Blood Angels: Heirs of Sanguinius and the Imperium’s Shining Exemplars

Blood Angels

Blood Angels: Heirs of Sanguinius and the Imperium’s Shining Exemplars

Angelic Warriors Whispered in legend and honored in monument, the Blood Angels are demigods of battle, exemplars of the Space Marines and avatars of the Emperor’s might. Yet the Sons of Sanguinius are no mere legend, but very real, very present defenders in the Imperium’s time of need.

For ten thousand years these angelic warriors have stood at the forefront of Mankind’s wars, resplendent in red and driven by a nobility of spirit few can match. But within these paragons of victory beats the darkness of a hidden flaw – a gene-curse that has haunted the Blood Angels since their very inception.

This is their story, one of triumph and tragedy that echoes across the stars.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Noble warriors afflicted by twin genetic curses
  • Skilled artists and vicious assault troops
  • Unshakable loyalty to the Emperor and Sanguinius’ memory
  • Long, illustrious history of heroic deeds in the Imperium’s defense

Contents:

  1. I. Origins
  2. II. The Horus Heresy
  3. III. Chapter Organization
  4. IV. Combat Doctrine
  5. V. Successors & the Sanguinary Brotherhood
  6. VI. The Flaw
  7. VII. Notable Campaigns
  8. VIII. Relics & Wargear
  9. IX. Heroes & Characters
  10. X. Frequently Asked Questions

I. ORIGINS

Scions of the Great Angel

The Blood Angels can trace their lineage back to the legendary Primarch Sanguinius, who alongside his brother demigods was engineered by the Emperor of Mankind to lead the Great Crusade and unite the stars under the Imperial Truth.

Raised on the irradiated moon of Baal Secundus, Sanguinius swiftly rose to leadership of the local tribes, his angelic wings marking him out as a divine savior. So it was that when the Emperor arrived on Baal, Sanguinius immediately swore fealty, taking command of the IX Legion—And since till now known as the Blood Angels.

Under Sanguinius’ leadership, the once-savage IX Legion became shining exemplars of the Great Crusade’s ideals. Rigorous training and new traditions transformed them into artist-warriors of unparalleled skill and nobility. In warfare, they perfected airborne assault tactics, falling upon the foe like avenging angels to break their lines in lightning attacks.

Yet for all their newfound honor, a darkness lurked in the Blood Angels’ souls—a genetic Flaw that granted visions and red-tinged battle fury, but threatened madness and death.

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II. THE HORUS HERESY

Loyalty and Tragedy Unending

When the Warmaster Horus betrayed the Emperor, the Blood Angels counted themselves among the Loyalist Legions. Yet Sanguinius’ bond with Horus ran deep, and many feared he might side with the arch-traitor. The Primarch sternly rejected such whispered doubts, and dispatched companies across the galaxy to oppose Horus’ advance.

At the Signus Prime cluster, the main Blood Angels force, led by Sanguinius himself, faced a new nightmare—daemonic incursion on an unprecedented scale, led by the terrible Bloodthirster Ka’Bandha.

Though they carried the day, a curse was placed upon the Blood Angels, their Flaw worsening until their eyes blazed with madness and they fell upon each other in a berserker frenzy.

The Blood Angels arrived at Terra too late to prevent the siege of the Imperial Palace. Nonetheless, they fought at the forefront of the battle, Sanguinius holding the Eternity Gate alone against a horde of daemons.

In the battle’s climax, the angel made his way onto Horus’ flagship, confronting his erstwhile brother in an attempt to turn him from his dark path. In his black rage, Horus struck Sanguinius down, a blow from which the Blood Angels would never recover.

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Blood Angels

III. CHAPTER ORGANIZATION

The Winged Host

Arrayed In the Heresy’s aftermath, the Legiones Astartes were broken into smaller Chapters. Thus did the Sons of Sanguinius become a new breed, their founder’s tragic demise casting a pallor over their rebirth.

At the Blood Angels’ head stands the Chapter Master, known also as the Lord Commander, regent of Baal and warden of Sanguinius’ legacy. Beneath him are the Sanguinary Priesthood, charged with preserving the sanctity of Sanguinius’ bloodline, and the Chaplaincy, tasked with guarding against the Flaw.

