|Marine||Basic Data||Chapter Symbol|
The Silver Skulls claim and are believed to be descendants of the Ultramarines Chapter, however, with the passage of time this remains unconfirmed, although they behave as a Codex Chapter and fight alongside the Primogenitor Chapters as if they were their own kin. During the Thirteenth Black Crusade, their beliefs were confirmed to be true when the Primarch Guilliman returned to the Imperium and the Chapter was recognized as one of the Scions of Guilliman.
Hailing from their homeworld of Varsavia in the Ultima Segmentum, they are surrounded by numerous Xenos species, recently fighting costly yet significant battles against the Dark Eldar and Necrons. The Silver Skulls also tattoo the skin of their entire bodies in honour markings, with the face being the last area to be marked; the right to do so earned in battle.
There are two ways in which the Chapter cult deviates from the Codex Astartes, the first a custom inherited from their recruiting worlds: the practice of head taking. Especially powerful enemies are beheaded during battle, serving as trophies until victory is achieved. As part of its post-battle rituals, the Chapter selects the heads of the most powerful enemies, flense flesh from bone and layer the skulls in a coat of silver to be displayed within the Fortress-Monastery.
The second Codex deviation is their specific use of Prognosticators, the Silver Skulls Librarians and partial spiritual advisor alongside their Chaplains. These warriors are the seers of the Chapter, reading the Emperor's Tarot or Rune-stones for divination of the future, granting the squads and companies they are attached to an edge for the coming battle. The Chapter takes the readings seriously, as such that on some occasions, the Prognosticators have counselled against the Chapter becoming embroiled in a particular war, however this can prove problematic as the honour of the chapter at times demands that they take part in a battle they know will end in defeat. Despite this somewhat fickle nature, the Chapter is known to fight with honour the length and breadth of the Imperium.
- In M35 the Silver Skulls along with the Howling Griffons aided the Salamanders in an invasion of Commorragh. However this invasion ultimately assisted Asdrubael Vect as he orchestrated it in order to topple Commorragh's noble houses and leave the city open for his rise to power.
- Suppressing the Cult of the Red Heresy during the Plague of Unbelief with the aid of the mysterious Cypher
- 679.M36: The Silver Skulls' 7th Company were deployed in support of the Beta-Garmon IV Expeditionary Force, aiding the Rogue Trader Khorlu to re-discover and conquer the fabled Beta-Garmon System in the Veil of Kanth region. For their sacrifice and aid in helping him secure the System, Khorlu later ceded them the planet Beta-Garmon IV, considered the jewel of this System.
- 165.M37: The Antecanis Massacre: During the 9th Black Crusade, Abaddon, the Black Legion and their allies attack and decimate the Hive World of Antecanis with the aim of denying the Imperial Naval Shipyards at Cancephalus with their source of manpower. As Chaos rampages across the planet, the Silver Skulls are the first to arrive and harry the Chaos fleet in hit and run attacks, denying orbital support to Chaos ground forces. Finally, with Imperial reinforcements inbound, Abaddon loads the Black Legion ships with slaves and plunder and breaks the Silver Skulls blockade of the system, leaving his allies behind to distract the Imperium. [2b]
- 770-791.M38: The Great Malagantine Purge. The Silver Skulls are one of five Space Marine Chapters in a group referred to as the Manus Irae. This group is ordered by the High Lords to "Spare none and set a bloody, fearful example to the realm of Mankind" by cleansing the Malagantine Sector. The reasons remain to this day unknown to anyone, not even the Inquisition, with the knowledge hidden in the vaults of Terra.[12a]
- 698.M41: The Corinth Crusade. The Silver Skulls were part of combined Space Marine force led by Marneus Calgar, consisting of the Angels of Absolution, Lamenters, Marines Errant, Scythes of the Emperor, the Ultramarines and over fifty Imperial Guard Regiments. During a seven year crusade the force inflicted a series of major defeats on Waaagh! Skargor in the Corinth system within the Ork empire of Charadon. By the time the crusade finished, Waaagh! Skargor was destroyed and the invasion of Waaagh! Argluk was delayed for thirty years.[12b]
- 954.M41: The imminent attack by the Soulmaw. The Silver Skulls' Librarians suspected an imminent attack by the Daemonic warband, the Soulmaw, on their homeworld. Most of the chapter was absent from Varsavia due to answering a distress call from the Silver Skull vassal world of Aragave which was being ravaged by an unidentified warband of Daemons. The Daemons quickly vanished as soon as the Silver Skulls forces arrived, successfully luring them away from Varsavia. This could have be in retribution for Librarian Lucius Clave reportedly destroying the Soulmaw champion years before in 892.M40 during the scouring of Ammas. In 956.M41, the Soulmaw assaulted the Silver Skulls homeworld, but they managed to resist the attack.
