The eviler version of the loyalist Dreadnought. Generally-speaking
cruder, less-advanced bullshit, in 40k old tech is best tech functionally identical but less shiny, except for the fact that the dual-linked axles connecting the legs were "discontinued due to instability". Notably less-noble than its Space Marine counterpart, the Chaos Dreadnought is usually piloted by former Chaos Champions who were cut down in their prime. As a great many of these were not particularly mentally-stable in the first place (what with serving Chaos and all), and Dreadnought tech the Chaos Legions have is typically older, less-advanced, and shittier than that of the loyalists, most Chaos Dreadnoughts have a notorious reputation for succumbing to built-up psychosis and flying into screaming, psychotic rages in which they do a bang-up impression of an Angry Marine high on hallucinogenic drugs, flinging themselves forward and burning, slicing, crushing, ripping, tearing, and raping anything in front of it.
Often a combination of many (if not all) of the above at once.
This is made worse by the fact that what a given Legion does with its Dreadnought occupants varies dramatically on an individual basis. The Emperor's Children for example, keeps them in a drugged-up haze, whilst the World Eaters simply leave them awake and aware but unhooked from their Dreadnoughts. When they go into battle, either due to a hangover or due to pure balls-out rage, the average Dread pilot has ample amounts of frustration to vent.
Suffice to say, the Chaos Marines have a divided opinion on Dreadnoughts. Many continue the ways of their pre-heresy fellows, often viewing the internment of their fallen champions in Dreadnoughts as a sign of reverence, but in many cases Chaos Marines view this as being assigned a living death; their ambition has been cut short and they are now doomed to fight on in a cold metal shell, never again to participate in the glory of direct combat. The ones that fight on despite it, such as Tankred's rival Donovan, are bad-ass, if, like all Chaos Dreadnoughts, out of their motherfucking minds.
Additionally, whilst rare, it's possible for the occupant of a loyalist Dreadnought to turn to Chaos. One that does keeps its loyalist chassis but becomes a Chaos Dreadnought in all other respects. So Grimdark.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Ferrum Infernus Dreadnought
- 3 Emperor's Children Sonic Dreadnought
- 4 World Eaters Berserker Dreadnought
- 5 Helbrute
- 6 Chaos Contemptors
- 7 Hellforged Leviathan Dreadnought
- 8 Gallery
On paper, the Chaos Dreadnought is amazing save for one major flaw (which is described in detail below) - same cost as a loyalist Dreadnought, with one more attack. Its close-combat weapon can take a variety of forms (Many players like giving them Defiler claws, Chainfists, or giant sledgehammers), but regardless of what it is, it counts as a Dreadnought Close-Combat weapon. This Dread CCW comes equipped with a twin-linked Bolter by default, and can be replaced by a Heavy Flamer for a surprisingly low points-cost. The arm can be replaced with a Missile Launcher, just like a loyalist Dreadnought, and this reduces its melee capacity significantly (but does not remove it).
The other arm (which you need to pay for) can be any of several options. You can put on another close-combat weapon with another twin-linked bolter (which can be upgraded to a Heavy Flamer just like the other one), and it can pack twin-linked Lascannons, Twin-Linked Heavy Bolters, or a Plasma Cannon, just like the loyalist flavor. The Chaos Dreadnought cannot take Assault Cannons, but it also has an option
the Loyalist version doesn't HA HA NOT ANY MORE which is pretty decent (twin-linked Autocannon). The Plasma Cannon (which costs surprisingly little) is widely considered its best option and is widely-regarded as one of the best ways to get a no-risk Plasma Cannon onto the table (with default config this will run you only 105 points!), but all are pretty viable.
With all these options and a low cost, the Chaos Dreadnought, in theory, is amazing. Unfortunately, it suffered from the Crazed rule.
The old Crazed rules basically means that the Chaos Dreadnought, overpowered with pain and rage, has a small chance (about 1 in 3) to act other than how its owner desires. The table below covers the effect of the dice rolls on 1d6:
- 1: Fire Frenzy - the Dreadnought may not move or assault this turn. Instead it must turn towards the closest unit(friend or foe) and fire all of its weapons. Twice. If the Dreadnought cannot fire any ranged weapons (due to everyone being out-of-range or its ranged weapons being offlined), this is treated as a 2-5: Sane result instead.
