"Here we stand and here we shall die, unbroken and unbowed. Though the very hand of death itself came for us, we will spit our defiance to the end!"
- — Revered-Ancient Armand Titus, during the last stand on Khymara Elipsis
The Howling Griffons is a Loyalist Space Marines Chapter founded in the 33rd Millennium from the gene-seed of the Ultramarines. This Chapter fought in the Badab War and saw extensive action in the 13th Black Crusade, fighting against Chaos Plague Marines in the defence of the world of Amistel Majoris.
The Howling Griffons take a special pride in their oaths, seeing each as the promise of an unending effort until the deed sworn in the oath is accomplished or the oathtaker has been slain in the trying. Before battle, additional oaths are often added to the Howling Griffons' already long lists of promises, some sworn for the Chapter as a whole and others that are far more personal for each Astartes.
Once an oath is taken, a Howling Griffons Astartes goes to extreme lengths to complete it and it is never forgotten, even if solar decades have passed. Completed or satisfied oaths are taken as a badge of honour, often inscribed on parchments or directly into the power armour of the oathtaker.
- 1 Chapter History
- 2 Chapter Organisation
- 3 Chapter Homeworld
- 4 Chapter Combat Doctrine
- 5 Chapter Beliefs
- 6 Chapter Gene-Seed
- 7 Chapter Fleet
- 8 Notable Howling Griffons
- 9 Chapter Relics
- 10 Chapter Appearance
- 11 Sources
- 12 Gallery
The Howling Griffons are staunch traditionalists amongst their fellow Adeptus Astartes, who consider themselves first and foremost to be defenders of the Imperium of Man and an instrument of the divine Emperor's purpose. Their exact origins remain lost in the shadowed wars of the 33rd Millennium, but what is known is that they have always been a highly active Chapter.
While the tragedy of the Horus Heresy had been ended, there were countless ongoing threats to the Imperium's security at the time. There may have been a specific need for additional Space Marine forces associated with the Founding, but that need has been lost to the ages. Few Space Marine Chapters can boast of such extensive campaign honours as the Howling Griffons.
This Chapter is notable for having been at the forefront of a great many Imperial battles and campaigns throughout the ages. The Howling Griffons are also justly proud of their ability to engage almost continuously in conflict and successfully fight the most bitterly contested campaigns.
Due to the Howling Griffons' glorious record, they have gained the right and title from the High Lords of Terra to recruit their Initiates from several different worlds in order to sustain a high level of induction and combat the continuous attrition in the Chapter's ranks.
Since the time of its Founding, the Chapter has almost constantly been engaged in at least one campaign and often divides its companies so that its battle-brothers may be committed to multiple simultaneous engagements. In spite of accepting this challenge, their degree of success and unwavering courage has garnered them tremendous success. Without a high degree of competency and a tremendous amount of devotion to the Imperium, it would be impossible for any Chapter to assemble such a roll of honour.
These successes have come against a broad variety of foes as well. Against the forces of the Immaterium, the Howling Griffons have played key roles in overcoming several Black Crusades brought forth by Abaddon the Despoiler. The entirety of the Chapter's forces united on Gunnerdark to overcome an Ork threat, preserving the efforts of that campaign. The Chapter even stopped the Necroteks of Naath, to end their small empire during the Plague of Unbelief.
However, a dark shadow has fallen over the Howling Griffons' otherwise glorious history. The Chapter maintains a longstanding bloody vendetta against the foul entity who would become the Daemon Prince Periclitor the Foresworn, and the Word Bearers Traitor Legion from which this vile creature sprang.
For millennia, the Howling Griffons have pursued Periclitor's mixed warband of Word Bearers and Night Lords Chaos Space Marines, who were responsible for the death of the Howling Griffons' former Chapter Master Orlando Furioso and the entire 1st Company on the 5,000th anniversary of the Chapter's creation at the Arios Point Massacre.
During the 13th Black Crusade, however, the current Chapter Master Alvaro diverted his Battle Barge Forge of Destiny from the war effort to pursue the Daemon Prince. Revenge was finally obtained when Periclitor was banished at the height of a titanic space battle between the Howling Griffons' 1st Company and the Chaos Space Marines of the Daemon Prince's warband.
The Howling Griffons have also fought with honour in the Badab War, the Vengeance Crusade, the overthrowing of the Regent of Amar, and a thousand other campaigns vital to the Imperium.
In recent years, the Howling Griffons' homeworld of Mancora has come under increasingly savage assault by greenskin hordes spilling from the Ork Empire of Charadon in the Charadon Sector. So far, the Griffons stand firm.
- Commorragh Raid (Unknown Date.M35) - The Howling Griffons were one of the three Space Marine Chapters, including the Salamaders and the Silver Skulls, who took part in the Space Marine raid on the Drukhari Dark City of Commorragh to rescue the Salamanders strike cruiser Forgehammer from the Drukhari's sadistic clutches.
- Arios Point Massacre (220.M38) - For much of their history, the Howling Griffons have regarded the traitorous Word Bearers Legion as their greatest enemies. The precise origin of their specific conflict with these Heretics is unclear. Throughout the Chapter's early history, there were countless incidents of assaults against the Traitor Legion. Both forces suffered grievous losses in these battles, as the full fury of their Astartes were unleashed in these savage battles. It was the massacre at Arios Point in 220.M38 that finally pushed the Howling Griffons far beyond the tipping point in their lust for vengeance against the Word Bearers. The Chapter Master at that time was Orlando Furioso. He was travelling aboard one of the Chapter's Battle Barges, along with the 8th Company and much of the Veteran 1st Company. They were en route to the Chapter's homeworld of Mancora, to celebrate the 5,000th anniversary of the Chapter's Founding. When the Battle Barge stopped in the Arios Point System to resupply, the Chaos Lord Periclitor the Foresworn led a combined force of Word Bearers and Night Lords Chaos Space Marines in ambush against the Loyalists. The Howling Griffons were caught tragically unprepared for battle against so overwhelming an enemy force. In short order, their ancient vessel was destroyed after a brutal boarding action. The surviving Space Marines made landfall aboard their Thunderhawks on the surface of the nearby world of Arios Quintus. The barren world offered little protection for the outnumbered members of the Howling Griffons. Soon, those who survived the destruction of their Battle Barge were overwhelmed by the coordinated assault of the Traitor Legionaries. None were left alive, and the Chaotic forces seized much of the Chapter's wargear, including precious and virtually irreplaceable gear that had been the province of the 1st Company and the Chapter Master's Honour Guard. The bodies of those slain were desecrated and their gene-seed either destroyed or stolen. The only body recovered by the Chapter was that of Chapter Master Furioso. The Traitors mounted it upon his Thunderhawk and left it in orbit of Arios Quintus, as a sign to any who might see it. Months later, other members of the Howling Griffons tracked down the missing starship and company, and recovered the Chapter Master's body and gene-seed. After this tragedy, all members of the Howling Griffons Chapter swore oaths of vengeance against Periclitor, who eventually ascended to become a Daemon Prince, and the Word Bearers. As each new member is recruited, the oath is recited once more. The two forces have engaged in countless skirmishes and even several major conflicts since the massacre.
- Dennar IV Suppression (109.M40) - The Dennar IV Suppression was an Imperial military campaign carried out by the Howling Griffons against Chaos Cultists on the Agri-World of Dennar IV in 109.M40. During their long search for the Word Bearers Chaos Space Marine warband of Deklamus the Vaunted, the Howling Griffons 3rd Company under Captain Penvath Joachim responded to a planetary distress call from the world of Dennar IV in the Sangramentia Sector. This important supply world for the sector had succumbed to rot from within as the worship of the Ruinous Powers took root amid its flenser-cults and cult-clans. As the Howling Griffons descended on Dennar IV, they found only a handful of its city-states holding out against the horde of Chaos Cultists and daemon-possessed madmen, their walls packed with refugees fleeing the tide of mass-murder that had engulfed the planet. Vastly outnumbered, the Howling Griffons deployed to the savannah, and wielding their superiority in armour and air power to stay mobile and spearhead assaults against the Heretics, smashed the cult forces in great scything sweeps before driving onwards to relieve the city sieges. The Loyalist inhabitants of Dennar greeted the Howling Griffons as divinely-sent saviours, and gladly rallied to aid them in liberating their world from the dark forces that assailed it, selling their lives alongside the Space Marines. The remaining campaign was bloody and ruthless, ever-afterward casting a nightmarish pall over the memory of Dennar's people. Since this victory, the Howling Griffons have maintained a lasting oath to protect the planet and the memory of the many martyred there for their loyalty to the Emperor, while the people of Dennar IV have kept faith with their saviours in providing them with victuals and the pick of their youth as Chapter recruits.
- Valerian Purges (Unknown Date.M41) - The Howling Griffons, with the Imperial Guard's 108th Cadian Regiment, the "Wyverns", saw action in the Valerian Purges.
- Liberation of Vanqualis (Unknown Date.M41) - The world of Vanqualis was under attack by Orks when the Howling Griffons and the Imperial Guard's 901st Penal Legion defeated the greenskin tide. Shortly after landing, the Howling Griffons turned on the Renegade Soul Drinkers Chapter, believing them to be the bearers of a Chaos artefact called the Black Chalice.
- Jorun Retaliation (143.M41) - The Jorun Retaliation was an Imperial military campaign prosecuted by the Howling Griffons against the treachery of General Jorun of the 15th Heraklon Ironclads Imperial Guard Battlegroup in 143.M41. This entire Imperial battle group should have been on its way to reinforce the lines of the Gothic War but instead turned Traitor in 109.M41 and slaughtered their Commissariat representatives. The Imperium moved to act with decisive force as the foul taint of the xenos known as the Drukhari was found to be the root cause of this perfidy, with Jorun and his personal cadre laid low and corrupted by addiction to the aliens' foul psychotropics and depraved practices, thanks to the dark arts of the Kabal of the Crimson Libation. The Humans were no more than disposable tools used by the Drukhari to enslave planetary populations by treachery and brute force, with little risk to the aliens themselves. This could not remain unpunished, and the retaliation force the Imperium launched in 143.M41 was fully intended to smash the Heraklons and their dark allies with brutal and overwhelming power, annihilating them without regard or mercy. The combined taskforce was comprised of the Howling Griffons Chapter (then about eight companies in effective strength) who were given overall command of the campaign, and reinforced with supporting companies from the Ultramarines and the Sons of Orar Chapters. The Traitor Guardsmen were intercepted as they made planetfall on the Feral World of Asturia. Caught unprepared for such a fierce counter-assault, over 5,000 Renegade Guardsmen died in the first hour of the ferocious Space Marine attack, torn apart on their landing zones with much of their heavy armour yet to be unlimbered. As the battle was joined in full, the task of destroying the Traitors' command fell to Chaplain Armand Titus and the Howling Griffons 4th Battle Company, who executed a Drop Pod assault into the heart of the disoriented enemy. Confronting not only the elite of General Jorun's Ogryn cadre, but also the inhumanly lithe and cruel forms of the Drukhari that rose around him, the Howling Griffons despatched them with Bolter fire and unshakeable resolve. It was Titus who fought his way to the Traitor general and delivered the Emperor's judgement despite suffering grievous wounds tainted with vile Drukhari poisons, cleaving Jorun's skull in half with his Crozius Arcanum. He would later be enshrined with all due reverence within a Dreadnought sarcophagus, in order to continue his service to his Chapter. The Traitors' morale collapsed with the death of their leader and the swift desertion of their foul xenos allies. The disordered and panicking Heraklons were ruthlessly hunted down and slain in the aftermath. The Renegade forces were utterly wiped out within only six hours of the battle's opening salvos.
- Badab War (901-912.M41) - The Howling Griffons were assigned to convoy duties during the Badab War, allowing the Red Scorpions and Fire Hawks to return to their normal duties.
- Caradryad Sector (905-906.M41) - Shortly before the Badab War, the Howling Griffons 4th Company as well as parts of their 6th, 10th and 1st Companies, carried out a lengthy search-and-destroy campaign within the Caradryad Sector. It can be safely assumed that a large number of planetary assaults were carried out during this action as the Howling Griffons were severely lacking in Thunderhawks and Drop Pods when answering the call for aid in the Badab War as they did not have the chance to return to Mancora and resupply their stocks of materiel.
- Amar Persecution (951.M41) - Rapid strikes by the Howling Griffon brought the Amar Secession to a swift and bloody end.
- Siege of the Fenris System (999.M41) - The Howling Griffons were one of the twelve Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes to accompany the Dark Angels during the Siege of the Fenris System by the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion of Magnus the Red.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - During the 13th Black Crusade the Howling Griffons sent 8 companies to aid the Imperial defence. The 1st Company of the Howling Griffons, including Chapter Master Alvaro, were based on the Chapter Battle Barge Force of Destiny, and were engaged in the persecution of a particularly vicious company of Night Lords Chaos Space Marines known as the "Chosen", commanded by the infamous Daemon Prince Periclitor. It was widely known that the Howling Griffons harboured a particularly deep hatred of this Daemon Prince. While that hatred served the greater needs of the Imperium's defence against the forces of Chaos, no other authority sought to question Alvaro's actions.
