23rd (Sentinel) Founding (38th Millennium)
Unknown (Dark Angels Suspected)
Unknown (Lion El'Jonson Suspected)
Haakoneth (Destroyed); Jahga (Current)
White and Black
The Star Phantoms are a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter of the 23rd Founding created in the early 38th Millennium from an unknown origin. They took part in the final days of the Badab War and the final assault upon the Astral Claws' homeworld of Badab Primaris, helping bring the war to a successful conclusion.
Created during the so-called “Sentinel” Founding, the Star Phantoms were one of several Chapters whose mission was to take and hold various xenos-contested regions on the very borders of the Emperor’s domains. Many of the Chapter’s earliest campaigns were waged against now-extinct xenos monstrosities, and the Star Phantoms frequently operated on their own and far from the support of other Imperial institutions. This situation is often cited as the main reason for the Chapter’s somewhat isolationist outlook, though others have advanced the notion that the cause is rooted in the Star Phantoms’ genetic heritage.
Some Imperial savants suspect that the Star Phantoms were created from the gene-seed of the Dark Angels, which, if true, would be unusual, not only because the Astartes of the Chapter do not suffer from any known mutations, but because the Dark Angels’ gene stock is rarely utilised by the Mechanicus for new Foundings. The Dark Angels themselves deny the lineage, while the Star Phantoms regard any such enquiries as impertinent.
The Star Phantoms display a peculiarly idiosyncratic Chapter Cult. The Chapter’s rites and traditions focus on death and martyrdom, the fallen being revered over and above the living symbols of death and mourning are used as Chapter iconography, the Chapter symbol itself featuring a sand-timer surmounted by two death’s heads. This trait extends to a generalised disregard for the living that has often manifested in excessive collateral damage amongst populations the Chapter has been tasked with purging of insurrectionist elements, and even amongst allied units. In battle, the Star Phantoms utilise overwhelming firepower into order to crush their enemy utterly. Unlike many other Chapters, they hold no particular method of war as inherently favourable or honourable. They make extensive use of drop pod assaults, supported by a greater than usual reliance of drop pod delivered ordnance such as the Deathstorm, and favoured personal weapons are always those able to deliver the most impressive and destructive firepower.
In nature, Battle-Brothers of the Star Phantoms are often solemn and invariably shun contact with those outside of their Chapter. Their Chapter Cult teaches that life is transient and only the manner of a warrior’s death holds any meaning. While they may be somewhat cold, the Star Phantoms truly hold no compulsions about dying, so long as they know they will be grieved by their comrades according to their beliefs.
The Star Phantoms Chapter is an Astartes Chapter with a shrouded and sometimes troubled history. Their victories, though many, have largely remained unsung and unremembered. For much of their past they have been left to operate alone at the edge of the Imperium breeding in them an isolationist streak that has seldom embraced outside command. These changes of fate have led to the Star Phantoms clashing with Imperial authorities and fellow Astartes on numerous occasions, and they have gained a shadowed reputation for themselves with other Imperial commanders.
The origins of the Star Phantoms lie in the 23rd Founding of the early 38th Millennium, known in some sources as the Sentinel Founding as it was created to aid the Imperium's defences in numerous ill-starred and vulnerable areas of the galaxy. Their exact origins and primogenitor Chapter remained mysterious even during their creation, as did the backgrounds of many of the Chapters of this Founding.
Death of Haakoneth
In 101.M40, the Chapter's forces were recalled to defend its endangered home world of Haakoneth from sustained Ork attack by the warring Freeboota Klans from the Edge Void. Assault waves, larger than any seen before, invaded the Haakoneth System. The Greenskins' attack was unusually frenzied, as the Ork attackers hurtles themselves headlong at Haakoneth itself taking immediate losses. Ork warships were shot down in the hundreds, and whole clusters of attacking Roks were boarded and blasted apart without ever making landfall in a running battle that lasted sixty standard days, littering the star system with wreckage in a firestorm of ordnance that threatened to exhaust the planet's considerable stockpile. Sensing imminent victory, the Star Phantoms soon faced the true nature of the oncoming threat as it materialised. A vast temporal-Warp rift surged like a deadly rip-tide towards the star system from the outer void, and at its vanguard came the horror of a massive Hrud migration trapped within the rift's event horizon.
It was this time-rip that the Ork forces had been driven before in flight, and that now engulfed the Haakoneth system, causing its sun to flare balefully. The rift all but cut off the system from the rest of the galaxy with its surrounding vortex of spatial turbulence, and help, even if it has been available was utterly out of reach. Immediately the Star Phantoms mounted a valiant defence of their home world from the oncoming storm, but it became swiftly apparent their cause was lost as reality itself began to buckle around them. As misshapen forms of the Hrud invaded their world, their presence distorted time and space, causing the very earth of Haakoneth to splinter and roil with quakes and tremors at the creatures' passing.
The Chapter's losses were heavy, and none could doubt only oblivion awaited the survivors if they stayed. Chapter Master Omadon Tiresias ordered his remaining brethren to gather such relics as they could and flee, rather than face certain destruction at the hands of an enemy they could not fight. It is rumoured that not all the remaining brethren obeyed, preferring to stand and perish with their world. The Chapter's last remaining battle-barge, the Memento Mori, carrying with it the Chapter's corpus of Techmarines, led the ragged remains of their once proud fleet's escape from the rift-vortex lashing the star system. Many of the Star Phantom's ships were destroyed in the desperate flight as Haakoneth, caught in the storm's eye, shattered behind them, and Tiresias himself was blinded when a rogue time-eddy speared the Momento Mori command deck.
Little more than a third of the Chapter's strength would survive the destruction of their home system, and as a consequence of Haakoneth's destruction, the Star Phantoms would spend years slowly rebuilding their forces and would remain a fleet-based Chapter right up until the Badab War. From the tragic destruction of their home world, the Star Phantoms earned the dubious distinction of only a handful of Chapters in the Imperium's known history to face a full-scale Hrud migration alone and survive.
The Star Phantoms became a fleet-based Chapter after the loss of Haakoneth, slowly rebuilding their strength and participating in numerous conflicts and interventions across the Segmentum Obscurus. The Chapter quickly earned a merciless reputation for indiscriminate use of firepower and the infliction of collateral damage. This reputation was further cemented when the Chapter took part in the Macharian Crusade from 392-399.M41. It was in the aftermath of this famous Crusade that the Star Phantoms' darkest hour came during the Badab War. Although the Chapter suffered terrible losses in the final apocalyptic engagement of that conflict in 912.M41, the Star Phantoms' success was honoured by the granting of overlordship over the now ruined worlds of the Badab Sector by the Imperial Inquisitor-Legate of the Badab Crusade, and the Chapter chose the ice-moon of Jahga in the Archean System upon which to found their new fortress-monastery.
- The Massacre of Kormarg (718.M39) - The Star Phantoms responded en masse to the pleas of the Fortress World of Kormarg II on the edge of the Sakkara Sector that had been besieged for more than two centuries by the foul xenos known as the Khrave Marauders in the campaign that became known as the Massacre of Kormarg. By 710.M39 Kormarg II, a world on the edge of the Sakkara Sector, had been besieged for more than two standard centuries by the Khrave Marauders. Kormarg had held out against the odds and had not fallen, but the world had been laid waste in the process. Taking it upon themselves to answer the defenders' long-standing plea for help, the Star Phantoms' Chapter fleet attacked en masse, swiftly encircling the Khrave nest-webs in orbit and blasting them apart with concentrated fire from their Bombardment Cannons. Once they had scattered the remaining enemy snare-ships, the Star Phantoms launched a full drop-strike against the Khrave feasters on the surface, crushing them between the anvil of the extensive Kormarg bastion fortress network and the hammer of the Chapter's Drop Pod onslaught, swiftly annihilating the xenos. As the defenders threw wide their gates to their liberators, however, it quickly became apparent that in their years of struggle against the alien, the human garrison had become genetically and spiritually corrupt. The Chapter Master of the Star Phantoms was swift in his judgement. With their defences already open to the Space Marines, the Kormargan bastions which had held out for centuries against the xenos became blood-drenched killing chambers as the Star Phantoms purged Kormarg II of its tainted people. After the massacre, the Star Phantoms used the macro-shell craters from the planet's long war as giant pyre-pits for the liquidated population, and the Chapter's Chantry Servitors sang solemn hymns to honour their martyrdom as the Star Phantoms consigned the bodies to the flame. Shortly after the Star Phantoms' actions, Kormarg II was re-garrisoned as a Departmento Munitorum penal colony.
- Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) - The Star Phantoms took part in the massive Imperial campaign known as the Macharian Crusade, participating in many of the most deadly engagements, and despite having proved themselves time and again, they garnered little respect as they saw matters, and are known to have had a troubled relationship with the Crusade's commanders as to strategy and deployment. After the death of Lord Commander Solar Macharius they became swiftly embroiled in the Macharian Heresy -- the civil war and factional division that followed among his generals and war leaders—clashing directly with those Imperial Guard forces who in the Chapter's view had betrayed the Imperium. The Star Phantoms are listed in certain suppressed sources as being directly responsible for the annihilation of the 17th Terrax Guard on Thoth, and are known to have engaged in a bloody and protracted conflict with their former allies, the Marines Malevolent, resulting in that Chapter's near-destruction at their hands. The Star Phantoms became subject to Inquisitorial investigation as a result of their actions and were ultimately cleared of heresy, but received censure from the Ordo Hereticus. They were bound into the thankless and dangerous task of partly forming the spearhead of the Imperial Interdiction campaign in the 070s.M41 to end the Macharian Heresy. In the aftermath of this short and brutal campaign which involved elements from over 100 Space Marine Chapters, the Star Phantoms, once again badly reduced in strength, undertook a self-appointed Crusade alone in the southern Segmentum Tempestus attacking isolated Ork and Chaos-held worlds as they saw fit. Much of their activities afterward remained hidden both from the official record and the eyes of the Imperium until their participation in the brutal closing stages of the Badab War.
- Badab War (912.M41) - The Star Phantoms would play a vital role in the closing stages of the Badab War. The Chapter was brought in to relieve the other Space Marine Chapters fighting in the conflict who were recalled to their normal service duties in 912.M41. The Star Phantoms brought with them the full and substantial strength of their Chapter, and were willing to commit it entirely to the cause. Soon, they were assigned the key task of performing the final assault on the Palace of Thorns, Lufgt Huron's capitol on Badab Primaris. Spearheaded by the venerable Battle Barge Memento Mori along with a second Battle Barge, the Pale Wrath, the Chapter undertook their role in the battle with a powerful force of seven Strike Cruisers and twenty-five Escorts and assault vessels of various classes. The Star Phantoms attacked without falter or relent, and neither gave nor expected quarter from their foe. They were victorious in their task, shattering the last ring of defences that protected the Tyrant of Badab, Lufgt Huron. It was an assault group led by the Star Phantoms' Captain Zhrukal Androcles that cornered Huron, and it was Androcles himself whose Melta-blast felled the fleeing Tyrant of Badab, although he was slain in the combat by Huron's elite bodyguard. Although suffering terrible losses in the final apocalyptic engagement themselves, the Star Phantoms' success was honoured by the granting of overlordship of the now ruined worlds of the Badab Sector by the Imperial Inquisitor-Legate of the Badab Crusade, and the Chapter chose the ice-moon of Jahga in the Archean System upon which to found their new fortress-monastery.
The Star Phantoms' initial deployment as a Chapter was to the Shrine World of Haakoneth on the edge of the ravaged Sakkara Sector where they fortified one of the planet's mountainous mausoleum-complexes to serve as their base of operations and fortress-monastery. From this bastion they sallied forth against the numerous foul xenoforms that plagued the region. The Star Phantoms' Neophyte-recruits were drawn from the technologically regressive barbaric remnant-populations of the surrounding systems, and their first tasks were to guard against the numerous horrors that plagued that fallen seat of the Imperium's power. Since this time, the entire Sakkara Sector and the former Chapter homeworld of Haakoneth has been lost to the outer void for more than a millennium as a result of the Hrud infestation ensconced within a temporal Warp-rift that destroyed that world, but these dark beginnings appear to have left an indelible mark on the soul of the Chapter that has remained to the present. The Star Phantoms became a fleet-based Chapter after the loss of Haakoneth, slowly rebuilding their strength and participating in numerous conflicts and interventions across the Segmentum Obscurus. The Chapter quickly earned a merciless reputation for indiscriminate use of firepower and the infliction of collateral damage. This reputation was further cemented when the Chapter took part in the Macharian Crusade from 392-399.M41. It was in the aftermath of this famous Crusade that the Star Phantoms' darkest hour came during the Badab War. Although the Chapter suffered terrible losses in the final apocalyptic engagement of that conflict in 912.M41, the Star Phantoms' success was honoured by the granting of overlordship over the now ruined worlds of the Badab Sector by the Imperial Inquisitor-Legate of the Badab Crusade, and the Chapter chose the ice-moon of Jahga in the Archean System upon which to found their new fortress-monastery.
The Star Phantoms broadly conform to the standard patterns laid down in the Codex Astartes, with some considerable slant given in its deployment and production towards the preferred use of 'first strike' and drop assault weapons and war material, as well as exotic additions to the recognised tenets that tie in with their own unique beliefs. The Chapter has a preference for using heavy firepower to slaughter their enemies, closing to assault only when it is most tactically expedient to do so. For the Star Phantoms no one mode of combat holds any inherent glory or value over another, all that matters instead is that death is dealt to the enemy. Thanks in part to the extensive and diverse Chapter armoury, the tactical doctrines of the Star Phantoms favour Space Marine-carried portable heavy weapons to supply this combat firepower at close range. Both plasma and melta weapons in particular are fielded in comparably large numbers in the Star Phantom's ranks, with the Chapter deploying a pattern of three Devastator squads per standard battle company, rather than the Codex approved number of two as is the norm. This doctrine of close range firepower is also carried through by the Star Phantom's command structure, with combi-weapons, again favouring the incorporation of melta and plasma designs, produced in significant numbers by the Chapter's Techmarines and often carried into battle by its officers and Veteran Sergeants as a symbol of rank. In addition the Star Phantoms maintain a sizable core force of Vindicators and Land Raiders for use in armoured spearhead attacks, and manufacture and employ large numbers of Deathstorm Drop Pods in a fire support role for planetary assaults.
In nature, Battle-Brothers of the Star Phantoms are often solemn and invariably shun contact with those outside of their Chapter. While they do contribute brethren to the Long Vigil, Star Phantoms serving in the Kill-teams of the Deathwatch often stand somewhat apart from their fellows. Their Chapter Cult teaches that life is transient and only the manner of a warrior’s death holds any meaning. While they may be somewhat cold, the Star Phantoms truly hold no compunctions about dying, so long as they know they will be grieved by their comrades according to their own beliefs.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
Following the destruction of their home world of Haakoneth in 120.M40, the Star Phantoms became a fleet-based Chapter. During this period, the Chapter came to further specialise in fleet combat and mass assault operations from near orbit. A favoured tactic of the Chapter being the coordinated use of large numbers of drop pods of varying types and classes, including weapons-platform types such as the Deathstorm as a key part of their strategies. It was during these years the Chapter earned a merciless reputation for the indiscriminate use of firepower, often inflicting wanton collateral damage on their targets during civil insurrections.
The existence of indigenous and often unique cult belief systems, martial philosophies and variations on the Cult Imperialis within the Adeptus Astartes is far from uncommon. The so-called Mortuary Cult of the Star Phantoms is of a more extreme variety, and embraces the divinity of the God Emperor of Mankind as "Imperator Mortifex" - Judge of the souls of the dead and keeper of martyrs. Accordingly, the brethren of the Chapter see themselves as divinely ordained killers; Angels of Death in the truest sense. Grim solemnity accompanies their proceedings at all times and they care little for the individual glory of the warrior, but are instead consumed by the task of bringing death to those that defy the Emperor's will or seek to thwart His holy purpose. True to Imperial dogma, they hold as a central tenet of their beliefs, "That only in death does duty end," and while they give little leeway or respite to the living, they deeply honour those who fall in the Emperor's service and hold the many martyrs of the Imperium and the dead of their Chapter with extreme reverence. As a part of their practices the Star Phantoms have been observed to hold many strange and elaborate funerary customs, and it is commonplace for battle brethren of the Chapter to maintain a personal reliquary containing votive items such as the ashes of fallen comrades as a talisman, and are also apt to use the ground dust of their enemies' bones compounded as lapping powder for their armour. The keepers and high priests of these cult practices are the Star Phantoms Chaplains. Each company and detachment has its own attached Mortuary Chaplain to administer its rites, with a separate chantry of four Reclusiarchs and a Master of Sanctity maintained as a key part of the Chapter's command structure.
Some sources have since hinted that they utilised Dark Angels gene-seed, although this has been vehemently denied by the Dark Angels themselves, and the Star Phantoms consider such queries, even via official channels, as inherently presumptuous and cause for offence. Likely this speculation is simply based on some observed similarity in livery, iconography and trappings, which along with the inherent introversion of character has given birth to a likely unfounded assumption by certain scholars of the Adeptus Terra and Deparmento Stratagos.
Notable Star Phantoms
- Chapter Master Omadon Tiresias - Master of the Star Phantoms, whom ordered the evacuation of his Chapter during the destruction of their home world of Haakoneth due to a massive Hrud migration. When the planet was engulfed in a massive vortex of spatial turbulence, Tiresias was blinded by a rogue time-eddy that speared the command deck of his ship.
- Captain Zhrukal Androcles, "Siegebreaker" - A grim and relentless warrior, Zhrukal Androcles was the Captain of the Star Phantoms 9th Devastator reserve company. During the final assault on Huron's capital known as the Palace of Thorns, Captain Androcles led a detachment to breach the catacombs of the Tyrant's palace, and as luck would have it, they ran into Lufgt Huron; and his bodyguard endeavouring to make their escape. The swift and bloody battle that followed wiped out the entire Star Phantoms detachment, but not before the dying Androcles managed to unleash a melta-blast at point blank range into the Tyrant of Badab, dealing him a mortal blow.
- Memento Mori (Battle-Barge) - The Star Phantoms' most venerable and proud flagship that led the ragged remains of the Star Phantoms' fleet's escape from the destruction of their homeworld of Haakoneth due to a large Hrud migration. Later, in played a vital role during the closing days of the Badab War during the final assault on Badab Primaris. After the successful conclusion of the war, the Star Phantoms chose the ice moon of Jahga and landed the ancient battle-barge on its surface. Land-locked on the surface of the planet by the massive glaciers and never-ending formations of ice, the Memento Mori became the foundation for which the Star Phantoms built their new fortress monastery upon.
- Pale Wrath (Battle-Barge) - A proud battle-barge that served alongside the Memento Mori during the final assault on Badab Primaris in the closing days of the Badab War.
- Spectre of Fear (Strike Cruiser)
The Star Phantoms' Power Armour colours are primarily white. Symbols for squad-type are primarily black and are located on the right shoulder pad and the chapter icon is worn on the left shoulder pad. The aquila on the chest is light yellow in colour and the eye lenses on the helmets are red. Squad numbers and squad type are usually designated on the left knee pad, but sometimes is indicated on the opposite one. There seems to be now set standard as to how these marking are displayed. It seems to be left up to the individual Battle-Brother's personal preference.
The Star Phantoms' Chapter badge is a stylised hour glass in black, with a twin pair of skulls, reflecting one another, forming the body of the hour glass. This symbolism is consistent with the mortuary beliefs of the Star Phantoms Chapter.
- Cities of Death
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 117-118
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 44, 47-49, 53, 55, 132, 134-135, 180
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "The Trial of the Mantis Warriors" by C.S. Goto
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium, "The Badab War", pp. 33-35
- White Dwarf 101 (US), "Index Astartes: From The Imperial History Archive - The Badab War: The uniforms and history of the Badab Uprising" (1988) by Rick Priestley, pp. 71-73