The Founding of the Disciples of Caliban is shrouded in controversy. It is believed that Dark Angels Supreme Grand Master Anaziel made a strong request of the High Lords of Terra for a Chapter to be raised late in the 37th Millennium.
Much debate followed, for it is highly unusual for a Chapter Master to make such a request, though it was eventually granted and the Disciples of Caliban were founded. Some have suggested that Anaziel must have had some sort of leverage over at least one High Lord to achieve such a thing.
The Disciples' Founding gene-seed was of the highest pedigree held by the Dark Angels at the time, and scrutinised to a standard far beyond even that required by the Adeptus Terra. To this day, the purity of the Chapter's gene-seed is constantly monitored for the slightest sign of corruption or genetic degradation, and it has the most exacting standards of recruitment of any of the Unforgiven Chapters.
There have been whispers that Anaziel had the Disciples of Caliban created to fulfill a specific purpose, often rumoured amongst the other Unforgiven to be for the single-minded pursuit and capture of the Renegade Fallen Angel known as Cypher.
The Disciples of Caliban are a fleet-based Chapter that strikes with blistering speed, which has greatly aided the rapidity with which they can traverse the Imperium. Their flagship houses great reliquaries celebrating the success of their forebears.
Each company has several "Relic Bearers" who carry the Chapter's most sacred artefacts to war to inspire their brethren, although it is unknown if the relics are merely symbolic or have some sinister purpose.
A great deal of mystery surrounds the foundation of any Chapter created using the gene-seed of the Dark Angels, for while their line is held to be pure and free from mutation, it is very rarely used to sire new Successors.
The creation of the Disciples of Caliban was unusual, in that then-Chapter Master Anaziel of the Dark Angels specifically requested the creation of a new Space Marine Chapter from Dark Angels gene-seed of the High Lords of Terra sometime during the 37th Millennium.
Such a request by one Chapter for the creation of another was, and remains, unheard of in the Imperium of Man, and much debate followed among the members of the Senatorum Imperialis on Terra before Anaziel's request was granted. The stored Dark Angels gene-seed used was examined using standards even more strict than was normal when the Adeptus Mechanicus moved to create a new Chapter of Astartes because of the Inquisition's continuous suspicions concerning the Dark Angels and the other Unforgiven Chapters' motives.
As a result, even today, the gene-seed of the Disciples of Caliban is constantly being monitored for corruption by the Genetors of the Mechanicus.
It appears there was a specific mission in mind for the new Chapter, though as ever, the Unforgiven never committed any details to the annals of the Imperium's history. The fact that the Dark Angels could bring such influence to bear on the Senatorum Imperialis as to bring about the creation of a new Chapter has not gone unnoticed, and is cause for great concern in some quarters.
Despite the shrouded circumstances of their Chapter's Founding, the Battle-Brothers of the Disciples of Caliban are generally held to be noble and virtuous. As they should be, for they are subject to a regime of genetic assessment far more rigorous than many other Chapters maintain. What happens should a Battle-Brother fall short of the incredibly high genetic purity threshold he is required to meet is not known.
The Disciples of Caliban are a fleet-based Chapter, and an exceptionally active one at that. In the comparatively short term of its existence, the Chapter's forces have been witnessed fighting in numerous war zones the length and breadth of the Imperium.
Many of the wars the Chapter has become involved in appear to have been instigated by the Fallen Angel known as Cypher, though the causes of some are simply inexplicable. It is known that Cypher is a master at fomenting anarchy and discord wherever he passes and able to inspire apocalyptic planetary insurrections with but a single cryptic transmission.
In turn, the Disciples of Caliban have become adept in tracking down the activities of the Fallen, especially those of Cypher, and of acting upon the slightest scrap of evidence. How many Fallen the Disciples of Caliban have captured to be dragged back to the excoriation chambers of the Dark Angels is not known, but surely the number must rival those of other Dark Angels Successors much older than themselves.
It is even said that the Disciples of Caliban have on several occasions engaged Cypher directly, their enemy eluding them by the smallest of margins.
Despite the Inquisition's suspicions, the Disciples of Caliban never turn from their duties to the Imperium, though like all the Unforgiven, they can be sidetracked in their hunt for the Fallen Angels, particularly for Cypher.
