One of the twenty Primarchs created by the Emperor of Mankind for the Great Crusade, Lion and his brothers were scatted to the stars by the Chaos Gods to prevent the coming of the Imperium. Landing on Caliban, Lion lived in the wilderness for a few years before being discovered by Luther, a Knight of the Order. Taking him to their fortress-monastery, Luther named him "Lion El'Jonson", which meant "the Lion, the Son of the Forest". Rapidly assimilating human culture and a great deal of knowledge, Lion was soon the greatest Knight within the Order, and proposed the launching of a Crusade to purge the great beasts of Caliban. Becoming Supreme Grand Master of the Order, Lion lead the other Knightly orders in slaying the great beasts. Soon after, the Emperor arrived on Caliban. Lion pledged himself to the Imperium and was given command of the I Legion of the Adeptus Astartes, which he renamed the Dark Angels.
During the Great Crusade, the Dark Angels quickly became one of the largest of the Legions, along with the Ultramarines and the Luna Wolves. Jonson later met Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves, when he slew an enemy commander. Feeling denied of glory, Russ attacked Jonson, until he saw the pointlessness of the struggle and began laughing. Feeling insulted, Jonson punched Russ. Despite this rocky meeting, the two would become good friends. When the Horus Heresy began, Jonson went on a crusade to hunt down the Night Lords, but eventually joined the Ultramarines and the Space Wolves to relieve the Siege of the Terra. Arriving too late, Jonson later returned to Caliban to find that the Caliban garrison had rebelled. Heading to the surface, Jonson challenged his foster father Luther and fought a great duel and was injured. Taken by the Watchers in the Dark, he is on life support within the Rock, where he will reemerge when a new Great Crusade begins.
- Badass Bookworm: Very much a scholar.
- Badass in Charge: As Grand Master of the Order and later Legion Master of the Dark Angels.
- Four-Star Badass: Was often hailed as the most imaginative general among the Primarchs.
- Sealed Badass in a Can: He is hidden within the Rock, waiting for the day a new Great Crusade begins.
- Fair Weather Friend: Possibly. One of the theories surrounding his Heresy-era behavior is that he waited out the Siege of Terra to see who would win.
- Lonely at the Top: Luther theorized that his friend The Lion must have felt very isolated and alone being a demi-god among men. Jonson himself stated as much in his inner monologue, reflecting on how one's own differences and uniqueness can be a curse.
- Master Swordsman: He could draw a blade and spill blood with it faster than other primarchs could react.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: You know those great beasts who were haunting Caliban's forests? They were the only thing keeping the locals from being infected with Warp taint.
- Not Good with People: Shown to be a Shy Type in Fallen Angels. He's not good at reading people like Luther was, and after Luther's "exile" to Caliban he relied on his Chaplains to work out who to trust.
- Properly Paranoid: Astelan proposes the view that Jonson did not trust the Dark Angels, and that he was simply waiting out to see who would win the civil war. The Horus Heresy plays with this, indicating that Jonson didn't fully trust the Dark Angels but also indicating that he was genuinely loyal to the Emperor.
- Red Baron: The Lion of Caliban.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Leman Russ.
The Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels, and leader of the Inner Circle
- Badass in Charge
- Badass Longrobe
- Big Good
- Bifurcated Weapon: A combi-plasma weapon named Lion's Wrath.
- Commanding Coolness: Like his primarch before him, acting as the Blue Oni to the Space Wolves' Red Oni even 10,000 years into the future.
- Named Weapons: Lion's Wrath and the Sword of Secrets.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: This was made very clear in Pandorax, where Azrael actually thanked and practically praised the Catachans for holding the line for so long on a Death World that was rapidly falling into the hands of Chaos. Most Space Marine commanders would consider such an ally a footnote in history at best, and an outright nuisance at worst.
The current Master of the Deathwing (First Captain of the Dark Angels) and former Captain of the Third Company.
- Ancestral Weapon: The Sword of Silence
- Badass Cape
- Bald of Awesome
- The Captain
- General Failure: He's worried that Azrael will see him as this over Piscina IV.
- The Neidermeyer: Nearly becomes this while trying to make up for his earlier failures over Piscina IV, but pulls back.
- Number Two: As First Captain.
The Master of the Ravenwing (Captain of the Second Company) Sammael is the leader of the Chapter's fast attack specialists.
- Ancestral Weapon: The Raven Sword.
- Badass Biker: Make that Badass Jetbiker.
- Badass Cape: It even gives him the "Eternal Warrior" rule!
- Dark Is Not Evil
- Flying Bike: He has access to last remaining Imperial Jetbike.
- You Are in Command Now: He was promoted on the spot by the previous master of Ravenwing, captain Gideon, when Gideon lay dead and broken at the feet of a Chaos Titan. This is technically a breech in Dark Angels protocol, since Sammael was never entered into the Inner Circle before this, but after destroying the titan with the remnants of Ravenwing there wasn't much objection to honoring Gideon's last wish.
The Grand Master of Librarians (Chief Librarian).
- Badass Bookworm: In addition to being a Librarian, he holds the Book of Salvation, a chronicle of those Fallen Angels captured by the Dark Angels and held by every Chief Librarian.
- Electronic Eyes: His left eye is cybernetic.
- Flaming Sword: He wields a Force sword.
- In the Hood
- Named Weapon: Deliverer, his bolt pistol, and the Sword of Secrets, his force sword.
- Psychic Powers
The senior-most Interrogator-Chaplain.
- Badass Preacher
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: His skill at tracking and rooting out the Fallen is the only reason Azraal overlooks his insane fanaticism.
- Dual Wielding: A power sword and a crozius arcanum.
- Exalted Torturer
- Hypocrite: As Sapphon points out, Asmodai demands absolute loyalty and subservience from all those under his command, yet he has no qualms about defying Sapphon's own orders whenever Sapphon isn't around.
- In the Hood: He wears his hood over his helmet.
- Noodle Incident: His actions once resulted in the death of many marines from another chapter, forcing Azrael to apologize to its leader.
- Stop Having Fun Guy: In-universe. He will punish you for laughing.
- Take a Third Option: After learning of the Fallen and being given the option to join the Deathwing or Ravenwing he opted to become a chaplain.
The Grand Master of Chaplains (head of the Chaplaincy). He received his post neither for his age or skill at interrogation (Asmodai is his senior in both) but his ability to inspire others or so the other Chaplains have been told. It's implied he was promoted to Master of Sanctity to protect a special set of the Dark Angels' secrets, which he only dared to seek because he "failed" a test of curiosity, which no other Chaplain had known they were taking.
- Badass Preacher
- Dark Is Not Evil: How he "fails" the Secret Test of Character — by stepping out of the lit sections of the Librarium and into the darkened sections full of dangerous secrets.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: He was present for Astelan's interrogation.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Unusual for a Chaplain. He's determined to stay alive and in power because he knows Asmodai isn't this trope and might get the Dark Angels all killed, or worse.
- Rousing Speech: His ability to do this is what made him Grand Master (or so the other Chaplains have been told).
An Interrogator-Chaplain attached to the Third Company. The protagonist of Angels of Darkness, and a major player in Purging of Kadillus.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Having chosen to trap the rest of the squad in the Basilica, the Dark Angels chose to kill themselves with melta-charges before their armor's life-support fails them and they risk showing weakness.
- Drop the Hammer: His crozius.
- Exalted Torturer: Part of his job as an Interrogator-Chaplain.
- Heroic Blue Screen of Death: Has one when he learns about the annihilus, to the point that he almost commits suicide.
- I Want Them Alive: Standard procedure when dealing with Fallen Angels.
- Not Quite Dead: He was feared killed during the battle of Piscina IV, but survived.
- Super OCD: Following on the above. In Purging of Kadillus his squad is busy trying to recapture a stronghold the Orks have infested. As his squad fans out to secure the roof they return to find him gluing part of a damaged statue back together. Why bother fixing a statue that would be replaced later anyway in the middle of a battle? In his words, "What was the point of being Chaplain if one let the small things go unnoticed?"
An Apothecary in the Third Company, and part of Boreas's squad. His task is to test potential Aspirants from Piscina V for recruitment into the Dark Angels. And protect the gene-seed hidden in the Basilica on Piscina IV.
- All-Loving Hero: Shows great compassion for the common people of the Imperium. Which makes his willingness to condemn Piscina IV to the annihilus virus all the more disconcerting.
- Boom, Headshot! Delivered by Boreas, no less.
- Old Soldier: 617 years old by the time of Angels of Darkness.
- Mercy Kill: Has to deliver the Emperor's Peace a few times in The Purging of Kalidus.
A Techmarine within the Third Company, and member of the squad in Angels of Darkness. His role is to keep the equipment functioning. And keep watch over the annihilus.
- An Axe to Grind: Has a power axe.
- Better to Die than Be Killed
- Energy Weapon: Has a plasma pistol and a power axe.
- Machine Worship
- The Smart Guy
A Veteran Sergent of the Tenth Company. He is charged with field training neophyte scouts, as well as carrying out high-risk stealth operations.
- Badass Teacher
- Doomed by Canon: The 2002 Dark Angels codex states he was killed by an Ork Killa Can on Piscina IV. The Purging of Kadillus shows us how it went down.
- Sole Survivor: Of the first recon expedition in the East Barrens. He isn't so lucky the second time around...
- Taking You with Me: To an Ork Killa Can.
