A Wolf Lord is a senior officer of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter who is the equivalent of a standard Space Marine Captain and commands one of the 12 Great Companies that comprise this non-Codex Astartes-compliant Chapter. These Veteran Space Wolves epitomise what it means to be one of the Sons of Russ. They are the bravest and mightiest warriors within the Chapter, as their valour and deeds have placed them above all others. The chosen wolf totem of the Wolf Lord adorns his Great Company's banner and is painted on the shoulder plate of every Space Wolves warrior in the Great Company that he commands.
A Wolf Lord may be accompanied by the huge Fenrisian Wolves and is always protected by a contingent of the Wolf Guard specifically loyal to him. The Chapter's Great Companies are led by the 12 current Wolf Lords, a number that includes the current Great Wolf, Logan Grimnar. The attrition rate for Wolf Lords is fairly significant because of the Chapter's preference for close combat. However, some Wolf Lords have managed to see their thousandth year pass in service to the Emperor. Ragnar Blackmane is one of the Chapter's current Wolf Lords and is in fact the youngest Astartes to have ascended to that exalted rank in the Chapter's history.
The organisation of the Space Wolves owes much to the personality of their Primarch and the warrior-customs of the feral Fenrisian tribes from which its Astartes are drawn than to the formal dictates of the Codex Astartes. As a result, the Space Wolves Chapter is divided into 12 "Great Companies," each comparable to a tribe ruled over by a warrior-king and advised by a council of elders. These Great Companies are led by an officer known as a Wolf Lord, a warrior whose only master is the Great Wolf himself. Each Great Company has its own headquarters and territory within the Space Wolves' massive fortress-monastery known as The Aett (commonly referred to as The Fang by outsiders) and has its own spacecraft, Armoury, forges and other facilities. In almost all respects, a Great Company is a separate, self-sufficient brotherhood of warriors. The Great Companies each have their own ancient customs, renowned heroes and warrior traditions that they honour to this day.
Each Great Company is usually named after its ruling Wolf Lord. When a Wolf Lord is slain, his body is burned at sea or sent into the heart of a nearby star in a great funeral rite, and the next day a successor is elected by the old Lord's retinue of Wolf Guard, and the Great Company takes on his name instead. This is an honour beyond measure, and each Wolf Lord strives harder than ever to live up to the heroic example set by his predecessors. Though the newly elected Wolf Lord has walked the path of the warrior, he now commands the authority of a king. Thus the Great Companies are not fixed in the manner of other Space Marine Chapters, but change throughout the ages as one leader succeeds another. When elevated to the ranks of the Wolf Lords, each new commander chooses a symbol or badge from the ancient legends of Fenris as his emblem. This icon appears on the Great Company's banner and is commonly repeated on the armour of the warriors of his Great Company. It is not unheard of for a Wolf Lord to change his name to echo the symbol he has taken for his own. Though there have been thousands of Wolf Lords over the Space Wolves' long, glorious history, many have chosen to repeat badges of legendary figures used by famous precursors.
A Great Company thrives or dwindles as a direct consequence of its lord's decisions, and the Wolf Lord holds his brothers' fate in his capable hands. Despite the duties of command, a Wolf Lord never truly loses his primal urge to plunge into the fray without pause, setting an example for his men to emulate -- with blade, Frost Axe or, if it is an internal matter, his fists. It is not unheard of for a Wolf Lord to undertake a solo mission when the Chapter requires finesse and skill over the unstoppable force of a full invasion. Though he plans his military actions with the utmost attention to detail and with meticulous cunning, he is most commonly found in the thick of the fighting, surrounded by the raging maelstrom of full-scale battle. Charging forward with weapon in hand, the Wolf Lord howls in exultation, inspiring his warriors to ever-greater displays of heroism.
The Grand Annulus
When a new Wolf Lord chooses his badge from the ancient legends of Fenris, it is added to the Grand Annulus -- the massive round, stone table where the 12 Wolf Lords gather at the centre of the Hall of the Great Wolf at the top of The Aett. It is a representation of the current organisation of the Space Wolves Chapter. Each outer segment is a separately carved stone slab which is as wide as a battle tank, taking a dozen of the strongest Space Wolves to lift just one. These carved stone slabs are inscribed with the sigil and runes of the Wolf Lord it represents.
During great feasts in the hall, it is customary for the Wolf Lords and their Wolf Guard to be seated within the area of the hall thus indicated by their "name-stone." The central device, bearing the sign of the Wolf That Stalks Between the Stars, indicates the position of the current Great Wolf, rotated to show which of the Wolf Lords currently holds that honoured rank.
