So, Dawn of War 3 is released. And while you are trying it, we've gathered some photos of beloved Blood Ravens.
The Blood Ravens are a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter of unknown origins and Founding. The origins of the Blood Ravens are shrouded in mystery and are believed to be tied to a dark truth related to the Horus Heresy. This elusive Chapter has always been drawn to the pursuit of knowledge and the acquisition of ancient lore and produces an unusually high number of Librarians among its ranks as a high proportion of Neophytes develop psychic abilities soon after their implantation with the Blood Ravens' gene-seed organs.
The powerful Blood Ravens Librarians guide the Chapter, enabling them to fight with a precision and calculated fury made possible by their ability to predict and thwart their enemy's strategies and tactics before they come to pass. These arcane powers have led to great speculation and some worry about the true nature and origins of this Chapter in the rest of the Imperium of Man.
Though the Blood Ravens have a long and glorious history of service to the Emperor, their exact origins and earliest days in the service of the Imperium are obscured and uncertain. Not even their Chapter Master or Librarians can say with any certainty when the Blood Ravens were Founded or from which of the First Founding Space Marine Legions the Chapter is descended. The Chapter's written records in its Librarium only go back to the 37th Millennium, though vague references to their service in the litanies of other Chapters and Imperial Adepta prove that they existed and fought the enemies of the Emperor for many centuries before then.
However, the records mentioned are either missing or locked away under an Inquisitorial Seal. The gaps in the Imperial records concerning their origins are so extensive that the Chapter does not even know the origins of its gene-seed or the identity of their Primarch. The fact that the Blood Ravens' own records and Chapter lore are lost along with those kept by the Inquisition on the Chapter is a suspicious indicator that suggests that a concerted effort was made by operatives within many Imperial Adepta, including the Inquisition and the Blood Ravens themselves, to eliminate almost all trace of the Blood Ravens' past from Imperial records. Why this erasure was carried out remains unknown but the event is known as the "Un-Founding" by the Blood Ravens.
What is odder still is that records on the Blood Ravens were discovered on Eldar knowledge worlds hidden in the Eye of Terror and guarded by the enigmatic Eldar Harlequin. Since the Blood Ravens prize the pursuit of knowledge greatly, it is ironic that the Astartes of this Chapter know so little about their own origins or the earliest centuries of their service to the Emperor of Mankind.
The Blood Ravens identify themselves as a Chapter that stays closely within the criteria demanded by the Codex Astartes. By the standards of someone who has little interaction with Space Marines, this is a reasonably accurate description. However, compared to many of the more conservative Chapters -- particularly the Successor Chapters of the Ultramarines and Imperial Fists Legions -- the Blood Ravens exhibit a significant level of variation from the standard procedures as dictated by the Codex.
The Blood Ravens' basic company organisation is consistent with the directives of the Codex. The Blood Ravens maintain ten standard companies. Each of these companies maintains the status, combat specialisations, and training protocols as dictated per the Codex. This is in spite of the fact that the Chapter is fleet-based, so companies may be forced to separate due to extended assignments aboard vessels directed to separate portions of the Imperium. The most sweeping change within the Blood Ravens' company leadership is that all company commanders take a member of the Librarium on as a trusted advisor, who aids in preparation for all battles. In some instances, these Librarians even go on to assume the title of company commander in the event of battlefield losses.
The Blood Ravens Chapter is known for having a much higher number of Librarians than most Chapters. It is not uncommon for multiple Librarians to be attached to companies, Librarians to be in charge of outposts and starships and even companies when necessary, such as Librarian-Captain Lucius, the former Captain of the 5th Company. The 1stCompany of the Blood Ravens includes several squads made up entirely of Librarians, which are dispatched on only the most important missions, though what these may be is unknown. The Chapter Master of the Blood Ravens also traditionally holds the dual role of Chapter Master and Chief Librarian, a tradition dating back to when the Great Father Azariah Vidya was the first to do so.
Whatever the reason for such a large number of Librarians in the ranks of the Blood Ravens, they are an integral part of the Chapter. For instance, the 9th Company had no less than four Librarians attached to it, though with the recent deaths of Brothers Bherald and Rhamah that number dropped to two. Other Librarians of note in the Chapter are Isador Akios, the former Librarian of the 3rd Company before he turned Traitor, Father Jonas, who was previously stationed on the Chapter's recruiting world of Rahe's Paradise and the two other 9th Company Librarians, Zhaphel and Korinth.
The Blood Ravens believe by studying one's enemy, one can predict their movements before launching any attacks, rather than charging in like an uncontrolled berserker or using spontaneous lightning assaults. This has caused friction with other, more headstrong Chapters. Those who prefer a clear-cut approach to battle have branded the Blood Ravens as cowards for their overly methodical approach to waging warfare. But this is an unfair assessment, for once the Blood Ravens take to the field, they fight with righteous fury and zeal the equal of any other Astartes Chapter.
Once decided upon, the Chapter never deviates from the agreed upon plan of strategy, from its initial planning stages to its final execution, executing it with ruthless efficiency. The thoroughness of their planning and thoroughness is such that every eventuality is planned for, thanks to their Librarians' powerful divinations. Their uncanny abilities to predict enemy attacks or invasions has helped them warn or respond well before other Imperial organizations have even been made aware of them. More puritanical figures within the Inquisition have whispered in dark tones of the sad tale of the Thousand Sons Legion and their fallen Primarch Magnus the Red and his ultimate fate. A path trod to damnation that began with the abilities to predict such dire warnings.
The Blood Ravens have a deep belief in the Emperor, perhaps because they do not know who their Father Primarch is, which leads them to give praise to the Emperor with a fervour greater than almost any other chapter. Like most Astartes, they venerate him not as a God, but as the mightiest of men, a belief that often times brings them into conflict with the Ecclesiarchy. A common battle cry of the Chapter is, "For the unknown Primarch and the Emperor!" The Blood Ravens venerate knowledge and constantly seek it out and guard it. Their motto is "knowledge is power, guard it well," a maxim held firmly by all the Chapter's Librarians and central to the core beliefs of the Chapter. As their quest for knowledge echoes many tenets of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Chapter maintains close ties with the Priesthood of Mars. Often times the Blood Ravens will join forces with Mechanicus Explorator fleets in their search for archeotech and lost knowledge in the unknown quarters of the galaxy.
The Blood Ravens are a proud and secretive Chapter, obsessed with ritual, history, and the acquisition of knowledge—most especially for the truth of their beginnings. This gap in the Blood Ravens’ history has led to endless speculation as to the exact origin of the Chapter, and what could have happened to expunge such a large and important portion of their history from their lore. It is this very focus that has driven their ongoing quest to discover more information of all kinds. This quest has unquestionably subjected these Battle-Brothers to an increased exposure to heretical knowledge. Some from outside the Chapter question the wisdom of their pursuits when they could safely embrace the security of ignorance.