|Battle Cry||Take from them everything. Leave only corpses.
Formerly: For the memory of Rhogon and the glory of Terra!
|Warband Leader||Sevastus Kranon (AKA Kranon the Relentless)|
|Base of Operations||Lost Hope (Space Hulk)
Formerly: Rhogon (rendered uninhabitable) and Drogsh
Formerly: Drop Pod assaults, utilizing spooky ghosts
|Allegiance||Chaos Undivided, leaning towards Khorne|
|Colours||Dark red with gold trim|
"Only the fury of battle can silence the dead!"
- – Avitus
The Crimson Slaughter are a warband of Chaos Space Marines that debuted with 6th edition. They were originally the equivalent of a filler villain that was just one of many warbands, seemingly made to pad out GW's Dark Vengeance set and give the Dark Angels a villain to destroy. They've since been expanded upon via a few novella, a summer campaign, and even a codex supplement. Somewhat unpopular with the fandom. Basically a World Eaters color scheme, somewhat predictable fluff, and trying to take the Red Corsairs place, who were trying to take the Black Legion's place, as the warbands on box art.
Originally a loyalist Chapter known as the Crimson Sabers (seriously), not much is known about their pre-Chaos history save for a few mentions dating from the Age of Apostasy. The most notable of these was an incident referred to as the Amalgamation Schism, when the fledgling Chapter's disregard for the seniority of the Dark Angels and the Blood Angels (as well as the unintentional interruption of an interrogation of
one of the Fallen SOME RANDOM TRAITOR THAT WAS IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH THE DARK ANGELS) during what was supposed to be a routine space hulk cleansing led it to the Chapter cutting all ties to its now-unknown founding Chapter and swear to become so Codex-adherent that even the Red Scorpions and the most stereotyped perception of the Ultramarines would think they were taking things too far. Over time, they built a reputation for being effective, but prone to bouts of paranoia and highly critical of even the most trivial faults of their allies, especially in regards to breaches of the Codex Astartes.
In 928.M41, they incurred the wrath (or maybe pleasure) of Khorne when they slaughtered a planet full of people on the Jungle World of Umidia to stop Khorne's worshippers there from summoning one of his Greater Daemons (although the most recent version of the story claims that they were duped into killing loyal citizens by a Lord of Change and its human servants and only realized that they had been tricked after they had killed everyone).
Anyway, Chaos 'gifted' the marines of the Crimson Sabres with the ability to constantly hear the voices of those they had killed and to see their faces whenever they closed their eyes. As you can imagine it didn't take long to drive all of them completely barmy from this and soon madness and paranoia gripped them all. They did discover a temporary reprieve; by killing others they could drown out the sounds of their victims and give themselves a time of quiet before the voices starting to come back. They're basically marines who spent too much time in the bush and can't hack it back in the real world.
Truly Khorne found the perfect way then to drive even the greatest of the Imperium's marines mad and make them join the ranks of Chaos. Only question is, why did he only use it on a single chapter? Surely it would make common sense to......oh there's my answer. Common sense and Chaos hardly skip through the grass together even on the best of days.
So the Chapter Master of the Crimson Sabres, Sevastus Kranon (who would later be called Kranon the Relentless after he fell) in desperation sent his Marines to purge the systems surrounding Umidia on the pretense that they had been corrupted too by proximity. It was during this time that the Inquisition and the High Lords of Terra suspected the Sabres were falling due to their mad slaughtering and declared them renegades. At this point Kranon's brother Sevarion attempted to protest, but was tricked into a Helbrute's shell and was promptly reduced to a bloodthirsty maniac himself. With a last shred of dignity remaining, Kranon took his men into the Eye of Terror for one last suicidal crusade to slaughter heretics instead of innocents, but this didn't work out as intended. The Sabres massacred their way through planet after planet butchering everything from cultists to Khornate berserkers and as time passed this began to affect them. The Chaplain's litanies changed, they began to grow extra appendages or claws, slowly they began to revel in the massacre, and none of them really began to notice before it was too late. Some didn't take to this realization well, begging for death, only to be chained below the decks of their ships to be driven insane by the unrelenting voices. In the end, the Crimson Sabres instead ended up becoming fully corrupted into the renegades the High Lords decreed them to be, in their current state.
Since their fall, the Slaughter has been trying to find a way to stop the voices and get revenge on the Lord of Change that engineered their fall to Chaos (never happening). Apart from that, they also hooked up with the 13th Black Crusade (at Abaddon's personal request, no less) and re-earned the ire of the Dark Angels, who they gave a good beating to on a couple of occasions. The Angels' Fifth company has sworn to hunt down and destroy the Crimson Slaughter and has fought several battles against them in the running, and the revelation that the Crimson Slaughter has discovered the secret of
the Fallen Angels AZRAEL'S SPECIAL BURGER SAUCE after Kranon captured one of them himself CRASHED A DARK ANGELS BBQ-PARTY has only redoubled their zeal to see them stopped at all costs.
They have also participated in the War of Beasts alongside the Red Corsairs and World Eaters.
GW has given them their own supplement codex, hardcover book and everything. Why they would focus so much on a minor warband over the other Traitor Legions is a mystery (Relax, my children, your time is coming). All models gain Fear, they can't take Veterans of the Long War (Khorne Berserkers and the like ignore this restriction), they have some actually pretty interesting relics, and they get really pissy about the Dark Angels due to an embarrassing space hulk cleansing back in M38. Most importantly, Possessed are now troops, and trade the Vessels of Chaos mutation table for their own Whispers of the Somethingorother table (gain Shrouded, become Beasts, or gain 3+ invuln and Rending; otherwise works exactly the same as normal Possessed).
GW couldn't seem to decide what they want with these guys. Originally they were corrupted by Khorne for being so savagely merciless to their foes. The Dark Vengeance novella (written by the same guy who wrote their Khorne corruption novella) has Kranon claim the Sabres were tricked into murdering innocents instead and having their guilt drive them into the eye -- meanwhile the ghosts of the Bathelu cult claim the Slaughter feel no real guilt and willingly kill everyone they see for the hell of it. The summer campaign, meanwhile, seemingly portrays them as devout and loyal followers of Chaos Undivided fighting to bring mankind to its natural true masters, with no mentions of the voices at all (probably because Chaos players presumably would rather play true Chaos believers rather than a bunch of guys who were just duped into it). So they're ping-ponging around from guys who Khorne corrupted to him, guys who went insane from a guilt trip (just as planned) and turned to Chaos from that, and true Chaos believers who honestly believe in Chaos' cause. Perhaps they're all three now, as their codex states some have grown to relish in the voices while others don't, and the Chaos Gods do occasionally decide to cooperate every now and then for reasons that mortal minds would no doubt be unable to understand.
The codex also states they've become one of the most feared warbands around now in spite of their relatively short history as Chaos Space Marines, rampaging through such huge swaths of the Imperium that the Imperium can't hide their existence anymore. Maybe someone at GW decided to add "the next big thing" (or "another big thing", rather) to the setting instead of re-tread established fluff. Or maybe they're meant to be an example of how anyone can take their own generic warband and, with enough effort, transform it into their own fully fleshed-out "hero of another story" snowflake (or fallen hero of another story, in this case).
To make a long story short, basically no one cared. None of the Chaos fans were in a mad rush to buy this new codex or start a big Crimson Slaughter army. It seems GW misread their fanbase (no big surprise there) because while the Slaughter have a big Your dudes factor, Your dudes is historically not as big a thing with Chaos players, who love their Legion traits and being Veterans of the Long War. As such, throughout 7th edition and the start of 8th the Slaughter started to fade into the background again. They have however been given a "Legion" trait in 8th edition so as not to leave their fans high and dry: upon killing an enemy unit, they become immune to Morale checks for that turn, and gain 1 CP if they roll a 5+ on a d6.
- Sevastus Kranon: The former Chapter Master of the Crimson Sabres and current Chaos Lord of the Crimson Slaughter. He originally lead the Crimson Sabres into the Eye of Terror to die a glorious death, but the Eye being the Eye, Kranon was corrupted and became Kranon the Relentless. Eventually got his head chopped off by the Dark Angels, until it was ret-conned to him just being prophesized to get his head chopped off by the Dark Angels instead. GW probably realized that the Crimson Slaughter would be a lot less codex worthy if its most important special character was still a headless corpse.
- Mortis Metalikus: Formerly Sevarion Kranon, Captain of the Crimson Sabres Second Company and biological brother of Sevastus Kranon. When he realized what was happening to the Crimson Sabres he refused to partake in further operations on Umidia, but was censured and imprisoned. Eventually driven insane by the voices, Sevarion was mutilated and imprisoned within a Helbrute on the orders of Sevastus. Left a maddened beast, he was unleashed during raids, even killing Master Zadakiel of the Dark Angels Fifth Company. Canonically dead now, after a Tactical Marine shoved a plasma cannon up his ass (almost literally).
- Dzargon Draznicht: The former First Captain of the Crimson Sabres and later the Chaos Champion in charge of the Ravagers, which included the Crimson Slaughter's Chosen and Terminators. As a result of Warp mutations, his latent psychic abilities emerged, granting him both prescience and a third eye.
- Okrark: the former Reclusiarch of the Crimson Sabres and later Chief Dark Apostle of the Crimson Slaughter. On the tabletop he gets the "Crozius of the Dark Covenant" and functions like a regular Dark Apostle.
- Xastus Mannon: the former Chief Librarian of the Crimson Sabres and later Sorcerer of the Crimson Slaughter. Shortly after the Umidia atrocity, he pursued and seemingly defeated Tzax'lan-tar, the Lord of Change responsible for orchestrating the incident. Unknown to anybody, the Greater Daemon had in fact possessed him and was not discovered until long after the Crimson Sabres had fallen to Chaos. After its deception was exposed, Kranon swore to slay the daemon and has led the Crimson Slaughter in hunting it ever since.
- Eli Dzarton: Captain of the Fourth Company of the Crimson Sabres. Unlike much of his chapter, he remained loyal to the Imperium and deserted with part of the Fourth Company after Kranon fully fell to Chaos. They currently reside on the ruins of Rhogon, the original homeworld of the Crimson Sabres that was rendered uninhabitable after a daemonic incursion which destroyed an archaeotech reactor (poisoning the atmosphere with radiation in the process).
- Vrosh Tattersoul: an Aspiring Champion released first as a single character sprue and later in the Dark Vengeance 7th ed. re-release. Nice model, interesting rulesheet, with background that could easily appeal to actual CSM players if it was written better - most of his fluff describes his plastic model, and is printed right next to a big-ass picture of said model. Essentially he welcomed the voices in his head, and he left Dark Angel corpses so mutilated the apothecaries couldn't even extract gene-seed.