Astorath the Grim, the fearsome High Chaplain, also holds the grim duty of overseeing the Death Company—those Blood Angels lost to the Black Rage of their Primarch’s death.

Like all Codex Chapters, the Blood Angels field ten companies, each a hundred Space Marines strong.

The 1st Company comprises the Chapter’s greatest veterans, clad in golden Terminator armor, while the 2nd through 5th are the mainstay Battle Companies. The 6th and 7th Companies are the Tactical Reserves, the 8th and 9th Close Support and Fire Support respectively.

Lastly, the 10th Company are the Blood Angels’ Scouts. Uniquely, the Chapter’s Assault Marines are formed into a separate organization, the Sanguinary Guard, rather than being dispersed across the Battle Companies as in other Chapters.

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IV. COMBAT DOCTRINE

Angelic Fury Unleashed

In battle, the Blood Angels are masters of the flawlessly-executed assault. After long preparation, they descend upon the foe in a rain of drop pods, gunships, and jump pack-equipped troops, hitting hard and fast to shatter the enemy in a single blow.

Tactical squads secure vital objectives while heavily-armed Devastators provide covering fire.

Death Company berzerkers charge enemy lines, power weapons screaming, supported by the close-range salvos of Assault Squads. Through it all stride golden-armored heroes—the Chapter’s characters, Veterans, and commanders—their very presence inspiring the rank and file. As quickly as they struck, the Blood Angels withdraw, leaving naught but death and ruin in their wake.

Behind them the fires of rebellion or heresy gutter and fade, all resistance crushed by the might of these crimson-clad angels of death.

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V. SUCCESSORS & THE SANGUINARY BROTHERHOOD

The Great Angel’s Legacy

From their earliest days, the Blood Angels have sired a host of Successor Chapters. Closest among these are the Chapters of the Second Founding—the Flesh Tearers, Angels Vermillion, Angels Encarmine, and Angels Sanguine—who together with the Blood Angels are known as the Sanguinary Brotherhood.

In later millennia have come other descendents, such as the Lamenters, Carmine Blades, and Golden Sons. All are united by the blood of Sanguinius that flows through their veins and the tragic curse which they bear.

It is said that the Sons of Sanguinius gather in common cause when the hour is darkest. Many times has such cooperation saved the Blood Angels and their successors from destruction. Yet it is a somber brotherhood, for the Chapters know all too well that their greatest battle is with the Flaw within themselves.

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VI. THE FLAW

Darkness of the Soul

Deep within every Son of Sanguinius beats a darkness—the twin genetic curses of their Primarch. The first is the Red Thirst, an unnatural craving for blood that grants strength and fury but can drive its victims into a berserk frenzy.

The second and more terrible is the Black Rage, in which the Battle-Brother’s mind is thrust into the Primarch’s memories of his death, reliving that psychic imprint again and again until they are lost entirely. Even ten thousand years on, there remains neither cure nor respite, only management of the symptoms by the arts of Sanguinary Priests and Chaplains.

Gripped by the Flaw, Blood Angels are at once the Imperium’s most magnificent warriors and its most tortured souls. In battle they are Death itself, bloody-handed angels dealing merciless slaughter. After, they kneel in fevered prayer, weeping tears of blood as they beg forgiveness for their scarlet sins.

Yet they know neither redemption nor despair, for their duty remains. As the priest intones beneath the Golden Sarcophagus of their gene-father: Only in death does duty end.

Blood Angels

VII. NOTABLE CAMPAIGNS

The Long Scroll of Honor

In ten thousand years of service, the Blood Angels have fought in every corner of the galaxy, their deeds etched upon the annals of the Imperium.

Upon Armageddon they defeated the Orks of Ghazghkull Thraka, Commander Dante leading them against the heart of the Warboss’ empire. Above the moons of Baal they gave battle to Hive Fleet Leviathan, sacrificing their own blood to weaken the Tyranids and turn the threat aside from Mankind.

And through the ages have they sought out the Arch-traitor’s forces, especially the scions of Khorne, whose Bloodthirsters they endlessly seek to destroy in memory of Ka’Bandha’s curse upon Sanguinius. Unremembered and untold are the wars they have fought, the victories and losses they have endured.

Ever have the Blood Angels placed themselves at the forefront of the Emperor’s wars, the exemplar of Space Marine valor.

VIII. RELICS & WARGEAR

Heirlooms of the Lost Age

In addition to the panoply of weapons and armor granted to every Space Marine, the Blood Angels bear a host of unique and storied relics to battle. Most sacred of these is the Red Grail, a cup stained crimson by the blood of Sanguinius himself. To drink from it is to share in the Primarch’s strength, but also his suffering.

Greatest of their armories’ weapons is the Spear of Telesto, a mighty gold-chased power weapon wielded by Sanguinius during the Great Crusade. Forged by the Emperor’s own hand, it can slay almost any foe with a touch. Other famed relics include the Blade Encarmine, sword of the lost Captain Belarius; the Magnificat, a jump pack worn by Sanguinius; and the Scrolls of Sanguinius, a collection of the Primarch’s teachings and prophecies.

All of these and more are borne to battle by the Blood Angels’ greatest champions, who wield them in memory of their gene-sire.

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IX. HEROES & CHARACTERS

The Exemplars of Sanguinius

At the Blood Angels’ head stands Commander Dante, oldest of all living Space Marines and Chapter Master of the Sons of Sanguinius for over 1,100 years. On countless worlds he has fought the Emperor’s foes, his angelic visage and masterful leadership bringing hope and victory in equal measure. At his right hand is Mephiston, Chief Librarian and the only Blood Angel ever to conquer the Black Rage not once but twice.

A figure of awe and terror even among his battle-brothers, his psychic might is unmatched. The Blood Angels’ Sanguinary High Priest is Corbulo, Bearer of the Red Grail and guardian of the Chapter’s future.

On the battlefield, golden-clad Captains lead their brothers to war—among them Aphael, Karlaen, and Castigon, heroes whose deeds are told in the very heavens. And in the shadows of the Arx Angelicum dwell the Death Company Chaplains Astorath and Lemartes, masters of ceremonies and keepers of the lost. All are giants in the Imperium’s history, avatars of war and nobility.

X. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why do the Blood Angels thirst for blood?

The Red Thirst is a flaw in the Blood Angels’ gene-seed, one which seems to worsen with each passing century. Many believe it is connected to the psychic death-scream of Sanguinius, which echoes through his sons’ souls.

The Red Thirst grants great strength, but also an overpowering need to drink blood which can cause madness if left unsated.

What happens to Blood Angels who fall to the Black Rage?

Those brothers who succumb to the Black Rage are placed in the Death Company, where they seek a glorious end in battle, clad in black and led by skull-helmed Chaplains. They never return, for the Black Rage has no cure.

Who are the Sanguinary Guard?

The Sanguinary Guard are the elite of the Blood Angels, hand-picked from the greatest of the Chapter’s warriors. Clad in golden artificer armor and bearing angelic wings, they fight with halberd and pistol to defend the officers of the Chapter and prosecute the most vital attacks.

What sets the Blood Angels apart from other Space Marine Chapters?

Sanguinius’ sons are unique for their nobility, artistry, and the terrible Flaw which afflicts them. They are peerless close combat warriors and masters of fast assault, but haunted by the Red Thirst and Black Rage. To watch the Blood Angels in battle is to see Space Marines at their most perfect and terrible, angelic figures dealing death with every blow.

Are the Blood Angels loyal to the Imperium?

Despite their flaws, the Blood Angels have remained steadfastly loyal to the Emperor for ten millennia. They have the same hatreds as most chapters—for aliens, traitors, and heretics—and the same overarching goal of defending Mankind. Indeed, the Chapter’s many tribulations have only hardened their faith and sense of duty.

CONCLUSION

To be a Blood Angel is to walk a precarious path between nobility and madness. Guided by ancient traditions and an unbending sense of honor, they strive to live up to the example of their Primarch Sanguinius, yet must endure ceaseless assaults on their soul from within and without. Duty-bound and death-seeking by turns, they wage an endless and glorious war in the Emperor’s name.

For almost twelve thousand years they have been the shining incarnation of the Space Marines’ ideal, yet in the end one truth remains: that so long as the Imperium endures, so too shall the Blood Angels. For our blood is eternal.

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