- "Just because we like to kill, it does not mean we are heretics."
- — Amael, Blood Vultures Chapter's Grand Master of Librarians
The Blood Vultures are a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter of the bloodline of Sanguinius, supposedly created during the mysterious 13th Founding, the so-called 'Dark Founding', which occurred sometime between M35 and M36. A descendant of the venerable Blood Angels Chapter, the Blood Vultures have garnered a dark reputation for being savage and unrelenting fighters. It is even believed by some that this powerful and robust Chapter is as mighty as their Progenitors. Although the Blood Vultures are unswervingly loyal to both the Emperor and the Imperium, their brutal deeds and sheer savagery and merciless ways when conducting their campaigns, have writ a bloody-handed and fell reputation across the annals of Imperial history. This has often caused them to be untrusted by various Imperial organisation as well as other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.
Created as they were from the Blood Angels' gene-seed, they too, inherited the genetic flaws of the Red Thirst and the Black Rage, but suffer from the Flaws of Sanguinius at a much reduced rate compared to their Progenitors or their fellow Successor Chapters. The reason for this is unknown, though it is suspected by some that the Chapter somehow bought this boon through dark and secretive means. But this was not the most worrisome of traits, as the Blood Vultures harbour a secret not privy to any outsiders - that their gene-seed is somehow darkly tainted. Some of their battle-brothers have shown a susceptibility to being seduced by the insidious influence of Chaos. Though the Chapter initially took steps to conceal this troubling aspect of their gene-seed by imprisoning an affected Blood Brother or even granting those too far gone with the Emperor's Peace, events that occurred in the early years of the 37th Millennium nearly saw the destruction of the Chapter and revealed to outsiders their secret shame.
The Blood Vultures are a Space Marine Chapter of ill-repute, having long bore a brutal reputation as a bellicose and savage Chapter. They have often been the subject of much suspicion, acrimony and even outright hostility from other Astartes Chapters. Though much of the Blood Vultures' records over the last few millennia has been ascertained from myriad battle archives within official Imperial annals, their mysterious origins have been a matter of much conjecture and recrimination. It is believed by many Imperial savants that the Blood Vultures were created during the mysterious 13th Founding, known in Imperial annals as the 'Dark Founding'. The reliability of records in regards to this particularly ignominious Founding are sketchy and unreliable at best, as they do not indicate the number of Chapters that were created, nor of their eventual fates.
According to the speculations of the Blood Vultures themselves, they believe they were created for the specific purpose of watching over the world of Regark and its vitally important system from some unspecified threat. Partial records suggest that the threat was more than likely xenos in nature. It is generally believed that the Blood Vultures were created sometime during the 36th Millennium as a Successor Chapter of the venerable Blood Angels, as they share many of the same mutations as well as flaws found in that venerable Chapter's gene-seed. Following their creation, the Blood Vultures were stationed in the Akeldama System and charged by the High Lords of Terra to maintain a constant vigil, and were granted Regark and its surrounding worlds as their demesne.
Of course, much of these early events are merely speculation, as the Inquisition holds all the records of the Chapter's Founding. Any attempt to delve into the Blood Vultures' origins has been deemed Vetitum ('Prohibited') by Inquisitorial mandate. Those Imperial scholars, or even Inquisitors, who have been audacious enough to research the Chapter's origins, have often met an unfortunate end at the cruel ministrations of the Inquisition's master torturers.
Though it is unconfirmed, it is highly plausible that the Blood Vultures are indeed one of the lost Chapters created during the 13th Founding. The primary reason many Imperial savants believe the Blood Vultures were created during the Dark Founding is that their gene-seed has undergone extensive modifications, a not uncommon trait found amongst two other known Chapters created during this mysterious Founding - the Exorcists and the Death Spectres. The Blood Vultures' gene-seed has been thoroughly evaluated by the master geneticists of the Magos Biologis, and does indeed possess the same genetic markers as other Successor Chapters of Sanguinius' lineage, but they have also found more troublesome characteristics. It also appears that the Chapter's gene-seed possesses several idiosyncrasies that cannot be definitively defined by the genetic experts of the Magos Biologis, and thus, it has been branded 'chimeric'. There are several indications that the Blood Vultures' genetic material was possibly mixed with a heretical gene pool, or it was somehow adulterated or tampered with during its creation.
If their gene-seed was indeed tampered with, this could explain why they suffer the twin-curses of Sanguinius' bloodline at a much reduced rate. Though considered a boon, especially amongst a Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels, there are obvious flaws in the Blood Vultures' gene-seed - primarily their susceptibility to falling to the temptations of the Ruinous Powers. For unknown reasons, individuals or even whole squads have fallen to the corrupting influence of Chaos throughout the Chapter's history. Many of these corrupted battle-brothers that have turned to Chaos have either been routinely imprisoned within the high-security dungeon located in the bowels of the Chapter's fortress-monastery, or outright killed.
The Blood Vultures' unforeseen genetic flaw nearly saw the destruction of the Chapter, after only a millennium of existence, when in the early decades of the 37th Millennium, for unknown reasons, a whole company of the Chapter renounced their vows to the Emperor and turned upon their former brethren. Led by the former 3rd Company Captain, Teigon 'the Marauder', during the ensuing internecine conflict the Blood Master ordered the destruction of their corrupted brethren, and although half their number were killed, the other half managed to steal aboard a Strike Cruiser and effect their escape. It is said that the traitorous kin of this corrupted company of former Blood Vultures, wearing bloodied black vulture sigils over their now-corrupted battle-plate, still roams the galaxy committing atrocities and heinous acts of depravity, soiling the Blood Vultures' good name.
Fortunately, in the modern era, this flaw isn't as prevalent as it once was millennia ago, but due to their fell reputation for being corrupted by Chaos, they have been subjected to numerous Inquisitorial investigations and the most stringent of purity tests of their gene-seed. Though their gene-seed has been found to be pure and of hardy stock and the Chapter has not been found wanting - physically, mentally, psychologically or spiritually - the Inquisition maintains an ever-watchful eye on this savage Chapter, waiting for the day that the Blood Vultures (they believe) will inevitably fall into the throes of full Chaotic-corruption. Many other Adeptus Astartes Chapters prefer not to serve alongside such an ill-omened Chapter of questionable purity and ruthless reputation, with some more Codex-oriented Chapters even pulling out their forces when the Blood Vultures are serving in the same warzone.
- The Ruination Heresy (Unknown Date.M37) - A millennium after their inception during the 13th Founding, the fate of the Blood Vultures' was irrevocably changed, their genetic flaw revealed to all. A hitherto unknown genetic deficiency within their gene-seed somehow inexplicably made some of their battle-brothers susceptible to the corrupting influence of Chaos, causing once stoutly loyal warriors to turn on their brethren. The appearance of this flaw began to manifest itself only a few decades after their creation. Individual battle-brothers, or even whole squads were sometimes infected by this corrupting malady. Those who suffered from this infliction were either imprisoned deep within the bowels of their fortress-monastery on Regark, or sometimes had to be mercilessly put down. The Blood Vultures had worked so hard to conceal this flaw from prying eyes for fear of Inquisitorial sanction. But the events that occurred sometime in the early 37th Millennium, brought their Chapter's genetic flaw to the forefront, revealing to all their secret shame. This Chaos corruption had not solely affected just the Blood Vultures, but had also been found amongst other Chapters supposedly created during their Founding, but for unknown reasons these specific Chapters remain unnamed in official Imperial records for unspecified reasons. At the height of their first millennial celebration of the Blood Vultures' inception, a whole company of the Chapter renounced their oaths of fealty to the Emperor of Mankind, and proceeded to attack their former brethren during a celebratory processional within Regark's capital city, slaughtering innocent civilians, visiting Imperial dignitaries and military commanders as well as their former battle-brothers. Led by the former Captain of the Chapter's 3rd Company, known as Teigon 'the Marauder', a brutal and vicious Astartes, the corrupted brethren wreaked as much havoc and bloodshed as they could before their loyalist brethren were finally able to counter-attack and drive their corrupted brethren away from the civilian population. In the ensuing internecine conflict, half of the planet's capital city was utterly destroyed during the fierce conflagration. Though the Blood Vultures managed to kill half of their corrupted brethren, Teigon and his remaining followers managed to effect their escape by utilising teleport homing devices to teleport aboard one of the Chapter's strike cruisers in orbit. Before they fled the wrath of their erstwhile brethren, the traitorous Astartes performed one last act of spite, and launched a devastating orbital bombardment, destroying the Planetary Governor's palace, and causing the deaths of thousands of innocents. They then made their way towards the nearest Mandeville point and fled into the Warp. Since that time, the Blood Vultures have sworn a blood-oath to see their corrupted brethren utterly destroyed, a debt which has yet to be paid.
- Castigation of the Cult of a Thousand Tongues (098.M37) - Following the Ruination Heresy, the Inquisition quarantined off the Akeldama System, placing the Blood Vultures under the custody of the Ordo Hereticus to investigate them for potential heresy. After being put through intense physical, moral and spiritual tests, and having their gene-seed thoroughly investigated by representatives of the Magos Bioligis, the Blood Vultures were declared free of corruption. To atone for the loss of innocent lives under their watch, and to give appropriate recompense, the Blood Vultures willingly undertook a one-hundred year Penitent Crusade. During the final decades of the Crusade, the Chapter was led to the world of Narcisium through the arcane divinations of their Chapter's Librarians. The Chapter proceeded to strike like a thunderbolt when the hive world declared against the Imperium's yoke in favour of their corrupt Planetary Governor, whose charismatic oratory and persuasive powers allowed him to hold entire hives in his thrall. Unbeknownst to the general population, the Imperial commander was corrupted by a secret cabal of Slaanesh worshippers, which had already enticed several high-ranking Imperial nobles into their salacious pleasure cult. The renegades were brutally exterminated, and the heads of the cult leaders, including the Planetary Governor, were displayed upon the ramparts of the governor's palace. The world of Narcisium was brought back under Imperial compliance within the day.
- The Clovis Rebellion (112-114.M37) - When a Black Crusade is launched in the Clovis sector, a joint-Astartes strike force is sent to quell the five worlds that have become overrun by bloody insurrection. The Clovis Rebellion quickly escalates when a large force of Night Lords Heretic Astartes arrived and the Planetary Defence Forces of Clovis Prime crumbled. The Blood Vultures, Blades of Dorn, Brazen Lions, and Ebon Knights launched a counter-attack to secure vital Imperial artefacts before Exterminatus was declared. It takes the three Chapters two more years of brutal conflict to cleanse the rest of the sector's worlds before they are declared free of corruption.
- 7th Black Crusade (811.M37) - The Forces of Chaos spewed forth from the great Warp rift known as the Eye of Terror and then disappeared. Over the following year the Forces of Chaos and Imperial Navy play a game of hide-and-seek, spreading confusions, paranoia and deceit across the galaxy. This earned this particular conflict its informal name of the 'Ghost War'. Raids become commonplace on the frontier areas of the Imperium's realm. The Blood Vultures proceed to launch a Crusade into the Segmentum Obscurus to help valiantly defend multiple beleaguered Imperial worlds that were being besieged by various Chaos warbands, helping to stem the tide of filth and corruption.
- The Woe of the Bears (Unknown Date.M39) - In what is now a largely forgotten episode of the Imperium's history, the southern fringe of the Segmentum Tempestus was assailed by wave after wave of Ork nomad fleets, xenoform migrations and strange psychic phenomenon which themselves caused a near epidemic of Witch Cults, alien infestations and daemonic incursions. Seen now by some sources within the Ordo Xenos as a precursor to the coming of the Tyranids, these events were largely unrecognised at the time as forming a pattern, as the eyes of the Imperium were focused on threats elsewhere. The Bears of the Claw had suffered severe attrition in a series of multiple campaigns defending the Imperium's borders against invading xenos species, including the Orks and Hrud outbreaks. The Bears had been reduced to 700 Battle-Brothers when their own Chapter fleet was assailed by a much larger Dark Eldar Cabal raiding fleet. Despite still licking their wounds, the tenacious Bears were quickly roused to war, and fought against the vile xenos in a series of deadly boarding actions that resulted the loss of several hundred of their fellow battle-brothers. Though they made the Dark Eldar corsairs pay dearly, the sheer numbers of the forces soon began to take its tool on the Bears' forces. Facing annihilation, the Bears reluctantly sent an astropathic distress call into void, as they prepared to sell themselves dearly in a final stand. Fortunately, their desperate cry for help was answered in the form of the savage Blood Vultures Chapter, which had been campaigning in a nearby sector against an Enslaver outbreak. Arriving in their Chapter's entirety, the Blood Vultures proceeded to launch a rapid counter-strike against the upstart xenos, and soon, the warriors of both Chapters fought side-by-side with their cousins, wreaking terrible slaughter against their Dark Eldar foes. The Bears of the Claw had suffered terrible casualties, including the loss of their Master of the Claw, Lord Karnak Bloodclaw. After bloodily executing the Dark Eldar Cabals Archon, the two Chapters formed a strong alliance and each swore a blood-debt to one another. The Bears promised that should the Blood Vultures ever be so threatened they would respond in kind. Down the millennia, both Chapters have answered this call on at least a dozen occasions.
