The Hrud (Troglydium hruddi), also known as the Nocturnal Warriors of Hrud, are an intelligent alien race of the Milky Way Galaxy who are prone to living in subterranean conditions and who possess an unknown biological ability, likely Warp-based, to dramatically accelerate the aging of any living being or to accelerate the slide towards entropy of an object that comes within their vicinity. They are considered a dangerous xenos species that threatens human life by the Imperium of Man. There is currently a dispute between Imperial scholars over the nature of the species, as two very different types of alien being have both been labelled as members of the Hrud species.
Physiology and Biology
The Hrud was first depicted as a crouched, diminutive rodent-like creature swathed in rags, its face obscured by a hood, and possessing a rat-like tail. Later images that have been labelled as representative of the Hrud species show a bizarre, vaguely humanoid, black-eyed creature with long, segmented limbs, an exoskeleton and a mouth featuring both teeth and mandibles. Whatever their physical form, the Hrud prefer darkness and are basically scavengers and tunnel-dwellers. They are found all over the galaxy, though never in large numbers. They are considered to be parasites, and when they are referred to it is usually as "infesting" a place. Observing a Hrud is often difficult even within a well-lit room due to a distortion field of unknown origin emanating from the Hrud that prevents the eye from focusing on it. In addition the limbs of a Hrud have a bone structure similar to the human spine allowing the limbs to bend in any direction (hence the Imperial nickname for this species of "bendies"). They also exude various poisons from their skin. Their bodies liquefy rapidly upon death -- conveniently making detailing the creature impossible. Hrud have also been known to emit an unknown field of entropic radiation from their bodies that can cause living and inorganic matter to rapidly age or decay, similar to a reverse stasis field of some kind. This ability may be psychic in nature.
Apparently, the Hrud's original homeworld was in a region of space the Eldar warned the Adeptus Mechanicus' Explorators to avoid, but the Explorators did not trust the xenos' warning and entered the star system anyway, precipitating the first contact between humans and Hrud sometime during the Great Crusade in the 31st Millennium. Classified as a hostile alien species after they destroyed the Explorator mission to their homeworld, the Astartes of the Iron Warriors Legion undertook a xenocidal war against the Hrud warrens on Gugann during the Great Crusade that nearly exterminated the species. However, Iron Warriors garrisons also suffered defeats at the hands of the Vulpa Strait migration of Hrud on Krak Fiorina, Stratopolae, and the Fortress World of Gholgis in the final years of the Great Crusade, proving that the Hrud remained a threat to the Imperium.
The Star Phantoms Space Marine Chapter's former homeworld of Haakoneth was mentioned as being destroyed by a massive Hrud migration caught within a temporal Warp-rift in 101.M40. The Star Phantoms are credited as being one of the only Astartes Chapters to have survived a Hrud migration with no outside support from the Imperium.
The Imperium has dealt with the Hrud on numerous occasions in the 41st Millennium, including on the world of Mordant Prime where the Hrud infested the Delphic Sink mines in what was remembered as the Delphic Plague and during the Hrud infestation on the Imperial Mining World of Cinchare where the 1st Company of the Dark Hands Space Marines and the Imperial Guard's 39th Cadian "Xenobane" Regiment of the Cadian Shock Troops defeated a massive Hrud infestation. On several other occasions, the Inquisition has had to deal with a major Hrud migration.
Perhaps the most well-known Hrud infestation came in 783.M41 on the Imperial Agri-World of Ursula Spinal. The world's crops turned to ash and its defenders found their bodies biologically aged 50 standard years by exposure to the Hrud's deadly entropic fields. To deal with the problem, 6 full regiments of the Imperial Guard's Valhallan Ice Warriors made planetfall and managed to defeat the xenos infestation, but at the cost of the loss of combat readiness for 3 of the regiments due to premature aging caused by the Hrud.
The Hrud are meticulous record keepers and have compiled large libraries of data. Based on the title of their original depiction ("Nocturnal Warrior of Hrud") in the Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (3rd Edition), it might be assumed that the species' homeworld is a planet called Hrud.
The Hrud believe in a pantheon of gods called the Slah-Haii. The Hrud's chief deity among the Slah-Haii is named Qah, "He Who Lingers," who was likely the Old One who first nurtured and protected the Hrud species when they still lived above ground many millions of years ago. When the C'tan's Necron forces began to attack the Old Ones and all their works during the War In Heaven, Qah ordered the entire Hrud race to move below ground, pursue a subterranean lifestyle and become nocturnal warriors. According to Hrud mythology, during the Fall of the Eldar Qah was destroyed by the newborn Chaos God Slaanesh and much of his essence was splintered into millions of shards that became the enigmatic alien race of shadowy spheres called the Umbra who are attracted to areas with high Warp resonance, such as suspected entrances to the Eldar Webway or the Warp-Drives of Imperial starships. Hrud legend says that before his essence was shattered by the Prince of Chaos, Qah promised that he would one day return to help the Hrud defeat the Yaam-khoh, though to what this term refers is currently unknown to Imperial scholars.
Hrud technology is often scavenged from other races, particularly the Imperium of Man. A weapon of their own development is the Hrud Fusil, a powerful form of rifle based on Warp-plasma technology that literally draws raw energy from the Immaterium and projects it outwards in controlled bursts to cause heavy damage.
The Hrud first appeared in a simple black-and-white illustration of "other dangerous aliens", along with early versions of a Kroot warrior, Necron, Tarellian Dog Soldier, and other alien forms in the Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook for the 3rd Edition. The Hrud may also have been intended to be the counterpart of the Skaven, a race of humanoid rat-men from Games Workshop's fantasy counterpart to Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy. Both races have a similar unkempt, crouched appearance, scavenger culture, and are depicted as being humanoid rodents; both utilise Warp-plasma-based technology, which appears archaic but is technologically superior to other, contemporary engineering -- the Hrud rifle is a "fusil" while the Skaven's preferred rifle is called a "jezail" (a long-barrelled musket). Finally, both the Hrud and the Skaven both seem to have similar social habits, being described as living in warrens or similar underground tunnel systems. However, unlike the Skaven, the Hrud are an aggressive but not malevolent race, and one of the few intelligent species of the galaxy the Eldar do not regard as little better than semi-evolved cave-people, perhaps because of their common origin as wards of the Old Ones.
The Hrud were presumably meant to be a science fiction version of the Skaven; however, Games Workshop has never stated that the Hrud and the Skaven are parallel races, and given the company's current distaste for further crossovers between the two settings to avoid the creation of a "Warhammer in Space" feel, it is unlikely they ever will. Incidentally, early Warhammer 40,000 rules included a toxin called rodotoxin which was effective against Skaven.
The large image of an insectoid being in the upper right hand corner is drawn from the background book Xenology. Based on the contradictory reports available to Imperial scholars about this xenos race, that being may actually be a Hrud or was confused with the true Hrud, who are more like the rodent-like aliens depicted in the black-and-white image in this section drawn from the 3rd Edition rulebook.
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 4, 7
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 50
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 47
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 24
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 31, 50
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- Inquisitor Rulebook (Specialty Game)
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- Jan van Yastobaal
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- The Bleeding Chalice (Novel) by Ben Counter
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- Warriors of Ultramar (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Chs. 1, 14, 16
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- White Dwarf 311 (UK), pg. 62
- Xenology (Background Book), pp. 79-81