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Ghosts (non-specific worlds)
Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt
Commanding officer of the regiment. Before its founding he served in other units, most famously at Balhaut with the late Warmaster Slaydo, who granted him his special dual rank. At the regiment's founding, the planet was beset by Chaos and he chose to take the men with him rather than let them die defending it, something not all of them were happy with.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Gaunt receives an ancestral power-weapon from the grateful survivors of Vervunhive. This technological relic is capable of ripping through the armor of a Venerable Chaos Dreadnought (essentially, a zombie tank).
- A Father to His Men: Without doubt.
- Artificial Limbs/Eye Scream: Got blinded under Chaos torture in Only in Death, but was promised replacements that he has received by Blood Pact.
- Berserk Button: As an honorable man in a Crapsack World, there are several ways you can set him off. Although some would say he's too easygoing for a member of the Commissariat.
- Don't ever threaten or kill his troops. He won't like that at all if you're an enemy of the Empire, but you will die horribly if you're supposed to be on the same side.
- Don't try and make fraudulent cash off his dead troopers either. He will get PIIIIISSSSSED!
- Badass: Oh, let us count the ways.
- Badass Bureaucrat: As a Commissar, paperwork is part of his job.
- Badass Cape: In many a picture.
- Badass Longcoat: His Commisarial greatcoat, though he usually wears a Tanith camouflage cape over it.
- Colonel Badass: A literal example; he retains his rank of Colonel through most of the series. He's turned down brigadier rank, and regained his colonel rank after a brief suspension.
- The Chains of Commanding: Gaunt is a capable commander, but since he cares for his troopers, their inevitable deaths always weigh heavily on him.
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: An amusing recursive example. In the books the descriptions of him are pretty blatantly meant to make readers think of Sean Bean, the actor who portrayed Sharpe. The cover art, on the other hand, depicts him with darker hair and generally looking like Sharpe was described as in his own books.
- Commissar Cap: So iconic it's a minor plot point in His Last Command, where troopers refuse at first to follow the orders of Commissar Ludd when he lost his cap in a firefight.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Rawne, eventually. In Gaunt's backstory, he fought alongside the Chapter Master of the Silver Guard, Veegum, during the war on Balhaut, and his Hyrkan troops managed to win more glory than the Space Marines . This is the reason Veegum accepts Gaunt's request for one of the Silver Guard accompany the mission to Salvation's Reach, and he even manages to get two more Astartes from different chapters as well.
- Good Is Not Soft: Gaunt is an exceptional warrior who has killed Chaos Space Marines and daemons in melee combat. While he does not employ his authorization to perform executions wantonly, he can and will employ it without hesitation if he regards someone as treacherous or wilfully incompetent.Ibram Gaunt: I have a reputation, Modile, a reputation as a fair, honest man who treats his soldiers well and supports them in the face of darkness. Potentially, that reputation makes me soft. It seems I understand failure and forgive it. Some, like Kowle, believe me to be a weak commissar, not prepared to take the action my rank demands. Not prepared to enforce field discipline where I see it failing. I am an Imperial commissar. I will enflame the weak, support the wavering, guide the lost. I will be all things to all men who need me. But I will also punish without hesitation the incompetent, the cowardly, and the treasonous.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: The overarching theme of Gaunt's life. Ultimately, Gaunt and his Ghosts are a small recon unit in a billion strong army. Through his leadership, they win key individual battles that are important, and protect the lives of crucial commanders... but in the history books they are barely a footnote compared with the public heroes of the Crusade like Sabbat, Slaydo and Macaroth. In the prologue recaps, the Ghosts' accomplishments are usually listed alongside a dozen other battles just as brutal, if not more so, and the Ghosts are too few in number to do anything but support the advance of actual armies.
- Warmaster Slaydo even promised Gaunt the right to have the first planet that he conquered, and Gaunt promised to share that world with the Tanith... but since the Tanith First barely has two thousand men, it's highly unlikely that the Tanith will ever be able conquer a planet on their own.
- Guns Akimbo: Frequently when not using his sword.
- Hand Cannon: Favors bolt pistols. Two of them. Though he does use autoguns on occasion.
- Handicapped Badass: Toyed with in Necropolis, when Gaunt despite having been near-fatally shot by Heritor Asphodel days before, gets out of his sickbed and marches out in time to save Dorden and Curth from being killed by Guilder Worlin, a corrupt Vervunhive businessman who wanted to murder the medics to cover his tracks, as they were investigating a series of murders he had committed. Gaunt manages to kill Worlin with a headshot before passing out from his injuries.
- Honor Before Reason: Gaunt will always try to do the moral thing, protecting civilians, wounded, never leaving soldiers behind. The rest of the Crusade leadership views Gaunt as an anachronism in the grimdark future of the 41st millennium.General van Voytz: A code of honor like that will get you killed.Gaunt: I always assumed that was the point. Sir.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Gaunt often overlooks actions such as drinking and smoking when his men are off duty. Subverted in Straight Silver when he almost executes a trooper when he got most of his squad killed after taking a drink in the middle of a recon patrol.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Especially after Gereon, though he slowly recovers. In the future there is only war, but that doesn't mean that there aren't things worth fighting for.
- Military Maverick: About as maverick as you can get in 40k without being summarily executed. While Gaunt is usually proven right, his attitude and lack of respect for superior officers gets him and his Ghosts in far more trouble than they need to at times.
Commissar Viktor HarkA commissar assigned to the regiment in the fourth book, Honour Guard, initially to police Gaunt but as a proper member by the end. Often does most of the actual commissaring while Gaunt colonels it up.
- Artificial Limbs: Loses an arm to a trio of loxatl assassins in Sabbat Martyr, which is later replaced with a mechanical prosthetic. He loses an arm again during an aircraft crash in Only in Death, but by good luck, it's the already-mechanical one: it's been replaced by the time of Blood Pact.
- Badass: Kills a rolling enemy plasma tank with just his pistol.
- Badass Longcoat: Like all good Commissars.
- The Chains of Commanding: Picked up this tendency from Gaunt. In His Last Command, he yells at some fleeing soldiers, but refuses to shoot them when they ignore his orders. Instead, he waits until after the battle, and executes their commanding officer for his incompetence and lack of battlefield leadership.
- Commissar Hark: "If they’re scared enough to ignore me, my rank and my weapon, then they’re too scared to be of any use."
- Commissar Cap: Naturally.
- The Mole: Originally sent by Lugo to spy on Gaunt. Gaunt deduces it immediately, and Hark doesn't bother to deny it. He remains with the unit after Lugo's discomfiture because Gaunt's come to realize he does need a political officer, as he's too busy with his command duties to handle the political ones.
- Plasma Cannon: Unlike most of the Ghost officers he carries a plasma pistol rather than a bolt pistol. He's the only member of the regiment to carry a weapon of this extremely-effective-but-not-particularly-safe-to-hold type.
- The Political Officer: To contrast with Gaunt, who holds a dual rank.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: His backup gun is an ordinary revolver, albeit one of such size and power that it's rounds prove useful against the laser-resistant scales of loxatl.
Commissar Nahum LuddOriginally a commissar cadet assigned to police Gaunt (notice a pattern?) but eventually joins properly as Hark's apprentice.
- Deadpan Snarker: As his competence increases, so to does his propensity for sarcasm.Ludd: Excuse the interruption, sir, something’s going on.
Hark: Ludd, you realise your sole use to me is to supply meaningful and intelligible nouns and adverbs in place of the word something in sentences like that?
Ludd: Yes, but sometimes they don’t issue me with enough nouns from stores.
Hark: Was that a joke, Ludd?
Ludd: Like a joke, but smaller, sir.
- Dope Slap: Gets three in a row from Hark when Hark sees him acting too friendly with an injured, doped-up Twenzet in Only In Death. Then he explains that Ludd has to maintain authority and professional distance from the men so they will take him seriously, especially now that he has to act as regimental commissar, since Hark himself is injured.
- Ensign Newbie/New Meat: He's fortunate to live long enough to outgrow the trope.
- The Political Officer: From his perspective things are especially awkward since he does admire Gaunt, but has orders to keep tabs on him.
- Took a Level in Badass: In Salvation's Reach, he gives orders to three Space Marines. And gets them to obey.
Ayatani ZweilA wandering Hagian preacher who joins the Ghosts after Honour Guard. Looks after the Ghost's spiritual needs.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Has a very unconventional preaching style, but still manages to do quite well at his job.
- Dying Alone: Gaunt observes that one of Zweil's greatest talents is to avert this trope and comfort the dying and fatally injured.
- Good Shepherd: He's a crotchety old fart that often speaks in riddles, but he's still an effective priest. Though he doesn't have a military rank, he is quite good at influencing the Ghosts to do the right thing, usually by pestering them until they relent.
- Grumpy Old Man: And quite proud of it.
- Loveable Rogue: Was one in the past, and still gets up to an impressive amount of petty mischief for a man of his age and profession.
- Plucky Comic Relief: As he's old, non military, and doesn't really care what others think, he's able to speak his mind without fear. Hilarity Ensues.
- Preacher Man: Of Saint Sabbat.
Eszrah ap NihtOne of the Nihtgane partisans from Gereon, he was given to Gaunt as a bodyguard and has stuck by the other man since.
- Badass Moustache: As part of his Nihtgane heritage.
- The Big Guy: Sort of; he is taller than even Bragg and Corbec but lanky.
- Magnetic Weapons: His reynbow. To elaborate, it looks like a crossbow with long bow arms pulled farther back than the back of the weapon's barrel. These arms have little magnetic balls at their ends which change polarity. Until the trigger is pulled, the polarity pulls the projectiles towards the butt of the gun, but when fired, the magnets hurl the projectile out of the business end of the weapon. It's noted that the weapon itself isn't all that powerful, and the darts it fires don't have much penetrating power, but this is compensated for by an extremely deadly moth poison that will kill a man almost instantly. In Traitor General, a poisonous moth (that the Nihtgane make the poison from) lands on a man, and the mere touch kills the man within a few seconds.
- Noble Savage: The Nihtgane practically have this hat stapled to their heads. Ironic since their tribe's spoken language is actually derived from aristocratic High Gothic.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Honor-bound to go on one should Gaunt be killed. It's called the "daeda waeg", or "corpse road" in Low Gothic.
- The Stoic: He doesn't speak low Gothic very well so it limits his interaction with others.
- Sunglasses at Night: Varl gives him a pair of sunshades in Traitor General and he wears them pretty much constantly.
- Unskilled, but Strong: When using Gaunt's power sword he finds himself outclassed by a Chaos officer who actually knows how to fight with a sword, though said Chaos officer was not wanting for strength either since he was using an Eviscerator.
Commissar Vaynom BlennerA friend of Ibram Gaunt. The two met when they were students at the schola progenium on Ignatius Cardinal.
- A Friend in Need: He has risked himself and his career to help his old friend, Gaunt, even when he may not know everything about the situation.
- Big Fun: Is rather fat, and pretty easygoing for a commissar.
- Blatant Lies: When they were kids in schola, he told Gaunt that his father was a Space Marine, which is patently ridiculous — Space Marines are sterile and usually asexual, and their utter devotion to Emperor and Imperium leaves little time for the procreative act. Besides that they are usually too young to have kids when they start transitioning to their super soldier bodies. When Gaunt re-tells the story to one of the Schola instructors, he is informed that Blenner's parents were actually Administratum clerks who died when the planet they were serving on was virus-bombed to deny it to the Tyranids.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's not as weak as he looks, though he does have some inner turmoil about not being good enough for his job, as his last assignment was with a regiment that never saw combat.
- Kavorka Man: Manages to attract the attentions of Surgeon Ana Curth, though she may have been on the rebound from seeing Gaunt with Maddalena.
Commissar Usain Edur
The founding members of the regiment.
Colonel Colm CorbecThe Ghost's much beloved main CO along with Gaunt.
- A Father to His Men: As much as, if not more so, than Gaunt himself. Since nearly all of the Ghosts lost their fathers during the fall of Tanith, Corbec became this in their eyes.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Is a crack shot with a lasgun and rocket launcher.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Remarkably free of the angst that dogs the other Ghosts, Corbec does have emotions, but he's unshakable in combat situations and his sense of humor didn't die on Tanith which is saying something.
- Colonel Badass: Though Gaunt is in overall command.
- The Big Guy: Overshadowed in this respect by Bragg, he is still tall and hefty.
- Killed Off for Real: Dammit, Cuu...
- Made of Iron: Frequently takes horrible, maiming wounds and nonetheless survives to fight another day. until Heredor.
- Number Two: The second in command of the Ghosts, and one of their most affable, and effective leaders.
Major Elim RawneCorbec's second in command. Hates Gaunt with a vengeance for abandoning Tanith to die.
- Badass: Even Abnett thinks so in the foreword to the First and Only omnibus. Emphasis on bad. He's completely ruthless.
- Combat Pragmatist: All the Ghosts are, but Rawne merits a special mention. At one point in melee combat with the veteran Blood Pact, a young soldier is more horrified by Rawne's butchery of the enemy soldiers than the actual battle.
- Being an ex-criminal before joining Imperial Guard helps.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Became closer to Gaunt after Gereon. Immediately evident when they refer to one another as 'Bram' and 'Eli' with absolutely no implied malice.
- The Lancer: An icy, murderous contrast to Gaunt.
- Majorly Awesome: And willing to do whatever is necessary to survive, anything.
- Sociopathic Hero: Described as one of the more vicious Ghosts.
- Sour Supporter: He will never forgive Gaunt for abandoning Tanith, friend or not.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Starts the series by openly stating that he plans to kill Gaunt for abandoning Tanith to die on numerous occasions, and generally barely manages to tolerate being on the same side as him. However, over the course of the series, specifically after being given the last stand Gaunt took away from them by defending Vervunhive and going on a suicide mission with Gaunt, Rawne takes the role vacated by Corbec.
- The Only One Allowed To Kill You: The reason he cites whenever saving Gaunt's life.
Hlaine "Mad" LarkinThe Ghosts' most accomplished sniper.
- Badass: Unquestionably the best sniper in the First and Only. Not only has he never missed a kill shot, he's ridiculously skilled at predicting where an enemy is likely to be hiding, and placing a hotshot round in that exact location.
- Friendly Sniper: When not in one of his moods.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Bragg. It hits him really hard when the latter dies.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Larkin's eye regularly astounds snipers from other regiments.
- Old Master: One of the oldest Ghosts, described with a face like leather.
- Pals with Jesus: Is actually the first Ghost to receive a visit from Saint Sabbat.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Has great prowess as a sniper, but also has a childhood sickness that causes him to go into convulsions and hallucinate though some of the hallucinations are realer than others.
Scout-sergeant Oan MkollThe Chief of the Ghosts' elite Scouts.
- Badass: Stealthier than a Dark Eldar Mandrake, nearly as good a shot as a sniper, and perceptive enough to notice genetically engineered Chaos hunting beasts.
- Guns Akimbo: Usually uses a lasgun, but on Monthax he uses two laspistols to kill a truly absurd number of Chaos soldiers.
- Old Master: One of the older Ghosts, but MkVenner alone of the scouts can even come close to his skills.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Second to only MkVenner.
- Shout-Out: Named for British folksinger Ewen MacColl, who Abnett knew as a kid.
- Stealth Expert: He's a fething cloaking device on legs, especially after Gereon. If this guy doesn't want you to see or hear him, you won't. In Sabbat Martyr, a Dark Eldar Mandrake thinks he has the drop on Mkoll, and admits that he's impressed by Mkoll's skill... and then promptly realizes that he stabbed a dummy, and Mkoll kills him.You were good, Skarwael conceded. A pleasure to hunt, a pleasure to test my skill against. But you are no match for a mandrake. Don’t move. I will honour you with a slow, delicious death.Skarwael lunged with his sacred knife. The boline stabbed between the railings and speared through lifeless cloth.Surprised, Skarwael dragged the doth through the bars and sniffed it. A cloak, an empty cloak, made of some camouflage material. He turned and saw the rifle aimed at him.“You’re good,” said Mkoll grudgingly.The single las-round hit the mandrake between the eyes.
- Think Nothing of It: When he kills a Chaos Dreadnought using only an overloaded lasgun cell and the local plantlife, the young trooper he's with expressed his amazement. Mkoll tells him to shut up and not to talk about it.
Tolin DordenThe Ghosts' chief medic.
- Actual Pacifist: An impressive feat, considering the sorts of brutal warzones he's almost always working in. However, he does make one exception in order to save Gaunt's life.
- Badass Pacifist: Manages to out-badass several of the fighting characters in a war book.
- Cool Old Guy: Continues serving as the Ghosts' chief medic despite being well past retirement age. As a point of reference: Back on Tanith, he was the doctor who delivered Colm Corbec.
- Doctor's Orders: Has been known to lock horns with Gaunt over his patients.
- Hidden Depths / Chekhov's Skill: In better days on Tanith, Dorden was a talented amateur actor. He uses this to improvise his way out of a tight spot in the first book.