- Assault on Amistel Majoris - Seven of the eight companies dispatched by the Howling Griffons to serve in the Inperial defence during the 13th Black Crusade became engaged in a gruelling trench-war on Amistel Majoris. Having broken through the Death Guard Plague Fleet blockading the world, the 2nd to 8th Companies arrived in time to bolster the Imperial Guard forces of the Drookian Fenguard, who were suffering horrific losses to the hell-spawned epidemics unleashed by the Traitor forces arrayed against them. Within days, the Howling Griffons and the Legio Astorum Titans were the only force able to man the extensive defences constructed by the Drookians. Any warrior caught in the open and not protected by power armour when the plague winds hit were ensured an excruciating death, and an eternity of servitude as a Plague Zombie in Nurgle's legions of the undead. The Iron Knights sent their elite 1st Company to help bolster the flagging defences of the Howling Griffons, as they fought a gruelling trench war against the unremitting assaults of the Plague Marines of the Death Guard Traitor Legion. The warzone soon became a plague-ridden quagmire, the decomposing bodies of the Plague God's victims forming putrid, sucking swamps through which the defenders were forced to wade in order to bring battle to their foes.
- Indomitus Crusade (ca. 999.M41) - Led by their Chapter Master Alvaro, the Howling Griffons participated in the Indomitus Crusade of their resurrected Primarch Roboute Guilliman that marked the first century of the 42nd Millennium and helped to stablise the Imperium in the wake of the birth of the Great Rift.
- War of Beasts (ca. 001-025.M42) - The Howling Griffons deployed three companies to the world of Vigilus to defend that all important terminus of the Nachmund Gauntlet connecting the Imperium Sanctus and Imperium Nihilus through the Great Rift.
- Plague Wars (ca. 111.M42) - The Howling Griffons provided 6 companies to aid the Ultramarines in the defence of the Realm of Ultramar from the assault by the servants of the Plague God Nurgle during the Plague Wars.
The Howling Griffons are organised along the strict guidelines provided by the Codex Astartes, though the Chapter sees this tome not so much as holy writ, but simply as the finest military treatise ever written. Their tactics are in keeping with those prescribed in the Codex and only waver in situations where Roboute Guilliman's doctrine encourages innovation.
Because of the work's comprehensive and pragmatic teachings, this is seldom a problem. Even by adhering to the Codex in the strictest fashion possible, the Howling Griffons sacrifice little flexibility. They remain more than capable of responding effectively to any known opponent and of adapting quickly to the abilities of a novel one.
The Howling Griffons are organised into Battle Companies with specific roles in keeping with the directives of the Codex Astartes. Cases of inconsistency with its tenets are generally only due to the high rate of turnover among the Chapter's membership. Because these Space Marines sustain a high rate of casualties and recruit so aggressively, they are not always capable of fielding enough battle-brothers to keep all ten companies filled.
At times, the Chapter has transferred members between companies so that one can be despatched for an engagement while another undergoes resupply and retraining. Though members often view an assignment to resupply with disdain, most verbally accept its necessity, while simultaneously attempting to transfer to another company before it is deployed on a combat mission.
The Howling Griffons Chapter is also notably well-provided for in both arms and wargear. The Chapter's extensive forges on its homeworld of Mancora work tirelessly to keep the Howling Griffons supplied and to make good on battlefield losses as they occur. The capacity of their armouries are such that they are not only able to keep pace with the Chapter's aggressive nature, but are also able to manufacture and maintain some of the rarer battle machines available to the Adeptus Astartes, such as the Land Raider Prometheus and the advanced Mark VIII Errant Pattern Power Armour in noteworthy numbers.
Also of note is the Chapter's tradition of maintaining powerful psykers in its ranks, due in no small part to the recruits it adopts from its homeworld of Mancora, whose population possesses an unusually high frequency of the psyker mutation.
In addition to Mancora, the Howling Griffons recruit from several other worlds, including Dennar IV. This is a necessity for the Chapter, as without additional worlds, it would be impossible for it to rapidly recover the heavy losses it suffers by engaging in endless campaigning.
It is important to note that in spite of this option, the Howling Griffons still continue to preferentially recruit from Mancora. Its volatile culture insures that candidates from that world are more capable of fulfilling the Chapter's needs. Some of the other recruiting options for the Chapter, such as Dennar IV, have cultures that are less focused on developing candidates who will prove to be worthy and capable Initiates.
