"I have dug my grave in this place and I will either triumph or I will die!"
-Chaplain Grimaldus, Hero of Helsreach
The Black Templars are a Second Founding Space Marine Chapter of the Imperial Fists. These Space Marines are as manly as the Manly Marines and as angry as the Angry Marines. They make a hobby of dressing up as the Teutonic Order and trolling the inquisition with their larger-than-Codex-approved numbers. They're righteously angry for the Emperor, they rely primarily on close combat and their idea of a charge is a giant zerg rush of a thousand angry crusaders who won't hesitate to skullfuck the nearest alien/mutant/heretic with their powersword just because they look funny. Although they don't need swords that much...
They are also notable for being one of the few Space Marines capable of growing facial hair, along with the Space Wolves. Srsly, just take a look at Damnation Crusade. Those beards are awesome.
 About the Black Templars
Rather than express this fury through cursing, ordering 10,000 pizzas to a rival chapter's fortress, or simply pounding the shit out of their opponents using a variety of power weapons: they do so by burning heretical texts(as kindling for the actual heretics), pwning mutants, and skull fucking aliens. But you might say, "Isn't that what every other Spess Marine chapter does?" Well you'd be right, but unlike other chapters that are borderline-extinct, closet furfags, Mary Sue faggots, over-dramatized emos, pieces of shit, Another "special snowflake", being completely forgotten, bishonen vampire pussies, flaming homosexuals or just suffering a severe case of kleptomania, these marines get shit done and they do this by zerg rushing their enemies with a
hundred thousand or more heavily power armored super humans holding power weapons while screaming a litany of curses at the top of their superhuman lungs. (If this hasn't filled you with manly manliness and brought a "FOR THE EMPEROR!" to your throat.. GET OUT.) They generally fly around on their battle barges blowing the fuck out of planets the Inquisition is too lazy fuck with itself or starting crusades against xenos faggots. Also unlike other Chapters, they don't have scout teams, as they think they're not righteously angry enough. Instead all new Neophytes are given some crap and schooled in the field by a fully appointed Marine (called an "Initiate").
-Black Templar Training-
Brother-Initiate Teuton McTemplar: Neophyte, get your ass over here and hold my lascannon while I charge that Carnifex with my sword.
Neophyte Random'O'Germansoundingname: But sir I have not yet earned my power armor and a lascannon weighs 100 kilos.
Brother-Initiate Teuton McTemplar: You are going to pick up that spotlight and burn some fucking xenos, and you are going to like it! DO IT FAGGOT!
Note: It would be nice if this could happen, but in reality, you can only arm Neophytes with shotguns or bolt pistols with CCWs.
The Black Templars are THE largest loyalist chapter with 1500-6000 Catholic Space Nazis in their ranks. This is primarily because they're scattered through out the galaxy so their approximate number is unknown. This means that their chapter alone could wipe out the weeaboo communists if they were drawn together in one place. Of course this would twist the nipples of the Inquisition and move the setting of 40k along, so don't expect it to happen anytime soon(read: ever). Their rage does have the side effect of making them unwilling to fight beside psykers, but screw that, they're so filled with rage that they charge forward when retreating and charge forward when they're FUCKING ANGRY. They are descended from the Imperial Fists, but obviously got Dorn's most manly splooge. They sometimes get to wear cool Crusader helms, but they aren't quite as awesome as the beakies' Corvus helms.
Their accomplishments include:
Taking back a hundred planets that were stolen by the blue space socialists after the
Smurfs ran home like little babies to deal with a single hive fleet (Which cost them their entire 1st company). The Ultramarines had only 1000 men, probably less since a chapter is rarely at full strength. Additionally, they followed the Codex right up until the final battle, which cost them FUCKHUEG amounts of troops. Which brings us back to the whole story of how acting on your own initiative combined with the tactics in the Codex is better than dogmatically sticking to it and losing your entire 1st Company
Launching a 10,000 year crusade as part of their deal during the second founding.
Killing an alien psyker and accidentally blowing out ten billion astropaths in the process,
oops just as planned.
Basically, when the Space Wolves are busy getting shit-faced and showing the middle-finger to the Inquisition, the Blood Angels are busy arranging their hair, the Ultrasmurfs are busy boosting their own egos, the Dark Angels are busy being
paranoid heretics TOTALLY MORE LOYAL THAN ANYONE ELSE, PRAISE THE EMPRAH, the Salamanders are busy setting things on fire rescuing civilians, the Iron Hands are busy jerking off to machinery GETTING SHIT DONE WHILST PROVING HOW THE FLESH IS WEAK, the Raven Guard are busy being emo Ahem. I'm right behind you already, did you know?, the White Scars are busy getting dicked over by Dark Eldar doing a Chapter-wide loyalist-mongol version of Doomrider, the Blood Ravens are busy collecting "lost" relics and the Imperial Fists are busy cover-camping behind fortress walls defending strategic positions, you can count on the Black Templars to get shit done. Righteously and with no fucking around.
In the new space Marines codex has changed several things about the chapter. Since they worship the Emperor as a God like the larger Imperium they have close ties with the Ecclesiarchy. This also makes them good friends with the Sisters of Battle, whom they regularly team up with, and have several alliances with. Emperor pity the heretics who have to face both of these groups of zealous nutters at once.
Alternatively, you could choose to ignore the fluff in the new codex that says that they worship the Emperor, as it is wrong and demonstrates a clear Ward-like level of disregard for previous, and better, fluff. It says that out of all Astartes chapters, only the Black Templars worship the Emperor. This contradicts several novels that say the chapters they revolve around worship him. The first that come to mind are James Swallows series on the Blood Angels. THEN there's the fact that Grimaldus, the Black Templars' High Chaplain(you know, guy who knows better than anyone else what they believe), said that they DO NOT worship him in ADB's sequel to Helsreach, Blood and Fire.
Since the Imperial Fists told Roboute Guilliman to go fuck himself and his Codex, the Black Templars have an organization different from Codex Chapters. They organize themselves into Fighting Companies, with much of it on the fly. Their ranks and positions include:
- High Marshal: The Chapter Master of the Black Templars, who decides which crusades the Black Templars will participate in, without bothering for an okay from the High Lords of Terra. Helbrecht serves as the current High Marshal.
- Marshal: The commander of a crusade, a Marshal is equivalent to a Captain. After a crusade is called a candidate is chosen from among the sword brethren and if the High Marshall thinks he is fit for the task appointed Marshal. There has only ever been one case of a candidate being rejected by the High Marshall. It is from the ranks of the Marshalls that the new High Marshall is picked should he fall in battle.
- Emperor's Champion: Before a battle, one of the Black Templars will have a vision of the Emperor. This Marine will be declared the Emperor's Champion as their founder Sigismund once was, be given the Black Sword and the Armour of Faith by the Chaplains, and serve as an inspiration for the rest of the Crusade. Things usually go badly if a crusade doesn't have an Emperor's Champion with it, if he is killed it is usually an ill omen.
- Castellan: The lieutenants of the Marshal, the Castellans lead the Fighting Companies of a crusade. Also chosen from the Sword Brethren.
- Sergeant: The only Codex rank the Black Templars employ. Also from the Sword Brethren (notice a pattern, yet?).
- Sword Brethren: Roughly analogous to Veterans in Codex Chapters, Sword Brethren are the senior battle brothers of the Marshal. They also get Terminator armor.
- Initiates: Rank and file battle-brothers. Neophytes dying around them has a beneficial effect on Initiates, making them run harder into enemy gunfire for reasons unknown and oft-speculated upon.
- Neophytes: While most Chapters have their neophytes serve in some sort of recon force, the Black Templars have their new Space Marines join the crusade at the front lines and hit the ground running. Given that this has worked for ten thousand years, they may be onto something. They are also quite useful to Initiates to use as shields (literally) in battle.
 Chapter Strength
Despite that they are technically a Codex Chapter in that they just cherry pick parts they like form it. Also they are exploiting a loophole within the Codex that states a crusading chapter is allowed to go above the normal allowed numbers as so heavy losses or a warp mishap wouldn't put the chapter in danger. Considering the Great Crusade was never mentioned as having officially ended, it's a wonder no one else is thoroughly abusing this. After all, technically, if the Great Crusade never officially ended, then all Chapters, regardless of current activities, would count as "crusading". Even the super-adherent-to-Codex Chapters would be able to abuse this.
Despite this, Butthurt Neckbeards (invariably fanboys) tend to exaggerate the actual numbers of Black Templars, occasionally referring to them as Legion Strength and/or making assumptions that since they do not abide by codex "limitations" that their numbers are therefore without limit and end up with ridiculously high guesses.
The back of the old Codex: Black Templars detailed their numbers and deployments over the years, and still only portrayed about 6000 marines... -over thousands of years- so when you factor in natural attrition and redeployment that number isn't very helpful since many other chapters have deployed en-mass over the years and would generate a similar deployment map. Furthermore, only a handful of those crusade fleets numbered relatively close to 1000 (though Armageddon easily cracked this with over 1200).
High Marshall Helbrecht was said to have mustered his entire chapter for the Armageddon campaign, so if that is anything to go by their numbers are not in the tens of thousands as some players would have us believe. Even if we accommodate conspiracy theorists who cannot accept what they read right in front of them, other sources tell us that the Black Templars consist of Three Major crusade fleets from which all other fighting companies are split from and deployed when necessary. So even if Helbrecht only summoned his own personal crusade fleet, that really only gives us the more respectable figure of 3000-4500 for the entire chapter. (A-D-B suggested about 6000 in an offhand comment)
 On Psykers
For most of their history the Black Templars didn't have any Librarians. This was generality though as a pretty simple fact that they hate all forms of witches. They even have a special rule call "Abhor the Witch". That was until 6th edition when Rob realized that a fleet based force of their size would need hundreds if not thousands of psykers and being assholes to them wouldn't be too smart.
So it was changed. The Black Templars hatred is only towards alien and rogue psykers and that they have great respect for the ones in the fleet. So why no Librarians?
There are three theories in the codex:
- They still enforce the Edict of Nikaea.
- A gene-seed defect.
- They lost them during The Howling
Meh, they probably just had the sense to realize that an Astartes throwing the same bolts of lightning that a non-Astartes psyker can throw is an Astartes who's not ripping the enemy apart with his holy junk. Leave it to sanctioned psykers amongst the countless serfs.
 Notable members
- Sigismund: First Chapter Master.
- High Marshall Helbrecht: Their current Chapter Master. Gets fucked up by Imotekh the Stormlord who proceeds to take his arm as a trophy. Helbrecht then manages to destroy his entire fucking flagship as retaliation.
- Chaplain Grimaldus: THE most badass Chaplain in the entire Godsdamn Imperium. He fought the biggest Ork WAAAGH in history on a very old temple that had relics and artifacts that's sacred to the Imperium. The battle only ended after the temple collapsed and buried every Ork and Marine under the rubble. But since Grimaldus was too badass to die: He crawled out of the temple with a few relics he managed to save. And besides the guy has the word grim in his fucking name! How can he not be badass? Plus he looks kinda like Darth Vader. The main caveat about his description is in his depiction in the book Helsreach, featuring Grimaldus' service in Armageddon leading up to his title as "Hero of Helsreach".
The majority of the book is him being a 10-foot tall, whiny bitch who hates his job. We're not joking. He tells off some Salamander allies to fuck off for caring about civilians more so than finishing off some Orks (and, most importantly and vicariously, GLORY). He is not like that at all. He actually just grieves the death of his predecessor and mentally tempers himself to the role of Reclusiarch. Saves a couple of Stormtroopers led by an idiot. Also encourages them in the aforementioned temple (however, still at more or less the last minute of the book).
- Strictly speaking, both are correct; he is equally skilled at tantrum-throwing and sulking, and kicking lots of ork ass. But to be fair, this isn't the Grimaldus we know and love as first. Helsreach is about him manning up under constant pressure, and to stop feeling like he has to be his old boss's bitch all the time, and learning to be the butch. He does manage to man up and becomes the badass we all know and love (by the end of things, like, the very last second before a cathedral falls on him and knocks him out and not a second sooner). Plus, he had the stones to do it all WITHOUT A ROSARIUS. What's that, Asmodai? How hard did you say you were?
- Tankred: He who endures. Also is partial to bitches.
- High Marshall Ludoldus: A previous High Marshall notable for having led the Templars during two Crusades that were separated by over 2000 years, specifically the Vinculus Crusade (833.M41) and the Jerulas Crusade (645.M39). Considering that he was already High Marshall by the time of Vinculus, one can only conclude that Ludoldus was FUCKING OLD... and totally blows Dante out of the water.
Or, you know, the crusades were led by two different High Marshals with the same name... Honestly, do you think that is the case? The guy even has old in his fucking name.
- Castellan Draco: notable role in the Vinculus crusade, notably in killing Inquisitor Lord Vinculus after he got possessed, but not after his own losses; that is, he got buried in rubble after lacing the cult's massive fortress with explosives. For his valiant efforts, he got his lost parts replaced with bionics, a relic suit of armour and Lord Vinculus' sword.