- The Punishment Crusade (745.M41) - The Blood Vultures, alongside their bloody-handed kin, the Blood Scorpions, took part in a brutal retribution campaign against several former Imperial worlds lost to the Tau during the Damocles Gulf Crusade. These bloody-handed Chapter launched numerous lightning raids on the Gue'vesa human populations of former Imperial worlds fallen under the malign influence of their Tau Empire overlords. They slaughtered not only the Tau, but those humans that allowed themselves to be lorded over by the upstart xenos. Their protestations of innocence fell on deaf ears, as the unforgiving Astartes mercilessly slaughtered every man, woman and child they encountered - for in their eyes - all were guilty by association. Their slaughter was only halted, when they were forced to deal with a more dire threat - the encroaching Hive Fleet Behemoth.
- Hive Fleet Erebus (ca. 750's.M41) - When the Ultima Segmentum was beset upon by a xenos menace known as the Tyranids, they first made contact with Hive Fleet Erebus, a small and highly evolution-prone Tyranid Hive Fleet. These first wave of Tyranids were believed to by an evolved amalgamation of splinter fleets descended from the bulk of what would later be known as Hive Fleet Behemoth. By the late 800's.M41, circumstances and opportunity presented itself to the beleaguered military forces of the Imperium. Led by the efforts of the Blazing Claws Chapter, the Chapter quickly sent out an Astropathic message calling for assistance. Their call for assistance was heard, and was answered in the form of the Iron Scorpions and Blood Vultures Chapters. The latter sent a single company strike force, comprised of the elite 2nd Veteran Company ('Black Vultures') - the Chapter's Terminator elite - to assist the Blazing Claws. The bellicose Blood Commander Arkash Cruor, the Master of the Black Vultures, led his company in this dire undertaking with much relish. He saw it as an opportunity for his warriors to test themselves against a potent enemy. Though the 2nd Company arrived late in the campaign, they didn't disappoint, causing untold devastation amongst the Tyranids in surgical decapitation strikes, clearing paths for their cousin Chapters. Before the 'Black Vultures' could help finish with the eradication of Hive Fleet Erebus, there were quickly re-called back to their Chapter home world of Regark, as they received word from several of the Chapter's outer rim watch stations that one of their populated moons faced an imminent attack by a massive fleet of marauding Chaos Space Marines.
- Castigation of Rubus Prime (777.M41) - Rubus Prime is a dwarf planet near Regark, that is said to have had been inhabited by the xenos known as the Drukhari. These vile xenos did not want to wage war with the bloody-handed and kill-thirsty Chapter. But Haron Thas, the current Blood Master of the Blood Vultures, did not want to have the civilian population being at risk for a potential attack by these marauding corsairs. Therefore, he took the initiative and led his elite 'Blood Company' (1st Assault Company), the 'Black Vultures' (2nd Veteran Company) and three other Battle Companies, and launched a xenocidal campaign to exterminate the Dark Eldar on Rubus Prime. The Blood Vultures first barraged the dwarf planet with an orbital saturation bombardment followed up by a massive drop pod assault. Over the course of nearly three weeks, the Chapter proceeded with the merciless slaughter of the Drukhari, massacring the majority of their forces. What few foul xenos remained, took to their ships and fled the Chapter's wrath. This campaign took approximately 20 days to prosecute, with the Blood Vultures only sustaining minor casualties. This particular campaign is only one of many that have garnered the Blood Vultures a bloody and merciless reputation.
- Blood Master (Chapter Master and Captain of the 1st Company)
- Blood Commander (Equivalent to a Captain) - Gold-coloured right poleyn (knee guard).
- Master of the Black Vultures (Commander of the 2nd Company) - Terminator armour and colour scheme.
- Librarian - Blue-coloured armour.
- Warden (Chaplain Equivalent) - Black-coloured armour.
- Blood Priest (Apothecary) - White-coloured armour.
- Blood Warrior (Terminator) - Black Armour.
- Elite Blood Brother (Sternguard Veteran) - Green-coloured right poleyn.
- Blood Protector (Company Champion) - Silver-coloured right poleyn.
- Sanguinary Guard - The Sanguinary Guard are the most elite Veteran Astartes of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter and all of their Successor Chapters whose lineage can be traced back to the dark days of the Horus Heresy. Like their genetic forbears, the Blood Vultures utilise this specialist formation within their ranks. These warriors are essentially the Blood Vultures' version of a Chapter Honour Guard. They fight with the weapons traditional to their honoured position, wrist-mounted Angelus Pattern Bolters that leave the hands free to wield a master-crafted Power Sword known as a Glaive Encarmine.
- Black Vultures - The Black Vultures are the Terminator-armoured Sternguard Veterans of the Chapter's elite 2nd Veteran Company ('Black Vultures').
- Gore Vultures - Equivalent to a Vanguard Veteran, these are the Blood Vultures' elite Assault Veterans of the Chapter. They are peerless warriors and symbols of survival against all odds, they are known for their insane bravery and the scorning of mortal fear. They commonly use death-heads and other morbid symbols of their bravery, such as collecting grisly trophies from their vanquished foes.
- Talons - Talons are the specialist reconnaissance and infiltration specialists of the Blood Vultures' Chapter. They help to identify weaknesses in an enemy's defences, perform ambush operations, inflicting targeted casualties behind enemy lines and sowing as much destruction and chaos behind the lines of mid-battle.
- Blood Warder (Sergeant) - A white-coloured vertical stripe on helmet.
- Blood Brother (Tactical Marine) - A black-coloured right poleyn.
- Vulture (Assault Marine) - Black-coloured wrists.
