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  1. From the album: WIP

    © Mine

  2. From the album: IF Strike Force

    WIP pic of Brother-Librarian Haegl

    © Mine

  3. From the album: IF Strike Force

    WIP pic of Brother-Librarian Haegl

    © Mine

  4. From the album: IF Strike Force

    WIP pic of Brother-Librarian Haegl

    © Mine

  5. From the album: IF Strike Force

    Demi-squad of 3rd squad, 5th Company, under Veteran-Sergeant Xerxes. part of my ETL III Vow.

    © Mine

  6. From the album: IF Strike Force

    My own plastic incarnation, here carrying a force sword (magnetised). Part of my ETL III Vow.

    © Mine

  7. From the album: IF Strike Force

    My 5th company Ancient ( and yes, it is the Nidon you think of). Carrying Plasma Pistol and Chainsword (magnetised)

    © Mine

  8. From the album: IF Strike Force

    Brother Phaetos, encased in a Dreadnought. Part of my ETL III Vow.

    © Mine

  9. From the album: IF Strike Force

    My test miniature for my personal MK. 3 coloursceme

    © Mine

  10. From the album: IF Strike Force

    My test miniature for my personal MK. 3 coloursceme (alternate image)

    © Mine

  11. From the album: IF Strike Force

    My (somewhat out of focus) starting pic for the ETL III

    © Mine

  12. Mainly looking for refinement of point allocation on these models as it’s not meant to be super competitive, but I also don’t want to get steamrolled. HQ (120pts): Delegatus -Artificer Armor -Refractor Field -Melta Bombs -Plasma Pistol -Power Sword Elites (645pts): 2x Contemptor Dreadnought -Twin Linked Lascannon -Havok Launcher Terminator Squad (5 man) -Teleport Transponder -Cataphractii Armor -4x Power Axe -3x Combi Bolter -1x Plasma Blaster --Sergeant w/ ---Grenade Harness ---Power Sword ---Combi Bolter Troops (795pts): 3x Tactical Squad -Nuncio Vox -Bolters --Sergeant w/ ---Artificer Armor ---Melta Bombs --Rhino w/ ---Heavy Bolter ---Hunter Killer Missile Tactical Support Squad -Volkite Calivers --Sergeant w/ ---Artificer Armor ---Combi Plasma --Rhino w/ ---Heavy Bolter ---Hunter Killer Missile Heavy Support (440pts): Leviathan Siege Dreadnought -Drop Pod -Grav Flux Bombard -Siege Drill -Armored Ceramite -Phosphex Discharger
  13. Hi all, I haven't played in an age and list-building was never my strong suit, so I'd really appreciate a bit of help with my Fist-list. I should mention: Unit choices are decided in part based on what I enjoy the look of and what I think I'd enjoy painting - I don't need this to be top-tier, but I'd like to be able to do a pickup game without being utterly destroyed, and your comments would be much appreciated! This being said, there's nothing I'm absolutely wedded to, other than really wanting to include the termie squad in cataphractii and the Consul Champion and Banner bearer from the command squad. I've got the majority of the models in this list already, but I'm absolutely not opposed to getting more plastic, as both my bank account and bits box can attest. Zone Mortalis, 1500 points - HQ [460pts] - Legion Champion (Consul) [110pts]: Artificer Armour , Bolt Pistol, Melta Bombs, Power Sword Praetor, Legion [350pts]: Artificer Armour, Digital Lasers, Grenade Harness, Iron Halo, Paragon Blade, Plasma Pistol Command Squad, Legion [150pts]: Melta BombsSpace Marine Chosen: Bolt Pistol, Bolter, Combat Shield, Power Fist Space Marine Chosen: Bolt Pistol, Bolter, Combat Shield, Power Fist Standard Bearer: Bolt Pistol, Power Weapon - Elites [240pts] - Apothecarion Detachment [50pts] . Apothecary: Augury Scanner, Chainsword/Combat Blade, Power Armor Contemptor Dreadnought Talon [190pts] . Contemptor Dreadnought, Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon, Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon - Troops [640pts] - Tactical Squad [155pts]: 9x Tactical Space Marines . Additional Wargear: Additional Chainswords/Combat Blades, Bolters, Vexilla . Tactical Sergeant: Bolter, Chainsword/Combat Blade Terminator Squad [255pts] - Cataphractii Armour . Terminator Sergeant: Pair of Lightning Claws . Terminator: Pair of Lightning Claws . Terminator: Pair of Lightning Claws . Terminator: Pair of Lightning Claws . Terminator: Chainfist, Heavy Flamer Veteran Tactical Squad [230pts] - Veteran Tactics: Marksmen . Veteran Sergeant: Bolt Pistol, Bolter, Power Fist . Veteran Space Marine W/ Special Weapon: Bolt Pistol, Chainsword, Heavy Bolter and Suspensor Web . Veteran Space Marine W/ Special Weapon: Bolt Pistol, Chainsword, Plasma gun . Veteran Space Marine: Bolt Pistol, Bolter, Vexilla, Power Sword . 6 Veteran Space Marines: Bolt Pistol, Bolter, Chainsword - Heavy Support [160pts]- Heavy Support Squad [160pts]: . 5 Autocannons Rite of War: Pride of the Legion The plan is to grind the opponent down with the HSS and the Marksmen Vets, try to position the Tacticals to pull of a rapid-fire Fury of the Legion with that lovely BS5, and let the Termies and Command Squad handle counter-assaults. Apothecary will slot into the Command Squad to give them a bit of resilience, and the dread goes hunting for either other walkers or smallish infantry blobs, where the Kheres or the DCCW can really hurt. I'm positive there's holes in that plan large enough to drive a Land Raider through, so I'd love to hear your thoughts.
  14. The Cerberus Chapter The Edge of Chaos: Origins During the millennia following the Sentinel Founding, the Sons of Unity Chapter had many successful campaigns, repelling numerous Ork, and later Tyranid and Tau incursions on a number of fronts. On several occasions the Chapter performed joint operations with regiments of the Imperial Guard, as well as other Adeptus Astartes Chapters, and always to great effect. On other occasions, when the threat of the Orks or other xenos was too great and no Imperial allies were at hand, the Chapter fought alongside the forces of xenos which shared threatened worlds, even once at the side of the elusive Eldar. Many brothers grew concerned that the Chapter was compromising too much, and risked opening the door to xenos uprisings. It was from the fires of these battles with and against xenos allies, and from the fallen brothers along the way, that the first seeds of schism were sown in the Sons of Unity. One Marine in particular loathed the very notion that his Chapter had defended xenos worlds or interests; death was preferable to accepting xenos aid. After the disastrous and costly battle fought alongside the Eldar, the flame of hatred grew into a consuming and towering inferno. In the peace time of the months that followed, a message appeared in circulation among the worlds of the Systems Alliance, the council of worlds that answers to and supplies the Sons of Unity. The message appeared to be full of the Emperor's fervor. It called for humanity to rise from its squalid seat on scattered worlds and take back the stars as the Emperor had sought to do during the Great Crusade. It went so far as to decry the actions of Chapter Master Androssen and the Sons of Unity, demanding the immediate exterminatus of xenos races within their reach and a covenant between the Systems Alliance and its Chapter to never again accept the aid of the xenos unless to use them as the tools they were meant to be, for the furtherance of Mankinds interests. Needless to say, the message caused uproar throughout the systems, while Androssen and the Sons only watched silently and sternly from their ships above. Attempts to trace the message lead only as far as a dead Astropath on Rho, the Chapter Homeworld. Many were frightened or appalled that anyone would speak out against a Chapter Master with such force, others, a small but often wealthy minority, were inclined to agree. It was not long after that Androssen relinquished command of the Chapter, returning to the Veteran Company. However, the hierarchy leadership on Rho, together with the new Chapter Master Brahm Kahoku dismissed the message as the ravings of one "elusive and overzealous man." Unfortunately, it was more than just a man. Janus Maeleth of the 3rd squad and 5th company had been a non-native recruit to the Chapter, as well as of non-military parentage, a rare trait amongst recruits. Since his induction he had shown nothing less than an Astartes spirit. In private, though, he had a vision of a different Imperium, the undisputed power in the galaxy, an Imperium like the days of the Emperor. As he examined the galaxy's present situation though, the only future he could imagine for it was one ever grimmer and darker. The Sons' involvement with