40K: We Want Chaos Traitor Legion Special Characters


These are the Chaos Villains that you deserve…not the ones you need.

Chaos Space Marines have had a ton of characters in the past. We even talked about a few earlier this week that could definitely use some new models. But have you ever noticed a distinct lack of Chaos Special Characters from the “Other” Legions? I’m talking about the 4 Legions that have lots of lore written about them but aren’t “Cult” Troop archetypes – Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Word Bearers and Night Lords. Chaos Undivided, non-cult troops, Traitor Legions…whatever you want to call them they still don’t have any cool special characters.

It’s time to change that. Here’s a list of characters that need to show-up as Special Characters we think deserve to be on the tabletop. Here they are in no particular order:



The Iron Warriors are a Legion that has had a crazy amount of Lore written about them. Masters of the Siege, heavy on the Warsmiths and artillery they are known for their relentless and scientific attacks. Honsou is one of the more famous Warsmiths. He is a major player of the Iron Warrior Series and also does a fair bit of antagonizing in the Ultramarines Series, too. For a character that has had a TON of lore written about him, Honsou has never had any official rules. He’s really the poster boy for what would make an excellent Special Character for the Iron Warriors.


Talos Valcoran


A member of the Night Lords, Talos actually died in a battle with Jain Zar. However, his Gene seed was recovered and was used to create a new “Prophet” for the Night Lords. We need to see Talos Valcoran return or a new Chaos Space Marine Character known as “The Prophet” make an appearance! If you’re not familiar with “The Soulhunter” he actually was the central figure for the three books in the Night Lords Novel Series.

This is another character that has had their own book series and still doesn’t have rules for the Tabletop. If I was going to pick a Night Lords Special Character Talos would be my first choice.




Erebus does have a model but it’s from the 30K range. So yeah, sure he could be used on the table top but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need a 40k version of his rules and a new model! Erebus has also been around for 10,000 years so it’s a great opportunity to get creative with the model as well as the rules. Games Workshop already has the basic rules with the Dark Apostles – why not take those and amp them up for Erebus? But he’s not the only Word Bearers character around…

Kor Phaeron


I am double-dipping on the Word Bearers but I think they deserve it. Yes, Kor Phaeron does have 30K model as well but he could use a 40k version, too! I’d like to see what he would look like after 10,000 years of spreading the “good word” anyhow. Plus, if you’re familiar with the lore of these two characters in “modern” 40k then you know they have an interesting dynamic. I’d best describe their relationship as “frienemies.” They are very much rivals but neither one has enough sway over their legion to boot the other.

Anyways, Kor Phaeron and Erebus would be fantastic Chaos Special Characters for the Word Bearers to take to the tabletop!


Arkos the Faithless


The problem with Alpha Legion characters is that they are almost too good at blending in. But I really think it’s about time we get at least ONE of them to become a Special Character. I wanted to nominate Arkos the Faithless from the Siege of Vraks campaign. Now, he was apparently captured at the end of the campaign along with 14 other Alpha Legion members by The Unforgiven. To me – that means they have escaped as planned.

I don’t know how they would have made their escape but c’mon! These guys have more than their tricksy way – they have the power of PLOT and no one can stop that. So what do you say? How about an Arkos model with some cool rules for the Alpha Legion?!


Bonus: Doomrider


He does cocaine.

We have had TWO Huron Blackheart Models (if you count the Forge World Astral Claws model) and we’ve had ZERO Night Lords characters in “modern” 40K. Heresy-Era is different story…So where’s the Chaos Special Character Love for their original Traitor Legions?

The other Traitor Legions need love too – So what Chaos Characters from the Lore would you want rules for in 40k? 

  • Done right, Talos might be the only 40k miniature that I would buy as a “collector.”

  • Xodis

    Seriously think Kor Phaeron and Erebus should be Deamon Princes by now, would be nice to have Deamon CSM Special characters put in the mix.

    • Xodis

      Also Doomrider would be a great opportunity for a Deamonic CSM riding some type of Deamon bike. Bonus points if it’s a headless Deamonic Doomrider or at least has that option.

      • Commissar Molotov

        We need Doomrider. He has been MISSED.

