A Death Company Dreadnought is a variant of the standard Imperial Dreadnought combat walker used by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. Dreadnoughts are cybernetic combat walkers that house the mortal remains of a fallen Space Marine hero so that he may continue fighting for the Emperor and his Chapter even after his body has been fatally crippled. Death Company Dreadnoughts are used exclusively by the Blood Angels Chapter and their many Successor Chapters.
Death Company Dreadnoughts differ from standard Imperial Dreadnoughts in that their occupants are Astartes that are suffering from the Blood Angels' genetic flaw known as their Black Rage. The Black Rage is a genetic flaw that creates mental instability as a result of the psychic imprint left within the Blood Angels Legion's gene-seed by their Primarch Sanguinius' death.
This flaw was first discovered during the Battle of Signus Prime when Sanguinius was struck down and delivered a terrible wound by the Bloodthirster Greater Daemon Ka'Bandha. The condition is largely irrecoverable and only a few Blood Angels have managed to defeat this so-called "gene curse".
When a Space Marine is overcome by the Black Rage he is reborn into a world of constant anger, hatred and blind fury that cannot be contained and will lead to the slaughter of any who get in the enraged Astartes' way, whether they be friend or foe. As well as Sanguinius' memories, the Blood Angels and their kin are genetically gifted with a small portion of their Primarch's unearthly power, boosting their strength and vitality to superhuman levels.
Rather than let them face a slow, insane death, the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters will form those Battle-Brothers who have newly succumbed to the Black Rage into a special unit of the Chapter known as the Death Company. The Dreadnoughts of these Chapters are not immune to the Black Rage, and a Dreadnought pilot that is consumed by the Black Rage can also join the ranks of its Chapter's Death Company. A Dreadnought under the influence of the Black Rage is nearly impossible to control or restrain, and as such he may rage out of control for solar days until the Chapter's Techmarines can rig a device to disable him.
The Chapter's Sanguinary Priests can then judge whether or not the Dreadnought's Astartes occupant should be sedated until the next battle or relieved of his life so that another may take his place. If the occupant of the Dreadnought chassis is still sane enough to follow direction, he will be moved to the Chapter's Death Company, where his Dreadnought body will be able to withstand tremendous amounts of punishment and his unending rage will result in the deaths of many foes before his own destruction.
Many Blood Angels Successor Chapters that make use of Death Company Dreadnoughts will deploy them into battle using Dreadnought Drop Pods that drop the war-machine right into the heart of the enemy's battle line, allowing the Dreadnought's unstoppable might to be used for maximum effect.
Death Company Dreadnoughts are usually armed for close-range combat, where their unstoppable rage and heavily-armoured sarcophagus render them nearly invulnerable to enemy attack. These Dreadnoughts are deployed by their Chapter for assaults upon enemy positions that are deemed too dangerous for any Astartes save those who are under the influence of the Black Rage; as such, Death Company Dreadnoughts are almost always armed as a Furioso Dreadnought, with two Dreadnought Close Combat Weapons.
Death Company Dreadnoughts are rarely ever armed with conventional long-range Dreadnought weaponry, as the Dreadnought would only use it until it is close enough to the enemy to engage in melee where these weapons are much less effective than dedicated close combat weaponry.
Death Company Dreadnoughts are commonly armed with two Bloodfists, a variant of the Dreadnought Powerfist that is used exclusively by the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters. These weapons are outfitted with an under-slung Storm Bolter on one arm and an under-slung Meltagun on the other. The Dreadnought's Storm Bolter can also be switched out for a Heavy Flamer for greater close combat firepower. Both of the walker's Bloodfists can be replaced with a pair of Blood Talons.
Blood Talons are a variant of the uncommon Dreadnought Lightning Claw used by several Astartes Chapters. Like Bloodfists, Blood Talons are used exclusively by the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters.
Death Company Dreadnoughts are only able to be armed with a single, non-close-range weapon, the mighty Magna-Grapple. The Magna-Grapple is a weapon used exclusively by the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters, and can fire several yards of tempered adamantium chain attached to powerful magnetic and gravitic field generators. When fired at an enemy vehicle, the Magna-Grapple's chains form an unyielding bond with the enemy vehicle's hull, allowing the Dreadnought to pull the vehicle in closer to finish it off with its main close combat weapon.
It is unknown if Chapters with Death Company Dreadnoughts arm them with any other weapons found only on their Furioso Dreadnoughts, such as the powerful close-range Frag Cannon. Death Company Dreadnoughts can also be equipped with a searchlight and smoke launchers.
Known Death Company Dreadnoughts
- Moriar the Chosen - Morleo Moriar, also known as Moriar the Chosen, is a former Captain of the Blood Angels' 4th Company. Moriar fell in combat on the fields of Clamorga, yet so great were his deeds that he was honoured by being entombed within the chassis of a Furioso Dreadnought. However, soon after being entombed within his new body, he experienced a vision of the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius during the Horus Heresy and succumbed to the Black Rage. However, Moriar survived the insanity brought on by the Chapter's genetic curse and now fights alongside the Blood Angels as a Death Company Dreadnought known as Moriar the Chosen.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
|Vehicle Name:||Death Company Dreadnought||Main Armament:||2 Arm-mounted Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon|
|Forge World of Origin:||Baal||Secondary Armament:||Built-In Weapons (varies)|
|Known Patterns:||Unknown||Traverse:||360 degrees|
|Crew:||1 Pilot||Elevation:||-90 to 90 degrees|
|Powerplant:||Thermic Reactor||Main Ammunition:||Unlimited|
|Weight:||12 Tonnes (approx)||Secondary Ammunition:||Unknown (varies)|
|Height:||3.7 metres||Superstructure:||75 millimetres|
|Ground Clearance:||N/A||Hull:||75 millimetres|
|Max Speed On-Road:||10 kilometres per hour (approx)||Gun Mantlet:||N/A|
|Max Speed Off-Road:||5 kilometres per hour (approx)||Vehicle Designation:||Unknown|
|Transport Capacity:||N/A||Firing Ports:||N/A|
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 29, 74, 89
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 165
- White Dwarf 330 (UK), "Blood Angels Official Codex: Part I", pg. 12