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The Questor Traitoris, also known as Renegade Knights or Daemon Knights, are Imperial Knight combat walkers, their Noble pilots and Knight Houses that have been corrupted to the service of Chaos. Humanoid war engines that tower over their foes, each Renegade Knight carries an army's worth of firepower upon its weaponised limbs and hulking carapace. At close quarters, their roaring Chainswords and crushing Thunderstrike Gauntlets destroy what their trampling feet cannot, scattering terrified survivors before their unstoppable advance. The ground shudders beneath the godlike tread of the Renegade Knights. Even one such looming war engine possesses the firepower to annihilate entire regiments of enemy warriors, pick apart armoured columns, and swat squadrons of aircraft from the skies. Chaos Lords and rebellious demagogues will go to great lengths to secure the services of such a lone warrior, sacrificing whatever they must to ensure that this god of destruction fights at their side.

Deployed in great number, the Questor Traitoris are more fearsome still, and have been known to bring entire worlds to heel, scourging them by blade and by flame in the name of the Dark Gods.

History

Those who pilot Imperial Knights are brave and noble warriors, drawn from ancestral knightly houses. In their eighteenth standard year, aspirants face the Ritual of Becoming, a strange rite where the mind of the Noble is fused with the Knight's Machine Spirit (artificial intelligence), allowing the pilot to occupy the machine's Throne Mechanicum and control it with their thoughts alone. This rite -- coupled with psychosuggestive subroutines fed through the Knight's neural jacks -- is intended to weed out those who are weak in mind or soul, reinforcing notions of honour and selflessness so that few Knights risk falling to the temptations of Chaos.

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A Renegade Knight Paladin in service to the Ruinous Powers

No mortal man is beyond the reach of the Dark Gods, however. To believe otherwise is dangerous arrogance. There are many ways that a Knight may stray from the true path laid out in the Code Chivalric, or else be driven from it by force. Most common are those times when Freeblade Knights -- those who have already forsworn their knightly houses due to some shame or tragedy -- find themselves driven to commit ignoble acts to survive. The ghosts of the Thrones Mechanicum are uncompromising and unforgiving, and the judgemental voices of ancestors long passed will lambaste such a fallen Knight mercilessly. Some pilots take their own lives, or abandon the Throne forever -- to a Noble pilot, there is little difference between these two terrible ends. Those who do not, or worse, cannot, are driven swiftly mad. It is this insanity that the Dark Gods prey upon, claiming the Nobles' lost souls and twisting the Machine Spirits of their mechanical steeds into ravening beasts. In recent years, covens of Warpsmiths have taken to capturing lone Knights and giving them over for torture until this horrible end is achieved. There are even whispered rumours that some Renegade Knights no longer contain living pilots at all, but are instead the unwilling hosts to parasitic possessor daemons who clad themselves in the war engine's adamantium plates as a mortal warrior might don a suit of armour.

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A Renegade Knight stalking into battle

Rarer and more terrible are those instances when an entire lance, or even a whole knightly house falls into damnation. During the dark days of the Horus Heresy, this was a tragedy that played out many times, most famously with the once glorious House Devine who fell to the temptations of Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure. With the Cicatrix Maledictum now splitting the galaxy, such wholesale corruption has become a hazard once again. Here, a compromised Sacristan creeps from one Throne Mechanicum to the next, tainting them with daemonic ichor brewed to drive the Knights' pilots to madness and mutation. There a Baron leads a noble crusade to purge a world of Chaos taint, only to become so immersed in blood that he and his followers degenerate into the very berserk beasts they strode out to slay. The Inquisition's agents have gone to great pains in their efforts to suppress reports of traitorous knightly houses, for the mere notion of such loyal warriors turning Traitor is every bit as horrifying as the concept of Renegade Space Marines. Yet more Knights fall with every passing standard year, and their devastating rampages have become difficult to conceal.

Infernal Quests

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Imperial propaganda poster of a Renegade Knight

When Renegade Knights gather in great number they are compelled to swear grim oaths to the Dark Gods. In a twisted parody of their former nobility, they vow to complete mighty tasks on pain of death and dishonour. Such deeds may include the burning of a Cardinal World or other great place of Imperial faith, the hunting of some feted Imperial hero, or the wholesale butchery of a star system whose defenders have offended the Dark Gods with their simple resistance. Once they have set themselves to such an Infernal Quest, Renegade Knights will not relent until either they emerge victorious, or they are slain to the last.

Types of Renegade Knights

Hell-Strider

Hell-Striders

  • Hell-Strider - The Hell-Strider is the smallest of the Daemon Knights, but still stands many times the height of a man. They are armed with Lascannons and short-range, Knight-sized Melta Weapons. Hell-Striders are extremely mobile, able to flush the enemy out of woods and ruins with their powerful short ranged weaponry. Given sufficient numbers, Hell-Striders are even capable of toppling a Titan, picking off their prey's Void Shields with their Lascannons before closing in for the kill with their Melta-beams.
Hell-Scourge

Hell-Scourges

  • Hell-Scourge - Hell-Scourges are one of the largest patterns of Slaaneshi Daemon Knights. As living machines in the service of the Prince of Chaos, they have crushed countless opponents in the last ten millennia, screeching deafening cries across the battlefield. They are the perfect predators, hunters who mercilessly run down their quarry with the bounding strides of their elegant, powerful legs. The Hell-Scourges attack without warning. As one appears, the enemy turn their weapons on its blurred form, only to see it disappear. At that moment, others attack from all sides, mowing through armour and flesh with their massive Castigator Cannons. Hell-Scourges possess a certain pack instinct and are in constant telepathic communication with each other. As such, they make exceptionally well co-ordinated assaults, out-flanking their enemies with ease. This telepathic contact seems to encompass all Hell-Scourges present on the battlefield, or perhaps even further. This enables Hell-Scourge detachments exceptional flexibility on the battlefield.
Hell-Knight

Hell-Knights

  • Hell-Knight - Hell-Knights are one of the most specialised types of Daemon Knights. Aside from Bolters, their main weapon is a Thermal Cannon which, albeit short-ranged, has enough power to pierce almost any armour plate with relative ease. Hell-Knights are often used to hunt down enemy Knights and Titans, exploiting their speed to attack from the sides and overwhelm opponents. In addition to this, they are perfectly suited to perform ambushes, and are often used in this respect. A notable exploit of the Hell-Knights took place on the Hive World of Kado as part of a massive daemonic incursion. Imperial forces and the Titans of the Legio Crucius suffered grave losses in the defence of that world's capital hive city. As the Titans fired upon the advancing hordes of Chaos, felling hundreds upon hundreds of daemons and Heretics, a large force of Slaaneshi Daemon Knights infiltrated the hive city's massive subterranean transportation network. As the battle raged above them, the Chaos walkers sped through the dimly lit tunnels and corridors, quickly obliterating any resistance they encountered. On the second day of the hive city's siege, the Daemon Knights emerged from beneath the ground and burst into the main streets and arcades of the city, indiscriminately destroying everything, killing thousands of helpless citizens. The transports of the Adeptus Arbites arrived, but these too were totally crushed and the Hell-Knights fought their way back to the surface. They emerged within firing distance behind the Titans of the Legio Crucius. With a single massed salvo from the Daemon Knights' Thermal Cannons, nearly the entirety of the Loyalist Titan battlegroup was destroyed, the august forms of the Titans turned into molten slag. Amongst the victims of this attack was the colossal Praeco Deictus, an Imperator-class Battle Titan which had survived the grim days of the Horus Heresy and brought victory to the Imperium on over a thousand worlds. As Hell-Knights are super heavy they cannot be pinned in combat except by other super heavy vehicles or Titans. Anything smaller than this is simply pushed aside by the massive war machine. Hell-Knights are excellent at infiltrating enemy positions, setting ambushes for enemy supply columns and attacking enemy support detachments and artillery.
  • Chaos Knight Paladin - The Knight Paladin is the archetypal Knight combat walker, usually armed with a large calibre Rapid-Fire Battle Cannon and a giant Knight-sized Reaper Chainsword. For long-ranged devastation, there are few weapons that can match or best the Knight Paladin's battle cannon. This massive barrelled weapon is equally adept at blasting apart massed hordes of enemy infantry, gunning down entire squadrons of light vehicles, or duelling a foe's artillery at long range. The Battle Cannon is capable of piercing even a true Titan's armour. Incoming firepower is blunted as the pilot shifts the directional ion shield towards the approaching shots. With its long strides, the Knight Paladin can reposition quickly, firing as it manoeuvres to give maximum fire support. Should enemies approach too closely, a pair of Heavy Stubbers can mow them down. In close combat, the Reaper Chainsword or Thunderstrike Gauntlet the Knight Paladin carries makes it virtually unstoppable, able to disregard any enemy armour with impunity. The Reaper Chainswords used by Knight Paladins are described as being easily as destructive as the close combat weapons used by the larger Warhound-class Scout Titans, capable of harming even an Imperator-class Titan's armour plating.
  • Chaos Knight Errant - The Knight Errant Pattern Knight combat walker is a mainstay of many knightly houses. Of the varied types of Imperial Knight seen upon the battlefields of the late 41st Millennium, the Knight Errant is best known as a devastating, close-ranged killer -- a tank-hunter extraordinaire. Many an enemy vehicle has been quickly melted to no more than hissing piles of molten slag by the Thermal Cannon slung underneath a Knight Errant's mighty shoulder. Once a foe is sighted, a Knight Errant typically seeks to close the distance -- firing off hissing blasts from its Thermal Cannon as its great strides propel the walker rapidly forward. Thanks to their size, thick adamantium armour and directional Ion Shield, Knights Errant do not hesitate to charge straight into the teeth of the enemy's most potent weapons. Once amongst its foes, a lone Knight Errant can best an entire tank battalion, shooting and stabbing its way through the enemy formation to leave only twisted ruin and blackened hulls in its wake. The Knight Errant's close combat weapon -- either a Reaper Chainsword or Thunderstrike Gauntlet -- is perhaps more deadly still. When powered by the Knight's mighty servo-engines, either of these weapons can topple even the most monstrous xenos creature with a single strike. Fitted into the Knight Errant's armoured carapace is a Heavy Stubber to scythe down enemy infantry, and its armour-plated feet are more than capable of crushing units beneath its awesome weight.

Notable Renegade Knight Houses

Knightly House Name Homeworld Allegiance Summary
House Ærthegn Unknown (Destroyed) Chaos Undivided Accepted amongst the ranks of the Imperial Knight Households by the writ of Horus, and treated by their peers with disdain and wary hostility, the Knights of House Ærthegn were masters of the marauder's bloody trade. Following the Archtraitor's defeat, House Ærthegn was driven along with the rest of the Traitor Legions into the Eye of Terror, where they remain to this day.
House Arcanus Unknown Tzeentch House Arcanus is a Renegade Knight House that fell to the service of Tzeentch and was among the forces in service to the Changer of Ways that successfully invaded the Stygius Sector, during the Stygius War.
House Atrax Arrian Chaos Undivided Founded sometime during the Age of Strife and rediscovered during the Great Crusade by the dour Mechanicum Tech-adepts of the Forge World of Cyclothrathe in the latter 30th Millennium, this unfortunate Knight House was forced into indentured servitude in accordance with the Sidon Protocols. These unfortunate circumstances is what led to House Atrax's tragic fall during the Horus Heresy. At the end of this tragic conflict, House Atrax, along with the rest of the Traitor Legions, were driven into the Eye of Terror.
House Caesarean Unknown Chaos Undivided During the Horus Heresy this Knight House threw their lot in with the Traitor forces of Warmaster Horus. Notably, they took part in the Battle of Tallarn as part of the first Traitor reinforcements and fought alongside the Legio Krytos Traitor Titan Legion. During the campaign they faced the Loyalist Legio Gryphonicus Titan Maniples in Tallarn's southern polar regions.
House Chromatic Unknown Tzeentch House Chromatic is a Renegade Knight House that fell to the service of Tzeentch and was among the forces in service to the Changer of Ways that successfully invaded the Stygius Sector, during the Stygius War.
House Devine Molech Slaanesh House Devine fell under the sway of Slaanesh, and was the first of the Knight Houses to betray the Imperium of Man and the Mechanicum. On the planet of Molech, the sudden defection of House Devine proved to be the pivotal factor in the defeat of the Loyalist forces seeking to halt Horus' relentless advance on Terra. At the end of this tragic conflict, filled with righteous indignation, a combined strike force of Knights from Houses Cadmus, Terryn and Borgius annihilated the turncoats of House Devine as Imperial forces reclaimed Molech.
House Drakon Unknown Unknown During the dark days of the Occlusiad War, in 550.M37, for the first time in thousands of years, a knightly house betrayed its oaths of loyalty, joining the Apostles of the Blind King to cause ruinous destruction across the northwestern fringe. Though the Blind King's rogue Tech-Priests are eventually defeated, the traitorous Knights of House Drakon remain unaccounted for.
House Drear Unknown Nurgle House Drear is a Renegade Knight House that fell to the service of Nurgle and was among the forces in service to the Plague God that successfully invaded the Realm of Ultramar during the Plague Wars.
House Felcarn Unknown Chaos Undivided There is little information on this formerly loyal knightly house in Imperial records. It is said that House Felcarn became corrupted from within by Chaos. Rumours state that a single surviving member of that family somehow escaped the subsequent Inquisitorial purges, proving his innocence, and went on to prove himself as the Freeblade known as Penitent Blade, through his tireless efforts to rid his world of the Chaos Cults that plagued it.
House Hydrax Unknown Chaos Undivided House Hydrax is a Knight House that betrayed the Emperor and joined the Warmaster Horus' forces during the Horus Heresy. Later in that conflict they fought alongside House Medusos against the Loyalist Knights of House Chimaeros and House Draconis of the Knight World of Adrastopol led by their High King Rhoderic Chimaeros.
House Ju'll Unknown Chaos Undivided There is little information on this formerly loyal knightly house in official Imperial records or from what world they originally hailed from. All that is known is that they were allied to the traitorous Legio Mortis Titan Legion. It is there fore assumed, that at the end of the Horus Heresy, House Ju'll, along with the rest of the Traitor Legions, were driven into the Eye of Terror.
House Kaligius Nachmund Unknown An intermittent passage through the Great Rift has been discovered in the early 42nd Millennium, yet it brought little hope to the Imperium. The Cicatrix Maledictum had at least one gap, although others were reported but not confirmed. The passage was near the Eye of Terror, which had been avoided by Navigators since the Great Crusade, for Warp Storms and strange anomalies had always made the region too dangerous to travel. There, when the swirling nebula lulled, was revealed the Nachmund System, near to Agripinaa on the near side of the rift. Its Tyrant King, Kaligius, ruled over a Household of Fallen Knights that had not been seen since the Horus Heresy. Claiming Old Night had returned to plague the galaxy once more, Kaligius rejected communications from the Imperium, instead making pacts with Renegades and pirate fleets. Some starships have run the Nachmund Gauntlet successfully, but many more have been destroyed attempting the journey -- the ruined hulks of innumerable craft hang suspended in space as a voidship graveyard.
House Makabius Baroda Chaos Undivided Transformed by the century-long civil war that had engulfed their homeworld of Baroda in the Grail Abyss, House Makabius was always known for its bellicose temper, and some would even say avarice and recklessness. Makabius served Mortarion the Reaper, Primarch of the grim Death Guard Legion, during the Horus Heresy. At the end of that tragic conflict, House Makabius, along with the rest of the Traitor Legions, were driven into the Eye of Terror.
House Morbidia Mars Chaos Undivided House Morbidia started its existence as one of the very first Knight Households in service of the Omnissiah's priesthood and was one of the early rivals of the legendary Knights of Taranis and House Zavora. Yet where these Houses were to rise high in the esteem of the Martian priesthood, House Morbidia would fall in disgrace; sparkling an internecine war that would see it defeated and shackled to the will of the Fabricator-General. Following Horus' defeat, it is assumed that House Morbidia fled with the Traitor Legions into the hellish realm known as the Eye of Terror, where they presumably still exist to this day.
House Medusos Unknown Chaos Undivided House Medusos is a Knight House that betrayed the Emperor and joined the Warmaster Horus' forces during the Horus Heresy. Later in that conflict they fought alongside House Hydrax against the Loyalist Knights of House Chimaeros and House Draconis of the Knight World of Adrastopol led by their High King Rhoderic Chimaeros.
House Perdaxia Unknown Chaos Undivided There is little information on this formerly loyal knightly house in official Imperial records or from what world they originally hailed from. During the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, they answered the call of the mad Archmagos Inar Satarael, and willfully took part in the Invasion of Paramar V. Following Horus' defeat, it is assumed that House Perdaxia fled with the Traitor Legions into the hellish realm known as the Eye of Terror, where they presumably still exist to this day.
House Rajha Unknown Chaos Undivided There is little information on this formerly loyal knightly house in official Imperial records or from what world they originally hailed from. During the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, the ghost-grey Knights of House Rajiha answered the call of the mad Archmagos Inar Satarael, and willfully took part in the Invasion of Paramar V. Following Horus' defeat, it is assumed that House Rajha fled with the Traitor Legions into the hellish realm known as the Eye of Terror, where they presumably still exist to this day.
House Senica Unknown Chaos Undivided There is little information on this formerly loyal knightly house in official Imperial records or from what world they originally hailed from. All that is known is that they were allied to the traitorous Legio Mortis Titan Legion. It is therefore assumed, that at the end of the Horus Heresy, House Senica, along with the rest of the Traitor Legions, were driven into the Eye of Terror.
House Slughorn Unknown Nurgle House Slughorn is a Renegade Knight House that fell to the service of Nurgle and was among the forces in service to the Plague God that successfully invaded the Realm of Ultramar during the Plague Wars.
House Vyridion Highrock (Destroyed) Imperium of Man (Restored Loyalist) House Vyridion was a Household of Imperial Knights that existed at the foundation of the Imperium of Man. Through treachery and to their ever-lasting shame, House Vyridion broke its vows of fealty to the Imperium and joined the forces of the Warmaster Horus Lupercal. Yet, House Vyridion recognised the error they had made and broke all ties with their former allies. House Vyridion was called upon by the Emperor's own bodyguard, the Legio Custodes, to fight alongside them in defence of the Imperial Webway Project in the dungeons of the Imperial Palace.
House Wyvorn Adrastapol Chaos Undivided Once a loyal House of Imperial Knights from the proud Knight World of Adrastapol, House Wyvorn is now a mere footnote in Imperial history, the entire House having been declared reductum hereticum extremis by the High Lords of Terra following their betrayal during the Donatos Uprising.
Rusthounds Unknown Chaos Undivided The Rusthounds are a Renegade Knight House in service to the Plague God Nurgle who are former members of House Krast.

See Also

Sources

  • Codex Heretic Astartes - Death Guard (8th Edition), pg. 22
  • Index: Chaos (8th Edition), pg. 108
  • Kingsblade (Novel) by Andy Clark, Ch. 9
  • The Master of Mankind (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Chs. 3, 8, 12, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pp. 53, 158-159, 164-165
  • White Dwarf 190 (UK), "Epic: Slaanesh War Machines," pp. 27-31
  • White Dwarf 182 (UK), " 'Eavy Metal: Forces of the Imperium," pg. 38; "Titan Legions: Knight Households," pp. 39-40
  • White Dwarf 180 (UK), " 'Eavy Metal: Imperial Knights", pg. 26
  • Forge World Chaos Knight

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