Characters: Warhammer 40000 Astartes
They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give themselves to me. Like clay I shall mould them and in the furnace of war I shall forge them. They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns shall they be armed. They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them. They will have tactics, strategies and machines such that no foe will best them in battle. They are my bulwark against the terror. They are the defenders of Humanity. They are my Space Marines... and they shall know no fear.The Adeptus Astartes, or Space Marines, are the iconic faction of Warhammer 40,000, power-armored, genetically-engineered super soldiers created to be humanity's ultimate warriors.Recruited from the Imperium's most warlike cultures, Space Marines are subjected to a brutal crucible of physical training, biological enhancement, and psychological indoctrination. Those who survive the process know no fear or doubt, will never surrender, and will never tire in their endless battle against the Imperium's numerous foes. Their armament is the finest mankind can provide, and their tactics can defeat any foe. They are the Adeptus Astartes, the vanguard of the Imperium's invasion forces and its most resolute defenders. They are the Angels of Death, figures of religious awe to the rest of mankind, and objects of terror for its foes. Though there are fewer Space Marines than there are worlds in the Imperium, they number enough for the task at hand.The Space Marines were created by the Emperor ten thousand years ago as he led his Great Crusade to reunite the galaxy. Each of these original twenty legions was led by a Primarch, one of the Emperor's clone-sons, and every legionnaire shared his Primarch's genetic template; thus, each Legion inherited their commander's strengths, tactics, culture, and in some cases flaws. Following the disaster of the Horus Heresy, the loyalist Astartes legions were broken down into chapters of roughly a thousand warriors, so that no single man could ever command such an awesome force. Most Space Marine chapters claim a single world as their fief, ruling and recruiting from it, while others are fleet-bound forces that replenish their numbers when and where they can. Recognizing no authority other than the Emperor himself, Space Marines either lead their own crusades to fight the enemies of mankind, or answer petitions for assistance. They stand apart from the Imperium despite serving it, just as they protect humanity despite transcending it.On the tabletop, Space Marines are a well-rounded and forgiving force, and a very popular starting army. The average Space Marine is about as effective as other factions' elite soldiers in both ranged and close combat, while elite Space Marines are some of the most dangerous units on the tabletop. This makes Space Marines expensive in terms of point cost, and therefore (relatively) inexpensive when it comes to collecting an army. As a consequence, Space Marines are almost always outnumbered by their opponents, not that this should worry them - as Rogal Dorn said, "Give me a hundred Space Marines, or failing that, a thousand other troops."Their 7th edition codex was released in June 2015.
— The Emperor of Mankind
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A - H
- Abnormal Ammo: The standard Boltgun fires .75 caliber armor-piercing explosive rockets, while the elite Sternguard have access to a variety of specialized rounds.
- Angst? What Angst?: All Astartes have this trait to some extent, as part of their enhancement includes making their brains more resistant to post-traumatic stress.
- Art Major Biology: The only possible reason (besides the ever-present Rule of Cool) for the physiological changes and organ implants that go into creating a Space Marine.
- Asexuality: By the time a Space Marine is done with training, they have few impulses beyond fighting and killing in the name of the Emperor, and thus have no interest in sex.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier:
- The Land Raider, overlapping with Tank Goodness. The highest vehicle armor in the game, weapon options that can obliterate tanks or reduce infantry to ashes or chunky salsa, a "machine spirit" that can assist with shooting or take over for the driver, and it can still carry a squad of Terminators into the thick of combat.
- The ubiquitous Rhino is a Boring but Practical Personnel Carrier. It's not particularly well-armed or -armored, but it's so robust that it's the only transport whose driver may be able to repair if it gets immobilized by enemy fire. The Rhino's based on a tractor template that can run off almost anything, including wood or corpses.
- Badass: Even in the World of Badass that is W40k, the Space Marines stand out.
- Badass Army: One of the best examples in the series.
- Badass Baritone: Space Marines are frequently described as having deep baritone or basso voices as a result of their large sizes, though in adaptations it of course depends on the voice actors.
- Badass Biker: Space Marine Bikes are just as overbuilt and tough as their riders, described as navigating concrete walls by crashing through them. Attack Bikes add a Cool Sidecar sporting a BFG.
- Badass Boast: "And we shall know no fear!" is one of the most well known, but every chapter is replete with them.
- Badass Bookworm: Librarians serve as a Chapter's record keepers, and are also its psykers, bringing formidable Warp-based attacks to bear against their foes.
- Badass Cape: Often part of an officer's Bling of War.
- Badass Creed: Each chapter has a Catechism of Battle, a war cry that invokes their Primarch and/or the Emperor in battle.
- Badass Crew: Every Company, whether it's a Veteran, Battle, Reserve, or Scout Company, will be made of up to one hundred Badasses. Every squad, whether it's composed of Assault, Devastator, or Tactical Marines, will be composed of up to ten Badasses.
- Badass Grandpa: Most Space Marines will live centuries before finally being killed, and many Chapter Masters are this by default.
- Badass In Charge: Chapter Masters, Captains, and Sergeants need to be this.
- Badass Long Robe: Astartes frequently wear robes when out of their Power Armour. Some chapters wear their robes over their armor.
- Badass Nickname: The Emperor's Angels of Death.
- Badass Preacher: Chaplains, who tend to the spiritual needs of the chapter and are just as dangerous combatants.
- Berserk Button: Two common ones are badmouthing the Emperor or the chapter's Primarch within earshot, or threatening the chapter's gene-seed. Even "nice" chapters can become decidedly unfriendly in these cases.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Some chapters have reputations for humility or looking after noncombatants, but make no mistake, they're still some of the most dangerous forces in the setting.
- BFG: Most humans can barely hold an Astartes bolter, let alone fire one without shattering their wrists.
- BFS: Power swords, chainswords, force swords - basically any blade a Space Marine wields will be large enough that a regular human could barely pick it up, much less wield it.
- Big Book of War: The Codex Astartes, which not only proscribes a chapter's force organization and markings, but includes battle tactics and strategies.
- Big Brother Instinct: The nicer chapters towards non-combatants and the Imperial Guard, if they're pulling their weight.
- Big Damn Heroes: For many of the Imperium's battles, the turning point came when the Space Marines arrived from orbit.
- Big Eater: Astartes can eat thrice the amount of food of a normal human. This is to fuel their hyper-metabolism due to the huge amount of genetic engineering that went into them. In addition, because food is one of the mortal comforts Astartes can enjoy, feasting is very important to them as a result, with dinner usually being a grand feast by human standards, while feasting days will hold banquets considered a feast by Astartes standards.
- Bio-Augmentation: No single implant elevates them to Super Soldier status, but the entire process combined elevates Space Marines into gods of war even without their armor. Note that for various reasons, some chapters have lost an implant or two or have oddities in an organ or two, but all have the most essential: the Progenoids and the Black Carapace.
- Bizarre Human Biology: As a result of the aforementioned bio-augmentation, many use the term "posthuman" to describe Astartes.
- Bling-Bling-BANG!: Space Marine weaponry can be as elaborately and ornately decorated as their armor.
- Bling of War: Varies by chapter, but purity seals, prayer inscriptions, shiny battle honors, animal pelts, or even solid gold plating are fairly common decorations, especially among commanders.
- Blood Brothers: Many chapters have blood-mingling rituals, which may involve imbibing the blood of their fellow Marines - this is possibly the result of their Omophagea implant, which allows them to process Genetic Memories of biological material they consume. In this manner, the Marines share traces of memory with each other, further solidifying their bond with each other, and the blood of the fallen will be consumed that the living might better remember them. For some gene-seed strains, mutations in the Omophagea implant give them a greater thirst for blood, and their blood ceremonies are more frequent; the Blood Angels and their successors are the best known of these.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: Chapter Masters, no slouches themselves, often have bodyguards. In-game, Command Squads can be fielded to accompany Captains, Chapter Masters, or named HQ models.
- Brain–Computer Interface: The Black Carapace, one of the final augmentations a Marine receives, functions as one. It consists of semi-organic sheets implanted under the skin which take root and grow connections to his central nervous system. Ports on the outside of the Carapace stick out through the skin and form attachment points for control jacks in his Powered Armor, allowing him to control the armor as an extension of his own body. In this way Space Marines can move with much more dexterity than would be expected of such hulking armored warriors.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: The "nicer" chapters will refuse to abandon civilians to the enemy and can respect non-Astartes warriors they serve with.
- Bulletproof Fashion Plate: Justified in that the majority of Marines have entire teams of servitors dedicated to scrubbing down and cleaning their armor after a deployment - they have heraldry to display, after all. The official Citadel tank painting guide recommends that weathering on Space Marine tanks be kept very slight to reflect this.
- The Captain: Each company is lead by a Brother-Captain, who also usually holds some sort of logistical position within the Chapter (such as Master of the Arsenal, Fleet, Recruits, etc). The senior most of the these is the Captain of the First Company (aptly named First Captain) who serves as the second-in-command of the Chapter.
- Chainsaw Good: While Space Marines have much more access to power and force weaponsnote than other Imperial factions, they're still mainly provided to higher-ranking Marines such as Sergeants and Captains. Thus, chainswords are a common melee weapon, as well as the less common chainfistnote and chainaxe, favored by Space Wolves. Their monomolecularly-edged adamantium teeth make short work of enemy armor.
- Church Militant: There's a good deal of variation regarding to what extent the Space Marines consider the Emperor a deity, but the more fanatical chapters such as the Black Templars and White Consuls are true to this trope.
- Close Range Combatant: Though certain chapters excel at it more than others, in general Space Marines are made for shock assaults and vicious close-ranged firefights. Even their artillery is short-ranged compared to the batteries of the Imperial Guard, while the Space Marines' navy is geared toward boarding actions and planetary bombardment rather than long-ranged duels.
- Combat Medic: The battlefields of the 41st Millennium are no place for pacifist medics—Apothecaries in Dawn of War boast "Death or healing, I care not which you seek!" They don't actually get to do that much battlefield medicine, since a Space Marine's physiology means that almost any injury sustained in field that would take a Marine out of combat for very long is likely to be fatal, so the Apothecary simply makes the process less painful. The Apothecary's more important duty is ripping open his fallen brothers to harvest their gene-seed.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: A Space Marine's hypno-indoctrination removes their sense of Primal Fear, replacing their sense of recoiling revulsion with contempt.
- A lot of their Bio-Augmentation makes sense, like the secondary heart and ultra-fast clotting blood. But being able to darken your skin to resist radiation, go into suspended animation to survive near-mortal wounds, or spit a corrosive acid?
- In terms of tactics, the Eldar in Dawn of War remind us that "you cannot ambush a Space Marine, they expect treachery at every turn. The most you can do is confirm their suspicions."
- Cyborg: All Space Marines due to the Black Carapace, a subcutaneous plastic-like membrane that allows them to fully interface with their Powered Armor. Beyond that, it's not uncommon for injured Astartes to have augmetic eyes or Artificial Limbs, while Techmarines usually return from their pilgrimage to Mars with various cybernetic attachments. This is reflected in the miniatures: unhelmeted heads w/augmetics, mechanical arms, even an upgrade kit that allows Iron Hands players to give their Marines lots of different cybernetics.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Many Space Marine chapters, such as the Raven Guard, Black Templars, and especially the Legion of the Damned, have dark-colored or black armor but are not at all "evil" by 40K setting standards. Chaplains also typically have solid black armor no matter what chapter they're in.
- Death from Above: Space Marines arrive from orbit in Drop Ships or Drop Pods, and favor a mobile form of warfare making frequent use of airborne soldiers or Jet Packs.
- Destructive Savior: The Space Marines can win nearly any battle they fight, but will often leave whole cities devastated in the process.
- Determinator: "A fortress will not stop the Space Marines, although it may slow them down."
- Drop Pod: A signature Marine tactic, as few foes can recover from a surprise attack that instantly puts dozens of Marines in the middle of your base camp.
- Drop Ship: The Thunderhawk gunship, equally capable of space combat, air support, Gunship Rescues, or unleashing hell upon a target before unloading its Space Marine passengers.
- Drop the Hammer: Thunder Hammers are ginormous mallets wrapped in an electrical field that stuns whatever they don't pulverize.
- Due to the Dead: The rites and rituals vary by chapter, but all at least are fanatical about recovering fallen battle-brothers' gene-seed. It gets more complicated with Dreadnoughts, which get a ritual listing their pre-interment accomplishments when reawakened, as well as a "second funeral" in the event one is destroyed. It's a little more awkward given the size of the deceased's remains and the issue of differentiating between when he was alive and when he was dead etc...
- Dungeon Bypass: Terminators are specifically designed for such tactics (primarily space boarding actions) - they have teleporters to get past the enemy lines, the heaviest armor to keep them alive when away from support, and power fists to make their own door whenever needed.
- Dynamic Entry: Assault Marines, jump pack-equipped close combat specialists, often find that hundreds of pounds of armored Space Marine is an effective weapon in itself. Even when they're not leaping on foes from on high, Assault Marines will trigger their boosters to smash into enemies when charging across open ground.
- Emergency Transformation: A Space Marine who survives crippling injuries can be interred within a life-support sarcophagus, allowing him to pilot a walking tank/tomb called a Dreadnought. Their armament includes Assault cannons, Power Fists, built-in Storm Bolters and flamers, or more exotic weapons for the Ironclad variant. When not needed in battle, these honored veterans are allowed to sleep in stasis.
- Famed In-Story: Dreadnoughts are universally renowned within their chapter. Most players can name Bjorn The Fell-Handed, Tancred, and Davian Thule.
- Fearless Fool: To live up to the "And they shall know no fear" boast, Astartes' mental conditioning leaves them biologically incapable of feeling a fear response. That said, they're not stupid; all Space Marines have the "Combat Tactics" rule that allows them to choose to fail a morale test and fall back and regroup, should the player deem it prudent. However, you can also play this trope straight and swap out this ability for another.
- Feudal Future: Chapter Masters are given lordship over their chapter's homeworld and all its human or material resources, and are exempt from the Administratum's tithes but are obligated to serve the Imperium as warriors. A veritable army of human serfs perform the day-to-day tasks of food production and maintenance of the Space Marines' fortress-monastery, and can be said to be better off than other planetary populations, especially since they're living on one of the most well-defended worlds in the Imperium. On the other hand, many Space Marine chapter homeworlds are deliberately kept at a feudal or even Stone Age technology level in order to breed better warriors to recruit.
- Five-Man Band: Your average Command Squad:
- Four-Star Badass: Any Chapter Master worth his power armor is this. In-game, you have the basic Commander model who can be fielded as a Captain or Chapter Master, several actual Captain models (who are usually depicted for the Ultramarines), any named model who is a high-ranking leader in the fluff, and any model designated as a Lord of War, who in the fluff is usually a Chapter Master.
- Genetic Memory: This is the function of the Omophagea implant, allowing Space Marines to pick up memories and experiences from something by consuming its flesh.
- Genius Bruiser: Most Space Marines study a Big Book of War that tries to anticipate any combat situation ever, and the mainstay of any chapter is the adaptable and fluid Tactical Squad. Commanders from Sergeant rank and higher are even better, while Librarians are both potent battle psykers as well as record-keepers and tactical advisers.
- Glory Seeker: Although their indoctrination should have them feel that simply being a Space Marine is already glorious in itself, a fair number are out to make names for themselves, at least in the eyes of their Battle-Brothers. More than that, Space Marines willingly plunge into the most dangerous of missions, so that in joint operations with other Imperial forces the Astartes can come across as glory-hogs.
- Good Is Not Nice: Remember, even the "good" chapters are ultimately working for the Catholic Space Nazis.
- Hand Cannon: The standard-issue Space Marine sidearm is the bolt pistol, which fires the same fully-automatic rocket-propelled armor-piercing explosive rounds as a Boltgun, just at a shorter range.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Space Marine sergeants or other commanders are often depicted without their helmets for one reason or another. Tactical Squad model kits actually enforce this; the torso bits meant for the squad's sergeant have a large collar (meant to represent the most recent version of Astartes power armor) that the helmets don't fit into very well, thus making it almost necessary to use a bare head for that figure.
- Heroic Build: Justified, as Space Marines' Bio-Augmentation enhances their physique to super-human levels, and their daily training keeps it in top form, so they can hardly have any other build but a heroic one.
- Averted in First Edition. The Rogue Trader Marines were kind of paunchy in a lot of illustrations, since they were portrayed more as bumbling, doughnut-munching Space Police than the super elite warrior monks we all know and love today.
- Heroic Willpower: All Astartes have this in spades.
- Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Invoked; most chapters will use their homeworld's tongue as a battle-cant so even other Imperial forces, which will speak some variant of Gothic, won't be able to eavesdrop on sensitive transmissions.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Even the more restrained chapters may still sport a striking color scheme on their armor. Rather than attempting to disguise his position through camouflage, "a Space Marine’s armour is bright with heraldry that proclaims his devotion to his Chapter and the beloved Emperor of Mankind. [...]what the enemy can see, he will soon learn to fear...". This is slightly more justified than most examples, as in older Editions the Space Marine's armor was explicitly tough enough to be a substitute for tank armor, and sitting in a Rhino with only Marines would mean that the Rhino is no longer open topped.
- Honor Before Reason: Space Marines take pride in their chapter colors, and the overwhelming majority of them refuse to wear camouflage. This results in scouts of the Imperial Fists chapter trying to sneak through terrain in bright yellow armor.
- Hope Bringer: If a member planet of the Imperium is under attack by Xenos or Chaos, every citizen will pray with fervor to the Emperor to be saved, and their prayers will be answered once the Space Marines arrive. This is especially true of the more humane chapters, like the Space Wolves, the Salamanders and the Ultramarines.
- Human Subspecies: Space Marines functionally become a subspecies due to the extensive changes they go through.
I - P
- I Gave My Word: Many chapters are oath-bound to protect or serve various worlds or agencies, and most consider keeping their word to be quite important.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The Omophagea implant allows a Space Marine to absorb memories from the flesh they eat. The brain is generally considered the best source for this, but in some sources even drops of blood can trigger some memories. Mutations in it can give chapters an unnatural craving for blood or flesh. Ironically, most Space Marine chapters consider cannibalism depraved, since it's usually a sign of Chaos corruption, and any Marine who has to engage the Omophagea will be under scrutiny for several days by the Chaplains and Apothecaries in case something happens.
- In Harm's Way: Once the battle's done, the Marines are off to the next warzone. They're often portrayed as restless when not on campaign, and garrison duties at the fortress-monastery are often considered boring.
- Interservice Rivalry: Unfortunately, Space Marines can be just as, if not more, prideful than mortals, and some chapters have developed grudges with or prejudices toward their brothers. The Ultramarines look down on those that don't embrace the Codex Astartes, while the Hammers of Dorn look down on the Ultramarines for not following the Codex strictly enough. The Red Thirst and Black Rage have given the Blood Angels and their successor chapters a dangerous reputation. Chapters of the 21st Founding are considered cursed due to ill fortunes that befell many of them. Nobody likes the Marines Malevolent. The most famous rivalry is between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves, a grudge both chapters have maintained since their Primarchs began the feud. Older material mentions the chapters going to war on eleven occasions over objectives such as the gemstone mines of the moons of Magdalan, but nowadays it's settled by champions engaging in a (usually) non-fatal duel. Other rivalries or feuds include: White Scars vs. Raven Guardnote , White Scars vs. Space Wolvesnote , and Iron Hands vs. Raven Guard and Salamandersnote .
- Also bleeds into how some chapters treat other organisations in the Imperium. The Guard are a useful ally but ultimately replaceable, and are fortunate if the Astartes' goals happen to coincide with theirs. The Inquisition technically has the ability to unconditionally requisition any Astartes for whatever purpose they wish but both groups generally distrust the other's independence. The Navy dislikes the fact that they operate their own separate fleets. The Ecclesiarchy (and attached military forces) don't like the fact that (most) Astartes don't view the Emperor as a God (or even deny it) but can't really do much about it. The Mechanicus are distrusted because they usually pursue their own agendas, with active members of the Titan Legions being almost the only people who equal or exceed a Marine's individual value.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Both Space Marines individually and their army as a whole are good at practically everything with no particular deficiencies when it comes to combat and warfare, translating into their stats being generally balanced across the board in gameplay terms. They are often seen as the best army for beginners as a result, as there is no one area where they are notably weak, other than (arguably) their lack of numbers (ameliorated somewhat by their high toughness and good armour save).
- Master of All / Master of None: The Space Marines straddle between these two tropes, leaning decidedly towards the former in lore and the latter in game mechanics. In lore the Space Marines are stronger, tougher, faster, smarter, more accurate, and more courageous than damn near anything else in the setting that isn't an enemy general (and sometimes even then); even one is enough to turn the tide of a battle. In-game, Space Marines are good at everything, but aren't particularly great at anything. They're outshot by the Eldar (both types), Imperial Guard and Tau, and outfought in close combat by Orks, Tyranids, and Daemons; they're slower than Eldar, Dark Eldar, and Orks and almost everyone gets cheaper (read: more) troops than them (not to mention better and shootier vehicles). The only area where they really shine is their infantry durability and for a while they were even outdone on that (by the Necrons, who have since had their armour softened a bit).
- These tropes are personified in the Land Raider. The normal version is notorious for being a Jack of All Stats / Master of None. It contains the best armour in the game, it has a pair of anti-tank weapons, an anti-infantry weapon, and the ability to transport a full squad of models (or a half squad of Terminators). It can also fire its weapons at two different targets (which, back when it was introduced, was a very unique rule). Unfortunately, it also costs a bomb and it can only fulfill one role (anti-vehicle, anti-infantry, or transport) effectively at a time; as such, the tank itself is often outdone by taking three smaller tanks (two Predators and a Rhino) for almost the same price. Its major selling point, the super-durable armor, is outdone by the fact that the opponent has almost no reason to want it dead, as dedicating any firepower its way would be a massive waste of resources and the Raider itself cannot do anything valuable by simply existing. Various Land Raider variants lose the general versatility in favour of more focused weapons loadouts and/or emphasis on either being a gun-tank or a transport and are generally more useful as a result.
- Master of All / Master of None: The Space Marines straddle between these two tropes, leaning decidedly towards the former in lore and the latter in game mechanics. In lore the Space Marines are stronger, tougher, faster, smarter, more accurate, and more courageous than damn near anything else in the setting that isn't an enemy general (and sometimes even then); even one is enough to turn the tide of a battle. In-game, Space Marines are good at everything, but aren't particularly great at anything. They're outshot by the Eldar (both types), Imperial Guard and Tau, and outfought in close combat by Orks, Tyranids, and Daemons; they're slower than Eldar, Dark Eldar, and Orks and almost everyone gets cheaper (read: more) troops than them (not to mention better and shootier vehicles). The only area where they really shine is their infantry durability and for a while they were even outdone on that (by the Necrons, who have since had their armour softened a bit).
- The Juggernaut: Terminator units are Nigh Invulnerable thanks to their heavy armor, which though relatively cumbersome allows them to stroll through firefights that would give even normal Power Armor pause.
- Mercy Kill: "The Emperor's peace", usually delivered via a bolt round to the skull or the Carnifex device in an Apothecary's narthecium.
- Meta Mecha: Centurion armour, essentially a huge, unwieldy suit of Power Armor wrapped around the pilot's normal Power Armor and loaded down with either terrifying amounts of firepower or tank-shredding drills with built-in flamethrowers.
- Mini-Mecha: Dreadnoughts, 20'-tall walking tanks piloted by a Space Marine too crippled to fight on his own but too strong-willed to die.
- Neural Implanting: Astartes chapters typically make heavy use of hypno-indoctrination, implanting knowledge into Marines during meditation-induced fugues.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Astartes will fight viciously to recover their fallen brothers' progenoid glands, which contain the stem cells for the implants necessary for creating the next generation of Space Marines.
- Number Two: A Chapter Master's second-in-command and designated successor is usually the First Captain.
- One-Gender Race: The implants don't work on women, alright? Though if they did, given the Marines' grotesque musculature and armor it'd be hard to tell the difference.
- One-Man Army: In the background it's said that a single Space Marine could, given time, conquer a planet by himself. The tabletop is a different story.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: The Space Marines venerate the Emperor, build cathedrals and monasteries in his name, and pray to him for intercession of the battlefield, but as a father figure to be emulated, not a god. This can cause friction between the Astartes and the Ecclesiarchy, but in the best cases the two agree to disagree, so that the Ministorum does not excommunicate the Space Marines as heathens, and the Astartes don't use their legacy as the Emperor's descendents to usurp spiritual leadership. In the worst cases, well...
- Pet the Dog: In numerous instances, the Astartes treat the local Imperial Guard and PDF as more than just Cannon Fodder and genuinely care about minimizing theirs and civilian casualties. A good example is Space Marine, in which Captain Titus of the Ultramarines has nothing but respect for the Imperial defenders, who in turn show nothing but admiration to their saviors.
- Photographic Memory: The Bio-Augmentation done to the Space Marines leaves their memories as close to eidetic as possible, so they can recall potentially vital information in after-action debriefings.
- Powered Armor: A standard Space Marine has better protection than other races' elite troops, while Terminators wear Tactical Dreadnought Armor that can carry miniguns one-handed and survive being stepped on by Titans.
- Power Fist: The trope namer is a piece of wargear usable by most characters, but standard issue for Space Marine Terminators.
- Pro-Human Transhuman: In a general sense, all Space Marines fight on behalf of Mankind despite no longer belonging to it, while the "nice" chapters show concern for the fates of the normal humans they are sworn to defend.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: As an analogue of medieval knightly orders, Space Marines possess a chivalry of sorts. They don't let this get in the way of genocide or xenocide, however.
Q - Z
- Rage Helm: Mark VII helms. Earlier models are less angry, but no less scary.
- Sapient Tank: A Land Raider's machine spirit is powerful and advanced enough to be able to take control of the tank if necessary, although its overall function is limited.
- Sergeant Rock: Any Brother-Sergeant.
- Shoulders of Doom: Those iconic huge pauldrons, proudly displaying their chapter symbol and squad markings, or for Apothecaries, the Prime Helix badge. Please note that they're auto-reactive shoulder guards that can swivel as needed so not to obstruct sight. For Terminators they're even more important, as the Crux Terminatus on their left shoulder is said to contain a sliver of the Emperor's personal armor.
- Sigil Spam: Aside from their left pauldrons, Space Marines will slap their chapter's symbol on anything they can, especially knee pads, cuirasses, vehicle doors and some weapons. The Ultramarines, Blood Angels, and Black Templars are especially known for this.
- Smug Super: Some Chapters openly despise normal humans for their weakness; others are less directly smug, but are very aware of how poorly normal people measure up to an Astartes.
- Space Marine: Be warned, Games Workshop has trademarked the words, and is not afraid to sue.
- The Spartan Way: Take a bunch of adolescents or pre-teens, run them through a few Death Courses, with maybe some Gladiator Games at the end. Subject the survivors to mental, physical and spiritual tests that could kill them or drive them insane. Implant them with a series of Bio Augmentations that might kill them or mutate them beyond recognition. Before their training is complete, have them serve as commandos and skirmishers in the Scout Company. All said, about one in a hundred aspirants survives to don his power armor as a full Space Marine.
- The Stoic: Many Space Marines, and some chapters more than others.
- Super Soldier: Eight feet tall, a lifespan measured in centuries, every waking moment spent either in battle or training for it... and those are your basic Space Marines. Now consider their veterans, or commanders.
- Super Spit: Weaponized with the Betcher's Gland, which turns a Space Marine's saliva into a blinding, corrosive poison.
- Super Toughness: As a result of their Bio Augmentations. Most armies' standard weapons only have a 50% chance at best of wounding a Space Marine.
- Sword and Gun: A paired bolt, grav, or plasma pistol and chainsword is a very common baseline weapons kit for Space Marines, especially Assault Marines. In-game, this combination allows for one extra attack in the assault phase when charging.
- Take Up My Sword: Space Marine equipment is so well-built and lovingly-maintained that many pieces have been passed down from Battle-Brother to Battle-Brother for centuries, if not millennia. There are often elaborate rites and rituals surrounding this practice, which can involve engraving the accomplishments of the previous bearer of a piece of kit, or adding decorative reliefs. As each piece is further passed down, these become increasingly elaborate and valuable to the chapter.
- Tank Goodness: The Land Raider again, eclipsing the Predator dedicated battle tank, which tends to look a little underpowered when compared to the Imperial Guard's vehicle pool.
- Terrifying Rescuer: Depends on which chapter comes to save the day. The Salamanders look scary but are very much good guys, while God-Emperor help you if the Flesh Tearers are the ones to try and help.
- True Companions: For all the setting's moral ambiguity, this is one virtue that the Space Marines generally espouse and embrace. From day one of training, they are taught the value of working with their Battle-Brothers, and due to sharing the blood of the same Primarch and growing up together during training, this is the closest to family the Astartes have. Just because they fight alongside each other doesn't necessarily mean they like each other, but in general the need for the companionship of fellow Astartes is one of the few psychological weaknesses Space Marines have.
- Warrior Monk: Super soldiers who train and dwell in fortress-monasteries, holding nigh-unshakeable faith in their role as The Emperor's favored champions (Most of them however, in spite of their zeal and devotion, do not regard him as a god though).
- Weirdness Coupon: Many chapters don't consider the Emperor a god, have rituals and traditions that would be considered heretical by the Ecclesiarchy, or exhibit genetic deviancy beyond what is normal for Astartes, but are nevertheless tolerated by Imperial authorities due to the Space Marines' necessity. The First Founding chapters and their older direct descendants (especially the Second Founding ones) tend to be given more leeway than younger chapters, of course.
- Wolverine Claws: Lightning Claws are Power Weapons with three or four claws attached to a Power Fist, very popular among Terminators in general and the Raven Guard in particular. The Space Wolves' variant are of course called Wolf Claws.
- The Worf Effect: Due to the Astartes' toughness, new threats are often expressed in terms of how many Space Marines they killed. The Tyranids, for example, are introduced by wiping out the Ultramarines' 1st company and nearly overrunning their homeworld, while the Necrons are shown coring Land Raiders with their Gauss weapons.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Many chapters would prefer not to; others aren't concerned with notions of collateral damage.
Chapters and Heroes
A moment of laxity spawns a lifetime of heresy. Never forget, never forgive.The Dark Angels are a First Founding chapter and the First Legion. Their Primarch is Lion El'Jonson, their current Supreme Grand Master is Azrael, and their homeworld was Caliban.As the first Space Marine Legion founded, the Dark Angels are blessed with advanced plasma and anti-grav devices in their armory, technological relics from the Great Crusade. However, the chapter is better known for its secrecy, and for pursuing an agenda it keeps hidden from Imperial authorities. It is rumored this is related to the destruction of their home world at the end of the Horus Heresy, the small role the legion played during that conflict, as well as why they and their successor chapters refer to themselves as the Unforgiven.To delve further into these warriors' secrets, see the Dark Angels novels. Their 7th edition codex was released in June 2015.
- The Alcatraz: The Rock has an extensive network of dungeons. One cell accessible only to the Grand Master contains Luther, the heretic who led the Fallen into treason. In another chamber, known only to the Emperor and the silent Watchers in the Dark, is the slumbering form of the Dark Angels' Primarch, Lion El'Jonson.
- Ambiguously Evil: The Fallen who yet live have been painted more this way with every edition. Are they irremediably corrupt? The Atoners who work to redeem themselves in secret? Unwitting Pawns during the siege of Caliban? Or just a disorganized set of unrecognized Dark Angels who each have their own motivations and agendas.
- Ancient Conspiracy: A ten-thousand-year effort to conceal the truth, highly coordinated with the Dark Angels' successor chapters. The High Lords of Terra have noticed this, and have limited subsequent chapter foundings out of concern for the Dark Angels' "Legion-building."
- Arch-Enemy: The Fallen Angels, particularly Cypher.
- Badass Long Robe / In the Hood: The Dark Angels stand out for wearing bone-colored robes over their power armor.
- Berserk Button: Mention treachery and heresy around the Dark Angels, and they'll make sure you live long enough to regret it.
- Black Swords Are Better: The Heavenfall blades, master-crafted power swords that are some of the Dark Angels' most prized relics and are borne by its highest-ranked leaders. Each has a blade cut from a block of obsidian said to have been part of an asteroid that landed on Caliban in its prehistory.
- Dark Secret: During the Horus Heresy, a faction of Dark Angels rebelled out of confusion or jealousy, causing the loyalists to destroy their own homeworld in a fury. A warp rift scattered these Fallen Angels across time and space, and the Dark Angels are obsessed with capturing them both to hide their shame and to grant the Fallen absolution through vicious torture, thereby restoring the chapter's honor.
- Elite Army: The Deathwing, who are superior to standard Terminators. Heck their elites even have elites. The finest of the Deathwing, are promoted to Deathwing Knights and become melee specialists who are armed with weapons unique to the Dark Angels - the Mace of Absolution and Flail of the Unforgiven.
- Fantastic Racism: In older editions the Dark Angels were known to be extremely intolerant of non-humans, even by Imperial standards. Due to this the Dark Angels were one of the few Imperial fractions who couldn’t ally with the Squats or the Eldar. More recent editions have downplayed this.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
- Caliban (while it lasted) had a similar culture to medieval Europe during the height of chivalry, with the local population living in cities fortified with stone walls and protected by orders of knight-like warriors against the hostile beasts that lived in the wilderness and forests.
- After Caliban's destruction, the Dark Angels went about recruiting from other worlds, including a feral world populated with Badass Natives who had a culture resembling the first nations of the great plains of North America. After repelling a genestealer invasion of that world, the Dark Angels' Deathwing company took to adopting some of their rituals and iconography, coloring their Terminator armor after ash and decorating it with crafts.
- Irony: Recent material suggests that the Grey Knights (and therefore presumably others in the highest levels of the Imperial government) know about the Fallen but don't care.
- Keeping Secrets Sucks: Much of the Dark Angels' actions are questionable, potentially treasonous even. Their obsessive need to keep the secret of the Fallen from getting out is at the root of all of it, and the few Dark Angels who know the truth are heavily burdened by it.
- King in the Mountain: Unknown to even the Dark Angels themselves, Lion El'Jonson lies wounded in stasis in a secret chamber deep within The Rock. There he is tended by the Watchers in the Dark while he heals for the time he will wake and return to pass judgement.
- Knight Templar: Obsessed with hunting the Fallen above all else, and have been known to abandon their allies or even whole planets if it means recovering a priority target.
- Lies to Neophytes: While the truth of the Fallen is kept concealed until one earns the trust of the Inner Circle, the Dark Angels prepare their brothers so that when the truth is revealed, it is not as devastating as it might be. The teachers, chaplains, and heroes of the chapter tell stories to the more junior members filled with allegory about how important loyalty is, how reprehensible disloyalty is, and how important it is to bring traitors to atonement. The higher they raise in esteem, the more detailed the stories become, describing how a great host was betrayed by traitors they came home to, and how they must strive not to let that happen in the future. By the time a Dark Angel finally learns the truth, they will have been indoctrinated thoroughly against revealing it.
- Lost Technology: Along with relics such as Terminator-scale plasma cannons, the Dark Angels have access to several unique Land Speeder variants and aircraft that they don't share with anyone but their successor chapters.
- Magitech: The Ravenwing Darkshroud actually involve statues from the Rock that have become enchanted through exposure to the Warp. The Dark Angels found that they can weaponize the statues by mounting them on land speeders and connecting cables that siphon the magical energies from them.
- Mad Oracle: Each Grand Master consults Luther for intelligence, as amid the broken man's ravings are occasional moments of lucidity, descriptions of events in the past and future that have led the Dark Angels to recover artifacts or the Fallen.
- Meaningful Name: In keeping with the chapter name being a play on the poem "The Dark Angel", many characters' names are based on angels and demons from Judeo-Christian lore. Furthermore, Azrael and Sammael are both based on angels considered to be the angel of death depending on the source, a reference to the Space Marine nickname "the Emperor's Angels of Death".
- Mind Rape: The Mind Worm psychic power, once a special ability of Ezekiel but now the Primaris psychic power for the Dark Angels, which essentially turns the target into a shambling, drooling idiot.note
- More Dakka: Whenever the Deathwing teleport in, their Vengeful Strike special rule lets them reroll misses with ranged weapons as they greet their foes with a surprise storm of firepower.
- Mystery Cult: Whereas other chapters are proud of their history, the Dark Angels parcel out information about themselves as their members rise through the ranks. It isn't until a member joins either the Deathwing or the Ravenwing's special Black Knights that they learn of Luther's betrayal and the Fallen Angels, and even then there are several more levels of trust to go through until they're told the entire story.
- Ominous Floating Castle: The Rock, an asteroid bearing the Dark Angels' fortress-monastery, is a type II. It was the only part of Caliban tough enough to survive the planet's destruction, so the Dark Angels hardened their fortress for void travel and added engines. Unlike a lot of other examples, it qualifies as Dark Is Not Evil... mostly.
- The Order: The Inner Circle is this within the chapter, recruiting those who show promise in tracking down the Fallen.
- The Spook: The Watchers in the Dark are diminutive, perpetually-robed and hooded figures who never speak and are immune to psychic probing. All that is known about them is that they aid certain Dark Angels as weapon bearers, but never directly contribute in battle.
- The Stoic: Even among Astartes, the Dark Angels have a reputation for being stern and grim. Most units in their army get the Stubborn special rule, but can never voluntarily fall back either.
- Treachery Cover-Up: The reason the Fallen Angels are hunted so mercilessly, and why the Dark Angels will go to such lengths to ensure that the Fallen's existence remains secret. Another theory suggests that the "loyal" Dark Angels were also traitors, in that they reportedly sat out the Horus Heresy to see who would win.
Azrael, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels
We are the Emperor's wrath! Let the blood of the unclean act as an offering to the Lion's shade!The current leader of the Dark Angels, as well as the head of its Inner Circle. When not leading the Dark Angels on the battlefield, Azrael masterminds the hunt for the Fallen, and is burdened with the chapter's most terrible secrets.
- Cool Key: The Sword of Secrets is both a potent weapon and the key to the gate that leads to Luther's cell.
- Deflector Shield: The Lion Helm generates a protective force field, even when not being worn.
- Elite Army: In-game, Azrael allows both Ravenwing and Deathwing squads (normally an Elite and Fast Attack choice, respectively) to be taken as Troops choices.
- Four-Star Badass: The 7th edition codex made Azarael a Lord of War.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Takes the Lion Helm into battle, but never wears it; instead, one of the Watchers in the Dark carries it for him.
- Named Weapons: Lion's Wrath, a combi-plasma gun that dates back to the Horus Heresy and is one of the chapter's relics, and the Sword of Secrets, the most powerful of the Heavenfall Blades.
- Secret Secret Keeper: Azrael is also the Keeper of the Truth, the guardian of all of the chapter's deepest secrets. The greatest of these secrets is that Luther is held captive on the Rock, a fact known only by he and previous Supreme Grand Masters and the Watchers in the Dark.
Ezekiel, Grand Master of Librarians
I alone bear the Book of Salvation, the sacred record of our unforgiven past and of the tortuous road we had trodden to absolve our great sin. I alone known the names of all those who have Fallen from the Emperor's grace and have been returned to him, through repentance of the soul or absolution of the body. I alone bear these most terrible burdens, for on my shoulders sit the sins of the Dark Angels Legion, and I cannot rest while they still remain to stain our honor.The dour, taciturn head of the Dark Angels' Librarium is charged with guarding the dungeons of the Rock, and bears the Book of Salvation, a tome filled with the names of the Fallen the Dark Angels have apprehended. Outside of battle, Ezekiel uses his abilities to test the minds of aspirants to the chapter's Inner Circle.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: Those names in the Book of Salvation are often written in the Fallen's own blood.
- Eye Scream: Took a bullet to the eye while fighting Orks, got fitted with a crude cybernetic replacement, and went right back into the fight. Ezekiel refuses a more sophisticated augmetic as a mark of respect for those who fell in the battle that earned it.
- Mind Rape:
- Prior to their 7th edition codex, he had the unique Mind Worm psychic power, in which "Ezekiel burrows his consciousness into a victim's brain, forcing him to reveal his innermost secrets as he convulses to death."
- During his final test to become a Librarian, whatever was in his mind that the senior Librarian Meroth encountered gave Meroth a stroke.
- Psychic Child: Ezekiel was already an extremely powerful psyker when he was found by the Dark Angels on Delphyna III, barely 10 years old.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Ezekiel, Grand Master of Librarians, Keeper of the Book of Salvation, Holder of the Keys.
- Your Soul Is Mine: His sword, Traitor's Bane, is rumored to absorb the souls of the Fallen it slays.
Asmodai, Master Interrogator-Chaplain
It is my sacred duty to save your soul from the Dark Gods of Chaos, and I will save your soul, even if you die in the process.As the Dark Angels' senior Chaplain, Asmodai is entrusted with both the chapter's spiritual well-being, as well as the absolution of the Fallen through rigorous castigation. His brutality in pursuit of these objectives has at times forced Supreme Grand Master Azrael to bury Asmodai's excesses.
- Agony Beam: Bears the Blades of Reason, a weapon/torture device that greatly amplifies its victim's pain receptors.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty:
- He ordered the 7th Company to spend a year in silence after hearing laughter in the halls of the Rock.
- When a crop of new recruits didn't answer Asmodai's questions to his satisfaction, he killed the lot of them.
- Exalted Torturer: It's for the Fallen's own good, really. That said, although he's interrogated many Fallen in his time, he's only gotten two to repent...all the others have been killed before they could repent.
- Ironic Name: Asmodai is a variant on Asmodeus, a demon in Judeo-Christian tradition who is cited in some texts as being a demon of lust or wantonness.
- One-Hit Kill: In-game, the Blades of Reason have the Instant Death rule.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: While Asmodai is dedicated to redeeming the Fallen and is a formidable combatant, the excesses he's gone to and his over-the-top viciousness have forced Azrael to reign him in on multiple occasions, and even brought the Dark Angels to the brink of war with multiple Space Marine chapters.
Belial, Grand Master of the Deathwing
The current leader of the Dark Angels' 1st Company was promoted to the Deathwing after defeating a Chaos Lord of Khorne in single combat. Thanks to his defense of the planet Piscina from the Ork menace, Belial is said to have become a hated enemy second only to the legendary Commissar Yarrick in the baleful eyes of Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka.
