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  1. Hello fraters! So, I'm playing about a bit more with an idea I mentioned previously, of having a go at GMing a PBP game with a bit of a twist - a motley crew of Iron Gods pirates! The Setting: Astartes renegades out of the Solios Nebula, pre-Great Rift. For more detail, I'd invite you to read their Index Traitoris (and the other linked threads) in the Liber Showcase for more details: IT: Iron Gods Missions: Newly arrived at the asteroid home of the Iron Gods, Talek Varn wants the new blood to prove their worth. At this point you are an unknown quantity, and therefore expendable until you have shown otherwise. As such, you are assigned to the tasks with the least chance of glory and the highest likelihood of death. Missions won't save or doom entire planets/systems, but would be on a smaller scale, with more focus on intrigue, conspiracy, larceny and all the other fun of being a pirate! They might also feature interacting with (and fighting against) the inhabitants of the Imperium's underbelly on worlds around the edge of the Solios Nebula, from criminal gangs to the agents of corrupt planetary governors, heretical tech cults or xenos infiltrators. Perhaps run-ins with the Adeptus Arbites, or even... the feared and hated Inquisition! Characters: Renegades, exiles (self-imposed or otherwise) from your Chapters, survivors of lost causes. From every Chapter and gene-line, from across the breadth of the galaxy, you have found your way here, like filth gathering at the lowest sump. Your histories are unknown, your former colours, battle honours and selves obliterated in grey and red. Talek Varn insists on knowing the truth of all your pasts, but how much of it you reveal to the rest of your new 'brethren' is up to you. Perhaps you are a true pirate, an arrogant killer or greedy opportunist who barely escaped execution at the hands of his more noble former brothers? Or maybe they spurned you because of some other deviance, some uncontrollable battle madness or genetic insanity? Or perhaps you are a bold revolutionary, who has seen the Imperium for the sham it is and are determined to bring the truth to Mankind? Or perhaps you are one of the lost, spared by fate, plagued by guilt and remorse for living when your squadmates or Chapter died? (If any of this sparks something and you want to post character ideas here, that's cool, but stick to the obvious surface stuff; appearance, etc. DON'T include their history, keep that private in PMs just to me!) Rules: Characters will be created using DW (+RoB, FF, HtC) No DIY rules, must be one of the FFG Chapters presented in these books for simplicity, although of course, fluffwise Successor (official or DIY) Chapters are very, very welcome! Equipment: Minimal, this isn't the Deathwatch! Requisition allowances will be low, so if there is something you especially want your character to have, SigWargear (something they brought with them into exile) may well be the way to go! NB. I'm using DW as a base rather than Black Crusade, partly because I've just gotten vaguely familiar with it, but mainly because in-universe Talek Varn knows that the surest way to get himself crushed between a very big Imperial rock and a nasty, daemon-infested hard place is to start messing around with Chaos. He's not interested in becoming anyone's pawn and he despises those weaklings who do. That's not to say that people's characters couldn't be secretly taking their first steps down a(n even) darker path, but if Varn catches you he'll kill you without blinking. As I'm totally new at this, I'm thinking maybe to keep it simple I'd like to find around 4 or 5 volunteers for a small opening game? (If you know what you're doing in regards to the rules, that would be awesome as you can help cover the gaping holes in my understanding of them!! :P ) There we go, that's just some fairly random opening ideas. I'm not planning on starting this at any time soon as I don't have a definite plan for a first mission, I'm just spitballing at the mo. Anyway, if this setting interests you, or you have other ideas on ways I could run it, feel free to throw them out for discussion! PS. A specific question to Mol or other GMs: where do you get the Character spreadsheets, and also the cool maps to lay out combat phases? Are they downloaded somewhere, or is there a program you use to create them or will something as simple as Paint do the trick?
  2. Hello all, I was looking for something to work on while my Iron Gods PBP is taking a few months break, and I found the Community Chapter Creation Project thread from back in 2017. One of the Chapters that was considered (and one that I've been a huge fan of for many years!) was the Celebrants. I'd thought about working up an IA for them anyway, but there were some amazing ideas from the Liber that I'd like to possibly include. I've quoted all that I could find from the CCCP thread: That was all I could find, but I think it's a solid place to start from? I'd be very interested to hear if anyone else has any thoughts about this Chapter. Next job I'll be doing will be to work up a bullet point outline of an IA (I like this format as I think it covers all the points you want to hit about a Chapter) trying to incorporate some of the above. Edit: The new Heresy box rumoured to be coming soon chock full of Mk VI Marines would look awesome painted like the pic at the top too...! C+C always welcome!
  3. Index Astartes: Marines Adamant Brutal, insular, superstitious and paranoid. Most would describe the Marines Adamant with words such as these. Those few who enjoy better relations with the Chapter could not argue with such an assessment, but might also speak of other, nobler qualities such as bravery and unbreakable determination. Origins 'Astartes we, Iron born, Hate wielders, World breakers, Victors still.' - Chapter glory chant During the thirty-second millenium, the Orks rampaged across the galaxy, at great cost to the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes. Countless human worlds were swallowed up by the green-skins’ barbaric empires, and by the time of the 4th Founding few had been reclaimed, primarily due to the colossal drain of holding back the horrors of Abaddon the Despoiler’s second Black Crusade. The Marines Adamant were therefore assigned to the eastern border of the Segmentum Obscurus with a dual purpose: reclaiming the nearby worlds lost to Orks while supporting the defences of the Eye of Terror when needed. The fledgling Chapter’s gene-seed was that of the Primarch Ferrus Manus, and at the head of their training cadre was Clan Commander Elvrit of the Iron Hands, a hero of the many battles of the second Black Crusade. He led his brethren to war and they quickly formed a close bond with the Gharant III Forgeworld in the Havilar Sector, whose vast manufactoriums, Skitarii regiments and Titan Legion were already forming the lynchpin of the Imperium’s beleaguered defence against the Orks. Since then, the Chapter has mainly fought against the vile Ork: defending against encroaching Waaghs, raiding into Ork territory to destabilize growing threats, or spearheading massive Imperial Crusades to reclaim worlds lost to Mankind hundreds or even thousands of years earlier. On occasion they have sent forces west to support their brother Marines against the renegades of the Eye of Terror. Throughout the millenia, across countless battlefields, the Marines Adamant have remained resolute, loyal servants of the Imperium. Homeworld 'My world? It's cold, it's damp. What business is it of yours?' – Brother Hani, 4th Household. Halsstarrig IV is a Feudal world, located in the same subsector as the Gharant system. It was discovered more than four centuries prior to the arrival of Elvrit and his men by Adeptus Mechanicus Explorators and immediately marked as an ideal Astartes recruiting ground. Halsstarrig has a single primary continent, with several smaller landmasses and surrounding island chains; all are cold and bleak due to the planet’s far orbit from the local sun. Its atmosphere is damp and thick mists often cover its mountains, forests and seas. The people of Halsstarrig are strong and fierce, yet primitive in their technology and outlook. Clans vie for land and key resources such as the iron ore that provides all their tools and weaponry. The people are by nature aggressive and suspicious, and therefore trading or alliances between the clans are very rare. Raiding is a regular occurrence and outright warfare only slightly less so. Strength and survival are the primary factors that determine right and wrong, but the resulting potential for brutality is balanced by a firmly held code of honour, the core elements of which are shared by all the clans. This code demands a clansman’s loyalty to his chief, and the chief’s protection to his followers. While any proven warrior may challenge his chief for the leadership of a clan, such contests are strictly proscribed by custom and ritual. Anyone who would attempt to gain power by any other means would be quickly shunned by all the people. The clans are also very superstitious; fearful of the influence of the myriad sprites, imps and wights of Halsstarrig folklore. Many offerings are made by the clans to appease these spirits and natives often wear protective tokens and charms. Almost all learning beyond the basics of farming, fishing or fighting is the province of the Wyrds, or wise men. Common to all the clans are the Wyrds of the Flesh, local physicians and herbalists; and Wyrds of Iron, smiths and artisans. Highly respected, these often act as counsellors to their clan chiefs. Outside the clans, shunned but still respected, are the Wyrds of the Spirit, shamans who live in seclusion deep in the mountains or tiny ocean islets of Halsstarrig. They are feared for their uncanny abilities and closeness to the spirit realm, but sometimes a clan Chief or young warrior will travel to seek the Wyrds’ blessing or learn their future. The Fortress Monastery of the Marines Adamant stands on Halsstarrig’s first moon, a vast and imposing structure protected by countless weapon batteries, powerful void shields and the cold blackness of space itself. The Astartes are almost never seen on the planet’s surface, making no deliberate contact with its people. Legends exist of monstrous giants, and such legends are tied to those of young warriors ‘taken by the mists’ and never seen again. These ones are mourned by their families; the people have no idea of what lives await beyond their moors and skies. New initiates into the Chapter invariably rail against their captors, seeking escape, until they learn of the true nature of humanity and the debt of honour their whole world owes the Marines Adamant for their protection from the horrors of a cruel galaxy. Organization ‘Aye, I don’t much like those dumskalle of the 5th… but I trust them far better than I do svekling like you.’ – Warleader Jormgrun Stonebrow of the 7th Household to Colonel Bardel of the 143rd Ardravine Rangers. Much like their Iron Hands forebears, the Marines Adamant are divided into ten Clan Households, united by a Clan Council. Officially, this assembly maintains control over the actions of the Chapter as a whole. In truth it is little more than a forum for the commanders of the various Households to air their grievances, brag to one another of their victories, or attempt to ensure their own pre-eminence within the Council. Each Household fights as an autonomous battle group led by its Warleader, a mighty warrior who has risen to command through a mixture of politicking and battle skill. His forces include his own advisors, veterans, line squads and new recruits. This means that each Household is somewhat larger than a Codex-compliant Company, and that it is harder to accurately calculate the numbers of the Chapter as a whole. The Households each maintain their own well-equipped armoury of weapons and vehicles, many including a sizable Dreadnought contingent. The Hearthguard The veterans of each Household are named after Halsstarrig tradition. When a native Clan leader sleeps, as all men must, he is protected by a ring formed of his most loyal warriors. Given the people’s naturally suspicious nature, it is a great honour to be considered faithful enough to guard the fire of one’s Lord. Within a Marines Adamant Household, the Hearthguard are the iron core of its fighting strength, an immovable and implacable force around which the Warleader can build his strategy. Many fight as squad leaders, inspiring and exhorting their brethren, but the few who are most trusted form the personal retinue of the Warleader. When the Hearthguard go to war as one, there are few who can stand against them. The Chapter’s Techmarines and Apothecaries are also a permanent part of their respective Households. These masters of arcane technology, known by the Marines Adamant as Wyrds of Iron and Flesh, work together to care for the Astartes and vehicles of their Household and are just as esteemed as their home world counterparts. The Iron Wyrds are especially numerous and influential within the Chapter given its ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus and each will travel to Gharant III as part of their instruction. The brethren known as Spirit Wyrds are powerful psykers, feared and yet respected by the rest of the Chapter. Cast out and denied any hope of personal advancement or glory, these mystics are oddly viewed as more reliable since they can have no agenda of their own. As such, the Spirit Wyrds often act as arbitrators when the Clan Council meets and as observers for it when a Household goes to war. They live in voluntary separation from the Households in a small stronghold on Halsstarrig’s second moon, called the Spirit Hearth. While much of a Household’s past is remembered in oral form, the Spirit Hearth is also a repository of the written records of the Chapter’s most important history, including their greatest victories and most ignominious defeats. The Chapter maintains close links to the Gharant III Forge world and has a permanent Keep on its closest neighbour, Gharant V. The vast seas of this oceanic Hive world provide much of the local Adeptus Mechanicus’ nutritional requirements and its people receive many technological benefits in return. The Marines Adamant do not recruit initiates from Gharant V, but they do select the majority of their Chapter serfs and Fleet crews from its Planetary Defence Force and Navy. These are vetted with almost as much care and suspicion as potential Astartes. Generally, one Household is assigned by the Clan Council every century to watch over the system in return for keeping the Chapter well supplied. This is often seen as a lesser assignment by the Astartes as the system is already well-defended by the capable PDF, as well as Skitarii regiments and the mighty Titan Legion of the Gharant forges, the Silver Hammers. However, the Warleaders accept the necessity of maintaining this millennia-old bond and often the Council assigns the duty to whichever Household has been most weakened by battle in recent years, giving them an opportunity to rebuild and rearm. Also, there are still some opportunities for glory to be won as elements of the Household will often provide elite support for Explorator teams or Titan battle groups, or act as bodyguard squads for important members of the Gharant forges. [rightsidebar-The Ka-sil Annihilation]236.M35 – In an event unprecedented in the sagas of the Chapter, Warlord Fingil Bloodfist of the 4th unites all ten Households of the Marines Adamant under his banner when the Ka-sil Craftworld of the Eldar enters the Havilar Sector. Less than three years later, Ka-sil is a ruined, empty husk inhabited only by the ghosts of the fallen. Fingil is also dead, assassinated by five of his fellow Warleaders after declaring himself Chapter Master at the conclusion of the campaign against the Eldar.