- 998.M41: The Third War for Armageddon. Records show them to have been deployed to Armageddon during the Third War. Here they deployed seven out of ten companies of Space Marines to fight the Orks.
- 999.$1: The Zeist Campaign. The Silver Skulls heeded the call of Lord Macragge, and provided tactical squads to fight for the liberation of Augura (a staging point for the Tau forces).[6b]
- The Yria Massacre
- The Gildar Rift (M41, exact date unknown) - after destroying a Red Corsairs battle force, the Silver Skulls pursue the renegade fugitives to a string of inhabited worlds across the Gildar Rift, wiping them out in a matter of weeks.[6a][14x]
- The Purging — (M41, exact date unknown) - Receiving distress signals from the planet Equinox, a small detachment of Silver Skulls arrived, with the aim of cleansing the planet of the influence of Chaos. They tirelessly swept through the city-states of Equinox one by one in a bloody massacre. The population, already halved by disease and starvation, was halved again and whole areas of city-states were used as mass graves. The Silver Skulls left as quickly as they had struck, fading to nothing more than a bloody memory in the collective consciousness of the survivors.
- Battle of Skataurus — year unknown. There Silver Skulls found that only Centurion Assault Squad could make headway through the rubble of previously proud avenues of the main city. Heretics of Skataurus soon understand that not dug-in tanks, not reinforced bunkers of the hive could stop the hulking warriors. Massed cultist ambushes also proved useless and soon rebellion was suppressed.
Known Chapter Elements
Notable Silver Skulls
- Lord Commander Argentius — Silver Skulls' Chapter Master
- Vashiro — Chief Prognosticator
- Apothecary Malus — guided Inquisitor Thraxx around the Silver Skulls' Apothecarion during his visit to inspect the Silver Skulls' gene-seed
- Prognosticator Andus
- Deathwatch Prognosticator Rennin Tri'el
- Epistolary Thule
- Captain Kerelan of the First Company
- Captain Eddan Bourne of the 2nd Company
- Captain Alkon
- Captain Argentus
- Volker Straub - fused to the controls of the Strike Cruiser Dread Argent
- Prognosticator Bhehan - Eighth Company
- Prognosticator Rennin Tri'el - currently serving in the Deathwatch
- Dreadnought Diomedes
- Venerable Dreadnought Alenso
- Redemptor Dreadnought Lazarius
- N.B.: The Silver Skulls are listed as hailing from a later Founding (not 1st or 2nd) in Chapter Approved 2001, however, in other sources[18a] it is stated that the Silver Skulls are indeed a 2nd Founding Chapter.
- 1: Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, pg. 169
- 2: Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition Rulebook
- 3: Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pg. 30
- 4: Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 14
- 5: Codex: Necrons (5th Edition)
- 6: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- 7: Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 36
- 8: Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 43
- 9: Index Astartes I, pg. 2
- 10: White Dwarf 368 (UK), pg. 25
- 11: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 80
- 12: Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One
- 13: Primary Instinct (Short Story)
- 14: The Gildar Rift (Novel)
- 15: Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter, pg. 111
- 16: Black Library Blog
- 17: Inquisitor Conspiracies 3 - Heavenfall, pg. 5
- 18: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook
- 19: Cause and Effect (Short Story) — Hammer and Bolter 8
- 20: Chapter Approved 2001, pg. 117
- 21: Action and Consequence (Short Story) — Hammer and Bolter 5
- 22: How to Paint Space Marines, pgs. 80–89
- 23: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition: War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 17
- 24: Codex: Space Marines: Your first look! — Successor Chapters
- 25: Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition), pg. 73
- 26: Imperium Nihilus: Vigilus Defiant, pg. 79