Rogal Dorn was the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Space Marines Legion and one of the greatest heroes in the history of the Imperium of Man. Dorn constructed the defences of the Imperial Palace in the Himalayan Mountains on Terra that would be sorely tested by the Forces of Chaos during the climax of the Horus Heresy in the terrible Battle of Terra. Rogal Dorn allegedly died fighting onboard a Chaos Space Marine starship in the late 31st Millennium, after attacking the 1st Black Crusade's warfleet with a vastly outnumbered Imperial force. Seeing the importance of attacking the enemy fleet while they were still preparing to invade Imperial space, he relied on hit-and-run attacks until his reinforcements could arrive. Dorn was supposedly slain on board the Chaos Despoiler-class Battleship Sword of Sacrilege after leading a desperate attack on its bridge, but in fact the Imperial Fists and their Successor Chapters believe that Dorn is still alive somewhere and may yet return when the Imperium needs him most.
Very little is known about Rogal Dorn's youth. It is believed that he was raised on the frigid Ice World of Inwit in the Inwit Cluster star system by a tribal ice-caste native to the ice-hives of the world. The patriarch of the clan that raised Dorn became an adoptive grandfather to him, and taught him much of tactics, strategy, and diplomacy. Even after he discovered he was not blood-related to his "grandfather," Dorn held his memory in high value; he kept a fur-edged robe that had belonged to the man and slept with it on his bed every night. Eventually, Rogal Dorn became the leader not only of his clan but of the whole world and then the surrounding region of space, ruling the Inwit Cluster as the first Emperor of the House of Dorn.
The Coming of the Emperor
Forty standard years after his grandfather's death, the outlying Imperial starships of the Great Crusade finally reached the Ice Hives of Inwit. Dorn greeted the Emperor at the helm of the enormous starship constructed during the Dark Age of Technology called the Phalanx that he had discovered within Inwit's region of space. Dorn became the seventh of the twenty Primarchs who had been found by their father. The Emperor welcomed Dorn as his long-lost son, and returned the Phalanx to his care, transforming it into the mobile fortress-monastery of the VII Space Marine Legion that was also turned over by the Emperor to Dorn to lead, since all of its Astartes had been created using Dorn's own genetic template.
Dorn himself was fiercely loyal to the Emperor from the first moment that they met on the bridge of the Phalanx, and he never once sought any favour from his father. Dorn embodied the human quest for truth, and could never tell a lie, even if it would have aided his cause. Because of this quality, Dorn's statue stands as one of only four ever erected on Macragge, next to that of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines.
Dorn commanded the VII Legion and Expeditionary Fleets with peerless devotion and military genius. It was said that he possessed one of the finest military minds amongst the Primarchs, ordered and disciplined but still inclined to flashes of zeal and inspiration. His record of achievements for the Imperium during the Great Crusade were innumerable, and indeed the Warmaster Horus said that he esteemed Dorn and the Imperial Fists so highly that he reckoned if the Fists, noted masters of defence, were to hold a fortress against he and his Luna Wolves, noted masters of assault, the resultant conflict would spiral into a never-ending stalemate.
When the Emperor returned to Terra to build a capital worthy of ruling a million planets, Dorn went as well. Always having excelled in the construction of fortresses, he was tasked with designing the defences for the Imperial Palace. These would prove to be magnificent, and would be well-tested in the following years as the storm of the Horus Heresy broke over the Imperium. The Primarch Fulgrim once asked if Rogal Dorn thought the Imperial Palace could withstand an assault by the Iron Warriors Legion. Dorn's truthful answer, that it could, infuriated the Iron Warriors' Primarch Perturabo to such a degree that they would almost destroy each other in battle years later during the Horus Heresy.
Dorn and the entire Imperial Fists Legion were recalled to Terra to take up guard stations there near the end of the Great Crusade.
Before the Imperial Fists could arrive at Terra in full complement, the events of the Horus Heresy overtook them. Stranded for some considerable time by severe Warp storms, the Imperial Fists fleet eventually discovered the badly damaged Loyalist Death Guard frigate Eisenstein, and so learned of Horus' betrayal. However, at first Dorn did not believe Captain Nathaniel Garro and nearly killed him when Garro said that his Brother-Primarch Horus was a traitor to the Imperium and the Emperor. Rogal Dorn was eventually convinced by several members of the Eisenstein survivors of the Istvaan III Massacre, notably Captain Garro, Iacton Qruze of the Luna Wolves and Remembrancer (later Imperial Saint) Euphrati Keeler, that his brothers the Primarchs Horus, Fulgrim, Mortarion, and Angron were staging a full-scale rebellion against the Emperor's rule. Dorn therefore dispatched the bulk of his Legion to the Istvaan System on a war-footing. He himself returned to Terra with his veteran Space Marine companies to bring word of the terrible events personally to the Emperor of Mankind.
Defence of the Imperial Palace
Dorn was subsequently charged with bolstering the defences of the Imperial Palace even further against the coming storm of the Traitor Marines, and oversaw the construction himself. Dorn constructed great bastions armed with millions of artillery cannons, and added steel plating to the towers and walls of the Palace. He felt he was marring the perfection and beauty of the existing structure in doing so, and regretted it, even though it was necessary. His Legion also struck out to Mars, securing vital weapons, armour and munitions from the Loyalist Adeptus Mechanicus, even as the planet fell to the Chaos-tainted Dark Mechanicum, though the Imperial Fists Space Marine force under Captain Camba-Diez took terrible casualties in the raid to secure the critical supplies. This materiel would later prove essential in holding off the siege of the Imperial Palace by the Traitor Marines.
What forces of his Legion Dorn had taken with him would fight in the Siege of Terra, manning the Palace defences with the Blood Angels Legion. When Horus dropped the shielding on his flagship, Dorn and his most trusted veterans, clad in the few remaining suits of Terminator Armour, would teleport directly into battle with Horus on that ship. Unfortunately, Dorn and his chosen Marines would land farthest from Horus, and had to fight their way across almost the entire length of the battle barge. This meant that they would arrive too late to participate in the battle with Horus himself. Dorn would be the one to find the bodies of the Emperor, the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius and Horus. He was also the one to take notes from the fatally crippled Emperor on how to rebuild the Imperium, and personally carried his shattered father's body to his resting place in the Golden Throne of the Imperial Palace, where he would lie, neither alive nor dead, for the next ten millennia.
After the internment of the Emperor in the Golden Throne, Dorn was stricken with grief. He felt the Emperor's near-demise to be his fault and led his Legion on a crusade of penitence across the Imperium. He was summoned back to Terra when Roboute Guilliman announced the adoption of his Codex Astartes, turning the large Space Marine Legions into the much smaller 1,000-man Space Marine Chapters. Dorn was initially outraged at this proposal, feeling that the Imperium blamed him (and rightly so, he thought) for the fall of his Brother Marines. However, realizing what damage another internal conflict could do to the fragile peace of the Imperium, Dorn finally relented and agreed to the Second Founding. This was a dark period in Rogal Dorn's life; he had both failed the Emperor and his Legion now faltered without the guiding light of the Master of Mankind.
Dorn was shaken to the core, shocked that the Imperium no longer trusted him or his Legion and that now after the loss of the Emperor and the failure of the Great Crusade the brotherhood of the Legion would be sundered as well. Without battle to focus them the Imperial Fists hovered on the brink, unsure of their future, Dorn despairing that he had not seen the Imperium changing while he hunted down the traitors. Dorn, Leman Russ of the Space Wolves and Vulkan of the Salamanders all refused the dictates of the Codex, and the Imperium seemed poised to tear itself apart in civil war again. The Imperial Fists Strike Cruiser The Terrible Angel was even fired upon by the Imperial Navy for the Fists' supposed heresies. It was at this time that the Iron Warriors issued a clear challenge that Dorn could not refuse by building an immense fortress and daring the Imperial Fists to attack it.
Some controversy exists about the next event in Rogal Dorn's life. What is clear is that the Imperial Fists could not be as easily divided into Chapters as, for example, the Ultramarines could. The total commitment to the entire Legion was bred into each Marine and many didn't wish to form their own Successor Chapters. Dorn found the answer to this problem in meditation through self-inflicted pain, using a device known as the Pain Glove. The pain-induced vision revealed that his Legion had to be redeemed in the eyes of the Emperor, and that the way to salvation was through pain and self-sacrifice. Dorn meditated for seven full days in the pain glove until he saw a vision of the Emperor. Realizing that the Emperor was not dead and gone and the He still watched over them from the Golden Throne. Decreeing that the Imperial Fists would all enter the pain glove as a Legion, and emerge as a Chapter, symbolically reborn, Dorn led his die-hard warriors in an assault on the Iron Warriors fortress. The 'collective pain' needed to cleanse the Chapter was decided by Dorn to be the siege of an Iron Warriors' fortress, the Iron Cage. The battle known as the Iron Cage has gone down in history as one of great tragedy and remorse for the Imperial Fists. For not only was it a disaster, it also signaled the end of the Legion.