- The Medic: It's fair to say the Tanith Ghosts would be extinct were it not for his medical expertise.
- Not Afraid to Die: He knows he's dying of leukemia, but he doesn't let it hold him back. Sar Af of the White Scars is particularly impressed.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: And willing to stand up for it.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Never hesitates to call Gaunt out if he ever does anything morally questionable. Or even if he's executing his duties as a Commissar well within his rights such as shooting a soldier responsible for the death of his squad due to negligence.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: In 40k, that's saying something. He's lucky it doesn't get him killed.
Brin MiloThe youngest of all the Ghosts and originally just a civilian. Gaunt rescued him from Tanith on a whim and he quickly becomes the Ghosts' 'lucky mascot'.
- Like a Son to Me: Gaunt is implied to think of him like this. He's certainly hurt when Milo leaves the regiment to follow Saint Sabbat.
- Mascot: Especially in the early books. Though later he becomes a competent soldier in his own right.
- Non-Action Guy: At first, being the only civilian rescued from Tanith. Later joins the regiment anyway.
- Pals With Saint Sabbat. Hinted to be as important prophetically as she is.
- Psychic Powers: Suspected of being a psyker in Ghostmaker but manages to prove his innocence. May actually be one if Soric's prediction is true.
- Put on a Bus: Accompanies Saint Sabbat on her journeys at the end of Sabbat Martyr.
"Try Again" Bragg
- A-Team Firing: Hence 'Try Again'. He makes up for it by using More Dakka. It usually works.
- Averted: He always hits on the second try.
- The Big Guy: Perfectly capable of crushing a man to death with just his hands.
- Dumb Muscle: Subverted. Gaunt uses Bragg's deceptive cleverness to flush out a traitor in Ghostmaker.
- Killed Off for Real: Once again, Dammit Cuu...
- Military Moonshiner: Bragg's sacra was considered to be the best. Even moreso after he dies and supplies of it become rarer and rarer.
- More Dakka: His immense size means he can easily carry heavy weapons like autocannons or storm bolters into combat.
Sergeant Ceglan Varl
- Artificial Limbs: An augmented shoulder he received in the first book. It's not a big deal though, since now he can punch heads off.
- Badass: At one point runs through an enemy killzone with Gol Kolea, as in multiple heavy machine guns and at least twenty other shooters. This is done without either taking a scratch, all the while reflecting how insane it is they haven't died yet.
- Deadpan Snarker: At least until Gereon, though he does eventually recover.
- Lovable Rogue: Frequently seen running card games, gambling, and other illegal activity to keep the Ghosts' spirits up.
Simen Macharius "Lucky" "Mach" Bonin
- Born Lucky: His speciality within the Ghosts, Bonin manages to survive things that would have killed unluckier Ghosts many times over.
- Deadpan Snarker: A good sense of humor for a Ghost, until Gereon anyway.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After Gereon, he gets better.
- Made of Iron: His list of injuries he survived would fill a small book on their own, but the most impressive was surviving falling from a floating battleship and getting shot in the head. At separate times of course.
- Stealth Expert: His scouting abilities are surpassed only by Mkoll and MkVenner.
Flame-Trooper Aongus Brostin
- Badass: Has one of the highest kill counts of any of the Ghosts due to his weapon of choice and his knowledge. At one point he sets an entire bridge filled with enemy troops, and himself, on fire and amazingly lives to tell the tale. He survived by covering himself with flame retardant gel. He chose not to tell the scouts this because it was the first time he'd ever seen them surprised at all, much less by something he'd done.
- The Big Guy: Not on the level of Bragg or Corbec, but still one of the heftier Ghosts.
- Catch Phrase: "Say hello to Mister Yellow."
- Kill It with Fire: Comes with the job description. He's extremely good at it.
- Must Have Nicotine: Or whatever is in lho-sticks—Abnett has made it clear that lho is a different and more potent drug than tobacco, although the latter is still the most likely mix with them in the "stick" form, which is weak enough not to affect combat reflexes. At any rate, Brostin constantly smokes when he can, though the drug content isn't the only reason...
- Multiple-Choice Past: Brostin claims that he gained his almost preternatural understanding of fire as a firefighter; others say he served a prison term for arson. Either or both may be true, as the records of his past were destroyed with Tanith. It turns out that he really was a firefighter on Tanith, but that doesn't really disqualify him from having also been a part-time arsonist.
- Pyro Maniac: Treated more seriously than usual. Brostin outright loves fire, has a remarkable understanding of its behavior, considers himself an artist with it, and must struggle not to burn things. His smoking is largely a relatively safe way to indulge this compulsion when no other way presents itself. Fortunately for the Ghosts, his skills with fire also include knowing the best way to put it out.
Sergeant Murtan Feygor
- Deadpan Snarker: Already pretty snarky before a throat wound meant he had to be given a prosthetic voice box. This causes him to speak in a monotone, giving everything he says a sarcastic inflection, making it hard for the others to read him on the few occasions he is actually trying to be serious.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Puts himself in the line of fire to detonate the explosives on a warp gate in His Last Command.
- Killed Off for Real: Facing impossible odds on Anacreon Sextus.
- Number Two: To Rawne.
- Sergeant Rock
- Badass: Clears an entire trench almost single handedly on Aexe, shoots two class A psykers on Heredor, fights a daemon engine hand to hand with an empty rifle. If you want a room full of people dead, you send MkVenner.
- I Know Kung-Fu: He was a master of cwlhwl, the ancient Nalsheen art of hand-to-hand combat.
- Last of His Kind: Even more so than the other Tanith Ghosts. He is the last of the Nalsheen, an ancient order of warriors who dwelt in the nalwood forests. They overthrew the tyrannical rulers of Tanith in the ancient past, and kept a watch on the government even until the 41st millenium. MkVenner himself never truly considered himself Nalsheen because he never finished his training.
- McNinja: The word is never used, but the Nalsheen are experts in stealth and unarmed/primitive combat in a very reminiscent way.
- Neck Snap: When Brostin gets sloppy in his stealth in Traitor General, Ven oh-so-gently puts his palm on Brostin's neck. Brostin takes the hint.
- Never Found the Body: When Gaunt returns to Gereon and contacts the Imperial resistance, he is shown the Mkvenner's grave. However, he also learns that it's empty, since Mkvenner's remains were not found after the battle in which he supposedly died. Later on, when the Ghosts move to Untill, he suddenly appears to Eszrah, and then helps to liberate resistance members from the hands of the Inquisition.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: The only real rival to Mkoll. Especially on Gereon where he leads the resistance in Gaunt's absence.
Captain Flyn Meryn
- Corrupt the Cutie: When he joined the Ghosts he was a fresh-faced and confident young man, earning the rank of corporal and even compliments from Colonel Corbec. Unfortunately, he gravitated to Major Rawne's negative influence and started to style himself as Rawne's protege. After Rawne leaves for Gereon, Meryn started trying to assert himself as essentially the new Rawne (even managing to start a relationship with Jessi Banda, Rawne's main squeeze), but he lacked Rawne's scruples and skill as a leader.
- Dirty Coward: Events in Salvation's Reach show that he has become this. He has a shot at Sirkle when the assassin is using Yoncy as a human shield, but doesn't take it, and near the end of the operation at Salvation's Reach, he gets in cover with his squad and doesn't budge. When the order to return to this ship is given, he just up and runs with his squad instead of falling back in an orderly manner.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Due to his one-sided grudge against Gaunt, he just doesn't get the other man and thinks Gaunt's all about ceremony and favour. He could not be further from the truth.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: As far back as Blood Pact, Rawne's inner circle tends to treat Meryn with disdain. He has some status with them on account of his skill, but his unreliability and a lack of scruples that makes even Rawne look clean mean none of the others really trust him with their backs, and hence, he's treated for the most part with disdain.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In The Guns of Tanith, Meryn kills several unarmed and innocent civilians to keep the Ghosts infiltrating Ouranberg from being discovered.
- Overranked Soldier: Is promoted to Captain during the Tanith First's time as part of the Belladon 81st. Some of the Ghosts think him unworthy of his new rank. Turns out they were right, what with his blatant cowardice, and the fact that he's making money off of dead troopers by submitting false paperwork from non-existent Guard wives.
Captain Dohon "Shoggy" Domor
- Bomb Disposal: His initial role with the Tanith was as a minesweeper. He is later promoted to sergeant and then captain, but he remains the best at dealing with explosives.
- Determinator: Carried on with his mine sweeping duties after his...
- Eye Scream: Loses his eyes in the action on Menazoid Epsilon. Which leads to him getting...
- Electronic Eyes: They aren't the super-advanced and expensive ones that Gaunt ends up with. They give him a bug-eyed appearance, leading to his eventual nickname of "Shoggy", referring to the Tanith tree frog.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Compared to the other Ghosts. His interest in engineering ends up saving the day in Only In Death.
Trooper Rhen Merrt
- The Alcoholic / The Gambling Addict: After losing his jaw, and then his sniper's lanyard, he falls into a deep depression which he tries to drown in alcohol and gambling. Is eventually dragged out of it by Hark and Ludd.
- Artificial Limbs: He is given an augmetic jaw after an injury in Ghostmaker. It apparently isn't a very good one either, as it occasionally malfunctions and causes Merrt to twitch and stutter. After the injury, he lost his marksman status because of a sudden and inexplicable dip in his shooting ability. Sar Af of the White Scars watches him shoot and sees that every time he squeezes the trigger, his jaw twitches, throwing off his aim. Sar Af then shows him a way to stop the twitching: injecting a numbing agent next to the implant. It makes him drool and makes it hard to talk, but it also keeps his augmetic jaw from moving so he can shoot as well as he used to.
- Chekhov's Gunman- Appears VERY briefly in the first book, and just long enough in the second to lose his jaw thanks to a las round. He returns later in the series to play a more prominent role until his death.
- Cold Sniper- In the beginning, until he loses his jaw in combat. His replacement prosthetic reduces his accuracy.
- Heroic Sacrifice/Killed Off for Real: Dies in Salvation's Reach, along with Dorden, but in the process takes out a number of enemies as well.
- Redemption Quest: His attempt to re-master sniping. His quest proved futile until the intervention of the White Scar Space Marine, Sar Af.
- Training from Hell: Goes through R.I.P.note training with Dalin Criid. It isn't pleasant.
Sergeant Dermon Caffran
- A Simple Plan: The title of the chapter dedicated to him in Ghostmaker. The 'plan' is actually a pure Indy Ploy, and it works without anyone realizing it until well afterwards.
- Cruel Mercy: His squad encounters and defeats a Khornate Chaos cult, which worships death. As a reward, he gets to execute the cult leader personally - but refuses, saying that since the cultist longs for death, keeping him alive is the real way to punish him. Gaunt agrees.
- Killed Off for Real: In the retaking of Gereon.
- Nice Guy: An excellent soldier and a truly decent human being. He gives his rations to Tona, who when he first met was a dirty scavenger trying to survive a Hive war, and the child she was caring for just because he could.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He's killed by a child with a lasgun because he chose to try and get the gun away from him rather than just kill him.
- Weapon of Choice: Is most commonly described using either a rocket launcher or lasgun.
Major Gol KoleaA miner from Vervunhive who helped to organised the resistance in the chaos-held parts of the city. Joins the Ghosts after Vervunhive is abandoned, and is seen as a hero by the ex-hivers in the regiment.
- An Axe to Grind: During the attack on his home of Vervunhive, he switched between using a rifle and his mining axe-rake with ease.
- The Big Guy: While not as big as Bragg, he's noted to be taller than most other characters, and was able to kill Chaos soldiers with a single hit from his axe-rake.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Can't bring himself to tell his children he is still alive, despite the urgings of pretty much everybody.
- Easy Amnesia: Loses all personal memories but can still walk/talk/pull a trigger.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Gets shot in the head after rescuing Tona Criid in Guns of Tanith. He survives, but loses all of his memories and most of his personality. Until Sabbat Martyr.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Combined with Unstoppable Rage. When he sees Baskevyl get killed in Salvation's Reach he is overcome with anger and charges the attacking Sons of Sek, with many Ghosts following him. Miraculously, he survives, the Sons are forced to retreat for the moment, and it turns out Baskevyl wasn't dead, it was the soldier standing next to him.
Captain Ban Daur
- An Officer and a Gentleman: Noted to be fair and rule-abiding. Which is why Rawne and co. try to convince him to join in on their scamming of Zolunder's gambling den, because no one would ever suspect him of participating in such activities.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Does this to Gaunt in The Guns of Tanith, accusing him of being prejudiced in favour of the Tanith elements of the Ghosts over the Verghasts, evidenced by the fact Gaunt pulled out all the stops to get Caffran off a murder charge, but is perfectly happy to leave Cuu to face a firing squad for the same crime, despite circumstantial evidence suggesting he might be innocent. Gaunt reluctantly gets Cuu off the murder charge as a result to prove there is no favouritism amongst the regiment.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Considering how many Ghosts fething Lijah Cuu went on to murder, Daur strong-arming Gaunt into saving him from a firing squad for committing rape and murder is definitely this.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: He's not a bad officer, and is respected by both the men and the upper ranks as a reliable and trustworthy leader, but he doesn't command the sheer devotion given to Corbec, Soric or Kolea.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Does this to Elodie in Blood Pact, after she rips into him for saying he was apparently willing to shoot her in order to take down a gangster holding her hostage. Daur tries to explain that he was merely calling the villain's bluff, but quickly realises she's too angry and in shock to listen, so decides kissing her is a far better way to defend himself.
- Wartime Wedding: He marries Elodie, whom he met in Blood Pact, just before the Salvation's Reach mission. He's wounded but he makes it back to her.
Sergeant Agun SoricWalking Spoiler ahead!A one-eyed Vervunhive miner who keeps the men of his work shift organized despite the chaos, and uses them to help the war effort and the other refugees. Joins the Ghosts after Vervunhive is abandoned. He is eventually revealed to be a Psyker and is taken by the Black Ships during the events of Sabbat Martyr. Returns to play an important part in Only in Death, where he dies.
- Blind Seer: A semi-example, since his psychic powers manifest after losing one of his eyes.
- Combat Clairvoyance: His psychic powers generally manifest by giving him helpful information mid-battle. He also effectively gives several of the other Ghosts this during Only in Death.
- Eye Scream: Lost one of his eyes at the start of the Zoican War when his factory is shelled, in Necropolis.
- Eyepatch of Power: Averted; his missing eye is never replaced or covered.
- Mercy Kill: Hark winds up giving him one in Only in Death.
- Put On A Black Ship
- The Bus Came Back: Winds up playing an important role in Only in Death, thought the reader only finds out about it after The Reveal. More disturbing when one realizes that Gaunt was hearing screams in his head (along with premonitions among his squad) as back as the Gereon mission. Soric was in agony for a long time.
Sergeant Tona CriidAn ex-hive ganger from Vervunhive who joins up with the Ghosts after Necropolis. Later proves herself to be a particularly badass Action Girl.
- Action Girl: Unquestionably the best overall female soldier in the regiment, and the highest ranking.
- Battle Couple: With Caffran.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted. She gets a rather nasty facial scar after Gereon and grows her hair down in order to hide it.
- Mama Bear: Adopts two children she presumed to be war orphans during the battle in Vervunhive, and spends much of the war taking care of them.
- Also, when one of her adopted children grows up and joins the Guard, she offers to kill the Drill Sergeant Nasty in charge of his training. It's not entirely clear if the offer was earnest or not.
- The Squadette: Averted; there are many females in the First and Only, and she leads the squad she's assigned to eventually.
- Sweet Tooth: Starts to develop one when the regiment is spending a long stretch away from the front on Balhaut. She happened across a bakery while in town and started remembering the times when she was a dirt-poor hive kid and never being able to afford any treats. Now that she's a sergeant in the Guard with a metric ton of back pay coming in, she can walk in and buy whatever she wants, which leads to a near-obsession with taking long runs so she can have some sweets but avoid gaining weight.
Jessi BandaA Verghastite marksman.
- Distaff Counterpart: Often acts like a female version of Rawne.
- Cold Sniper: Noticeably hardens over the years.
- Friendly Sniper: At first.
- Jerkass: On Jago especially, where she drinks on duty, shoots her mouth off to Larkin, and nearly gets herself and others killed when her aim is off during a Blood Pact assault.
- Lady Macbeth: She's described as a woman who will pursue a relationship with a powerful man if it benefits her, first Rawne and then Meryn after his promotion. When Rawne returns from Gereon, she rips into Meryn that if he lets Rawne reassert his authority, he's essentially useless to her.
Nessa BourahLike Banda, another Verghastite sniper, and a former member of the Scratch Companies during the Siege of Vervunhive.
- Action Girl: Big time.
- Disability Superpower: She's deaf as a result of Chaos artillery fire at Vervunhive, yet one of the regiment's best snipers.
- Friendly Sniper: Quite cheery and easy going consider how much she's endured.
- Handicapped Badass: Having only four working senses does not make her any less awesome.
- Ladyof War: Elegant and precise.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Banda's red.
- Sniper Duel: Engages in one during the events of Sabbat Martyr, saving the Saint's life in the process.
Lijah CuuA decidedly unpleasant ex-hive ganger who joins the Ghosts after the defense of Vervunhive. Eventually becomes a walking, talking Diabolus ex Machina.
- Axe Crazy: To enemies and friends.
- Badass: Before the depths of his twisted nature were revealed, Lijah was an exceptional soldier due to his experience fighting in gang wars on Vervunhive.
- Bait the Dog: From the very moment he was introduced in Honour Guard it was obvious that Cuu was a highly unpleasant individual. However, he is nonetheless an effective soldier with a few humourous moments. Then in Guns of Tanith he rapes and murders a civilian woman. Right after the liberation of the city. After that, all bets were off.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Manages to kill Bragg, Muril and Corbec, and almost killed Gaunt and Saint Sabbat before Larkin finally took him down.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a scar running down the middle of his face.
- In the Back: His favourite tactic.
- Karma Houdini: Nearly brought to justice in Guns of Tanith when evidence implicates him in a murder-rape. Then Gaunt, thinking him innocent, steps in and gets him off. He also nearly gets brought to justice in Straight Silver, but again escapes. In Sabbat Martyr, the reveal of his guilt comes purely as a result of outside interference, rather than any efforts of the Ghosts. His death itself is a clean kill-shot, where he had earnt himself a far more unpleasant end.
- Possibly averted. He dies under the control of Chaos, so...eternity of torment? Maybe?
- As an interesting side-note, Abnett stated in the introduction to the second omnibus edition that he believes one of the main reasons Straight Silver is often considered the weakest book in the series is because of this. After the events of Guns Of Tanith, everyone wanted Cuu dead.
- Kick the Dog: His favourite hobby.
- Killed Off for Real: By Larkin on Herodor.
- Obviously Evil: Pretty much every character who meets Cuu comments that he's a nasty piece of work. And then he is turned into a Chaos Meat-Puppet.
- Shaped Like Itself: His Catch Phrase is saying that something is "X as X", such as "Sure as sure" or "Nice as nice."
- Sociopathic Soldier: In spades.
- Token Evil Teammate: So evil.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Is a very good marksman, at least once taking successful shots that a witnessing Larkin admits he wouldn't be confident of. The insane part... is obvious.
- Beware the Nice Ones: In desperation on Gereon, she helps kill a daemonic wirewolf by dousing it with holy water from a Shrine World.
- Hello, Nurse!: Regarded in-universe as being quite attractive.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: Salvation's Reach implies that she's been attracted to Gaunt for quite a while. She doesn't take it well when she inadvertently discovers he's having an affair with Maddelana.
- The Medic: The most skilled of the Ghosts in medicine besides Dorden.
- Must Have Nicotine: The stresses of losing her home and military life drive Curth back to lho-sticks after quitting years before.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs / First-Name Basis: Her first meeting with Dorden had her snapping that she was Surgeon Curth. At the end of that novel, she tells him that after all that, he may call her Ana.
- Nothing but Skin and Bones: Gaunt notices this after her return from the Gereon mission, where Curth had suffered many hardships while fighting the Chaos occupational forces. He still finds her attractive, though.
Dalin CriidA Vervunhive war-orphan (though actually the biological child of Gol Kolea) adopted by Tona Criid. Once he reaches adulthood, he chooses to join the Ghosts.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Tends to see his parents as this once he joins the Guard, since they don't treat him like an ordinary soldier.
- To add to that, several other Ghosts played some role in his rearing, and none of them can quite see him as just another soldier.
- Happily Adopted: Good parenting means Dalin and his sister have little leftover trauma from their childhood.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Occasionally resents the fact that many of the Ghosts don't treat him like any other ordinary soldier.
- Mascot: Similar to Milo, his status as the youngest member of the Ghosts, as well as being the first second-generation Ghost, makes many of the troopers see him as this.
- Nepotism: Fears this is the reason behind his Field Promotion to Meryn's adjutant. It's not entirely clear if this was the case or not, since Meryn does point out that Dalin is well-suited to the position, even if he is relatively young, but it is still possible that who his parents are played some role in Meryn's decision.
- New Meat: Currently the youngest member of the Ghosts proper, although not the greenest now that Felyx Chass has joined.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Both of his parents were quite respected members of the Ghosts, leaving Dalin feeling like he has a big legacy to live up to.
- Take Up My Sword / Legacy Character: Officially joins the Ghosts shortly after the death of his adoptive father, Caffran. Not an entirely straight example, since he was planning to join the Ghosts anyway.
Colonel Lucien WilderA native of Belladon, placed in command of the Ghosts during Gaunt's time on Gereon. He has a younger brother, Captain Jakub Wilder, whose unit finally manages to catch up with the Ghosts in Salvation's Reach.
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Overshadowed by Awesome: He feels this way after Gaunt returns. Gaunt even acknowledges during 'Blood Pact' that Wilder was a good officer and a good man that he wished he'd known better.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Puts up with an awful lot from the Gereon survivors, and is hugely respected by the rank and file Ghosts for holding them together after Gaunt was presumed dead.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Like many 40k heroes.
Major Braden Baskevyl
- Fire-Forged Friends: By Blood Pact, he and Kolea are this — during the lockdown they engage in random chitchat that they know just expresses their friendship.
- Like You Would Really Do It: Seemed to die a gory death in Salvation's Reach: in actuality it was a luckless Red Shirt mistaken for him.
- The Watson: Since he only became part of the Ghosts just before His Last Command, he's sometimes a target of useful exposition.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Develops a sudden phobia on Jajo, but eventually he discovers that his 'terrible visions' are attempts to tell him something.
Scout Trooper Wes MaggsA Belladon scout.
- Deadpan Snarker: He talks too much, and is fairly light-hearted in comparison to the badly-jaded Tanith.
- Sanity Slippage: Works in his favor during 'Blood Pact.' The Blood Pact witch had a sample of his blood and tried to use him to kill Mabbon, which failed...but during her initial contact, she associated herself with the deep trauma he'd sustained from Agun Soric's psychic pain. When she attempts a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after her brother's death, Maggs riddles her with his entire lasgun charge.
- Stealth Expert: One of the best Belladon scouts, but nowhere near as good as Mkoll. Maggs realizes this and tries to learn as much as he can from him.
Saint SabbatThe Imperial Saint after whom the Sabbat Worlds are named. Six thousand years ago she was a humble peasant girl on Hagia who received a vision from the Emperor, inspiring her to set off on a journey to bring the systems around her under Imperial control. After the Sabbat Worlds are overrun by Chaos in the 41st Millenium, Saint Sabbat returns to aid the imperials in their hour of need.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Her sword is sharp enough to effortlessly sever the barrel of a Baneblade superheavy tank, and pierce through its armor plating to kill the driver.
- A God Am I: Posesses a fragment of the Emperor's power. She uses it to great effect.
- Arc Number: The number nine is very symbolic, since it was the number of wounds suffered by the Saint when she was martyred six thousand years ago.
- Attack Drone: She has nine armed servoskulls that follow her into combat. Considering how vast the armies of Chaos are, it lets her focus her attention on true threats.
- Big Good: So much so that her death would almost assuredly result in the collapse of the entire Crusade.
- Battle Aura: A passive one, it improves the morale of any loyal, non-Chaotic human. Combined with her powers of inspiration it's enough to cause even terrified civilians to pick up a weapon and fight for their world.
- Body Surf: Implied. Appeared to have been reincarnated in a girl named Sabbatine, whose random death triggered a sudden drop in morale for the Imperial forces. Then became incarnated in Sanian's body.
- Chosen One: An odd variant. In Sabbat Martyr, Sanian claims to be the Saint reincarnated, but Gaunt realises that she is just being used by Lugo in an attempt to regain his prestige. After the death of the girl Sabbatine however it becomes apparent that she really is the Chosen One. Even Gaunt comments on how weird it was.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Takes on and effortlessly defeats a Baneblade superheavy tank by herself.
- Expy: Of Joan of Arc. Slightly less unfortunate than her model, dying (the first time) heroically towards the end of a highly successful crusade, rather than being executed by her nominal co-religionists.
- In Its Hour of Need: For the Crusade itself.
- King in the Mountain: The reincarnation of Saint Sabbat is a major plot point in the series, and her return signals the end of the second major story arc with the fall of the Chaos Fortress Worlds.
