The Sons of Dorn is a Loyalist Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marine Chapter and a Successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists. It was created during an unknown Founding at some time during the 34th Millennium. The Sons of Dorn's Chapter homeworld is the Feudal World of Archea which is located in the Segmentum Solar. In 999.M41 Archea was ravaged by a splinter fleet of the Tyranids' Hive Fleet Leviathan. With the bulk of their Chapter deployed in defence of the Imperium around the Eye of Terror to halt the 13th Black Crusade, much of Archea was consumed by the Great Devourer before the sudden onset of Chapter Master Alexandros the Blind's abilities as a psychic blank shattered the swarm and saved Archea from complete destruction. With a world and a Chapter to rebuild, it will likely take several standard centuries before the Sons of Dorn are back to full strength.
The Sons of Dorn were founded in the 34th Millennium during an unknown Founding using the genetic legacy of the Imperial Fists' Primarch Rogal Dorn. Members of the Crimson Fists Chapter were chosen as the representatives of the Adeptus Astartes to help form this newly founded Chapter. The Sons of Dorn were given feudal right to Archea by the High Lords of Terra to serve as their Chapter planet, the home of their fortress-monastery and the source of all their Aspirants. The early exploits of the Sons of Dorn were not known outside of their home sector for nearly a century, until their second Chapter Master, Polus Lichius Alexandros, known by some as "Alexandros the Great", rose to prominence. Coming from humble origins, Alexandros was the first Chapter Master of the Sons of Dorn to have been born on Archea, and therefore he became the first Chapter Master to descend from the honoured families or Lineages of the Archean nobility. He became renowned for leading his fledgling Chapter on a massive Crusade across two segmentums and into the Eye of Terror itself. Over the course of six Terran centuries, Alexandros led the Sons of Dorn in the re-conquest of many former Imperial worlds, freeing them from the clutches of the Heretic, the Apostate and the xenos, but his greatest conquests occurred near the Eye of Terror. Alexandros could not rest knowing that the enemies of the Emperor continually assailed Mankind. He was forever seeking opportunities to lead his Chapter on a campaign. As a result, the Sons of Dorn were rarely at full strength, though what they lacked in numbers was more than compensated for in their determined fervour.
Several sectors adjacent to the Eye of Terror were ultimately brought back into the fold of the Imperium by the actions of this Chapter. These sectors fell under the protection of the Sons of Dorn. A contingent drawn from the Chapter continuously guards this feudal demesne to the present day. Alexandros continued to lead his Chapter for almost 600 standard years before he was brought low by a Chaos Champion's plague weapon that dripped with a foul pestilence of Nurgle. Instead of succumbing to the virulent plague that infected and ravaged his body, he managed to survive for several more months before the disease finally broke down his genetically-enhanced Astartes immune system. His body was interred within a stasis sarcophagus and sequestered within the vaults of the sacred chambers of the Temple of Resilience located in the Chapter's fortress-monastery on Archea. Some within the Chapter whisper that the Chapter Master lies there waiting until such time as a definitive cure for his illness can be discovered. On that day, his sarcophagus will be opened, and Alexandros the Great will stride forth once more to lead his Battle-Brothers to glorious battle.
A Chapter's ShameEdit
Though a noble and proud Chapter, the Sons of Dorn are not without sin. For within their long and glorious history a dark stain upon their honour still resonates from the time it occurred over five millennia ago. One of their own, from the proud Lineage of their greatest Chapter heroes, plunged the Sons of Dorn into a terrible conflict that nearly resulted in their destruction. Although most of the Imperial records pertaining to the Sons of Dorn have been purged from the dark time known as the Age of Apostasy, evidence remains that it was through the machinations of the reviled Alexandros the Mad that the Chapter War was birthed.
Appius Flavius Alexandros was born to the famous Archean Lineage of Alexandros the Great. He was the first Alexandros descendant who would rise within the ranks of the Sons of Dorn and play a very pivotal role within the Chapter's history, though his legacy of madness would taint the Chapter forevermore. He would be known by future generations of the Sons of Dorn as "Alexandros the Mad" -- a name which would be vilified within the Chapter's lore, synonymous with infamy and treachery, and in time would hopefully be erased from history altogether. Appius was one of the first inductees of the great Lineage of Alexandros to rise above the station of a mere Battle-Brother and through his numerous deeds of valour and courage, he would be elected from amongst his fellow company commanders as a prospective Master of the Sons of Dorn upon the death of their old Chapter Master. He was an exceptional warrior without peer in the Chapter. Appius underwent the final trial to become Chapter Master by ritually ingesting some of his forebear's poisoned blood in the secret ritual used to choose a worthy successor. Surviving this ordeal, Appius' body appeared to overcome the potent toxins and he was deemed worthy to lead the Chapter.
At first, Appius appeared to be an inspirational and formidable leader cut from the same cloth as his famous ancestor. However, unbeknownst to his brothers, the poisoned blood of Alexandros the Great had an adverse effect on Appius. It is not known whether this was due to some latent effect within the toxic blood of Alexandros the Great, the fact that Appius was a blood descendant of the Alexandros lineage and was therefore affected more severely by the toxin, or some Warp-spawned touch from the virulent disease. Perhaps it was a combination of all three. But what is known is that after the ritual ingestion of the blood, changes were quickly wrought upon the unsuspecting Appius. Over a short period of time he began to slip into madness. The changes in his character were subtle and not noticed by many of his brothers at first. This madness would be the catalyst that would eventually lead the Chapter into outright heresy.
During the Wars of Apostasy in the 36th Millennium, Chapter Master Appius ordered his Chapter to withdraw from the ongoing conflict with High Lord Goge Vandire's Apostate forces and return to their homeworld of Archea. He claimed that they needed to further strengthen their Chapter's might in preparation for what was surely to be a long and brutal campaign. But this was a lie, for the Chapter would play no further role in the internecine conflict, nor would they take part in the glorious final assault on Terra against the mad High Lord's fortress and witness the final, successful outcome. Appius wished to fully exploit the economic power of the surrounding sector to his Chapter's advantage, increasing the Sons of Dorn's stockpiles of arms and equipment far beyond the possible operational needs of a single Space Marine Chapter. What he planned to do with these massive stockpiles is not known, but Imperial scholars believe that he was preparing to launch his own Dark Crusade of plunder across the reaches of the Segmentum Solar.
