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The Salamanders were the XVIII Legion of the Space Marine Legion created by the Emperor of Mankind. Their Primarch was Vulkan. The legion remained loyal during the Horus Heresy, but were severely mauled in the first great opening battle, limiting the role they could play in the remainder of the war. Their primarch is never recorded as perishing, and in fact is believed simply to be missing; the search for him and his presumed great purpose is a defining trait of the Salamanders. Other aspects of the legion of Vulkan are their great hardiness as warriors and their equally strong constitutions, willpower and devotion to humanity. In some ways, they can be considered the ideal of what it means to be a Space Marine.
|Marine||Basic Data||Chapter Symbol|
The Salamanders hail from the harsh and hot Nocturne, though are also based upon that world's moon, Prometheus. The moon occupies an erratic orbit, thus causing great seasons of severe tectonic activity and weather disruption on Nocturne. The worst of these is known as the Time of Trial, when, once every fifteen Terran years, the moon passes so close that thousands of volcanoes erupt, their ash so thick it blots out the sun. With the ground gripped by constant earthquakes at the same time as this ash winter, much of Nocturne becomes effectively uninhabitable. [1a]
Rewards for enduring the Time of Trial can be great; the tectonic upheavals bring materials and ores to the surface of great value, and the aftermaths of such altered geography usually reveal new pockets of natural resources to be explored, mined or siphoned. This translates to vast wealth by Imperial standards, meaning that Nocturne's supplies of livestock and the whatever items the forges of the Salamanders themselves cannot construct can be traded for with the Adeptus Mechanicus or other Imperial corporate bodies.[1a]
The Salamanders' fortress-monastery is located upon the giant moon, Prometheus, acting as the orbital dock for their space vessels. While it is permanently staffed, much of the Salamanders not on deployment can be found scattered over Nocturne, acting as the elders of the settlements from which they came; the Salamanders maintain close contact with their origins and see watching over their homeworld's citizens - and by extension, all people of the Imperium - as part of their duty.[1a]
Originally known as the XVIIIth Legion, the origins of what would become the Salamanders are largely shrouded in mystery. In order to protect the nascent Legiones Astartes from both hostile action and espionage, the origins and deployments of several early Legion gene-seeds are further classified beyond usual protocol. These Legion groups were formed and established largely in separation from the rest, and it is generally thought to a very specific end. The XVIIIth Legion, along with the VIth Legion and XXth Legion, comprised this group of proto-legions. That this 'trefoil' of three proto-Legions was somehow veiled from the rest during their creation and establishment was something known only to a few. Deliberate effort was made to distance these three legions from the others. There are none save the Emperor and a handful of his aids who know what the exact purpose behind this policy was.
The Legion's first recorded significant action was during the Assault on the Tempest Galleries during the Unification Wars. Achieving victory against impossible odds, though the Legion's active strength was reduced from 26,000 to around 1,000. Nonetheless they achieved a place of glory in the Imperial military establishment, and this helped the Legion rapidly rebuild with new waves of recruits and wargear. But the losses from the Tempest Galleries battle still lingered, and as a result the Legion was often deployed piecemeal, with many Legionaries of the XVIIIth spread throughout numerous warzones. In particular, they were used to deal with sudden threats that may appear to the rear, such as Space Hulks or Xenos pirates. Seldom did the XVIIIth fight on a battlefield of its own choosing, but they nonetheless received extensive battle honors. Meanwhile, it is believed that the Legion's Primarch Vulkan did not immediately reunite with his forces upon his rediscovery, instead serving alongside the Emperor for several years.[21a]
The Great Crusade
When Vulkan came to his Legion, it was in the hour of their need. The XVIII, led by their Lord Commander Cassian Vaughn had become embroiled in the defence of a cluster of worlds near the Taras Division against a horde of Orks. The XVIII was the only Space Marine Legion able to respond to the crisis. Fighting against vast and overwhelming odds, 19,000 Space Marines held out against millions of Ork raiders and their fleet of Roks. The actions of the Legion had allowed the evacuations of three entire planetary populations to the nominal safety of the Taras System, but at a terrible cost. Their Primarch, however, learning of their plight refused to stand by and instead joined the fray.[21a]
When Vulkan arrived he did not do so alone, he brought with him 3,000 new initiates and equipment from Nocturne. The reinforcements brutally fell upon the Orks, spurring the surviving Space Marines to counterattack. Caught between this hammer and anvil of savagery that over-matched their own, the Ork horde was broken and put to flight, and the survivors were relentlessly pursued and consumed by fire. In the aftermath, the two halves of the XVIII Legion met and were unified when Vulkan finally revealed himself to his sons. The survivors of the XVIIIth Legion knelt immediately, but Vulkan bid them rise, saying that all his sons were equals and he was no petty king needing shows of obedience. Instead, it was he who knelt in honour of the lives they had saved and the price they had paid. Then, seeking out the mortally wounded Lord Commander Vaughn, he conferred the formal transfer of the Legion's mastery by presenting the fallen warrior with the broken power klaw of the slain Ork Warlord.[21a]
The Salamanders were apparently reorganised by Vulkan upon his discovery and assumption of command, with that organisation said to still be in effect in their current form, with seven companies to a Chapter, each company being founded by the seven different great settlements of Nocturne and commanded by a Captain from that settlement. [1a] The number of Chapters in the Great Crusade era Legion is currently unknown, but they had at least 34 Companies. The Salamanders are often said to have "always been" the smallest legion [1a] but how this claim stacks against the paucity of both Emperor's Children and Thousand Sons during their respective histories is not yet known.
The Salamander's role during the Horus Heresy is not well known to Imperial Scholars; what is for certain is that the legion, along with the Iron Hands and Raven Guard, was part of the first wave of attackers during the battle of Isstvan V. After the announcement of Horus's treachery and the destruction of Isstvan III, the Emperor ordered seven Legions of Space Marines to attack the forces serving his former son and friend. But among those seven Legions, four were already traitors.[11a]
The initial landing force fell into a trap and, despite their martial skills, the three loyal Legions were forced to begin a tactical withdrawal toward their landing site, which had been fortified by the four traitor legions forming the second wave. At this moment the second wave opened fire on the retreating Marines, crushing them between the hammer of Horus's forces and the anvil of the fortified drop site. Despite a heroic defence, the three loyal Legions were practically destroyed; all but a handful of battle brothers fell on that fateful day.[11a]
After this sad defeat the Salamanders, as well as the other two betrayed Legions were unable to perform any tasks the Emperor had planned for them and spent much of the rest of the time of the Heresy rebuilding their forces.
Horus Heresy Aftermath
Whilst the Salamanders altered their squad-level organisation to follow the strictures of the new Codex Astartes, they were able to retain much else of their Legion organisation - some say because there were too few of them to split into successor Chapters: The Salamanders are officially reckoned to have no descendants, though several Imperial scholars have pointed out various similarities in unit markings and tactical dogma in the Storm Giants and Black Dragons Chapters. It is possible that these Chapters were created at some unknown, later date from stockpiled gene-seed, but whatever the claims, the Salamanders claim kinship with no other Chapter.[1a]
Oft-considered the smallest Legion, the casualties of the Horus Heresy, plus their own highly stringent recruitment and indoctrination processes made not only their rebuilding seemingly glacial, but resulted in them coming in under Codex-approved strength for a single Codex Chapter. In accordance with Vulkan' original reorganisation of the Legion, the Salamanders Chapter is formed of only 7 permanent companies; each one nominally staffed at a little over the Codex-approved 100 Astartes. Nevertheless, the sons of Vulkan were able to forge themselves anew, and their steel has ever since been drawn in the defence of the Imperium of Man.[1a]
In the absence of Vulkan, the Captain of the First Company is considered the Chapter Master. This position is seen as a regency, however, and is occupied in the belief that it will one day be relinquished to the true holder of the position.[1a]
- 533.M39 - The Fires of Phaistos. The entire Salamanders chapter mobilizes to defend the Cardinal World of Phaistos Osiris from Ork invasion. Together with an army of trained scholars, the Salamanders set an intricate and subtle series of traps and ambushes to destroy the Ork force, culminating in the Ork assault on the capital city Sanctis's Great Basilica, which was countered by flooding the city with promethium, which was subsequently set alight, destroying the majority of the Ork invasion.[6a]
- 754-756.M41 - The Purging of the Ymgarl Moons. As the Tyranids were first encountered, and began to invade the Imperium, the Genestealer species was tentatively linked to the Tyranids, and the Salamanders 2nd Company[4b] were given the duty by the High Lords of Terra themselves to purge the moons of Ymgarl of a suspected Genestealer infestation. After fighting a deadly campaign of attrition for 2 years, the Magos Biologis declared Ymgarl free of the Xenos taint,
- ???.M41 - Following the assassination of the planetary governor of the monsoon world Vaporis, and a subsequent secessionist rebellion, the Salamanders are deployed to assist the bogged down 135th Phalanx in retaking the planet's capital, Aphium. 
