- "There is no greater transgression than to betray the Emperor's will; for a normal man there may be atonement for such a sin in death, but for a member of the Astartes, even the grave cannot hold suffering enough to pay for this crime."
- — Lord High Commander Carab Culln
The Loyalist Red Scorpions Chapter of Space Marines is known to be composed of conservative Imperial purists who are famed for their complete and utter devotion to Imperial doctrine, past the point where pragmatism or even reason would seem to require otherwise. The Chapter is most renowned among other Astartes for its absolute adherence to every line of the Codex Astartes, which is unheard of in any other Chapter -- including the Ultramarines. Its recorded history extends across five millennia, but there are numerous indications that it may extend further than that. Due to their history of conflict with the Forces of Chaos, the Red Scorpions refuse to deal with any xenos species or any humans that they consider as tainted by mutation of any kind, even Imperially-sanctioned Abhumans like the Ogryns or Ratlings. They will obviously not serve with Beastmen, but they also utterly refuse to serve with the few remaining Squats. Equally unique in nature is the frequency with which the Red Scorpions' Apothecaries are present in the Chapter's Tactical Squads as squad leaders in place of a Sergeant.
An uncompromising and steadfast Chapter, the Red Scorpions have, in their five thousand standard years of recorded history, always been ready to stand in the defence of the Imperium, fight those who endanger it and punish those who betray it. Unusually for a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, the Red Scorpions are fanatically loyal to the Emperor in whose divinity they believe without question. They see their quest for mental, spiritual, and physical purity as a divine mandate. The Red Scorpions are also strict adherents to the Codex Astartes which they view as holy scripture. They are stalwart traditionalists among the Space Marines, staunch protectors of the Imperium's order and authority, and have ever been quick to answer the call of Imperial governors and Cardinals beset by treachery and heresy from within. Their endless hatred for the alien and the mutant has also become famed across the stars, as is their devotion to purity and scorn of deviation from the baseline human form.
Despite the Red Scorpions' long and unimpeachable record of service, there are still those within the Adeptus who distrust them on the simple grounds that their origins as a Chapter remain a complete mystery, as does the identity of the Founding to which they belong or the primogenitor Chapter from which their gene-seed has been taken. A gene-seed which, other than being notable for its extreme lack of any form of deterioration or corruption, bears no specific hallmarks that would allow it to be secured (even inconclusively) to one of the original Space Marine Legions. This secrecy has led to some of the Imperium's hierarchy questioning the loyalty of a Chapter that keeps its history secret. Despite this, the Chapter is willing to assist the Imperium of Man wherever it can, carrying out thousands of aid missions.
It is unclear if the mysteries concerning the Red Scorpions Chapter's origins are due to a deliberate decision within the Adeptus Administratum or if the records might have been lost due to a simple clerical error. As neither the Chapter nor any known Imperial sources make record of its Founding, the former seems far more likely than the latter. Ongoing attempts have been made to at least identify the origin of the Chapter's gene-seed -- in spite of formal complaints levelled by the Chapter's leadership -- but even these have met with universal failure. Ultimately, the story of the Chapter's creation is far less important than the glorious history that it has established by consistently protecting the Imperium against countless threats.
Indeed, some of the Chapter's most notable core beliefs are founded precisely on the purity and consistency of its gene-seed, and it will go to any lengths to preserve that purity and harvest the Chapter's due from its fallen brothers to ensure the Red Scorpions' future. To the Red Scorpions, gene-seed corruption would fundamentally weaken them or any other Chapter of the Space Marines, and thereby weaken the fabric of the Imperium itself -- something they simply will not allow. The Red Scorpions' fanatical belief in their own genetic purity, and the lengths they will go in order to preserve it, has had the consequence of giving the Chapter a strongly isolationist streak when it comes to its interactions with other parts of the Imperium on anything but a practical military level, and as such it maintains no domains and is beholden to none but its own sense of duty. As a Chapter the Red Scorpions are extremely xenophobic, and for no cause or even dire need will they ever consider serving alongside or allying with aliens. At the same time, they remain highly intolerant of any genetic deviation from the pure human form. They despise Abhumans, mutants or augmented humans of any kind, and have often refused to fight as brothers-in-arms with any such "abomination". The only exception they allow to this disdain are those few individuals they deem to have been the work of the Emperor's own divine hand (other Adeptus Astartes and Navigators, for example), and even then there are limits to what they will readily tolerate in terms of human diversity.
A Crusading Chapter, the Red Scorpions fleet is almost continuously on the move, travelling between war zones and making its forces available to those who would petition for its aid, if the Chapter deems them worthy of it. The Red Scorpions have fought in every corner of the Imperium over the course of their history and participated in many great conflicts. They are justly renowned for their role in the Conflict of Helican, the Siege of Helios and the battles against the hated Bloodtide. They have fought alone as often as they have fought alongside the ranks of the Imperium's other warriors, and although thought lost several times, they have always returned again from the abyss to draw their blades once more in the Emperor's service. One important example of this was the entire Chapter's undertaking of a Crusade into the perilous Ordon Rift region deep within the interstellar wilderness of the south-western expanses of the Segmentum Tempestus in the 39th Millennium. Filled with spatial rapids, gravitic storms and other lethal phenomena, the exact circumstances of the Red Scorpions' extended voyage into this hazardous area remain unknown, and for more than three hundred standard years the Chapter was out of contact with the Imperium and thought lost.
The timely nature of their reappearance was also viewed as a gift from the Emperor, as they played a crucial role in overcoming a Night Lords attack on Oriflame during the Battle of the Grey Sisters. What occurred during their time within the rift remains unknown, but the Red Scorpions had established their primary base of operations upon a battle station named Vigil around the Feral World of Zaebus Minoris deep within the perilous regions of the Ordon Rift surrounded by spatial rapids, gravitic storms and other lethal phenomena. Save for the Chapter itself and a handful of high-ranking members of the Administratum, the Red Scorpions have kept the exact location of the Zaebus System and the safe routes through the treacherous passages required to reach it a deadly secret, thus ensuring their Chapter's security and the safety of their gene-stock. Using Vigil and Zaebus Minoris as their fortress-monastery and base of operations, respectively, the Chapter has continued to range across the southern and western reaches of the Imperium in search of the enemies of Mankind.
- The Berillia Massacres (498-601.M34) - Prior to its disastrous failure during the Berillia campaigns and swift descent into madness, the Shining Blades Chapter was one of those Chapters renowned, alongside the Red Scorpions, Ultramarines, Umbral Titans and a few others, with a gene-seed record of extreme purity. However the Shining Blades fell victim to their own pride, turning from the Emperor's will and beginning a traitorous Crusade to cast down any who would claim to be their equals. Now calling themselves the Flawless Host, they spent a century harrying Loyalist Chapters, burning isolated outposts and decimating smaller detachments of loyal Astartes warriors until they assaulted a Red Scorpions Strike Cruiser, the Crux Puritatis, as it returned from campaigns in the Segmentum Tempestus, capturing the vessel and taking the Chapter's dead to augment their stocks of gene-seed. Then Chapter Master Thay Kraun of the Red Scorpions recalled all of his Chapter's combat units from their previous engagements and scoured the area from which the Flawless Host was known to operate. Once the asteroid fortress used by the Flawless Host and its degenerate allies was discovered, Kraun committed his brethren en masse to its utter destruction. In a titanic battle that raged for six solar days the Red Scorpions battered the Flawless Host, blasting apart its defences and storming its fortress chamber-by-chamber. Chapter Master Kraun himself led the re-taking of the Crux Puritatis, using the Blade of the Scorpion to decapitate the Flawless Host Captain who claimed the ship in single combat. Withdrawing in the face of the Red Scorpions' overwhelming wrath, the Flawless Host vowed to exact vengeance upon all those who would tarnish its glory.
- Helios Campaign (857.M38) - In 857.M38, the Chapter responded to a call to cleanse the world of Helios of Traitors who had turned against the Imperium. The war effort had been in progress for several solar decades, with Astra Militarum forces incapable of turning the tide. Shortly after their arrival, the Space Marines launched an assault against the Traitors' massively reinforced battle fortress. Much to their surprise, the Battle-Brothers soon discovered that their traditional armaments were incapable of overcoming the resistance mounted upon its adamantine walls. Because the Chapter Master distrusted the Astra Militarum forces, he commanded the Master of the Forge to create an alternative solution. The result was the Land Raider Helios, a variant which mounts a Whirlwind Missile Launcher atop a standard Land Raider hull. This hybrid tank soon proved its efficacy and was later accepted by the Adeptus Mechanicus as an official alternative Land Raider pattern.
- Second Aegisine Crusade (633.M39) - The Second Aegisine Crusade was launched by the Imperium of Man to reclaim the worlds of the dread Sub-sector Mandragora in 633.M39 after it had been lost from contact with the Imperium for centuries under a pall of Warp Storms. The Red Scorpions Space Marine Chapter gained high honour for its role in the later phases of the Crusade which re-conquered the worlds around the former Sub-sector capital world of Hecuba. These worlds had fallen under the tyranny of a heretical Mechanicus sect based on the once-proud Forge World of Shaehol. It was now a fetid world of chemical swamps and treacherous ash-wastes, its ecosystem wrecked by millennia of unrestrained industry. Shaehol was heavily defended by legions of insane, half-mechanoid servants loyal only to the Dark Magi who had created them. The paranoia of Shaehol's dark masters had invested the planet with innumerable layered defences made up of thousands of kilometres of living razor wire, clusters of Hurricane Mines and protected by labyrinthine fortress-mazes. The Red Scorpions spearheaded the orbital assault against Shaehol, conducting a concentrated attack by Drop Pod assault supported by Thunderhawks and Caestus Assault Rams which managed to force a beachhead on the heavily defended planet. For 19 murderous solar hours the Chapter was forced to defend the landing zone against phalanxes of corrupted Combat Servitors, waves of surgically mutilated labour helots and the vast and baleful war machines of Shaehol, but they would not break. Only through the Red Scorpions' resolute action did they enable the Battle Titans of the Legio Tempestor and the Imperial Knights of House Vymar to safely land on the surface and deploy, then push past their valiant protectors to take the war to the foe. It would take a further two standard years to fully re-conquer the fallen Forge World as the warped masters of Shaehol and their works were destroyed root and branch, but the Adeptus Mechanicus did not forget the Chapter's sacrifice. When at last the conquest was over after 2 standard years of brutal combat, and the Red Scorpions took their leave of the planet, the Adeptus Mechanicus' lords of war did them homage, as towering Knights and Titans lined the route taken by the Red Scorpions as they marched to the landing zones, bowing to them in homage as they passed by.
- Ordon Rift Crusade (late M39) - The Ordon Rift Crusade was a campaign undertaken by the Red Scorpions Space Marine Chapter into the perilous Ordon Rift region deep within the interstellar wilderness of the southwestern regions of the Segmentum Tempestus in the 39th Millennium. Filled with spatial rapids, gravitic storms and other lethal phenomena, the exact circumstances of the Red Scorpions' extended voyage into this hazardous area remain unknown. For more than 300 standard years, the Chapter remained out of contact with the Imperium and was thought lost. The Red Scorpions have a reputation for fighting alone as often as they have fought alongside the ranks of the Imperium's other warriors, and although they have faced defeat several times, they have always returned again from the abyss to draw their blades in the Emperor's service. After the Red Scorpions' triumphant reappearance during the Battle of the Grey Sisters against the Night Lords Traitor Legion on Oriflame, it was established that the Chapter had founded an orbital battle station named Vigil around the Feral World of Zaebus Minoris deep within the Ordon Rift as a permanent base. Since its discovery, the Red Scorpions and a handful of high-ranking members of the Administratum have kept the exact location of the Zaebus System and the safe routes through the treacherous passages required to reach it a secret, thus ensuring their security and the safety of their recruiting stock.
- The Crucible of Endikon IX (236.M40) - In the early years of the 40th Millennium, the Hive World of Endikon IX fell under the assault of Eldar Corsair hosts, piratical raiders who enslaved the population and set them to systematically strip their world of all material wealth. After nearly eighty standard years of occupation and torment an Imperial force finally arrived to liberate Endikon IX, spearheaded by a combined force of Space Marines from the Red Scorpions and Raptors Chapters. The battle for control of the space over Endikon IX was brutal, with the Imperial Navy taskforce sustaining heavy casualties as it drove off the sleek Eldar voidcraft, especially amongst the lumbering transports that bore the liberation army's Astra Militarum contingent. With their manpower depleted to dangerous levels the Raptor's commander, Captain Kel Vamar, proposed utilising the famed ability of his Chapter in stealth and infiltration to engage the Eldar by ambush and wear them down in a campaign of hit-and-run strikes before landing the remainder of their support troops. The Red Scorpions' 5th Company, under Commander Oren Saker, refused to have any part of what he termed "cowardice in the face of the enemy" and proceeded to initiate a full drop assault without any support. The resulting battle was successful in breaking and scattering the Eldar ground forces, but at a terrible price -- of the eighty-three Red Scorpions who descended to the surface of Endikon IX, only sixteen returned. The few members of the Apothecarion which had accompanied the 5th Company spent many solar days searching the drifts of Eldar dead to recover all of their Chapter's fallen. Though the campaign was eventually completed by the forces of the Raptors Chapter, who lost but a handful of brothers in a protracted harrying campaign to eliminate the remaining Eldar, the Red Scorpions proudly list Endikon IX amongst their greatest battle honours, holding those who were martyred in honest battle as true heroes of the Imperium.
- Galen V Suppression (Unknown Date.M41) - The Red Scorpions unleashed their Land Raiders in Codex-approved Cobalt/Ammonium desert camouflage to aid with the suppression of a heretical revolt in the the cobalt chromate deserts of Galen V.
- Siege of Vraks (826.M41 & 830.M41) - The Imperial arsenal world of Vraks in the Segmentum Obscurus fell to the machinations of the Heretic Cardinal Xaphan, sparking a protracted siege of the planet by the Imperium. Over time the conflict worsened, drawing in numerous Chaos Space Marine warbands and Renegades from the Eye of Terror, as well as an increased Loyalist Space Marine presence to combat the growing menace. Ultimately the hellish slaughter of millions poisoned the world and was exploited to bring forth a full daemonic incursion on the surface. This necessitated the direct involvement of the Ordo Malleus and the Grey Knights before the siege was broken in the Imperium's favour, although Vraks itself had been laid waste. The Red Scorpions participated twice in vital stages of the war. Firstly in 826.M41, when a strike force composed of elements of the 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 8th Companies of the Red Scorpions arrived on the world of Vraks in the Strike Cruiser Arx Fidelis. Led by Force Commander Ainea, the Red Scorpions strike force aided in the final breaching of the curtain wall surrounding the Fortress of Vraks in the final years of the terrible Siege of Vraks, an Imperial Armoury World that had been taken over by the Forces of Chaos led by the Apostate Cardinal Xaphan. Veteran Sergeant Carab Culln led the Vanguard squad that carried the teleport homer used by Commander Ainea and his squad of Terminators to take, and subsequently hold, the breach in the curtain wall where the besieging Imperial army would pour through. The Red Scorpions returned to Vraks in 830.M41, this time with a strike force personally led by Lord High Commander Verant Ortys in response to Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex' request for aid. The Red Scorpions' Battle Barge Sword of Ordon arrived in orbit of the dusty planet, carrying 400 of the Chapter's Battle-Brothers, including Veteran Sergeant Carab Culln. Culln would go on to rise to prominence, gaining much glory and honour for his Chapter and demonstrating the skill-at-arms and leadership that would see him elevated to command of the Chapter's 1st Company. The Red Scorpions would go on to participate in the Imperial retaking of the Fortress of Vraks and particularly, the Battle of Saint Leonis' Gate.
- Beta Anphelion IV (850.M41) - Astartes from the Chapter's 1st and 6th Companies, led by Commander Carab Culln, assisted Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Solomon Lok during an investigation and subsequent battle against the renegade Tyranids of Beta Anphelion IV. The Chapter eventually came under scrutiny by the Inquisition's Ordo Hereticus for their actions, along with Inquisitor Lord Varius of the Ordo Xenos who ordered the mission to Beta Anphelion IV.
- The Badab War (906-911.M41) - The Red Scorpions Chapter played a key role in the Badab War, commanding the Loyalist Space Marine forces throughout the war's duration with the blessings of the Imperial Legates, even though there were some initial misgivings about the Chapter's fiercely independent reputation. The High Lords of Terra requested their direct involvement to intervene in the conflict. Not currently involved in any other engagements, the crusading Chapter was able to swiftly move to the Maelstrom Zone, arriving in 906.M41. Lord High Commander Verant Ortys was appointed as the overall commander of the Loyalist Space Marines by their common assent, due to the famed Chapter Master being a veteran of many campaigns. The Red Scorpions were at first limited to countering the Secessionist raids on Imperial shipping and conducting probing attacks against several outposts to gauge their foes' strength. The Badab War took an ill-fated turn of fate for the Chapter, when Verant Ortys and his bodyguard were killed in mysterious and likely treacherous circumstances while conducting a parley with the Secessionist's leader Lufgt Huron of the renegade Astral Claws Chapter. The Chapter's heir apparent, 1st Company Commander Carab Culln immediately assumed control of the Red Scorpions, and despite some minor dissent, was made the overall commander of the Loyalist Space Marine forces. His first act was to sideline the Fire Hawks venerable Chapter Master Stibor Lazaerek and bring in further forces from his own Chapter. This increased his Chapter's presence within the combat zone to eight full battle companies, two Battle Barges and four Strike Cruisers. Leading from the front lines, the Red Scorpions took part in numerous engagements throughout the rest of the war, playing a key role in many major battles of the Badab War. After the Badab War ended, Lord High Commander Culln and the Red Scorpions were awarded the rare and lauded honour of a Vexilla Imperialis by the assent of the High Lords of Terra for their role in crushing the uprising, to serve forevermore as a mark of victory and stand as a relic of the Chapter.
