The Legio Venator (Iron Spiders) is a Loyalist Titan Legion of the Collegia Titanica, one of the military arms of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Legio Venator is said to maintain a hidden fortress on the dead moon of Lycosidae, located at the heart of the Lathe System in the Calixis Sector. The Legio Venator is in the service of the Lathe Worlds' branch of the Mechanicus, and is always ready to aid the Tech-priests of those three worlds when circumstances demand.
Within the Drusus Marches lies the forbidding Forge World of Opus Macharius. Named in honour of Lord Solar Macharius, this planet became part of the Lathes near the end of the Angevin Crusade, and is the home of the revered Legio Venator. From here, as well as their permanent posting within the Lathes on Lycosidae, the Titan Legion stands vigil against any who threaten Imperial sovereignty in the region, and plays a critical role in maintaining order and stability throughout the Calixis Sector.
Legio Venator was a relatively young legion when it accompanied Imperial forces at the commencement of the Angevin Crusade. The Legio was glorious to behold, its immaculate red and polished brass carapaces flashing with each burst of fire, as they relentlessly delivered utter annihilation to all who refused Imperial rule. Winning much glory and honour during the opening phases of the campaign, the legion gained a fearsome reputation for completely decimating their opponents.
During the Bleak Years, the legion fought with particular distinction against a massive Ork Waaagh! that fell upon the crusaders with barbaric fury. A critical victory in the struggle came with the destruction of a massive Mega-Gargant, identified in the Ork’s bestial tongue as Spine Smasha. Following a coordinated orbital lance strike, Princeps Senioris Angevelo Vsevolod of the Warlord Titan Valorus Ira, with support from a Warhound Pack Centurion, engaged the damaged greenskin engine. The battle was close and ferocious, and it was only after Warhound Celerus Moria sacrificed itself through drawing the Mega-Gargant’s fire that the Valorus Ira was able to target the enemy’s internal core with its volcano cannon. The resulting meltdown decimated the Ork hordes, and the sight of their idol’s destruction robbed them of their will to fight.
After pushing into areas thought secure, the foul Yu'Vath brought their insane Warp-science and techno-sorcery to bear on the beleaguered crusaders. The Legio Venator encountered a particularly massive and atrocious Yu'Vath Warp construct leading the opening attack of one such offensive. Dripping with ethereal energy, the monstrous creation propelled itself forward on five twisted legs, and wielded inexplicable weapons that drew on the power of the Warp itself in three misshapen arms. Four Titans fell to the abomination before the Desidius Rae, heavily damaged and venting plasma from its ruptured core, challenged the beast in close combat. The embattled Princeps diverted all available power to his Titan’s power fist, which caused his first strike to overload the already weakened core containment field. The Titan’s ensuing fiery death ensured the complete and utter destruction of its Warp-spawned foe.
Following the arrival of Arch-Magos Mat Aleph Xenon and the conclusion of the Angevin Crusade, Legio Venator attained the right to requisition one of the newly created Lathe Worlds as its own. However, before the process of selecting a world could begin, Legio Venator joined other Titan Legions in the glorious and historic Macharian Crusade. The remaining Legio forces within the newly formed Calixis Sector instead set to work establishing fortresses within the Lathes themselves, including one on Lycosidae. Upon the completion of the Macharian Conquests, the Titan battle groups returned with fresh tales of heroism as well as regret at the loss of Macharius himself. In recognition of his glory and the legion’s participation in the great crusade, the Lathe Covenant designated a forge world within the Drusus Marches “Opus Macharius,” and ceded it to the Titan Legion as its new home world.
Over a thousand years later, the Legio Venator was one of the forces to heed the call to arms against the self-proclaimed Emperor of Brass. The Titan Engines were invaluable in breaking the rebellions bordering the Gelmiro Cluster, ruthlessly cleansing any worlds that rebelled against their Imperial masters. During the final assault on the remaining hive clusters within the system, the Legio Venator came face to face with a new and terrible enemy: Chaos Engines. What followed was a four day conflict in which Engines on both sides relentlessly stalked their foes through ruined spires and destroyed hab blocks. Several of Legio Venator’s damaged Titans even volunteered to act as bait to lure the Chaos Titans into ambushes, occasionally sacrificing themselves to destroy their targets. The eventual arrival of two Imperator Titans signalled the end of the fighting, as the remaining Chaos forces were unable to stand up to the might of these awe-inspiring machines. Entire swathes of ruined cityscape vanished beneath the power of their mighty armaments, as the Chaos Engines that did not escape offworld fell to the overwhelming onslaught. The battle groups then turned their efforts towards supporting the remaining loyalist forces, and the entire cluster was eventually left a smoking ruin, though the cost in lives had been high. However, the escaped Chaos forces would return to face the Legio again, under the banner of the Forsaken Reavers Chaos Warband.
When the Meritech Wars erupted across Imperial space almost five hundred years later, the Legio Venator dispatched forces to help quell the massive uprising. These included the Ignis Inferorum, an ancient Imperator Titan dating back to the Dark Age of Technology, which strode the battlefield like an avatar of wrath, its twin Plasma Annihilators belching fiery retribution. The defenders found themselves hopelessly outmatched and, in the end, not a single living creature survived. Following the conclusion of the Meritech Wars, the Legio Venator focused on rebuilding and strengthening its holdings, occasionally dispatching battle groups to honour treaties and obligations from the distant past. The Legion currently has forces operating in both the costly Margin Crusade and the on-going Achillus Crusade. Here they have encountered the deadly bio-titans of the Tyranid Hive Fleets, and many valuable Engines have fallen to these ferocious monstrosities. As a result, Princips Majoris Maxilohv has decreed that no additional battle groups are to leave the Sector, except to fulfil the Legio’s current treaties, until the destroyed Titans are replaced. Such an undertaking is expected to require centuries.