- ???.M41 - The Salamanders battle an uprising on the Mining World of Stratos. However the uprising is a distraction orchestrated by the Dragon Warriors led by the Sorcerer Nihilan in order to steal an artifact known as the decyphrex from the floating cities of the planet.
- 941.M41 - Second War for Armageddon. Led by Chapter Master Tu'Shan, whose tenure as Chapter Master had begun only 3 years previously, the Salamanders fought with distinction. Among other feats, they managed to defend the bridge over the River Stygies from a thousand-strong Speed Freeks Army and prevented the Orks from destroying a water purification plant, thus saving Hive Tempestora from a slow death by dehydration. Although the hive eventually fell, their efforts allowed it to be evacuated before the Orks could capture the hive. The Salamanders have been involved in many magnificent wars and conquests, but in recent times even these great achievements have been eclipsed by their stalwart fighting during the Second Armageddon War. While the Blood Angels set about destroying the Ork horde, and the Ultramarines bent their strength to the defence of the surviving hive cities, the Salamanders took upon themselves the essential but neglected task of protecting the supply convoys, fighting rearguard actions against the Ork advances and escorting refugee columns. So unstinting were they in these arduous duties, the Salamanders became renowned amongst the human defenders of Armageddon as sturdy and dependable allies; a reputation not shared by other, more unpredictable, Chapters.[Needs Citation]
- 943.M41 - The Tochran Crusade. The Salamanders are lured into a trap by Trazyn the Infinite, who seeks the Spear of Vulkan.
- 975.M41 - The Defense of Nocturne.
- 980.M41 - The Promethean War
- 995.M41 - The Bloodplague Crusade
- 998.M41 - The 5th Company carry out search-and-destroy missions against several worlds in the Heracles sub-sector suspected of being Necron Tomb Worlds.[2b]
- 999.M41 - Third War for Armageddon. When Ghazghkull launched his new offensive against the Imperial forces on Armageddon, the Salamanders were one of the first Chapters to respond, sending their full seven Companies to combat the Orks, including Chapter Master Tu'Shan personally leading his Firedrakes. In addition to the deployment of 70 Salamanders of the 6th Company, under the command of Sergeant V'reth, to Hive Helsreach in support of the Black Templars[13a], the Salamanders launched several counter-attacks against the rock-forts landed by the Orks along the Hemlock river. Preferring the close-quarter fighting within the maze of crudely carved tunnels within the Roks to the long-range duels in the desert, the Salamanders made the Orks pay a high price for their audacity. By the Season of Fire at least nine Roks were destroyed by the Salamanders' attacks, slaughtering untold thousands of filthy greenskins.
Many chapters fought in the name of the Emperor, or for personal glory. Of the fully twenty chapters, only the Salamanders fought for the people of Armageddon. According to rumors, Tu'Shan himself came to blows with Captain Vinyar of the Marines Malevolent, when the latter shelled a refugee camp the Orks had penetrated. Vinyar is said to have left the civilians to die because he "hadn´t time" to defend them, a notion which greatly angered the Chapter Master. After the Season of Fire, only two Companies were left to protect the major population centers, while the Chapter's Techmarines have been busy rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure. Tu'Shan also left a squad of Firedrakes with the Blood Angels as an honour guard for the fallen Captain Tycho.
