- "I see you standing here around me, my brothers, and I see also the bitterness of our last battles in your eyes. We have walked long together in the shadows, you and I, and we are so few now. But our bright Father has not found us wanting. We who remain of this brotherhood, who stand here on this dark and empty world, it is for us to remember all that has gone before, to pass it down to those who shall come after us. To build upon the honour of those memories. Brothers, we are but shadows in the darkness, yet we carry the trust and faith of all mankind upon our shoulders. That trust will never be misplaced. That faith shall never be broken. We will endure, and always and in all things we will be faithful to He who made us. That is our burden and our privilege. We are the Hunters in the Dark, and we shall never be defeated."
- — Chapter Master Lukullus Nogai
The Dark Hunters is a Loyalist Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marine Chapter descended from the gene-seed of the White Scars during an unknown Founding. The Dark Hunters hail from the Night World of Phobian, and ever since the Dellrond Campaign, where a single Dark Hunters Battle Company held the entrance to the Cathedral of the Emperor Ossified for five Terran years against the Orks of WAAAGH! Nagrut, the Chapter has had a reputation for being particularly hardy and resolute warriors.
The Dark Hunters were founded in the 37th Millennium during the dark days of the Occlusiad War (555-565.M37). The Chapter was raised to combat the heretical Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus known as the Apostles of the Blind King, who made war upon the Imperium. When the Chapter was founded, Captain Angnar and his Brotherhood, consisting of ninety-eight Astartes of the White Scars, were chosen to become the core of a newly founded Successor Chapter.
Angnar himself was chosen for the singular honour of becoming the new Chapter's first Chapter Master. In recognition of his new rank, Mordonai Khan presented Angnar with a singular gift at the White Scars' fortress-monastery of Quan Zhou before they departed Chogoris. The Khan presented Angnar with a relic Power Axe, said to have been used by the Great Khan himself: millennia old, it was double-headed and still crackled with blue flame when Angnar held it aloft.
The Dark Hunters took this revered relic weapon of Jaghatai Khan as their Chapter's badge -- the "Axe of Justice" -- which represented vengeance and justice. They exchanged their White Scars livery for the dark of hunter blue, becoming reborn as the Dark Hunters, even as they still bore the honour scars of Chogoris. They were a single company of Astartes destined to become a Chapter and needed to seek out a new homeworld in the void and continue the work of those millions who had gone into the dark before them.
The Dark Hunters have a reputation for being particularly grim and resolute warriors. They are one of the seven Space Marine Chapters of the Imperium of Man currently charged with hunting down and eliminating the Renegade Chaos Space Marines warband known as the Punishers.
The Dark Hunters have a deep seated distrust of machines. They retain a particular disgust for the Daemon Engines of Chaos, which they will hunt like oversized prey and bring down no matter the cost to themselves.
- Battle of Bloodsteel (Unknown Date.M37) - The Dark Hunters were deployed to successfully contain an assault by the Warpsmith Hilghar and his Daemon Engines, including Chaos Titans. The Chapter took heavy casualties.
- Zarona Intervention (089.M38) - Inquisitor Galleus took to the battlefield in person and led a force of Dark Hunter Space Marines and Cadian Shock Troops against the Traitors of Zarona. The Inquisitor sacrificed all to close a Warp rift from which the Traitors were drawing sorcerous power, though some mystics claim he lives yet, trapped beyond the ability of any to rescue him.
- The Battle for Phobian (936.M38) - The Dark Hunters defended their homeworld of Phobian against the Renegade forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus Princeps known as the Blind King. The Dark Hunters tactics and methods of war, however, were ineffective when they encountered a battlegroup of Titans. Chapter Master Jullunai Khan ordered the Ansar Company to penetrate the hull of the leading Warlord-class Titan, and the Ansar Company fought on and succeeded in destroying the Titan from within, granting the victory to the Dark Hunters, but at the cost of the lives of the entire company. In this conflict, 403 Battle-Brothers (nearly two-thirds of the Chapter) died, their names never forgotten, to be revered in the annals of the Chapter forever. But chief among those names enrolled are those of Captain Mithryan, of Ansar Company, and Sergeant Aekin, also of that company. Their deaths and those of their brethren heralded a new beginning for the Chapter and a new method for making war, becoming shadows of their former selves. And to mark this eclipse, they took a new motto unto themselves -- Umbra Sumus ("We are shadows").
