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Warhammer 40k Lore – The Black Templars: Zealous Crusaders Of The Imperium


The Black Templars stand as a zealous and relentless Space Marine Chapter, known for their unwavering faith, martial prowess, and an eternal crusade to purge the galaxy of impurity and heresy.

Origins and Founding

The Black Templars trace their origins to the era of the Second Founding, a time when the Emperor’s original Space Marine Legions were divided into smaller Chapters to better serve the vast reaches of the galaxy. The Black Templars are believed to be a successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists, one of the original Legions.

The Chapter’s name and ethos were strongly influenced by their first Chapter Master, Sigismund, a revered and accomplished warrior who was the first Emperor’s Champion of the Imperial Fists Legion. Sigismund’s dedication to the Emperor and his unyielding combat prowess served as the cornerstone of the Black Templars’ identity.

Crusade Doctrine

The defining characteristic of the Black Templars is their adherence to the concept of the Eternal Crusade. The Black Templars are in a perpetual state of war, viewing their entire existence as an unending holy war to purge the galaxy of heretics and enemies of the Imperium. This relentless crusade takes them to every corner of the galaxy, seeking out those who would threaten the Emperor’s divine rule.

The Black Templars are often seen as the most zealous of all Space Marine Chapters, embracing a militant and aggressive mindset that drives them to seek out battle and purge the galaxy of impurity. They maintain vast fleets of warships and countless battle-brothers in a state of constant readiness, allowing them to respond to threats with swift and overwhelming force.

Fleet-Based Chapter

The Black Templars are a fleet-based Chapter, with no fixed homeworld or single fortress-monastery. Instead, they maintain a vast fleet of warships and space stations that serve as their bases of operation. This mobile and ever-expanding fleet enables them to respond rapidly to threats across the galaxy and maintain their Eternal Crusade.

Within their fleet, the Black Templars have a unique and formidable fortress-monastery known as the Eternal Crusader, a colossal spaceship that serves as the Chapter’s heart and center of worship. The Eternal Crusader is a symbol of their unwavering commitment to their eternal war.

Zealous Faith

The Black Templars’ faith in the Emperor of Mankind is unshakable and fervent. They believe that the Emperor is the divine ruler of the Imperium, and their faith serves as the source of their strength and determination. It is this faith that fuels their Eternal Crusade and motivates them to strike down those who would question the Emperor’s supremacy.

Black Templars Chaplains play a central role in fostering and sustaining the Chapter’s faith. They lead their brethren in prayers, rituals, and litanies to invoke the Emperor’s blessings and prepare for battle. The Chaplains also serve as spiritual leaders and combat commanders, ensuring the Chapter’s zeal remains undiminished.

Combat Doctrine

The Black Templars are renowned for their aggressive and relentless combat style. They prefer close-quarters combat, with an emphasis on assaulting the enemy and engaging them in hand-to-hand combat. They often utilise Chainswords, Bolt Pistols, and Combat Shields, favouring a brutal and direct approach to battle.

This preference for close combat is driven by their belief that the Emperor is best served through the purity of battle, where heretics and enemies of the Imperium can be cleansed by the righteous fury of the Black Templars. As such, the Chapter places great importance on martial skill, courage, and a warrior’s dedication to the Emperor’s cause.

The Emperor’s Champions

The Emperor’s Champion is a unique and revered title within the Black Templars. The Emperor’s Champion is a lone warrior chosen for their exceptional combat prowess, unyielding devotion to the Emperor, and the ability to challenge the enemies of the Imperium to single combat. The challenge is a highly ritualised event, and the Emperor’s Champion is often equipped with the Black Sword, a sacred relic weapon.

The Emperor’s Champion embodies the Chapter’s faith and martial prowess. They are both a symbol of the Black Templars’ devotion and a formidable warrior who leads the Chapter into battle, inspiring their brethren with their heroic deeds and unwavering resolve.

Chapter Structure

The Black Templars maintain a unique and decentralised Chapter structure, eschewing the traditional Codex Astartes organisation. They do not adhere to the standard companies and roles found in other Space Marine Chapters. Instead, the Black Templars are organised into a series of Crusades, each led by a Marshal.

Crusades are typically composed of multiple units, including Sword Brethren(2) (veteran battle-brothers), Neophytes (initiates), Initiates (fully trained battle-brothers), and various support elements. Crusades are relatively autonomous, and the Marshals have significant authority in their execution of the Chapter’s crusades.


In the grim and turbulent galaxy of Warhammer 40,000, the Black Templars are a shining beacon of faith and martial prowess. Their Eternal Crusade and unwavering dedication to the Emperor’s cause make them an uncompromising force, ever ready to strike down the enemies of the Imperium and cleanse the galaxy of impurity and heresy.