|Battle Cry||Pre-Retribution: "Knowledge is power. Guard it well."
Post-Retribution: "None shall find us wanting...for wargear. that is."
"STEAL IT!! MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE"
|Number||Unknown, technically 15|
|Founding||Unknown, technically Second|
|Successors of||Unknown, as close to confirmed to be Thousand Sons as you can get.|
|Chapter Master||Gabriel Angelos|
|Primarch||Unknown, though probably Magnus the Red|
|Strength||as little as 250 after Kyras’ ascension, currently greater than 2000 following Primaris reinforcements, and the final aurealian crusade|
|Allegiance||Imperium of Man|
|Colours||Red, bone white inner pauldrons with black trim|
"I am a thief of knowledge, and in a survival way, I had to solve all the problems around me."
- – Philippe Petit
GollumEvery Blood Raven ever, after setting eyes on something shiny.
"Blood Ravens? Go lock the reliquary."
- – Calato, Deathwatch Champion, to a random Stormtrooper upon encountering a Blood Ravens force... and pretty much any other loyalist chapter working with them.
The Bluhd Rehvehns are one of the better-known background Chapters, primarily from their starring role in the Dawn of War /v/ series. Because of how greatly recieved were the original 2 DoW entries, they might give a shot for their money to the Ultramarines for the most recognizable Chapter of Space Marines to the general public.
They have waaaaaaaay too many psykers and are obsessed with
stealing finding reclaiming stealing finding reclaiming stealing finding reclaiming stealing finding reclaiming stealing MINEMINEMINEMINEMINEMINE STEAL RAIN recovering lost relics, mostly because they don't know anything about their history. They have no records dating before the Age of Apostasy. This led to a meme that they are loyalist descendants of the Thousand Sons, but later, according to fluff, became about as canon as it gets.
In short: The Blood Ravens are a Space Marine chapter of an unknown founding with an unknown history. They have a heavy focus on Psykers, especially in leadership, and may be Traitor Legion Loyalists of the Thousand Sons. There is a meme about them supposedly having kleptomania due to many of the character upgrades in Dawn of War 2 being blatantly stolen ("gifted") from other chapters; as a fleet based chapter with little Imperial support, they are known to do heavy battlefield scavenging. In modern 40k, they are roughly made up of about half Primaris, and are on the wrong side of the Great Rift.
This chapter existed, but was very obscure before the Dawn of War vidya gaems. This would remain their only claim to fame if Dawn of War hadn't spawned dozens of memes. Perhaps the most famous example of these memes is the voice acting of the Captain Indrick Boreale, who is the origin of the terms Emprah and Spehss mahreens. They are also infamous on /tg/ for losing half their chapter in a single campaign, also thanks to Brother-Captain Boreale, who got himself krumped by the Ork Warboss Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter.
The Blood Ravens are also famous for their ravenous kleptomania BLAM Making bad puns is HERESY, discussed in greater depth below, as well as an infamous reputation for STEALING. SCREW YOU GABE ITS TRUE.
One of the few canonically confirmed, let alone interesting, things about their history is the possibility that they are descendants of a Thousand Sons schism cult or possibly (but significantly less likely) a breakaway from the Word Bearers. The short story "Rebirth" in Age of Darkness shows what might be the foundation of the Chapter, as hinted before in A Thousand Sons Horus Heresy book. That story shows that most of the Corvidae (as in the genus of birds to which the raven belongs) Fellowship of the Legion was sent away by Magnus during the Burning of Prospero. The leader of this Fellowship, Revuel Arvida, has a name very similar to Azariah Vidya, the legendary hero of the Blood Ravens, who utters "Knowledge is Power, Guard It Well", the motto of the Blood Ravens. However, Arvida would later separate from any other surviving Thousand Sons and join with the White Scars on their way back to Terra, where he was merged with a fragment of Magnus the Red and became an altogether new entity named Ianius, who would later lead the Grey Knights as one of their eight founding Grand Masters.
Still, Thousand Sons are known to have fought on both sides of the conflict, and any loyalist Thousand Sons force would have had to do a certain amount of foraging to remain a viable force. So the theory remains valid if you "neglect" asking the compelling question how they possibly might have managed to evade the flesh change, which undoubtedly would also have afflicted any "splinter sects" after Tzeentch basically told Magnus that the deal was off an that he would now pay the price for dealing with CHAOS during the battle of Prospero (meaning that his sons would now be prone to the flesh change again, turning them into CHAO NONONOahvajldazbvzaj). To continue where my predecessor left off, the question remains how a possibly loyal Thousand Sons off-shoot could have avoided the flesh change for 10.000 years as they would have had the same unstable gene seed just like any other Thousand Son (which made Magnus make a bargain with CHAOS in the first place). Evidence for the Word Bearer theory are many but not limited to; interpreting Eliphas' taunts in Dark Crusade in a certain way, and Eliphas is very much someone who will take great joy in lying if it means messing with someone's head, close similarities between the Word Bearers and Blood Ravens legion-chapter culture with many of their sayings having been revealed to have their origins in Colchis, The Word Bearer's homeworld, or the most damning fact that unlike the Thousand Sons, The Blood Raven's geneseed is not only stable but is also not affected by the Rubric of Ahriman which immediately turns any non-psyker space marine that has any derivative of Magnus' geneseed into dust while geneseed from the Word Bearers are known to be stable and not prone to sudden and violent transformations. It is worth noting as a counterpoint, that the Lamenters, a particularly unfortunate offshoot of the Blood Angels, managed to (ostensibly) rid themselves of their gene-seed flaw...(Not anymore, it returned because they're unlucky bastards I guess.). There's also that pesky quote from Laurie Goulding that denies any connection between Revuel Arvida and the Blood Ravens but he works for star wars now so fuck him.
On the other hand though, they have an unusually high number of unusually powerful psykers, with two full squads of Librarians in the First Company and were (at least until the events of Retribution) lead by a combination of Chapter Masters and Librarians. Finally, their obsession with lost knowledge and mystic relics mirrors pre-Heresy Thousand Sons. Hell, even their color scheme is suspiciously close to the one used by the pre-Heresy Thousand Sons. Also, if you want to read way too much into it, it should be noted that almost every other Traitor Legion has known, named Loyalist members, most of whom aided Malcador with the creation of the Inquisition.
