Red Thirst and Black Rage – Blood Angels

Blood Angels – What is the Red Thirst and the Black Rage?

These were simple genetic flaws. Blood Angels gimmick. But lore and fluff changes all the time.

From 90’s gameplay, my original understanding of these ‘flaws’ was that they are an error in the gene-seed, passed down from Sanguinius, the Blood Angels legion Primarch. Nothing to do with vampires. Never, in any of the lore, Horus Heresy books, or GW banter did I get the impression that Sanguinius was a vampire. These powers were simply a great gimmick for an awesome chapter.

As the lore evolved over time, the Black Rage became a passed-down psychic memory of Sanguinius’ battle with Horus (AKA the Horus ‘warm-up’ prior to the epic “Battle on the Barge”. I am visualising the Horus vs Emperor promo posters now) When triggered, warriors re-live the trauma of Sanguinius’s memory of the notorius battle which ultimately lead to his death, channelling rage and ultimately the power of the Primarch for a few moments.

The Red Thirst is a little more vampiric, but not sure that was the original intention behind it. It is a thirst for blood, an extremely handy and effective battle rage looked at more as something to be ashamed of, something for the chapter to keep in check. As the lore developed, so entered the slightly elongated teeth vampire lore, and chapter background grew a little darker. It was originally, I think, seen as more of a genetic legacy – a battle fury and blood-hunger that must be well disciplined as part of the chapter’s development.


Obviously all blogs are personal observation and opinion on canon and in no way endorsed by GW, or part of any attempt to re-write lore. Evolving lore and exploratory fluff is a great, great thing.

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