- Second Tyrannic War (992.M41) - The Red Scorpions were involved in operations against the Tyranid menace of the encroaching Hive Fleet Kraken.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - A single company of the Red Scorpions arrived at the end of the first year of conflict during the Third War for Armageddon in the Season of Fire and awaited the Season of Shadow to commence hostilities against the great Ork WAAAGH! assaulting the Hive World of Armageddon.
The Red Scorpions is considered a Codex-compliant Chapter in almost every detail, conforming very closely in structure and doctrine to the tenets of the Codex Astartes. However, it has been noted that the Chapter's commanders and Chaplains have their own particular interpretations and emphasis on the text. The internal structures of the Chapter are highly authoritarian -- discipline and order within the ranks being absolute. Those of superior rank are to be obeyed without question by the Battle-Brothers beneath them in any circumstance on or off the battlefield. The Chapter's Captains are known by the honourary title of "Commander" whilst the Chapter Master is known by the title of "Lord High Commander". His second-in-command is always the Master of the Apothecarion as a matter of Chapter tradition. As an adjunct to the highly honoured place genetic purity holds within the Red Scorpions doctrine, they maintain considerably more Apothecaries than most Space Marine Chapters. These Apothecaries' sacred task is to maintain total vigilance over the Chapter's brethren for genetic or biochemical corruption. Apothecaries are often attached to tactical squads and commonly deployed to the front line in combat in order to grant them every chance to harvest their fallen Battle-Brother's gene-seed. The Chapter is also noted for the purity of its gene-seed tithes to the Adeptus Mechanicus, which are heavily tied to its fanatical belief in purity -- in body, deed and thought.
The Red Scorpions are characterised by their extreme traditionalism, unyielding devotion to the Codex Astartes, and their hatred of Abhumans and other mutants and anything deviating from the pure human physical form. They have a fanatical belief in their own purity and this has led to the Chapter's isolationism. They do not venerate any Primarch above any other, preferring only to venerate the Emperor. As a Chapter, they are extremely xenophobic; they will not serve alongside Abhumans, and due to the Imperial Guard's willingness to allow Abhumans in their ranks, they view the Guard as inferior and untrustworthy.
Although the Chapter relies heavily on the Codex for its tactical deployments and strategy, it has shown an ability to innovate unexpectedly when needed in the past (as proved by the Angstrom Incident during the Badab War), the Red Scorpions are known to have a profound dislike of covert operations in favour of meeting and defeating an enemy in open battle. They consider the use of camouflage and infiltration as fundamentally dishonourable, and shun them unless strictly needed. As a result, much of the Chapter's Scout-equipped Neophytes of the 10th Company are deployed to the main battle lines rather than on reconnaissance duties, and are often tactically used to secure fire bases in dense terrain or act as an auxiliary force to respond to the changing tide of battle.
In spite of their continued role as a crusading Chapter, the Red Scorpions have suffered relatively few losses to their Armoury. They remain surprisingly well-equipped with Land Raiders, Dreadnoughts, artefacts and an assortment of other vehicles. The one item that is in relatively short supply is Terminator Armour, the consequence of sustained losses over the last few centuries. In fact, this precious commodity is in such short supply that not even half of the 1st Company may be equipped with such sacred relics. What steps the Chapter is taking to rectify this situation remains unknown. Because of this shortage, it is relatively common for the Chapter's Veterans to serve as Sergeants amongst the squads of the other companies. The Chapter's Armouries are known to operate an extensive range of armoured vehicles and Dreadnoughts in a wide variety of patterns, and have an enviable resource of Drop Pods and Land Raiders in particular. The Chapter Forge is also known for its ability to maintain and manufacture in limited quantities a variety of patterns of Space Marine Power Armour. The Red Scorpions most commonly employ the renowned Mark IV Maximus Pattern amongst the Chapter's Veterans as a mark of rank and honour.
Quality of arms is also highly valued by the Chapter. Often a weapon of extraordinary quality, usually a Power Sword, Axe or Fist, is granted as an award to its Veterans rather than a mere honourific or decoration to mark their deeds. This fills both a practical as well as a symbolic purpose by further arming their best with effective tools of war and creating a visible sign denoting a warrior's own might and honour before his peers. This association of weapons of extraordinary quality and military rank within the Chapter reaches its apotheosis in the shape of a number of ancient and potent relic blades, known collectively as the "Tears of the Scorpion", which are carried by the Chapter's commanders, each weapon with its own revered story and legend.
Red Scorpions Librarians
Like their fellow Astartes Chapters, the Red Scorpions also maintain a Librarium of potent psykers who are highly talented and trained to master the power of the Warp at the highest levels. Each Chapter selects its Librarians in its own way, either from seed worlds, as it does with the bulk of its Initiates, or from the ranks of gifted psykers brought to the Scholastica Psykana of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. Most Chapters train and test chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Red Scorpions are trained in this way, and, with few minor traditional variances, have been taught to rigorously live by the word of the Codex. Red Scorpions Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:
- Bone Breaker - The Red Scorpions Librarian focuses his might and will into the blows he rains down on his enemies, filling his arm with righteous vigour. Even blows which would otherwise cause no damage send shockwaves through his enemy's body, pulping flesh and breaking bones.
- Tormented Flesh - The Librarian focuses on his foe's flawed physiology and corrupted spirit, turning it against them. The enemy's flesh will literally rebel against its owner as it twists, oozes, and bursts, fleeing the taint which saturates it.
- Word of the Codex Astartes - The Librarian calls to the common bond between Battle-Brothers as laid down by the Codex Astartes and reminds Space Marines of their sacred duty and powerful heritage. This power infuses nearby Battle-Brothers with new purpose and devotion, boosting their morale and banishing any doubt.