 Daily Rituals of a Black Templar
Think Angry Marines but with less copious cursing.
- 03:50: Morning Call to Prayer: Initiates awaken their respective Neophytes from their comfortable slumber on bare stone floors. This often involves buckets of ice water, vox-casters playing hymns with the volume control knob broken off, or a power armor shod foot up the ass depending on the Initiate in question. Complaints that this awakening occurred ten minutes prior to scheduled reveille are met with readmistration of the waking aid.
- 04:00: Morning Prayer: Neophytes are berated for their perceived failings by their responsible Initiates, who are in turn berated by the Sword Brethren, the Sword Brethren by the Castellans, up to the Marshal who berates the entire Fleet then swears a solemn vow to an icon of the Emperor that they will do better and prove themselves worthy by stabbing heretics in the throat with their swords. Tactics may also be discussed and orders of battle issued, assuming they involve rushing headlong at the enemy.
- 05:00: Morning Firing Rites: The Initiates school their apprentices on the art of shooting xenos in the face while simultaneously swinging a chainsword. This shooting preferably occurs while rushing across the active firing range in order to close with the target and hit it with the bolt pistol if possible.
- 07:00: Morning Battle Practice: Initiates inform their neophytes that if they are done being cowardly whelps they may now avail themselves of a sword with which to stab shit.
- 12:00: Midday Prayer: Neophytes are told how poorly they did during the morning exercises, any sense of pride or joy is rooted out. The Marshal leads the Fleet in prayer and promises the Emperor they will kill more things even more righteously this afternoon.
- 13:00: Midday Meal: The chapter serfs provide cold cuts for the Brothers' enjoyment. Lunchmeat is usually collected by the serfs following each battle and stored in the ships' freezers. Naturally, Neophytes do not get something to eat yet as the Initiates insult them for even assuming they get to eat. The Neophytes soon learn that the Emperor has a sense of humor when the Initiates are informed that only Sword Brethren on up are allowed to eat.
- 13:15: Tactical Indoctrination: Locations of the vital organs and blood vessels of xenos species that may be encountered on the current Crusade are reviewed, occasionally an Initiate will cuff his Neophyte on the back of the head and reiterate "Yes that, you stab that retard." Other tactics may also be discussed as long as they involve inserting blades into things.
- 14:00: Afternoon Battle Practice: Initiates attempt to kill their Neophyte with a power sword. If the Neophyte is not dead in four hours he passes muster.
- 18:00: Evening Firing Rites: Neophytes are instructed in how to operate heavy and specialty weaponry dropped by their responsible Initiate when he abandons it so that he may swing his sword with both hands to better kill shit or is eaten by a monstrous creature which he bravely (read:stupidly) tried to skullfuck in CQC.
- 20:00: Evening Prayer: After sort session of critique and berating, the Emperors' Champion leads a sermon about how awesome the Emprah is and how much He wants them to bifurcate/decapitate the current heretics/mutants/xenos they are fighting with power weapons.
- 21:00: Evening Meal: A feast is served by the chapter serfs. Alcohol and anything that has a pleasant taste will not be consumed as the Emperor looks down on those that enjoy life. No hamburger, no cheeseburgers, no french fries, no milkshakes, no potato chips; you will drink water distilled from the Fleet's waste/reactor AND LIKE IT!
- 21:30: Night-fighting/zero-gravity exercises: Initiates instruct their charges on stabbing things by the glow of a power sword and how to fight in a zero-gravity environment without jump packs (stab foe, use corpse as a spring board to assault another foe, repeat).
- 23:15: Sharpen your shit you incompetent, the Emperor reserves great disdain for those that kill heretics with dull blades.
- 23:45: Free time: The Initiate is free to challenge his Neophyte to a short duel. Wounds heal better during sleep anyway.
- 00:00 Rest period: The Initiate sees his Neophyte off to bed, with one last punch to the face to help him fall asleep. The Sword Brethren then punch the Initiates in the face before they retire for rest period.
Note that this constitutes a day off for a Black Templar. A working day will involve 23 hours of rushing monstrous creatures with melee weapons. Neophytes are expected to pull bullet sponge duty so the Initiate is not distracted by little things like enemy gunfire (and that their spilled blood will allow the Initiates to glide on the ground to their enemy faster).
 See Also
It's a lot like this, really.
Actually pretty nice guys, once you get to know them.
They can even inspire zealots of their own.