- Lady of War: Enough that her six-thousand year old previous incarnation had an order of Battle Sisters named after her. In combat she's inhumanly precise.
- One-Man Army: Subverted, whilst the Saint herself is an order of magnitude more powerful than regular soldiers, she is still vulnerable to enemy fire. Half of Sabbat Martyr is about protecting her from various assassins.
- Super Speed: Her ace in the hole; Sabbat is unnaturally fast, bordering on a Flash Step. Despite that, she's not bullet proof.
- Super Strength: Limited, but still ridiculous for a biologically human girl. When dueling Enok Innokenti, her sword blows cause shockwaves that throw soldiers around like rag dolls.
Lord Militant General Hechtor DravereThe general in command of retaking Fortis Binary in First & Only. Actually much more cunning than he seems.
- Big Bad: Of First and Only.
- General Failure: His incompetence is refered to by several characters.
- The Neidermeyer
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Despite his bad battlefield record he is far more cunning than he seems.
- The Starscream: Plans to use the STC on Menazoid Epsilon to manufacture an army of Iron Men, kill Macaroth with them and then take over the entire Crusade and possibly the Imperium itself.
- We Have Reserves: Strategy's not working? Throw more men into the meat grinder! In his first appearance in First and Only he even refers to the men dying in the trenches during an attack as ants. This even extends to non-military matters. He has a man go and get more caffeine (40K's version of coffee) because the nearly full decanter is "stale". The guy he tells this to waits to leave the room before spitting in disgust at the man.
Lord Militant General Bathol Van VoytzThe general who oversaw the Ghost's actions on Phantine, as well as in many other theatres afterwards. Notable in that he actually gives the Ghosts the respect they deserve.
- An Officer and a Gentleman: An actual gentleman, which is rare in 40k. But...
- Beware the Nice Ones: Gaunt very nearly forces Voytz's hand at one point by breaking protocol and apparently threatens Voytz after Gereon. It nearly gets him executed.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: One of the only generals who actually appreciates the Ghosts' talents and sees them for the assets that they are.
Lord Militant General Noches SturmAnother of the generals serving under Warmaster Macaroth. Sturm sees the Ghosts as savages and barbarians. Needless to say, he and Gaunt do not get along well.
- Amnesiac Dissonance
- Blue Blood: Most of the soldiers under his command are drawn from planetary nobility such as the Volpone Bluebloods.
- Dirty Coward: At Vervunhive.
- Kick the Dog: Calling down an artillery strike on the Ghost's position out of spite when they captured the objective before his own men.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction in Traitor General when he realises how close he came to revealing everything he knew to Chaos.
- The Neidermeyer
- Redemption Equals Death: Remembering his earlier cowardice, and how much he enjoyed helping the forces of Chaos as a traitor, he finally takes Gaunt up on his offer of a pistol for suicide.
- Upper-Class Twit: Like many of the other Blue Blood Imperial Guard forces he thinks of the Ghosts as "barbarians" and actually thinks he's doing Macaroth a favor by killing them all.
- We Have Reserves: One of his first actions in-series is to order an artillery strike right on top of the Ghost's assault line. The kicker? The Ghosts had already captured the location and Sturm knew it.
- You Are The Translated Foreign Word: While a prisoner of the Archenemy on Gereon, he is only referred to as "pheguth", which essentially means "traitor".
Lord Militant General CybonA general who was one of Warmaster Slaydo's most trusted subordinates. Described as a conqueror of worlds, Cybon has since fallen out of the spotlight since Macaroth took over.
Warmaster SlaydoThe previous Warmaster and the man who began the first push to reclaim the Sabbat Worlds from the forces of Chaos. Killed in action on Balhaut.
- A Father to His Men: Gaunt specifically cites this as a reason why he was better than his replacement, since Slaydo actually cared about his officers and listened to them when they had concerns.
- Badass Grandpa: Always described as being very old whenever Gaunt reminisces about him. He was about 150 when he started the Sabbat Worlds Crusade and was in his 160s when he died.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: He dies fighting a Chaos Warlord who was rapidly mutating in single combat. After being shot.
- Four-Star Badass
- The Mentor: To Gaunt, along with Oktar. Gaunt inherited his devotion to Saint Sabbat from him.
- Religious Bruiser: He isn't a priest or anything, but he is totally devoted to Saint Sabbat and considers it the greatest honor of his life to be able to fight for her worlds.
- Posthumous Character: Died in combat just before the beginning of the series. Though gets a good bit of attention in Regicide of the Sabbat's World Anthology.
Warmaster MacarothThe second Warmaster who takes control of the Crusade after Slaydo's death. Unfortunately does not hold Gaunt in nearly the same regard as his predecessor.
- Badass: Macaroth is responsible for the overall success of the Sabbat World's Crusade. More than any of the accomplishments of the Ghosts in fact. In the Imperial Histories of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, Gaunt is barely a footnote.
- Da Chief: He exists primarily so that Gaunt can rage at the so called stupidity of his large scale strategies and how much suffering they cause to the historically neglected second front. The second front is important, but it is called the second front for a reason.
- Expy: Of Napoleon. Specifically, he is a bold and brilliant commander who is not afraid to take risks. He's greatly criticized by the book's protagonists because they're not physically at the war's even more intense primary front.
- General Failure: How Macaroth appears to Gaunt. Whilst Macaroth is not incompetent per se, the preface quotes before each book underlining the status of the Crusade always mention how he constantly overstretches his forces and leaves massive gaps in his space fleet's defensive lines, allowing Chaos forces to slip through and pillage retaken worlds, and Tanith.
- Hero of Another Story. Without Macaroth's leadership after Balhaut, the entire Crusade would have failed, making all of the Ghosts' sacrifices pointless, and without his relentless attacks, the Sabbat World Crusade would have lasted hundreds of years instead of decades. We never hear, at all, about the battles Macaroth led and won such as Morland: a Chaos held fortress world that saw more blood shed than all of the battles the Ghosts were involved in combined.
- Overranked Soldier: Was quite young to be named Warmaster. Averted in that he is not a back stabbing, aristocratic idiot like many of the Generals in the Crusade.
- You Are in Command Now: To Slaydo.
Felyx ChassThe son of Lady Merity Chass of Vervunhive, growth accelerated, and sent to the front lines to meet the famous hero of Vervunhive. He's also Gaunt's son.
- Commonality Connection: Is assigned Dalin Criid to show him the ropes; partly because they are both (roughly) the same age but they also have similar experience of absent families.
- Dysfunctional Family: A mild example. His mother had him growth accelerated so he could assume his hereditary title sooner but also shipped him off to a dangerous warzone to meet his completely unaware father and get some life experience. Said father is far from thrilled about finding out he has a son just as they are about to launch an incredibly dangerous cover mission. At the same time, Feylx's only companion for much of this is his lifeward Maddalena, a bodyguard / servant, who had her face engineered to resemble Lady Merity Chass. If that wasn't weird enough, Gaunt slept with her.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Played with. He knows that as the son of the commanding officer (and famous war hero) he would never be treated normally by the rest of the regiment. Even so, he still asks to be treated like another one of the troops, undergoing the same training regimen as them.
- Luke, You Are My Father: His relationship with Gaunt is complex, having been raised all his life being told how great his father is without ever having met him. Gaunt, likewise had absolutely no idea. Felyx is aware of how awkward the revelation is for both of them.
- Older Than They Look: Literally. Due to a combination of warp travel time dilation and growth acceleration, he looks like a teenager but is actually much younger.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Considering his father is a famous war hero (and the commanding officer of the regiment), he knows that he a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, everyone back home in Vervunhive is expecting this too.
The Adeptus AstartesThe following tropes apply to all of the three Marines seconded to the Tanith First.
- Badass: They're Astartes. Of course they're badass.
- BFG Each of them carry bolters, the signature firearm of the Astartes, and so heavy the average human has trouble just picking one up, let alone aiming and firing it.
- Jerk Ass: They're incredibly blunt and unfriendly because they don't often interact with regular humans. As Gaunt says, they operate at a higher level.
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: When engaged aboard Salvation's Reach, they carried boarding shields which served well to deflect the flechette rounds of the Loxatl.
- One-Man Army: The fact that there are three of them coming tells the Ghosts that this mission is going to be hell. Eadwine, Holofurnace, and Sar Af kill nearly three hundred Loxatl Xenos mercenaries and are so terrifying, they force archenemy troops to run into Tanith fire zones.
- Power Armor: Par for the course with the Astartes. Each of the three Marines brings two suits: A standard Imperator Mark suit and a Mark III "Iron" suit for boarding actions.