The Chapter is noted for carrying relics into battle. The most important of these relics is the Lionus Censum, a scroll which has the names and deeds of the Chapter's most famous brethren recorded upon it.
Like most of their fellow Unforgiven Chapters, the Disciples of Caliban follow the Dark Angels' pattern of organisation, and so, they are considered to be partially Codex Astartes-compliant.
Their Chapter also includes having formations similar to the Dark Angels' elite Deathwing and the Ravenwing, although they are not named as such. While they have performed admirably, they have not garnered the recognition of the famous Deathwing and Ravenwing.
Like the Dark Angels, the Unforgiven Successor Chapters also have a clandestine group comprised of the Chapter's Veterans and senior commanders, known as the Inner Circle, who possess knowledge of the Fallen and of the true events that occurred on Caliban.
Several Battle-Brothers of the Disciples of Caliban are known to have served in the ranks of the Deathwatch of the Jericho Reach. In most cases, however, these Space Marines have stood but a single vigil before returning to their parent Chapter.
It is whispered by some that the Chapter only ever allows its brethren to stand the Long Watch if and when it suits its own purpose. Perhaps the Chapter's Masters have reason to believe that the Fallen or their allies are operating in the Jericho Reach, and that by sending Battle-Brothers to serve there, the Disciples of Caliban may uncover intelligence they would otherwise never have access to.
What might happen should such a mission clash with the activities of the Deathwatch, and the loyalties of a Disciples of Caliban Battle-Brother be conflicted, remains to be seen.
Certainly, it appears that brethren detached from their parent Chapter are held to the same tests of gene-seed purity as their fellows.
Senior Chapter Serfs acting as envoys are wont to appear unheralded at Watch Fortress Erioch for example, departing once entrusted with a phial of blood drawn from any and all Disciples of Caliban serving there.
- The Lion's Mane - In the late 38th Millennium, a Disciples of Caliban strike force managed to make its way into the Jericho Reach, where it engaged a force of black-armoured Chaos Space Marines over a full company in strength. The Traitors had knowledge of the local environments that allowed them to reap a heavy toll of the Disciples, until the intervention of a veteran Deathwatch Kill-team was able to disrupt their ambushes and assist the strike force. No explanation was given as to the significance of the battles, but a great gift was given to the Deathwatch in thanks for their aid -- a small stasis casket containing a few hairs from the head of the Dark Angels' Primarch, Lion El'Jonson. The bearer of this relic is inspired by the closeness of his Primarch and the manifest legacy of his Chapter.
- Lionus Censum - The Lionus Censum is a sacred scroll which has the names and deeds of the Disciples of Caliban's most famous brethren recorded upon it. To have one's name recorded on the Censum is the ambition of every member of the Chapter.
Notable Disciples of Caliban
- Grand Master Orias - Grand Master Orias was the first Chapter Master of the Disciples of Caliban Chapter. Orias fell in battle against the Orks of the Quolon Pass. Orias was one of the few bearers of a Heavenfall Blade, the Sword of Sanctity.
The Power Armour worn by the Disciples of Caliban is painted dark green and black, much like that of the Dark Angels themselves. The shoulder plates are dark green with black trim. The backpack, Aquila or Imperialis on the chest, abdomen, belt, codpiece, upper legs, feet and arms are black. The helmet, neck, chest, knees and lower legs are painted dark green.
The white squad specialty symbol -- battleline, close support, fire support or Veteran -- is indicated on the right shoulder guard whilst the Chapter iconography is painted on the left shoulder guard.
Squad designation is indicated by a black Low Gothic numeral stenciled on the centre of the squad specialty symbol.
Company colours are designated on the right knee guard.
Like their parent Chapter and fellow Unforgiven, Veteran Disciples of Caliban and members of the Inner Circle are commonly found wearing cream hooded cloaks and tabards; this symbolises their shame over what the Fallen Angels had done near the end of the Great Crusade.
The Disciples of Caliban's Chapter badge is a white lion rampant, holding a sword.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pg. 19
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 29
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pg.27
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 72, 74
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 107, 129
- Deathwatch: The Emperor's Chosen (RPG), pg. 18
- The Unforgiven (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, "An Enemy Revealed"