During this period of re-consolidation and preparation, Appius began to show the development of latent psychic abilities. This was highly unusual, as he had been thoroughly examined both physically and psychically, and had exhibited no natural psychic talents upon his induction into the Chapter. After much study by the Chapter's senior Librarians, the general consensus was that the tainted blood of Appius' ancestor must have somehow unlocked the psychic potential within him. This development greatly worried many of the Battle-Brothers within the Chapter and made them wary of their new commander. During this time a previously unknown "advisor" rose to prominence within Chapter Master Appius' court.
This mysterious figure, even within his own Chapter, wore the colours of the Sons of Dorn and claimed to have been a member of the Chapter, though strangely most of his Battle-Brothers could not recall who he was. Some claimed to have known him from before his meteoric rise within the ranks, though these claims were dubious at best. To this day, the identity of this so-called "advisor" has still not been determined. There is some speculation that he was either a daemon-possessed psyker or Warp creature given the form of an Astartes. Soon, a significant rift formed within the ranks of the Sons of Dorn as the Chapter split into two camps; those that were unswervingly loyal to their new Chapter Master and those that could not bring themselves to trust Appius' increasingly suspect judgement. Appius' madness began to degenerate further, as he haughtily declared to the Chapter that he would no longer be referred to as Appius, for he had cast off his old name. He ordained that he would be referred to as Alexandros, in honour of his ancestor's namesake. This action pushed those who did not trust their commander further away.
Appius' detractors soon referred to their apparently insane Chapter Master as Alexandros "the Mad", as he had become more self-absorbed, angry and hate-filled. He indulged in base debauchery, including drunken revelry and illegal gladiatorial contests held within his court between his loyal Astartes followers and condemned Archean criminals. His loyal followers did the same, indulging in every base desire and killing those that displeased them on a whim. Alexandros the Mad was soon accused of killing for mere amusement, deliberately wasting the planet's financial resources to erect statues of himself in Capua's central Forum amongst Archea's heroes, and causing needless starvation amongst the people. During one ignominious act that occurred during the games at the Gladium in which he was presiding, he ordered his Honour Guard to throw an entire section of the crowd into the arena during intermission to be eaten alive by animals because there were no criminals to be prosecuted and he was bored. Other additional tales of insanity tell of Alexandros sending his Space Marines on illogical military exercises and turning the Sons of Dorn's Fortress-Monastery into a brothel, though the validity of this latter tale is debatable.
Frustrated and greatly disturbed by the Chapter Master's disreputable actions, a cabal composed of some of the Chapter's senior officers banded together and demanded an audience with Alexandros the Mad. They refused to follow his commands henceforth and loudly rebuked him, declaring that he was unfit to lead their Chapter and ordered him to step down from his role as Chapter Master. He and his followers would be stripped of their wargear and put in chains. They would be judged by a conclave of their peers who would determine their fate. The bored Alexandros stifled a yawn and merely laughed at their jest. He then rose from his bronze throne and flayed the usurpers' souls from their bodies with his psychic might. This final act of treachery damned the Chapter Master, and soon the Chapter erupted into outright civil war. During the course of this conflict, there were those that had initially followed the Chapter Master out of blind loyalty, but realising their error in judgment, switched sides and vigorously opposed their treacherous brethren.
In the end, Alexandros the Mad and less than 200 of his loyal followers fled the wrath of their brethren in a stolen Strike Cruiser. The rest of the Chapter attempted to give chase but the Traitors managed to elude them and reach the safety of the Eye of Terror where they were welcomed into the embrace of the Forces of Chaos. To this day, this dark stain on the Chapter's honour is a closely guarded secret. No one outside the Chapter knows of this internecine conflict. The Sons of Dorn enacted an Edict of Obliteration, erasing decades from their Chapter's records during this time period. Alexandros the Mad and his Renegade band of Chaos Space Marines have plagued Mankind ever since, and whenever there is a sighting of his infamous band of reavers, the Chapter does everything in its power to despatch a strike force to investigate. But the insane former Chapter Master continues to elude his erstwhile brethren.
Despite his madness, Alexandros the Mad still displays the skills and innate abilities of a masterful Astartes leader said to rival the heroes of a bygone age. His tactical acumen is such that he can still outwit even other Space Marine commanders on the field of battle, as the handful of confrontations he has had with the Sons of Dorn since his ouster continues to prove. Further reports insinuate that the mad Chapter Master has fully given himself over to the worship of the Ruinous Powers. His warband has repainted their armour a glossy black, covering the Imperial panoply of their former heritage, and now sport the accouterments and damned iconography of Chaos. The former Chapter Master is said to sport a large pair of ebon-coloured leathery wings upon his back, appearing as some dark parody of an actual angel, a mutational "gift" of the Dark Gods. After Alexandros the Mad's fall from grace, the Chapter's Librarians fell into a deep trance and gleaned a prophecy from the strange currents of fate. This prophecy foretold the coming of a warrior who would someday rise to command the Sons of Dorn -- another Astartes born of the Lineage of Alexandros the Great who would be the polar opposite of "Alexandros the Mad" and who would one day face the Chapter's nemesis and end his madness.
After the corruption of Alexandros the Mad and the violence that followed, a conclave was formed to determine the Chapter's future. There was some reluctance on the part of some of the senior Astartes to allow another prospective successor from the Lineage of Alexandros to ever be allowed to drink from the poisoned blood, but eventually a consensus was reached; they would not restrict any prospective successor, in accordance with Alexandros the Great's wishes, but would place closer scrutiny upon every future inheritor of the Chapter Master's mantle. The Chapter's senior Reclusiarch and Librarian would undertake this solemn duty, acting as both advisors and vigilant guardians over the spiritual and physical well-being of the chosen Chapter Master. If that Chapter Master showed the slightest deviance of spirit, Chaotic taint or presented a dire threat to the survival of the entire Chapter, he would be executed without remorse.
After five millennia of shame, the Chapter's redemption may have finally come in the form of their current Chapter Master, Alexandros "the Blind". Also born to the famous Lineage of Alexandros the Great, Quintus Decius Alexandros is the second Alexandros descendant to have risen within the ranks of the Sons of Dorn to the position of Chapter Master. Some say he is the prophesied saviour who would finally defeat the evil of Alexandros the Mad, and wipe the stain to their Chapter's honour clean in the sight of the Emperor. Born on Archea in 779.M41, Quintus also came from humble origins. He was inducted into the Sons of Dorn at an early age and quickly rose to prominence within his Chapter as a Scout Novitiate during the later stages of one of the Chapter's Crusades near the Eye of Terror. Quintus moved rapidly through the ranks, his skills applied to service with both his Chapter's famous 4th Battle Company and later the elite 1st Company Veterans, The Praetorians.
His skills eventually saw him raised to the status of a prospective successor for Chapter command, despite having only a century of practical experience compared to other Sons of Dorn Battle-Brothers. He was universally admired and respected by his fellow Astartes for his abilities as a level-headed and skilled commander. Quintus' presence on the battlefield was said to bolster the morale of those around him and his tactical skills were said to rival that of his famous ancestor. Upon the death of their former Chapter Master in 889.M41, Quintus was unanimously elected to undergo the rights of initiation as a prospective Chapter Master. Under the close scrutiny of the senior Chaplain and Librarian of the Chapter, Quintus partook of the poisoned blood of his ancestor and survived the ordeal.
Quintus went on to serve the Sons of Dorn as Chapter Master for over a century, without showing any signs of corruption. Putting the well-being of his men before his own, Quintus led many of his strike forces from the front lines, often in the thickest of the fighting. The sight of his form in alabaster white Artificer Power Armour smashing through the enemy's ranks served as an inspiration for the warriors that followed him into battle, assuring them of his righteousness and purity. It would not be until the Defence of Archea from the Tyranids in 999.M41 that the effects of the poisoned blood that he had imbibed over a century earlier became readily apparent. Quintus was convalescing upon Archea within the Chapter's Apothecarium, recovering from severe wounds incurred during the defence of the Imperium from the 13th Black Crusade, when word reached him that a Tyranid Hive Fleet was fast approaching. Despite the severity of his wounds, Quintus pushed through the severe pain and hastily prepared his world's defences, in order to hopefully survive the inevitable onslaught. He bent his skills to further buttress Archea's defences. Quintus knew that the survival of his world rested on the outcome.
When the Tyranid splinter fleet arrived at Archea, it arrived at a world ready for a fight, for the planet's surface possessed a carefully wrought series of defences, which the Sons of Dorn would man alongside Archea's Planetary Defence Forces. Quintus' plan, should the worst befall his defenders, was to fall back towards the Chapter's fortress-monastery located in the planet's towering peaks and hopefully hold out until reinforcements arrived. The Sons of Dorn's fleet was hopelessly outmatched in orbit and had to disengage to preserve their numbers, leaving the forces on the ground to fend for themselves. The four companies of Space Marines on Archea were despatched across the globe to various key cities and locations to protect the population. They fought valiantly but it was a losing battle and eventually the Astartes had to pull back to their fortress-monastery, leaving the Archean civilians to fend for themselves. This brutal conflict lasted for several months as the Sons of Dorn fought a brilliant but ultimately futile campaign against the vast hordes of the ravenous Tyranid swarms. All hope for aid was lost, and with only 135 Astartes remaining, the Sons of Dorn knew that they were going to die, but not before they sold their lives dearly.
It was near the outskirts of the Sons of Dorn's Fortress-Monastery, at the Battle of the Ichean Plateau, that Quintus and his surviving Astartes made their valiant last stand. Just as all hope was lost, their hearts soared at the sight of their Chapter's Drop Pods and Thunderhawk gunships dropping from the skies, with the valiant 4th Company spearheading the assault. The 4th Company slammed into the rear flank of the Tyranid swarm as Quintus led a valiant charge from the front lines, catching the vile xenos in a pincer movement. The Sons of Dorn were vastly outnumbered, and though it appeared that they would ultimately fall, Quintus never lost hope in the face of overwhelming odds. He trusted that the Emperor and the spirit of Rogal Dorn would protect them. Leading the assault, the Chapter Master soon identified the malevolent intelligence that led the usually mindless swarm -- a Tyranid Hive Tyrant. Under the Hive Tyrant's psychic dominion, the swarm continuously adapted to defeat Quintus' tactics as quickly as he developed them. Determined to break the synapse control of the domineering bio-form, Quintus bravely plunged into the fray, attacking the Hive Tyrant and his bodyguard of Tyrant Guard bio-forms. Beset on all sides, Quintus' superlative swordsmanship felled three of the Tyrant Guard, but there was still the Hive Tyrant to deal with.
In the midst of the ferocious fighting, Quintus took a score of wounds from the large bone-blade of the ravaging Hive Tyrant, laying him low. It was then, when all seemed lost and Quintus was poised to die at the hands of the Hive Tyrant that a miracle occurred. A brilliant explosion of light erupted from his body, levitating his form off the ground. This luminescence disappeared as abruptly as it had appeared, to be replaced by a nimbus of un-light that spread across the battlefield -- it was dark, yet not. Those who witnessed this miracle still find it almost impossible to explain. As this dark light rolled across the battlefield, the Chapter's Librarians fell to their knees in agony, as the projected aura of psychic blankness washed over them, a powerful aura of psychic nothingness similar to that used by the Culexus Assassins. Their psychic connection severed, the Tyranid swarm quickly descended into anarchy without the dominating will of the Hive Tyrant to guide them. Seeing their Chapter Master beset, the Sons of Dorn hastened to their fallen lord and quickly despatched the remaining Tyrant Guard. Quintus' Honour Guard fought against the Hive Tyrant, and in a monumental battle, hacked the monstrous creature down with the blades of their ceremonial Power Swords. The Sons of Dorn then destroyed the remainders of the swarm in earnest.
After the battle, it was determined by the Chapter's Senior Librarian that Quintus' manifestation of these strange abilities had resulted in him spontaneously becoming a Pariah -- a "psychic blank". Quintus now possessed the innate ability to nullify psychic powers, and if in close quarters to those with psychic abilities, his very existence could drain the strength from them. It was reported by those that witnessed this event that the aura projected by the Chapter Master was so powerful that even non-psychic Battle-Brothers doubled over in agony, causing them to retch blood. Just like his ancestor, Appius before him, Quintus had never shown any signs of possessing the rare Pariah Gene or any latent psychic abilities. Therefore, it was determined that his abilities were caused by the poisoned blood he had imbibed a century earlier. It could not be explained why it took so long for these abilities to manifest. Some claimed that it was the divine intervention of the Emperor, sending Quintus this "gift" as a way to combat the Great Devourer.
