"Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! Death to the False Emperor!"
First Founding (30th Millennium)
Red and Brass
The World Eaters are one of the Traitor Legions of Chaos Space Marines who now inhabit the Warp rift known as the Eye of Terror in the Imperium of Man's Segmentum Obscurus. The World Eaters were also once the XII Legion of the twenty First Founding Space Marine Legions, and one of the first to betray the Emperor of Mankind for the service of Chaos and the Warmaster Horus. The World Eaters are the dedicated servants of the Blood God Khorne, the Chaos God of War and Murder, and live for nothing more than to spill blood in his name. The World Eaters' Primarch, Angron, was one of the first of the Space Marine Primarchs to join with the Warmaster Horus when he turned against the Emperor and began the Horus Heresy. The Legion is no longer united, having long ago surrended to the pure blood lust inspired by their patron Khorne and instead operate as separate warbands who seek to spread death and terror in the name of the Blood God across the galaxy.
Of all the Space Marine Legions created by the Emperor of Mankind during the First Founding, none were more feared than the World Eaters. Always leading the bloodiest assaults and most vicious battles of the Great Crusade, the name of the the World Eaters soon became a byword for bloodshed and fear on a mass scale. The XII Space Marine Legion was active in the Great Crusade for several decades before its Primarch Angron was rediscovered and during that time was known as the War Hounds, a name that had been chosen by the Emperor after he saw the XII Legion fight in the Cephic hive-sprawls and they reminded him of the white war hounds the Yeshk warriors in the north used. Angron renamed his Legion the World Eaters after he assumed command. He chose the new name for his Legion when Dreagher, a Terran-born Astartes who served as Captain of the Legion's 9th Company, promised Angron after meeting his Primarch for the first time that under his leadership the War Hounds would become "...the eater of worlds."
The biography of the Primarch Angron remains frustratingly incomplete. How Angron came to be separated from the Emperor and Terra by the mysterious machinations of the Ruinous Powers and what planet they deposited him upon after he was stolen away an an infant through the Warp is unknown. Where this planet is located in the galaxy or if it even still exists is uncertain. Carpinus' Speculum Historiate tells of Angron's homeworld that it was technologically advanced and ruled over by a wealthy caste who lived in decadent opulence while the populations of their cities lived in abject poverty in the huge slums surrounding their palaces and villas. To distract the populace from their poverty, the oligarchic rulers of this planet held regular gladiatorial games to the death in massive areans with cybernetically-enhanced gladiators who battled to satisfy the endless bloodlust of the people. It was on this world that the Primarch Angron was eventually discovered, though little else about the circumstances of how he came to be there remains unknown.
What is known is that Angron was discovered by a slaver who chanced upon the battered and bleeding figure of the young Primarch, surrounded by scores of alien corpses, high in the northern mountains of the world. History does not record what species these aliens belonged to, but many Imperial scholars believe them to have been Eldar who attacked the Primarch with some psychic foreknowledge of what he would become in the future. Angron had been badly wounded in the combat, but remained alive. Taken as a slave, Angron was nursed back to health and bio-neural cybernetic implants were surgically grafted to his cerebral cortex. Relic devices from the Dark Age of Technology, these implants would boost a warrior's adrenaline, resulting in greater strength and aggression in battle. Angron was taken to the planet's capital city where his obvious potential as a gladiator was soon made apparent and he was bought by the largest and most popular arena in the capital. The cells below the area were home to several thousand of these cyborg gladiators and Angron took his place among them.
After only a few months, Angron had become a proud warrior of fearsome skill and an even stronger sense of honor. He killed hundreds of other gladiators, but those who fought well he always spared. While Angron seemed to enjoy the life of a gladiator, he was always plotting to escape and proved to be a troublesome slave prone to multiple escape attamepts that always failed. Within a few years Angron's fame had spread to every corner of his homeworld. Under his training, the gladiators of his arena soon became the greatest their world had ever seen and none could stand against them. yet, Angron also learned, following a final escape attempt that he would never succeed alone. His unbending warrior's code and sheer skill had made him a well-respected leader among the other gladiators and when the largest death games ever held on the world were announced, Angron planbed his most daring escape attempt. For these new games, Angron was allowed to stage a vast combat that would involve every gladiator of his arena. As the crowd drowned out the sounds of battle, Angron's gladiators turned on their armed guards, butchering them and fighting their way to freedom. Against the guards armed with firearms, the gladiators' casualties were grievous, but nearly 2,000 survived to escape into the capital city, stealing what weapons and supplies they could before fleeing into the northern mountauins where Angron had first been discovered. Over the next few years, the rulers of the world dispatached many armed forces to kill or recapture the rebel slaves, but all were destroyed in turn by Angron's leadership, martial skill and the cybernetically-enhanced fury of the gladiators.
But attrition and hunger slowly took their toll on the slaves and eventually they numbered but 1,000 men and women. On a mountain named Fedan Mhor, Angron and his forces were finally surrounded by no less than five large armies. Not even the Primarch could stand against such sheer numbers, yet it was at this time that the Emperor of Mankind came to this world, drawn by the psychic emanations of his gene-son the Primarch. The Emperor had observed Angron secretly from orbit for many months and had watched with pride as he had led his freed slaves in battle against the forces of tyranny. The Emperor descended to the world's surface and after the shock of the august meeting had worn off on the Primarch, the Emperor offered Angron the leadership of the XII Space Marines Legion, which had been created from Angron's own genetic material, and a place at his side in the Great Crusade. To the Emperor's disbelief, Angron refused, claiming that his placed remained with his fellow slaves and he would die before deserting them. But the Emperor knew that even though Angron was a Primarch, he would still die in the coming battle, and this could not be allowed when he was so important to the creation of the Imperium of Man and the success of the Great Crusade. Bringing his flagship in low orbit, the Emperor teleported Angron away from the mountain of Fedan Mhor. Without their leader, the morale of the gladiators was destroyed and the next day thet were slaughtered to the last person by the armies of the world's rulers.
In space, Angron eventually took command of the XII Space Marine Legion that had been created from his own genetic template. The XII Legion was already active by the time Angron joined them, but at the time were known as the War Hounds. The Emperor had seen the XII Legion fight in the Cephic hive-sprawls and named them for the white hounds the Yeshk warriors in the north used. Angron renamed the XII Legion the World Eaters, but he would never forgive the Emperor for what had happened to his fellow slaves and what he saw as the ultimate betrayal of his honour.
The Great Crusade
Knowing how successful the cybernetic bio-neural implants could be at boosting a warrior's prowess in battle, Angron ordered the Techmarines of the World Eaters to duplicate the process used on his homeworld, using the implants in his own head to reverse-engineer the devices. However, the art of this technology's construction had been long forgotten to the Adeptus Mechanicus and the early attempts to reverse-engineer it were often failures, resulting in uncontrollable psychotic episodes in the recipients. Eventually, the World Eaters Techmarines were able to construct working bio-neural implants that heightened agression and physical strength and endurance, implanting them within whole companies of the World Eaters Space Marines. At first the companies with the implants proved very successful, gaining a reputation as formidable terror troops. Mercy was never offered by the World Eaters to any foe they faced, only death at the end of a Chainaxe or Chainsword. The Liber Malus speaks of whole star systems surrendering wholesale when the World Eaters' fleet was detected entering the system rather than face the wrath of Angron's Space Marines. Yet it was not long before the Legion's use of cybernetic implants in its neophytes became known. Following the infamous Ghenna Scouring, where an entire planet's population was butchered in a single night, the World Eaters were publicly censured by the Emperor and commanded to stop using the cybernetic implants.
Angron paid no heed to the Emperor's command and ordered his Techmarines to continue to use the technology until nearly every World Eater Space Marine had undergone the surgery. Blood rites like blood-drinking and vicious gladiatorial combats became an increasingly important part of the World Eaters' rituals and customs as they continued to slaughter their way across a broad swathe of the galaxy and it soon became common practice for World Eaters to compete in the number of skulls that they could take in battle. For some World Eater Space Marines, the result was an uncontrollable thirst of slaughter even away from the battlefield. However, the results produced by the World Eaters on the front lines were so effective that the Imperium was willing to turn a blind eye to the World Eaters’ practices for quite some time during the Great Crusade.
Eventually, as the World Eaters' vicious savagery only worsened, many of Angron's brother Primarchs voiced their concerns to the Emperor, yet the Master of Mankind proceeded to make a terrible error. He dispatched the Warmaster Horus, the Primarch he trusted over all others, to confront Angron and bring him back into the Imperial fold. Yet Horus was a master manipulator and unknown to the Emperor, had already himself been corrupted by the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. In Angron he saw a warrior consumed by bitterness and resentment towards the Emperor and it was simple for Horus to feed that bitterness and emphasize the Emperor's betrayal, feeding Angron's perception that the Emperor was a weakling in need of replacement by a stronger ruler--a ruler like Horus. Horus had told Angron exactly what he wanted to hear and when the Horus Heresy began, plunging the galaxy into civil war, Angron's World Eaters joyfully marched beside the Sons of Horus. In an event that sealed the fate of the World Eaters, Scyrak the Slaughterer, a World Eater champion, slew the Loyalist Chief Librarian of the World Eaters – the last ward against the influences of Chaos. Thus, the World Eaters became one of Horus’ original four Traitor Legions, along with the Death Guard, the Word Bearers and Horus’ own Sons of Horus.
The Horus Heresy
The ferocity once visited upon the Emperor's enemies now fell upon the Imperium of Man. The World Eaters fought in the vanguard of every battle, fighting in the bloodiest assaults, preferring to tear the enemy to pieces in melee combat rather than use long-range firepower. Angron's warriors cut a bloody swathe across the galaxy towards Terra, drinking the blood of their victims and taking their skulls to honour their new master, the Blood God Khorne. During the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters fought many bloody battles, their allegiance to Khorne growing ever stronger. The climax of the World Eaters’ glory came during the onslaught of the very heart of humanity: Terra. Newly blessed with daemonic gifts, Angron and his World Eaters first overtook the Loyalist defenders of the Eternity Wall Spaceport. Later, the World Eaters had the duty and privilege of leading the frontal assault on the Emperor’s Imperial Palace. The surviving video logs from the Siege of the Imperial Palace show the World Eaters breaching the walls of the Palace, the twisted, red form of Angron wielding his glowing runesword at their head. Among those first in was the World Eaters champion Khârn who helped to assault the Imperial Palace. Despite contrary claims by the Sons of Horus, World Eater records indicate that it was Angron’s daemonic runesword that was responsible for the downfall of the great gate of the Imperial Palace. The World Eaters reaped a true harvest of blood on Terra, but they were denied ultimate victory. With the Dark Angels and Space Wolves Legions on their way to Terra to reinforce the Loyalist defenders, Horus gambled everything in order to win the siege, lowering the void shields on his battle barge and daring the Emperor to come to him. The Master of Mankind rose to the challenge and faced his betrayer in the combat that decided the fate of the galaxy. The two fought a titanic battle that was both physical and psychic, until at last the Emperor had slain Horus and utterly obliterated even his soul from existence, but only at the cost of his own humanity and eternal internment in the Golden Throne. The mighty Chaos army then disintegrated and fled Terra. Angron was the last to leave, leading his World Eaters deep into the refuge of the great Warp storm that was the Eye of Terror in the northwestern reaches of the galaxy. He and his Chaos Space Marines would have all of eternity to seek revenge and more blood for the Blood God.
With the Horus Heresy ended, the World Eaters fled into the Eye of Terror to a Daemon World specially prepared for Angron by Khorne, though the Legion swiftly degenerated into roving warbands of Chaos Space Marines as the incessant and bloodthirsty demands of Khorne drove the World Eaters to turn in upon themselves. As such, even to the present time they have no particular homebase, with each band generally operatng from whatever starship they can lay their bloodstained hands upon.
The Battle of Skalathrax
Following the end of the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters Legion was finally sundered as a coherent military force during the Battle of Skalathrax on the Daemon World of the same name where the World Eaters faced off against the Emperor's Children Chaos Marines, the devoted servants of the Chaos God Slaanesh, the chief rival among the Ruinous Powers of the World Eaters' patron Khorne. The two armies of Traitor Marines clashed through the planet's storm lashed cities of black rock and ice. City after city fell to the bezerker assaults of the World Eaters, as the chosen of Khorne hurled themselves at the Emperor's Children, slaughtering the hated Slaaneshi devotees until forced to halt their attack as the Daemon World's freezing night fell.
A Champion of Khorne named Khârn screamed his frustration as the Legion paused in its attack, demanding that he be allowed to continue killing. Furious with his comrades for taking shelter while there were still enemies left to slay, Khârn took up a flamer and turned its heat upon his fellow World Eaters Bezerkers and those who tried to stop he cut down with great sweeps of his chainaxe. As the flames spread to the rest of the city, the World Eaters Legion tore itself apart, Bezerkers fighting both each other and the Emperor's Children for what little shelter remained. Khârn burned and hacked his way through the flaming ruinis of Skalathrax, having become the living incarnation of the Blood God himself. From that day forth, the World Eaters were broken as a Legion, becoming instead scattered warbands of bezerk Chaos Marines, forever in search of more blood to spill. Khârn now stalks the Eye of Terror and only the most insane of Khornate warriors dare to fight alongside him, since few who do so ever survive.
The 41st Millennium
After Horus' death at the hands of the Emperor, the tide of the battle for Terra turned and the remaining forces of Chaos were scattered. Angron and his World Eaters fought their way across the galaxy to reach the Eye of Terror. Once inside the Warp rift, the bloody Chaos Space Marines chose a Daemon World to settle, which Khorne blessed and perverted into a realm of constant battle, bloodshed and pain where Angron, now a Daemon Prince of Khorne, ruled over all. However, following the Battle of Skalathrax with the Emperor's Children in the Eye of Terror, the raving blood thirst of the World Eaters broke down any form of organization and control. Units of World Eaters of varying sizes broke off from the main force to seek out glory and skulls for Khorne. Squads of ancient World Eater berzerkers can be found as parts of larger Chaos armies, in Khorne-sworn forces, or even in small teams called warbands – always seeking combat, blood and skulls.
- Nove Shendak Campaign (World Eight-Two-Seventeen) (Unknown Date.M31) - Nove Shendak was a world of worms; giant creatures, intelligent. Hateful. Their weapons were filaments, metal feathers that they embedded in themselves to conduct energies out of their bodies. The surface would roil with the filaments before the worms broke out of it almost at the Imperial defenders' feet. Thick as a man, longer that a person was tall. They had three mouths in their faces, a dozen teeth in their mouths. They spoke through the mud in sonic screams and witch-whispers. Early in the Great Crusade, the War Hounds Legion had found three star systems under their thrall, burned them out of their colony nests and chased them home. But on their cradle-world the XII Legion had found humans. Humans lost to humanity for who knows how long, crawling on the land while the worms slithered in the marsh seas. Hunting the humans, farming them. Killing them. The War Hounds, alongside their fellow Astartes Legion the Iron Warriors, and a large contingent of Imperial Army soldier were charged with exterminating the worms and liberating the humans of this world. Fighting the worms was next to impossible as the lunar tides dragged the mud oceans to and fro across the jagged stone continents, making the ground very unstable. The Imperial forces had to use sentries with high-powered lasguns to read the movements of the mud to hear the worms moving through it towards them. Explosives were seeded around the earthworks and allowed to sink to where the worms burrowed. Perturabo had his Iron Warriors build earthworks. They built trenches and dykes, penned in the mud seas and drained them, drove the worms back, reclaimed land the wretched humans could build on. And when the worms came out to fight the Imperials, they met the Emperor and his War Hounds. Though the casualties were horrendous, the War Hounds eventually emerged triumphant.
- The Cleansing of Arrigata (Unknown Date.M31) - Towards the end of the Great Crusade in the early 31st Millennium, Horus assembled three Space Marine Legions to take back the technologically advanced planet Arrigata from the Imperial separatists who controlled it; the the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters, and the Ultramarines. Most of the planet was quickly conquered, except for the massive fortress within which most of the leaders of the planet cowered. Eager to be on his way, Horus commanded Angron to take back the citadel and kill only the leaders. Eagerly, Angron led the assault. However, the fortress was heavily defended and the casualties were horrendous, a dozen World Eaters falling for a meter of land. Eventually, a ramp of corpses led up to a single breach in the wall, and the Astartes of the World Eaters Legion plunged in. Filled with rage over their fallen brothers, they were merciless. By the time the Ultramarines arrived, the battle was all but over. The inside of the fortress was filled with the dismembered and mangled corpses of the defenders, for not one soul had been spared the vengeful fury of the World Eaters. It was an absolute slaughter, the fortress having been transformed into an abattoir of human blood. The Ultramarines were disgusted by this savage behaviour and reported the World Eaters' growing barbarism to the Emperor. But Horus, already corrupted by the tempations of Chaos, knew that the World Eaters' savagery would make the service of Chaos a good fit for the Legion -- and particularly for its rage-fueled Primarch.
- The Battle of Istvaan III (Unknown Date.M31) - During the first battle of the Horus Heresy, Angron led the World Eaters personally in the first surface assault on Isstvan III to destroy the remaining Loyalist Astartes of the four original Traitor Legions, including their own Loyalist World Eaters, who had survived the traitorous virus-bombing of Istvaan III's capital of Choral City by Horus' orbiting fleet. The World Eaters bloodily massacred most of them, plunging into the enemy ranks like a white hot dagger. It is rumoured that when the Iron Hands arrived to destroy the Traitors, Angron turned his forces around and engaged them in what was some of the most bloody fighting of the Horus Heresy. A few even whisper that Angron himself killed Ferrus Manus, the Primarch of the Iron Hands, with several mighty blows from his Chainaxe, God Tearer.
- The Battle of Terra (Unknown Date.M31) - The walls of the Imperial Palace seemed to touch the very sky, so tall were they. Before the walls milled the combined forces of the Traitors, an army so vast and terrible that its like has never been seen before. Nor will its like be seen again until the end of times, and the final battle. All manner of corrupted mutants, all the Greater and Lesser Daemons of Chaos, and the Traitor Legions in their fell might surrounded this last bastion of the Loyalists on Terra. The walls of the Palace were high and strong, but were breached by the Titans of the Death's Heads Legion. Into those breaches, at the forefront of each assault went the World Eaters. They charged reckless through the maelstrom, leaving heaps of their dead, consumed by madness and their lust for slaughter. It was here, in the desperate and close fighting in the breaches that a Chaos Marine named Khârn became a bloody legend, butchering and carving his way toward the Emperor's inner sanctums. They moved into the corridors running through the mile thick walls, and the tunnels and chambers swam with blood. Even as the Emperor fought Horus above the ruins of Terra, Khârn fell at last before the Eternity Gate, atop a great pile of corpses. As the World Eaters withdrew with the other Legions after Horus' fall, some dark impulse or whispering from Khorne bade them take the bloodied carcass of Khârn with them, alone out of the millions of corpses left around the Imperial Palace. Khârn would be revived to life by the Blood God Khorne as his new Champion following the arrival of the World Eaters in the Eye of Terror.
- The Battle of Skalathrax (Unknown Date.M31) - On the Daemon World of Skalathrax in the Eye of Terror, shortly after the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters and the Emperor's Children fought. Amid the World Eaters was the Champion of Khorne named Khârn. After a full day of vicious fighting, the terriblly frigid Skalathrax night began. Horrified, Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike ran to their shelters, for the freezing night would kill even a Chaos Space Marine in a matter of moments. Khârn raged over being delayed from slaughter for even a single night. Filled with anger when he saw that his brother Chaos Marines were creeping back to the shelters, he took up a flamer and burned them down, slaying with his chainaxe Gorechild any who tried to stop him. The night was filled with the screams of the dying and the freezing as Khârn strode the streets of the dead city of black stone, killing Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike, burning any shelters he found. The night was lit by flames as the Emperor's Children and the World Eaters fought each other and themselves for the few remaining shelters. By morning, most of the World Eaters were dead, the survivors split into small warbands, the shattered remnants of the once great Companies of the Legion. The Legion would never reunite and would remain scattered in warbands for the next ten millennia.
- The First War for Armageddon (474.M41) - The arrival of a massive and ancient Space Hulk at the outer edge of the Imperial Armageddon System in the Segmentum Solar in 474.M41 heralded the first of the terrible conflicts to plague this strategically vital Hive World. In this costly First War for Armageddon, the Daemon Primarch Angron led his World Eaters in a massive invasion of the planet. Imperial resistance on the continent of Armageddon Prime was swiftly crushed, and the defenders withdrew beyond the vast equatorial jungles dividing Armageddon Prime from the continent of Armageddon Secundus. Here, under the guidance of the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar of the Space Wolves Chapter of Space Marines, the Imperial forces established a new line of defence and awaited the renewed onslaught of the Forces of Chaos. Complacent, and believing the campaign to be all but won, Angron wasted weeks erecting great temples and monoliths to his patron Chaos God Khorne -- or so it seemed. In reality, the local Warp Storm which had allowed a large portion of his army to be summoned to the world by the minions of a Chaos Cult native to Armageddon was dissipating, and without its influence, much of his army, which was composed of Khornate daemons, was likely to be pulled back into the Warp. So Angron's hand was forced into erecting the monuments and temples in order to strengthen his daemonic forces' hold on realspace. This proved to be a strategic mistake. When Angron renewed his offensive, pushing through the sweltering jungles to reach Armageddon Secundus his host was met by a solid wall of defence. Nonetheless the World Eaters crashed recklessly into the Imperial line, and they were aided by the daemons of the Warp. The Imperial defences were almost overwhelmed by the sheer fury of the World Eaters assault. Angron himself led his bodyguard of Khornate Daemon Princes and the Khornate Greater Daemons known as Bloodthirsters against the centre of the line, held by the Space Wolves, hoping to come before the Great Wolf and slay him. It was at this point that Grimnar played his trump card; an entire company of Grey Knights teleported into the midst of Angron's daemonic Honour Guard. The titanic struggle that ensued saw earth rending energies unleashed, as the burning white light of the Emperor's most elite psychically-empowered Astartes came against the darkness of Khorne's dread daemonic servants. Angron's retinue was destroyed by the Grey Knights at a terrible cost, and the survivors now faced the corrupted Daemon Primarch. It was this combat that would decide the fate of the world of Armageddon. The Grey Knights, through a supreme sacrifice, summoned the energy for a massive psychic blast that completely annihilated Angron's corporeal form and banished his spirit to the Empryean, from whence it could not return for a hundred years. A great part of the Grey Knights Company, including a Grey Knights Grand Master, were destroyed in this action, for Angron was a Chaotic foe of nearly unparalleled strength not seen since the days of the Horus Heresy. With the destruction of the Primarch, the World Eaters fell into disarray and were routed. The Warp-summoned Daemons of Khorne vanished as swiftly as they had appeared, losing their fragile grip on the material plane. The survivors of the World Eaters Chaos Space Marine warbands gradually fell back into the Eye of Terror. It is said that the now-recovered Angron hungers for revenge against the Imperium and the Space Wolves in particular.
- The Battle for Grand Al'gul (666.M41) - The warband of the World Eaters known as The Sanctified were intercepted by the Loyalist Fire Angels Space Marine Chapter amongst the Cemetery Worlds of the Grand Al'gul System in a series of brutal assaults and counter-assaults. The Fire Angels Chapter paid a heavy price before victory was achieved, including the martyrdom of its Chapter Master when he battled a powerful Lord of Change, a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch, and the self-immolation of their Chief Librarian in order to avoid daemonic Warp-possession.
- The Siege of Vraks (813-830.M41) - The warband of the World Eaters called The Sanctified was one of the units of Chaos Space Marines that took part in the Siege of Vraks, a 17-year long, bloody campaign to take the strategically important Imperial Armoury World of Vraks Prime before the onset of the 13th Black Crusade. The mighty Chaos Lord Zhufor, of the Khornate warband the Skulltakers, was charged by his master Abaddon the Despoiler, to manage the war on Vraks to his satisfaction. Driven by his own ambition and desire to prolong the war, Lord Zhufor, commanding the largest Khornate warband, moved to subjugate the various Khornate warbands and unify them under his leadership. Death was his only motivation -- to continue the killing until the last drop of blood had been squeezed from Vraks. To acquire the services of the Sanctified, Zhufor made them a tantalising offer he knew they would not refuse. The Sanctified were accomplished daemonmancers, and they worked tirelessly to bring Khorne's daemons into realspace. They had the expertise, and Zhufor provided them with the tens of thousands of sacrificial victims needed in order to create a Warp portal through which daemon legions could pour out onto the surface of Vraks. The promise was that Zhufor would facilitate the summoning of the greatest daemon legion in Khorne's endless armies. At the head of this fiendish army would be the Guardian of the Throne of Skulls himself, the Lord of Bloodthirsters, An'ggrath the Unbound. The pact was too alluring to refuse. The Sanctified joined forces with Zhufor and performed their daemonic ritual, summoning forth the Greater Daemon to bring fresh slaughter. Though An'ggrath was eventually summoned at the height of the Vraks campaign, he was defeated by a force of Grey Knights led by Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex who banished him in personal combat with the artefact-sword Arias.
- The Winter Assault on Lorn V (Unknown Date.M41) - The Ice World of Lorn V had been governed by the Imperium of Man for millennia until the sudden arrival of a warband of World Eaters and a WAAAGH! of Orks on its frigid surface. For many years a vicious struggle raged on the snowy fields of Lorn V between these Orks and the warband of the World Eaters called the Blood Legion of Khorne that was commanded by the Chaos Champion Lord Crull. It was a one-sided fight for much of that time, as the Orks were often too divided amongst themselves as was the wont of that species to pose any threat to the World Eaters. But after the arrival of the fierce Ork Warlord Gorgutz and his reinforcing WAAAGH!, the Orks of Lorn V suddenly became a real menace for the World Eaters and managed to successfully assault one of their primary bases on that world. As a result of Gorgutz's arrival the conflict between the two sides became even more savage. General Sturnn of the Imperial Guard, having learned that the salvageable remains of an Imperator-class Titan called the Dominatus that had been knocked out of action during the Horus Heresy were still on Lorn V, launched an Imperial invasion of the icy world with his 412th Cadian Shock Troopers Regiment to reclaim both the planet and the ancient Titan for the Imperium. The Eldar of Craftworld Biel-tan under Farseer Taldeer also secretly invaded the planet, which had long been a secret Necron Tomb World. The undying Necrons had slumbered away the millennia in their stasis tombs while the younger races had fought for control of the freezing world far above them. The Eldar of Biel-tan had foreseen that the conflict between the Orks and the human Traitors would stir the Necrons from their uneasy sleep and they were determined to stop the awakening of another Tomb World of their ancient foes at any cost. When the 412th Cadian Shock Troopers Regiment of the Imperial Guard arrived, Lord Crull and Gorgutz struck a brief and uneasy alliance that they named the Forces of Disorder against their common Imperial and Eldar foes and worked together to obtain the power of the ancient Titan. Imperial records are not entirely clear about the course of events during the campain but it is known that Farseer Taldeer and her Eldar was able to stop the Necrons from rising by destroying their Necron Lord, but lost one of her own Farseers to the Orks and many of her warriors to the allied Forces of Disorder. General Sturnn was killed by Gorgutz and his head was put on his "pointy stikk" along with that of the World Eaters' champion, Lord Crull, after the Orks broke their short alliance with the Traitor Marines, who were also driven from the planet and scattered after the loss of their leader. It is unknown what happened to the Titan Dominatus or the 412th Cadian Shock Troopers Regiment. Following these events, it seems that the Imperial Ultima Segmentum Command despatched Governor-Militant Lukas Alexander to the Civilised World of Kronus to track down and capture Farseer Taldeer after her actions on Lorn V. This began the campaign remembered in Imperial records as the Dark Crusade.
The name of the world in which Angron was raised has long since been lost to history. However shortly after the beginning phases of the Heresy but before the Siege of Terra, the World Eaters legion was diverted to crush a single world utterly by Angron. It is not known if this world was their homeworld or not but popular belief was that it was indeed the world on which Angron had been a slave. However, Angron also ordered the destruction of several other worlds, seemingly at random, during the Heresy. Unlike other legions the World Eaters hold no world as their own in the daemonic realm the traitors call home. This is speculated to be due to the fact the legion is no more and single war bands simply go where they want.
Banished to the Eye of Terror and tied forever to the worship of Khorne, the blood rituals of the Legion became an even more important part of the World Eaters daily lives, mighty oceans of blood filled in his praise. The legendary tactical organisation of the Space Marines broke down, washed away by the years of slaughter that followed. As more and more of the Legion's officers and champions were possessed by daemons or became mighty Chaos champions, the last vestiges of discipline and organisation fell away, the once proud Space Marine Legion reduced to howling, berserk killers thirsting for death and bloodshed. After the Night of Madness on the daemon world of Skalathrax, when a champion named Kharn turned on his fellow World Eaters, the Legion tore itself apart in a day long slaughter, becoming nothing more than roving bands of renegades, endlessly questing for battle and death. Such bands vary enormously in size from single champions, small squads to company sized forces capable of untold destruction. The champions who lead these marauders will fight alongside almost any other Chaos Lord who is gathering his forces, asking for nothing more than the chance to spill blood in the name of Khorne. But even a Chaos Lord must be wary lest his head be added to the tally of skulls.
Legion Combat Doctrine
The World Eaters now possess but a single desire in life -- to slay their enemies in savage melee combat and take their skulls for Khorne. To this end, the Legion has cast away their long-ranged weapons completely and have taken up the Chainaxe favoured by Khorne and the Bolt Pistol. Their thirst for blood and slaughter has become such an overpowering addiction that when battle is joined the World Eaters, now all transformed into Khornate Berserkers, rampage across the battlefield, roaring the name of Khorne, all strategy and tactics forgotten in their overpowering thirst for bloodshed. In combat, these frothing, psychotic berserkers are ferocious and will fight to the death, knowing that their own blood is as welcome to the Blood God as that of their enemies. The World Eaters are an army entirely dedicated to and specialised in close combat. Reflecting the breakdown of overall organisation and strategy in the Legion after the Horus Heresy, most World Eater combat consists of rushing a force of World Eater Berserkers towards the enemy line as quickly as possible so they can engage in melee combat. Once locked into close combat, few enemy units can persevere against the World Eaters’ Khornate Berserkers. World Eater armies feature little to no long-range weapons, but they balance this lack with their exceptional close combat and melee prowess. The World Eaters do, however, possess various artillery weapons gifted to them by Khorne.
The XII Legion, originally known as the War Hounds, already had a reputation for ferocity in battle. But they were also known to fight honourably and possessed sense of martial pride. When they were reunited with their Primarch they were soon influenced by Angron's cultural beliefs and blood rites that would become an important part of the World Eaters core beliefs. Their thirst for battle was artificially amplified by the use of psycho-surgery similar to what Angron had received during his gladiator training. Bloodletting was a very common practice carried out by the Legionnaires of the World Eaters. Angron and his World Eaters were known to cut their left hands and smeared the blood on the visors of their helmets before going into a fight. As time went on, blood rites became more and more important part of the Legion's rituals. This would eventually culminate in the corrupted Warmaster Horus turning the Legion's bloody rituals towards the bloody-handed worship of Chaos, in particular the Blood God Khorne.
The Triumph Rope
Like their fellow Astartes Legions the XII Legion would often take an oath of moment, a final last act before embarking for combat. Each Legionnaire prepares their vows to their fellow brothers in the Legion. What they will do for their Emperor, their Legion and themselves. They witness one another's oaths. Some Legions write them and then decorate themselves with the written oaths on fluttering paper on their Power Armour. But with the coming of Angron, the Primarch introduced to his gene-sons the tradition of the 'Triumph Rope'. This was something that was shown to Captain Kharn by his Primarch. Angron explained that before a battle one would carve a line in one's body, and after said battle you would either let it heal normally, to show that you were victorious or you would rub some of the dirt from the battlefield into the wound, to show you were defeated. This would cause the scar to appear to be a "red twist" if victorious, or a "black twist" if defeated. Warriors could then keep track of their battle honours and gauge each others prowess. Angron had the longest 'Triumph Rope' within the Legion. A ridge of scar tissue began at the base of Angron’s spine. It traveled up his backbone, then veered to the left and around his body, riding over his hip and curving around to his front. The length of his continuous scar seemed to expand and thin again, ploughing and gouging the skin, in some places vanishing entirely where the Primarch’s healing powers had overcome it. The scar looped around and around Angron’s body, spiraling up over his belly, around his ribs, towards his chest. A little past the right of his sternum, it abruptly stopped. Angron, it was said, had no black twists. When the Emperor spirited Angron away from his world on the eve of battle where he was ready to give his life fighting side-by-side with his fellow slaves, he was denied the right to return to his world. He couldn't pick up the soil to make a black twist. Unable to wear his failure, he was bitter with the Emperor that he couldn't fight alongside them and even more so that he couldn't even commemorate them properly.
Before the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters' originally white Ceramite Power Armour was unadorned, but for the chains binding their weapon to their arms. The chains were a personal tradition of the XII Legion that had spread even among the other Legions from the fighting pits of the World Eaters where the practice had originated. Sigismund, the First Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion, had taken to the custom with his usual zeal, binding his weapons to his wrists on dense black chains. He made an impressive name for himself hen he served with the World Eaters within the bowels of The Conqueror, dueling with the XII Legion’s finest warriors late in the Great Crusade. The "Black Knight" they had called him, in honour of his prowess, his nobility and his personal heraldry. Ammit, a Captain of the Blood Angels Legion known as the "Flesh Tearer," was another Astartes of a different Legion to earn great glory in the World Eaters’ pits in the days before the Horus Heresy, for he fought with the same savagery and brutality as his hosts, a trait that would later be passed on to the Flesh Tearers Chapter founded after the Heresy.
One of the more bloody traditions of the World Eaters were gruesome contests of head-taking between members of individual squad members, various squads, and the Chapters, Companies and Captains. This may just have been a easy way to confirm kills, but it has been surmised by Imperial scholars that the World Eaters saw the head of a foe to be important. It is unknown if the totals of collected heads were kept for just single battles, wars, or the warrior's career.
Now, there is only one thing the World Eaters believe in; the spilling of blood. The sole purpose of their existence is to kill and to shed blood in their god's name. Whether that blood comes from a foe, an ally or even their own veins, it matters not. All that matters is that the pile of bloody skulls laid at the brass throne of Khorne grows ever larger.
Many suspect that Angron's gene-seed was corrupt from the start and the World Eaters were damned the moment they were created. Others point to the known history of Angron and insist that his Legion could have been saved had the signs been noticed earlier. Whichever is correct, the Space Marines of the World Eaters have a physical need to shed blood and kill, a driving imperative that sends them into a berserk fury of unrestrained bloodthirsty psychosis. So strong is the desire to kill that the World Eaters will turn on one another to satisfy their bloodlust should no other foe present itself.
Notable World Eaters
- Angron - Sometimes called the Red Angel, Angron is the violent and deadly Primarch of the XII Legion of Chaos Space Marines known as the World Eaters. He fell to the Ruinous Powers, particularly to the influence of the Blood God Khorne, during the Horus Heresy. Afterwards, Angron earned his place as a powerful Daemon Prince of the Blood God.
- Ghreer (Deceased) - Ghreer was the Terran-born Astartes who served as the Legion Master of the War Hounds Legion before Angron was recovered by the Emperor. He was killed by Angron so that the Primarch could assert his rightful command over the XII Legion whose Astartes had been created from his own genetic material.
- Kunnar (Deceased) - Champion of the 1st Company, killed by Angron after he assumed control of the XII Legion.
- Shinnargen (Deceased) - Captain of the 2nd Company, killed by Angron after he assumed control of the XII Legion.
- Khârn the Betrayer - Khârn was once the Captain of the XII Legion's 8th Assault Company. He became a Chaos Champion of Khorne soon after the World Eaters turned to the service of the Chaos Gods. Khârn stood in the forefront of the World Eaters' assault of the Imperial Palace at the Battle of Terra during the closing days of the Horus Heresy and was killed during the vicious, hand-to-hand fighting before the Palace's Eternity Gate. His battered body was discovered laying atop a large mound of Loyalist corpses. When the assault was broken by the defeat of Horus at the hands of the Emperor, his fellow World Eaters found Khârn's body and carried it away. Soon after, they found that Khârn had apparently been resurrected by his patron God, Khorne. After the World Eaters had been driven into the Eye of Terror the entire Legion was ultimately consumed by the bloodlust of Khorne and became his most potent mortal servants, often fighting his eternal battles against his hated rival Slaanesh and the Prince of Pleasure's favoured mortal servants, the Emperor's Children Legion. The Daemon World of Skalathrax in the Eye of Terror was one of the places contested by both Traitor Legions shortly after the end of the Horus Heresy in the 31st Millennium. After a full day of vicious fighting, the terribly frigid Skalathrax night began. Horrified, Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike ran to their shelters, for the freezing night would kill even a Chaos Space Marine in a matter of moments. Khârn raged over being delayed from slaughter for even a single night. Filled with anger when he saw that his brother Chaos Marines were creeping back to the shelters, he took up a flamer and burned them down, slaying with his Chain Axe Gorechild any who tried to stop him. The night was filled with the screams of the dying and the freezing as Khârn strode the streets of the dead city of black stone, killing Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike, burning any shelters he found. The night was lit by flames as the Emperor's Children and the World Eaters fought each other and themselves for the few remaining shelters. By morning, most of the World Eaters were dead, the survivors split into small warbands, the shattered remnants of the once great Companies of the XII Legion. The Legion would never reunite and would remain scattered in warbands for the next ten millennia.
- Dreagher - Dreagher was the Terran-born World Eaters Astartes who served as Captain of the XII Legion's 9th Company during the early days of the Great Crusade. After meeting his Primarch for the first time, he promised Angron that under his leadership the War Hounds Legion would become "...the eater of worlds." In this way, Dreagher inadvertently inspired Angron to rename the XII Legion the World Eaters.
- Ehrlen - A Loyalist Captain of the World Eaters who took part in the attack on Istvaan III. He led a division of World Eaters Loyalists towards the Precentor's Palace in the Choral City, meeting thousands of civilians who tried to stop them, and with his fellow World Eaters, slaughtered all of them. Ehrlen was encountered by the Emperor's Children Captain Saul Tarvitz, who warned the World Eaters to take cover as the Warmaster Horus was about to virus-bomb the planet. However, Tarvitz's warning came too late, as many World Eaters were too far away from bunkers or other air-tight shelters and were unable to survive the massive bombardment by biological weapons. Captain Ehrlen led the World Eaters' counter-attack on the forces of their Primarch Angron and their traitorous fellow Battle-Brothers, where he is believed to have died at the hands of his Traitor brethren. However, at the end of the fight, a few World Eaters managed to survive and link up with the remainign Loyalist forces on the planet, where they helped drag out the battle against the Traitor forces for a further three months before Horus finally unleashed an orbital bombardment that ended all Loyalist resistance.
- Mesa Varren - A Captain of the World Eaters Legion, Varren remained steadfastly loyal to the Emperor of Mankind when his Legion became corrupted by Chaos and threw in its lot with the Warmaster Horus during the Horus Heresy. He would later be recruited in the early 31st Millennium by Nathaniel Garro, a former Death Guard Battle-Captain, to become one of the seven Astartes who would form the core of what eventually evolved into the Grey Knights Space Marine Chapter. According to some legends, Varren was originally thought to have played a part in the seizing of the Death Guard Frigate Eisenstein during the virus bombing of Istvaan III, which was used by Garro to carry warning to the Emperor of the Warmaster Horus' betrayal.
- Lord Crull - Crull was a Chaos Lord of Khorne who led a warband of World Eaters named the Blood Legion of Khorne during the battle for Lorn V.
- The Headsman - "The Headsman" is one of the most brutal of all of the World Eaters Chaos Space Marines known to be active in the Jericho Reach. This individual, whose true name is unknown, has earned the dire moniker "The Headsman" by the countless bloody deeds he has perpetrated across a hundred battlefields and more. First witnessed on the world of Khazant, The Headsman has been encountered leading a warband of his fellow Khornate Berserkers. Of all the bloodthirsty murderers fuelled by the savage essence of Khorne, The Headsman is feared as the most savage and unrelenting. He wields a mighty two-handed Chainaxe with which he beheads his foes, often a dozen with a single sweep. His features are obscured by an executioner’s hood, with little more than his baleful eyes visible. However, it is not just his appearance that has earned The Headsman his title, and it has been noted that his deeds are neither mindless nor random. Rather, The Headsman announces to his followers and all who will listen who his next target will be, and then sets out to slay them at any cost. Such targets are often the leaders or champions of the Imperium’s armies in the Reach, though on occasion they have been spiritual leaders or even high administrators or nobles. None can discern any pattern in The Headsman’s choice of target, but once the name is announced the victim’s doom is all but sealed. To date, The Headsman has announced the name of, and subsequently slain, three Space Marine Company Champions, a Chaplain, seven Imperial Guard Colonels, two Adeptus Titanicus Princeps, a Cardinal-Aquilus, and a Commissar-General.
- Kossolax the Foresworn - Kossolax was a Chaos Lord who supported the 13th Black Crusade and he lead a large Khornate warband known as the Foresworn. One particular Chaos Rhino, belonging to the World Eaters Legion, was reportedly present at the Battle of Terra during the Siege of the Imperial Palace, and has been identified on numerous occasions over the millennia since. The vehicle, identified as Barbarus by its nameplate, is covered in iron spikes, each adorned with the severed head of an Imperial warrior. The records of the Ordo Malleus state that Barbarus belonged to the squad of Sergeant Solax of the World Eaters' 3rd Assault Company before the Horus Heresy, and this individual is thought to be the beast now known as Kossolax the Foresworn. If this is indeed the case, Sergeant Solax has risen to the command of an entire company of Khornate Berserkers, and Barbarus has served with him and his warband across 10,000 standard years.
- Lord Zhufor - Zhufor was an infamous Chaos Lord of Khorne who led a warband of the World Eaters known as the Skulltakers during the Siege of Vraks.
During the Horus Heresy the World Eaters Legion fleet is known to have possessed the following vessels:
- Conqueror (Battle-Barge) - The World Eaters' Legion flagship and the Primarch Angron's personal flagship.
- Blood Shrike (Strike Cruiser)
- Gladiator (Capital Ship, Unknown Class)
- Gatt's Charge (Capital Ship, Unknown Class)
- Merciless (Battleship)
- Silent Fury (Strike Cruiser)
The original blue and white heraldry of the World Eaters has given way to blood red and brass, the favored colours of Khorne, although one can find some pieces of the World Eaters’ original heraldry in individual pieces of their armour. While most World Eaters retain their original Legion badge, the Mark of Khorne, as well as other Chaos icons and symbols like the Star of Chaos, often supplements it. In battle, the World Eaters almost exclusively employ chainaxes and chainswords to maximize blood spillage, although some of the most powerful warriors of the Legion use arcane power or daemonic Khornate weapons infused with the power of a daemon of the Blood God. Other renegade Space Marines that have given in to the pull of Khorne since the end of the Horus Heresy have adopted the look of the World Eaters, but few can compare to the experience that thousands upon thousands of battles across some 10,000 years has brought to the original World Eaters. What was once the most effective shock assault force in the galaxy is now a terrifying collection of savage berzerkers and insane, psychotic killing machines that live only to spill blood and take skulls for their Lord Khorne.
Prior to their fall to the bloody worship of the Chaos Blood God Khorne, the Legion's original badge was a fanged maw engulfing a world. This was a literal representation of their Legion's name, the World Eaters, as well as the brutal violence wrought on their enemies whom failed to comply to the tenets of the Imperial Truth and allows themselves to be brought into the folds of the burgeoning Imperium. After their corruption, many Legionnaires began incorporating Khorne's stylized skull-rune which is either painted or carved onto their Power Armour. They are also sometimes seen wearing a variant of their original Legion iconography of the fanged maw engulfing a planet superimposed over the eight-pointed star of Chaos.
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), p. 26
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), p. 48
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition)
- Dawn of War: Winter Assault (Video Game)
- Deathwatch: First Founding, pp. 82-83
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, p. 26
- Index Astartes Volume III, "Chosen of Khorne - The World Eaters Space Marine Legion"
- Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness
- The Sabbat Worlds Crusade (Background Book) by Dan Abnett, p. 65
- White Dwarf 313 (US), "Frenzy of the Blood God", pp. 126-129
- White Dwarf 286 (UK), "Index Astartes: the Eye of the Storm - Blood Angels", pp.68-69
- White Dwarf 275 (UK), "Index Astartes: Beasts of Steel - Chaos Space Marines tanks - The Rhino"
- White Dwarf 234 (US), "Red Rage - Khorne World Eaters Conversions", pp. 41-45
- White Dwarf 231 (US), "Don't Lose Your Head: World Eaters - Conversions, Painting, Tactics" & "Blood for the Blood God! - Bo Tolstrup's Khornate Chaos Army", pp. 14-21
- White Dwarf 230 (US), "WH40K 3rd: Bitter and Twisted - Khârn the Betrayer", p. 42
- White Dwarf 227 (US), "Chapter Approved: Chaos, Khârn the Betrayer", pp. 73-80
- White Dwarf 201 (US), "The Betrayer", pp. 87-90
- White Dwarf 153 (US), "The World Eaters: Chaos Space Marines", pp. 4-10
- Dark Imperium (Anthology), "The Wrath of Khârn" by William King
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Galaxy In Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Battle for the Abyss (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Rebirth" by Chris Wraight
- Tales of Heresy (Anthology) edited by Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestley, "After Desh'ea" by Matthew Farrer
- Garro: Legion of One (Audio Book) by James Swallow
- The Weakness of Others (Novella) by Laurie Goulding
- Chosen of Khorne (Audio Drama) by Anthony Reynolds
- Conquest of Armageddon (Novel) by Jonathan Green
- The Traitor's Hand (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell