- "Through the application and harnessing of the Immaterium, the very force of creation itself, we can remake ourselves. Flesh and bone are weak, yet through technology and the pacts we have with these so-called Infernal Forces, we can remake ourselves."
- —Heretical Teachings of Arch-Magos Erzahd Boge
An Obliterator is a Chaos Space Marine, often a former Techmarine, who is believed to have been affected by a so-called "technovirus", a daemonic virus that transformed these once-loyal servants of the Imperium into bloodthirsty mutant weapons of Chaos. They are monstrous hybrids of human, daemon and machine. An Obliterator is able to absorb any weapon into its body that is held for too long. These unfortunates can spawn these weapons from their very flesh, and also grow ammunition for them. Chaos Obliterators are biologically fused to their suits of Power Armour. As a result of their mutation, Obliterators are no longer even remotely sane. This insanity could be caused by the constant mental and physical trauma of absorbing weapons into the Obliterator's body or being biologically welded by his own body to his armour. This insanity is also possibly caused by the Machine Spirits of his weapons and armour fusing into a destructive daemonic entity after infection by the virus. Obliterators are rarely part of an existing Traitor Legion or Renegade Space Marine warband; they prefer to sell their services to the highest bidder amongst the Forces of Chaos in return for access to the Archeotech that they crave.
The monstrous warriors of the Obliterator Cults amongst the Heretic Astartes are a blasphemy against nature and Machine God alike. Their forms are so altered, so thoroughly conjoined with the tools of war, that every cell in their bodies thrills with a spark of mechanical life. The technomagi of Mars dream of achieving such a symbiosis, but in truth, only their Heretek brothers in the Dark Mechanicum have mastered the complete fusion of metal and flesh. It is only the changeling power of the Warp that allows this process to take place, melding the inert and the animate together on a spiritual level in order to form something far greater than mere cybernetics. Because of their Chaos-born powers, Obliterators are capable of not only absorbing weaponry into themselves, but also of manifesting munitions from their titanium-laced flesh.
Obliterators tower over their Chaos Space Marine brethren, and they are usually at least as broad as they are tall, dwarfing even the Terminator-armoured escorts of their lords. Their flesh is stretched and distorted across an exoskeleton of metal and plasteel, and pistons writhe and churn under their sallow skin. They eat ammunition and drink Promethium, it is said, for whatever energies an Obliterator consumes, he can replicate within himself.
Each of their number is an inhuman arcano-cyborg whose blood can become roiling plasma, whose internal organs generate electricity, and whose brain is as much cognitive targeting engine as living tissue. In battle, fibre-bundle muscles split apart as blood-slicked gun barrels push through limbs and torsos. Oily fluids boil and drool out of exhaust valves as the crosshair eyes of the Obliterators settle over their prey. With a guttural roar of satisfaction, these lumbering gun-spawn let fly with devastating salvoes that annihilate man and machine alike.
Though cadres of the mysterious Obliterators are thankfully rare, they have an alarming tendency to suddenly appear wherever the fighting is thickest, manifesting in a storm of light before laying waste to their foes. Several theories have been put forward by agents of the Imperium regarding the exact nature of these abominations -- some members of the Inquisition believe they are the by-product of a heretical Dark Mechanicum quest to embody the Omnissiah, whilst others proffer the notion that Obliterators are infected with some kind of daemon-created "technovirus." Opponents of the latter theory say that a technovirus could not exist in the way it is claimed, and that simple daemonic possession gives Obliterators their frighteningly powerful abilities. Only the truly learned realise that the term "technovirus" is a misnomer; it is Chaos itself that mutates and corrupts the machine, just as it moulds and changes the flesh of men.
Obliterators are much sought after by Champions of Chaos. They are most likely to appear in the warbands of Warpsmiths, for they feel a kinship with those machine-obsessed architects of war, but ultimately they owe their allegiance only to the Dark Gods and the daemons of the night.
Perhaps one of the most strange, and certainly amongst the most powerful foes of the Imperium, the Obliterators are shrouded in mystery. Walking armouries that are even larger than Chaos Space Marines encased in Terminator Armour, Obliterators are masses of twisted flesh melded with weaponry, who look as if their flesh is in a state of constant flux. Obliterators are inhuman, grotesque arcano-cyborgs whose very flesh and blood can transform into white-hot plasma, titanium-fused bones, or internal organs that generate lethal amounts of electricity. Their brains are as much machine as living flesh. Obliterators are unique amongst the Forces of Chaos as they have no allegiance to any particular Chaos Space Marine warband. Entire planets have been laid to waste, whole civilisations perished just to provide a handful of these monsters with the Archeotech they so desire, in an effort to gain the promise of their future support. Yet, for all their power, the origins of the Obliterators remain open to much speculation and debate among Imperial scholars.
The first Obliterators are often thought to once have been Techmarines of the Emperor’s elite Adeptus Astartes during the Horus Heresy. Obliterators are known to be obsessed with the merging of the material and the immaterial, the organic and inorganic. Using knowledge gleaned from their pact with the Ruinous Powers, and with the techno-arcane methods of the Dark Mechanicus, Obliterators have managed to blur the line between man and machine, and mortal and daemon.
There is talk within the ranks of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Inquisition that Obliterators are the result of centuries of cybernetic research -- something the Tech-priests strive for in their own existence. It is their belief that someone within the ranks of the Mechanicus succeeded in the ultimate convergence of man and machine through the application of the reality-warping power of Chaos. However, some (a minority) scholars dismiss such claims. Instead they believe that Obliterators have contracted some form of daemonic virus that puts their flesh into a permanent state of flux and mutation. It is their belief that many who contract this virus simply perish as their bodies eventually rebel against the changes wrought upon it. They think that the Obliterators are those few humans who have managed to exercise a manner of genetic control over the flux -- they are able to fashion weapons and armour from within their very bodies by tapping into the transmuting power of the virus. Thankfully, this view is much dismissed as there are many flaws with its application -- the least of which is that the abilities exhibited by Obliterators in no way act the way any known pathogen should behave.
Aside from their abilities, there is much speculation about the nature of the pact between Obliterators and the Chaos Gods. Obliterators do not sport any obvious marks of allegiance to any particular Chaos God. They also do not bear the colours of any Traitor Legion or one of the myriad Renegade warbands. Many Chaos Lords will go to extreme lengths to secure the fickle aid of even a single Obliterator. Obliterators are exceedingly rare, and while their exact numbers can only be guessed at, it is apparent that they are among the least numerous of assets employed by the Forces of Chaos. They exist outside the structure of the warbands and Traitor Legions, and move about from one to the next, exchanging their expertise and power for the chance to claim ancient Archeotech, or exotic and esoteric wargear from their foes.
The Technovirus RampantEdit
An alliance struck deep in the Eye of Terror has seen a strange machine-plague boil across the worlds of the Imperium. The Cults of Destruction -- those warbands consisting of Obliterators, Mutilators and the Warpsmiths that strive to control them -- have always acted as seething hotbeds for the Chaos technovirus that infects them. Since the Daemon Primarchs Perturabo and Mortarion combined their genius in the Eye of Terror, however, this affliction has been weaponised. Instead of slowly and organically claiming the souls of those who obsess over their wargear, this curse now spreads in the form of an airborne info-virus, often referred to as "scrapcode."
Scrapcode can be seen as the machine equivalent of the Dark Tongue, seemingly nonsensical at first, but harsh upon the ear to the point of causing physical pain, and possessed of an anarchic power that can cripple a Machine Spirit and pervert a war engine to the cause of Chaos. Some say that even battle tanks and mighty Imperial Knights have been brought low by this ravening, self-replicating scourge, sprouting clusters of oil-slick gun barrels and forests of lashing cables from their adamantium hulls as they indiscriminately kill and destroy.
- 3 Obliterators, larger numbers of Obliterators can join together with Mutilators and Warpsmiths to create a "Cult of Destruction"
One of the key abilities that Obliterators possess is to manifest a variety of heavy ranged and melee weapons from within their own bodies. These are now composed of "fleshmetal," an iron-hard fusion of muscle, tendon and powered steel, forming a hideous exoskeleton over bodies that have melded with their ancient Power Armour. As they stalk across the battlefield, they morph their weaponry from Lascannons, to Plasma Cannons and Multi-meltas, to more specialised weaponry such as the exceedingly rare Combi-weapons. Additionally, they can form spikes and blades and even chain weapons from the flesh of their bodies to engage the foe in melee combat. The only limitation seems to be that an Obliterator is unable to create an explosive item that seperates from their body, like a grenade. Those who study these creatures believe that their weapons are inherently part of their physiology -- they could no more create a thrown explosive any more than a mortal man could eject his own heart from his chest. On the battlefield, an Obliterator will march towards his objective ponderously, firing his array of heavy weapons with pinpoint accuracy as he moves. Obliterators prefer to avoid close quarters combat, as they are slow and not particularly mobile, but their ability to create Power Fist-like weapons from their bodies combined with their unholy resilience makes them more than capable of tearing anything that dares attack them to pieces. If more than one Obliterator is in a particular area, they tend to congregate together. Forming an "Obliterator Cult" or "Cult of Destruction," these creatures gather together to unearth some arcane knowledge or lost technology cache. The motives of these Cults of Destruction are often as mysterious as the true nature of their members.
- Kreator Rex - Kreator Rex was one of the first members of the mysterious Chaos machine cult known as the Obliterators. He took part in all of the bloodiest battles of the Horus Heresy, building machines that combined the technological arts he had learnt with the twisting power of the Chaos. He now fights at Abaddon's side, building massive Chaos war engines to carry out the Despoiler's bidding. The Brass Scorpions, Towers of Skulls, Plaguereapers and Lords of Skulls he constructed proved vital in the attacks on Pythos' delver-strongholds during the Pandorax Campaign, quickly breaching their walls and spearheading every assault.
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 68, 142
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition) pg. 42
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 35
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 27, 41
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pg. 119
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 342
- White Dwarf 256 (UK): "Index Astartes I - The Iron Warriors"
- Daemon World (Novel) by Ben Counter