The Chapter's Master of the Forge, working in concert with the Chapter's Librarians, developed a dampening device to help block the worst of the effects caused by Quintus' powers, which was fitted to the Chapter Master's suit of Power Armour. The Librarians still felt ill at ease when near him, but for those without psychic abilities, the device proved its worth. This enabled the Chapter Master to turn off the device at will, a useful ability when combating Heretics, daemons or xenos that possessed psychic abilities.
The Librarians claimed that Quintus was the fulfillment of the ancient Chapter prophecy from thousands of years ago, come to fruition. Hailed as their Chapter's prophesied saviour, Battle-Brothers within the Chapter reverently now refer to their Chapter Master as "Alexandros the Blind", in honour of his miraculous abilities. Where Alexandros the Mad had been excessive, insane and megalomaniacal, Alexandros the Blind was the exact opposite of his ancestor in every way. With his Pariah abilities, Quintus will be able to cancel out Appius' greatest advantage -- his powerful psychic abilities. Though the two Chapter Masters have yet to confront one another, Quintus has vowed that before he dies, he will find Appius and destroy him, erasing the stain on the Chapter's honour forever.
- Castigation of Tarion (Unknown Date.M34) - It was not until a century after their Founding that the name of the Sons of Dorn would come to be known as liberators and heroes across the Imperium. A collection of worlds adjacent to the Eye of Terror came under threat from a massive coalition of the Forces of Chaos, gathered by a most foul Chaos Champion of Nurgle, the Plague God. Imperial scholars later identified this mysterious Chaos Lord as Necrosius, the Hand of Nurgle, Master of the Apostles of Contagion Renegade Space Marines Chapter. Necrosius and his vile plague forces spread disease and the "gift" of the walking death wherever they went, heedless of whether those infected were servants of the Emperor or other followers of the Ruinous Powers. Soon an Imperial Crusade was called by the Sons of Dorn's second Chapter Master Alexandros the Great to deal with this threat. The newly elected Master of the Sons of Dorn quickly took upon himself the heavy burdens and responsibilities of his rank as he led the Sons of Dorn into glorious battle. Many worlds were liberated during the following centuries as the minions of Chaos fell like wheat before the scythe. It was not until the Crusade reached the world of Tarion that the Sons of Dorn faced a true challenge. Tarion was defended by Chaos legions serving Necrosius. They had layered the world with innumerable defences, protecting it with kilometres of razor wire, deadly gun emplacements and fortified redoubt all surrounded by deadly clusters of anti-personnel mines. The enemy was firmly entrenched, making the world all but impenetrable. Its cities were transformed into veritable fortresses, bristling with large calibre guns. But the vile Chaos Lord had not been idle, for Necrosius and his Chaos Sorcerers performed unspeakable rites of the darkest necromancy amongst the thousands of unburied dead that littered the streets of the outlying towns of Tarion. As the slaughter began in earnest during the Imperial assault, the corpses of the fallen rose from the dead, spreading the vile corruption of the feared Zombie Plague amongst those that had somehow survived the Chaos force's initial planetary assault. Heedless of these threats, the Sons of Dorn's elite 1st and 4th Companies valiantly spearheaded the orbital assault against Tarion, conducting a concentrated attack supported by regiments of the Imperial Guard on the heavily defended planet. Taking the world by force proved to be a murderous prospect for the Imperials as Necrosius unleashed his Renegade legions upon the unsuspecting Loyalist Chapter. Despite the forces arrayed against him, Alexandros refused to accept defeat, and for over 12 hours the Sons of Dorn stalwartly defended the landing zone against the phalanxes of corrupted Plague Marines, waves of shambling Plague Zombies, and foul Chaos Cultists. By their resolute action they were able to firmly establish multiple beachheads along the coastline just outside the capital city, circumventing the carefully prepared defences of the Chaos forces. The Chapter Master then pulled his Astartes back, leaving the Imperial Guard to garrison those positions. Alexandros then ordered a heavy orbital bombardment, despite the close proximity of his own position to the target, and soon the Sons of Dorn's orbiting fleet managed to bring down the city's protective Void Shields. Using the full force of the 6 Battle Companies at his disposal, Alexandros launched a lightning raid on the enemy capital. The entirety of the Astartes force deployed to Tarion, streaming down into the streets in Drop Pods and Thunderhawk gunships. The fighting between Loyalist and Renegade forces was brutal and vicious, neither side asking for quarter and giving none in return. Many Battle-Brothers lost their lives in the conflagration, but ultimately Alexandros and his personal Honour Guard fought their way into the enemy's command center, located in the Governor's Palace. The firefights that took place within the confines of the palace were brutal in the extreme. Alexandros' elite force soon encountered the vile Necrosius and his own elite bodyguard of Plague Marines. Not wanting to spill any more of his men's precious blood, the Chapter Master challenged Necrosius to single combat, confident that the hands of the Emperor and Rogal Dorn would guide him to victory. The Chapter Master and the Chaos Sorcerer soon joined in furiously intense single combat. This duel has since gone down in the Chapter's history as one of their proudest moments. Alexandros' swordsmanship was superb, and he landed multiple mortal wounds that would have felled even the most stalwart of Astartes, but the servants of Nurgle are notoriously difficult to kill. Necrosisus' body seemingly shrugged off the mighty blows of the Chapter Master, and he struck back with the foul Warp-spawned blade of his Daemon-possessed Force Weapon. Despite the severity of the wound, Alexandros managed to push past the intense pain, maintaining his initiative, before delivering a sweep of his Power Sword and severing the Chaos Sorcerer's head. But as history would later show, Necorosius did not meet his end on Tarion. He would be restored to a corrupt semblance of life by Nurgle to plague Mankind down through the millennia, time and again. With the Heretics' leader dead, the impetus of the Chaos forces' attack faltered, and soon the rest of the planet fell to the might of the Imperial war machine. After the successful campaign upon Tarion, the Sons of Dorn took their leave and continued with their Crusade across the Segmentum Obscurus. They would bring many more worlds back into the Imperium before declaring their Crusade completed.
- Wars of Apostasy (ca. 378.M36) - Some of the earliest recorded battle honours of the Sons of Dorn occurred during a period of upheaval known as the Age of Apostasy. This embroiled the Imperium in a massive civil conflict known as the Wars of Apostasy, the likes of which had not been seen since the dark days of the Horus Heresy. The relatively young Chapter joined the stand made by its fellow Space Marine Chapters against the corruption and enormous excesses of the megalomaniacal High Lord Goge Vandire. Though they fought in many major battles against the Apostate forces of the insane Vandire, mysteriously no records exist in the Imperial archives concerning the Chapter's activities for several decades during this period. All that is known with any certainty is that they emerged from the Reign of Blood as a more dedicated and pious Chapter than ever before, with less than half of their number still alive. Though the Chapter was left in tatters, their faith in the Emperor was left unshaken. With only a handful of Battle-Brothers surviving the conflict, it took the Chapter centuries to rebuild back to its full strength. To this day, no one outside of the Sons of Dorn knows what really transpired during this period, and they are notoriously secretive about it, even to the Inquisition.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - One of the Sons of Dorn's most recent actions occurred when they deployed the bulk of their Chapter in the defence of the Imperium from the predations of Abbadon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade. They valiantly defended the same worlds along the Eye of Terror that their Chapter's legendary hero, Alexandros the Great, had liberated millennia earlier. More than half the Chapter was involved, and it was during this time that disaster struck them once again.
- Defence of Archea (999.M41) - With the Chapter scattered across the galaxy pursuing multiple campaigns, the Sons of Dorn's homeworld of Archea came under attack from a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Leviathan. The Astartes system defence fleet in orbit was hopelessly outmatched and had to disengage to preserve their numbers, leaving the forces on the ground to fend for themselves. Four companies worth of Space Marines were on Archea at this time but they were scattered across the globe in key cities and locations to protect the bulk of the Archean population. They fought valiantly but eventually the Astartes were forced to pull back to their fortress-monastery, leaving the Archean civilians to fend for themselves. This brutal conflict lasted for several months as the Sons of Dorn fought a brilliant but ultimately futile defensive campaign against the vast hordes of ravenous Tyranids. All hope for aid was lost, and with only one-hundred and thirty-five Space Marines remaining, the Sons of Dorn knew that they were going to die, but not before they sold their lives dearly. Their only consolation was that their Chapter's future legacy would continue with the remaining companies still fighting near the Eye of Terror. As the remaining Sons of Dorn prepared to sacrifice themselves in a glorious last stand, their fortunes suddenly changed. Some of their forces fighting the 13th Black Crusade returned to Archea in the form of the 4th Company led by Captain Agamon. An astropathic distress signal had managed to make it off-world before the dark aura of the approaching Hive Fleet's Shadow in the Warp had cut off all communications. Warp travel had been delayed due to the large psychic interference caused by the Tyranids massing in the system, but the 4th Company had finally managed to make their way home to their beleaguered Chapter world, the rest of the Chapter fleet following close behind. The arriving Astartes starships managed to confront the remnants of the orbiting Tyranid fleet despite being vastly outnumbered. The 4th Company's warships launched a brilliant phalanx against the approaching enemy xenos fleet. As Captain Agamon's Strike Cruiser valiantly attacked a massive Narvhal bio-ship, it appeared that the Space Marine's hubris would be his downfall. Fortunately, the rest of the Chapter fleet arrived to help reinforce the valiant 4th Company. With their numbers bolstered, the Sons of Dorn's fleet proceeded to utterly annihilate the Tyranid bio-ships. As the Sons of Dorn descended upon their blighted world, they found a landscape transformed by carnage -- millions of corpses, both human and Tyranid alike, lay scattered across the once vibrant landscape and ruined cities. Everywhere lay the devastation of war. The Astartes quickly made their way to their fortress-monastery to relieve their brothers from the predations of the massive Tyranid swarm. The weary defenders' hearts soared at the sight of the descending Drop Pods and Thunderhawk gunships of their Chapter, the valiant 4th Company spearheading the assault. Their resolve hardened at the sight of Captain Agamon leading the charge into the swarm's flanks. Their numbers reinforced, with righteous fury the Space Marine defenders charged the Tyranids. Caught in the middle, the Tyranids were decimated. When the rest of the Chapter finally arrived and went about the process of reclaiming their world, they were surprised by what they found -- the population had not been completely wiped out as they had expected. The planet's defences against the Great Devourer had not been neglected, for the remaining Sons of Dorn had wrought a careful series of fortifications which they manned alongside Archea's Planetary Defence Forces. These defenders had managed to hold off the Tyranid swarm in small pockets. All across the globe, these extraordinary mortals had survived for months. The Chapter began the arduous process of rebuilding, both their Chapter's numbers and their world. The Archeans who had survived the Tyranid invasion were now hardened and seasoned fighters, making an excellent pool of recruits to choose new Aspirants from, which ensured a bright future for the Sons of Dorn. Indeed, several of the Neophytes taken in this cohort soon made a name for themselves within the ranks of the 10th Scout Company. Yet it would still take years before pockets of feral Tyranids were finally scoured from Archea.
The Sons of Dorn's Chapter homeworld of Archea is a lush, temperate world with a global climate very similar to that of Terra's ancient Mediterranean region. It has some very large land masses but the majority of its land area is made up of numerous island chains. Archea is a Feudal World that never progressed far beyond a preindustrial state and most advanced technology is reserved for the larger cities and the ruling elite. Though the planet is dotted with several large cities it is primarily covered by small townships and farming villages. Of course, each of these is usually dominated by a sprawling villa belonging to some member of the Patrician or noble class. The cities are described by many Imperial visitors as being both majestic and breathtaking; the Neoclassical architecture of this world is very similar to that of Macragge or the ancient Romanii of Terra. Built mostly of white marble, the Archeans constructed monuments involving both architectural and engineering skill, including vast edifices such as bridges, aqueducts, amphitheatres, and triumphal arches, as well as temples and palaces for the Patricians.
Archea was once considered a world of beauty, with its rolling green hills, crystal clear seas, deep, luscious forests and majestic cities. However, almost all of this is now nothing more than a fond memory after the world was ravaged by a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Leviathan. The world has been left bare and desolate with only a few barely inhabited cities remaining. Only a small defence force of Astartes remained to protect the Chapter homeworld when the Tyranids came, for most of the Chapter had left to prowl the stars to seek out and battle the enemies of Mankind in their newly-gifted space fortress.
Archea's is a hierarchical and class-conscious society, but there is always the possibility of movement between the socioeconomic classes because class is no longer determined solely by birth. For the most part, Archean society is described as a Republic, although the Sons of Dorn themselves are known to take direct control of the state in times of national emergency or when absolutely necessary. Family lines, so-called Lineages, play a very important part within Archean society, extending even into the culture of the Chapter itself. Archean culture has often been described as being very similar to that of the ancient Terran Renaissance during the mid-2nd Millennium, with wealth dispersed throughout much of society save for the very poorest of the freemen and the class of indentured servants who serve the Patricians. The planetary government is located in the Archean capital city of Capuas, a city described by the prominent traveling scholar, Danius Abnuss, "...as one of the 1,500 wonders of the Segmentum Solar." Capuas' streets spiral out from a central courtyard or forum which houses the mansions of its wealthiest citizens and the soaring ivory towers of the political sector. Every building is carved out of marble and inlaid with intricate reliefs and sculptures depicting heroic battles from the Sons of Dorn's history alongside many of the world's mightiest heroes.
A popular attraction for its citizens and visitors is the Gladium, a towering amphitheater which is home to brutal displays of vicious combat. Often criminals or slaves are tested in the Gladium by being thrown in against vicious Chrono-Gladiators, favoured champions or sometimes even an Astartes warrior. The latter usually only participate in order to fend off boredom, hone their battle skills or punish those they see as being particularly unworthy. However, on occasion, an Astartes will be thrown into the Gladium as punishment for some failed task. He is stripped of his rank, his Power Armour, his wargear and most terrible of all, his name and thus his Lineage. If he survives for a certain number of games and shows proper penance for his failure, he will be allowed to rejoin the Chapter with his rank and honour intact. Whilst in the Gladium, or "The Pits", as members of the Chapter colloquially refer to it, Astartes are shown no favouritism and are mercilessly harassed by the baying crowd and shunned by their society until they can, once again, prove their worth.
The Chapter's fortress-monastery resides deep within the impenetrable mists of the World's Peak Mountains, which according to ancient tradition was the home of Archea's gods before the enlightenment brought by the benevolent Emperor of Mankind during the Great Crusade. The fortress-monastery is both majestic and menacing at the same time; a strange blend of Archea's Neoclassical architecture, the Imperium's Gothic aesthetic and the bare-bones functionality of a modern military fortress. Very rarely has the entire Chapter been present at one time within its walls, and there are usually only a few companies present. The Apothecarium dominates a large portion of the fortress and is kept under heavy guard because it contains many dangerous strains of disease, several of which are Warp-touched. The Apothecaries use these pathogens to further enhance their knowledge of the powers of Chaos and strengthen the immune systems of their own Battle-Brothers. Attached to this structure is a building that embodies an eclectic mesh of both religion and science. This structure is known as the Temple of Resilience which houses the sacred body of the Chapter Master Alexandros the Great in stasis. The rest of the fortress is given over to armouries, training grounds, Astartes' quarters and the usual assortment of facilities needed to maintain a fully functioning Chapter.
The Sons of Dorn follow the Codex Astartes in all matters of organisation with one exception: the Chapter's number of Apothecaries far exceeds the number normally present in a single Chapter. The Sons of Dorn are renowned for their advanced medical practices, which focus on disease and how best to combat it. The Apothecarium at the Chapter's fortress-monastery on Archea is vast and houses some of the most deadly strains of disease known to Man. These samples are used for study in the hopes of finding vaccines to best combat them and further strengthen the immune systems of all Space Marines. The Plague of Unbelief and the Destroyer Hive are the two deadliest Warp-touched strains currently possessed by the Chapter. The Apothecaries have worked for millennia to find cures to these horrendously powerful and virulent strains, but so far have been unsuccessful.
While the Sons of Dorn do have a Homeworld and a fortress-monastery, for the most part they are a fleet-based Crusading Chapter, and although they follow the tenets of the Codex Astartes in their basic pattern of organisation and order of battle, in practice the Chapter has modified its tenets to better suit the needs and patterns of their deployments. An example of this is that the Chapter's company captains and other senior ranking officers are also assigned flag command of a particular starship in the Chapter's fleet and are expected to act autonomously of higher authority for long periods if needed. The Chapter's Veteran 1st Company, called "The Praetorians", and elements of the 10th Scout Company are nominally based on their Chapter's mobile star-fortress with the majority of their number being dispersed as needed to individual commands which can vary considerably in size and operational requirements. As a fleet-based Chapter, the Sons of Dorn are rarely gathered en masse except at the commencement of a major Crusade called by the Chapter Master. Most often the forces of the Chapter are dispersed to multiple task forces which are deployed to various expeditions and war zones spread over the galaxy.
One of the trials required of Aspirants for full initiation into the Chapter is to be infected by a particularly powerful strain of disease held within the Chapter's Apothecarium. In reality, it is impossible for a non-Astartes to actually survive, but this is not expected. The Aspirant must show that he can instinctively accept his fate and place his trust in the Emperor and the Chapter's Primarch Rogal Dorn, thus proving that he can master his fear in the face of imminent death as all Space Marines must do. If the Aspirant can do this and survive for the pre-determined amount of time, he is administered the vaccine and considered ready to begin the process of being implanted with his gene-seed organs. Due to this, and other highly unorthodox and dangerous training practises, the Sons of Dorn have developed an extreme resilience to most forms of disease, even for Astartes.
The final test for a Neophyte after he has completed the biological transformation into an Astartes, but before becoming a full member of the Chapter, is to learn the terrible secret of the treachery and betrayal of the former Chapter Master Alexandros the Mad that resulted in the Chapter War that nearly destroyed the Sons of Dorn. The newly inducted Battle-Brother is obligated to make a sacred pledge upon the Chapter's honour, to guard this most terrible of secrets with their very lives, taking binding oaths of loyalty more terrible than those usually sworn by the average Astartes. Unlike other Chapters that may possess a dark past or some terrible secret, the Sons of Dorn do not go out of their way to conceal this information from their junior brethren. Instead, they embrace this dark secret as a part of their heritage and birthright, for their greatest purpose is to rid the galaxy of the madness of Alexandros the Mad and his fellow Renegades.
One of the greatest secrets of the Sons of Dorn is the process which a Battle-Brother must undergo to become Chapter Master. When Alexandros the Great was on his deathbed, he made one final request; no future Chapter Master should be allowed to be as weak as he had been. He perceived this "weakness" as his greatest failure, for he had succumbed to the failure of his own body instead of a respectable enemy in combat. To fulfill this request his body was placed in stasis upon his arrival at the fortress-monastery to preserve the ailment that had killed him. Whenever a new Chapter Master of the Sons of Dorn is chosen, he must pass a test similar to the one he took upon initiation to the Chapter -- he must drink a small portion of Alexandros' pestilence-tainted blood. If his body can overcome exposure to the deadly toxins, he is deemed worthy to lead the Chapter. It is unknown how many have failed this test, for the chosen successors are given no assistance from the Apothecaries and must pass the test on their own.
Chapter Combat DoctrineEdit
Like their kin the Black Templars, the Sons of Dorn are a headstrong and zealous Chapter. They prefer to show their veneration of the Emperor through righteous battle against the endless foes that plague humanity. They primarily favour a two-pronged approach to warfare, incorporating an orbital assault through the use of Drop Pods and Thunderhawk gunships in the wake of a relentless orbital barrage. If there is still any remaining enemy resistance, the Sons of Dorn launch a lightning attack over land with the use of their heavy armoured vehicles such as Land Raiders and Rhino armoured transports. They will seek out the strategically most advantageous point to strike within the enemy's lines and exploit it. Relentless in the extreme, the Sons of Dorn will not halt their attack until all of their enemies have been slain, and will never retreat in the face of an enemy, even when it would be tactically wise for them to do so.
Like their fellow Imperial Fists' Successor Chapters, the Sons of Dorn venerate the Emperor of Mankind as the gene-father of the Adeptus Astartes, though not as a God, and Rogal Dorn as the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion and thus their own founder. As a Chapter of Space Marines recruited from a single planet, each Battle-Brother of the Sons of Dorn shares a common cultural bond.
Lineages play a key role in the society of Archea and the Sons of Dorn themselves. It is a matter of great pride and honour for an Astartes of this Chapter to say he descends from an ancient Archean Lineage. Where most Space Marine Chapters try to distance their Battle-Brothers from their lives prior to being inducted, the Sons of Dorn strongly encourage the maintenance of familial ties. It is not uncommon for great-grandfathers, uncles, cousins and even brothers to serve amongst the Chapter's ranks. The only relation not allowed is that of father and son, as it is deemed to be too strong an influence that could break down the Chapter's formal bonds of authority. Usually a father would have been inducted into the ranks before his son was even born. This can lead to the son believing there can be a possibility of a relationship being formed with a father that he has no wish to take part in, beyond the honour of a shared Lineage. Due to the same family names being possessed by many Astartes in the same company, sometimes even in the same squad, it is custom to address all Battle-Brothers of the Chapter by only their first names. This is only allowed within the Chapter's ranks and it is a terrible insult for a Sons of Dorn Astartes to be addressed this way by an outsider.
There are fears amongst other Chapters that this practice could lead to nepotism, but this has never occurred. In fact the most famous Archean Lineage, that of Alexandros, has had many of his descendants inducted into the Chapter as Space Marines, but they have never passed above the rank of a common Battle-Brother. However, the Chapter's two most famous Astartes were both of the same Lineage and both rose to the rank of Chapter Master. They played pivotal roles within the Chapter's history, something that many rival Chapters are quick to point out when the Sons of Dorn claim that their strong family ties have played no part in the governance of the Chapter.
As a Successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists Legion, the Sons of Dorn share a genetic legacy with them and have inherited many of the characteristics of their Primarch, Rogal Dorn. The Chapter's gene-seed is highly stable, though this genome is lacking both the Betcher's Gland that allows a Space Marine to spit acid, and the Sus-an Membrane that allows him to enter a life-sustaining state of deep hibernation.
Notable Sons of DornEdit
- Chapter Master Polus Lichius Alexandros, "Alexandros the Great" - Alexandros rose from humble origins on Archea to become the greatest hero of the Chapter. Upon becoming the second Chapter Master he led the fledgling Sons of Dorn on a massive Crusade across two segmentums to the Eye of Terror. There he campaigned for centuries on end, returning to Archea a mere 11 times, although individual companies of the Chapter cycled through other war zones and their homeworld for refitting during this period. Alexandros was finally mortally wounded on the field of battle by a poisoned blade dedicated to Nurgle, but slaughtered its wielder and countless others before finally falling. He was rushed back to orbit to be taken home but died during the months-long voyage. On arrival his body was placed in stasis as per his last wish, in the hope that one day a definitive cure could be found and he could be resurrected to walk amongst his Battle-Brothers once again.
- Chapter Master Appius Flavius Alexandros, "Alexandros the Mad" (Former Chapter Master, now Chaos Lord) - Born to the famous Lineage of Alexandros the Great, Appius Flavius Alexandros was the first Alexandros descendant to rise within the ranks of the Sons of Dorn to the esteemed position of Chapter Master. Appius underwent the final trial by the ritual ingestion of his forebear's poisoned blood in the secret ritual used to choose a worthy successor and survived the ordeal. Though at first Appius' body appeared to overcome the potent toxins, the poisoned blood of Alexandros the Great had an adverse effect on him, unlocking hitherto unknown psychic abilities, as well as an all-consuming madness within him. Chapter Master Appius appeared to be an inspirational and formidable leader. However the madness consuming his soul led him to commit a number of questionable (some would say horrifying) acts that would forever damn him in the eyes of the Emperor and their Primarch Dorn. This led to a brutal Chapter War which nearly tore the Sons of Dorn apart. Taking 200 of his loyal followers, Alexandros the Mad fled towards the Eye of Terror, where they became a warband of Chaos Space Marines who continue to plague Mankind to this day.
- Chapter Master Quintus Decius Alexandros, "Alexandros the Blind" - Also born to the famous Archean Lineage of Alexandros the Great, Quintus Decius Alexandros is the second Alexandros descendant to rise within the ranks of the Sons of Dorn to the position of Chapter Master. After ascending unusually fast to prominence within the ranks of his Battle-Brothers, Quintus was unanimously selected to be the sole candidate to undergo the trial to become the next Chapter Master in 889.M41. Though initially reluctant, he was eventually allowed to imbibe the poisoned blood of his ancestor. Surviving the potent effect of the virulent toxin, Quintus was deemed worthy and chosen as Chapter Master. He went on to serve as the Lord of the Sons of Dorn for the next decade, showing no signs of corruption or taint, until the arrival of the Tyranid splinter fleet that ravaged his homeworld in 999.M41. Recovering from severe wounds incurred during the defence of the Imperium during the 13th Black Crusade, Quintus was convalescing upon Archea within the Chapter's Apothecarium when word reached him that a Tyranid Hive Fleet was fast approaching. During the final brutal assault of the Tyranid swarm when all hope seemed lost, Quintus manifested the innate anti-psychic abilities of a carrier of the Pariah Gene or "psychic blank", severing the swarm's link to the Hive Mind. This was seen as a miracle by those Battle-Brothers that witnessed it, and soon he was hailed as the Chapter's prophesied savior. Reverently referred to as “Alexandros the Blind”, it is believed that he will one day confront his corrupt ancestor and destroy him, erasing the dark stain on the Sons of Dorn's honour that has plagued them for over five millennia.
- Captain Agamon - Agamon is the Captain of the vaunted 4th Company. He was promoted to the rank of Captain a mere fifty Terran years ago, following the death of the 4th Company's former commander and Chapter hero, Captain Perseus. Since that time, he has led the 4th Company to more victories, and earned more battle honours than any other company captain within the Chapter, earning the respect and admiration of his peers and even other Space Marine Chapters. He is known as a brilliant tactical commander, leading his forces from the front in battle, exhorting his men to ever greater heights of hatred and destruction against the Emperor's foes. Agamon has been at the forefront of the Sons of Dorn's attacks in several key battles against the Forces of Chaos. Most notably he has been charged with persecuting the wars against Chaos near the Eye of Terror to great success. Due to his ability at fighting the forces of the Archenemy of Mankind, he was away from his homeworld when it was unexpectedly attacked by a Tyranid splinter fleet. By the time he had managed to rendezvous with other elements of his scattered Chapter in order to organise and launch their Chapter fleet towards their beleaguered world, the majority of the Chapter's forces that were present during the Tyranid invasion were already decimated. Due to psychic interference caused by the Tyranids' presence within the Warp, the Chapter had difficulty reaching Archea. Captain Agamon's ship managed to reach Archea ahead of the main Chapter fleet, and began to attack the orbiting Tyranid fleet in earnest. Following the arrival of the rest of the fleet, the Chapter annihilated the remaining Tyranid bio-ships. Leading elements from the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 9th Companies, Agamon spearheaded the orbital assault upon the planet's surface to repel the xenos swarms before relinquishing command to the Chapter Master. In the wake of the Tyranid invasion, the 4th was left as one of the more intact Battle Companies (the 5th and 8th Companies are also at full strength as they were located near the Eastern Fringe at the time, too far away to participate in the defence of their homeworld). He has since become the figurehead and public face of the Chapter to the battered populace of Archea as the Sons of Dorn slowly began to rebuild their decimated world.
- Captain Perseus - Former Captain of the 4th Company and famed hero of the Sons of Dorn Chapter. Predecessor of Captain Agamon.
- Veteran Sergeant Argos - Argos is the Squad Sergeant of the 1st Tactical Squad, 4th Company. He has served with the 4th since Agamon was a fellow Brother-Sergeant. His close personal relationship with the commander led to his promotion to Veteran Sergeant of the company's Command Squad upon Agamon's own promotion to serve as its commander. However, after the intense casualties suffered in the defense of their homeworld against the Tyranids, Argos requested that he be re-attached to a Tactical Squad where his experience and knowledge could be best put to use.
- Veteran Sergeant Varro - Varro is the Squad Sergeant for the 2nd Tactical Squad, 4th Company. Varro is one of the senior non-commissioned officers of the 4th Company, having first passed through its ranks more than a century ago to the honoured elite of the vaunted 1st Company, "The Praetorians". He fought valiantly during the defence of Archea against the Tyranids, slaying many of the larger bio-creatures himself. During a particularly intense confrontation with a Lictor, Varro received the scars that he now wears proudly upon his face while saving the lives of several dozen Archean citizens, including several from his own Lineage. After the successful defeat of the xenos, the Chapter Master transferred Varro back to the 4th Company where it was thought his experience would inspire future recruits to aspire to join the ranks of the elite 1st Company. He shares a professional, but oft-times tense relationship with Captain Agamon, whom he sees as inferior to the deceased Chapter Hero, Captain Perseus, who led the 4th Company when Varro was still a Tactical Marine.
The centerpiece of the Sons of Dorn's Chapter fleet is a massive, Warp-capable Star-Fortress that essentially serves as a mobile fortress-monastery when the Chapter is on Crusade.
The Sons of Dorns primarily wear black Power Armour. The Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard, the faceplate, shoulder plate trim, gauntlets and knee guards are white. The white squad specialty symbol -- Tactical, Devastator, Assault or Veteran -- is located on the right shoulder plate. A red Roman numeral is stenciled in the centre of the squad specialty symbol, indicating squad number. A black Roman numeral stenciled on the left knee guard indicates company number. The Battle-Brothers of this Chapter are known to carefully inscribe intricate scroll-work and blessed prayers to the Emperor in High Gothic script upon the Ceramite surface of their battle plate.
The Sons of Dorns' Chapter badge is a white clenched fist (similar in style to the Chapter iconography of the Imperial Fists) superimposed on a red roundlet, centred on a field of black.
The Sons of Dorn are a Space Marines Chapter created by Tyler Mengel, who once worked for a Games Workshop Hobby Center. With the release of Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), Games Workshop decided to celebrate its release with a "Create Your Own Space Marine Chapter" competition in their U.S. Hobby Centers. Competitors were required to paint a Space Marine from a Chapter of their own devising and to write down their Chapter's history, tactics, and traits -- both the Chapter's advantages and disadvantages. Entries from across the country were judged by each Hobby Center's staff and the winning entries from each store were sent to Games Workshop's corporate headquarters in the U.K. Tyler's Sons of Dorn Chapter was one of two winners selected to be featured in White Dwarf (US) 305.
- Adeptus Astartes: Successor Chapters (Limited Booklet Release)
- White Dwarf (US) 305, "Create a Space Marine Chapter", pg. 104
- Mengel Miniatures: Sons of Dorn