- Bling of War: His Terminator armor gives him the appearance of a walking cathedral.
- Drop the Hammer: Belial will sometimes wield a Thunder Hammer in combat.
- Friendly Rivalry: He has this with Sammael; the two have competed against each other in many honor duels, and he has always been the victor.
- Ironic Name: "Belial" is a Hebrew word for "worthless".
- The Perfectionist: A highly-exacting leader, and constantly dwelling on every one of his soldiers lost or enemies inefficiently slain.
- Worthy Opponent: Being second-best to Yarrick is no small accomplishment.
- Young Gun: Belial disguised himself and competed in a tournament on his homeworld when he was 17 (11 Terran years old equivalent), against his father's wishes, hoping to become a Dark Angels aspirant. He was able to duel a Space Marine Chaplain for 7 minutes before being knocked out.
Sammael, Grand Master of the Ravenwing
As captain of the 2nd Company, Sammael leads the hunt for the Fallen wherever they may hide. Unusually, he was given this position by the mortally-wounded previous Grand Master, without having entered the Inner Circle beforehand.
- Cool Bike: Corvex, one of the last remaining Imperial jetbikes in the galaxy, no less.
- Deflector Shield: The Night Halo, an ancient device passed down through the Grandmasters of the Ravenwing. It produces a conversion field which changes both kinetic and energy weapon attacks into harmless bursts of light as they are stopped. It is unique from an ordinary Iron Halo in that Sammael retains it when riding Sableclaw, which in turn makes Sableclaw insanely durable.
- Flying Car: When not using Corvex, Sammael can ride in a personalized Land Speeder, Sableclaw.
- Friendly Rivalry: He has this with Belial; the two have competed against each other in many honor duels, but he's never been able to beat Belial.
- Legacy Character: Corvex has been reported lost or destroyed on several occasions, but keeps returning to battle. Some speculate the Dark Angels are hiding a STC device that can produce duplicates.
- You Are in Command Now: Technically a breach in protocol, but leading the remnants of the Ravenwing to destroy a Chaos Titan won the Inner Circle over.
Naaman, Veteran SergeantThough a member of the Deathwing, Naaman's stealth and infiltration expertise led him to serve with the Scouts of the 10th Company. His skills were essential in the Dark Angels victory on Piscina IV, but Naaman himself was slain in the conflict.
- Named Weapon: Naaman's Silence, a master-crafted sniper rifle that is a relic of the Blood Ravens and was a weapon option for Scout Sergeant Cyrus in Dawn of War II.
- Posthumous Character: Previously a rare example of a special character having rules and a model despite being "currently" dead in the setting, Naaman hasn't been included in a codex since 3rd Edition.
- Stealth Expert: His squad gets silenced pistols to deal with enemy sentries, and as long as they don't fire in their Shooting phase, the enemy has to use Night Fighting rules to spot them.
Warriors of Chogoris! Brothers of the Great Tribe! The star-hunt calls you, do you not hear it? The battle's red edge is your home, the respect of your kinsmen your hearth. Plunge into the enemy's breast like a blade, cut out his heart, and you will know fulfilment. The Emperor has given us strength. In return, we give him victory!The White Scars are a First Founding chapter and the Fifth Legion. Their Primarch is Jaghatai Khan, their current Great Khan is Jubal Khan, and their homeworld is Mundus Planus, also known as Chogoris.The White Scars recruit from Chogoris's steppe horsemen, and adapt the tactics of mounted warfare to a mechanized army. They are famous for their lightning-fast offensives of bikes and aircraft that leave the foe outmaneuvered and striking at shadows, while the White Scars pick them apart at range or crush them in decisive close combat.The White Scars are featured in the 6th edition Space Marines codex.
— Jaghatai Khan, the Last Charge of Galathamar
- Badass Biker: An entire army of them!
- Badass Mustache: Of the long, droopy Genghis Khan or Fu Manchu variety.
- Born in the Saddle: The name of one of their chapter traits, allowing White Scar bikers to ride through difficult terrain without incident, and better avoid enemy fire.
- Challenge Seeker: The White Scars relish the opportunity to test their riding skills against similarly-themed opponents, such as Ork Speed Freeks and the Wild Riders of Saim-Hann Craftworld.
- The Chooser of The One: The chapter's Storm-Seers, a mixture of Librarian and Chaplain, select their Khans.
- Duel to the Death: While they get along with each other well enough most of the time, on occasion a White Scar may find that they cannot get satisfaction in a disagreement with another White Scar without blood being spilled. If so, he may petition his company master to be allowed to duel with ritual tulwars.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Mongol Hordes from the East. Their Primarch was even named Jaghatai, while he and subsequent leaders are called Khans.
- Fate Worse Than Death: The White Scars don't like Dreadnoughts, and would rather let their dead rest properly than put them in something so cumbersome and claustrophobic.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: As the name suggests, scarification rituals are important to the White Scars, and new members receive one upon their initiation.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Their "Fight on the Move" chapter trait lets any model not wearing Terminator or Centurion armor do this.
- King in the Mountain: Jaghatai Khan vanished in pursuit of a force of Dark Eldar raiders, and the White Scars believe that he's still fighting in the Webway somewhere, and will return to them someday.
- Lightning Bruiser: Emphasis on the lightning part. The White Scars fetish speed in battle, and their entire doctrine focuses on hitting the enemy as quickly and as hard as possible. Thanks to their power armor, this speed does not come at the cost of making them fragile.
- Medieval Stasis: The White Scars invoke this on Chogoris, allowing no more than the occasional crude black powder weapon (and even those are usually Ancestral Weapons passed down among tribal leaders) among the planet's native tribes. This is a practice started by Jaghatai Khan, who feared that the progress would only dull the fierceness of the steppe warriors that made such fine recruits.
- Multitribe Team: The people of Chogoris live in separate tribes that regularly war against each other to gain the White Scars' favor. While this keeps their recruits sharp, old grievances can carry over after recruitment. Thus the White Scars organize squads to be composed of individuals from many different tribes to help break down the old tribal identities once they become Marines.
- My Horse Is a Motorbike: Modern motorized Mongols.
- A Storm Is Coming: The White Scars invoke this imagery on their heraldry, seeing the storms of their homeworld as symbolic of themselves, with the wind and the lightning representing their speed and strength, hitting their foe like a force of nature.
- The Wild Hunt: Something the White Scars enact symbolically. Their Chapter Master names a particular foe whom they must bring to heel, and a company will be tasked with hunting them down and returning with their head. One company will always be engaged in such a hunt at any given time, as when one dire foe is felled another will be named so that the hunt never ends.
- Token Minority: The Asian chapter.
Kor'sarro Khan, Master of the Hunt
Surround yourself with the greatest warriors at your command, or cower in the deepest darkest hole you can find. It matters not. I shall take your head for the Great Khan and for the Emperor.Kor'sarro Khan is Captain of the 3rd Company and the current Master of the Hunt, charged with bringing back the head of any foe who has managed to survive a battle with the White Scars.
- Cool Bike: Moondrakkan, Kor'sarro's personal bike, which was originally commissioned for the fourth Master of the Hunt. In-game, it allows him to inflict up to three wounds when using the Hammer of Wrath attack instead of the normal one.
- Enemy Mine: After being captured by the Necron lord Nemesor Zahndrekh, Kor'sarro discovered that the Eldar Ranger Illic Nightspear was among the other captives. Reasoning that freedom far outweighed any mutual animosity they might have otherwise had, Kor'sarro and Illic teamed up to lead an escape. They both tried to fight Vargard Obyron as he thwarted the escape, but Illic was quickly knocked out, leaving Kor'sarro to fight Obyron by himself.
- Off with His Head!: The Master of the Hunt is charged with hunting down and beheading a foe that somehow survived a fight with the White Scars, then returning the head to Chogoris to be made into a trophy. So far, Kor'sarro has completed almost 20 of these hunts; the daemon princes Doomrider and Kernax Voldorius, an Eldar pirate lord, and a Chaos Warlord are among his most notable kills.
- One-Hit Kill: In-game, Kor'sarro's sword Moonfang has the Instant Death rule if you roll a 6 To Wound.
- Villain Respect: Kor'sarro earned this from Nemesor Zahndrekh. Zahndrekh treated him with dignity while he was imprisoned, and after his escape attempt was thwarted, Zahndrekh spared Kor'sarro's life and allowed him to leave with Illic Nightspear because he fought Obyron so ferociously.
Listen closely Brothers, for my life's breath is all but spent. There shall come a time far from now when our Chapter itself is dying, even as I am now dying, and our foes shall gather to destroy us. Then my children, I shall listen for your call in whatever realm of death holds me, and come I shall, no matter what the laws of life and death forbid. At the end I will be there. For the final battle. For the Wolftime.The Space Wolves are a First Founding Chapter and the Sixth Legion. Their Primarch is Leman Russ, their current Great Wolf is Logan Grimnar, and their home world is Fenris.Known as the Vlka Fenryka (Wolves of Fenris) in their native tongue, the Space Wolves are a prideful and anti-authoritarian chapter that refuses to adopt the Codex Astartes, stubbornly maintaining the customs and force organization inherited from their barbarous homeworld. These warriors embody the wolf's savagery and feral cunning, but despite their wild appearance the Space Wolves reject the brutal methods of the Imperial establishment, and have come to blows with Inquisitors and Cardinals alike. The Space Wolves remain loyal to the Imperium at large, but not always in the way the Administratum would prefer.The Space Wolves received a 7th edition codex in 2014.
— Leman Russ, final words
- Arch-Enemy: The Thousand Sons legion, a grudge dating back to the Horus Heresy and the Space Wolves' sacking of Prospero.
- An Axe to Grind: The Space Wolves really love their power axes, and can even equip their Dreadnoughts with a Fenrisian Great Axe and Blizzard Shield as of 7th ed.
- Barbarian Hero: All Space Wolf characters are highly individualistic, and the rules for choosing Sagas for the army's leaders encourage players to forge their own heroic epics and prevent them from carrying the same war gear.
- Beards and Braids of Barbarism: Space Wolves might be the hairiest models in the 40k range.
- Berserk Button: Suggest shaving or haircuts, or, if you're an Inquisitor, declare Exterminatus within earshot. Much like the Salamanders, murdering innocent civilians is a huge no-no for the Space Wolves, as chapter master Seth of the Flesh Tearers found out the hard way. Treachery and breaking oaths will also enrage them, as chapter master Joros of the Grey Knights found out in an even harder way.
- Blood Knight/Would Not Shoot a Civilian: There are two reasons why the Space Wolves will ignore an Exterminatus order: the first is because it would kill all of the innocents on the planet, the other reason is that it deprives them of a chance to fight an enemy strong enough to justify such an extreme order.
- Boisterous Bruiser: As Belial of the Dark Angels put it, "Fenris breeds heroes like a bar breeds drunks - loud, proud and spoiling for a fight."
- Canis Major: The Fenrisian Wolves that accompany some Space Wolves into battle are the size of tigers, while the ones that serve as Thunderwolf cavalry are even larger.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: During the Great Crusade, the Space Wolves were used when the Emperor generally wanted something completely crushed. They (and especially Leman Russ) were so good at this that the Legion became known as "the Rout."Thar Ariak Hraldir, Wolf Priest: We were made to destroy. Our whole being is destruction. Such was the will of the Allfather. He made us not to construct empires, but to murder them. We were bred to perform the tasks that no other Legion could, to fight with such extravagance that even our brother warriors would shrink from treachery in the knowledge of what we, the Rout, would do to them.
- Death Seeker: Lone Wolves are the Sole Survivors of their packs, and hurl themselves at the most formidable of foes in an attempt to either redeem themselves or join their brothers in death. The ones who survive are generally elevated to the Wolf Guard.
- Death World: Fenris is a world that is exclusively Grim Up North, with a very elliptical orbit that takes twice as long as Terran standard. Its long winters freeze almost the entire planet, while its summers bring lava flows and tidal waves. The land is constantly changing, making permanent settlement impossible, and its resources are so meager that its population must war amongst itself to survive. Other claims to fame include kraken, dragons, and wolves the size of tanks. The Space Wolves are quite proud of their homeworld's lethality and warlike population.
- Fangs Are Evil: Subverted, despite their borderline bestial appearance.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Werewolf Horny Vikings. Early on there were attempts to bring in other European barbarians like the Celts, but nowadays the Wolves are pretty Norse.
- Freeze Ray: Their 7th edition codex introduces Helfrost weapons, powerful lasers focused through a rare glimmerfrost crystal that instantly freezes the target area to near absolute zero.
- Fur Against Fang: Fittingly, the Space Wolves and Blood Angels don't get along too well, though not to the extent of their other rivalries.
- Glory Seeker: Blood Claws, reckless young warriors out to make a name for themself through feats of battlefield daring. Unless a Wolf Guard squad leader or other character is around to keep them in line, they're obligated to charge any foes they can reach, and get so excited that they can't shoot in the Shooting Phase beforehand.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Space Wolves avoid wearing their helmets whenever they can, partly because their hair and/or beards make it awkward and partly because the helmets muck with their senses, especially smell and hearing. If a Space Wolf is wearing his helmet, you can bet he's grousing about it.
- Hot-Blooded: The aptly-named Blood Claws, the youngest of the full marines who are bounding with aggressive energy, eager to earn their place among the chapter. They are almost all full on enthusiasm and light on discipline.
- King in the Mountain: The Wolves believe that Leman Russ will return to them for an apocalyptic final battle - after all, he promised as much.
- Lighter and Softer: The Horus Heresy novels reveal that in their early incarnation, the Vlka Fenryka prided themselves as being absolutely unfettered executioners willing to do anything the Emperor commanded. Ten thousand years of Character Development later and the Space Wolves are Chaotic Good warriors willing to fight the Administratum for ordering the same brutal actions they used to execute.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: It's suspected that the Wolves play up their "boisterous barbarian" image when convenient. There's a reason Logan Grimnar ends up running most of the wars he's involved in, even from the sidelines.
- Old Shame: In-universe, the Wolf Brothers, their ill-fated attempt to found a successor chapter.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Oddities in the Space Wolves' gene-seed manifest as lengthened canines, as well as a heightened sense of smell. They also bear the Curse of the Wulfen, which must be confronted during the induction of every aspirant—either their bodies will stabilize so that they become a full Space Marine, they'll degenerate into a bestial monster, or they'll appear to stabilize only to manifest the Curse in the heat of battle. Battle of the Fang reveals that the Wulfen are kept in isolation within the Fang, the Wolves' fortress, brought out only in dire situations.
- Spanner in the Works: Every time the Thousand Sons try to hatch a grand scheme, the Space Wolves find a way to wreck it.
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: The Space Wolves' 13th Great Company had a disproportionate number of warriors suffering from the Curse of the Wulfen, and disappeared at the end of the Horus Heresy when they pursued the fleeing traitors into the Eye of Terror. They were considered lost and became a taboo topic among the Space Wolves, only to make a surprise reappearance hounding the heels of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade.
- Token Minority: In the latest codex, one of the Wolf Lords is noted to come from the dark-skinned sea folk of Fenris' southern oceans, who are rarely recruited due to being traders more than warriors.
- True Companions: Unless he is promoted to the Wolf Guard, a Space Wolf typically spends his entire life in the same pack. Unlike other chapters, in which Marines are assigned to different squads as their abilities dictate, a Space Wolf pack evolves from an impetuous Blood Claws assault squad to an even-tempered Grey Hunter squad to a veteran Long Fang fire support team. This pack will shrink as casualties accrue over the centuries, which helps explain Long Fangs' typical grim and dour demeanor.
Logan Grimnar, The Great Wolf
Follow me, Sons of Russ! This night our enemies shall feel the fangs of the Wolf!Also known as the Old Wolf and the Fangfather, the High King of Fenris has led the Space Wolves for over five centuries. In contrast to other Astartes commanders, Grimnar is a charismatic and likeable leader who readily rewards success with a slap on the back and a tankard of Fenrisian mead. Despite his long history of defending the Imperium from uncountable foes, Logan himself has been accused of heresy and rebellion, for he has willingly - perhaps even enthusiastically - led the Space Wolves against Imperial institutions deemed a threat. Grimnar's willingness to meet his detractors in combat does much to keep these allegations from going further.Logan Grimnar's Great Company is the focus of the Champions of Fenris codex supplement.
- A Father to His Men: And others; Logan's ability to encourage others to fight harder extends to any friendly model, not just Space Wolves.
- The Dreaded: After some past incidents, the Administratum, and even the Inquisition, know it's better to have Logan Grimnar as an ally than an enemy.
- Elite Army: The Champions of Fenris do not require any Troops choices to be taken in favor of mandatory Elite choices.
- The High King: First among equals to the other Wolf Lords.
- I Call It "Vera": The Axe Morkai, a weapon he took as a trophy from a defeated Chaos Champion and named after the two-headed wolf that guards the Fenrisian underworld. In-game, Grimnar can wield it one-handed as a Frost Blade or two-handed as a Power Fist.
- Papa Wolf: Yes, he's head of the Space Wolves, but more than that...
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: After the Ordo Malleus began purging the survivors of the First War for Armageddon, Grimnar and the Space Wolves did their best to obfuscate the Inquisition's efforts and save the victorious Guardsmen and innocent civilians. This escalated into a secret conflict against the Inquisition and Grey Knights that became a full-fledged war with Grimnar killing the Grey Knights' Chapter Master, ending in the siege of Fenris and the death of the head Inquisitor, also at Logan's hand. Both sides backed down, but have never forgiven each other.
Ragnar Blackmane, The Young King
We may be few, and our enemies many. Yet so long as there remains one of us still fighting, one who still rages in the name of justice and truth, then by the Allfather, the galaxy shall yet know hope.The youngest commander in the history of his chapter, Ragnar Blackmane combines the combat prowess of a Wolf Lord with the reckless bravado of a Blood Claw. His skill at planetary assault often leads the Great Wolf to select Blackmane's Great Company to spearhead invasions, and Ragnar is usually first to set foot on the battlezone, and always found where the fighting is thickest. Due to his youth it seems that Ragnar is destined to be the greatest Wolf Lord in history, though the Wolf Priests warn that his impetuousness and anger could just as easily be his doom.The saga of Ragnar Blackmane is recorded in the Space Wolf novels.
- The Berserker: To the extent that he and his squad must charge an enemy if able to, but get hefty bonuses when they do so.
- Death from Above: Ragnar's Packs specialize in a Drop Pod assault called the "Claws of Russ."
- Protective Charm: As the leader of one of the Space Wolves' Great Companies, Ragnar wears a Belt of Russ, which incorporates a conversion field generator. Harald Deathwolf also wears one of these, but his model's design hides the Belt while Ragnar's is clearly visible.
- Super Reflexes: Even for a Space Marine, Ragnar's ability to react to and avoid harm is uncanny.
Bjorn the Fell-Handed, Last of the Company of Russ
I was on Prospero, brothers. I was there when we burned their heresy from the galaxy. I saw Leman Russ lay waste to their cherished places. I saw Traitors weep from corrupted eyes as we turned their pyramids of glass into barren wasteland. That will not happen here. They were made weak by the knowledge of their treachery. We are made strong by the knowledge of our fidelity. Where Tizca fell, the Aett will stand. Though it may cost the lives of us all, the Aett will stand.The oldest warrior in the Imperium, Bjorn served through the Horus Heresy in Leman Russ' retinue, only to be left behind when his Primarch departed for the Eye of Terror. Eventually interred within a Dreadnought sarcophagus, Bjorn is the most venerated member of his chapter, roused from his slumber every new century to recount tales of the Space Wolves' past to awestruck listeners. At other times Bjorn's wisdom and strength are required, allowing him to prove the truth of his legend on the battlefield.
- And I Must Scream: A minor case; while Bjorn fights just as passionately for the Imperium now as he did when he was whole, he hates being a Dreadnought.
- Badass Beard: BEHOLD!◊
- Badass Grandpa: The oldest one in the Imperium of Man. In the Imperium only the Emperor is older.note
- Bling of War: A rare negative example; Bjorn hates that his Dreadnought is so lavishly decorated, feeling himself unworthy of the attention.
- Four-Star Badass: Bjorn was elected to be the first Great Wolf after Leman Russ left for the Eye of Terror, and held the position until he became a Dreadnought.
- Grumpy Old Man: Bjorn was known to be sullen and quick-tempered, and it's only gotten worse since he's become a Dreadnought. The fandom has a field day with this, making him utterly sick of being awakened just to tell Blood Claws stories about the Wolves' past battles and of the chapter's obsession with wolves in general.
- Lightning Bruiser: Bjorn's sarcophagus and chassis are highly advanced and allow him to fight with speed and agility beyond what's normal for Dreadnoughts, almost matching his abilities prior to his interment.
- Man in the Machine: The result of being in a Dreadnought.
- Meaningful Name: His moniker is two-fold, as it refers to both his signature armament (a master-crafted Wolf Claw he wielded as a flesh-and-blood Marine and the Dreadnought-model lightning claw he now uses) and the loss of his claw arm during the battle of Prospero. His model was updated in 2014 and features a gilded decoration that invokes this legacy.
- Rage Against the Mentor: Bjorn still struggles with the rejection and bitterness of being left behind by Russ when he took off with the rest of the Wolf Guard for the Eye of Terror.