the Eldar prompted him to finally act. If he could only spread his vision to the larger Imperium, perhaps things could change. When his secret manifesto was disregarded by the Chapter Master, Maeleth prepared to take matters into his own hands. It began with a request for the Chapter's attention to a threat in the remote system of Akuze, a request coinciding with the first orders of the 25th founding. Janus, well known throughout his company for his skill at spotting an opportunity, convinced his squad sergeant to volunteer them for the contingent being dispatched to Akuze. To his fellow marines it was a good omen; whenever the squad followed one of Maeleth's plans they had never failed. Unfortunately for them, Janus was looking at a different opportunity. Arriving on Akuze, the five squad contingent found the small Imperial colony in ruin, no survivors and no sign of what had caused the destruction. Or so they had thought. Even as they had entered the system Janus, manning the sensor array, had detected the telltale signs of life still on Akuze, and before they had landed he had discovered a single, massive decomposing xenos corpse near the colony's edge. It appeared to be some sort of giant subterranean serpent. Janus later speculated that this was one of the first vanguard organism strikes by the Tyranids, but he left no evidence to determine the truth. Withholding this deadly secret from his brothers, the detachment scouted the ruins and found only a few broken, mangled corpses. Careful to lead the team away from the serpentine corpse, the marines prepared to leave. When they regrouped, Janus was missing. No sooner was the realization made, then the attack came. No less than seven of the massive burrowing serpents attacked the unit, claiming eight marines in the first seconds alone. The battle, if it could be called that, was over in minutes, leaving forty nine marines strewn on and beneath Akuze's surface. Janus had left his brothers long before the attack had come and returned to their dropship, damaging the ship till it could barely fly. As he commanded the ship alone back to Rho, he carefully sabotaged its systems, erasing essential reports and surveys. He then relayed repeated urgent messages to Imperial authorities in the vicinity, claiming that a vast, unknown xenos fleet was approaching, and passed on censored details of the mission on Akuze. By the time Janus had made it back to Rho to share his report with the Chapter, the Tarot were already being consulted back on Terra. While the Chapter Master was still reviewing Maeleths report for submission to the Chapter Librarium, the orders were returned from the High Lords: Janus Maeleth was to be promoted to lead a training cadre in the formation of a new Chapter meant to stall the xenos invasion. Terra had confirmed an impending threat from the subsectors surrounding Akuze and now meant to rely on Maeleths experience to defend Imperial space. Janus led the training cadre to the subsector of Akuze, where they began to recruit from the young colonial world of Shanxi. There they took the name of Cerberus, bound to guard the Imperium forever with watchful eyes in every direction. After nearly four decades leading and training neophytes, building up its arsenal, and maturing the necessary organs and gene-seed while the Chapter slowly grew, no sign of the fleet that Maeleth claimed destroyed his brothers ever appeared. The Sons of Unity soon withdrew from their successor. Kahoku hadnt trusted Janus ever since his return, and for all those years his report from Akuze remained under scrutiny. The two Chapters had cut ties before the first Cerberus marine donned Power Armor. Imperial authorities showed no concern or suspicion, relying not on the report of one Marine, but on the divination of the Tarot. It had promised a threat would rise from the Akuze subsector, and the Cerberus Chapter was the answer. Home World Assigned Home World: Shanxi Shanxis history in the Imperiums records is a small, tragic footnote. It had been colonized barely more than three centuries prior to the organization of the Cerberus Chapter, and enjoyed notoriety for housing the growing force. Colonists favored the world for having Adeptus Astartes protectors, although no colonist was ever allowed to see or interact with a Cerberus Marine. For several decades after the founding, Shanxi enjoyed unparalleled peace. After that, according to Imperial record, Shanxi was abruptly attacked and almost purged of life by an unknown xenos fleet which retreated only at the appearance of a sizeable Sons of Unity strike fleet. Why the Sons of Unity were in the area remains unknown, but they only opened communication with the colonial refugees upon learning that the Cerberus Chapter appeared to have been destroyed in its youth, leaving only the remains of a single Gladius frigate and a few attack craft destroyed by the xenos scattered in decaying orbit. Refugee accounts reported enormous plumes of flame erupting from the facilities of the fledgling Chapter, and indeed no corpse was found in the planetary fortress or the derelict fleet craft that was not charred beyond recognition. In time, Shanxis population recovered, but their pride never did, and the world has since been largely forgotten. Meanwhile, sector and segmentum authorities were left to wonder if the near loss of Shanxi was the threat Cerberus had been founded to forestalland if the Chapter had simply been doomed to destruction from the start. Second Home World: Akuze In truth Shanxi was only another ploy by Janus. The planets invaders had been enticed into attacking the planet by transmissions from the new Chapter Master. Sacrificing a few of the new marines and neophytes, as well as the frigate, the remaining Cerberus Marines departed Shanxi during the battle, and returned to Akuze. The planet had not been recolonized, but declared a death world. It had barely been habitable before, largely a rocky, mountainous mass with a sandy surface ill-suited for anything but small scale mining. From orbit Maeleth ordered the destruction of the dens of the serpentine creatures that had laid the groundwork for his plan all those years ago. For a little more than a century after, Akuze was the home of Cerberus. Potential recruits were kidnapped from surrounding systems and brought back for testing and induction, though Maeleth stopped the creation of additional marines well before the Chapter reached full codex strength. One final time, the Cerberus Chapter took to the stars, destroying their facilities, purging records and leaving no trace of their stay on Akuze. The Fleet: Despite abandoning any kind of homeworld, the Chapter is not confined to its fleet, which is modest in size. The Chapter maintains fairly rooted local bases wherever its cells operate. Most of the Chapters marines are concentrated in roving fleet detachments with the highest ranking marine overseeing two to three operations, which are largely staffed and run by serfs. Battle Barge: Anadius Strike Cruiser: Western Maw, Crimson Maw, Winter Maw, Fang of Orthus, Charon, Penumbra Apex, Strobilos Key Worlds: Cord-Hislop- Secret Manufactorum/Serf recruitment Eldfell Ashworld- Warp->Population experiment, Imperial Freighter Ter Alan Combat Doctrine The Cerberus Chapter is well and truly divergent from their progenitors. Where the Sons of Unity fight cohesively in sizeable forces and use codex organization, Cerberus troops often fight in thin and independent units, sometimes no larger than a combat squad. The Chapters cell organization has led to Cerberus Marines being accustomed to limited communication. In battle, the spread of squads will often use long ranged attacks to probe enemy weaknesses. Upon finding one, the squads redeploy with those facing stiffer resistance giving ground in order to support the rest of the force in striking the weak point. Often, by the time an enemy realizes that their targets have not retreated, but flanked them, it is too late for a counter. When two or more cells fight together, one commander will preside and give broad orders which squad leaders are free to accomplish as they see fit, making the force as a whole unpredictable. Cerberus strategies revolve around being rapid, and untouchable; altogether elusive, with only the rarest applications of brute force. Because there goals are best served by anonymity, large scale combat actions are rarely undertaken, and never alongside allies outside the Chapter. They do not employ devastator squads or battle tanks and have few transports. Through extensive research they have adopted a unique brand of Dreadnought known as the Atlas, which make use of highly modular chassis to house and conceal data cores. These have greatly aided in protecting Chapter data stores by giving them both mobility and defenses, but also made them the Chapters most important relics. Organization Current Chapter Master: Janus Maeleth- The Chapter Master lives up to the title by which the Chapter serfs identify him: the Illusive Man. Maeleth and Captain Corei disappeared in pursuit of an artifact less than a half a century after the Chapter left Akuze. Now almost six hundred years later, as the Sons of Unity become not only increasingly aware, but also more threatening of the Chapters operations, Maeleth and Corei have returned, claiming to have been enlightened by a sojourn in the warp. The brothers Arterius, who had shared leadership of Cerberus after the demise of the previous Master, insisted only on the tests of genetic purity, after which they relinquished command. Maeleths actions since then have managed to steer the Chapter away from the searchlight of the Sons, but the danger is still there. Masters/Company Captains: Master of Sanctity: Rei Ashe- Brother-Chaplain Ashe most often appears at the head of joint cell operations. He is the first among the Chapters Chaplains to have envisioned the threat posed by their parent Chapter, and has been personally responsible for multiple successful evasions. Forge/Fleet: Saren Arterius- A deadly void strategist, Arterius is sure to be present if elements of Cerberus fleet engage the enemy above atmosphere. In a juxtaposition of doctrine, Arterius will almost always attempt to maximize firepower and outnumber the enemy if possible. The sizeable fleet at the Chapters disposal complements this tactic. Saren led the Chapter for almost a century before Maeleths return. Apothecarion: Astrico Nurinos- Most frequently found working with the research Cell, the Chief Apothecary and his drastic methods are responsible for reviving the first marines from the Sleeping Death. Chief Librarian/Research Cell: Kai Lanius (Chapter Librarians, cerca. 75 Marines) The Research Cell is formed largely by Chapter serfs, who are mostly scientists, or medical personnel plucked from the elite of a number of worlds the Chapter has encountered. They are responsible for the maintenance and guard of stored gene-seed as well as finding ways to implement technology recovered through the efforts of the Artifact Cell. Working in concert with serfs of the Armory Cell, the Librarium pioneered advancements in the free-form power fields used in Sons of Unity digital weapons, leading to the mass distribution of effective power bayonets. Lanius delegates most recording and research duties to his understudies and prefers to oversee the testing of the Cells experiments, usually in combat. Notable Librarians: Paulus Grayson Telon Vasir Armory Cell: Don Pelos-Red (cerca. 250 Marines) When Cerberus deploys in force, it is the Armory Cell and Don Pelos that lead them. Pelos is a savage combatant with a more earnest hatred for xenos than most, including the Chapter Master, and also the first Armory Cell commander to lead the Chapter into battle against loyalist forceswho happened to be the Sons of Unity. The cell is divided into five equal groups led by sub-commanders. Pelos tends to depend on these and the squad leaders to execute appropriate tactics, as the Cell commander is only satisfied at the heart of battle, or personally maintaining the Chapters arsenal. Maeleths Personal Cell: Evarus Corei-White (cerca. 50 Marines) The highest rank a Cerberus marine can attain is to serve in the Chapter Masters personal Cell. These marines may be veterans of a thousand battles, but under Corei they spend most of their time coordinating the operations of other Cells. Corei remains silent as to the details of his time in the warp, and on the battlefield maintains the same icy demeanor. When Maeleths Cell takes to the field, it is an ill omen for the enemy indeed. Infiltration Cell: Fairn Drellius-Black (cerca. 25 Marines, 75-175 Scouts) As part of the second most active Cell, the troops under Fairn Drellius command are spread across many sectors. The missions handed down to them are frequently political espionage and politically motivated assassinations, though they serve just as well on the battlefield. The Infiltration Cell employs most of the Chapters serfs as secret emissaries to dignitaries, planetary governors and any potential allies or benefactors to the cause of The Illusive Man the serfs purport to serve. Maeleth goes to great lengths to put such players into power, and in return the Chapter has a significant flow of resources outside that of official channels and eyes spanning almost an entire Segmentum. Artifact Cell: Desolas Arterius-Yellow (cerca. 200 Marines) Desolas appeared particularly pleased to resume command of the Artifact Cell when the Chapter Master returned. The primary functioning Cerberus Cell, ordained to scour the galaxy for anything and everything that can aid in humanitys advancement, it has never seen more success than the years since Maeleth reappeared. These artifacts usually take the form of xenos tech, and usually must first be acquired from xenos possession. Artifact marines tend to be the most experienced in combat in the Chapter, but also have acquired substantial knowledge both of technologies and cultures. The debriefings following every operation are almost as important as the work itself, and protecting that knowledge is held as a sacred duty. Cell Operations: The Cells operate as independently as possible, with the Armory Cell being the most cooperative. Outside that, Cerberus fanatically guards their knowledge and, as often as possible, their identity from any and all organizations in or outside the Imperium. When private communication is necessary, steganographic messages are sent embedded in otherwise ordinary Imperial broadcasts. The ability to decipher these messages rests solely with marines, as no serf could be trusted to keep quiet if captured. Operation Shingle: Aimed at adapting varied Imperial assets, especially military resources, for Cerberus use. High value objectives are focused on assets and materials previously held exclusive by other Imperial organizations or Astartes Chapters. Op initiated by the capture of a Callidus assassin. Operation Phoenix: Attempts to awake/expand psyker abilities in different subjects. Eldfell turned to ashen Deathworld. Operation Doorway: Imperial citizens in useful positions across multiple sectors disappear, to be replaced by Chapter serfs, providing intel on local governments and cults both helpful and harmful. Essential in the subterfuge of the Blue Sons cult, whose radical beliefs culminated in an attempted mass sacrifice to reincarnate the Emperor from the Warp. Zero loyalist casualties. Indoctrination: The hypnotherapy of Cerberus marines extends beyond conditioning them against the horrors of war, but also subtly altering their attitudes, enhancing their loyalty, and ensuring no conflict of ideals with the Chapters oftentimes questionable methods. It is rumored among Chapter serfs that xenos tech may be used to achieve this end. Beliefs Since Janus original manifesto against the xenos, the Chapters views have evolved into the same. Xenos civilizations are seen as obstructions to humanitys progress, useful only for providing mankind with the resources and technology necessary to advance. The Chapter venerates knowledge only. Through the Chaplains, Janus has taught that the Emperor is no more, that while he was the pinnacle of humankind in his time, he will not return. Humanity must carve its own path in the galaxy, but is ill equipped to do so. The Cerberus Chapter is their strong arm, the one force truly looking out for mans best interests. To this end, life is a resource which sometimes must be sacrificed. To achieve its ends, the Chapter will overthrow an Imperial Governor or assassinate an Inquisitor in a heartbeat if they believe them to be a hindrance to the Chapters strength, believing that strength for Cerberus is strength for humanity. Unlike most imperial organizations, xenos tech is not abhorred but treasured and studied by the Chapter, who believe it is the key to ensuring mankinds dominance in the galaxy. The Chapter has cells researching Mind Impulse Unit applications, teams in every corner of two Segmentums searching for STCs, and machine cults working constantly at reverse engineering useful xenos tech. Much of this technology finds its way onto the battlefield, with frequent use of plasma and power weapons, and every scouts first weapon is the sniper rifle. The most frequent meeting of Cells are the Armory and Artifact contingents, the former often ensuring the security of the latter as lost relics and potentially useful tech is hunted down for the Chapters collection and study. Gene-seed Though still bearing the Sus-an Membrane failure known to the Sons of Unity as the Sleeping Death, the Cerberus Chapter has made far greater strides towards curing the condition. While their progenitors study and seek to cure the Sleeping Death within Imperial sanctioned parameters, the Cerberus Chapter cannot be burdened with such restrictions and much of its research devoted to correcting the Sus-ans forced coma is of questionable nature. Maeleth brought with him startling biotech research when he returned, which jumped the cure process centuries ahead of what Chapter Apothecaries had projected. Only seventy years ago, the first activation of the body of a comatose marine occurred, under the direction of Apothecary Nurinos. It appears, though that much of the mind is still beyond awakening, and the process produces little more than numb and volatile shock troops. The current technology of the Imperium has limited the research significantly. Unperturbed, Nurinos has approved many of these awakened marines for combat duty, and they have proved brutally efficient in the field. Battle-cry Battlecry: Humanity Prevails! Motto: Semper Vigilus Chapter Badge art of http://guardianoftheforce.deviantart.com/ wallpaper.
  15. The Sons of Unity Space Marines Chapter Origins It is a well-documented truth that during the foundings following the 21st a great deal of extra care was taken to ensure not only the purity of the genetic material used in producing new Chapters, but also to guarantee the faith and worth of recruits. Too long had the worlds of the Imperium waned under the ever growing xenos menace. Chaos continued to spread while the Emperor's Angels of Death spent their precious blood to stem its advance. During the next millennium, countless marines fell in glorious combat, defending mankind. The weakened reaches of the Imperium needed to be reforged and made strong again. So during the 23rd founding when orders were handed down from the seats of Terra to raise a new Chapter in the Dominion of Storms, Imperial agents could hardly have been happier to receive the reports of the Rho system. At the head of a coalition of smaller systems they call the Systems Alliance, the Rhoans claimed that their world could bring honor to a Chapter as its home world. Further investigation by a joint commission from Terra and Mars confirmed the hive world's claim. At the heart of the Dominion of Storms, Rho was ideally placed to house a Chapter of Space Marines. In the following decades preparations were made, and geneseed sought after. Here, problems began to occur. The initial batch of gene-seed, which records indicate was supplied by a successor of the Salamanders, vanished enroute to Rho, leaving no trace. After this the Chapter whose tithe had now been lost refused to provide any more genetic material. Between the late hour of the founding and the sheer volume of Adeptus Astartes already raised, support for the ordained Chapter started to dwindle. It was then that the gene-seed of the zealous Shadow Wolves fell into consideration. A proud example of Adeptus Astartes of Imperial Fists stock, the Shadow Wolves were more than willing to sire a Chapter, and from their stores a supply was formed. The Chapter's Master of the Forge was chosen to lead the training cadre, and with the blessing of the High Lords and the Emperor, the force set out to answer the needs of Man. Arriving on Rho, the training cadre found a world truly ripe for the birth of an Adeptus Astartes Chapter. The people of Rho were united, but had done so through their militancy. They had spawned a deeply disciplined and stringent society, and formed chains of command as much in their social structure as in their local military force, which until then had been largely devoted to supplying and manning nearby Guard formations. Provided with the great honor and responsibility of a Chapter of Space Marines reinforced their ideals, and they looked upon their world as truly blessed by the Emperor. Their education was strongly infused with military doctrine, their environment produced hardy children, and their dedication to the Emperor was unquestionable. Stefan Hacaitus, the new Chapter Master, made sure to personally oversee the first selection of recruits, and as they stood at attention beneath his calm gaze, he announced to the initiates and their people the name of their protectors. They would honor the symbol of their people, and be known ever after as the Sons of Unity Chapter. As the attending crowd exploded into cheers and celebration, the compliment of Neophytes overpowered them, bellowing the first sounding of the Chapter Battlecry, led by their Sergeants: "Strong alone! Stronger together!" History Throughout their history, the Sons of Unity have become known not only for their skill with combined arms, but also for the stigma of cooperating with xenos on numerous occasions. Specific records are spotty, but show that in nearly any instance where multiple factions have joined battle and a xenos foe has extended an offer of alliance in favor of crushing a common enemy, the Sons of Unity have accepted, and there have even been rumors that the Sons themselves have been the first to open communication. Such rumors are stifled where possible, but their shadow remains. As can be expected, there have been times when this has backfired and it has cost the Chapter dearly. On one particular occasion the Chapter allied with the elusive Eldar, whose Craftworld was hastening through their space to fulfill its own enigmatic objectives even as a tide of Orks descended on the system. Whatever the Eldar sought, it appeared they could not afford a long campaign against the green horde, and offered to aid the Sons of Unity in cleansing their home system. The Eldar, following their own unintelligible battle plans, were nearly impossible to coordinate with and despite successfully putting down the Ork threat, the companies involved suffered heavy losses. When Sergeants of the Sons of Unity attempted to detain the Eldar after the battle for debriefing, they were cut down as the Craftworld sought to continue its mad pace out of the system. In retribution the then Chapter Master, Davian Androssen, engaged the Eldar navy and cut a swathe to the Craftworld itself. Eventually the Eldar escaped with their fleet all but decimated, but not before again inflicting painful casualties on Unity forces and subjecting more marines to the Sleeping Death. Androssens masterful maneuvers with the fleet earned him the nickname Admiral among the locals. At the same time, systems belonging to other nearby xenos faction, and even former allies, began to foolishly entertain ideas of expansion. The danger posed prevented the Chapter from pursuing full justice on the Eldar. The efforts of the local xenos were eventually halted by Unity QRFs, and in the atmosphere of bloodlust, certain voices within the Chapter called for the exterminatus of these lesser races, but Androssen would not permit an action that would completely extinguish a race without an edict from the High Lords of Terra themselves. Admiral Androssens fame spread throughout fleets and navies in nearby sectorsbut his authority within the Chapter was irreparably cracked. It wasnt long before Androssen stepped down, but his legacy continues to be felt as the Sons of Unity became markedly more adept at employing Thunderhawk formations after transposing the his tactics.The consequences of the Eldar incident and the xenos incursions that followed were the defining challenges of the next Chapter Masters career. Despite being relatively new to the Veteran Company, Brother Kahoku, another very skilled void strategist, was elevated to lead the Sons of Unity. Special Hatred of Chaos (Reapers) Mistrust of Successor Chapter Home World Rho is an ocean hive world the Dominion of Storms, roughly between Tangar and Jhenna. There are a few small landmasses composed only of bare rock, and from and around the largest of these are the hive cities created. Contrary to most hives, the more luxurious portions(Or what passes for it among the spartan Rhoans) are deeper in the rock, beneath the waves, and include many transparisteel halls and rooms branching out into the deep, some of which are actually quite ornate. Above these, just out of reach of the tides and waves are the usual manufactorums and industrial districts, with the higher portions of the hives dominated by defensive bastions. On and below the water's surface the Rhoans employ gargantuan craft that house, train, and deploy their military forces. The largest of these constitute mobile planetary defense platforms whose ability to disappear beneath the sea have made the planet quite a fortress in its hostile sector. Indeed, all of Rhos most vital tech, its leadership, and most Sons of Unity facilities are hidden beneath the planets oceans. The Fortress Monastery of the Chapter is known as the Valley Citadel. The only valleys on the planet are the underwater trenches, and it is in the widest of these that the bulk of the Citadel is housed. Protected from direct attack by melta-type depth charges and torpedo emplacements, and guarded against indirect approach by one of the planets defense platforms and a suite of early warning and targeting systems housed on Rhos moon, there are few better defended strongholds for lightyears. The Apothecarion is separated from the Monastery, making use of multiple of the Rhoans submarine housing craft to stay spread out and hidden among the many other trenches crisscrossing the ocean floor. Rho is not without mysteries of its own, though. Artifacts have been uncovered in a number of places beneath the surface indicating that the system, or at least the planet was inhabited long before the humans' first arrival, though any actual record of a civilization has yet to be discovered. Recruitment All recruiting for the Sons of Unity is done on Rho, though it isn't required that recruits be native. The other systems in the Alliance frequently send children of Imperial Guardsmen to the planet for teaching and training, and these have the same opportunity to become recruits, though they must pass the same stringent tests to do so. While not always as successful as the native children of Rho, all the worlds of the Alliance have provided valuable lifeblood to the Chapter over the millennia. Gone Fishing Its said that the current Master of the Arsenal, Urdnos Rex, was confronted by a deep sea Parauc-Uda as he descended. Long, lithe monsters whose throats are lined with teeth as keen as a chainswords, and maws large enough to engulf a marine whole, they are the dominant predators on the planet, only hunted by the humans when they become a danger to their ships. If record is to be believed, Rex escaped the creatures first lunge and destroyed one of its eyes with his stone. Leaving the writhing beast to finish his task, the great fish came after him, catching up as he laid hands on the gauntlet. A deadly dance ensued as Rex retreated towards land and air while the Parauc continued to strike and harass him. Meters from the surface the beast made one final lunge at the very moment Rex discovered the use of the omni-blade contained in the gauntlet which he used to spear the predator through the other eye. That Rex returned to the surface with a dead Parauc-Uda in tow is indisputable, and he frequently makes himself present at trials to tell the tale. The process is grueling, as with any other Space Marine recruitment programme, and plays largely into the world's ocean surface. A common test sends the recruits to one of the few beaches on the planet with a more or less steady descent rather than a drop off, and entrusting each with a stone large enough only to weigh them down. Stripped of any equipment or protection, they are required to navigate along the sea floor, allowed to return only after retrieving a relic of the Chapter placed there for the purpose of the test. Participants are frequently forced to defend themselves from the marauding ocean life using only the boulder given them and their wits, or if the recruit is fortunate enough to be making the return journey, he may taste the might of the Astartes using the power armor gauntlet each successful aspirant must retrieve, equipped with the digital weapons unique to Unity Marines. Successful initiates join the Scout company for a minimum tour of ten years, during which they are exposed to the doctrines of the other specialist companies and assessed for transfer. Combat Doctrine Sons of Unity warfare is, naturally, cooperative warfare, units and brothers working in close coordination with one another to dismantle a threat. To speed the process along, the Chapter employs swift strikes, often by surprise and tends to use more force than is generally deemed necessary. This doctrine stems from the old maritime actions of the Rhoans, where a victorious battle depended on the speed with which a force could bring to bear its armaments, or, if possible, a surprise maneuver on the open water. To these ends the Sons of Unity make extensive use of their Assault Marines and advance their Tactical squads using Rhinos. There is a high proportion of vehicles in the Sons' companies as is common amongst Dorns successors, simply because those marines who are native Rhoans are well adapted to being inside a plasteel shell with a deck of some kind beneath their feet, and are well known for their attunement to a vehicle's machine spirit. Ranged and armored combat is preferred by the Sons, though the importance of hand-to-hand is not lost on them. As skilled tacticians, Unity Marines recognize that the best application of a close assault is to wipe out an enemy unit already withered by concentrated fire. The combined arms of tactical squads and ranged heavy support of devastator squads have a valuable place in every applicable Sons strategy. The principle shortcoming of the Chapter's combat operations, at least as viewed by outsiders, is how easily they allow those operations to be interrupted by extractions and rescue missions. Every marine of the Sons of Unity is loathe to leave a fallen brother behind; to do so is more than a dishonor to a fallen comrade, but to his squad, his company, and tantamount to friendly fire in severity. Preservation of troops is favorable to noble last stands, a philosophy adopted as much from the Shadow Wolves as the Rhoans for whom it has historically been considered an act of the highest depravity to leave someone, even an enemy, to drown in the ocean's waves. Rarely are Unity tactics applied to pitched warfare. Instead, commanding officers are expected to analyze every combat situation when possible to determine the best approach and timing for a precision attack, and the Chapter is not above well placed ambushes or small team infiltrations, though these must be performed by Scouts. Plans are made based on an ideal force size, and then usually a smaller secondary detachment is added to provide backup. Among the Sons, those functionaries frequently referred to in other chapters as serfs often include high ranking military officers and strategists from Rhos upper echelons, who volunteer service, often permanently. Their roles vary from simply receiving and prioritizing orders and requests from the surrounding systems and Terra, to occasionally even aiding in the strategic planning of attacks. Organization Current Chapter Master: Atlas Shepard Masters/Company Captains: Master of Sanctity: Thane Krios- As devout a Chaplain as can be found in such a dark galaxy, Thane lives for his brothers. He ensures that penances are not only paid, but that every marine understands that any sacrifice they make is of no consequence if it is not in the service of the Emperor and His people. If its not a suicide mission Here, The Forge Masters finger highlighted a part of the Tau ship below the engines, Its an emergency induction port, meant to deliver coolant to the reactors should they go critical, though it should be empty right now. Talius explained. The glowing orange halo of his servo-skull adjutant dimmed as it let the hologram flicker and fade, and when Zorah spoke again the Chapter Master was sure he heard a smile in his voice, Time it right and youll get in undetectedjust behind their battlesuit deployment bays. Forge Master: Talius Zorah- Forge Master Zorah is among the most proficient engineers in the Imperium, said to be able to assemble almost any piece of STC equipment, even tanks, without the aid of a template. With an extensive knowledge of the workings of multiple ship classes, both Imperial and Xenos, Zorahs expertise has proved a valuable tactical resource on many occasions. Apothecarion: Mordin Solus - Chief Apothecary Solus rarely leaves Rho, and is almost always at work with his prot
  16. WAR 'TIL DEATH: THE STEEL DOGS CHAPTER NAME: .............. THE STEEL DOGS FOUNDING: .................. 8TH [M.34] CHAPTER WORLD: ............. KELL FORTRESS MONASTERY: ........ CAVES OF CANEM GENE-SEED (PREDECESSOR): ... IMPERIAL FISTS KNOWN DESCENDANTS: ......... NONE We are the Emperor’s hounds, to lie at the Emperor’s feet – Commander Simeon Ward, On Fealty The Steel Dogs were created in the Eighth Founding to serve as part of the Astartes Praeses on the northern border of the Eye of Terror. Greatly honored by such an important responsibility being granted to them, the fledgling chapter took their duties as a sacred charge from the Emperor. They saw their mission and even their home world as sanctified by Him on Earth - the Emperor had shown them the way and given them the tools to carry out His word, and they worked ceaselessly to be worthy of such an honour. Over the centuries and millennia following the chapter's founding, reports returned to Terra of pirate bands hunted down, heretical covens rooted out, and Chaos raids driven off in ferocious space battles. On dozens of worlds, the Steel Dogs died so that the people of the Imperium might live in safety, each of them thanking the Emperor for the opportunity to fall in His service and that of humanity. They dedicated themselves to serving the Imperium and its people, and their dedication was rewarded with victories and accolades. The chapter's home world of Kell was their particular pride. Though many chapters would have remade the world in their own image, the Steel Dogs recognized that the planet had endured the corrupting forces of Chaos for millennia without ill effect. Any world which could do so when the Eye of Terror loomed in its sky could hardly be anything other than pure. Indeed, being entrusted with such a prize was an honour to the chapter as much as to the planet. The Steel Dogs thus trusted that the Emperor's benevolence would guide Kell, as in the centuries before they arrived. They founded their Fortress-Monastery in tunnels on Kell's moon, Avren, and interacted with the planet only in emergencies or when recruiting. The Astartes Praeses are the watchmen on the walls of the Imperium, and the the Steel Dogs were ever-conscious of the responsibilities of their position. Other chapters have the freedom to pursue glory, to seek out enemies, and to embrace the challenge of the fight, but the Astartes Praeses have no such luxury - at least, not in the minds of the Steel Dogs. The proper place of a Steel Dog was to die defending the Imperium from those who would do it harm, not to win glory and honor and a place in history. This belief was reflected in the chapter's recruitment, and where other chapters took the greatest warriors from their home worlds, the Steel Dogs took those whose strength lay in their humility and dedication to duty. While these policies served the chapter well for many centuries, the Steel Dogs eventually noticed that their recruitment intake was declining. Where once they might have taken a hundred aspirants, they would now take fifty - and those numbers were sinking ever lower. It soon became clear that while the recruits were as physically strong and capable as before, their spiritual strength was lacking. The tests of character and morality which ensured that only the worthy and the pure became Space Marines of the Emperor were as effective as ever - it was the people who had changed. These weaknesses did not stem from the tendrils of Chaos - the people of Kell had not abandoned the Emperor. The population had simply turned away from the self-sacrifice, humility, and strength of spirit the chapter demanded. Boys longed to be Space Marines so that they could earn glory and be mighty warriors, not so they could serve the Emperor and protect Mankind. They wished to be masters, not servants. Steel Dogs by slaine69 The chapter was disturbed by this. The people of Kell had seemingly abandoned the Emperor-sanctified ideals by which the chapter lived. Debate raged over what to do. To intervene in the lives of the population was unthinkable - morality imposed would be no morality at all. It was impossible to abandon their home world for another - it would be a stain on their honor, a violation of the duty with which the Emperor had charged them. To reward weakness by taking those not worthy of being Space Marines would be an even greater stain. But something had to be done. With heavy hearts, the Steel Dogs resolved that if the weakness of the people was all there was, then that was what they would use. In the chapter's next recruitment cycle things were different. The tests of morality and purity were gone. All those who were strong enough, quick enough and deadly enough were welcomed into the Scout Company. The chapter took more recruits in one cycle than they had in the previous three. The successful aspirants were rewarded with feasts and celebration lasting almost a month, before beginning the process of becoming a Space Marine. A full five years later, the Tenth Company’s Strike Cruiser slipped into orbit above a small, feudal world whose name has since been lost to time. Battle-hardened, the Scouts aboard were now stronger, faster, and more deadly than any normal man. The Captain of the Tenth assembled them in the hold of their Strike Cruiser, where he exhorted them with tales of their victories and of the triumphs they had won. He told them that as a sign of the Emperor’s trust in his new Space Marines, the planet below would belong to them for the next month, for it had been lax in its service to the Imperium. It was up to the new Steel Dogs to instruct the population in the proper duties of an Imperial subject. They would receive the final surgeries to activate their Black Carapaces over the next three days, and on the fourth day they would descend to the world below to show the people what it meant to be a Space Marine. That night, as each Marine lay on the cold tables of the Apothecarion, Librarians of the chapter probed their minds, showing them visions of the world below, and whispering questions in their minds of being a Space Marine of the Steel Dogs truly meant. Primed by their Captain's two-edged exhortations, the recruits' answers varied - some dreamed of meditation and training, some of debauchery and vice, and all too many of violence, dominion and murder. Only a few dreamed of service and the stalwart defense of those who cannot defend themselves. When the new Space Marines woke from their surgeries, they were irrevocably divided into two groups. Those few who chose to defend the people rose as normal Space Marines, the Angels of Death who are humanity's most capable guardians. Many were not so blessed. They found that their will was no longer their own - arcane devices buried within their skulls and the strictest of chemical conditioning now kept them firmly under the control of their officers. For their sins, they were to be condemned to an eternity trapped within their own minds, released only to fight the enemies of the Imperium. They would never ascend the ranks, only serve and die for the chapter and Mankind, faceless giants in power armor bound to the will of their commanders. Such was the punishment for those who sought power for themselves, and not for the service of the Emperor and his people. Such is the punishment today. Organisation A true son of the Emperor does not need to be told to do what is right – he knows. And those who do not must be punished for their ignorance. –Captain Thaddeus Fetladral Though the Steel Dogs' new recruitment methods granted them an influx of new soldiers, it required adjustments in the methods of the chapter. Originally, the Steel Dogs favored relatively subtle battle plans, relying on deception, surprise, ingenuity and any manner of other dishonorable tactics to counter the often superior numbers of Chaotic forces. The chapter was less concerned with immediate glory than with their greater duty to defend the Imperium and contain the forces of Chaos within the Eye of Terror. The damnati, as those who fail the final test are known, are mistrusted and viewed with contempt. Since they are not promoted (or even seen as competent by some commanders), the chapter thus has a correspondingly smaller pool from which to draw its specialists and officers, and the Steel Dogs have modified their tactics to compensate both for this and for the perceived unreliability of the majority of their troops. The chapter's battle plans still use their original tactics where possible, but they are often forced to rely on the massed infantry of the damnati and use their subtler stratagems as complements to that hammer blow. Methods of utilising the damnati on the battlefield often bear a marked resemblance to the older combat styles of the Space Marine Legions, the methods of which are still contained within the Codex Astartes. Where modern Marines rely on extremes of skill and precision, the ancient Legions relied as much on weight of numbers and excessive firepower. It is these tactics the Steel Dogs have been forced to embrace. Supplementing direct confrontation with their traditional subtler strategies has allowed the Steel Dogs to continue to engage larger Traitor formations, but the Battle Companies are almost constantly reinforced by elements from the Reserve Companies in order to provide the necessary numbers to support such directness. This has spread the Chapter thin across their areas of responsibility, and they now endure a frenetic pace attempting to deal with the increasing number of threats with correspondingly reduced resources. The command staff of the Steel Dogs have become relatively inexperienced due to the smaller cadre from which they can be drawn. The chapter does its best to ensure that all receive superlative instruction to compensate for this, and much of that education involves the specialized art of commanding the damnati. One of the first things Steel Dog officers learn is how to phrase orders so the damnati do what the officer intends – and, perhaps more importantly, so they do not do what the officer does not intend. There have been several occasions in the chapter’s history where poorly phrased orders have granted the damnati license to turn their weapons on their officers - and the damnati have done so. The presence of the damnati has also provoked several formal organisational changes from the chapter's prior methods. First, the damnati are not granted the formal rank of Brother - instead, they are simply Marines, and are only addressed as such. Captain Esca Blackblood, Lord of the Second, Seneschal of Devlin Captain Esca Blackblood is unique among the Steel Dogs. As leader of the Second Company, his service has been exemplary. But it is his origin that makes him singular – Esca is the only officer in the Chapter who failed the test of morals at the end of his tenure as a Scout. For seven years, Esca served as a damnati in Josen’s Squad of the Second Company. When holding an isolated village outpost during the campaign on Garibaldi’s World Sergeant Josen and his deputy, Brother Shepherd, were both killed by Eldar raiders. Conventional wisdom in the Chapter would have it that a squad of damnati left leaderless should be forced to follow their last orders until finally relieved – Josen’s Squad should have been annihilated. Instead, Esca took command. Seizing his dead Sergeant’s comm array, Blackblood coordinated the defense of the village and its people, then lead a counterstrike against the raider base in the nearby wastelands. Though many of the Eldar escaped into the Webway, the destruction of the Webway gate left Garibaldi’s World safe from the Eldar, and concluded the campaign successfully. Victory was sweet, but the dilemma of the victorious Esca Blackblood was a difficult one for the Chapter. Though skill at arms is no sign of the moral capacity to be a true servant of the Emperor, Blackblood had gone out of his way to ensure that the village under his squad’s protection was exposed to as little danger as possible. Furthermore, it became evident upon inspection that his various control implants had all become almost completely non-functional. Esca had done what his duty to the Emperor demanded without compulsion. In light of these circumstances, Esca was reluctantly confirmed as a sergeant. Despite the nervous view taken of him by the Chapter command staff, casualties among his superiors and skill at command saw the young sergeant rise to captain soon enough. Blackblood’s skill and frequently demonstrated dedication to the good of the Imperium have caused some in the Chapter to whisper concerns that the Chapter’s methods of selection may be prone to error. However, none have yet dared to air these concerns publicly. In the mean time, the Second Company and its captain serve the Emperor with strength and purity equal to that of any other company of the Steel Dogs. Second, the chapter's First Company now serves as Field Police, with a squad seconded to each Captain of the chapter at all times. They serve to watch over the damnati and provide each Company with a contingent of reliable and capable soldiers to execute difficult missions and serve as bodyguards and support if necessary. This has resulted in the First Company no longer fighting as a cohesive formation - its banner has hung furled in the Fortress-Monastery for centuries, and its various ceremonial posts are rarely filled. Third, the chapter's Scout Company remains quite separate from the Battle Companies. Scouts do not speak to full Marines other than their officers, and the company rarely deploys alongside other chapter forces. This is intended to keep the Scouts from becoming aware of the moral test which lies ahead of them, and so far has proved successful. Instead of supporting other companies, the Scouts serve to deal with situations that are not worth the commitment of full Marines, deploying in a fashion and circumstances similar to that of the regular companies. Finally, the chapter's rank structure now includes several deputies and redundancies, such as the resurrection of the position of Lieutenant, which attempt to alleviate some of the difficulties inherent in the chapter's officers' relative lack of experience. The chapter's Cult has evolved greatly over time. Initially dedicated to the Emperor as creator of the Imperium and of the Space Marines, the ever-present threat of Chaos has clarified in the chapter's mind the perfection of what the Emperor wrought. Equally, the tendrils of the Great Enemy have warned the chapter of the dangers of even seemingly-innocent changes to doctrine. Within a few centuries of their founding, the chapter had become firmly convinced of two things - the perfection of the Emperor and that which He had sanctified with His approval, and the danger of change, which all too often serves as first innocuous entrance of Chaos. Many Dornian successors are conservative by nature, and many fervent in their devotion to the Emperor, but the Steel Dogs have become unusually so, especially as the lights of the Imperium grow ever dimmer and more twisted dark forces spill forth from the Eye of Terror. The damnati have, if anything, driven the chapter further in this direction, as the changes they force triggers an instinctive defense of the chapter's other doctrines. Some Imperial observers have expressed surprise that the chapter chose to create the damnati rather than die with honor, but this overlooks the third principle which drives the Steel Dogs - their dedication to their duty as part of the Astartes Praeses. The chapter sees that duty as a personal charge from the Emperor, and as time has gone by and their fervency grown, so has their willingness to do anything, sacrifice anything, destroy anything, so long as their duty is fulfilled and the Imperium kept safe. The damnati do not represent an abandonment of the chapter's beliefs - only demonstrate the extent to which the chapter will compromise those things they hold dear to protect that which is even more important. SELECTED BATTLES "My strength is as the strength of ten, for my heart is pure. My strength is as the strength of a hundred, because they did not see me coming. It is better to sacrifice personal honor and win, than sacrifice the honor of the chapter by losing." – Captain Esca Blackblood Esca Blackblood by slaine69 The Etherway Engagement [274.M37] The Dark Eldar are one of the most vicious enemies humanity has ever faced. Though others match them for capability, few match them for sadism. When their presence was reported in the Arc-Royal system but no raiding took place upon the system's planets, the Steel Dogs' Fourth Company was sent to investigate. Though it took several weeks, eventually a chapter scout ship discovered what had drawn the Dark Eldar forces to the area. The system's cometary cloud held a Dark Age of Technology colony ship, the Etherway, almost impenetrably armored and still inhabited. Even barely functional, these ships are still valued prizes for the Adeptus Mechanicus, and their inhabitants often make excellent recruits for the Imperial Guard, Marine chapters, or, if nothing else, the ranks of a local Forge World's servitors. The Dark Eldar were still searching for a way in when the Steel Dogs came upon them. Though the chapter managed to drive off the raider's ships, many Dark Eldar remained on the hull of the massive station. The chapter was not yet experienced in the use of the damnati, and so the operation's commander ordered his Marines into a prolonged hunt across the surface of the structure. Its baroque design and the lack of gravity made the prenaturally quick and subtle Dark Eldar even more dangerous than usual. Though the damnati served the chapter well in the battle across the Etherway's surface, standing firm where even other Space Marines might have hesitated, their tenacity was tempered by inflexibility. The damnati could beat the Dark Eldar - until their officers fell, when they would be surrounded, outmaneuvered, and destroyed. Eventually, they were ordered to open areas on the Etherway's hull. The Strike Cruisers then raked remainder of the colony ship's surface with their point defense systems. Though not dangerous to full warships, these weapons were more than sufficient to eliminate the remaining Dark Eldar raiders. Though the Dark Eldar were annihilated, many of the damnati and their officers lay dead. The Chapter's high command took stock of this, and the Steel Dogs' tactical principles were revised, trying to balance the need to face dangerous and subtle enemies with the inflexibility of the damnati. In many ways, each battle the chapter has faced since has reflected this - where the commander finds this balance, the Steel Dogs triumph. Where he fails, so do they. The Battle of Thrycross [698.M38] Triumphs are rare in the histories of the Astartes Praeses. Far more common are pyrrhic victories, desperate last stands, and the crushing of rebellions which flare up again as soon as the Space Marines have departed. Though it is the Black Crusades which draw the attention of Imperial historians and responses from across the Imperium, the raids and isolated attempts at conquest of various Chaos warbands are a constant thorn in the side of the Imperial forces that defend the Eye of Terror. One of these conquest attempts involved the warband of Khulloth Von Strang, a Slaaneshi prince who had marauded, debauched and depopulated his way through half the outer worlds of the Thrycross system before the Steel Dogs' Fifth Company arrived. The two forces met in battle on Thrycross itself, a maze of chasms and caverns, and a running battle raged through them. The Fifth Company had begun the battle understrength and without their usual supporting elements, and the deceptive wiles of the Slaaneshi adherents proved capable of overcoming even the powerful conditioning of the damnati. A handful even attempted to turn their weapons on their officers, though most simply collapsed into catatonia or robotically followed their last orders. Still, the confusion this engendered in the ranks proved fatal to the coordination of the various elements of the Steel Dogs’ assault. Though they dealt fearsome casualties to the Chaotic warband, they were driven back toward Thycross' capital. Finally, Lieutenant Takeshi St. Veir, the surviving senior officer, ordered the remainder of the company to retreat to the capital, remaining behind to challenge the members of the warband to single combat in a large canyon outside the capital. The Lieutenant was slightly surprised when six of the Chaotic Champions accepted his challenge. Though he defeated the first three, the poison of their weapons and the foul emanations of Chaos slowly broke his strength, and the blade of the fourth separated his head from his shoulders. However, even before his lifeless body had slumped into the dust, the walls of the canyon erupted in fire and smoke, and avalanches buried all but a few members of the warband. The remainder of the PDF had planted charges throughout the canyon while the Steel Dogs fought the warband, and the death of St. Veir triggered them, annihilating Von Strang's forces - including Von Strang himself. The surviving handful of Chaotic warriors were easy pickings for the PDF and the remainder of the Fifth Company. Though it cost them greatly, the Steel Dogs had discharged their duty as Astartes Praeses. The Battle of Port David [143.M40] The world of Port David lies near the edge of the Eye of Terror, and assaults upon it were frequent. When the Steel Dogs' Third Company responded to a distress call from Port David, they were expecting something unusual, as Chaos so often provides, and they were not disappointed. Most assaults on Port David came from offworld, but the most recent assault had been coupled with several of the planet's nation-states siding with Chaos. While some strife between the various constituent nations of the planet was not uncommon, this was unprecedented. Equally odd were the tactics and methods of their opponent - Grand Captain Inquis Longtooth, who led a force of surprisingly well-trained and equipped Beastmen reinforced by elite Chaos Space Marines. The battles at Port David were studied by the chapter for a thousand years afterward. Captain Phelan Aeacid of the Third was perhaps the brightest tactical mind the chapter had seen, and Longtooth a canny opponent. Longtooth’s forces outnumbered the Marines by hundreds to one, and massed ground attacks should have been suicidal. But Aeacid moved his forces as though they were ghosts, using his air superiority to move his troops from deployment to deployment, always striking where the enemy was weakest. Enemy maneuvering encountered minefields and booby-traps. Small squads mimicked conventional Space Marine tactics while larger forces massed elsewhere. If the enemy was foolish enough to respond, the massed force struck the remaining enemy troops and broke them. Though not as flexible as other marines, the superior forces the Steel Dogs could bring to bear meant that wherever they struck they were victorious. Longtooth’s forces bled, but so did Aeacid’s. Each battle cost soldiers that could not be replaced, and the Port David PDF was virtually useless, fractured with suspicion and mistrust in the wake of the initial uprisings. Indeed, Imperial analysts have since questioned whether Chaos corruption was not responsible for much of this intransigence. Regardless of its cause, the result was that the Steel Dogs were poorly supported against a much larger force, whose numbers seemed to be eternally swelled by traitorous locals, eager to win plunder in the service of the Dark Gods. Though they managed to drive Longtooth's forces back into their friendly cities, Aeacid decided that the only solution to their dilemma was to strike those enemy cities that lacked effective garrisons, in hopes of sparking rebellion and discord within the enemy's ranks, and (if nothing else could be done) depriving the enemy of their base of support by destroying city infrastructure and forcing Longtooth to either lose support or dedicate resources to maintaining them. In the confusion that would result, the Steel Dogs might be able to get the upper hand. Likewise, a strike against their former allies would revitalize the PDF. Unfortunately, things proceeded badly. Aeacid was killed by a sniper almost immediately upon entering the city. Most of the PDF was slaughtered, and those who were not either surrendered or switched sides. The remaining Steel Dogs quickly realized that the situation was untenable, and withdrew, but several squads of damnati were left behind in the city. Local intelligence sources later reported seeing some of those same damnati serving as lieutenants in Longtooth's forces. Though the Third Company did its best to salvage the situation, all but one of the cities surrendered to Longtooth, most without even a token fight. The Third oversaw the evacuation of the last city's population offplanet, then withdrew themselves, leaving Port David in the hands of Longtooth and Chaos. Steel Dogs by Greyall * * * Hauled out of the Legio Imprint, both for my own convenience and because the files are down for a little while. Feedback welcome. Greyall's image was unfortunately omitted because the article's not really long enough to fit it.
  17. From the album: IF Strike Force

    WIP pic of Brother-Librarian Haegl

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