to get a game in with him. He’s even gone so far as to make his own house rules for Ahriman too.

    Lucius: Flash of the Blade seems a bit overpowered, especially considering Lucius’ Initiative is 7. Drach’nyen seems over powering as well. I don’t know how many extra attacks he gets from a demon weapon, but I don’t see anyone bothering with the extra attacks. All the player has to do is get rid of any invulnerable saves and let the AP2 negate any armor saves.

    Soul Thief sounds like a cool ability, but what happens after that next assault phase? Does the original player regain control of the model, providing it still lives?

    Armor of Shrieking Souls: Chaos being fickle and all, shouldn’t Lucius’ armor make him suffer if he rolls 1’s in close combat? I also feel that master crafted weapons would be able to reroll 1’s. This isn’t a reflection of the users skill so much (that’s WS) as the, weapon’s balance, ease of use, and keen edge that grants the reroll.

    Typhus: I think giving him T5 W5 and FNP 5+ makes him extremely difficult to kill. Seems a little over powered. Once again, let’s give players a reason to just play plague marines.

    Huron Blackheart: I love Extensive Bionics. Let’s give this to the Iron Hands and their successors with a point tax and call it good.

    Once again, thanks for this. More BoLS authors should offer up House Rules and more ways to play missions etc., instead of just throwing up rumors all the time.

    • Shiwan8

      40k, the on game incapable of achieving reasonable balance with present rules and armies, still has the most competitive player base (since chess) that under no conditions welcomes balance enhacing tweaks lest their win button stops being one. I mean, try suggesting that warp spiders have 4+ invuln instead of flicker jump. It’s fluffy, they keep the status of one of the most undercosted units in the game BUT they can be hurt by shooting. You’ll get so much whining you’d think you are in the middle of guinea pig mass breeding facility. Try suggesting that battle focus can be used only before shooting and the whining becomes openly hostile raging. Yet both of these would make eldar borderline reasonable.

      We get what we as a community deserve. Which is whiny adult size babies.

      • Shawn

        LOL, that is soooo true on so many levels. I would still love to do some house rules though and even try and incorporate a DeathWatch rpg campaign interwoven into a game or two. That would be epic!

        • Shiwan8

          I fully agree.

          • Shawn

            Thanks 😉

    • Djbz

      Abbadon has always had the Mark of Chaos Ascendant (and it’s always had that effect-all 4 marks)
      He hasn’t modified the profile-which did contain the bonuses from the marks, just swapped his Terminator armour for Cataphractii armour (thus the improved invulnerable save, but would give him slow and purposeful)

      • Shawn

        Ahhh, okay.

    • Sephyr

      Kharn’s DtW is quite good, yes, but remember that it is limited by available dice. Against a Psyker-heavy army, He may dodge the first cast, perhaps the second, but that’s that.

      Typhus is not that much harder to kill, mind. With all the plasma, D-weaponry and Knights about, almost no one is durable without a 3++. I tried to make up for his slowness and lack of ranged power by making him a brick.

      As for Lucius, yes, I felt that giving him control of the model that killed him for one turn is good enough, to represent the first time his personality surfaces, with the full possession taking place later on.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      • Shawn

        You’re welcome Sephyr and thanks for responding. It’s always good to hear from the author of any article. It does appear you put some thought and time in the house rules you made and just didn’t arbitrarily throw everything together. Regardig Karn, I did consider the number of available dice pool when denying powers. I thought that unless the psyker pool he’s up against is only one to three warp dice, he might fail. If he’s got any more than that, depending on how he spends them, he’ll be denying at least one power and probably two or more every turn. However, I would like to see it played out on the table top, that’s the best kind of play test. Now that’s an idea – House Rules Batrep. Now you can see the play test in action and decide for yourself after seeing it action if it’s something you want to try.

  • Orodruin

    Some of these rules are okay, but their lack of survivability is unimproved.

    Chapter Masters essentially always have a storm shield, FNP, and often a thunder hammer. It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to tank all of Kharn’s attacks, and then instant kill him by doubling out his toughness and easily failing multiple 5++ saves. Except he’s more points now because he’s extra killy, but he was already killy to begin with. Surviving to reach combat and dying in a single round are still Kharn’s greatest weaknesses.

    I could go on. There are fun and worthwhile changes here, but by making everyone more expensive, the army as a whole is (IMO) going to suffer because those changes aren’t worth the extra points. Huron’s changes are decent. Typhus gained an extra wound for 25 points, but still lacks eternal warrior. 4 wounds wasn’t enough? Now more than the cost of a Land Raider and he can still die just as easily to instant death.

    Seems like you’re coming at this from a fairly balanced and fair philosophy which isn’t exactly in tune with the power level and point costs of the most up to date armies. All the old problems still exist, and the army is really not much better off than using the vanilla codex.

    I apologize for my blunt negativity, but those are my thoughts on these unit changes.

  • Shiwan8

    I do not think that it would be very logical to assume that Ahriman and the like are not capable of avoiding that.

    • Anthony Shannon

      Remember, Psykers with Mark of Tzeentch used to auto-pass psychic powers.
      Most psychic powers were (and many still are) shooting weapons.

      • Shiwan8

        I get that. I don’t think they should pass them automatically but to think that they get perilled to death is just stupid. Chaos in general, especially tzeentch marked chaos should be pretty much immune to perils. Summoning is the one thing that could reasonably end badly to chaos sorcerer.

        • Anthony Shannon

          To a chaos sorceror, the warp isn’t just filled with enemies, it’s filled with enemies and temporary allies, both exploitable. Ahriman shows this when he goes and has an allied sorceror bind a greater daemon of Nurgle who was trying to destroy him. Chaos sorcerors take risks of course but they have a much better understanding of what they are dealing with than primitive backwater shamans who think they are channelling their worlds spirit right until they get eaten by daemons.

          The way the warp is handled ingame is messed up anyway. Perils should be for battle psyker squads and Orks. Leadership and mastery level should come into play when casting so that a ml1 idiot isn’t harnessing warp charge like a space marine librarian then casting the same power. Powers should be easier to cast the more advanced you are- that ml1 can try and open a dimensional gate but he’s more likely to open inside out. A ml4 leadership 10 psykers magic missile shouldn’t be the same strength as a ml1 ld 8 magic missile.

          • Shiwan8

            Ml vs wc of the power? Ml2 casting wc3 power would succeed on 5s?

          • John Pfeiffer

            Orks shouldnt have perils to say but their own thing because we draw our power from the power of the WAAAAAGHHH not the warp…..

  • DayVision

    These rules don’t solve any of the problems with the codex or really most of these characters. Abaddon, Kharn, and Typhus are excellent as is but can not be maneuvered in a way that allows them to be utilized. Abaddon is a melee death machine but is so slow and impossible to position as to be impossible to utilize his heavy points cost. If he runs at you, you walk the other way. If he is in a land raider you have already won. If he deep strikes shoot and walk away.

  • JP

    According to the fluff ALL of these guys have cheated death at least once in a BIG way and some of them MANY times. They should all have Eternal Warrior to represent this.
    Heck, I’d even give Lucius some kinky resurrection mechanic where he has a chance to come back by body snatching the model that killed him like Trazyn body hops.

  • Darth Bumbles

    I’d give Kharn “Tis but a Flesh Wound!” Invulnerable save 2+.

  • John Barber

    I think if Lucius has any rule, it should be Rending

  • DJ860

    Nice effort in trying to bring some more fluff to the table in the characters. I’ve never collected a CSM army but if they were relaunched in the future (if I’m still and under 100 years old) as this type of ancient, super thematic veterans of the long war feel, with all this old tech and 30k style feel, I’d be on them like a tramp on chips.

  • Anthony Shannon

    Nice effort with Ahriman but there are issues with increasing his price and lowering his psychic output (currently he can triple tap the same psychic power).
    Ahriman should:
    Know more powers than you (scholar)
    Be casting better than you(powerful)
    Aside from this, the man is covered in sorcerous bling that should be shielding him from perils or making casting easier.

    The issue with making him cost as much as a Land Raider is that he belongs with over priced units already, the Thousand Sons. 250 points for a 3W marine with a staff isn’t great but its worse when you’re paying 150 points for 5 power armoured bodies with no grenades.

    Just give him access to all the disciplines- any book any time- and let him reroll results. Combined with granting infiltrate/outflank that’s all the background stuff of him being a scholar and a tactician dealt with.

    On the table he just needs to roll powers well- Allow him reroll psychic tests as if he had a familiar. Make a rule that for every EXTRA warpcharge he harnesses for a power, after DTW, he may choose one of your staff benefits above. This gives some risk/ reward into warp charge generation- you can try and win big or play it safe.

  • CynicMarine

    You’ve done good work here, but I feel that ultimately the best way for house rules to go is to bring the deathstars down several gears rather than try to bump everything else up to their level (not that you’ve created deathstars here)