- Harpy (Devastator Marine) - A blue-coloured right polyen.
- Honoured Ancient (Dreadnought) - Black coloured armour.
- Outrider (Scout Marine) - None
Order of Battle
The Blood Vultures have approximately 1,000 Astartes that are broken down into 10 Companies with approximately 100 Astartes in each. The following is the Order of Battle for the Blood Vultures Chapter as it currently stands in 999.M41:
|Technacarum (Armoury)||Reclusiam||Apothecarion||Librarius||Fleet Command|
|Veteran Companies||Battle Companies|
|1st Company||2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company||5th Company|
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6th Company||7th Company||8th Company||9th Company||10th Company|
Regark is a verdant jungle world which is categorised as a death world, owing to its strange and lethal fauna, it nevertheless has a native and long standing human population descended, it is generally held, from refugees and outlaws who fled to its trackless jungle depths during the reign of some inhuman xenos empire during the dark era known as Old Night. Following surveys conducted by Mechanicum Explorators upon its rediscovery during the Great Crusade, Regark became highly valued for its vast repositories of mineral wealth. But time and again, efforts to manage sections of Regark's verdant jungles to obtain these mineral deposits were often hampered by the dangerous saurian species which inhabit this deadly planet. Regark is a mist-shrouded, largely arboreal world, which is criss-crossed by an extensive network of rivers around which its native population is clustered, and even today, remains still stubbornly a frontier world, without major industrial or economic power having developed there. The feral population, known as the Regarkii, are locked in a perpetual war of tribal conflicts. The hardship of their daily lives just struggling to survive day-to-day, has bred an independent, strong-willed population who chafe at being lorded over by anyone, which frequently leads to civil disobedience and unrest. A perfect breeding ground for potential Astartes Aspirants.
Due to life on the surface ever being an up-hill struggle, which requires a self-sustaining and tough streak, the scattered communities of its native population have remained largely unchanged by the passage of time. The feral warriors of Regark are shaped by the harsh environment of their savage world as they endure a brutal life of constant inter-tribal bloodshed marked by bloody rituals of sacrifice. Often, headhunting is a common practice amongst the tribes, who take the heads of their fallen enemies as trophies and as proof of their prowess as a warrior. Whenever there is a tribal feud over territory, resources or as revenge for a crime of passion, inevitably, headhunting is always involved. These feral warrior tribes form the primary recruitment stock of the Blood Vultures. Individual tribes are governed in a vaguely democratic way by all the tribes' men. Even women have a respected place, for while they are not soldiers, many wives and mothers have stood in defence of their homes and families. Almost every Regarkii knows how to fight, for their neighbours will just as willingly raid them. It is not unusual for a Regarkii youth to have taken hundreds of heads before being chosen as Neophyte by the Blood Vultures' Wardens and earning the opportunity to continue to slay the enemies of the Emperor.
Despite their feral nature, the Regarkii still possess their racial memory of the Emperor of Mankind from the bygone era of the Horus Heresy. They worship the God-Emperor as the Supreme Warrior - benevolent and compassionate to his children, but very vindictive and bloodthirsty to those who would break faith with Him. He is worshiped by the Regarkii as a great slaughterer of the false god known as the Lord of the Crimson Eye and his followers (believed to be an allegory to the Arch-Traitor Horus and the Traitor Legions). They are also acutely aware of the events of the Siege of Terra, when the Emperor slew Horus and was sorely wounded.
On stone tablets, the Regarkii record prayers to the Supreme Warrior, who they sometimes refer to as the 'Half-Dead One', who sits upon His golden chair and feeds upon His own children in order to derive their power - a necessary sacrifice - in order to maintain His own divine powers to survive the journey between the land of the living and the realm of the dead. These fanciful tales are also believed by Imperial scholars to be an allegory to the Emperor's internment upon the Golden Throne and His need to feed upon hundreds of psykers daily in order to survive. The violet character of the Supreme Warrior makes him a protector amongst the people of Regark, whom they believe will one day rise to lead those found worthy, and to fight the Gods of Darkness, destroying the source of all evil, forever.
The Regarkii continue to practice their ancient tribal customs passed down to them from their forefathers, though Ecclesiarchy Missionaries of the Missionaria Galaxia continue to struggle to curb their worst excesses - many end up as victims, having had their own heads taken as a trophies. It is also known that the Regarkii, when left to themselves, do not bury their dead, but leave them above ground for the vultures to deal with. This has long been the ancient custom of the people of Regark, to lay out the dead to the sun and the stars, where they are promptly, neatly, and openly picked and cleansed; to be made one with nature and become a common component of the landscape.
All the flora of Regark are considered deadly predators, having evolved potent biological attack and defence mechanisms against other indigenous lifeforms, particularly humans. Every form of plant species on this deadly jungle world are toxic - from secretions of poisonous pollen into the air that can destroy an adult human's lungs in seconds, to the secretion of sticky liquids that can capture passing nearby animals and slowly dissolve them. These deadly plants makes foraging for native food nearly impossible.
The native animals are as deadly to humanity as the plant life. Many studies conducted by the Adeptus Mechanicus have determined that the animal life on Regark are some of the most dangerous found on any Imperial world. Some of this predators are so large that they present a threat to human settlements. By far the most deadly apex predator on this planet is the Agron Strigat, a breed of giant avian that inhabits the bleak crags of the Thanza Amon Mountains. These massive birds are rare creatures, eking out a harsh existence in isolation, high in the craggy peaks of the Blood Vultures' homeworld. They prefer to lair in huge nests made from whole trees. These immense birds of prey resembles a large vulture with heads a vivid bright red colour, and covered from head to tail in ebon coloured plumage. Their talons are often covered in the dried blood of their prey. These physical features, coupled with their reputation for carrying off large animals (such as cattle, horses or other large mammals), have earned them their deadly moniker - the 'blood vulture'. These immense creatures measures approximately 90 feet long from beak to tail, and its wingspan is impressive, said to be as wide as 240 feet.
Locals believe that these fell creatures are the malevolent souls of those warriors whose bloody deeds marked them out as worthy servants of the Supreme Warrior, therefore, they were transformed into these giant birds of prey and charged with forever seeking out the servants of the Lord of the Crimson Eye. The echoes of their piercing cries can be heard far away upon the winds of Regark, which is believed by the Regarkii to be a harbinger of war and civil strife to men. Hence, why the Blood Vultures Chapter adopted this deadly avian as their namesake.