For the first several millennia of its existence, the Red Scorpions was exclusively a fleet-based Chapter. Its two Battle-Barges, the Sword of Ordon and Auel's Bane, have long served as focal points of its fleet. The Red Scorpions' reserves were generally divided between the two, so that in the event one was lost, the Chapter would not be decimated. While the Chapter Masters were well aware of the risks that this entailed, they were unwilling to establish a foothold as the Chapter was always on the move conducting its Crusades. During its extended crusade into the Ordon Rift, the Chapter seized control of the Feral World of Zaebus Minoris. It also constructed a battle station -- Vigil -- which remains in orbit around the planet and serves as the Chapter's fortress-monastery. Since that time, the Red Scorpions have maintained the highest levels of secrecy about their holding. Of the few outsiders that are aware -- mostly high ranking members of the Adeptus Administratum -- none know the Warp routes to reach the world. Travel through the Ordon Rift is a treacherous undertaking. Without knowing the precise routes, a journey to the world entails substantial risk.
Prior to securing Zaebus Minoris, the Red Scorpions Chapter recruited the purest candidates it could find from throughout the galaxy. Since seizing control of the world in the 39th Millennium, the vast majority of its new Initiates have come from the native feral tribes. Only the most heroic and pure of potential candidates that the Red Scorpions encounter elsewhere are even considered for initiation. The small, arid world of Zaebus Minoris is inhabited by a primitive, pre-industrial human culture of roughly the Bronze Age level of technological development. Missionaria Galaxia reports indicate that these tribes each have a central temple complex, at which each newborn male child is presented to the gods for their approval. On the first full moon of the newborn's life it is presented to the High Priest and placed upon the temple's stone altar. The tribesmen believe that the gods look down from the moon in judgement upon their children. In the night, those that are judged inadequate die (usually from exposure). Most are allowed to live, the infant being returned to its father at dawn to begin a normal life amongst the tribe. A few -- those judged to be the very best by the High Priest -- are taken by the gods. For a tribe this is the greatest honour and shows they have the gods' blessing. All tribes hope that their children will be taken, to live amongst the gods as one of them.
Of course those children that go missing are indeed taken, selected by the Red Scorpions Chapter's Apothecaries, (after vigorous genetic screening) to begin the process of becoming a Space Marine at the Red Scorpions' fortress-monastery, the orbiting battle-station Vigil. As these newborn recruits have had no experience of their primitive culture they carry none of this cultural baggage with them. As they grow they will have no memory of their parents, background or culture, and life within the Chapter will be all each recruit ever knows. Because recruits are inducted at an early age, the Red Scorpions exhibit no cultural influence, unlike other Chapters that recruit from primitive cultures.
- "It is only through our purity that we can know that we are the servants of the God-Emperor. Those who lack purity have no basis to identify the mutant, the alien, or the traitor."
- — Red Scorpions Captain Domnik Mornay
The most central tenet of the Red Scorpions Chapter's belief system is a focus on purity. All other concepts are secondary. To maintain their purity -- in mind, body, and spirit -- the Chapter's Battle-Brothers accept unquestionably extreme measures as a necessary part of their training regimen. It is their shared belief that only by undertaking such strenuous measures can they hope to identify and eliminate even the smallest taint of imperfection or contamination in those they encounter from outside the Chapter.
For these Space Marines, their mission is a divine mandate. As they do not know the identity of their Primarch, their primary devotion is directly to the God-Emperor. It may be due to this lack of a connection to another spiritual authority that, atypically for members of the Adeptus Astartes, this Chapter's Battle-Brothers put their faith and trust in the truly divine nature of the God-Emperor and pledge their loyalty to the Imperial Cult, rather than maintaining a purely secular view of the Emperor and the Imperial past.
The Chapter is largely traditional in its beliefs and loyalties. Its Chaplains have a distinct interpretation of the Codex Astartes, to which they adhere extremely closely. In their eyes, they do not deviate from its words in any fashion. As religious zealots, they are morally obligated to follow its sacred directive. Any deviation from its teachings must be thoroughly justified, as such remains a clear violation of the God-Emperor's directive.
The Red Scorpions drive themselves endlessly to insure their purity. They expect other members of the Imperium to maintain similar standards. However, by virtually any other standard, the Red Scorpions are among the most zealous and ardent of Imperial believers. Further, their physical enhancements enable them to survive acts of penance that would kill a mere mortal. Few others are physically capable of maintaining a lifestyle that adheres to the high standards set by these Space Marines. As other Astartes seldom follow the tenets of the Imperial Cult, there are few who willingly embrace such a lifestyle.
This combination has led to the Chapter's Battle-Brothers having very little respect for other Imperial forces. Even during briefings and planning sessions, a Red Scorpions officer might question the judgement of those outside his Chapter, as their lack of Imperial purity could easily beget treachery and heresy. This overriding concern leaves the Chapter largely unwilling to work with outsiders, save in the direst of circumstances. Some view this tendency as approaching an isolationist heresy. However, others gladly encourage the Red Scorpions to work independently -- accommodating their rigourous standards can be an exhausting process for any who must negotiate or work with them.
Another critical expression of their obsession with purity is in their reaction to any sign of impurity. These Battle-Brothers consider hatred of the unclean and unholy as one of their most central virtues. That which might be contaminated may not be trusted. That which is known to be contaminated must be eliminated with an appropriate application of force. As all xenos are, by their very nature, impure, they must be cleansed upon contact. Anyone that is of potential human heritage must be tested for mutation. Those who are found wanting must be eliminated at the earliest possible opportunity. Similarly, an unclean mind, tainted by heresy or unbelief, must be thoroughly cleansed, preferably by force.
Red Scorpions have no tolerance at all for those who violate these precepts. Even sanctioned Imperial mutations, such as nominally accepted Abhumans or Navigators, are kept at a distance. Were it not for the necessity of having a Navigator amongst their crew, it is likely that the Red Scorpions would directly oppose them. This also affects the Chapter's interactions with other Space Marines. The Red Scorpions hold a particular distrust for those -- such as the Space Wolves or the Blood Angels -- who have been cursed in such a way to diverge from the standard of the Codex Astartes. In several instances, they have been unwilling to work directly with Imperial forces that they consider a risk for contamination of their own orthodox purity.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Red Scorpions are dedicated believers in their interpretation of the Codex Astartes. To these Space Marines, the text represents a divine mandate that instructs them in every phase of their existence. When preparing for battle, the sacred text must be appropriately interpreted, but its wisdom must never be questioned. Many of the Chapter's commanders use individual subsections to identify critical stages within every conflict. These individuals carefully identify the most relevant portions as they prepare for and command a battle, immediately and definitively using the most appropriate responses to any numerical or strategic shifts in a given battle, such that the army's forces constantly adjust their strategic responses as the tactical situation changes.
