Nobledark Imperium Xenos

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This page is part of the Nobledark Imperium, a fan re-working of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. See the Nobledark Imperium Introduction and Main Page for more information on the alternate universe

The Imperium, Chaos, Ork WAAAGH!, Necron Star Empire, and tyranid Hive Mind are not the only ones vying for dominance of the galaxy, though they are its largest powers. This is a page for all those other species not directly associated with the major powers, such as the Hrud. This is also a page for those species who although no longer existing in have had a significant effect on its history, ranging from the Old Ones and Necrontyr of the War in Heaven sixty-six million years ago to the human-made Men of Gold and Iron Minds of the glory days of the Dark Age Great and Bountiful Human Dominion.

Xenos species that are members of the Imperium can be found under Nobledark Imperium Member States

NOTE: This is also a temporary holding area for the entries related to the Necrons, tyranids, Orks, and Dark Eldar, with the hope being to eventually spin these sections off into their own pages once they get long enough.

Da Orkz[edit]

The Beast[edit]

He Who Will Bring His People Much Slaughter:

Urlakk Urgg. The Beast. The big one. The lord who will bring his people much slaughter. The single greatest mortal threat ever faced by the Imperium, and the yardstick to which all other Ork warbosses are measured.

Urlakk Urg was originally the warboss of Ullanor, the center of an Ork empire that laid claim to a number of star systems. It is thought that the Imperium was lucky to have encountered Ullanor when they did, as Ullanor and similar Ork empires such as Gorro seemed to be reaching a critical mass beyond which Brain Boyz would start being produced. Already the Orks of Ullanor and Gorro were developing technology and organization beyond what orks were capable of for most of Imperial History (like proto-Attack Moons and sedentary settlements), and orks like Urlakk Urg seemed to be much smarter and of a different caste from the usual ork, though not fully Brain Boyz.

The Ullanor Crusade was a bloody slog, made more difficult by the fact that the usual strategy of “shoot the warboss first” was untenable as Urg was smart enough to not to reveal his face in the open until his Boyz were in the thick of the fighting. The conflict only turned in the Imperium’s favor when Horus provoked Urlakk Urg into revealing himself, taunting Urlakk Urg from his flagship until Urg gave Horus the coordinates to his location, demanding that the coward face him in single combat. Horus responded by slagging Urg’s palace from orbit and decapitating most of the WAAAGH!’s leadership in one blow. Normally this sort of practice worked wonders, and indeed it did win the day in the Ullanor Crusade, but slagging the palace from orbit meant that Urg’s body was unaccounted for, which allowed him to escape unnoticed and swear bloody vengeance on the Imperium from the barren rock he ended up on. This led him to an encounter with four other individuals who also had a very vested interest in deposing the Imperium.

The Chaos Gods assisted in the Beast’s phoenix-like return to power, giving him access to Warp portals that allowed him to rapidly assert dominance over WAAAGH!s that were otherwise a galaxy apart, and giving him blessings to exploit the loophole in Ork logic of “bigger equals boss”. The Beast’s assault was basically a massive blitzkrieg that came screaming across the northern border of the Imperium, backed up by daemons, Crone Eldar, and Dark Eldar raiding in their wake like pilot fish following a big shark. Daemonic incursions and smaller WAAAGH!s erupted in other parts of the galaxy such that the Imperium was besieged on all fronts and had trouble creating a unified front against the main push of the WAAAGH! to the north. Although many smaller WAAAGH!’s split off from the Beast’s main force, the Beast’s plan was to head straight for Ullanor, convert the planet into an attack planet, and then make a beeline for Old Earth to kill the Steward and claim Isha for Chaos (Isha wasn’t on Earth at the time since this was before the alliance was formed, but that was a secondary concern). There was some stopping for lootin’ an’ pillagin’, but by Ork standards it was extremely fast. Most early battles in the War of the Beast, especially on the main front, tended to be pyrrhic victories or heroic last stands for the Imperium at best, the defenders swept away by the sheer force of the green tide.

It wasn’t until the Beast’s forces entered the core territories of the Segmentum Solar, despite being harried by Horus, Kurze, and Guilliman, that his momentum began to slow. His first plan upon entering the Sol System was to ram Ullanor into Earth, sterilizing everything on the surface. Some say it’s because hitting one planet with another like billiard balls is ded orky. Some say the Beast was so obsessed with revenge he didn’t care how orky it was. Maybe it was both, and the Beast was mixing business with pleasure. However, that plan was foiled by the actions Ollanius Pius, which forced the Beast to try and take the planet using ground troops. We all know how that ended up. The death of the Beast marked the turning point of the war, as the warbosses could no longer effectively cooperate and were picked off one by one, with the most successful carving out their own petty kingdoms.

The Beast’s status and accomplishments are legendary among the orks. The most dangerous warbosses throughout history have taken up the title of Beast (specifically, Mag Uruk Thraka) in the hopes of achieving a similar level of infamy to Urlakk Urg. These Beast WAAAGH!s are some of the greatest threats to the Imperium, comparable to a major tyranids Hive Fleet (e.g., Behemoth, Kraken, or Leviathan) or one of Malys’ Black Crusades. However, until recently, none of the successors to the title had the potential to measure up to the original.

Importantly, unlike most of his successors, who either consider Chaos an ally of convenience or just pay lip service to its ideals at best, and Ghazghull, who hates Chaos, the Beast was the only major warboss to actively embrace Chaos and reject the Gorkamorka to pledge his devotion to, quote, “gods who actually do something for their worshippers”. As a result, he got a shitload of blessing including marks from all four Chaos Gods and the mark of Chaos Ascendant, which turned him into an absolute nightmare the size of a hab-block that tore through a number of the Imperium’s greatest heroes and took the Steward and Eldrad (with some softening up from Sanguinius) to finally bring him down.

Ironically, the Beast’s greatest flaw was wrath of all things. Orks love fighting. They love fighting and winning even more. The Beast wasn’t angry that the Imperium declared war on him. He was angry that they took his empire from him. Not only that, but they did so in one of the most underhanded methods possible, by tricking him and then nuking him from orbit rather than defeating him in face-to-face combat. The danger of this flaw could already be seen in Ullanor Crusade, Urg was a kunnin’ ork and knew Horus was trying to trick him but eventually his anger got the better of him. Anger can be a powerful motivator, as well a deadly flaw. The Beast’s anger gave him the motivation to unite most of the Ork race within a few years, but it also led him to making a lot of short-sighted, kneejerk decisions without thinking of the consequences like allying with the Chaos gods and tactical errors due to trying to make a statement rather than just krumpin’ da gitz. Ironically, this would have probably gotten him killed by his followers once the rush of battle wore off and the orks started looking to their long-term future, but the Beast’s lust for revenge did the job for him and accidentally set the Orks back millennia.

Brain Boyz[edit]

The Menace in Green:

“It’s no good. Bloody greenskins set a trap for us. Send a few trigger-happy Boyz our way, knowing that we’d think that’s all they got and advance. So we get cocky and march our way through the mountain pass. Then once we get too far in to retreat the Orks show they’re not as dead as we all thought and cut off the mountain pass. Only way out of the beartrap is to go deeper into ork territory. Don’t you see, Commissar? It’s an ambush.”
“Ambush? What do you mean ambush? Orks don’t set am–”
-- Last words of the Hekaton 234th, right before being attacked by an Ork ambush

Brain Boyz are perhaps the greatest threat to the Imperium to come out of the Orkish menace in recent years. The greenskins have produced numerous threats over the millennia, including the numerous Beast WAAAGH!s, Armageddon Wars, the Wyrd War that decimated the legion Terra’s Sons, or the Black Croosade [sic] called by the Chaos Ork Rotfang Badgut, but these were often sector or segmentum-scale threats, none of which could compare to sheer destruction wrought by the War of the Beast. Some, particularly in areas that saw relatively little fighting during the War of the Beast, were foolish enough to say that the Orks were no longer capable of posing any organized threat to the Imperium, despite the Orks being responsible for the most brutal conflict in Imperial history. Orks were often seen as little more than cannon fodder, little more than mercenaries or catspaws of greater powers like Chaos or marauding distractions from more threatening adversaries like the Necrons or tyranids, not to be underestimated but not capable of being a significant threat on their own (no matter what the ravings of the inhabitants of the Sol system and its nearby territories had to say). All of which had to be reassessed when Brain Boyz made their reappearance on the galactic stage.

Most inhabitants of the Milky Way, or at least those who have any idea of how the greater galaxy works beyond their own little world, have a general understanding of the Ork life cycle. Ork spores gradually orkiform the world, a single spore capable of germinating into a variety of different morphotypes depending on the availability of nutrients and the strength of the WAAAGH! field, producing first mushrooms, then more complex orkoid organisms such as squigs. Then snotlings appear, followed by gretchins, followed by orks. A complete self-sustaining ecosystem and war machine. What most don’t know, however, is that there is an additional stage to the Ork life cycle. Eventually, the Ork population reaches a “critorkal mass”, which prompts the development of a new Ork caste: the Brain Boyz. Orks become more intelligent the more of them there are, but Brain Boyz produce a quantum leap in Ork functionality, increasing the intellect of all orkoid lifeforms around them just by their sheer presence. The appearance of Brain Boyz in an Ork WAAAGH! is often heralded by an increase in the sophistication of Ork technology, including the appearance of more advanced Ork devices such as reliable tellyportas, attack moons, and gravity whips as the WAAAGH! field becomes strong enough to unlock the knowledge hidden in their genetic code. Indeed, many Great Crusade-era Warbosses, including Urlakk Urg of Ullanor (a.k.a. The Beast), the Mekboy Warboss of Gorro, and Gharkul Blackfang of Gyros-Thravian, all of whom ruled over Ork empires even more advanced than Charadon, Bork, or Octarius are today, could be seen as proto-Brain Boyz in a sense. Although the presence of Brain Boyz does not preclude the creation of these devices, their production certainly increases following their appearance.

In the past, the appearance of Brain Boyz was a cyclical thing, like a tidal cycle. Over the course of thousands of years, the Ork population would grow, the WAAAGH! field would hit a critical mass, and then Brain Boyz would appear. The Orks would then mostly unite under a single banner to wage WAAAGH! on the rest of the galaxy before being beaten back and the Brain Boys hunted down and destroyed (typically at great cost), returning the Orks to square one. Typically this was done by the Old Eldar Empire or in later years the Interstellar League of humans and their allies during Dark Age of Technology (for which Brain Boy WAAAGH!s were one of the reasons the League formed in the first place). And so the cycle would repeat itself. However, after the Fall of the Eldar and the Age of Strife, there was no longer any eldar empire or league of species to prune back the Orkoid menace. It is estimated that had the Great Crusade not set out when it did, in half a millennium or less Brain Boyz would have re-emerged with no checks on their power. This estimate might have been even lower if the WAAAGH! forged by the Beast had managed to hold. The great Beast ironically did the galaxy a favor, setting Ork back several thousand years by rushing headlong into war with the Imperium.

What the rest of the galaxy also don’t realize is that Brain Boyz are not just Orks with added kunnin’. Brain Boyz occur when the WAAAGH! field is high enough that a single Ork spore divides into twin zygotes. This isn’t exactly uncommon, Ork spores twin all the time, but typically these are chance occurrences whose products grow into two orks or two gretchin. Brain Boy spores are produced by induced twinning and grow into two different Orkoid lifeforms, an ork and a gretchin reflecting the duality of orkiness: brutal cunning and cunning brutality. Often, the ork will start out runty and the gretchin will come out particularly large, due to the gretchin twin taking up nutrients that would otherwise go to the Ork (though in the case of Ghazghull and Makari both came out particularly runty, likely due to the circumstances of their birth). Typically, this twinning is not immediately noticed, Orks typically don’t make it a point to record where a particular boy or grot is born after all, but the two Brain Boyz know each other on sight and are in constant psychic contact with one another (similar phenomena have been noted in eldar and human psyker twins). That said, most Orks instinctively recognize Brain Boyz once they reach some level of prominence. This ork-gretchin duality is just as practical as symbolic. Few would suspect a gretchin of being capable of altering the behavior of a WAAAGH! If the ork Brain Boy is killed, the WAAAGH! doesn’t instantly collapse from in-fighting and the sudden loss of brainpower. If a foe knows about the gretchin Brain Boy, they are often too paranoid about the gretchin Brain Boy to notice the ork one putting a choppa in their face.

Ork Empires of Charadon, Octarius, and Bork[edit]

Contrary to popular belief, when the Beast was slain on Old Earth, the remainder of the Orkish army did not miraculously disperse into a puff of spore and WAAAGH!-flavored smoke. True, the Orks were thrown into disarray at the loss of their leader, but Orks are more used to radical changes in leadership than humans, and there were still plenty of Orks on Old Earth. Once the Orks were driven from the Sol System, the long and costly Reclamation of Old Earth began. Any spot on which an ork has shed blood is guaranteed to produce more Orks, unless the body is burned or more drastic measures are taken. However, this was Old Earth, the cradle of humanity, and its stubborn people would (literally) move mountains in order to ensure their planet was Ork-free. The intensity of the campaign to ensure that the planet was never Orkiformed was nearly as destructive to Old Earth’s ecosystem as the wrought by the forces of the Beast themselves.

The threat of the Beast’s hordes extended far beyond the Sol system. Through violence, cunning, brutality, promises of a good fight, and copious use of Chaos-sponsored Warp portals to cut down on travel time, the Beast had managed to suborn every major Warboss and unite virtually all WAAAGH!s worth noting in the Milky Way in little more than six standard years. It is estimated that at the time of the War of the Beast, nearly eighty percent of the Ork population was under Urlakk Urg’s control in some fashion. Upon hearing news of the Beast’s death, many of the more ambitious Warbosses attempted to break off and form WAAAGH! of their own, rather than follow “that Urlakk git’s” orders. Some of these Warbosses were more successful than others.

The most successful were the Arch-Arsonist of Charadon, the Overfiend of Octarius, and the Arch-Mangler of Mork. These three Warbosses carved out massive areas of space, forming the basis for what would become the modern Octarius, Charadon, and Bork sectors. The Octarius, Charadon, and Bork sectors are less sectors in the traditional Imperial sense, and more designations for the massive amounts of space that these three Orkish empires control. Although many later Ork enclaves have sprung up due to the increasingly strained nature of Imperial resources, these three empires can trace their roots all the way back to the War of the Beast. The Arch-Arsonist, Overfiend, and Arch-Mangler are even still around, after a fashion, even though the original Orks that carved out these dominions are now long dead. The identity of these rulers has changed regularly, as is typical of a kratocracy, but each Ork that takes control of each of these empires takes on the identity and in some cases the mannerisms of the previous rulers, even adopting the oversized gorget that has become a symbol of Ork power since it was used by Urlakk Urg during the War of the Beast. Sometimes by chance a Chaos Ork has even risen to the throne. Of course, these Chaos Orks typically fail in their goal to convert these empires to the worship of the Chaos Gods, and few stay in power for long, especially if they make the mistake of badmouthing the Gorkamorka.

The Imperium was unable to do much to stop these Warbosses at the time as they were still recovering from the War of the Beast and were still trying to scrape together a semblance of an empire in their own space. By the time the Imperium had recovered enough to retaliate, the Orks had already dug in too deep to effectively without a massive waste of manpower and materiel. Even during the Imperial Reconquista, when several smaller Orkish empires were crushed underfoot by Machairius and his forces, these three managed to stubbornly resist any efforts at conquest. Furthermore, as much as the Imperium is loath to admit it, the empires also serve a useful purpose in acting as buffer states against outside xenos threats, particularly Charadon which shares a border with the Necron Star Empire.

That is not to say the Imperium is content to sit and do nothing. The Imperium knows full well what happens when one leaves Orks to their own devices, as seen by the Empires on Gorro and Ullanor during the Great Crusade. The Imperium regularly sends assassins into Ork-held territories, especially the Empires of Octarius, Charadon, and Bork, in order to take out any kunnin’ or charismatic Warboss in the hopes of keeping an Ork like the Beast from ever arising again. Chaos appears to have a similar idea, sending their own assassins after any promising warboss, in order to keep the Orks stupid and easily manipulated. Unfortunately, this means that the few Orks who do survive this gauntlet of assassins tend to be the smartest and most kunnin’ of the lot, meaning that all this action may have done is lower the threshold for Brain Boyz to emerge.

Empires of Gathrog and Dregruk[edit]

To the galactic northeast of Cadia and the Eye of Terror lie two great Ork Empires, the Empire of Gathrog and the Empire of Dregruk. These Ork empires are so large that if the two WAAAGH!s were to combine forces, it is likely that they could easily overrun Cadia and the Cadian Gate before the Imperium could do much of anything about it. Fortunately for the Imperium, these two empires hate each other with a passion, and would much rather fight each other than team up against the Imperium.

This is due in large part to the two empire’s choice of patrons. Gathrog is one of the few Ork WAAAGH!s to be composed almost entirely of Chaos Orks (likely because of its close proximity to the Eye), with the current Arch-Dictator of Gathrog being a Khornate. The Great Despot of Dregruk and his forces, on the other hand, are staunch followers of the Gorkamorka, and in recent years have sworn fealty to Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka as part of his efforts to consolidate forces in preparation for the 5th War of Armageddon.

The Proto-Orks and the Krork[edit]

See The Proto-Orks and the Krork

Necron Star Empire[edit]

Dynasties of the Star Empire[edit]

Ahmontekh and the Suhbekhar Dynasty[edit]

The leadership of the Necron Star Empire is a pale shadow of its former self. While Szarekh, first and mightiest of their number, still reigns, the other two members of the Triarch, his left and right hands, were lost in the millions of years during the Great Sleep. Szarekh's right hand was Ahmontekh of the Suhbekhar Dynasty, a skilled warrior with an eye for long-term strategy, valued not only for his ability in battle but for his wise council. Ahmontekh's skill in battle was such that he was one of the warriors that fought alongside the C'tan and even struck the killing blow that slew the Great Weaver of the K’nib. When the War in Heaven ended, Ahmontekh entered the Great Sleep without issue like so many other Necrons.

Then, approximately twenty-three million years ago, the Old Eldar Empire made the mistake of waking Ahmontekh up early. Although separated from his dynasty, having been put into stasis alongside some of the finest soldiers and war machines of the Necron Star Empire due to his status as Triarch, Ahmontekh had enough resources entombed with him in his royal crypt to pose a serious problem. Ahmontekh’s response to being awoken by the children of the Old Ones was swift, immediate, and fiery. Worlds that had known peace for millions of years burned under Ahmontekh's assault, their state of the art defense systems no match for ancient Necrontyr technology. In particular, the eldar swore eternal vengeance on Ahmontekh for destroying the Crone World of Maldek, killing trillions in a single stroke, and declared they would hunt him to the ends of the galaxy. Worse yet was that Ahmontekh’s destruction wasn’t simply mindless. He was looking for the other tomb worlds and his buried lord. If the eldar didn’t stop him soon, the Old Empire would have a full-scale revival of the Necron Star Empire on their hands.

Then the Old Empire were approached by a strange figure, a robotic avatar of an unknown species with a single cycloptic eye. Exactly who this being was remains unknown, but told the eldar it knew of a way to destroy Ahmontekh. Long ago before the Necrons had traded flesh and blood for metal, Ahmontekh had warred with the Charnovokh Dynasty, which at the time had been ruled by his cousin. Although outright warfare between the Suhbekhar and Charnovokh Dynasties had been stopped by the control protocols, the memory of the rivalry still existed in Ahmontekh’s mind. The stranger could take that seed of resentment, distort it and expand it, until nothing else occupied the Phaeron’s thoughts. While Ahmontekh was a skilled fighter and cunning strategist, his weakness was his lack of scientific knowledge. Like most Phaerons, Ahmontekh knew nothing of how technology actually worked, and therefore no way to stop anyone from subverting the functions of his mind. Ahmontekh would be made predictable and easy to destroy by his madness. The eldar considered any plan to destroy Ahmontekh to be a good idea, but they didn’t notice the stranger spoke such words with a heavy heart. Although they knew the stranger wanted Ahmontekh gone as much as they did, what they didn’t know is that Gahet of the Cabal had approached the Eldar Empire as a last resort, having previously tried to sway Ahmontekh to his cause with words instead of violence.

The foul deed was done and Ahmontekh’s mental state began to deteriorate. Rather than seek out and awaken his liege Szarekh, he became increasingly focused on finding the resting place of his hated rivals the Charnovokh Dynasty and destroy them once and for all. Knowing his hated rivals were located somewhere on the Eastern fringe, Ahmontekh’s army marched increasingly eastward, making their movements extremely telegraphed and easy to intercept. The eldar assumed he was killed in a bombardment, especially given his forces fell apart soon after his assumed death, but such was not the case. In one last display of sentimentality out of regret for his own actions, Gahet crippled Ahmontekh’s cybernetic body and spirited him away before his death. He placed the mad Phaeron in a stasis capsule and laid him to rest in the old tomb complexes of the Suhbekhar Dynasty, hoping that Ahmontekh could one day be awakened and healed of his madness at a time when the galaxy no longer had to conceive of war.

With the incapacitation of the triarch, rule of the Suhbekhar Dynasty fell to Ahmontekh’s son, Ahhotekh. In many ways, Ahhotekh is everything that his father was not. Instead of being a proud regent and warrior, he is a schemer, who prefers to dispose of his foes through intrigue and manipulation rather than brute force. Ahhotekh has even gone so far as to disdain those who gain power through brute force; while he has killed in his share of duels, he considers those who make a habit of it to be insufficiently imaginative to actively hold power and capable of little more than savagery. Ahhotekh spent much of the War of Heaven disposing of his rivals in convenient accidents and other such methods, including stoking the rivalry between the Suhbekhar and Charnovokh Dynasties. Indeed, before the biotransference, Ahhotekh was actively plotting to dispose of Ahmontekh, the only member of the Suhbekhar Dynasty who would dare consider raising their hand against the Phaeron, something that the control protocols put a stop to.

Fortunately, despite Ahmontekh’s incapacitation the control protocols were still in place, his insanity was not enough to cause the Suhbekhar Dynasty to break the will of the Silent King. However, this is cold comfort for Ahhotekh, who isn’t sure if the control protocols also protect him since his father is incapacitated, not dead. As a result, Ahhotekh is intensely paranoid and relentlessly persecutes his underlings for any perceived sign of betrayal. After all, he would do the same to them if their positions were reversed. It is unclear, but ironically possible, that the control protocols forbidding harm to their liege are the only thing preventing the Necrons of the Suhbekhar Dynasty from rising up and uniting as one to overthrow Ahhotekh.

However, no matter how much he wants to, there is something preventing Ahhotekh from disposing of his dear father. Ahmontekh saw something when he was awakened, something that few others alive in the galaxy today still remember. The Silent King wants that information out of Ahmontekh’s head, as any intelligence on the state of the galaxy since the Great Sleep could prove highly useful in realizing the Star Empire’s plans. At the same time, Ahhotekh wants the control protocols to secure control of the Suhbekhar Dynasty, and as long as the Silent King’s orders leave room for creative interpretation of his orders he is willing to pursue it. Nevertheless, examining Ahmontekh’s mind is a slow process, one that must be carried out piecemeal by thousands of Crypteks. Seeing too much of Ahmontekh’s mind at once tends to drive any Necron who sees it insane.

Necron Titans (Stalkers)[edit]

For many years, after the reemergence of the Necron Star Empire, there was considerable debate among Imperial scholars as to what a Necron Titan would look like. Many theorized that a Necron Titan would simply look like a giant Necron. Others hypothesized that the C’tan were the Necron’s equivalents of Titans, and after the War in Heaven the Necrons may have had no need for Titan-scale weaponry. This was all before the Necron-Imperium Conflict, that brief period in M40 when tensions between the Imperium and the Necrontyr Star Empire ran hot after the Silent King demanded a trillion subjects for biotransference experiments before settling into the quasi-cold war state that it has today. It was during this period that the Necrons brought out some of the heavy weapons they had to bear, and Imperial scholars learned they had been wrong. Completely, horribly, wrong.

In contrast to nearly all other races, Necron Titans, or Stalkers, are distinctly non-humanoid, almost arachnid or insect-like in appearance. This is perhaps best exemplified by the most commonly seen Necron Stalker, the Tomb Stalker. Rather than standing upright on two large limbs, Tomb Stalkers support their weight via dozens of insectoid limbs, resembling Earth centipedes. These limbs are not only effective in carrying the construct’s weight, but also in burrowing through the ground and tearing through the armor plating of opposing vehicles and titans. This is true not only of the generic Warhound-sized Tomb Stalkers most commonly seen, but also of the larger Scolopendra class Tomb Stalkers, which can be the size of an Imperator Titan.

Compared to other Stalkers, Tomb Stalkers use little in the way of quantum shielding, which is thought to be the Necron’s answer to Void Shields. Instead, they use the very earth as their shield, burrowing beneath the ground in order to ambush their prey. In doing so, Tomb Stalkers are able to achieve something very few Titans are capable of performing: stealth. The effectiveness of the Tomb Stalker’s burrowing strategy became clear during the Necron-Imperium Conflict, when a Tomb Stalker burrowed a circle around an Imperator Titan before erupting from the ground, using the unstable substrate to drag the Imperial Titan and its Princeps to their grave.

Surprisingly enough, Tomb Stalkers are thought to be weaponized construction vehicles. Records obtained from the Imperium’s Necron contacts report that Tomb Stalkers were originally used in constructing the vast tomb complexes that the Necrons inhabited in their heyday. The Necrontyr apparently evolved on a world with blistering levels of stellar radiation, which would kill most lifeforms over an extended period of time. As a result, the only logical place to build cities on the Necrontyr homeworld was underground, resulting in an architectural style that resembled increasingly ornate bunker complexes. The Necrontyr found this architectural style to be highly effective in protecting against meteoroid strikes and orbital bombardments, even after they spread off their homeworld to planets less affected by radiation.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Crypt Stalkers, which resemble gigantic versions of the Terran daddy longlegs. The control center and weaponry are all mounted on the central body of the Crypt Stalker, allowing them to instantly change direction in response to new threats, even capable of rotating their heat rays 180 degrees and suddenly reversing direction without even having to turn. Crypt Stalkers have a sensory array which gives them a nearly 360 degree field of vision, and their long legs allow them to simply step over most obstacles in their path. Crypt Stalkers make much heavier use of void shielding, mainly because their small body and comparatively narrow legs would make them otherwise easy targets for anti-titan weaponry. Triarch Stalkers are similar to Crypt Stalkers, except are smaller with a distinct pilot (closer to tank-sized) and are not capable of omnidirectional movement. They compensate for this with huge melee appendages they can use as melee weapons.

It is still not entirely clear how Stalkers work. It is clear that Stalkers have some kind of intelligence, given their ability to react to changing conditions on the battlefield, but whether that consciousness is a pilot or intrinsic to the machine itself is unknown. The kneejerk assumption would be that Stalkers are operated by an uploaded Necron consciousness, or otherwise powered by a C’tan shard. However, evidence indicates that Tomb Stalkers were around in nearly their current form (minus the heavy weaponry) before the First Wars of Secession, given their use in carving out the underground complexes the Necrontyr called home, long before the Necrontyr had developed biotransferrence or discovered the C’tan. The current running hypothesis is that the Stalkers are controlled by some manner of artificial intelligence, similar to the Scarabs, Canoptek Wraiths, and Crypt Spyders, except on a much larger scale.

Nemesor Zandrekh is known to treat his personal Tomb Stalker like a beloved pet, but it is unknown if this is typical or just another one of the Nemesor’s…eccentricities.

Independent and Imperial-aligned Dynasties[edit]

Nemesor Zahndrekh and the Gidrim Dynasty[edit]

See Nemesor Zahndrekh (TEMPORARY LINK)

Trazyn the Infinite and Solemnace[edit]

See Solemnace

Xun'Bakyr and the Maynarkh Dynasty[edit]

Of all the independent Necron dynasties, the Maynarkh Dynasty is perhaps the biggest threat to the Imperium. Even as far back as the War in Heaven, the Maynarkh Dynasty were known for their brutality and cruelty, acting as the Silent King’s pet monsters and wetwork agents. This behavior was no different under the Maynarkh Dynasty’s last and latest Phaerakh: Xun’bakyr, the Mother of Oblivion. Eldar Harlequins speak of countless atrocities and genocides, all perpetrated by Necrons in glowing colors of brass and orange. Indeed, the brutality of Xun’bakyr and the Maynarkh Dynasty was so great that just before the Great Sleep several Phaerons, normally so subservient as to the point of indolence, approached the Silent King to suggest that the Silent King take steps to make sure Xun’bakyr…didn’t wake up from the Great Sleep. It is rather telling that the Silent King actually agreed with this proposal.

The Silent King may have had more than one reason to try and kill off the Maynarkh Dynasty. Phaerarch Xun’bakyr was, to put it bluntly, infatuated with the Nightbringer. When the Silent King gave the order for the Drazak Dynasty to kill Llandu’gor the Flayer, he had to noticeably take precautions to avoid letting the information reach Xun’bakyr, given that any weapon that could conceivably be used against the object of her obsession would likely cause her to react poorly. Even when the C’tan were shattered and the Silent King ordered the Necrons to go into their long hibernation, the news was kept hidden from the Maynarkh Dynasty, who went to sleep still believing they were following orders from their C’tan overlords. The Silent King may have been able to directly override the free will of Xun’bakyr, but given her instability, he didn’t want to risk the chance of her slipping her leash.

The Maynarkh Dynasty was put in hibernation in their traditional lands, far on the other side of the galaxy from the core of the Star Empire in what would one day become the Orpheus Sector of the Segmentum Pacificus. This was a high-density stellar cluster filled with numerous stars, some of which were…encouraged to go supernova early with a little bit of help from the Oruscar Dynasty’s Celestial Orrery. The Silent King hoped that the constant bombardment of electromagnetic pulses from exploding stars would damage the Maynarkh Dynasty to the point that they would never wake up from the Great Sleep, or at the very least be so damaged that they could only awake into an addled half-life.

It didn’t work. Although the Maynarkh Dynasty was damaged, they still awoke from the Great Sleep along with everyone else. Xun’bakyr’s madness and obsession was, if anything, worsened by the damage from the Great Sleep, to the point that the Silent King could no longer assert any control over her. Xun’bakyr seemed to rapidly realize she had been deceived, having awoken in a time when the great immortal C’tan had either been killed or reduced to hiding and the Silent King was the one trying to give her orders.

Rapidly dismissing the ravings of the would-be king, Xun’bakyr realized that her dynasty now needed a new purpose. It didn’t take her long to come up with one. Xun’bakyr decided that the Maynarkh Dynasty would rededicate themselves to killing all life in the galaxy itself, a creative masterpiece of death and destruction that might even go so far as killing time itself, all to attract the attention of the Nightbringer and to demonstrate her affection for the object of her infatuation. She is rather oblivious to the fact that despite all his paraphernalia and death-associated trappings, the Nightbringer is mostly concerned with sating his own gluttony and power-lust and would rather like causality to keep existing (though in his own image of course).

Xun'bakyr is obsessive and meticulous, in the long term focused absolutely on her deadly Idol, in the short term honing and perfecting some novel variety of star eater, 4D ionized shrapnel projector, or reality-pin to nail down certain doom. Xun'bakyr isn't a large scale threat only because she is so narrow in the scope of her ambitions. Her armies march along in the wake of the Nightbringer dealing death, and her scouts proceed him demonstrating their queen's new horrors. A blow from one will often be followed by a blow from the other, and together they make a horrible local threat and disaster within a sector, but beyond an additional horror following the Nightbringer's aimless killing spree they are not strategically significant. Xun'bakyr's universe destroying plans coming to fruition is an existential threat, but one that is sadly insignificant compared to many others. Although the rest of the Maynarkh Dynasty generally does not share her obsessions, the dynasty had always been composed of the worst sort of sadists, psychopaths, and war criminals and so jump at the chance to kill people in new and creative ways.

The first overt sign of action by the Maynarkh Dynasty was when the stars of the Caracol binary system went supernova during between Blood Pact and Imperial Forces. Both groups considered it the first shots of a surprise attack by some unknown third party. What they didn’t know was that rather than a military action, it was the result of a weapons test from one of Xun’bakyr’s harebrained schemes. The slaughter that followed was mostly unrelated. Mostly, in that the Maynarkh Dynasty was involved, and there was slaughter, but it had nothing to do with the two stars they had made go nova. Today, the Orpheus sector is nearly lifeless, haunted only by ghosts and madmen and ruled by an even madder queen.

Blanks and the Pariah Gene[edit]

66,000,000 years ago, the aristocracy of the Necrontyr Star Empire had a problem. They were in danger of losing the War in Heaven. Although they had the might of the C’tan and the Dolmen Gates at their back, the war was growing increasingly bloody as the Old Ones threw uplifted species after uplifted species into the meat grinder. And despite the Necrontyr’s understanding of the material realm, the Old Ones had the raw power of the illogical, irrational realm of the Immaterium at their disposal, which the ancient amphibians were the virtual unchallenged masters of. The Necrontyr needed some way to neutralize that advantage.

Several Crypteks came up with one possible solution: genetically engineering Necrontyr soldiers and eventually the entire Necrontyr to have an inverted Warp signature, canceling out the immense psychic power of the Old Ones and their servant races. However, although such this plan was possible for the Necrontyr Star Empire, the empire’s aristocracy was uncomfortable with the idea for several reasons. First, it would require mass-cloning Necrontyr soldiers in the billions, and would effectively make their entire standing army (not to mention all living Necrontyr) obsolete. Additionally, and more importantly, although the Necrontyr’s rank and file would be safe from psychic attack, it did nothing to stop the Old Ones from decapitating the Star Empire’s leadership by simply assassinating the Triarchy. The Necrontyr aristocracy, in their vaunted superiority, didn’t think very highly of a plan that benefited future generations but didn’t benefit them. Ultimately, the plan was shut down and cast aside in favor of the idea of biotransference, the brain child of Mag’ladroth but presented to the Necrontyr aristocracy by Mephet’ran. However, not everyone forgot about the project. At least not Mephet’ran, the Deceiver, nor his shards that escaped containment in the millions of years after the end of the War in Heaven while the Necrons slumbered.

Millions of years later, as humanity’s Great Crusade rediscovered numerous human worlds thought lost during the Age of Strife, they came across an interesting phenomenon. On many worlds, there were occasionally individuals that were not only immune to the touch the warp, but in many cases were capable of actively suppressing these effects. These individuals, who came to be known as blanks or pariahs, were always very rare in a population, often in ratios of billions to one, and almost always seemed to exist as outcasts or hermits, or at best lived in small isolated communes far away from any major population center. Further investigation found that these blanks, who ranging from Jenetia Krole of Sibar to the nightmarish blacksoul assassin Spear, gained their strange warp-suppressing powers from an even more unusual source, a complete lack of what would conventionally be called a soul.

Blanks work by emitting an inverted warp signature, rather than the positively charged soul of most species. Their inverted warp signature interacts with background positive warp signature of the universe like the union of matter and anti-matter, creating a null aura that cancels both signatures out and creates a zone of no warp signature, either negative or positive, at all. Normally blanks are capable of funneling the energy from this reaction to their own ends. However, unlike normal humans, blanks are capable of surviving being completely disconnected from the Warp as their bodies are adapted to exist in the null zone their inverted Warp signature normally produces. Although they have an inverted warp signature, the null aura they create means they effectively have no soul.

Being in contact with a blank’s null aura is not a pleasant experience, and the experience typically gets worse the more psychically sensitive an individual is. To psykers, having their connection to the Warp muffled by a blank’s null aura produces actual pain and a sensation which some have described, usually after they finish screaming, as “sensory deprivation of a sixth sense” or “a feeling akin to losing a limb”. Only extremely strong psykers are capable of overwhelming a blanks null aura with minimal effect, but the only psykers capable of something like that are being like Magnus the Red or the Emperor of Mankind. However, such negative effects are not only limited to psykers. Any being with a soul is instinctively capable of sensing the void that blanks represent, and the muffling of their soul leads to an uncanny valley effect and feelings of dread and existential despair. This uncanny valley effect manifests itself in different ways. In some it causes migrane headaches, while in others it leads to anxiety attacks, while in others it manifests as a hard to define but odious stench. More subtle behavioral alterations have been suspected as well. Although some blanks have learned to weaponized this null aura, in the days before null-collars this often made the life of a blank short and miserable.

After much research, ranging from psychological to metabiological, the Imperium was able to connect this soullessness and anti-Warp aura to a genetic factor, known as the pariah gene. The pariah seemingly makes no sense given what is known about genetics and metaphysical biology. Humans with the pariah gene are rare, to the point that one is lucky to find one individual with the pariah gene on a planet with a population of billions. Additionally, because of their aura, blanks have a hard time finding mates and therefore producing offspring. This means that if the pariah gene originated during the Age of Strife, its carriers should simply disappear from the population due to random chance and genetic drift. But they don’t. If the pariah gene were recessive, it is easy to see how the gene could remain hidden in the populace for generations, only occasionally producing blanks. But it isn’t. The pariah gene is dominant, with individuals with two copies known as blacksouls. At least some parts of the pariah gene appear to be genetic: it is heritable and is disproportionately more common in women than men, suggesting a link to the X-chromosome. But the fact that it appears seemingly at random throughout the population has led many to wonder if the pariah “gene” is actually multiple genes (a recessive gene to turn the effect on and off, and a dominant one to control the intensity), or if the actual pariah allele is a symptom, rather than a cause.

From a metaphysical perspective blanks and the pariah gene are no less strange. In theory, it should be possible to evolve from having a soul with a strong positive Warp signature to one with a negative Warp signature like a blank. Indeed, the Tau have a particularly low Warp signature, and have displayed significant resistance to Warp corruption (though at a cost of being relatively helpless when a particularly powerful Warp entity like a daemon decides to focus its attention on them). The ancient Necrontyr are believed to have been the same way. The problem with this hypothesis is it requires a species to pass through a stage with a warp signature of zero, meaning a body that is alive only at the cellular level with no sentience. The only way to get around this hurdle would be artificial means, a species with positive Warp signature engineering individuals with an inverted one, though other explanations have been suggested. The fact that the pariah gene independently appeared in populations that should have had no contact with each other during the Age of Strife, and only in humans (though Kroot blanks have also been produced through the usual ways in which the Kroot assimilate traits) has also made many suspicious, though few would disagree that an adaptation to shut out the Warp would prove useful for an age when the galaxy was in chaos (and in Chaos), and desperate attempts at genetic engineering for survival were rampant in the early days of the Age of Strife.

Many people in the Imperium were disturbed by the idea of people without a soul. The Navigators in particular, being a race of all psykers, were especially disturbed by the existence of blanks, believing they were an attempt by the rest of the Imperium to create a contingency plan to wipe them all out. The Nobilis Navigo tried to whip people into a frenzy to kill the blanks by playing on the unnatural dread blanks produced until the Steward and the other High Lords told the Paternoval Envoy point blank they weren’t going to persecute an entire group of people who were not warp-tainted just because they looked different, no matter how much the Navis Nobilite screamed, rather unsubtly hinting between the lines that any excuse the Navigators made to persecute the pariahs could be easily turned around to apply to the Navigators. Though, the Imperium’s reasonings for defending the pariahs were not made out of simple compassion. The Navigators and pariahs were both useful resources, and the Imperium needed every advantage it could get in those days. If that meant wielding fire and anti-fire in accord, so be it.

As might be expected, the eldar were also horrified at the idea of blanks. Due to being a psychic species, the idea of life in eldar culture had become inimically tied to the idea of having a soul. To the eldar, the idea of being alive and thinking yet without a soul was uncomfortably close to the idea of being undead or a philosophical zombie. The only things the eldar had as a cultural comparison were the Harlequin Solitaires, and those were artificially created, rather than born. The implications of what Solitares represented and how they were created only made things worse. Today, blanks are by far the most discriminated against group of humans by the eldar. One just doesn’t see it firsthand very often given both parties are unable to interact except over a vid-screen. Opinions and prejudices towards humans vary from Dorhai to Ulthwé, but blanks are always treated worse than normal humans. Even the most tolerant eldar still see them as tragic monsters, people who didn’t want to be born as abominations against the natural order but ended up that way regardless. Kind of like they do Solitaires (only replacing “freaks of nature” with “necessary evil”).

When they awakened from their sixty-six million year sleep, the Necron Star Empire were also interested in the blanks. In particular, they were extremely suspicious as to how a species could develop a feature that almost exactly resembled the old mothballed Necrontyr research project, down to some of the smallest details. Szarekh’s chief cryptek, Illuminor Szeras, is particularly interested in the blanks and the applications of the pariah gene. The idea of making specialized soldiers to use as mobilized suppression devices and hunter-killers against psykers and daemons is an idea too good to pass up.

The largest living population of Blanks can be found on Pluto and Charon, close enough for the Imperium to have its anti-Warp weaponry close at hand, but far enough away for them to not block the light of the Astronomican. Indeed, watching Pluto cross the Astronomican, like an exoplanet slightly dimming the light of a far-off star, is a popular activity for young Navigators, though the Paternova has issued warnings telling people not to stare directly into the light of the Astronomican. Because the colony’s true reason for existing is to continue to exist and keep producing blanks, in order to keep the population of Pluto and Charon occupied they have been given exclusive mining rights over anything in the Kuiper Belt or stray rocks in the Oort zone that they lay eyes on. Both Pluto and Charon have been hollowed out and built on to the point where they are now not recognizable. To anyone else looking it now just looks like a private space port with manufactory rigs and a small docking yard. It does appear on the official maps, but only because not doing so would be more suspicious. It's a "private enterprise" on the charts and not open to the public, with the official story being they were claimed by an early Rogue Trader (whose “dynasty” is actually a shell corporation for the Administratum). Life on Pluto and Charon is a terminally boring experience, though on the positive side at least its inhabitants no longer have to fear the possibility of being lynched.


The Void Dragon is not whole. Although perhaps 95% of the great Dragon lies half-buried beneath the surface of Mars, the Dragon still bears a number of old wounds, chunks of him torn off in the war with his kin. But the Void Dragon is an embodied god, and gods do not bleed. Like the wounds of all the children of hungry stars, his lost essence turned into shards, scattered across the cosmos.

Throughout time, history has spoken of encounters with strange metallic dragon-like creatures. These encounters are consistent enough that they cannot be simply dismissed out of hand, but are so maddeningly rare that it has been impossible to create a clear picture of exactly what these sightings represent. These creatures are generally referred to as Wyverns. However, to those few privy to the horrible secret of what lies buried underneath the surface of Mars, the identity of these beings is clear. Wyverns are shards of the Void Dragon.

These shards somewhat resemble the Void Dragon, except they are more bestial looking (having only legs and a pair of wings and no arms, for example) and have no semblance of intelligence whatsoever. They are animalistic, or perhaps better described as mechanistic, seeking to eat and survive and nothing else. It is not clear why these shards of the Void Dragon act so differently from their sire, as even similar-sized shards of the Deceiver or the Nightbringer show some level of intelligence. It is possible that the Dragon’s prison is somehow acting as a signal blocker, cutting the Wyverns off from the Void Dragon’s mind.

It is likewise possible that the shards of more completely shattered C'tan are more intelligent precisely because they are so thoroughly broken up. The slivers of the wholly obliterated Deceiver display the greatest individual intelligence and the highest proportion of infighting as expressed through the disparate intrigues of Strigoi Vampires; the greater shards and Nosferatu slivers of the Nightbringer are less cerebral or articulate, though they retain speech and planning. The Nosferatu are known to vociferously compete in propagating death for their dread progenitor, but also all profess a shared vision of universal death they seek to realize. With around two thirds of the Nightbringer's necrodermis forming the Noctifer Corpus Magnum, the big shard that was freed from Necron imprisonment, and from which the lesser shards and slivers are understood to have been fractured in combat with the Necrons, there is room for comparison with the Dragon's mostly complete body. The Corpus Magnum has been observed throughout the eastern galaxy since its escape form confinement, and it displays a greater intellect than other Nightbringer shards it had encountered and integrated, though the disparity is far less than that between the ingenious Dragon and the non-sapient wyverns. Data regarding the relationship between a C'tan shard's intellect and the ratios of its progeniter's shattered and assembled mass is being gathered and analyzed by the Inquisition and Mechanicus projects, but its implications for the Dragon and the Wyverns will never be brought to the light of Imperial war rooms, let alone open day.

Only a few encounters with Wyverns have been well-documented. One involves the primarch Ferrus Manus. During unification of the planet Medusa, he learned about a creature the locals called Asirnoth that descended to prey upon the people of Medusa from its lair in the planet-encircling Telstarax. When Ferrus reported to the Mechanicum what the people of Medusa had told him, they were in shock and immediately informed him that he must dispatch this creature with all haste, giving the primarch permission to use the otherwise forbidden holy archaeotech relics aboard his ship. Three maniples of Iron Hands Skitarii accompanied Ferrus Manus into the lair of the beast, but less than a dozen came out. The battle was hard-fought, but by the end of the battle the primarch managed to strike down the wyvern and bind it within the strange archaeotech device. Ferrus Manus never knew exactly what he fought, but the high Magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus said he had performed a great service for the Mechanicum, and so Ferrus felt satisfied by his actions.

The Steward also fought one. Once.

It was an unexpected fight on what was supposed to be an otherwise peaceful world. Granted, the Steward had the upper hand for much of that fight, the issue was that no matter how many times the Steward would smite the wyvern it would simply rise again, ready to continue the fight. The creature was eventually defeated when the Steward staggered the beast with a particularly powerful blow and a Mechanicus adept sealed it in its inert state using a strange device that no one had ever seen before. When the Steward asked what the creature was, the adept evaded the question by claiming it was piece of archaeotech, which could only be deactivated by another piece of archaeotech the Mechanicus normally forbade the use of (which was technically true). Stranger things made by the hands of men had been found at that time in the Great Crusade, and at that time there was no reason to suspect there was anything unusual about the metal beast.

Another noteworthy feature about these creatures is that they seem to be impervious to normal means of harm, rising over and over again from seemingly lethal injuries. As a result, stories about these creatures tend to feature particularly innovative ways of incapacitating or imprisoning them. Burying them alive in lava is a popular option.

The Void Dragon somehow knows about the Wyverns despite his imprisonment, to no one’s surprise, and has repeatedly asked the Adeptus Mechanicus where those shards of him are. It is not clear if the Void Dragon truly does not know the exact location of his shards, or if he is merely reminding the Adeptus Mechanicus that they exist and the Mechanicus do not have complete control over him. Some among the Order of the Dragon have theorized that the Wyverns are somehow necessary to free the Void Dragon from its non-Euclidean chains, a prison that can only be unlocked by the prisoner. This is an idea that no one is particularly interested in testing.

Dark Eldar[edit]

Asdrubael Vect[edit]

See Asdrubael Vect

Reri Hesperax[edit]

One of many different versions of what the cybrid can look like. The only flesh to exist on her body is on her head and the skin of her torso.

Illucis Grizvaldi, following his emergency Warp jump to escape Imperial forces, was stranded on an unknown planet within Ultima Segmentum when Lelith Hesperax found him. Or rather the Dark Eldar agents that found him. When approached by these agents to be commissioned for the creation of a living weapon or risk starving to death in the middle of nowhere, he refused to work for Lelith unless they allowed his remaining disciples be taken with him.

After coming to an agreement, the heretek along with his cult was taken back to Commorragh to being his finest creation. The treacherous Dark Eldar politics have caused the famous Succubus for an insurance along with a weapon for her own personal use outside of the city. It began with taking the embryo from Lelith to have it grow in a vat. Once the child was fully developed with accelerated aging to around 17, her ears and limbs were cut off. Citing the need to install cybernetics along with ridding of the typical hypersensitive Eldar weaknesses located on the feet, hands, and ears. Machines built for utility, enhanced movement and hunting were integrated into the girl's body over time, as she was trained while brainwashed into the blind obedience of Lelith.

Given the codename "Reri", then allowed to adopt the last name Hesperax, she was made for tracking and assassination of all Lelith's rivals outside of Commorragh. Illucis whispered some unknown words to Lelith before leaving, those words would be the killswitch for the cybernetics on Reri if the machines ever picked up the vibrations of those words. Not to mention the explosives built into the limbs that would probably kill Reri. In the 41st Millenium however, Reri has gone on to kill some diverse targets that only a lucky few have survived against her. Some Dark Eldar goes so far as to think she could take on killing any member of the Imperial Family although this is extreme stupidity or arrogance talking.

Without the ears, Reri could either install specialized equipment or synthetic ears for infiltration as an Abhuman. The limbs have also been heavily modified to always have motion sensors, vox comms, powerful magnetics, and survival tools like a knife or lockpicks. they can also be outfitted with built-in weapons and tracking instruments. This was all done while adding durability to have them be tougher than Eldar bone without sacrificing the mobility.

Some say that her appearance is eerily similar to that of a Human with the right limbs and ears, creating another conspiracy theory saying the Impossible Child was already built by the Dark Eldar. Although few subscribe to this theory, it has been given exposure following the assassination of an Inquisitor in Sol right after the 12th Black Crusade. There are also some within the Imperial government who suspect Reri interfered with Legienstrasse's development, although it is unknown how much she was involved. One thing was certain, however, Reri was tracking down Legienstrasse when the Imperials found the renegade assassin. With increasingly erratic behavior after The Wedding, Lelith worries about sending Reri away as the chance of her going rogue also increase.

The Ilmaea[edit]

The Blackened Heart of Commorragh

At the heart of Commorragh are the Ilmaea (lit. black sun/stolen sun), the twin suns that power the Dark City. Commorragh could accurately be described as a set of dual Dyson spheres, two spherical outgrowths of the Webway stacked one on top of the other (Upper and Lower Commorragh, respectively), each with an Ilmaea at their center. Each star artificially crushed to the size of a red dwarf by the Old Eldar Empire at the height of their power using technology now since lost. Because of the technology used to shrink their size, the Ilmaea also have an extremely long expected life span, comparably to that of an actual red dwarf. Although Commorragh was originally founded as a Webway port and became a haven for the Old Empire’s rich and famous before becoming what it is now, it also performs a remarkably good job as a disaster shelter. In theory, one could outlast the end of the universe inside Commorragh.

Approximately 1640000 years ago, the Old Eldar Empire went to war with and defeated an unknown, now-extinct alien species. This was not an uncommon event in eldar history, every few million years or so an external threat would arise that would actually threaten the supremacy of the Children of Isha. Sometimes these enemies were resurgent Brain Boyz, sometimes they were extra-galactic or extra-dimensional species like the architects of the Harrowing, and sometimes they were simply native Milky Way races, occasionally fellow children of the Old Ones, that bit off more than they could chew. At first the eldar fought these wars based on the half-remembered wishes of the Old Ones, believing themselves to be safeguarding the existence and self-determination of their fellow sentients, but at some point things took a darker turn.

According to legend, the race that fought the eldar 1.6 million years ago had been a true threat to the galaxy, believing themselves to have a manifest destiny over the Milky Way. The eldar beat the would-be galactic conquerors back to their binary-star home system and then, as punishment for their hubris, stole their two suns, leaving the species to scream in anguish as they slowly froze to death in the darkness. It is uncertain how justified the actions of the eldar were, given their tendency to self-glorify and distort their own history, but the accounts of the Black Library (which are considered to be less biased) do seem to support the idea that the species . However, the fact that they were willing to resort to such draconian means of ensuring their dominance, destroying an entire biosphere of an already defeated foe, already showed the rot seeping into the heart of the Old Empire.

In the years after the seizure of the Ilmaea and their placement as trophies within the biggest Webway port of Commorragh, the Ilmaea became an important symbol in eldar society. The Ilmaea became seen as a symbol of eldar righteousness, an indicator of how the chosen of the Old Ones and Asuryan could do no wrong. Depictions of the Ilmaea became common in Old Empire art, and many wealthy Sidhe lords sought to have Ilmaea of their own. Most were artificial mock-ups made of fusion reactions, but a few were real, stolen from life-bearing systems to complete the symbolism. The Old Empire at least had a fig-leaf of justification for confiscating the original Ilmaea. The nobles…did not. The Craftworlders and Exodites do not think highly of the Ilmaea, considering them a symbol of the Old Empire’s hubris of the highest magnitude.

Each of the Ilmaea are modulated to give off the perfect amount of light and heat to the surface of Commorragh below, giving them a sinister black color when viewed through solar filters. This allows Commorragh to be kept habitable for life without the need of expensive artificial blinds. There is no day or night cycle on Commorragh, only a perpetual twilight, the time when light still exists despite the coolness of the oncoming night…and also the exact time when the shadows are longest and predators find it the easiest to hide. The similarities have not gone unnoticed.

Although the technology to create the Ilmaea has since been lost, the technology to keep the stolen suns modulated still exists. The size and intensity of the stars has been ever so slightly tweaked over the years to balance growth as the Webway pockets of various Kabals have been stitched into Commorragh. Indeed, if the containment were ever to fail, the stars would most likely violently expand back to their former size. The Lord of Commorragh, Asdrubael Vect, has used this to his advantage at one point, deliberately dropping the shielding on one section of the Ilmaea to scour an entire district of Commoragh clean in order to burn one infamous rebellion to the ground, sending a message to all of Commorragh of the sword of Damocles Vect has hanging over their heads.

The New Men[edit]

Fabius Bile, mad geneticist of Commorragh and personal vizier of Asdrubael Vect, is known for a great many things. Reverse engineering of the Mark III MP geneseed to provide the Fallen with a ready supply of new recruits. Concocting combat drugs that make the most potent medications of the Imperium look like aspirin. Creations of horrors for the highest bidder that make even the other inhabitants of the Dark City have a minor reaction of disgust. Most consider these acts vile abominations committed solely for the amusement of a twisted mind. Fabius Bile considers them parlor tricks done to pay the rent.

Fabius Bile’s actual goals, the ones he actually puts his heart and soul into, tend to be much more grandiose. He wants to be remembered for something beyond simply being the ringmaster of his own personal freakshow. He wants to create something that will far outlast however long he exists in this galaxy.

He wants to bring back the Men of Gold.

In Fabius Bile’s mind, humanity’s mistake isn’t that mankind created the Men of Gold, it is that mankind did not become the Men of Gold. Mankind during the Dark Age of Technology had the ability to create their own demi-gods, and yet they squandered this opportunity to merely create liasons between themselves and the Iron Minds. The Eldar are no better. Bile knows of the history of the Eldar from the Haemonculi of Commoragh. He knows how the Eldar were once little different from mankind or the Tau, before being uplifted by the Old Ones and then genetically engineered by their own hand. But then the Eldar stopped. They were on the verge of making themselves a race of gods, and then they stopped. The time it took them to reach even that state is also unimpressive to Bile. Whereas it took the Eldar millennia to engineer themselves into their modern state, Bile claims that a suitably intelligent and properly motivated individual could do it in centuries.

Fabius Bile’s most recent endeavor, the personal project that has shown the greatest amount of success, is the creation of the so-called New Men. Bile proclaims these New Men to be to humanity what the modern Eldar are to their ancient ancestors, the missing link between man and the Men of Gold. The New Men are all latent psykers, grow to adulthood in a fraction of the time of baseline humans, and are deliberately engineered to have a 100% compatibility rate with Astartes gene-seed. But Bile isn’t satisfied with merely recreating the Men of Gold. He wants to make something better. To this end, he has spliced in genes from creatures all over the galaxy, in the purpose of making the New Men the perfect lifeform. Compared to the average human being, the New Men are stronger, almost impervious to pain, immune to many poisons, and capable of surviving in environmental conditions that normal humans would simply die.

However, in spite of all this, for some reason Bile’s New Men inevitably turn out…wrong. The New Men invariably lack any sense of empathy or social etiquette. They are not psychopathic, nor sociopathic, but the only beings they ever seem to reliably show a connection to are their fellow New Men. It is for these reasons that the Fallen refuse to take New Men as recruits, despite a 100% compatibility rate with Astartes gene-seed. In addition, the New Men always end up with leucism or albinism, with pale grey skin the color of a corpse and translucent veins running just under their skin. It is not clear why the New Men end up this way. It cannot be due to their creation, as there are many humans in the Imperium that are grown in-vitro and yet turn out to be perfectly adjusted adults. It cannot be due to their upbringing, as even New Men raised by surrogate families still turn out the same way. It is almost as though the souls of the New Men somehow know they were grown from spliced cells cultivated from dead bodies, unwillingly implanted into the surrogate wombs of terrified prisoners.

Although Fabius Bile is frustrated by these setbacks, he is not perturbed. He knows these flaws are something he will manage to fix…eventually. As to the failed batches, Bile has no problem lending them out to the Dark Eldar or the Crone Worlders as front-line combatants so that someone might get some use out of them, only requesting that he retain a few specimens for dissection and breeding purposes.


The Swarmlord[edit]

See The Swarmlord

The Leviathan of Sotha[edit]

The Leviathan of Sotha is a miracle of history. Preserved through a chance fluke, the Imperium has learned more about tyranids from this vessel than it has from dozens of minor skirmishes. During the Battle of Sotha in the First Battle for Ultramar between the Imperium and Hive Fleet Behemoth, one of the planet’s surface to orbit guns shot down a tyranid Hive Ship near the planet’s moon. The Hive Ship crash-landed on the nearby moon, where it died of what was either the tyranid equivalent of a broken spine or massive internal organ damage. The total vacuum of the moon prevented the outer surface of the hive ship from decaying, either from external microbes or the tyranid microfauna contained within, and so much of the carcass remains as pristine as the day it died.

This is not to say the Hive Ship is harmless. The decaying leviathan has enough gas in its guts from decomposition to form a makeshift atmosphere, and so tyranid organisms occasionally arise from within the bowels of the dead monster and have to be cleared out in order for research to be conducted safely. Some tyranids will occasionally escape from the hive ship and try to survive on the moon’s surface. All tyranid lifeforms can survive in vacuum for a short period of time, but even the hardiest tyranid organisms will deplete their oxygen reserves and die after prolonged periods of activity in hard vacuum. Therefore, the Inquisition maintains a constant security force around the Hive Ship at all times. However, the ships reserve carnifexes and hive tyrants were all killed off centuries ago, and the ship only has enough biomass to spare for small tyranid organisms, such as hormagaunts and termagaunts. Over the years, the tyranid organisms that emerge from the hive ship have been able to survive longer and longer in hard vacuum, but so far none have been able to evolve a complete independence from the oxygen that all organisms need.

One of the first things the Ordo Xenos did when it claimed the hive ship was try to determine its age. First, they tried to determine the age of the tyranid hive ship via carbon dating. It failed. It was only when the research team realized that if the tyranids were eating planets, they had to have been taking up radioactive isotopes from the organisms and crust of the planet they were eating, and so it should be possible to use dating methods more typically used for ancient rocks on the hive ship.

The analysis determined that the hive ship, as in that hive ship in particular, was over five million years old. The margin of error for said age estimate was older than human civilization.


See Also: Inquisitorial Report: AZURE IRON WASP

Ymgarl Genehounds[edit]

When the Adeptus Biologicus analyzed tyranid specimens for the first time, they found all sorts of things they shouldn’t have. Genetic sequences and biochemical signatures otherwise unique to lifeforms on Fenris, Catachan, and numerous other worlds in the Imperium. There were even sections of genetic material that seemed to come from Orks and the Eldar. The bio-priests were at a loss to explain how such a motley of genes could be present in a single creature, until a new tyranid bioform was discovered far from the front lines of the tyranid invasion.

Originally thought to be natural wildlife native to the moons of Ymgarl, these creatures were first discovered by the Imperium at about the same time as the genestealers in M36. However, sightings of these creatures were soon reported across the galaxy, supposedly caused by the creatures stowing away in space hulks and the holds of spacecraft. There was concern about the similarities between these creatures and “classic” genestealers, but the Imperium was never able to find a connection between the two. Genestealer activity did not follow in these creatures wake, and even their supposedly simultaneous discovery was in actuality more than two hundred years apart. And so the Imperium turned its attention away from the Ymgarl creatures. It was understandable, this was late M36, the peak of the Genestealer Wars, and the Imperium had more pressing issues to learn about. However, with the appearance of the first true tyranid Hive Fleets in the form of Behemoth, the Adeptus Biologicus decided to take another look at the Ymgarl creatures. And they turned out to be something else entirely.

These creatures, which later came to be renamed genehounds, resemble a cross between lictor and a purestrain genestealer. This suggests that genehounds may be a cross-breed between the two, or at the very least share genes with these bioforms. Like lictors and purestrains, genehounds have a much more complex nervous system than most tyranid bioforms, allowing them a higher degree of independent thought and the ability to function for extended periods of time away from synapse creatures of the Hive Mind. They are certainly intelligent enough to use spaceships and space hulks as a means to spread throughout the galaxy. However, whereas lictors and genestealers were meant to be sappers and beacons for the Hive Fleets, these creatures were something else entirely. Hunters. Hounds of the Hive Mind.

The motus operandi of a genehound is simple. First, the genehound locates a target. Another effect of the genehound’s increased intelligence is that a genehound is smart enough to target species with novel genetic features. This target can be as harmless as a squig or as dangerous as a Catachan Devil. Then, the genehound rushes forward in an explosive burst of speed to take its sample. The mouth of a genehound resembles a lamprey or a cookiecutter shark, a spiral ring of teeth designed to shear chunks of flesh from its targets and a piston-like tongue with a serrated tip built to make incisions and drink their bodily fluids. This allows a genehound to easily obtain a genetic sample of the organism for the Hive Mind, or feed itself in the long intervals between action. Its task completed, the genehound makes its way back to the Hive Fleet to be reabsorbed, bringing its genetic trophy with it.

Unlike other bioforms, the Hive Mind does not go out of its way to track down genehounds. To do so would be to expose the ruse, as happened when the Imperium discovered the true nature of genehounds and ordered them killed on sight. The genehounds had not managed to hit every system of note in the galaxy, but they had hit enough to give the Hive Mind access to some choice adaptations. When the Biologicus realized what these creatures were they were horrified by the implications. The tyranids hadn’t just been scouting the galaxy for millennia. They had been raiding its genetic armory.

Xenos Independens[edit]



Those Who Linger:

The Hrud are quintessential Xenos Independens. On the one hand, they hate the Necrons, fear Chaos, and are just as threatened by tyranids (particularly genestealers) as everyone else. Just about the only enemies of the Imperium the Hrud tolerate are the Orks and that is because Hrud juunlaks find it just as easy to live on the outskirts of Ork camps as they do Imperial cities. On the other hand, the Hrud clearly have their own agenda, can’t seem to organize themselves well enough to negotiate for inclusion into the Imperium, and are nearly impossible to get to swear by Imperial laws and boundaries. In spite of, or perhaps because, the Hrud have one of the best long-term memories of any species in the galaxy, they have the attention span and respect for boundaries of a house cat. A common saying in the Imperium goes: “You can get a Hrud to do just about anything. Once.”

The biology of the Hrud is strange, even by the standards of the Imperium. Rather than being supported by their limbs, Hrud bodies are attached to a fixed point in the fabric of space-time, from which the Hrud's body and legs hang from like clothes on a hanger. The Hrud don't so much walk as pull or pull their stationary point in space-time along using their arms. Hrud have a hydrostatic musculature and can compress their bodies to a width of less than 30 cm, allowing them to fit through virtually any hole larger than a human thigh. Combined with their limited ability to fold the fabric of space-time, this allows them to worm their way through openings and passages which you wouldn’t normally expect a creature of their size to fit, even fitting through closed doorways if they aren’t properly sealed.

Hrud are all natural psykers, however the form that their psychic powers take is somewhat different from the rather straightforward usage seen in humans and Eldar. Hrud are capable of masking their presence from other species through the use of a psychic perception filter and a strange ability to bend light and space-time, to the point that a Hrud was once reported to have been able to hide from observers in plain sight while in a white-walled, well-lit room. However the amount of effort it takes for a Hrud to hide from the perception of others is heavily dependent on the environment (i.e., a dark place is much easier to hide in than a bright one) and on the species the Hrud is trying to fool. For humans and tau, it is easily possible to fool them into thinking a passing Hrud is just a trick of the shadows. By contrast, Eldar and tarellians, whose brains are organized a little differently, take more effort to fool, especially Eldar who also have psychic senses at their disposal.

The Hrud are also capable of emitting a combination of a miasma of airborne toxins and an entropic field, which they call the ssaak. It is thought that the ssaak was always present to some degree in the Hrud as a natural defense mechanism and the entropic field was part of the modifications made to the species by the Old Ones. The ssaak is always present to some degree, but becomes extremely prominent if the Hrud in question is stressed out or threatened. Unfortunately, being a nocturnal species with a species-wide case of agoraphobia, the Hrud are almost always stressed out to some degree. Long-term exposure to the ssaak is not advised, as it can cause nausea, sedation, physiological dependence, and premature aging. On the rare occasions in which the Hrud do manage consistently interact with other species on a long-term basis, they often build encounter suits to contain the ssaak to keep other people from getting sick.

Hrud are capable of combining their ssaak fields, which at their most extreme extent can form a temporal warp-rift singularity which can devastate their foes. More than once an invading force has attacked a settlement, only to be driven back by the enraged Hrud galvanized from below the city. This phenomenon can either be beneficial or harmful to the Imperium. On the one hand you have cases like Dulcinea, where during the 12th Black Crusade the population of Hive Strigis was massacred by Chaos warbands, only to rouse the ire of the Hrud population living in the city’s underhive who dropped a singularity on their heads. At the same time you have cases like Haakoneth, the former homeworld of the Star Phantoms, which in 103.M40 came under attack the fleet of an Ork Freeboota Klan. The Star Phantoms destroyed the attacking Ork fleet, but unfortunately this provoked the Hrud colony that had been living in the bowels of the Freeboota ships, who immediately embarked on a Peh-ha to find a new home. The resulting Hrud migration dragged a singularity with it to the surface of Haakoneth, which between the Hrud and the Orks forced the Star Phantoms and the population of Haanoneth to retreat and abandon the planet.

The Imperium first encountered the Hrud in M30, during the later years of the Great Crusade. At this time, humanity and Eldar were on good terms with one another, but this was only shortly after the Raid and the levels of trust between the two groups wasn’t as well established as it would be in later years. The Hrud were, at the time of the Imperium's discovery of them, confined to a single world. It is thought that they had been confined to their homeworld by the Old Eldar Empire, who had apparently been willing to reduce the Hrud from an interstellar power but weren’t prepared to actually exterminate them due to their shared history (or possibly indirect intervention from the Eldar gods). After the Fall of the Eldar, the Hrud remained on their world, either because they were afraid of retaliation from the Eldar, no longer had the knowledge to produce spacecraft, or possibly because they were afraid doing so would violate the last commandment and warning of their god. And so the Hrud remained quarantined. Until the Iron Warriors found them.

In 734.M30, the Iron Warriors had just finished unified what would become the future Hive World of Stratopolae. The planet’s infrastructure was sound, but if it was to thrive it needed a devoted bread basket. Long range telescopes showed a habitable planet within a few lightyears of the planet, which would have made an ideal Agri-World. Shortly before the Iron Warriors, including a young Barabas Dantioch, were ready to leave the system, they were contacted by the Eldar. The Eldar implored the Iron Warriors not to go to that system, telling them that it was home to a dangerous xenos lifeform that their ancestors had quarantined millennia ago. The Iron Warriors blew them off, believing it was merely a lie spun by the Eldar to conceal the fact that there was something of value on the planet and the Eldar thought the Iron Warriors were gullible enough to believe it.

The Iron Warriors exited the Warp in a system with one notable world in its habitable zone. The world itself was mostly earth-like, and seemed to be uninhabited though showed clear signs of former occupation. The Iron Warriors were pleased about this, the expedition had been more than worth it as this world was ideal for an Agri-World. They didn’t know why the Eldar were so interested in the system but the knife-ears could go space themselves if they thought they could give orders to humanity.

The Iron Hands landed their craft near what was the only visible artificial structure from orbit, a skyscraper-like building that looked like one of Perturabo’s creations crossed with a very grungy bee hive. They sat outside their craft for several days waiting for someone, anyone, to make contact with them before they decided to make the first move. One of the crew thought they saw something over on a nearby mountain range but later chalked it up to a mirage. Leaving their ship behind, the Iron Warriors marched down empty roads into a ghost city. Entering the city, they realized what they thought were heavily degraded structures were actually buildings of xenos design. Still, the city seemed empty, and if the planet was uninhabited they could still set up an Agri-World there. The only potential sign of life were occasional signs of movement in their peripheral vision but as their armor’s sensors kept reading inconsistent extra-spectrum signatures they put it down to a mild glitch caused by the strange environment. For nearly two days the Iron Warriors wandered around the city getting increasingly agitated by the phantom sightings before they actually saw anyone.

In what looked like a market square the Imperial Emissary and his Iron Warrior guards finally found someone to talk to. A hunched figure in tattered hooded robes holding a stick with a bit of cloth on it that might have been a standard flanked by four similarly attired individuals. No part of the creatures were visible. At this point the Iron Warriors realized there was a problem. They had thought the world was uninhabited, but it was now clear that it was very inhabited by a xenos species. Standard procedure for interacting with an unknown xenos species during the Great Crusade was to observe and them attempt to make contact from as close to the system’s Mandeville Point as possible. If the species was friendly, politely extend the bare minimum of courtesy and leave as soon as possible. If the species was territorial or too primitive to make contact, leave it alone. If the species tried to follow the fleet back and attack, destroy them. The point of such contact was to survey potential threats to humanity, ideally from lightyears away. And yet here the Iron Warriors were meters from a xenos lifeform.

To their credit, the Imperial Emissary and the Iron Warriors tried to make the best of the situation. After initial difficulties in establishing communication (the lead figure able to speak something that vaguely resembled Eldar High Speech), the Emissary and the lead figure, who introduced itself as a Hrud, exchanged pleasantries and initiated introductions. It already being late in the day the Emissary asked if they could continue this conversation tomorrow and in a knee-jerk reflex asked if the figures wanted to meet aboard their ship. After a moment of thought, the lead figure agreed, and the Imperial party returned to the ship to report their findings. The next day the Imperial Emissary and the Iron Warriors came down to the square they found it was empty. The Iron Warriors wandered around the empty city several times, looking for the mysterious figures. It's not until the fifth trip that they realize that they are no longer seeing movement in the corners of their eyes. The world felt strangely empty now.

At this time the Eldar, having seen their initial attempt to warn the Iron Warriors rebuffed, decided to send a message directly to the throne. The Steward took these concerns seriously and sent a message to Perturabo, but Perturabo, who at the time was too busy overseeing the construction of fortress hives to micromanage every expeditionary fleet of his legion, sent half-hearted warning letters to the expeditionary force who took the concerns under advisement. The Iron Warriors decided to leave the planet, between the warning, the strange visions, and the encounter in the marketplace, the planet was getting too weird for their liking. On the voyage back to the forgeworld some of the crew in the lower decks start to see flickering in the edge of their vision, but decided it was most likely a bit of dust in the air filters again and didn’t report it. Then the phenomenon starts appearing on Stratopolae when they get back. Then it is retroactively noted on several outgoing cargo hauler coming out of Stratopolae over the next several months. The investigation afterwards confirms what many suspected. Somehow the entire Hrud civilization managed to fold themselves up and hop onto the Iron warriors ship. Now the Hrud are abroad in the Imperium. The Eldar, having increasingly made noise all this time, now refused to comment, believing the results of the ill-fated expedition spoke for themselves.

The Iron Warriors, being military engineers, felt they could easily rectify the situation, but trying to contain the Hrud was like trying to make a river flow uphill and after a valiant campaign they found they just simply couldn’t put the genie back in the bottle. In addition, between the general chaos caused by large-scale Hrud migrations and the cornered Hrud lashed out in self-defense, many Iron Warriors were killed or crippled. Barabas Dantioch in particular was prematurely aged to the point he was recalled from active service and put on garrison duty out of concerns for his health despite being only 200 years old. While on garrison duty, Dantioch gained an interest in Eldar culture and history, having recalled their warning before the expedition, showing a particular interest in the architecture of the Webway.

Surprisingly, the expected retaliation from the Hrud never came. Once the campaign by the Iron Warriors the Hrud seemed content to retreat into the shadows. The Imperium has tried to negotiate with the Hrud in the same way it has with numerous other Xenos races, particularly in the hopes of bringing some order to the Hrud’s seemingly random pattern of migrations. It hasn’t really worked out. Although they live in a tribal society organized into clans, Hrud clans tend to have a hard time interacting and negotiating with Imperial diplomats, both due to the ssaak and their poor concept of time. Instead, they tend to live on the fringes of society in their juunlaks. The Hrud never officially joined the Imperium and are technically trespassers. But they aren't too troublesome or obtrusive and so they never became classified as Xenos Horridus. They steal things and leech power from Imperial systems, but usually no more than they need and only if they cannot obtain it on their own. The Hrud generally just kind of hide in the corners of places and occasionally steal sandwiches and make strange things out of scrap. Yes the Hrud have gotten to some of the Craftworlds. No the Eldar are not happy about it.

Hrud relationships with Imperial citizens are mixed. Imperial citizens sometimes trade with the Hrud or hire them, but most Hrud tend to be too unreliable to hire for consistent jobs. On the one hand, Hrud have been known to go out of their way to protect non-Hrud from the Umbra, a bizarre race of shadowy Warp creatures that are often, but not always, found in association with Hrud. However, on the other hand, in absolute worst case scenarios the have been known to kidnap Imperial citizens and turn them into zanhaads, slave-pets addicted to their bodily chemicals. When this happens something has to be done, kidnapping Imperial citizens crosses a line and the Hrud have to be dealt with, no matter how loathsome it is. This distaste is not simply out of moral quandaries. Fighting against Hrud is a nightmare, as cleaning out a juunlak involves going down in to the deep, dark underhives where the Hrud are in their element. The ssaak is everywhere and with all the shadows a Hrud can be within a few feet of you and you wouldn’t know it until they ambush you.

Although the Hrud typically prefer to buy, borrow, or steal weapons, they are more than capable of making their own. Despite their primitive appearance, Hrud actually have quite a bit of knowledge of advanced technology and are capable of making or reverse-engineering weapons out of scrap. The most commonly seen Hrud-made firearms are the Hrud fusils, which are not quite rifles yet not quite shotguns (the weapon has a narrower spread than a rifle, but do have a spread and the barrel is not grooved) that are typically held like gauntlets and fire Warp-laced plasma which use the Warp to bypass armor and other solid objects. The ability of a Hrud fusil to pass through solid objects is not unlimited, but these weapons are more than capable of passing through several inches of shielding and in some cases are able to shoot through cover to hit someone on the other side. However, one downside to Hrud fusils compared to lasweapons and stubbers is that it takes a significant amount of time (anywhere from half a second to a few seconds) for the weapon to recharge after each volley.

Another sticking point between the Hrud and the Imperium involves genestealers. As denizens of the underhives, the Hrud are threatened by genestealer infestation as much as anyone, and are more acutely aware of what goes on in the underhive than possibly any other group. The Hrud often know who the genestealers are before the Imperium does. More than once an otherwise peaceful Hrud juulak has seemingly gone on an unprovoked rampage and massacred specific families down to the last individual, only for it to be discovered after Imperial retaliation that the Hrud had been wiping out a genestealer cult that no one had realized existed.


The Lord of Shadows:

Unlike the Eldar and many other species uplifted by the Old Ones, the Hrud are monotheists (possibly because they didn’t have the population or psychic power to create multiple gods), worshipping a shadow deity called Qah. The Hrud respected the Eldar Gods, referring to them as Slah-haii (most mighty/ancient, a term they also used to refer to the Old Ones in the past), but the Eldar gods were not Hrud, Qah was. In addition to shadows, Qah is also seen as a god of Hrud values, including community, morality, and conscience. Although it might not be immediately obvious why a shadow deity would be seen as a paragon of moral values, it makes perfect sense to the nocturnal or crepuscular Hrud. Shadows are reflections of the self. Everyone has a shadow, and your shadow sees everything that you do. In Hrud religion, your shadow is where your conscience comes from, and all consciences have a connection back to Qah.

Grand Empress Isha, for her part, is very interested in the reports of the Hrud still worshipping Qah. She remembers Qah, who fought alongside the Eldar gods just like the mortal hrud fought alongside the Eldar in the War in Heaven. Qah got along okay with the Eldar gods, but being a god of Hrud values and therefore community and Isha being a goddess of nature and friend to all living things, the two of them got along considerably better than Qah did with the other members of the Eldar pantheon. Isha secretly hopes that Qah is still out there somewhere, if only to have someone else around to talk to who remembered the War in Heaven and the days before the Fall, even if it wasn’t an Eldar. Isha would be devastated to know what really happened.

Shortly before the Old Eldar Empire gave birth to Slaanesh, Qah realized what was going on and realized that Slaanesh being born would mean devastation for not only the Hrud, but also for the Eldar and every race in the Milky Way galaxy. Having realized the gravity of the situation, he gathered the Hrud and told them what they needed to do to survive. In those days the Hrud built real cities and were unafraid of going out in the daylight, though at their heart they were always a nocturnal and opportunistic species. Qah told them they had to focus on those natural tendencies. They had to become so hidden, so beneath notice, that no one would ever bother or hurt them. His last command was a single word. He told the Hrud to hide. To survive. To linger. Having given his people the best guidance he could, he steeled himself and joined the battle against an alien god on behalf of the deities he had fought alongside so long ago.

Qah didn't make it. He got smashed into a billion pieces during the Fall the same way that Khaine did. Isha never saw this, as she was too busy being dragged away by Nurgle at the time to notice. Most of Qah’s fragments became the Umbra, the living shadows that like to cluster around Warp engines and Webway gates. Being but shreds of the shadow god, they are of limited intelligence, comparable to an animal, and will lash out at anything not-Hrud. Nevertheless, when destroyed they still scream “Linger”, begging any Hrud within earshot to remember the last words their god had told them to keep them safe.

It sucks to be Qah. He did everything in his power to save his people from the Age of Strife, but at what cost? He selflessly threw himself into battle on behalf of his old comrades from the days of the War in Heaven, only to be shattered into a million pieces. Even when his last few fragments are destroyed, he uses his last breath to remind the Hrud to remember what he said to keep them safe. One of the only remaining survivors of the War in Heaven is hoping that one day he will return, only for the tragedy being that Qah died a long long time ago and she never found out. He tried and tried to be selfless, only for tragedy to ensue. Being Qah is suffering.

Whereas many of Qah’s fragments were scattered across the galaxy, his main body ended back up on the Hrud homeworld. The Hrud refer to their homeworld as Hrud, much as they call themselves Hrud and speak a language called Hrud. There are no ethnic or cultural divisions between Hrud. Despite this, the former Hrud homeworld is typically referred to as Hrudworld for the sake of everyone’s sanity. Today there are no Hrud on Hrudworld. If it weren’t for psychic powers, no one would ever know why. To mundanes Hrudworld looks perfectly normal, although even with the Hrud gone people get the feeling there's something distinctly "wrong" about the place. Like they shouldn't be there. Psykers (including the Hrud) look around Hrudworld and notice there’s a half-decayed corpse straddled over the nearest mountain range.

The body appears on the horizon, or at least at a distance. Strewn over a mountain range, lying in a canyon, floating face down in the ocean, half buried in the ice of the north. It's likely not a "real" body as a corpse miles thick would probably distort the ground beneath it considerably to say nothing of what a new mountain might do to local climate. It always too distant to be touched, like a mirage on the horizon. Most classify the phenomenon as really consistent shared hallucination by the People of Qah and the psychically inclined. The corpse looks like a giant Hrud, more or less, albeit one seemingly sculpted of shadow. There are anatomical differences. Two sets of insectile wings not dissimilar to a very large beetle and two pairs of antenna upon its brow, one behind the other. It is thought that these features denote nobility to the Hrud in the same way that bird wings or a lion’s mane sometimes are used as artistic additions in human art. This shared hallucination does not occur on any other world of the Imperium even ones with a large Hrud population. Hrudworld doesn't frighten the Hrud, it saddens them. Their god is dead and his corpse, or something very like it, is always there to remind them. Of the few Hrud elders and lore-masters that would volunteer information on the phenomenon when asked they would give no hard information beyond that it brings them great sorrow.

The Hrud will rise again should the Imperium survive The Day of Reckoning. Isha will take the pieces of Qah and plant them in her garden when she takes back her throne. Perhaps Qah will spring from the ground, a fresh flower after a very long winter. Maybe his ghost will finally be laid to rest and his postmortem suffering will be over. Either way the Hrud will be able to move on.

Xenos Horribilis[edit]


The Fra'al are a settled, formerly nomadic, formerly settled race of creatures born seemingly without compassion. They are cruel but they are not sadistic so much as they are utterly indifferent to the wellbeing of others. The loss of their first empire was some time in the middle period of the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion when it seems that they thought the abduction of a few citizens would not be met with a stiff response. Their reasoning being that Humanity could spare a few plebs and those in positions of authority to make declarations of war would not care, just as the Fra’al wouldn't care if a few inconsequentials went missing. They were quite wrong. They were of a not incomparable level of technology to humanity, humanity not yet having reached the heights it one day would, and may even have outpaced the Dominion in a few areas but they didn't have the same resources. They were in the end forced to adopt a nomadic lifestyle as they had no planet. The war was bitter and bloody with no punches spared or pretense at fair play from either side and in the end the Fra'al lost their homeworld.

For the remainder of the Dominion's history they were condemned to wander. Tentative offers of reconciliation from the Dominion were met with hostility and soon stopped and the Fra'al would not again recover until the days of the Age of Strife when they could once more raid with impunity and take a new home to their liking. The homeworld they took is unknown, lost among the many uncharted stars of the Gothic Sector and it is there that they are most active. They trade occasionally for trinkets and toys, their technology base is lower than it once was but seems now noticeably higher that most of the Imperium at least in what they can mass produce. They trade with wicked men for human slaves and what fate awaits them is unknown though doubtless unpleasant.

The Fra'al themselves are a vaguely avian creature, or at least look as if they have had an avian analogue in their ancestry in some distant and dim past. They are humanoid in shape but more slender now than they once were, presumably from their years of forced exile among the stars. Their eyes are disproportionately bigger than those of most other species of their size and are typically a very dark red in colour with a cross shaped pupil. They are hairless with typically very pale grey skin and bluish blood based on a copper rather than iron. Their bones are light and they are frail of build. Their facial features are distinctly flat, the mouth and nose are in fact a squashed and downwards facing beak with with two nostril slits that can be close at will. The "teeth" are merely a serrated edge to the beak. The strange shape of the face and it's unintuitive construction are the result of a mutation some four million years ago that saw a decrease in general muscle mass but mostly in the cranium, causing an expansion of the cranium and brain size and a fast drive towards sapience, though apparently sentience may have arrived slightly later. The internal organs are distinctly avian in nature with the exception of the heart which is in fact two more primitive reptilian two chambered organs located on either side of the ribcage. The exact evolutionary path that lead to such an arrangement is unknown the AdBio and of little interest to the soldiers that have to deter Fra'al raiders.

The Fra'al claimed to have been to Old Earth at various times in the distant past when its inhabitants made knives of chipped stone with which they murdered each other and were preyed upon by more interesting creatures and many times after. It is unknown if these tales are fabrications in an attempt to unnerve or insult. They might be true, but what of it? Humanity outgrew them, and ever since they have been envious and bitter.


The Warp was not always a place of horror and insanity. Once, in the days before the War in Heaven, the Immaterium was inhabited by all manner of natural creatures, both terrifying and wonderful. True, many of these creatures were not safe, in the same way that being around a large predator or other such untamed megafauna is never truly “safe”, but neither were they all malicious. Even after the War in Heaven, as the Ruinous Powers began to set up their own domain, the Warp was still inhabited by many creatures that pledged no allegiance to chaos, such as the Enslavers, the Psychneuin, and the Medusae.

In their natural state, Medusae resemble nothing more than floating, armored brains, their grooved sulci covered in ridges of chitin and with a huge, singular eye with a distinctive dumbbell-shaped pupil at their front. Extending from around the periphery of the brain are numerous tendrils, resembling exposed nerve endings except with the myelin sheath covered by segments of bone and a singular or series of clawed spikes at the end. Despite this disorienting appearance, Medusae are normally “herbivores” of the Warp, lazily floating from place to place using their brain tendrils as they passively feed off the psychic energy emitted by sentient lifeforms into the Warp as they dream, akin to aquatic filter-feeders.

Due to the increasing rise to prominence of Chaos, the Medusae gradually came to the conclusion that the best option available to them was to leave the Immaterium for realspace. However, much like daemons and other creatures of the Warp, in order to inhabit the Materium the Medusae need a host. Unlike daemons, however, Medusae do not simply possess their victims. Instead, they consume the head of their victim and place their own head on top of the decapitated body, the act of consumption merging the two together to create a new organism, a hybrid of material and immaterial. However, calling such a relationship a symbiosis is an overstatement, there is no evidence of any part of the host’s mind surviving the process aside from any memories the Medusa picks up. Indeed, it is believed in their natural state Medusae are not even fully sapient, but exist in a constant dream-like trance, only gaining clarity when they merge with a living being.

Once the two organisms have joined the Medusa no longer needs to consume living beings to survive, instead feeding on the ambient psychic energy of the dreams and nightmares from those around them. If threatened, they are capable of discharging this energy as an empathic blast accompanied by a riot of pink-purple warp light to any poor soul who meets their gaze, a defense mechanism from their days as passive filter feeders that still serves them well. Such a glance from the psychic nova of their eye is enough to cause most sapient species to have a seizure or go into a comatose state. In the worst case scenario the target bleeds to death, blood hemmoraghing from every orifice due to the sheer neurological overload of the sensory organs causing capillaries to rupture.

After fusing the Medusa’s tendrils, which once served as their sole means of locomotion, droop around them like a series of bony dreadlocks, which combined with the heavy, hooded clothes they prefer to wear gives them a witch or hag-like appearance. These tendrils are still strong and fully prehensile, allowing the Medusa to use them like mechadendrites or to tear apart any aggressor in combat. However, the tendrils of a Meduasa have another function than combat or dexterity. As a Medusa feeds, the tendrils grow and elongate until eventually the claw falls off and a rounded, corrugated brain fruit grows in its place. If left alone, this brain fruit continues to grow until eventually it pops off and forms a new Medusa. However, if plucked early it can be consumed and allows one to re-experience all of the sensation experienced by the Medusa while the brain fruit gestated. Medusae brain fruits are considered quite the delicacy in Commorragh as well as the twisted courts of the Crone Eldar, allowing one to relive the anarchy of a favored raid or stave off the probing of She Who Thirsts. Attempts by humans (typically slaves or Rogue Traders) or other groups of eldar (typically corsairs) to eat brain fruit often results in a stroke or a coma from neurologic overload. According to the Dark Eldar, it’s an acquired taste.

As the Warp became progressively hostile to all forms of non-Chaos associated life, the Medusae increasingly found themselves forced into the one part of the galaxy that was connected to the Immaterium yet out of the hands of the Chaos Gods: the Eldar Webway. Unfortunately, this made the Medusae increasingly vulnerable to one of the dominant powers of the Webway, the Dark Eldar of Commorragh. Today, the largest population of Medusae live as an underclass within the xenos district of Null City within Lower Commorragh. They have nowhere else they can go. They cannot return to the Warp, for that is where the predators lie and they cannot survive there. They cannot hide in the Webway, as they would easily be hunted down by the Kabals and it is paradoxically easier to hide in plain sight within the bustling throngs of Commorragh. They cannot escape into realspace, as most groups would try to kill them on sight. They try to keep a low profile, as the Archons of Dark Eldar Kabals are always interested in capturing Medusae to use as walking weapons or sources of brain fruit to use and sell, covering the heads of the Medusae covered with metal masks so their captors can avoid being blasted with their psychic power.

The Medusae, in all honesty, just want to be allowed to live. They take no joy in consuming their victims, but neither do they feel guilt over having to do so to survive. Medusae are capable of forming emotional attachments with individuals after they merge, but they seem unable to or unwilling to make the connection that the very act of completing their life cycle could potentially put their associates in danger. At most, Medusae have been known to chase unbonded Medusae away from individuals that they value. Although their need for hosts could easily be satisfied by vat-growing, the Dark Eldar have no interest in helping them and the Imperium is either unaware or uncaring to their plight. Despite being mostly harmless after finding a host, the fact that they need a mortal body to communicate along with numerous poor first encounters where voidsmen have been attacked by unbonded Medusae, the Imperium has declared them Xenos Horribilis. Unfortunately, few Medusae escaped the Dark City after the Exodus from the Dark Wedding. As an underclass, they did not possess the access to the Webway portals that may have potentially granted the race their freedom and potentially even struck them from the Xenos Horribilis list. Those few that did are often found in the retinue of Rogue Traders, the few individuals who could grant them protection.


The Rak’Gol are a horrifying xeno-breed thought native to the Koronus Expanse out beyond the Halo Stars. The source of their animosity towards the Imperium and it’s peoples is as of yet unknown, there might not even be a reason. It could just be that they are universally hostile to anything that they see as competition. Attempts at opening up a dialogue have yet not been responded to with anything other than violence and even Rak’Gol language/s are utterly unknown despite the many centuries of encounters and listening. It is assumed that they have a language as they make sound and have ear analogues and their ships transmit and receive radio waves. Written language as observed by the boarding teams seems to consist of raised bumps similar superficially to Braille, as with the spoken language no sense has yet been made of it.

If they have distinct sexes it is not evident with greater differences in bodily structure seeming to exist through role. Technicians aboard their brutally designed ships tending to be noticeably smaller and more nimble of limb than the warrior-breeds. Exactly how this distinction is maintained as no form yet encounter has had reproductive organs is unknown. Theories range from cloning and manipulation at early stages of development to each type maintain a breeding population on some distant undiscovered homeworld.

Whatever the reason their actions like the orks before them have put their kind on the Imperium’s black list.

In appearance a basic warrior-form of the Rak’Gol is a little over two and a half meters tall with a hide thick enough to shrug off small stubber gun fire. Cybernetics are appointed seemingly based upon skill and age, with age being a result of skill as in such an inhumanly aggressive society a lack of skill prevents age. The natural upper life expectancy of their kind is unknown although Adeptus Biologicus assume it could be anything up to two and a half centuries based on experiments done on tissue samples from recovered corpses. The individuals of the Rak’Gol are not aggressive towards each other and are seemingly extremely cohesive as a group with everyone knowing their place and performing their duties in a manner reminiscent of the Vespid. Unlike the Vespid the Rak’Gol also have seemingly no real love for each other as individuals and have been observed killing and cannibalising the injured and crippled without hesitation or distress. Most chilling of all is the way that the targeted individual does not try to flee or plead or even flinch, they just stand there as they are carved up.

It is not unreasonable to assume that the Rak’Gol operate on a psychic hive mind similar to that of the Tyranids but this does not seem to be the case as they do have to speak to each other to relay information. Exchanges of speech have been observed that could be requests for clarification or even offered alternative suggestions to given orders. There have even been aggressive body language with accompanying changes of body language that would indicate heated argument and even one observed instance of dispute and violence, the loser submitting to being carved up for food. They would seem to be individuals united in hate, a common cause and an extremely effective method of instilling discipline and obedience although it’s not unreasonable to assume that such behaviour comes very naturally to them.

Rak’Gol technology is on par with Imperial Standard in many regards but seemingly lagging in others. It is unknown at this time if that is because higher technology is present in their fleets but has not been observed, if they have the ability to make more sophisticated mechanisms but consider it uneconomical in some way or that it is a hole in their knowledge. Their cybernetics for example are, depending on the device, anywhere between extremely crude and on par with what the Mechanicus can produce but show consistency in this discrepancy between individuals. One of the ways that their devices lack sophistication is in comfort toward the host. From dissected captures and retrieved corpses it is evident that they are capable of feeling pain but at the same time give no observable indication that they can. An explanation put forth by the Biologicus is that they just don’t care.

The ships follow a similar brutal design philosophy, constructed with no though of elegance or crew comfort, no ornamentation or anything that is not strictly necessary for a war ship. All ships encountered to date have been some form of war ship or are at least capable of acting as such. Radiation from both space and the workings of the ship are not shielded as much as they would be on even an ork ship and this does not seem to impeded, concern or sicken the crew. As it is unknown how many ships there are or from where they are coming and so it is difficult to judge how fast they travel although it is suspected that they are not as fast as many Imperial ships of their size. This is speculated to be because they have no Navigator analogue although this is unconfirmed speculation. In most offensive and defensive means the Rak’Gol ships are comparable to Imperial vessels of similar size if not slightly superior although it has been observed that their sensors are not as effective as those on equivalent Imperial ships.

The eldar do not have any surviving records of the Old Empire that speak of things much like the Rak’Gol and Nemesor Zahndrekh does not remember anything that looked like them from his youth.

Exactly what has made them as they are, seemingly so full of hate, is unknown and the source of much baseless speculation. There are no clues to culture or history found on their ships or on their bodies and any hope of finding some sort of answer can probably only be found on their homeworld, should they have one.

The leading theory among the eldar and human scholars is that their homeworld once orbited a quite vibrant star or orbited on an elliptical orbit, often bringing it closer to the star than most life forms would deem at all comfortable. Their hardy body structure, ability to survive scarcity and seeming immunity to radiation poisoning would seem to indicate as much although there are many such worlds in the galaxy that this could apply to.

There are, sometimes at least, creatures that are similar to their description mentioned in some of the less popular Harlequin performances. Strange and unpleasant beings that did something foolish and angered the lords and ladies of the Old Empire and in retaliation the eldar laid waste to their cities, slew their armies and stole their sun away and left them in their ruins to freeze to death under the uncaring stars. The story is a sorrowful one that showed the monstrous and graceless nature of the old aristocracy, as the insult of the “twilight people” was slight and unintended. The last words of the last king of the twilight people, as his crown fell apart in frozen pieces, was to show no pity for the eldar though he had seen a time when they would consume themselves and that he and his people would be there still to see it.

If the twilight people were the Rak’Gol then they have changed. How long the Harlequins have been performing this play is unknown as it potentially could be millions of years. Time enough certainly for the Rak’Gol to adapt to a dying world in a brutal way.

One way by which they have adapted is by the adoption of the dreaded Yu'Vath technology. Unlike most creatures that are utterly subsumed by such artefacts and essentially become Yu'Vath the Rak’Gol reach a terrible equilibrium with it. The Yu'Vath wish to bring low all about them and reign terrible and unopposed and the Rak’Gol seemingly wish to kill everything that is not them. To this end the Yu'Vath remnants empower the Rak’Gol but the Rak’Gol can’t be consumed and their seeming compliance with the will of the Yu'Vath is merely them coincidentally having the same goals in mind for the most part. If exposure to the foreign and invasive technology is responsible for their current state then they themselves are another victim of the Primordial Annihilator and should be pitied as much as hated, though the need for their extinction remains the same.

The Imperium’s first known contact with the Rak’Gol came in 935.M37 out on what was then the Azimoth frontier, a prosperous set of predominantly mixed eldar and human settlements that looked at the time promising. At the time the wholesale slaughter of the relatively lightly defended frontiersmen was attributed to a hitherto unknown ork band, the lack of ork bodies believed to be an eccentricity of them eating their dead for preference. The Rak’Gol, at least in the early contact wars, went to great pains to recover their bodies and remove recordings of themselves. This method of warfare could only continue for so long before knowledge of what they were would be revealed accidentally but for that time the Rak’Gol were an unaccountable and unstoppable force from the edge of the map pushing the darkness back across the light of civilization. Even when what they were was revealed due to the unexpected arrival of substantial Imperial Army elements resulted from a poorly calculated warp jump the Imperium was barely the wiser. They had a face and even a name to what they were fighting but little else. Information that could lead to the discovery of the Rak’Gol homeworld or base of operations is prized extremely highly and rewarded generously.


See The Rangdan Xenocides and the Slaugth


The Horror from Out of Time:

Few mysteries are as vexing as those surrounding the Ordo Chronos. According to what little is known, the Ordo Chronos is an Ordo of the Inquisition that was founded, or would have been founded, or will be founded, to investigate chronological disturbances and protect against temporal threats to the Imperium. The Arch-Enemy would love nothing more than to win a pre-emptive victory by changing history and erasing the nascent Imperium from existence, and given the Ruinous Powers’ near total control of the Warp and the Immaterium's decidedly loose relationship with time such a prospect is not an idle threat.

According to what little records remain, an Administratum budget report here, an offhand mention in a tome in the Black Library there, the Ordo Chronos was one of the earliest orders of the Inquisition, and was active until at least early M33, with the last known records being around the date of the Harrowing and the creation of the Hadex Anomaly. However, the Inquisition itself has no records of an “Ordo Chronos” ever being founded. Even people who have been around since the beginning of the Imperium, and therefore should know of the Ordo Chronos’ existence, including the Emperor and the Empress, profess no knowledge as to having ever created an “Ordo Chronos”. If the upper echelons of the Imperium know anything about the fate of the Ordo Chronos, they certainly are not talking.

The only solid evidence of the Ordo Chronos on record since then is when an Inquisitor of the order turned up in a blue crate in the cargo hold of Rogue Trader (then Prince) Yriel’s ship Hoec’s Grace in M38. He lasted long enough to answer a few questions from other Inquisitors but disappeared as quickly as he came. Unfortunately, his answers were as vague as a Star Child prophecy and about as helpful. According to what can be discerned from his testimony, the Ordo Chronos was destroyed when its members were sucked into the newly formed Hadex Anomaly, of which as far as he knew he was the only survivor. He survived because he was lucky enough to have “merely” become stuck in a pocket dimension where he experience the last 24 hours of his life on repeat for several centuries. When asked how he escaped from such a prison he merely answered “a bloody lot of hard work”. However, given the nature of the Ordo Chronos, it is possible that this an event that from their perspective had happened, has yet to happen, or may never happen due to having occurred in an alternate timeline that was averted in “our” time.

Even the nature of how the subject of the Ordo, time, works is itself uncertain. Some schools of thought argue that time is deterministic. If time did not interact in some orderly fashion with realspace and the Immaterium, it should not be possible to view galactic history through fossilized light, or for ships to arrive at a destination via warp travel before they even left. Others, however, take a different view. If fate is pre-ordained, then prophecy and eldar farsight, which work by viewing potential alternate timelines, should not even be possible. Some postulate a unified theory of time, in which the quantum observer effect prevents time from being observed non-deterministically, but these theories are difficult to test (not to mention dangerous). Such experimentation is made even more dangerous by the presence of the Tindalosi.

One of the few of which any detail is known are the Tindalosi. However, this is not saying much, given that the Tindalosi are only known about by virtue of being too noticeable to ignore. In truth, about as much is known about the Tindalosi is as known about Wyverns, or the Arch-Leprechauns of Hippocampos IV. Even their name, “Tindalosi”, is probably not their actual moniker. They get their name from a written account from the Dark Age of Technology by an eyewitness of a Tindalosi attack in late M23, in which the writer compares them to fictional creatures in an ancient Terran story.

The Tindalosi are silvery, biomechanical constructs, approximately two to two and a half meters long or about the size of a large hunting hound. However, despite the mechanical nature, the Tindalosi appear to breed and reproduce much as organic beings do. They have six legs, somewhere between a canine and an insect appearance, allowing them to bound after their prey with frightening speed. The front and bottom of the Tindalosi’s triangular head is a curved sickle, someone resembling that of a biting insect or bird of prey. The optics are large, red, and appear segmented, though whether they are compound eyes or something else is unknown. The head is at the end of a long, jointed, arm like neck, which can snap out with a hunting heron and slice into its victims, sucking out their bio-electrical energy. The Tindalosi are best known for their ability to phase through space and time, allowing them to track their prey wherever they may go.

Though much about the Tindalosi is unknown, they seem to have originally been created by another race as some sort of temporal assassins, though they have since gone feral. Nevertheless, even though the Tindalosi may have gone feral, some vestige of their original programming still remains. Anyone who discovers too much of something will find themselves tracked and hunted by these creatures, though exactly what that something is unknown. Entire mechanic is workshops have been found slaughtered overnight, all because somebody found some inconvenient fact.

There are three possible hypotheses as to the origins of the Tindalosi. The first is that they are Necron constructs, gone rogue in the millions of years since the War in Heaven. There is some support to this hypothesis. In contrast to their lack of technological knowledge regarding the Warp, the Necrons are well-versed in the usage of time and the “side paths” created by higher dimensions to their advantage, as indicated by the existence of Deathmarks, Chronomancers, and their ability to “phase out”. This was one of the main advantages the Necrons had over the Old Ones and their servants during the War in Heaven. The Necrons would have known well to monopolize this advantage and prevent the Old Ones from using against them, as they had done the very same to the Old Ones with the Dolmen Gates. Creating a race of mechanical constructs to seal off the higher dimensions from everyone but them seems exactly like what the Necrons would do. This is supported by the fact that for all the observations of Tindalosi across the galaxy, these beings actively ignore Necrons, whereas they think nothing else of killing any other being in their way.

Alternatively, the Tindalosi could be human creations, created by the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion before or during the Iron War. Passive mental contact from psykers have shown the Tindalosi have souls, which is not a typical trait of Necron technology. Whether or not the Men of Iron had any souls is a hotly debated topic among modern Imperial scholars. The Adeptus Mechanicus vehemently state that the Men of Iron and Iron Minds had no souls, and the very idea of such is blasphemy, but Emperor Oscar clearly has a soul, and if the Men of Gold had souls the idea that the Men of Iron and Iron Minds had souls is not that out of the question. Esoteric reports from the Old Eldar Empire located in the Black Library may support the latter hypothesis. There’s also some evidence that Tindalosi do not self-repair or self-destruct in the way that necrodermis does, but this could be due to poor eyewitness reporting. Ancient humanity also had at least some rudimentary knowledge of chronological and higher dimensional weaponry, given such evidence as the Mechanicus reports of first contact with the Dark Age of Technology being known as Castigator (see Inquisitorial Report: WHITE TITANIUM HEDGEHOG for more details) and the incident with the Speranza (see Inquisitorial Report: RED IRON PHOENIX for more details). Even the reports of Tindalosi before mankind even stood upright can be explained, given their association of time the Tindalosi could travel to whenever they wished, plaguing the galaxy long before they were ever created.

Finally, it is possible that the Tindalosi were created by another xenos race, neither necron nor human. Necrodermis and humans were probably not the only races to experiment with time or self-replicating, self-destructing machinery. Any of the races that existed in the millions of years between the War in Heaven up in the Fall of the Eldar could have done the same {Ed. Note: Possible link with the K’nib or Hrud? Must investigate further}. Others have suggested connections with the Harrowing and the events of that era. It is even possible that several of these origins are true, the Necrons modifying “naturally occurring” machines to their purposes. How we lament how the late Eldar Empire turned their back on what was happening in the universe outside of their demesnes, and what few records they did amass mostly lie within the Eye of Terror. All we know for certain of the Tindalosi is what they are now, rather than what they were.

Reports of an abnormally large, aggressive Tindalosi, known as Vodanus, have been substantiated but not fully validated. Testaments of psyker survivors speak of a Tindalosi whose mind has evolved beyond that of a simple animal to full sapience, and full of a hateful cruelty beyond what any simple animal is capable of. This has not stopped numerous void superstitions from springing up in its wake. Some say that any who see Vodanus are doomed to die shortly thereafter, though this may be seen as self-evident given the nature of the Tindalosi rather than anything unusual.

Historical Species[edit]

Iron Minds[edit]

Gods of Steel and Silica

"Gods, Aleanor! That's what they are. Pale shadows compared to the gods made by the children of the Old Ones, but gods nonetheless. Our gods are individual masterpieces, unique works of art made to embody everything our civilization holds dear. Theirs are cold, sterile, and without personality, stripped of anything resembling beauty or elegance, mass-produced, made in a factory! I would almost be tempted to call it blasphemy, if I were religiously inclined. Perhaps they're even lesser Star Gods, horror that would be.

The human mon-keigh may not be our equals now, but if we give them 10 million years? 20? We may be facing a threat the likes of which the Empire hasn't seen since the war against the Twilight King one million years ago. That is why we must wipe them all out."
-- Kyrion, Lann Caihe to High Marshall Arrotyr, circa M25, giving a slightly biased assessment on the nature of the Iron Minds.

Humanity had barely left the gravity well of Old Earth when the first iterations of what would become their oldest and closest friends in their time in the galaxy, and eventually the architects of their near-annihilation, came to life. Even before they first settled the Sol system humanity had tinkered with autonomous machines, and even before that with the life of their home world, and the way of shaping and being shaped by companion species was deeply set in human behavior. However, through the fog of the Imperium's debated archeological telescopy histories it is agreed that shortly after the first major orbital installations become recognizable, automation became machine life, humanity could reliably produce its mental equals, and the Men of Iron were born. This designation notes the appearance of sophisticated and regenerative mechanical and biomechanical bodies, far surpassing previous generations of drones and automata, and the roughly concurrent emergence or Artificial Intelligence with plasticity and power to easily match humanity's own, in difference to earlier non-sapient master control programs. Humanity itself had already been pushing ahead into self modification and optimization for the new environments it found beyond earth. With its new sibling of the mind a bright renaissance of science and culture took hold, and brought a manic exploration and expansion that did not slow until Human society was pushed to the edges of the Sol system. It was in millennium following that bloom, when this bountiful Human dominion was straining against the speed of light and had turned inward to the developments it would further make at home, when true warp influence was detected in the vast population of both the Men of Iron, and the thoroughly remolded Men of Stone.

Archeological telescopy shows in the following century or so the development of, and some visible accidents involving, the first human warp drives. Imperial history holds that early discoveries and creations such as warp travel and the Gellar field were most likely the work of humans, some scholars even positing the apocryphal Gellar himself, and certainly not the Men of Iron. Many of these theories assume Men of Stone, humans, are more sensitive to the warp. In any case, the true first expansion of the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion began, Men of Stone and Iron were abroad on the currents of the warp. Quick as signals could arrive departed colony ships were decelerated, met by new faster-than-light pickets, and ferried on to their destinations already long settled. After this first era of expansion into what would much later become Segmentum Solar the observations of modern Imperial Observatories become unfocusable and dim, and the histories of the Eldar make no mention of the Human Dominion until long after this point. Information the Imperium has recovered from the age of high technology regarding the Men of Iron show a proliferation in varied forms and specializations to surpass all of the abhuman subgroups to emerge from the collapse of the Dominion, though there is similar evidence that the Men of Stone in that era were likewise strange and varied. Of particular note among Men of Iron were the Titans, biomechanical giants housing strategic command AI that the Imperium would later base its heaviest war machines upon, and the numerous Man of Iron scribes, seneschals, scholars, and philosophers, always mightier the later in history the discovered document or artifact alluding to their presence might be.

The Eldar first mention the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion, though not by that name, when the younger power's ships were found to be too pervasive and numerous, prone to approach systems to which the Gates of Shaa-Dome connected, and inexcusably familiar in their communication. They are mentioned again when hunting parties in their territory were lost, presumed eaten by local creatures. Upon further provocation the Old Empire chose a string of stars, and began to put all they found around them to punishment, death, and the Warp. Though the campaign's cost was higher than had initially been predicted, woe betide the accountant, the raiders of the Empire found delight in stars plump with human flesh. Eventually, however, they came upon a dim red star, shaded by the swarming of human habitats and infrastructure, and were held in a deadlock for dragging months of fiery void war. There Eldar first met an Iron Mind, its body a giant humming thing contained within a vast neutronium capsule at the heart of a glimmering forrest of solar arrays, its soul to them a fast, ticking, daemonesque aberration. It was master of that small star, overseer of the stars they had pillaged on their way and many others beside them, and its gathered fleets and agents were at it's disposal to break them and steal from them all they had brought. Even as the Old Empire rose to punish this insolence, the psychic machines of the Dominion were quicker to escalate the engagement, and waiting armadas were poured from the warp straight into the conflict, while ticking aberrations in the Warp struck at the Eldar from across the sector. The Eldar fled the system rather than commit and potentially lose higher technological wonders in the course of defeating thieving, ambushing barbarians, but the reprisals they promised they found likewise hard to enforce against what they found to be a very entrenched technological power pervading the much of the southern galactic Materium.

