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The Steel Ghosts v3.0 (after long silence)


flintlocklaser

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NB: I've been gone like forever, but I'm getting the 40k bug again and one of my summer projects is going to be bringing the Steel Ghosts to the table! So it's finally time to finalize this article and submit it to the Librarium. But I need help! While I was gone did something weird happen to the sidebar or header BBcode? The sidebar on the left is doing weird things with the headers below it that I know it wasn't doing before. Also, I think the last big issue I had to look at was whether the "Whispers in the Dark" section at the end was too heavy-handed or not. Not having looked at it myself in over 2 years it looks ok to me, but I'm still taking comments/criticism. Finally I am changing the color scheme, so I'm going to be playing with the SM painter a bit before reloading a pic. Panzer grey with royal blue accents is my current thought.

Thanks for any help, and good to be back!

-flintlocklaser, 4/6/11

Based on the wonderful idea that I stole from Eetion in this thread.


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A battle-brother of the Steel Ghosts

Steel Ghosts

"There is no sin so appalling as betrayal."

Founding: 26th, founded 738.M41

Gene-seed: Ultramarines

Homeworld: Tochilogorsk (fiefdom granted 739.M41, fiefdom revoked 750.M41), Suizao Tertius (763.M41 to present day)

Symbol: A black sickle on a white sunburst

Battlecry: A call and response: “By His will!” “In His name!”

Origins

T
he Steel Ghosts were created in the most recent Space Marine Founding to help pacify the region near the Maelstrom. When the Adeptus Terra felt that the Imperial forces guarding this area might benefit from a certain amount of reinforcement, one of the new chapters planned for the 26th founding was assigned a demesne in the region. Gene-seed and a small founding cadre were selected from the Ultramarines, and the Steel Ghosts were founded.

Homeworld

Final official report of Inquisitor Strauss, presumed killed by the traitor Constantijn

TO: Inquisitor-Lord Cavanaugh

IN RE: Summary of Long-term Investigation of Adeptus Astartes Chapter “Steel Ghosts”

-Having studied the data compiled in the century since our discovery of Constantijn's treachery, in 902.M41 I took the risk of approaching the Steel Ghosts directly, requesting help in suppressing blood-cults arising with the outbreak the Badab War. After observing subject Chapter on the field of battle for nine years, I consider further sub-rosa investigation of this Chapter to be a waste of Inquisitorial resources and hereby declare this investigation Closed, entering a Verdict of Nullum Hereticum.

To this I do set my Hand and Sigil, in this year 40,917, day 127.

I remain His servant, Inquisitor Cyril von Strauss

-Postscriptum-

Forgot to add that I have a line on some of the Anathematic Constantijn’s personal journals. Will let you know what I find.

U
Upon its creation, the chapter was granted fiefdom over Tochilogorsk, a hive world coreward of the Maelstrom. Once a highly productive industrial world, over the previous few centuries it had become ridden with graft and corruption. By this stroke, the Administratum thought to supply the new Chapter with both the recruit pool and the industrial production it would need, while the planet’s new Astartes rulers were meant to whip the degenerate world back into shape.

In fact, within the first few years the Steel Ghosts made significant progress in revitalizing the planet. The old kleptocracy was summarily liquidated by the Chapter, and a series of purges throughout the major hives stimulated production while actually leading to a slight increase in the quality of life for the surviving citizens. But before long, unusually well-organized and persistent groups of agitators sprang up throughout the hive cities. Minor riots and production shortfalls became widespread; but the first, and indeed only, show of outright aggression by these revolutionaries was the sabotage of the Chapter Keep’s plasma generators in 748.M41. The resulting explosion killed several marines - including the majority of the founding cadre sent from the Ultramarines, and all but one of the chapter’s Librarians, a young Codicer named Severstal. His miraculous survival (and his later role in the rebirth of the chapter) were the only bright moments in the grim times to follow.

For as devastating as the attack was, the consequences of this rebellious act were even more dramatic. The surviving leaders of the Steel Ghosts pinpointed the source of the rebellion in Tochilogorsk’s largest hive city complex, and without consulting any other Imperial authorities, lanced several hives from orbit. Even within the Imperium, the deaths of one hundred and twenty billion citizens were not to be taken lightly, and the Steel Ghosts were immediately stripped of their demesne and placed under heavy Inquisitorial scrutiny. For over a decade they operated as a fleet based chapter, and were not allowed to continue recruitment despite their sadly diminished numbers.

The Chapter’s survival looked unlikely, and Inquisitor Leonore Constantijn of the Ordo Hereticus led the call for the Steel Ghosts to be declared Excommunicate Traitoris. Outwardly appearing to be a staunch Amalathian, her intent to destroy the Steel Ghosts was cloaked in the language of preserving the Imperium. But after eleven years, her dogged persecution of the Steel Ghosts was finally shown to be a web of lies, set up by Constantijn to hide her own secret Radicalism. When evidence surfaced proving her use of Daemonhosts and other warp-tainted methods, she was herself declared Hereticus Abomini. Although Constantijn fled the sector rather than face the Inquisition’s righteous justice, this revelation gave new hope for the Steel Ghosts' future.

With this discovery, the Chapter was partially exonerated. In fact, a full Inquisitorial Conclave formally honored the Chapter for its ‘steadfast resolution and faith in the Emperor’s vision.’ But caution is the watchword of the Administratum, so the redeemed young chapter was granted the primitive world of Suizao Tertius as its new home. The local Bronze Age technology prevents the natives from posing any threat to the regrowing Chapter, and its feuding city-states and vicious wildlife provide a population that breeds excellent candidates for recruitment (and perhaps most important to the Lords of Terra, if the Steel Ghosts were to suppress this world as well, the sector’s tithing quotas would not be affected). Now secure in their new Keep thousands of feet below the planet’s major ocean, the Steel Ghosts work ceaselessly to rebuild their Chapter, although their recruitment efforts can barely gain any ground against the constant grind of combat losses.

