The Blood Gorgons are a Renegade Chapter of Chaos Space Marines that primarily raids the Bastion Sector of Imperial space. They are an unusual Chapter of Chaos Space Marines, as every Astartes is ritually bonded to another through the use of a Chaotic ritual. The Blood Gorgons, who value their freedom and independence above all else, refuse to swear allegiance to any patron Chaos God, preferring to serve Chaos in general in the form of Chaos Undivided.
The Blood Gorgons were Founded during the Cursed 21st Founding, the largest Founding of Space Marine Chapters since the Second Founding immediately following the Horus Heresy. This Founding took place in the 36th Millennium shortly before the start of the Age of Apostasy. Known as the "Project Homo Sapiens Novus", the Adeptus Mechanicus were attempting to remove identified deficiencies in the standard Adeptus Astartes gene-seed. Their goal was to ultimately produce new and improved Space Marines capable of more easily defeating the Traitor Astartes who had emerged during the Heresy. Unfortunately, the Adeptus Mechanicus' Genetors proved far less skilled in the genetic sciences than the Emperor of Mankind, and their efforts resulted only in the development of seriously flawed gene-seed that was used to craft the Astartes organ implants for the new Chapters. Led by their Chapter Master and later Chaos Lord Gammadin, who had been the Blood Gorgons' leader from the time of their Founding until the day when the Imperium declared them Renegade and Excommunicate Traitoris a mere six decades later, the Chapter ultimately fled into the Eye of Terror after swearing themselves to the service of Chaos.
The Blood Gorgons had not always been a unified Chapter before the reign of Gammadin. They had been driven from their homeworld by the Space Wolves, transformed into a broken Chapter pursued into the Warp by those lupine hunters. The Blood Gorgons were little better than thieves before they were driven from realspace: they were forced to forage and hide, always hunted by the Emperor's hounds, making their home in a drifting Space Hulk known as the Cauldron Born. The Battle-Brothers of the Blood Gorgons had stayed together during this time only out of a need for survival, and the Chapter was divided by minor war‐captains and factions who sealed off entire sections of the Cauldron Born to serve as their own personal fiefdoms and baronies. There was no dignity any longer for this once proud band of Astartes. It was Gammadin who ultimately reunited the warring companies under his leadership as their ruling Chaos Lord called a Khorsaad just as he had once been their Chapter Master under the same title. It was he who waged an intra‐Chapter war that left much of the Space Hulk in ruins, even to this day. But in the aftermath of this terrible fratricide, the Blood Gorgons found a cohesion and unity extremely rare among the servants of Chaos. Gammadin devised the Blood Gorgons' distinctive rituals of Blood‐Bonding between his Astartes to ensure that his Chapter would never again fight internally, pledging their very existence to each other and to the service of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. Never would any Blood Gorgon turn his blades on his brothers again.
- Solo Baston Insurrection (Unknown Date.M41) - The Blood Gorgons led an uprising against Imperial rule on the world of Solo Baston on the part of that world's indigenous tribal population, the Carnibales, when the Ecclesiarchy, which controlled their world, began appropriating the tribes' lands. Dedicated to aiding others in obtaining freedom from the tyranny of the Imperium, four Blood Gorgon Bond-Brothers, naming themselves the Dos Pares in the Carnibales' native tongue, taught them basic military strategy, smuggled disassembled advanced weaponry on to the planet from the Blood Gorgons' Space Hulk and also made use of genetic alteration using daemon blood to create Disciples, super-powered Carnibales warriors willing to stand against the Imperium. The uprising proved successful, and the Blood Gorgons claimed Solo Baston as another of their recruitment worlds.
Each Blood Gorgons company is comprised of 100 Bond-Brothers. These companies are broken down into 6‐man squads, each formed by 3 Blood‐Bound pairs, and each of these pairs are attended to by a train of retainers (who are usually slaves), including Black Turbans, Armour Serfs, Helm Bearers and Dancers.