Ulrik the Slayer, Wolf High Priest
The Space Wolves' spiritual leader is the oldest warrior in the chapter outside a Dreadnought, able to call his 700-year-old commander "Young Grimnar" and get away with it. Ulrik's feats during the First War for Armageddon earned him the title of Slayer and saw him nominated as a potential Wolf Lord by his brothers, but the priest declined leadership in favor of continuing to select and train the next generation of recruits. Many of the Space Wolves' greatest heroes, Logan Grimnar and Ragnar Blackmane included, have benefited from Ulrik's mentorship.
- Badass Grandpa: He is the one who recruited Logan Grimnar into the Space Wolves.
- Badass Teacher: You can tell which special characters he's trained (besides Bjorn) because they share Ulrik's high Weapon Skill.
- Declining Promotion: After Wolf Lord Kruger was killed on Armageddon, Ulrik refused to become his successor, feeling he was more suited to pure combat than leadership, and has since found a true calling in selecting and training Space Wolf aspirants.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Ulrik wears the Wolf Helm of Russ, a fearsome helm shaped like a wolf's skull and reputed to have been given to Leman Russ himself at the time of the founding of the Space Wolves Legion.
- Villain Respect: Ulrik was actually saluted by Angron, Daemon Prince of the World Eaters, after a battle during the First War for Armageddon in which Ulrik slew many World Eaters single-handedly, including the three Khorne Berserkers who had killed Wolf Lord Kruger.
Njal Stormcaller, The Tempest that Walks
Njal is a potent Rune Priest who lives up to Fenrisian legends about Sky Warriors being able to bend the elements to their will. He has honed his psyker talents through meditation on the storm-racked peaks of Fenris, allowing him to call down lightning upon foes or flay the flesh from their bones with howling blizzards.
- Anti-Magic: Both Njal's staff and the runic wards on his armor nullify the powers of enemy psykers.
- Familiar: Nightwing the psyber-raven, gifted to Njal by Iron Priest Ulf Schwarzbraur as a reward for saving his life.
- Go for the Eye: Nightwing assists Njal in battle by pecking at enemies' eyes.
- Magic Knight: Even more so than normal Rune Priests, Njal is the only of his kind able to ensorcel a suit of Terminator armor.
- Weather Manipulation: While all Rune Priests can control weather Njal is particularly accomplished at it, gaining the name Stormcaller after he destroyed a Bloodthirster and its minions with an incredibly powerful ice storm. In 5th Edition this was represented by an automatic, cumulative effect that started by hampering enemy shots and ended with Njal shooting chain lightning and commanding cyclones.
Arjac Rockfist, Grimnar's Champion
As the mountain is ArjacOnce an Iron Priest, Arjac Rockfist's heroism saved hundreds of lives when the Iron Isles were attacked by monsters from the depths of Fenris' oceans. After the Great Wolf witnessed him taking on hundreds of kraken beasts single-handedly, Arjac was promoted to the Wolf Guard and named Grimnar's personal champion on the spot.
A snow-capped peak
His rage overshadows the wounded bear.
The Rockfist endures when all seems lost.
A snow-capped peak
His rage overshadows the wounded bear.
The Rockfist endures when all seems lost.
— From the Saga of Arjac Rockfist
- The Blacksmith: Arjac was a blacksmith of the Bear Claw tribe prior to joining the Space Wolves, and began his life with the Wolves as an Iron Priest.
- Drop the Hammer: Foehammer, a thunder hammer that can be thrown at foes and automatically teleports back into Arjac's hand.
- Shield Bash: Gets an extra attack while charging thanks to bashing foes with his storm shield.
Harald Deathwolf, Lord of the Wolfkin
"Down from Asaheim they came. The Ice Trolls, gorging on the hot flesh of man. Deathwolf felt the plight of his kin. He smote the beasts in a single night."Said to be the greatest hunter in the chapter, Harald Deathwolf is the usual Wolf Lord sent against the Space Wolves' greatest enemies. His Great Company deploys the largest number of Thunderwolf Cavalry and Fenrisian Wolves out of all of the chapter.
-— From the Saga of Harld Deathwolf - The Slaying of the Ice Trolls
- Ascended Extra: While the generic Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf model was always based on him, he only had occasional mention in the fluff to the point where one of his Wolf Guard, Canis Wolfborn, got rules and a model before him. The 7th edition Codex gives him rules and he uses the Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf model.
- An Axe to Grind: Wields a Frost Axe.
- Harmless Electrocution: Harald and Svane Wulfbad were struck by lightning during their final confrontation. Wulfbad was incinerated but Harald was unharmed.
- Canis Major/Horse of a Different Color: He rides a Thunderwolf named Icetooth, and his Great Company has the most Thunderwolf Cavalry out of all of the Great Companies.
- Meaningful Name: His Thunderwolf is named Icetooth because a piece of Svane Wulfbad's Frost Axe became lodged in his cybernetic jaw during the final battle between Harald and the traitor.
- No Sell: He's immune to flamers and the Pyromancy psychic power due to the Mantle of the Troll King he wears into battle.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Implied by how he recruited Canis Wolfborn and the special rule "Lord of the Wolfkin," which grants his leadership value to any wolves in range.
Canis Wolfborn, the Feral Knight
The man later called Canis Wolfborn was first encountered by Jorek the Giant, who was ambushed and knocked unconscious by this wild man who hunted with a pack of wolves. Wolfborn then dragged Jorek by the heel all the way back to the Fang, and after several failed attempts to communicate was subdued by Wolf Lord Harald Deathwolf in a duel. Canis was subsequently recruited as a Space Wolf and promoted to Harald's Wolf Guard, though he remains more at home in the company of wolves than men.
- The Berserker: In battle, Canis is a frenzied combatant, tearing opponents to shreds in animalistic fury.
- Canis Major/Horse of a Different Color: Fangir, the Thunderwolf he uses as a mount, is almost as big as a Dreadnought's chassis.
- Dual Wielding / Wolverine Claws: Canis wields a pair of Wolf Claws, a type of lightning claw unique to the Space Wolves.
- Raised by Wolves: Literally.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Said to speak the wolves' language, and can command wolfkind as well as Logan Grimnar commands men. This was represented on the table in the 5th Edition Codex by unlocking the normally Fast Attack Fenrisian Wolves as Troops when Canis is selected as an HQ.
Lukas the Trickster, the Strifeson
The dirtiest fighter among the Space Wolves, Lukas the Trickster should be a Wolf Guard due to his fighting prowess, but remains a Blood Claw due to his love of pranks. His more positive contributions include provoking an Orkish civil war with a falsified vox transmition; luring the Word Bearers to attempt planetfall on thin ice; and "accidentally" locking an Inquisitorial delegation in a Grox pen while the creatures were in season. The only foe to best Lukas was none other than Duke Sliscus of the Dark Eldar, who cut out one of his hearts and threw him out an airlock. The Jackalwolf found this hilarious, but has taken steps to ensure it won't be repeated.
- The Casanova: Even before becoming a Space Wolf, Lucas was a legend on Fenris for sharing a dozen beds in one night.
- Combat Pragmatist: There's no tactic Lukas won't use in combat, as long as it works.
- Dead Man Switch/Taking You with Me: Lukas replaced his missing heart with a stasis bomb, set to go off if his remaining heart stops beating. Whatever finally kills him will be trapped in a gruesome monument to Lukas' glory, hearing his laughter for all eternity. In game terms, this means that if Lukas is killed in a duel, there is a chance that the one who bested him will go with.
- The Hyena: Another of his epithets is "The Laughing One."
- Military Maverick: Even compared to the rest of the Space Wolves, he's only barely tolerated by the Wolf Lords because his battlefield accomplishments outweigh his irreverence and tricks. The Blood Claws at least find him hilarious.
- Nemean Skinning: The only man known to have tracked and killed a Doppelgangrel, whose chameleonic hide makes him much more difficult to hit.
Murderfang, The Curseborn
Murderfang is a particularly vicious Dreadnought discovered wandering the wastes of Omnicide. No one knows who the Marine is that is entombed within its sarcophagus, but what is known is that when he is turned loose on the battlefield, carnage will follow in his wake.
- The Berserker: The Marine entombed within Murderfang has become a Wulfen, and wades into combat with all the insane fury of those unfortunate mutants. In-game, he has the Rage and Rampage special rules, enhancing his close combat abilities.
- A Closed Sarcophagus is Hardly Heroic: His sarcophagus, unlike any other non-Chaos Dreadnought, leaves his face exposed.
- Determinator: Reflected by his Murderlust rule, which allows him to ignore Crew Shaken and Crew Stunned results for penetrating hits which would otherwise cripple him in close combat.
- Dual Wielding: Murderfang is equipped with the Murderclaws, powerful Dreadnought-model Lightning Claws similar to what Bjorn wields but more heavily armed.
- Human Popsicle: Murderfang's ferocity is such that he has to be kept in cryo-stasis between battles.
- Kill It with Fire: One of the Murderclaws has a built-in heavy flamer.
- Man in the Machine: The identity of the Marine inside Murderfang is a mystery.
Krom Dragongaze, Wolf Lord of the Drakeslayers
"Warriors of Fenris, there is glory to be had on the world below! Shall we stand idly by while others seize it in our stead? I say no! Instead, let us tear it raw and bloody from the fallen bodies of our foes!"Krom Dragongaze is a bad-tempered and highly competitive Wolf Lord who demands victory in all things from himself and his men, whether on or off the battlefield. Despite the violent punishments he dispenses for failure, Krom’s men are fiercely loyal to their Lord as he also believes in rewarding success, something that has lead his Great Company to contain more Wolf Guard than any other, except Logan Grimnar’s Champions of Fenris.
—Krom Dragongaze, address to his warriors before the second wave assault upon Alaric Prime
- An Axe to Grind: Krom’s frost axe, Wyrmclaw, is a masterpiece that is perfectly balanced and razor-sharp.
- Death Glare: Krom gained the nickname ‘Fierce-Eye’ due to his terrifying, piercing gaze.
- Glory Hound: While all Space Wolves seek fame in battle, Krom’s highly competitive nature has given him a reputation for rash actions in search of glory and he takes great offence at other Wolf Lords being chosen for important and prestigious missions.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Krom’s volcanic temper can cause him to beat senseless anyone who questions his decisions, something that has caused Logan Grimnar to censure the Wolf Lord on many occasions.
- Never Needs Sharpening: During its forging Wyrmclaw was dusted with bonemetal glaze made from the talons of an ice wyrm; the axe has retained its razor edge ever since.
- Shoot the Messenger: Unless physically restrained by his Wolf Guard, Krom will sometimes attempt to rip the throat out of anyone who gives him bad news.
Discipline. Duty. Unyielding Will. These are the measures by which every warrior is judged. Unarmed, a warrior with these qualities will still find victory, no matter how long or arduous the path. When girded with the sacred armaments of the Adeptus Astartes, such a warrior becomes truly indomitable.The Imperial Fists are a First Founding chapter and the Seventh Legion. Their Primarch is Rogal Dorn, their current Chapter Master is Vorn Hagen, and their homeworld is Terranote .The greatest siege experts in the Imperium, the Imperial Fists are functionally fleet-based, but can claim Holy Terra itself as their homeworld in honor of their defense of the Imperial Palace during the Horus Heresy. Stoic and self-disciplined, the Imperial Fists' drive to conquer pain and their culture of self-sacrifice allow them to fight on through the worst of trials, even when other chapters would consider retreat.For more, see the Imperial Fists books. They are also featured in the 6th edition Space Marines Codex and are the focus of the Sentinels of Terra codex supplement.
— Rogal Dorn, during the Grand Muster of the Imperial Fists
- Arch-Enemy: The Iron Warriors legion, their Evil Counterpart siege experts.
- Badass Mustache: Part of their Prussian schtick.
- Berserk Button: Along with their hate of the Iron Warriors, mentioning the Soul Drinkers near any of the other Imperial Fists successors will at best earn you a session with a Pain Glove.
- Determinator: This has actually gotten the Fists in trouble when they've refused to back out of a losing battle, such as the Iron Cage incident.
- Due to the Dead: Battle-brothers who distinguish themselves are honored with the bones, particularly the skeletal hands, of fallen Imperial Fists, which are then meticulously scrimshawed and worn as ornamentation. This has been viewed as both a cultural practice and as a pathological compulsion resulting from the Fists' gene-seed—one Battle-Brother stripped his own hand to the bone so he could scrimshaw the names of his fallen squadmates into his fist.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Imperial Fists follow the "Junker model of behavior" and continue Terra's "ancient Prussic codes."
- Gladiator Games: The Feast of Blades is a borderline example of this. It is a tournament where the Imperial Fists and their succesor chapters fight for the chance of winning the Dornsblade, a Power Sword once owned by Rogal Dorn, their Primarch.
- Macho Masochism: Genetic degradation has amplified the Imperial Fists' determination and drive for self-sacrifice into something masochistic, hence their appreciation for dueling scars as well as the Pain Glove device detailed below.
- More Dakka: In-game, the Fists' Chapter Tactics allow re-rolls of To Hit rolls of 1 for almost all bolt weapons.
- The Perfectionist: Imperial Fists have a strong tendency toward fastidiousness with detail in almost everything they do, and are harshly self-critical of any failure.
- Planet Spaceship: The Fists' headquarters is the Phalanx, a mobile space fortress the size of a small moon. It's so large that its interior spaces have distinct ecosystems and biologists can track the evolution of its unique animal lifeforms.
- Praetorian Guard: They were this to the Emperor before the Adeptus Custodes.
- Self-Harm: The Fists believe that pain is both a penance and a philosophy. To this end, they make frequent use of the Pain Glove, a bodysuit-like device that stimulates pain nerves without actually causing damage. This is both to strengthen their self discipline and, through mediation on Rogal Dorn, help them become more closely attuned to their Primarch.Pain is...a lesson that the universe teaches us. Pain is the preserver from injury. Pain perpetuates our lives. It is the healing, purifying scalpel of our souls. Pain is the wine of communion with heroes. It is the quicksilver panacea for weakness - the quintessence of a dedicated existence. Pain is the philosophic vitriol which transmutes mere moral into immortal. It is the Sublime, the golden astral fire!
- The Siege / Storming the Castle: Considered to be a specialty of theirs, either holding a strongpoint for an indefinite time against great odds, or penetrating hardened installations no matter how well entrenched the enemy or how long it takes. In either case, they carry out the action with meticulous care.
Captain Darnath Lysander, Commander of the 1st Company
I have travelled far and seen much. Yet nothing warms my heart so much as the sight of a gun so massive that its fury makes the very world tremble.Two centuries after being given command of the Imperial Fists 1st Company, Lysander was believed lost when a warpstorm claimed his vessel, only to be captured by the Iron Warriors and subjected to brutal tortures. Nevertheless he managed to escape and return to his chapter a millennium after his disappearance, and after being found free of taint, resumed his post and led his brothers to enact bloody vengeance on his former captors.
- Continuity Nod: Lysander's earliest incarnation was as a Veteran Sergeant with the Boring but Practical ability to let his squad reroll a bad round of shooting with their bolt weapons. Though the fluff and his in-game profile have advanced since then, he still retained his Bolter Drill ability, and now has passed it on to his chapter at large.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Lysander was captured by the Iron Warriors Warsmith Shon’tu and subjected to weeks of torture, but managed to escape and return to the Imperial Fists.
- Declining Promotion: Lysander has refused several offers to become Chapter Master since the death of Vladimir Pugh, stating that he will not serve as Chapter Master until the Iron Warriors Warsmith Shon’tu is dead.
- Drop the Hammer: Lysander wields the Fist of Dorn, an extremely powerful master-crafted thunder hammer.
- Revenge Before Reason: Although Lysander is usually a capable commander, he loses all sense of perspective when it comes to Warsmith Shon’tu. A prime example of this is the Battle of Taladorn, where Lysander’s refusal to accept his ally’s offers of aid led to Shon’tu escaping, caused the near-destruction of the Imperial Fists' 3rd Company, and set in motion the events detailed in the Sentinels of Terra codex supplement.
Because as long as one single Blood Angel lives and breathes, he will be master of his spirit. He will not let the abyss that lies in the hearts of us all take him into darkness. That is the truth you did not understand, the truth that Horus has forgotten. It is not the descent toward the shadow nor the rise toward the light that makes us superior. It is the endless struggle between the two that greatness of character lies. We are tested, and we do not break. We will never fall!The Blood Angels are a First Founding chapter and the Ninth Legion. Their Primarch is Sanguinius, their current Lord Commander is Dante, and their homeworld is Baal.Though the Blood Angels have inherited the nobility of their angelic Primarch, they also bear a terrible curse. A flaw in their gene-seed drives them to seek blood in the carnage of close combat, and in the worst cases can consume a Blood Angel's mind. Despite this, the Blood Angels maintain their founder's idealism, and the knowledge of their defects gives them unusual humility for Astartes.For more about the Sons of Sanguinius, see the the Blood Angels novels. Their 7th edition Codex was released in December 2014.
— Sanguinius, during the Battle of Signus Prime
- An Odd Place to Sleep: Like vampires, Blood Angels must periodically rest in a sarcophagus. However, the reason they must do so is because it is actually a kind of Auto Doc, extracting their blood, subjecting it to osmosis, and re-integrating it into the body. Through this ritual, they purify their blood, keeping the flaw a little more at bay. The older a Blood Angel gets, the longer and more frequent such purification sleep needs to be.
- Arm Cannon: The Angelus-pattern boltgun is a wrist-mounted bolter issued to the Sanguinary Guard.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: The Blood Angels are very aggressive, their strategies typically involve getting into close combat as soon as possible, and on the battlefield their forces are frequently pulled forward by their Assault Squads, keeping their tactical initiative going by never giving their opposition a chance to regroup. They can be just as tactically flexible as any chapter when they need to, but playing offense offsets the damage done if any Blood Angel falls prey to the Red Thirst. Some of their successors go even further; see the Flesh Tearers entry below.
- Beneath the Mask: Generally, few outside the sons of Sanguinius know of their flaw, and they like to keep it that way. The air of sophistication they cultivate, while genuine, is also a facade they use to help keep their inner rage under the appearance of control.
- The Berserker: The effects of the Red Thirst drive even heavy weapon squads to leave their positions and try to tear apart the foe in close combat. The Black Rage is even worse.
- Cultured Badass: The Blood Angels enjoy long lifespans by Astartes standards, allowing them the time to practice and master art as well as war. Combined with their refined aesthetic, this sharply contrasts their more...iconic image.
- Death from Above: Their "Descent of Angels" special rule lets the Blood Angels' Deep Striking reserve units arrive faster and with more precision. They've also developed a tactic of airdropping Land Raiders directly into battlezones.
- Death Seeker: The Death Company is sent into the worst fighting in search of a merciful end in combat, and any who survive are given the Emperor's Peace after the battle.
- Death World: Their homeworld of Baal is an irradiated, mutant-infested, post-apocalyptic hellhole.
- Dynamic Entry: Something of a Blood Angel specialty, either strategically by getting their forces directly onto the battlefield from a drop operation right on top of the enemy, or tactically from an assault squad hitting the foe before they even have time to prepare.
- Evil Me Scares Me: The Blood Angels won't hesitate to charge Tyranids or even Daemons in close combat, and indeed relish the opportunity. What truly gives them pause is the prospect of falling to the Black Rage and joining the Death Company.
- Fangs Are Evil: Whether or not this is subverted depends on whether the Blood Angel is in the grips of the Red Thirst or not.
- Genetic Memory: The Blood Angels bear what is sometimes called the Curse of Horus, the blood-memory of their Primarch's death at the Arch-Heretic's hands. Those lost to the Black Rage will forget their own identity and hallucinate Sanguinius' final moments.
- He Cleans Up Nicely: The nomadic scavenger tribes of Baal generally suffer from cankers, lesions, and melanoma as the outward symptoms of the harshness of their existence. If they are inducted into the Blood Angels and survive their year of wakeless sleep in a life-support sarcophagus, they emerge transformed into perfect-bodied beings with a trace of Sanguinius' own beauty, purified of both their literal and metaphorical humanly imperfections.
- Onrushing Army: While a typical Blood Angel deployment moves forward swiftly and aggressively, it is done with the tight discipline expected of Astartes (even if that discipline can sometimes become strained.) However, when the Death Company advances, no such discipline is possible; the Marines in it are Death Seekers to a man and only interested in a Self-Destructive Charge, and are too far consumed by the Black Rage to even contemplate any other approach.
- Our Vampires Are Different: A motif played with, but mostly downplayed and Ret-Conned out in recent editions. The Blood Angels make extensive use of blood in religious ceremonies, and as part of their transformation process spend a year in a blood-filled life-support sarcophagus. Older fluff used to give them all pale skin, red eyes, and black hair, but nowadays they better resemble their fair-haired, angelic founder.
- The Pollyanna: A all-male example on a factional level; despite the darkness of the Black Rage and Red Thirst that perpetually hangs over them, they are also one of the most optimistic chapters. The Blood Angels have inherited Sanguinius's idealism, and the belief that no matter how bad things are, they can always get better. The knowledge of their own flawed nature allows them to regard themselves with a certain humbleness unusual in Astartes, allowing this belief to flourish despite the kind of universe they inhabit.
- Power Born of Madness: Those gripped by the Black Rage become superhumanly brutal in combat and feel no pain, so that nothing short of death will stop them.
- Pretty Boy: One of the more positive legacies of Sanguinius, who was known as the Angel in life.
- Red Is Heroic: By the standards of this setting, the Blood Angels are one of the noblest Chapters in existence, assuming they haven't succumbed to the Flaw.
- Red Ones Go Faster: While the Blood Angels would be seriously offended to be compared with Orks, they do play this trope straight: the Blood Angels are very focused on getting to the enemy quickly so that they can get into the close combat they excel at. Blood Angels Rhinos are noted to be some of the fastest patterns in existence.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Every Blood Angel, to some degree, even the less experienced ones. This is due to bearing the Genetic Memory of their Primarch's death, and battle can trigger involuntary flashbacks to it. "The Red Thirst" is the name the Blood Angels give to those Marines who are struggling to separate those memories from their own identity in combat. The ones who succumb to "The Black Rage" are those whose symptoms have overcome them so thoroughly that they can no longer distinguish between Sanguinius' memories and the reality around them.
- Unstoppable Rage: The Black Rage, a curse that can transform them into frothing berserkers. Even after ten thousand years, the Blood Angels have no idea what triggers it.
Commander Dante, Lord of the Hosts
For eleven hundred years, I have fought and I have seen the darkness in our galaxy. [...] I have seen what you will see. I have fought what you must fight, and I have slain what you must slay... so fear not and be proud, for we are the sons of Sanguinius, the protectors of Mankind. Aye, we are indeed the Angels of Death.The current Chapter Master of the Blood Angels is a living legend whose victories span over a thousand years. Though weary of his life of unending bloodshed, Dante fights on due to his faith in a prophecy in which a golden-armored warrior will be all that stands between the Emperor and darkness.
- Badass Bookworm: Tactical genius.
- Badass Grandpa: Not even Logan Grimnar can remember a time when Dante wasn't in charge of the Blood Angels.
- The Chosen One: Dante believes himself to be the golden warrior who will stand in defence of the Emperor’s throne, as prophesised in the Scrolls of Sanguinius.
- Death from Above: He is so skilled with this that he never misses. In a special Apocalypse Formation, not only does his formation never miss, but it can charge in the turn they deep strike.
- Death Glare: He wears the Death Mask of Sanguinius. Just by being present, it curses an opponent. When assaulted by him, your close combat skill can drop to 1.
- Four-Star Badass: He was given overall command of all Space Marine forces during the Third War for Armageddon. In-game, Dante was made a Lord of War in the 7th edition codex.
Mephiston, Lord of Death
I once was Calistarius. He has been dead for many years. I stand in his place, with death in my right hand, darkness in my left, and I would know who this is who bears the name Mephiston.Librarian Calistarius succumbed to the Black Rage during the Second War for Armageddon, but was buried under rubble for an entire week. Through supreme force of will he became one of the three Blood Angels to overcame his chapter's curse, and burst from his tomb reborn as Mephiston, the Lord of Death.
- Badass Bookworm: Became the Blood Angels' chief librarian after nearly losing his mind.
- Badass Cape: Not only is it grim and intimidating in appearance, his psychic hood is incorporated into its collar.
- The Berserker: Calistarius had suffered the Black Rage and been reassigned to the Death Company prior to his burial and rebirth as Mephiston.
- Came Back Strong/Power Born of Madness: Mephiston's suppressing of the Black Rage caused his psyker abilities to dramatically increase, and also made him incredibly strong. In-game, this translates to having a profile more in common with Tyranid monstrous creatures than a Space Marine.
- Came Back Wrong: On the other hand, those who knew Calistarius have trouble believing that "Mephiston" is the same person, as they have completely different personalities.
- Canon Immigrant: Before he became Mephiston he was a character in the spinoff board game Space Hulk.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: After he escaped the rubble he was buried in, he set upon the Ork band that found him, pulverizing them with his bare hands and eventually tearing out their leader's heart.
- Death Glare: Invoked by his Transfixing Gaze special rule, which allows his To Hit rolls to succeed on a 2+ if he rolls higher than his opponent's Leadership in a challenge.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Once throttled the life out of a daemon with his bare hands!
- Heroic Willpower: The reason Mephiston was able to survive. Though in previous codices, even his will could falter, forcing him to stop and regain control rather than pursue fleeing foes.
- Meaningful Rename: Calistarius emerged from his rubble tomb as Mephiston.
- One-Man Army: On the tabletop people will throw whole squads at him and he still takes them. He is also one of the few characters with a reasonable chance of taking down Abbadon the Despoiler in combat.
Astorath, Redeemer of the Lost
Treat them with honour, my Brothers. Not because they will bring us victory this day, but because their fate will one day be ours.The High Chaplain of the Blood Angels, Astorath's duty is to seek out those of Sanguinius' blood who have succumbed to the Black Rage and grant them peace, should they not fall in battle. His brothers view him with a mixture of honor and revulsion, as they know his axe may very well be the last thing they feel.
- An Axe to Grind: Astorath wields the Executioner's Axe, a two-handed power axe that can cut through power fields with ease.
- Blessed with Suck: Astorath can sense when the Black Rage is going to surface, well before symptoms ever appear in the unfortunate Marine(s), and travels to where his premonitions lead him.
- Do Not Go Gentle: When Astorath shows up on the battlefield, he leads into battle those Death Company squads where he has sensed his duties are required, giving them one last chance to die in combat before having to dispatch them himself.
- Flaying Alive: Astorath's artificer armor invokes this imagery.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Astorath's jump pack has large black bird wings.
- Mercy Kill: Astorath delivers the Emperor's Peace to the most crazed of the Death Company.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Subverted. Because Astorath's appearances are always accompanied by the Black Rage striking, and even sane Blood Angels and successors are more frenzied in battle when he's there, it appears to those unafflicted that his presence exacerbates the condition. However, when he shows up, it's because the Rage's onset is inevitable; he's there to guide those Marines into combat as best he can and then put them down if they're not killed by the enemy first.
- Off with His Head!: Decapitation with his power axe is Astorath's preferred method of striking.
- Walking the Galaxy: Astorath goes wherever his services are needed, no matter how far across the galaxy he must go.
Erasmus Tycho took command of the Blood Angels' 3rd Company during the Second War for Armageddon, but was nearly slain in the conflict and left horribly scarred. Tycho's hatred and bitterness grew until he was lost to the Black Rage, and he finally found peace on the battlefield of the Third War for Armageddon.
- Abnormal Ammo: The bolter in Tycho's combi-melta Blood Song shoots Bloodshards, a specialized bolt round normally used by the Sanguinary Guard which is loaded with razor filament and designed to shred armor.
- Ascended Extra: Originally a character the Games Workshop staff rolled up for a battle report, ironically much like Ghazghkull.
- Bling of War: Tycho originally wore an elaborate suit of gold-plated power armor, hearkening to that worn by Sanguinius. Once he became part of the Death Company, the armor was painted black.
- Broken Ace: Tycho was a gifted commander and renowned warrior, and was seen by many as a strong contender to be Dante's successor as Chapter Master. However, his disfigurement and the resulting rage and bitterness eventually caused him to crack and succumb to the Black Rage.
- Cool Mask: He wears a gilded mask over the right side of his face to cover his disfigurement.
- Facial Horror/Frozen Face: A psychic attack from an Ork Weirdboy caused the right half of his face to freeze in a hideous rictus grin. Given the Blood Angels' aesthete inclinations and general physical beauty, this was an especially damaging blow to his psyche, and the trauma compounded to the point that he snapped.
- Posthumous Character: He was killed in battle during the Third War for Armageddon, but was popular enough to continue appearing in codices. This is probably because, unlike Sergeant Naaman before him, he died during the fictional cutoff date (40,999 AD) instead of before it. The 7th Edition codex features two versions of Tycho, one as a regular Blood Angel and one called Tycho the Lost, portraying him as part of the Death Company.
Lemartes, Guardian of the Lost
Remember proud Sanguinius, young Acolytes, when you are faced with hardship. When the armour of your faith is buckled and torn, see in your mind that magnificent hero. Think upon his deeds and be humble, for his like will never walk the galaxy again.A Chaplain who succumbed to the Black Rage, Lemartes unusually survived his battle as part of the Death Company, and even more unusually was cogent and communicative afterward. Rather than slaying Lemartes, Astorath appointed him the warden of the Death Company, where the Chaplain's iron will is able to channel the Black Rage to devastating effect.
—- Excerpt of Chaplain Lemartes's Sermon to the Adeptus on the Cult of Sanguinius
- Heroic Willpower: Lemartes has managed to stave off the worst aspects of the madness caused by the Black Rage through sheer force of will, although those who are familiar with the Rage's effects know it's only a matter of time before he fully succumbs to it.
- Skull for a Head: Invoked. Since he is a Chaplain, Lemartes wears a skull-faced variant of the Death Mask worn by the Sanguinary Guard.
- Sealed Badass in a Can: Lemartes is kept in stasis between battles, just as a precaution.
- Turns Red: If Lemartes suffers a Wound, his Fury Unbound rule buffs his Strength and Attacks characteristics.
Brother Corbulo, Bearer of the Red Grail
For every tear I have shed for my Primarch, his enemies have bled a single drop of blood. Yet still I can weep, and they can bleed...Sanguinary High Priest Corbulo has scoured the galaxy in search of a cure to the Flaw. He has inherited not only his Primarch's appearance but Sanguinius' foresight, and many of the Blood Angels' victories are due to Corbulo's divinations.
- Combat Clairvoyance: Corbulo has used his foresight to aid the Blood Angels in several major conflicts, most notably their speedy defense of Armageddon during the Second War and finding the Daemonship of M'kar the Reborn before it could assault Baal. In-game, he gives the Blood Angels player one re-roll per battle.
- Combat Medic: Like the Sanguinary Priests below him, Corbulo uses his Exsanguinator to treat his battle-brothers' injuries or extract their geneseed should they fall in battle.
- Deflector Shield: During the 4th Edition version of the rules, The Red Grail generated a protective force field for its wielder. This wasn’t the case before or since.
- Named Weapon: Heaven's Teeth, a relic chainsword dating back to when Sanguinius was still alive.
- Wandering the Galaxy: Corbulo's search for a cure for the Flaw has taken him all over the galaxy, from the homeworlds of the Blood Angels' successor chapters to the most remote locations and everywhere in between.
Moriar the ChosenWhen Captain Morleo Moriar fell in battle and was reborn as a Dreadnought, the instant he regained his senses he was claimed by the Black Rage. His sarcophagus has been modified so that Moriar may slake his bloodthirst, and also be more easily restrained when not in battle.
- The Berserker/The Juggernaut: His frenzy makes him even harder to kill than a normal Dreadnought.
- Demoted to Extra: Although he is no longer a playable character, Moriar the Chosen is still mentioned as leading the Death Company during the Battle for Antax.
- Degraded Boss: Moriar the Chosen was originally the only Death Company Dreadnought, as his incident with the Black Rage was a freak accident. In recent editions Blood Angel armies can field Death Company Dreadnoughts, which, while lacking some of Moriar's rules, are functionally identical and can be fielded in greater numbers.
- Put on a Bus: Moriar was removed as a playable character during the 4th Edition version of the rules.
A golden figure from the Blood Angels' myths and traditions, few know that the Sanguinor actually exists. He materializes in times of great need when victory would ordinarily be impossible, and even then few survive to bear witness to his deeds.
- The Cavalry: A typically dark version: The Sanguinor's rare appearances are when a Blood Angels force is on the verge of a crushing defeat, and while his triumph is almost guaranteed, surviving to see that victory isn't.
- Hero Killer: His Avenging Angel special rule allows him to reroll failed To Hit and To Wound rolls when attacking a designated enemy HQ unit.
- Holy Halo: He has a large Iron Halo mounted on his backpack, enhancing his angelic appearance.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Some think he's a manifestation of Sanguinius' nobility and righteousness, while the Sanguinary Guard believe that he's their founder, Azkellon. Some in the Inquisition suspiciously view the Sanguinor as a near-daemonic psychic construct, further evidence of the Blood Angels' corruption. The short story "The Sanguinor: Exemplar of the Host" establishes a Sanguinary Guard member named Aratron as the original Sanguinor, meant to be a herald of Sanguinius, but who or what he currently is is unknown.
- Mysterious Protector: Beyond one for the Blood Angels as a whole, he can also give his blessing to buff one Sergeant specifically.
- One-Handed Zweihänder: He is equipped with a Glaive Encarmine, a two-handed power sword that can be wielded one-handed by skilled users due to its precise craftsmanship. This strengthens the Sanguinary Guard's belief that he is Azkellon, as they are the only users of this particular sword.
The weak must be expunged in order for Humanity to survive. Only the strong can be trusted, my sons. Our will must be as steel, our resolve as adamantium; it cannot yield even for a moment. We few have been entrusted with a sacred duty to ensure the Emperor's reign is eternal. So shall it be, whatever the cost.The Iron Hands are a First Founding Chapter and the Tenth Legion. Their Primarch is Ferrus Manus, their current leader is Kadran Stronosnote , and their homeworld is Medusa.Following the death of their Primarch and their legion's heavy losses in the Horus Heresy, the Iron Hands have grown obsessed with purging themselves of perceived weaknesses. Given their affinity for technology, this takes the form of the Iron Hands ritualistically replacing their organic components with cybernetics. Though this results in close ties with the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Iron Hands' ruthless contempt for weakness has led to friction with their brother Astartes, to say nothing of any mortal soldiers they may share a battlefield with.The Iron Hands are featured in the 6th edition Space Marines codex and are the focus of the Clan Raukaan codex supplement.
— Ferrus Manus, addressing the Iron Hands at the Gorgonos Conclave
- Artificial Limbs: Part of an Iron Hand's initiation is replacing their left hand with a bionic. They get more bionics the further they climb the ranks of the Company.
- Base on Wheels: Rather than a single fortress-monastery, each of the Iron Hands' clan-companies has its own crawling factory-fortress, more befitting the nomadic people of Medusa.
- Body Horror: Iron Hands develop an almost pathological disgust with their own flesh, hence their continued effort to replace it.
- Brain Uploading: Paullian Blantar, Chapter Councillor of the Kaargul clan-company, is said to not have a scrap of biological material left in his dreadnought body. This is considered to be an almost saintly achievement by the Iron Hands, and his position on the Chapter Council is permanent for achieving the aspirational goal of transcending flesh entirely.
- Cyborg: An Iron Hand with a few centuries on him is likely to be almost entirely mechanical, save for the brain and progenoid glands, and functionally inseparable from his armor.
- Death World: The Iron Hands' homeworld of Medusa is one with extreme tectonic activity throwing volcanic ash into the air and where Hostile Weather rolls across the surface in great storm fronts that can strip flesh from bone. The population of the planet lives a nomadic life in large caravans of tracked vehicles. The realities of their lifestyle means that weakness in the population cannot be afforded, and those who are too wounded or sick to continue are expected to part from the caravan and surrender themselves to the weather so as not to strain the already thin resources their kin need. The Iron Hands recruit from this population and understandably share many of its values.
- Fire-Forged Friends: The Iron Hands see the other Space Marine chapters as a bunch of flakes with the Salamanders and Raven Guard the worst offenders. The only group they can truly count on is the Adeptus Mechanicus who share their exultation of the machine and pure logic and who the Iron Hands have many times fought alongside. In return, the Adeptus Mechanicus teaches them more lore than any other Chapter.
- Get Out: A schism in the Adeptus Mechanicus spread to their chapter, resulting in several companies being exiled by the Iron Council. These proceeded to form their own chapter, the Sons of Medusa, one of the quite rare examples of a Space Marine chapter being founded without the consent of the High Lords of Terra. The Sons of Medusa were eventually recognized by both the Imperial government and the Iron Hands, but relations with the latter are chilly at best.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Very quick to get angry when they sense weakness, but also very flat and measured in how that anger is driven.
- Irony: Ferrus Manus was ever striving for perfection, but wanted that to be bound in the realm of human potential. He did not approve of the practice of cybernetics within the Iron Hands and was planning to put an end to the practice in his chapter and remove the metal on his hands. Unfortunately, he was killed by Fulgrim before he could do so and his Space Marines regularly continue to turn themselves into Cyborgs.
- King in the Mountain: An odd case in that Ferrus Manus was confirmed killed at the Drop Site Massacres, and Horus was even presented with his severed head, but the Iron Hands insist that their Primarch escaped somehow and He's Just Hiding.
- Knight Templar: They have absolutely no tolerance of weakness, even in normal human populations. In one case they executed every third citizen in a system whose rulers fell to Slaanesh, for letting corruption take root on their worlds.
- Machine Empathy: A chapter trait that makes Iron Hands' vehicles tougher and gives their Techmarines a better chance of repairing damage to them.
- Machine Worship: Their outlook meshes quite well with the Adeptus Mechanicus. Iron Hands' spiritual leaders are their Iron Fathers, hybrid Techmarine-Chaplains.
- Macho Masochism: Iron Hands' hatred for weakness of the flesh often drives them to scourge their organic parts, so that the pain will remind them of how weak that flesh is. For an older Iron Hand, what little original flesh they have remaining is usually Covered in Scars from all this.
- Made of Iron: All those bionic parts give Iron Hands infantry a 6+ Invulnerable save.
- Man in the Machine: They consider being placed into a dreadnought to be a high honor, and do not restrict it to mortally wounded marines like other chapters. In fact, their modifications make it much easier to integrate into a dreadnought's frame and the distinction between a dreadnought and a sufficiently modified Iron Hand is often academic. As a result, they field many more of them then most chapters.
- Mobile Factory: The crawling monastery of each clan-company is also their primary manufacturing center. The realities of Medusa ensure that such a thing is enforced.
- Never My Fault: Rather than solidarity, the Iron Hands feel bitterness towards the Salamanders and Raven Guard, and believe that if they'd helped support Ferrus Manus' charge on Isstvan V, the loyalists could have won. They also accuse the other First Founding chapters for not being strong enough to save the Emperor during the Siege of Terra.
- Rage Against the Mentor: The Iron Hands believe that their Primarch let himself be blinded by emotion at Isstvan V, leading to his irrational charge and ultimate defeat, and are doggedly determined to avoid that fate.
- The Stoic: The longer an Iron Hands Marine's service lasts, the more passionate he gets in his hatred for weakness, but ironically the longer he lasts the less of that passion he shows. Thanks to cybernetics like Electronic Eyes, mechanical faces, and the Machine Monotone of an artificial voice box, an Iron Hand becomes very difficult to read.
- Stronger with Age: An Iron Hands' degree of cybernetic replacement usually directly corresponds with his length of service. The older an Iron Hand is, the more of his weak flesh is replaced with powerful cybernetics.
- Transhuman Treachery: The Iron Hands belief in "only the strong are worthy of surviving" has led them to betray allies by ditching them when they needed help the most. The most damning case of this was during "Weirdwaagh" incident where they had part responsibility for the loss of two Titans and the complete destruction of the Raven Guard companies who were helping them.
- Took a Level in Kindness: After losing so many members to Slaanesh, the Chapter no longer has such contempt for those weaker than them and are now willing to take heavy losses to save others instead of abandoning them to their fate.
- What Have I Become?: The Chapter as whole gets this when their attempts to resist a Slaanesh greater daemon using base logic and emotional repression just gets them turned into Chaos Spawn. The only ones to resist mutating were those who honestly felt hate and rage but were able to channel into determination. This became a moment of epiphany for the Iron Hands.
Wisdom, brothers; the greatest gift of all. The gift that marks us out from the savage and the barbarian, that allows us to walk as giants in a world of men. Wisdom tells us when to use the sword and when to use the bolter, when to conquer and when to inspire. It has saved lives, saved worlds, and may yet save the galaxy. Use it well.The Ultramarines are a First Founding chapter and the Thirteenth Legion. Their Primarch is Roboute Guilliman, their current Chapter Master is Marneus Calgar, and their home world is Macragge, although the Ultramarines are also the benevolent governors of the realm of Ultramar, nine systems on the Eastern Fringe said to be the envy of the rest of the Imperium.Roboute Guilliman wrote the Codex Astartes, and so the Ultramarines view themselves as the embodiment of what it means to be a Space Marine, priding themselves on having a practical and theoretical strategy for any battlefield scenario. Due to the stability of their gene-seed and the sheer number of Ultramarines at the end of the Horus Heresy, nearly two-thirds of all modern Space Marine chapters are of Ultramarines stock, regardless of whether they view themselves as the chapter's successors.For more about these paragons of Space Marine valour, see the Ultramarines novels. They are also the most heavily featured chapter in the 6th edition Space Marines codex.
— Roboute Guilliman, The Iaxan Symposium
- The Word Bearers, due to ravaging Ultramar during the Horus Heresy as retaliation for the Ultramarines' role in the pre-Heresy humiliation of their Primarch Lorgar.
- The Tyranids, due to Hive Fleet Behemoth nearly destroying Macragge and wiping out their entire First Company, but this is of course one-sided.
- Armed with Canon: One of the more notorious examples in 40k lore. Matt Ward's 5th edition Codex turned the Ultramarines chapter into a Canon Sue and Creator's Pet, much to the chagrin of those players who already hated the Ultramarines (who believed they already earned both of those titles and Ward simply turned them Up to Eleven) and a good portion of those who liked them (who despised the changes because they made the Ultramarines so over the top and unlikeable). Some Games Workshop authors, most notably Graham McNeil, attempted to downplay Ward's changes and push the Ultramarines back into a less Canon Sue, more likeable role. Ward responded by using his status as a Codex author to attempt to Retcon some of McNeil's work (specifically parts of the Ultramarines book series).
- Big Book of War: It's no exaggeration to say that the Ultramarines follow the Codex Astartes religiously; deviating from it is treated as heresy requiring a suicide mission into the Eye of Terror to atone for. This was completely unwanted by Roboute Guilliman, who was a meritocrat that knew battle is impossible to entirely predict.
- Boring but Practical: Other chapters excel at shock assaults, sieges, or rapid strikes, but the closest thing the Ultramarines have to a specialization is logistics. Their Primarch built a 500-world empire, after all.
- By The Codex Astartes: If there is one thing the Ultramarines can be said to specialize in, it is the Codex Astartes. To them it is more than a guidebook, it is Sacred Scripture. This proves to be one of their greatest strengths as their understanding of and devotion to it allow each individual and unit to know exactly what they should do and more importantly exactly what others will be doing in any given battlefield situation such that the whole force operates with uncanny coordination. However, it is also a weakness in that when those rare situations that the Codex does not account for are encountered they can be caught flat footed (such as the First Tyrannic War.)
- Dead Guy on Display: Roboute Guilliman's body is kept in stasis on Macragge in the Shrine of the Primarch, a point of pilgrimage for many of the Ultramarines' successor chapters. The Ultramarines maintain that his wounds are slowly healing.
- Depending on the Writer: The Ultramarines suffer this more than just about any other Space Marine chapter, to the point where it has reached the point of Armed with Canon conflicts between the writers, particularly between Matt Ward and Graham McNeil, the two authors most commonly associated with the chapter. Common topics of divergence include exactly how strictly the Codex is followed (some sources say "To the letter", even if that veers right into Lawful Stupid territory, while others - particularly recent ones - dial this back and say that minor variances are accepted, so long as they can be justified later), how well liked the Ultramarines are in universe (older material noted Marneus Calgar as being prideful, with no small number of rivals and foes, while Matt Ward's infamous "Spiritual Liege" comments painted them as one of the most beloved chapters in the Imperium; the fluff has seen both those extremes and everything in between) and whether the Ultramarines are Masters of None or Masters of All.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Basically Greco-Romans. One of their successor chapters, the Iron Snakes, are based on the Spartans.
- Jack of All Stats and Jack-of-All-Trades: The Ultramarines are known for being one of the most well-rounded chapters in terms of their overall skills. In-game, their Chapter Tactics are the most flexible and comprehensive of all the major chapters, giving them Tactical, Assault, and Devastator Doctrines which can be each be used once per game to give a boost to a corresponding aspect in that player turn.
- Lawful Stupid: The Ultramarines are infamous for their adherence to the Codex Astartes, with reports of their members being deemed heretics for acting not in accordance with it in battle in spite of such actions leading to success. They've hopefully gotten a bit better after the First Tyrannic War caught them completely by surprise and nearly annihilated their 1st Company, which led them to specifically mobilize veterans from the war into a strike force that specializes in dealing with Tyranids.
- Loophole Abuse: Surprising coming from the chapter that embodies the Codex Astartes, but arguably the Ultramarines have earned it:
- A Space Marine chapter is only supposed to have a single planet as its fief, but the Ultramarines' homeworld just so happens to be the capital of an interstellar empire, giving them an enormous recruitment pool and multiple worlds' conventional militaries for support.
- Guilliman broke up the old Legiones Astartes so that one man could never again command such devastating power. However, the Ultramarines' twenty-three Second Founding successor chapters send representatives to Ultramar and consider the Lord of Macragge to be their de facto leader, effectively giving the Ultramarines control of a legion's worth of soldiers.
- Neural Implanting: While most chapters play this straight with hypno-indoctrination, Ultramarines prefer to have their battle brothers learn the Codex Astartes the old-fashioned way, by reading and rote memorization.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Ultramarines as a whole rule the people of Ultramar with respect and dignity, a rarity in the setting.
- Series Mascot: For the Space Marines as an army, if not Games Workshop in general. Ultramarines are used on the packaging of Space Marine products that don't have their own Codex and miniature range.
Marneus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines
We are the Ultramarines, the Sons of Guilliman. Whilst we draw breath, we stand. Whilst we stand, we fight. Whilst we fight, we prevail. Nothing shall stay our wrath.Marneus Augustus Calgar is venerable even by Space Marine standards, and his countless victorious campaigns - particularly the defeat of Hive Fleet Behemoth - have become the stuff of legend. The only Ultramarine with a longer list of achievements is Guilliman himself.
- An Arm and a Leg: He lost all of his limbs during the Battle of Macragge, as well as large parts of his bodily tissue and his left eye.
- Badass In Charge: Of the Ultramarines chapter, and the realm of Ultramar altogether.
- Cyborg: Post-Battle of Macragge, all his limbs and his left eye are augmetic replacements.
- Dual Wielding/Guns Akimbo: Calgar does this simultaneously. He wields the Gauntlets of Ultramar, each of which has an integrated bolter with a belt feed from his backpack.
- Four-Star Badass: The 7th edition Space Marines codex elevated Calgar to a Lord of War
- The Good King: Rules Ultramar, does a great job of it, and is wildly popular.
- Power Fist: A pair known as the Gauntlets of Ultramar that are passed down to each Chapter Master and were first used by Guilliman.
- Praetorian Guard: He can be fielded alongside a squad of Honor Guards.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: That being said, he's more than capable of kicking ass solo.
- Retcon: An older issue of White Dwarf described Calgar as a teenaged survivor of a Tyranid hive fleet attack, heavily cyborgized after losing all his limbs and his left eye, before he was inducted into the Ultramarines. Materials since then have undone this, making him Chapter Master well before Hive Fleet Behemoth showed up, though he still gets de-limbed in a fight against the Swarmlord during the Battle of Macragge.
Captain Sicarius, Commander of the 2nd Company
We are the slayers of kings, the destroyers of worlds, bringers of ruination and death in all its forms. These things we do in the name of the Emperor and in the defense of Mankind. Let none stay our wrath.Cato Sicarius is one of the finest warriors in his chapter, as well as a bold commander who excels at seizing the initiative with a lightning assault. His achievements are such that Sicarius is often considered to be the inevitable successor to Marneus Calgar, a fact sure to cause friction with Captain Agemman of the 1st Company.
- Bling of War: Stands out not for the fanciness of his model (though it is fancy), but because the Codex details exactly what each of those decorations means, and what he did to earn them.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride, notable in that the reason why Damnos was a failure was because Sicarius insisted on finding and killing the Necron Lords in a duel. Notable in that he took it as a personal defeat of his pride rather than a costly loss for the Imperium.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted. He's one of the few named characters who regularly uses his helmet in combat.
- One-Hit Kill: His Talassarian Tempest Blade can make a special attack that can cause Instant Death.
- Sword and Gun: In the Assault on Black Reach starter set, he used a bolter and a standard power sword. His current model has a plasma pistol in one hand and the Talassarian Tempest Blade in the other.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Cato Sicarius, Captain of the Ultramarines Second Company, Master of The Watch, Knight Champion of Macragge, Grand Duke of Talassar, High Suzerain of Ultramar, and Master of the Household.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: He's had no less than three canon models; one with twin lighting claws, the Assault on Black Reach captain with a bolter and power sword, and currently a plasma pistol and the Tempest Blade.
- Wolverine Claws: Wields a pair of lightning claws in one of his older models.
Chief Librarian Tigurius, Master of Arcana
Each path must be chosen with care, Lest disaster swallow us whole.Varro Tigurius is one of the most potent psykers in the Imperium of Man, gifted with prescience and an intellect that allows the Ultramarines to counter threats before they begin. The accuracy of his predictions regarding Tyranid movements lead some to suspect that he has managed to read the Hive Mind itself.
- The Archmage: Between his years of experience and his personalized psychic hood, Tigurius gets to re-roll dice used to determine which powers he knows and their success when used.
- Combat Clairvoyance: Tigurius' psychic visions often allow him to see the battle plans and tactical moves of enemies before they happen, giving the Ultramarines time to prepare countermeasures. Many Chaos and xenos foes' plans have been undone by his visions, and Marneus Calgar credits the defeat of Hive Fleet Behemoth on Ultramar to Tigurius' counsel.
- Incendiary Exponent: The Hood of Hellfire, a psychic hood which amplifies Tigurius' powers and gives the appearance that his head's on fire while using them.
- Magic Librarian: As part of his duties as Chief Librarian, Tigurius is the guardian of the Library of Ptolemy on Ultramar, one of the largest libraries in the Imperium and the resting place of Guilliman's original manuscript of the Codex Astartes.
- Only the Knowledgable May Pass: Tigurius hates the idea of incomplete knowledge in the hands of someone not prepared to understand that fact, and will often test those seeking information from him until he's satisfied they understand the weight of what they seek.
- Sole Survivor: He's the only human psyker in history to have contacted the Tyranid Hive Mind and survived the experience without going insane, describing what he encountered as "an immortal hunger".
Chaplain Cassius, Master of Sanctity
Remember the names of the honoured fallen, recall their deeds and know that their sacrifice honors the Chapter. No son of Guilliman could wish for a more glorious death.The oldest member of the Ultramarines, and the leader of their chaplains, Ortan Cassius was nearly slain on Macragge during the First Tyrannic War. The Chaplain has come to view the Tyranids as a spiritual as well as physical threat, and is a fierce proponent of the Ultramarines' experiment with forming cadres of veteran Tyranid fighters.
- Badass Grandpa: He's been the Master of Sanctity for over four centuries, and is the oldest member of the chapter altogether.
- Badass Preacher: He's the one in charge of the chapter's Chaplaincy, after all.
- Came Back Strong: The sheer amount of augmetics in his body has made Cassius tougher than a Chaos Lord of Nurgle.
- Cyborg: He's had quite a bit of his body replaced with augmetics.
- Drop the Hammer: Like most chaplains, Cassius swings around his Crozius Arcanum.
- It's Personal: With the Tyranids. Not surprising, given what they did to him and what they almost did to Ultramar.
- We Have Become Complacent: His explanation for the Tyranid invasion; a punishment for humanity's lack of vigilance.
Sergeant Telion, Veteran of the 10th Company
Forget all your preconceptions of war, of battle-lines clashing in the churned ground. Your mission is to attack before the foe even realises that the war has begun, to strike hard at those vital weaknesses that all armies possess, but that no commander will admit to. Under my tutelage you will learn how to seek out such fragilities and smite them with every weapon at your disposal. Master these duties and I will have nothing more to teach, and you will truly be a Space Marine.A wizened Ultramarine who has served under three different Chapter Masters and trained four of the current company commanders, Torias Telion prefers to pass on his knowledge to the recruits of the Scout company. His skills are such that Telion has been seconded to other Space Marine chapters with close ties to the Ultramarines.
- Badass Beard: He sports a wizened, grey beard, indicating both his age and his badassery.
- Badass Grandpa: As stated, he's old enough to have served three chapter masters, and trained several members of the current leadership.
- Badass Teacher: Aside from the fluff, instead of taking a shot Telion can let another model in his squad use his high Ballistic Skill.
- Cold Sniper: Although Telion is a skilled melee fighter, this is his primary battlefield function. In-game, all his successful shooting attacks are Precision Shots and his silenced bolter has a 36" range instead of the normal 12"/24" range for boltguns.
- Declining Promotion: Telion has been offered a place in Calagar’s Honour Guard multiple times but has always turned it down believing he can serve his Chapter best by guiding each new intake of recruits.
- Veteran Instructor: To the scouts of the 10th Company, and by extension the Ultramarines as a whole. He's often loaned off to other chapters so he can whip their initiates into fighting shape.
Sergeant Chronus, Spear of Macragge
The roar of engines, the recoil of cannons. That is where the true joy of battle lies.Antaro Chronus has mastered every tank in the Space Marines' armory, and is as attuned with his vehicles as any Techmarine. Besides his archaic, pre-Heresy honorific, Chronus uniquely can choose to command any vehicle he wishes, and is subject only to his Chapter Master.
- Ace Tank Commander: Exists as an upgrade for a single vehicle in your army, granting it his improved Ballistic Skill and the ability to ignore some effects of enemy shooting.
The warrior sons of Nocturne appear as fearsome devils to most. Yet their valour, their strength, and their skill at arms speak louder than any disparaging voice. They craft war like no others, forging victory with burning conviction tempered by honour and patience. They are righteous fire made flesh, and their flames will never die.The Salamanders are a First Founding chapter and the Eighteenth Legion. Their Primarch is Vulkan, their current Chapter Master is Tu'Shan, and their homeworld is Nocturne.Nocturne has great mineral riches but is an inhospitable world, prone to violent seismic and volcanic activity. Young aspirants learn the craft of blacksmithing from a senior Salamander living among the population before their initiation begins. As a result, each Salamander is fully capable of maintaining his own equipment, allowing the chapter's Techmarines to focus on creating master-crafted wargear. But more than that, the harshness of their homeworld and their time spent among ordinary people give the Salamanders an unparalleled compassion and concern for human life.For more about the warriors of Nocturne, see the Salamanders novels. They are also featured in the 6th edition Space Marines codex.
— Vulkan, The Nature of War
- Arch-Enemy: The Dark Eldar, due to Nocturne being a favored location for their raids. One of Vulkan's first major acts in his youth was leading a counterattack against a Dark Eldar raid that routed the xenos.
- The Blacksmith: Vulkan was raised as a blacksmith, and the Salamanders have kept this tradition alive in the millennia since as their Cult of Prometheus. They build and maintain their own wargear, reverence for the fire and the forge are tied into their chapter rituals, and they have a distinct preference for flamers, meltas, and Thunder Hammers as weapons.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: Along with Vulkan, Chapter Master Tu’shan is generally accepted as being a brilliant leader, even by other Chapter Masters, and is depicted in the artwork as being bald.
- Bling-Bling-BANG!: Since the Salamanders make their own weapons, they typically lavish as much attention on decorating them as they do on keeping them working properly. The Space Marine codex devotes an entire page to this concept, featuring four boltguns that are especially noteworthy, including one that took a Techmarine a year to build and fifty to refine and embellish to his satisfaction.
- Bling of War: Salamanders are often depicted with power armor that's more elaborately designed and decorated than many other chapters, owing to them manufacturing it themselves. Scale patterns and draconic motifs are very common.
- Brought Down to Badass: By tradition, when off the battlefield Salamanders spend a portion of their time living among the common citizens of Nocturne, helping them in their daily lives where other chapters would keep themselves aloof and cloistered. They do this to help remind themselves that no matter how blessed by the Emperor they may be, they are still a part of humanity and it is humanity that they must protect.
- Death World: The binary planet of Nocturne is a rugged place of volcanoes, ash deserts and earthquakes, as well as fire-breathing reptiles the Salamanders take their name from. Every fifteen years the Time of Trials begins as Nocturne's moon Prometheus swings close, putting the already high seismic activity on overdrive, threatening every settlement save for the seven Sanctuary Cities. Afterward the planet is gripped by a long and bitter winter that covers the world in a frozen tundra, the only solace being the fresh veins of mineral wealth exposed by the cataclysmic upheaval. There is a reason the Salamanders fight more to preserve life than kill enemies: they know how precious it is.
- Drop the Hammer: As part of the Cult of Prometheus, the Salamanders are very fond of Thunder Hammers and older editions of the Space Marine codex gave Vulkan He'stan a rule making all Thunder Hammers more dangerous on the tabletop. Chapter Master Tu’Shan is also often depicted wielding a Thunder Hammer that was supposedly made from the same metal as Vulkan's own Thunder Hammer, Thunderhead.
- Fiery Salamander: A motif heavily used, since fire-breathing dragon-like creatures actually called salamanders are one of Nocturne's signature lifeforms.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon/Kill It with Fire: The Salamanders use flamers and meltas more than many chapters. In-game, their Chapter Tactics (especially if Vulkan He'stan is your Warlord) make using flamers and melta weapons distinctly advantageous, as well as making them more resistant to enemy flamers.
- Gentle Giant: They are amongst the nicest people in the entire setting despite their appearance.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Salamanders ritually brand themselves with honor marks.
- Heavy Worlder: Nocturne has a bit higher gravity than Terran standard. In previous rulesets this led to a Scrappy Mechanic of reducing the Salamanders' Initiativenote and restricting their access to Land Speeders and other Fast Attack choices.
- I Have No Son: Evidence suggests that the Black Dragons are a Salamanders successor, but due to the former's extreme mutations, the latter has never claimed kinship with them, or any chapter for that matter.
- In the End, You Are on Your Own: The Promethean Cult emphasizes the importance of self-reliance, which is why all Salamanders are fully trained to not just maintain their own equipment, but to repair and enhance it as need be. This also translates to their strategic doctrine, where they believe that a unit is only as strong as its weakest member and each individual must strive to be able to pull their own weight at all times so as not to burden the whole. This puts them into contrast with chapters who tend to favor more interdependence and coordination, such as the Ultramarines.
- Mighty Glacier: By doctrine. The Salamanders tend to favor a tactic of slow and steady advance when on the offense and opportunistic patience while on the defense. As a result, they use fewer flying vehicles than other chapters, keeping the spirit of the old rule mentioned in Heavy Worlder above but not enforcing it in-game.
- Nemean Skinning: The only way to join the Firedrakes of the 1st Company is to hunt down, slay and skin one of the reptiles they take their name from. Salamander heroes frequently wear these dragon hides into battle, which depending on the rules can offer them additional protection.
- Pro Human Trans Human: The Salamanders are known to be one of the most compassionate of all the Chapters of Astartes. Chapter Master Tu’Shan even went so far as to beat the First Captain of the Marines Malevolent to a bloody pulp for bombing a refugee camp.
- Scary Black Man: Every Salamander, but in an unusual way. Nocturne's ambient radiation is higher than that of Terra, and thus the population is naturally dark-skinned. When this combines with the Salamanders' gene-seed, which has a defect in the gland that adjusts skin pigmentation to react to radiation, these Space Marines end up with onyx-colored skin (and glowing red eyes as a side effect). The impact of a Salamander without his helmet on has ended rebellions without a single shot, but in temperament these Astartes subvert this trope.
- Stone Wall: Their Heavy Worlder status, the fact that they customize and enhance their own armor, and that they hold training doctrines that favor building strength at the expense of agility means that a Salamander is less mobile than some Astartes but much harder to displace when they are committed.
- Token Minority: The (really) black chapter.
- Tomes of Prophecy and Fate: The Tome of Fire, texts of prophecies laid down by the Primarch Vulkan and used by the Salamanders to date. They contain, among other things, clues to the locations of the remaining artefacts created by Vulkan, but it's up to the Forgefather to interpret them.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: One of their most outstanding qualities, and few Berserk Buttons.
Vulkan He'stan, Forgefather
In Salamander lore, their Primarch Vulkan hid nine objects of immense power throughout the galaxy, and they believe that once all of them are recovered he will return to lead the chapter. Vulkan He'Stan is the current Forgefather, a champion chosen to search the galaxy for the remaining four relics.
- Ancient Artifact: The nine relics created by Vulkan. He'Stan bears the first three, two remain on Nocturne, while the quest continues for the other four.
- Badass Cape: Kesare's Mantle, a drakescale cloak made from the hide of one of Nocturne's dragon-like salamanders. In-game, it gives He'stan a 3+ invulnerable save.
- Flaming Blade on a Stick: The Spear of Vulkan, able to sear through even Astartes power armor.
- Kill It with Fire: The Gauntlet of the Forge, a heavy flamer with built-in digital weapons.note
- Kill Sat: The Eye of Vulkan, a series of orbital laser cannons that are Prometheus' primary defense barrier.
- Mobile Factory: The Chalice of Fire, a "forge-ship" where most of the chapter's wargear is manufactured.
- Bling of War: Even in a chapter whose power armor is fancier than most, He'stan's armor's elaborately gilding and decorations stand out.
- Gotta Catch Them All: As the Forgefather, He'stan is tasked with finding the four undiscovered relics: the Engine of Woes, the Obsidian Chariot, the Unbound Flame, and the Song of Entropy.
- Hidden Depths: In Salamanders, the other Salamanders are very surprised at some of the knowledge and skills He'stan shows while he's with them, especially his familiarity with their hated enemy, the Dark Eldar. He's fluent in the Dark Eldar language, can pilot one of their flying machines, and actually negotiates successfully with a haemonculus.
- Legacy Character: Each Forgefather takes up the name Vulkan while they try to retrace his footsteps.
- Wandering the Galaxy: He'stan's search has taken him all over the galaxy, as the Tome of Fire's clues about the artefacts' locations have dictated.
Chaplain XavierThe greatest Chaplain in the Salamanders' history, Xavier was a living embodiment of the Promethean Cult, whose wisdom was sought by Scouts and Chapter Masters alike. It is said that he never retreated in battle, and even when slain by the Dark Eldar, Xavier refused to let his wounds claim him until all his foes were dead.
A battle can be won with brute force, or random luck. But a war? A war is won with cunning, and waged without mercy. For the noblest of goals one must sometimes commit ignoble acts. So ask me not to justify the Raven Guard's ways. The carrion worlds in our wake should make a statement eloquent enough.The Raven Guard are a First Founding Chapter and the Nineteenth Legion. Their Primarch is Corvus Corax, their current Chapter Master is Corvin Severax, and their home world is Deliverance.The subtle and shadowy Raven Guard are masters of stealth and covert operations. Disdaining the shock assaults of the Blood Angels or Space Wolves, the Raven Guard prefer crippling surprise attacks where the enemy is most vulnerable, frequently utilizing Scout squads or airborne infantry. Fiercely independent, Raven Guard companies function under a great deal of autonomy, but are quick to respond to calls for assistance from Imperial commanders.The Raven Guard are featured in the 6th edition Space Marine codex.
— Corvus Corax, at the Eurydicus Hearing
- Break Out the Museum Piece: Due to enormous materiel losses on Isstvan V, most Raven Guard power armor is from older marks, and they use the bird-like "beakie" Mark VI helmet much more than other chapters.
- Canis Latinicus: The chapter's Battle Cry, "Victorus aut Mortis!". However, this is slightly downplayed. The proper Latin of "Victory or Death" is "Victoria aut Mors"
- Combat Pragmatist: No concerns about honor here, the Raven Guard are happy to use assassinations, sabotage, and other tactics of asymmetric warfare. They're even willing to repaint their armor markings as part of a disguise. For any other chapter, repainting the armor (especially the entire armor, as in the case of Deathwatch's custom of leaving one Shoulder Pad untouched) is considered one of the greatest heresies, both to the armor and to the chapter.
- Due to the Dead: Fittingly enough, Raven Guard burial customs consist only of stripping the fallen of his equipment and gene-seed before leaving the corpse for the local carrion birds. However, someone will try to take the dead soldier's Corvianote for burial back on the Raven Guard's home planet of Kiavahr.
- Dynamic Entry: A common strategy by the Raven Guard. Their Stealth Expertise allows them to set up ambushes, sprung with the speed and violence expected of Astartes. They often employ assault squads as a key part of this role, dropping right onto the enemy without warning.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: A defect in their Melanochromic organ turns their skin pure white and their hair and eyes jet black.
- Entertainingly Wrong: It is common knowledge that Astartes function as terrifyingly lethal shock troops who show up in Highly Conspicuous Armor and smash their way quickly through the enemy, carried forward by their enhancements, equipment, training, coordination, and unbreakable wills. The Raven Guard consider this reputation to their advantage, because the last thing most foes would expect is Astartes who will blend into the background and spring careful ambushes.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Depending on the Writer, the Raven Guard are sometimes Native American-themed.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The Raven Guard were some of the first victims of the Drop Site Massacre during the Horus Heresy, and as a result of the shock and surprise of the incident they suffered some of the worst casualties. In order to bring their numbers back form the brink of extinction, Corax tapped into some sealed knowledge that was forbidden to the eyes of all but the Emperor himself and his Primarchs. He used this to tinker with their geneseed to accelerate the process of making new Marines. It worked, but many of those suffered warping of the flesh, gigantism, and horrible mental trauma, becoming twisted abominations. Corax gave them the Emperor's Peace, and said of his actions, "Nevermore". The Raven Guard's induction rate remains low to this day because of it.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: The Raven Guard specializes in fast, stealthy, surgical attacks, rather than the brute-force onslaught preferred by many other chapters.
- Invisibility Cloak: During the Great Crusade, Raven Guard warships used a void shield variant called Reflex Shields which essentially rendered them invisible through redirection of their physical and energetic emissions.
- The Quiet One: Raven Guard Marines spend a lot of time listening and very little time talking, to the point of barely engaging other Astartes in conversation. This really gets on the nerves of the more boisterous chapters like the White Scars.
- Stealth Expert: The Raven Guard practice a stealth discipline they call "Wraith-Slipping," and their armor has advanced cooling and motive systems to make them hard to detect on thermal or hear, so yes, these armored giants can and will sneak up on you.
Shadow Captain Shrike, Commander of the 3rd Company
Wherever you tread, tread lightly. We are closer than you think, and our blades are sharp.An expert at guerrilla warfare, even by the standards of his chapter, Kayvann Shrike is currently engaged in operations against Waaagh! Skullkrak, liberating worlds abandoned to the Ork invaders.
- Dual Wielding/Wolverine Claws: Shrike wields The Raven's Talons, a pair of master-crafted lightning claws with the Rending special rule.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: While Imperial commanders have requested the Shadow-Captain's assistance on the front lines of the conflict, Shrike ignores them in favor of rescuing populations they've given up on.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Although the Raven Guard and White Scars don't get along at all, a White Scars force led by Korsarro Khan assisted Shrike and the 3rd Company in fighting Chaos forces on Quintus, and Shrike and Khan teamed up to fight the Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorious. The two parted on respectful terms.
The more we spread the more we find. World after world. New worlds to conquer. Space is limitless, and so is our appetite to master it.The Black Templars are a Second Founding successor chapter to the Imperial Fists. Their current High Marshall is Helbrecht and they are fleet-based.The Black Templars have been on crusade for ten thousand years in order to prove their undying loyalty to the Emperor. They are infamous for their suicidal bravery and zealous hatred of witches and non-humans, which often extends to those they perceive as harboring said heretics. The Black Templars break from the Codex Astartes by fielding mixed squads of Initiates and Neophytes, and more significantly by being organized into multiple crusader fleets that exceed the limit on a conventional chapter's strength, a fact of considerable concern to the Inquisition.Although they once had their own codex, the Black Templars were folded into the 6th edition Space Marines codex.
— Sigisimund, first High Marshal of the Black Templars
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: The Black Templars have gone through several special rules reflecting their absolute fanaticism and hatred for the enemy, even when it might go against sound tactical logic. In some editions they've had to take Leadership tests to shoot enemies who aren't the closest, been Fearless in close combat, or could take a Vow that forced them to charge any enemy unit within range in exchange for getting Preferred Enemy against everyone. Their most infamous trait was an old rule that made Black Templars, instead of falling back after sustaining casualties from enemy fire, charge forward.
- Bling of War: The Black Templars are one of the flashiest chapters, with heavily decorated armor featuring lots of gilding and scrollwork. Like the Dark Angels, they also frequently wear mantles or tabards over their armor.
- Chained by Fashion: The Black Templars wear chains as part of their iconography, frequently affixing one end of the chain to their weapons and the other end of the chain to their armor, wrapping them around their arms to shorten the slack. Aside from making it harder to lose their grip on their on their weapons, they do it to symbolically show that they are unwilling to set aside their arms until their enemies are destroyed.
- Church Militant: The Black Templars take this trope much further than most other Space Marine chapters, venerating the Emperor as a god just as fervently as the Ecclesiarchy. Their forces fight in Crusades, their armament and armor is very reminiscent of The Knights Templar, and they rarely take to the field without being led by a consecrated champion.
- Combat by Champion: Firm believers in this, and their "Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds" makes their characters very good at it.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Teutonic Knights IN SPACE!
- Fire-Forged Friends: Due to their shared convictions and long history fighting alongside the Ecclesiarchy, the Black Templars get along quite well with the Sisters of Battle.
- Knight Templar: This is the chapter that even the Inquisition worries is overzealous.
- Light 'em Up: Used symbolically rather than literally. The Black Templars like to decorate their facilities with thousands of glowing candles, and will wear lamps hung from their armor as a symbol of delivering the light of the Emperor to smite His enemies.
- Loophole Abuse: Technically, Codex-compliant chapters are allowed to exceed the thousand-man limit if on a crusade...the Black Templars have just been on crusade for over ten thousand years. The only caveat to this is that they cannot maintain a home world for the duration...which allows them to plonk recruits from every single world they pass by and set up "outpost" monasteries. No one but their High Marshall knows exactly how many of them there are, but it's speculated to be around six thousand Astartes and hundreds of strongholds spread throughout the galaxy, a force that if ever assembled in one place would be all but unstoppable.
- The Squire: Rather than training in a Scout Company, Neophytes are apprenticed to an Initiate to be taught the ways of the Black Templars, and fight at his side in mixed Crusader Squads on the battlefield.
- The Witch Hunter: Zig Zagged. The Black Templars' "Abhor the Witch!" rule restricts them from fielding Librarians, and they are viciously punitive towards xenos psykers and Chaos sorcerers. However, as a fleet-based chapter they make extensive use of Navigators, whom they hold in high regard for having communed with the God-Emperor via the Astronomican.
High Marshal Helbrecht
The galaxy is the Emperor's, and anyone or anything who challenges that claim is an enemy who must be destroyed.Shortly after being unanimously elected to lead the Black Templars, the stubborn and bellicose Helbrecht was called upon to fight in the Third War for Armageddon, where his years of experience as a fleetmaster were used to devastating effect against the invading Orkish armada. When Ghazghkull left the warzone, Helbrecht swore a mighty oath to pursue and destroy the alien warlord, and as a sign of respect allowed Commissar Yarrick to accompany him.
- An Arm and a Leg: Helbrecht lost his right hand to the Warscythe of Imotekh the Stormlord. After meditating on it, Helbrecht decided this highly symbolic loss was a sign of Dorn's favor.
- Arch-Enemy: Imotekh, after the Necron Phaeron defeated him at the Battle of Schrödinger VII, taunting him and ultimately cutting off his right hand as a reminder of his failure.
- Reforged Blade: A variant - legend has it that Rogal Dorn broke his sword after failing to protect the Emperor, and Sigismund incorporated shards of that weapon into the Sword of the High Marshals to remind them of their duty.
High Chaplain Grimaldus
To the darkness I bring fire. To the ignorant I bring faith. Those who welcome these gifts may live, but I will visit naught but death on those who refuse them.Much like his High Marshal, Merek Grimaldus had only recently been given his position before arriving at the crucible of Armageddon. The Reclusiarch led the long and bitter defense of Hive Helsreach, and rallied mankind's warriors to fight on until the Temple of the Emperor Ascendant collapsed from the ferocity of the combat. Grimaldus emerged a day later from the rubble, barely alive but bearing the temple's holiest relics, and was dubbed the Hero of Helsreach.
- Badass Boast: "I have dug my grave in this place and I will either triumph or I will die."
- My Greatest Failure: The Helsreach novel reveals that Grimaldus is appalled that Imperial tacticians consider the Battle for Helsreach a victory, when the battle cost him every Black Templar under his command.
- Protective Charm: The holy relics that Grimaldus saved on Helsreach are now carried with him by a group of Cenobyte Servitors to use as an inspiration for Black Templars in combat. In-game, Cenobyte Servitors have the Relics of Helsreach rule which gives a 6+ invulnerable save to all Black Templars models within 6" of a Servitor.
The Emperor's Champion
On the eve of battle, a praying Black Templar may be blessed with a vision from the Emperor, and subsequently anointed by the Chaplains as the Emperor's Champion in imitation of their chapter's founder. Gifted the finest armor and armaments available, these holy warriors seek out and slay enemy commanders on the battlefield.
- Black Swords Are Better: As a symbol of his role, the Champion wields a black-bladed master-crafted power sword traditionally referred to as the Black Sword. There are only 10 of these swords in the Templars' entire armory.
- Combat by Champion: The Champion's primary role is to find the strongest warrior in the enemy's force and challenge him to single combat. In-game, the Champion's Honour or Death rule forces him to issue or accept challenges whenever possible, potentially even over other models that have the same rule.
- Heroic Vow: In their original codices, the Champion could take one of four vows that gave him an advantage over a certain type of enemy, but often with a disadvantage of some sort. The 6th edition Space Marine codex, which the Black Templars were melded into, replaced this with Stances used in challenges. However, this was done away with entirely in the 7th edition codex.
- Legacy Character: There's never a specific Champion; the Black Templars can have one for each crusading fleet, and some other chapters have picked up the custom.
- One-Handed Zweihänder: In the fluff, the exquisite balance of the Black Sword allows the Champion to wield it just as easily with one hand as with two.
- One-Hit Kill: In a challenge, the Black Sword gains the Instant Death rule on To Wound rolls of 6.
The Crimson Fists are a Second Founding successor chapter to the Imperial Fists. Their current Chapter Master is Pedro Kantor and their homeworld is Rynn's World.The Crimson Fists are recovering from a brush with extinction. During an Ork Waaagh! against their home world, a freak missile strike obliterated their fortress-monastery, and by the time reinforcements arrived the Crimson Fists had been reduced to a mere hundred warriors. Despite this grievous blow, the chapter has patiently rebuilt its numbers, lending what aid they can spare against the enemies of man.The Crimson Fists are featured in the 6th edition Space Marines codex.
- Arch-Enemy: Get the Preferred Enemy: Orks rule, for obvious reasons.
- Back from the Brink: As of the late 41st millennium they're back to about half strength.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: As part of a Crimson Fist's initiation they must kill a barb-dragon with their bare hands, thereby earning their right to paint their left gauntlet red as a Battle-Brother. Those that join the 1st Company are allowed to paint their right gauntlet red as well.
- The Strategist: One of their strengths is their tactical flexibility.
- Token Minority: From their names and skin tone, the majority of (Blackwater-born) Crimson Fists appear to be Spanish.
- Unfriendly Fire: Ironically, it was one of their own planetary defense missiles that atomized their fortress-monastery, leading some to believe that it was a deliberate "mishap."
Chapter Master Pedro Kantor
We have been wounded sorely. Yet still we stand with fire in our hearts. Let them think us beaten. We shall teach them otherwise.One of the handful of survivors of the loss of the Crimson Fists' fortress-monastery, Chapter Master Kantor rallied the defenders of Rynn's World to defeat the Orkish foe. Rather than throwing his remaining men into a vainglorious final battle, Kantor elected to rebuild his forces and ultimately save his chapter.
- Determinator: Marched for days across his besieged homeworld, linking up with other defenders and constantly fending off Ork attackers, to mastermind the defense of New Rynn City.
- Either/Or Prophecy: Kantor was given one by an Eldar warrior near the end of the battle for Traitor's Gorge: eliminate the Orks the Eldar had set up for a fall, or let them go and face a new Ork uprising in 50 years that would be disastrous for both the Crimson Fists and the Eldar. Kantor chose the former and routed the Orks, but now lives with the weight of the rest of the prophecy: the Eldar warrior who delivered it would have Kantor's blood on his hands at their next meeting.
- Honor Before Reason: Averted. It's noted that many Space Marines would have preferred a glorious death and chance at revenge, but Kantor is more restrained and far-sighted than such commanders.
- More Dakka: He carries Dorn's Arrow, a storm bolter with a powered belt feed usually used on vehicle-mounted weapons that lets him shoot much faster than normal.
Captain CortezThe Captain of the Crimson Fists' 4th Company is infamous for his stubbornness and continually surpassing what Apothecaries thought Space Marines capable of surviving. His whereabouts are unknown following a battle with Eldar corsairs, but given what Alessio Cortez has already endured, his commander is reluctant to assume him dead.
- An Arm and a Leg: Got an arm torn off by an Ork Warboss, used his remaining hand to Feed It a Bomb and insisted to Apothecaries he was still fit for duty.
- Covered with Scars: On top of that, only two bones in his right foot . A particular highlight is disarming an Ork warlord after it got its blade stuck in Cortez' torso. In game terms, his saving throw is Invulnerable.
- Put on a Bus: Captain Cortez was removed as a special character during 4th Edition.
Do not fear the Black Rage, for it is a part of your essence. Learn to embrace the fury that comes with it, so that you may direct the savagery toward those foes of the Imperium who deserve our ire. This is our beloved Primarch’s parting gift, and as with all he granted us, it must be proudly accepted.The Flesh Tearers are a Second Founding successor chapter to the Blood Angels. Their current Chapter Master is Gabriel Seth and their home world is Cretacia.The Flesh Tearers have been hit particularly hard by their founder's Flaw. The mindless savagery exhibited by these warriors in battle has placed them under near-constant Inquisitorial investigation for the past four millennia, and very few Imperial forces have fought alongside the Flesh Tearers more than once. The chapter can currently field only four companies, and as it continues to lose warriors to the Black Rage faster than it can recruit replacements, the Flesh Tearers seem doomed to extinction.The Flesh Tearers are featured in the Blood Angels codex.
—High Chaplain Carnarvon
- Ax-Crazy: The Flesh Tearers' savage fury in battle often makes them as dangerous to their allies as their foes.
- Battle Cry: In a more literal sense than usual. Instead of a motto, the Flesh Tearers amplify their screams of rage as they charge into battle, which even their allies find profoundly disturbing.
- The Berserker: Even more so than their progenitors. They actively embrace the Black Rage.
- Blood-Splattered Warrior: The inevitable result of any combat they go into.
- BFS: One of their Chapter Relics is an Eviscerator model chainsword called Memor Nihilis, which features extremely intricate inscriptions on each of its teeth detailing the names and deeds of fallen Flesh Tearers.
- Chainsword Good: While common to most chapters, this is the Flesh Tearers' primary Weapon of Choice.
- Death World: Cretacia, the Flesh Tearers' homeworld, is a tropical jungle planet with climate and fauna very similar to prehistoric Earth, including giant dinosaur-like reptiles. Recruits typically have to hunt and kill one of these reptiles and bring back a trophy to be allowed to become a Neophyte.
- Flaying Alive/Not Enough to Bury: Not only is this a favorite combat tactic, Flesh Tearer Librarians have a psyker power called Flensing that has the same effect, described as reducing foes to unrecognizable piles of bloody bones and shredded meat.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Subverted. Since there are so few Flesh Tearers in total, each of them is trained to fight in a Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Scout squad as needed. However, since the Black Rage hits them so easily, their battle plans and tactics lean heavily toward using Assault Marines and de-emphasize Devastators.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Imperial commanders have learned that no battle plan survives contact with the Flesh Tearers. Even in their own forces squad leaders have trouble resisting the urge to order their squad to abandon their position and charge.
- Onrushing Army: The Flesh Tearers may not start a battle this way, but it is inevitably how they end it.
- Token Evil Teammate: Even other Imperial forces are shocked and disturbed by their sheer brutality and ferocity.
- Unfriendly Fire: Imperial commanders have also learned not to position their forces between the Flesh Tearers and the enemy.
Chapter Master Gabriel Seth
We are disorder, that is true. But that is what we were made to be. The wild and the random.The current commander of the Flesh Tearers is grimly resigned to being their last. Rather than pursuing the forlorn hope of a cure for the Flaw, Chapter Master Seth leads his warriors into battle apart from other Imperial forces, hiding the Flesh Tearers' excesses so that the chapter may salvage its reputation in its final days.
- BFS/Named Weapon: Bloodreaver, his massive two-handed chainsword.
- Combat Pragmatist: In the 5th edition codex, Seth's Ferocious Instinct rule dealt one automatic hit to an enemy for each roll of a 1 to hit him in the assault phase, representing Seth getting in a surprise elbow or headbutt. This was removed in the 7th edition codex.
- Dying as Yourself: Seth's strategy hopes to leave the Flesh Tearers remembered not as monsters, but as the heroes they once were. So far it seems to be working.
- Four-Star Badass: In-game, Seth was made a Lord of War in the 7th edition codex.
- Spin Attack: In the 5th edition codex, his Whirlwind of Gore special rule allowed him to hit every model in base contact with him during the assault phase, described as him "[whirling] Bloodreaver in a glittering, gore-splattered arc".
- Tranquil Fury: He feels the Black Rage just like the rest of his chapter, but so far has been able to keep it under control so that it burns cold and precise.
The Legion of the Damned
...their armour was coloured black and upon it was drawn chilling images of bones and fire, and on their helm they bore skulls... Like the bones of men in the torment of purgatory they were, and yet not a sound did they make... We that remained watched the dark battle-brothers at their work, and never before or since have I witnessed such fighting... Soon we secured the objective once more, yet of the dark brotherhood, there was no sign!On several occasions, Imperial forces facing certain death have been rescued by these mysterious Space Marines. Shrouded in spectral flames, their black armor covered with macabre imagery, the so-called Legion of the Damned appears as if from nowhere to turn the tide of battle. Fighting in grim silence and with ruthless efficiency, once the threat is neutralized the Legionnaires vanish as quickly as they came, leaving naught but slain foes and astonished Imperial survivors.One of the many rumors about the Legion's origins is that they are the survivors of the Fire Hawks chapter, thought lost in a Warp storm, and now forever transmuted by the Immaterium. If this is true, this would make them a Twenty-First Founding Ultramarines successor chapter and Zhoros and Cousteau XI (both destroyed) would be their home worlds.The Legion of the Damned are a unit in the 6th edition Space Marines codex and have their own digital codex (that consists of that one unit).
— Excerpt from a report by Chief Librarian Varro Tigurius of the Ultramarines
- Abnormal Ammo: The Legion's bolters shoot flaming projectiles that little (if anything) is proof against.
- Army of the Dead: In motif if not in fact.
- Big Damned Heroes: Their specialty. If it's some sort of Warp-based teleportation, as has been conjectured, its precision and timing is far beyond what is considered possible.
- Bottomless Magazines: No matter how intense or prolonged the fighting, the Legion of the Damned have never been witnessed reloading their bolters.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Probably the strongest example in the setting.