- Pro Human Trans Human: In most of Abnett's works that feature Space Marines, it's emphasized that the Space Marines are humanity's greatest champions despite not truly being human themselves. Mercure mentions that they operate on a totally different level from the Imperial Guard, facing challenges the Guard can scarcely attempt, even though their goals (the survival of the Imperium and the human race) are the same.
- Super Soldier: So super that they'd rather be on the Crusade's primary front where the real action is, but they know the Salvation's Reach mission is important as well.
Brother-Sergeant Eadwine, of the Silver GuardOne of three Space Marines ceded to Gaunt's strike force in Salvation's Reach.
- Creepy Monotone: Has a throat mounted augmetic which renders his voice as a monotone rasp.
- The Leader: Because the three Astartes all practice different styles of combat and strategy, he was given direct command.
- Sword and Gun: When boarding he carried a boltgun, boarding shield and Chainsword.
Brother Sar Af, of the White ScarsOne of three Space Marines ceded to Gaunt's strike force in Salvation's Reach.
- The Lancer: Acted as this to Eadwine.
- The Gunslinger: Unlike the other two Astartes accompanying the Ghosts, he only carries a bolter.
- The Mentor: Acts as this to Merrt, assisting him in overcoming his inability to shoot straight. Also shows the closest thing to respect to the Guard, regarding both Ezra and Mkoll as great scouts, and is impressed by Dorden's lack of fear regarding his fatal cancer.
Brother Kater Holofurnace, of the Iron SnakesThe last of the three Space Marines ceded to Gaunt's strike force in Salvation's Reach.
- Blade on a Stick: Wields a power halberd to devastating effect.
- Continuity Nod: His chapter appears in Brothers of the Snake, which remains Abnett's only novel purely about Space Marines.
- Deadpan Snarker: Of the three Astartes, he is the most irreverent, claiming that he is old enough to remember some of the Imperium's glory, but is too young to care. He also wonders why the Guard are unable to keep up with the three of them, wondering if they're all dead.
- Offhand Backhand: During the assault on Salvation's Reach, a loxatl attempts to leap on him from behind, and Holofurnace just turns slightly and gives it a facefull of boarding shield.
- Pet the Dog: After the mission is over, a ceremony is held to honor those who fought, many posthumously, and as Gaunt begins to read off the list of names, the usually smug, irreverent Holofurnace raises his halberd in salute to the fallen.
Archon NadzybarChaos overlord who commanded the resistance against the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. Killed by the Imperials in a raging battle on Balhaut, the same battle where Slaydo was killed. His death left a power vacuum, which was eventually filled by Urlock Gaur.
- Decapitated Army: Nadzybar's death causes this, as the subordinate warlords under his command either pull back to secure territory, or begin fighting amongst themselves to fill the power vaccuum left by his death.
- Eldritch Abomination: Likely due to the influence of Chaos. He is described in appearance as having been "a hunched, mutated figure whose limbs were so twisted as to appear insectile. His head had three faces, none of which had eyes in their sockets".
- Long Dead Badass: Has been dead for a long time before the start of the novels.
- Taking You with Me: Was killed by Warmaster Slaydo on Balhaut, but fatally injured his Imperial counterpart in that final battle.
Archon Urlock GaurOverlord and supreme commander of the Chaos forces in the Sabbat Worlds, having risen to the top of the heap after Balhaut. Commands the notorious and extremely deadly Blood Pact, the most competent of the Chaos troops. He has yet to face the Ghosts directly, although his Blood Pact has; mostly, his cadres form the "main fronts" where Macaroth's elite fights. Commands from the the "fortress world" Morlond, until it is taken by Imperial forces in Sabbat Martyr.
- Elite Mooks: The Blood Pact.
- Evil Counterpart: The Blood Pact is explicitly patterned on the Imperial Guard, making them much more effective than typical Chaos rabble.
- Greater Scope Villain: In overall command, and therefore above all the Chaos warlords and generals the Ghosts have yet encountered.
- Orcus on His Throne: The vast majority of Gaunt's Ghosts has little to do with the war's primary front, meaning the most powerful Chaos warlord has done very little witnessed by the audience.
- Powered Armor: While never described in detail, it is known that he wears a set and that the edges of its plates are jagged and sharp. The Blood Pact take their name from an initiation ritual where they cut their hands on his armor to seal their devotion to him and each other as fraternal warriors.
Enok InnokentiA Chaos general and one of Gaur's lieutenants, Innokenti was one of many Chaos commanders sent to flank the main Imperial advance. His forces attacked the Khan Group, home to many of the forge worlds responsible for Imperial resupply. His group laid siege to the world of Herodor in Sabbat Martyr due to rumors that Saint Sabbat had been reincarnated on that world. He dies in combat against Sabbat herself, at the end of Sabbat Martyr.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Par for course with Chaos. It isn't enough to save him.
- Big Bad: Of Sabbat Martyr.
- Decapitated Army: Both used and averted. His army doesn't surrender when Sabbat cuts his head off, but they are enormously demoralized, while the Imperials go into Righteous Fury Overdrive. In the end, they're hunted down and annihilated.
- Flunky Boss: Sends out assassins to try to kill Saint Sabbat before facing her in a duel.
Anakwanar SekChaos general and leader of the Sons of Sek, another faction of Archon Gaur's army. Becomes the senior Chaos leader on the secondary flank when Enok Innokenti is KIA. Currently at large after losing several planets to the Ghosts.
- Big Bad: Of most of The Lost, especially Traitor General and The Armour of Contempt.
- Dragon with an Agenda: While he serves Gaur, it is noted that Sek feels the title of Archon should have come to him after Nadzybar's death, and wants to supplant his master.
- The Dreaded: To The Imperium, though Gaur is in overall control of the Chaos forces in the Sabbat World, it's felt that Sek is a far more tactically capable and strategically dangerous enemy than his master, and that if Sek were to succeed in supplanting Gaur, it would prove an extreme danger to the success of the Imperial crusade.
- Elite Mooks: The Sons of Sek are modeled after the Blood Pact, and as equally ruthlessly efficient.
- The Evil Genius: Feared as Chaos's most capable strategist within the Sabbat Worlds, with the possible and posthumous exception of Heritor Asphodel.
- The Starscream: Intends to train up his elite Sons of Sek, then kill Archon Gaur and take over. His scheme may or may not account for the bit where they're both at war with the Imperium.
Nokad the BlightedOne of the Chaos warlords who survived Balhaut, Nokad the Blighted, aka Nokad the Smiling, is a Nurgle devotee and minor thorn in the side of the Crusade armies. He believes in leading from the front and is skilled at rallying his armies. Killed in action on Bucephalon, courtesy of a headshot from "Mad" Larkin.
- Boom, Headshot: Dies to one of these.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Possibly. The bulk of the Chaos troops and leaders throughout the series seem to be Khornate, while Nokad appears to follow Nurgle; it's rare that Chaos troops following different patrons get along.
- Khorne's arch-rival in the Chaos pantheon is Slaanesh (martial prowess and blood-spilling versus sadistic hedonism and prolonged torture). While none of the Chaos gods can stand each other, their followers, if not diametrically opposed to one another, will on rare occasions team up to battle a common foe. So it's possible, but certainly not the norm.
- Keystone Army: Without their beloved leader, his army pretty much falls apart, and the Ghosts are able to destroy them.
Sholen SkaraAnother Balhaut survivor, Sholen Skara was a notorious Khornate death-worshiper, thought to have ritually slaughtered a billion Balhauteans in camps. His bloodlust was so all-consuming that he would even kill his own troops rather than have them captured or defeated by the Imperium. Captured by the Ghosts and handed over to the Inquisition during Ghostmaker, when a forward team blows up a chunk of his base, panicking him into sacrificing his own men.
- Blood Knight: To be expected from a follower of Khorne, though Skara is said to be so obsessed with death, regardless of whether it is of his forces or his enemies (as any death is an offering to Khorne) to the point that he will order his own forces to commit mass suicide rather than be captured.
- Cruel Mercy: Gaunt offers Caffran, the one responsible for the victory over Skara, the honour of executing him. Caffran, however, recognizes that Skara is so obsessed with death that killing him would be giving the warlord what he wants, urges them to keep him alive, knowing that it would be a far more fitting punishment.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Handed over to the Inquisition after his capture.
Pater SinA prominent Chaos warlord and powerful psyker, Pater Sin led a Chaos force to capture the shrineworld of Hagia, birthplace of the Saint. He escaped when Imperial forces, including the Ghosts, recaptured Hagia, although his status among the Chaos commanders was reduced dramatically due to his failure and the loss of most of his troops. Reappears in Sabbat Martyr as one of the assassins tasked with killing the Saint, and is killed by Corbec.