As far as can be determined by the Magos Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Salamander's gene-seed appears to be both stable and as yet uncorrupted. An unusual trait of the Salamanders is that their Battle-Brothers tend to be slower in reflex reaction than other Chapters, though the origin of this factor is debated; it is unknown whether this defect is due to a problem with the gene-seed that manifested as a result of most Salamanders being raised on their high-gravity world, or the psychological result of the Chapter's doctrines and psycho-conditioning against hastiness and impetuosity. However, it has been noted that a Salamanders Space Marine can move just as quickly as any Astartes equipped with Power Armour, and are still significantly faster than those of a normal human.[1a]
Also, as a result of a reaction between their genetics and the high levels of radiation on Nocturne, Salamanders battle brothers have dark or jet black skin and bright, burning eyes. This frightening appearance is entirely superficial, but has intimidated more than one rebellion into submission without firing a shot.[2a]
Although the Salamanders follow the Codex Astartes, they nonetheless also follow the doctrines of their own Promethean Cult. The Promethean Cult places high emphasis on self-reliance, self-sacrifice and loyalty. Symbols of the forge - such as fire and hammers - are prominent throughout Promethean iconography. As such, Flamers, Melta Weapons and Thunder Hammers are widely used throughout the chapter. As one can imagine, this preference for Flamers and Meltas leads to a strong affinity among the Salamanders for close-range firefight when in combat, although they are just as capable at other aspects of Space Marine battle doctrine.[1a]
Because of their early training as blacksmiths, all Salamanders are fully capable of maintaining and performing moderate repair on their weapons and armour, leaving the Chapter's artificers with the free time necessary to create great works of technology and metallurgy. As a result, the Salamanders Chapter has an unusually high number of Master-Crafted Weapons, Artificer Armour and even Tactical Dreadnought Armour.[1a] The Chapter also favours the use of Land Raider Redeemers.[Needs Citation]
In an interesting example of juxtaposition, however, the fluctuating gravity of Nocturne makes training with certain units such as Land Speeders and Bikes difficult, therefore the chapter makes little use of them, in favour of Devastator squads and Terminator Squads. Trained never to give up or retreat, Salamanders are capable of going on when their entire squad is dead, holding positions for months on end. This is one of the more significant effects of Promethean doctrines upon the Chapter's collective psyche. Before each battle the Salamanders get a brand mark each by a Brander-Priest. This symbolizes their respect for the chapter. Only veterans ever get brand marks in their faces.[1a]
The current Chapter disposition of the Salamanders is as follows:
|First Company "Firedrakes"|
Regent of Prometheus
|2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company|
the Winter Blade,
Defender of Nocturne
Lord of the Burning Skies
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|5th Company||6th Company||7th Company|
The Salamanders are noted to stipulate a long and arduous recruitment process for initiates. They start young, at around ages six or seven; for these first years the apprentice is merely that; an worker in the forge of a Space Marine, who will watch over and judge the prospects of the initiates. After some years, the apprentices are judged by the Chapter's Apothecaries and Chaplains in a series of examinations. Those successful will be taken for first-stage implantation. At set intervals throughout their training, the initiates must replicate feats performed by Vulkan in his youth, including those he performed in contest with the Emperor; this will culminate in them being required to hunt and slay a salamander
Noted Elements of the Salamanders
Relics and Artefacts
- Pyre of Glory - Battle Barge
- Vulkan's Wrath - Strike Cruiser
- Serpentine - Strike Cruiser[13a]
- Protean - Strike Cruiser - (Destroyed, circa 900.M41)
- Flamewrought - Battle Barge[8e]
- Hammerforge - Strike Cruiser[8e]
- Fire-wyvern - Thunderhawk
- Spear of Prometheus - Thunderhawk
- Implacable - Thunderhawk
- Inferno - Thunderhawk[4d]
- Hellstorm - Thunderhawk[4d]
- Fire Anvil - Land Raider Redeemer 
- Nocturne's Hammer - Rhino - The oldest Rhino still in existence. 