The Blood Vultures' formidable fortress-monastery of Vulturis Nidus (The Vultures' Nest) is built high atop the Thanza Amon Mountains, one of the few places on Regark that is desolate. Few areas are so remote, so dangerous or inaccessible, which is why the Blood Vultures chose these mountains as the perfect location for their mighty citadel. The treacherous mountainside pass leading up to the admantium gates are lined with the severed heads of the Chapter's countless foes. This single approach is deadly, as the pass is quite narrow and one can easily be lost over the side via powerful breezes the Regarkii call the Emperor's Breath - which they believe only allows those who are deemed worthy in His eyes, to safely pass. The pass is also heavily booby-trapped with deadfalls, trip-wires and grav-mine nets to discourage assaults.
If by some miracle, an invading force miraculously managed to reach the entrance to the fortress-monastery, they would still have to contend with a score of deadly automated defences as well as the Blood Vultures sentries themselves. The adamantium-rich peak upon which Vulturis Nidus rests provides a natural defence against conventional attacks, and it is armoured and void-shielded to withstand any siege or bombardment as well as repelling attackers from any avenue of approach (land, air or orbital). The Blood Vultures' fortress-monastery bristles with a vast array of heavy ordnance of every conceivable type, able to repel an aerial assault or even take out an orbiting vessel in space.
The Blood Vultures prefer to recruit exclusively from their Chapter home world or other similarly harsh worlds within the Akeldama System. Living apart from the people of Regark, the Blood Vultures only descend to the jungles once every decade or so to observe the internecine conflicts that continuously rage between the tribes in order to choose potential Aspirants for the Chapter. Unbeknownst to the people of Regark, the Blood Vultures actively take a hand in fomenting conflict and strife amongst the tribes. They have continuously ensured limiting the technology levels and curtailing access to natural resources. They also have their Chapter Serfs infiltrate the various tribes to spread hate, lies and paranoia. This ensures there is no break in the constant state of warfare that produces potential Space Marine candidates - and possible future Chapter heroes - for the Chapter. Often the Blood Vultures' Wardens watch from afar as the various tribes wipe one another out during their bloody internecine conflicts.
This constant warring ensures only the hardiest and strongest survive, weeding out the weak and helpless, and ensuring a hardy stock of people. Upon induction, the Wardens of the Chapter ensure these Aspirants are separated from their fellow-inductees from the same tribe, and mix them with Aspirants from other tribes. Subjected to intensive physical and hypno-conditioning as well as other harsh procedures during their training to become Neophytes, these methods ensure past loyalties are stripped away and replaced with the will and attitudes of the Blood Vultures and the fraternity of Chapter brotherhood.
Once the Initiate is selected he will undergo extensive training and surgical processes necessary to advance to the next stage of becoming a Space Marine. He is implanted with the genetic material of the Chapter - known as gene-seed - that will radically enhance his strength, reflexes and endurance. Having undergone such radical surgery, the Initiate will then pass a series of tests conducted by his Chapter - physical, mental and spiritual. When an Initiate successfully meets these challenges, he is accepted into the Chapter as a Neophyte. As a Neophyte, he is formally inducted into the Blood Vultures' 10th Scout Company and schooled in the history of the Chapter, the tenets of the Adeptus Astartes, and, of course, will continue to be trained in the arts of making war. In addition, he will undergo further surgeries and modifications, and must willingly leave behind everything of the life he once knew.
Once a Neophyte's training and genetic enhancement is complete he will be accepted as a full-fledged member of the Chapter. In his final test he will be challenged to prove his worthiness, usually through a literal trial by combat. If he succeeds, he will become a 'Blood Brother' (Battle-Brother) of the Chapter, and will continue to endeavour in his progression to one day join the coveted ranks as a 'Vulture' (Assault Marine) or 'Blood Warrior' (Terminator Elite) of the Chapter's elite 1st or 2nd Companies. On this day he will be presented with a bolter, a Blooded Sword and a suit of power armour.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Blood Vultures prefer to operate almost exclusively as a rapid-strike force, preferring to approach their targets either with extreme speed (usually through the use of Jump Packs or Thunderhawk Gunships) or by stealth. They disdain any kind of protracted engagements, preferring to to strike their opponents with the element of surprise on their side whenever possible. The Blood Vultures rely upon specialised reconnaissance and infiltration units ('Talons') in opening combat operations, to be quickly followed by the rapid deployment of their elite 1st Assault Company's ('Blood Company') assault elements ('Vultures') and close air support.
Utilising their Thunderhawk Gunships for low-altitude insertions, the Blood Vultures often preposition these infiltration units on the battlefield, who then make use of the surrounding environment as natural cover-and-concealment. The Chapter's assault elements act as a vanguard force, attacking the enemy and then skillfully employing feints and withdrawal tactics in order to draw their enemies into a vulnerable position. Once they have a foe in a place of their choosing, the Blood Vultures' infiltration elements then successfully launch multiple ambushes to reveal their foe's weaknesses. The remainder of the Chapter's reserve rapid-moving elements act as escorts and outriders for the main force, scouring the attack corridors clean of anti-aircraft fire as the rest of the Chapter brings about their maximum pressure against their enemy's exposed vulnerability, deploying their reserves, fast armour and Stormtalon and Thunderhawk gunships to deal them a shattering blow.
The Chapter also tends to favour the use of shock tactics, close-quarter combat and above all, the brutal application of focused and overwhelming force to obliterate their enemies. Often, they have been known to deploy the majority of their elite 2nd Veteran Company ('Black Vultures') Terminator-armoured Veterans ('Blood Warriors') in battle as a vanguard assault force, even when a Terminator assault is not warranted. These vanguard elements are used to overwhelm their foes or shatter a breach in their defences, pinning them in, and then the Chapter's rapid strike elements encircle the enemy force to ensure there is no escape before bringing the full weight of the Chapter to bear, utterly crushing their foes without mercy.