Chapter Organization

D
ue to the consequences of the loss of Tochilogorsk, the Steel Ghosts have never attained the manpower of a normal chapter, hovering at around 500 marines. Despite being chronically under strength, the Chapter attempts to hew as closely as possible to the Codex Astartes. After nearly 250 years their First, Second and Third Companies are finally at full strength, but support and specialist companies are severely undermanned. The Sixth is their only reserve company, and it is constantly being raided for manpower to keep the three battle companies in the field. The other companies (Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth) have been decommissioned and seem likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Their empty barracks and still-furled heraldry are a constant reminder that the Chapter’s future is still far from certain.

The veterans of the First Company, initially composed of the surviving initiates from the Chapter’s original homeworld, were given the honour of wearing the chapter’s small allotment of Terminator armour. The newer generations of Suizaonese battle-brothers look up to these men, and each time one is slain, his younger replacement takes the elder’s name as his own. This reverence for their elders is also shown in the respect paid to the Chapter’s Dreadnoughts, who are frequently fielded as seconds-in-command or advisors to a company commander. One is assigned to each of the three battle companies, and the eldest of all, Brother Nakoval of the Dreadnought "Anvil," goes to war alongside the young Scouts of the Tenth Company and the less-experienced brothers of the single Reserve company so that they might benefit from his hard-earned wisdom.

BROTHER NAKOVAL, the Anvil of Duty

The first of the Steel Ghosts to be interred in a sacred Dreadnought, Brother Nakoval perished when his Devastator squad was overrun in the final moments of the Battle of Astentio VI. While Chief Librarian Severstal fought a terrible duel against the Dark Apostle who led the Chaotic incursion, Nakoval's squad deployed to hold back an onrushing horde of daemonkin rushing to the aid of their master. Although they bought Severstal the time needed to dispatch the Apostle, all but Nakoval were slain, and he was on death's door. Lifting up Nakoval's shattered body, Severstal immediately called for him to be reborn as the Chapter’s first Old One.

Even by Space Marine standards, Nakoval had been grievously wounded, and both the Apothecaries and Techmarines of the Steel Ghosts frankly doubted that he would survive the process of implantation into a Dreadnought. But for forty days and forty nights Severstal stood a sleepless watch over his sarcophagus, using every iota of his psyker abilities to pull Nakoval back from the brink of death. On the forty-first day, an exhausted Severstal staggered out of the Chapter's Mausoleum, and before collapsing himself, announced that Nakoval had finally reawakened.

Now Brother Nakoval teaches the newest members of the Steel Ghosts the true meaning of Duty: that to be broken on its Anvil is no shame, but rather a chance to be forged anew. Those recruits who seem most troubled in spirit often seek the counsel of "Brother Anvil", whose cold fury in battle seems only matched by his wisdom when at rest. Nakoval is also seen as the unofficial leader of the chapter's small Dreadnought corps. Although only three other Steel Ghosts have become Old Ones so far, they all defer to his judgement and spend the weary hours of maintenance and downtime in close discussion with him.

Battlefield Doctrine

A
s a strict Codex chapter, the Steel Ghosts are tactically flexible and have no particular doctrinal differences from any number of other Codex Chapters. The chapter’s particular hatred for cultists and renegades does see them regularly fielding antipersonnel and light antivehicular weaponry, and the majority of Steel Ghost deployments are in urban terrain. But the chapter is neither unwilling nor incapable of adapting to circumstance, ranging from when virtually every tank in the Chapter’s Armoury was deployed against a renegade Imperial Guard armor company on the alkali flats of Nova Marutha, to the three-month long game of cat-and-mouse played on foot against feral Orks in the bayous of Plackmine.

Gene-seed

T
he Steel Ghosts are one of the majority of late-founding chapters who draw their gene-seed from the legendary Ultramarines. The Adeptus Mechanicus reports that Steel Ghost gene-seed tithes show no divergence from the standard – furthermore, Mars has commended the Steel Ghosts for being particularly diligent in making their tithes. In one situation in 857.M41, when the courier detachment carrying the gene-seed to Mars was lost in the warp, the Steel Ghosts voluntarily canceled implantation for one cohort of Marine candidates in order to make up the tithing shortfall.

Beliefs and Practices

L
ike most Marine chapters, the Steel Ghosts venerate the Emperor as the pinnacle of Humanity, not as a god. They also revere the memory of their gene-father, the Primarch Roboute Guilliman. One of their few divergent practices is the great influence their Chief Librarian has within the chapter, unlike the separation many chapters seem to create between the Librarium and the rest of the battle-brothers. As the sole Librarian to survive the tragic attack that marred the birth of the chapter, Chief Librarian Severstal has come to represent the triumph of the chapter over adversity as well as its continuing struggle to overcome that early tragedy. His battle-brothers say that he has been transfigured by surviving the attack, 'born once more from flame and death.' Galvanized by his experience, he has become one of the most powerful influences on this unfortunate chapter, and every Ghost from the newest scout to the Master of the Chapter at one time or another has turned to him for advice.

Battle Honors

S
till recovering from the unfounded accusations of their own disloyalty, the rebellion of the Astral Claws filled the Steel Ghosts with a fury rare even for Space Marines. Although their small size kept them out of most of the larger battles, throughout the course of the Badab War the Steel Ghosts expurgated over 30 large cults and renegade factions that had sprung up to support the Tyrant Huron Blackheart. This valiant service further repaired relations between the Chapter and the Ordo Hereticus, which had been proper but strained even after the Steel Ghosts were exonerated. To their frustration, the Ghosts were never able to come to grips with any signficant Astral Claws forces. However, one of their proudest moments in the Badab War was the boarding and recapture of one of the Tyrant’s privateer vessels, the frigate Dying Fall.

Additionally, the Steel Ghosts have forged a solid friendship with the White Scars chapter, whose homeworld of Mundus Planus is relatively close to Suizao Tertius. The Third Company of the Ghosts, in conjunction with Altan Khan’s Shamshir Brotherhood, scoured the cities of an agri-world that was allegedly being used as a Word Bearers forward base (although both Chapters and the Inquisition deny that there was any large Word Bearers presence in the Maelstrom region). The Battle of Astentio VI garnered honors for both Chapters, and established the Ghosts as the premier urban-combat chapter of the subsector. Over the last century this has led to multiple requests from other Imperial organizations for Steel Ghost support in urban operations.

