13th Black Cruade

The Forces of Chaos engage the defenders of the Imperium of Man during the 13th Black Crusade


Abaddon the Despoiler during the Horus Heresy

A Black Crusade is a military campaign unleashed upon the Milky Way Galaxy when the Forces of Chaos manage to unite under the leadership of a powerful Champion of Chaos. They then proceed to launch a massive offensive from their base within the great Warp rift called the Eye of Terror against the worlds of the Imperium of Man. The most devastating Black Crusades were led by the Warmaster of the Black Legion, Abaddon the Despoiler, the self-proclaimed heir of Horus, who has led multiple Black Crusades against the Imperium. The most recent of these campaigns was the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, the largest and most successful of them all.

The 1st Black Crusade occurred in the late 31st Millennium, five standard centuries after the end of the Horus Heresy. Utilizing the region of calm space around the Eye of Terror known as the Cadian Gate, Abaddon led the combined forces of the Chaos Space Marine Traitor Legions against scores of Imperial worlds, and was responsible for millions of deaths in the first week alone. Multiple worlds were lost before the Imperium could launch an effective counterassault, and although the Black Crusade was ultimately defeated, the Imperium was forced to heavily fortify the surrounding Cadian Sector, transforming Cadia itself into a Fortress World.

Over the course of the intervening ten thousand standard years, the Forces of Chaos have launched a further twelve Black Crusades. Millions of other attacks have been made on the worlds of the Cadian Gate by Daemon Princes and lesser Chaotic warlords, but the title of Black Crusade is reserved for the times when Abaddon or another powerful Chaotic leader is able to unite all of the Forces of Chaos located within the Eye of Terror in the pursuit of one goal -- the destruction of the Imperium of Man, the greatest bastion of Order in the galaxy.

The 41st Millennium saw two Black Crusades. The 12th Black Crusade, also known as the Gothic War, was Abaddon's attempt to capture the ancient Eldar artifacts called the Talismans of Vaul, but known to the Imperium as the six Blackstone Fortresses. The Eldar allied themselves with the Imperium to defeat the Chaos forces, and were successful, although Abaddon escaped with at least two of the Blackstone Fortresses.

The 13th Black Crusade began during the 999th year of the 41st Millennium, and resulted in the largest mobilisation of both Imperial and Chaotic forces seen since the Horus Heresy. In this campaign, at least one of the Blackstone Fortresses was destroyed by Necron raiders. The Necrons had targeted the ancient fortresses because they had originally been designed and constructed by the Old Ones to defeat the C'tan during the ancient War in Heaven millions of years ago between the C'tan's Necron servants and the Old Ones.

The 13th Black Crusade was also the background to Games Workshop's world-wide Eye of Terror Campaign in 2003, which resulted in a minor victory for the Forces of Chaos and gave Abaddon his long-sought foothold on Cadia, though he suffered devastating losses to his fleet to secure it. During the campaign, Admiral Quarren led an Imperial counter-attack allied with the Eldar that drove off Abaddon's Chaos-corrupted Blackstone Fortress which had been possessed by an avatar of the Chaos God Slaanesh. But Abaddon's foothold in the Cadia Gate remained intact, with fighting still ongoing on Cadia and the surrounding worlds as the 42nd Millennium dawns. In response, the Imperium has stripped the garrisons along its far Eastern Fringe to reinforce the Cadian Gate, which resulted in a full retreat of the Forces of Chaos from the Cadian Sector and produced the current stalemate. However, this weakening of Imperial defences hastened the onslaught of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Leviathan and the latest expansion of the Tau Empire until it was brought to a halt in the Zeist Campaign. At the present time Abaddon's forces remained bottled up on the surface of Cadia whilst the Imperial Navy's control of the Cadian Gate prevents the Forces of Chaos from expanding their toehold in Imperial space.

List of Black Crusades

Black Crusades of Abaddon the Despoiler

The Black Crusades of Abaddon the Despoiler


  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition)
  • Liber Chaotica: Khorne
  • Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition)
  • Battlefleet Gothic: "The Galaxy"
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