A spiritu dominatus,
| ~ Battle-Prayer of the Adepta Sororitas
Once, a Novice Cantus came to me, troubled and uncertain. A slip of a girl, only a few strides down the eternal path leading her to the Golden Throne. She asked me a question. She asked me how we can ever truly understand what faith is. I told her that there is no coin to measure what we feel in our hearts. There are no scales upon which we might weigh the faith of one woman against another. There is only duty and blood. There are only deeds and words. There is only the service to the God-Emperor, and the price that demands from each Sister can only be known by Him. But know that whatever fears must be faced, whatever hardships endured, that price is forever worth its full cost.
| ~ Saint Katherine, as written in the Hammer and Anvil
Should any Sister, in her deeds or thoughts, sin, she should willingly and immediately make her fault known to her Superior, and amend with a pure heart. If she does not usually fail in this manner, let her be given but a week’s penance, but if her sin is great, let her go apart from the company of her Sisters, so that she may not sit at table with them, nor kneel in prayer at their side. Let her go alone, submitting herself to the will of the almighty God-Emperor of Mankind. Let her don the hood of the penitent and take up the ceremonial Eviscerator, and seek her redemption upon the field of battle.
| ~ Rule CCCLIX, the Rule of the Sororitas, Volume VI
By bolter shell, flamer burst and melta blast, the mutant, the heretic and the traitor alike are cleansed of their sin of existence. So has it been for five millennia, so shall it be unto the end of time.
| ~ Words of Devotion, Verses IV-V, Chapter X, Volume LII
She was an angel, pure as righteous destruction. She laid low the twisted and lifted the hearts of the righteous. At her passing, a million voices cried out her name. Shall we ever again see her like? No, not now, nor ever again...
| ~ Sister Patricia of the Order Famulous, on the disappearance of Saint Celestine
The Adepta Sororitas, formerly known as the Daughters of the Emperor, are an all-female division of the Adeptus Ministorum. The Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, more commonly known as the Sisters of Battle, are the Ministorum's only official military force, as the "Decree Passive" laid down by the reformist Ecclesiarch Sebastian Thor held that in the wake of the Age of Apostasy of the 36th Millennium, the Ecclesiarchy cannot maintain any "men under arms." This was supposed to limit the power of the Ecclesiarchy. However, the Ministorum was able to circumvent this decree by using the all-female military force of the Sisterhood's Orders Militant.
The Sisters of Battle are an elite sisterhood of warriors raised from infancy to adore the Emperor of Mankind. Their fanatical devotion and unwavering purity is a bulwark against corruption, heresy and alien attack, and once battle has been joined they will stop at nothing until their enemies are utterly crushed. Battle Sisters will stride through fire if need be, their bolters spitting staccato bursts of destruction every step of the way. Not even death can stay the wrath of the Adepta Sororitas—indeed, the blood of martyrs only strengthens the resolve of Battle Sisters, spurring them to greater acts of heroism in the name of the honoured fallen.
The Adeptus Ministorum—or the Ecclesiarchy as it is generally known in the Imperium—is a monolithic organisation founded on the worship of the Emperor as the saviour of Mankind and the preaching of the Imperial Creed throughout the whole galaxy. The Sisters of Battle are the army of the Ecclesiarchy. Clad in ceramite power armour, they carry an awesome array of weaponry with which to vanquish their enemies; the incredible wealth of the Ecclesiarchy ensures that they are equipped with the best wargear the Imperium has to offer. The Sisters of Battle are trained to the peak of human ability and stand amongst Mankind's most dedicated and disciplined warriors. Wherever there are foes of the Emperor, the Sisters of Battle will be found fighting with faith and steel. When not actively prosecuting the Ecclesiarchy's wars, the Battle Sisters of the Orders Militant divide their time between rigorous training and devout worship of the Emperor.
