|Battle Cry||"We have come for you!" or "Ave Dominus Nox!"|
|Champion||Krieg Acerbus (Daemon Prince)|
|Specialty||Stealth, guerrilla warfare, and terror tactics|
|Allegiance||Depends on the warband (at least with regards to the Ruinous Powers. Otherwise, it's mostly to themselves).|
|Colours||Midnight Blue, with Brass trim. *Apply blood liberally, or as needed.*|
"Because the Wolves kill cleanly, and we do not. They also kill quickly, and we have never done that, either. They fight, they win, and they stalk back to their ships with their tails held high. If they were ever ordered to destroy another Legion, they would do it by hurling warrior against warrior, seeking to grind their enemies down with the admirable delusions of the 'noble savage'. If we were ever ordered to assault another Legion, we would virus bomb their recruitment worlds; slaughter their serfs and slaves; poison their gene-seed repositories and spend the next dozen decades watching them die slow, humiliating deaths. Night after night, raid after raid, we'd overwhelm stragglers from their fleets and bleach their skulls to hang from our armour, until none remained. But that isn't the quick execution the Emperor needs, is it? The Wolves go for the throat. We go for the eyes. Then the tongue. Then the hands. Then the feet. Then we skin the crippled remains, and offer it up as an example to any still bearing witness. The Wolves were warriors before they became soldiers. We were murderers first, last, and always!" —Jago Sevatarion
The Night Lords Space Marine Legion consists of some of the more batshit(HA!)-crazy emos, kind of like the Chaos version of the Raven Guard. They get off to catching their enemies, skinning them alive and crucifying them, all the while recording it for later. Also notable for having a strong vampire motif and playing too much Mortal Kombat; they're scary creatures that live in the dark but scorn the Chaos Gods, much like the Vampire Counts. Their backstory is surprisingly compelling and deep, but they are nevertheless bitter, brutal, terrifying assholes whose battle cries include "We have come for you!" or "Ave Dominus Nox" (translated as "Hail the Lord of the Night").
Their Primarch called himself the Night Haunter (his IRL name was Konrad Curze). When Chaos abducted the infant Primarchs, they were scattered across the galaxy. Poor lil Konrad ended up on Nostramo, a world of perpetual darkness. And unlike the other Primarchs who were found by the inhabitants of a planet and taken care of, Konrad was left all alone to fend for himself, in a world that was a dark, lawless land. But who's to say it would've been better? So then he grew up, he became like the Batman of the 31st millennium, where he punished the corrupt and the evil. Only the difference from Batman is that he did it in the most gruesome manner possible, such as by hanging the guilty person's disemboweled corpse for all to see or beating the person to literally an unrecognizable pulp, to the point the sewers were clogged with bodies. Strangely enough, this was actually considered an improvement. So yeah, he became such a popular icon that the people of Nostramo basically fixed their shitty society because they feared that the "Night Haunter" would screw their asses to unimaginable levels, thus making him Vlad the Impaler IN SPACE!!! It says something about his world that, even as Vlad the Impaler, he was still clearly quite the good guy.
They also have an unhealthy addiction to flying and lightning. Known for scaring the hell out of civilians for shits and giggles. They are also known for being insanely giant fucking nutheads. Wherever the Night Lords strike, they leave corpses and signs of their assault on display and generally make it look like all the Segmentum's worst metal bands had a gig in the exact same area at the exact same time.
Despite being "traitors" they claim not to be terribly fond of the Chaos Gods and make little to no use of daemons, so they're more of a renegade legion than an unclean one. Which makes them less likely to (accidentally) become possessed. It won't matter though, because they are fucking insane anyway, not only because of their combat doctrines, but also because they have been around for a very long time. Notable exceptions include Krieg Acerbus, a Daemon Prince currently leading the largest warband of Night Lords, who also happen to be hardcore, full-on batshit chaos worshipers. There's also the first claw's Uzas, who's all about blood for the Blood God. In fact, earlier incarnations of the background listed them as a Khornate Legion, and Khorne smiles upon those who murder for the sake of murder, even one's allies, which Night Lords do whenever they can. However, because they're in denial about their religion, they neither get the goodies of the Chaos Gods, nor the technology of the Imperium. So whenever loyalists show up with assault cannons, stormbolters, cyclone missile launchers, land speeders, drop-pods, and hunter killer missiles they silently cry in the night. Or take it out on them by kicking the shit out of the local chapter of Ultramarines.
Night Lord warbands, for the most part, are somewhat sensible in that they don't just send in their marines to die in droves. So they generally don't titty-rush the nearest Titan for the lulz unless said Titan is REALLY fucking their mojo up. When they do engage in direct combat, they generally prefer complete overwhelming force to ensure minimal losses, maximum carnage, and enough skulls to stick on their pauldrons. So they're pretty much a chaos version of Reasonable Marines. Including the Alpha Legion too, obviously.
They make use of their sneakiness and fuck shit up that way. Striking behind enemy lines, ambushes, sabotaging generators and command centers, etc. Knowing this, one considers them being pretty sensible. In one-on-one combat a Night Lord will do his best to make sure he has the upper hand, and thus resort to cheat tactics by breaking every rule possible and use every dirty trick to avoid being 'on equal footing' with the opponent. Just like certain slimy BDSM pricks. Basically what I'm trying to say is that they make good card/poker players.
They like unconventional shock-and-awe tactics. One of them, Talos, disabled a ship's bridge by doing a fifteen-second-long vox-amplified scream, which, thanks to his three lungs and super-humanly strong vocal chords, blew out every unprotected eardrum in the room and put many of the bridge staff in a coma.
If they can't use fear as a tactic, they will always resort to trying to break morale by sabotaging objectives of strategic import or executing leaders and commanders.
This isn't to say that their tactics make them unstoppable. Terror-tactics work well on people who can be scared, meaning that their normal operations tend not to work well on Space Marines. Which means that Imperial Guard are one of their favorite targets, because some literally live off of fear, some are just too numerous to be affected, and some are simply immune to it.
Especially noteworthy is that the last time they really had to fight face-to-face, mano-a-mano, was right after the Heresy, when the guys with a toilet seat as their insignia came looking for them on their fortress world of Tsagualsa . The Night Lords got slaughtered. Now, to be fair, by that time it was a while since they replenished their numbers after the Heresy. Additionally, in their stupidity, they chose to "bunker down" instead of using their typical hit-and-run tactics. Not to mention the fact that many warbands were not present, the Legion having started to split up after the death of Konrad and Sevatar. Also, the character recounting this, when challenged by another about "losing to the Ultramarines", points out that it wasn't JUST the Ultramarines chapter, but every successor chapter as well. He comments on Howling Griffons working side-by-side by Novamarines, while being supported by Genesis Chapter flanking maneuvers. He comments on how every single chapter involved was running by the same playbook (The Codex Astartes), in perfect unison, and pretty much without any dissension or rebellion (unlike the Night Lords). The result was that the Night Lords were pinned down, outflanked, bombarded, assaulted (or counter-assaulted), besieged and simply fucked over in every way in a textbook fashion. The Night Lords lost so badly that they fragmented, and were never united as a whole force ever again (although there were signs of a semi-reunification in the period leading up to the 13th Black Crusade). And before you cry some "Wardian bullshit", this was in the Night Lords own book, written by a pretty cool guy (actually it was Games-Workshop's fluff that limited the Night Lords.)
Bear in mind that upon returning to this fortress planet, the Night Lords proceeded to get revenge on the Ultramarine Genesis Chapter, defeating them with the time honored strategy of blowing up the fucking moon. Why fight fair when your can has nukes?
Huron Blackheart worked out the best way to use the Night Lords: as an advance force for performing a crippling first strike on the enemy. When he assaulted the Marines-Errant in their home base, he asked for a detachment of Night Lords to find a way to let his main force into the Marines-Errant fortress. So a squad of Night Lords scaled into the fortress-monastery and drew off the Marines-errant and their serfs while a squad of Night Lords raptors went higher up the fortress and destroyed the actual shield generators. So you offer them something they want, tell them what to fuck up, let them work out the details on their own and do their thing and, as Huron found out, don't expect them to help much in the actual fighting afterward.
- It is believed they're linked to Scary Marines.
- They are one of the few Astartes legions who actually think ambushing is a good idea, rather than standing in front of a gunline and charging it.
- NANANANANANANANANANANANANA BATMAN!
- They stick bats in their helmets to help them fly.
- They don't get Daemons or other warp dickery. So they always go to sleep with ease without all the voices in their heads (other than their own psychotic subconsciousness).
- Aaron Dembski-Bowden (AKA the newest edition to the Bald Brotherhood of Awesome 40K Writers) has made them fucking GREAT. 10th Company GETS SHIT DONE!
- When the Word Bearers, Iron Warriors, the Alpha Legion, or Black Legion (the only four legions that really give two shits about Chaos Undivided, and even then the Iron Warriors aren't the biggest fans of it and the Alpha Legion are closet loyalists(or are they really?)) try to recruit them for their next great Black Crusade, the Night Lords usually tell them to piss off and send the messengers back in a box(or several).
- They are also the origin of the Raptor and Warp Talon units, the Chaos version of assault marines.
- They're probably lucky that those other legions are typically too busy to deal with probably the least threatening of the Chaos Space Marine Legions.
- They are probably as old as you could normally count, because they don't hang around in the Warp so much. Sort of. The Aaron Dembski-Bowden Night Lords book mentions Talos remembering the defeat at Terra as being only a few decades from his perspective due to chilling in the Warp. He does mention his bestie is getting crows feet though from time outside of the warp.
- That's not to say that the Night Lords aren't pants shittingly terrifying. They know what they're good at and they stick to it.
- They've had enough common sense to survive for this long, despite having so many disadvantages compared to the other eight legions.
- Of course, this is relative, because when we talk about "sensible" in the context of Chaos, we mean "will hang you with your own intestines just for the hilarity of it", rather than "completely ignore the enemy army to attack a strategically worthless town to make sacrifices for the Dark Gods." It helps that their attacks are so low-key (except for the bombing a planet once and causing a MASSIVE psychic scream by torturing a bunch of astropaths and sending dozens of planets into psy-communicating-blank) that the Night Lords are not prioritized and actively hunted by the Imperium. Otherwise they'd likely be wiped out in short order (as mentioned above with the guys that have a toilet seat as their insignia kicking their asses). DOWN WITH THE BLUE-TRDZ!(Ehem)I mean smurfs...
- Of all the Night Lords Warbands there are only three "Chaos" Lords that still lead based on their vision of The Night Haunter's Legacy:
- First there is Zso Sahaal, the "Talonmaster", former First Captain of the Legion. He was a Terran Legionnaire appointed by the Night Haunter following Sevatar's death. His flight from the rest of the Legion with the Corona Nox, which was the rightful crown of the Primarch's successor, earned him the title "The Betrayer" to some within the Legion, but he saw Curze's use of Fear as focused and controlled in its use.
- Next is Krieg Acerbus, also known as the Axemaster, a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. He leads the largest warband of Night Lords in the galaxy and claims that Curze wished his sons to terrorize the Imperium and devour its fear. He and Sahaal battled for the Corona Nox; Sahaal kept the crown, but lost an arm.
- Lastly, there is Talos Valcoran. Formerly an Apothecary during the Heresy/Great Crusade, he bore the titles "Prophet of the VIII Legion" and "Soul Hunter". He earned the title of Soul Hunter for pursuing and killing M'Shen, the Callidus assassin that killed the primarch, for vengeance and out of love for his father rather than greed (a difference in ideology that he would come to despise his brethren for, to some extent). He was also known for his prophetic powers like his gene-father, earning him the title "Prophet of the VIII Legion". Eventually he came to succeed his Company Captain/Warband Leader, Vandred Anrathi in leading the Warband of the Exalted, following the Fall of Vilamus. Under Talos' command, it was renamed to the Warband of the Broken Aquila. He later died on Tsagualsa at the hands of the Phoenix Lord Jain Zar of the Howling Banshees. He succeeded in "killing' her (though kill is a strong term when it comes to Phoenix Lords) in a spectacular display of determination and vengeance, taking her down with him. Talos believed that the Night Lords were betrayed by the Imperium, and were its truest weapon of terror when called upon before the Emperor betrayed them. Talos' gene-seed would later be inherited by Decimus (who might be the son of Octavia, who was the navigator of the ship and Septimus, another slave and a friend of Talos in the warband), who in turn assumed command of his Warband and gained his gift of foresight.
- The Night Lords' character can be pretty well summed up with this song --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XncuY4wLaA8
- Or this one --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2wzpfPFBlw
- Ahem; https://youtube.com/watch?v=sApYX_R4LRo
- The Night Lords actually treat their serfs pretty decently for a traitor legion. It's still not particularly pleasant, but it's better than being used as a sex toy, a sacrifice, a punching bag, a zombie, etc.
- They actually gave the idea of the vampire imagery to the Blood Angels
Night Lords Character
The character of the Night Lords is a bit...complicated. On one hand, sure, they are a legion of professional sadists, murderers, and (literal) terrorists that delight in preying upon the weak and defenseless at every opportunity. That's their MO. On the other hand, the Night Lords' actual personalities and motivations are surprisingly deep, varied, and intact, more so than probably any other Traitor Legion (especially after 10,000 years). They run the full gamut between bloodthirsty savages that believe terrorizing and killing are goals in and of themselves, and embittered philosophers that believe their methods once did and should still have purpose. Similar to the Iron Warriors legion, who battle their bitterness with cold, calculated and remorseless destruction; the Night Lords release their embittered pain through wanton brutality. Hell, unlike the Iron Warriors, there can even be the occasional comedian, cackling as he pulls the organs out of his still living victim. With all those wildly differing personalities, the Night Lords are also about as dysfunctional a brotherhood as it gets, even by Traitor standards. They are (tenuously) bound by loyalty to Legion and Primarch, and may fight and die for each other on the battlefield, but off of it they all hate each other to some extent, and are in constant and heated disagreement as to the precise nature of their Legion and Primarch, and just how they should be fighting the Long War. Given just how batshit Kurze was, they’re also all both right and wrong at the same time.
The Night Lords also have a bit of a dichotomy in regards to their treatment of slaves, with non-essential personnel being free to hunt for shits and giggles, while higher level officers and artificers are usually valued and protected to the point where they can have casual conversations and banter with the Astartes. The latter is something you don't see even in a good chunk of Loyalist chapters.
17:00 - The Night Lords awake. It takes them a while to safely get down from their caves.
17:30 - Evening Meal. The Night Lords have a light meal by drinking the blood of captured civilians.
18:00 - Evening Firing Rites. The Night Lords conduct covert firing practice on unsuspecting Imperial citizens or Chaos worshipers. Often the Night Lords' serfs can't tell the exact period their masters strike as they often see a skinned and maimed body the moment they look away. Unlike traditional legions: kill-shots are considered a demerit and everyone is constantly perfecting their art of making the most efficient and painful wounding shot.
19:00 - Evening Terror Tactics. The Night Lords warm up by terrorizing the planet they will be raiding later in the night. Again the serfs have no idea when or how their masters accomplish this without getting caught.
21:00 - Tactical Indoctrination. The Night Lords finally assemble on their targeted world and plan out how to maximize the amount of terror they can bring about the hapless populace. Serfs are typically commanded out of the room to spare them the nightmares of whatever they hear their masters discuss inside.
01:00 - Nighttime Firing Rites. Now the Night Lords strike. Unlike raids from other legions; there is only a death rate of 10% amongst their targets. Everyone else is helplessly maimed by bolter shots to the knees and elbows.
02:00 - Nighttime Terror Tactics. Here the Night Lords test their true skill as hunters of the dark. Anyone who managed to survive their opening salvos are sadistically hunted down and maimed slowly.
05:00 - "Decorations". Anyone still alive are dismembered and their still-living corpses are strewn around the area in a way to inspire fear. The Night Lords then finish up by activating an enemy distress call so that their friends can appreciate their work.
08:00 - Morning Meal. A feast is prepared by the serfs. This time the Night Lords have given up on their act and sit and munch down on the food.
09:00 - Free Time. The Night Lords occupy their free time by watching and reading an antique and legendary proto-Night Lord who calls himself as 'Batman'. Night Lords are often inspired by this ancient Terran vigilante of justice and terror and often tries their best to mimic him (whilst selectively ignoring the foolish decision to avoid killing his prey).
12:00 - Rest Period. The Night Lords go back to their caves, hang upside down with their legs and prepares to sleep.
|The Traitor Legions of Chaos|
|Chaos Legions:|| Alpha Legion - Black Legion - Death Guard - Emperor's Children|
Iron Warriors - Night Lords - Thousand Sons - Word Bearers - World Eaters
|Warbands:|| Apostles of Contagion - Bloodborn - Blood Gorgons - Broken Aquila |
Crimson Slaughter - Foresworn - Plague Fleet - Prodigal Sons
Red Corsairs - Sons of Malice - The Flawless Host - The Purge
The Scourged - Skyrar's Dark Wolves - Warband of Subsector Aurelia