Warhammer 40k’s Sisters of Battle are an all-female 40k army made up of zealous, power-armored battle nuns that are the closest thing fans have to female Space Marines. The Adepta Sororitas star is rising, too, with a massive range refresh and loads of new units in the last few years.
If you’d rather get a high-level overview of all the game’s armies, you can check out our Warhammer 40k factions guide – or focus on the Imperial armies with our guide to the forces of the Warhammer 40k Imperium of Man.
Otherwise, read on, sister – and let us help guide you to the light of the Emperor of Mankind. Our guide will show you just who the Adepta Sororitas are, and what sets them apart in the grim darkness of the far future.
- Adepta Sororitas 10th edition rules
- Adepta Sororitas Combat Patrol
- Adepta Sororitas lore
- Who are the Sisters of Battle Characters?
- Chaos Sisters of Battle
Adepta Sororitas 10th edition rules
The Adepta Sororitas 10th edition rules are available in the free Index from Games Workshop. The army is focused on short-range firepower, particularly flamer and melta weapons, plus brittle but powerful combat units.
Although the Sisters wear power armor similar to Space Marines, inside the case they’re just standard humans. They’ve got a 3+ armor save, and even a 6+ invulnerable save thanks to their faith in the Emepror, but toughness 3 across their infantry means they still go down under any concentrated weight of fire. But to the Sisters’ way of thinking, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing…
Adepta Sororitas Miracle Dice
The Adepta Sororitas army rule is Miracle dice. This is a pool of ‘pre-rolled’ dice: every time you gain a Miracle die you roll it and set the result aside. You gain one Miracle die at the start of each turn (yours and your opponents) and whenever a Sisters unit from your army is destroyed.
You can use Miracle dice on Acts of Faith. Before you roll a die, pick a Miracle dice and use its pre-rolled result instead of rolling. You can use an Act of Faith whenever you roll:
- Advance distance
- Battle-shock test
- Charge distance
- Weapon damage
- To hit
- To save
- To wound
Sisters of Battle Hallowed Martyrs detachment
The Hallowed Martyrs detachment emphasises the righteous fury (and disdain for personal safety) of the Sisters with its ‘Blood of Martyrs’ special rule. As soon as a unit in this detachment is below starting strength (or has lost one wound, in the case of a single-model unit), it gains +1 to Hit. It also gets +1 to wound when it drops below half strength.
The 40k Stratagems in this detachment are all about going out with a bang. Spirit of the Martyr allows sisters destroyed in melee before they’re able to fight to fight anyway, while Rejoice the Fallen allows the survivors of a unit that suffers casualties to enemy shooting to fire back on their assailants. Divine Intervention will even save a Sisters character from death…
Adepta Sororitas Combat patrol
The Adepta Sororitas Combat Patrol is a great starting point for the sisters army, and a self-contained force for the Combat Patrol game mode.
The Sisters of Battle Combat patrol contains 26 models, consisting of:
|Battle Sisters Squad
In Combat Patrol these units all have slightly different rules from their main Index entries. This balances them against other Combat Patrol boxes, and makes them slightly easier to use, but they perform similar roles.
Battle Sisters are objective-grabbing troops with reliable bolt weaponry. In the combat patrol they’re the only unit that the Cannoness can join: her Lead the Righteous ability grants them re-rolls to all their attacks.
The Seraphim are fast moving. They have fairly weak, short-ranged firepower, but they can move again after they shoot, allowing them to use hit and run tactics or simply grab objectives with bursts of movement.
The Penitent Engine, Repentia, and Flagellants are all deadly but extremely fragile melee combatants. There’s nothing stopping you popping the Repentia and Flagellants into the Rhino for some extra protection, but remember they won’t be able to charge if they disembark from the transport after it has moved.
Adepta Sororitas Lore
The Adepta Sororitas have been part of Warhammer 40k lore since the game debuted in 1987 (there are some gnarly drawings of them purging heretical Space Marines in the Rogue Trader book), but they wouldn’t get their own Warhammer 40k codex until a decade later, right at the tail end of second edition.
The Adepta Sororitas emerged from the 36th millennium, also known as the Age of Apostasy. The Ecclesiarchy, the church of the Imperium, was extremely corrupt. The High Lord of the Administratum at this time was Goge Vandire, who enacted a series of savage culls throughout the Ecclesiarchy, removing heads from many shoulders as he sought to root out the corruption.
Through political manoeuvring (and quite a few assassinations), Vandire positioned himself to rise to the head of the Ecclesiarchy as well, becoming High Lord of two of the most powerful branches of the Imperial government at once.
His reign over much of the Imperium became known in later years as the Reign of Blood, which gives you an idea of how well it went. He used the armies of the Ecclesiarchy with wild abandon, slaughtering entire worlds he thought had slighted him, indulging his desire for torture, and raising statues to his own glory across the galaxy.
On a planet named San Leor, Van Dire encountered a cult of women devoted to the worship of the Emperor, called the Daughters of the Emperor. Sensing an opportunity, he showed them a ‘miracle’ by deflecting a las-blast with his forcefield generator. The cult, which Vandire renamed the Brides of the Emperor, became his bodyguards and most trusted warriors.
During the long, civil struggle of the Reign of Blood, an Adeptus Custodes delegation approached Vandire’s chabers. They were confronted by the Brides of the Emperor, lead by their foremost sister, Alicia Dominica. The Custodian leader, Longinus of the Companions, entreated with Dominica, eventually escorting her into the holy presence of the Emperor himself.
Dopminica emerged a changed woman. She knew the truth, and how deeply she had erred. As wrathful as she was penitent, she lead her sisters to execute the raving Lord Vandire, who was by now lost utterly to madness. Goge Van Dire’s last words were: “I don’t have time to die, I’m too busy!”
With Van Dire’s death the Age of Apostasy came to an end. The Imperial Senate passed the Decree Passive, which prevented the Ecclesiarchy from fielding men under arms. Carefully following the very letter of the law, the Ecclesiarchy became the patrons of the all-female Brides of the Emperor as their military wing, renaming them once again into the Adepta Sororitas.
Since then, the Sisters of Battle have thrived, both as internal regulators for the Ecclesiarchy, and as holy soldiers, should the need arise. Their faith has never wavered, and they can be found on battlefields across the galaxy, clad in shining ceramite and praising the Emperor’s name, forever fighting the heretic, the witch, and the alien.
Who are the Sisters of Battle Characters?
There are plenty more Sisters of Battle Characters following the expansion of the Adepta Sororitas range during 9th Edition. Here’s some of the characters you might come across when looking into a Sisters of Battle army:
Morvenn Vahl, Abbess Sanctorum of the Adepta Sororitas
Whilst the Age of Apostasy taught the Ecclesiarchy some lessons, they still jockey for power and aren’t afraid to impose their will. An example of this is how they elected Morvenn Vahl to be the new Abbess Sanctorum of the Adepta Sororitas, believing the young warrior would be weak and easy to manipulate.
Unfortunately for them, she turned out to be a doughty warrior full of fire, and with a will they could not suborn. Vahl holds the rank of High Lord of Terra, yet she is a fighter who leads from the front line, wearing an ancient Purgator Mirabilis warsuit and wielding a deadly, ancient power spear gifted to her by the Adeptus Custodes.
Whilst the Sisters of Battle are firm in their faith, it doesn’t mean they don’t need correction from time to time. The Sister Dogmata is feared by both enemy and friend, as she is the only Adepta Sororitas who can condemn a sister to the Repentia. On the battlefield, she strikes at foes with her mace whilst exhorting the Battle Sisters to even greater feats of valour.
Surviving is a skill that can be learned like any other, and Canoness Veridyan has taken that skill to its extreme. A veteran of innumerable wars, she is a common figure on the front line, taking the battle to the foe with fury born of faith itself.
She is a paragon amongst the Sisters of Battle, armed with a fearsome blade that cuts through foes like butter. You might also recognise her as the star of the original 2nd Edition Sisters of Battle Codex cover.
Sister Superior Amalia Novena
Amalia Novena is one of the few Adepta Sororitas to rise to the post of Sister Superior. Hailing from the Order of the Martyred Lady, she is proficient in multiple styles of weaponry, and is a commander of near peerless aptitude.
Floating above the battlefield in the Pulpit of Saint Holline’s Basilica, wielding the Mace of Castigation, Junith Eruita can turn the tide of battle all by herself. She sweeps the ranks of the foe with heavy flamers and the power of her faith. Her prayers reach all corners of the fight, striking fear into the enemy as she rallies those who fight alongside her.
Celestine, the Living Saint
Living Saints are rare in the Imperium, but when one is named, their name rings out across the galaxy. Celestine is a winged angel of faith who fights with the power of the God-Emperor behind her. She can call down holy flame, scouring the unfaithful with a thought, or healing those who are worthy of her divine light.
Fighting alongside her are the Geminae Superia, Genevieve and Eleanor, who are utterly devoted to her. The novel Celestine: The Living Saint by Andy Clark reveals the terrible price Celestine must pay every time she returns from death.
A controversial figure amongst the Sisters, Ephrael Stern became the embodiment of 700 souls who found her worthy to fight against Chaos. However, in the Imperium, power is often as much curse as it is boon, and she is viewed with considerable suspicion by parts of the Inquisition, her ultimate role yet to be divined. Her story begins in the excellent graphic novel Daemonifuge.
Chaos Sisters of Battle
Every sentient soul is at risk to the temptations of Chaos, yet Chaos Sisters of Battle are exceedingly rare. The Chaos corrupted Miriael Sabathiel appears in the short story The Invitation by Dan Abnett – captured and corrupted by a Chaos Lord, she is under the sway of Slaanesh. She’s the only instance of a Chaos Sister of Battle in a 40k book.