Native to the world of Aurum within the Jericho Reach, the Diablodon has managed to find its way across the larger portion of this area of space and beyond. Known within the legends and lore of the various tribes and peoples of Aurum, the Diablodon is a consummate hunter and frightening predator beast. It figures prominently in the natives' culture and the best hunters are those who have managed to best one of these terrifying lizards.
On their native planet, Diablodons are considered to be the ultimate predator. They are descended from the reptile strain of midasaurs. While some midasaurs have been domesticated by the people, many more are not. These range from the small and virtually harmless species, to the massive Diablodons themselves. Found scattered across numerous worlds within the Jericho Reach, Diablodons have been distributed by many Rogue Traders and Free Captains for a variety of reasons: some deliberate and others by accident. They feature popularly within many of the legendary Beast Trades and tournament arenas for obvious reasons.
Diablodons play a significant role in the culture and mythology of the native Aurans. In some of the outlying tribes, the Diablodon is believed to represent the true spirit of the hunter. Dances, performances, and literature have all centred on this terrifying creature. The most prominent role these reptiles play is in the Aurans' Divested Hunt.
The truest test of a huntsman's skill, the Divested Hunt involves tracking, stalking, and then killing one of these great monsters. So voracious and skilful are Diablodons that those who attempt the Divested Hunt rarely return. Once the reptile is found, it must be killed and its carcass ritually prepared. This is easier said than done, for these creatures possess a keen intellect and refuse to be taken down easily.
As terrifying as the Diablodon is, there are many myths and legends surrounding it. On Aurum, the most significant one revolves around the Diablodon as a harbinger of death. In the human cultures of Aurum, the Diablodon is portrayed as a psychopomp, the being who ferries the dead to the afterlife beyond. Many young hunters also choose to tattoo the Diablodon's image on their bodies, as they believe having the symbol of the monster allows them to channel a small part of its strength and animal cunning. With the return of the Imperium and the Achilus Crusade, this practice has spread throughout some of the regiments of the Imperial Guard, much to the dismay of the Departmento Munitorum.
Diablodons are fearsome-looking reptiles. They all have a distinctive crimson hide that has spectacular patterns and whorls streaked into the scales. A typical Diablodon sports a sagittal crest and massive, needle-like teeth. Their eyes are glistening yellow orbs, and their talons are as long and as sharp as an Imperial Power Sword. Diablodons have a hunched-over stance, walking on their two hind legs. Adults stand as tall as an Adeptus Astartes Dreadnought. They have a distinctive three-toed track that hunters quickly learn to recognise. The talons and claws of a Diablodon are almost always covered in the gore and remains of past victims; thus, any wounds inflicted by a Diablodon inevitably turn septic unless treated.
Diablodons prefer to dwell within caves or other subterranean places, especially those that are near volcanic or geothermal areas. This preference not only adds to their mystique, but also provides additional protection from potential predators. One of the obvious signs that a Diablodon lair is near is the grisly pile of leftover carcasses and split bones -- the reptile isn't one to finish its meal entirely.
Evidence supports that Diablodons are excellent night hunters, leading some to believe that they possess both superior night vision and a heightened sense of smell. An unusual trait in Diablodons is the fact that they are not pack hunters -- preferring to hunt on their own. In fact, a Diablodon will go out of its way to remove any "competition" from its hunting grounds. While their mating habits are unknown, it is speculated that a Diablodon will only tolerate the presence of another until the female has been fertilised. She will then leave the area and either locate a suitable place to lay her eggs (near volcanic vents, if possible), or return to her own hunting grounds. Members of the Mechanicum's Adeptus Biologis suspect that the male is the one who initiates the mating ritual by extending his sagittal crest to lure the female in. However, it is not unheard of for male Diablodons to do this as a means to reduce competition for food sources by attacking the potential mate instead of propagating.
- Deathwatch: Mark of the Xenos (RPG), pg. 64