Chapter Fleet

T
he Chapter’s single Battle Barge, the Whetstone, still flies mourning banners after having to lance the very docks where her keel was laid. The remainder of the fleet is small, as would be expected for such a young chapter, primarily composed of Gladius-class frigates. Most fleet deployments are single frigates transporting fighting detachments of the Chapter to and from warzones, and the Whetstone usually remains in orbit above Suizao Keep. In the tense aftermath of the Badab War, even the fervently loyal Ghosts are scrupulous about not treading on the prerogatives of the sector Navy. Another notable craft is their prize from the Badab War, the ex-Dying Fall. After its capture, it was rechristened the Northern Steel in honor of Chief Librarian Severstal who led the boarders that fought with such ferocity to recapture it.

Battlecry

T
he Chapter’s battlecry is a call-and-response. The unit leader shouts “By His will,” and the rest of the unit will answer “In His name!”

Whispers in the Dark

N
ote well: the following are fragments of text recovered from a badly damaged folio, found with what has tentatively been identified as the remains of Inquisitor Cyril von Strauss. Their inclusion here is for completness's sake only, as second-guessing the verdict of a sectorwide Inquisitorial Conclave is at best a poor idea, and one that this chronicler most assuredly does not espouse. Blessed be the mind too small for doubt!

...lies of the Anathematic traitor, Constantijn. Yet, examining this web of betrayal and conspiracy I feel that there is some underlying thread trying these falsehoods together. Sacrilege? Heresy? Perhaps. But is there a deeper truth to be had here? Ignorance is the strength of the Emperor's servants; but ignorance is a luxury I cannot afford. My search for our traitorous colleague must continue - I will find the truth of this if I must dig it out of her living brain.


...my lexmechanic assures me that the number of cults exterminated by Steel Ghost military actions while in the terminal phases of Arbites or even Inquisitorial investigation is statistically significant, even for a Chapter that seems to thrive on such conflicts. While the Ghosts usually extirpate these groups to the last misguided soul, there is some concern that the very vehemence of their destruction leaves little, if any, chance of penetrating the higher organizational ties that we are beginning to glimpse behind these...


...maddeningly unsure where Constantijn would have learned the rites for summoning and binding such a creature. Pre- and post-mortem interrogation of her closest associates have thus far been unsuccessful in shedding any light on this situation. I undertook the distasteful task of speaking with the Xanthite Petros Houghton, and he averred that the style of bindings used were 'unusual,' assuming such a word has any application to such thaumaturgy, and further assuming that a Xanthite can ever be trusted. Houghton offered to consult more closely on this case, but as I suspect him of desiring to learn this fell working himself, I refused. At the next Conclave, I will bring up his unseemly display of curiosity as reason for...


...losses of materiel are also above sector baseline, once corrected for the admittedly large amount of commerce rading and warp disturbances in the Badab subsector. The gene-seed courier vessel that went missing in year 847 is just one example of many; an entire Dreadnought chassis, hand-tooled on Mars itself, was lost when...


Battlefield casualties in this conflict seem light, especially given the well-known ferocity of the Alpha Legion. Those few losses that the Ghosts did suffer were atypical as well, as less than half of those Marines slain were recovered. While Chief Librarian Severstal was unavailable (or unwilling?) to speak with me, the Chapter's eldest Dreadnought informed me that the nature of the chlorine swamps in the Merzhou Delta made casualty recovery especially problematic. On a personal level, let me add that while speaking to an Astartes so entombed was initially quite offputting even for one as jaded as myself, Astarte Navokal went out of his way to accomodate my questions. Frankly I found him much easier to talk to than Severstal; further interviews informed me that he has become something of a paterfamilias for many of the Steel Ghosts. The new recruits of the Scout company seem to hold him in particularly high esteem, and I honestly feel I understand their fondness for him...


...cult in particular seemed to be almost tailor-made for the Steel Ghosts to ferret out. The Imperium is large enough for coincidence to become commonplace, yet the fortuitous nature of Severstal's capture of the cult's main demagogue...


Rather, they showed a degree of hatred for the Red Corsairs that took even me aback. It was as if the Ghosts felt personally affronted by this act of betrayal, even moreso than other loyal Chapters deployed in this conflict. While constrained by their own Chapter Master to act mostly in a supporting role in the Badab War, their ferocity was unnerving. Once again, their Chief Librarian distinguished himself in the conflict, killing...


...successes against the Word Bearers in the Astentio Campaign. Severstal made representations to Canoness T. (who reports to me on condition of anonymity) that his masterful deployments were a joint consequence of his precognitive abilities and the native tactical brilliance of his White Scars counterpart. Canoness T. however admitted to certain doubts based on...


...Guard regiments were virtually annihilated. The Alpha Legion seemed to have advanced knowledge of their intended landing zones, and the resulting carnage was sufficient to break the back of this rear-guard action. All personnel with access to this information were of general/flag officer rank or higher. While Brigadier General Cowley and Commodore Stacio both perished in this campaign (Stacio when his flag bridge decompressed due to an apparent mechanical fault), Chief Librarian Severstal informed me that both of these officers, as well the then-current Steel Ghosts Chapter Master (since deceased) were scrupulous in following operational security. He feels the only explanation is some perfidious Chaotic sorcery, a theory which I am beginning to subscribe to as well.


...cost the lives of a battalion of Inquisitorial troops to capture him, but I finally managed to wring a confession from the wretch. He claimed to be a servant of a sorcerer of great power, one who could leap from mind to mind. This archfiend spent a century as puppet-master on Tochilogorsk, stepping from one planetary official to another, driving the planet to the brink of ruin. When the insurgency began, he was its orchestrating force, disappearing just before the climactic sabotage of the Steel Ghosts' Chapter Keep. In the process of excruciating his lackey, I uncovered a series of runes scrimshawed onto the left femur, which my lexmechanic believes to be of Alpha Legion origin. This seems like the appropriate moment to mention that normal methods of excruciation were ultimately fruitless; Emperor forgive me, I was forced to use some of the techniques recovered from Constantijn's casebook, including a variety of deaths and multiple re-summonings of the informant's spirit from the Warp. I fear that in my pursuit of this goal I am becoming that which I once hunted. But this sacrifice might yet be worth it. There is a cancer lurking in the heart of this Chapter, possibly more dangerous than simple treason could ever be. And behind it all I see the shadow of the Hydra.


Finally, the most worrying bit of information to come my way: Astropath-Primus Lyra Kovalvy provided me with the following fragment, reported as a waking nightmare by one of her most powerful (but also most easily-disturbed) choristers: There is a young Librarian, and he is screaming. His body was trapped in fallen stones, but now his mind is trapped in his fallen body. His voice is calm and wise, but it is not his voice. His counsel is true, save that one time in one hundred it is rank blasphemy. And he is screaming. I am about to board a vessel incognito, bound for the beacon where this chorister is stationed; I feel that this, finally, is the lead that will cause this haze of lies and half-truths to resolve into something useful. Perhaps this will be the very thing that Constantijn (sweet Emperor, why did we drive her away?) was trying to unearth. What is Severstal? What has he become - or what has become him? How can we have been so blind?


No further information was salvagable from the folio. A small section of data-crystal was retrieved, but was too deeply encoded to admit of much study. However, the techpriest who first attempted to interface with it is quite adamant that presenting it to the Grand Logic Engines on forgeworld Maxentius will certainly provide a solution; presumably he will deliver it there himself once he is fully recovered from the bizarre and debilitating series of psychomechanical malfunctions he suffered when first analyzing the crystal. In summation, it seems quite probable that von Strauss fell into the same daemon-tainted ways as his quarry did before him, and as such Lord Inquisitor Cavanaugh has ordered this addendum be security-graded Obiter Damnatuum as it is likely to be Alpha Legion counterpropaganda, intended to sow strife and discord throughout the subsector. If you have read this addendum and are not of sufficient clearance, please report for penitential mindscrubbing posthaste. For the Emperor!

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Amazing fluff. Truly amazing.

 

I don't think I have any criticism's to make really, and with the revelations of Legion from Abnett, this makes a whole load of sense too! Great job dude.

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PPS: I ruthlessly stole this basic formatting from your Castigators IA Commisar Molotov, please don't purge me...

 

I figure I can be persuaded not to...

 

On the whole, I think this is a very competent IA. There are flaws, and like all articles, it can be tightened up considerably. I'm still working on IA: Castigators, three or four years on! But then not everyone's as anal as me. :)

 

As I said in the previous thread, I like the idea a lot. To all intents and purposes, this is a solid, stable and completely 'normal' Chapter. And that's good.

 

A few of the larger issues I have:

 

- Why did they blow up their own planet? I appreciate that the Alpha Legion manipulated the situation, etc, etc - but why? What purpose did it serve the Alpha Legion, unless it's some form of "We're evil, hee hee"? - Furthermore, I'm not entirely sure what it adds to the Chapter itself. Equally, the name-change. It's not something that hugely adds to the Chapter. And I don't think that the Alpha Legion would draw attention to their dominion over the Chapter by changing names.

 

- You talk about Tochilogorsk's tithes - Space Marine homeworlds aren't required to donate tithes. Some may choose to, I suppose, but it seems odd to mention the tithes. Also, you say that the feral inhabitants 'were to be their recruits' - who decided that? And why couldn't they recruit from hivers? The Imperial Fists do so. The Raven Guard do so. So on and so forth.

 

- It occurs to me that, as a Chapter based around the Maelstrom, the Steel Ghosts would've taken part in the Badab War against the Astral Claws. That might be an interesting element to incorporate. The Steel Ghosts might not appreciate Lufgt Huron drawing so much attention to the neighbourhood.

 

- I'm not sold on the sorceror magically assuming the form of the librarian. Something that might be more fun would be the sorceror transferring his intellect into the mind of the Librarian. That could be fun - the loyalist Librarian trapped at the back of the Sorceror's massive intellect, screaming in wordless horror as the traitor defiles his Chapter...

 

- I do definitely like the way that the Chapter's been used by the Alpha Legion to destroy their hated rivals in the Word Bearers. That's a great touch. I also like the way the AL has discredited those Inquisitors that get too close to uncovering the Chapter's secrets.

 

-> What I would say is with regard to this:

 

This provides the Legion with a fresh influx of Mars-trained Techmarines to maintain their equipment, Apothecaries to help create new Legionaires, and even the occasional squad – ostensibly blown to bits by a craven booby trap but actually sprinting across the battle lines to join their new brothers in the Alpha Legion.

 

This is potentially taking a little too much of a liberty with the Alpha Legion background. Considering most of the traitor legions are broken into disparate warbands, it'd proof your chapter against critics if you intimated that there's certain elements of the Legion that are operating in conjunction with your sorceror, rather than you supplying the whole legion. I figure that there may even be elements within the Alpha Legion that don't serve Alpharius (or Omegon?) so it's perhaps something that'd benefit you.

 

On the whole though, I really like the concept, it just needs a little bit of 'grounding' to make it far better. :)

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PPS: I ruthlessly stole this basic formatting from your Castigators IA Commisar Molotov, please don't purge me...

 

I figure I can be persuaded not to...

 

On the whole, I think this is a very competent IA. There are flaws, and like all articles, it can be tightened up considerably. I'm still working on IA: Castigators, three or four years on! But then not everyone's as anal as me. :)

 

As I said in the previous thread, I like the idea a lot. To all intents and purposes, this is a solid, stable and completely 'normal' Chapter. And that's good.

 

A few of the larger issues I have:

 

- Why did they blow up their own planet? I appreciate that the Alpha Legion manipulated the situation, etc, etc - but why? What purpose did it serve the Alpha Legion, unless it's some form of "We're evil, hee hee"? - Furthermore, I'm not entirely sure what it adds to the Chapter itself. Equally, the name-change. It's not something that hugely adds to the Chapter. And I don't think that the Alpha Legion would draw attention to their dominion over the Chapter by changing names.

 

I think its a variation of the first rule of assassins (kill the assassins). If there were any records there would be a sliver of a chance that the AL could have been found out but by blowing their home world in two it means that 1) "Hey look, we're a zealous, loyal Chapter!" and 2) Theres no recordings to go through. The AL just erased their steps atomically.

 

- You talk about Tochilogorsk's tithes - Space Marine homeworlds aren't required to donate tithes. Some may choose to, I suppose, but it seems odd to mention the tithes. Also, you say that the feral inhabitants 'were to be their recruits' - who decided that? And why couldn't they recruit from hivers? The Imperial Fists do so. The Raven Guard do so. So on and so forth.

I think Flintlock was talking about Gene-Seed tithes

 

- It occurs to me that, as a Chapter based around the Maelstrom, the Steel Ghosts would've taken part in the Badab War against the Astral Claws. That might be an interesting element to incorporate. The Steel Ghosts might not appreciate Lufgt Huron drawing so much attention to the neighbourhood.

 

Agreed

 

- I'm not sold on the sorcerer magically assuming the form of the librarian. Something that might be more fun would be the sorcerer transferring his intellect into the mind of the Librarian. That could be fun - the loyalist Librarian trapped at the back of the Sorcerer's massive intellect, screaming in wordless horror as the traitor defiles his Chapter...

That would be a nice idea although adopting a different guise isn't beyond the capabilities of most psykers, not to mention imprisoning the loyal librarians mind risks the librarian breaking out, which would be disastrous.

- I do definitely like the way that the Chapter's been used by the Alpha Legion to destroy their hated rivals in the Word Bearers. That's a great touch. I also like the way the AL has discredited those Inquisitors that get too close to uncovering the Chapter's secrets.

Agreed

 

-> What I would say is with regard to this:

 

This provides the Legion with a fresh influx of Mars-trained Techmarines to maintain their equipment, Apothecaries to help create new Legionaries, and even the occasional squad – ostensibly blown to bits by a craven booby trap but actually sprinting across the battle lines to join their new brothers in the Alpha Legion.

 

This is potentially taking a little too much of a liberty with the Alpha Legion background. Considering most of the traitor legions are broken into disparate warbands, it'd proof your chapter against critics if you intimated that there's certain elements of the Legion that are operating in conjunction with your sorcerer, rather than you supplying the whole legion. I figure that there may even be elements within the Alpha Legion that don't serve Alpharius (or Omegon?) so it's perhaps something that'd benefit you.

I think the Steel Ghost's covertly supplying an Alpharius/Omegon sect would be 1) In keeping in current fluff and 2) Be awesome

 

On the whole though, I really like the concept, it just needs a little bit of 'grounding' to make it far better. :)

 

Answers in bold

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I think its a variation of the first rule of assassins (kill the assassins). If there were any records there would be a sliver of a chance that the AL could have been found out but by blowing their home world in two it means that 1) "Hey look, we're a zealous, loyal Chapter!" and 2) Theres no recordings to go through. The AL just erased their steps atomically.

 

Records of... what, exactly?

 

That would be a nice idea although adopting a different guise isn't beyond the capabilities of most psykers, not to mention imprisoning the loyal librarians mind risks the librarian breaking out, which would be disastrous.

 

You say 'disastrous', I say 'dramatic, and good for storyline'. :)

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Records of you know, records! xD

 

Surreptitious buying of arms my fake companies, documented Arbite's affidavits to some "gigantic horned figure" stalking the hives, natives telling legends of a shadowy figure etc. It erases any steps that they might have taken, which suits the whole Alpha Legion mentality of doing everything perfectly.

 

Agreed on the dramatic story line, its up to Flintlock though. It makes for some nice DIY rules in the vein of the two headed Chaos Dragon from WHFB

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Well, the way I see it, if the Steel Ghosts would nuke their own planet, just because there was an uprising that they could have quelled, it just cements their position as die-hard monodominants, which would act as a deterrent in the face of Inquisitorial investigation.

 

Inquisitor A: Right, the Tarot says investigate the Steel Ghosts. Pack the Daemon Hammer, time for some unbiased and completely sound detective work.

Inquisitor B: What? I know the Steel Ghosts, nuked their own home world when there was a traitorous uprising.

Inquisitor A: They did what? Any Chapter that would destroy its own home ground, just because of heretical taint that they could have cleansed by hand, has got to be good. Put that Daemon Hammer back down and lets get some Tequila.

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I see your point, but equally the Steel Ghosts, influenced by the Alpha Legion, could've happily destroyed all evidence through conventional means, and if any Inquisitor was suspicious, they could just say "Oops. Guess we were a bit over-zealous, huh?"

 

Fans seem to destroy 40k worlds with such alarming regularity. It's not that common. It happens, sure, but not unless the situation is irreperable. And even then, I could see the Inquisition not being too happy. Especially given the fact that it's a hive world which seems to still be producing materiel for the Imperium. Consider Armageddon, which had its entire population killed and then had the planet repopulated - just to keep the planet producing for the Imperium.

 

I can see the Steel Ghosts undertaking a 'penance crusade' to salvage their reputation, perhaps... but still.

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Ah, but the Inquisition wasn't too happy as evidenced here:

 

After the controversy over declaring its own Homeworld Exterminatus, the Chapter was eventually exonerated. In fact, an Inquisitorial Conclave formally honored the Chapter for its ‘steadfast resolution and faith in the Emperor’s vision.

 

Initial Imperial "Omigosh what?" after the Steel Ghosts declared exterminatus on Tochilogorsk was later replaced by Inquisitorial approval because those Steel Ghost guys are awfully nice and zealous :P

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I'm well aware of that, but I was a little underwhelmed. It just says "A few Inquisitors were annoyed, then the big boss Inquisitors said 'all clear, lads'." - It's nothing that especially impacts upon the Chapter. There was no threat to their existence, perhaps even no inconvenience - a few Inquisitors red in the face isn't something that most Chapters would even care about. As such, it patters off their power armour as harmlessly as raindrops. The fact that it's a throwaway, one-paragraph response makes the entire exterminatus seem like a throwaway, an ends-justifying-the-literary-means way of inserting the Alpha Legion into the Chapter.
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Etion - they 'obtain the gene-seed' in the same way as every other Chapter. From what flintlocklaser was saying, these guys are Ultramarines. They were founded legitimately, it's just the Chapter's been infiltrated by an Alpha Legion sorceror. Take that one Sorceror away, and this is like 66% of all other Chapters.
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Considering how pissing off Inquisitors tends to summon the wrath of the Grey Knights... (especially if you're a secretive Chapter and/or your founding number starts with "1" and ends with "3")

 

But maybe a rewriting would make it flow better, as such I've turned this:

 

After the controversy over declaring its own Homeworld Exterminatus, the Chapter was eventually exonerated. In fact, an Inquisitorial Conclave formally honored the Chapter for its ‘steadfast resolution and faith in the Emperor’s vision.’ Having renamed itself the Steel Ghosts as a sign of penitence for what it saw as its failure to guard its own heart, the young chapter accepted the primitive deathworld of Suizao Tertius as its new home. While the local Bronze Age technology prevents the natives from posing any threat to the Chapter, its feuding city-states and vicious wildlife provide a population that breeds excellent candidates for recruitment. Secure in their new Keep thousands of feet below the planet’s major ocean, the Steel Ghosts arise every five years to select a handful of new aspirants and work to build their Chapter up to Codex-specified size despite the constant losses from combat.

 

Into this:

 

Initial efforts to pacify Tochilogorsk, whether through pinpoint bombardment or Astartes assault were constantly foiled, for as soon as one heretical cult was annihilated, two more would rise to take its place. The running war between the Steel Ghosts and the recidivist elements of their home world was a draining experience for the Space Marines, and after intense debate between Inquisitorial elements and Librarian Severstal, it was concluded that the inhabitants of Tochilogorsk had fallen to deeply, and that mass genocide was to be induced, followed by re population from neighboring Imperial worlds.

 

However, whilst the Inquisitorial party (including the executed radical Inquisitor Leonore Constantijn) returned to their Black Ships to plan the population turn over of Tochilogorsk, Librain Severstal reversed his decision and enacted Cyclonic bombardment. Before the stunned Inquisitors could demand the Steel Ghosts halt their holocaust, the hive world had fractured into millions of pieces, and upon confronting the Astartes they were greeted by Severstal, who accused them of leniency and weakness in the face of the heretic, justifying Tochilogorsk's demise as a righteous purging of a planet too far gone in the madness of corruption.

 

Horrified, the Inquisitors began to call for investigations (which ended unfortunately for the parties involved) but to the wider organization of the Inquisition, especially the mono-dominant factions, the Steel Ghost's controversial moves were lauded as zealous and loyal and helped to seal their reputation for loyalty and hatred of all things alien.

 

Its a rough idea, but it should help with fleshing out.

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A few brief notes first: I am not married to the name, but since I wanted them to be relentlessly 'normal' I figured the good ol' "Adjective Nouns" was the way to go (they were going to be the Iron Ghosts after a throwaway line in a Jack Vance novel, but there are so many more chapters with "iron" in the name rather than "steel").

 

Simplicity is strength. Strength is proof from heresy.

 

You're not a heretic, are you?

 

Seriously. Adjective Noun is solid and awesome. I salute your willingness to be conventional.

 

PS: color scheme will be basically this, but with Loyalist models. I am too worn out to play with the painter tonight, but I will run it up the flagpole tomorrow and see who salutes, then post the image here. Now on with the show!

 

Looks a little traitorous.

 

I mean, especially since it IS a traitor scheme.

 

A nice, bright trim color might be in order.

 

Founding: 26th, founded as the Steel Hearts in 738.M41

 

Thou Shalt Not Change the Name of Thy Chapter. For Thy Chapter's Name Is Sacred.

 

Seriously. I'm sure it's embossed on the cover of the Codex: Astartes. :P

 

Don't change the name. Steel Ghosts is fine, and you yourself got confused about which they were called in the first paragraph. :)

 

Plus, it always bugs me a little when people grab as many names as possible for their chapter. Leave some for the rest of us, eh? ;)

 

After the controversy over declaring its own Homeworld Exterminatus,

 

Declaring their own homeworld Exterminatus is not possible. It's an Inquisitorial decree. Now, they probably could have requested it, but technically they can't actually do it.

 

Not to mention that I'm not sure their power over the world extends THAT far. I suspect proper protocol in that situation is to call an Inquisitor.

 

Tis very nice. I like it muchly.

 

Though since it overlaps with some of my sneaky plans for one of my own chapters, I now am a little irked at you. ;)

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Thanks for all the replies everyone, this is really helping. Trying to handle everything with my usual method of quote-answer might be too clunky at this point, so here goes:

 

-the name change: I can nix this easy. I thought it would be like a self-imposed penitence, but since I might not be exterminating their planet anymore then it's not as useful a plot point. Steel Ghosts it is.

 

-the Exterminatus: Hasoroth has explained what I was trying for better than I did. The notion was indeed to wipe out all the records of the AL-inspired plot and to showcase the Ghost's hardcore status to the Impies. Would slagging the world's main hive achieve the same goals? I'd like for there to be that little hint of discord between them and the OH, that is only papered over later on. If Exterminatus is too big for a SM chapter to throw around willy-nilly, is burning a hive of billions sufficient to get them in a little bit of hot water? Either way, I want them to switch homeworlds, so if I can explain it better (like Hasoroth's notion of one rebellion after another cropping up until the planet is one armed camp) I may keep the Ext. I was going to spend more time on the Inquisitorial response to their unsanctioned Exterminatus, but I thought the article was getting too long as it was. If I added a paragraph in the Homeworld section that got into detail on how close they were to being declared Hereticus for doing this, and how the push was only averted when it was 'discovered' that the primary Inq making the charges was 'actually' a secret Daemonhost-using Radical, would that make the Ext. and its aftermath more palatable?

 

-about planetary tithes: I guess I had a bit of a terminology breakdown. What I meant was that prior to this, Homeworld #1 was tithing to the Administratum, and then after the handover they were basically going to be throwing that same industrial output into materiel for the Steel Ghosts. The problem is now that I think about it the industrial output of an entire hive world would be dramatically way too much for one half-size SM chapter. I will have to think about that, maybe just change that to something about how 'despite the hands-off rulership of the Steel Ghosts, within years a seditious underground' blah blah. The main thing to get across was that the revolts occurred 'out of nowhere.'

 

-ditto the ferals outside the hives: I just picked them rather than hive recruitment because I recently re-read a short story (that I can't think of by name right now) where the arcologies were full of effete eloi-types and then outside the domes everyone was a badass. There's no real driving reason or importance to the cover legion where they came from, so I might have them recruit from the underhive just for simplicity's sake

 

-about physical replacement versus mind-switching: I actually wanted to go with mindswap/possession first, but I honestly wasn't sure if it seemed too powerful. Then I thought about Swann horribly disfiguring his face and just convincing everyone he was the mortally-wounded Severstal by playing of their desperate need to find some survivor whatsoever (I nixed this because I am not going to be able to GS a scarred-up Libby when I make this army, hehe). If people don't feel the possession is out of line, I will switch Swann's method from shapeshifting to possession.

 

-about the phrasing implying they were supplying the enire AL: just sloppy drafting on my part. I guess even though I know the AL operates in a thousand tiny cells, I took the easy route writing-wise and just said "the Legion" as if it was a monolithic entity. I will expand those parts to imply that Swann is supplying individual AL warbands with what they need. This actually makes it stronger I think - rather than a continuous pipeline analogous to a Cold War double agent, it will be a much more 'done-to-order' affair, like current-day people who allegedly sell salvaged nuclear material to the current highest bidder. A particular AL cell needs a new Apothecary? They offer Swann some cult or xenos infestation for the SGs to heroically stomp on, and a few years later a sufficiently 'primed' Apothecary goes over the hill on patrol and never comes back...

 

-finally about the paint scheme: I played with the painter a little bit and can't quite get what I am looking for out of it. I like that kind of light blue-grey the renegade in my link has, but I am having trouble replicating it in the painter (possibly because the effect on the painted mini seems largely done with edge highlighting. But I was aiming for a steel-blue kind of color, with bone or graveyard earth-toned shoulder insets. I will gladly take advice on color schemes though.

 

Thanks again everyone, I will work on this some more this week. Keep the C&C coming, it has been a huge help, and I really appreciate all the support.

 

EDIT: forgot to add that I had intentionally kept them out of the marine-on-marine fighting in the Badab War since GW supposedly lists all the SM chapters involved in that part of the conflict, but I did want to involve them in the War itself. That's why I limited their role to anticult work. If it's not too presumptuous I might give them one fairly minor run-in with the Astral Claws, but I don't want to fall into the trap of 'my Chapter was a major player in this war (even though no-one has heard of them)'

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Would slagging the world's main hive achieve the same goals?

 

I'd say a sweep by the chapter, exterminating everyone, with some areas getting singled out for orbital bombardment after the careful psychic direction of whasisname.

 

is burning a hive of billions sufficient to get them in a little bit of hot water?

 

The Inquisition might well get tetchy just because they weren't consulted. They're a touchy lot.

 

Either way, I want them to switch homeworlds,

 

Purge the hive in revenge, then leave, muttering nasty things on the way. If the people don't appreciate their masters, go find somewhere that will.

 

The problem is now that I think about it the industrial output of an entire hive world would be dramatically way too much for one half-size SM chapter.

 

Not necessarily. Just how efficient a hive-world is it? If it were a corrupt, decaying world, that would easily explain both the rebellion and why it would cheerfully be handed over to the Marines.

 

-about physical replacement versus mind-switching: I actually wanted to go with mindswap/possession first, but I honestly wasn't sure if it seemed too powerful. Then I thought about Swann horribly disfiguring his face and just convincing everyone he was the mortally-wounded Severstal by playing of their desperate need to find some survivor whatsoever (I nixed this because I am not going to be able to GS a scarred-up Libby when I make this army, hehe). If people don't feel the possession is out of line, I will switch Swann's method from shapeshifting to possession.

 

An idea I have pondered for one of my characters is simply using psychic abilities to convince people that is what he always looked like. Space Marines tend to be rather similar in appearance, anyway, from what I can tell. A gentle touch to everyone's mind, and he might be fine.

 

That, or maybe just used sorcery to reshape his face physically. It's probably not impossible to do so.

 

-finally about the paint scheme: I played with the painter a little bit and can't quite get what I am looking for out of it. I like that kind of light blue-grey the renegade in my link has, but I am having trouble replicating it in the painter (possibly because the effect on the painted mini seems largely done with edge highlighting. But I was aiming for a steel-blue kind of color, with bone or graveyard earth-toned shoulder insets. I will gladly take advice on color schemes though.

 

Steel blue? Try somewhere around #77B3D9.

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Either way, I want them to switch homeworlds,

 

Purge the hive in revenge, then leave, muttering nasty things on the way. If the people don't appreciate their masters, go find somewhere that will.

Hmm, how's this work? Sabotage, Swann recommends they lance the responisible hive from orbit, they get in MAJOR trouble with the Administratum and Inq, their fief over homeworld #1 is revoked during the investigation. Leading Inq 'luckily' turns out to be a secret daemonologist and the Ghosts are exonerated. But the new homeworld they are given is some out of the way backwater that means the square root of nothing to the sector's tithing quotas.

 

 

The problem is now that I think about it the industrial output of an entire hive world would be dramatically way too much for one half-size SM chapter.

 

Not necessarily. Just how efficient a hive-world is it? If it were a corrupt, decaying world, that would easily explain both the rebellion and why it would cheerfully be handed over to the Marines.

This I love. The Administratum were trying to kill two birds with one stone by using the new Chapter to whip this underproducing world into shape. Instead, they get subversion on a grand scale and the best-producing of the hive cities gets glassed from orbit. Further reason for there to be real doubt about the Ghosts' future until the sacrifical lamb Inquisitor comes along!

 

-about physical replacement versus mind-switching: I actually wanted to go with mindswap/possession first, but I honestly wasn't sure if it seemed too powerful. Then I thought about Swann horribly disfiguring his face and just convincing everyone he was the mortally-wounded Severstal by playing of their desperate need to find some survivor whatsoever (I nixed this because I am not going to be able to GS a scarred-up Libby when I make this army, hehe). If people don't feel the possession is out of line, I will switch Swann's method from shapeshifting to possession.

 

An idea I have pondered for one of my characters is simply using psychic abilities to convince people that is what he always looked like. Space Marines tend to be rather similar in appearance, anyway, from what I can tell. A gentle touch to everyone's mind, and he might be fine.

 

That, or maybe just used sorcery to reshape his face physically. It's probably not impossible to do so.

 

Gahh, I am still up in the air here. I might just take a vote, the method of replacement isn't really super important, and the details of the transfer are just special effects. The psychic 'suggestion' disguise offers some neat possibilites: an Eldar farseer the Ghosts are fighting suddenly realizes what's actually going on here, but he's totally unable to convince the Ghosts of the traitor in their midst, because who trusts the filthy Eldar anyway?

 

 

Steel blue? Try somewhere around #77B3D9.

 

I will give it a shot. It's not going to be a flashy scheme, but the whole thing for this chapter is to be aggressively ordinary. Thanks!

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Hmm, how's this work? Sabotage, Swann recommends they lance the responisible hive from orbit, they get in MAJOR trouble with the Administratum and Inq, their fief over homeworld #1 is revoked during the investigation. Leading Inq 'luckily' turns out to be a secret daemonologist and the Ghosts are exonerated. But the new homeworld they are given is some out of the way backwater that means the square root of nothing to the sector's tithing quotas.

 

Seems sensible. There is precedent for homeworlds being stripped from chapters (see the Badab War).

 

Whole thing sounds more or less perfect.

 

Look forward to seeing more. :Elite:

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That, or maybe just used sorcery to reshape his face physically. It's probably not impossible to do so.

 

Yes, it was done by Ravenor in Ravenor Returned. Although it only lasted a few hours, then about 12 hours of recovery. But I suppose the technique could be refined through millenia of practise.

 

I really like this idea (as much as a loyal servant of the Imperium can), I wish my DIY was going as well...

 

Keep it up.

 

Canary

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Going to start posting the 'sidebar' stuff down here seperately, and then incorporate it into the main article once I'm happy with each completed sidebar. C&C on these as well please!


BROTHER NAKOVAL, the Anvil of Duty

 

The first of the Steel Ghosts to be interred into a sacred Dreadnought, Brother Nakoval perished when his Devestator squad was overrun in the final moments of the Battle of Astentio VI. A retreating coterie of Word Bearers commanded cultists and lesser daemons to swarm Steel Ghost positions to cover their escape, and Nakoval’s squad was one of several that were overrun and presumed lost. After a desperate counterattack broke the heaving tide of daemons and idolators, the hastily fortified hab-block his squad had occupied was found choked with the corpses of heretics and the foul effluvia left behind by slain daemons. At the center of this carnage was the shattered form of Brother Nakoval. Unwilling to abandon his fallen comrades, Nakoval had gathered their bodies – as well as their ammunition hoppers – into the most defensible part of the building and set to work. An hour later, when the barrel of his heavy bolter finally melted from sustained fire, he wielded it like a crude maul. Fighting like a man possessed, he slew scores more in this manner until the assault was finally beaten back by the arrival of reinforcements. Only then did Brother Nakoval allow himself to succumb to his terrible wounds. Chief Librarian Severstal immediately called for Nakoval to be created as the Chapter’s first Old One. Now Brother Nakoval teaches the newest members of the Steel Ghosts the true meaning of Duty: that to be broken on its Anvil is no shame, but neither is it an excuse to give up. Those recruits who seem most troubled in spirit often seek the counsel of Brother Nakoval, whose fury in battle seems only matched by his wisdom when at rest.

 


TO: Inquisitor-Lord Shang-huo Jasperson

IN RE: Termination of Covert Inquiry into possible Acta Heretica by Adeptus Astartes Chapter “Steel Ghosts”

 

The aftereffects of the conflict created by the Daemonolator Constantijn seem to have finally come to an end, and thus I file this concluding report. In 798.M41 an Adeptas Sororitas Convent that this Inquisitor has a working relationship with was instructed to approach subject Chapter for military aid, which was forthcoming. Further Sororitas contacts were made throughout the 800s with continued positive results, despite gradual inclusion of actual Ordo Hereticus operatives (although per this Inquisitor’s request they were to remain in an advisory facility only). Emboldened by this success, with the outbreak of the Badab War this Inquisitor took the risk of approaching the Chapter directly, seeking their aid in suppressing blood-cults apparently arising from this conflict. Although initial response was guarded, subject Chapter agreed to assist this Inquisitor and by the end of said conflict was willing to take the field alongside Inquisitorial military assets, including this Inquisitor himself. After observing subject Chapter on the field of battle numerous times, as well as repeated study of compiled surveillance and intelligence analysis, this Inquisitor considers further sub-rosa investigation of this Chapter to be a waste of Inquisitorial resources and hereby declares said investigation to be Closed, entering a Verdict of Nullum Hereticum.

 

To this I do set my Hand and Sigil, in this year Forty-thousand, nine hundred and seventeen, day twenty-seven.

I remain His humble servant,

Inquisitor Cyril von Strauss

 

Postscriptum

– M’lord Jasperson, on a more informal note, these boys would make damn fine Monodominants if they didn’t use those witch-marines. Still, the Throne watches over fools, drunkards, and Astartes, don’t it?

Postpostscriptum

– forgot to add that I have a line on some of the Anathematic Constantijn’s personal journals. I will let you know what I’m able to turn up.

 

-the final transmitted report of Inquisitor von Strauss, presumed killed by the traitor Constantijn

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I appreciated the comments on mine, so I figured now that I had some time I'd wander over to yours.

 

WOW. Some seriously great stuff. Interesting similarities between both our Chapters also.

 

When the original Chapter Master (and last of the founding cadre) finally was finally lost in battle fifteen years later

 

Was he finally, finally lost...or finally, he was finally lost :P Me thinkst thou typest the word once too often.

 

Inquisitor-Lord Shang-huo Jasperson

 

I'd go with something other than Jasperson. Blending of cultures is good, but that's a stretch. Who want's to hang with an asian inquisitor that wear a wife beater? I mean seriously... :)

 

Other than that man, keep it up. I'm not really spun up on traitor fluff, so I can't be much help there.

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