The battle known only as the Iron Cage has gone down in history as one of great tragedy and remorse for the Imperial Fists. Some however suspect that Dorn knew the outcome when he threw himself and his Legion into the assault. Some believe Dorn knew that many of his zealous warriors would never accept the dissolution of the Legion as the adoption of the Codex Astartes required, and that by throwing themselves into the suicidal assault on the Iron Cage they would at least be granted an honourable death, for that is exactly what many of them got.
The Iron Cage was actually a defensive trap set by the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion on the world of Sebastus IV that was known as the Eternal Fortress and which was a besieging force's nightmare straight from the depths of hell. The Iron Warriors were masters of siege and defence and Perturabo’s writings on the subject had even been retained by the Primarch Roboute Guilliman in the Codex Astartes. But Dorn was Perturabo’s equal, and furious at the defiance of the Traitors, the Imperial Fists launched an all-out assault straight into the heart of the Iron Warriors defenses within the Eternal Fortress, enraged that the enemy had dared raise their heretical banners over another Imperial world. Without any planning or strategy the Fists fought with zeal, endurance, and sheer grit determination, breaking out of every trap, fighting through every ambush and breaching every defense that got in their way. Dorn led the attack, a colossus who threw back every assault. While the battle should have favored the Iron Warriors in their network of trenches and redoubts the Imperial Fists matched the Iron Warriors guile with cold fury. Brother fought brother in half flooded trenches, tearing at each other with knives and chainswords when all ammunition was expended, neither giving nor expecting any quarter.
The Iron Warriors' Daemon Primarch Perturabo had built the massive fortifications to mock the Imperial Fists, and Dorn led his most die-hard followers in a siege that would last for several weeks. The Iron Warriors, now twisted Chaos Space Marines, claim that the Imperial Fists suffered a crushing defeat, and that Dorn and his Legion would have been wiped out if Perturabo hadn't prolonged Dorn's suffering so long that the Ultramarines managed to intervene. Imperial records of the battle indicate otherwise. The Imperial Fists had always been masters of siege craft, and even unprepared and at a disadvantage they fought like lions. Dorn stood as a giant in their midst, his mind clear with purpose after years of doubt and guilt.
Eventually it became obvious that though the Imperial Fists had suffered horrible losses and that the Iron Warriors could not finish them off, lacking the faith to make the ultimate sacrifice to achieve victory. During a pause in the fighting Roboute Guilliman and his Ultramarines intervened in the struggle, extracting the battered Imperial Fists and letting the Iron Warriors escape. Guilliman had decided that the destruction of the Iron Warriors was not worth the death of Rogal Dorn and so, he had come with the entirety of his Ultramarines to break up the brutal fight and drive the Iron Warriors off.
With their cleansing in the fires of battle at the Iron Cage over the Imperial Fists withdrew into seclusion, letting their successor Chapters take to the field in their stead. For two decades the Imperial Fists re-organized, under the direction of Dorn the Chapter absorbed the tenets of the Codex Astartes and by the time they reappeared on the battlefields of the Imperium their adherence to the Codex was second only to the Ultramarines themselves.
Rogal Dorn allegedly died fighting onboard a Chaos Space Marine starship in the late 31st Millennium, after attacking the 1st Black Crusade's warfleet with a vastly outnumbered Imperial force. Seeing the importance of attacking the enemy fleet while they were still preparing to invade Imperial space, he relied on hit-and-run attacks until his reinforcements could arrive. Dorn was slain on board the Chaos Despoiler-class Battleship Sword of Sacrilege after leading a desperate attack on its bridge.
According to Ian Watson's novel Space Marine, Dorn's skeleton, without its hands, is encased in clear amber, which is formed in the shape of the Primarch's body. Dorn's skeletal fists are kept within two shrines, the bones intricately engraved with the heraldry of all the Imperial Fists Chapter's previous Masters. Only the current Chapter Master has the right to engrave his name upon the bones. Even with minuscule script, ten thousand years of history have left the bones covered with names, giving a list of the Imperium's greatest heroes. Each bone corresponds to former commanders. Left hand, the first metacarpal: Lords Bronwin Abermort, Maximus Thane, Kalman Flodensbog, the first phalanx of the thumb, Ambrosian Spactor, etc.
However it has recently been revealed that Dorn and his veteran Space Marines stormed the Chaos ship and were cut down to a man. Later, the Imperial Fists would pick up an escape pod from one of their own ships, which contained the effects of the Primarch when he went onboard the ship and a single skeletal fist of the Primarch. Where the true Rogal Dorn or his body is and what his fate may have been, no one yet knows.
What remained of the Imperial Fists Legion was divided into Second Founding Chapters, divided more or less along either tactical or ideological lines. Dorn would give each Imperial Fists Successor Chapter a holy relic of his, a personal sign of both respect and favor. Even in being forced to divide his beloved Legion, he would make sure that each Marine remembered which Primarch he descended from, and that each received their own personal proof that he had not abandoned his sons.
Sigismund, who was chosen as the Emperor's Champion by Dorn during the Siege of the Imperial Palace, led the more zealous of the former Imperial Fists into the Black Templar Chapter and was elevated as the first High Marshal of the Black Templars. Sigismund swore an oath that upon leaving Terra, he and his new Chapter would prove their loyalty by never resting in their duties against enemies of the Emperor. Every High Marshal after him has renewed this oath and as such, the Black Templars Crusade is the longest Space Marine Crusade ever, which has continued for over ten thousand years.
The more rational and most newly-recruited Marines formed the Crimson Fists. While these Marines may have been younger, they were not as fanatical as the Black Templars and, having spent the least time in the Legion before its division into Chapters, could stomach their separation from their beloved Primarch and fellow Battle-Brothers the easiest.
The Excoriators are a Codex Astartes-compliant Loyalist Chapter of Space Marines who are a Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists. An ancient tome of knowledge known as the Mythos Angelica Mortis lists them as one of the twenty Chapters of Astartes founded to make up the Astartes Praeses, an ever-vigilant Space Marine task force assigned to guard the regions of the Imperium surrounding the Eye of Terror. The Excoriators' Chapter homeworld is Eschara in the Segmentum Obscurus.
The Marines most devoted and loyal to their Primarch and Legion remained Imperial Fists. Rogal Dorn personally spent the next twenty years rebuilding and reforming his Chapter according to the standards of the Index Astartes. He would lead his Chapter until his disappearance.
The Iron Knights are Crusaders in the proud tradition of Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists. They are one of the twelve Space Marine Chapters that send a champion to the centennial Feast of Blades, and are the only Chapter that attends to have won the contest on two consecutive occasions. Note that the Iron Knights, while likely a Successor Chapter of Dorn's own Imperial Fists, are not a Second Founding Chapter like the Crimson Fists or Black Templars. The official records of the Imperium show that the Imperial Fists were divided into three Chapters following the Horus Heresy: the Crimson Fists, the Black Templars and the Imperial Fists themselves. A fourth Chapter, that of the Soul Drinkers, was also created at this time but has since been declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Inquisition and hence, its very existence has been stricken from the Imperial Record.
The naval shock-assault elements of the Imperial Fists formed the Soul Drinkers. Their style of shock and awe warfare would become the tactical backbone of the Chapter, creating a force dedicated to breaking their enemies' will and morale even as it broke their bodies. Rogal Dorn gave them the Soulspear, a powerful weapon that created, effectively, blades of vortex technology that could disintegrate and cut through nearly anything when used. It was able to analyze the DNA of its holder, so only a person with the gene-codes of Dorn or his sons could use it.
Commonly dressed in Power Armour of burnished copper and gold, Dorn also wore a red velvet cloak and unfurled eagle-wing motif was heavily present on most parts of his gear, most notably on a decorative section of his armour that rose above his shoulders. He had a stern and naturally unsmiling face, topped with an unruly shock of short, bone-white hair.
- Codex Imperialis
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 38-39,
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 54-56, 104
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Index Astartes II, "Emperor's Fist - The Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter"
- Horus Heresy Chapterbook (Anthology)
- Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow
- Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Nemesis (Novel) by James Swallow
- Space Marine (1st Edition) (Background Book) (1989) by Jervis Johnson and Graeme Davis, p. 23
- Tales of Heresy (Anthology) edited by Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestley, "Blood Games" by Dan Abnett
- The Dark King - The Lightning Tower (Audio Book), by Dan Abnett and Graham McNeill
- Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- The Outcast Dead (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, 'The Last Remembrancer' by John French
- Space Marine (Novel) by Ian Watson
- Sons of Dorn (Novel) by Chris Roberson
- Legion of the Damned (Novel) by Rob Sanders
|Horus • Leman Russ • Lost Primarchs • Ferrus Manus • Fulgrim • Vulkan • Rogal Dorn • Roboute Guilliman • Magnus the Red • Sanguinius • Lion El'Jonson • Perturabo • Mortarion • Lorgar • Jaghatai Khan • Konrad Curze • Angron • Corvus Corax • Alpharius Omegon|