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Reapers of Despair [WIP]

Magpie Knight

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I'm going to use this thread to work on an Index Chaotica article for my Night Lords warband, the Reapers of Despair. Also I'd like to use this warband for characters in any Inspiration Friday submissions I make. While my entire warband won't be Nurgle worshipers, I'm challenging myself to make it a part of the warband identity and the identity of it's Lord.


Most of what I've got written so far is about the Lord. The Reapers of Despair are shaping up to be a fractured group of squads cast off from other Night Lords warbands and brought together by a Lord who maintains control by capitalizing on the isolation that each individual piece of the warband feels. Any one squad owes it's primary loyalty to him, and when he dies the warband will inevitably dissolve.


Some ideas I want to include are:

  • Fever dreams as a vector of prophesy.
  • The idea of the Chaos Lord as a collector or scavenger (my Chaos Lord with jump pack model is modeled and painted with magpie wings).
  • The warband recharges its warp batteries, so to speak, by collecting despair from its victims (If you're familiar with Twin Peaks lore, I want this to be similar to garmonbozia being collected by the entities from the Black Lodge.)


Rather than focusing on the bloated, jolly, or diseased aspects on Nurgle, I want to focus on the despair, misery and lack of hope that he is associated with. I think that would be a natural fit with the Night Lords' preference for psychological warfare.


I'm also not 100% on the name yet, but the Reapers of Despair works fine for now.


General Information:


The Reapers of Despair are approximately equivalent in size to a company at most times. Based on a modified Vanguard Cruiser, the Grave Robber, they are in constant motion between the Cicatrix Maledictum and the Imperium Nihilus. When not raiding small, backwater worlds for slaves and supplies, they will hunt down relics and find abandoned, discarded, or rejected legionaries to add to the warband. In combat they above all else enjoy breaking their victims hope through psychological warfare. The leadership of the the Reapers of Despair use esoteric means to determine suitable victims, and avoid a fair fight at all costs. (Authors Note: The most interesting stories will obviously come from when they don't get to pick their fight.)

The greatest portion of the warband are marked by Nurgle as he is attracted to the hopelessness that they spread, however due to the patchwork nature of the warband there are members who reject the dark gods entirely as well as those marked by Khorne or Slaanesh. No members of the Reapers of Despair are marked by Tzeentch, however. 
Notable Characters:
Indrid Lang "The Magpie Lord": Lord of the Reapers of Despair. Known as the Magpie Lord as much for his post-battle looting and relic hunting, as for his tendency to recruit from cast off and abandoned legionaries. 
As a boy Indrid was abducted from a planet in the Thramas sector during the Heresy. In his ignorance, the planetary governor had pooled the best and brightest of the world's male children to offer as aspirants to the Dark Angels as thanks for their protection. The Dark Angles ignored the offering, however the 136th Assault Company of the Night Lords had intercepted the transmission. The 136th was reeling from their losses during the Thramas Crusade, and they were less particular about their recruitment methods in the wake of Nostramo's destruction. Indrid and the other boys were subject to an accelerated ascension to bolster the legion’s ranks for the upcoming Siege of Terra. His first combat mission was as an Assault Marine sewing discord in a hive city on Terra. 
Indrid never wanted to be part of the eighth legion and for a long time he bore resentment for his kidnapping and induction. He had once aspired to be a Dark Angel, and although he had never met either, he could not help but compare the deranged Night Haunter dis-favorably to the knightly and dignified Lion. After the failure of the Siege, Indrid harbored a hatred of his own Legion and by extension himself. In his naivety he believed that the Imperium would make an effort to sort out the loyal sons who were seized by the traitor legions and reintegrate them into the Imperium after the Heresy was over. Despite his participation in the Siege, he was convinced that he would be exonerated due to the circumstances of his recruitment. He was soon disabused of this notion when the Ultramarine legion's combined successor chapters came to purge the Night Lords’ bastion on Tsagualsa. The crushing despair he experienced when he realized how wrong he was helped push him to finally embrace his Legion out of spite. 
In the chaos following the fall of Tsagualsa, Indrid disappeared into the Eye with the tattered remnants of the 136th Assault company in a battered civilian frigate. Hundreds of years later he emerged from the Eye in a previously unknown strike cruiser, the Grave Robber. The few remaining members of Indrid’s company had devolved into mindless Warp Talons loyal only to him. Despite the fact that he had never even attained the rank of Brother-Sergeant prior to departing for the Eye, he was now a Lord in command of his own ship and armed with finely wrought weapons and armor. The rest of the company was lost.
And so he sought to bolster the ranks of his warband with the cast offs and abandoned members of other Night Lords warbands. He searches them out on space hulks, cold battlefields, and forgotten outposts. He offers refuge to the exiled and the betrayed because they are in no position to turn him down. Often times this means he will recruit legionaries that have been deemed too corrupted by the more puritanical warbands. Indrid has no such compunctions. 
Tiborc: A Warpsmith. He is responsible for the creation and maintenance of daemon-engines as well as the maintenance of the Reapers of Despair’s more mundane vehicles. He has a high workload and is frustrated that nobody in the legion appreciates how difficult it is to repair vehicles in the Eye of Terror.
Tiborc developed Empyrean Metrology- a method to take into account the warp induced mutations and distortion in the process of Eye based manufacturing. Ambient background emotion must be taken into account similar to temperature and humidity in a materium based lab for accurate measurements to be taken. Bitterness at being under-appreciated is the baseline emotion for a proper measurement lab. 
Rikard: A Helbrute. Contains the remains of Captain Rikard, former captain of an eighth Legion battle company. He was maimed and left for dead by a usurper. Indrid found him and ordered him interred in a dreadnought sarcophagus. In exchange for revenge on his usurper, he would join the Reapers of Despair as an adviser.
Gar’mon'boz’yia "The Flayed King":  A daemon of Nurgle. His Grandfather given duty is to collect the misery and despair of mortals and bring it back to the Garden to power the Grandfather’s miracles. Indrid bound him by his true name during his time in the Eye.
After his binding Indrid continues to feed the Flayed King mortal misery, but denies him the ability to return to the Garden of Nurgle. Instead the Flayed King is forced to consume the misery himself and produce warpcraft on Indrid’s behalf. Oftentimes this manifests itself as a prophetic fever dream that reveals the location of supplies, recruits, or victims. 
Because of the warband's relationship with the Flayed King, spreading despair and misery is not just a means to an end or a preferred method of warfare, but is actually a military objective in and of itself.


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I like what you have, makes the lord interesting. I'm not sure about the despair part of Nurgle though, it may be better to frame that as resilience or perseverance in how the warband picks up stragglers and they find purpose? As far as I know, Nurgle is fine with despair as part of the path to embracing him (and being free of despair in doing so), but that's usually in the form of despair from disease so if you want to keep that it'd be better to find a way to link it to him more somehow?

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I like what you have, makes the lord interesting. I'm not sure about the despair part of Nurgle though, it may be better to frame that as resilience or perseverance in how the warband picks up stragglers and they find purpose? As far as I know, Nurgle is fine with despair as part of the path to embracing him (and being free of despair in doing so), but that's usually in the form of despair from disease so if you want to keep that it'd be better to find a way to link it to him more somehow?


I've been thinking a lot about what you've said. My initial idea was to invoke more of the dour plague bearer aspect of Nurgle than the gregarious nurgling/ GUO aspects of Nurgle. I'm going to do some reading up of the old Realm of Chaos books, the Daemons Codex, and the Lords of Silence novel to see if I can find a more solid way to tie it into the lore..


Maybe rather than reaping or harvesting despair, they are sewing despair (to keep with the agricultural motif). By spreading pain and misery among mortals they help start them on the path to Nurgle. Although I can't help but see them more as takers.


I have also been kicking around an idea for a warp-borne disease that feels appropriate to the Night Lords. A flaying virus that causes skin to tear away from the body more easily. In late stages even the softest touch causes your skin to slough off. The victim eventually skins themselves alive just by performing basic movements. Every movement is agony. Unless of course they give in to the embrace of Nurgle, then they're still skinless, but they don't mind it anymore.

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I think that's the best angle to take; by spreading despair they're really just sowing the recruitment of Nurgle worshippers. After all, they'll all be much better off once they embrace Nurgle, right? It's for their own good :wink: Each new crop adds to their resolution to their cause, and proof that their endurance was right. Picking up the lost and abandoned is a great way to recruit true believers, so it could be a positive feedback loop that encourages them to increase and improve their methods so any new recruit is soon embracing what some might consider the Night Lord's more "extreme" methods :smile.:

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