An additional reason for the Chapter's aggressive Mancoran recruitment efforts is that the planet has a history of producing a significantly higher number of psykers than would normally be expected. Many of the individuals with these talents are recruited into the Howling Griffons as Aspirants.
However, the Chapter's Librarians also oversee the planet's population for undue signs of psychic ability. The Codiciers weed out any who might pose a risk of Warp contamination or daemonic possession.
Howling Griffons Librarians
The higher than average incidence of psykers born on Mancora has resulted in the Chapter's ability to maintain a strong Librarium down through the centuries, due in no small part to its own Codiciers taking an active role in culling and policing Mancora's population and weeding out those psykers who would be a danger to themselves and the population at large.
This fact is reflected by the number and raw talents of the Howling Griffon's Librarians. Ultimately, these uniquely talented Space Marines exercise their gifts in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of the Codex. However, because the Chapter has an exceptionally high number of these psykers, their service plays a critical role in shaping the Chapter's engagements.
These battle-brothers represent a critical strategic asset, so the Chapter's officers take care to utilise them in the most effective ways possible. Most Chapters train and test chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Howling Griffons are trained in this way, and, with a few minor traditional variances, have been taught to live by the word of the Codex.
Howling Griffons Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter, which include:
- Blood Oath - Librarians of the Howling Griffons Chapter take their oaths as seriously as any of their brothers and can bind them psychically with blood to make them more potent and enduring. The Librarian calls upon his eldritch powers when taking an oath at the start of a mission, committing not just his word but his spirit to the binding and seeding it with a few drops of his own blood. Any other members of a Howling Griffons squad may choose to participate in the Oath-taking with the Librarian, which will psychically compel them to carry out its terms.
- Griffon's Howl - The Librarian calls to the Warp and draws forth a mighty cry like a diving bird of prey to cow his foes with fear and shatter their resolve. This cry is also a potent weapon against Warpspawn and can shake the ties which bind them to the material plane, sending them screaming back into the Empyrean from whence they came.
- Periclitor's Bane - The Howling Griffon's intense hatred of the Word Bearers and their Daemon Prince Periclitor has been translated by the Chapter's Librarians into a number of abilities targeted at the Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legions. When the Librarian summons up this power, he is creating a psychic resonation that can cause agonising pain to the members of one of the Traitor Legions present on the field of battle, badly eroding their effectiveness in combat.
The Feudal World of Mancora serves as the homeworld of the Howling Griffons Chapter and has done so for all of their known history. The history of its days prior to the Chapter's arrival is uncertain, those records long lost to the vagaries of time. Located within the Ultima Segmentum, Imperial records clearly indicate that the Chapter has deliberately and artificially prevented the world from advancing beyond a pre-industrial technological base.
Through an uncharacteristic degree of covert operations and manipulations, the Howling Griffons have also kept the world's feudal city-states on a near-constant war footing, which has led to a culture that has a poor record of its own origins. This enables the Howling Griffons to select from a pure gene-stock of hardened warriors who display the desired traits of ferociousness, stoicism and tenacity.
From the earliest days of their pre-recruitment, the warrior elite of Mancora who will one day become battle-brothers of the Howling Griffons are brought up in a war-torn feudal world of pre-industry. In this crucible of battle, personal and familial honour, and martial duty, the citizens are forged into the perfect Initiates of the Chapter.
It is in this life that they learn the value of glorious warfare and to respect and rely on their brothers-in-arms. While they may lack the technology even to comprehend the military might of the Adeptus Astartes, the people of Mancora are predisposed, by the culture of their birth, to hold dear the martial ideals held by the Howling Griffons.
When the day finally comes that a new recruit is elevated into the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes, it is almost as a continuation of his previous life, albeit on a much greater scale. His heraldry is no longer that of his local noble house, it is instead the griffon rampant. His allies on the field are no longer the members of his local nobility, they are his battle-brothers. The land he fights to defend is no longer his city-state, it is the entire Imperium of Man.
When he is first girt in his ochre and crimson livery, he sets aside the military training and traditions of his past life and takes as paramount the teachings of Guilliman as inscribed in the words of the Codex Astartes.
The Howling Griffons' fortress-monastery, known as the Proud Eyrie, oversees a substantial number of well-equipped manufactoria, which are kept isolated from the world's native inhabitants. These manufactoria are productive and capably equipped.