- Knight Errant: Trapped in hyperspace for about a hundred years and cursed with some Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane warp disease/curse, the last handful of survivors wander the galaxy searching for other Marines, coming to their aid in their hour of need, vanishing as mysteriously and silently as they came, never straying from their dedication to the Emperor even as their bodies and minds slowly break down.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Sometimes they're portrayed as ordinary Marines with some Warp sicknesses that numb their bodies and strengthen their armors, while other times they're almost completely incorporeal.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Are they the Fire Hawks chapter, returned from being lost in the Warp? The Imperial equivalent of Daemons, conjured by the combined psychic potential of mankind in its hours of greatest need? Or simply a mass battlefield hallucination? Depends who you ask.
- Mysterious Protector: Not to any force in particular, though; they've been spotted all over the galaxy.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: The Legion's supernatural nature makes their armor save Invulnerable.
- Ominous Floating Castle: There has been at least one report of a mysterious Star Fort, of a similar size to The Rock, operating in the same area as the Legion of the Damned. The Star Fort is said to be heavily weathered as if it had spent centuries adrift in the Warp and is wreathed in spectral flame.
- The Voiceless: The whole chapter fights in complete, eerie silence.
- Wreathed in Flames: In some cases Damned Legionnaires have shown control over these flames, allowing them to smite foes with a fiery holocaust.
One last shield against the coming darkness,The Grey Knights are a Second Founding Chapter and the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Malleus, dedicated to fighting daemonic incursions. Their Primarch is officially considered to be the Emperornote . Their current Chapter Master is Kaldor Draigo and their headquarters is on Titan. Founded in secrecy at the end of the Horus Heresy, the Grey Knights are trained and equipped to be the ultimate daemon slayers, though few in the Imperium are allowed to know of their existence. Each warrior is a potent psyker able to banish daemonic foes back into the warp, warded against corruption by consecrated armor and wielding weapons that are anathema to unholy creatures.The Grey Knights received a 7th edition codex in 2014. The former codex included rules for Inquisitors and Assassins; those have been moved to their own dataslates for the 7th edition rules.For more about these ultimate daemonhunters, see Grey Knights.
One last blade, forged in defiance of fate,
Let them be my legacy to the galaxy I conquered,
And my final gift to the species I failed.
One last blade, forged in defiance of fate,
Let them be my legacy to the galaxy I conquered,
And my final gift to the species I failed.
-The Emperor, attr.
- Arm Cannon: Grey Knights typically wear wrist-mounted Storm Bolters so that they can wield their Nemesis Force Weapons with both hands.
- Blade on a Stick: The Nemesis Force Halberd, which was the signature weapon of the chapter until other types of Nemesis weapons were introduced during 3rd Edition.
- Daemon Slaying: The Grey Knights were founded by the Emperor for the sole purpose of defeating the Daemonic servants of the Dark Gods.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The reason why they are so good at fighting Chaos: a combination of extremely harsh psychic conditioning and rigorous training leaves them utterly untouchable by Chaotic influence.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Imperial Guard forces that fight alongside Grey Knights are usually terminated (or simply memory-wiped, Depending on the Writer), partly to preserve the secrecy of the Grey Knights' existence and partly because said forces are quite likely to have been exposed to Warp taint.
- Knight Errant: The eight founding members self-identified as this, since they had to leave their original Legions behind (some of which had turned traitor) for a greater cause.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia:
- Grey Knight aspirants are usually mind-wiped as the last part of their indoctrination, to better preserve them against potential daemonic corruption and strengthen their loyalty and faith.
- Space Marines who fight alongside Grey Knights have their memories of the encounter(s) erased to preserve the secrecy of the Grey Knights' existence.
- Meaningful Name: Even Grey Knights' names are weapons, for each is a fragment of lore that acts in opposition to the true name of a particular daemon.
- Mercy Kill: Their justification for purging survivors of a daemonic incursion—better to give them a swift, clean death than potentially let them fall to Chaos and suffer a much more horrific fate.
- Meta Mecha: The Nemesis Dreadknight is an open-bodied mecha piloted by a Grey Knight in a manner similar to the powerloader from Aliens or the mechas from The Matrix Revolutions. It packs an enormous amount of firepower and is intended to fight Greater Daemons. The fanbase is rather torn on whether they are cool or silly-looking; it's been referred to as "baby carrier◊".
- Number of the Beast: The Grey Knights are chapter 666, and initiates go through the 666 Rites of Detestation in order to completely ward their minds and souls agaist Chaos corruption.
- The Paladin: In typical 40K fashion, the Grey Knights put a grimdark spin on the concept: their sole purpose is fighting the forces of the setting's Hell, but their tactics include acts like mass murder of people who may have come into contact with Chaos corruption simply by fighting alongside them.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Along with the Daemons and profane artefacts sealed within the Chambers of Purity on Titan is a mysterious and powerful evil that even the Emperor at the height of His power couldnt destroy.
- You Are Number Six: Grey Knight aspirants are only referred to by designated numbers, gaining a new name when they finish their training.
Lord Kaldor Draigo, Supreme Grand Master of the Grey KnightsThe tale of Kaldor Draigo almost beggars belief. He is said to have banished a Daemon Prince in his first action as a Battle-Brother, carved the name of his predecessor onto a fallen Primarch's heart, survived being drawn into the Warp, and has battled for ages across the very demesnes of the Chaos Gods. Though Draigo returns to the material universe only temporarily, he remains the Grey Knights' chapter master, and they await the day he permanently rejoins them.
- Deadpan Snarker: The recent books paint him as one.
- Four-Star Badass: Draigo's exploits both before and after becoming Supreme Grand Master are astounding in their scope...and have been a very sore point with elements of the fandom, who see him as one of the worst Canon Sues in the game. In-game, the 7th Edition codex made Draigo a Lord of War.
- Flying Dutchman: Cursed by the Daemon Prince M'Kar to spend most of his existence wandering the Warp, briefly returning to the Materium on a few occasions but inevitably being pulled back.
- Heroic Willpower: Draigo has remained uncorrupted despite more than two centuries of direct exposure to the Warp.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Despite Draigo's adventures in the realms of the Chaos Gods, the Ruinous Powers can repair any damage he does with a thought, rendering the Grey Knight's actions meaningless.
- Zorro Mark: After the Daemon Primarch Mortarion killed Supreme Grand Master Geronitan, Draigo used Mortarion's true name to destroy his physical body, then cut Geronitan's name into Mortarion's heart as an added bit of vengeance.
Grand Master Mordrak, The Haunted Knight of Mortain
I am sworn to bring justice upon the Tyrant of Badab, e’en should it take a thousand years. Until then, my brothers and I have enough to keep our swords from growing dull.The sole survivor of a defeat at the hands of the Red Corsairs, Vorth Mordrak's psychic powers have bound the spirits of his fallen brothers to him. Though surrounded by their vengeful whispers and visions of death, Mordrak's ghostly bodyguard has turned the tide of many battles as he pursues his vengeance against the Red Corsairs' master.
- Arch-Enemy: Huron Blackheart.
- Demoted to Extra: Although no longer a playable model, Vorth Mordrak is still listed as the Grand Master of the 2nd Brotherhood.
- Ghostly Goals: His fallen brothers can't be laid to rest while the Red Corsairs live.
- Put on a Bus: As of the 7th Edition Codex, Grand Master Mordrak is no longer a playable character.
Brother-Captain Stern, Hero of the 3rd Brotherhood
Daemons are creatures of madness and fear. When we deny them our sanity, and deny them our fear, they are nothing more than dust upon the wind or lies upon the tongue of a madman.Arvann Stern's promising career was derailed when he banished and made a lifelong enemy of M'kachen, a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch. After its banishment M’kachen became obsessed with Stern’s destruction, despatching lesser Daemons to plague the Brother-Captain. Since the daemon's return to the mortal realm, the Lord of Change and Stern have fought many times but neither has managed to achieve a lasting victory.
- Arch-Enemy: The aforementioned Greater Daemon.
- Declining Promotion: Stern has turned down promotion to Grand Master on numerous occasions because he does not wish to burden the Chapter’s ruling council with his curse.
- Doom Magnet: The minor Daemons that M’kachen sends to torment Stern make sure that all his acts of heroism are tainted with misfortune, causing anything from weapon malfunctions at inopportune times to hive-quakes that crush scores of Stern’s allies.
- Equivalent Exchange: His Strands of Fate ability gives Stern a free re-roll each phase, but each time he uses it his opponent gets one too.
- Sphere of Destruction: In the 5th Edition version of the rules, Stern's unique Zone of Banishment psychic power would cause every model near him, friend or foe, to get sucked into the Warp.
Castellan Crowe, Champion of the Order of Purifiers
To the righteous we bring hope. To the tainted we bring fire.The leader and Brotherhood Champion of the Order of Purifiers regarded as totally immune to Chaos, Garran Crowe’s presence in the Warp is a burning flame that purifies everything it touches. This makes him the ideal candidate to bear the Black Blade of Antwyr, an ancient daemonic weapon so corrupting that even other Grey Knights aren’t allowed in its presence for long.
- MacGuffin Escort Mission: Crowe must keep one hand on the Black Blade of Antwyr at all times, for if another were to touch the Blade it would turn them into the next sword-host.
- Only the Pure of Heart: Only the most incorruptible of Purifiers can wield the Black Blade of Antwyr, and Castellan Crowe's unequalled purity makes him uniquely suited to the task, as he is utterly immune to Antwyr’s whispered promises and lies.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Black Blade of Antwyr is one of the most powerful Daemon Weapons ever encountered. So powerful is the entity sealed within the Blade that some amongst the Grey Knights believe it to be the last fragment of an ancient and evil god. It incessantly whispers curses and promises of power and glory in Crowe's mind, ever seeking to tempt him into giving in to it.
- Weak, but Skilled: Crowe is such a blademaster that he is able to use both the offensive and defensive stances of a Brotherhood Champion at once.
- Willfully Weak: Crowe only uses the Black Blade's physical edge in combat, refusing to use its daemonic powers which would corrupt himself and others.
We fight for the Imperium, not our souls. They are already lost or saved according to the Emperor’s willAnval Thawn is one of the Perpetuals, a small handful of true immortals in the galaxy. While some of his brothers accept him as a figure of destiny, Thawn is less sanguine about his ultimate fate.
- Demoted to Extra: Although no longer a playable model, Justicar Thawn is briefly mentioned in the Battle of the Ghost Halls section of the Grey Knights timeline.
- Resurrective Immortality: Thawn has been killed numerous times but always returns to life a few days later. In-game, each turn after he dies he has a 50% chance of getting right back up.
- Swallowed Whole: A Greater Daemon of Nurgle did this to Thawn, only to have him carve his way out of the daemon's gut and kill it.
- Put on a Bus: As of the 7th Edition Codex, Justicar Thawn is no longer a playable character.
- Taking the Bullet. During the Battle of the Ghost Halls, Thawn threw himself in front of the Keeper of Secrets N’kari to take a blow that would have killed Brother-Captain Pelenas, trapping the Greater Daemon’s blade in his body long enough for Pelenas to banish N’kari.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Thawn has lived long enough to realize that humanity is doomed to fall to the Dark Gods, and nothing he or the Grey Knights can do will change that. He's resigned to the fight regardless.
One man among a million may be fit to be a Space Marine. One Space Marine among a hundred may be fit for the Deathwatch.The chamber militant of the Ordo Xenos, the Deathwatch is recruited from conventional chapters' battle-brothers who distinguish themselves battling aliens. Such warriors temporarily leave their home chapter to serve the Inquisition as Kill-Teams, gaining access to advanced training and restricted wargear. Once their service is complete the Deathwatch veterans return to their original chapter, sworn to secrecy of what they saw but bringing new skills to pass on to their battle-brothers. The Deathwatch is headquarted on Talasa Prime, a world on the Eastern Fringes of Ultima Segmentum owned by the Ordo Xenos.For more about these xenophobic warriors, see the Deathwatch RPG and the Deathwatch novels.
- Absolute Xenophobe: Right there in the motto.
- Black Knight: The Deathwatch repaint their armor solid black as a show of solidarity with their temporary new chapter, with the right pauldron bearing the symbol and color(s) of their chapter of origin (so as not to anger the armor's machine spirit) and the left bearing the Deathwatch symbol on a silvery background. An exception are the Blackshields, who for whatever reason have completely repainted their armor, forever cutting ties with their original chapter.
- Demoted to Extra: Aside from some old rules in White Dwarf magazine (and one Apocalypse formation in Warzone: Damnos), the Deathwatch have never had a substantial tabletop presence beyond the odd conversion kit.
- A Day in the Limelight: ...But then they got their own RPG!
- Gun Accessories: As some of the Inquisition's elite, the Deathwatch get toys like anti-gravity suspensors that allow them to fire Heavy Bolters on the move.
- Multi-Chapter Team: Any Deathwatch killteam will typically be comprised of Marines from many different chapters.
- Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits/Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: After reading the quirks of the aforementioned chapters, you can imagine what happens when you form a mixed squad from them.
- State Sec: A component of it. The Inquisition needed Super Soldiers to secure the Imperium against alien threats, and a conclave of Space Marine Chapter Masters agreed. Hence, the Deathwatch was formed to allow small groups of Astartes to be placed at the Ordo Xenos' disposal in a much more responsive and specialized capacity than would otherwise be available.
While the aforementioned chapters are the only ones to have some presence in the tabletop game proper, many other Space Marine forces have managed to distinguish themselves elsewhere. See Brothers of the Snake and the Blood Ravens and Soul Drinkers book series for more about those chapters. Several receive brief mention in the Space Marines codex, especially the more noteworthy successor chapters of the aforementioned chapters.
- Aloof Ally: The Carcharodons, who are secretive in the extreme, with no Adminstratum record of their founding. Owing to their contrasting modes of extreme still patience and equally extreme violence of action they have a habit of coming to the rescue of other Imperial forces in just the nick of time (when they had been in fact clandestinely observing the situation for some time) then departing just as quickly with no explanation. If contacted by those they fight beside, they only ever respond tersely in old dialects of High Gothic, usually giving polite but firmly worded requests for supplies.
- Badass Teacher: The Mentors Chapter are this, loaning squads to other Imperial factions in order to act as advisers and tacticians, as well as teaching them how to improve their battlefield doctrine.
- Because Destiny Says So: The Silver Skulls base their deployments on the divinations of their Prognosticators, giving them a fickle reputation.
- Born Unlucky: The 21st Founding was an attempt by the Adeptus Mechanicus to improve the Astartes' gene-seed and rid it of defects such as the Flaw of the Blood Angels. Instead, every chapter created during this "Cursed Founding" ended up suffering from severe mutations or inexplicably bad luck, and some have even fallen to Chaos. It is thought that the followers of the Ruinous Powers managed to sabotage the attempt.
- Canon Immigrant: The Blood Ravens first appeared in the Dawn of War games, and have received numerous mentions in codices or magazine articles.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: Members of the Exorcists chapter willingly undergo daemonic possession, to better learn how to expel Warp creatures. On a related note, the Exorcists maintain three full Scout companies to replace the losses resulting from their "highly unconventional" training methods.
- Cosmic Plaything: The Lamenters seemed to be the only of the Cursed Founding chapters to escape a crippling defect, and despite being a Blood Angels successor appeared immune to the Flaw. Then they suffered 80% losses in their first campaign when their allies abandoned them out of superstitious fear, got lost in the Warp for two thousand years, were dragged onto the wrong side of a civil war, and had to fight Hive Fleet Kraken as penance. By the time the Blood Angels tracked them down, the Lamenters were reduced to three companies and reeling from the sudden onset of the Red Thirst and Black Rage. To their credit, the Lamenters have maintained their loyalty to the Imperium despite their many trials, and view their suffering as the noble result of trying to do good in a universe that seems to despise them.
- Cursed with Awesome: The Black Dragons broke out in mutations that caused bony claws or spurs to sprout from their bodies. Their response was to plate the outgrowths in adamantium and turn their defects into combat blades, or play up their Horned Humanoid appearance for maximum effect. This doesn't always help them get along with other Imperial factions, and some chapters like the Dark Angels and Marines Malevolent refuse to have anything to do with them, while some in the Inquisition would see them destroyed.
- Defector from Decadence: After nearly being lured into the grasp of Chaos, the Soul Drinkers forged their own path rather than rejoin the Imperium.
- The Faceless: The Angels Sanguine never remove their helmets, refusing to show their faces to those outside their Chapter. It is rumoured that the reason for this is related to a dark secret that lies in the catacombs beneath their Fortress-Monastery.
- Fantastic Racism: Even more than other Imperial forces, the Red Scorpions have several quotes attributed to their chapter master expressing his refusal to serve alongside abhumans like Ogryns.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In addition to the major chapters, a lot of the chapters fit this:
- The Minotaurs and Iron Snakes are basically Spartans.
- The Space Sharksnote are some sort of nonspecific Pacific Islanders.
- Judging by their Chapter Master's name, the Celestial Lions appear to be African.
- The Mantis Warriors are Japanese, more specifically a combination of ninjas and Kamen Rider.
- The Red Scorpions, with their grey uniforms, red and white insignias, and fanatical obsession with both genetic purity and over-engineered battle tanks, makes them the Naziest of 40k's many Catholic Space Nazis. The fact that they may or may not be descended from Fulgrim, one of the traitor Primarchs, could be a nod to the rumors about Hitler's possible Jewish heritage.
- The Storm Wardens (originating in the Deathwatch RPG) are basically Scottish Highlanders, what with their signature claymores and glorification of honorable single combat.
- Fans tends to paint the Rainbow Warriors as being Mayincatec... which makes quite a lot of sense because there was an Native American myth of a being called The Rainbow Warrior who will defend all life.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The Relictors chapter received numerous sanctions for its interest in recovering, studying and wielding Chaos-touched artifacts, including Daemon Weapons. By the 13th Black Crusade they have been declared heretics, and the survivors are thought to have fled into the Eye of Terror.
- Heroic Albino: The Death Spectres, due to a mutation of the melanchromatic organ.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The entire Astral Knights chapter purposefully crash-landed onto the Necron World Engine and spent their last hundred hours destroying every target they could find, which eventually dropped the battle-station's shields so that the rest of the Imperial force could destroy it.
- Internal Affairs: The Minotaurs chapter seems to specialize in fighting other Space Marines, and is rumored to have been created in secret as the High Lords of Terra's private hit squad.
- Jerkass: The Marines Malevolent have nothing but sneering disdain for anything that shows a hint of weakness or compassion, and their tactics epitomize "the ends justify the means." Casualties (both civilian and military), property damage, and constructive camaraderie with other Chapters are afterthoughts to completing their missions. Their callous slaughter of civilians during the Third War for Armageddon got them censured by the Inquisition, and several Space Marine chapters (especially the Salamanders) refuse to fight alongside them.
- Knight Errant: The Marines Errant wear this as a hat, being a crusading chapter since their founding. The are fleet based, constantly moving about in small groups of companies, looking to attach themselves to whatever Imperial crusade is going on at any given time.
- Mysterious Past: Some chapters have lost (or hidden) the records of their founding, and aren't sure which Primarch they're descended from. Dawn of War's Blood Ravens are almost certainly descended from loyalist Thousand Sons, while the Red Scorpions keep their founding secret as they may or may not be descended from Fulgrim.
- Off with His Head!: The Silver Skulls have inherited a tradition of headhunting from their recruitment worlds, and plate the skulls of prestigious foes in silver for display.
- One Steve Limit: Attempted, but in at least the Astral Blades' case a bureaucratic error saw two chapters founded under the same name, an oversight only noticed when both were wiped out during the 9th Black Crusade. Observers also wonder if the current bootlick Minotaurs are the same as the notorious berserker Minotaurs first encountered several thousand years ago.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Besides the aforementioned horns and arm-blades, the Black Dragons like to Kill It with Fire. Their battlecry is appropriately "Fire and Bone!"
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: For whatever reason, the Adeptus Terra have little to no records of the chapters created during the Thirteenth Founding, such as the Exorcists and Death Spectres. This extends to whose gene-seed was used to form the new chapters (though the Death Spectres have been confirmed to be successors to the Raven Guard).
- Threatening Shark: The Carcharodons, also known as Space Sharks, file their teeth specifically to invoke this.
- Un-Person: One of the biggest mysteries is what happened to Legions II and XI to see them removed from the list of Space Marine Legions, especially since the Traitor Legions are still on it. The Horus Heresy novels offer hints that they may have gone renegade before the Heresy, had unacceptable genetic deviations, been destroyed by the Space Wolves, or disbanded and absorbed into the Ultramarines, but there is no definitive answer.
- Retcon: This wasn't always the case, and in 1st Edition the full twenty First Founding Legions were all listed - the missing two would be the Rainbow Warriors and the Valedictors. But Games Workshop liked the idea of a nod to the Lost Roman Legions and so demoted those legions to later founding chapters, thereby giving players some Canon Fodder to toy with.
- Uriah Gambit: After making the mistake of (attempting to) complain to the High Lords of Terra about an Inquisitor's Exterminatus action, the Celestial Lions found themselves deployed to a hive on Armageddon where, due to appallingly bad intelligence, they took over 90% losses. The chapter's Apothecaries in particular were singled out by what official reports dubbed "Ork snipers," putting the Lions at risk of extinction. The survivors are attempting to rebuild with the help of the Black Templars.
The enemies of the Imperium fear many things, they fear discovery, defeat and death. But most of all they fear the wrath of the Space Marines!