- "We are the skyborne, the angels macabre, the death that strikes from above. We cut the life-cords of our foes even before they realise the mortal danger they are in. We are the storm incarnate, and we will not be denied."
- — Captain Hougandez of the Mortifactors
The Mortifactors is a Loyalist, Codex Astartes-compliant Second Founding Successor Chapter of Space Marines founded during the 31st Millennium from Ultramarines gene-seed, making it one of the Ultramarines' Primogenitor Successor Chapters.
The Mortifactors recruit from the austere Feral World of Posul, where the sun never rises on its frigid plains and its population of nomadic tribes are constantly in conflict with one another and practice cannibalism.
The Mortifactors' Neophytes are chosen from the most vicious and skilled warriors on the planet -- who subsequently have a very morbid and dark outlook on life.
A Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines Legion created during the Second Founding, nearly ten thousand Terran years ago, the Mortifactors are descended from the lineage that includes many of the greatest heroes of the Imperium. Ancient tales tell of how Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, had held the Emperor's realm together after its near destruction at the hands of the treacherous Warmaster Horus, and how his tome, the Codex Astartes, had laid the foundations for the reformation of the Legiones Astartes.
Central to that reformation was the decree of the High Lords of Terra that the Space Marine Legions be broken up into smaller fighting units comprised of only 1000 Astartes known as Chapters; never again would any one man be able to wield the fearsome power of an entire Space Marine Legion. Each of the original Legions kept their colours and title, while the newly-formed Successor Chapters took another name and set out to fight the enemies of the Emperor throughout the galaxy.
An Ultramarines Captain named Sasebo Tezuka had been given command of the newly-created Mortifactors Chapter as its first Chapter Master and led it using the Emperor's Tarot for guidance to the dark, frigid world of Posul which had been granted to the Chapter by the Imperium. There Tezuka established the Mortifactors' fortress-monastery in orbit of that dark planet and earned many honours in the name of the Emperor before his death.
On the day of the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension in 998.M41, the entire Chapter initiated a mass meditation ritual. When they returned to awareness, they collectively had prophesised in their meditative visions that the Third War for Armageddon against the Beast would be the "Last Battle" and all men who would be Mortifactors from the tribes of Posul were called up and recruited into the Chapter. The Mortifactors entrusted their fortress-monastery to their Chapter Serfs and other servants and the entire Chapter (all 10 companies) set off for Armageddon.
Upon the return of the Mortifactors from Armageddon, the Chapter set about replacing the losses incurred defending that Ork-infested Hive World. The next campaign undertaken by the Mortifactors was assisting the Ultramarines in defending the world of Tarsis Ultra against a splinter of the Tyranids' Hive Fleet Leviathan and then sending a contingent to aid the resurrected Roboute Guilliman during the Terran Crusade of 999.M41.
- 9th Black Crusade (537.M38) - The 9th Black Crusade was a Black Crusade led by the infamous Chaos Champion Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion, launched out of the Eye of Terror in 537.M38. When the Mortifactors and Lamenters Chapters responded to the desperate plight of the Hive World of Corellia, the superstitious-bound Mortifactors refused to fight alongside this darkly fated Chapter, leaving the Lamenters to defend the Hive World's population against the onslaught of the Black Legion Chaos Space Marines for six standard weeks, until the White Scars and the Ultramarines Chapters were able to break through the Chaos warfleet to relieve Corillia.
- Achillus Crusade (777.M41-Unknown Date.M41) - The Mortifactors Chapter has served in the Jericho Reach on three separate deployments amongst the ash-choked forests of Ravacene in the Greyhell Front of the Achillus Crusade. There, the Mortifactors took to smearing themselves in the volcanic ash that coats every surface, the better to stalk the haunted glades undetected. It is said that when the Mortifactors discovered the Kroot's propensity for consuming the flesh of the fallen, they were enraged, viewing the aliens' grisly practices as an insult to their own rites. Several Mortifactors have become adept in the ways of the Kroot and served in the Deathwatch, where their skills and knowledge can be put to the most effective use. Several of these Battle-Brothers have retained the habit of smearing themselves in volcanic ash taken from Ravacene, though they ordinarily limit this to just their faces, granting them a pale, ghostly aspect.