Indeed, to the Adepta Sororitas, the disciplines are nigh inseparable, for whilst combat drills and studies of battle tactics can hone the body and the mind, only penitent prayer can bolster the spirit, and all three are required to defeat the Imperium's foes. The combination of combat doctrine and prayer is most evident on the battlefield, where Battle Sisters loudly proclaim their faith in hymn and verse as they march to war, calling upon the Emperor to aid them in the fight against their enemies. The perfervid, unquestioning nature of this faith is a potent weapon indeed, manifesting as divine inspiration that drives the Sororitas to unprecedented feats of martial prowess. Sisters of Battle gripped with holy fervour banish worldly fears from their minds, shrug off mortal wounds, and summon preternatural strength to smite their foes. The Sisters of Battle believe their faith to be a weapon stronger than any steel, and those who witness their battlefield miracles are left in no doubt that the spirit of the Emperor indeed walks with these pious warriors. Once battle has been joined, the Adepta Sororitas will stop at nothing until their enemies are utterly crushed.
Powers and Stats
Tier: 9-B to 8-C with Power Armour. 8-C to High 6-C with weaponry | At least 8-C with Power Armour. 8-C to High 6-C with weaponry | 9-C physically. High 6-C with Eviscerator | Likely High 6-C | Low 5-B to High 5-A
Name: The Adepta Sororitas, The Sisters of Battle, The Sisterhood, The Daughters of the Emperor
Origin: Warhammer 40,000
Gender: All Female (The Decree Passive maintains that the Ecclesiarchy cannot "... gather, train, promote, sustain or in any way command any force of men under arms.", with the Adepta Sororitas being allowed to exist due to the loophole in the decree’s wording)
Age: The youngest are in their 20s, the oldest can be hundreds of years old with rejuvenating treatements
Classification: All-Female Subdivision of the Adeptus Ministorum, Chamber Militant of the Ordo Hereticus of the Imperial Inquisition (Sisters of Battle)
Powers and Abilities: Peak Human Physical Characteristics (Sisters of Battle are trained to the absolute peak of human capability), Superhuman Physical Characteristics with Power Armour, Hand to Hand Combat Mastery, Melee & Ranged Weapon Mastery, Unconscious Psychic Powers through Acts of Faith, such as: Probability Manipulation, Empathic Manipulation, Statistics Amplification and Psychic Barriers
Attack Potency: Wall level to Building level with Power Armour (Sororitas Power Armour at minimum can enhance a sister’s physical strength to levels far beyond that of any ordinary human. Strong Sisters of Battle are capable of harming each other in physical combat). Building level to Large Island level with weaponry (A sister’s Godwyn-De’az Bolter, despite its decreased size, is no less effective and destructive than an Astartes’ own Bolter, reducing the enemy to a bloody pool. Flamers are capable of very quickly dissolving human flesh, muscle and bone into ash. Plasma Pistols fire blasts of concentrated plasma as hot as the core of a a star. Meltaguns destroy their targets on a Sub-Atomic level, and are often used to destroy tanks) | At least Building level with Power Armour (The strongest Sisters of Battle are capable of truly superhuman feats, such as defeating hordes of Orks despite being outnumbered 10 to 1, defeating Eldar Farseers and even holding their own against Grey Knights). Building level to Large Island level with weaponry (High-ranking Sororitas wield even better weaponry than their lesser sisters) | Street level physically. Large Island level with Eviscerators (Eviscerators can tear through Terminator Armour) | Likely Large Island level (Penitent Engines are armed with Dreadnought-class close quarters weaponry, and are typically comparable to Astartes’ Dreadnoughts) | Small Planet level to Dwarf Star level (Living Saints can do battle with, and slay both Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons)
Speed: Subsonic movement speed (Sisters of Battle can move as blurs to fast for the human eye to track). Hypersonic+ combat and reaction speed (Sisters of Battle are about as fast as an average Astartes) | At least Subsonic+ movement speed with Hypersonic+ combat and reaction speed (Much faster than ordinary Astartes) | Peak Human+ | Unknown movement speed. Likely Hypersonic+ combat and reaction speed (Should be comparable to an average Astartes' Dreadnought) | Unknown movement speed. At least FTL combat and reaction speed (Can do battle with Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons)
Lifting Strength: Superhuman (Can easily lift a grown man and hurl him 5 meters away with one hand) | Class 1 (Canoness Ludmilla could easily lift an armored Grey Knight of the ground and throw him several meters away) | Peak Human | Unknown | Unknown
Striking Strength: Wall Class to Building Class | At least Building Class | Street Class. Large Island Class with Eviscerator | Likely Large Island Class | Small Planet Class to Dwarf Star Class
Durability: At least Building level with Power Armour (Sororitas Power Armour is stated to be every bit as durable as an Astartes' Power Armour) | At least Building level with Power Armour | Street level (Sisters Repentia don't wear any form of protection when charging into battle) | At least Large Island level for the Penitent Engine itself (Comparable to Astartes' Dreadnoughts). Street level for the crucified Sister who pilots it | Small Planet level to Dwarf Star level (Can survive attacks from Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons)
Range: Standard melee range. Up to kilometers with ranged weaponry | Same | Extended melee range | Several meters in melee. Up to kilometers with ranged weaponry | Unknown
- Sororitas Power Armour: The power armour worn by the Orders Militant is based upon the same archaic systems as that worn by their brethren of the Adeptus Astartes. It provides the same degree of armoured protection, yet must forego the more advanced life-support systems and strength enhancing abilities used by the Space Marines, as the Sisters of Battle are not implanted with the Black Carapace that allows the Astartes to interface fully with their own armour. Despite this, the Sisters of Battle are one of the few Imperial forces outside of the Space Marines to be granted the right to wear such formidable armour, and they are trained to deadly effect to utilise its abilities to the full.
- Sabbat Pattern Sororitas Helm: The standard pattern worn by the majority of Battle Sisters since the mid 38th millennium, this helm contains an integrated rebreather, allowing the Sister to operate in total vacuum for limited periods. The visor provides fullspectrum filtering and limited psycho-oculal buffering, allowing the Sister to fight on where a less well-equipped warrior would be rendered insensible by adverse battlefield conditions.
- Godwyn-De'az Pattern Bolter: The standard issue weapon for all Battle Sisters since the Orders Militant were formed, the Godwyn-De-az pattern boltgun has remained unchanged for millenia, largely due to its superior performance in comparison to other weapons of its class. Despite its reduced size, the Godwyn-De-az Bolter is essentially as powerful as an Astartes' Boltgun, capable of severely damaging or even piercing Power Armour with its rounds.
- Fleur De Lys Tattoo: Many Sisters bear devotional markings such as tattoos, electoos, and ritual scarifications, proclaiming their loyalty to the Adepta Sororitas, the Ecclesiarchy, and the Imperium. Such marks might include the Fleur-de-Lys symbol of the Sisterhood, the icon of the Inquisition, roses, wings, and all manner of variations on the iconography of the Orders.
- Chaplet-Ecclesiasticus: Every member of the Sisterhood bears one of these icons of the Ecclesiarchy, worn around the neck or waist on a string of adamantium beads. Each bead represents an act of penitence undertaken by the bearer, though in the case of long-serving members, each bead may count ten, 100, or even 1,000 such acts. The Adepta Sororitas ever strive to honour the sacrifice made by the Emperor by emulating His example.
- Purity Seals: Devotional scripts and declarations of the bearer's sanctity, many Sisters wear purity seals to further protect them from the taint of the impure and the sinful. In the course of her duties, a Sister may bear witness to the most terrible of sights and so the more purity seals borne, the more of such horrors she has had to endure. Each seal is a benediction against the forces of disorder, warpcraft, and mutation, a plea to the Emperor for deliverance from evil.
Intelligence: High. The Adepta Sororitas typically go through years of strict education from childhood in the Schola Progenium, and are then taken to a convent and spend years as a Novice before finally joining the Sisterhood. | Very High. Canonesses are veteran warriors of the Sister of Battle, who rise to their position only through strong leadership, shrewd tactical genius and great combat skill. | Low. Sister Repentias are essentially brainwashed to lose all fear of death in combat and no remorse for the enemies of the Emperor, and to madly seek atonement for their sins through battle | Very Low. Sisters in Penitent Engines are barely capable of processing cohesive thought. | Very High, Sororitas who become Living Saints were typically legendary Sisters in life.
Weaknesses: Sisters of Battle are unenhanced humans without their Power Armour. Certain sisters are religious fanatics to the detriment of their common sense / logical thinking.
- Acts of Faith: The Adepta Sororitas can draw upon the wellspring of their faith and call upon the Emperor to guide their actions. So does absolute belief in the Imperial Creed allow the Sisters of Battle to perform the seemingly impossible upon the battlefield. Yet miracles are not to be relied upon as a matter of course. At the heart of the Imperial Creed is the belief that the divine Emperor relies on his followers to create their own salvation, but also that if the situation is sufficiently bleak, he will intervene to deliver his true servants.
- Shield of Faith: The Sisters of Battle are taught that faith is a shield stronger than any armour. Such is the power of their belief that the Emperor will protect them that the Adepta Sororitas can shrug off the most severe of wounds and resist the witchcraft of enemy sorcerers.
- Martyrdom: The Sisters of Battle do not give in to despair when their leaders are slain. Instead, the blood of these martyred heroes only strengthens their resolve, the sacrifice inspiring them to great acts of heroism.
- The Passion: A Canoness leads her Sisters through the chaos of melee, striking at their foes with a speed and hatred born of holy fervour.
- Endless Crusade: Limbs do not tire when the spirit of the Emperor moves them, but find fresh strength in the righteous work to come.
- Hand of the Emperor: Celestians call upon the Emperor to grant them the strength to strike down their foes.
- Spirit of the Martyr: Desperate for redemption, the Sisters refuse to succumb to their wounds until their foes have been slain.
- Light of the Emperor: The Sisters of Battle are filled with the knowledge that the only thing they need fear is failing the Emperor of Mankind. Armed with such faith, they are driven to unprecedented feats of prowess.
- Holy Fusillade: Praying to the Emperor to channel his wrath through their weapons, the Dominions unleash a storm of firepower from which none can escape.
- Divine Guidance: Guided by the will of the Emperor himself, the Retributors’ shots shatter the armour of the enemy with contemptuous ease.
- The Emperor’s Deliverance: As the Seraphim recite rites of destruction, their aim faithfully falls where it will cause the most harm – every shot becoming a mortal blow that condemns another heretic to oblivion.
Key: Sisters of Battle | Canonesses | Sisters Repentia | Penitent Engines | Living Saints
Orders of the Adepta Sororitas
Orders Militant: The famed Orders Militant or Sisters of Battle of the Adepta Sororitas pursue the ways of war to spread the Emperor's light. The Orders Militant are often tasked by the Ecclesiarchy with defending its Shrine and Cardinal Worlds or retaking such planets from Heretics, xenos or the blasphemous Forces of Chaos. There are literally dozens of different Orders Militant, with their convents scattered across the galaxy. The Sisters of Battle are also often attached to the Ordo Hereticus of the Imperial Inquisition and indeed serve the Witch Hunters as their Chamber Militant. . There are six major Orders Militant in the Adepta Sororitas that are widely recognised across the Imperium:
- The Order of the Ebon Chalice: The Order of the Ebon Chalice is the oldest of the Orders Militant, founded at the birth of the Adepta Sororitas by Alicia Dominica – the patron saint of the Sisterhood. Dominica led her warriors in countless crusades against the enemies of the Imperium, and she was the first heroine to be proclaimed a Living Saint by the Ecclesiarchy. The uniforms of Dominica’s Order are based on the original garments worn by the Daughters of the Emperor and their combat doctrines – based on equal parts religious devotion and training – have remained largely unchanged for four thousand years. The Order’s symbol is a flaming, skull-filled chalice, a representation of the terrible knowledge imparted to Dominica when she was brought before the Golden Throne.
- The Order of the Valorous Heart: The Sisters of the Order of the Valorous Heart believe they must atone for the unwitting sedition committed by the Daughters of the Emperor during Vandire’s Reign of Blood. The Order’s founding saint, Lucia, was the most penitent of Dominica’s companions, and her Battle Sisters strive to emulate her example, demanding expiation for the slightest perceived sin. As a result, a disproportionate number of its Battle Sisters willingly exile themselves and seek redemption as a Sister Repentia. Saint Lucia is often depicted holding the skull of the executed Lord Vandire – a reminder to never hearken to the words of false prophets – and with a drop of blood running down her cheek, representing the blood sacrifice expected of every Battle Sister.
- The Order of the Argent Shroud:Silvana was the first of Dominica’s bodyguard to be martyred – assassinated shortly after the Order of the Ebon Chalice was divided into two Orders Militant. A silvery image of Silvana’s skull was left imprinted on her death shroud, and the newly formed Order took the Argent Shroud as their image and title. Silvana was renowned for her altruistic spirit and her stoic faith. She seldom spoke, believing that deeds on the battlefield spoke more of a warrior’s devotion than any words. The Sisters of the Argent Shroud likewise rarely speak, and they are famed for their selfless acts of heroism. As such, the Order fields a high number of Celestian and Seraphim squads, their faith a shield as strong as their silver armour and their righteousness a weapon as potent as bolter fire.
- The Order of Our Martyred Lady: Katherine was regarded as Dominica’s second-in-command. Her order was originally entitled the Order of the Fiery Heart, in reference to Katherine’s fierce persona, but so deeply did the Battle Sisters mourn her death that they renamed themselves the Order of Our Martyred Lady, and for many centuries thereafter they wore only black. The red cloth of their livery was adopted by the majority of the Order’s Preceptories in remembrance of the Sisterhood’s losses during the Third War for Armageddon. Even amongst the devout warriors of the Sororitas, the Sisters of Our Martyred Lady have a reputation for incredible determination, inspired by their desire to avenge the deaths of their fallen. This inner fire drives them to destroy their enemies utterly, and those not consumed with cleansing flames are ruthlessly put to the sword.
- The Order of the Bloody Rose: The Order of the Bloody Rose was not formally created until two and a half millennia after the founding of the Adepta Sororitas, and by this time, its patron saint, Mina, was long dead. Mina was known as a dark and brooding warrior, quick to anger and deadly in combat. She was the most aggressive and impetuous of Dominica’s comrades and her symbol was accordingly a blood red rose, prominent with thorns, placed upon a pair of crossed swords. The Battle Sisters of the Bloody Rose, resplendent in their deep crimson power armour, echo Mina’s desire to slay their enemies as quickly as possible, and the Order’s Dominion squads are renowned for the ferocity of their assaults.
- The Order of the Sacred Rose: Like the Order of the Bloody Rose, the Order of the Sacred Rose was not established during the existence of its patron saint – Arabella. In her lifetime, Arabella earned the honorific of ‘Liberator’ and many Battle Sisters, especially Retributors, are known to pray to her spirit for liberation from doubt and rash action when a cool, logical head is required. Of all Dominica’s bodyguards, Arabella was known as a particularly disciplined, even-tempered Sister. However, behind her serenity lay the determination of a resolute warrior, and her symbol was thus a white rose, held aloft in a mailed gauntlet. The white armoured Sisters of the Sacred Rose embody these same virtues, facing down alien hordes and Warp-spawned monsters with bolters calmly levelled where lesser warriors would panic and falter.
Orders Hospitaller: The Orders Hospitaller is a non-militant Order of the Adepta Sororitas dedicated to healing and the provision of medical care for all the citizens of the Imperium. Amongst the most widely welcomed of the Adepta Sororitas, the Hospitallers are sent to war zones or disaster-stricken areas of the galaxy, providing the people of the Imperium of Man with medical care and compassion when it is most needed. The Sisters of these Orders aid the poor and heal the sick and the wounded in the many hospitals and clinics across the Imperium operated as charities by the Sisterhood. Their convents often take the form of hospitals and retreats, and large numbers of them accompany the armies of the Imperial Guard. The Sisters Hospitaller are amongst the most skilled and compassionate surgeons in the Imperium. Their convents often take the form of hospitals and retreats, and large numbers of them accompany the armies of the Adepta Sororitas. It is a true measure of their dedication to the Emperor that these supremely skilled and compassionate individuals are able to put aside all selfish thoughts of their personal morality and turn their hands to inflicting pain when duty calls them to do so.
Orders Dialogous: The Orders Dialogous is a non-militant Order of the Adepta Sororitas consisted of the most learned scholars, especially in the field of both human and xenos linguistics. They are responsible for the translation of innumerable dialects utilised throughout the Imperium as well as assisting the Inquisition with the study of long dead alien languages, helping them to translate texts from recovered artefacts. Though they specialize in languages and processing information, Sisters Dialogous are just as martially trained and fanatically devoted to the Imperial Creed as any Battle Sister. Sisters Dialogous generally leave their datastacks only when their linguistic or cipher-breaking skills are needed. There have been occasions where a full Mission is sent to retrieve data, though this is rare because the risk involved in letting sisters with access to sacred and secret information out into the open is very high and has to be authorized by the Convent.
Orders Famulous: The Orders Famulous is a non-militant Orders Famulous of the Adepta Sororitas serve amongst the households of the highest of the Imperium of Man's nobility, acting as chamberlains, counsellors and consuls. They broker inter-house alliances, trade deals, and marriages, and their hand is ever at work amongst the highest echelons of Imperial power. The Sisters Famulous are skilled diplomats, able to reconcile the most bitter of rivals, but their true mission is often performed entirely behind the scenes. Where the Sisters Famulous have worked over the last several millennia, tithes have been maintained or increased, trade has improved, and in general the population has fared better than on other worlds. With such clear evidence of the benefits that they bring, the Sisters Famulous are in high demand amongst noble families throughout the Imperium.
Ranks of the Sisters of Battle:
A Canoness is the overall commander of one of the Orders Militant, a shining example of purity and dedication of purpose. Each is a veteran warrior of many hundreds of battles who has risen to her position through a combination of strong leadership, shrewd tactical genius and sheer overarching faith in the Emperor. When the Ecclesiarchy sounds the call to arms, a Canoness boldly leads her warriors into the fray, refusing to take one step backwards whilst her enemies still draw breath. Under their command, the Sisters of Battle have crushed the foes of the Imperium across the galaxy.
Though she is ostensibly answerable to the Prioress of her Convent, a Canoness’ superior knowledge of battle inevitably holds sway concerning military matters. A Canoness is also responsible for the spiritual well-being of the warriors under her command, and she is the principle guardian of her Battle Sisters’ souls. A Canoness’ non-military duties include leading the Order in its prayer services, performing rites of initiation and overseeing the running of the Order. As a result, a Canoness inspires intense devotion in her Battle Sisters, leading them from the fore whilst reciting the great hymns of the Ecclesiarchy.
Celestians are the finest and noblest warriors of their Order – inspirational figures whose refusal to yield, even in the direst of situations, is legendary. The presence of such warriors does much to bolster the fighting spirit of nearby troops, and as such, the Orders Militant allow these distinguished veterans to bear devotional markings. The Sigil Sororitas is a commonly depicted symbol, worn either as a tattoo or as a badge adorning the front of helmets – an honour reserved for those Sisters who have performed with exceptional courage.
Only Battle Sisters who prove themselves to be exceptionally proficient in the arts of war may be deemed worthy of induction into the ranks of the Celestians. These elite warriors are deployed together in squads where their superior experience and skill at arms can turn the tide of battle. Amongst their number are those Sisters who once served as Dominions and Retributors, meaning that Celestian Squads are supported with the weapons and wargear necessary to face a wide variety of threats. However, Celestians believe that such weapons are as nothing compared to the power of their faith. Celestians are fervent adherents to the Imperial Creed, shining examples of righteousness that many Battle Sisters aspire to emulate. Celestians harness this ardour in battle, and it lends them the strength to split the skulls of alien savages in a single blow and smite hideous Daemons back into the Warp.
Amongst the highly devoted warriors of the Orders Militant there are those Battle Sisters whose faith burns so brightly that it appears as if the Emperor himself guides their actions. These angelic warriors are known as Seraphim, and they are exclusively trained to use jump packs. More importantly, they are also taught the co-ordination, dexterity and control to fire two pistols at once. These warriors dedicate many painstaking years to perfecting these arts. Time and again Seraphim have struck like avenging angels, descending into the thickest of fighting upon wings of fire, their bolt pistols spitting death at their foes.
Seraphim are schooled in their Order’s most ancient fighting techniques, learning to wield their sidearms in brutal melees as other warriors brandish knives and swords. Seraphim deflect the strikes of their foes with fluid grace before landing a killing blow of their own, typically with a point-blank headshot from a bolt pistol.
Seraphim Superior are highly respected warriors amongst the Order and their advice is rightly heeded by the Canoness in councils of war. As befits veterans of such standing, Seraphim Superior wield some of their Order’s most vaunted weapons, from golden bladed power swords inscribed with litanies of faith to sacred pistols once carried into battle by Living Saints. These revered heirlooms are irreplaceable and Seraphim Superior fight all the harder to ensure they do not fall into enemy hands.
Retributors are armed with the Order’s heaviest weaponry. Believing that the Emperor himself guides their aim, these Sisters annihilate the Ecclesiarchy’s foes with overwhelming firepower. Retributors are commonly armed with heavy bolters to provide long ranged support to squads of Battle Sisters, cutting down hordes of enemy infantry with a staggering rate of fire. However, in the close confines of urban warfare, or where the foe are wont to shelter behind armoured bulwarks, Retributors prefer to rely upon heavy flamers, unleashing searing infernos that burn their opponents out of cover and reduce them to charred corpses. Finally, completing the Holy Trinity of bolter, flamer, and melta, Retributors are also adept at wielding deadly multi-meltas, whose roaring thermal blasts can reduce the mightiest of battle tanks into molten slag.
Retributors are the most logical and level-headed of all Sororitas, a trait that serves them well on the battlefield as they prioritise and despatch their targets with calm efficiency. Although it is usual to attach individual Retributors to Battle Sisters squads, many Sororitas Commanders maintain a core of dedicated heavy weapon squads. By concentrating a disproportionate number of the Order’s biggest guns in this manner, the Sister Superior leading the squad is more readily able to direct their combined firepower to where it will cause the most damage to the enemy. Retributor squads often enter the fray in Immolators, further bolstering their firepower as they lay waste to any foes foolish enough to stray into their gunsights.
Battle Sisters who utilize specialized weaponry such as storm bolters, flamers and meltaguns are known as Dominions. They are amongst their Order’s most aggressive warriors, driven by the need to destroy the Emperor’s foes. Though their training has tempered the worse excess of their impetuosity, Dominions still yearn to fight at the fore of any Sororitas attack. As such the Orders Militant maintain several units who are almost solely comprised of such warriors. Dominion squads are the Sisters of Battle’s shock troops and they are primarily tasked with leading the vanguard of Sororitas assaults, breaking through enemy front lines, destroying heavily defended fortifications and blunting the spearheads of any counter-attacks. The importance of such missions is commensurate with the dangers involved, and as such, Dominions typically ride to battle inside Rhino or Immolator personnel carriers, protected from the worst of incoming gunfire by the transports’ armoured hulls. These tanks rumble to a halt mere yards from their target, and within seconds, a fully armed Dominion squad is storming their objective, annihilating the enemy with a deadly combination of bolter rounds, melta beams and searing flames.
Dominions do not hold objectives. Their task is simply to clear them of any enemy presence as quickly as possible and to lay down covering fire whilst other Sororitas squads move into position. The moment these locations have been secured by their fellow Battle Sisters the Dominions embark on their transports once more, eager to engage their next target.
The vast majority of an Order Militant is made up of Battle Sisters. Every Battle Sister is an orphan raised from birth to believe in the righteousness of their cause. They are the most physically adept and martial members of the Adepta Sororitas, and they form the mainstay of the Ecclesiarchy’s fighting forces. Battle Sisters are well disciplined and highly devoted to the Emperor. Their greatest strengths are their superb weapons and armour, which they are trained in the use of from an early age. Battle Sisters fight in small units at close quarters, favouring bolters, flamers and meltaguns to eradicate their enemies utterly. When combined with their unquenchable faith, they are a force to be reckoned with, forming an army of totally incorruptible and highly motivated warriors who enforce the will of the Emperor, as interpreted by the Ecclesiarchy, with precise volleys of bolter fire.
Each squad of Battle Sisters is led by a Sister Superior. These warriors are ranked beneath the Canonesses of the Orders Militant and each is directly responsible for the conduct and training of her squad. When a Sororitas joins one of the Orders Militant, she will be adopted by a Sister Superior, and as she learns the ways of battle, it will be this mentor who looks after her physical and spiritual training. The most experienced Sisters Superior also assist the Canoness in the running of the Order, and many have specific duties and associated titles, including the Abbess of the Armoury, the Mistress of Recruits, the Ordinator of the Reliquary, and many more.
Confession and prayer are as much a part of a Battle Sister’s everyday existence as bolter drills and military discipline. Those who fall short of the Sisterhood’s rigorous codes are subject to many punishments, but in the more serious of cases the transgressor may be exiled from their Order. These warriors, known as Sisters Repentia, are each cast out with only a handful of rags, a hood to cover their face and a ceremonial eviscerator with which to strike down the Emperor’s enemies. Sisters Repentia band together into groups that seek redemption in the fires of battle, and they are led to war by a Mistress of Repentance – a harsh warrior who drives her charges onwards with a pair of neural whips. The Mistress judges each exiled Sister’s deeds and occasionally, at battle’s end, she may declare her sins atoned for. Although extremely rare, those few who return to the fold of their Order are held with great esteem by the Sisterhood.
To the Adepta Sororitas, those who seek forgiveness in the Emperor’s eyes by treading the path of a Sister Repentia occupy a state of grace that many aspire to, yet few ever attain. Indeed, some Battle Sisters willingly exile themselves, finding fault in the smallest imagined transgression in order to join the ranks of the Repentia. These Sisters are possessed of a righteous zeal that knows neither pain nor fear. They will die when the Emperor is ready to accept their souls, and not a moment before. These Sisters’ maniacal fervour inevitably means that they martyr themselves fighting against the most hopeless odds, finding in death the absolution denied to them in life.
Penitent Engines are towering, bipedal vehicles that rampage through the enemy’s battle lines, leaving death and carnage in their wake. The machines’ arm-mounted flamers blaze a trail of fiery destruction as they thunder towards their foes, and their gigantic, razor-edged buzz saws carve through armour, flesh and bone with every frenzied swipe.
To be a pilot of a Penitent Engine is to have committed a terrible crime, one so heinous that punishment such as imprisonment, exile, arco-flagellation or execution is deemed too lenient. Many of the unfortunates sentenced to pilot a Penitent Engine were once members of the Ecclesiarchy priests fallen from grace or Battle Sisters who have, through failure of duty or faith, caused the deaths of their fellows. A multitude of wires and chemical injectors are implanted into the condemned pilots’ spines, and when they are not ripping through the ranks of their enemies, lances of pain and images of guilt shoot directly into their brains, reminding them of their sins. Driven by their pilots’ frantic need for forgiveness, Penitent Engines charge towards the closest foe in sight heedless of any danger, knowing that only in death – theirs or the enemy’s – can forgiveness finally be earned.
Penitent Engines often charge into battle beside the ranks of the Orders Militant. The Sisters of Battle consider it their sacred duty to witness these great machines in the fires of combat, observing the actions of their fallen brothers and sisters as they atone for past sins and seek redemption.