[/rightsidebar]When larger campaigns require that several Households fight together, they can be led by a Warlord, elected from among the Warleaders present. In such situations there is inevitably a certain amount of wrangling for power and the potential for personal glory it brings. Any candidate for the position must be nominated and backed by at least two other Warleaders, meaning that there must be at least three Households fighting together to appoint a Warlord and there can be at most three candidates even if the whole Chapter fights together. The Warleaders will vote at first, each attempting to gather support and undermine their rivals, but if no democratic decision can be reached the candidates fight in imitation of Halsstarrig custom. Generally this is to first blood but on rare occasion, when two candidates are so opposed that service to the other is an impossible request, it is to the death. Understandably, the appointment of a Warlord is a very rare thing, and he may only lead for as long as the specific campaign lasts. Beliefs ‘All flesh is weak. It must ever be constrained, guided. Thus the Code.' – Brother Nisses, Spirit Wyrd. Like any of the scions of the Iron Hands, the Marines Adamant are ferocious warriors, fuelled by their hatred of all weakness. However, unlike many other Successors, their contempt for the foibles and faults of the flesh tends to find its focus externally rather than internally. This means that for many among the Chapter, the self –loathing and obsession for mutilation so common among the gene sons of Ferrus Manus seems to be lessened, although never entirely removed. Instead, the brethren’s fixation is on the inevitable failings of those around them and all are quietly watchful for any sign that they are about to be betrayed. This paranoia makes it extremely hard for them to truly trust anyone, even their closest squad mates. It also means that competition for advancement through the ranks is fierce, as most Marines instinctively believe that any other candidate for promotion will undoubtedly be proved a poor choice. Disagreements between brethren occur all too frequently and are commonly settled at the point of a knife, though thanks to the Astartes’ superior physiology, fatalities are mercifully rare. Backbiting and brawling are part of everyday life, as are ‘accidental’ injuries caused during training exercises. ’An ally is just another enemy who hasn’t betrayed you yet.’ Chapter proverb It might seem that a Chapter cursed with such an outlook would quickly tear itself apart. However, the Marines Adamant are constrained by a simple Code of honour and duty much like that of the Halsstarrig clans that insists upon the absolute loyalty of the brethren to one another and to their Commanders. Remarkably, it is the Chapter’s own obsessive tendencies that allow this arrangement to function and makes it possible for its members to work together, binding them to one another within the Code’s strict confines. This holds the brethren together and has thus far prevented the power struggles among the Households from becoming a battle of more than words and wills. This does not mean that all causes for conflict are removed, but in around eight millennia since the inclusion of the Code in the Chapter’s hypno-indoctrination procedures, there have been only three occasions where violence has erupted between the Households. A fierce spirit of competition still exists between the Warleaders, who view one another with a great deal of suspicion, but they are united by their honour, their duty to the Chapter and their greater hatred of the enemies of the Imperium. [leftsidebar-The Cal Ferena Uprising]873.M37 – The 4th Household, battered but unbowed, returns home after sharing in the defence against Abaddon the Despoiler’s 7th Black Crusade. On route, they receive a distress call from the Adeptus Arbites Precinct House on the Hive World Cal Ferena, where a rebellion among the working classes of the primary Hive is attempting to take advantage of the tumult caused by the followers of Chaos. The Marines Adamant immediately deploy via Drop Pod, targeting the Hive Spire with its multitude of spaceports. Understrength, the Household cannot hope to defeat the millions of insurrectionists in open combat, but thankfully this is not their goal. The thirty-eight Marines Adamant take and fortify the entrances into the Spire and resolutely defend them against dozens of attacks. No supplies enter the Hive and within four weeks the starving rebels capitulate, surrendering unconditionally and presenting the heads of the revolt’s ringleaders as a peace offering at the Astartes’ barricades.[/leftsidebar]It is perhaps not surprising that the Chapter's view of the Emperor himself is similarly cold. The master of Humanity is not seen as a beloved father, provider or saviour. Rather, the Marines Adamant know him as a demanding and brutal overlord whose expectations must constantly be met. A Marine of the Chapter can expect no aid or special favour from his Lord in this, but must put his faith in his own strengths and abilities in order to fulfil the heavy load of responsibility placed upon the Astartes' broad shoulders. As such, it is somewhat understandable that the Marines Adamant do not maintain in their Households any position or rank relating to that of Chaplain in a more Codex-compliant Chapter. For most Marines, their focus is totally on war, be it actual combat techniques, weapons training or strategy and tactics. With no interest in knowledge or learning of anything more, they share nothing with the artists and artificers of Chapters such as the Blood Angels or Salamanders. These things are the province of the Wyrds, and are irrelevant to a warrior. While the Households are equally as capable as the brethren of any Chapter to care for their weapons and armour to a basic standard, this understanding, indoctrinated during process of becoming Astartes, is viewed as entirely mystical. Relatively few care or wish to learn more, to understand why things are what they are or how they work; these are quickly apprenticed as Skalds to the Wyrds of their Household. Skalds are often used as a liaisons with other forces, or chosen when a warrior is requested by the Deathwatch, as they seem to be better able to control the deep suspicion that is the foundation of the Chapter's mindset. The Chapter is strongly affected by the superstitious nature of Halsstarrig’s people, and many among their ranks adorn their armour with tokens and lucky charms. Much as clansmen wear trophies from their world’s predators, Marines often wear the teeth or pelts from particularly vicious alien species they have fought and killed. Depending on which of the clans of Halsstarrig they are recruited from, some brethren choose to daub crude patterns on their faces before going into battle. Such primitive behaviour, along with the majority of the Chapter’s attitude towards technology, has been known to make other Imperials, especially other Iron Hands Successors and Tech Adepts from further afield than the Gharant forges, look upon the Chapter with a certain amount of derision. Combat Doctrine ‘As always, it has been a pleasure to serve alongside the Marines Adamant. My crews’ only complaint has been that too few of the enemy survived to face our fury.’ – Lord Maxwell, Princeps Senioris of the Legio Mallei Argentum. [rightsidebar-The Gutrippa Retaliation]417.M39 – Waagh Gutrippa surges forth from the depths of the Abyss to attack the Gharant system. Through clever words and cunning manipulation, Warleader Dypnir the Sly is elected Warlord and leads no less than five Households to turn back the greenskin threat. Dypnir’s forces gradually retreat before the horde, their myriad counterattacks slowly bleeding it of strength, and when the depleted Waagh finally reaches the Hives of Gharant V, it is easily destroyed by the mighty battle Titans of the Legio Mallei Argentum.[/rightsidebar]When the Chapter goes to war they are cold, brutal and uncompromising. Their focus is on implacable advance in attack and they are even more unbending in defence. Overall, the Marines Adamant have a preference for firepower and resilience over speed. So often do they choose to take up defensive positions, most Households are able to equip three or four squads with multiple heavy weapons. The Chapter rarely uses ground transports; the plentiful supply of war material from Gharant III means that most Rhino chassis are quickly refitted as Predators or other support tanks. Much like the Iron Hands, they have deep respect for power of Tactical Dreadnought Armour, which will often be spread across a Household to its squad leaders rather than used by a single unit. When attacking, the Households favour drop pod insertion supported by Dreadnoughts. The Chapter has very few assault focussed units, though line squads expected to be ready – and are very capable – to fight at close quarters when necessary. Bikes and jump packs are rarely used, though each of the Households still maintain some fast vehicles and transports such as Land Speeders, Stormtalons, Stormravens and Thunderhawks. Due to the Chapter’s focus on self-reliant, adaptable infantry units, the Households excel in urban combats and boarding actions. Though the Marines Adamant are uncompromising in their devotion to the Emperor, their disdainful and suspicious nature frequently makes for difficult relations with other Imperial organizations. It is notable that Households fighting alongside other Imperial forces will often refuse to share intelligence or co-ordinate their battle plans. However, their Code makes them utterly loyal to any oaths they or their forebears may have sworn, especially to those who have proved themselves time and again, such as the worlds of the Gharant system. Geneseed ‘You think yourselves worthy of the seed of Manus? None of us are! But you shall have your chance. ’ – Brother Tonnrud, Flesh Wyrd. The Households’ Flesh Wyrds are responsible for recruiting and implantation, and often lead small squads to Halsstarrig to ‘recruit’ new initiates. Each Household has preferred clans and areas of the planet from which to recruit, but it is a source of some pride and amusement to ‘poach’ a promising recruit from the lands claimed by another Household. 4th Household Badge As successors of the Iron Hands, the Marines Adamant are blessed with gene-seed that is largely free of physical flaws, although in approximately one third of the Chapter’s brethren the Omophagea has become inactive. Detractors suggest that the Chapter’s instinctive mistrust of others is also plainly a result of their genetic legacy, a twisting of the Iron Hands hatred of the weaknesses of the flesh. It is less clear if the Marines Adamant also share their forebears predilection for bionic modification, but they are certainly well supplied with them by means of their link with the Adeptus Mechanicus. Battle-Cry ‘Emperor, gene-father! See the might of your sons!’ – Warleader Isorn Firewalker. The Households have no single war cry, as such are often selected depending on the current mission and personality of the commanding Warleader. However, these calls to battle do embrace common themes, including vows of loyalty to the Imperium or its worlds, as well as tirades against hated foes. Most notably, Imperial observers have heard challenging cries directed towards the Emperor and the Primarch Ferrus Manus, for them to see and remember the bravery, skill and determination of the warriors of the Marines Adamant. ******* Discussion Link
  4. See link to Downloads PDF file: http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/files/file/652-index-astartes-the-emperors-blade/
  5. Hello all! I'm starting a new post for a bit more exposure... So, the first Episode of the Iron Gods (Deathwatch) Play-By-Post RPG 'To Plunder the Stars Themselves' has come to an end. We've had some fun times; engaging in piracy, facing down enemies from xenos filth to ecclesiastical hordes to giant robots, making emergency warp jumps to escape from the backs of dying spaceships, and more besides! Link to Episode 1 But the game is not ended. In Episode II, there will be new adventures to be had, new questions to be answered. What is the 'Pride of Kings'? Who is Holger? Will Svelk blow himself up with that second Melta Bomb? What is Vesalius going to do with those Bulkhead Shears? :lol: If you'd like to be part of the game, we are looking for new villains to join Talek Varn's motley crew of rogues and cutthroats! Ideally I'd like to increase Kill-Team Cutlass to a full unit of 10 Astartes, with a full complement of Specialists. That means we are looking for: 1 Techmarine 1 Tactical Marine 1 Assault Marine 1 Devastator Marine to join our existing all-star cast: The Traveller, Tactical Marine (Commissar Molotov) Brynjarr, Tactical Marine (Trokair) Svelk, Assault Marine (Beren) Decimus, Devastator Marine (Black Cohort) Vesalius, Apothecary (Necronaut) Odysseus, Librarian (A.T.) If you would be interested in taking part, please send me a PM with details of your ideas regarding which of the available character slots above you would like to play. As with Episode I, DON'T POST SPECIFIC CHARACTER IDEAS HERE! - A big part of the fun of playing anonymous scoundrels from across the galaxy is that no-one knows who their squadmates really are, and everyone has to rely on assumptions and guesswork! Once I (hopefully) have some PMs, I'll send each new player a pdf where I've collated all of the amendments to the DW Character Creation stuff, and a link to a Character Sheet to fill out. Then you can start rolling dice and spending XP! Link to the Iron Gods Index Traitoris, plus other background stuff, short stories, and miniatures. Thanks for reading! Lysimachus
  6. So, as part of the Iron Gauntlet Challenges I committed to playing a game between 17th Dec and 17th Feb. I chose Kill Team obvs, using the 2 teams I'd built and painted during an earlier Challenge. 125pt Kill Teams as follows: Emperor's Blade (Salamanders) Adeptus Astartes Brother Sgt Rufus - 20pts (Special datasheet inc. Combat Specialist) Sister Superior Phoebe - 17pts (Special datasheet) *see my Kill Team thread for the sheets. Brother Andronicus (Sniper Specialist) - 16pts Intercessor Gunner, Bolt Rifle, Aux Grenade Launcher Brother Herodian - 15pts Intercessor, Bolt Rifle Sister Julia - 12pts Tactical Marine Sister Lydia - 16pts Company Veteran, Flamer Sister Dorcas (Heavy Specialist) - 16pts Tactical Marine Gunner, Heavy Bolter Marcus, Chapter Serf (Leader Specialist) - 13pts Scout Sgt, Sniper Rifle, Camo Cloak V. Black Hammers (Renegade Chapter) Heretic Astartes Berzerker Champion (Combat Specialist) - 20pts Plasma Pistol, Power Axe Terminator Champion - 35pts Mark of Slaanesh, Combi-plasma, Lightning Claw Chaos Space Marine Gunner (Sniper Specialist) - 16pts Mark of Slaanesh, Plasma Gun Chaos Space Marine Gunner - 16pts Mark of Slaanesh, Heavy Bolter Chaos Space Marine - 12pts Bolter Chaos Cultist Champion (Leader Specialist) - 5pts Autogun Chaos Cultist Gunner (Demolitions Specialist) - 8pts Flamer Chaos Cultist Gunner - 5pts Heavy Stubber Chaos Cultist - 4pts Autogun Chaos Cultist - 4pts Autogun Mission was a standard Matched Play Sweep and Clear on the board below: Emperor's Blade won Strategic Advantage 6-5 and chose the top right corner. Deployment followed as shown in the next pic, HA set aside a CP for the Termi to Teleport Strike. Next post I'll get into the first turn! Thanks for looking!
  7. “What wins the fight is what wins the fight. Ultimately, nothing should be excluded if that exclusion leads to defeat.”- Roboute Guilliman At first glance, the Black Hammers Chapter appear to be the archetypal Traitor Marines; grimy, ancient warriors clad in baroque power armour decorated with furs, trinkets and chaotic litanies, marching under the myriad icons of the fell powers. However, beneath this dark surface the Black Hammers view themselves as the very opposite, as the eventual destroyers of Chaos and the saviours of Humanity. Origins: The tale of the Black Hammers begins in dark days of the Horus Heresy, deep beneath the ruined, irradiated surface of the planet Calth. Tor Agamon, a Brother of the 19th Company of the Ultramarines Legion, had survived the Word Bearers' initial act of treachery and joined the other Loyalist survivors beneath the planet's surface as they battled against the hated sons of Lorgar. Even as Agamon fought, theoreticals tumbled over and over through his mind. The Ultramarine victory had been borne of pure luck, the Word Bearers should have crushed their former brothers. But how had Lorgar's children become so capable, so mighty, that they could so nearly defeat the best trained and most numerous Legion in the Imperium? Brother Agamon had identified only one possible factor; the unknown creatures who seemed to come from the Warp itself. These beings had aided the Word Bearers, given them strength and focus beyond their own reach. Why and how they had done so, Tor had not known, but he was determined to find out. Guilliman himself had taught his Legion; 'Information is victory', so Agamon devoted himself to understanding his enemy. Unbeknownst to his brethren or his superiors, he began to collect and study weapons, armour and other paraphernalia he was able to take from fallen Traitor Marines during Calth's Underground War. Over the following decades of the Scouring, even as Agamon won honours in battle and promotion through the ranks of the Ultramarines, his obsession with comprehending and negating the power of Chaos continued to grow. By the time the Primarch divided the Legions, Agamon had attained the rank of Master and was given command of 1,000 Ultramarine warriors clad in freshly painted black armour. He named them for his only desire, to hammer to extinction the traitors that cowered within the Eye of Terror. Agamon led his fleet to the Segmentum Obscurus, patrolling the Sectors surrounding the Eye like a coursing hound searching for its prey. For long years the Black Hammers fought against the forces of Chaos wherever they could bring them to battle and Agamon instilled in his warriors a hatred but also a healthy respect for the fell powers of the Great Enemy. Homeworld: While chasing down a warband of the Emperor's Children, the Black Hammers discovered Gruaimach, a feudal world on the northern edge of the Great Eye. The people of Gruaimach were primitive, grouped into clans and tribes, their fighters warring and raiding against one another to control their home's few resources. However, it was not their aggression or battle skills that made Master Agamon decide to take the world for his own. Rather, it was that he had uncovered on Gruaimach a culture that had somehow found a way to survive despite its close proximity to the raw, ever-warping power of Chaos. The clans fearfully venerated what they called the 'Chinnidh de na Diathan', a terrifying assemblage of divine creatures that Agamon was immediately able to correlate with what he had already learned of the greater Pantheon of Chaos. The Gruaimachii elders had learned to appease and mollify the Gods, turning away their anger with sacrificial offerings and protecting themselves with shamanistic charms and totems. They had come to understand in a limited way the contrary and divided nature of the warp, how one might protect themselves from the fury of one aspect of Chaos by appealing, even temporarily, to its opposite. Agamon was enthralled by the prospect of learning from the wise men of Gruaimach, of using their knowledge to protect his Chapter and Humanity. Without explaining any of these dangerous thoughts to the Imperial authorities, he claimed the planet as the Black Hammers' own. While initially tight-lipped and unwelcoming towards the giant Astartes, the leaders and shamans of Gruaimach quickly saw the advantage of having such titans as their protectors. They also perceived the eagerness of Master Agamon and his followers to learn of their culture and traditions. In a few scant months, as the Chapter continued in its campaign against the forces of the Traitor Legions, it became commonplace to see Black Hammers Astartes going into battle wearing armour adorned with placatory votive offerings or tokens, or graven with protective charms and warding sigils. At the same time, Chapter Apothecaries had begun to do their work of initiating new brethren from the Gruaimachii clans into the Hammers' Companies, tying the world and its new overlords ever closer. It was less than half a century later, while fighting in a joint campaign against the vile Death Guard, that the Ultramarines and their Successors would first discover the changes in their Black Hammers brethren. They were horrified by the appearance of the black-clad Astartes, their armour decorated in a manner that seemed to many reminiscent of (and scarcely less disturbing than) the equipment of the Word Bearers at Calth. Tor Agamon and his men were shunned by the other Chapters and, after a blistering argument with the campaign's overall commander, the Black Hammers pulled out and returned to Gruaimach. Two months later, a punitive force comprised of no less than four full Ultramarines Successor Chapters, led by the Primarch himself, arrived at Gruaimach. Guilliman and his troops were prepared for a bitter siege, their hearts hardened to the possibility of fighting brother Astartes by the long years of the Scouring. What they found was an empty world, devoid of human life but for a few scattered tribespeople. The Black Hammers fortress monastery, it's basic structure only recently completed, had been stripped back almost to the bare foundations. Tor Agamon, ever the strategist, had foreseen what the response of his peers and Primarch must be, as well as the end result of any attempt to stand against them. However, he was unwilling to lose the precious knowledge that could be the salvation of Mankind, simply because of the prejudiced ignorance of others. Therefore he had ordered that his Companies gathered whatever they could, including as many of the Gruaimachii as could be carried in the holds of the Chapter Fleet, and flee. Gruaimach died that day in the fires of Exterminatus. At the behest of unknown individuals within the Adeptus of Terra, all records of the Black Hammers Chapter were likewise scorched from Imperial history. The scions of Ultramar pursued Agamon's forces across the wilderness between worlds, unrelenting in their hatred for what they saw as a betrayal as great as any of the Heresy. The Black Hammers were hunted from system to system, their beleaguered fleet eventually turning to the only refuge it had left, the Eye of Terror. Organization: One of the Chapters' earliest battles within the Empyrean was to secure a base of operations from which Tor Agamon could continue his research into the mysteries of the Warp. His choice was the Custos Pertinax, a powerful Star Fort, assigned to the World Eaters during the Great Crusade and dragged into the Eye as the Traitor Legions were forced to retreat. However as time passed, few of Khorne's chosen had been willing to accept garrison duty while their brothers rampaged across the stars, leaving the otherwise mighty fortress poorly defended. When the canny Master of the Black Hammers learned this, he quickly threw the entire strength of the newly arrived Chapter against the fortress, overthrowing its remaining occupants in a furious, week-long battle. After this, Agamon took the Custos Pertinax and hid it away in an unimportant star system deep within the Eye. With the aid of his Techmarines he strengthened the Star Fort's Geller Field and Void shield generators. With the aid of the Chapter Librarium and the wise men of Gruaimach he wrapped the vast station about with prayers and spells of warding, misdirection and concealment. With these mystic defences solidly in place, the Black Hammers would have a home from which to continue their work. Nearly ten millennia have passed since the Black Hammers fled into the Eye. In that time the Chapter has grown strong, moving beyond the strictures of the Codex, and it is estimated that they could muster at least sixteen Companies worth of Astartes warriors, with sufficient fleet assets to deploy them with ease. The Black Hammers Armoury is less impressive, consisting of fewer ground-based fighting vehicles than an 'average' Loyalist Chapter. However the Hammers offset this lack of heavier support with the presence of large numbers of non-Astartes auxiliaries, selected from the former population of Gruaimach. While these clan-born troops cannot compare individually with the Chapter's Marines, they are nevertheless capable soldiers as well trained and equipped as the graduates of any of Ultramar's Battle Academies. Powerful though the Chapter's resources are, they are minimal when compared with some of the other forces who call the Eye of Terror home, in particular those Traitor Legions who have maintained a central command structure and power base. Therefore, Master Agamon made pacts of mutual support (or at least of non-aggression) with the Black Legion, Iron Warriors and the Thousand Sons, as well as with the Lords of various Dark Mechanicus strongholds. The Black Hammers have ever refused any alliance with the hated Word Bearers Legion, their warriors simply unable to forget the treachery at Calth. Oddly, the scions of Lorgar seem unconcerned by such hatred, rumour even suggesting that the Daemon Primarch himself views the Black Hammers with a certain black amusement, perversely pleased by the thought of the sons of his brother Guilliman turning against their father. Beliefs: The core beliefs of the Black Hammers Chapter are those of their leader, Tor Agamon. From the earliest days of the Heresy, Agamon believed that the only way for Mankind to be saved from the horrors of the Warp was knowledge. Knowledge of the true nature of the Gods; their strengths, their weaknesses, their goals, their motivations. ”No man is forced to worship the gods, but only a fool fails to give them their due.” Tor Agamon His studies before and after arriving on Gruaimach brought him to one inescapable conclusion: Chaos was both perfectly balanced and yet inherently self-destructive. He further realised that a prudent, careful man could use this fact to his advantage, that when endangered by one aspect of the Great Pantheon he could find protection, or even vengeance, by temporarily invoking its opposite. The only danger of such a course lay in drawing too much attention, of becoming entangled by any of these fell powers, the result of which would surely be an eternity of madness and servitude. Agamon's followers have learned from their Master, though they hide it well from the other denizens of the Eye. The Black Hammers secretly see themselves as Mankind's only true hope for salvation from Chaos. They believe in using the Empyrean, turning its power against itself. Chapter brethren march into battle beneath the icons of Dark Gods, channeling their blessings even as their charms and litanies protect them from the harmful effects of such attention. They also seem to view the colour white as lucky or protective, as many brethren choose to repaint sections of their armour before going into battle, in stark contrast to the black that names them. The Black Hammers walk a deadly tightrope, as it is all too easy for a warrior to become ensnared by the lure of power that Chaos gives. If a Marine does fall in this way, he will be destroyed without mercy, having become the very thing that the Chapter hates above all else. Remarkably, it seems that the majority of the Black Hammers continue to escape this fate. The Hammers themselves claim that such resilience against the effects of Chaos shows that their ideology is the course of wisdom for all of Mankind. However, an observer with a deeper understanding of the truth of the Empyrean might suggest that no amount of crude charms or litanies can turn away the power of Chaos. They might further imply that the Black Hammers are in reality already lost, protected by some unknown God for its own purposes or caught up in some self-destructive undercurrent within the swirling flows of Chaos. Combat Doctrine: Despite the Black Hammers turning their backs on the Imperium, their combat doctrine has continued to follow the pragmatic and adaptable combined arms approach espoused by their gene-father. The Chapter's forces tend towards flexible units of infantry, well equipped to face a multitude of different targets. These units work together as precisely coordinated, mutually supporting battle groups, equally able to defend or advance as needed. A handful of vehicles, most typically basic Predators and Dreadnoughts, will provide heavier firepower and units of Gruaimachii clansmen act as light auxiliaries and scouts. The Confrontation at Tybur-Al III Amongst the elite of Tybur-Al's secondary Hive, a cult dedicated to the Prince of Pleasure arises. Even as the heretics begin to enact their perverse coup, a Strike Cruiser bearing the black and white of the Black Hammers appears in orbit. Most of the Traitor Astartes strike at the primary Hive, but a small force led by a coterie of Sorcerers infiltrates the second, carrying with them the Spear of C'harak. This ancient blade contains within it the bound essence of a mighty Bloodthirster of Khorne. The Sorcerers plant the Spear in the Hive's central plaza and retreat. Likewise, after a brief battle with minimal casualties on either side, the Black Hammers main contingent pulls back to their transports. As the Strike Cruiser departs from Tybur-Al, the wards binding C'harak loosen and break. With a bellow of rage, the freed Bloodthirster smells the hated servants of his master's greatest foe and goes out to do battle with them. Over the next three days, the Greater Daemon of Khorne decimates the Slaaneshi cultists, hunting them down one by one in an orgy of furious bloodshed. Though the Black Hammers rely primarily on their own strategic and tactical prowess, they also make use of the more esoteric resources available to the followers of Chaos. Warriors carry all manner of arcana, some intended to beseech the aid of the Gods but far more to hold off the negative effects of their attention. The summoning of the capricious creatures of the Empyrean is avoided where possible, and the acceptance of possession by them is refused at all cost. However if such beings can be safely bound, often into weapons, vehicle systems or other objects, where the process of binding creates a greater degree of control, then the Chapter will countenance their use. The Chapter often targets other smaller chaotic or renegade forces. This is seen as nothing unusual by the powers-that-be, as warbands all too frequently attack one another for control of resources or to honour their patrons. The Hammers also raid into real-space, ravaging Imperial worlds along the borders of the Eye. Sometimes these are genuine missions to secure needed supplies, sometimes their brutal violence is simply part of maintaining their appearance as devout Chaos worshippers or fulfilling pacts made with other forces. However, on occasion the Chapter is able to use these raids to attack their true enemy. In more instances than can be considered a coincidence, the Black Hammers have decimated a seemingly loyal world, only for Imperial authorities to discover in the aftermath that the planet in question had become the home of Chaos cults, in many cases on the verge of open rebellion. Geneseed: The geneseed of the Black Hammers is that of Roboute Guilliman. In the few cases that bodies of Marines of the Chapter have been examined by the Adeptus Biologis, these remains have displayed a remarkable lack of the mutation and warping so typically seen among the Traitor Legions. Whether this is due to the absolute purity of the Ultramarines' genetic material, the successful protection of the Black Hammers ritual offerings and charms, or even the blessing of some unknown Chaotic benefactor, is unclear. A further benefit of this lack of mutation in the Black Hammers genetic material is that their rate of successful geneseed implantation is far, far higher than that of most chaotic warbands. This means that it has been easier for the Chapter to maintain - and even incrementally increase - its numbers over the millennia, despite the battlefield losses that are common to all renegade forces. Battle Cry: The Black Hammers have no specific war cry, but will often march into battle mumbling Gruaimachii prayer-chants that either request the aid of the Gods or attempt to deflect their notice.
  8. "Gather round now, you mangy curs, and I'll tell you a tale of most fearsome marauders that ever plagued the seven Sectors…"
  9. Just finished a kitbashed Lictor for my next Kill Team: Nothing new really, others have done the same before, but I'm happy with how it's come out. Broodlord base, with a Venomthrope head, big claws moved back to rear/lower sockets and Hive Tryant Scytalons put in the upper sockets. Also cut the thigh plates and the hooves from spare Hive Tyrant legs, and added them to the Broodlord legs. Cut off the front toes and pinned the hoof on, bit of gs behind them for muscle-y stuff, and voila!
  10. Founding: 27th (Ultima) Gene Line: Raven Guard Specialisation: Void Combat/Anti-Insurgency Origins: "It is a thankless, lonely task I set you men. There will be little glory out in the darkness between the stars, few grand wars to be fought. But it is a true purpose, vital to the Crusade, to Humanity and to the Emperor Himself." - Roboute Guilliman. Born of Guilliman's Ultima Founding, the War Dogs were formed from a portion of the fleet elements of the Unnumbered Sons Of Corax. Assigned by the Lord Commander to operate behind the battle lines of the Indomitus Crusade, the War Dogs were originally missioned with protecting Imperial supply lines and eliminating pirates and insurgents, whether Chaotic, heretical or Xenos in origin. The Chapter took to this task with a vengeance, ranging out across the stars in the swiftest vessels they could find, eager to harry and destroy the enemies of the Imperium wherever they could be found. By the end of the Indomitus Crusade, with some small measure of stability returned to the Ultima Segmentum, the Chapter has refocused a sizeable part of its attention on the Cicatrix Maledictum. All along the edge of the Great Rift, the War Dogs track and hunt those traitor vessels that attempt to slip quietly across its borders and target unsuspecting Imperial worlds. Chapter Organisation: "A hundred Space Marines? Hah! I'll do it with thirty-four!" - Captain Maric, 18th Patrol, 'Iron Raptors'. Although the War Dogs were organised according to the strictures of the Codex Astartes at the time of their creation, in the centuries that followed they have adapted to better fulfil their purpose. The primary division of force within the Chapter is now the Patrol. Each Patrol consists of around thirty Primaris Space Marines, led by a Captain. The Chapter uses this higher rank because each Patrol leader is also commander of one or more of the many ships of the Chapter Fleet. This fleet is primarily made up of squadrons of Gladius-class frigates and Hunter-class destroyers, supported by deadly Nova-class frigates, though Patrols have been seen using repurposed Navy escorts and light cruisers. While entirely non-standard, this organisation is perfectly suited to War Dogs' role, allowing their forces to act with far greater flexibility and cover a vastly larger area than an average Chapter. The War Dogs Patrols are typically built around a solid core of Mark X Tacitus armoured Intercessor squads, ably supported by a mix of Photos and/or Gravis units. Inceptor and Suppressor squads are rarely seen, their jump packs proving far less useful within the cramped environs in which the War Dogs usually operate. Likewise, the Chapter maintains very few vehicles other than void-capable transports such as Stormravens or Caestus Assault Rams. However, mobile fire support is provided by a variety of Dreadnought platforms deployed by modified Boarding Torpedoes, which are able to keep pace with the War Dogs fast moving infantry. While many Ultima Founding Chapters have been supplied en masse with the new Redemptor Dreadnoughts, the War Dogs have continued to favour and request the older Castraferrum-Pattern, as its smaller chassis is often better suited when fighting within the relatively narrow corridors of many space vessels. Unsurprisingly the War Dogs Patrols and frigates need a great deal of support, both technical and medical. In an ideal Galaxy, each frigate would have aboard an Apothecary and at least one Techmarine. However, given the sheer number of such vessels within the Chapter Fleet, it is sometimes the case that a Patrol must rely on experienced Chapter serfs in these roles. Combat Doctrine: "Fourteen minutes. Fourteen stinking minutes! That's all the time it took for them to board us, hit the bridge and warp drive, cripple the life support, and leave us to choke... Astartes basta..." - Raun Trenchard, former Captain of the Grand Cruiser 'Ruination', awaiting execution for piracy. The War Dogs are furious close quarter specialists, their equipment and tactics focussed almost entirely on the maelstrom of ship-to-ship combat and boarding actions. Chapter frigates operate alone across the breadth of the Ultima Segmentum, patrolling shipping lanes and searching out the vessels and bases of raiders and corsairs. Brutal boarding torpedo assaults hammer such heretics, delivering squads into the very heart of their defences. In combat, the War Dogs are aggressive and yet tactically precise, channeling their fury into a coldly efficient and effective fighting style. Few renegade Captains are ready to face the physical or strategic power of these highly professional gene-hanced soldiers and are quickly defeated, their crews executed and their ships scuttled. Picapt.ref.WD-221.1+VCM.M41- Sgt Zdravko, 28th Patrol, 'Hellborn'. When heretics are discovered in strength beyond the capability of the Marines of a single frigate or squadron to crush, a Company gathers for the kill, forming a coursing pack consisting of as many as a dozen Rapid Strike Vessels. Any of these ships would be no match for a cruiser or battleship on their own, but as a precisely coordinated fleet, darting in to target key systems or launch boarding parties, they are more than capable of dragging down a far larger foe. On occasion, however, the War Dogs far ranging Patrols will encounter a vastly larger enemy force, an entire Battle Fleet or invasion force. Under such circumstances, the Chapter feels no compunction to engage in a foolhardy or suicidal attack and will instead shadow the enemy, picking off scouts or stragglers even as they send an urgent call for other Imperial forces to prepare a suitably heavy handed response. Homeworld: "For three days it darkened the skies, hiding us from the Emperor-Sun's blazing sight. Then the giants came, clad in iron that turned away arrow, blade and stone, to carry off the youngest of our kin." - Elder Cha'tima, Shaman of the Bison Clan. Given their assignment, it is unsurprising that the War Dogs have never claimed any single world as their home. Instead they operate from a Chapter Barque, the Canis Domum, a huge vessel that travels the stars behind the War Dogs' frigates. It visits all manner of worlds; civilised Hives to feral Deathworlds, primitive Feudal planets to high tech Forgeworlds. From these the Chapter requisitions, trades or simply takes whatever it needs to continue in its mission, whether it be supplies, weapons and ammunition, or young fighters to join their ranks. Within its vast hull, the Barque holds the Chapter's Forges, the Apothecarion where new initiates are transformed into mighty warriors and, at its deepest heart, the stasis-locked vaults that hold the Chapter's precious Geneseed. The vessel's outer edges contain the Labyrinth, a maze of mile after mile of twisting corridors, dead ends, choke points and bastions. This maze forms a part of the Canis Domum's defensive measures, but more importantly also provides the training ground in which the War Dogs learn their skills in short-ranged combat and boarding actions. While the Canis Domum is not a dedicated warship, being too slow to hunt beside the rest of the Chapter Fleet, it is nevertheless fully able to defend itself. Massively thick armour, dozens of void shield generators and countless weapons batteries and torpedo tubes protect its gargantuan hull, not to mention an ever-present and numerous shoal of smaller ships, frigates returning to resupply or awaiting new patrol routes to be assigned. The crews of these vessels would willingly give their very lives to defend the Canis Domum, for it carries within its halls and cavernous holds the future of the Chapter itself. Beliefs: "We are gathered from a hundred different worlds. Tall and short, light and dark, noble men of God and savage hunters. But we are united. United by duty, by training, by purpose. We are the War Dogs, the faithful hounds of the Emperor, and what greater honour could any man ask for?" - Chaplain Acanthio. The cosmopolitan nature of the War Dogs recruits, gathered as they are from countless different worlds and cultures, means that they have no common level of education or unified system of belief. The Chapter considers these differences as of minimal importance. Their Cult is very much a secular organisation, focussing purely on the Marines' duty to the Imperium, the Chapter and their shipmates. Those Initiates gathered from worlds of a religious disposition are permitted to worship the Emperor in their own time as they see fit, with the simple caveat that it must not interfere with either the fulfilment of their battlefield roles or their ability to work together with their brethren as a united force. Hence, Chaplains have become less religious, mythic figures within the Chapter and more morale and cultural integration officers. As such, they are most commonly found aboard the Canis Domum, working closely with the Chapter's recruiting Sergeants. The training given by these stern and dutiful veterans instills in the Chapter's diverse warriors an attitude of professionalism and humility. The War Dogs, as their name implies, see themselves as nothing more than simple, loyal servants of the Emperor and Mankind. While Marines are sometimes boisterous and boastful with their squad mates, like any band of soldiers, there is generally little concern among the brethren for such a nebulous concept as personal glory or any kind of self-aggrandisement. Honours won in battle are nevertheless treasured, but these tend to be kept with a Marine's personal effects rather than emblazoned across their armour. In fact, the Chapter seems to view such decorative adornments as overly ostentatious and ill-befitting for true soldiers of the Emperor. Geneseed: "...Implantation Success: 79%... ...Genome degradation: 0.06%... ...Status: Acceptable..." The War Dogs hail from the Unnumbered Sons of Corax. Unlike that of the inheritors of the Raven Guard since the dark days of the Horus Heresy, the Geneseed of the Primaris Marines created by Belisarius Cawl appears to have been cured of all degradations and losses. The War Dogs thusly have a full complement of working implants, though only time will tell whether these will continue to function on a permanent basis. Like all the sons of Corax, the skin tone of the Chapter's warriors tends to pale over time, even as their hair and eyes darken, though this does vary somewhat depending on the planetary origin and genetic makeup of each Marine. War Cry: "Kill! Kill! Kill!" - Captain Jabari, 22nd Platoon, 'Dragon Axes'. The diverse cultural origins of the War Dogs Marines, compounded by their Patrols' propensity for working alone for lengthy periods of time, has resulted in a vast variety of battle calls and chants among the brethren. It is often the case that these cries are tied in with the preferences and experiences of their Captains, ranging from the devout to the barbaric. However, some appear to be common to most battle groups, 'For the Emperor!' or 'For Corax!' being unsurprisingly ubiquitous. ***** Discussion Link
  11. Origins: During the 38th Millennium, the Ecclesiarch Deacis VI decreed that two new Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas would be created. One of these, formed on Terra itself within the walls of the Convent Prioris, was the Order of the Sacred Rose. This Order was founded to honour the memory of Saint Arabella the Liberator. One of the earliest missions dispatched by the Sacred Rose was sent at the behest of Deacis himself to Threskeia VI in the Malatoth Sector of the Ultima Segmentum. The Threskeia system had the unusual honour of being the site of both an Adeptus Ministorum Shrineworld and an Astartes Chapter Homeworld (see Inq.ref:AdAst394:Emperor's Blade). For millennia, Chapter and Church had been intrinsically bound together. They fought as one to free the Malatoth Sector from the clutches of the hated Word Bearers Legion and from that time forward had been perfectly united in their devotion to the Imperial Creed. However, during the dark times of the Age of Apostasy, the Emperor's Blade had broken many of its ties with the Ecclesiarchy, even standing against Goge Vandire as part of Sebastian Thor's Confederation of Light. From this time forward, the Chapter no longer displayed the unquestioning loyalty and obedience to the Holy Church that it had in ages past. Deacis, while still serving as a Cardinal, had personally experienced the unwillingness of the Emperor's Blade to follow the Church's lead. He found this situation entirely unacceptable, but was unable to chastise the Chapter because of the autonomy allowed to the Astartes. The Ecclesiarch's response was to send a full Commandery of the warrior sisters of the Sacred Rose. Ostensibly his goal was to strengthen the defences of the Malatoth Sector, but Deacis true intent was more subtle. He knew that the Order and Chapter would inevitably have to work closely together and believed that as they did so, the fine example of faith and fidelity set by the Sororitas would gradually influence the Emperor's Blade and bring them back more fully under the aegis of the Ministorum. Homeworld: Threskeia VI is a temperate world of wide oceans and craggy mountains, deep forests and fertile river valleys. It was the final planet reconquered by the Malatoth Crusade in the 34th Millennium. In honour of this victory, the Ecclesiarchy claimed the world as their own, constructing on the site of the last great battle a colossal shrine praising the Emperor for his beneficence. At the very heart of this vast building, in an ancient stasis field, is a fragment of scroll that had been carried by the Crusade from Terra itself. It contains writing believed to be penned by the Emperor's own hand and it is from this incalculably holy relic that the Order of the Sacred Scroll takes its name, officially being declared a Lesser Order in it's own right late in the 39th Millennium. The Order's Convent-fortress is built as an adjunct to the great shrine itself and also connects to a massive, circular curtain wall built by the Sisterhood to defend the holy site. While this imposing edifice is the greatest of the Ministorum's shrines, over the millennia grateful pilgrims have built countless other churches and temples across Threskeia's surface. The largest of these have become administrative centres as well as places for worship, populated and ruled by the Emperor's faithful devotees. Other, smaller shrines minister to the needs of the planet's widespread agricultural and fishing communities. Whether farmers or fishers, the people are ascetics, living lives of hard physical work, self-denial and piety. The fruits of the labour of these devoted workers provide for the Adeptus Ministorum's needs across dozens of systems. The space of the Threskeia system is invariably busy with vessels. Aside from the mighty warships of the Emperor's Blade and the bulk haulers that carry Ecclesiarchy supplies away, a constant stream of ships brings countless thousands of Imperial citizens making the pilgrimage to the great shrine every year. The Order of the Sacred Scroll carefully vet these visitors to ensure that no unworthy person enters its hallowed grounds. Beliefs: The Battle Sisters of the Sacred Scroll share most of the beliefs of their parent Order. Like the Sacred Rose, they consider themselves solely as conduits for the Emperor's divine will. This frees the Order's warriors of any sense of self-aggrandizement or chasing after personal glory. Instead they bear an aura of serenity and grace, a confidence that whatever happens the will of the Emperor will be accomplished. This attitude gels remarkably well with that of the Emperor's Blade, who similarly view themselves as a tool, a weapon in the hand of the God-Emperor with which he metes out divine justice and vengeance. When the Order first arrived in the Threskeia system, they were deeply suspicious of what they saw as the Chapter's disregard for the Ecclesiarchy's dictates. However, as time passed, they came to see the depth of the Astartes devotion to the Imperial Creed. It quickly became clear that any seeming reticence was not an act of heresy or rebellion, but rather a determination to ensure that such orders were in full harmony with the Church's own doctrines. The Sisters could not in all honesty argue with this cautious approach, indeed if their own original forebears had been equally wary then Vandire's Reign of Blood might have been avoided. Organisation: The Order of the Sacred Scroll remains at approximately Commandery size, consisting of around two hundred Battle Sisters. This number obviously fluctuates with combat losses and the arrival of new recruits from the closest Schola Progenum. These warriors are supported by a coterie of other Ecclesiarchal agents, including Sisters of the Orders Hospitaller and Dialogus. The Order also maintains a motor pool of Rhino and Immolator transports, as well as Exorcist battle tanks. Finally, although they are not housed within the Convent-fortress itself, Threskeia VI has many Imperial priests and preachers who are always eager for the opportunity to fight alongside the Order, bringing with them the varied and frightening combat prowess of their personal Battle Conclaves. Over the last millennia, particularly when losses have been great or Progenum recruits few, the Order has sometimes followed the example of the Emperor's Blade and recruited directly from Threskeia VI itself, as well as the young children of devout pilgrim families. This has led on occasion to the unusual situation of fleshly brothers and sisters serving concurrently in Chapter and Order. This is considered a huge honour to the family involved and the siblings are viewed as destined for great service to the Emperor. Combat Doctrine: When the squads of the Order go into battle they are calm, resolute and well prepared both strategically and spiritually. This translates into a combat doctrine that focusses on tactical harmony, fluidity and discipline. Officially the Order's primary purpose is the defence of Threskeia VI and most of its units are equipped for that role. If they must advance, never for the Sacred Scroll the wild, fervour-blinded assaults of some Sororitas. Instead, long range units such as Retributors and Exorcists will lay down a thunderous hail of suppressing fire, allowing bolter armed squads to move carefully forward into ideal positions. The Order's few Dominion squads move up in support, ready to obliterate any counterthrust with their massed special weapons. This well organized way of making war, plus the Order's disinterest in gathering glory or battle honours for itself, mean that the Sacred Scroll tend to work well with most other Imperial forces. Unsurprisingly, this is especially true of the devout yet tactically-minded Astartes of the Emperor's Blade. All too often a Mission of several squads will be assigned to act as an auxiliary when one of the Chapter's Battle Companies goes on campaign. It has even been the case that when a smaller but no less vital situation requires the intervention of a kill team, individual troopers selected from Chapter and Order will form a mixed squad, seamlessly blending together and enhancing their overall effectiveness by their differing strengths and skills. Veteran Battle Sisters, who have fought beside the Emperor's Blade in this way more than once, often paint the right arms of their armour black to show their unity with their 'brothers'. Battle Cry: The serenity and grace of the Sacred Scroll is reflected in their war cries. Battle Sisters do not enter battle with challenges or insults, but rather with voices raised harmoniously in choral verses that honour the God-Emperor. It has been especially noted by battlefield observers that when the Order fights alongside the Emperor's Blade Chapter, the combination of the Sororitas' soprano and contraltos with the contrasting deep bass of the Astartes produces a masterpiece of vocal praise as beautiful as that heard in any Cathedrum, inspiring all the loyal servants of the Imperium that hear it.
  12. Index Astartes: The Emperors Blade Chapter name: The Emperor’s Blade Founding: 11th Chapter no: 394 Homeworld: Threskeia IV Chapter motto: “Defensor Fidei Veritas” Origins Early in the m.33 a vast host of the followers of Chaos spilled forth from the region of space known as the Maelstrom under the command of Traitor Marines of the Word Bearers Legion. This unholy crusade swept unchecked through several sectors, pillaging and desecrating dozens of Imperial systems. On every world, loyal inhabitants were forced into slavery, labouring under their cruel masters to raise vast cathedrals in praise of the Dark Gods. The response of the Imperium to this invasion was one of horror and fury, particularly among the pious members of the Adeptus Ministorium. The leader of the Church at the time, Ecclesiarch Benedictio II, demanded of his fellow High Lords that a punitive campaign be launched immediately to free the faithful servants of the Imperium. Thus the mighty war machine of Man began to move into action. A crusade force gathered from numerous regiments of the Imperial Guard and accompanied by many hundreds of preachers, confessors and priests to counter the Word Bearers unholy beliefs, was placed under the command of one of the Ecclesiarchy’s own war leaders, Lord Militant Davram Tolemias, a man of both strong faith and strategic wisdom. Further to this, the High Lords declared that one of the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes being formed as part of the 11th Founding would be assigned to act as a spearhead for the Crusade. Chapter 394, whose genetic lineage was that of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman, was selected to join the fight against the Word Bearers and Captain Septimus of the Ultramarines was chosen to lead them. Born and raised on the world of Calth, Septimus carried in his heart a particular hatred of the sons of Lorgar, making him an excellent choice to bring the Emperor’s judgement against them. When he left Ultramar to take command of the Chapter he brought with him a priceless gift from the shipyards of his home world, a newly commissioned Battle Barge named “The Wrath of Guilliman” that would act as a Fortress Monastery for the crusading Astartes, along with several Strike Cruisers and escort vessels. Once embarked, Chapter Master Septimus brought his cadre of veteran warriors to Mars, where the new Chapter along with the Crusade Fleet and Army under Lord Tolemias was mustering. Even as Septimus arrived at the edge of the Terran system, a great and holy discovery was being made in the deep vaults beneath the Ecclesiarch’s palace, a fragment of script apparently composed by the hand of the God Emperor himself. Claimed to have been written shortly after he had first learned of the betrayal by his most favoured son, Horus, it read: “If I do indeed sharpen my glittering blade, And my hand takes hold on judgement itself, I will pay back vengeance to my adversaries, And render retribution to those who intensely hate me.” That such a piece of writing should be found even as the Emperor’s finest warriors readied themselves to fight in his name could not be simple coincidence. The leaders of the Church insisted that the discovery was a sign of the Emperor’s blessing on their great undertaking. Benedictio II, although old and frail, personally carried the fragment to the gathering fleet, requesting of Septimus that he might speak to the assembled Battle Brethren. Septimus agreed and soon the Ecclesiarch stood before the Astartes force. He spoke to his listeners of the ancient document and then read it aloud to them. As he finished reading, there was a hush in the vast Hall, and then he spoke again. “You are the Emperor’s glittering blade! Carry forth his vengeance on his enemies!” Immediately, there was an almighty cheer from the assembled Marines that echoed back and forth across the Hall. Septimus, deeply moved by the blessing, pondered silently for a few moments then spoke to his men. He told them that this discovery was surely not only a portent of great favour but also a revelation. It was clear to him that the Emperor was disclosing to the Chapter the name which they should take up – The Emperor’s Blade. This announcement was greeted with an even greater cheer and over the following days the brethren began to mark their armour with their new badge. The script was placed in the care of Lord Davram, to be used as a symbol to inspire the soldiers of the Imperium as they fulfilled their duty. Days later, the Crusade Fleet moved out into the Ultima Segmentum, heading for the borders of the Maelstrom. As the fleet passed through Imperial systems, the priests of the Ecclesiarchy preached their message of the Emperor’s divine glory and his holy retribution upon his enemies. As they did so, from among the populace of countless different worlds, a vast throng of devout volunteers gave themselves willingly to the Emperor’s great cause. They came forth from every avenue of Imperial life in their hundreds of thousands; whole squads of Planetary Defence Force soldiers, brave hab-workers and even whole families of the fervent faithful, mothers and fathers with children at their hips. The local Churches of the Ecclesiarchy paid for vessels to carry these devoted followers of the Imperial Creed and soon the Crusade Fleet was followed by a huge rag tag armada of smaller vessels that carried the pilgrim army behind them. The Crusade As years passed and the Malatoth Crusade, named after the Sector the Word Bearers had attacked, progressed towards the Maelstrom, Septimus began looking for new recruits to replace losses among the Emperor’s Blade Space Marines. Among the innumerable host of loyal pilgrims that travelled behind the crusade army were countless families with sons who were of appropriate age. The life of such pilgrims was a harsh one, full of hardship and strife, making them ideal candidates for becoming Space Marines. Moreover, their faith and conviction in the Emperor and the Crusade were ingrained from birth itself. The campaign began well, with decisive victories against the Word Bearers vanguard taking back two Imperial systems in as many weeks. Septimus led his Marines with courage and skill, continuing their training in the strategies and strictures of Guilliman’s great work, the Codex Astartes. However, once the Word Bearers recovered from the surprise of the first overwhelming attacks, the battles of the Malatoth Crusade became far harder and on Jotas IX, tragedy struck the Emperor’s Blade Space Marines. Brother Balius, a veteran Chaplain of the Ultramarines and first Master of Sanctity for the young Emperor’s Blade Chapter was attacked and killed by a cult assassin, presumed to be an infiltrator under orders from the hated Word Bearers. The Chapter mourned for many days. Master Septimus, full of sorrow and rage in equal amounts over the loss of his friend, was unsure of how to reconcile the loss of the Chapter’s only spiritual leader. Balius had not yet appointed any other Marines to the honoured position of Chaplain who could take his place as Master of Sanctity, but according to Septimus’ own strict interpretation of the Codex, while the Chapter Master could assign Marines to serve within the Reclusiam, only the Master of Sanctity could appoint a Marine to the post of Reclusiarch. Finally, after much deliberation, Septimus accepted that there was nothing he could do but request of the Ultramarines that a new Master of Sanctity be selected and sent to take the place of Balius. With a heavy heart at the dishonour of having to ask for help so early in his career as Chapter Master, Septimus commissioned one of his veteran cadre, Brother Ardias, to carry Balius’ Crozius Arcanum and Rosarius back to Ultramar to be taken up by his replacement. The death of Balius would prove to be a catalyst for great change within the Chapter, although this would not become apparent for many centuries. Brother Ardias would likely not return for many years but the spiritual needs of the youthful Brethren must still be met, especially when they must face the unholy dangers of the Chaos Gods. In his humility, Septimus knew that while he was well able to teach the Brethren the value of the Codex Astartes, he was not a spiritual leader. Therefore he spoke to Lord Militant Tolemias, who suggested that some of the priests of the Crusade army be assigned to minister to the Battle Brethren of the Emperor’s Blade. While Septimus knew that these servants of the Ecclesiarchy did not hold to exactly the same beliefs as his former Chapter did, they were men of faith and their ministry would give his brave warriors courage and strength to face their dark enemy. As long years passed and more and more new members of the brethren were selected from the pilgrim fleet, the combination of their background and the teaching of the Adeptus Ministorium gradually brought the Emperor’s Blade Chapter closer and closer in faith and fraternity with the Church of the Ecclesiarchy. The Warden of the Faithful One of the first initiates chosen from the pious followers of the Crusade was a youth named Malchus, a strong young man with a fiery zeal for the Emperor’s glory. As Malchus progressed within the Chapter, he came to build a reputation as both a talented warrior and a masterful tactician. However, it was his skills as an orator of the Imperial Creed that became truly famed among the Battle Brethren, his rousing rhetoric inspiring his squad mates to greater and greater feats of heroism in the Emperor’s service. In time, his abilities brought him to the attention of Septimus himself, who inducted him into the 1st Company and honoured him with the guardianship of the sacred Chapter banner. Soon after this the Chapter Master was able to observe first-hand his subordinate’s faith and conviction, when Malchus’ stirring oratory led the Brethren in one of their most decisive victories of the entire campaign. Septimus recognized that in Malchus he had a devoted priest who could care for the spiritual needs of the Chapter until such time as a Chaplain arrived. He honoured Malchus by assigning him to the Chapter’s non-existent Reclusiam and commanding that he repaint his armour from Chapter blue to pure black, marking him out for special service to the Emperor. Though Septimus could not give him the title of Reclusiarch, he did create a new position within the Chapter HQ, that of ‘Warden of the Faithful’. Though he considered himself utterly unworthy, Malchus humbly accepted his Lord’s commission. Two years later the Crusade against the Word Bearers reached its climax as the Emperor’s Blade drove their hated enemies back into the Maelstrom. The final battles took place in the Threskeia system, the loyalist forces under Septimus throwing the traitors back from each of its inhabited worlds in turn. However, tragedy was to strike the Emperor’s Blade once again. On Threskeia VI, Septimus personally commanded the besiegement of the last of the Word Bearers fortifications, a dark bastion as much a temple as a citadel. The Traitor Marines held their position for many days but were finally forced to admit defeat. In order to escape the encircling Imperial battle lines, they summoned a vast horde of their warp-spawned servants and attempted to break out of the siege. Septimus led his men forward to bring final vengeance on the leaders of the unholy crusade. The Emperor’s Blade Master fought bravely, slaying dozens of the enemy, but was mercilessly cut down by a mighty warrior in the blasphemously ornate armour of a Dark Apostle. The Chaos Marines escaped, fleeing into the Maelstrom and the Malatoth Crusade finally ended. More than one hundred and fifty years after their mission began, the Emperor’s Blade had achieved their goal, but it was at great cost. Septimus was gone. The Chapter mourned for their lost Master for several weeks but knew that they must select his successor and continue in the Emperor’s work. This crusade may have been completed but there would always be more enemies to bring His judgement upon. When it came to choosing Septimus’ replacement, the devout Brethren were of one mind; that pious Brother Malchus, already the Chapter’s spiritual leader, should also lead the Emperor’s Blade in battle. Malchus was honoured by his brothers’ trust but at first refused, citing the holy Codex and stating that officers of the Reclusiam should only command warriors inducted into their number and therefore one of the Company Captains should be chosen as Master, with Brother-Captain Saul of the 1st Company being the obvious choice. Saul replied immediately that he was certain that Malchus was the right choice, that his unmatched zeal for the Emperor would make him the best leader for the Chapter, and that if it would satisfy the requirements of the Codex, he and all his company would gladly join the Chapter’s Reclusiam. The other nine Captains and all the Battle-Brethren roared their agreement and Malchus finally acquiesced to their demands. At that time, in accordance with patterns laid down in the Codex Astartes, the entirety of the Chapter signified their loyalty to the new Chapter Master and the Reclusiam by repainting their right arms and shoulder pads in pure, holy black. Homeworld When the Malatoth Crusade ended, the Imperial army that had fought in it was disbanded, different Regiments of the Imperial Guard being sent on to battle in countless other war zones. Davram Tolemias, however, would not leave the vast pilgrim army that had faithfully followed the Crusade for so many years. After much deliberation he decided that he and they would remain on Threskeia VI and that together, on the very ground where the Word Bearers dark citadel had stood, they would construct a great cathedral to honour the Emperor’s glory and commemorate the great victory his forces had fought so hard to achieve. The Emperor’s Blade also moved onwards. Malchus declared that while the forces of the Emperor had been fighting the hated Word Bearers, worlds across nearby sectors had suffered the attentions of other enemies, vile xenos like the brutish Orks or arrogant Eldar. These too must receive the Emperor’s judgement. However, before leaving the Threskeia system, Malchus was approached by Lord Tolemias. Davram explained that at the very heart of the great shrine it was his intention to place for all time the fragment of script that had given the Chapter its name, where it could be seen and honoured by devout citizens from across the Imperium. Further to this, he made a petition of Malchus that the new Chapter Master would allow the remains of his predecessor to be laid out in state within the cathedral, out of respect for all Septimus had done in the prosecution of the Malatoth Crusade. Malchus was delighted with this offer and accepted it immediately. The Emperor’s Blade Chapter left the Threskeia system and did not return for more than a century. At this time, satisfied that all opposition in the Malatoth Sector had been crushed and that the area was safely back under the rule of the Emperor, Malchus led his men back to Threskeia VI to pay their respects to their first Master and to recruit new Marines to replace their losses. When he arrived it was to find the Emperor’s holy shrine completed in all its glory, with Septimus’ remains lying as promised in a position of honour within its sacred walls. Malchus was taken aback by the sheer blessedness of the hallowed building and the world around it. Threskeia VI had become a Shrine World in every sense and its people, former pilgrims all, had dedicated themselves entirely to the Emperor’s service and to care for his Church. They lived a life of self-imposed asceticism and hard labour, along with an unending program of religious activity. In addition, every year thousands of other devout pilgrims from across the Imperium came to worship at the great Shrine. Malchus had known that the pilgrims would be an ideal source of faithful aspirants, as they had for long years past, but now he realized that there would be no better place for the Emperor’s Blade to settle permanently than their spiritual home. He ordered that the Chapter would remain in the Threskeia system and select a suitable site to build a Fortress Monastery from which to carry forth the Emperor’s word against his enemies. After much consideration, Malchus chose Threskeia IV, a barren, airless world that would provide an ideal defensive position as well as a perfect space dock from which the Emperor’s Blade fleet could take to the stars. Here the Chapter built its Fortress Monastery, both terms an accurate description of a structure that is both a mighty and a holy place. The Emperor’s Blade continue to recruit from the populace and visiting pilgrims of Threskeia VI, such youths providing an excellent source of devout aspirants, worthy to become part of the Emperor’s divine instrument of retribution. Beliefs Given the origins of their recruits and the Chapter’s early history, it is unsurprising that the Emperor’s Blade wholeheartedly accepts the Imperial Creed as expounded by the Holy Church of the Ecclesiarchy, acknowledging the Emperor for what he truly is, the Immortal God of Mankind. They also venerate all of the loyal Primarchs as the greatest of the Imperium’s Saints, in particular their own Primogenitor Roboute Guilliman. The Marines of the Chapter view themselves as an instrument of Divine judgement, the ‘glittering blade’ in the Emperor’s mailed fist with which he metes out vengeance on his enemies. They are in the fullest sense warrior-priests, pious and devout in their worship and acting as the Emperor’s ministers on the battlefield, bringing salvation to those who hope in him and death to those who deny him. As such, the Chapter has a close relationship with the Adeptus Ministorium, often fighting at their request beside the Church’s Ordo Militant, the Adeptus Sororitas, when anything may threaten their loyal adherents across the Imperium. In contrast, the Emperor’s Blade’s relationship with other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes has often become less than cordial, almost all refuting their claims of the Emperor’s Divinity. While the majority will happily fight beside the Emperor’s Blade, many view them with something approaching contempt for their belief that the Emperor was more than a man. This disagreement has never led to outright conflict, but often when a Company of the Chapter fights alongside another Astartes force, champions will be chosen to duel for the honour of their Chapter Cult. The Age of Apostasy: The Age of Apostasy was a dark time for the Emperor’s Blade. Before High Lord Vandire took power, the Chapter’s relationship with the Ecclesiarchy could be compared to that of a loyal retainer serving an ancient and wise master. However, as Vandire’s cruel acts of tyranny caused him to fall further and further from the ideals laid out in the Imperial Creed, Philemon, the Warden of the Faithful at that time, was forced to make a difficult decision. Like many Chapter Masters during that terrible time, Philemon cut his ties with Holy Terra, ordering his men to take full control of their home system, along with several of its neighbours. While still protecting the God Emperor’s realm from his enemies all along the edge of the Maelstrom, the Emperor’s Blade closed their borders to the servants of Vandire and the rest of Mankind. This state continued for several years, until the rise of Sebastian Thor. The Emperor’s Blade were among the first to join with his Confederation of Light, their goal to restore true faith to the Church of Man. After many years of fighting this goal was realised and the Imperium returned for a time to a state of internal peace and unity. Since that time, however, the relationship between the Ecclesiarchy and the Emperor’s Blade has changed. Never again would the Chapter blindly follow the Church as an infallible servant of God, but now the Warden of the Faithful would have to carefully consider the requests of the Ecclesiarchy to ensure they were in harmony with the Imperial Creed. While this has led to some minor conflict between the Chapter and the Church, for the most part the bond they share is still strong and enduring. Combat Doctrine On hearing of the Emperor’s Blade’s utter devotion to their God, one might picture them as a rampaging force of fanatics, hurling themselves en-masse against the heretical foes of the Imperium. However, this could not be further from the truth. Chapter Master Septimus instilled in his Chapter a deep and abiding reverence for their Primarch and his work, the Codex Astartes. The Emperor’s Blade view these tomes as a holy book, inspired by the undying Emperor himself, and therefore make war in perfect accordance with its words, although all the while declaring aloud their unending devotion to their God. They march to battle under great banners proclaiming the Emperor’s glory and decorate their armour with numerous purity seals and litanies expressing their faith. The Brethren also paint the casings of their weapons, most commonly the mighty bolter and cleansing flamer, in pure white, signifying that the warfare that they undertake is both holy and righteous. Over the course of the seven millennia since their Founding, the Chapter has faced every kind of foe plaguing the Imperium. However, their primary concern is guarding the borders of the Maelstrom and defeating the pirates, renegades and Chaos-worshipping traitors who emerge from its swirling currents to pillage and destroy. Therefore, while not becoming overly specialized, the Emperor’s Blade has developed an aptitude for boarding actions, learning to engage and destroy their enemies before they can become a real threat to the worlds of the Malatoth Sector. Chapter Organization The Emperor’s Blade Chapter is for the most part organized exactly as the Codex Astartes dictates, with the Battle Brethren, or ‘The Faithful’, being formed into 10 Companies of one hundred Space Marines, plus their various command and support units. Each Battle Brother of the Emperor’s Blade Companies aspires to be found worthy to join the heroes of the Chapter’s 1st Company. The veterans of this Company, ‘The Anointed’, are the most courageous, skilled and devoted warriors within the Chapter and are therefore honoured by being allowed to use its limited amount of Tactical Dreadnought Armour, holy artefacts that are as much battlefield shrines to the Emperor as they are suits of armour. Since the days of Malchus himself the entire Chapter has technically been part of its Reclusiam, signifying this by painting their right arms pure black but, oddly for a Chapter so devoted in its faith, the Emperor’s Blade have no Chaplains. This stems from an event that occurred a little over a century after the Emperor’s Blade had moved into their new Fortress Monastery on Threskeia IV. Finally, after long years of travelling, Brother Severian, Chaplain of the Ultramarines had arrived to take up the post of Master of Sanctity. Malchus eagerly received his new brother and conducted him on a tour of the Chapter’s home. While Severian was initially impressed, after a time he began to grow concerned at the Chapter’s view of the Emperor as a God. He mentioned this to Malchus and the Warden of the Faithful responded coldly. The disagreement quickly became an argument and Malchus finally declared that Severian could leave as soon as he wished. Severian was shocked, demanding to know who would care for the spiritual needs of the Brethren. Malchus is said to have laughed and challenged the Chaplain. He stated that if the least of the Chapter’s ‘Faithful’ could not equal Severian’s religious understanding, Malchus would place himself and the rest of the Chapter under him for religious instruction. Severian accepted and an opponent was chosen for him, a young Brother named Epaphras, newly attached to the 7th Reserve Company. In the Great Hall, before all the members of the Chapter on Threskeia IV at the time, they disputed for long hours, matching wits on the deeper doctrines of the faith, understanding of religious texts and quoting of litanies. Finally, Severian had to accept that he would never change the deeply held views of the Chapter. He left Threskeia IV in a rage, still insisting that Emperor’s Blade were misguided fools. From that time onwards, the Emperor’s Blade has had no Chaplains, but every Battle Brother must follow the example of Epaphras and be fully versed in the Imperial Creed. Squad leaders, Company Captains and the Warden of the Faithful himself must therefore, in addition to being strategic commanders of their troops, be paragons of faith and virtue worthy of leading them in the worship of their God. Like any Chapter, the Emperor’s Blade utilises a large Armoury of weapons and vehicles and these are cared for and maintained by the Master of the Forge and a legion of other Techmarines, Tech-Adepts, serfs and servitors. Battle Brothers trained to provide for the Chapter’s needs in this way often become isolated, rarely leaving the Chapter Forges except when they must accompany their war machines into battle. They are viewed as strange and set apart by their former Brethren, simply because their devotion to the God Emperor of Man is now by necessity balanced with their loyalty to the Machine God of Mars. If the Marines of the Armoury are seen as set apart from the rest of the Chapter, the Astartes serving as part of its Librarium are viewed with outright suspicion. Paradoxically, however, the Emperor’s Blade Librarians are at the same time held in a position of high honour. This stems from the Chapter’s feelings about psykers and mutants, such as Astropaths or Navigators, sanctioned by the Emperor Himself at the dawn of the Imperium. The Emperor’s Blade believe that being gifted with such power is a sign of a special link with the God Emperor himself. However, they also believe that power of such magnitude can only truly be the province of a God, not mortals, and that therefore these gifts are equally a dangerous curse. Thus, while Chapter commanders will listen carefully to the words of the Librarium, they are also ever vigilant to ensure that no taint ever stain the purity of the Chapter’s faith. The Librarians themselves tend to become among the most fanatically devoted to the Imperial Creed, as though to prove their continuing loyalty to the Emperor. Geneseed As scions of the Ultramarine Legion, the geneseed of the Emperor’s Blade is that of the Primogenitor, Roboute Guilliman. The Chapter’s deep respect for the Codex Astartes includes a profound reverence for its numerous strictures regarding the initiation and genetic implantation of new aspirants. Thus, even after more than seven thousand years since its Founding, its warriors perfectly maintain the purity for which the offspring of their Primarch are known. Several of the Chapter’s recruiting Sergeants, along with numerous members of the Apothecarium, are permanently based on Threskeia VI in order to examine and select the youths who may eventually become part of the Emperor’s Blade. The criteria for successful aspirants can be summed up in one word: purity. Firstly, physical and genetic purity are essential for such ones to be found worthy to be inheritors of the holy seed of Guilliman. Equally the candidates must be spiritually pure, proving themselves to be virtuous and devoted followers of the Imperial Creed and as such suitable to become defenders of the true Faith. Unusually for a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor’s Blade place more emphasis on such spiritual qualities over an aspirants level of combat training, believing that fighting skills can be learned but that the devotion needed to carry out the Emperor’s Will, to the death if necessary, must come from the heart. Battle-Cry While the Emperor’s Blade acknowledges that there are times when silence on the battlefield is necessary, for the most part when they go to war it is accompanied by the raised voices of all the Brethren present singing praises to the God Emperor, their vox-casters ringing out a chorus of hymns and psalms that form a marked counterpoint to the screams and death cries of their enemies. ”My Lord, surely not? They are as bad as the zealots of the Ecclesiarchy! Worse, for they should know better! I respect and value you as much as any man living, but their reaction to your arrival was… was… it bordered on heresy!” Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines and Lord Commander of the vast armies of the Imperium, sighed softly. “What else would you have me do, Marneus?” “Censure them! Put them back on the right path! But do not reward their misguided notions of divinity with access to Cawl’s technology?” “I understand your concerns, my son. Their attitude concerns me deeply, perhaps more so than any others who proclaim my father’s godhood… and I have my doubts about the many ‘coincidences’ that led to the Church’s influence upon them… but we are in no position to be selective, especially where a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes is concerned. The Indomitus Crusade needs warriors. Whether we approve of their beliefs or not, the Emperor’s Blade are both capable and loyal. Do you see any reason to doubt either their proficiency or their devotion to our cause?” Marneus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, frowned thoughtfully and then shook his head. If one ignored the hymnals and rhetoric – more suited to the Sororitas than the Astartes – the Chapter had proved itself as disciplined and effective in war as any of the Ultramarines’ many Successors. Guilliman nodded back and continued. “As to censure, I have given it in… similar… circumstances. I have seen what it can do. It can break a man, destroy him utterly. If we had chosen another path, found another way…” the Primarch paused pensively… “You cannot imagine how different things might be.” There was another long moment of silence. Finally Marneus bowed his head. “As you will it, my Lord. The Emperor’s Blade will have the Primaris technology. I will have the Tech-Adepts begin the transfer of data and supplies.” Guilliman nodded again and Calgar moved to leave. At the portal of his Lord’s Sanctum, he turned back with a mirthless grin. “Apparently they all want to cross the Rubicon, every last one of them! They’re calling it a test of their faith and purity, whether they can accept the gift of the Emperor! Maybe the process will kill them all off and we can start over?” Guilliman smiled back wearily. “I hope not, my son. Whether their views are wrong and whether some day we can lead them back to the truth… for the time being, we need them.”
  13. With a well-earned reputation for ruthless savagery and a callous disregard for human life, the Stormbringers Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes is as much feared and hated by those it professes to serve as it is by their enemies. The Stormbringers themselves care not for such petty concerns. They know that the Imperium of Man constantly walks the line between life and death, struggling to survive against its enemies from within and without. They, as its guardians, must do whatever is necessary to ensure its continued existence. Origins:[/skullheaderhalf] The Stormbringers Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes was formed during the 17th Founding from the mighty gene seed of Primarch Jaghatai Khan of the White Scars Legion. Their training cadre and first commander, a powerful warrior by the name of Tsubodai Khan, were drawn from the third Brotherhood of one of the White Scars fiercest successor Chapters, the Rampagers. The Chapters first battles were fought as part of a combined Imperial force making war along the north-western borders of the Ultima Segmentum against a series of Ork invasions. Led by Tsubodai, the new Chapter first came to the world Tuphon while hunting down an Ork cruiser carrying a cunning Warboss who had somehow escaped an ambush set by ships of the Imperial Navy. The Khan was immediately impressed both by the resistance of the native tribes against the alien invaders and by the wild nature of the planet itself. When the battle to destroy the Orks was finally over, Tsubodai declared Tuphon to be his by right of conquest, and to honour its brave people he gave his Chapter the name and colours they bear to this day. HomeWorld[/skullheaderhalf] Tuphon is a world as close to hell as I have ever seen. Inquisitor Raymien Saint Tuphon is designated as a Class IV Death World but even this ominous description does no justice to the harshest of realities. Its surface is mostly covered by deep, dark and tempestuous seas, their swirling, raging waters broken only by jagged spires of black stone that pierce into the sky. Tuphons single continental land mass, covering perhaps one eighth of the planets surface near the equator, is little more than a vast slab of the same dark, unyielding stone. Tuphon Tuphon has three moons and they, by their proximity and gravitational pull, have a massive impact on the worlds weather systems. Near continuous storms wrack the surface, hammering the rocky ground and turning the oceans into a churning maelstrom. Angry grey clouds fill the sky completely, hurling torrential rain down onto the dark stone. Bolt after bolt of lightning blasts from the sky and hurricane force winds howl through the mountains and valleys. At their worst, the storm winds increase in speed to hundreds of miles per hour, picking up boulders the size of men and pitching them around like pebbles. Even more dangerous are the smaller shards of rock shattered by lightning strikes. Gathered up by the wind, they turn the storm into a horrifying weapon that can strip the flesh from a mans bones in a matter of seconds. Only the most advanced armour can withstand such an onslaught. Very little could live in such a land were it not for the great Ironwoods, mighty trees adapted to their environment with a bark tougher than plascrete and the ability to thrive on the low light that filters through the heavy clouds. Even they cannot survive out in the open, against the full force of the storms, but in the valleys and ravines cut by the passage of vast rivers of dark water, they bring life to Tuphon's surface. Beneath the eaves of these protective giants a fragile ecosystem of flora and fauna clings to being. Thin grasses and shrubs grow around the bases of the great trees, providing food for a variety of herbivorous creatures, ranging from tiny rodents to great thick coated stags. There are no carnivorous creatures under the forest canopy, all such species having been wiped out by their rivals, Tuphons greatest predators men. Men had been on Tuphon for many long millennia before the Stormbringers came. Little is known about when or how they came to Tuphon, but whatever technology brought them to their new home must have been quickly destroyed by its harsh climate. Any kind of civilized society must undoubtedly have broken down with equal speed, degenerating into a primitive, almost feral, system of clans and tribes that has remained the same ever since. Life is incredibly harsh for the people of Tuphon, a constant struggle to find food and shelter from the great storms beneath the Ironwoods. Both are exceedingly scarce and are therefore a root of near continuous conflict between the various clans as they endeavour to survive. Clan holdings are often destroyed by particularly violent storms or raging flood waters, forcing their people to search for new homes, even making war to conquer and take the lands of other clans. The men and women of Tuphon are a hardy race, lean and pale skinned but strong and resilient. Their men are warriors from birth, beginning their training with axe, spear and bow almost as soon as they can walk, preparing them to fight for the continued survival of their clan and making them ideal candidates for initiation into a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. In temperament the clanspeople are savagely cold and pragmatic, a necessity in their extreme environment. Every member of a clan must be strong, able to provide in some way towards the survival of their people, and any who cannot are quickly cast out. There is no care expected or given for children born with even the slightest disability, and any found to bear such at birth are ritually returned to the earth. If and when any clan member reaches a point where he or she can no longer be of use to their brethren, perhaps becoming too old, sick or injured either to fight or to care for other responsibilities, they will willingly and proudly walk alone and naked out onto the plains to be taken by the great storms, rather than impose any further burden on their brothers. In battle, a clansman will unhesitatingly and uncaringly commit acts of horrific bloodshed against another clan if it will keep his tribal brothers alive for another day. However, he would also be equally willing to give up his own life if he deemed the sacrifice to be worthwhile and for the good of the clan. Organisation[/skullheaderhalf] The effect of the Codex Tempestus on the Stormbringers Chapter could be compared to that of giving a penal legion killer a dress uniform to wear; the countenance appears more refined, yet the murderous sociopath beneath remains unchanged. Inquisitor Holst after the Torros incident. The single greatest influence on the organization of the Stormbringers was undoubtedly their 4th Chapter Master: a warrior named Isegrimm, who was born, raised and inducted into the Chapter on Tuphon. By his time, the majority of the Chapter were likewise natives of their home world, and the Stormbringers had already developed a reputation among Imperial commanders for savage and uncontrollable brutality, occasionally even against allied troops and civilians. The Chapter was investigated by the Inquisition and Isegrimm was told in no uncertain terms that he must rein in his forces or face the threat of Excommunication. Isegrimm was not only a great warrior but also a cunning strategist and a devoted student of the myriad ways of making war. He responded to the Inquisitions threats by writing a book that would save the Stormbringers, the Codex Tempestus or Book of Storms. This was a tome based in equal parts upon Guillimans Codex Astartes, the teachings of Jaghatai Khan handed down from their Rampagers forebears, and his own years of combat experience. Hunters Although the Stormbringers do not permit their Initiates to take to the battlefield, the role of scout must still be filled. Therefore a small corps of experienced First Company veterans, typically from the tactically minded Sternguard, are trained to serve as Hunters. Two or three members of this highly specialized elite group are assigned to serve with each of the Strike Companies. Clad in unmarked black carapace armour and draped in cameoline cloaks, these warriors range far ahead of the rest of the Company, preparing the way for their brethrens advance. Each Hunter works alone and unaided, answering only to his brother Hunters and the Strike Captain. They are masters of reconnaissance, skilled in interrogation and torture, as well as being highly trained in all aspects of guerrilla warfare, including sabotage and assassination. There are many instances where an enemy force has been defeated with barely a shot fired, mainly thanks to the carefully gathered information or carefully placed snipers bullet of a ruthless Hunter. The Book of Storms codified the varying structures of the individual Brotherhoods into the strictly organized Strike Companies that remain to this day. There are eight such Companies, each of which is an autonomous fighting unit of approximately 100 Space Marines. As in a typical Battle Company, the majority of this number is made up by six Tactical squads. However, in harmony with the teachings of the Khan these warriors are well trained and equally adept in deploying as fast moving Bike Squads. Again following the Codex Astartes, each Strike Company also includes two ten man Assault squads; but it is among their heavy support units that the Stormbringers most diverge from Guillimans masterwork. The final twenty members of a typical Strike Company are generally split into vehicle crews, manning either Attack Bike or Land Speeder squadrons which provide heavier firepower but can still maintain the pace set by their brethren. Finally, each Company is led into battle by their Strike Captain and a small cadre of command staff and company veterans who will often act as a fast moving spearhead, equipped with either Bikes or Jump Packs to carry them swiftly to war. The Chapters First Company follows the same pattern as set by the Strike Companies, with the exception that its 100 members are instead comprised of highly experienced Sternguard, Vanguard, and Bike or Land Speeder-mounted Stormguard veterans, chosen from the very best warriors the Strike Companies have to offer. This Company acts as the personal guard of the Stormbringers Chapter Master, and their badge is a mighty wyvern of Tuphon clutching a lightning bolt in its scaly claws. This symbol is all too appropriate, for the First Company are the undisputed masters of the rapid assault. The Chapter has only a few dozen suits of ancient Tactical Dreadnought Armour. These relics are carefully maintained, to be used only in times of direst need by the very finest warriors among the First Company. When deployed in this this way, the Stormbringer veterans are often carried into battle by one of the Chapters three Land Raiders: the Wyverns Claw, the Spear of Tsubodai and the Innocents Blood. Finally, in addition to these nine Companies, there is the Chapters Tenth Company, including its recruiting Captain, Sergeants and Initiates. The Stormbringers do not consider it efficient to send Space Marines not fully trained into combat, so Initiates are not assigned to a Strike Company until the Master of Recruits deems them ready to become full Battle Brothers. However, the 10th is given the serious responsibility of defending the Chapter fortress when all of the Strike Companies are on campaign. The Tenth Company can number anywhere from 50 to 200 Initiates at any given time. The Chapter Master is also responsible for the Chapter HQ, including overall command of the Stormbringers Librarium, Apothecarium, Reclusiarchy and Forges; as well as the Chapter's Fortress Monastery, Armoury and Fleet, including the myriad Chapter staff that care for these assets. The Stormbringers Strike Companies each have assigned to them a Strike Cruiser, enabling them to react quickly to any Imperial cry for help. The First Company, however, is privileged to use the Chapters flagship, a Battle Barge named the Emperors Wrath". These vessels are berthed and maintained at a massive space dock that the Stormbringers keep in orbit around Tuphons second moon. The reforms made by Master Isegrimm in the Book of Storms also included strict regulations on the appearance of the Chapters Marines, requiring them to decorate their armour as any other Codex Chapter might, with similar Company and squad designations, honour and campaign badges, kill markings and personal litanies. Isegrimm even took the step of taking a new name, Octavian, that of a revered warrior hero of the Imperium rather than that of his own clan. He further decreed that each warrior of the Chapter must do the same so that the Stormbringers would show no outward signs of their savage tribal origins. Octavian asserted that his goal was simply to bring his Chapter in line with what was acceptable to the Adeptus Terra. However, the Stormbringers many critics claim that the Book of Storms has proved to be nothing more than a smokescreen, a facade of civility to fool the unwary, and that the Chapter is no less vicious than it ever was. Combat Doctrine Terror is a weapon with a strength greater than that of a hundred bolt guns. Book of Storms LXII.VI A Commander who fails to use every weapon at his disposal is nothing more than a fool. Book of Storms LVI.II On the battlefield and in strategy, the Stormbringers Space Marines think little differently than one of their former clan brothers, willing to use all manner of terror tactics and commit the most unspeakable atrocities in order to achieve their objective. Stormbringers commanders have been known to use innocent civilian populations to bait traps for enemy forces, to use other Imperial units as cannon fodder to protect their own, more valuable, troops as they enter combat; even to fire upon friendly forces once they have been used to bog down an enemy at close quarters. Often such tactics do win battles and wars, frequently with far more acceptable losses to the Imperiums assets overall; but those used by the Stormbringers rarely see it that way. Most local Imperial commanders view the Chapter as cruel, without conscience, and believe they are better off without the Space Marines help, many even refusing to fight beside them. Strike first, strike fast, strike hard. Book of Storms II.XV It is unsurprising that the Stormbringers tactical dogma focuses primarily on rapid deployment and assault stratagems. While not being as totally reliant on the use of Bike squads as their parent Legion, these do feature heavily in Stormbringers forces, along with jump pack equipped assault units and Land Speeders. Tactical squads are invariably assigned Rhino or Razorback APCs to allow rapid redeployment, unless the force is being deployed directly into combat via drop pods, and almost never use heavy weapons that may slow the unit down. The only exception to this is the use of heavy bolters fitted with rare suspensor devices that enable the weapon to be fired on the move. Dreadnoughts and Devastator squads are never used, being far too static for the Stormbringers style of warfare, and additional heavy support is provided solely by the Chapters battle tanks. This role is primarily filled by Predators, but the Armoury does include several squadrons of Vindicator and Whirlwind pattern tanks that may be assigned to support a Strike Company. [skullheaderhalf=13139C]Beliefs The Wyverns of Tuphon The only creatures of Tuphon that can challenge the supremacy of the clans are the great wyverns, ferocious beasts of scale, talon and fang. They begin their lives from eggs laid into the oceans of Tuphon, hatching into lithe, 2 metre long hunters, feasting on the abundance of aquatic life beneath the waves. Over the course of many years they grow, doubling or even tripling their size, becoming a grave threat to the clansmen who brave the fierce seas to fish for their people. As a wyvern approaches full adulthood, though, a change comes over them. They drag their bodies, now nearer 10 metres in length, from the seas onto the rocks that break the waters surface and enwrap themselves in a cocoon like state where they remain for several days. When they emerge their backs have sprouted a huge pair of leathery wings and their scales have hardened to a state more resilient than diamonds. The adult wyvern now nests in the mountains of Tuphon and feeds on both the fish of the oceans and on the beasts and men of the land. It is the only creature of all Tuphon untroubled by the great storms, its hide grown impervious to even the most brutal winds. In fact, the more ferocious the tempest, the more the beasts seem to enjoy it, spiralling wildly through the windswept skies and screeching their heart-freezing, terrible cries to all who may hear. The Stormbringers believe first and foremost in the survival of the Imperium of Man. It is their sole purpose in life that the Emperors realm should not fall, and they feel no compunction over taking whatever course they deem necessary to ensure its continued existence. For example, if a battle costs the lives of one hundred civilians rather than that of a single Astartes, this is viewed as entirely acceptable, simply by virtue of their comparative value to the Imperium. In the present time, with Mankind attacked on all sides by countless enemies and always in desperate need of its finest warriors, it is debatable whether any could truly prove that they are wrong. Many have branded the Chapter as cowardly because of their methods but such accusations are inaccurate. If the Stormbringers feel that the sacrifice is necessary, or the objective important enough, they will willingly and without hesitation give their lives to achieve it. Others call the Chapter cruel, disloyal or heartless. The Stormbringers themselves feel that they are simply being efficient. The Chapter has on several occasions been investigated by the Inquisition because of their savage use of other Imperial citizens. However, while some more youthful, fiery Inquisitors would like to see the Stormbringers punished, the Chapter is lucky enough to enjoy the favour of several high ranking and more experienced Lords of the Inquisition. These are men and women who recognize that there are times when the ends must justify the means. Thus, for the present time at least, the Stormbringers are free to continue in their bloody-handed ways. However, it should be noted that while the Stormbringers have a reputation for doing whatever is necessary to achieve their goals, they do have limits. No true member of the Chapter would countenance having anything to do with xenos of any species or even less with the corrupting taint of Chaos. The clans of Tuphon, while usually a coldly utilitarian people, do venerate the Emperor of Mankind, giving him the place of the Tuphonic tribal god, the Lord of The Sun Rising". On rare occasions the storms abate, allowing the sun to shine through onto the surface. In response, thousands of tiny seedlings and roots embedded in the rocky ground burst forth into frantic life, seemingly desperate to propagate their species. Many swell in what seem mere moments with rich vegetation and fruits that the clans gather to enjoy great feasts with their temporary plenty. Such times are considered holy days dedicated to the Lord of The Sun Rising", a brief respite from the hardship and conflict that are the only way of life on Tuphon. While the Stormbringers follow few of Tuphon's tribal rituals, they still do enjoy these days of light and peace dedicated to the Emperor, with all brethren present gathering to feast and celebrate. Portions of Chapter lore remembering great victories are read aloud, trials of strength and skill are contested and the Chaplains lead the Chapter in prayer to the Lord of The Sun Rising". [skullheaderhalf=13139C]Geneseed The gene seed of the Stormbringers is largely stable but the Melanochrome implant You will be labelled as savages and barbarians. This is incorrect. Savagery and barbarism are merely tools to be used as any other. Chaplain Vespasian addressing new Chapter Aspirants. appears to have an unusual effect in conjunction with the genetic make-up of the Tuphonic people. The clansmen are, by reason of their harsh environment, naturally pale and gaunt featured but in those who become Space Marines these characteristics seem profoundly accentuated, while by some chemical reaction their hair is bleached to a shocking white blonde. These combine to make the Stormbringers appearance highly unsettling to most other humans, a fact that the Strike Captains always use to their advantage on the rare occasions they require something from their Imperial 'allies'. [skullheaderhalf=13139C]Battle-Cry The Stormbringers recognize that a battle cry is a weapon that has a greater effect on some enemies than others and thus their war cries vary depending on what foes they face. Against a fearless enemy that would be totally unaffected, such as Tyranids or Orks, the Battle Brothers remain silent, conserving energy for fighting; whereas against a more easily demoralized foe, such as traitorous Imperials, Tau or some Eldar, they enter battle screaming terrifying and wordless howls of pure, unbridled rage and hatred amplified through the voxcasters of their power armour. ******************************* Discussion Link
  14. Index Traitoris: Iron Gods For more than two centuries the Iron Gods have proven themselves a thorn in the side of the Adeptus Terra. They are sullied by overwhelming pride, driven by self-serving ambition, and unburdened by any kind of morality; in short, they are everything that a brotherhood of Astartes should not be. The Solios Nebula Although tiny compared to the unimaginable expanse that is the Imperium of Man, the Solios Nebula still covers a vast area of space in the northern regions of the Pacificus and Tempestus Segmenta, its tendrils penetrating deep into the heart of no less than seven different sub-sectors. Powerful, eddying currents within the warp around the Nebula make travel difficult between Segmenta at this point, and the worlds around its rim have thus become something of a galactic backwater. The area has limited strategic value and few threats besides a handful of systems infested by the omnipresent Ork menace, meaning that Imperial Navy assets and Guard Regiments tend to be quickly relocated to more important or volatile combat zones, such as the Eye of Terror in the north. The Nebula itself is sparsely populated with a handful of dead and dying stars, their powerful gravity wells drawing all manner of debris and galactic refuse into several vast asteroid fields within its borders. Empty of any resource useful to the Imperium, these fields have ever been a haven for pirates, rebels and fugitives, and for rogue traders and merchants dealing in items prohibited by the Adeptus Terra. It is believed that there are at least several dozen bases used by these miscreants hidden within the Nebula, either space stations or facilities carved into the rock of the larger asteroids. Towards the end of the forty-first Millennium, as Imperial military strength in the area has become less and less, such rebellious elements have become more and more bold, as have raiding parties of several xeno species. The Imperial response has been limited to the occasional Navy patrol along the Nebula’s border, the Commands of both Segmenta simply unable to spare the forces necessary to properly cleanse it. Without such aid, the people of the worlds around the Solios Nebula have come to watch the skies above them with fear. Talek Varn Two hundred and thirty-seven years prior to the present day, a battered vessel appeared on the augurs of one of the largest asteroid pirate bases within the Nebula. It was immediately identified as an Astartes Strike Cruiser, though all traces of Chapter insignia had been scoured from its scarred and pitted hull. Despite the ship’s appearance, the crews of both the station and of the several smaller vessels docked there were understandably nervous, fearful of the Imperium and its finest warriors. Turrets and weapon systems were brought on line, all eyes watching for the slightest sign of aggression. The cruiser hung unmoving in the void, but at the same time, unnoticed by the frightened defenders, an equally ragged Thunderhawk Gunship drifted out from behind a nearby asteroid. It coasted on minimal power towards the base, finally making contact with the airless surface. Immediately, more than two dozen Astartes clad in mismatched grey power armour spread out across the asteroid, quickly targeting and taking possession of power generators, weapon controls and the main docking bay. The weapons that had been aimed at the Cruiser were turned on the other ships, crippling the unsuspecting vessels with the first salvoes of fire. Suddenly, the Strike Cruiser came to life, repositioning itself to watch over its heavily damaged opponents, even as it disgorged a pair of Thunderhawks that moved at a stately pace towards the main dock. As they arrived, the blast doors slid aside, opened by the Marines within. The transports set down, and another fifty Astartes in similar grey armour poured out, led by a single giant wearing Tactical Dreadnought Armour. Talek Varn had come to the Solios Nebula. The inhabitants of the station trembled, sure that the Emperor’s justice had finally come. It had not. Varn had one of his men patch his vox into the station communications net. He introduced himself, declaring that the worlds of the Solios Nebula were now under his protection and that those who would serve him loyally could live, and reap both material rewards and glory. Varn added that those who refused were free to leave, though it was clear to all from the glint of savage madness in his eyes that such a departure would likely be via the nearest airlock. The Rise of a Despot Whatever Varn’s original intentions as to the worlds around the Solios Nebula, it has become clear in the intervening centuries that he is little better, perhaps even worse, than the pirates and rebels he first claimed to oppose. Though his first actions were against the other stations within the Nebula, it would seem that these strikes were intended simply to destroy his future rivals and to secure the weapons, armour plating and shield generators needed to further fortify Varn’s own base of operations. Now strongly entrenched within the Solios Nebula, Talek Varn has turned his attention to the worlds on its borders. The protection offered by him comes at a high price, a tithed tribute from each planet or system under his watchful eye. Should such tribute not be offered willingly, it will commonly be taken with brutal force, setting a frightening example for a 'chastised’ world’s neighbours. A noteworthy example of such cruelty occurred on the Agri-world, Feraxus II. The Feraxians, having suffered a poor year’s crop, refused to pay Varn’s tithe and gathered their people together behind the safety of the walls of Feraxus’ only city, with more than sixty thousand Planetary Defence Force and militia troopers ready to fight against his reavers. With typical Astartes