Thursday, 29 November 2012

Written in Blood : The Blood Drinkers return to 40k

As regular readers of this Blog will be well aware, I'm a huge fan of 40k lore; the ever expanding stories and history that makes up the Hobbies setting being as, if not more important to me than the game itself.

One of my consuming passions is the constant hunt for canon material relating to my chosen Space Marine Chapter, The Blood Drinkers; they've been with me since the start of my 40k journey some 25 years ago and as such have defined much of my Hobby experience.

Now I've oft bemoaned the fact that they, one of the original Rogue Trader Chapters, have had very little attention paid to them over the years; overshadowed by their more popular Blood Angel cousins, the small stream of material featuring them slowly trickled almost to nothing.

With hindsight that complaint was misjudged, as the dearth of material proved something of a boon to the aspiring writer in me (however delusional those aspirations may be) and spurred me to create a background for the Chapter, interlaced with the cannon material I'd collected, as featured in my Blood Drinkers Fandex section of the Blog.

Where is all this leading? Well it seems as if my loyal...ok fanatical faith, has been rewarded on some positive Karmic level and that the 'Drinkers are starting to make a modest comeback within the pages of officially sanctioned 40k material; above and beyond their usual Codex Blood Angels nod.

Perhaps my fervent ramblings about the Chapter, cast upon the tides of the web, saw some small fraction of inspiration wash up in the right place; the resurgence does appear to have started in earnest about two years ago, back when this Blog was born. More likely one of the lesser cosmic coincidences, but it's a nice thought.

It began at Forge World, with an entry in their excellent Imperial Armour series IA9 : The Badab War Pt I (they did also have a picture of a Razorback in the Chapters livery way back in IA2 but nothing more).

The Nova Marines section of the book featured details of an action undertaken by their Chapter along with the Blood Drinkers; the cleansing of a Genestealer infested Space Hulk 'The Death of Integrity'.The entry expanded upon a small section featured in an ancient White Dwarf article on Genestealers, written by Paul Murphy, later reprinted in the 1991 Warhammer 40,000 Compilation (showing my age again).

Awesome 'old school' diorama by Mike McVey that featured in the article
and cemented my following of the Blood Drinkers.

Following on from this in 2011 Fantasy Flight Games published Rites of Battle for their Death Watch RPG series, within was a whole page detailing both the Blood Drinkers involvement in the Jericho Reach campaign setting and advice for playing a Battle Brother from the Chapter attached to the Death Watch.

FFG continued in 2012 with Honour the Chapter , including mention of the Death of Integrity mission and creating a relic blade specifically for the Chapter, the 'Scyphus Vitae' (which I will be looking to adapt to 40k for my army at some stage).

September this year, Hammer and Bolter Issue 24 carried a short story by a new (as far as I'm aware) Black Library author Guy Haley; 'The Rite of Holos' follows a contingent of Blood Drinkers, including some very senior officers, as they come to the aid of an Imperial world beset by a Genestealer Cult. It's a cracking little read, although necessarily brief due to it's format and I was heartened to see that the authors take on the Chapter was similar to mine.

Having located the authors Blog at I was about to contact him and pester him with fanboy like questions such as the timeline period his tale was set in, so I could update my Fandex as I try to do with all related canon, ensuring that the events and characters don't clash. I had an inkling of when it was set and what it related to but I also wanted to know whether he had plans or been requested to write more about the Chapter.

As luck would have it the Blog had just been updated confirming my thoughts that story was a teaser, part of something bigger and since then Guy Haley has announced that he will be writing 'The Death of Integrity' (keep ending up back on that Hulk don't we); whispers on the net have it as being part of the Space Marine Battles series, although no announcements from BL yet.

So I await that book with eager anticipation and look forward to reviewing it in a Books in Brief post upon it's release; judging by the short story, Guy will do the Blood Drinkers justice, hopefully bringing this great Chapter to the attention of a wider audience and continuing their revival.

You can rest assured I won't shut up about them!


Night Runner said...

Glad to here the Blood Drinkers are getting some well deserved love.

The Angry Lurker said...

Always had a soft spot for them boys!

sonsoftaurus said...

Very cool. I've long had a soft spot for the Blood Drinkers myself, after a college friend of mine was working on a complete battle company of them back in the 90s. At the time I thought he was crazy, but I was impressed!

Bix said...

Thanks for your comments guys, great to know the 'Drinkers are a little better known and appreciated than I'd first thought.

Well met and welcome to you Night Runner & Sons of Taurus thanks for dropping by this far flung Sector of the Blogosphere.

@Night Runner, good news indeed & now for some reason I've got that Bellamy Brothers track going round inside my admittedly slightly damaged bonce! Lets hope the love continues to the blood of The Emperors enemies! (oh that was bad, sorry.)

@Angry, always nice to hear from you and I always suspected you were just one great softy when it comes to Elite warriors with anger issues and enough firepower to level a continent. ;)

@Sons of Taurus, ah the Marine collectors dream/addiction, owning a complete (and painted) Battle Company. One of my many goals/delusions, though back in the 90's I had plenty of time but no money, now I have the money I don't have the time. Lol, did he achieve his aim? It would have been quite a sight.

sonsoftaurus said...

@Bix - I don't know if he ever achieved it, but I suspect that he did. He was pretty far along with the infantry when I saw them, mostly needed more vehicles and support like dreadnoughts.

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