As Wolf Lords die, their name-stones are removed from the Hall of the Great Wolf and taken to the Grove of Heroes, where they circle the oldest name-stone of all, that of Leman Russ himself. Here they lie for eternity in huge concentric rings, a reminder of the heroic leaders of the Space Wolves across the ages. Amongst these name-stones, there is a foreboding blank obsidian name-stone sent into the Grand Annulus that represents the lost 13th Great Company, known as the Wulfenkind.
This name-stone has come to represent all of the Great Companies in the history of the Space Wolves who have been destroyed in battle, lost on campaign or recanted their oaths of fealty, and hence is the subject of many veiled comments and superstitions. Only a handful of outsiders have ever seen the stone or heard of its existence, and to suggest that a Great Company "walks the 13th Stone" is a grave accusation indeed.
- Artificer Power Armour or Terminator Armour
- Various Close Combat Weapons, including a Frost Blade or Frost Axe, Power Sword, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Wolf Claw, Power Fist, or Chainfist
- Storm Bolter or various Combi-weapons
- Bolt Pistol or Bolter or Plasma Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Fenrisian Wolves - Although not wargear in the strictest sense, Wolf Lords are sometimes accompanied on the battlefield by a pack of semi-sentient Fenrisian Wolves. The fierce animals will fight ferociously at their human pack-brother's side, and attempt to protect him or drag him to safety should he fall.
Notable Wolf Lords
Current Wolf Lords
- Logan Grimnar - Logan Grimnar has been the Great Wolf (Chapter Master) of the Space Wolves for the better part of the 41st Millennium and he is over 800 standard years old, displaying the typical longevity of the Scions of Russ. His Great Company is known as the Champions of Fenris. The Great Company of Logan Grimnar is fanatically loyal to their charismatic and cunning leader. Each warrior is extremely proud of his link to the supreme lord of the Chapter, and constantly vies with his peers for the Old Wolf's favour. Logan Grimnar firmly believes that a battle can be carried by a few heroes in the right place at the right time, and as such makes effective use of the many Wolf Guards in his Great Company.
- Ragnar Blackmane - Ragnar Blackmane is the youngest Wolf Lord in the Space Wolves' history and the protagonist of the Space Wolf novel series. Blackmane's Great Company, the Blackmanes, frequently has the honour of leading the Space Wolves' planetary assaults, a role at which Ragnar and his warriors excel, for his packs are the undisputed masters of the Drop Pod assaults known as the Claws of Russ. He is the only Space Wolf to become a Wolf Lord without first becoming a Grey Hunter. Blackmane is the current Champion of the Chapter and bearer of the Wolf Helm of Russ, which he presented to Ulrik the Slayer as a sign of respect. Blackmane prevented the return of the Thousand Sons Legion to the world of Garm, a planet sacred to the Space Wolves because it was the home of the Shrine of Garm's Skull, by casting the Spear of Russ into a Warp Gate, an action which for a time earned him the bitter enmity of his fellow Battle-Brothers before his actions earned redemption.
- Harald Deathwolf - Current Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Deathwolves. He has taken the symbol of the Ravening Jaw, which symbolises the Wolftime -- the end of all things -- when Morkai will eat the sun and eternal night will shroud the stars. Harald himself rides to battle upon the great grey wolf, Icetooth. It is said that Harld's senses are so sharp he can smell the fear of his prey from several leagues distance. His Great Company goes to war accompanied by a host of lupine beasts, be they flesh and blood, cybernetic construct or even the spirits of loyal companions.
- Krom Dragongaze - Current Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Drakeslayers. Krom's sigil is that of the Sun Wolf, who makes the belly of the sun his lair, and attacks Fenris anew with every dawn. Known as the "Fierce-eye," his presence and sheer force of will can be petrifying to a lesser man. He maintains an unusually large Wolf Guard in his company, for the Fierce-eye believes that valour should be rewarded wherever it is to be found.
- Kjarl Grimblood - Current Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Grimbloods. Kjarl Grimblood is a fierce rival of Sven Bloodhowl. He and his Great Company bear the sigil of the Fire Wolf. In Fenrisian myth the Fire Wolf burns without being consumed, and it is his voice of flame that melts the snows and thaws the glaciers before each season. They say that Kjarl's foresight is so supernaturally acute that it is whispered that he possessed the Gift, able to see the future in the flames. His Great Company favours a great many flame weapons, boasting no fewer than twelve Land Raider Redeemers. His Grey Hunters have a special rite of passage -- once they have killed his prey with flame, they have earned the right to paint their face with blood before each battle, the crimson flames upon their countenance marking them as a Red Hunter for all to see.
- Engir Krakendoom - Current Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Seawolves. Born of hardy stock, his people are dark of skin and temperament. Engir comes from a proud line of warlords who rule over the southernmost isles of Fenris. Accomplished explorers and oarsmen, they ply the infested oceans of Fenris in search of sea monsters. It is said Engir was given the name Krakendoom after he was borne under the waves by a giant, many-limbed sea devil. When they eventually surfaced, Engir alone roared in triumph. He has taken the sigil of the Sea Wolf. His Great Company prefers to go to war in armoured transports, and boasts many Swiftclaws that act as outriders for the main force. His Great Company excels in ship-to-ship conflicts and boarding actions.
- Erik Morkai - Current Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Sons of Morkai. Named after the Deathwolf Morkai long before he took the sign of the two-headed beast, Erik has always been grim and stern of aspect. His Great Company boasts many Wolf Scouts. Fellow Veterans appreciate their master's taciturn demeanour and no-nonsense approach. He has a tendency to solve problems with swift and bloody acts of violence. His more stable twin, Irnist the Wise, left Erik's side to serve as a Rune Priest to the Great Wolf; an act for which Erik has never truly forgiven him.
- Bran Redmaw - Known as the Curs'd Lord, Wulfen-Kin and The Bloodied Hunter, Bran Redmaw serves as the current Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Bloodmaws. He and his Great Company are looked upon with suspicion by the other 11 Wolf Lords, for they are regarded as tainted. More Space Wolves bearing the Curse of the Wulfen serve alongside Redmaw's company than in any other. The unspoken truth is that Redmaw has risen to become a Wolf Lord despite himself being afflicted with the curse. Yet these warriors are also cunning -- Bran's numerous Grey Hunters will often lie in wait to the foe's rear after the fury of his frontal attack forces their retreat.
- Gunnar Red Moon - Current Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Red Moons. The Wolf of the Red Moon is a terrible god of vengeance in Fenrisian society; a great skeletal beast that prowls the Seven Hells, eternally devouring the bodies of the unworthy and yet never growing fat. A broad, roaring, laughing bear of a man, Gunnar favours his Long Fangs more than most, for the reasons that Veterans make the best companions in the feast hall as well as upon the battlefield.
- Bjorn Stormwolf - Current Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Stormwolves. Bjorn's Great Company is notable for their noisy, intimidating splendour on the battlefield. He has taken the Thunderwolf as his symbol, for he too is a creature of might and ferocity over stealth. This Wolf Lord's spectacular assaults reflect his impatient and aggressive nature, and invariably include lots of heavy weapons, Bike Squads and Vindicators. The Great Wolf employs Bjorn's company for frontal assaults rather than stealth missions.
- Vorek Gnarlfist - Egil Iron Wolf made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life on Fenris so that the Daemon Primarch Magnus could be sent back to the Warp. His successor, Orven Highfell, was also slain in the skies above fallen Cadia, yet the tenacity of the Ironwolves Great Company remains unbroekn. Vorek Gnarlfist has taken the title of Wolf Lord in recent times, keeping the sigil of the Iron Wolf to honour his predecessors' acts of valour. The Great Company known as the Ironwolves is replete with metallic beasts of war, and their armoured assaults are famous throughout the Imperium, typified by great roaming packs of vehicles that cut off the prey's escape routes whilst heavily armed tanks deliver the final blow.
- Sven Bloodhowl - Former Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Firehowlers. Sven embraced the sign of the Fire Breather, a volcano that lies a hundred leagues north of The Fang. Bloodhowl went to war amidst a great horde of close combat specialists, breathing flames into the ranks of their foe. The warriors of Bloodhowl's Great Company tattooed themselves with runes, interlacing designs and scenes from their own sagas. Sven's own saga was so extensive that every inch of his body was tattooed. He had taken to using the skins of his victims as a canvas with which to chronicle his latest deeds. Bloodhowl was believed slain during the 13th Black Crusade in orbit of Cadia, when he boarded the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity. Though he and his Space Wolves succeeded in disabling the massive star fort's shields, allowing the nearby Imperial Fists flagship Phalanx to fire upon and cripple it, the assault killed Bloodhowl and all of his Astartes. While some believe his saga to be at an end, his Wolf Guard continue to rule in his name until his fate is finally determined.
- The 13th Company - The blank obsidian name-slate set into the Grand Annulus was once that of Jorin Bloodhowl's Great Company, known as the Wulfenkind, they who hounded the Thousand Sons into the Warp during the Horus Heresy. Though the Wulfen have now returned to Fenris, this stone continues to represent all of the Great Companies across history that have been destroyed or lost in battle.
Past Wolf Lords
- Egil Iron Wolf - Former Wolf Lord of one of the Chapter's Great Companies, the Iron Wolves. Egil had taken the totem of the Iron Wolf. In Fenrisian mythology, the Iron Wolf lies dormant beneath the continent of Asaheim, a beast so vast that the mountains are the fur on his back and the seams of metal within them are his veins. Egil's company was famous across the Fenris System for its armoured assaults, with the Iron Wolf himself riding at the head of each assault in a personalised Land Raider. Iron Wolf was slain by the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red's sorcery during the Siege of the Fenris System in 999.M41.
- Orven Highfell - Orven Highfell replaced Egil Iron Wolf as the Wolf Lord of his Great Company, the Ironwolves, after he was slain by the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red's sorcery during the Siege of the Fenris System in 999.M41. Highfell retained the Great Company's name, "the Ironwolves," and its former iconography.
- Gnyrll Bluetooth - In 999.M41, Bluetooth was the commander of the Strike Cruiser Wolf of Fenris. Lured into a trap, the Renegade Space Marines warband known as the Red Corsairs ambushed the Space Wolves' warship and boarded it. Wolf Lord Gnyrll Bluetooth fought the infamous Chaos Lord Huron Blackheart in hand-to-hand combat on the bridge of the Strike Cruiser. Unfortunately, Gnyrll was no match for the Chaos Lord and was torn apart by Huron's Power Claws. The Wolf of Fenris became one of Huron Blackheart's greatest prizes.
- Berek Thunderfist - Berek Thunderfist was the Wolf Lord of the Great Company to which Ragnar Blackmane, his eventual successor as Wolf Lord, was originally assigned and served as a teacher and an inspiration for the young Blood Claw at the time. Berek was a legendary warrior within the Chapter, named after his bionic hand and his preferred use of a Power Fist in battle. He was one of the very few warriors in the Imperium to face Khârn the Betrayer in single combat and survive to speak of the experience, though he lost his arm to the crazed World Eaters Berserker.
- Sigrid Trollbane - The principal rival of the popular Berek Thunderfist, Sigrid was a more devious political animal and tactician and did little to hide his desire to attain the rank of Great Wolf.
- Svane Vulfbad - Svane Vulfbad is a Renegade Wolf Lord and leader of the Heretic Astartes warband known as the Blood Wolves. He became so disillusioned with the grinding workings and soul-killing bureaucracy of the Imperium that he turned to the worship of the Blood God Khorne.
- Hrothgar Ironblade - Wolf Lord Ironblade captured the Mars-class Battlecruiser The Resolute, a warship that had formerly served in the Battlefleet Obscuras but had joined the Arch-Heretic Vortigern during the Alphalus Insurrection of the late 39th Millennium. With his great ship lost, Lord Ironblade took control of the Resolute during the Battle of Sestus Proxima and returned it to the service of the Imperium under the new name Fist of Russ. Despite the objections of the Imperial Navy, the Space Wolves retained the vessel and it continued to serve the Great Company up through the command of Berek Thunderfist. Hrothgar was eventually killed by a Chaos Lord named Moefranc of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion.
- Sven Ironhand - In 815.M41, Wolf Lord Ironhand led his Great Company into exile in the Eastern Fringe, forswearing his oaths. The Great Wolf Logan Grimnar declared Ironhand Renegade and ordered a new Great Company formed to replace the Ironhand Great Company. Sven Ironhand is only one of many Wolf Lords who have led their Companies away from The Fang and become "Lost" but he is noted as the most recent to have done so.
- Kyrl Grimblood - A mighty Wolf Lord of the Chapter whose deeds in the 36th Millennium during the infamous Plague of Unbelief saved the Chapter's homeworld of Fenris in its time of ultimate peril.
- Hef Icenheart - Wolf Lord during the Age of Apostasy in the 36th Millennium.
- Borek Salvrgrim – Wolf Lord of the 2nd Great Company during the 32nd Millennium.
- Morskarl – Wolf Lord of the 3rd Great Company during the 32nd Millennium.
- Egial Vraksson – Wolf Lord of the 5th Great Company during the 32nd Millennium.
- Rekki Oirreisson – Wolf Lord of the 7th Great Company during the 32nd Millennium, a hirsute monster with a heavy jawline and bunched shoulders.
- Vaer "White Wolf" Greyloc - Vaer Greyloc was the Wolf Lord of the 12th Great Company during the 32nd Millennium. Nicknamed the "White Wolf" for his especially pale skin, Greyloc led the defence of The Aett during the First Battle of The Fang.
- Osric Three-Fists - Osric was as famed for the ugliness of his mien as he was for his victories in battle. He had the honour to lead a Great Hunt, which was ambushed by a massive Chaos warfleet as the hunt neared its end. Osric's ship, Voidfang, was crippled by the Chaos flagship Storm of Hate. Despite the severe disadvantage, Osric led his warriors out the Voidfang's airlocks and assaulted the Chaos flagship. Though barely thirty warriors made it to the hull of the Chaotic ship, the Space Wolves succeeded in hammering their way inside, slaughtering a path to the bridge and turning the Chaos vessel's guns against the rest of the Chaos fleet. This act of insane bravado secured victory from certain defeat and is the epitome of the tenacity and determination displayed by the Space Wolves in the face of extreme odds.
- Gunnar "Lord Gunn" Gunnhilt, Shieldbearer of Russ - Wolf Lord of the 1st Company during the Great Crusade. As the Shieldbearer of Russ, he was the second-in-command of the entire VI Legion. He met his fate fighting the Alpha Legion in the Battle of the Alaxxes Nebula in 007.M31.
- Ogvai Helmschrot - Wolf Lord of the 3rd Company during the Great Crusade.
- Amlodhi Skarssen Skarssensson - Wolf Lord of the 5th Company during the Great Crusade. Fought alongside the Thousand Sons Legion on Heliosa during the Ark Reach Campaign. Later, participated in the Burning of Prospero.
- Bulveye, Axeman of Russ - Bulveye is the Wolf Lord of the lost 13th Company. Bulveye is 10,000 standard years old and fought at the side of Leman Russ during the Great Crusade. Reemerging from the Eye of Terror in the late 41st Millennium, Bulveye and a warband of the 13th Company aided a young Ragnar Blackmane, who was serving as a member of the Wolfblade, in the recovery of the Spear of Russ from the Thousand Sons Chaos Sorcerer Madox, staging a distraction to allow Ragnar and his companions to reach the stronghold of the Thousand Sons while most of the Traitor forces were engaged with the 13th Company. Bulveye spoke of Russ, as only one who knew him in life could, and together with his warriors spoke of ten thousand years of struggle within the Eye of Terror, fighting the Forces of Chaos and the daemonic beasts within as they searched for Magnus the Red.
- Garm - Garm was one of the first and greatest of the Wolf Lords who rose to fight alongside Leman Russ during the Great Crusade. Garm fell in battle on the world that carries his name to defend the Space Wolves' Primarch. He was honoured with a shrine-tomb on that world called the Shrine of Garm's Skull. The Spear of Russ was entrusted to the Shrine of Garm's Skull and worked into the ornate sarcophagus of Garm himself. It is said that the shrine still carries a measure of the Primarch's power and many of the Space Wolves who make the pilgrimage to the shrine leave changed in mind, heart and soul. The shrine has a permanent garrison of Space Wolves to protect it from looters and invaders. It is a great honour within the Chapter to be selected to serve for a time as an honour guard for the shrine
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Wolves (8th Edition), pp. 14-15, 30, 85-88
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 30
- Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition), pg. 51
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 14-17, 30, 39, 66-67, 82, 84
- Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition), pg. 5
- Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pp. 11, 12, 34, 47, 56
- Gathering Storm - Part I - Fall of Cadia (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Dramatis Personae - Defenders of Cadia," Ch. 1 - "The Might of the Despoiler", Ch. 2 - "The Emperor's Light"
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara
- Index Astartes II, "Wolves of Fenris - The Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 387 (US), "In The Company of Wolves - Saga of Harald Deathwolf" by Phil Kelly, pp. 56-59
- White Dwarf 259 (AUS), "Index Astartes – The Space Wolves"
- White Dwarf 258 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: Wolves of Fenris"
- White Dwarf 247 (AUS), "Codicium Imperialis – The Space Wolves"
- White Dwarf 244 (US), "Codex Space Wolves", "Sons of Russ - Codex Space Wolves," "Super-Interchangeable Space Wolves," and "The Battle of the Fang", pp. 7-19
- Space Wolves Omnibus (Novel) by William King
- Jackalwolf (Shorty Story) by C.Z. Dunn
- Deathwolf (Audio Book) by Andy Smillie
- War Zone Fenris: Wrath of Magnus (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), Chapter 4, "Magnus Ascendant"