The Legio Vulpa ("Death Stalkers") is a Traitor Titan Legion of the Dark Mechanicum that repudiated its oaths to the Emperor of Mankind and followed the Warmaster Horus into the service of the Ruinous Powers during the Horus Heresy.
The Legio Vulpa's personnel valued the honour of close quarters battle, where they could see the eyes of their foes -- or in the case of Titan warfare their armoured heads -- and feel the concussive force as their weapons smashed into them.
The Legio Vulpa always had a reputation for excessive cruelty, and their fall to Chaos has only made them more deadly.
Death Stalkers princeps often give into this battle madness, riding the wave of exhilaration and letting their attacks become almost instinctive.
Much of the early history of this darkly-famed Titan Legion have been lost to time, but extant records indicate that the Legio Vulpa was one of the Titan Legions formerly based on Mars, the homeworld of the Martian Mechanicum. It was here that they became embroiled in a long dispute about territorial rights with another Titan Legion of the Red Planet, the Legio Honorum, known as the "Death Bolts."
Shadowed by a grim reputation for cruelty, during the Great Crusade it was said that the Death Stalkers took excessive pleasure in subjugation actions, bathing settlements in vented plasma or crushing rebels beneath the feet of their Titans rather than expending ammunition on them.
During one infamous campaign, the Legio Vulpa's Titans destroyed the city of Biphex on the world Dendritica rather than allowing negotiations to proceed and put an end to the siege peacefully. This drew the ire of their ally in that campaign, the Legio Solaria (Imperial Hunters).
When the Schism of Mars erupted, the bellicose and savage Legio Vulpa was easily subverted by the Dark Mechanicum and willingly turned against the Emperor and joined the Dark Mechanicum forces that had sworn to serve the Warmaster Horus. The Traitors sent the Legio Vulpa to eliminate their rivals the Legio Honorum, who had remained loyal to the man they believed to be the Omnissiah.
The Traitor Legion launched a devastating surprise assault upon the Death Bolts' Legion fortress in which the Loyalists lost 19 of their Titans, though the Legio Honorum managed to ultimately escape destruction and survive to fight on in the Emperor's name.
As the Horus Heresy progressed, the personnel of the Legio Vulpa hearkened to the teachings of the Word Bearers Dark Apostle Vorrjuk Kraal, and ultimately dedicated themselves to the worship of the Blood God Khorne, whose savage theology most closely matched their own aggressive tendencies and desires for close-ranged melee combat between god-engines. Blood sacrifices and dark rituals soon became commonplace among the Death Stalkers.
- Schism of Mars (ca. 005.M31) - During the opening days of the Horus Heresy when civil war erupted on the Red Planet, Titans of the Death Stalkers were involved in the opening volleys. Along the borders of the Lunae Palus and Arcadia regions, what had previously been confined to a heated war of words between different Mechanicum factions erupted into true warfare when Princeps Ulriche of the Death Stalkers unleashed his war engines upon the fortress of Maxen Vledig's Legio Honorum. Caught by surprise, the Legio Honorum lost 19 Titans in the first solar hour of battle, before withdrawing into the frozen wastes of the Mare Boreum and seeking refuge in the dune fields of Olympia Undae. Their calls for reinforcement went unanswered, as all of Mars was in the process of tearing itself apart as the cancer of civil war spread across the planet in a raging firestorm.
- Istvaan III Atrocity (ca. 007.M31) - The campaign known in later times as the Istvaan III Atrocity began when the Imperial Planetary Governor of Istvaan III, Vardus Praal, had been corrupted by the Chaos God Slaanesh whose cultists had long been active on that world. In 205.M31, Praal declared his world to be independent from the Imperium of Man. Unaware of the change in Horus' loyalties following his corruption by the Chaos Gods on the world of Davin, the Council of Terra charged the Warmaster with the retaking of that world, primarily its capital, the Choral City. When the Imperium finally gathered its forces, the Sons of Horus, Death Guard, Emperor's Children and the World Eaters Legions arrived in the Istvaan System, mustering in orbit above the doomed planet. Under the guise of putting down the rebellion against Imperial Compliance, Horus hatched the plan by which he would destroy all the remaining Loyalist elements of the Legions under his command. He purposely gathered those Astartes who were not loyal to him and used them in the assault on the non-Compliant world. With elements of the Legio Mortis, the Legio Audax and the Legio Vulpa Titan Legion in support, the invasion of Istvaan III then began in earnest. The Legio Vulpa undoubtedly played a part in the campaign, but sadly none of its exploits are currently present in Imperial records.
- Battle of Molech (009.M31) - Molech was a Knight World ruled over by House Devine ever since the Emperor Himself led an expedition to bring it into the fledgling Imperium and left a significant garrison there. The planet thrived under the rule of Devine, the populace of its capital city of Lupercalia never knowing the true reason why the Emperor had taken it upon Himself to lead the force that claimed it. Unfortunately for the citizens of Molech, the traitor Horus knew exactly what lay beneath the city that had been name in his honour -- a Warp Gate which, it was said, had allowed the Emperor to convene with the Ruinous Powers themselves. When Loyalist forces became aware of the Traitor fleet's approach, they mustered at Molech. As well as a trio of Titan Legions -- Legio Gryphonicus, Legio Crucius, and Legio Fortidus -- there were elements of each of the Imperium's fighting forces, including nearly a dozen Knight Houses which owed fealty to Devine. The Traitor force was equally impressive, featuring no fewer than four Titan Legions: the Legio Vulpa, Legio Interfector, Legio Vulcanum I, and the infamous Legio Mortis. As the Warmaster unleashed a massive coordinated assault, the planet's defenders were thrown into disarray when the Plasma Reactor of an Imperator-class Titan was destroyed. Thousands of Loyalists were immolated in a blinding flash as a miniature sun erupted from the Titan's core to leave a smoking crater half a Terran mile wide. In the wake of the catastrophic blast, the spearhead of Traitor Titans marched through the gap in the Imperial lines. At the height of the battle, House Devine revealed its true allegiance to the Warmaster, its treachery unveiled at a pivotal moment, heralding a slaughter from which only a handful of Loyalists escaped. Caught between the treacherous Knights of House Devine and Horus' rampant forces, the shattered remnants of Molech's defenders were slaughtered without mercy. They were totally defeated, so brutally that only one in a hundred of the troops of the Imperial Army survived the campaign. After his passage through the portal into the Realm of Chaos, Horus won the full blessing of the Ruinous Powers as their champion. His drive on Terra seemed unstoppable.
- Battle of Beta-Garmon, "The Titandeath" (006-013.M31) - The Legio Vulpa took part in the long and savage Beta-Garmon campaign, which included hundreds of war zones across dozens of worlds. Even before the greater armies of the Warmaster Horus reached the star cluster, the battle lines had long since been drawn, and fighting had been going on for many Terran years. It was a cauldron of battle that would consume millions of lives before its end and see the demise of entire Titan Legions, earning this campaign the dire moniker of the "Titandeath." The Legio Vulpa fought against the Loyalist forces in the Beta Garmon System as part of the preparation for the Traitors' final assault on Terra. The Legion fought primarily on Beta-Garmon III and Theta-Garmon V, and was supported by the Knights of House Devine, House Hyboras, House Ioeden and House Niagma. During this conflict, eight Princeps of the Legion were possessed by daemons and placed within Warlord-class Titans under the command of the Dark Mechanicum Magos Ardim Protos and the Word Bearers Dark Apostle Vorrjuk Kraal. These represented the first known Banelord Titans.
- Hammer of the Legion (317.012.M31) - With the Imperial armies and fleets spread out across the cluster, Horus unleashed the full measure of his Titan Legions against key targets. On Delta-Garmon II and Theta-Garmon V, sieges that had lasted for Terran years were brought to a sudden and brutal tipping point. Titans of the Legio Mortis led the way against the harvest domes of Delta-Garmon II, the airless wastes growing thick with the twisted wreckage of Loyalist tanks. On Theta-Garmon V, the Legio Fureans and Legio Vulpa maniples marched across the great Garmonite shipyards, their guns tearing open the fortress docks and leaving clouds of frozen corpses in their wake. Only the swift arrival of Legio Astorum and Legio Solaria maniples prevented both star systems falling completely into the Warmaster's hands, though both Loyalist Legions find themselves hard-pressed by the vast number of enemy Titan Legions arrayed against them.
- Second Battle of Nycron City (403.012.M31) - The war finally came to Beta-Garmon II in full force. Having bled the Loyalists in the outer systems, the Warmaster unleashed his maniples of Death's Heads, Tiger Eyes and Death Stalkers into the wastes surrounding Nycron City, while his fleet attacked the planet from above and hundreds of Traitor Imperialis Auxilia regiments stormed the hive cities themselves. In what would become known as the Second Battle of Nycron, the Titans broke through the hundred-kilometre defences of the PanCrypta Dust Clans, Solar Auxilia and Nemesis Brigades. Warp Runners maniples led the Loyalist Titans to make a stand in the shadows of Nycron's gate, but ultimately fell, opening the way for the Traitors to flood into the city. With the city under their control, the Traitors moved swiftly to conquer or destroy the rest of Beta-Garmon II.
- 13th Black Crusade (ca. 999.M41) - The Titans of the Legio Vulpa were among the forces of Chaos that participated in Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade.
- Plasma Gargoyles - Few aspects of a Titan cannot be weaponised, and the Death Stalkers often fitted their plasma vents with dispersion nozzles shaped in the visage of leering gargoyles to spray the discharged scalding plasma over as wide an area as possible.
- Disruption Emitters - The Death Stalkers quickly developed a taste for close-in combats during the Horus Heresy. Not the natural environment for many Titans, the Legion made modifications to their war machines, fixing disruption fields to armour plates and limbs to enhance the destructive potential of close encounters.
- Benediction of Blood (Warlord-class Titan)
- Iconoclast (Warlord-class Titan) - Close combat weapons are rare on Titans as large as the Warlord, such as the one utilised by the Iconoclast, with most Princeps adhering to the accepted wisdom of the Collegia Titanica that the role of the Titan is that of heavy fire support. The Death Stalkers are among those who do not adhere to this school of thought, favouring close combat and weapons such as the Titan-grade Arioch Power Fist, that gives the wielder the strength to tear the plasma generator heart from another Titan.
- Nuntio Dolores (Warlord-class Titan) - Titan of Princeps Majoris Terrent Harrtek of the 7th Maniple. By the end of the Battle of Beta-Garmon Nuntio Dolores ("The Herald of Sorrow") was possessed by a daemon of Khorne and became the first Banelord Titan.
- Omnia Sangui (Warlord-class Titan) - Destroyed by Legio Solaria Titans during a battle for Theta-Garmon V.
- Tenebris Vindictae (Warlord-class Titan) - Titan of Princeps Bennif Durant of the 7th Maniple.
- Ultimate Sanction (Warlord-class Titan) - Titan of 7th Maniple.
- Ars Bellus (Reaver-class Titan) - Titan of 7th Maniple.
- Dust of Ages (Reaver-class Titan) - Titan of Princeps Maklaren, 7th Maniple.
- Immitis Venor (Reaver-class Titan) - This Reaver-class Battle Titan was typical of those deployed to Beta-Garmon by the Death Stalkers. Armed with a rapid firing Gatling Blaster and Power Fist, it would fight alongside other Reavers, often as part of a Corsair maniple, conducting punishing hit-and-run attacks against more conventional Titan formations. It also illustrated that few Death Stalkers Titans or Titan maniples marched to war without at least one Titan close-quarters weapon.
- Ithonian Lorga (Warhound-class Titan) - Warhound Scout Titans, such as the Ithonian Lorga, were truly the hunting hounds of the Legio Vulpa at Beta-Garmon III. Working in squadrons they excelled at luring larger Titans into killing zones and the close confines of ruined cities or broken landscapes, closing off a chance of escape once their prey was in position. On Beta-Garmon III, amid the roiling toxic storms, Loyalist Titans simply disappeared, neatly carved away from their maniples by these wolf pack tactics.
- Kitsune (Warhound-class Titan) - Fought with the Sons of Horus Traitor Legion during the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Molech.
- Kumiho (Warhound-class Titan) - Fought with the Sons of Horus Traitor Legion during the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Molech.
- Death’s Monument - Destroyed by Legio Atarus Titans during a battle for Theta-Garmon V.
- Princeps Senioris Ulriche - Ulriche was the master of the Legio Vulpa during the time of the Great Crusade and the Schism of Mars.
- Princeps Majoris Terent Harrtek - Harrtek commanded the Warlord Titan Nuntio Dolores during the Battle of Beta-Garmon.
- Princeps Bennif Durant - Durant commanded the Warlord Titan Tenebris Vindictae during the Battle of Beta-Garmon.
- Princeps Maklaren - Princeps Maklaren commanded the Reaver Titan Dust of Ages during the Battle of Beta-Garmon.
- Princeps Averna - Averna refused to renounce her vows to the Emperor and was killed by her former friend Terent Harrtek.
- Duluz Casson — Carson was the personal servant to Princeps Majoris Terent Haartek and also a Chaos Cultist.
The god-engines of the Legio Vulpa march in rust red and purple with bone trim. As the Horus Heresy drew the Death Stalkers deeper into their blood madness, their Titans were often coated in the rust red remains of their exploits.
The creature known as a Vorpus Sabrefang that was native to the world of Yythe dominates the heraldry of the Legio Vulpa, its skeletal frame clad in armour.
The Libraxus Tacticae Vulpa, the battle bible of the Death Stalkers, often references this ancient extinct xenos creature as the epitome of the hunter's virtues -- cunning in its pursuit and savage when it strikes.
The elite of the Legion's princeps seniores even keep facsimile versions of the Sabrefang as pets, creations of bio-manipulation and cybernetic-crafting that prowl around their feet or coil around the base of their command thrones.
So pervasive is the iconography of the Sabrefang among the Death Stalkers that its skulls are incorporated into the signum mobilis or banner of its maniples and used as decorations on the edges of its heraldry and even armour plating.
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Rulebook (Specialty Game), pp. 14-17, 72-73
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Titandeath (Specialty Game), pp. 55-59, 95
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Doom of Molech (Specialty Game), pp. 7-11
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pg. 16
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 40
- Vengeful Spirit (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Ch. 13
- Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Ch. 3.01
- Titandeath (Novel) by Guy Haley, Chs. 7, 20, 21, 22
- Games Workshop Online Store - Adeptus Titanicus: Legio Vulpa Transfer Sheet.
- Warhammer Community - Titandeath: The Legions of the War for Beta-Garmon (18 Jan 2019)