Of course, it is important to consider that the Codex Astartes is generally regarded as the most complete and advanced guide to warfare ever created by mankind. While its insights and advice may not address every imaginable situation, its framework offers a method for methodically and appropriately identifying the most apt solution. By choosing to dogmatically follow the Codex in every possible way, the Red Scorpions are dependent upon a tactical treatise that is unparalleled. Ultimately, the appearance of orthodoxy and fanaticism does not functionally limit their combat effectiveness.
The Chapter is organised into ten companies in keeping with standard Codex directive. Of the ten companies, there is only a single divergence. The Chapter maintains only its second through fourth companies as Battle Companies. Its fifth serves as an additional Reserve Company, like the sixth and seventh. Its tenth, Scout Company, is generally kept slightly under strength due to its inability to aggressively recruit while actively on Crusade. In keeping with the Codex' teachings, the Red Scorpions excel at applying a combined arms solution to most tactical situations. For example, vehicles are used to support infantry units. Similarly, specialised infantry, such as Assault Marines, are carefully used only in those situations that are most easily overcome by their particular expertise. The Chapter's fleet resources may be used as necessary to soften a target well in advance of a ground based offensive. Such approaches have been exercised in a consistent fashion throughout the Chapter's history.
Part of the Red Scorpions' success is due to the intense level of discipline maintained throughout the Chapter. To a certain extent, this discipline is instilled through the use of their religious focus in every aspect of their lives. Unquestioning obedience is second nature for Red Scorpions Battle-Brothers. They firmly believe that their lives are dedicated to and directly guided by the God-Emperor. They trust in His guidance and the knowledge that if their lives are lost, they can enter the afterlife to enjoy His eternal blessings. This level of discipline enables the Chapter's commanders to execute strategies that might be highly risky when utilising troops that are not so thoroughly devoted to seeing a plan through to its completion.
In spite of their obsession with orthodox Imperial dogma, the Red Scorpions are more than capable of innovating novel solutions to unexpected problems. The creation of the Helios Pattern Land Raider is the best known example, but it is certainly not the only one. This particular success is best known because the vehicle went on to gain ratification as an official pattern by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Since its creation, several other Chapters have begun to employ the variant.
Every battle fought against an unidentified opponent requires a warrior to first identify the foe's strengths and weaknesses. Only once these are known can strengths be avoided and weaknesses exploited. The Red Scorpions are adept at using a variety of different approaches against new foes in remarkably short order. Once a particularly effective tactic is identified, it is then used for as long as it remains effective. However, if no commonly known methods provide a necessary solution, these Space Marines do not hesitate to attempt to find an alternative. Though even in this methodology, purity must be maintained. While their Techmarines might develop minor innovations, they do not stray from the Omnissiah's path. Xenos designs or equipment that has survived from the Dark Age of Technology remain anathema. The use of such devices could endanger a Battle-Brother's soul with the potential for contamination. Alternative tactical measures are considered, but only once evidence has been compiled that those dictated by the Codex are inappropriate. At times, this may require exhaustive and thorough analyses and discussions.
The Red Scorpions are generally philosophically opposed to the use of covert techniques prior to and during a battle. They prefer to proudly demonstrate their presence and their markings. They firmly believe that their iconography and wargear are a crucial symbol of their allegiance to the God-Emperor. Anything that prevents their foes from seeing these insignia is a veritable affront to their faith. While they have been known to use Codex-standard camouflage patterns, even these are accepted only with reluctance. While Initiates are first trained as Scout Marines, in keeping with the Codex standard, even they are seldom assigned to protracted reconnaissance missions. Instead, Neophytes are generally deployed to either the main battle lines or held in reserve so that they may serve as a reserve force.
The Red Scorpions take tremendous pride in the purity of their gene-seed. While its lack of mutation and Chaotic contamination is unquestioned, its purity extends to the point that it shows little sign of distinction. Space Marines of some other Chapters distrust the Red Scorpions for this very reason. The generalised nature of their gene-seed makes it impossible to trace its origin back to any of the Loyalist Primarchs. Regardless of its origins, the Red Scorpions' gene-seed has shown tremendous stability throughout the Chapter's history. It is undoubtedly clear that their near-obsessive approach to insure stability and purity across the Imperium and within the ranks of the Chapter factor into this. However, even with these steps, the initial gene-seed of the Chapter must have been free from flaws in order for none to have surfaced over the intervening millennia since the Red Scorpions' Founding. In order to maintain this purity, the Red Scorpions have maintained a strict protocol of isolationism, so that outside contaminants may not weaken the Chapter. Every member of the Chapter is regularly screened by its Apothecaries for any signs of taint. This screening approaches a level of fanatical devotion in its rigour. Red Scorpions Apothecaries are also always kept close at hand to recover the Progenoid Glands of any fallen Battle-Brother, so that the gene-seed is preserved far more often than is typically expected.
The Red Scorpions hold themselves to the highest of standards and consider their loyalty second to none when compared to other servants of the God-Emperor and soldiers of the Imperium. Part of this pride and their unswerving adherence to the Codex Astartes and its teachings is justified in the purity of their gene-seed and the glorious record of wars and battles they have won in the Emperor's name, though more cynical minds might wonder if the mysteries of the Red Scorpions' past and their origins might also have something to do with their fanatical desire to prove both their loyalty and that their Chapter's behaviour lies beyond the reproach of their peers. Whatever the cause, the end result is a strong distrust in allies fostered by many Red Scorpions which can become more acute over time until many of the Chapter come to believe that none among the other followers or children of the Emperor share their own purity and strength of loyalty, and can never be fully trusted.
The Red Scorpions Chapter prides itself on the purity of its Battle-Brothers and the sanctity of its gene-seed. In the eyes of the Chapter Masters, few other members of the Adeptus Astartes can lay claim to such a lineage and a genetic link to the God-Emperor, while those outside the Adeptus Astartes are almost always tainted by corruption despite any protests of loyalty or claims about the strength of their humanity. Protecting and preserving their purity, and eliminating all signs of taint are therefore very important to the Red Scorpions and part of every Battle-Brother's training and daily observances.
While all Space Marines abhor mutants and aliens, the Red Scorpions reserve a special vehemence for them. The line Red Scorpions draw between those the Imperium considers human and those it does not is far higher than almost any other Chapter, usually making the distinction that unless a man can claim direct descent from the Emperor Himself (like the Red Scorpions) he is a flawed being despite his best intentions.
This fanaticism for extreme genetic purity is most pronounced when in the presence of those tainted by the Ruinous Powers, or those suspected of such taint. All it takes is suspicion for the Red Scorpions to shift their stance with their allies, and once the hint of taint has attached itself to such allies they must work hard to lift it by proving their devotion to the Emperor beyond any shadow of a doubt.
Notable Red Scorpions
- Lord High Commander Carab Culln - Carab Culln was generally seen as the most skilled Commander (Captain) amongst the Chapter's officers and was believed to be the most likely next Lord High Commander (Chapter Master) by the rest of his Battle-Brothers. He is known to be courageous and loyal and rabidly adheres to the Red Scorpions' literalist reading of the Codex Astartes with every word and deed. Culln was placed in command of the elements of the Red Scorpions Chapter that saw combat on behalf of the Inquisition against the feral Tyranids unleashed by the Adeptus Mechanicus' unsanctioned Anphelion Project on Beta Anphelion IV. He led a squad of Terminators that cleansed the Tyranid infestation from the Adeptus Mechanicus research station on that benighted world. During the Badab War, Culln would rise to the position of Lord High Commander as expected after the foul betrayal and death of his predecessor, Verant Ortys, on the world of Grief.
- Lord High Commander Verant Ortys - Ortys was the former Lord High Commander of the Red Scorpions last seen active during the Siege of Vraks, who personally led a strike force of 400 Battle-Brothers in the retaking of the Citadel of Vraks, capturing Saint Leonis' Gate from waves of Heretics, mutants, and finally daemons. Ortys was slain during the Badab War when the Red Scorpions were betrayed by the deceitful Lufgt Huron and his Renegade Astral Claws Chapter on the world of Grief. While both sides were under a flag of truce, the Astral Claws launched a surprise attack against the Red Scorpions and Ortys was slain in the melee.
- Commander Ainea - Ainea was the Commander (Captain) of the Red Scorpions' 3rd Company ca. 826.M41. He led a Red Scorpions strike force that answered Marshall Kagori's request for aid during the Siege of Vraks, capturing the breach in the curtain wall of the Fortress of Vraks that finally allowed the 88th Siege Army to enter the Citadel of Vraks.
- Magister Sevrin Loth - Sevrin Loth is the Magister, or Chief Librarian, of the Red Scorpions Chapter. He is also one of the most potent battle-psykers in his Chapter's history. Few Librarians within the Adeptus Astartes are able to match, let alone exceed, his destructive psychic power on the battlefield. Having already served as Magister to two Lord High Commanders of his Chapter, at the outset of the Badab War, Sevrin Loth was a veteran of centuries of battle. His legend was further added to in the Chapter's annals when he recovered the body of Lord High Commander Verant Ortys following the betrayal at Grief. Upon Carab Culln's ascension as the new Lord High Commander, Sevrin Loth became Culln's closest advisor and most trusted field commander.
- Master Apothecary Kregor Thann - A senior Apothecary of the Red Scorpions, Kregor Thann is currently seconded to the Deathwatch. He is serving his Vigil within the Jericho Reach at Watch Fortress Erioch. Kregor Thann is a veteran of countless war zones and a master of biological weaponry. Thann gained renown as the mastermind behind the geno-tailored toxins that made the Purging of Castillium possible, defeating the horrific Thazeme xenos when no other weapon could slay them. In the aftermath of the Purge, Commander Antir petitioned Lord High Commander Ortys to consider Thann for Deathwatch service. Thann arrived at Watch Fortress Erioch in 815.M41, and has served there ever since. Thann was not assigned to a Kill-team, but rather remains as part of Watch Commander Mordigael's command staff, tasked with engineering a virus or toxin that could be used to combat the Tyranid menace. Like many Apothecaries in the Red Scorpions Chapter, Thann had served as a Sergeant as well as in his role as a medic, which is quite useful to less-experienced Kill-teams deployed to the Orpheus Salient of the Achilus Crusade. Thann's duties have taken him across much of the Orpheus Salient, and he has served alongside a dozen Kill-teams in the prosecution of his duties, taking samples of various Tyranid flora and fauna, or testing recently developed concoctions in the field. To date, he has not successfully developed a substance that works for more than a single generation. The Tyranids are able to adapt, swiftly overcoming Thann's creations, though his tests have still provided numerous opportunities for other Imperial forces to drive back the crippled swarms. Thann has been operating towards the Spinward edge of the Orpheus Salient, pushing deep into the heart of the Tyranid advance. Thann continues to coordinate with each Kill-team that is operating deep behind enemy lines in order to gather samples and deploy newly developed bio-weapons. Tyranids are not, strictly speaking, immune to poisons, toxins or venoms. Rather, each generation of Tyranids is engineered to overcome the weaknesses of those that came before, and thus a toxin that functions against the Tyranids during one engagement may be completely useless during the next one. He is working under a theory that worlds beyond the vanguard will contain less-evolved or otherwise genetically purer creatures that are closer to a theoretical genetic baseline that can be exploited. Kregor Thann is extremely skilled in the art of poisoncraft, having studied the physiologies of a great many foes and the deadly toxins that are employed by xenos reavers like the Scythians and the Dark Eldar. There are few creatures his concoctions cannot slay.
- Veteran Sergeant Haas - Every Chapter of Space Marines is an assemblage of peerless heroes; warriors who stand against the worst horrors in the galaxy with unflinching courage. Yet even amongst such an elite there are those who stand above their brethren, warriors renowned amongst their peers. Veteran Sergeant Haas is one such warrior. He is a long-serving member of the Red Scorpions' elite 1st Company, having served with then-Sergeant Culln during the wars on the Fortress World of Vraks. During the Anphelion Incident he led one of the Chapter's Sternguard Squads attached to the 6th Company, and was present during many of the key battles. During the mission to rescue his old comrade Commander Culln, he led his Sternguard into the thick of the fighting, using volleys of plasma fire to clear a path for the beleaguered survivors of the Heart of Fury's crash to escape. Veteran Sergeant Haas' relentless determination under fire earned him praise throughout the Chapter.
- Veteran Sergeant Raum (Deceased) - Sergeant Raum was a squad leader of the Red Scorpions Chapter who successfully completed 109 missions for the Chapter. He was killed in action against the feral Tyranids on Beta Anphelion IV.
- Dreadnought-Brother Halar (Deceased) - One of many of the Chapter's warriors who fell on Endikon IX, Brother Halar's heroic deeds during the fighting earned him one last chance at glory in the tomb-like shell of one of the Chapter's Dreadnoughts. Halar distinguished himself on Beta Anphelion IV, during the last stand of Commander Culln's force, fighting on despite damage to his Dreadnought suit that proved to be so severe that after his remains were recovered, the Chapter Techmarines were unable to repair it for use by another injured Veteran. His Dreadnought sarcophagus was later interred at the Chapter's fortress-monastery in a place of honour.
- Renegade Captain Oneius Prayd - Once a Captain of the Red Scorpions Chapter, Oneius Prayd threw aside his vows of fealty after his Battle-Brothers refused to choose him as their next Chapter Master. He has led the greater part of his company on a rampage across various xenos worlds near the Veldin Sector, attracting all manner of outcasts and Renegades, until the Ruinous Powers appeared to him in a vision and commanded him to fight on the world of Makenna VII as a true test of his new loyalty.
The Red Scorpions are assumed to have a large fleet at their disposal, given their history and salvage rights following the Badab War, but so far only four starships have been mentioned in Imperial records, including:
- Auel's Bane (Battle Barge)
- Sword of Ordon (Battle Barge) - Deployed during the Siege of Vraks.
- Arx Fidelis (Strike Cruiser) - Deployed during the Siege of Vraks.
- Crux Puritatis (Strike Cruiser) - This ship was once captured by the Flawless Host but was later retaken by then-Chapter Master Thay Kraun.
- Correction of Flesh - The Apothecaries of the Red Scorpions are zealous adherents to the sanctity of the human form and the need to keep it pure, and to this end, the most learned of their number created a set of advanced medical tools to treat the superhuman flesh of Space Marines. These tools, collectively known as the Correction of Flesh, surpass the efficacy of a standard Narthecium, and can treat unenhanced humans or warriors of the Adeptus Astartes with but minor alterations to the dosage.
- Icons of the Scorpion - The Red Scorpions often adorn their wargear with an engraved image of their Chapter namesake. These small talisman-like icons remind the bearer of their Chapter's heritage and their constant drive to purge corruption without as well as within. Bolstered by his conviction, a Red Scorpions Battle-Brother who possesses an Icon of the Scorpion gains a significant resistance to the taint of Chaos.
- Tears of the Scorpion - The Red Scorpions have vast armouries, compared to many Chapters, with copious examples of mastercrafted melee and ranged weapons carefully maintained and protected by the Chapter. Among all of these fine weapons none are as revered by the Red Scorpions as the Relic Blades known as the Tears of the Scorpion. Ancient weapons of immense spiritual value to the Chapter and of long-lost eldritch design, they are only ever gifted to the greatest of Red Scorpion Battle-Brothers, often reserved for its company commanders and Chapter Masters. In rare instances if a hero of the Chapter proves himself worthy, he may be allowed to wield one of the blades in battle, but such is a rare and great honour. The Tears of the Scorpion generate a power field of ancient and powerful design. Other Power Weapons offer no protection from these vicious blades.
The Red Scorpions are generally philosophically opposed to the use of covert techniques prior to and during a battle. They prefer to proudly demonstrate their presence and their markings. They firmly believe that their iconography and wargear are a crucial symbol of their allegiance to the God-Emperor. Anything that prevents their foes from seeing these insignia is a veritable affront to their faith. While they have been known to use Codex Astartes-standard camouflage patterns, even these are accepted only with extreme reluctance.
The Red Scorpions' Power Armour was originally painted black with a yellow helm stripe and yellow shoulder plate, leg and arm trims. The Imperial record was later amended to indicate that the Chapter currently prefers a charcoal grey or black colour scheme with a mustard yellow helm stripe, shoulder plate trim and Aquila (irrespective of company designation). A single knee guard can also be in the same yellow, though this varies between individuals. The shoulder plates are black.
During the Angstrom Incident, the Pursuit Squad of this Chapter wore a red and black camouflage pattern.
The Red Scorpions' Chapter badge is a red scorpion centred on a white field.
- Apocalypse (Supplement), pg. 171
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 34-41
- Epic Armageddon, pg. 70
- Imperial Armour Volume Two (Second Edition) - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 94
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pp. 66-70, 121-129
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, Second Edition, pp. 112-122
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pp. 80-82, 86-87, 124-128, 129,
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pp. 4, 70-73,
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 5, 30-32, 34, 39-40, 43-45, 47-49, 82-89, 134, 153, 158-159, 165-167
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 9, 14, 19, 22-23, 34, 36-39, 44, 46, 56-61
- Index Astartes, "Strength in Purity - The Red Scorpions Chapter"
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium, "The Badab War", pp. 33-36
- White Dwarf 303 (UK) "Index Astartes: Rogue Sons"
- White Dwarf 302 (US) "Index Astartes: Rogue Sons"
- White Dwarf 235 (US) "Bloodied Fist: The Rynn's World Incident", 57-62
- White Dwarf 105 (UK) "Land Raider!"
- White Dwarf 101 (UK) "Index Astartes: The Badab Uprising"
- White Dwarf 94 (UK) "Skirmish on Rynn's World: The Battle of Jadeberry Hill", pp. 56-62