However, given the ambiguous and circumstantial nature of what little evidence exists, we may never know if this is true. For a time, there was a rumor of a Blood Ravens Codex produced by Games Workshop, which would probably expand on the theory. However, the codex never came out, the rumors quietly died out and do not look likely to be revived anytime soon. There's also Aaron Dembski-Bowden revealing GW's official stance against the Traitor Loyalist theory. (Not that anyone with any sense cares 1 whit about what ADB has to say about canon, especially in regards to his widdle pwecious chaos space marines that are totally his and no one else is allowed to touch them ever ever only his spacemans can be kool ORIGINAL CHARACTER DOUGHNUT STEEL. (And please ignore the fact that ADB made his own traitor-descended loyalist chapter called The Shadow Wolves.)
Others posit that the Blood Ravens are possibly descendants of the Dark Angels though not among the Unforgiven due to their similarly secretive nature, others point to the Raven Guard for a similarity in name, and some people have raised the possibility of descent from the rather psyker heavy White Scars. Some boring people look to the Ultramarines instead, but this is rather uninteresting. The issue with all the theories of loyalist descent is that whatever the Blood Ravens' actual origins are, it's worth being ashamed of and the truth of their parentage is something Thule himself refused to tell anyone. Finding out they were descended from the Blood or Dark Angels or the Raven Guard, nevermind mutation free legions like the White Scars or Ultramarines wouldn't be worth getting angry about. Even having a modified but still purely monolineage geneseed from a loyalist chapter is not really anything to be ashamed of, as all the twenty first founding chapters with known loyalist legion parentage show no inclination to hide it from anyone. And before you say "if they were sons of the Lion with descent from the Fallen Angels wouldn't that be shame worthy?" if that were true, the Unforgiven would have probably "disappeared" the Blood Ravens a long time ago when they inevitably found out in an attempt to find more of the Fallen. Then again, if the Blood Ravens are Dark Angels successors and aren't descended from the Fallen (which is extremely unlikely, as discussed above), they might still have something to be ashamed of - they almost certainly aren't members of the Unforgiven, which would indicate that they were actually exiled from the Unforgiven due to some sin or mistake committed, which would be valid reason for shame of one's origins. Coincidentally, such a fate could be described as being found "wanting", and given the chapter's motto after Gabe's ascension to Chapter Master...
However, a dark horse theory is that they're actually a chimeric composite chapter with multiple lines of descent and component; which would explain away the flesh change, their seemingly supernaturally terrible luck, and even possibly their name, and heraldry. This theory posits that the chapter was made from the Adeptus Mechanicus' tinkerings with geneseed, quite likely including the geneseed of the Thousand Sons and possibly the, Night Lords, and Word Bearers, along with those of loyalist legions (including the Raven Guard, Blood Angels, Imperial Fists, Dark Angels, Ultramarines, and even the White Scars) in an attempt to create a more stable form of psychic space marine. This theory certainly would make their origins something worth hiding from others, as even insinuating that a Chapter is born of chimeric geneseed is almost universally considered a grievous insult and is never something any chapter known in 40k openly admits. Now add the shame of being bastards to including the genetics of one, two, or more traitor legions and you'd have a very serious reason for Davian Thule to deem that the truth of the Chapter's origins is too monstrous for anyone else to ever learn. It's certainly a theory that can neatly explain any of the holes in the other theories and it would explain why they're said to have not appeared until the age of apostasy when the twenty first founding occurred. Also, lines up well with how they learnt more about their origin by studying the Primaris.
The Blood Ravens have only two recorded mutations in their gene seed. The first one affects their Catalepsean Node, the Implant that allows a Space Marine to need less sleep and resist the effects of sleep deprivation. In the Blood Ravens, this node malfunctions, preventing them from entering R.E.M. sleep, a real and terminal condition called Fatal insomnia, but the Catalepsean Node keeps them alive despite this, and has the side effect of giving the Blood Ravens perfect memory. The second mutation, if it can be counted as one, is the chapter's unusually high frequency of producing or activating latent psychic power, with the chapter having an extremely high number of librarians.
Other, less documented (as in fan-developed) characteristics include a massive tendency to develop kleptomania, generate a gelatinous substance in their scalps to allow for the creation of hairetical hair, and something known as "unavailable original voice acting" which causes some members' voices to change periodically.
They are also notable for having a librarian chapter master who dedicates himself to Khorne. Normally this would be a case of extreme bullshit writing,
but appears to make some degree of sense in that the Chapter Master/Head Librarian in question is never seen using sorcerous powers after revealing his new loyalty He psykically projects himself onto Typhon, in order to trick the protagonists onto the planet to cause the Exterminatus. But after that, Daemon Princes, even of Khorne (which he ultimately transforms into), actually have massive psychic potential.
The Dawn of War III initial reveal page shows that good ol' Gabe is in fact alive, meaning that the Space Marine ending in Dawn of War II was in fact completely canon. Unfortunately, Gabe is no longer mostly bionic so who knows what's canon.
Anyways, the Blood Raven's new motto under Gabriel Angelos was "None Shall Find Us Wanting", which is the saying they use in Space Marine, unlike their old "Knowledge is Power, Guard it Well" schtick, indicating that the events of Space Marine occurred after DoW:Retribution. In any event, whether Space Marine itself is actually canon or not is up for debate, though GW's official stance is that most of it is not, which would mean that there is no evidence at all about what actually happens. You'll have to decide for yourself.
Interestingly, seen as a whole, this also means that Graham McNeill's incorrect statement that Gabe was the Chapter Master at the time he wrote the WD Blood Ravens Index Astartes article (published Nov 2004), is now retroactively correct, as Gabe does indeed become Chapter Master in the Space Marine ending of Retribution (released in Mar 2011)... unless this was already the intended direction of Relic/Games Workshop's plot arc from the beginning.
Knowing Games Workshop though, Eliphas is probably still alive. Probably a Daemon Prince, too. Because, as with all secondary 40K media: "Fuck coherency in the name of storytelling!".