efficiency, the Iron Gods bypassed this defence, instead quickly capturing several of the world’s orbital batteries, followed by a lightning raid that took control of the Planetary Governors command post. The governor and his staff were summarily executed, but in his rage, Varn went further. To punish the people of Feraxus for supporting their Lord’s foolish plan, he demanded that every third member of the defence force should have their eyes plucked out, so that their lack of figurative vision would be matched with literal blindness. This insane demand, backed as it was with the threat of the total destruction of the city by orbital bombardment, could not be ignored. With no choice but to comply, over twenty thousand brave soldiers, each a volunteer, each knowing that they would never see their families and friends again, marched to the Feraxian parade grounds where dozens of unwilling doctors and surgeons had been gathered. For a day and a night, the broken people of Feraxus lamented and the pirate lord watched coldly as his vile commands were carried out. Since that black time in their history, though the Feraxians hate Varn more than they ever did before, never again have they dared to refuse him his rightful tribute. Talek Varn addressing the Revolutionary Congress of Cordis III: ”I care nothing for this world’s petty squabbles! Where is my damned tribute?” Talek Varn has proved himself to be an egotistical brute, a megalomaniac with a vicious streak a light year across. How such a flawed individual ever rose to become an Astartes is unknown, as no Chapter has ever stepped forward to accept responsibility for their fallen son. However, he is at the same time a ferocious and skilled warrior, a cunning tactician and a charismatic leader; ruling his little empire with a mixture of respect and fear. His view of the Imperium at large and of the Emperor himself appears to be one of indifference and even contempt. However, that is not to say that Varn has turned to the worship of the Dark Gods of Chaos, as he is equally scornful of them and their deluded followers. Rather, he believes in just two maxims; that only strength truly determines what is right, and that whatever a man can take, hold and keep is lawfully his. Varn’s long term goals are somewhat unclear, but it would appear that his primary focus in life is simply the advancement of his own power and glory. Iron Gods Talek Varn’s followers take their name from one of their first exploratory raids out of the Solios Nebula, on the Feral World of Ksergha IV. The superstitious and primitive tribespeople, who had never before seen the mighty warriors of the Astartes, called them ‘iron gods’ due to their inhuman size and strength, and their total imperviousness to the hunter’s crude spears and slings. It is said that the name appealed immediately to the pirate lord’s ego. Mharkad and the Iron Beast: Besides the Rhino transports and Drop Pods that are common in any Astartes force, the Iron Gods have only two heavily armoured vehicles. The Iron Beast is an ancient Land Raider, Varn’s own battle chariot, that he has had retrofitted to match the much feared ‘Crusader’ pattern. Interred in the metal body of a Dreadnought, Brother Mharkad is Talek Varn’s deadliest warrior and his most fervent supporter. No-one knows how long Mharkad has endured his cold half life, but it is clear that much of his mind is gone, with only his prodigious battle skills remaining. His speech and attitude are those of an ill-tempered child, but he is utterly obedient and fiercely loyal to his lord. Though there have been those among the Iron Gods who have thought to depose and replace their cruel master, Mharkad has ever stood ready to protect Varn from his enemies both within and without. The Iron Gods are a diverse group of warriors, believed to hail from countless different Chapters. Outcasts, renegades or survivors, they are united by desperation, ambition and greed; and drawn by the promise of power and glory. When each one arrives at the gates of the stronghold Varn has constructed for himself from the foundations of the asteroid base, they must renounce all ties of loyalty to their former lives, giving themselves over completely to the Iron Gods. They remove all traces of their Chapter’s heritage from their armour, replacing them with featureless, anonymous grey. With this simple act, one that most Astartes would consider a terrible heresy in itself, the new recruit dies to his life of self-sacrifice and duty, and is reborn into one of bloody piracy. It is uncertain exactly how many warriors have joined with Talek Varn over the years, but Imperial sources estimate that he can bring more than one hundred and twenty Astartes to the field of battle when required. In battle, the Iron Gods organization is far more fluid than that of a typical Codex-following force. The forces of Talek Varn are experienced veterans of countless conflicts. Each warrior is well equipped with bolter, bolt pistol and chain blade or axe. Marksmanship, skill at arms or proven loyalty is rewarded with the gift of more esoteric weaponry, such as plasma or melta guns or power blades and fists. Several units are equipped with heavier weapons to provide longer ranged fire support, but these are primarily simpler armaments such as heavy bolters and missile launchers that are therefore more easily maintained. Each squad is typically led into combat by one of Varn’s own retinue, a favoured champion who will fight at their head and ensure that their lord’s orders are followed to the letter. A single squad formed of the most loyal of these veteran warriors is permitted the greatest honour of all, to fight beside their master as his personal bodyguard, equipped with the finest arms and armour Varn has at his disposal. The Gods’ combat doctrine appears to focus on short ranged firefights and close quarter combat. This is perhaps primarily due to their propensity for ship-to-ship boarding actions, Talek Varn’s view being that any vessels travelling within his realm are as much in his debt as the worlds, and therefore just as due to pay him homage. The Magos Early in the history of the Iron Gods, Talek Varn led his reavers against a small convoy of ships travelling along the border of the Solios Nebula. The ships were bearing the cog badge of the Adeptus Mechanicus and carried in their massive holds medical and technical supplies that, if successfully taken, would enable the Iron Gods to keep on fighting for several years. However, what Varn found aboard the lead vessel proved to be a far greater treasure. The command ship’s gun servitors and Skitarii guards fought fiercely to begin with, but when it became clear that the Astartes could not be stopped, the defenders suddenly put up their weapons and retreated to a final position outside the bridge. Varn and his men were understandably surprised, and even more so when the ship’s commander opened a vox link to the Iron Gods. He introduced himself as Magos Octavius, indicated that he had no interest in giving his own life in a futile attempt to protect the property of the Adeptus Mechanicus and requested that he might speak to the pirate leader in order to reach some mutually beneficial arrangement. Varn is said to have smiled, recognizing in the Magos’ voice ambition, greed and a strong distaste for his masters. These were things he understood, things he could use. Octavius joined the Iron Gods that day, bringing with him the desperately needed skills and resources that would keep Varn’s forces operating at peak efficiency for many decades to come. The Magos is a small, wizened man, whose body is riddled with countless bionic enhancements, spidery servo limbs carrying the myriad blades, saws and drills that are the tools of his trade. Octavius firmly believes himself to be Varn’s intellectual superior and that he must one day surely be the inheritor of the pirate lord’s little empire. However, he knows that he lacks Varn’s brutal charisma and the sheer force of personality needed to command a force as unruly as the Iron Gods. Hence, he is content to wait, biding his time and building his strength. In the meantime, he cannot help but take every opportunity to direct thinly veiled slights and slurs at his hated master, knowing himself to be safe from Varn’s prideful rages because of his unique position. However, Talek Varn is far more intelligent than the Magos gives him credit for, and is well aware of Octavius’ machinations. While Varn despises ‘the worm’ for his skulking ways and snidely delivered barbs, at the same time he enjoys the mental sparring matches between them, revelling in the challenge of outsmarting a clever opponent. There are some among the Iron Gods that say that it is for this reason, as much as the need for Octavius’ specialized skills, that Varn has allowed him to live as long as he has. In reality, the two men are far more similar than either would care to admit; both thoroughly disenchanted with the thankless role a vast and uncaring Imperium saw fit to give them, both now seeking nothing more than to claw what they can from a dying galaxy before madness and death overrun all. Even with the expertise provided by the Magos, technological resources among the Iron Gods are limited. Weapons, ammunition and most vehicle parts can be manufactured by Octavius’ small work force of servitors and tech-slaves, but other, more advanced items – most specifically bionics – are a rare and precious commodity. While waiting for many months or perhaps even years for the Magos himself to be able to procure or build a bionic replacement, it is not uncommon for Iron Gods who have lost limbs in battle to make use of more crude prosthetics; and even for those who have lost a hand to fix a blade or other weapon directly to the vambrace of their power armour so as not to lose any of their effectiveness in combat. Among the cynical and bitter warriors of Talek Varn, these temporary substitutes are caustically referred to as ‘the Magos’ Gift’. The Imperium For the Planetary Governors and Navy Captains around the Solios Nebula, the Iron Gods are the most fearsome threat imaginable. In the opinion of more than a few among their number, Varn’s demands of tribute are not excessive and that it costs far less to simply pay him and thus be safe from his cruel retribution. Further, when his requests have been met, Varn has provided his strength to these worlds when needed, most recently helping the hives of Talathi Prime to eradicate a Genestealer cult that had infiltrated their home. Whether Talek Varn was moved to act by some vestigial sense of honour or loyalty, or simply by egotistical fury that one of ‘his’ worlds had been attacked, is uncertain. Whichever is true, local support for the Iron Gods grew significantly because of it. However, the execution of the Governor of Talathi Prime shortly afterwards by Inquisitor De Corte has meant that few planetary lords are now willing to request Varn’s aid openly. However, while it would likely be galling for the master of the Iron Gods to hear, the truth is that all his actions register as little more than a pinprick against the Adeptus Terra. In the aftermath of Abaddon’s thirteenth Black Crusade, the ongoing wars around the Armageddon system against Waagh Ghazghull, and the newly emergent threat of Hive Fleet Leviathan; Talek Varn and his followers are less than nothing. The Imperium’s view is that the Iron Gods may be safely ignored until such time as sufficient strength can be spared to crush them utterly. While this is probably a correct assumption, the Lords of Terra must be careful. The power of Talek Varn grows with every year, and if no action is taken against him, the Imperium may one day find itself with another Huron Blackheart firmly entrenched deep within its borders. In his time ruling over the pirates of the Solios Nebula, Talek Varn has made many enemies. Foremost among them must surely be Lord Admiral Griev of the Imperial Navy, a veteran commander seemingly obsessed with destroying Varn and all those who follow him. Why Griev is so compelled to act against Varn is uncertain, but many speculate that for a man like the Lord Admiral, whose whole life has ever revolved around duty and unbending discipline, the very existence of a force like the Iron Gods is anathema, an affront to his uncompromising sense of what is right and wrong. The grey bearded Fleet officer has driven the forces under his command relentlessly, becoming almost tyrannical in his eagerness to find and annihilate his enemy. However, though in recent years Griev has captured or destroyed several vessels believed to be part of Talek Varn’s pirate fleet, he has never been able to bring the lord of the Iron Gods himself to battle. The Lord Admiral ever seeks from his superiors the strength he needs to hunt Varn down, but given his lack of success thus far, the Naval Segmentum HQ has been unwilling to waste even more ships in what currently seems to them to be a fruitless endeavour. Rumours abound within the corridors of power at Hydraphur that the Lord Admiral’s obsession has driven him into madness, and that it can be only a matter of time before he loses his command entirely. Lord Admiral Griev to the Naval Authorities at Hydraphur: ”Talek Varn is a rabid dog that needs to be put down! Give me but a dozen more ships and I shall see it done.” That Griev has been allowed to continue in his vindictive quest at all is largely due to the patronage of another servant of the Imperium, the shadowy figure of Inquisitor De Corte. Although only recently given the full rank of Inquisitor, De Corte is a shrewd and thorough investigator, and is convinced that the Iron Gods are a far greater threat than many of his peers realize. Much of the Inquisitor’s fear stems from his belief that he has discovered a pattern in many of the items taken as tribute by the pirate lord in the years since the desertion of the traitor Magos Octavius. De Corte feels sure that the ambitious master of the Iron Gods has put his Mechanicus ally to work sourcing and building a compact genetics laboratory complete with its own cloning facilities, with the obvious goal of replicating Astartes gene seed. Even more worrying to De Corte is the possibility that this goal has already been attained, as several of the Iron Gods most recent raids, on worlds such as Ksergha IV and the hives of Cordis VII, have been accompanied by unconfirmed reports of the abduction of a handful of prepubescent male children. De Corte’s many critics claim that the young Inquisitor’s theories are absurd, that there is not the slightest chance that Talek Varn could have gained the power to create warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, and that De Corte is simply trying to make more of his first assignment than is truly there. However, in the unlikely event he should be correct, the threat posed by the Iron Gods may prove to be far greater than any of the servants of Terra ever realized. Gene-seed The individual genetic legacies of Talek Varn and his reavers are a matter of much debate among Imperial scholars. Some believe Varn’s prideful attitude marks him as a son of Rogal Dorn, whereas others suggest that his savage ferocity and disrespect for authority indicate that he must be a scion of either the White Scars or Space Wolves. However, the simple truth of the matter is that Varn could have been recruited into the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes by any one of the many hundreds of Chapters currently in existence. Similarly, whether his original followers hail from the same Chapter as their master, or if he perhaps gathered them from across the breadth of the Imperium before he ever came to the Solios Nebula, is equally unknown. Whatever the case, neither Varn, nor any of the Iron Gods, is known to have divulged the truth to anyone outside their own ranks; nor are they ever likely to. The pirate lord knows that there is only one thing that could ruin his dreams of carving out an empire at the heart of the Emperor’s realm – that even a single Chapter should turn its full attention to the Iron Gods before he is ready to face them. Thus, he is vigilant that none of his followers should ever reveal anything about their individual histories that might bring the vengeful anger of their former brethren down upon the Solios Nebula. Battle Cry “Blood and glory!” ***** About the Author/Acknowledgements: Lysimachus has been a certifiable 40K fluff-nut, particularly in regard to the mighty Astartes, for the best part of 15 years; and is honoured to have several IA’s, IT’s and a short story accepted into the B+C’s excellent Librarium. Special thanks on this piece must go to Octavulg, Barret, Severus 6, GHY, Ace Debonair and everyone else who’s helped turn some fairly random ideas into a finished article. http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/182562-it-iron-gods/
  15. So, got around to doing some build work for a new Kill team, one of my DIY Chapters, the highly religious Emperor's Blade: and some closer ups: Sgt Rufus Intercessors and Scout Sgt who will be fluffed as a trusted Chapter Serf (the Chapter considers sneaky sniper tactics to be necessary and part of the Holy Codex, but somewhat dishonourable for actual Astartes!) (Love how small the Scout minis now feel next to the Marines!) Sister/Tacticals still to come when I can pick up the new Sisters box! C+C always welcome!
  16. Hello all! I'm just starting out with an idea for kill team and thought I'd ask for any advice re list building people have. It will be an Astartes team, I'm building it for my DIY Chapter, the Emperor's Blade. If you're interested in the fluff, here's a link - http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/files/file/652-index-astartes-the-emperors-blade/ ...but suffice to say they're a very religious Chapter, their main recruiting world is a Shrineworld (along with the sons of pilgrim families that visit it) and I want to highlight the close bond the Chapter has with the Ecclesiarchy in general and the Sororitas Convent that protects the main Shrine in particular. I'd like to build the team using mostly Primaris Intercessors (a few Scouts are fine too). Here's the catch though: I want to use the new SoB minis as counts-as in place of any Oldmarines, so any Tacs, etc, included in the team can only have equipment that would also be carried by Battle Sisters? (So no plasma, but could have a flamer, heavy bolter, etc) One unit I would definitely like to include is an Intercessor Sgt (based on the new DA Lazarus mini, I think it's great and DA bits are perfect for Emperor's Blade!) not sure on weapons, his power sword is nice or maybe a hammer as I've got one of the cool heresy style ones from the mkiii kit knocking about? Doesn't have to be the Leader in gaming terms, I've heard it's worth making sgts Combat specialists instead? Not really much more to add, I'd like it to be 100pts or 125 if including elites. I'm not mega competitive, but I'd like it to be reasonably capable of taking on a variety of opponents? Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts about things to include, or even whether the idea will work at all, I'd love to hear them! Thanks Lysimachus
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