A Dreadnought is a cybernetic combat walker of intermediate size used by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes as heavy infantry support for their Space Marine companies. Even the superhuman Space Marines are still mortal and can fall in battle despite legends to the contrary amongst the common people of the Imperium of Man. When the greatest of the Astartes are crippled in combat the Battle-Brother's body will be repaired and transferred into an armoured cybernetic sarcophagus outfitted with extensive life support systems. This sarcophagus is then interred within the heart of the armoured body of a Dreadnought if there is even a spark of life left. The Space Marine within the sarcophagus will control the robotic body of the walker and experience the outside world through cybernetic neural links and sensors implanted within his life support systems. Dreadnoughts are often mistaken by observers to be huge suits of battle armour or robots; they are similar to both and yet neither. Dreadnoughts are a combination of armoured walker and cybernetic life-support system; their pilots are neurally linked straight into the Dreadnought's cybernetic systems, and are able to use the walker as if it were their own body, although they are permanently entombed within its Ceramite skin until they are destroyed.
The Space Marines encased within Dreadnoughts are often thousands of Terran years old. As a result of their great age, many Dreadnoughts, known as Venerable Dreadnoughts, are not only approached by their Battle-Brothers for support in combat, but also as advisors in the governance of their Chapter. The oldest Dreadnought in the Imperium, Bjorn the Fell-Handed, of the Space Wolves, was a member of the Primarch Leman Russ' retinue and fought in the Horus Heresy when he was still whole of body, making him well over 10,000 standard Terran years old. When the Dreadnoughts are not in use by their Chapter, they are placed back into the Chapter's Chapel in its fortress-monastery to sleep away the centuries in a form of suspended animation until they are needed once more.
There are two standard variants of Dreadnought currently in service with the Space Marines. These include the older Mars Pattern Mark IV and the current standard Mars Pattern Mark V. Both variants of the Mars Pattern can make use of the same weapon load-outs, though Mark IV Dreadnoughts are considered slightly less adaptable and robust compared to the newer Mark V cybernetic chassis.
The standard Mars Pattern Mark IV or Mark V Dreadnought carries a heavy ranged weapon on its right arm and the left arm acts as a Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon. The latter is usually a Powerfist with either a Storm Bolter or Heavy Flamer fitted below the forearm. Though the Dreadnought's Powerfist shares the same name, it is not at all similar to the melee weapons also called Powerfists used by other armed forces of the Imperium. Unrestricted by size or weight, Dreadnought Powerfists are vastly more powerful than ones carried by Imperial infantrymen, even Space Marine Terminators. The Dreadnought's Powerfist is (like the unwieldy infantry-borne Power Fist and Chainfist) strikingly effective against heavy armour. This, combined with the Dreadnought's own impressive unmodified strength makes the fist deadly to all, even heavily armored foes like a Space Marine Chapter Master. Also, the Dreadnought's heavy vehicle armour means that even those that survive the initial assault can do little more than wait for the inevitable. The Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought's melee weapon is a Lightning Claw with an underslung Heavy Flamer, though the claw functions the same as a Powerfist.
Other weapons used by various types of Dreadnoughts have included the Assault Cannon, Multi-melta, or twin-linked Lascannons as the heavy ranged weapon. Through customizations or conversions Space Marine Chapters may also possess "standard" Mars Pattern Mark IV or Mark V Dreadnoughts armed with Plasma Cannons, twin-linked Autocannons or twin-linked Heavy Bolters. One of a Dreadnought's weapon arms can also be replaced with a bunker-busting Assault Drill, as detailed below, transforming it into a Siege Dreadnought.
There are three major variants of the standard Mars Pattern Mark IV or Mark V Dreadnought in service within the Imperium.
- The Hellfire Dreadnought replaces the standard Dreadnought Powerfist with a Missile Launcher, trading its close combat ability for long-range, anti-vehicle firepower. The advantage of the Dreadnought's Missile Launcher over its Space Marine equivalent is that it is capable of moving at full speed whilst still laying down a barrage of missiles. Hellfire Dreadnoughts are usually referred to as Fire Support Dreadnoughts. The Hellfire Dreadnought's Missile Launcher carries up to 8 Krak Missiles that are capable of causing severe damage to enemy vehicles, and unlike the Missile Launchers carried by Space Marine infantry, the Dreadnought is fully capable of firing accurately whilst moving. The Hellfire Dreadnought can use any weapon in the Astartes Armoury other than a Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon or another Missile Launcher as its other weapon arm. A Dreadnought using either of those two configurations will be classified as either a standard Mars Pattern Dreadnought or a Mortis Dreadnought, respectively.
- The Siege Dreadnought is designed exclusively for assaults against fortified positions. Some Space Marine Chapters have equipped their armoured Dreadnought Battle-Brothers to siege fortresses and lead their assaults upon other fortified enemy emplacements. They are equipped with either a Inferno Cannon or a Flamestorm Cannon for clearing out enemy infantry from bunkers and an Assault Drill arm for grinding through Ferrocrete in only a matter of seconds. This arm is also usually includes a built-in Heavy Flamer so that once a hole has been drilled, the Dreadnought can pour super-heated Promethium into a bunker or pill box complex. Siege Dreadnoughts are specialised units and are only deployed when a Chapter needs to break through a stubborn static defence line or during close quarters street-to-street fighting within a city or town. A Siege Dreadnought's standard weapons loadout includes an Inferno Cannon, as Assault Drill with built-in Heavy Flamer, Smoke Launchers, a Searchlight and reinforced Ceramite Armour. In some cases the Inferno Cannon can be replaced with a Multi-melta, and 2 Hunter-Killer Missile Launcher can be attached using external sponsons to the Dreadnought's carapace.
- The Ironclad Dreadnought is a standard Mars Pattern Dreadnought that has been optimised specifically for close combat. It possesses reinforced Ceramite plating on the front of its shell and can be equipped with multiple different weapons intended to aid melee combat. Ironclad Dreadnoughts are usually armed with a Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon with an under-slung Storm Bolter, Heavy Flamer, or Meltagun, and a Seismic Hammer. These Dreadnoughts can also be armed with a Hurricane Bolter or a Dreadnought Chainfist which is nothing less than a Dreadnought-sized Chainfist. They can also be equipped with up to two Hunter-Killer Missile Launchers and the specialised Ironclad Assault Launcher that fires different types of grenades. These Dreadnoughts are used by many Astartes Chapters for close-combat situations and during sieges, although it is not as effective as the Siege Dreadnought
Chapter-Specific Dreadnought Variants
There are several Dreadnought variants that are used exclusively by certain Chapters, these Dreadnoughts are used only by these Chapters and any Successor Chapters they may have, although other Chapters may make use of them on special occasions or in small numbers. The known Chapter-Specific Dreadnought variants are as follows:
- The Furioso Dreadnought is a variant of the standard Imperial Dreadnought and is used almost exclusively by the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters, although other Chapters may use Dreadnoughts configured similarly to the Furioso Pattern Dreadnought though they are not called so and are usually referred to simply as a Dreadnought configured for close combat. The Furioso Dreadnought replaces the single long-range weapon carried by standard Dreadnoughts with a second Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon. True Furioso Dreadnoughts used by the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters use special Dreadnought weapons known as Bloodfists and Blood Talons. These Dreadnoughts can also be armed with two specialised weapons used only by the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters known as the Magna-Grapple and the Frag Cannon, these weapons make the Furioso Dreadnought more effective in medium-ranged combat. The Furioso Dreadnought has two further specialised variants that are found in use amongst the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters, including the:
- Death Company Dreadnought - Blood Angels Dreadnoughts are not immune to the effects of the Black Rage that plagues the Sons of Sanguinius. When a Blood Angels Dreadnought falls to the Black Rage, it becomes nearly impossible for the Chapter to restrain him, and as such he may rage out of control for days until the Chapter's Techmarines can rig a device to disable him. The Chapter's Sanguinary Priests can then judge whether or not the Dreadnought's Astartes occupant should be sedated until the next battle or relieved of his life so that another may take his place. If the occupant of the Dreadnought is still sane enough to follow direction, he will be moved to the Chapter's Death Company, where his Dreadnought body will be able to withstand tremendous amounts of punishment and his unending rage will result in the deaths of many foes.
- Librarian Dreadnought - When a Blood Angels Librarian is critically wounded in combat, they can also be placed inside of the armoured sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. These Dreadnoughts, known as Librarian Dreadnoughts, are outfitted with built-in Psychic Hoods and are equipped with a Force Weapon, usually a Force Halberd, in place of one of the Furioso's Bloodfists. These Dreadnoughts are still capable of unleashing their powerful psyker abilities, and are protected by the Dreadnought's thick hull. Librarian Dreadnoughts are extremely rare amongst the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters, and even rarer amongst the ranks of other Astartes Chapters.
- The Mortis Dreadnought is a variant of the standard Imperial Dreadnought and is deployed almost exclusively by the Dark Angels Chapter and their Unforgiven Successor Chapters, although other Chapters may use Dreadnoughts configured similarly to the Mortis Pattern Dreadnought though they are not called so and are usually referred to simply as a Dreadnought configured for long-range combat or fire-support. The Mortis Pattern differs from all other Dreadnought variants, except for the Hellfire Dreadnought, that makes use of two long-range weapon arms. These Dreadnoughts make use of two sets of long-range weapons that are always the same, these weapons include sets of twin-linked Lascannons, twin-linked Autocannons, twin-linked Heavy Bolters, or two Missile Launchers. The Mortis Dreadnought is capable of laying down a tremendous amount of firepower upon a target, and since the Dreadnought's body is such a stable firing platform it can continue moving while firing accurately.
- The Aegis Dreadnought is one of the rarest and most advanced Dreadnought variants in Imperial service and is used exclusively by the Grey Knights Chapter, the secret Chapter of Space Marine psykers that serves as the Chamber Militant of the Inquisition's Ordo Malleus. The Aegis Dreadnought, like all Grey Knights Astartes, makes use of the Aegis, a complex network of protective prayers, runes and other wards which are inscribed into the chassis of an Aegis Dreadnought and psychically charged to provide better protection from the sorcerous powers of daemons and the other servants of Chaos. While an Aegis Dreadnought is a fearsome opponent to face on the battlefield, the Aegis Dreadnought can provide more than just fire support to his Battle-Brothers, he is also able to support them with enhanced psychic defences. This is possible as a result of the psyber-circuitry that is incorporated into the Aegis Dreadnought's sarcophagus and which can link its own Aegis field to the psychic defences deployed by nearby Grey Knights Battle-Brothers, thus creating a series of reinforced psychic wards that is much stronger than what individual Grey Knights can project on their own.
The following is a list of notable Dreadnoughts in the service of the Imperium:
- Bjorn the Fell-Handed - Bjorn the Fell-Handed is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter. Bjorn is the oldest living Space Marine still in the service of the Imperium of Man, having fought during both the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, making Bjorn over ten thousand standard years old. Bjorn is only awakened once every thousand Terran years, or when his Chapter has need of his skills and wisdom. He is also awakened at the dawn of each new century to hold court at the Great Feast, where he recounts elements from his own saga to his Battle-Brothers. He represents the Chapter's link to its past, and is revered by the Space Wolves as a hero almost as great as Leman Russ.
- Moriar the Chosen - Moriar the Chosen is a Death Company Dreadnought of the Blood Angels Chapter. Once known as Morleo Moriar, a Blood Angels Company Captain, he fell in battle on the planet of Clamorga, yet so great were Morleo's deeds that he was stabilised by the Blood Angel's Sanguinary Priests and placed within the shell of a Furioso Dreadnought. Unfortunitely, almost immediently after being awakened, he succomed to the Black Rage. However, Moriar survived the mental brutality of the curse and now fights alongside the Blood Angels as a Death Company Dreadnought known as Moriar the Chosen. It is rumoured that in his new form, Moriar has been claimed by the Red Thirst and that the Blood Angel armourers have modified his Dreadnought chassis so that he can quench his thirst for blood.
- Lord Daggan - Lord Daggan is a former Chapter Master of the Blood Swords Chapter. Chapter Master Daggan fell in combat defending the remains of his Primarch Sanguinius on the Blood Angels' homeworld of Baal.
- Daenyathos - Daenyathos of the Soul Drinkers Chapter was a Venerable Mark IV Dreadnought. Before Daenyathos was entombed within the armoured sarcophagus of a Dreadnought he was considered a philosopher-soldier, and he penned the Catechisms Martial, the standard text which inspired all Soul Drinkers. Unfortunately, Daenyathos would become corrupted by Chaos and eventually lead the Soul Drinkers into damnation. Daenyathos was destroyed in the late 41st Millennium by Sarpedon, the final Chapter Master and Chief Librarian of the Soul Drinkers. Sarpedon and the final two survivors of the nearly extinct Soul Drinkers Chapter ultimately disappeared into the Warp after saving the Imperial Fists massive mobile fortress-monastery Phalanx from a daemonic incursion, dragging the barely living remains of Daenyathos with them.
- Brother Damos - Damos is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Angels Porphyr Chapter who has served for more than 3,000 standard years. Damos was a former Captain of the Chapter's 9th Company, and under his command the 9th was considered a model of the Devastator doctrine. Unfortunately, during the Scouring of Hume, a surprise air attack on his position at Hill 236 caught Damos out in the open as he moved about the position's bunkers. Enemy Marauder Bombers bombarded his position for several hours. Eventually Damos' body was recovered by the Chapter after the battle but was declared shattered beyond the skill of the Chapter's Apothecaries to repair. Damos' body was placed in stasis and transferred to the Chapter's fortress-monastery where it was laid to rest in the armoured sarcophagus of a Dreadnought.
- Astramael - Astramael is a Venerable Furioso Dreadnought of the Blood Angels Chapter. Astramael personally led all 41 of the Chapter's Dreadnoughts in the defence of the Chapter's homeworld of Baal during the Battle of Iron, which marked the end of the Invasion of Baal by the Ork WAAAGH! of the Big Skorcha in 789.M41.
- Davian Thule - Davian Thule is the former Captain of the Blood Ravens' 4th Company. Thule was mortally wounded while fighting against the Tyranids on the planet of Typhon Primaris and placed in the armoured sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. He would later be lauded as a Venerable Dreadnought for his service to his Chapter.
- Orias - Orias is a former Grand Master of the secret Grey Knights Chapter. Orias fell in combat battling the Daemon Prince Herperitus. While he was being treated by the Chapter's Chief Apothecary, the entire Chapter assembled to await his death with all ten of the Grey Knight's Brother-Captains watching over him until his soul would join with the Emperor. Orias' shattered body remained unmoving for three days and nights and it appeared as if he had died, but in the end the Grand Master simply gave a single nod of his head. The Brother-Captains debated and ultimately agreed that Orias had signalled his permission to be placed within an Aegis Dreadnought with his remaining strength. The simple nod was consent for his continued service, which led to him being placed in a sarcophagus upon which the ritual of internment in an Aegis Dreadnought chassis began.
- Aeneas - Aeneas is a former Grand Master of the Grey Knights Chapter. Aeneas led the Chapter for 55 standard years during the 37th Millennium, until being mortally wounded in combat against Ahriman the Arch-Sorcerer, and interred within an Aegis Dreadnought.
- Sybra - Sybra was a former Venerable Dreadnought in service to the Exorcists Chapter. Sybra heroically sacrificed himself during the Aschen War in order to weaken the Daemon Prince known as the Horned God enough for the Chapter Librarian Malachite to banish the creature back to the Warp.
- Bannus - Bannus was a high-ranking member of the Iron Hands Chapter. Having since become entombed in the armoured chassis of a Venerable Dreadnought, he has become a Clan Leader of Clan Kaargul and has a place on the Chapter's Clan Council.
- Nalr - Nalr is a Chaplain Dreadnought of the Red Scorpions Chapter, who fought alongside his Chapter during the Siege of Vraks.
- Pawel - Pawel is a Mark IV Venerable Dreadnought of the Red Scorpions Chapter who fought alongside his Chapter during the Siege of Vraks.
- Kleitor - Kleitor was the former Captain of the Astral Claws' 5th Company prior to his internment into a Mark IV Dreadnought chassis. It is unknown if Kleitor survived the Badab War, when his Chapter turned against the Imperium.
- Kraai - Kraai is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Raven Guard Chapter, who has served his brethren for over 4,000 standard years.
- Titus - Titus was a Venerable Chaplain Dreadnought of the Howling Griffons Chapter. Titus fought alongside his Chapter during the Badab War where he was destroyed by the forces of the Executioners Chapter. The Howling Griffons found that the Executioners had honoured the Venerable Chaplain Dreadnought's sacrifice by laying the wreck of his sarcophagus in a ring of broken weapons, and placing one of their own shattered standards in the warmachine's lifeless grasp.
- Tankred - Tankred, born as Raclaw, a member of the Drumkil tribe on the primitive world of Kilhaven, was taken by the Black Templars and selected for initiation into their Chapter, where under the tutelage of Brother Brunner, he became known as Gerhart. Gerhart achieved the rank of Sword Brethren within the Black Templars before he was struck down in battle and placed within the chassis of a Dreadnought, later becoming known as Tankred.
- Sokhar Bray'Arth Ashmantle - Sokhar Bray'Arth Ashmantle, also known simply as Bray'Arth Ashmantle, is a Venerable Ironclad Dreadnought of the Salamanders Chapter. Sokhar is the current occupant of the Iron Dragon Ironclad Dreadnought chassis, which is believed by the Salamanders to be the very first Ironclad Dreadnought chassis ever constructed, and that it was made by their Primarch Vulkan himself.
- Secarssa - Secarssa, also known as the Bow of Ma'dan, was a Venerable Hellfire Dreadnought of the Mantis Warriors Chapter who was destroyed in combat during the Siege of Endymion Prime at the time of the Badab War.
- Barkus - Barkus was a Venerable Dreadnought of the Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter. Barkus sacrificed himself during the Ork invasion of Espandor in the late 41st Millennium so that the rest of the Ultramarines forces could safely retreat.
- Enosh - Enosh is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Blood Angels Chapter. It is known that Enosh is part of the Chapter's Death Company as a Death Company Dreadnought.
- Rzasa - Rzasa is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Red Scorpions Chapter.
- Laskho - Laskho is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Executioners Chapter.
- Targas - Targas is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Executioners Chapter.
- Ephesios - Ephesios is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Minotaurs Chapter.
- Aega - Aega is a Venerable Dreadnought of the Ultramarines Chapter.
- Agies - Agies is a Hellfire Dreadnought of the Ultramarines Chapter, and a former Captain of the Ultramarines 2nd Company. Agies is interned inside of a Mark V Dreadnought chassis.
- Deis - Deis is a Hellfire Dreadnought of the Dark Angels Chapter. Deis was mortally wounded during the Third Tranquility Campaign and interred inside of a Mark IV Dreadnought chassis.
- Kallas - Kallas is a Hellfire Dreadnought of the Dark Hands Chapter. Kallas was one of two Dark Hands Dreadnoughts that supported the 1st Company during the Chinchare Hrud Infestation. Kallas is interred inside of a Mark IV Dreadnought combat chassis.
- Fidelis - Fidelis is a Hellfire Dreadnought of the Grey Knights Chapter, Fidelis was critically wounded in combat with Vexcarnel the Blue, also known as "The Beast of Barac". Fidelis is interred within a Mark V Dreadnought chassis.
- Laskho - Laskho is a Hellfire Dreadnought of the Executioners Chapter who fought during the Badab War. Laskho is contained within a Mark V Dreadnought combat chassis.
- Furor - Furor is a Hellfire Dreadnought of the Ultramarines Chapter.
- Brother Daeres - Brother Daeres is a Siege Dreadnought who is part of the Red Scorpions Chapter's 6th Company. Brother Daeres took part in the fighting during the Siege of Vraks, where his Assault Drill proved to be a valuable asset to the attacking Imperial forces.
- Brother Voral - Brother Voral was a Siege Dreadnought of the Astral Claws Chapter. He was destroyed while fighting the Loyalist forces during the Invasion of Pireaus in the Badab War.
- Ancient Herulian - Ancient Herulian is a Siege Dreadnought of the Novamarines Chapter. Ancient Herulian fought against the Secessionists during the Badab War.
- Sura'kan Foehammer - Sura'kan Foehammer is a Siege Dreadnought of the Salamanders Chapter. He fought against Secessionist forces during the Badab War.
- Brother Galtus - Brother Galtus is a Siege Dreadnought of the Red Scorpions Chapter.
- Brother Faustus - Brother Faustus is a Furioso Dreadnought of the Blood Angels Chapter. Before being interred into the armoured sarcophagus at the heart of a Dreadnought Faustus was a Veteran Assault Marine.
- Eiohlem Diocleatius - Eiohlem Diocleatius, also known as the Ravager of the Whites Tithes, is a Furioso Dreadnought of the Lamenters Chapter. Diocleatius earned his title at the Invasion of Sagan during the Badab War.
- Venerable Astramael - Venerable Astramael is a Furioso Pattern Venerable Dreadnought of the Blood Angels Chapter. Astramael personally led all 41 of the Chapter's Dreadnoughts in the defence of Baal during the Battle of Iron, which marked the end of the Invasion of Baal by the Ork WAAAGH! of the Warboss Big Skorcha.
- Goremann the Eldar - Goremann the Eldar is a Furioso Pattern Deathwatch Dreadnought of the Crimson Fists Chapter, currently serving with the Deathwatch at Watch Fortress Erioch in the Jericho Reach.
- Brother Malach - Brother Malach is a Mortis Dreadnought of the Angels of Absolution Chapter's 6th Company.
- Brother Amiel - Brother Amiel is a Mortis Dreadnought of the Angels of Absolution Chapter. Brother Amiel fought against the Forces of Chaos during the Siege of Vraks.
- Brother Kargat - Brother Kargat is a Mortis Pattern Dreadnought of the Red Scorpions Chapter who was destroyed while taking part in the Bale Raid during the Badab War.
- Brother Fidelis - Brother Fidelis is a Mark V Aegis Hellfire Dreadnought and former Grey Knights' 5th Brotherhood Captain. Fidelis was mortally wounded in combat with Vexcarnel the Blue, "the Beast of Barac."
- Brother Uphur - Brother Uphur is a Mark IV Aegis Dreadnought and former Grey Knights Justicar. Uphur was the sole survivor of the Kasdeya Incursion, although heavily wounded himself.
- Brother Valafar - Brother Valafar was a Mark IV Aegis Dreadnought and former Captain of the Grey Knights' 7th Brotherhood. Brother Valafar and his Aegis Dreadnought body were destroyed fighting against the Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler.
- Ancient Aeneas - Ancient Aeneas is a Mark IV Aegis Dreadnought and former Grey Knights Grand Master who led the Chapter for 55 standard years during the 37th Millennium. Aeneas was interred within his Dreadnought body after being mortally wounded in combat with Ahriman the Arch-Sorcerer.
- Brother Mordechai - Brother Mordechai is a Mark IV Aegis Dreadnought of the Grey Knights Chapter. Mordechai served as part of Captain Arvann Stern's strike force during the Siege of Vraks.
- Brother Severus - Brother Severus is a Dreadnought of the Ultramarines Chapter.
- Jarold - Jarold is a Dreadnought of the Black Templars Chapter.
- Rhodomanus - Rhodomanus is a Dreadnought of the Crimson Fists Chapter.
- Autolochus - Autolochus is a Dreadnought of the Iron Snakes Chapter.
- Ancient Rylanor - Ancient Rylanor was a Contemptor Dreadnought of the Emperor's Children Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Ancient Rylanor was the Ancient of Rites of the III Legion, and he held the responsibility of overseeing the progression of new Legion recruits from novice to one of Fulgrim's Chosen, and was also said to be able to perceive a lie the moment it was told. He was normally stationed aboard the Emperor's Children vessel Andronius, where Rylanor maintained the Hall of Rites located there. Rylanor was wounded in combat against the Eldar several decades before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, yet still fulfilled his duties as the Ancient of Rites. Ancient Rylanor did not side with his Legion and Primarch in their rebellion against the Emperor, and fought against his own Legion during the Istvaan III Atrocity, where it is presumed that he fell in combat.
- Huron-Fal - Huron-Fal was a Contemptor Dreadnought of the Death Guard Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Huron-Fal did not side with his Legion and his Primarch and was destroyed during the Istvaan III Atrocity.
Contemptor Pattern Dreadnoughts
A Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought is an ancient Imperial cybernetic combat walker used by the Space Marines in the days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, 10,000 Terran years before the present day. Like the current patterns of Dreadnoughts now in service, the Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought served as a cybernetic sarcophagus for an Astartes who had been so badly wounded in battle that his only chance for continued service to the Emperor lay in being interred within the cybernetic sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. The Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought, like much of the technology developed at the dawn of the Imperium of Man, is larger and more powerful than its standard pattern counterparts and was once a key part of the earliest Space Marine Legion forces raised on Terra in the 31st Millennium to initiate the Great Crusade. Such relics are sometimes recovered as archeotech by the Imperium in the 41st Millennium and then used to supplement the forces of the present-day Space Marine Chapters.
The Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought was once a staple of the armoured might of the Space Marine Legions first raised on Terra following the end of the Unification Wars. Evidence of their ancient origins exist in the forms of sacred Chapter memento mori and other ancient Imperial monuments raised on worlds such as Necromunda and Lorin Alpha. This suggests that the Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought played an integral part in the earliest Astartes forces raised on Terra for the Great Crusade.
A more powerful combat walker than the current patterns of Dreadnought in service with the Adeptus Astartes, the Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought featured many technological systems that found a parallel in the combat robots of the ancient Legio Cybernetica, including such fabled techno-arcana as Atomantic Field Generator technology that would later be refined and incorporated into the Storm Shields used by Space Marine Terminators and other now-lost secrets from the Dark Age of Technology that were meshed with the Contemptor's basic systems.
During the height of the Great Crusade, the Contemptor served alongside the standard Mars Pattern Mark IV and Mark V Dreadnoughts as a spearhead unit for the Legiones Astartes. During the Horus Heresy and the the wars that followed in its wake like the Great Scouring, they bore the brunt of the fighting by Dreadnoughts in every theater and as a result suffered the heaviest losses. Like so many of the Imperium's most advanced and sophisticated war-fighting technologies, the ability to manufacture and maintain the Contemptor Dreadnought was essentially lost in the chaotic aftermath of the Heresy. The few of these relics that remain in service in the 41st Millennium are incredibly rare pieces of archeotech even in comparison to their fellow Dreadnoughts. But when they take to the field, it is as a living reminder of the Golden Age of the Imperium when the Emperor still walked amongst Mankind, and the foes of humanity tremble at the sight of its ancient glory.
The standard Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought is outfitted with a Twin-linked Heavy Bolter attached to one arm and a massive Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon on the other with a built-in Storm Bolter. Smoke Launchers complete the standard weapons load-out. A Contemptor's standard weapons complement can be replaced with a number of different weapons to suit different tactical needs, including a Multi-melta, a Twin-linked Heavy Flamer, a Twin-linked Autocannon, a Plasma Cannon, a Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon, a Twin-linked Lascannon, a power-leeching Heavy Conversion Beamer, and a Chainfist with a built-in Storm Bolter. A Contemptor can replace its built-in Storm Bolter with a Heavy Flamer, a compact, Dreadnought-sized Plasma Blaster or an ancient Graviton Gun. It can be outfitted with extra Ceramite Armour Plating, a Searchlight, a carapace-mounted Cyclone Missile Launcher and an advanced Targeting Augury cogitator system to increase the accuracy of its ranged weapons arrays. All Contemptor Dreadnoughts are protected by advanced Atomantic Shielding which generates a protective gravitic shield around the walker using an advanced Atomantic power core and which provides greater protection from both ranged and melee attacks for the walker. However, when damaged, the Atomantic power generator can overload and result in a devastating miniature atomic explosion which can badly damage nearby allied units.
Some rare examples of Contemptor Pattern Dreadnoughts have been known to carry strange and singular weapons that find their origins in the Dark Age of Technology such as the Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon, which is considered by some Imperial savants of the techno-arcane to be the forerunner of the Terminators' Assault Cannon, compact Plasma Blasters capable of being fitted to the carapace of a Dreadnought and Gravity Flux Weapons like the Graviton Gun whose secrets were ultimately lost during the civil war between the sects of the Adeptus Mechanicus known as the Schism of Mars at the outset of the Horus Heresy.
Contemptor-Mortis Pattern Dreadnought
In the time of the Great Crusade, Dreadnought combat walkers primarily served as heavy assault units and highly mobile weapons support platforms for the Space Marine Legions. They were highly valued for their ability to endure under very heavy enemy fire and to operate in locations and theatres where traditional combat support vehicles would be impractical or downright impossible to use. The Contemptor-Mortis sub-pattern used the more advanced Contemptor chassis as a potent carrier of heavy weapons. It was able to target and destroy the foe at close range and was also outfitted with an advanced Helical Targeting Array that allowed it to provide a Space Marine spearhead force with close anti-air support when needed. During the last years of the Great Crusade, the Contemptor-Mortis sub-pattern was widely used by both the Dark Angels and Iron Warriors Legions, although it was used to some extent by all of the Astartes Legions during this era. Ten millennia later, there remain several Contemptor-Mortis Dreadnoughts that are still operational. They are revered both as potent relics of the Imperium's Golden Age and as powerful weapons by those few Space Marine Chapters lucky enough to still possess them.
The Contemptor-Mortis differs from the standard pattern Contemptor Dreadnought only in being outfitted with 2 Twin-linked Heavy Bolters and Smoke Launchers as a standard weapon load-out and in the integration of a Helical Targeting Array that allows the Dreadnought to unleash its heavy weapons as dedicated anti-aircraft support.
Chaos Contemptor Pattern DreadnoughtsIn the aftermath of the galaxy-wide conflict known as the Horus Heresy and the subsequent Great Scouring, the Traitor Legions were pursued by the vengeful Imperium and cast into disorder and retreat. They were eventually driven into the shadow of the greatest Warp Storm in the galaxy, known as the Eye of Terror. During their flight from their persecutors, the Traitors lost much of their cherished and sacred wargear or it became corrupted and scavenged. Much of the more advanced techno-arcana was cast aside in favour of arms more readily manufactured and maintained by the hell-spat forges of the Dark Mechanicus. But even during these dark times for the servants of the Ruinous Powers, the rare few Contemptor Pattern Dreadnoughts were always held as a most precious resource by those Chaos Space Marine warbands fortunate enough to possess them. The nightmarish intellects of the warsmiths of the Traitor Legions fashioned daemonic replacements for those technological systems of the Contemptor Dreadnoughts that they no longer possessed the skills or the materiel to replicate.
Unable to maintain the Contemptor's original arcane armaments in exile, the Dark Magos replaced them with occult weapons of diabolical design, forged in blood and suffused by daemonic force, such as the Soul Burner which unleashes explosive blasts of daemonic force that devours the souls of its victims, and the Butcher Cannon, a heavy calibre rotary gun whose shells are bound with daemonic runes of anathema and bloodletting to increase their penetrating power and murderous toll. Another notable piece of forbidden Chaotic technology incorporated within a Chaos Contemptor is the replacement of its standard Atomantic power generator with a Warp-infused Hellfire Reactor that charges its armoured carapace to provide a preternatural resilience and also serves as a hungry vortex for the soul-stuff of those it has killed. Enemy psykers are particularly vulnerable to its relentless hunger. The cost for this boon, however, is the lost of the advanced Atomantic Shielding used by the original Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought.
Though few in number, these ancient relics have changed hands over the millennia many times and carried out countless dark deeds in their wake. Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought chassis have always been preserved for the interment of powerful Chaos Lords, Dark Magos Hereteks and sometimes even worse. As a result of their exalted nature and favour with the Dark Gods the occupants of these Dreadnoughts have avoided the inevitable madness that normally consumes other Chaos Dreadnoughts. These walkers fuse together the power of Mankind's lost technological might with the diabolic forces of the Warp to create killing machines that are more than a match for any fielded by the forces of the Corpse Emperor.
Chaos Contemptor Dreadnoughts are normally dedicated to one of the four major Chaos Gods, which provides the following sorcerous boons in combat:
- Dedication of Khorne: The Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought can be consumed by a Khornate Berserker rage that increases the speed and velocity of its attacks when it engages in close combat.
- Dedication of Slaanesh: The Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought is outfitted with sonic weaponry that mimics the effect and usage of grenades and allows it to often gain the drop on the enemy in ranged combat.
- Dedication of Nurgle: The Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought is afflicted with the decay and pestilence of the Plague Lord and finds itself more resistant to external damage as a result.
- Dedication of Tzeentch: The Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought finds its effectiveness, damage and ability to target the foe with Bolter and Flamer weapons to be dramatically increased as a result of the arcane blessing of the Lord of Change.
Older Dreadnoughts are referred to by Space Marine Chapters as Venerable Dreadnoughts or more simply as their "Ancients". Having earned many millennia worth of combat experience, Venerable Dreadnoughts are even harder to destroy than their younger counterparts. However, as a trade-off for their knowledge, they are armed with older, more volatile and usually less effective weaponry. Venerable Dreadnoughts often are a drain on their Chapter's resources, for their millenia-old pilot becomes harder and harder to rouse with the passing of time, and their even more ancient chassis are prone to malfunction, with the parts needed to update them no longer available. A sizeable portion of a Master of the Forge's attentions is spent caring for his Chapter's Ancients, with the ever-lurking risk of the Venerable Dreadnought simply not waking again. Yet no Chapter would ever consider granting the Emperor's Peace to its Ancients, for they are the wardens of a Chapter's history and traditions, for only they can still remember first-hand what now only resides in the mouldering tomes of the Chapter's Librarium. Some of these ancient behemoths no longer resemble the current mass production Mars Pattern Mark V Dreadnoughts and are bulky and cumbersome. Others stand towering over their foes like elegantly-crafted statues ready to smite their enemies.
It is now nearly impossible for most Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes to construct new Dreadnought chassis from scratch, as the technology and know-how is no longer available to the Imperium. This is made ovbious by the existence of such Chapters as the Iron Hands, who lost the majority of their Dreadnoughts early in the Horus Heresy at the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. Now the Chapter maintains relatively few Dreadnoughts relative to other Astartes formations, since they were unable to replace these losses. As such, Venerable Dreadnoughts are a scarce resource for their Chapters, since any damage they suffer must be replaced by using stockpiles of ancient parts or cannibalising already extant Dreadnought chassis of a similar pattern and make.
One of the more notable examples of a Venerable Dreadnought is the Space Wolves' Bjorn the Fell-Handed. He is the oldest Dreadnought currently in service in the Imperium and was once a member of the Primarch Leman Russ' personal retinue. He fought in the Horus Heresy and served as the Space Wolves' first Great Wolf when he was still whole of body. The most esteemed member of the Space Wolves, Bjorn is the only being the current Great Wolf will listen to and if necessary defer to, and is reverently woken once in each standard century. At that time, all the Space Wolves present, from the Great Wolf to the youngest Blood Claw, raptly and silently gather around the Ancient to hear him speak of their Primarch Leman Russ, and keep the Space Wolves' ancient oral tradition alive.
Oddly, the Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought released by Games Workshop is similar in design to the standard Mark V Dreadnought (save for the Space Wolves tokens and possessing a metal blister instead of plastic), while the "generic" Venerable Dreadnought is an ornately decorated war machine.
Chaos Dreadnoughts are Dreadnoughts that belong to the various Traitor Legion and Renegade Space Marine Chapters and are very similar to their Loyalist counterparts. The body of a mortally wounded but feared member of a Renegade or Traitor Legion warband is placed within a sarcophagus that contains multiple life support technologies and this sarcophagus is them placed within the armoured form of a combat walker that the sarcophagus' inhabitant can control using neural impulses. However, most Chaos Space Marines, unlike their Loyalist counterparts, do not see this fate as an honour but as a destiny to be avoid at all costs. This is because being trapped within the armoured shell of a Dreadnought while suffused with the power of Chaos drives the Chaos Space Marine insane and transforms the resulting Dreadnought into an unstoppable and incredibly blood-thirsty killing machine. As a result, far from being revered for their wisdom or experience like their Imperial counterparts, Chaos Dreadnoughts are shackled securely when not in combat because the crippled Chaos Space Marine within has been driven insane by millennia of being trapped within the cold cybernetic sarcophagus as the power of Chaos warped his mind and spirit. They are used as insane behemoths to trample the enemy and are regarded with caution, as the madman within the Dreadnought can turn his wrath upon his comrades if there are no enemy units within range. It is exactly this unreliability that led Abaddon the Despoiler to call for the creation of the Defiler as a replacement for the Traitor Legions' Dreadnoughts. Chaos Dreadnoughts' weapons are configured in the same way as Imperial Dreadnoughts of the same pattern and variant but have no specific designations. As they are not wise or even reliable by any standard, Chaos Dreadnoughts are usually designated as fire support or frontal close combat assault units rather than elite warriors like their Loyalist Space Marine counterparts. Chaos Dreadnoughts could also once be configured into more powerful versions of their Imperial counterparts by the use of special Marks dedicated to one of the Chaos Gods, imbuing them with unholy sorcerous powers. This practice is now rarely seen amongst the warbands of Astartes that serve the Dark Gods.
Chaos Dreadnoughts are armed similarly to their Loyalist counterparts with potent ranged and close combat weapons. These include Dreadnought Close Combat Weapons such as claws or energy-infused whips and flails, or twin-linked Autocannons, Lascannons and Heavy Bolters. Chaos Dreadnoughts are also sometimes outfitted with a Multi-melta or a Plasma Cannon to provide enhanced armour-piercing abilities. A Chaos Dreadnought's close combat weapons often have a built-in Bolter or Heavy Flamer and one or both arms can be replaced with a Missile Launcher to provide added ranged fire support. Chaos Dreadnoughts often prove erratic or unstable in combat and as a result few Chaos Space Marine warbands will make use of them unless there is little other choice and will prefer to unleash other, more reliable daemon engines upon their foes.
A Sonic Dreadnought is a variant of the Chaos Dreadnought. The Sonic Dreadnought is used almost exclusively by the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion and their many fragmented warbands. The Sonic Dreadnought differs from other Chaos Dreadnoughts in its main armament and various other upgrades. The Sonic Dreadnought is armed with Sonic Weaponry, usually a set of twin-linked Sonic Blasters or a Blastmaster along with a Dreadnought Chainfist. This variant of Chaos Dreadnought is also usually equipped with Dirge Casters and a Doom Siren. During combat the Sonic Dreadnought moves across the battlefield continusously broadcasting discordant howling and screams of ecstasy and madness, rupturing their enemies' sanity or even worse, taking their lives, another glorious experience for the Chaos Dreadnought's pilot in the name of Slaanesh, the Dark Prince of Pleasure.
A Helbrute is a variant of Chaos Dreadnought that is a twisted mockery of the Space Marine Dreadnought he used to be, combining the firepower of a small main battle tank with the mind of a frenzied psychopath. Each Helbrute holds a living Astartes within its plated metal chest -- a Chaos Space Marine driven over the edge of madness by the never-ending cycle of battle that defines the Long War.
A Helbrute is piloted by a warrior who, like his Loyalist Dreadnought counterparts, has suffered extreme bodily damage in combat. The critically injured Astartes is then bound into an amniotic sarcophagus at the walker's heart, connected by cybernetic nervous system implants and a Mind Impulse Unit to the controls of the war machine. However, while Loyalist Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes consider it an honour to serve their Chapter for eternity as a Dreadnought, Chaos Space Marines consider such a fate to be little more than a living death -- a torturous, mocking punishment from the Ruinous Powers. They abhor the thought of such a miserable half-life locked away in a dank and imprisoning cybernetic womb, where they can no longer drink in the sights of battle with their own eyes or feel the kick of a Bolter in the own hands. For Chaos Space Marines, it would be better to die and find final release in the maelstrom of the Warp than to spend eternity locked in a hard, adamantium shell.
As a result, most Helbrutes are completely psychotic, even before the Warp melds the metal of their hated prison with the flesh within. A creeping insanity, mingled with desperation and fury, eats away at them over the long passage of the millennia. Between battles, the sarcophagus containing the Helbrute's pilot is disconnected and dragged clear of its armoured shell to lie inert and seething in the darkness. The Helbruute is chained like a beast when it is not actually fighting, for fear that some residue of the pilot's soul may send it into a berserk rampage. As the ships of a Chaos warfleet approach their prey, the Helbrute's heavy weapons are prepared and loaded, its power scourges and hammer-like fists are daubed with fresh blood and its sarcophagus is installed, The madness of the Chaos Space Marine within burns ever fiercer as he rises from the depths of his dormancy. Once the warfleet's warriors have landed at their target, the Helbrute is unleashed, a lunatic beast of flesh and metal intent upon venting its rage on everything in its path, friend and foe alike.
Notable Chaos Dreadnoughts
- Lord Berossus (Iron Warriors) - Berossus is an Iron Warriors Warsmith and Chaos Lord who leads an Iron Warriors Grand Company on their homeworld of Medrengard within the Eye of Terror. Unlike most Chaos Dreadnoughts, Berossus is able to exercise his command because he has not been driven insane by his interment within a Dreadnought's armoured body.
- The Warmonger (Word Bearers) - The Warmonger was originally a Dark Apostle named Sor Talgron who commanded the 34th Grand Company of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion. Talgron fought with his Legion during the Battle of Terra and laid siege to the Imperial Palace at the climax of the Horus Heresy, where he suffered the wounds that crippled him and required his interment within the armoured shell of a Chaos Dreadnought. As a result of the formidable willpower he developed as a Dark Apostle, The Warmonger also managed to retain at least a portion of his sanity following his internment within his Dreadnought's shell, but during combat he sometimes forgot where and when he was and began to relive moments from the siege of the Imperial Palace. The Warmonger was slain during the Battle of Boros Prime when he successfully killed the Necron Lord known as The Undying One, though the explosion following the Necron's death also finished off the already-wounded Dreadnought. The Warmonger's shell next housed the broken form of the daemonically-possessed Word Bearer named Burias Drak'Shal.
- Amurael the Corrupted (Black Legion) - Amurael was the Chaos Champion who led a warband of the Black Legion until he was literally cut in two by a Khornate daemon. His shattered body was kept alive in a life support sarcophagus that was then implanted within a Dreadnought shell.
- Commander Demetrius (Violators) - Demetrius was a Chaos Dreadnought who led a large warband of Chaos Space Marines dedicated to Slaanesh under the banner of the Chaos Lord named Lady Charybdia, the Princess of Slaanesh, on the Daemon World of Torvendis.
- Magog the Damned - Magog the Damned is a Chaos Dreadnought of the World Eaters Traitor Legion. Magog took part in the Battle of Ironholm during the 12th Black Crusade (Gothic War) of Abaddon the Despoiler.
- Captain Malcharion (Night Lords) - Malcharion was once the Captain of the Night Lords' 10th Company and was known to his fellow Astartes as the War-Sage. Malcharion sustained serious injuries and was entombed within a Dreadnought sarcophagus . He was awakened from his sleep by Talos the Soul Hunter to aid the 10th Company (now known as the warband of The Exalted) in a plot hatched by Abaddon the Despoiler of the Black Legion. Malcharion was later knocked back into hibernation while in combat with Raguel the Sufferer. Yet Raguel proved unable to slay Malcharion, and was ultimately killed by Talos. Malcharion still lives, but Talos has ordered his fellow Night Lords to let him remain in dreamless hibernation as boon, for he had done his duty.
- Mortis Metalikus (Crimson Slaughter) - Mortis Metalikus is the name given to a Helbrute of the Crimson Slaughter warband of Chaos Space Marines. Formerly known as Sevarion Kranon, he was the birth brother of Sevastus Kranon, the Chapter Master of the Crimson Sabres. Refusing to give into the bloodthirst that possessed his fellow Battle-Brothers during the massacre of Umidia, Sevarion was imprisoned by his brother for his disobedience. However the curse his entire Chapter came under from Khorne eventually drove this once noble soul completely mad during his confinement. Eventually, Sevarion was imprisoned within the cold cybernetic shell of a Hellbrute. He is now consumed by murderous rage and grotesquely corrupted by the Ruinous Powers of Chaos.
OrksThe Orks also have noticed the usefulness of Dreadnoughts in battle, particularly their "shooty" and "stompy" aspects. Orkish Dreadnoughts, or "Deff Dreds" as they are called, are a crude parody of their Imperial namesake. Ork Dreds are armed with massive numbers of claws and guns. Due to the fact that Ork Meks have less understanding of technology than the Adeptus Mechanicus, most Orkish Dreds are simply robotic-controlled war machines with an array of buttons and levers to be used by the Gretchin pilot rather than the pilot being cybernetically interfaced with the machine. Smaller variants of Ork Dreds, named Killa Kanz, also exist. These cousins of the Deff Dreds are often fielded in squadrons of 3 and are just as devastating in combat as their larger cousins, except they have less armour. This is due to the nature of the Killa Kan's pilot who, being merely a Gretchin, still retains a healthy fear of being shot at.
EldarThe Eldar also use large robotic walkers in combat called Wraithlords that are their equivalent of Space Marine Dreadnoughts. A Wraithlord contains no living warrior; rather, it is merely a robotic shell, a repository for the animating soul of a dead Eldar hero. Wraithlords are graceful but mighty giants that dwarf their Wraithguard cousins. These massive constructs are extremely precious to their Eldar Craftworlds and have a supernatural toughness due to being made from the psychically-active substance called Wraithbone. Summoned into being by the necromantic processes and sorcery of the Eldar Spiritseers, only a true hero of the Eldar race has psychic power enough to animate the gigantic wraithbone shell of a Wraithlord.
An Eldar soul is drawn from the Infinity Circuit of a Craftworld and resides within the wraithbone construct until such time as its power begins to fade and it can no longer function or it is destroyed. The Eldar Wraithlords stand significantly taller than a man, carry an array of weaponry and are a terrifying sight on the battlefield. Wraithlords have incredible strength in any case, but also sometimes carry a wraithsword for close-combat.
If the animating soul within the Wraithlord specialized in close infantry assault when it was alive, it will seek to tear apart its enemies with great energized fists or cleave several apart with a swing from its massive sword, known as a Wraithblade. If the animating Eldar soul specialized in combat support during life, the ghostly warrior's energy core will instead be rerouted to power a devastating array of heavy weaponry such as a shuriken cannon. Either way, a single Wraithlord can turn the tide of battle for the Eldar; the legends of the fallen heroes within the construct continuing to grow even after death.
As with Space Marine Power Armour there are different "Marks" (iterative versions) of Dreadnoughts. The most common version is the Mark V, a design that has been used since the introduction of the 2nd Edition of Warhammer 40,000 in 1993. Made of plastic, this is a generic model which can be used by any Space Marine Chapter. The right arm can either be armed with an Assault Cannon or twin-linked Lascannon, while the left side can either be a Powerfist (with either a Storm Bolter or Heavy Flamer underneath) or Missile Launcher, allowing the player to build either a standard or fire-support (Hellfire) Dreadnought. Chapter-specific Dreadnoughts such as the Blood Angels' Furioso and the Dark Angels' Mortis also exist; these use the standard Mark V design.
There are also metal models for Venerable Dreadnoughts. The "generic" Venerable Dreadnought is an ornately-decorated war machine armed with an Assault Cannon and Powerfist. Interestingly, the Space Wolves' Venerable Dreadnought is similar in design to the standard Mark V Dreadnought, save for the Space Wolves badges and iconography and the unique Lightning Claw/Heavy Flamer on the left side. The Space Wolves also possess standard shells for their Venerable Dreadnoughts.
Forge World makes a (resin) Mark IV model. The style of the Mark IV is close to that of the Epic scale Dreadnought when first released - it predates the current 25mm scale design.
Metal Mark V Dreadnoughts were released for Epic 40,000 and were carried over for the succeeding Epic: Armageddon game. There is some variation in the sarcophagi design, and the Missile Launcher consisted of eight "tubes" instead of the cells of the Warhammer 40,000 scale. Weapons include the Twin-Lascannon, Assault Cannon, and Multi-melta for the right arm, and Powerfist, Lightning Claw, and Missile Launcher for the left side. Dreadnoughts had a unique blend of firepower and assault strength, making them useful for defending objectives. However, their slow speed otherwise proved a major hindrance on the vast Epic battlefield, though the introduction of transports able to carry Dreadnoughts, such as the Thunderhawk Transporter, should compensate for this.
The first Dreadnought models produced were for the Space Marines and Imperial Guard armies. These were the Furibundus, Deredeo and Contemptor patterns which each had a different weapons configuration. There were a selection of arms (single or double Bolter, Lascannon or Missile Launcher) which fitted to the body, "wide" or "narrow" which in turn could have either long or short legs.
In Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition, various bipedal, heavily armoured fighting machines belonging to numerous factions of the game were collectively called Dreadnoughts. Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Orks and the Eldar all fielded a Dreadnought of their own design, generally carrying at least one Heavy Weapon and having armour and survivability characteristics roughly equivalent to a tank (in fact, even under the current rules Dreadnoughts are so heavily armoured they could be classified as medium armour rather than light armour, even when compared to vehicles such as the Chimera and Leman Russ tank). Dreadnoughts were important support units in the game due to their prowess in close combat, being far more capable of defending themselves at close quarters than tanks or other vehicles, while being much harder to damage than infantry. A corresponding disadvantage was their size as tabletop models; this made them highly visible and particularly in the game's early days where large tank models were less common, Dreadnoughts were highly vulnerable to being sighted from long distance and destroyed before they could retaliate.
A cardboard cut-out of an Ork Dreadnought was included in the 2nd Edition boxed introductory game as a stand-in for new players to be able to play all the included introductory scenarios, as the metal Ork Dreadnought model was a fairly expensive purchase at the time of publication. In the 2nd Edition, the four Dreadnought patterns released by Games Workshop were metal models of the Mark V design, distinguished by their weaponry and Chapter-specific banners and decals. They included an Ultramarines Dreadnought with an Assault Cannon and Powerfist/Stormbolter, the Dark Angels Dreadnought with a twin-linked Lascannon and Missile Launcher (now known as the fire-support or Hellfire Dreadnought), the Blood Angels Dreadnought Furioso with a Multi-Melta and Powerfist/Stormbolter, and the Space Wolves' Bjorn the Fell-Handed Venerable Dreadnought with an Assault Cannon and Lightning Claw/Heavy Flamer. Bjorn the Fell-Handed is unique as he is fielded as a special character and his Space Wolves tokens made him specific to that Chapter. The model is still in release at the present but has since been renamed the Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought since the 3rd Edition and now lacks the banner. The other themed Dreadnoughts can be used by other Chapters.
Following the release of Warhammer 40,000's 3rd Edition, Games Workshop publications generally ceased the generic use of the word "Dreadnought", instead referring only to the types of walkers fielded by the Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, and occasionally the Orks by that name. Eldar Dreadnoughts were now known as Wraithlords and the Orks, except for the appropriate army list entries, colloquially referred to their versions simply as Dreds or Killa Kanz, a name also given to smaller Orkish Dreadnought-style vehicles that they fielded. It was also in the 3rd Edition that variant Dreadnoughts such as the fire-support Hellfire, Mortis, and the Furioso were released.
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 131-138, 141-142, 191, 215-218
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 23, 28-29, 32, 54, 317
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pp. 68, 123
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pp. 56-57, 147
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pp. 87, 128-132, 168
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pp. 4, 52, 73, 94, 97
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid On Kastorel-Novem, pp. 57, 105
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 9, 28, 53, 64-65, 87,111, 122, 134, 158-159, 172-173 , 185, 191
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 26-27, 42, 71, 82, 86, 126, 144-146, 172, 188, 208
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse, pp. 29, 33
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse II, pp. 30, 35, 76
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (Second Edition), pp. 24-30, 34-35, 107
- Imperial Armour Aeronautica, pg. 38
- Imperial Armour (Update 2006), pg. 11
- Imperial Armour - The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, pp. 6, 57, 76, 99, 115, 134, 165, 170, 174, 177-178, 180-181, 200-201, 205, 227-228, 241, 255, 260-261, 263, 288
- The Horus Heresy - Collected Visions (Background Book), pp. 23, 30, 45, 57-58, 65, 77, 91, 101, 174, 176, 180, 228, 238, 258, 276, 296, 298, 302, 306, 333, 355
- Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pp. 17, 35, 49
- Codex: Blood Angels (3rd Edition), pg. 7
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 14, 29, 74, 85, 89, 94
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pp. 18, 35, 41, 44, 47
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 35
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 40, 75, 80, 87, 95
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 56, 87, 97
- Codex: Daemon Hunters (3rd Edition), pp. 19, 32, 42
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 30, 65, 82
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 43, 76, 99
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pp. 35, 54, 71, 88, 94
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 32
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 65, 119, 137
- Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition), pp. 7, 18, 24
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 48-49, 83, 87
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 54
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 110-113, 235-236
- Deathwatch: Rising Tempest (RPG), pp. 79, 132
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 39-40
- White Dwarf 255 (UK)
- White Dwarf 262 (UK), pp. 64-71
- White Dwarf 330 (UK), "Blood Angels Official Codex: Part I", pp. 2,12
- White Dwarf 331 (UK), "Blood Angels Official Codex: Part II", pg. 19
- Dark Millennium (2nd Edition), pgs. 32-33
- Index Astartes I: Warriors of Old
- Index Astartes I: Warriors of Old - Moriar the Chosen
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium, pp. 63-64
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (2nd Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (3rd Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (4th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 245-246, 249, 251, 336
- Defenders of Ultramar (Graphic Novel) by Graham McNeill, Kevin Hopgood, and Tony Parker
- Damnation Crusade (Graphic Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Blood and Thunder (Graphic Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Phalanx (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Red Fury (Novel) by James Swallow, pp. 121, 244
- Dead Sky, Black Sun (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Dark Apostle (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds
- Daemon World (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Dark Creed (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds
- Torment (Short Story) by Anthony Reynolds
- Soul Hunter (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Void Stalker (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- The Masters, Bidding (Short Story) by Matthew Farrer
- The Relic (Short Story) by Jonathan Green - Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), pp. 157-207
- The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow
- Betrayer (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pg. 133
- Chaos Sonic Dreadnought - Forge World
- Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command (Game)
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (Game)
- Dawn of War (PC Game)
- Dawn of War - Dark Crusade (PC Game)
- Dawn of War - Soulstorm (PC Game)
- Dawn of War II (PC Game)
- Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising (PC Game)
- Dawn of War II - Retribution (PC Game)