The Blood Gorgons recruit prospective Aspirants from 62 recruitment worlds within the Bastion Sector. The world of Hauts Bassiq breeds men of the hardiest stock due to its borderline inhospitable climate. The Blood Gorgons consider Hauts Bassiq as an ancestral world. Many of their Bond-Brothers can trace their bloodline to the lineages found among the nomadic plains people of that planet. Many more have infused the Bassiq lineage into their veins through the Blood-Bond.
- The Impassives - The Impassives are the Khorsaad's personal retinue and are made up of an elite core of venerated Veteran Chaos Space Marines bonded using the particular rituals of the Blood Gorgons.
- Chirurgeon‐Witches - The Chirurgeons are responsible for tending to the Chapter's wounded and recovering the gene-seed from fallen Bond-Brothers, much like the Apothecaries of a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter. They are also responsible for performing the blasphemous ritual of Blood-Bonding. They are known to be powerful psykers who practice the dark arts of necromancy and Chaos Sorcery, maintaining the heretical rites and rituals of Chaos Undivided. This small coven of witches are not Blood-Bonded like their brethren, and from this difference grows a rift between the witches and their brethren among the Chapter's companies. It is a respectful rift but a rift nonetheless.
- Muhrites - The Muhrites are those Bond-Brothers of the Chapter who supported the ascension of Anko Muhr to become the new Khorsaad of the Blood Gorgon's Chapter after the "death" of their former Chapter Master, the Chaos Lord Gammadin. They ultimately were slaughtered by Gammadin and his supporters when he regained control of the Chapter.
- Khorsaad - The ancient title of the Blood Gorgon's Chapter Master.
- Khoitan - An ancient Blood Gorgons title for an officer of the Chapter equivalent to the standard Space Marine rank of Captain.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Blood Gorgons are primarily commerce raiders and pirates as they must scavenge for subsistence in order to survive as a functioning Chapter. Despite their piratical nature, the Blood Gorgons are still traditionalists at heart. Unique to the Blood Gorgons is that unlike other Chaos Space Marines, the Blood Gorgons do not tend to use fear and intimidation to achieve their goals. Instead they show a level of comprehension and focus that is rarely seen among the servants of Chaos, which makes them all the more dangerous to the servants of the Emperor.
Above all else, the Blood Gorgons have always valued their freedom; owing allegiance to no one, and to none of the major Chaos Gods individually. Their freedom to operate independently, as a Chapter marked by the practice of specific rituals and traditions, is valued above all else. Death is preferred over subservience to an authority from outside the Chapter of any kind. That is why this independent-minded Chapter became Renegades from the Imperium in the first place. The Blood Gorgons consider themselves Renegades and seek to damage the rule of the Emperor whenever they get a chance, but they have not been lured into the more fiendish depths of arcane Chaotic lore like the warbands of their more superstitious brethren among the Traitor Legions. They consider themselves a band of warriors first and foremost before their allegiance to Chaos. Despite their worship of Chaos Undivided, they believe sorcery is a fickle and dangerous thing to be feared and respected, and it is best that it remain at a distance. This is another reason why the majority of the Chapter's Bond-Brothers find themselves untrusting of their Chirurgeons, who are far too steeped in the arcana of Chaos Sorcery.
Chapter Ritual Practices
- Blood Bonding - When Gammadin had first begun to experiment with daemonology and the rituals that would form later Blood Gorgons' customs, the Khorsaad used a dark ritual to strengthen the bonds between the Battle-Brothers of his Chapter. Utilising the superhuman constitution of an Astartes, the Chapter's Chirurgeons (Apothecaries) had transfused blood and excised tissue from each pair of potential Bond-Brothers into one another. Using Gammadin’s knowledge of arcane lore, rituals from a forgotten heretical text were followed, creating an almost supernatural connection between those who survived the procedure. A pair of Bond-Brothers who have undergone the surgery and the accompanying ritual become so attuned in battle that it has been known that they gain the ability to react intuitively, making tactical decisions to aid each other without communication. When Gammadin's own Bond-Brother angered the Chaos Gods and his form was corrupted into that of a Chaos Spawn, Gammadin slew him, an act that apparently caused him considerable physical pain. Feeling the old wounds of one's Bond-Brother is also a common experience between the pairs.
