Havoc – A Death Guard traitor and heretic

Warhammer 40K blog

Appearing out of the toxic clouds of Dozaria—the traitor Astartes known as Havoc.

The original name of the Astartes traitor known as Havoc is written in tomes long locked away by the Ordo Hereticus.

But if this foul heretic’s name is lost to time, his history is surprisingly well documented. It is known, for example, that this traitor was once a veteran of the 7th Great Company of the XIV Legion—the Death Guard—that fought for the Emperor during the Great Crusade.

Havoc fought in numerous battles on behalf of our beloved Emperor, most notably during the Jorgail Campaign of 005.M31.

But, along with the rest of his legion, he ultimately was corrupted, and his soul damned by his actions during the traitorous ambush of Loyalist Legions on Istvaan V.

Notable events of Havoc’s evil career:

Becalmed in the Warp (014.M31)——On his way to the Battle of Terra, the Space Marine who will become Havoc, along with his fellow Death Guard, finds his ship becalmed in the Warp and stricken by unspeakably painful and crippling diseases. In his delirium, the Astartes offers his soul to Nurgle to ease his agony.

Senseless Warfare (M32-34)—After the death of Horus, Havoc loyally follows his Legion into the Eye of Terror, He becomes disillusioned with his commanders after centuries of brutal wars against other Traitor Legions—violence fueled by perceived slights of honor and needless territorial disputes over Daemon Worlds.

To bring meaning to his existence, the traitor Astartes prays to Nurgle and is rewarded with a vision: He will spread Nurgle’s blessings across the galaxy. In homage to his new-found mission, the Space Marine renounces his old name and calls himself Havoc for the first time.

Havoc leaves the Eye of Terror with a small band of followers and begins a millennia-long campaign against the Imperium and humanity as a whole. His name becomes a promise of his purpose for the rest of eternity.

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Havoc is believe to command a sizable number of mutated Astartes from the ancient Death Guard Legion.

The Grief of Cealtae (293.M36)—Havoc leads 100 Plague Marines to the industrial world of Cealta, joining an army of cultists and waves of Daemons in an orgy of death and pestilence. By the time Imperial forces respond to the Chaos incursion, the planet is lifeless, with rotting corpses serving as the breeding ground of virulent diseases.

Assessing the cost of restoring the planet’s ecosystem, Imperial authorities reluctantly conclude the world cannot be saved. Exterminatus is ordered.

7th Black Crusade (811.M37)—Promised a Daemon Sword of power, Havoc agrees to recruit hundreds of Death Guard warriors for Abaddon’s 7th Black Crusade. Slipping past the Cadian Gate, Havoc terrorizes dozens of worlds in an effort to spread panic across five sectors.

The Green Death (563.M38)—From his corrupted strike cruiser, Gift of Pestilence, Havoc launches a wave of missiles to the surface of the Shrine World of Lucidia. Within hours, the populace is  stricken with a disease that leaves its victims with a greenish hue to their skin—and causes bloating, bleeding sores, agonizing pain, and nausea.

As victims finally succumb to the plague, their swollen bodies burst apart in a shower of foul fluids and Plague Flies that speed the disease’s spread across the planet. By the time Havoc leads his band of renegade Space Marines in an attack on the sacred Abbey of the Blessed Saint Augustine, the abbey’s guardians, a contingent of the the Adepta Sororitas, lie helpless or dead.

The abbey is leveled by Havoc, but not before he breaks into the holy order’s deepest dungeons to acquire a still-unidentified artifact from the Dark Age of Technology.

Slaughter on Pilgrim’s Path (192.M39)—In a senseless act of slaughter, Havoc leads an army of cultists and heretics to the isolated agri-world of Pilgrim’s Path and sacrifices the planet’s small population in profane rituals to the Chaos god Nurgle.

The profane rituals conducted by Havoc leave the planet an ecological disaster. Verdant fields of crops lie wilted, the atmosphere becomes noxious, and the only life remaining consists of rot flies and slime hounds.

Fight on Dozaria (6 283-890.738.M41)—Joining Typhus and Voloh Gudag, Havoc helps spread the Kassig Plague across the Corvus Cluster—and ultimately joins the fight against the Blood Angels defending the plague-wracked world of Dozaria.

Painting Havoc

TheGM: I based my paint job on the Warhammer TV video, How to paint Death Guard (Horus Heresy), which can be found on YouTube.

This was a time-consuming project, as, for the first time, I used all the special little techniques suggested in the video, such as highlights and multiple washes. Indeed, some details on the model, such as open sores and tentacles, have as many as five washes on them.

Still, the result was the best model I’ve ever painted (which isn’t saying it’s great, but it’s above average in painting quality—and that is not something I can usually say).

I need to write an article about Chaos as I play it. I’m trying to downplay the mutations a bit with my models. My thinking is that the Warp is another dimension, and Astartes who live there undergo severe mutations and physical deterioration there due to the unique radiation of the Warp.

To me, that’s why the Death Guard look as they do. I really soft-pedal the whole Chaos mythology. Nurgle isn’t some goofy disease god. He’s a powerful being in another dimension, and the Death Guard acknowledge him for morale and political reasons—but he’s not giving his followers diseases as a reward. It’s simply the price you pay to live in the Warp.

Maybe I’ll come around to the whole Nurgle thing eventually. But, for now, I’m going to limit my Nurgle blessings only to Plague Marines. The rest of my Death Guard will simply be traitor Space Marines with corroded armor and a few signs of radiation poisoning.

Click here to see more of Dan Slider’s wonderful artwork.

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

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