Indeed, the Howling Griffons Chapter is capable of manufacturing some less common STC patterns. These include the pattern necessary for Mark VIII Errant Power Armour as well as the Land Raider Prometheus.
Such a highly functional forge and unrestricted access to its output has played a crucial role in the Chapter's ability to remain deployed at all times. This vital asset permits the Chapter to continuously resupply its fleets and to have sufficient reserves that its Initiates can undergo thorough training prior to entering the field.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Howling Griffons strive to remain within the tenets of the Codex Astartes, keeping to its Codex-approved disposition and division of companies wherever possible. This made it standard for the Chapter's battle-brothers to master each discipline in turn as the Codex dictates. Competition within the Chapter for excellence is intense and encouraged, but is never allowed to spill over into outright discord.
The Chapter's drive to fulfil its member's oaths often influences -- but never dictates -- their tactical decisions. If a battle-brother makes his commanding officers aware of an oath and an opportunity arrives to fulfil it, attempts are made to accommodate his needs.
However, such considerations are only permitted if the situation does not substantially increase the level of risk for a particular engagement. These Space Marines value their oaths and their honour, but they are generally not willing to accept unnecessary casualties to fulfil them. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, particularly as pertains to the Word Bearers and the Daemon Prince Periclitor.
"The enemies of the Imperium are vast. No matter how vigilant we remain, there may always be one who acts against us. Remember your devotion and your duty, but ignore your own needs. We rest only when the Emperor grants His mercy."
The Howling Griffons is a proud and warlike Chapter, the glorious and storied roll of its history a testament to this reputation. Engaged in near-constant operations throughout the Imperium and beyond, the Howling Griffons are paragons of the martial spirit the Adeptus Astartes were created to embody. The Howling Griffons take special pride in their oaths, seeing each as an eternal conflict to be pursued until the sworn deed is complete.
Before battle, additional oaths are added to each battle-brother's already exceedingly long lists, some for the accomplishment of Chapter goals and others that are far more personal. Once an oath is taken, a Howling Griffons battle-brother goes to extreme lengths to complete it even over the course of decades. Completed or satisfied oaths are a badge of honour, often inscribed on parchments or directly into the Howling Griffons' armour.
The Howling Griffons' gene-seed is consistent genetically with that of other Chapters from the lineage of Roboute Guilliman. It is free from any known contamination, reproduces stably, and produces the full range of Space Marine organ implants.
Because they are extremely active within multiple war zones, the Howling Griffons are rigorous about harvesting and securing the Progenoid Glands from their battle-brothers in a timely fashion. Recoveries made in the field are secured upon the nearest Chapter vessel in short order, and then returned to Mancora for storage at the earliest possible opportunity.
This sense of obligation is in large part due to the fact that the Chapter has a very high rate of turnover amongst its members. These Space Marines prefer to engage in the thickest portion of any battle and are almost always at war. Consequently, the Chapter does suffer a higher than usual casualty rate, which can only be compensated by a proportionately high rate of recruitment and initiation.
Currently, records indicate that the Chapter is sufficiently well supplied with gene-seed to accommodate even its prodigious needs.
Primarch's Curse: Cursing the Word
Since the death of Chapter Master Orlando Furioso at the hands of the Daemon Prince Periclitor, the Howling Griffons have fostered and nurtured a deep and unrelenting hatred of the Word Bearers, and a vow to seek retribution against them and their lord Periclitor no matter the cost.
It is a hatred which simmers in the heart of every Howling Griffon battle-brother but one which can spill over in times of madness and consume them and their every thought. When the Chapter's genetic curse manifests itself in an affected battle-brother, it comes on in three stages:
- Stage 1 - The Price of Treachery: The battle-brother has become increasingly obsessed with the Word Bearers' treachery and relives their fateful ambush in his mind over and over again. While this spurs him on to seek out the hated Word Bearers, it also leads him to see treachery in other places, comparing the great crime perpetrated against his Chapter with other events as they unfold. The merest hint of treachery is enough to prompt a strong and violent response from the battle-brother, one which he may not be able to control. If the battle-brother comes into contact with a suspected Traitor (to the Imperium, the Deathwatch, or his Chapter) he must do every thing in his power to restrain himself from lashing out. If he manages to do so, he will still be very unpleasant to the known or suspected Traitor. But if he cannot, he will see it as his place to punish them, perhaps even with summary execution if their crime is great enough.