In the White Dwarf of July 2019 we discovered what happened after Acheron.
After the clusterfuck that was Acheron and the chapter reduced to half-strength, the Blood Ravens returned to Subsector Aurelia in force to a large-scale regroup and rebuild (which means that they didn't pursue Gorgutz and his no-longer-majikal pointy stikk) with the hope of putting the chapter back in full strength. However, a few weeks later the Great Rift opened and Subsector Aurelia is on the bad side of the rift. Barely managing to make contact with the groups doing the recruitment, losing ships with aspirants in the warp, weird shit happening all across the subsector and mutation and heresy spreading to the point of Daemonic incursions (Fortunately, Ulkair didn't break out, but not for lack of trying). Angelos, being awesome if sentimental, dispatched help whenever needed and tried to contact the Imperium, and sent ships to find out what happened, with predictable results.
It was in this situation that the Custodes made contact with the Blood Ravens and informed them of all that happened on the Terran side. They also "brought" with them Primaris gene-seed to help rebuild their chapter. When the Custodes made it clear that they would not take "no" for an answer, the Blood Ravens accepted and started creating Primaris Marines, and eventually this saw them back to fighting status.
Some highlights include:
- All the ass-pullery, terminator flips and Inquisitorial idiocy (which to be fair is par for the course) of Dawn of War III was tabletop-canon! Clearly, Gabriel's armor must be some Dark-Age super-relic.
- The Blood Ravens have been investigating the gene-seed and tools gifted by the Custodes and Papa Cawl. They apparently made significant insights into their origins, but it was determined that nobody outside of the chapter must ever know about their primogenitors and only the most senior officers of the Blood Ravens have actually been entrusted with that information. Draw your own conclusions.
- The Custodes are really pushy bastards, but they didn't ask for their "gifted" equipment back. Either they don't know of their presence or they don't care; given that the Custodes' standard wargear are better than even the best weapons usually Space Marines get, the latter is slightly more probable. Or maybe the writers just forgot that the Magpies had Custodes gear, we don't know.
- Davian Thule's fate after the Third Aurelian Crusade (a.k.a. Dawn of War 2: Retribution) is unknown. Which means that he may be alive after all!
- The planet Aurelia is officially recognized as the former homeworld of the Chapter, their late Chapter Monastery being Selenon.
- Related to the above: Ulkair is still imprisoned in Aurelia for now, but the opening of the Great Rift stirred him up A LOT.
- Being a chapter with so many psykers also means that many aspirants end up mad because of their powers, while others end up like Isador Akios and go too deep in their studies of Chaos. These poor bastards are kept in the Librarius Sanatorum before being put to use one last time before execution. What that final use is isn't mentioned, but it's probably related as to where things went to hell with them. Chief Librarian Jonah Orion is being extra cautious with these Librarians after the Cicatrix popped up.
- New Lore is added where failed Psyker Aspirants are either Shot to prevent Daemonic Corruption, die due to their uncontrolled powers or mutated by the warp and to be used as experiments by the chapter's Librarians inside the Omnis Arcanum jail called "The Tower" where they find ways to cure/prevent such anomalies present within the chapter's geneseed flaw. Rumor has it that sometimes Librarians have to banish warp entities that manifested themselves within the failed Aspirants, but nobody can confirm if that's true.
- Sometime later the Blood Ravens joined in with Roboute Guilliman's Indomitus Crusade and help liberate thousands of worlds in the Dark Imperium side of the Galaxy and possibly acquire more "Gifts" for the Reliquary.
The Thousand Sons connection
While the records of who the Blood Ravens are descended from are lost/redacted/burned, etc. The Blood Ravens have made it a mission to find out. In general, possibilities have ranged from just loyalists (such as having relics of several different chapters / legions, including a few relics from primarchs), to being a loyal successor of a traitor legion (due to having extremely strong links to Thousand Sons). Most specifically, the strongest evidence for the Thousand Sons' progenitor legion indeed being that of the Great Crusade-era Thousand Sons' Corvidae Cult:
- Publications like the July 2019 White Dwarf often end their discussion of the progenitor of the Blood Ravens with things like "their propensity for sorcery suggests their sire was not one of the Emperor's nine loyal sons...".
- The Blood Ravens being traitor legion genestock is often hinted at, as any time the Blood Ravens' inner circle of leaders find strong evidence of their progenitor....they destroy or hide any record of their discovery, despite their normal obsession with finding/hording/protecting knowledge. Even when they were given the tech and geneseed for Primaris Marines, they apparently found something that they are making damn sure remains hidden from anyone outside of the chapter.
- The Blood Ravens armour painting bares similarities to the Thousand Sons' pre-Heresy colors. Near identical to the Sekhmet, the elite veterans of the Thousand Sons, who once shared leadership with the Corvidae Cult.
- The Blood Ravens' obsession with discovering / hording knowledge is a mirror of the Thousand Sons own knowledge obsession. Complete with an obsession of keeping vast libraries and archives.
- They have a massive amount of psykers, easily the most of any individual chapter. Just like the Thousand Sons had by far the most psykers of any of the original legions.
- Their recruitment practices of pulling from worlds with a larger number of psykers mirrors the same from the Thousand Sons.
- Their tactics are a mirror of the Thousand Son's Corvidae Cult. Using their psykic powers to see into the future to foresee enemy plans.
- The sigil of the Corvidae Cult being a raven's head, while the Blood Ravens use a raven as their own sigil.
- In the novel, 'Burning of Prospero', the psyker "Kallista Eris" is used by the Corvidae Cult to scry the future. Describing her visions, she says this: '"It’s too late... the Wolf is at the door and it hungers for blood. Oh, Throne... no, the blood! The Ravens, I see them too. The lost sons and a Raven of Blood. They cry out for salvation and knowledge, but it is denied! A brother betrayed, a brother murdered. The worst mistake for the noblest reason! It cannot happen, but it must!"'