- And This Is For...: Corbec kills Sin in revenge for the death of Yael, a Tanith trooper tortured to death by Sin and his lackies on Hagia while Corbec was helpless to stop them.
- Creepy Child: In Sabbat Martyr, he has twin psyker-children who he uses to amplify his powers.
- Demoted to Extra: He appears to be kicked downstairs after serving as the Big Bad in Honour Guard; in Sabbat Martyr he's merely a hired gun for another warlord, albeit a very powerful one.
Sagittar SlaithCommander of the Blood Pact forces on the captured world of Phantine, Slaith was a charistmatic warlord and Khornate devotee whose abilities strained the Imperial efforts to reconquer the world, prompting the Imperial Crusade to attempt to assassinate him to deal a crushing blow to enemy morale. After surviving several attempts by Ghost snipers to kill him, Slaith perishes when a bomb planted by Mkoll detonates inside his command centre.
- And I Must Scream: The last thing Slaith has time to do before the bomb that kills him detonates is to scream with rage.
- Bald of Evil
- Big "NO!": Shouts one when he sees the bomb Mkoll planted in his command centre.
- Blood Knight: To be expected from a Khorne worshipper.
- Blood Magic: In the prelude to the battle for the city of Ouranberg, Slaith intends to symbolically renew his pact to Urlock Gaur. The ritual involves sacrificing captured Imperial prisoners and using their blood to fill an enormous brass cauldron, enough to hold fifty litres of blood.
- Decapitated Army: Slaith's death just as the Imperial assault on Ouranberg gets underway destroys the morale of the Blood Pact on Phantine and heavily contributes to the Imperial victory.
- Immune to Bullets: Has an energy shield built into his power armour, making him impervious to las-fire. Unfortunately, it's not proof against other things...like explosives.
- Is That the Best You Can Do?: Invokes this trope when confronted by Mkoll in his command centre, pointing out that he and his loxatl bodyguards are immune to fire from Mkoll's lasgun. Mkoll retorts that he isn't planning to kill Slaith with the gun...he's just keeping him distracted for a few minutes to run down the timer on the bomb he planted.
- Large and in Charge: Is described as being massive, enough to wear a suit of Space Marine power armour (though it's not specified in text whether he actually is a Chaos Space Marine or is just wearing a cannibalised suit of power armour.
Heritor AsphodelNotorious and deadly Chaos general known for his tactical genius and love of absurd war machines. He led the attack on Verghast in Necropolis, leading the forces of Ferrozoica Hive City. Killed in single combat by Gaunt, though not before very nearly killing him.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: In addition to his armies and machines, Asphodel is enormous; more to the point, he comes the closest anyone ever has to killing Gaunt, Blood Pact included.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Most of his war machines are ludicrously designed; while deadly, they were much less efficient than they could have been.
- Does This Remind Youof Anything: Invoked by Gaunt when arguing the evidence for Asphodel's return, pointing out that the tactics being used by the Zoican forces are ones Asphodel is known to favour.
- Eldritch Abomination: Heavily implied to have either already become or be well on the way to becoming a daemon prince.
- The Evil Genius: Master of baroque and complex mechanical designs. According to the Sabbat Worlds guidebook, he required Titan Legions to destroy most of his mechanical army, as regular infantry and tank regiments were little more than fodder. And according to the anthologies, he wasn't Mechanicus or Dark Mechanicus trained; he was entirely self-educated and designed all his war machines himself.
- Humanoid Abomination: Take a good long look at his picture, just look.
- Keystone Army: The Zoican troops were controlled by the transmissions of his massive command vehicle, The Spike. Gaunt infiltrates the Spike with a small force and disables it, then kills Asphodel, freeing the Zoicans from his control.
- Kill It with Fire: After the battle, Asphodel's corpse is ritually incinerated by the Imperial Fists, and Ferrazoica Hive, along with its entire population, is destroyed by orbital bombardment.
- Large and in Charge: Stands at 6 meters or damned near 20 feet.
- Never Found the Body: Asphodel was presumed killed on Balhaut, but Gaunt notes to his fellow commanders when Asphodel's presence on Verghast is revealed that it was never confirmed that he (along with a great many of the Archon's lieutenants) perished along with their master.
- Taking You with Me: At the same moment Gaunt fatally stabs him through the chest with his powersword, Asphodel shoots Gaunt point-blank in the heart with a bolt pistol. Gaunt is lucky to survive and takes several months of intense medical treatment to recover.
- Worthy Opponent: Gaunt, the only one amongst the Imperials on Verghast to have encountered Asphodel before, makes it plain just how dangerous Asphodel is.Gaunt': His ruthlessness is immeasurable, his brutality staggering and the charismatic force of his personality as a leader cannot be underestimated. And, with the possible exception of Sek, he is probably the most tactically brilliant of all Nadzybar's commanders.Sturm: It almost sounds like you admire the bastard.Gaunt: I don't underestimate him.
NineNine assassins raised by Enok Innokenti to kill Saint Sabbat in Sabbat Martyr. They include three alien loxatl, deadly mercenary triplets with armored skin; Pater Sin, a warlord himself, and two of his psykers; a Dark Eldar Mandrake; the best sniper in the second front Blood Pact; and a Chaos Space Marine Dreadnought.
- Arc Number: There are nine assassins because Sabbat suffered Nine Holy Wounds when she was martyred.
- Badass: All of the assassins get at least one awesome moment to demonstrate their particular talent by slaughtering Imperial soldiers.
- Hero Killer: The whole point of The Nine. Counting Cuu, who is mind controlled by them, they bag a number of Imperial officers, dozens of Ghosts and other infantry, Corbec, and almost the Saint herself.
DesolaneA tall, horned, sexless daemonoid lifeward, charged with guarding General Noches Sturm while Sturm is being held on Gereon.
- Absurdly Sharp Blades: Wields dual ketra blades, and he's very good with them.
- Ambiguous Gender: Appears to be sexless, and its voice isn't fully male or female.
- Badass Cape: Wears one that flows with its movements and seems to be not quite attached to its body.
- Horned Humanoid: And with cloven hooves rather than feet.
- Noble Demon / Evil Virtues: Desolane is a warped creature of Chaos, but never shows anything less than devotion to his duty and his charge.
- Our Demons Are Different: It seems to have daemonic traits, but it isn't outright stated whether or not it actually is a daemon. Actual daemons don't tend to stick around for very long in realspace, so it may be some sort of humanoid that has been possessed by a daemon or "blessed" at some point in its life by the Ruinous Powers.
- No Mouth: Its head is covered with a bronze mask that seems welded on, with slits for its horns and eyes. Sturm, while still the amnesiac pheguth, wonders how it eats, or if it eats.
- Pet the Dog: Desolane comes to genuinely care for the pheguth's well-being, but he doesn't like the pheguth's transition back into Noches Sturm.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: Its eyes are blue, and very humanlike, as the pheguth notes, but positioned a bit too low on its face.
Mabbon EtogaurA former Blood Pact officer working for Anakwanar Sek; "Etogaur" is a Blood Pact rank equivalent to general.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Mabbon is a triple defector, going from the Imperial Guard to Gaur's Blood Pact, then to Sek's new army, then back to the Imperium. It may turn out he is a quadruple agent, if it turns out he rejoined Gaur or Sek.
- Enemy Civil War: He leaves the Blood Pact and trains the Sons of Sek on Gereon, who will presumably be used by Sek to overthrow Urlock Gaur.
- Old Soldier: Of Chaos, and formerly the Imperial Guard.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Inverted at the end of Salvation's Reach, where he asks Gaunt, "Aren't you going to leave me?" believing he's outlived his usefulness and will be left behind when the Ghosts pull back. Gaunt replies, "I'll decide when your duty ends."
- The Stoic
Handro Rime and the SirkleA deadly agent of Anarch Sek, who use a combination of augmetic surgery, psyker tricks and the ability to alter their facial appearance and voice at will to impersonate Imperial personnel to get close to assassination targets. First appear in Blood Pact and become a major threat in 'Salvation'''s Reach'.
- Hero Killer: In 'Salvation'''s Reach' he is responsible for the deaths of several named characters and comes horrifically close to killing Etogaur Mabbon. Twice.
- Inspector Javert: Initially appears to be an Inquisitor too eager to see Gaunt dead as a Chaos agent. How ironic.
- Would Hurt a Child: When his attempt on Mabbon fails he takes Yoncy as a human shield.