The Blood Vultures eschew the use of defensive warfare or long-range firefights as indecisive and unfitting of honour for a 'true' warrior. Despite these personal misgivings, the Blood Vultures will not hesitate to utilise a sustained orbital bombardment in order to soften up a particularly stubborn or entrenched enemy. This is followed up by a large-scale drop pod assault, augmented by a large element of close air support. Gunships roar in to obliterate pre-designated target, blasting holes in the enemy battle line, which allows the Chapter's assault elements to press their attack to the hilt. Once fully committed, they attack the enemy's vitals, endeavouring to cause as much death and destruction as quickly as possible. Relishing close-quarters fighting, the Blood Vultures either attack with point-blank weapons fire or in melee combat. The full fury of a Blood Vultures' assault leaves few, if any, survivors.
The Blood Vultures are notoriously savage and ruthless to their foes, for they do no ask nor grant mercy to their enemies beyond a quick and often brutal death. The depths of blood-soaked slaughter and savagery they are willing to descend to have been well-documented down the millennia of the Chapter's existence throughout the annals of Imperial history. The Blood Vultures firmly believe it is Mankind's manifest destiny to dominate the stars, and are willing to ensure this inevitable outcome comes to pass, often consigning entire cities and colony worlds to bolter and sword in order to achieve their aims. Though held in high regard by the High Lords of Terra for their zealous and resolute nature, they are often held in contempt by other wartime allies, particularly amongst other more Codex-oriented Chapters, who consider the Blood Vultures darkly tainted and overzealous in the prosecution of their duties. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the Blood Vultures are still somehow 'impure' due to the nature of their dark past which continues to overshadow their long list of battle honours.
Like their fellow Successor Chapters, the Blood Vultures are strongly bound to their Primogenitors, the Blood Angels - united by blood and tradition in a way difficult for outsiders to understand. To attack any one of these Chapters is to invite the wrath of all, for whatever differences and rivalries might exist between them, they are all the Scions of Sanguinius, whose unquestioning loyalty to their Primarch's memory transcends all other duties and concerns.
Due to the Blood Vultures' chequered past and their propensity for falling to the corrupting influence of Chaos, the Adeptus Mechanicus has tested the Blood Vultures' gene-seed for mutation or Chaotic contamination at a substantially more frequent interval than that normally required. But despite undergoing countless investigations, the Blood Vultures' gene-seed has consistently shown a high level of stability and purity.
Fortunately, the rate that individual battle-brothers fall to the Ruinous Powers is all but unheard of in the modern era, but because of their dark past, the Chapter is often treated with open hostility and outright contempt by other more puritan Chapters. This has led to the Blood Vultures often displaying a brooding and malign presence. They are often aggressive, short-tempered, and show no love for civility or deference when dealing with individual Imperial commanders and other Space Marine Chapters. They have often come to blows with Space Marines of other Chapters after purposely insulting their lineage or showing an utter lack of respect for proper Imperial military protocol.
Though the Blood Vultures' are cocky and headstrong they are also very smart strategically and combat-wise. Due to this imperfection in their gene-seed some Space Marine Chapters believe that they are somehow darkly tainted, or ill-fortuned and will not allow the Blood Vultures near their areas of operation, nor will they fight alongside such a ill-favoured Chapter.
Notable Blood Vultures
- Blood Master Azaziel Haemon - The first Blood Master and patriarch of the Blood Vultures Chapter.
- Blood Master Haron Thas - Commander of the elite 1st Assault Company ("Blood Company") and Lord Bloodblade, Haron Thas is the current Chapter Master of the Blood Vultures, Blood Master Haron Thas is a ruthless warrior and strategically brilliant commander. He is well known for having led his Chapter to victory in the fight for their home world of Regark which was invaded by a large force of Chaos Space Marines. He is also known for securing many other noteworthy victories that the Blood Vultures have successfully claimed. It is said that his relic sword, The Vulture's Talon, was forged using the Emperor's own blood.
- Blood Master Muriel - He was the previous Chapter Master of the Blood Vultures before Haron Thas, it is said that he was leading a fight between his Astartes and the Forces of Chaos when he was sucked into the void during the battle. His current status or whereabouts are unknown. This battle has not been fully recorded, and what is known of it is kept hidden from everyone with the exception of the senior-ranking Librarians and Chaplains.
- Forge Master Mal Thana - Senior Techmarine and current Master of the Technacarum (Armoury).
- Warden Primus Corvin Layl - Reclusiarch and Master of the Reclusiam.
- Chief Blood Priest Apollyos Harkan - Senior Blood Priest and Master of the Apothecarion.
- Chief Librarian Amael Naraz - Amael is the current Grand Master of Librarians, and is the most powerful and greatest of the librarians of the Blood Vultures. He is regarded as one of the most intellectual, yet combat-capable warrior-psykers within the Chapter.
- Blood Commander Arkash Cruor - Commander of the elite 2nd Veteran Company ("Black Vultures") and Master of the Black Vultures.
- Blood Commander Admah Malvolio - Commander of the 3rd Company ("The Bloodguard") and Master of Rites.
- Blood Commander Baalor Rafa - Commander of the 4th Company ("Sanguine Warders") and Master of the Line.
- Blood Commander Amrah Turiel - Commander of the 5th Company ("Sentinels of Ragard") and Master of the Fleet.
- Blood Commander Dumah Serkan - Commander of the 6th Company ("The Blooded") and Master of the Watch.
- Blood Commander Rhafa Valdis - Commander of the 7th Company ("Wardens of Akeldama") and Master of Relics.
- Blood Commander Gethen Dezdemona - Commander of the 8th Reserve Assault Company ("Talons of Blood") and Master of Blades.
- Blood Commander Cerberius Mauro - Commander of the 9th Reserve Devastator Company ("The Vulture's Wrath") and Master of Siege.
- Blood Commander Thanaton Numan - Commander of the 10th Scout Company and Master of Recruits.
- Vulturis Irae (Battle-Barge) - 1st Company
- Black Vulture (Battle-Barge) - 2nd Company
- Eternal Wanderer (Battle-Barge) - 3rd Company
- Emperor's Whisper II (Battleship) - 4th Company, the first Emperor's Whisper was lost for a reason not listed in Imperial records.
- Headsman (Battleship) - 5th company
- Blood Caller (Strike Cruiser) - 6th Company
- Spear of Trust (Strike Cruiser) - 7th Company
- Vulturis Unguis (Strike Cruiser) - 8th Company
- Scion of Regark (Strike Cruiser) - 9th Company
- The Talon (Strike Cruiser) - 10th Company
The Blood Vultures primarily wear red-coloured power armour the colour of arterial blood. Both shoulder pauldrons, as well as the Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard, are black in colour. The red coloured squad specialty symbol on the right shoulder pauldron indicates squad specialty (Tactical, Veteran, Devastator or Assault). A small red coloured gothic numeral on the inset of the right shoulder pauldron indicates squad number. The right poleyn (knee guard) is coloured black with a red coloured gothic numeral centered upon it which indicates Company number. The left poleyn displays unique heraldry which also indicates what Company a battle-brother belongs to. Traditionally, the battle-brothers of the Chapter also typically wear red-coloured tabards, though it seems they are worn based on personal preference. The Blood Vultures are also known to utilise various totemic and unique markings on their battle-plates, whose exact meanings are unclear to outsiders.
Heraldry of the Host
The Blood Vultures adhere to their own unique heraldic system, allowing them to recognise what company and squad any given battle-brother belongs to at a glance. The advantages of such swift recognition amid the chaos of battle are obvious. More than this however, the Blood Vultures revere their heraldry, and bear these markings as badges of pride. Instead of using the standard Codex Astartes-compliant symbols and colours to show a unit's role, the Blood Vultures utilise their own unique system of heraldry:
- 1st Company, "Blood Company" (Assault Marines): Black-coloured robes and right poleyn (knee guard) with a red-coloured vulture icon centered upon it.
- 2nd Company, "Black Vultures" (Terminators): Red-coloured, right shoulder pauldron and right poleyn (knee guard) with a black-coloured vulture icon centered upon it.
- 3rd Company, "The Boodguard": Silver-coloured diagonal stripe on black-coloured, left poleyn (knee guard).
- 4th Company, "Sanguine Warders": White-coloured diagonal stripe on black-coloured, left poleyn (knee guard).
- 5th Company, "Sentinels of Ragark": Yellow-coloured vertical stripe on black-coloured, left poleyn (knee guard).
- 6th Company, "The Blooded": Purple-coloured horizontal stripe on black-coloured, left poleyn (knee guard).
- 7th Company, "Wardens of Akeldama": Blue-coloured horizontal stripe on black-coloured, left poleyn (knee pad).
- 8th Company, "Talons of Blood": Red-coloured vertical stripe on black-coloured, left poleyn (knee pad).
- 9th Company, "The Vulture's Wrath": White coloured saltire on black-coloured, left poleyn (knee guard).
- 10th Company, "The Bloodfinders": Black coloured saltire on black-coloured, right shoulder pauldron for Outriders (Scout Marines). For full-fledged Blood Brothers this iconography is worn on the left poleyn (knee guard).
Like their Progenitors, the Blood Vultures also take great pride in the artistry of their wargear, with many battle-brothers crafting their own unique adornments and decorations onto their own armour. Others often inherit suits already heavy with styilised iconography, etchings, totemic symbols and other emblems. A new recipient of an older suit of power armour will often leave this markings in honour of those who wore it, before them, and therefore honour the spirit of the armour itself.
The Blood Vultures Chapter badge is a large red-coloured, stylised vulture centered upon a field of black.
Unique Chapter Wargear
- Blooded Sword - These master-crafted melee weapons take the form of a sword that is utilised exclusively by the Blood Vultures Chapter and is equivalent in many ways to a chainsword of similar design. Utilising rare and unknown metals unique to their Chapter home world of Regark, these alloys grant these bladed weapons a hardness and sharpness surpassing any blade not enhanced with a power field. Many Blooded Swords use the admantium-hard fangs of the saurian beasts of their home world for their chainsaw-like blades. Despite its simple appearance and lack of technological enhancement, it is a formidable weapon of unsurpassed abilities.
- Grisly Trophies - While all Space Marine Chapters have been known to collect trophies from their vanquished foes, such as battle standards, skulls, or battered suits of armour and weapons, in the heat of battle a Blood Vultures Astartes often claims more grisly trophies from those they kill, such as bloody heads or bleeding hearts. These trophies are a primal symbol for the Blood Vultures of their dominance over a foe -- an animalistic response to triumphing in battle and proving one's strength. While they might fill the Battle-Brother with righteous rage and purpose, calming his Black Rage for a time, they can be repellent to other Space Marines and alarming to lesser warriors who might well wonder if it is to be their head that will adorn the Blood-Brother's armour next.
- The Vulture's Talon - The Vulture's Talon is a master-crafted, two-handed power sword said to have been forged by the finest craftsman of the ancient Terrawatt Clan on Terra during the time of the Unification Wars, using a very rare and mysterious metal, and supposedly tempered with the Emperor's own blood. This magnificently crafted artefact encapsulates the legacy of the heroic and noble Blood Angels Legion. When it is activated, the mono-molecular blade of this finely-wrought sword crackles with barely suppressed killing power, said to be able to scythe through the thickest ceramite and plasteel with contemptuous ease. Gifted by the Emperor Himself to the Terran commander of the IX Legion following their inception, the Vulture's Talon was eventually passed down to the first Blood Master of the newly-created Blood Vultures during the Third Founding. This paragon blade became the ritual weapon passed down to each successive Blood Master upon taking command of the Chapter and has reaped countless foes of the Emperor. Currently, Vulture's Talon is currently wielded by Haron Thas.
- Vulture's Wrath - An ancient master-crafted Lightning Claw of unknown origins, it is believed to have been crafted by the Blood Vultures' Progenitors and then gifted to the first Blood Master upon the Chapter's inception. The technology and inner workings which powers this weapon is an utter mystery to the Techmarines of the Chapter. In close combat, the Vulture's Wrath is an all but unmatched weapon, as the unidentified phase-frequency disruption fields imparted to the blades cutting edges prove able to slice through solid matter at a sub-molecular level, parting ceramite and adamantine plate effortlessly and sundering all energy fields and force barriers they encounter.
- Blood Armour of Haemon - This master-crafted, artificer-wrought power armour is of an unknown pattern, said to be based upon a far older STC pattern from before the Age of Strife. Utilising components of both Mk III and Mk IV patterns, this highly sophisticated battle-plate is rumoured to have been crafted by the Blood Angels' finest artificers in ages past and gifted to the Blood Vultures' first Blood Master upon the Chapter's inception. Void-hardened and possessing unique systems from the Dark Age of Technology, the Blood Armour of Haemon also incorporates a defensive energy field generator designed to project a strong gravitic conversion field around the armour's wearer, protecting him from the most potent weapons on the battlefield.