- In the short story, 'Rebirth', featuring Revuel Arvida (a member of the Corvidae Cult. And who would later become Janus, the first Grand Master of the Grey Knights): '"Knowledge is power," he breathed. Then he turned away from the scene, and stole quickly back into the occlusion of the ruins. As he went, the dim red light of the angry magma fires caught on his shoulder guard, exposing the serpentine star set about the black raven-head of his cult discipline."' (Knowledge is Power being the first half of the Blood Raven's own motto, and the scene drawing attention to the Corvidae Cult's Black Raven head sigil as a black raven is the Blood Raven's own sigil. This statement also hints that it may have well been Arvida himself who founded the Blood Ravens.
- Ahzek Ahriman, who was once the leader of the Corvidae Cult before the fall of the Thousand Sons, stated that he knew the Blood Ravens' former Chapter Master "Azariah Vidya" very well, and admits that both he and Vidya had copies of the "Un-Founding", a book detailing the history of the Blood Ravens. This implying that he once met Vidya, and together they discovered the Blood Raven's history.
- In the Index Astartes - Blood Ravens, the section talking of their combat doctrine alludes to how their foresight is similar to how Magistus Amon's (founder of the Corvidae Cult) warnings to Magnus inadvertently lead to the primarchs fall to Chaos.
Founded by Janus?
If the Blood Ravens were somehow founded by Arvida, after his transformation into Janus, then it would well explain how the Blood Ravens suffer neither the Flesh Change, nor Rubric. As Janus was created by infusing Arvida with a shard of Magnus's soul. Magnus was noted to have a stabalizing effect on the Thousand Sons' gene-seed (basically stabilizing the warp-fuckery that is inherent to the Tsons gene-seed). Arvida merging directly with a shard of Magnus could have easily perma-fixed his gene-seed, so even gene-seed grown from his proginoid glands would not suffer the gene-flaws. However, after the merge, "Janus" claimed that he had no memory of his life as Arvida. He could have later remembered his past life, or as the Grand Master of the Grey Knights, there would be nothing stopping him from finding out. And being a shard of Magnus (and one of the Thousand Sons), finding lost knowledge would always be of interest to him.
The hints at Janus being the founder of the Blood Ravens is the strongest of any potential individual:
- A statement he made, without anyone around to hear him, "'Knowledge is Power'", is the first part of the Blood Raven's chapter motto
- He was a member of the Thousand Sons' Corvidae Cult, which the Blood Ravens are as close to confirmed to be descended from as you can hope for.
- Being the Grand Master of the Grey Knights, wiping any record of his own existence would easily explain the Blood Ravens' inability in discovering their real founder.
- Related to the above, what records of the Blood Ravens exist are redacted under the order of the Ordo Maellus, which the Grey Knights are a part of.
- The Blood Ravens have worked alongside the Grey Knights before, and apparently have a good relationship with them as the Blood Ravens took a suit of Grey Knight armour and the GK's didn't do anything about it.
- The oldest known leader of the Blood Ravens is an Astartes named Azariah Vidya, who was noted to already have extensive knowledge/experience in combating the forces of Chaos and used it to OP effect against the Alpha Legion, "Vidya" being similar name to "Arvida". Wouldnt be like he hasn't changed his name before, from "Ianus" to "Janus".
- Janus disappeared sometime between 546.M32 and 290.M34, as by the latter date, the Grey Knights have a new Supreme Grandmaster.
On the Tabletop
Thanks to Dawn of War, Blood Ravens now receive at least passing mention in each Space Marine codex -- including, as mentioned above, a lot of fluff and rules updates in July 2019's White Dwarf.
Canonically they lost a good amount of their number due to being trapped in the Dark Imperium, but were gifted -- no, seriously this time -- Primaris geneseed and tech by the Emissaries Imperatus of the Custodes. According to the fluff the Blood Ravens have a not insignificant number of Librarians, as befitting a possible Thousand Sons successor chapter.
In the Index Astartes update in WD July 2019, a specific Chapter Tactic was provided -- Relentless Seekers, which forces any unmodified rolls to wound of 1 or 2 to always fail, as well as giving them the ability to reroll 1s for any Psychic test or Deny the Witch. They also have a special Stratagem which for 1CP, allows them to make one of their librarians a Chief Librarian, which has 1 more power and can deny the witch 1 more time per turn.
In perhaps a nod to what the Bloody Magpies are best known for, Purgatorus, a special bolt pistol that they just happened to end up with is also listed as a wargear option.
The release of the 2019 Space Marines codex, however, made it clear that Magpies still steal everything, including chapter tactics — as theirs is a pick of two options from the make-your-own-successor-tactic list, and Purgatorus is a generic relic available to anyone.
Blood Ravens Paint Scheme
The first official color scheme provided was Khorne Red Armor, a Black Imperial Aquila, and Ushabti Bone pauldrons with Black trim. The company color is painted on the right kneepad. Warhammer TV shows them being painted similarly, although the Ushabti Bone pauldrons are now Zandri Dust (partially because Ushabti Bone is a layer paint, and painting it on top of a non-Zandri Dust undercoat is a pain in the ass). Forge World (on their Gabriel Angelos page) alongside some newer WTV videos suggest Mephiston Red with 100% Carroburg Crimson shade instead, which is almost the same as Khorne Red with a more gradual shading. Paul Norton from the GW Heavy Metal Team painted a Primaris Lieutenant and used a 50/50 mix of Mephiston Red and Rhinox Hide, for those that prefer the darker red of their vidya appearance and aren't shy about mixing paints.
What isn't covered in any detail is how, exactly, Sergeants / Veterans / Veteran Sergeant / Lieutenants are handled. In typical Codex chapters these are handled by Red / White / Red + White Stripe / White Stripe + Red Stripe, but this falls apart when the armor color is red to begin with, and the video game dodged the issue by not giving any officers helmets and only including terminators as Veterans. Paul Norton's Primaris Lieutenant (above) used a bone colored helmet with a black stripe, which implies: Sergeant: Black, Vet: Bone, Vet Sergeant: Black with Bone Stripes, Lieutenant: Bone with Black Stripes or Red with Black stripe and bone inner stripe.
Rik Turner's army in the 2019 White Dwarf article on Blood Ravens, on the other hand, had a Sergeant with a bone helm, and a Primaris Ancient + Lieutenant with a black helmet and bone face mask -- with the Aquilla being bone instead of black, and the kneepads not painted in any longer. The Captain seems to have a gold helmet, as well. Possibly, they are gifts.
The dust settled and the Ork horde lay dead at her feet. But with such a victory came sacrifice. The good General lay dead, his final words asking "Who wants to live FOREVEEER?" (Seeing as he's Freddie Fuckin Mercury in Space) with a wry smile on his face. The Imperial Guard had either died to a man or retreated when the Commissar LORD fell in battle. But it did not matter, her hat and her popped collar would hide any tears that she may have shed for them.
And then suddenly, there was a thumping. It couldn't be! She had bombed the area! She had drowned the orks in the bodies of the devoted guardsmen! She had evaporated the green tide with faith and fire! And yet... he still stomped through the ashes.
"ALRITE YA SQUISHY! I WANTZ DAT HAT!". He was as determined as he was arrogant, but even with his stubbornness, she could see something change in his face. Confusion had entered his small little brain. Perhaps it was because he was shocked that naught but a "pitiful" human could stand tall against the full force of a WAAAGGHHH. What was more amusing was that the Warboss had lost his patented pirate hat. She reached for her own hat, to tip it in torment at the Ork's incompetence... only to find nothing but hair in it's place. "WHERE IZ IT!? WHERE'Z DA HAT?!" the Ork roared in fury before noticing his own unprotected head. Shock turned to anger as both reached the same conclusion.
"DIOMEDES!" She screamed in unison to the Ork's own war-cries for "DEM'Z BLUDY MAGPIES HEADZ!". The eternal war made for some strange alliances, but none as strange as the Inquisitor and the Warboss hunting down the Thieves of Thieves, in retribution for their loss.
Diomedes sat with his new pirate hat. He thought it fitting for his position in a Chapter as renowned as his for "acquiring" gifts. "We Shahl Coll this maneuvah Stehl Stehl!" - The Ancient announced, as he disregarded his tattered old helmet for the Witch Hunter's headpiece.
Famous Blud Rehvens
- Chapter Master Gabriel Angelos - Original Badass and current Chapter Master of the Blud Rehvens, at least in the SM and IG endings of Retribution (the SM ending is canon, but he dies in every other ending). He is the first Blood Raven Chapter Master in recorded history to not at the same time be the Chief Librarian, probably because they finally realized that having a Chief Librarian/Chapter Master is a Bad Idea™. Gabe was the first Blood Raven character we were ever introduced to and has the most fully-formed character of anyone else. Known for his catch phrase "Walk softly and carry a big gun", which translates to "Steal the biggest thing and don't get noticed". He sentenced his own homeworld of Cyrene to Exterminatus after discovering extensively deep heresy on it (which he's still hurting over) and accidentally set the events of most of the series in motion by destroying a daemonic artifact known as the Maledictum and thus setting a Greater Daemon of Khorne loose. He still did his damndest to make up for it and succeeded.
- Comes back in Dawn of War III wearing an impressive looking suit of Tartaros Terminator Armour, as well as making ridiculous front 360 flips in it.
- Chief Librarian Azariah Vidya (get it? cuz they are in a vidya gaem?) - Led the chapter soon after their founding in a campaign against Alpha Legion (who have slain their Chapter Master) with most of the 1st Company and most of their previous command structure. Vidya made use of some kind of Tactical Genius, and his already large experience battling Chaos forces, made him naturally "understand" where the enemy was, so that his Rehvens perfectly striked where needed. He essentially found the "I WIN" button for that campaign and pressed it while engaging his inner troll-face. Vidya was hinted to actually be 'Arvida', a 'Corvidae' or seer, from the Thousand Sons Legion before GW decided to have Arvida merge with a shard of Magnus to become a being called Janus, later the first Supreme Grand Master of the Grey Knights (although this still doesn't rule him out as there is 5,000 years between when Janus/Arvida reappears on the galactic scene, and the appearance of Vidya. Not to mention how the Blood Ravens are able to field Grey Knights as troops without being mindwiped in the process).
- Isador Akios - Gabe's Librarian buddy. Was successfully tempted by Ssssiiiiindriiiiii into betraying the Blood Ravens, and was eventually killed by Gabe himself for that heresy (thus also enabling Gabe to spout an awesome one-liner while pulling the trigger).
- Captain Davian Thule - The only force commander to get 2 sexy voices in both games he appears in.....well that was until he got ripped by a Tyranid Warrior and interred into a Dreadnought, where he sounds just as scary as any near-psychotic Dread. Gets rekt by Eliphas in the first Chaos mission in Retribution, though. Way to punch the players in the gut, Relic.... We like to pretend that the Venerable Dreadnought honor guard in Retribution is Davian Thule, to soothe our deep emotional trauma. While the Space Marine ending to Retribution is canon, his character is never really addressed after Chaos Rising, other than the aforementioned humiliating annihilation, and could well be dead. It is still hinted that he and the 4th company fought during the 13th Black Crusade.
- Captain Indrick Baldeale - A master of STEEL REHN. He is quite dead at the moment. Unlike Davian though, nobody is in the least broken down about him. It is suggested that he was promoted too early and put into a campaign way above his current pay grade to get most of the loyal Blud Rahvens killed as a ploy by Kyras.
- Force Commander Hair Gel - Though he is given the name Aramus in a novel, the game and the novels contradict each other so we'll never know what is what. Usually called Force Commander Vanilla Ice or Hair Gel for his hair-esy, he's also the youngest Blood Raven Force Commander ever. In Retribution, he's mentioned in the "Hammer of the Nameless" wargear, stating that the hammer went missing after he was branded renegade by Kyras. It is slightly possible that Vanilla Ice might return in the series one day since it's never implied that he was executed by Gabe or defected to the Black Legion. Retribution hints that the "slightly tainted" ending of Chaos Rising is canon (ending #3 out of five possible endings), and in that ending he was sent to the Eye of Terror on a 100 year penitent crusade. Dialogue indicates that Thaddeus was sent along with Hair Gel.
- Avitus - A Devastator Sergeant, who's so angry that he hates everything. On top of that hate list are Imperial Guardsmen; when he was a regular human they were jerks who oppressed his neighborhood, and on Kronus he lost several battle brothers to the Guardsmen that stood against the Blood Ravens' cleaning up their Chapter's dark secret. Is an all-around badass who can fire plasma cannons and heavy bolters without needing to set up, given the proper upgrades. Has the same voice as the unknown heretic in Chaos Rising. In Retribution, he is stated to canonically be the heretic (who betrays the player and joins Eliphas' Black Legion warband) in the player's forces during Chaos Rising, as if him being fucking angry all the time wasn't enough of a dead-giveaway. He then gets killed by his ex-BFF Tarkus later on.
- Cyrus/Spike Spiegel/also Wolverine - A Scout Sergeant, who's so grimdark that he hates everything. He's also voiced by Steve Blum, which makes him awesome. Cyrus literally hates everything, short of the Emprah, and constantly bitches about how fucked up everything is during every briefing in the game. The whole "Spike Spiegel/Wolverine" name comes from his rather prolific VA's most famous characters, one from the anime Cowboy Bebop, the other from the X-Men cartoons and assorted games. Prefers to wear scout armor instead of tactical armor to show off he's that badass. He served in the Death Watch, explaining why he knows so much about the Tyranids.
- Jonah Orion - Gabe's new Librarian buddy after Isador got executed on Tartarus. He played a rousing game of mindfuck with the Tyranid Hivemind to allow Angelos' fleet to enter the system during the first DoWII. He won in the end, the only remaining sane & alive Librarian on Gabe's ship. And he becomes playable in Chaos Rising. Died in all endings of Retribution at the hands of DOM-Kyras as Relic likes to keep up with the tradition that the black guy has a 99% chance of being killed in the end. He's also the first confirmed black Space Marine who isn't from the Salamanders, which is Awesome. Well, there was also that one Black Templar guy in Damnation Crusade. Later turned out to be not quite dead, and appears as the new Chief Librarian in Dawn of War 3.
- Martellus - A Techmarine, also voiced by Steve Blum. His job is to inform you of bad news all the time while chilling on the strike cruiser. Survived getting his Thunderhawk shot down and stranded on Typhon for months, canonically wasn't the traitor in Chaos Rising, and became a playable character in DoWII: Retribution. If he becomes a traitor due to the player's use of artifacts, he will attack you in a Chaos Predator, fucking your shit up. (Despite not being the canonical traitor, he is nonetheless selected as the default traitor if none of the squads have been corrupted.)
- Tarkus - A Tactical squad Sergeant, who is bald and also the Ancient in Retribution. Noted for being surprisingly kind-hearted and dutiful for a Marine, Tarkus ever takes the role of a mentor and is a strict adherent to the Codex Astartes. Unusual in that if he falls to Chaos through artifacts, he does so with the express intention of using the daemonic weaponry to fuck over the Black Legion and Eliphas and bring Kyras to justice by his own hands. If turned to Chaos, he attacks with a daemonically possessed bolter that fucks things up with retardedly strong bolts of warpfire.
- Thaddeus - An Assault Marine Sergeant, the youngest and least grimdark of the gang. Is also a hair-etic and unsurprisingly joined Force Commander Hair Gel on his heresy during Chaos Rising. Canonically gets sent away on the penitent crusade alongside Commander Hair Gel after Chaos Rising, explaining his absence in Retribution.
- Apothecary Gordian - the man responsible for bringing Davian Thule back from the brink of death and overseeing his internment in a dreadnought. It's a pity that he gets virtually no screen time and gets killed when the Tyranids destroy your strike cruiser, since his few appearances mark him as a useful and generally cool character.
- Captain Apollo Diomedes- Captain of the veteran First Company and Honor Guard, and said to be the "greatest" warrior of the Blood Ravens history. He used to be a helmet-wearing jerkass of awesomeness until Retribution, where he is revealed to be bald. As such, this fa/tg/uy dubs him Abaldo Diomedes. Looks (and sounds) suspiciously like Indrick Boreale... "BRRUUUHVVAA I AM HITTT!" "IT IS DE BEEEIHNNNNBLEEEEHD!" As second in command to Kyras, he is suitably ashamed when the Chapter Master is revealed to have been a traitor for centuries. He steps down as First Captain and takes up the mantle of Chaplain to pay amends.
- Azariah Kyras - A Space Marine Librarian who falls to Chaos and dedicates himself to Khorne. In his early days he was stuck in a Spacey Hulk with a couple of marines, and after fighting in it for Emperor knows how long, he was corrupted by the Nurgle demon Ulkair. Was also Chapter Master of the Blood Ravens up until Retribution. Has a kickass VA ("Let the galaxy BURN!"). He looks like he hasn't slept since the time of the Ancient Sumerians (just look at those eye rings, someone give this man a tempur-pedic and some clonodine). He also happens to be one of the few psykers to gain the favor of Khorne in the history of 40k (apparently good enough to be granted daemonhood on top of all that too). This is largely due him kicking Ulkair to the curb after he got owned by Commander Hair Gel, and decided to cater to the daemon of Khorne Gabriel released.
- Moriah - Chapter Master and Chief Librarian that was before Kyras. Was known as the greatest and most powerful Blood Raven psyker to ever appear in the Chapter after Azariah Vidya. Fought Ulkair in a epic fight on planet Aurelia, psionically chained him to the planet and all before it got gobbled by the Warp. Did not survive the fight in the end. During the campaign you can get items that used to be wielded by him.
- Apothecary Galan - A traitor apothecary with a great voice, possessed by a daemon of Nurgle, trying to corrupt Abaldo Diomedes. Was part of the expedition that found Kyras aboard the Judgment of Carrion. Notable for bucking the "apothecaries aren't badass"-trend by carrying a chainsword that hits like a goddamn truck and having a bodyguard of assault terminators. If defeated in battle in Chaos Rising (optional objective), the daemon gets exorcised, and the actually repentant Galan (who was possessed against his will) gives you information that saves Diomedes' life... and then dies. Since Diomedes is alive in Retribution, that means canonically, Galan is dead.
- Scout Sergeant Priam - Got all his scouts kidnapped by a Sorcerer on Calderis, with the rest of them holed up in shitty clay structures against Chaos Dreadnoughts, Havocs, and missile-carrying Plague Marines. Suffice to say, if Hairgel doesn't deploy every shred of tactical genius he has, everyone gets properly fucked.
LysandrosMEHTULBAWKSES - shows up on Calderis to destroy an empty town in the ass end of nowhere on orders of Kyras. Notable for being the eternal nemesis of Firaeveus Carron by spamming not just Rhinos, but Razorbacks. Tells Diomedes (the player) to fuck off and stop being a buzzkilling asshole. The player then proceeds to kill him. Obviously.
- Dreadnought - A random hero of the chapter. The Blood Ravens must have a bunch, since they're more spammable than Predators. Most players pretend (in vain) that the Venerable version you can sub out Martellus for in Retribution is Thule, and weep quietly as it instagibs infantry in the background with assault cannon sweeps.
- Unnamed Traitor - Siding with Kyras and Chaos, he shows up in the later stages of Retribution, becoming the greatest exemplar of the thieving might of the chapter by stealing a Land Raider Redeemer from the Blood Ravens themselves. Is also a teamkilling fucktard who fires off the Land Raider's frag assault launchers directly into a huge mass of cultists (on the same side as him) worshiping Khorne, resulting in ludicrous gibs.
- Squad Corvus Marines - Shows up in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine during the Chaos Invasion. Noticing a group of Black Templars traveling to join the Liberation Fleet heading for Forge World Graia, Squad Corvus attached themselves to the strike force in order to "acquire" more gifts for the chapter (specifically, more Titans). They show up during the Chaos invasion and kick major ass, despite there being only like four of them. Just goes to show how fucking strong Blood Raven plot armor is... or how strong their dedication to "acquire" relics for their chapter can be.
- Rhamah - The blackest of Irish lepers graced us with this librarian, who got pulled into the warp while fighting off a Gellar field breach on the Litany of Fury. He ended up on a Harlequin library planet with amnesia, where he met Ahzek Ahriman. Getting convinced that they were battle brothers, he wandered around the library while Gabriel Angelos and company were looking for him. The moment Rhamah was found, he got a viking haircut courtesy of a space elf clown's power sword. The moral of the story is to avoid heresy. And also fuck C.S. Goto.
- Jensus Natorian - In the Deathwatch Overkill boxed game, Jensus is the librarian in Kill Team Cassius. Back when Jensus was a regular old human, his parents got killed by orks. That made Jensus angry. Really REALLY angry. He raged so hard he developed psychic powers, started tearing hordes of orks into hamburger with his bare hands, and made Khorne himself raise his fiery eyebrows and say “…DAMN.” So yeah, he kinda went
super saiyanAngry Librarian. After Jensus ran out of greenskins to render down to their component parts, he was right about to be taken by the Black Ships when a chap by the name of Inquisitor Belicor decided that Jensus’ rage could be put to better use, shipped him off to the Blood Ravens, and later oversaw his induction into the Deathwatch, where his psychic contributions are less about mind bullets and more about mind RIP AND TEAR. Jensus also makes the Blood Ravens the only non-First Founding Chapter represented in the Deathwatch Overkill box, much to the disappointment of Black Templar players.
- Captain Arthrus Godfrey - The Captain of 4th Company that fought Hivefleet Behemoth with Inquisitor Kryptman in the series made by Eliphas the Inheritor. Scares the crap out of the Death Watch members who know that the Blud Rehvens are thieving bastards.
The Lazy Fuckwits of 4th Company
The Blood Ravens 4th Company is recognized as the laziest sons of bitches in the entire goddamn sector. For all of Dawn of War 2, these bastards sat around on Calderis, only to show up when Davian Thule gets KO'd by a Tyranid Warrior. Their battle strategy basically involves "let the Force Commander do all the work". So only about twenty marines and the rest of the Blood Raven scouts actually do shit, while the rest of these fat bastards sit around on Calderis getting chewed up by gribblies. Where the fuck are they when the Force Commander needs them!? Probably "discovering and obtaining" more artifacts.
The Force Commander never actually needs them on the battlefield though: he, Thule, Tarkus, Cyrus, and/or Jonah alone are perfectly capable of blasting the stuffing from Cannon Fodder, Tyrants and Fatty Daemon Princess (if they are properly equipped and employing hit-run-cheat-hit tactic). Friendly Cannon Fodder is useless in hard battles anyway. Better let them loot friends and foes.
If you wanted to split hairs, you could argue that the rest of the 4th Company is the reinforcements you call in when your squads get KO'd and you run back to a satellite dish/strategic point to heal up. This begs the question to why they don't just deploy full-sized squads to begin with and overwhelm the enemy from the start.
The rest of the company are probably deployed to other theatres, performing side objectives on the same planet, presumably launched from the Strike Cruiser Armageddon/Retribution's thunderhawk gunships and minimizing the number of reinforcements that jump in front of Thule's assault cannon or Multimelta or getting too close to Tarkus using his face as an orbital strike beacon because he gives zero fucks about being hit with lance batteries.
Throughout the Dawn of War II trilogy, the Blood Ravens have numerous opportunities to receive wargear for them to use in battle. When you read the flavor text, a good number of them are obtained through vague circumstances or described as "gifts", either implying that they were salvaged from the dead who aren't Blood Ravens or were downright stolen from both loyal and traitor marine chapters and other Imperial organizations. How they got away with that is something only the Emperor would know. Seeing as their battle gear includes (and is not limited to) scraps from Ultramarines, Space Wolves, Imperial Fists, Salamanders, Dark Angels, Iron Snakes, Blood Angels, Black Templars, Iron Hands, Grey Knights, even the Adeptus Custodes and at least one Primarch, the Emperor probably is the only one that could know.
Why they do this is a much more obvious matter, and doesn't even need old memes to justify it: they are not an official chapter and must make do with what they find. In case you haven't noticed thus far: they are (One of several chapters) named after an intelligent bird known for feasting on the dead, which makes them value the spoils of war more than any other chapter. In addition, they are always on the move, implying heavily that they are the Space Gypsies of the Warhammer 40k. This makes further sense when you consider that "Gypsies" is derived from "Egyptian", and the Thousand Sons are Egyptian-themed (although gypsies are actually ethnically Indian). Maybe the White Scars like them, but they only hang out with their successors anyway.
So how will this end? I don't know...But I'm pretty sure they are a textbook case of mass kleptomania, which could be explained as an unnoticed gene-seed corruption (because when you're checking for thing like growing the wrong number of limbs, a compulsion to steal is going to be a lot less visible).
Of course, will you question the Omnissiah and the Machine Cult when it comes to handling artifacts?
They’ve even started to steal vehicles now. With them “Acquiring” an assortment of Nephilim Fighters from ravenwing.
HOW THE FUCK DO YOU STEAL CUSTODES EQUIPMENT?! They could have had it "gifted" from the Deathwatch. But that means somebody was stupid enough to promote a Blood Raven to a Watch or Forge Master in the first place.
Skarbrand’s weapon is pretty cool too, I guess.
And neither are his other beloved Special Snowflakes.
- A Blood Raven marine sneaking off with an Ultramarine Land Raider with incomprehensible stealth.
- It is worse than we imagined. Also note Boreale's face while holding the Eldar
- Much worse.
- So bad, they would steal from each other (Though why would they want THAT particular relic is anybody's guess).
- Stole not one, but two whole Primarchs before they were even found.
The Blood Ravens have also been known for their excessively fangirl-esque behavior, including forging weapons for other chapters and declaring them relics after the receiving chapter rejected them, and naming wargear after off-hand comments by famous chapters, though by now they themselves are a very famous chapter.
Alternatively, they may just enjoy trolling the hell out of other chapters. For a chapter that gives all of zero fucks about slaughtering the Sisters of Battle and Imperial Guard, it could really go either way. Either this, or Relic are massive trolls themselves and all of the Space Gypsy stuff is just as planned.
An alternative alternative is that Tzeentch is actually seeing how much he has to piss off other chapters in the Blood Ravens name in order to get them to turn completely traitor. He may even be pretending to be Khorne, since that's the only god anyone is apparently willing to worship anymore. Hey, it's better than being completely forgotten like a certain Slaanesh...
A third alternative is that, given how many relics they
steal acquire, they may be trying to come to good terms with other chapters by spreading their loot around. That said, it is also entirely possible that it serves as a way of fencing stolen goods: take stuff, disguise true origins, and then offer the things back to their original owners with the certainty that they will reject it as an inferior copy of something they think they still have in their armory.
Darnath Lysander is not amused.
04:00 - Rousing from slumber. The Ravens get up from their beds, which they got as a "gift".
05:00 - Morning Prayer. The Blood Ravens pray to the Emperor to grant them the right to "borrow" chaos, xenos and Imperial relics.
06:00 - Morning Firing Rites. The Blood Ravens hone their skills with the ammunition "graciously gifted" by fellow Astartes chapters.
07:00 - Battle Practice. The Blood Ravens practice heists and tactical pick pocketing on Imperial worlds.
11:00 - Psychic checkup. The Blood Ravens do their daily psychic checkup on who can be a Librarian that will help the Blood Ravens locate the best loot to 'borrow' from.
12:00 - Midday Prayer. The Blood Ravens pray to the Emperor for fortune for more "gifts". The chapter's chapels has grown noticeably more gaudy.
13:00 - Midday Meal. The Blood Ravens eat some food they got from other chapters or civilians. As such, food varies daily.
13:15 - Tactical Indoctrination. Blood Ravens are informed on which items to "borrow". Anything from a crate of boltguns to a Land Raider can and will be subjected to involuntary renting.
15:00 - "Battle" Practice. The Blood Ravens now put their practice session to the test on any number of worlds. It is rumored that they can "borrow" anywhere from an entire Armory World's worth of weapons, to a Paradise World's worth of thrones, in a single night of galactic-wide thievery.
20:00 - Evening Prayer. The Blood Ravens thank the Emperor for their new-found "gifts". Bit by bit, the chapter's chapels strangely start to resemble the intricate chapels found only on the richest of Cardinal Worlds.
21:00 - Evening Meal. A feast is provided by the Chapter serfs, who got them as "presents".
21:45 - Night Firing Exercises. The Blood Ravens practice formations in the dark to further hone in their "skills". Any marine who end up trying to steal another Blood Raven's wargear for "Extra ammunition" is disciplined.
23:00 - Maintenance Rituals. The marines maintain their equipment. The techmarines and chaplains busy themselves removing any incriminating marks and icons on their new-found "gifts". It is also at this time every librarian on the fleet monastery are led by Chief Librarian (Jonah Orion) as well as their Chapter Master (Gabriel Angelos) to skim through every documents, scrolls, and data that was "gifted" today for the clues about their father. If lucky, librarian may find hints about new "gifts" which they will then inform higher up to send the marines acquired the gifts, tomorrow.
00:00 - Rest Period. The Ravens return to 'their' beds.
The (Incomplete) Loot List
- Many of the weapons and armor the Magpies have been "gifted"
- More items. Curiously, none of them are gifts.
- The Squats.
- The hands of the Iron Hands.
- Matt Ward’s dignity.
- The Emperor's discarded toilet paper.
- All decent rules for playing a carnifex.
- Common sense.
- Trayzn the Infinite's coffee cup.
- Female Orcs.
- A pair of imperial titans (from Graia)
- what may or may not be A female space marine.
- A clean Luke.
- The manliness in Cato Sicarius.
- Trazyn's outfit during first contact.
- Rogal Dorn
- 5 of the 9 Artifacts of vulkan (Trazyn still has the other 4...the chapter is trying to change that)
- Ahzek Ahriman's rubrik’s cube.
- Ahzek Ahriman's other rubik’s cube
- Magnus the red's right eye (from Tzeench)
- Slaanesh's ovaries.
- Corvus Corax
- Kaldor Draigo's sanity
- the White Scars
- Leman Russ
- Plankton’s Lawn Mower
- Every single OOP model