A Sergeant in the Tenth Company. He is charged with training and evaluating the aspirants from Piscina V.
- A Father to His Men: Fully proves this when he shows his anguish when his Aspirants are murdered by the Fallen.
- Better to Die than Be Killed
- Chainsaw Good
- Cold Sniper
- Power Fist
- Sergeant Rock
- Sole Survivor: Of the mission to scout Ork terrain in the battle of Piscina IV.
- Veteran Instructor
A battle-brother serving at the Basilica.
- Better to Die than Be Killed
- The Big Guy
- Kill It with Fire
- Secret Test of Character: He assumes being told about the Fallen is one at first.
A battle-brother serving at the Basilica.
- Better to Die than Be Killed
- The Chick
- The Fundamentalist: Fully dedicates himself to hunting down the Fallen after learning of their existence.
- Undying Loyalty: To Boreas.
A Dark Angels Librarian who assists Boreas in interrogating Astelan.
The DeathwingUntold Centuries after the Horus Heresy, a band of Dark Angel Terminators recruited from a world culturally analagous to the Native Americans of Earth return home to gather worthy warriors from the tribes of their boyhood, only to find that their culture has been destroyed by a Genestealer cult, and all that remains of their people are enslaved descendents forced to toil in an industrialized hell to rebuild the Tyranid Invaders' space hulk when not living as glorified breeding stock.
The Thirty Terminator Warriors renounced their oaths to the Emperor, as adhering to them would force Exterinatus on their home world, and painted their dark-green armor Death White as is the traditional customs of their people to paint their entire-bodies when embarking upon suicidal vengeance. Having sung their own funeral dirges and hence purging their hearts of the fear of death they marched into the Genestealer's dark city of steel and smoke, tearing every Tyranid within asunder with sword, bolter, flame and hammer, saving their people.
The six surivors, for such was the awful toll of the vengeance war, burnt the industrial monstrosity to the ground and divided the uncorrupted descendents of the Genestealer conquest into six tribes, who were taught once more to live in the old tribal ways and did battle with each other, so that they may once more be worthy of becoming Sky Warriors.
In honor of their valarous deliverance of The Plain's People's heritage, the Terminator Armor of The Deathwing and the Deathwing Alone are kept bone white in remembrance of their deeds.''
Every Deathwing Warrior bears the following common tropes.
- Old Soldier: It has been 200 years since they were taken from the tribes of their boyhood, and all are near death from old age.
Cloud Runner (Imperial Name: Eizekiel)
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Thankfully Averted: Though initially torn by his oaths to the Emperor and his duty to his people, he chose the latter and saved his culture.
Lame Bear (Imperial Name unknown)
- Gentle Giant
- Handicapped Badass: His right leg is a bionip replacement, the real one ripped off by a Genestealer.
- The Heart: Cloud Runner's dearest friend (ironically recruited from an enemy tribe), he is the kindest and gentlest warrior of the thirty brothers.
- Irony: Although he was named Lame Bear in his boyhood, 100 years ago he became lame to match his name when a Genestealer tore his right leg off.
Two Heads Talking (Imperial Name: Lucian)
- Defiant to the End: When his Bolter ran out of Ammo, he THREW it so hard that it killed the Genestealer it hit, not to mention holding onto the Genestealer Patriarch's soul and letting the Thunderbird Deathwing take BOTH their souls to the afterlife!!
- Meaningful Name: His name clearly implies that he has always had "voices" talking to him inside his head as a boy, as befitting his shaman (and later psychic) background.
- Psychic Powers: An apprentice shaman in his boyhood, and a Librarian as a Space Marine
Weasel Fierce (Imperial Name: Paulo)
- The Cynic
- Defiant to the End: Ripped a Genestealer's head off even as it ripped his hearts out.
- Knife Nut: Keeps his traditional bone hunting-knife with him at all times.
Bloody Moon (Imperial Name: Marius)
- Doomed Contrarian: Is SO thoroughly westernized by his Imperial Indoctrination that he fears falling to Chaos more than his people being destroyed, and tries to dissuade the vengeane war out of this fear at every turn: Guess whose head the Genestealers tear off FIRST?
- Laser-Guided Karma: Oh sure, be loyal to the Emperor and let your Heritage die!! Nice knowing you, headless!!
- Off with His Head!: And serves you right too, you Dirty Coward!!
Hawk Talon, Honored Ancestor.
- Mini-Mecha: He was already ancient when he came to recruit his grandson Cloud Runner. 100 years before the story, he was already interrd in the eternal Adamantium body of a Space Marine Dreadnaught.
Broken Knife (Imperial Name: Gabriel)
- Passing the Torch: Not only is he the successor of Captaincy of the Deathwing First Company from Cloud Runner, but it was by Broken Knife's decree that the Deathwing Armor remained Death White in remembrance f the Plain's People's salvation, keeping a promise to Cloud Runner.
The mentor and best friend of Lion El'Jonson, a Knight of the Order who was later made a semi-Astartes and Master of Caliban. Was the leader of the Fallen Angels and was captured by the Dark Angels after the destruction of Caliban.
- Badass Bookworm: One of the few who could keep up with Jonson intellectually.
- Evil Former Friend: To Lion El'Jonson.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After striking down Lion El'Jonson during the destruction of Caliban he regains control of himself and succumbs to despair.
- Parental Substitute: To Jonson.
- The Red Baron: Modern Dark Angels will sometimes hear rumors of a "Dark Oracle" giving their Chapter Master vague prophecies and subtle directions to guide them to new Fallen. Only the Chapter Master knows the Dark Oracle is Luther himself and the whispers of Chaos stuck in his skull.
- Sanity Slippage: Feeling jealous of your adopted younger brother for achieving greater glory than you? Perfectly normal. Growing resentful to the point of wanting to secretly dispose of him? A bit extreme, but still understandable on the basic level. Reading books about Chaos daemons you can summon right on your very own home planet? Now we're going overboard.
- More to the point, being stuck in a stasis cage for ten thousand years isn't exactly helping him get any better.
The former Lord Cypher of the Order and a Space Marine. Generally regarded as the most infamous of the Fallen Angels.
- Big Bad: Subverted; his band of Fallen wreak massive havoc in Angels of Darkness, but they deliberately disobeyed Cypher's orders in doing so. Going by The Unforgiven Cypher views himself as the Big Good, out to save the Dark Angels by whatever means necessary.
- The Corrupter: The Horus Heresy books imply that Cypher was the one responsible for corrupting Luther to Chaos.
- Dual Wielding: A Bolt pistol and Plasma pistol.
- Enigmatic Minion: Theories on his goals are debated. It's theorized that he's trying to make his way to Terra to present the broken Lion Sword to the Emperor, so that it may be repaired and he may gain his forgiveness, or he plans to kill the Emperor.
- Evil Chancellor: To Luther.
- Mysterious Past: No one knows anything about him. Fallen Angels shows the original Cypher was a survivor of the Knights of Lupus who had already been tainted by Chaos. Whether original Cypher was himself tainted, and whether the modern Cypher is still the same person or a distant successor, are both dangling questions.
- No Name Given: Though he is known to Dark Angel records as Cypher, he personally insists that Lord Cypher is his title, not his name. As such, it's entirely possible that the Cypher of the 41st Millennium is a Legacy Character who is not the same person whose actions helped bring about the fall of Caliban and the Lion during the Heresy.
- The Un-Reveal: Games Workshop recently updated his rules for 6th edition on a "dataslate", that also included new background stories. Not only do they not answer any of our questions, it raises a whole lot more.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: In older editions Cypher had a rule that allowed him to vanish without a trace the moment before he would be killed, denying his would-be killer any victory points. Since Cypher's model had to be removed from the board anyway, it was eventually removed as useless rule clutter. On an in-universe note, he once slipped out of a Black Templars holding cell as Dark Angels were raiding the ship, escaping to freedom without a trace.
- This is played with in the novels where Cypher claims that he has never actually escaped from the Rock and that every time he has been brought there the Supreme Grand Master has let him go for one reason or another.
A former Chapter Commander in the Dark Angels Legion, who is the deurtagonist of Angels of Darkness and a critical character in Master of Sanctity.
- But Not Too Evil: He had no idea that the two other Fallen he was working with had turned to Chaos, and completely renounces all tied to them once he finds it out (even though it's far too late for such a gesture to make a difference).
- Circular Reasoning/Begging the Question: A cursory examination of his last days on Caliban reveal he wasn't exactly the most objective fellow. Astellan believed all the primarchs were no longer trustworthy, and thought El'Jonson in particular was coming to kill everyone on Caliban, so Astellan started shooting at El'Jonson's fleet. El'Jonson had no choice but to return fire so he could land, which killed a bunch of Luther's followers, which Astellan took as proof that El'Jonson was no longer trustworthy and had arrived to kill everyone on Caliban.
- Commanding Coolness
- The Exile: For disagreeing with Lion El'Jonson's tactics on bringing a planet into compliance.
- Fantastic Racism: Against psykers. Ironically, what we know of Luther reveals Astellan was secretly on the receiving end of this as well, since Astellan was born on Terra and Luther came to resent Terrans.
- And perhaps most bizarre of all, he would eventually grow a weird sort of bigotry against the primarchs.
- Killed Off for Real: Possibly. Cypher blows half his face off, but claims to have only killed a body-double.
- Mind Rape: Suffers this during his interrogation.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: How he views his time on Tharsis.