- Vulcanus - Vindicator[20a]
- Fire Drake - Land Raider Crusader[20b]
- Promethean - Land Raider Redeemer[8e]
Notable Members of the Salamanders
- Vulkan - Primarch of the Salamanders.
- Cassian Vaughn - Original Legion Commander.
- Nomus Rhy'tan - Lord Chaplain
- Cassian Dracos - Dreadnought
- Artellus Numeon - First Captain and Commander of the Pyre Guard 
- Leodrakk - Warrior of the Pyre Guard 
- Skatar’var - Warrior of the Pyre Guard 
- Varrun - Warrior of the Pyre Guard 
- Ganne - Warrior of the Pyre Guard 
- Igataron - Warrior of the Pyre Guard 
- Atanarius - Warrior of the Pyre Guard 
- Nemetor - Captain of the 15th Company reconnaissance 
- K'Gosi - Captain, Pyroclast of the 21st Company 
- Shen'ra - Techmarine 
- Tu`Shan - Chapter Master[1a]
- Vel'cona - Chief Librarian.[2c]
- Vulkan He'stan - Forgefather[2d]
- Argos - Master of the Forge
- Bray'arth Ashmantle - Venerable Dreadnaught, the Iron Dragon[6g]
- Xavier - Chaplain (dec.)
- Elysius - Chaplain
- Pellas Mir'san - Captain of the Second Company, the Winter Blade, Defender of Nocturne[6f]
- Pyriel - Librarian.
- Dak'ir - Librarian
- Tsu'Gan - Veteran Sergeant.
- Fugis - Apothecary.
Trivia and Notes
A detailed explanation of the term "Trivia" and "Varia" as used in the Lexicanum can be found here.
- The Salamanders were at one stage conceptualised as being black of skin tone; this was commonly interpreted (by the 'Eavy Metal painters as well as the fandom) to mean a natural black skin tone. In Fifth edition however, it was made clear that this meant actual black skin; as in jet black, coal black etc. Additionally, the Salamanders were also given 'burning' red eyes that actually glow.
|Loyalist||I - Dark Angels · V - White Scars
VI- Space Wolves · VII- Imperial Fists
IX- Blood Angels · X- Iron Hands
XIII- Ultramarines · XVIII- Salamanders
XIX- Raven Guard
|Traitor||III- Emperor's Children · IV- Iron Warriors|
VIII- Night Lords · XII- World Eaters
XIV- Death Guard · XV- Thousand Sons
XVI- Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus · XVII- Word Bearers
XX- Alpha Legion
- 1: Index Astartes IV
- 1a: Promethean Warriors
- 2: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- 3: Fires of War (Short Story) by Nick Kyme
- 4: Salamander (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- 5: Firedrake (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- 6: Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two
- 7: White Dwarf #300 US, p. 122
- 8: Nocturne (Novel) by Nick Kyme:
- 9: White Dwarf 248 (UK) pages 30 - 36
- 10: Scars: Episode V (Serialised Novel) by Chris Wraight, [Needs Citation]
- 11: Collected Visions
- 11a: pp. 279, 316
- 12: Deathwatch: First Founding pg.20
- 13: Helsreach (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- 13a: Chapter Sixteen
- 14: Emperor's Deliverance (Short Story), Tome of Fire (Anthology) by Nick Kyme
- 15: Hell Night (Short Story), Tome of Fire (Anthology) by Nick Kyme
- 16: Vulkan's Shield (Short Story), Tome of Fire (Anthology) by Nick Kyme
- 17: Fires of War (Short Story), Tome of Fire (Anthology) by Nick Kyme
- 18: Prometheus Requiem (Short Story), Tome of Fire (Anthology) by Nick Kyme
- 19: White Dwarf #269 pg. 12, pg. 13
- 20: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition by Warwick Kinrade
- 21: The Horus Heresy Book Two - Massacre
- 22: Vulkan Lives (Novel), by Nick Kyme
- 23: Promethean Sun (Novella), by Nick Kyme
- 24: Forgeworld.com PDF: Harath Shen (site last accessed 18/1/2014)