The Hierodule is a type of Tyranid Bio-Titan, but stands smaller than its more massive cousin the Hierophant. This class of bioform is brought into action only against the most determined defences. Hierodules are immense creatures, towering over the battlefield and bristling with spines, claws, tendrils and apocalyptic bio-weapons. Though classified as Bio-Titans by the starfaring races of the galaxy, these monsters bear little resemblance to the noble war engines of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the graceful Wraithbone constructs of the Eldar, or even the idol-like Gargants of the Orks, except in terms of size and lethality. The two most common variants of Hierodule encountered thus far are the Scythed and Barbed Hierodule bioforms.
The Scythed Hierodule (Sica hierodule domitor) was first recorded during the invasion of Hamman's World, a small Imperial colony close to one of the tendrils of Hive Fleet Kraken. Hamman's World was attacked soon after the Kraken's defeat on Ichar IV, as the Hive Fleet began to splinter. Nothing like the Hierodule had ever been reported before. It is armed with four huge razor-sharp claws, each capable of slicing clean through a battle tank, and heavily protected by chitin plates, in places up to 30 centimetres thick. A Hierodule is far larger than a Carnifex, a monstrous-killing machine even by Tyranid standards. The garrison of Hamman's World put up a brave defence. During the bloody battles for the colony, the Scythed Hierodule played a major role in the vanguard of Tyranid attacks, leading swarms of lesser Gaunts into battle, particularly against the strong points and prepared ferrocrete defences occupied by the world's Planetary Defence Forces.
After the battles and subsequent evacuation of Hamman's World, a detailed study of the campaign was carried out by newly arrived Xenos-Biologist teams. Although their findings were kept secret, they did not believe that the Hierodule creature acted as a focus for Hive Mind activity, or that it is a synapse creature -- all the attacks were still accompanied by the usual Tyranid Warriors and Hive Tyrants who seemed to control the actions of the lesser Tyranid creatures. As well as its claws, the Scythed Hierodule also bears a symbiote creature, which appears to live on the Hierodule's back, growing out between the armour plates. This toxic creature helps defend its host from attack, squirting a jet of potent mutagenic acid against any enemy that gets too close. No samples of a Scythed Hierodule have been recovered for research. Those creatures that have been killed have all been destroyed by large Imperial weapons, leaving few remains for Adeptus Mechanicus laboratory investigation.
As yet, the Scythed Hierodule has only been reported active within a single tendril of Hive Fleet Kraken, and even then only encountered on a handful of worlds, but slowly its presence on the battlefield is growing. The advance of Hive Fleet Leviathan has seen Hierodules leading assaults. Capture of a live sample has become a high priority for Xeno-biologists if an effective countermeasure to this threat is to be found quickly. To date none of the Xenos-Hunter teams that have been sent to capture a Scythed Hierodule have ever returned.
Following the loss of Hamman's World to the swarms of Hive Fleet Kraken, the Imperial forces were evacuated and moved to the neighbouring Moran System. Reinforcements, originally intended for Hamman's World, were redirected to the main planets of the Moran System. A strong defence was rapidly established in anticipation of a new Tyranid invasion. Moran did not have long to wait before the onslaught began. Hive Ships moved in-system and soon the clouds darkened and the skies were filled with the tell-tale fire-trails of Mycetic Spores. The veteran Imperial Guardsmen who formed the backbone of the new defenders thought they had seen everything the Tyranids could throw at them on Hamman's World, but it soon became evident that, as the defenders had been busy, the Hive Mind had not been idle. Now a new threat emerged, the Scythed Hierodule had evolved into a new, deadlier species.
Several Scythed Hierodules had been killed during the final days of battle on Hamman's World as the Imperial defenders learned to bring their heaviest ordnance to bear at maximum range. The Hive Mind had recognised its weakness, and with dazzling speed had responded with a newly evolved response. The Barbed Hierodule (Uncus hierodule domitor), as the troops on Moran soon came to know it, had replaced two of its four huge scythe-like claws with massive Bio-cannons. The acidic symbiote creature was gone, and the Hierodule's frontal chitinous armour plates had grown and thickened for extra protection. Given the creature's new battlefield role, it all made a chillingly logical sense to the soldiers on the ground. Was the alien Hive Mind learning and adapting faster than anybody thought possible?
Like the Scythed Hierodule, the Barbed Hierodule has spread throughout the Hive Fleets. During the hellish fighting on the world of Dantris, 26 Hierodules were recorded as destroyed. On Beta Anphelion IV, Inquisitor Lok's forces encountered at least four Hierodules of both types. Inquisitor Lok himself was responsible for killing one, and another was destroyed by concentrated heavy weapons fire from Cadian troops defending Laboratory Complex Theta, before they were eventually overrun by a swarm of Tyranid creatures led by a second Hierodule. Where these creatures came from, and how it came to pass that a few rogue samples should be able to spawn the largest of Tyranid assault creatures, is not known. Given the time span involved, it seems that Tyranid genetic material is capable of rapidly reproducing itself. Even a small Tyranid raid might be able to develop into a far larger invasion in a relatively short time.
Ordo Xenos Departmento Analyticus DataEdit
|Designation||Scythed Hierodule||Main Weaponry||4 Scything Claws|
|Common Title||Scythed Slaughterer|
|Species Name||Sica hierodule domitor||Secondary Weaponry||Acid Spray|
|Average Height||4.9 metres|
|Average Weight||14 tonnes||Tertiary Weaponry||Multiple Claws and Fangs|
|First Encountered||Hamman's World|
|Role||Heavy Assault||Known Genus Mutations||None Known|
|Designation||Barbed Hierodule||Main Weaponry||2 Bio-Cannons|
|Common Title||Barbed Slaughterer|
|Species Name||Uncus hierodule domitor||Secondary Weaponry||Scything Claws|
|Average Height||4.9 metres|
|Average Weight||17 tonnes||Tertiary Weaponry||Multiple Claws and Fangs|
|First Encountered||Moran Prime|
|Role||Heavy Assault / Support||Known Genus Mutations||Genus mutation of the Scythed Hierodule to include new bio-weapon symbiotes.|
- Codex: Tyranids (6th Edition), pg. 154
- Deathwatch: The Jericho Reach (RPG), pg. 202
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pp. 82-85
- Imperial Armour Update 1, pp. 38-39
- White Dwarf 189 (UK), "The Great Devourer - Warhammer 40,000 Battle Report: Tyranids vs. Imperial Guard and Eldar"