- First Punisher War (825.M41) - The infamous Chaos Space Marine warband known as the Punishers led a massive Chaos invasion of the Kargad System. The Dark Hunters Chapter participated in the defence of its homeworld of Phobian, but was woefully outnumbered by the Forces of Chaos. The Punishers landed a quarter of a million Chaos Cultists in the first wave upon Phobian, with mighty Emperor-class Battleships to provide support. Their numbers severely depleted, the Dark Hunters were forced to pull back and made their final stand at Mors Angnar, their fortress-monastery, cradled in the rugged peaks and glaciers of the Argahast Range known as the Silverspears. The Punishers eventually surrounded Mors Angnar and fought their way within. The Dark Hunters were forced to make their final stand within the Chapter's Reclusiam, their numbers reduced to only two hundred Battle-Brothers. As the Dark Hunters faced certain annihilation, they were saved by their fellow Adeptus Astartes brethren. It took the help of six other Chapters, including the Brazen Fists, Dark Sons, Doomsayers, Shadowhawks and two others unnamed, to finally extirpate the Punishers from the system. Though the Dark Hunters emerged victorious, it was a pyrrhic victory at best. Their numbers had been greatly reduced and many of their ancient vehicles and transports had been destroyed. But the Dark Hunters would persevere, and go on to rebuild their numbers, though it would take many Terran centuries to replace the lost Battle-Brothers.
- Battle of the Black Star (939.M41) - In the sable light of the star Antilles, the Dark Hunters struck at the Renegade Punishers' stronghold, claiming over half the Traitor Marines' lives.
- Second Punisher War (982.M41) - Jonah Kerne, Captain of the Dark Hunters 3rd Company, led his Space Marines to the world of Ras Hanem during the Second Punisher War against the warband of Heretic Astartes known as the Punishers. Kerne was able to hold the Forces of Chaos at bay while being assisted by the local garrisons of the Astra Militarum and the Planetary Defence Forces. The Dark Hunters even went so far as to form a temporary alliance with the Aeldari of the Kaelor Craftworld, helping those xenos find an ancient artefact precious to their race in exchange for their aid in defeating the Forces of Chaos. Despite the deceptions and cunning of the Aeldari, Kerne stayed true to his word and gave the artefact to the Aeldari Farseer, thus committing an act of heresy. The remaining Imperial and Aeldari forces were able to hold the Punishers long enough for the remainder of the Dark Hunters Chapter to arrive with Astartes allies drawn from other Chapters. When the war on Ras Hanem had concluded in the Emperor's favour, Jonah was taken by his Chapter back to their homeworld of Phobian. There, he was taken into custody by the Inquisition to answer for his crime.
- Dellrond Campaign (Unknown Date.M41) - A single Dark Hunters Battle Company held the entrance to the Cathedral of the Emperor Ossified on the world of Dellrond for five Terran years against the Orks of WAAAGH! Nagrut, displaying an extraordinary level of fortitude and combat resilience, even for the transhuman Adeptus Astartes. Chaplain Hyron of the Dark Hunters 4th Company earned a bloody reputation over the course of the Dellrond Campaign. It was Hyron who rallied his brothers again and again to drive back the seemingly endless tide of Orks. Nights on the moons of Dellrond can last solar months, or even Terran years, and toward the end of the campaign the battered Veterans of Hyron's Command Squad had become known as the Conclave of Midnight, survivors of the endless war within the darkness. The Conclave slaughtered the Ork Warboss on the steps of the Cathedral of the Emperor Ossified in the final days of the conflict. They were then able to oversee the demise of WAAAGH! Nagrut in a storm of blood and fire.
- The Rusthunt (Unknown Date.M41) - The Rusthunt was a campaign fought between the Dark Hunters and the ramshackle blitz brigade of the Blood Axes Tank Boss Badfragg on the world of Knarr. Using the world's constant blizzards to their advantage, the Dark Hunters fought a successful hit-and-run war that slowly whittled away the Tank Boss' forces, though Badfragg managed to escape after killing many of the attacking Astartes.
- The Lonal Ambush (996.M41) - The Lonal Ambush took place in 996.M41. Hive Fleet Leviathan invaded the world of Lonal only to face stiff resistance from the Dark Hunters. Unknown to their brother Chapter, the Raven Guard also deployed to the planet but used the Dark Hunters as bait to spring an elaborate trap that slew a dozen Hive Tyrants.
- A Dying of the Light (999.M41) - Imperial fleets on the edge of Draven Sector became lost in the Warp after an unusual phenomenon caused their Navigators to lose sight of the Astronomican. Investigations uncovered the source of the interference upon the Tomb World of Petk. Dark Hunters Space Marines launched an assault on the planet, but only solar minutes after landing all contact with them was lost.
Like their forebears, the Dark Hunters are also regarded as a Codex Astartes-compliant Chapter, as their organisation, order of battle and tactical operations adhere closely to the tenets laid down in that most sacred of tomes to the Adeptus Astartes. There are, however, several noteworthy and substantial deviations from Codex-prescribed doctrine. Most notable among these are the use of certain honourific ranks and titles within the Chapter in place of the standard Space Marine ranks. These naming conventions extend to the Dark Hunters' companies as well:
- Kharne (Chapter Master)
- Ardunai (1st Veteran Company)
- Mortai "the Fated Ones" (3rd Battle Company)
- Haround Company (4th Company)
- Makran Company (7th Company)
- Ansar Company (8th Company)
- Haradai (10th (Scout) Company)
Chapter Combat Doctrine
- "Give me a blade in my hand and an enemy to slay and I shall be content. Grant me a bolter and and an army of foes to face, and I will be truly happy."
- — Battle-Brother Thursk, Dark Hunters 4th Company
Unlike the White Scars and their other Successor Chapters, the Dark Hunters favour stealth over fast-moving tactics. There is a legend of how the Chapter earned its name, telling of certain White Scars Legion companies that fought in joint operations with the Raven Guard Legion, and, on their return, the tactics these White Scars had learned from their brethren had become part of the battle-code of their companies.
The Dark Hunters' first campaign as a Chapter saw harrowing fighting against the Daemon Engines of the Warpsmith Hilghar, and the mutated Warlord-class Titan Repellus Maximal during the Battle of Bloodsteel. That campaign has left a deep-rooted mistrust of the machine within the collective psyche of the Dark Hunters. Even today, the Chapter's relations with the Tech-priests of Mars are strained at best.
Notable Dark Hunters
- Chapter Master Angnar - Angnar was a Captain of the White Scars Chapter who was chosen to be the first Chapter Master (Kharne) of the newly-founded Dark Hunters Chapter. Angnar was presented a relic Power Axe by Mordonai Khan of the White Scars at Quan Zhou, an axe which their Primarch Jaghatai Khan himself had once used: double-headed, millennia old, and still crackling with blue flames as Angnar raised it in the sunlight, a gift worthy of great heroes. The Dark Hunters took this sacred relic as their Chapter icon, the twice-bladed symbol of vengeance and justice.
- Chapter Master Jullunai Khan - Chapter Master of the Dark Hunters during the 38th Millennium, Jullunai Khan led the Dark Hunters in defence of Phobian against the forces of the Blind King.
- Chapter Master Lukullus Nogai - Chapter Master and second founder of the Dark Hunters. Some venerate him as a Saint of the Imperium.
- Chapter Master Kharne Al Murzim - Current Chapter Master of the Dark Hunters in the late 41st Millennium.
- Captain Ares Thuraman - Captain of Ardunai, the Dark Hunters' 1st Company.
- Captain Jonah Kerne - Suspended Captain of Mortai (3rd) Company of the Dark Hunters. Jonah Kerne led the Dark Hunters on Ras Hanem during the Second Punisher War against the warbands of Chaos Space Marines known as the Punishers. Kerne was able to hold the Forces of Chaos while being assisted by the local forces of the Astra Militarum and the PDF. He formed a temporary alliance with the Aeldari of the Kaelor Craftworld in order to help them find an ancient artefact in exchange for their aid in fighting against Chaos. Despite the lies and the cunning of the Aeldari, Kerne stayed true to his word and gave the artefact to their Farseer, thus committing an act of heresy. The remaining Imperial and Aeldari forces were able to hold back the Punishers long enough for the rest of the Space Marines of the Dark Hunters to arrive with their allies from other Chapters. When the war on Ras Hanem had ended, Jonah was taken by his Chapter back to his homeworld of Phobian, from where he was taken by the Inquisition to stand trial against the charge of heresy.
- Captain Fornix - Currently Captain of Mortai (3rd) Company of the Dark Hunters and the former First Sergeant of the same company.
- Captain Shaef Darric - Captain of Haround (4th) Company.
- Captain Nortan Blask - Captain of Makran (7th) Company.
- Captain Mithryan - Captain of the Ansar (8th) Company. Captain Mithryan was charged by Jullunai Khan to destroy the Chaos-corrupted Warlord-class Titan that was leading the assault against the Dark Hunter's homeworld of Phobian. Mithryan heroically sacrificed himself and the remains of his company to destroy the great Titan.
- Captain Fell Ambros - Captain of Haradai (Scout) Company.
- Biron Amadai - Master of Sanctity of the Dark Hunters at the time of the First Punisher War.
- Reclusiarch Jord Malchai - Reclusiarch of the Dark Hunters.
- Chief Librarian Astanius Tor - Chief Librarian of the Dark Hunters at the time of the second founding of the Chapter in 936.M38.
- Chief Librarian Graes Vennan - Chief Librarian of the Dark Hunters at the time of the Second Punisher War.
- Codicier Elijah Kass - A Codicier of the Librarium. Kass was instrumental in leading Captain Jonah through the whole Second Punisher War.
- Librarian Korso - Korso was the Stormseer (Librarian) of the Dark Hunters during the Battle for Phobian. One of the closest councillors of Jullunai Khan. He was presented on Phobian during the battle against the renegade Titans of the Blind King.
- Apothecary Passarion - Apothecary of Mortai Company.
- Techmarine Heinos - Techmarine of Mortai Company. Heinos died while fighting the Punishers in orbit of Ras Hanem.
- Sergeant Finn March - Sergeant of Primus (1st) Squad of Mortai Company.
- Sergeant Nureddin - Sergeant of Secundus (2nd) Squad of Mortai Company.
- Sergeant Orsus - Sergeant of Tertius (3rd) Squad of Mortai Company.
- Sergeant Greynan - Sergeant of Quatris (4th) Squad of Mortai Company.
- Sergeant Kagan - Sergeant of Quincus (5th) Squad of Mortai Company.
- Sergeant Rusei - Sergeant of Sextius (6th) Squad of Mortai Company.
- Sergeant Corvo - Sergeant of Septus (7th) Squad of Mortai Company.
- Sergeant Mauron Aekin - Brother-Sergeant of the Ansar Company. Aekin was one of Mithryan's sergeants who followed their captain in the destruction of the Warlord-class Titan. Aekin was one of the few who made it to the head of the Titan, and took the life of the Titan's Princeps, whom he believed to actually be the Blind King. Like his captain, he did not survive the operation.
- Rausa - An Assault Marine of the Ansar Company. The Chapter was understrength, and so Rausa was taken into the Ansar Company while still a Neophyte. Like other members of the Ansar Company, Rausa did not survive the assault against the Chaos Warlord-class Titan.
- Dreadnought Breughal Paine - Former Forge Master of the Dark Hunters, now interred within a Dreadnought and the last survivor of the second founding of the Chapter in 936.M38.
- Dreadnought Geherran - Known for his boldness, Geherran chose to be encased in a mighty Dreadnought after his own body was destroyed. He fell with most of his company while fighting against the Punishers on Perreken.
- Ogadai (Gothic-class Heavy Cruiser) - Though close to four thousand Terran years old, the Ogadai is the only capital ship the Dark Hunters possess that is still spaceworthy. It is a vast starship which was laid down before the Dark Hunters Chapter had been founded. In its youth it was part of the battle fleet of the White Scars Chapter. The White Scars Primarch himself, Jaghatai Khan, had travelled aboard it, sanctifying the ship with his presence. And ancient though it was, it still possessed enough firepower to lay waste to a planet.
- Umbra Mortis (Battle Barge) - At present, the Umbra Mortis is nothing more than an orbital battery, stripped of parts and incapable of travelling the Warp.
- Temujin (Frigate)
- Shadow Mantle - The Shadow Mantle is a specially crafted form of Astartes Scout Armour with an integrated bodyglove that provides additional protection. The armour has a built-in Hunter-Killer Auspex, which can be used as if it were a weapon's sight. Although the Codex Astartes recommends that Scout Armour be restricted to a Chapter's Neophytes and their sergeants in the 10th Company, even the most fervent adherents to Roboute Guilliman's doctrine grudgingly admit there is merit to equipping more experienced warriors with lighter armour after seeing the Shadow Mantle in action. Its cameleoline-bonded plating renders the wielder nearly invisible, and the Hunter-Killer Auspex has claimed the lives of hundreds of Chaos Space Marines by pinpointing the weak points in older, warped or ill-maintained Power Armour.
The Dark Hunters don navy blue Power Armour with a white Aquila or Imperialis on the chest plate. The white squad specialty symbol (Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran) is indicated on the right shoulder guard or on the left knee plate. Squad number is designated by a stenciled black Roman numeral centred within the squad specialty symbol. The Chapter iconography is painted on the left shoulder guard. Shoulder guard trim denotes company designation in accordance with the Codex Astartes -- i.e. White (1st Company), Yellow (2nd Company), Red (3rd Company), etc.
The Dark Hunters' Chapter badge is the profile of a white, double-bladed battle axe (known as the "Axe of Justice") centred on a field of blue.
- Adeptus Astartes: Successor Chapters (Limited Release Booklet), pg. 31
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 136, "The Chronicles of Heroes, The Rusthunt"
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 18, 68, 81, 132, 136, 213
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 26, 30
- Codex: Necrons (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "A New Epoch Begins"
- Deathwatch - Honour the Chapter (RPG), pg. 133
- Dataslate: Reclusiam Command Squad (Background Book), "Notable Reclusiam Command Squad"
- How to Paint Space Marines (2004), pg. 88
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 18
- Warhammer 40,000: Dataslate - Reclusiam Command Squad (Digital Edition), pg. 12
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "The Last Detail" by Paul Kearney
- The Blind King (Short Story) by Paul Kearney
- Dark Hunters: Umbra Sumus (Novel) by Paul Kearney