Warhammer 40k

Space Hulk

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For the board game, see Space Hulk (game)
For the video game, see Space Hulk (Video Game)
Sin of Damnation

A Blood Angels Battle Barge approaches the Space Hulk Sin of Damnation

Space Hulk by Zen Master

The Space Hulk Judgement of Carrion entering the Sub-sector Aurelia

A Space Hulk is the term given by the Imperium of Man to the wreckage of a starship or a mangled twist of various starships and artificial debris found drifting through the vacuum of the Milky Way Galaxy without apparent direction. Many times they are so huge that they have their own atmosphere and gravity. Since the Hulks often exit and re-enter the Warp seemingly at random, searching or traveling within them is dangerous in the extreme. Space Hulks have many times been used as a means of transport by certain unsophisticated factions. The Orks, the Genestealers, and even Chaos Space Marine renegades use them occasionally to invade other worlds. As the Warp jump of Space Hulks is essentially made in a random direction, this gives them the advantage of surprise over Imperial or Eldar forces. These monstrosities often drop in and out of the Warp, threatening to carry Chaos Space Marines, Orks or Genestealers that have entered stasis who can launch attacks upon the unsuspecting planets of the Imperium. The Imperial Navy, and all Imperial forces and authorities as a whole, have standard orders to survey such objects and to report their location. The Hulks often consist of starships and items of technology millennia old, and the recoverable technology can be of immense value to the Imperium, and especially to the Adeptus Mechanicus. Thus elite Imperial forces are sent aboard to clear out infestations. Depending on the strategic situation (availability of troops, proximity to vital Imperial star systems, safety margins, etc.) Space Marines are usually sent to purge the Hulk of any alien or Chaotic infestations. The reason for this intense interest is that Space Hulks have been adrift in the void often for hundreds or even thousands of years, forming an unrecognizable huge mass, in which technological and scientific bounties from the Dark Age of Technology could be stowed that would be of great commercial value.

Many Space Hulks are known to be breeding grounds for the Tyranid species known to the Imperium as the Genestealers, often being the product of a starship inflicted with a Genestealer infestation where the Genestealers took over and killed the crew. It is even suspected by the Adeptus Mechanicus' Magos that the Tyranid Hive Mind implants Genestealers to lay in stasis on Space Hulks to serve as unwitting living vanguards for a nearby Tyranid Hive Fleet intent on finding new worlds to consume. Congruent with the expansive bio-mass consumption of the Tyranids, these Genestealer-infested Space Hulks are doubly dangerous for the cargo they may contain and the Hive Fleets they could psychically call upon an inhabited planet.

As a result of the dangers, the mission of boarding and exploring Space Hulks is normally entrusted to Terminators, a Space Marine Chapter's most experienced elite warriors who are heavily armed and armoured. In some cases this is an impossible task, due to powerful enemy resistance, too few available Imperial troops, the Space Hulk being too close to vital Imperial star systems, etc. In such cases the bombardment and total destruction of the Hulk is the only viable alternative. However, Space Hulks are huge and durable, and even Nova Cannon blasts are not powerful enough to take one down.

Notable Space Hulks

Spacehulk 2

Terminators of the Blood Angels Chapter fighting Genestealers aboard the Space Hulk Sin of Damnation

  • Alveus Alpha Alpha Sextus - The Alveus Alpha Alpha Sextus was the Space Hulk that first bore the Orks to the Hive World of Armageddon during the Second War for Armageddon.
  • Brokenback - The Brokenback was the Space Hulk that housed the Renegade Soul Drinkers Chapter for a time.
  • Cauldron Born - The Cauldron Born is a former Space Hulk and the current fortress-ship and home of the Renegade Blood Gorgons Chapter of Chaos Space Marines. The Cauldron Born is an artefact of Blood Gorgons biological experimentation, including the use of pseudo-surgery and daemonology. It is said that the hull of the floating fortress has been grafted with the flesh of a Daemon Prince and that organic matter has been cultivated to merge with the ship’s engines, spawning a Daemonic Spirit that inhabits the vessel's circuitry.
  • Devourer of Stars - The Devourer of Stars was used by the Daemon Prince Angron and his World Eaters Traitor Legion during the First War for Armageddon to invade that world.
  • Judgement of Carrion - The Judgement of Carrion was a Space Hulk that appeared in the Aurelian Sub-sector in the late 41st Millennium. The Hulk was boarded by the Astartes of the Blood Ravens Chapter during the Second Aurelian Crusade, in search of the traitor within their own ranks.
  • The Labyrinth - Space Hulk used as a fortress-monastery and ritual centre by the Chaos Space Marine warband known as the Sons of Malice.
  • Mortis Thule - Known by many names, the Mortis Thule -- Death From Beyond the Horizon -- was the largest Space Hulk known to exist within the Jericho Reach, and was very possibly the most dangerous. Though each Hulk is unique, Mortis Thule stands out not only for its enormous size but also for its long history in the Reach, dating back to before the arrival of the Imperial Expeditionary Fleets of the Great Crusade. Most Hulks either fall apart given time (or sufficient massed firepower), or disappear back into the Warp never to be seen again. The Mortis Thule seems older than many such Space Hulks encountered before; its curious longevity and increasing mass are possibly tied to that other mysterious artefact of the Reach, the Warp Gate.
  • Revenant Rex - The Revenant Rex was the Space Hulk that was destroyed by the Crimson Consuls Chapter, at the cost of their entire 1st Company and the Battle Barge Incarnadine Ecliptic.
  • Sin of Damnation - The Sin of Damnation was the Space Hulk assaulted by the Blood Angels Space Marines in Space Hulk (the board game).
  • Spawn of Damnation - The Spawn of Damnation was the Space Hulk boarded by a joint investigation of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Reclaimers  Space Marines in search of archeotech. Ciaphas Cain was present during the investigaton, and was one of the few survivors when Genestealers attacked the boarding party.


  • Citadel Journal 36, "Talons of Death: Four Mission Mini-Campaign (Space Hulk)," pp. 64-71
  • Citadel Journal 34, "Space Hulk Campaign System," pp. 58-63
  • Citadel Journal 28, "Superior Firepower Space Marine Weapon Variants (Space Hulk)," pp. 30-33
  • Citadel Journal 25, "Covert Operations: Imperial Guard in Space Hulk," pp. 22-27
  • Citadel Journal 7, "The Designer's Cut: Alternate Rules (Space Hulk)," by Richard Halliwell, pp. 4-11
  • Citadel Journal 3, "The Silent Voyager: Campaign - Emperor's Children vs. Space Wolves," pp. 10-18
  • Citadel Journal 1, "Unseen Enemy: New Set Up Rules - Mission One: Supply Lines," pp. 16-21
  • Deathwatch: The Achillus Assault (RPG), pp. 61-66
  • Space Hulk: Rulebook (3rd Edition) (RPG), by Richard Halliwell
  • Space Hulk: Mission Book (3rd Edition) (RPG)
  • Space Hulk: Rulebook (2nd Edition) (RPG)
  • White Dwarf 203 (US), "The Fate of the Sword of Halcyon: Scenario - Blood Angels vs. Genestealers," pp. 33-43
  • White Dwarf 201 (US), "Duty and Honor: Ultramarine Campaign," pp. 49-55
  • White Dwarf 200 (US), "Fangs of Fenris: Space Wolves Campaign," pp. 85-91
  • White Dwarf 197 (US), "Space Hulk: Defilement of Honour," by Dean Bass, pp. 81-87
  • White Dwarf 196 (US), "Space Hulk: Preview," pp. 9-14
  • White Dwarf 195 (US), "Bringer of Sorrow: Campaign," pp. 29-35
  • White Dwarf 158 (US), "Return to Kalidus: Campaign for The Wolf Guard," pp. 30-35
  • White Dwarf 149 (US), "Strike Deep: Campaign - Uses Rules from Space Hulk, Deathwing and Genestealer," pp. 45-61
  • White Dwarf 147 (US), "Space Hulk: Wolf Lair," pp. 56-66
  • White Dwarf 145 (US), "Renegade: A Five-Part Campaign for Space Crusade," pp. 10-25
  • White Dwarf 144 (US), "Space Hulk - Questions and Answers: Part Two," by Dean Bass
  • White Dwarf 142 (US), "Space Hulk - Questions and Answers: Part One," by Simon Forrest, pp. 12-19
  • White Dwarf 137 (US), "The Last Stand: Space Hulk Campaign," pp. 42-50
  • White Dwarf 134 (US), "Space Crusade: New Rules," pp. 4-11
  • White Dwarf 133 (US), "Genestealer Invasion: Campaign Missions," by Dean H. Bass, pp. 36-38
  • White Dwarf 122 (US), "Traitor Terminators: Part 2 - Chaos Terminators," pp. 26-35
  • White Dwarf 121 (US), "Traitor Terminators: Part 1 - Chaos Terminators," pp. 27-33
  • White Dwarf 120 (US), "Rules for Assault, Tactical and Devastator Squads (Space Hulk)," pp. 53-65
  • White Dwarf 117 (US), "Close Assault: Terminator Close Combat Weapons & Army List," pp. 65-69
  • White Dwarf 115 (US), "Command Units: Space Marines (Space Hulk)," pp. 20-31
  • White Dwarf 113 (US), "Space Hulk: 1st Ed. Preview," pp. 34-39
  • The Bleeding Chalice (Novel) by Ben Counter
  • Duty Calls (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
  • The Emperor's Finest (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
  • Soul Drinker (Novel) by Ben Counter
  • Victories of the Space Marines (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "The Long Games at Carcharias" by Rob Sanders
  • Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising (PC Game)

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