- Chapter Dispute (819.M41) - A perceived slight caused the Mortifactors and Crimson Fists to come to blows. Only a personal intercession by Marneus Calgar ended the dispute before it escalated to open war. The matter was kept from the attention of the Adeptus Terra.
- Battle of Rhorsch (Unknown Date.M41) - The world of Rhorsch was infested first by Blood Cults -- the Chaos Cults of Khorne -- and then by Khornate daemons themselves. The Mortifactors joined with the forces of the Raven Guard to destroy the daemons and eliminate the taint of Chaos from the planet.
- The Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - The entire Mortifactors Chapter, all 10 companies, participated in the Third War for Armageddon.
- The Tarsis Ultra Conflict (999.M41) - When the Tyranids from a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Leviathan threatened the world of Tarsis Ultra, a planet under the sworn protection of the Ultramarines, the Mortifactors sent a company under Chaplain Astador to assist in its defence with their Strike Cruiser, the Mortis Probati, as they fought with the Ultramarines 4th Company and the Inquisition's elite Deathwatch Space Marines against the Tyranids' invasion of the world of Tarsis Ultra. This was the result of a renewal of the brotherhood between Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines' 4th Company and the Chapter Master of the Mortifactors, Lord Magyar. During the conflict, the Mortifactors showed themselves to be worthy Space Marines, albeit highly reckless for Astartes at times.
- Terran Crusade (ca. 999.M41) - The Mortifactors were one of the Ultramarines Successor Chapters who contributed forces to the resurrected Primarch Roboute Guilliman's Terran Crusade to return to Terra from Macragge so that he might meet with his father the Emperor for the first time in 10,000 standard years.
- Plague Wars (ca. 111.M42) - The Mortifactors contributed 3 companies to the "Spear of Espandor" campaign of the Plague Wars that resulted in the Loyalist forces retaking the Espandor System and cutting off the supply lines of the Nurglite invasion.
The bleak Feral World of Posul is perpetually shrouded in darkness as a result of the distance it lies from its solar system's star and is thus also classified as a Night World. Its surface is craggy, frigid and mountainous. The Mortifactors are feral warriors shaped by the harsh environment of their savage world. The barbaric warrior tribes of Posul who form the primary recruitment stock for the Mortifactors know neither sunlight nor joy. These things do not exist on Posul, whose people endure a brutal life of darkness and constant intertribal bloodshed marked by cannibalistic rituals. Often times a Posulan youth will have taken hundreds of skulls before being chosen to become a Space Marine Neophyte and earning the opportunity to slay the enemies of the Emperor, who is worshipped as the great spirit of the universe known as the Ultimate Warrior by the Posulan tribes.
The Basilica Mortis is a massive Imperial space station in orbit of Posul and serves as the fortress-monastery of the Mortifactors. The halls of the Mortifactors' massive orbiting fortress-monastery, are lined with the skulls and bodies of their dead, and its chapel with the skulls of the Chapter's enemies. The ancestral home of the Mortifactors Chapter rotates slowly in the wan light of Posul and its distant sun. For nearly 10,000 Terran years, since the Chapter's first leader, Sasebo Tezuka, led their Chapter to claim dark Posul as the Chapter homeworld through the guidance of the Emperor's Tarot, the Mortifactors have stood sentinel over the night world of Posul.
These grim knights of the Imperium have trained members of their warrior order within the walls of their orbiting fortress-monastery since that time. In appearance, it resembles some vast mountain range cast adrift in the void of space. The Adeptus Mechanicus' finest Tech-priests and Adepts had come together to create this orbiting bastion of Imperial power: the Basilica Mortis was a marvel of arcane technical engineering that has long since been forgotten in the Imperium. When it is fully occupied, the Basilica Mortis is home to the 1,000 Battle-Brothers of the Chapter and all their officers, with a supporting staff of Chapter Servitors and Chapter Serfs, including scribes, technomats and functionaries that number a further 7,500 souls.
Vast orbital spacedocks jut from the prow of this adamantium mountain, spearing into space with slender silver docking rings rising from the jib. At any given time, heavily-armed Mortifactors Strike Cruisers are berthed in the docks, with smaller, Gladius-class Frigates and Hunter-class Destroyers either returning or departing on patrol throughout the Mortifactors' domain. The Chapter's Battle Barges, devastating warships of phenomenal power, are housed in armoured bays deep in the bowels of the fortress-monastery, terrible weapons of planetary destruction secured within their silent hulls.
Within the Mortifactors' fortress-monastery, the gently arched walls are smooth and sparsely ornamented. Here and there along their length, tiny niches are lit by delicate, diffuse lights, which hold stasis-sealed vessels containing some of the Chapter's holiest relics. The halls of the Basilica Mortis are always gloomy and silent as a tomb. Every portal or chamber a visitor passes is adorned with more skulls and only upon closer inspection does one realise that none of them are carved or fashioned by human hand. All are real, bleached human skulls made dusty with age.
Though visitors will see no inhabitants of the fortress-monastery during their tour, the silence is broken by occasional snatches of hymnal dirges and somber chants of remembrance that come from the Astartes' monastic cells. From the main docking tunnel, seated statues run along its length though these forms are not actually statues carved from the living stone of the Basilica, but preserved human corpses.
But these are no ordinary corpses. Like the skulls, these seated figures are the preserved bodies of fallen Battle-Brothers who died in glorious combat, and now reside at the feast table of the Ultimate Warrior. The monastery's main chapel is similarly filled, but with the skulls of the Chapter's many foes claimed in the aftermath of victory upon a thousand battlefields.
The recruitment of Neophytes for the Mortifactors is done by the Chapter's Chaplains, many of whom were once the shamans or even chieftains of Posul's cannibalistic tribes. Those who fail the trials are disposed of by the Mortifactors. Each Neophyte must kill his first prey and claim its skull for himself in order to earn a name in the Chapter. Those Neophytes who have yet to kill their first enemy are called "Faceless."
Chapter Combat Doctrine
Despite being the inheritors of Roboute Guilliman's gene-legacy, the Mortifactors are unusual for a Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines, because they feel that they have grown beyond the need to adhere rigidly to the dictates of the Codex Astartes, and they forge their own path in life and war using the wisdom of their Chaplains. Despite the fact that it was their Primarch that penned the words of this holiest of tomes, the Mortifactors feel that to be bound by words set down an age ago is to risk failure to adapt to changing circumstances that could prove fatal to the Chapter and the broader Imperium.
Yet the Mortifactors still venerate their Primarch, just as the Ultramarines do. After all, he is their Chapter's gene-father and all the Mortifcators' oaths of allegiance are sworn to him and to the Emperor. Yet, the Mortifactors certainly do not scorn the words of Guilliman. In fact, they look upon the Codex Astartes as the foundation for their way of life, but to follow its teachings literally without consideration for what they have learned and what they observe around them is not in their view wisdom, but blind orthodoxy.
The Mortifactors believe that a rigid adherence to any dogma is the sign of a weak mind and it is this very weakness that is causing so much of the stagnation and difficulties apparent in the wider Imperium.
Posul is populated by savage, cannibalistic feral tribes, who engage in ceaseless wars against one another. Their world is dark, the sun never penetrating its inky atmosphere, and the air choked with the stink of blood and smoke. The wars of Posul have resulted in a population supremely suited to become Space Marines, yet even after the Neophytes' induction and indoctrination into the ways of the Adeptus Astartes and traditions of the Ultramarines' Primarch, a great amount of the feral tribes' culture remains.
While the Mortifactors are as devoted as any other Primogenitor Chapter, these traditions have mingled with those of the natives of Posul, resulting in something quite unique, and at times quite disturbing. The morbid funerary rites in which the Chapter engages are led by its Chaplains, who are recruited from amongst the priest class of Posul, and many of the details of the Chapter's cult are drawn from their culture.
Amongst the many rites practised by the Mortifactors is the tradition of seeking, on the eve of battle, a trance-like state akin to death. The Mortifactors believe that in so doing they will commune with the Primarch and their ancestors, who will lend them great strength when battle commences.
After the battle, the Mortifactors engage in a range of practices, often involving the drinking of the blood and the eating of the flesh of the enemy, and culminating in the severing of his head and the flensing of his skull. To outsiders, the Mortifactors appear to be verging on the heretical, yet they stand proudly alongside their brother Primogenitors and are counted amongst the most stalwart of the Imperium's defenders.
The Chapter's Chaplains teach their fellow Astartes that death will unite them with the Emperor of Mankind in the form of a being known as the Ultimate Warrior and they regularly enter a state of near-death meditation prior to battles in order to determine what course the Ultimate Warrior desires for the Chapter to take in the coming conflict. When Mortifactors do die, they believe they are taken to the Halls of the Victors and sit at the feast table of the Ultimate Warrior (a divine being possessed of the most perfect martial skills in existence who has been equated with the Emperor in Posulan religion), in the afterlife.
The existence of indigenous and often unique cult belief systems, martial philosophies and variations on the Imperial Cult within the Adeptus Astartes and on their Chapter homeworlds is not uncommon in the Imperium. However, the Mortifactors' obsessive veneration and fascination with death is of a more extreme variety and has at times brought some unwelcome Inquisitorial scrutiny. Yet the Mortifactors deeply honour those who fall in the Emperor's service and revere the many martyrs of the Imperium and the dead of their Chapter for millennia after their fall, which generally goes far in patching up any suspicions of heresy among the Astartes of the Chapter by the Inquisition and the Ecclesiarchy.
- Chapter Master Sasebo Tezuka (Deceased) - First Chapter Master of the Mortifactors Chapter and former Captain of the Ultramarines Legion.
- Chapter Master Magyar (Deceased) - Magyar was the venerable, former Chapter Master of the Mortifactors Chapter. His exact age is unknown, though most would guess his age to be at least 700 Terran years. Physically, Magyar cut an impressive figure; his eyes were dark pinholes which seemed to swallow all ambient light. His long, silver hair was tied in numerous crystal-wrapped braids reaching to the small of his back and his coal-dark skin resembled a lunar landscape, cratered and ridged with innumerable wrinkles. A long, forked white beard fell to his waist, waxed into sharp points. He was clad in Artificer Power Armour made of bleached bone; the breastplate was formed from long ribs, bent and fashioned into the proper shape, the Imperial Aquila at its center as skeletal as the winged familiar that sat atop his throne and watched the proceedings below. Every piece of this great warrior's armour, from the greaves to the vambraces, cuissart and gorget was formed from bone. He carried a gigantic Power Scythe into battle, its blade silvered and sharp, the haft gleaming ebony. Magyar faced his demise when an Eldar Swordwind of the Biel-Tan Craftworld had opened a Webway gate inside the Chapter's fortress-monastery, the Basilica Mortis. Magyar was beheaded by an Eldar Exarch that led the Swordwind against the Mortifacators.
- Captain Artemis - Brother Artemis was seconded by the Chapter to the elite xenos-hunters of the Deathwatch, the Chamber Militant of the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos. Artemis possesses the uncanny ability to sense and recognise alien incursions and influence on Imperial individuals and locations. He was originally a Battle-Brother of the Mortifactors Chapter but was brought into the Deathwatch to put his unusual abilities to use. Artemis commanded several Deathwatch Kill-teams against the K'nib in the Donorian Sector. This was done at the request of the Imperial Guard's Kaslon Regiment. Artemis personally slew the K'nib Alcayde and ended their attack upon Imperial space, even though the credit was given to the Kaslon Regiment. In battle, Artemis wields a Space Marine Bolter, a Power Sword, an assortment of grenades, and his Power Armour which has been marked with the Deathwatch's iconography and colours.
- Chaplain Astador - Astador is a Chaplain of the Mortifactors Chapter.
- Chaplain Gavador - Chaplain Gavador and his company were present on Armageddon during the Third War for Armageddon. He and his company led an assault on an unknown Hive City, supported by the Titans of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Armageddon Steel Legion. Gavador would confront a powerful Ork, and would survive to tell the tale without remembering the outcome of the duel. Gavador would eventually find himself in the apothecarion aboard the Chapter's ship, the Basilica Mortis, where he would be examined by Apothecary Hekimar.
- Chief Librarian Zdeno - Zdeno is the Chief Librarian of the Mortifactors Chapter. He alone endured the psychic onslaught that has taken all other Librarians during the Eldar attack in their fortress-monastery.
- Librarian Ionuth (Deceased) - Iounth was a Librarian of the Mortifactors Chapter. He died during the Eldar attack in their fortress-monastery. A soul-curdling scream tore from Ionuth's throat as his body ruptured in flesh-mutation. Iounth's flesh burst with spines that dissolved into rolls of glistening fat before hardening into stone. Iounth's scream was the one constant in the maelstrom of change, before his flesh shook itself apart into pale, shivering globs.
- Librarian Olthis (Deceased) - Olthis was a Librarian of the Mortifactors Chapter. He died during the Eldar attack in their fortress-monastery. Olthis, like most of the Librarians of the Mortificators during the attack by the Eldar, could not withstand the psychic onslaught and chose instead to bash his head against the stone of the fortress-monastery. As a result, he broke his skull into fragments.
- Librarian Uxbal (Deceased) - Uxbal was a Librarian of the Mortifactors Chapter. He died during the Eldar attack in their fortress-monastery. Uxbal was overcome by some phantom affliction, which led him to burst in aetheric flames and being burned alive.
- Standard Bearer Althanax (Deceased) - Althanax was a Standard Bearer of the Mortifactors' 1st Company. He had carried the banner through every crusade of the Mortifactors' 1st Company for the last two centuries. The skulls of every race and wicked bastion of Mankind's enemies clattered from his plate on dense black chains. He was killed by an Eldar Exarch of the Biel-Tan Craftworld during the Swordwind's ambush on the Mortifactor's Fortress-Monastery, the Basilica Mortis.
- Togin (Deceased) - Togin was a Mortifactor without peer, having served for a century in Magyar's Honour Guard. In Posul's last nights, Togin slaughtered over a thousand of the Leviathan swarm, allowing the surviving companies to withdraw. Togin fell by the hand of the Eldar Exarch who also took his master's life while trying to protect him.
The Mortifactors' Chapter fleet consists of several Strike Cruisers and smaller Gladius-class Frigates and Hunter-class Destroyers for patrols throughout the Mortifactors' domain. The Chapter also possesses more than one Battle Barge. The fortress-monastery is also the docking station for the Chapter fleet. The fleet is known to possess the following vessels:
- Mortis Probati (Strike Cruiser)
- Endless Night (Frigate)
- Primarch's Edge - Primarch's Edge is a venerable master-crafted Astartes Combat Knife. This venerable weapon has seen millennia of service, and legend has it that it was first drawn by the Primarch Roboute Guilliman. It is unknown how the Mortifactors first came into the keeping of this relic, but their most cunning armourers have bent all their skill into preserving it unblemished through the long years since they received it. Eventually, the Chapter came into conflict with more traditional Chapters descended from Guilliman over the keeping of their Primarch's relic in shrines deviating from the Codex. The Ultramarines eventually interceded to quell the strife among their Successors, and the Lord of Macragge demanded an end to the controversy. To avoid either surrendering the relic or denying their Battle-Brothers' concerns, the Primarch's Edge was granted to the Deathwatch's Watch Fortress Erioch in the Jericho Reach for safekeeping on behalf of the Chapter.
The Mortifactors' Power Armour is bone white and black. The upper helm, upper legs (but not the groin), elbow plates, feet and gauntlets are black. The remainder of the armour, including the helm's faceplate and top of the backpack, is bone white. The Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard, as well as the main body of the backpack, are primarily silver. The bone squad specialty symbol on the right shoulder guard designate operational specialty -- Tactical, Devastator, Assault or Veteran. A black Roman numeral is stenciled in the centre of it, indicating squad number. The colour of the shoulder plate trim indicates company number in accordance with the dictates of the Codex Astartes -- i.e. White (1st Company), Yellow (2nd Company), Red (3rd Company), Green (4th Company), etc.
The Mortifactors' Chapter badge is a bone white human skull centred upon a field of black.
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pg. 18
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 116
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 49
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), pg. 28
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pg. 130
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 57-58
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 106
- Inquisitor (Specialty Game), pg. 103
- Warriors of Ultramar (Novel) By Graham McNeill
- Angels of Death: The Third War (Short Story) by Ray Harrison
- Deathwatch: Swordwind (Short Story) by Ian St. Martin
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: Mortifactors
- Dark Imperium (Novel) by Guy Haley
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pg. 159
- Armageddon Website (Saved archive page, dated Aug 2006)
- Watchers of the Throne - The Emperor's Legion (Novel) by Chris Wraight, Ch. 13
- Taker of Heads (Audio Book) by Ian St. Martin