      • Chaosrex

        *playing Judas Priest tune* ” This…Is..The Doomrider, THIS IS THE DOOMRIDER!!”

        • Xodis

          I was thinking he might have 5 Finger Death Punches “Burn MF, Burn MF, Burn” playing while he is riding around lol

    • ZeeLobby

      Eh. I kind of like having special characters from that era that are still regular SMs. It ties well with all the fluff that they really might not have been in the warp for that long.

      • Xodis

        But we have plenty, even Kharn is still mortal along with Arhiman, Typhus, Fabius, etc… Im not even saying more like Hansou would be bad, but lets shake it up a little better.

        • ZeeLobby

          True. I wouldn’t mind Kor Phaeron. He was already pretty gone by the end of the heresy. I honestly wish there were more Chaos characters that were dominated by demons. I dislike that they all seem to be able to easily control the warp. Mutations aside, it’d be great if one finally bit off more than they could chew (ala Fulgrim).

          • Xodis

            Exactly, but I think Erebus would have to be promoted at the same time (in the narrative) since that might tear the Word Bearers apart in a civil war as one tried to outs the other….but that could be a cool story in itself.

          • ZeeLobby

            I like Erebus as a human. If there was one character who would be determined to bend Chaos to his will without letting it overtake him, it’d be Erebus. I could see him wanting to retain his physical astartes form even if he did somehow gain immortality.

          • Xodis

            I would totally read that.

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. Yeah. I mean they can do a lot of cool stuff with the background. My concern is just that the game will soon become way overly character heavy. I like taking vanilla HQs or regular sized models, but that’s more a personal issue. Just never been a fan of loading the table with MCs/GMCs

          • Xodis

            A themed army wouldn’t have that problem, but year I can see it getting just as Herohammer as Loyalist SM have become. Still though, CSM has had the same guys forever….its boring lol

          • Shawn

            That’s interesting Zee. I don’t know much about Chaos, since I play space marines, but his determination to bend Chaos to his wil piqued my curiosity about Erebus. I take it then that he, at least, is not a slave to Chaos, but while he might have similar goals, just likes to use them as a convenient tool?

          • 6Cobra

            Kind of. He’s not cynical about Chaos, like the Night Lords are – he’s a true believer. That said, he believes he is the pupprt master pulling Chaos’ strings.

            He’s also the utlimate “moustache-twirling villain” type. He’s like the Dr. Moriarty of the early Horus Heresy; Either he or Kor Phaeron can lay claim to being the individual who actually instigates the Heresy. He’s almost literally everywhere, personally corrupting primarchs (including his own), laying overlapping plots, fighting in gladiator duels, leading rituals, learning how to teleport with a yoda-like witch on a mountaintop, stealing/forging daemon weapons.. and on and on.

            It became kind of a joke among 30K fans: “Loken put a spoonful of the food in his mouth. He chewed, then stopped – the food had gone bad. Suddenly, he felt eyes upon him. He turned, and saw Erebus standing in the shadows, with a sinister, knowing smile on his face..”

    • Malisteen

      I agree. Likewise, the daemon prince Krieg Acerbus would be a better choice than Talos for a representative special character for the Night Lords, imo.

      • Xodis

        Be cool to get both, a Deamon character and a Mortal character.

        • Malisteen

          The problem I have with Talos as a representative special character for the Night Lords is that the entire point of his character is that he *isn’t* representative of the modern Night lords. Talos, and this goes for Zso Sahaal as well, are very specifically ‘last sane man in a world gone mad’ figures, and that’s compelling in fiction, but it only works if the world HAS gone mad.

          Talos and Zso are the exceptions, and their stories only work because The Night Lords as a whole in the 41st millennium are fully corrupted, embracing the power and the madness of chaos. The fact that the two most notable bits of Night Lord fiction are from the perspective of these characters has resulted in a highly tilted perspective on the Night Lords legion as a whole as a chaos rejecting, no marks, no daemons, no psykers kind of thing, which is just entirely wrong and backwards.

          I don’t object to the idea of a mortal NL special character in addition to Krieg, but it should be another character that represents the legion as they actually are in the 41st millennium.

          • Xodis

            Could be a unique take on a smaller Warband faction though, survival at all costs rather than “GRRRR lets be evil”. Would add a new element to CSM.

          • Malisteen

            The thing is, survival at all costs means embracing chaos. For a warband that must operate out of the Eye (or Maelstrom, or any other permanent warp storm) to avoid imperial retribution, for a warband without access to the supplies and specialists of the Imperium and Mechanicus, embracing the power Chaos offers *is* the cost of survival.

            Those like Talos who reject it are placing their own misguided pride over their own survival and that of the warriors at their command.

            Which is half the point of ADB’s Night Lords trilogy – Talos proudly sticks to his outdated principles and as a result leads his warband to disaster after disaster as even his personal squad dissolves beneath him until finally he himself is slain.

            One can only hope his successor will be more pragmatic.

          • Xodis

            Doesnt have to mean embracing Chaos, is you happen to view Chaos as not surviving since you lose your soul, individuality, sanity, etc…
            It made for a great point in ADBs series, but doesnt have to work the same way (at least not initially) for all others who make that attempt.

          • Malisteen

            It kind of does, though. Space Marines forces are, by design, not self sustaining. They’re pure warriors, not farmers, or miners, or scientists. For the most part not technicians or doctors, either. They have medics able to perform field repairs and first (or final) aid, but they rely on an extensive supporting infrastructure to maintain their equipment and vessels and numbers. Marines not aligned with the imperium might survive for a century or two bartering for whatever they can’t steal, but not much longer then that.

            Worse, traitor marines are very high on the Imperial kill list, and there are very few places renegade marines can hide from that retribution. Persistent warp storms are among the only such refuges, but then the environment itself is against them. For those who try to reject and refuse the blessings of chaos, such environments are a living nightmare. The warp corrodes vessels as well as sanity, poisons food, damages sensitive systems, impedes healing.

            Yet for those who embrace and accept chaos, the opposite is true. The gremlin warpsprites tearing apart their systems become helpful servants, maintaining and repairing the machinery. Wounds heal rapidly – if differently than before. Damaged wargear becomes haunted by spirits of violence that warp its form effecting repairs. Blasphemous energy floods everything, satisfying hunger and filling ammunition clips.

            For those who embrace chaos, the warp not only provides refuge from Imperial foes, but also provides much of the supply infrastructure that traitor marines otherwise lack. This is the pressure that inevitably turns rogue space marines into chaos marines, as those that accept find themselves empowered and rejuvinated, while those who resist slowly fade and die.

          • Xodis

            Lucky for most non Chaos Renegades, the Imperial response time to attacks is slower than molasses, especially with an unit of Space Marines who an make sure to attack so precisely that by the time someone figures out what is going on, its far too late and they are halfway gone.
            So I agree that it would be easier to just give in to the Chaos Gods, but its still wholly doable. As for where they would be “hiding” out, that just depends on their motive, I can easily see a group clearing out a Space Hulk and working on building enough forces to take the battle back to the Loyalists….even if its some small moon and not Armageddon or Terra itself.

          • Shawn

            I could get behind this idea for a new army. That would be kind of cool. Does this mean these two particular NL characters, don’t have CSM-ish armor and weapons? (i,e, spikes, demon maws, tongues, teeth all over the armor)

          • Xodis

            I would hope its that half breed of CSM nastiness mixed with some loyalist tech advancements. Let the REAL CSM keep all those deamon weapons and vehicles, these guys just stole a new Imperial LR variant and are looking to tear it up lol

          • Shawn

            Gotcha. Thanks Xodis. That certainly makes sense.

          • Vladamyr

            To say they are the last sane may not be accurate, of the characters we have been introduced to maybe, but in the chapter introducing Decimus he remarks about how not all of his brothers are twisted in chaos.

            Personally I run non chaos influenced Night lords in 40k, and only occasionally add in possessed or anything demonic to show it as a fringe.

            But having Zso come out of the warp as if no time had transpired would be great.

          • Talos (or the prophet) could always be done as a Chaos version of Cypher. Another character who often appears to be the only sane person in a world gone mad.

          • Talos2

            Lucoryphus of the bleeding eyes might be the best fit for that. Totally nuts raptor, what more do you need. I’m not sure I’d describe talos as sane though, especially not in the 3rd book. He’s got a kind of a code, but he’s definitely not even close to a typical space marine. Characters that have fallen to chaos can’t really be about revenge against the emperor, which is kind of the point of night lords.

          • Malisteen

            Characters that have fallen to chaos absolutely can be about revenge against the emperor. Abaddon in particular is the single biggest example of both.

  • rtheom

    I really really wish they’d bring the Honsou vs. Uriel duel set as a Made To Order product. I love those books so much and have never even seen the duel kit for sale anywhere…

    • Sylvester Holmes

      I believe that’s a kitbash made by someone as opposed to an official model.

      • rtheom

        No, there’s a picture of it in the back copy of my Storm of Iron with an old-fashioned “cut this out and mail it in to order” slip. I do wonder if it was ever actually released though.

  • Malisteen

    Forget Talos. He represents a failing, dying, regressive throwback mindset within the Night Lords, a dwindling minority who refuse to embrace power and progression, defining themselves by their broken past rather than their glorious future.

    He’s interesting as a character, sure, but if there’s one character to embody the Night Lords as ascendant 41st millennia CHAOS marines, and not the dying ghosts of 31st millennia heretic marines, it isn’t Talos, it’s the daemon prince Krieg Acerbus, master of the largest single gathering of modern Night Lords warbands.

    To the extent that the Night Lords are even a legion *at all* anymore, Acerbus is their master, and best represents their military and philosophical disposition, embracing and reveling in the power Chaos offers them to strike terror in the hearts of their victims.

    • ZeeLobby

      Eh. I think it’s important for there to be a mixed representation of characters within the CSM character pool though. Otherwise it’s just a copy and paste of “we love chaos and use it well”.

      • Malisteen

        The faction is Chaos Space Marines. CHAOS Space Marines. Those that neither love nor use chaos don’t belong in the faction. For those players, there is codex: Space Marines. Or the 30k game.

        • ZeeLobby

          I know, it just makes dull characters. “Oh, there goes CSM lord XYZ, let me guess, he’s angry at the imperium and loves chaos.” It’s cool to have a range of characters is all I’m saying. Otherwise why have 8 if they all have the same motivation.

          • Malisteen

            Characters can engage with chaos in different ways. They can be dominated by it or bend it to their will. They can be worshipful and reverent or rueful but pragmatic. The recent Talon of Horus novel does a good job of presenting a number of distinctive and interesting personalities that are all distinctly CHAOS marines without being boring or repetitive.

            Likewise, the use itself can be varied and diverse, from active possession and physical mutation to active or passive psychic powers to utilizing Chaos as a raw material, ammunition, or power source for weapons, armor, and war machines.

            What I don’t want to see any more of is the ‘anti-chaos chaos marine’. It’s self defeating and boring. Imagine if the only imperial characters GW wanted to write stories about were ones working to undermine the Imperium. Or if the only Craftworld Eldar perspectives we received were from characters who rejected that entire way of life and thought it was an abomination as bad as any of the non-eldar enemies they fight against. Or if the only Tau perspectives were from individuals who rejected the Greater Good.

            One or two such perspectives can be interesting in the fiction, but if those narratives become more prevalent or popularized than the default, then the entire character of the faction is lost. To borrow a D&D analogue, you end up with Drow societies seemingly entirely populated by angsty chaotic good rangers rebelling against the evils of a Drow society.

            This has *already* happened with Night Lords, and it needs to be reversed, not embraced.

          • 6Cobra

            I see your point, but don’t agree that current CSM fiction – and special characters in particular – are rife with anti-Chaos rebels trying to keep it secular. Which of the current CSM special characters with models fits that mold? Lucius, Kharn? Typhus, the Herald of Nurgle? Abbadon, marked by all four? Huron has gone over to Chaos, and Ahriman is pretty Tzeentchy even through he rejects a fate of mutation and slavery. I guess the closest candidate id Fabius, but it seems to me he’s just too busy making human centipedes to spend any time being religious about Chaos.

          • Malisteen

            Not the current special characters or chaos generally, I’m talking about the night lords in particular and the fluff book characters that have gotten the most attention for that legion.

      • Vladamyr

        I agree, there has been too much focus on the CHAOS portion of chaos space marines, going back to previous codex with still some just plain old traitor fluff/playability is nice.

        • ZeeLobby

          I mean I just want to see all representations. Too much of either side gets boring.

          • Vladamyr

            agreed, Having a little variation in flavor is cool, running little to no chaos with some dark mechanicus, one time, next time running heavy chaos makes a single army much more enjoyable if you can give it multiple narratives

  • William Jameson

    Actually I think I would prefer Zso Sahaal for the Night Lords to Talos. Mostly because he was hand picked by Konrad to replace Sevatar as I recall. Then he buggered off after Konrad’s assassin when SPECIFICALLY INSTRUCTED not to because he either wanted to avenge Batman or possibly wanted his bling back.

    • Malisteen

      Zso Sahaal has the same problem as Talos for representing the Night Lords in 40k – in that he *doesn’t* represent the Night Lords in 40k. Those characters represent the last gasps of a dying perspective.

      Krieg Acerbus is the master of the Night Lords in the 40k era, and would be the right choice of special character to represent the subfaction – fully embracing and embraced by Chaos, empowered by the dark gods, instead of wasting the last vestiges of strength he has left fighting against them like Zso or Talos. Leading the Night Lords under his command to victory after victory instead of one shameful failure after another.

      • nurglitch

        The Night Lords are divers. It’s represented in First Claw, let alone characters from different works. Talos is the idealist. Xarl has retreated into martial virtue. Uzas is the stereotypical BftBG Khornate goon, and Cyrion is the creep.

      • Vladamyr

        Yes and no, but I think if they are serious about 8th being the 13th black crusade, then having Talos’s geneseed, Decimus, would be an interesting character, along with the apothecary Variel who is not a true Night Lord.

        But since the end of the Omnibus has Decimus instructing the warband leaders that they should attack the Eldar instead of joining Abbadon they could expand on that train of fluff

  • BigGrim

    Not aware of what Erebus and Kor Pheron are up to in 40k.

    • Damistar

      Erebus is quite active in the 13th Black Crusade (at least before the retcon). There was even a picture of him, he’s the one with his face stapled on because Horus ripped it off.

      • nurglitch

        Faces are luxury.

  • Defenestratus

    I’d like craftworld special characters too while we’re at it. Eldrad by himself doesn’t count.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      You have Eldrad, Yriel and all the Phoenix Lords. That’s more special characters than any other army save all the ones in the Ultramarine Codex 🙂

      • Defenestratus

        The PL’s aren’t craftworld specific.

  • Agent OfBolas

    Nah … if you want play competitive chaos full of CSMs … you want to play 30k.

    • Malisteen

      30k has hardly any chaos marines in it. A bunch of heritics, sure, but most of the traitor legions really couldn’t be described as *Chaos* marines until they adapted to life in the Eye of Terror following the Scouring.

      Maybe some of the Word Bearers, but that’s really about it.

      • Agent OfBolas

        my 30k traitors disagree

        • Malisteen

          So, cool! Tell me about your daemon prince, your daemon engines, your possessed, and sorcerers, and blasphemous priests, and dark cultists. The iconic jagged trim and horns and leering daemonic faces on their armor. The mutations and divine favors that elevate them as far above regular marines as they are above mere mortals. The things that make Chaos marines CHAOS marines, and not just heretics and rabble rousers.

  • Defenestratus

    Hey I have a great idea.

    Lets make some special characters so Chaos players endlessly whine about how much GW hates them.

    • Show me on the demon prince where Chaos touched you.

  • Deathwing

    I want Zso Sahaal – The tallonmaster of the Night Lords

    • Malisteen

      Krieg Acerbus is the only master of the Night Lords legion in the 41st millennium, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. :p

      • nurglitch

        Hot Night Lord on Night Lord action?

  • trygon

    I think the game would benefit from less special characters.

    Not that I have anything against nice models or the concept of ‘special characters’, but it is so tiresome to see so many of them in so many armies.

    Gameplay is more fun if you don’t have these characters that too often are almost too good to be fielded in anything less than a 5000p+ Apocalypse game.

    Just stick to basic characters. No roll for warlord traits (make them points valued to take one for designated ‘general’). Make Special Characters opponents consent only.

    • Muninwing

      exactly… add to it that usually to make them special they get new rules… and that’s the source of inordinate advantage in many power builds.

    • Vladamyr

      I would be perfectly happy with just models and no rules 😀 as long as the models are kitted in such a way that what they have can be taken by say a Chaos Lord

  • Eric Etheridge

    I think you could slip a bonus doomrider into a non chaos entry and it would be hilarious

    • Hedwerx

      Is that a double entendre?

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    Arkos has rules in the Vraks book. He’s not great though and doesn’t really add any Alpha-legion-ness to your force through special rules or anything.

  • Rainthezangoose


    • nurglitch

      Personally I’m shocked that a warband of Night Lords might come to a bad end having foreseen it numerous times.

    • Vladamyr

      I am more impressed that you did not know this before reading the article, when I first decided to start CSM, and was doing research it was one of the first things I found on the Night Lords

      • Rainthezangoose

        well the books entire premise is Talos foresees his own death, but hes visions have been wrong, and a is wrong at a critical points across three books. So its a game of guessing yourself. Which has been ruined by unnecessary spoilers. Ah well. Would love a Talos model.

  • nurglitch

    Honsou appears to have Kharn’s most notable gift: The Giant Wanking Arm.

    • Diagoras

      If they ever did make Honsou a model, I’d really hope they would redesign him from the ground up.

  • Strictly speaking every Alpha Legion member is a special character called Alpharius. Or possibly Omegon.

  • Wolfsark

    Cool article. However, it seems to be GW’s practice nowadays where they will not make rules for a character unless it also has a currently in print model available for sale. This is due to copyright issues and the old chapterhouse case. We haven’t heard about any new model kits coming out alongside the Traitor Legions book so I’d say there’s a 0% chance of us getting any kind of new characters.

  • Vladamyr

    How about the War Sage Dreadnaught Malcharion for Night Lords

  • WindSplash

    Talos its too edgy and dont really bring out the Night Lord traits.

    I would suggest Szho Sahaal or a new Night Lord character that happens to be a Raptor.

    The Iron Warriors need a kickass Warsmith, not Honsou the edgy special snowflake either.

  • Keaton

    Does Erebus’s model have a face? Because if so, shenanigans. That bad boy was ripped off, in the greatest accomplishment of Horus’s life.

  • Mr.Gold

    Per GW Website:

    In The Book

    – Datasheets for the following models:

    – Kharn the Betrayer

    – Ahriman

    – Exalted Sorcerer

    – Tzaangors

    – Rubric Marines

    – Scarab Occult Terminators

    – Khorne Lord of Skulls

    – Magnus the Red

    – 26 Formations for Chaos Space Marines

    – Chaos Warband

    – Maelstrom of Gore

    – The Lost and the Damned

    – Helforged Warpack

    – Heldrake Terror Pack

    – Cult of Destruction

    – Fist of the Gods

    – Raptor Talon

    – Terminator Annihilation Force

    – Favoured of Chaos

    – Trinity of Blood

    – The Chosen of Abaddon

    – The Bringers of Despair

    – The Hounds of Abaddon

    – Daemon Engine Pack

    – Cyclopia Cabal

    – The Tormented

    – Black Legion Warband

    – War Cabal

    – War Coven

    – Tzaangor Warherd

    – Sekhmet Conclave

    – Ahriman’s Exiles

    – Rehati War Sect

    – Plague Colony

    – Kakophoni;

    – Chaos Artefacts, Warlord Traits, Tactical Objectives and an exclusive Detachment for each of the 9 Traitor Legions;

    – Updated Disciplines of Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh, as well as the
    Sinistrum, Heretech, Ectomancy and Geomortis Psychic Disciplines;

    – Armoury of the Chaos Space Marines.

  • Damien Coté

    My vote is for Sevatar for the Nightlords; the other first captians are all represented, so why not him?

  • memitchell

    I think Honsou is supposed to be pronounced “Honcho.” Cause, that’s flat out cool!