- Vulturis Alis - This ancient master-crafted jump pack hearkens back to the bygone era of the Great Crusade. Apocryphal tales speak of the Blood Angels having acquired it during one of their earlier Imperial compliance campaigns when they encountered an unnamed system that had been enslaved by vile xenos. After liberating this system, this ancient relic was gifted to Primarch Sanguinius as a token of esteem by the local Forge World's tech-priests. Vulturis Alis is considerably lighter and less bulky than standard jump packs, while at the same time, possesses a higher thrust-to-mass ratio which allows for slightly longer and higher jumps to be performed. This revered Blood Angels' relic was passed on to the first Blood Master of the Blood Vultures upon the Chapter's inception, and has been utilised by each successive Blood Master ever since.
The Blood Vultures possess an excellent relationship with the ferocious Bears of the Claw Chapter, and on many occasions have helped them during their most trying times, including when the latter Chapter didn't possess many Astartes when they came under attack during the latter years of the 39th Millennium and faced annihilation. Since that time, these two brutal Chapters have fought on many occasions down the millennia, and will answer the other's call for aid in their time of need, a debt the Bears have paid many times over.
The Blood Vultures also maintain friendly relations with several other Space Marine Chapters, including the Blazing Claws and the Iron Scorpions, and it is generally believed that the Blood Vultures and these fellow Chapters have aided one other in many ways down the long, turbulent millennia. The Blood Vultures are often looked down upon as heretics by a few unnamed Codex-oriented Chapters due to their bloody-handed ways and merciless nature .
Over the millennia of their existence the Blood Vultures have fought against the insidious threat of the xenos countless times, and have learned to harbour a special hatred of the alien. The Blood Vulutres firmly believe it is Mankind's manifest destiny to rule the galaxy, and those that would deny humanity their Emperor-given right to do so, is quickly put to the sword. As all xenos are, by their very nature, impure, dishonest and unclean, therefore the Blood Vultures believe they must be cleansed upon contact. Those who would truck with the alien must also be eliminated at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Blood Vultures' dogma reserves a special hatred for those who would worship or serve the Ruinous Powers. The reason for this can be found throughout the Chapter's history, as it has been brought low on multiple occasions due to the insidious threat of Chaos. It is also theorised that their contempt for the heretic springs from the death of their Primarch Sanguinius, when he was killed at the hands of his own brother, the Arch-Heretic Horus, who had turned his love away from the Emperor and willingly followed the Chaos Gods into damnation. The Blood Vultures especially hold the Traitor Legions and those Astartes who cast off their oaths and turn from the Emperor's light, to be especially deserving of their contempt, and therefore, must be delivered the ultimate judgement - execution by their own hands! It is this zeal to prosecute all heretics that drives the Blood Vultures in Crusades across the galaxy and beyond the borders of the Imperium, lending them strength to face any foe.
Feel free to add your own
By the Blood Vultures
- "When vultures surround you, try not to die."
- — Arkash Cruor, Blood Commander of 2nd Veteran Company ('Black Vultures'), taunting a Chaos Space Marine before the slaughter
- "We are like vultures who drop from the clouds like heavy stones - talons and beak, that's what we are! A huge intestinal apparatus with a nose for dead meat. Forward! Forward without pity, without compassion, without love, without forgiveness. Ask no quarter and give none!"
- — Blood Warder Duma Vasilios, 4th Company, 2nd Tactical Squad leading his warriors into battle
- "Remember, all the power of both steel and flesh come from one's beliefs. Flesh grows weak. Steel becomes brittle. But the will is indomitable."
- — Attr. Warden Primus Corvin Layl to newly inducted Aspirants
Feel free to add your own
About the Blood Vultures
- "SLAUGHTER! SLAUGHTER IN THE EMPEROR'S NAME!!! FORWARD!!! FOR DEATH AND SANGUINIUS!!! LET YOURSELVES NOT BE CODDLED BY THOSE WHO MISTAKE YOUR FERVOR, WE ARE ALL BLOOD BROTHERS HERE!!!"
- — Eulitus Ephrain, Chapter Master of the Wings of Salvaxes, fighting alongside the Blood Vultures
- "Where the carcasses are, there the vultures will be."
- — Captain Rafer Sloan, 'Three-Scars', commander of the 5th Sleuth, Bears of the Claw Chapter, remarking on the Blood Vultures' predilection for close-assault actions
- "They swoop in and feed off the carcasses of animals that are too weak to escape - lots of them on the battlefield."
- — A Battle-Brother of the Blades of Dorn Chapter commenting on the Blood Vultures' penchant for the merciless slaughter of fleeing enemies
- "The red-giants moved in like a wake of vultures, ready to devour their prey."
- — An Imperial Guard survivor's account of the Blood Vultures actions during the Nomaan Scouring
- "As the lord of vultures would be no less bent upon preying upon the flock than any of the minor harpies, it is indispensable to be in a perpetual attitude of defence against his beak and claws."
- — Private observations of the Blood Vultures' Chapter Master, Haron Thas, by Rogue Trader-Militant Davros von Richtenberg
- "So who will you be when faced with the end? When the vultures are circling and the shadows descend? Will you cower? Or will you fight? Is your heart made of glass? Or a pure snow white?"
- — Unknown Mortarchs Serpentia Battle-Brother
- "Oooh! I've been looking for a Berzerker's helmet for a while now. I'll trade you my Ork teeth and Banshee skull for it."
- — Random member of a Laughing Skull Chapter's Khagarsan - Astartes who have suffered a mutation in their Sus-an Membrane which causes a multitude of changes in the Astartes' thought process and psyche.
- "They are our brothers, cousins and comrades Captain. Their fate is strong, their line is noble, their hate is righteous and no Astartes would ever dare doubt that nobility and pure loyalty. I've fought alongside their kind, with the Flesh Tearers, when I was still a Scout and won glorious, albeit, bloody victory. But like that time, I am wary Captain. That in this battle, my death won't be from the front where the great enemy lies, but from my back, from the very cousins I put my trust."
- — Unknown Silver Knights Battle-Brother addressing his concerns about the Blood Vultures
- "Do I trust the Blood Vultures? Of course I do. It would be a dark day for humanity when no Astartes could bear to bring the bloodshed they do. They are a natural part of the universe, and should be treated as thus."
- — Inquisitor Jacob Flux