- Stage 2 - Trail of the Traitors: As the battle-brothers hatred of Traitors grows and his obsession with finding and exterminating the Word Bearers heightens, he will be loath to give up any mission or clue which could lead to them. On a mission, this could mean going out of his way to seek out known or suspected Traitors or even changing the mission objectives to include their capture or destruction. In other settings, it can mean an obsessive thirst for knowledge and seeking out dangerous or forbidden texts if it means gaining a clue to the location and crimes of a Traitor. In both instances, if the subverting of a mission or the seeking of knowledge would place the battle-brother or his squad in extreme danger, he must resist his urges, unless the action pertains directly to the Word Bearers.
- Stage 3 - In the Eye of Terror and Beyond: The battle-brothers' hunger to eradicate the Word Bearers and repay them for their crimes against the Chapter culminates in doing whatever it takes to see them destroyed. The battle-brother will always seek out Heretic Astartes in any combat situation or mission, and if it falls within their power they will see their squad face off against Chaos Space Marines as often as possible, trying to ensure their deployment to warzones and campaigns where they might come face to face with them. When these hated foes are encountered, the battle-brother will do everything in his power to destroy them and see they do not escape, even if it means leaving others behind or abandoning mission objectives to chase them down wherever they might run.
The Howling Griffons maintain a large Chapter fleet. The Chapter's fleet includes the following starships:
- Forge of Destiny (Battle Barge) - The Forge of Destiny is the primary Battle Barge of the Howling Griffons Chapter and is often commanded by Chapter Master Alvaro.
- Cerulean Claw (Battle Barge) - The Cerulean Claw was the Battle Barge employed by Chief Librarian Mercaeno when he wanted to fulfill an oath to the ruling Falken family in the Obsidian System.
Notable Howling Griffons
- Chapter Master Orlando Furioso (Deceased) - Late in the year 220.M38 the Howling Griffons Chapter was preparing to celebrate the 5,000th anniversary of its Founding. As Orlando Furioso and the 1st Company made their way to the Chapter's homeworld, the Chaos Lord Periclitor of the Word Bearers and a substantial force of his Chosen fell upon the Howling Griffons' starship as it traversed the Arios beacon. The battle was a furious one, culminating with Periclitor and his elite Chaos Space Marines boarding Furioso's Battle Barge aboard their Dreadclaw Drop Pods. The attack crippled the Howling Griffons' starship, and the defenders were forced to evacuate aboard their Thunderhawks and salvation pods. The battle was continued upon the surface of Arios Quintus, where the survivors were surrounded and eventually cut down. The body of Furioso was mounted upon the front hull of his Thunderhawk, and though tragic, at least it permitted the Chapter to successfully recover his body and gene-seed.
- Chapter Master Alvaro - Current Chapter Master of the Howling Griffons Chapter.
- Chief Librarian Mercaeno - Mercaeno fulfilled the oath of avenging Chapter Master Furioso's death by vanquishing the Daemon Prince Periclitor during the 13th Black Crusade. He then led the Battle Barge Cerulean Claw to Vanqualis in the Obsidian System to fulfill an oath to the ruling Falken family to defeat the Soul Drinkers who were mistakenly identified as the bearers of the Chaos artefact called the Black Chalice. Mercaeno had a titanic physical and psychic duel with Sarpedon in the Soul Drinkers' Space Hulk Brokenback. He broke Sarpendon's Force Staff and defeated him. However, before he could deal the death blow to Sarpedon with his Force Axe, Mercaeno met his demise at the hands of Eumenes, the Renegade leader of the Soul Drinkers. Sarpedon then defeated Eumenes and won the leadership of the Chapter back. Chapter Master Sarpedon of the Soul Drinkers now wields Mercaeno's Force Axe.
- Codicier Miguel Gricalo - In 753.M41, Codicier Gricalo, a Howling Griffons Librarian who had been seconded to the Deathwatch, undertook an extended mission to investigate the Watch Stations of the Dark Pattern in the Jericho Reach. As most of these sites are near dead or uninhabited worlds, the motives behind their implementation remain uncertain. The Librarian was motivated to undertake the study due to a series of visions that he received consistently for two years before his quest. According to records made prior to his departure, the divinations consistently told of an impending crisis that might soon emerge from this region. Several of these reports were corroborated by other psykers who worked in concert with the Codicier at the time. Codicier Gricalo's Kill-team had enjoyed tremendous success prior to his departure. Its other members, as well as his Watch Captain, were all reluctant to see the Librarian depart on this extended solo mission. However, a missive from an unidentified member of the Inquisition provided motivation for the Watch Commander to directly order the psyker to embark upon his survey of the Watch Stations. There have been no confirmed reports from the Codicier since his departure. Routine surveys of the locations included in his route show no signs of him ever having arrived. His fate remains a mystery.
