A chapter sired from the geneseed of the mighty Imperial Fists, the Red Crusaders were founded in M36 for an unknown purpose. They patrol the galaxy, aiding in whatever conflict they can. Though they are fleet based, most of the chapter's recruits are taken from the Ice World of Northag. The chapter culture is highly influenced by that of the Northagi, to the extent that they are divided into different clans. The clans, along with the chapter itself, are lead by the Valfar. The one chosen to adorn the title of Valfar is the greatest warrior of the chapter, and has shown great capability for leadership. The current Valfar is Odin Nothas, who was originally a Priest, but had to abandon that role when he accepted the title of Valfar. They have faced numerous foes, including the vile forces of Chaos, the elusive Eldar, and the barbaric Ork hordes.
The circumstances of the Red Crusaders' founding are relatively mysterious. It is known from whom they descended, and when, but not why. The first two centuries of the chapter's existence is also shrouded in mystery. Something that is known, however, is that a large divide happened within the chapter. Different factions went off on their own campaigns, and shortly thereafter the chapter had very nearly fallen apart. It is assumed that a calamity befell the Red Crusaders during these mysterious centuries, which lead to the divide. It is rumoured that only the highest ranking Librarians of the chapter know, and that they have sworn an oath of silence on the subject, so Imperial historians are only left to theorise of what happened.
Half a century after the chapter had been divided, one of the factions elected a Valfar. For some unknown reason there was never elected a new one after the divide, and without a leader, the chapter would certainly not reunite. There had been two Valfars before the divide, but both of them died in grand battles against the vast hordes of the Orks. The divide occured shortly after this, leaving the chapter without a leader for almost a century.
This newly elected Valfar, Arntor Ironheart, vowed to reunite the Red Crusaders and bring them to greatness yet again. He led his marines in the hunt for the fragments of the chapter. They had all scattered across the galaxy, making the new Valfar start a crusade of reunification with his clan. This lead them to face many different foes in the search for their brothers, whom had taken to crusading independently.
529.M36: First fragment
The first fragment encountered was led by the Priest of what was the 8th Clan. They had taken to crusading against the forces of Chaos, and had gained extreme religious zeal as a consequence. Their fear of being tainted had made them very dedicated to the Emperor. They had adopted High Gothic as their tongue, and discarded most of the Northagi iconography originally used by the chapter.
When Arntor and his warriors reached the 8th Clan, calling themselves the Scarlet Sanctifiers, they were met by the priest and his retinue. They were barely recognisable as Red Crusaders, and shared only their colours at this point. The priest, Æthelgar Wolfhide, was worried to see his brethren. He feared that they had become tainted, and that their influence would drag his marines down with them.
He and his fellow priests conducted a ritual of cleansing to eradicate any taint. Any who had been influenced by the powers of Chaos would die when subjected to the ritual, so upon completion, it would instantly and infallibly prove purity or taint. The ritual was a lengthy ordeal, but a ritual of such power needed time.
This took its toll on the patience of Arntor and his clan, as they started growing restless. Though Arntor could understand why Æthelgar and his clan were wary of him and his men, his patience was also running out. He hadn't been searching for a year only to be suspected of corruption.
"Brother Æthelgar, is this truly necessary? My clan and I have been searching for a long time, and we did not come here just to be accused of heresy."
"We have not accused you of anything, Brother Arntor. We must take precautions, however. The ruinous powers can be brought even by those unknowing of their taint. Just be patient, my brothers. You will receive our hospitality once we are certain of your purity."
"Be swift, then, brother. Our patience is not unlimited. You must know this, we come from the same planet and chapter, after all. The Northagi nor the Crusaders are known for their patience."
"I am aware. My priests and I are working as quickly as we can. You should keep in mind that you could also benefit from this. If there are any traitors whom have infiltrated your troops, they will be eradicated soon, so please remain patient for a while longer."
As the ritual was coming to a close, all of Arntor's retinue started experiencing intense pain, even worse than that of the pain glove. They were all immobilised, and many even collapsed from the pain. This seemed to be the ritual finally taking effect.
"It is as I had worried. You and your men have strayed from the Emperor's holy light. There may yet be hope for you, however. Any who remain redeemable will survive this with their lives intact. Let us see if you may yet regain your honour, or if you will be eradicated as heretics."
Arntor would have replied in protest, but the pain was far too crippling. All he could focus on was trying to power through it. He was certain that his brothers were pure and would survive this ordeal.
584.M36: The final fragment
638.M38: Miklagard Campaign
The planet Miklagard was a planet to which there never was paid much attention. It was a planet consisting mainly of steppes, deserts and barren lands. Somehow the people on it managed to turn it into an Agri-world, producing in large part a rice-like vegetable. The military presence on the planet was minimal. It had a planetary defense force, though it was small, seeing as the planet was usually ignored by the warring factions of the galaxy due to it being seemingly insignificant. This was proven false, however, when reports of creatures in the shadows started coming in. It was initially thought that they were just wild animals, but after the population of a large village had suddenly died overnight, a different hypothesis arose. The PDF of the planet quickly mobilised to fight off the newly discovered threat. As they established garrisons within the newly invaded region of the planet, they were killed off, garrison by garrison. One of the last actions of the acting commander of the defence force was to send out a distress call. The Red Crusaders had their fleet in a neighbouring system, and was the first chapter to receive the call. They immediately dispatched their fleet to Miklagard to face the unknown threat.
Upon arriving in orbit around the planet, the Crusaders discovered that the entire region was devoid of humans. It was as though every man, woman, and child had been killed off. Following this, the first through fourth clans were deployed to establish a foothold within the region. After having secured a sizeable perimeter, they made a main base for the campaign which would function as the main source of reinforcements. As the headquarters started to shape up, incursions into the lands of the region to see what threat resided here. The crusaders entered a village within which they found the corpses of the inhabitants. Their bodies were obviously not killed by forces as brutish as the ruinous powers or the Orks. Their wounds did not seem to be inflicted by Tau, and even if they did, Miklagard was far away from the Tau Empire. The marines concluded that these wounds were inflicted by a foe the chapter had faced only a few times in the past; the Eldar.
301.M39: Garskor Campaign
During the Garskor campaign, the Red Crusaders faced the vile and treacherous Chaos Lords Descentor Jukar, Varyag Kalthal, Drachmort, and their foul warbands.
987-991.M41: 3rd Northag Campaign
999.M41: The 13th Black Crusade
To aid in the defence of Cadia, the Red Crusaders dispatched the 9th Clan. They fought valiantly against the forces of Chaos valiantly, but most combatants were killed when the debris from the Blackstone Fortress, the Will of Eternity, shattered Cadia. Most survivors were evacuated, and followed Eldrad Ulthran into the Webway alongside their Black Templar brethren.
The Red Crusaders' losses were remedied by receiving a host of Primaris Marines to replenish their numbers. The only issue with this was that none of them were natives of Northag, so they were culturally alien to their new chapter. The librarium and priesthood took upon themselves the responsibility of inducting their new Primaris brethren into the Red Crusaders and the northagi culture. The Primaris Marines were stripped of their names, and were allowed to chose a new, Northagi first name, along with being given the surname "Dornsson". They were also taught basic Northagi, and the basics of the culture. They were expected to learn the specifics by interacting with their Northag-born battle brothers.
The Red Crusaders are successors of the Imperial Fists.
This means that they are missing their Betcher's glands and their Sus-an membranes, making them unable to produce acid spittle or enter a state of suspended animation. In addition to this, a peculiarity that has arisen in the Red Crusaders is their above-average physical strength compared to other Astartes. Whether this is a mutation or due to the Red Crusaders training regimen is unknown.
Culture & Traditions
The Red Crusaders are rather whimsical in nature compared to other descendants of Dorn. They celebrate whatever can be celebrated, to strengthen the bonds between the brothers. This behaviour has made the other chapters descended from the Imperial Fists look on the Crusaders as undisciplined and weak of will, despite the fact that they have just as brutal disciplinary practices as their fellow sons of Dorn.
Though a variety of languages and dialects are spoken within the Red Crusader, they officially utilise High Gothic, though the lingua franca utilised in internal affairs is a Gothic/Northagok pidgin, a language built on the basis of Northagok, the most commonly spoken language on Northag, and adds certain grammatical elements from either High or Low Gothic, along with vocabulary for things and concepts that Northagok doesn't have words for, like daemons and xenos.
Northagok is the most commonly used language in warcries, mottos and such within the chapter however. A good example is the chapter's main warcry, "Feri no eikirit starid", which is in pure Northagok, meaning "Again we stand united". The most prominent example of a warcry with a non-Northagok word is one that originated in the 1st Clan. "No ashir not egh raaba en not boltar shesi" contains a loanword from low gothic, that being "boltar", which refers to any kind of bolter. The warcry as a whole means "Now we bloody our blades and empty our bolters".
The Red Crusaders, like their predecessors, utilise honour duels to resolve disputes between members of the chapter. The Red Crusaders' duels are far more free than those of the Imperial Fists, though. They do not lock their feet, and they get a relatively large arena in which to fight. As with the Imperial Fists duels, the victory condition is drawing blood from your opponent's face. Honour is distributed through the duels in the same manner as in the Imperial Fists; the victor is honoured by the loser taking responsibility and apologising, while the loser is honoured through the scar left from the duel, as the Crusaders also look favourably on such attributes.
They use the Pain Glove in order to discipline themselves, strengthen their willpower, and meditate. It is also an integral part of an initiate fully joining the chapter ranks. In addition, any survivor of a lost battle must use the pain glove as penance to the chapter, the fallen, and the Emperor. This is a tradition implemented to make the Crusaders even hardier in battle, and to make them work harder towards victory.
A naming tradition from Northag that has become common practice in the chapter is for marines to discard their surname in favour of one that describes a feat or trait of theirs. An example of this is the former 2nd Clan Lord Avun Ravenscreech, who took a Howling Banshee's helmet after a battle and integrated the sonic weaponry within into his own helmet, with considerable aid from a blacksmith. Another example is the second Valfar of the chapter, Wigstan Flamehair, who simply had hair of a blazingly orange hue.
An extension of this naming tradition is that the Primaris Marines who recently joined the chapter have been given the surname "Dornsson" alongside a first name of their own choosing. The Dornsson surname will be kept by them until they receive a new one in accordance to the tradition.
How the Red Crusaders fight depends on the clan. Each clan has a different speciality, but all of them are fully capable of fighting in accordance with the Codex Astartes and their fellow clans' combat doctrines. This ensures that the Red Crusaders are unpredictable, which has given them the upper hand in many battles.
When a boy is initiated in the Red Crusaders he will go through extremely difficult training to sharpen his mental and physical health to its highest potential, after which he goes through training in the ways of a Red Crusader. After this he is sent into the Trial of Blood to test his combat prowess. He is sent out into the wilderness of Northag and he is to return with a trophy from a beast he has slain. If he is deemed successful, he is sent to the Trial of Spirit to test his determination and will. The most common form of the Trial of Spirit is the Pain Glove, though there have been exceptions for a few litters of initiates. When the Trial of Spirit has been successfully completed, he can move on to the Trial of Purity, to test how easily he could be swayed by the corruption of Chaos. This is usually performed by a Librarian and a Priest of the chapter. If the initiate is deemed pure, he is taken under the wing of a full Battle-Brother and his squad. Usually a squad takes 1-3 initiates.
After general Initiate Training, the Marines get trained even further. They get trained in various forms of survival training, including Northagi and Norimbring Survival techniques and rites. This makes the Red Crusaders one of the best trained Chapters for Polar and Tundra warfare.
Prior to being granted the status of a full marine, an initiate must enter the pain glove.
The initiation ritual itself is one done by the squad of the new Battle Brother and a figure of authority in the clan, typically a priest or lord, although a few times a Valfar has been the authority in the ritual, although this is only for initiates who have shown the greatest of potential, like the current 1st Clan Lord Thorgeir Falknor's initiation, which was performed by former Valfar Olaf Redhowl.
The Red Crusaders are organised into ten clans. Each clan has its roots in the chapter's divide, and operate semi-autonomously, and as such each clan has a slightly different culture to the others.
Aside from the clans, there's the Order of the Watchmen. They fulfill the role of scouts in the chapter, and de jure function outside of the clan structure. Usually there is a relatively even distribution of watchman squads between the clans, though, so they are practically speaking part of the clans.
Since the role of scout is fulfilled by the watchmen, the initiates instead serve in tactical squads. In those squads they are to be taught the ways of the Red Crusaders, and usually also the ways of the clan to which the squad belongs.
The Red Crusaders have renamed many ranks within their chapter without altering function, such as the Huskarl, which is their equivalent of a Company Champion. Some roles within the chapter are completely different from what they are in standard chapters, however.
Where most chapters would take their initiates as scouts, the Red Crusaders take them straight into battle. They are assigned to any of the clans who are willing to take them in, and are then assigned to a squad of tactical marines. They are to be taught the ways of a crusader from the squad to which they are assigned.
Skalds, or bards in Gothic, function as chroniclers and musicians, as well as the lowest rank in the chapter Librarium. They are outfitted just like Tactical marines, but with some additional gear to aid in their additional duties. Each clan has different skaldic traditions, and as such their role as musicians can vary depending on clan, though it is nearly standard for a skald to lead the warcries and songs. Despite being part of the librarium, one does not have to be a psyker to be a skald, though the skalds who do not possess adequate psychic potental cannot ascend beyond the skaldic rank in the librarium.
- Watchmen (Scouts/Bikers)
The Watchmen are experienced Marines who become infiltrators and scouts. They enter the battlefield before any of their brothers, but they do not go into battle until after the Hawk Marines do. All Watchmen are ranged combat oriented, although they use various forms of ranged weapons. Some are bikers, some are snipers and some don simple Bolters. The Watchmen fulfill the roles of Bikers and Scouts.
- Red Guard (Company veterans)
The Red Guard includes the Lords' retinues, the Valfar's retinue, as well as the most veteran marines within a company. Each individual Red Guardsman is superior in rank to a sergeant, but subservient to a lord, and therefore function as force commanders when the clan lord is elsewhere.
- Blacksmith (Techmarine)
Where most chapters have Techmarines, the Red Crusaders have blacksmiths. Blacksmiths are those who tend to weaponry and vehicles on the field. Blacksmiths are not just field-mechanics, but they are master artificers as well.
- Healer (Apothecary)
The Healers of the chapter are those who are responsible for recruitment and the continuation of the chapter. They are the ones who harvest the geneseed of their fallen brothers, and there is one deployed in every battle the Red Crusaders engage in. There are roughly 5 Healers for every clan, to ensure that as much geneseed as possible is recollected. They recieve both standard Imperial Apothecary training, and knowledge passed down from the Northagi people, such as various forms of healing and potion-making.
- Priest (Chaplain)
Priests are those who keep up the faith and morale of their brethren. Priests are also oblidged to know sagas and legends of old Red Crusaders who performed extraordinary acts of heroism, honour and bravery, along with tales passed down from the Imperial Fists. They also share a responsibility with the Librarians to keep the knowledge of the chapter, along with gathering intel. Priests are oblidged to hand in combat reports to the Librarium, where the Librarians look over them and put them into the chapter archives.
- Guardian of the Shrine
The Guardian of the Shrine, also called the Vethorm, is the priest who watches over the chapter's holy relics stored in Naglfar. The Vethorm also sees to the maintenance of the relics, along with the training of priests. A Vethorm is typically outfitted with Terminator Armour, but not always. The current Vethorm, Thremar Forni, is outfitted with Terminator Armour and a halberd.
- Grand Smith (Master of the Forge)
The Grand Smith is the one who looks to the training and recruitment of new Blacksmiths, and also the maintenance of Red Crusader weaponry, vehicles and fleet. Unlike the more orthodox Master of the Forge, the Grand Smith is not shunned by the other marines. Like every other Grand, he is looked upon with great respect, due to the fact that his knowledge rivals even that of a senior Techpriest of the Mechanicum.
- Grand Healer (Master of the Apothecarion)
The Grand Healer supervises the training and recruitment of new marines, along with aspiring Healers. They are also charged with watching over the Geneseed reserves of the chapter, and taking out a portion of it to give to the Adeptus Mechanicus as tithe. The Grand Healer is traditionally the one who implants initiates with the geneseed, though it is common for the most experienced Healer available to do so instead.
- Grand Librarian (Chief Librarian)
The Grand Librarian is the one who sees over the psykers of the chapter. He is charged with seeing over chapter records and see over new reports after it has gone through his subordinates. The Grand Librarian goes through training in ancient Northagi ways of a psyker when he is chosen, which makes him far superior to his subordinates, and a very powerful and skilled psyker.
- Grand Priest (Master of Sanctity)
The Grand Priest is the keeper of the faith. He makes sure that all within the Red Crusaders stay off the path of Chaos. If a heretic is discovered within the chapter, he is initially charged with executing the heretic, although he usually gives the responsibility to the Priest geographically closest to the heretic, unless the heretic is a particularly powerful one, for instance a heretic Lord, or even a Valfar, or if he himself is the one closest to the heretic.
- Lord (Captain)
A Lord is one of the ten greatest warriors and tacticians of the chapter, subject only to the Valfar. A Lord is granted close to full access to the Chapter armoury, and because of this, they are usually the most well equipped. The process of becoming a lord is very difficult, and to prove oneself worthy of this title one must have performed an act of brilliance, either in tactics or combat-prowess. For instance, Dothan Koross proved himself through the slaughter of heretics, showing his combat prowess, while Owain Ganthar rose to the position through his tactical brilliance.
- Valfar (Chapter Master)
The Valfars are the very greatest of the chapter. They are both brilliant tacticians and warriors, and have full access to the Chapter Armoury, being the best equipped of the chapter, usually. To ascend to the position of Valfar, you must have performed a heroic act that only few can say they could ever have completed. The Valfar rumoured to be the hardiest is Odin Nothas, ascending to his position when he banished a Greater Daemon back into the Warp. One must also take into consideration that to ascend to this position, one's predecessor must be deceased, dying or has been interred into a Dreadnought. It is also possible to step down, but no Valfar has ever done so.
This is the list of equipment used mainly by the Red Crusaders, along with their Relics.
- Daemonhammer "Death-Rain"
A Daemonhammer bestowed to Thorgeir Falknor during the latter parts of the 3rd Northagi campaign. Although it is the newest relic the Red Crusaders have, it is also arguably the most important one. Without the Death-Rain, the campaign couldn't have been won, as the blow that banished the Daemon leading the invading Chaos forces was given to it by this very hammer while in the hands of Falknor. He has since given the Death-Rain to Futhind Grathsbane in favor of the Ljòsegg.
- Baal Pattern Mk. IV Power Sword "Fragarak"
Fragarak was the blade wielded by Olaf Redhowl, and with help from this blade, he fought valiantly against the forces of Chaos, and even slew their Chaos Lord, at the cost of his own life. This blade as since been passed down to newer heroes of the chapter, and is currently wielded by Dothan Koross.
- Mk. VI Redemptor Chainsword "Cruaidin"
The chainsword of Orvar Nodens. It is a relic among the Healers of the Chapter. Has been passed down to all Grand Healers after Orvar. It is currently wielded by Aeus Utar.
- Unknown Pattern Power Sword "Ljòsegg"
Ljòsegg is a power-sword from the time of the Horus Heresy. It was wielded by a long-dead Blood Angels hero. The blade was left on his corpse, and was re-discovered by the Red Crusaders when they were conquering the Northag Sector. The blade has since been in the hands of the very greatest heroes of the Red Crusaders, and is currently wielded by Thorgeir Falknor.
- Mk. III Iron Power Armour
The Red Crusaders possess a full suit of Mk. III armour. Given to founder Ivan Voigt by the Imperial Fists, the suit of armour has been passed down to his successors, until it was given to its current wearer, Thremar Forni.
- Mk. IV Maximus Power Armour
They also possess a full suit of Mk. IV armour, also given to them by the Imperial Fists. It has been wielded by various heroes of the chapter, and is currently wielded by Thorgeir Falknor.
- Mk. V Heresy Power Armour
Before the Red Crusaders had conquered the Northag Sector, they found a world where the loyal and heretical Legions of the Horus Heresy had battled. Most equipment found there was non-functional, but a single suit of Mk. V Power Armour was left intact and able to be used. It has been in the chapter ever since. It is currently wielded by Godric Artis.
- Indomitus Tactical Dreadnought Armour "Mail of the Emperor"
The Mail of the Emperor is a sacred suit of Indomitus Terminator Armour that has been with the Chapter's Grand Priests since the founding of the chapter. The suit of armour is regarded holy by most Red Crusaders, and inspires bravery and valor on the battlefield. It is currently wielded by Urufon Thorin.
Notable Weapons and Armour
- "The Bull's Horns"
The helmet of the now deceased Valfar Riedan Darkhorn. When Riedan was just new to the 4th Clan, he customised his helmet with horns. He put a pair of horns from a Northagi bull on his helmet, and since that day, he rapidly rose through the ranks. The helmet now rests in an armoury in Naglfar.
- "Blaze" and "Flame"
Blaze and Flame are the two flamers of Nethan Firebreath. Nethan found that dual-wielding flamers were really effective along with his lust for battle. When he leaps into battle, he fires his flamers just before impact, and the results are devastating flames covering his landing-area.
Inferno is the flamer mounted on Thyre Hellfury's right arm. Along with his melta, the "Sunfire", he wreaks havoc to his foes in close quarters combat.
Sunfire is the melta mounted on Thyre Hellfury's left arm. Along with his flamer, the "Inferno", he wreaks havoc to his foes in close quarters combat, infantry and vehicle alike.
- Ingelldina Pattern Power Sword "Bloodburner"
The Bloodburner is the Power Sword wielded by Alaric Ædelred. The Bloodburner hasn't performed any feat of true significance, only slaying several foes of the Imperium, as the weapon wielded by one of the elite Space Marines of a Chapter should.
- Thunder Hammer "Hammerhand"
Wielded by it's namesake, Forseti Hammerhand, the Hammerhand is a Thunder Hammer that is used as a replacement for Forseti's right lower-arm, but he has wielded it ever since he entered the 1st Clan. When Forseti lost his lower-right arm in a duel against a Chaotic Champion, he requested that the bionic replacement would incorporate his hammer. Ever since, both Forseti and the hammer were called Hammerhand.
Their Fleet and the Ships' names are listed below:
- Naglfar- Battle Barge
- Vanir- Battle Barge
- Jörmungand - Battleship
- Skibladner - Strike Cruiser
- Vingthorr - Strike Cruiser
- Hloridi - Strike Cruiser
- Hardveur - Strike Cruiser
- Vale - Strike Cruiser
- Einridi - Strike Cruiser
- Heimdall - Nova Class Frigate
- Barbarossa - Nova Class Frigate
- Nidhogg - Nova Class Frigate
- 7 Unnamed Nova Class Frigates
- 10 Unnamed Gladius Class Frigates
- 10 Unnamed Hunter Class Destroyers
The Red Crusaders's Power Armour is primarily carnelian red with golden trim. Other colours can be added to the armour to denote clan, squad and place of origin, among other things. The general standard is that helmets denote rank, right knee pad denotes clan and the left pad denotes squad. This is more of a formal norm than a rule, though, and it is just as likely to be followed as it is not to be.
The different rank colours include:
- Carnelian red - Standard battle brother
- Blue-grey - Assault marines
Their Chapter Sigil is a golden Lynx on a carnelian background.
Notable Red Crusaders
- Odin Nothas - Valfar
- Thorgeir Falknor - 1st Clan Lord
- Futhind Grathsbane - 1st Clan Huskarl
- Godric Artis - Grand Smith
- Thremar "Vethorm" Forni - Guardian of the Shrine
Historic Red Crusaders
- Ivan Voigt - Founder and first Valfar
- Arntor Ironheart - Reunifier of the Chapter and third Valfar
- Imperial Fists - Parent Chapter
- Cardinal Reapers - Traitorous warband founded by a small fragment of the Red Crusaders that had been tainted during the divide.
- "Death is no issue to us, Guardsman. In the beliefs of the Northagi, all warriors who died honourably, go on to the Everwar, where they shall live forever in war. This is the Northagi concept of what I think you would call 'Heaven' or 'Paradise'."
- —- Alaric Swordkin to a Guardsman
- "Come Huskarl. Should you be half as skilled as your Valfar would have me believe, this shall be a duel for the ages."
- —Chief Librarian Leadros Kerventes of the Wings of Salvaxes, issuing a challenge to a Red Crusader Huskarl.
- "The Northagi used to have the most fabulous dessert liquor derived from some fruit that only grew on their homeworld. I think it went extinct when the Red Crusaders slapped them around. Sure, it made my stockpile jump a few thousand percent in value, but still, what was the point of it all? A few billion more stinking subjects and a handful of planets that'd been pounded into rubble?"