- The Sacrifices of War - Before going into battle, the Blood Gorgons perform solemn rituals which Gammadin named "The Sacrifices of War." Usually these rituals required each pair of Blood Gorgons Bond-Brothers to reswear their oaths of brotherhood. Then each pair cut a small portion of their flesh off or sliced open a part of their body. The tiny sample of blood and flesh are then collected into a brass bowl and the bloody tissue is diluted with an alcohol solution. The blood is traditionally mixed with fermented mead, though honey is sometimes used by the Chapter, though it is simply more efficient to manufacture an alcoholic solvent. The Sacrifice of Armament then follows. The Bond-Brothers are stripped naked and lower their bodies into a simmering cauldron. The water is hot enough to par‐boil the outermost layers of skin. Once immersed, the inflamed skin is then vigorously rubbed with coarse‐grained salts. Lastly, a thick white salve of woad – a mixture of animal fat, minerals and bio‐chemicals – is applied to toughen the skin, numbing it. After this epidermal treatment, the Chaos Space Marines' suits of Power Armour are fitted into place, segment by segment. The plugs, stem cords and synapse wires are connected from the armour to each Blood Gorgon's Black Carapace implant. The attendant slaves and Bond-Brothers then begin to chant a simple, rhythmic cadence in order to placate the armour’s Machine Spirit as it is coaxed from its sleep. Finally comes the Sacrifice of Smoke. This ritual is usually found to be the most pragmatic of the Chapter's pre-deployment ceremonies, despite its superstitious nature. It is common when in Warp transit for certain objects to go missing. To the minds of many warriors, this phenomenon was unexplainable and vaguely disturbing – small items left unlocked or unbolted would disappear. Sometimes these could be vital pieces of wargear, or even the firing pin of a Bolter. In order to prevent such Warp poltergeist activity, most Loyalist Chapters prayed to the Emperor and erected gargoyles within and without their starships. The Blood Gorgons observed this superstition in their own way by discharging firecrackers and parading in their war helms before battle. It was the Blood Gorgons’ belief that war helms needed to be terrifying enough to scare even their allied daemons of Chaos, or ill fortune would be invited. The Bond-Brothers often danced in a strange, spasmodic dance before battle, executing clumsy movements in their Power Armour, as their slave retinues beat drums and cymbals while singing. With the final sacrifices complete, the fully armoured Bond-Brothers stood ready to wage battle. After the Sacrifices of War are complete, the Bond-Brothers who are about to deploy into combat gather within the Space Hulk's Hall of Solemn Supper. This narrow, antiquated chamber lies deep within the Space Hulk’s furnished core, with great wooden-beamed ceilings dating from a time when the ship was still abandoned. Here the Blood Gorgons came to feast before deployment and, as is customary, receive their pre‐mission assembly with their company commander. Although this meal marks the last stage of squad‐level planning and tactics, it is also a sombre time to gather and feast amongst the brothers.
Notable Blood Gorgons
- Gammadin (Khorsaad & Chaos Lord) - The first Chapter Master or Khorsaad of the Blood Gorgons, Gammadin led his Chapter into damnation and eventually became its Chaos Lord. It was recorded in the Chapter's history that it was Gammadin who had first begun to experiment in daemonology and the Chaotic rituals that would form the core of all later Blood Gorgons custom before the Chapter turned Renegade. Using Gammadin’s knowledge of arcane lore, the dark Rituals of Binding were first implemented. Gammadin was Blood-Bound to his most trusted lieutenant, Monomachus. This ritual involved the exchange of excised organs and blood and created a supernatural connection between the two Chaos Space Marines, a custom that was soon followed by every Astartes of the Renegade Chapter save for its Chirurgeon-Witches. Together, Gammadin and Monomachus led the Blood Gorgons to raid and terrorise the Imperial shipping lines of the Segmentum Obscurus. So attuned were they, that in battle the pair could orchestrate intuitive tactical decisions without verbal or Vox communication. For four centuries they fought as twin terrors until Monomachus angered the Chaos Gods and his form was corrupted into that of a Chaos Spawn. It was said that Gammadin was greatly shamed by this and slew Monomachus himself, an act that would have caused him considerable physical pain due to their Blood-Bond. By that time, Gammadin was a warrior so great, with blood so rich and vibrant with the power of Chaos, that no mere new Aspirant of the Chapter could hope to be blooded to him. Following Monomachus, numerous unsuitable Aspirants were killed by the rich blood of Gammadin when the Ritual of Binding was performed. The Ritual of Binding was dangerous, both because of the traumatic shock of the necessary surgery and the whims of the daemonic spirits involved in the ritual. Although Gammadin’s experience was vast, he could not share it, for dozens of Aspirants died or went mad in the rituals of transfusion and excise. It was not until Sabtah – an inductee from the legion plains of Symeon – that a new Bond-Brother survived the ritual and showed promise. The Aspirant endured months of torture on the operating slabs, his body sent into shock by the process of plasma binding, until he emerged as the young Bond-Brother of the great Gammadin. For the next 3,651 Terran years, Sabtah the Older served as Gammadin’s Bond-Brother, growing stronger and wiser through their synergy until the day Gammadin was betrayed by Anko Muhr, a Blood Gorgons Chirurgeon and Chaos Sorcerer, on the world of Belasia. However, Gammadin managed to eventually turn the tables on his betrayer, slay him and regain his rightful place as the Khorsaad of the Blood Gorgons.
- Barsabbas (Bond-Brother) - Barsabbas is a young Chaos Space Marine who was not renowned for past glories within the Chapter, having faithfully served as a simple foot soldier. Barsabbas ultimately found himself thrust into events that challenged him on every level. Barsabbas’s perseverance against impossible odds and surprising intellect was a contributing factor in Khorsaad Gammadin's selection of him as his new Bond-Brother after the death of Sabtah the Older. Barsabbas eventually underwent the Rituals of Binding, exchanging excised organs and blood with his Chapter Master to forge their Blood-Bond.
- Hammurabi (Khoitan - Captain) (Deceased) - Hammurabi was the Captain or Khoitan of the Khorsaad's personal guard, the eight Impassives. Hammurabi possessed an excellent sword arm, and was loyal as far as any worshipper of Chaos could be to another. He followed his orders as Gammadin’s First Blade religiously. He executed his duties well, until he met his end when the Blood Gorgon's Chirurgeon Anko Muhr betrayed Gammadin and all the Impassives on the world of Belasia and led them into a trap.
- Hazareth the Cruel (Khoitan - First Captain) - Hazareth is the Khoitan or First Captain of the elite 1st Company, the most Veteran unit of the Blood Gorgons Chapter. Wild and boisterous, he is an extremely violent spirit. When he laughs, and he does so often, the humour behind it is black and bitter yet genuinely mirthful. His face had been melted by fire and his cheek pockmarked with bullet scars. Hazareth wears his scars like laurels of honour, for his men fear him and the Chaos Gods favour him as well. One of their mutational "gifts" is a tortoise‐like shell of bone that had solidified around his shoulders and the power pack of his Power Armour like a hunch‐backed mound of bone, a powerful sign of Chaotic favour. A short, muscular tail sprouts from the base of Hazareth’s spine and ends in a knot of fibrous growth. Hazareth has become so monstrously thick‐framed that he resembles a living Dreadnought. Hazareth usually keeps his club tail swept low to balance his ponderous steps.
- Anko Muhr (Chaos Sorcerer) (Deceased) - Muhr was the Blood Gorgon's senior Chirurgeon, a powerful Chaos Sorcerer and the high priest of the Chapter's witch coven. Lord Gammadin did not trust Muhr, sensing a jealous ambition in his black heart. Gammadin was well-aware of the sorcerer's lust for power and the position of Khorsaad, but his intuitive insight did not prevent him and his personal retinue, the Impassives, from falling into a trap set by the cunning witch. When Lord Gammadin and his warriors embarked on a raid to claim a new slave world for harvest, Muhr played his cards and set a trap for his hated rival. Working in concert with Dark Eldar raiders, the superior force of these vile xenos overwhelmed Gammadin's small force. Muhr then worked his sorcerous magic and captured the Blood Gorgons' Khorsaad. Tired of their supposed "vagabond" existence aboard the Cauldron Born, Muhr devised a diabolical scheme to overthrow Gammadin, take over as the Chapter's new Khorsaad, and then seek favour from one of the individual Chaos Gods as a patron of the Chapter rather than continuing to serve Chaos Undivided. Conspiring with a powerful Chaos Champion of Nurgle, Muhr's plot nearly succeeded in forcing the Blood Gorgons to become thralls of the Plague God. Muhr eventually died at the hands of Gammadin's new Bond-Brother Barsabbas, who proved far less easy to kill.
- Sabtah the Older (Chapter Veteran) - Following the death of Lord Gammadin's first Bond-Brother Monomachus, the Chapter began looking for a suitable Aspirant to be blood-bound to the Khorsaad. Dozens of unsuitable Aspirants were killed by the rich blood of Gammadin or went mad in the rituals of transfusion and excision. It was not until Sabtah, inducted from the legion plains of Symeon, that an Aspirant showed promise. Sabtah endured the months of torture required to undergo the ritual on the operating slabs of the Cauldron Born, until he emerged as the young charge of the great Gammadin. For over three-and-a-half millennia, Sabtah the Older grew more powerful through his symbiotic bond with the Chaos Lord, until Gammadin was supposedly murdered by the betrayer Muhr. As Bond-Brother to Khorsaad Gammadin, by right, the wardship of the Chapter should have passed to Sabtah. But Muhr falsely claimed that Gammadin had passed the stewardship of the Chapter to him. Eventually, Sabtah confronted Muhr when he discovered Muhr's duplicity; the death of Gammadin and his plot to take over the Chapter and violate its traditions by rededicating the Blood Gorgons to the service of a particular Dark God, in this case Nurgle. Sabtah fought Muhr in personal combat for control of the Blood Gorgons, but was killed with the aid of a daemon summoned by the treacherous Chirurgeon. Sabtah was an impressive physical specimen for an Astartes. Arrayed in an ancient pattern of Mark II Crusade Power Armour, the relic lent an impressive bulk to his already broad girth. Most impressive was his beard, a tiered cascade of uniform ringlets that reached the bottom of his chest guard, which was black and well-oiled.
- Cauldron Born (Space Hulk) - The Cauldron Born is a former Space Hulk and the current fortress-ship and home of the Renegade Blood Gorgons Chapter of Chaos Space Marines. The Cauldron Born is an artefact of Blood Gorgons biological experimentation, including the use of pseudo-surgery and daemonology. It is said that the hull of the floating fortress has been grafted with the flesh of a Daemon Prince and that organic matter has been cultivated to merge with the ship’s engines, spawning a Daemonic Spirit that inhabited the vessel's circuitry.
The Traitor Marines of this Renegade Chapter wear Power Armour the colour of burnt umber. Barnacles and fossilised organisms spread across the sweeping surface of each plate. There is an organic element to their regalia, accentuated by the mutant growth of dorsal fins, quills and hard, segmented shells.
The Blood Gorgon's Chapter badge is that of a Gorgon head drawn from Terra's ancient Greek mythology.
- Chapter Approved: The Fourth Book of the Astronomican (2004), "The Cursed Founding" by Andy Hoare, Graham McNeill & Phil Kelly, pp. 4-9
- White Dwarf 260 (UK), "Index Astartes: The Cursed Founding"
- Blood Gorgons (Novel) by Henry Zou
- Flesh and Iron (Novel) by Henry Zou
- Emperor's Mercy (Novel) by Henry Zou