- 2-5: Sane - the Dreadnought controls normally this turn.
- 6: Blood Rage - the Chaos Dreadnought may not shoot until the end of the turn, gets the Fleet special rule. It must move towards the closest enemy unit as fast as possible and assault the enemy in the assault phase, if possible. If the Chaos Dreadnought is immobilized, this counts as a 2-5: Sane result.
For reasons obvious, the Chaos Dreadnought is one of those tabletop units that is either insanely good or insanely bad, with no real middle ground, depending on where and how it's used and whether or not the blessing of the dice god decides to cooperate. If used correctly and deployed carefully with lucky dice-rolls, it will bring a heaping pile of ownage to the table for a disturbingly low points cost - 100 or so points for a Dreadnought with a Plasma Cannon is amazing for efficiency, especially given that its crazed rules can actually work for you on occasion (Fire Frenzy + Firing line of Necrons = lots and lots of Necron casualties). If you get bad rolls it will spend most of the game pointlessly chasing a unit or worse, firing on your own troops. It wasn't a unit for the faint of heart. But anyone who can maintain the blessings of Lady Luck and Admiral Awesome would have found a place in their hearts (and armies) for the Chaos Dreadnought.
Notable Chaos Dreadnought
- Sor Talgron, the Warmonger: The Warmonger, of the Word Bearer's 34th Host stands out among his peers namely for the fact he's sane-ish. This may be due to his faith or the fact that since Sor was the former Dark Apostle of the host and fought at the siege of Terra he's not treated like a weapon and chained to a wall. Rather he hangs around the host's base giving out advice to his brothers and in turn they all treat him like their cool grandpa, kinda like an evil Bjorn who likes telling stories. However he's not fully there and so still thinks he's fighting the Horus Heresy and that Horus is alive and kicking.
- Berossus, Warsmith of the Iron Warriors (Deceased): At the time of the Horus Heresy, Berossus was the arrogant and dickish Captain of the Second Grand Company of the Iron Warriors. As one of the elite officers of the Legion, Berossus was granted the dubious honor of serving as the adjutant to his Primarch, Perturabo. During the Battle of Phall, it fell to Berossus to inform his Primarch that the Iron Warriors weren't doing so great against the Imperial Fists and that, as the excrement icing on the crap cake, there was no way they could capture First Captain Sigismund during the battle because he wasn't even there. Surprise surprise, this enraged Perturabo (doesn't really take much), who proceeded to bitch-slap Berossus so hard, not only did his long-dead mother on distant, gutted Olympia feel it, but it mortally wounded him as well. Either as a gesture of regret over his team kill or further punishment (let's be honest, it's probably the latter), Perturabo entombed the broken Berossus in a Chaos Dreadnought. Despite his new situation, Berossus maintained command of his Company and even took to the whole trapped-forever-in-a-tin-can-whether-you-like-it-or-not-thing pretty well, learning to love the power of his new form. He didn't even go that crazy. Berossus remained a Warsmith even after he decided to throw in his lot with Warsmith Toramino to throw down against a particularly evil half-breed Iron Warrior named Honsou, thinking that he'd finally get in on the whole team killing thing in a way that finally benefited him. Unfortunately, Honsou ended up ripping out the mortal remains of Berossus from his dreadnought chassis, crushing what was left of the Warsmith's brain and thus team killing him for the second time. Some guys just never get a break.
Ferrum Infernus Dreadnought
Introduced with Imperial Armour 13, this particular variant of the old Boxnought is what happens when the Chaos Marines take to the old corpsefucker axiom "EVEN IN DEATH I STILL SERVE". These are the people who embrace their evilness as giant walking boxes and continue their bloody warpath as they seek daemonhood instead of wussing out at losing the ability to feel everything and turning into fleshmetal abominations like the Helbrutes.
For about 10 points more than a Loyalist Ven Dread, you get a dread of equal stats with a vast selection of weapons for both melee and ranged combat, with the ability to go full melee (and gaining a bonus attack). He can also boost his bolters to gain rending using Malefic ammo. Since these guys still have their sanity, they can also grab Dedications to Chaos (Sorta like Marks, but with different boosts), allowing for some extra help in a certain field.
And for an extra punch, you can purchase one of three rules for more fun:
- Lord of the Long War: Gives the dread back a variant of Champions of Chaos. He can issue and accept challenges like a character (But he can deny them, thanks FW!). If he ever explodes (and only when he explodes), he has to roll a d6, with a 33% chance of either mutating into a gribbly thing, re-rolling the damage result and pretty much fighting (and dying) like normal), or becoming a Daemon Prince of fuckawesome metal.
- Destroyer of Cities: Meant for more urban terrain (or Cities of Death), this gives the dread a Flamestorm Cannon and an Sx2 AP2 Armourbane Drill that has a Heavy Flamer that can damage units inside of buildings and transports on a Pen. Issue with this is that you can't take any other weapons. Really, take this for cracking open mech armies.
- Host of Daemonic Iron: The dread gets to ignore Shaken/Stunned results instead of the Ven's re-roll to Pen. Additionally, anyone who shaves a HP off him takes an automatic S4 AP3 hit for every HP lost, making him more threatening up close. At range, he'll last a bit longer, but it won't help him survive.
Well, that didn't last too long. Now that 7th ed is over and 8th ed is here, seems one of the casualties from Forgeworld is the Ferrum Infernus Dreadnought. Barring any updates from Forgeworld, consider this one squatted - rage in power, l'il dark one...
Emperor's Children Sonic Dreadnought
A variant of the Castra-Ferrum Dread, these are dreads toting sonic weaponry and dedicated to Slaanesh. The job isn't taken lightly, however: Slaaneshi marines live off all sensation, and being stuck in a METAHL BAWKS pretty much denies the user of all feeling, which would drive them batshit insane. Those Noise Marines in the Sonic Dreads therefore love their noise weapons so much that they don't give a damn about being stuck in a box.
The fact that this has remained a mainstay in the Forge World catalog despite the terrible outdating is proof on how awesome noise guns are.
They're a good deal more expensive than a regular Ven Dread for a similar statline, but that price also comes with Dedication to Slaanesh (giving the dread free grenades) and a Sonic Blaster and Doom Siren. While he can take most of the normal weapons available to dreads, doing this would be a disservice as only Sonic Weapons can be fired in Overdrive, granting the weapons Rending and Gets Hot. Instead, grab the Blastmaster if you need a new gun. If you want to replace your chainfist with a missile launcher, then that's cool too, since you're already here to shoot shit up. The last (and probably best) upgrade available is the Warp Amp, which allows you to double your firing rate if you don't move. Yeah, 6 S4 AP5 Cover-Ignoring Sonic Blasts, 4 S5 AP4 Cover-Ignoring Pinning shots, or 2 S8 AP3 Pinning Cover-Ignoring pieplates of sonic doom. TAKE.
Tl;dr, think of them as the eviler and spikier counterparts to the Dark Angels Mortis Dreadnought as both are reliant on a brain-shattering amounts of Dakka and loud noises to both make their enemies to shit themselves disorientated.
World Eaters Berserker Dreadnought
Wooo boy. The RIP AND TEAR version to the Sonic Dreadnought's Rock 'n' Roll. The Berserker Dreadnought is another variant of the Castra-Ferrum Dread that is aligned with Khorne and its designed in tearing several new orifices in whichever unfortunate victim who just so happens to be in its way. These infernal machines first appeared among the Contemptor Dreadnoughts of the World Eaters Legion during the Horus Heresy.
To give you a better perspective on how much these guys can rip apart army formations like a bloody pinata, imagine a Berserker. Now we should all know how much of a pain train a Khornate Berserker is when in CQC. Now place these insane murder fetishist inside a giant METHUL BAWKS with even BIGGER weapons and then make it so that the raging murdermachines can't feel anything, causing them to rage even harder to the point of bursting a vein. And voila! You just have the Chaos' answer to the Blood Angels Death Company Dreadnought. Enjoy your session of metaphorically raping you friend in the ass.
These dreadnoughts are optimized for close combat assaults and as line breakers, modified from standard patterns to be larger and swifter than their more common counterparts. They were frequently used in near suicidal charges into the heart of an enemy line. Their use by the World Eaters may have even pre-dated the Heresy, further contributing to their savage reputation.
Berserker Dreadnoughts are all armed with gigantic Chain weapons for extra efficiency in tearing through flesh and assholes. Range weapons you say? Pfffttt...Range weapons are for pussies anyway.
Much like Eldar and Ork Dreadnoughts before them (now Wraithlords and Deff Dreads, respectively), Games Workshop "replaced" Chaos Dreadnoughts. The new model called a Helbrute is just the classic CSM dread with a different name.
Fluff-wise, Helbrutes are essentially Chaos Dreadnoughts with the grimdark dial turned to 21. Rather than just being entombed inside a sarcophagus and forced to never again feel the glory of combat, the pilot of a Helbrute is entombed like regular Chaos Dreads, but rather than going just insane from captivity, the pilot of the walker will eventually meld into the machine's metal, ensuring he not only loses his shit from being hooked-up to an insane death-machine, but also from the fact that he's forcefully becoming one with said death machine. And that's not getting into how the implantation process usually involves tentacles whose origin is best left unknown burrowing into the victim's flesh and forcibly merging with his nervous system, which inevitably drives him mad within days, if not hours. The few Helbrutes which still retain some shred of sanity inevitably welcome their destruction.
In one of the solo missions included in Dark Vengeance, the Helbrute is given a name and background as Sevarion Kranon (later renamed Mortis Metallikus. Yeah, GW's really gone far with their names). His brother Sevastus Kranon (later Kranon the Relentless, Chaos Lord of the Crimson Slaughter), tricked/forced him inside a Helbrute chassis after he protested against the increasing corruption within his chapter. The resulting transformation slowly crippled his body and soul, melding him into his prison. The process turned him so insane that whatever was left of the loyalist Brother's mind was completely lost, replaced by the id that is the Helbrute. Then a Dark Angels Librarian flooded his mind with empathy for several seconds, stunning the Helbrute long enough for a Tactical Marine to shove a plasma cannon up its mechanical ass and put it out of its misery.
Unlike regular Dreadnoughts, Helbrutes are mass-produced by Warpsmiths, who view them as a tool of punishment rather than an honor to be earned (as opposed to their loyalist counterparts). This would be a good thing for Chaos if they didn't keep going batshit insane in the process.
The Helbrute is largely identical to the Chaos Dreadnought it replaced with a few tweaks, namely its price and equipment options. Following the FAQ, this cheap little bastard armed with a basic power fist and multi-melta clocks in at a paltry 100 pts. - fuckin' A! The brute can exchange its multi-melta for a reaper autocannon, plasma cannon, twin-linked lascannon or another power fist; the premier power fist can be exchanged for a power scourge (S8, AP2, -D3 to enemy model WS in base contact), thunder hammer or missile launcher. Do note that there's a quirk in the rules RAW: you can exchange one power fist for any of the items following the semi-colon in that last sentence! This means you can load your brute with a missile launcher and a power scourge if you feel so inclined.
In the 6th edition codex, the old dreadnought's biggest liability gets reborn into much of a positive feature for the brute. For starters, the roll is now a D3 whenever it loses a hull point and no more will you face a 33% chance of the Helbrute shooting at your own guys if you roll a one. However, the target priority harkens back to 3.5 where you have to shoot an enemy within range (preferably the unit responsible for removing an HP from the brute) twice. Otherwise, a 2 will scrub stunned and shaken results and grant rage while a 3 will do all that plus bestow fleet and force the brute to run if not within 12" of an enemy (preferably closer to whatever was responsible for making it lose a hull point).
There has been much debate as to how to use the Helbrute effectively. Detractors point out that the merits of the Loyalist Dreadnought do not carry over to the Helbrute - specifically the options of drop pod transport or a rifleman dreadnought setup. And yes, trying to play a Helbrute like that will disappoint you because it can't do any of that! Most of the detractors are just Defiler fetishists, but not all of them; Helbrutes require support, especially from Warp Smiths but also from other war machines.
Additionally, GW released a dataslate for the brutes with 3 new formations for basic 40K. These are the Mayhem Pack, Helcult and Helfist Murderpack; all of them tweak both the brutes' survivability and usefulness in one way or another. The Mayhem Pack makes a group of 3 brutes deepstrike and gives them all a free roll per turn on the crazed table (suffice to say, you should tool these guys up for both Dakka and Choppa) - this one is said to be the more useful of the two. The Helcult gives the brute two units of chaos cultist meatshields, providing a 3+ cover save at the expense of a dead cultist; meanwhile the cultists get to be fearless while the brute is still alive and zealots should it die, but will be hit in close combat should the brute roll a 1 to hit. Lastly, the Murderpack is a vehicle unit of 5 Helbrutes with one of them designated as a champion (conferring both an Aura of Dark Glory and Character special rules, he also confers rage onto his unit if he goes down); they also get to choose which Crazed result they have.