- Angevin Crusade (322-384.M39) - The Legio Venator is known to have supported the Angevin Crusade which resulted in the creation of the Calixis Sector and the grant of the Lathe System along with several other worlds as the perpetual domains of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- The War of Brass (738-741.M40) - Led by the charismatic leader known as the "Emperor of Brass", the population of the Hive Worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster began worshipping the Ruinous Powers and fell into sedition. Controlling the heavily militarised planets of the cluster, the Renegades were able to quickly sponsor and arm rebel groups on nearby worlds. When the Imperial counter-attack came, it quickly revealed the hand of dark forces from the Eye of Terror at work in stirring up the rebellion. The so-called "War of Brass" that followed was brief and bloody, drawing forces from across the sector, involving the Adeptus Astartes and the Titans of the Legio Venator. The war turned the once thriving worlds of Gelmiro into blasted, rubble-strewn charnel houses. Classified by the Administratum as War Worlds and haunted by murderous mutants and Renegades ever since, the Gelmiro System is a shunned no-man’s land to this day.
- Lycanthos Drift Campaign (780.M41) - In the aftermath of the long-running and infamous Fourth Quadrant Rebellion, the Astral Claws Chapter answered a general call to arms among the Astartes of the region and despatched a powerful force under the direct personal command of Lufgt Huron in 780.M41, undertaking the Lycanthos Drift Campaign against one of the last major stronghold systems of the revolt located to the galactic south of the Maelstrom Zone. Lufgt Huron was elected battle leader of a number of Astartes contingents by common consent, comprising companies from the Astral Claws, Fire Hawks, White Scars and Celestial Guard Chapters, backed by Death Korps of Krieg and Cal-Sec Imperial Guard regiments and the Titans of Legio Venator. The Fire Hawks' Chapter Master Stibor Lazaerek was bitter that he was not given command of the campaign, and is known to have born a grudge against the Astral Claws from this time forward. Under Huron's inspired command the taskforce ruthlessly purged the heavily fortified system of Traitor and Chaos forces in under a year. This conflict confirmed Lufgt Huron's reputation as a masterful strategist amongst Space Marine commanders.
- Lupus Tempestus - Lupus Tempestus is a renowned machine, a veteran Titan of the Legio Venator. In the Achilus Crusade it cut its teeth fighting Tau in the Canis Salient. Lupus and its Princeps, Terrach Vex, used their mobility to full effect and employed the Tau’s Hunter Cadres’ own tactics of lightning strikes and hit and run attacks against them. More than one Tau thrust headed from the front found itself engaged from an unexpected quarter and robbed of momentum by Lupus Tempestus, before being destroyed by a concerted Imperial counterattack. Although the Tau do not use Titan-like vehicles as a rule, Vex has brought down two of their super-heavy warship flyers, the Mantas.
- Princeps Senioris Lenodius von Maxilohv - Princeps Senioris Lenodius von Maxilohv is the Princips Majoris of Legio Venator and is over 250 standard years old. His body is permanently confined to his command throne, an ornate brass device that contains the necessary life-support systems and tox-scrubbers to keep him alive and allow him to interface with his Titan’s machine spirit. He retains only his head, right arm, and half of his torso, following a stand-off with Titans of the Forsaken Reavers Chaos Warband. During a clash against these foul raiders, Maxilohv intercepted orbital surveillance that five of the Fallen Engines were attempting to flank the Imperial assault through a canyon south of the battle. As the rest of his command could not abandon this critical phase of the attack, Maxilohv disengaged his Engine Imperialis Potestus from the battle and challenged the enemy Titans alone. The canyon’s rock walls reportedly echoed with the twisted scrapcode of the lead Chaos Warlord Titan when the lone Imperial Engine encountered them, while the meaning of Maxilohv’s brief reply burst is lost to history. While the servants of Chaos could not all bring their weapons to bear on him at once, neither could they miss. Maxilohv’s Titan sustained massive damage from the withering enemy fire, including a direct hit to his command bridge. Maintaining control of his Titan through sheer force of will, Maxilohv continued to engage the enemy despite his terrible injuries. Upon seeing the final Chaos Titan fall, Maxilohv finally lost consciousness, and his Titan ground to a halt. Following the battle, he was placed within the command throne he currently occupies. After repairing his Titan, tech-rites added the new honour to its glorious annals.
The Legio Venator's colours are not listed in current Imperial records.
The Legio Venator's badge is not listed in current Imperial records.
The Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (2nd Edition) states that the homeworld of Legio Venator is the Forge World M'khand of the Segmentum Pacificus, while the Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG) states that Forge World Opus Macharia of the Segmentum Obscurus is the homeworld of the Iron Spiders.
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 57, 59
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pg. 10
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pg. 133
- Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG), pp. 109-111
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 186
- Dark Heresy Timeline by Alan Bligh, pp. 2, 5