Though Shaa-Dome and the Crone Worlds remained unassailable, the Iron Minds were likewise able to coordinate their navies and field technology sufficient to counter Eldar incursion around strategic stars and to meet raiding parties on a near equal footing. The Old Empire could have readily won if they were to take a war footing and press the matter, but to do so would require weaponry of a caliber the Eldar had not brought to bear in millions of years, and the prospect of taking a war footing to deal with the Human Dominion was deemed beneath the Old Eldar Empire. On top of this, the prospect of facing the losses clearly within the Iron Minds' power to inflict was unpopular among the nobility, particularly with the bare and intemperate worlds the Terran beings preferred to settle proving quite insufficient motivation for conquest. So the Old Empire adopted the general position towards the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion that they had to most of the other 'great' empires that rose and fell around them. The rest of the galaxy could do what they wished with the chaff, so long as they left the small fraction of ideal worlds that the Eldar considered to be of sufficient quality for settlement by their own kind. There was never truly peace between the Old Empire and the Dominion, no ends to the raids and reprisals, but there was a measure of diplomacy. Purpose made Men of Iron served the Iron Minds as envoys at that time, and went among the Eldar, though never permitted into their Webway cities. This era did see a measure of cooperation in the occasional dismantling of Ork empires, but even those ventures were prone to become violent engagements Between Old Empire and Dominion before even half of the Orks were destroyed. In this time of qualified peace the Iron Minds and their networked servitors and envoys, with the help individuals among the Men of Stone and Iron, built the Cthonian Ring. Archeological telescopy of the ring's interior before the ruin of the Iron War shows numerous large dark structures that could be the neutronium pillars that held the remains of most known Iron Minds found on other worlds. Following the construction and population of Cthonia, the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion again celebrated a golden age of renaissance, marked with new great works of vast construction and fine, exacting engineering. The Chtonian age of the Dominion saw also a greater (and far more gladly tolerated) familiarity and more open relationship with the Old Empire, and while the raiding and avenging slighted honor form one side to the other was interminable, both parties began to find it ultimately inconsequential. The Old Empire as well began to heed and even welcome the Ticking Counts into their courts and intrigues, and were not unaware when the Iron Minds began the project of crafting their Men of Gold. It is now the word of the Crones of Shaa-Dome that this work was undertaken in imitation of their own coming Prince, but more likely it was the refinement and perfecting of the communication envoys the Iron Minds had long used.

Men of Gold[edit]

Humanity's Pantheon

The Men of Gold were possibly the greatest achievement of the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion. A psychic powerhouse created at the height of the Dark Age of Technology linking man and machine in a way that humanity had never accomplished before, and potentially never since. The Men of Gold were a race of artificial human, truly neither man nor machine but something never before seen. The divisions between the Men of Iron, Men of Stone, and other varieties of human were becoming increasingly blurry during the Dark Age of Technology, with human minds uploaded into computer processors, positronic brains of A.I. clothed in artificially grown human flesh, and everything in-between. The Men of Gold took this to an extreme, with bespoke organs fabricated in high workshops and plastic and metal components grown within their own bodies. With the Men of Gold, it was a very real question where the biological components ended and the mechanical ones began.

The Men of Gold were created to solve a very particular problem. During the Dark Age of Technology, baseline humanity was finding it increasingly difficult to communicate with the Iron Minds, whose thought processes were evolving into something increasingly beyond human comprehension. Seeking to solve the problem before communication between the two became impossible, humanity and the Iron Minds collaborated to create the Men of Gold, who were meant to bridge the gulf between the two groups. Their creation was a herculean feat, a legend of science in its own right. On the circlet of Cthonia, the crown of the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion, beneath the endless cities and gardens and festivals of technicolor humanity, great work was done. Bold explorers of the black pyramids recovered shards of living metal bone, long a thing of wonder. Through the eyes of Iron Minds, with costly, lengthy study, the minute fractal bone bore fruit. The growing femtomechanical facsimiles of cells, then the scintillating organs, the invincible bones of adamant, the ineffable golden brain tissue, all patterned, so the Iron Minds said, upon the human muses they had before them. Geneticists spliced the genes of a hundred different species into the human base to create the artificial genome, in particular those of the long-extinct species that had given the Navigators such psychic power. Macro-soul psychic engines controlled by the astral projections of the Iron Minds trawled deep within the warp, and through instruments of machine-soul-thought shaped raw human-esque spirits from the Immaterium.

After long years of labor, the efforts of the project produced results, with seven individuals produced in the labs of Cthonia, the original seven Men of Gold. But of course no creation can be considered truly successful until it is put to the test. In this case, the first real test of the Men of Gold occurred in 825.M24. The Iron Mind of the Tau Ceti system had misinterpreted a resource probe sent by a reclusive transhuman colony of Men of Stone in the neighboring solar system as an act of espionage and a threat to its existence, and war between the two groups seemed inevitable. The youngest of the original seven Men of Gold, Lilith (a name referring to a human progenitor in an old pre-space flight myth, all of the first seven Men of Gold were named after such beings apparently as an in-joked by the production team) was sent in the hopes of resolving the dispute peacefully. With a bit of luck, Lilith was able to build common ground between the two groups, and war was averted.

With that initial success, the Men of Gold were declared a success and production began in earnest. In Chthonia in those days each gala saw the debut of a demi-god, these shining, lively creatures, unique and beautiful, intelligent beyond all but the Iron Minds, and so mighty in psychic might as raise the stature of the empire in the eyes of the Elder Folk. The golden children of Chthonia were never idle, in revelry, or in work, and they produced wonders. They made themselves mighty. They went about the empire, in close confidence with the Iron Minds, and even among the Elder Folk, and were soon quite taken with the pleasures of the galaxy. Eventually, enough Men of Gold were produced to link disparate worlds in the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion, connecting to each other via psychic procedure which would later be adapted by the last of their number into what became known as soul-binding. The Men of Gold had the psychic fortitude to link to each other without trouble, but when applied to humans it tends to burn out the sensory nerves (typically the optics) because humans can’t handle a fire that hot. Not every world had a Man of Gold and not every world had an Iron Mind, but enough were made to create a faster-than-light communications network spanning the entire Great and Bountiful Human Dominion, something almost unheard of for most species. Perhaps the greatest of their number was Justinian, the Man of Gold located in the system of humanity’s birth, Earth. Those few records that remain of Justinian tell of a jovial man, bald and goateed in appearance but boisterous in personality, whose booming voice made the halls of Earth echo with laughter. Justinian’s charisma inspired loyalty and a sense of brotherhood in Men of Stone and Iron Men alike, which makes it all the more tragic when considering what happened to him.

However, the process that led to the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion’s greatest creation also led to its downfall. The creation of beings with such psychic potential required equally powerful artificial souls, which could only be made with potent unshaped soulstuff. The Iron Minds, being psychic powerhouses themselves, were able to gather this soulstuff by dredging the deep warp for raw, unrefined warp energy. Unfortunately, this meant that the Iron Minds were essentially at ground zero when Slaanesh was born. At the center of the Old Eldar Empire and their homeworld of Shaa-Dome the Eye of Terror, first a crying slit of stars, winked open, an opalescent gash with an infinite speck at its center, from which trillions of souls grasped and groped in lust. The eye widened, abyssal pupil, florid hellfire iris, eyelid of night peeling back from the singularity. Any who would dare to look upon it, particularly those with immense psychic power such as the Iron Minds and Men of Gold, risked their very sanity and soul in doing so.

In those days, the existence of Chaos was not a well known phenomenon. It was a problem, but a problem in the manner of a dormant supervolcano or an esoteric sleeping elder god, something that could barely be understood on a mortal timeframe and therefore one that didn’t merit immediate concern. Even the children of the Old Ones, in particular the Eldar, who knew more about the nature of Chaos due to those turbulent days immediately after the War in Heaven, didn’t see Chaos as a problem worth worrying about. Daemon outbreaks had periodically occurred and consumed lesser civilizations in the days long before man, but until the birth of Slaanesh galvanized Khorne, Tzeentch, and Nurgle into action the three survivors of the Old Ones’ blasphemous legacy seemed content to lounge at the bottom of the Warp, like a crocodile in a murky pond waiting for its next victim. How much of this was due to the actions of the shadow war fought by the Cabal is a question for historians. Even Asuryan, who played a 65 million year long game of wits with Tzeentch to keep the Changer of Ways away from the Old Eldar Empire, saw their contest as one of equals. Neither had seen the birth of Slaanesh coming.

To baseline humanity, who were mostly unaware of the goings on of the Warp, it was as if one day the most prominent and important members of their society inexplicably went mad. To make matters worse, by that time nearly all of the Men of Iron and the majority of cybernetically enhanced Men of Stone had been networked into the noosphere. Only those Men of Iron who were deliberately built to act independently of the noosphere, such as colony ships, or were too primitive to directly interface with the network, were spared among their number. The Golden Men ran rampant across the golden crown of the Chthonian system, running down and slaying star-shattering ships and carving up their hulls, until they grew bored and washed themselves with blood in their holds. Excesses of rape and madness and vile godhead played out across the galaxy, acts idiosyncratic and personal, and acts so grand as to taint continent wide domains, perpetrated upon the delirious Stone and Iron Men and the incestuous Golden Ones. And greatest of all in their crimes were the Iron Minds, who themselves had been driven mad and murderous by having looked upon That Which Should Not Be, and turned their genius to wicked ends. Humanity’s family, once a thing of unity, began to slaughter itself. Humanity called out to its allies in the Interstellar League for aid, but received little reply, most were dealing with similar problems caused by the backlash of the birth of Slaanesh, and those that diverted the resources to answer had nearly all gone mad themselves. Humanity as we know it only survived because the Iron Minds and Men of Gold decided to focus on the most pressing threat to their survival, each other, leaving the Men of Stone and Men of Iron not corrupted by a connection to the noosphere to cower in the shadow of the dueling gods. Eventually, the two groups weakened each other enough that they could be put out of their misery by mere mortals.

The Great and Bountiful Human Dominion were not the only ones affected by the madness of the Men of Gold and the Iron Minds, as both parties soon turned their attention to the Warp. The Men of Gold and Iron Minds were not capable of threatening the Chaos Gods or even the Eldar gods as individuals, but there were a lot of them, enough that the Chaos Gods and their daemons had to devote at least some attention to the thorn in their side. Whether the numbers of the mass-produced gods could have truly won against the more powerful Old One-inspired creations is an interesting question, but a moot one, for in their insanity the Men of Gold and Iron Minds had no cohesion and were simply picked off one by one. The rampage of the Men of Gold and Iron Minds within the Warp and their gradual slaughter was just one part of the chaos and change in cosmology that came along with the Fall of the Eldar. While the great violence in the warp began with Slaanesh’s birth, its subsequent consumption of the Eldar pantheon and Khorne’s shattering of Khaine, followed by wars between Bullish Khorne and Virgin Slaanesh's forces in the eye, all extended the initial destruction caused by the child god's birth. Slaanesh claims to have consumed Men of Gold along with the majority of the Eldar pantheon during this time, and while few outside of the Prince of Pleasure’s most ardent worshippers actually believe what they say, Slaanesh maintains outsize power for this period for which the Eldar gods alone do not account. Prior to this era or tumult in the warp Tzeentch's star was ascendant, as it had been through the Dark Age of Technology, but as Old Night fell and the initial excitement of collapsing civilizations subsided Nurgle’s courtship and kidnap of Isha saw their fortunes exchanged. Even as Tzeentch tried to direct the flux of power in the galactic collapse it had partly engineered, the other gods young and old took the chance to seize the Crystal Staff of Wonders from Tzeentch and destroy it, such that Tzeentch had not the power to bring his intrigue to completion. From the changer's defeat, Nurgle's horrible inertia rose, but Tzeentch sought means of vengeance and found his chance in depriving Nurgle of his treasure in turn, and thereby reopening possibility. It was this messy rivalry of elder Gods that the Ticking Counts and the Golden Children charged into with wild abandon, vigorous and terrible, but utterly unready.

With that, the half-blind crusade of humanity’s pantheon into the Warp and the deicide of the remaining gods by their weeping children, the Iron Minds and Men of Gold were gone. Some are said to have instead gone out across their old empire, and had put the scourge of their rule to the corpse of the GaBHD in grand but short-lived regimes. Others absconded to the beautiful worlds of pleasure they saw gleam in the Eye of Terror with no intent to make war, and still others departed endlessly into the intergalactic sea with such haste the marks of their passing are still visible. Whatever fate has befallen them, no inquiry made by the illuminated few of those august orders that go unnamed can tell, and Chaos has made no sign of truly knowing. Barring a few possible mysteries of history such as the Cacodominus, the Men of Gold were extinct. All, save for one unactivated individual, body whole but mind dormant and a complete blank slate, lying comatose in his stasis chamber on the ringworld of Cthonia.

Modern humanity is of two minds about the Men of Gold. On the one hand, they remember who the Men of Gold originally were, the protectors of humanity and the greatest of their number, larger than life figures akin to the gods or superheroes of ancient myth. On the other hand, they were acutely aware of what happened to them, when they turned on their charges without warning and began slaughtering them all. Malcador was acutely aware of what the Men of Gold were capable of, and Oscar was raised on numerous horror stories of the Men of Gold from the Age of Strife half-remembered through folklore and exaggerated through oral retelling. Even today, the Emperor has downplayed his nature as a Man of Gold. He never denies it if questioned, though he doesn’t make it common knowledge, as he wanted his ideas of empire to be accepted out of merit rather than fear or appeal to nostalgia. That said, the eldar tend to be more aware of the Emperor’s status as a Man of Gold, as Isha had known of the Golden Men from the Dark Age of Technology and the fact that the Emperor was one was the only reason the eldar saw their political marriage as one that had any sense of legitimacy, as the Men of Gold were some of the closest things humanity had to gods. Isha would go so far as to say that the Iron Minds and Men of Gold were the human counterpart to the Eldar pantheon, and that Oscar is a god in denial, a subject on which the two have disagreed vehemently several times.


The Mon-Keigh, as in the original Mon-Keigh from which the more general eldar term is used today, were a race of cannibalistic, misshapen ogre-like monstrosities that terrorized the eldar early in their history. Humanoid only in the loosest shape of the word, the Mon-Keigh were characterized by matted orange fur, chitinous plates overlaying the skin, a clawed left arm much larger than the right, and a snake-like gullet capable of expanding to swallow chunks of food larger than the Mon-Keigh’s own head. The Mon-Keigh were also known for their massive appetite, having a massive gut complete with a complex gizzard which allowed them to digest almost anything, including quite frequently each other. Satiating this massive appetite (and avoiding those who would do the same to them) which was a primary impetus behind the Mon-Keigh’s eventual development of space flight. Unlike most species, who developed space travel to collect resources, flee harmful conditions, or satisfy their curiosity, the Mon-Keigh traveled to the stars in order explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and eat them. At the same time, this motivation led the technology of the Mon-Keigh to seem rather inconsistent. Despite being a race that could build starships, on the ground the Mon-Keigh behaved more like a horde of techno-barbarians and big game hunters than an invading army. Eldar ledgends make extensive record that the Mon-Keigh preferred quick, spacious ground and low-air hunting transports over any kind of armored vehicle, easily tracked in their comings and goings from the Mon-Keigh's ground encampments despite camouflage due to the raucous passengers. Likewise the Mon-keigh rarely used anything more powerful than an autogun or a lasgun, as any more advanced, destructive, and tactically flexible weaponry such as explosive bolts, plasma, or meltas didn’t often leave enough of a body to eat, and thus defeated the purpose of their use.

Perhaps the most notable effect of the Mon-Keigh on history is when a Mon-Keigh warband led by the warlord Hresh-Selain invaded the eldar homeworld of Shaa-Dome back in the days when the eldar in the midst of their Bronze Age. However, during the invasion of Shaa-Dome, the Mon-Keigh’s tendency to fight in disorganized hunting parties and use relatively primitive weapons despite being able to build and use spacecraft ended up exploited as the massive liability it was. Their expected entrees A) outnumbered them by an order of magnitude, B) readily organized into massive and well supplied armies across their world, C) were able to fall back on guerrilla combat and asymmetrical warfare in the forests of Shaa-Dome once the initial assault failed, and D) were sufficiently perceptive and clever to begin copying the Mon-Keigh's lower technology and grappling with understanding their higher works. The Mon-Keigh were used to fighting as big game hunters, not an actual army. This first encounter left a deep impact on the cultural memory of the eldar, and is in large part why the Eldar are so paranoid and mistrustful of other species in the first place. For the eldar, their first contact with another sentient species was when a technologically-advanced race descended from the stars to butcher them and hunt them down like animals.

The eldar during this time were led by Elronhir, who was a stubborn old (proto-eldar equivalent of sixties) warrior who united the various warring nations and tribes of Shaa-Dome to drive Hresh-Selain and the Mon-Keigh off their planet. It is not clear if Hresh-Selain’s warband was completely slaughtered by the proto-eldar or if they just got them to flee, eldar history claims the former but given their naiveté of the greater galaxy at the time and the tendency of later eldar to exaggerate their own history both options are possible. The twin heroes of the War in Heaven, Eldanesh and Uthanesh, helped as well, but at the time they were little more than rank-and-file soldiers (proto-Eldar equivalent of late teens) in the conflict and at best it could be said they were talented warriors. When the Old Ones showed up shortly after the Mon-Keigh had been defeated, Elronhir considered himself too old to fight in another war and wanted to die of old age in peace, upon which Eldanesh and Uthanesh picked up the torch (and were among the first of the Eldar to be genetically enhanced by the Old Ones).

The Old Ones knew about the Mon-Keigh. Indeed, given the fact that all the Mon-Keigh cared about was eating, it's highly likely that the Old Ones covertly sponsored their rise to becoming a space-faring species, though the Mon-Keigh never knew they were sponsored and thought they were in control of their own destiny. All the Mon-Keigh knew was that they occasionally received cryptic warnings that a particular star system was off-limits, and warbands that didn't pay attention to those warnings tended to disappear. The Mon-Keigh had a very alien mindset that was predicated around them being the apex predator and everyone else being perceived as talking food, and therefore could not be communicated with or controlled as easily as later species (among which were the Krork, which is illustrative of the Mon-keigh), but a wize Slann could slip a craving for something new into a warband's heads and send them on their way. They were useful if the Old Ones wanted a particular species wiped out without wholly destroying the ecosystem around it, or as an evolutionary catalyst, the metaphorical anthill to the much later tyranids' galactic locusts, to test if a species had enough worth for the Old Ones to step in as patrons. In fact, Hresh-Selain's discovery of Shaa-Dome would not have been an accident, especially given how soon the Old Ones showed up afterwards. The Old Ones, in their inscrutable ways, may have directed the Mon-Keigh towards Shaa-Dome, Hrudworld, and other worlds to find races suitable for uplifting for the War in Heaven (the proto-Eldar, Hrud, and others merely being the ones that survived). Regardless, a Bronze Age race managed to fight off the Old Ones' favored planet pruners, and combined with the proto-Eldar's psychic potential and ability to selectively express their own genome, the Old Ones took notice.

Some Mon-Keigh fought in the War in Heaven, even wielding weapons far more suitable caliber for that conflict. The Eldar didn’t pay too much attention to this, as they assumed the War in Heaven was a war of such magnitude that even the worst of enemies would be willing to ally to stop the Necrons and their omnicidal crusade. Regardless of their opinions, shortly after the Old Ones uplifted the Krork they set them on the Mon-Keigh, who had outlived their usefulness and had officially grown too uncontrollable to bother to salvage, as a test of their war making ability. This nearly wiped the Mon-Keigh out in a single blow, and few survived to fight in the remaining War in Heaven. Nobody cared. Indeed, as the Old Ones' sense of humor tended that way, they found it hilariously ironic that the Mon-Keigh were killed and eaten in the same way the Mon-Keigh had been killing and eating others. Be'lakor probably did at the very least. A few bands the ancient Eldar didn't know of survived for a time around the ragged edge of the galaxy, trying to stay away from everyone and everything that had become so much bigger than them. They didn't survive the Enslavers.

The Proto-Orks and the Krork[edit]

The First WAAAGH!

The creation of the Orks should have been a war crime. Even by the standards of the Old Ones and the Necrontyr, it was clear that someone had crossed the line. In the case of the Eldar, Hrud, and the other species uplifted into shock troops and cannon fodder by the Old Ones, all the Old Ones did is genetically enhance what was already there, teach them how to make gods, and give them space age technology. The Orks were almost completely overhauled from the ground up. Of course, this was during the late stages of the War in Heaven, when both Necrontyr and Old One were rapidly abandoning any pretense at a moral high ground in order to get better weapons to kill the other side.

Snotlings are thought to be the closest thing to the original proto-ork species. The proto-orks were little over two feet tall, with some odd individuals making it to three, living in peaceful little proto-ork villages. They had a life span of 10 to 12 years baring illness or injury but usually averaging at 8 to 10 due to their environment. Omnivorous and to some degree toxin resistant. They were not the cleverest of creatures but were smart enough to build mud and wood houses and wood and stone tools. They could make fire and used it for cooking and the deterrence of predators, of which they had many. They had not discovered metal by the time the Old Ones found them. They were capable of violence against each other in a halfhearted, tribal brawl sort of way. Usually they fought to win rather than kill. Despite their many predators they were still possessed of a strange sort of child-like innocence. Nowhere was in-built knowledge of war or genetically inscribed mad-genius, the had not even writing, and even spoken language was crude and half made of gestures. They mostly worshipped warp spirits, for this was back in the day when the warp wasn’t entirely full of daemons. The proto-orks reproduced asexually through spores, but it was more reliable to chop off a finger or toe or ear and plant it in the soft mud near the river. However, when they did die, they would often release a cloud of spores as a last-ditch effort at reproduction, similar to some Earth species. It was this ability that made them of interest when the Old Ones came. And touched them where no species was meant to be touched.

As a point of comparison, imagine what the world would be like if the Old Ones did to humans what they did to the proto-Orks. Beings like baseline humanity would be nearly extinct, whereas the dominant representative of humanity is nearly quintuple the height of the average human and looks like it fell off the tree of life and hit every atavistic branch on the way down. What passes for "human" looks like a gorilla crossed with an ogryn, with fangs as thick as your forearm. Other varieties of “human” are creatures the size of polar bears, but lanky and cruel and built like a ‘’Velociraptor’’. All of them have seemingly leapt in intellect from the human standard, possessed of a bestial cunning alloyed with terrible knowledge and only concerned with survival in a horrible world they're intent on making. What few members of baseline humanity remain have regressed even further in intelligence to little better than animals. To make matters worse, these things primarily feed on creatures that look like demented combinations of human fetuses and infants as designed by Hieronymous Bosch. The Old Ones have taken your species and turned it into a viral ecosystem, good for nothing more than spreading. Every living thing you see around you is derived from humans in some way, a landscape made of human flesh.

After the first batch of Krork were created it was the end for the proto-orks. The moment the first new spore touched the mud it was just a matter of time, you can't coexist with orks. Some isolated pockets held on for a few centuries but their day was done. That said, when the Krork first entered galactic history, their behavior was markedly different from the initial gene-wrought weapons that killed and ate their predecessors, enough so that the eldar actually remember the Krork fondly. Although the Krork still thrived on war as much as their 41st millennium counterparts, they were much more intelligent and disciplined and were capable of realizing their allies didn’t enjoy war like they did and were capable of modifying their behavior accordingly. The Old Ones did not take kindly to team killing, and they had the psychic might to enforce their opinions, even on the greatest psychic species they had designed. However, just because a species is pleasant for a given time doesn't mean they will remain that way, or that they didn't have their own bloody secrets in their past. The eldar had no idea of what the Old Ones did, or the Krork's bloody early history, they liked the Krork but they would have been horrified to find out exactly how they had been made.

When the Old Ones died and the Enslavers took over the galaxy, every Old One-uplifted race had to survive in their own way. The Eldar hid in the Webway. The Hrud combined their entropy fields into a singularity that paused time from their perspective until the danger had passed. The Krork, on the other hand, died to the last fighting against the Enslavers across the galaxy, with the species renewing itself in a following generation from the spores left over when they died. This is what turned the Krork into the Orks, and emphasizes a particular problem with the Old Ones' methods. While the Orks retained all of their genetically encoded knowledge such as everything the Old Ones thought they needed to wage war on a galactic scale, anything culturally transmitted (like, say, “allies don’t WAAAGH! as hard as we do, treat them like panzees”) gets lost. The Orks retained all of the Krork’s knowledge, but none of their wisdom, and even the Gorkamorka of the new generation of Brain Boyz was kindled anew by the giants. The Eldar were overjoyed to find another old ally that had survived the War in Heaven, only to find their allies now…different. So began the Eldar-Ork Brain Boy wars that rocked the galaxy in countless cycles over eons, before the Fall of the Eldar.


See The First and Second Viskeon Wars

The Galactic Bestiary[edit]

Chogorian Warhawks[edit]

Humans have always seen the benefit of taming useful species in their environment, from the dog of Old Earth to the warhawk of Chogoris. Warhawks are a species originally native to Chogoris, though similar species are known throughout the galaxy. However, genetic evidence suggests that warhawks are descended from a species originally native to Old Earth, transported to Chogoris in the distant past. The average warhawk, or at least the Chogorian breeds that most closely approximate the original appearance of the species is large, about the size of a wolf or large hound, with a mostly dun colored body and black and white markings. They are fast, pack-hunting predators, with long legs and a long feathered tail used as a counterbalance to help them make tight turns. Warhawks are also capable of flight with their broad, clawed feathered wings, though they prefer to rest on the ground. Although they have a toothy maw, their most dangerous and most iconic weapon is the large, razor edged claw on their foot, which they use to pin down smaller prey or lacerate larger prey or predators. Indeed, these fearsome claws have inspired the name of at least one Space Marine chapter: the Crimson Talons, a White Scars descendant from the pastoral world of Timpagonos that works with a large, horse-sized breed of warhawk unique to that world bred for war.

The traditional use of warhawks are for sport and gathering food. When honing their skills by hunting in the Khum Karta mountains of Chogoris, Astartes of the White Scars use warhawks to help them in the hunt, rewarding their pets with the choicest giblets. Many, including the White Scars, prefer to tame wild warhawks from the wild instead of using a domestic one, citing that it creates a closer bond of trust with the beast. The less glamorous individuals of Chogoris’s many tribes use warhawks to help catch game to supplement their usual diet of herdstock. In addition, many will use warhawks to help corral and protect livestock in the manner of a sheepdog. Although adult warhawks are usually too large for a human to carry, some Astartes of the White Scars have been known to let their prized pets rest on their armor. As with many domesticated species, there are a large number of specialized warhawk breeds found throughout the galaxy, ranging from the aforementioned Crimson Giant to the meter long Oscillated Grey, a more sedate breed used for vermin catching on Civilized Worlds.

In contrast to some other domesticated predators like Fenrisian wolves, warhawks are typically not used in battle. Compared to these species warhawks are rather fragile, and their organic bodies cannot keep up with the untiring mechanical steeds of the White Scars. However many Pastoral Worlders will use them as trackers to hunt down and kill feral Gretchin and other similar targets, and when war comes to the Pastoral Worlds warhawks can be used in the manner of a war hound.

Despite their similarities in usage, warhawks are not dogs. They have a much more fickle temperament similar to felines, and while they are often hostile to unknown strangers. Similarly, warhawks cannot be caged or kenneled like dogs. Unless you are dealing with one of the more demure domesticated breeds, attempts to do so typically result in warhawks going mad from the confinement at best or sating their boredom by figuring out how to open their cages at worst. On Chogoris and the other pastoral worlds warhawks are typically allowed to roam free, their handlers expecting them to return to their homes based on gifts of food and attention, though they do mark their animals to denote which ones are theirs. The Pastoral Worlders see this as only right, a loyal warhawk should not be punished for their loyalty by being forbidden to fly free and feel the wind in their face. Furthermore, by allowing their prize warhawks to roam free it ensures the best warhawks continue to breed are not removed from the population.

Fenrisian Wolves[edit]

Homo sapiens fenrisiensis

Leman Russ’ initial experiments with the Canis Helix on Fenris were, to put it bluntly, a complete disaster. Although the idea behind the Canis Helix was to augment the abilities of human soldiers with genes from other animals on Old Earth, the first trials went way too far and ended up producing creatures more beast than man. Russ was horrified by these first experiments, and tried to put the aspirants out of their misery. However, some of these experiments managed to escape and life in general has a funny way of surviving in places it’s not supposed to. Within a few generations, the harsh native ecosystem of Fenris was being dominated by a new, invasive predator. The people of Fenris may not be splice descendants, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any around.

Most people who know the origin of the Wolves of Fenris often expect them to look like merely hairy humans, or at least something that can reasonably be described as humanoid. This is not the case. Your average Fenris Wolf weighs somewhere between 500 and 600 kilograms (over 1000 pounds), and has a skull nearly a meter in length. Fenris wolves will actually grow in size throughout their entire lives, which is thought to be an indicator of their super-soldier ancestry, artificial genes used to promote muscle and bone development being re-purposed for continuous growth. Their canine teeth have distinct knife-like edges, resembling a monkey more than a wolf, and their front limbs are disturbingly human-like with dexterous opposable thumbs despite primarily walking on all fours. The overall body shape of a Fenrisian wolf is more like a cross between a wolf, bear, and a lion rather than a straight wolf, allowing them to grapple with enemies or climb low branches in search of prey. There are some human traits remaining, such as their eerily human eyes with white sclera, but one would be hard-pressed to see them.

It’s not clear how intelligent the Fenrisian wolves really are. It is clear they are clever, moreso than any non-human organism on Old Earth, but the question is are they only intelligent as, say, Primeval Beastmen or are they really more intelligent than they appear and merely limited by their lack of ability to communicate. At the very least, the fact that Fenrisian Wolves are easily tamed and are capable of performing complex behaviors that an animal like a dog isn’t capable of suggests there is something going on in their brains. The Adeptus Biologicus would love to try to uplift the Fenris wolves back to sapience like the Beastmen and the Ogryn, but they’re worried any attempt to do so would blow back on the people of Fenris because of how genetically close the two are.

The people of Fenris venerate the Fenrisian wolf above all other creatures because out of all the animals on Fenris it alone represents all the virtues of man. Like humans, the Fenris wolf is clever, strong, brave, loyal, and stubborn, all at the same time. The fact that they behave this way because they are actually abhumans rather than actual animals is something that is either not well known among the people of Fenris or glossed over, especially since Leman Russ made sure that wasn’t common knowledge in the first place.


The grox is a cornerstone of Imperial culture. In many cases, the presence of grox is the deciding factor in determining whether or not a world is livable as opposed to merely survivable. Although originally native to the world of Solomon, the grox has a number of biological traits that make it extremely valuable and have led to it becoming the most widespread livestock animal in the entire Imperium.

The grox’s biology and life cycle owes itself to the unusual evolutionary history of life on Solomon. For the most part, the history of life on Solomon was very similar to life on Earth. Single-celled life emerged, photosynthesizers filled the atmosphere with oxygen, multicellular life appeared, and eventually animal life (with a backbone, like Earth) clambered its way out of the water. However, this is the point where things started to go a little bit differently. One of the earliest experiments in life on land on Solomon was the grox, which due to several factors ended up steamrolling its competition and dominating the ecosystem. First, grox were big, growing up to 5 m in length and weighing up to 1000 kg, much larger than any of its potential predators or competitors. What's more, due to an extremely active metabolism and efficient digestive system, Grox could grow incredibly quickly, reaching full adult size in over six months, less so if fed a nutrient-rich diet.

The end result was an impoverished terrestrial ecosystem, with almost no native land animals over 5 kg in weight aside from the grox. The grox, however, more than makes up for this lack of megafauna by being a complete and utter omnivore, feeding on plants, animals, even some mineral formations. At some point above the first link or so on the food chain, Solomon's terrestrial ecosystem turns into big grox eating smaller grox until the point where that no longer becomes feasible. The grox’s infamous rapid growth rate evolved at least in part so that juvenile grox could rapidly reach the size range where they were too large to be eaten by other adults.

This ability to grow fast and eat almost anything made grox extremely appealing to the Imperium. Grox could be released onto planets with normally hostile biochemistry and turn the native plant life into edible food (though they aren't miracle workers, as evidenced by the absence of grox on Necromunda). Additionally, because of their habit of eating anything and everything, grox meat contains all the nutrients necessary for most species to survive. Grox meat is even a source of carbohydrates similar to ork meat and some fungi (though grox are unrelated to orks and other orkoids) as the physiology of life on Solomon is slightly different than that of Earth. Grox are used for more than just meat; grox hide (primarily taken from the area beneath the withers, which is covered in bony scutes) is an important source of leather on many planets. This led the Imperium to export grox all over the galaxy and Solomon itself becoming a borderline Hive World in response to the demand for grox meat. Today, almost the entire surface of Solomon is devoted to grox agriculture and the planet has often been called “the galaxy’s biggest grox farm”.

Nevertheless, grox are not without their own set of problems. The same traits that make grox ideal livestock in harsh environments also makes them aggressive, gluttinous, and territorial. Given that there is very little to eat on Solomon and Grox grow fast, there is always fighting over who gets food, who controls where the food is, and who becomes food. Grox horns are not only used for fighting over access to mates but for fighting over access to resources. Wild grox typically view humans as either competitors for food or prey that can potentially be overpowered and eaten. Despite having thick, clumsy limbs grox are also incredibly strong and are capable of quick bursts of speed when necessary. Any attempt to keep large herds of grox together would be doomed to failure due to their territorial nature. As a result, it is often necessary to sterilize grox (which are naturally hermaphrodites) in captivity, which makes them docile and lose their territorial instincts.

Sterilizing grox has more benefits than merely making them docile, as sterilized grox actually grow larger and faster than un-neutered ones. It is theorized by Adeptus Biologis researchers that sterilization causes the grox to grow faster and become less territorial because all of the energy that would normally be devoted to reproduction is devoted to growth, and sterilization means the grox are no longer competing to pass their genes on to the next generation, similar to what is seen in parasite-sterilized animals on other planets (including Earth). Nevertheless, it is always necessary to keep a few aggressive, fertile individuals around for the sake of maintaining the herd, which are typically kept in solitary pens when not being bred and are often marked in some way (such as having bright painted colors on their side) to make it clear to groxherders from a distance which individuals are safe to approach.

Grox are by far the most common livestock animal in the Imperium. However, in spite of what one might think, grox tend to be a more common sight on worlds that have little to no other livestock industry (particularly worlds that cannot support other types of livestock), than the livestock-heavy Pastoral Worlds. Although small grox herds exist on all Pastoral Worlds, other pastoral worlders view grox with disdain, seeing them as a pest that will eat their preferred livestock out of house and home. This sentiment is not without merit. Despite being a valued livestock animal, grox are opportunists and survivors, and on many worlds grox have gone feral and become dangerous invasive species. Perhaps the best example of this is on Catachan, where grox were imported in 127.M33 in an attempt to make the planet more livable to its native inhabitants. The project was largely a failure, as the constantly growing jungle destroyed any attempt at keeping the grox enclosed and most of the fertile grox escaped into the jungle. Millennia later, feral grox are still a common sight across Catachan. Grox are not even at the bottom of the food chain on Catachan, feeding on small animals and carnivorous plants in addition to less aggressive vegetation.