Finally, the era of stupid broken bullshit from 7th is done and we can move on and forget about that particular stupid garbage. Actually, so much has changed between the editions that we've walked back to portions of 2nd edition. Specifically, the brute now has a toughness and wounds values and is now a solid tanky bastard that only gets buffs from Crazed.
You thought that only the Loyalists had access to Contemptors? NOPE. Chaos also have their own.
Chaos Contemptors are a rarity and symbol of the Chaos Marines' past. Contemptors were standard equipment back when the Traitor Legions were still loyal to the Emperor. After the Horus Heresy bombed and the Legions fled to the Eye of Terror, it became difficult, if not almost impossible, to maintain the current equipment of the Chaos Marines. The parts that were vital to the equipment's functionality were either corrupted by warp energies, or they had to be replaced with something else due to lack of materials and/or lack of appropriate skills. That treatment was what made Chaos Contemptors different from their Imperial counterparts.
New armaments included weapons such as Butcher Cannons, Soulburners, or replacing the typical power source with a Hellfire Reactor. That last one powered the Dreadnought by consuming the souls of those the walker slew, and psykers were even more vulnerable to its predations. The drawback of the Hellfire Reactor is that the Chaos Contemptor lost its Atomantic shielding.
Due to its unique construction and capabilities, the Contemptors caught the eyes of the Dark Gods, and thus blessed them with various gifts and abilities. Khornate Contemptors are unmatched in the arts of RIP AND TEAR. Slaaneshi are equipped with even more powerful sonic weaponry. Nurgle Contemptors are insanely durable and resilient. Tzeentch on the other hand turns Chaos Contemptors into DAKKA incarnate thanks to his arcane knowledge. Thus most of the walkers serve a single patron, yet there are some that serve Chaos Undivided.
What's the most interesting thing about the Chaos Contemptors is that every single Chaos Worshipper (mostly particularly powerful Chaos Lords and Dark Mechanicus Magos members) want it badly to be entombed inside one of them after a "unfortunate incident". Why? Because the occupant suffers neither the madness/pain combo that regular Chaos Dreadnoughts have, nor the madness that comes with being fused as a Hellbrute. This is what truly makes these killer-engines so dangerous apart of their daemonically powered arsenal. This is probably one of the few times when being a Chaos Marine inside a METAL BAWKS doesn't suck.
Only significant minus is that just like the Imperial Contemptors, the Chaos ones come in very limited numbers, and the technology and techniques to produce new ones disappeared in the fires of the Horus Heresy. So you can imagine how desperate Chaos Marines are in trying to find those things.
Mhara Gal Dreadnoughts
The unholy bastard child of Contemptor Dread and a Gal Vorbak troop, this thing was an oddity that was exclusive to the Word Bearers during the Horus Heresy. Because of its nature the Gal Vorbak is half Contemptor-turning-Helbrute, half Daemon Engine, but is wholly a big mass of "Fuck You" to any enemy short of a tank that gets within range of its guns. Also because of its nature, the Mhara Gal's already arcane physical technology twisted in ways that made its components powered halfway on sorcery, and the result was something even weirder than most daemon engines. While Lorgar was generally nice to all of his kids, the Mhara Gal was the start of the tradition of using a dreadnought as a form of punishment for falling down on the battlefield, particularly for those "blessed" by having a daemon forced inside them.
As for their presence for after the Heresy: it's presumable they had all been killed off, or are serving on Sicarus as honor guards for high ranked Dark Apostles and in the Basilica of Torment for Dreadnought power fisting.
Mechanically, these things are like regular Contemptors and can only be taken in singles, but the main attraction is a mess of special rules, mostly revolving around fucking with morale in a pre-ATSKNF environment.
Hellforged Leviathan Dreadnought
The Chaos version of the Leviathan Dreadnought. Not much is known about them in lore, but seeing how Leviathan Dreadnoughts are even rarer and more expensive to make than Contemptors and the general logistical nightmare of the Traitor Legions you can assume they are among the most valuable things in the Eye of Terror.
"Imma go 31st millennium on your ass!" --Contemptor Dreadnought before showing this regular one the meaning of Dakka