- Dreadnought Confessor Armand Titus - Chaplain Armand Titus stands as an examplar of the valour and perseverance of his Chapter. Titus has been entombed within a Dreadnought since the fatal poisoning of his body by the Dark Eldar Kabal of the Crimson Libation during the Jorun Retaliation. As a revered Dreadnought Confessor, Titus remained an inspiration to the rest of the Chapter until he fell in Badab War, during a campaign in the Caradryad Sector on the world of Khymara Elipsis when he led a desperate counterattack against an overwhelming force of Executioners Astartes. The surviving Howling Griffons found the wreck of Titus' Dreadnought laid out, surrounded by a ring of broken weapons, a shattered Executioners' standard placed in the war machine's lifeless grasp.
- Josef Vincens - A few among Watch Fortress Erioch's complement suggest that Tactical Marine Brother Vincens has launched his own Crusade against the Tau of the Velk'Han Sept in the Jericho Reach. After two members of his Kill-team were slain during a mission to investigate Tau operations on the world of Innan, Vincens swore an oath of vengeance against the xenos. Since that time, he has undertaken dozens of missions into space held by Tau forces. None save Vincens know the precise terms of his oath, but it is clear that he is still attempting to fulfil that obligation. The other members of his Kill-team have been remarkably accommodating in assisting Brother Vincens, likely due to their own thirst for vengeance. Since swearing his oath, his Kill-team's activities against the Tau have been relentless. The majority of their time away from the worlds held by these xenos has involved filing mandated reports concerning the details of their missions and the threat posed by the Tau forces. Many suspect that Brother Vincens has become the foremost expert on the Sept's strategies and tactics within the Jericho Reach. However, due to his endless missions, none have been able to compile a comprehensive report of the information he has uncovered.
- The Lost Halo - This advanced Iron Halo had a long and glorious history in the Angevin Crusade, defending the mightiest heroes of the Howling Griffons from the foul xenos that claimed the Calyx Expanse. It disappeared from Chapter records after the Crusade's conclusion, and was not heard of again for centuries. Shortly before the Jericho Warp Gate was discovered, the Omega Vault of Watch Fortress Erioch yielded up the Lost Halo to the Howling Griffons battle-brothers of the Deathwatch for unknown reasons -- and without any clue as to how it had arrived there.
A white Low Gothic numeral is stenciled in the centre of the squad specialty symbol, indicating squad number. No company markings are displayed.
In certain circumstances, a Chapter may be permitted to make use of variant livery on their armour, painting it with different designs specific to an individual campaign or engagement.
During several of its engagements, the Howling Griffons have been sanctioned to use such livery, giving up the bold quartered red and yellow they normally employ.
For instance, on Sigmar VI, the Insurgency Force from this Chapter wore a yellow, orange and brown camouflage pattern with smaller black spots.
Also among these official Codex-approved patterns and colours is the Night World Battle Livery. A Howling Griffons battle-brother may choose to paint his armour in Night World Camouflage before a mission if it will involve stealth or reconnaissance elements.
The Howling Griffons' Chapter badge is a black griffon rampant, centred upon a quartered field of red and yellow.
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pg. 16
- Codex: Space Marines (9th Edition), pg. 47
- Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition) (Revised Codex), pg. 28
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 113
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 18, 33, 141
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 26, 49
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pp. 22-23
- Dark Imperium (Novel) by Guy Haley
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 66-73, 129
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 39-41, 119, 124-131, 158-159
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 23, 58-59, 89
- Index Astartes: Fortress Monasteries (Digital Edition), pg. 4
- Insignium Astartes, pg. 61
- Iron Hands (Novel) by Jonathan Green
- Legacy of Russ 1: The Lost King (Short Story) by Robbie MacNiven
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (1st Edition), "The Badab War" by Rick Priestley, pp. 33-35
- White Dwarf 309 (UK), "Howling Griffons" Model Showcase by John Cadice, pp. 43-51
- White Dwarf 284 (UK), "Index Astartes: Humanity's Shield, Chapters Involved in the Defence of Cadia"
- White Dwarf 101 (UK), "Index Astartes: The Badab Uprising" by Rick Priestley
- Chapter War (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Phalanx (Novel) by Ben Counter
- The Space Marine Omnibus (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn