13th ("Dark") Founding (Late 35th/Early 36th Millennium)
Unknown (Possibly the Raven Guard)
Unknown (Possibly Corax)
Black, White, Bone
The Death Spectres are a Loyalist Chapter of Space Marines of unknown origin of the 13th ("Dark") Founding, only the second known Chapter of Astartes, besides the Exorcists, to have been created in that unusual Founding. They are possibly a Successor Chapter of the Raven Guard as they share the same mutations as found in that Chapter's gene-seed. Like the Raven Guard, the Battle-Brothers of this Chapter possess a minor mutation that causes the Melanchromic Organ (which controls the amount of melanin in an Astartes' skin tone) to not function properly, leading to the development of albinism in Death Spectres Astartes. Differing Melanchrome gene-seed from Chapter to Chapter leads to variations in skin and hair colour, and in some Chapters all of the Space Marines may have identical colouration, such as is found in the albino warriors of the Death Spectres Chapter.
Stationed beyond the frontiers of the Imperium, the Death Spectres maintain a constant vigil to ensure that the supernatural inhabitants of the Ghoul Stars never again threaten the galaxy. The Death Spectres' homeworld is the planet Occludus. During the 13th Black Crusade, the Death Spectres infiltrated the world of Lelithar to assist the Imperial Guard Regiments seeking to retake that world from the Forces of Chaos with stealth raids and hidden strikes.
- Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) - The Macharian Crusade was a monumental, seven-year-long Imperial Crusade fought between 392.M41 and 399.M41, led by Lord Commander Solar Macharius, the Imperium's greatest Imperial Guard commander of all time and a recognised tactical and strategic genius on a par with the Primarchs themselves. This Crusade took place on the far western edge of the galaxy within the Segmentum Pacificus, reaching as far as the border of the galaxy with intergalactic space and even reaching into the unknown regions of the Halo Zone. The furthest extent of this Crusade reached just beyond the edge of the Segementum Pacificus, where not even the blessed light of the Astronomican could penetrate the dark void. Most Imperial savants agree that Macharius was the most successful and brilliant Imperial Warmaster since the Arch-Traitor Horus. Nearly a thousand worlds were brought back into the Imperial fold in only seven standard years of fighting, yet upon his death the newly-won territories erupted into the civil war known as the Macharian Heresy as Macharius' various generals vied for control, fighting over the spoils as degenerate warlords.
- Hive Fleet Jormungandr (995.M41) - The tendrils of Hive Fleet Jormungandr begin to brush against the northeastern boundaries of the Imperium. The Death Spectres and Honoured Sons Chapters lead the Imperial counterattack against this arm of the Great Devourer.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - The Death Spectres participated in the Siege of Lelithar and the defence of the Cadian Sector against the 13th Black Crusade. The Death Spectres fielded 6 companies against the Forces of Chaos in this campaign.
Notable Death Spectres
- Lyandro Karras - Lyandro Karras is a Death Spectres Librarian Codicier currently seconded to the Ordo Xenos' Deathwatch. Karras, known as "Scholar" to his Kill-team, leads an elite squad of specialists. It was this squad that slew the Ork Warboss Balthazog Bluddwrekk.
- Torch of the Vigil - The Torch of the Vigil is a master-crafted Astartes Heavy Flamer. Late in the 36th Millennium, a Deathwatch Kill-team was allied with a squad of Space Marines belonging to the Death Spectres Chapter in an action against a vile xenos species deep in what would one day become the Orpheus Salient of the Jericho Reach. Together, the two squads were able to eradicate the alien threat, but not before the sergeant of the Death Specters, a honoured Veteran of the Chapter, was eviscerated by the vicious beasts. It was only by the actions of the members of the Kill-team that the sergeant’s gene-seed was preserved and harvested and his ancient wargear recovered. As a reward for their aid, the Death Spectres presented the stewards of Watch Fortress Erioch with this mighty relic.
The Death Spectres' Chapter badge is a large bone-white skull with a pair of crossed, ebon-cloured scythes directly behind it, centred on a field of white.
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 26, 49
- Deathwatch - Honour the Chapter (RPG), p. 135
- Hammer and Bolter #2, "Exhumed" (Short Story), p. 30
- Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Headhunted" by Steve Parker, pp. 251-304
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition)