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A Guide to Creating a DIY Chapter

Creating a DIY chapter is a difficult task, many pitfalls and brick walls mar the path to what is, in Liber's opinion, one of the best feelings this hobby offers us. When Rogue Trader first created this guide it highlighted the common mistakes made by new writers. Now it has grown to offer advice and information for both veterans and recruits to Liber. Hopefully within these tombs, you might find the help that will lead you to completing your own chapter. Good Luck!

A Guide to DIYing
The Do's of DIY Creation
The Don'ts of DIY Creation
Clichés and Lazy Plot Devices
A Guide to an Index Astartes
Suspension of Disbelief
Refining Ideas
A Guide to Giving Feedback

Basic Information
Time Line
Naming Chapters
How Chapters are Founded
Gene-seed: A Brief Guide

Guides to: Astartes
Space Wolf Successors

Guide to: Astartes and the Imperium
Astartes and Religion
Astartes and the Mechanicus
Astartes and the Inquisition

Guide to: The Enemy
The Tyranids
The Necrons
The T\'au Empire
The Orks
The Eldar
The Ruinous Powers

Invaluable Resources
Intermediate Sources
Latin Phrases

The Painters
BBCode 101
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The Do's of DIY Creation

Originally by Rogue Trader

This guide is meant to be just that, a guide. Whilst many people will have a certain number of ‘rules’ which they believe the fluff of a chapter should follow, the background of the 40k universe is constantly evolving and comes down to individual points of view. A cliché for one person is a great plot hook for another. An unbreakable rule to one poster is a unique feature of another’s chapter. All the being said, there are two rules which all chapters, and posters, must follow.

Rule Number One: Do be original as possible
It is often said that there is no original idea, that someone, somewhere, at some point, would have had the same idea as you. That being said, you can still create an original chapter. To take inspiration from n official chapter, a book, a film, a culture or anything, but to copy an idea completely will lead to a weak chapter. Attempt to add something new, or take a different twist, or remove something, to create something different. It is fine for two chapters be similar, share common themes but to be an identical copy of one another is not possible.

Rule Number Two: Be prepared to accept criticism on your ideas, and to revise your IA accordingly.
Liber Astartes is all about feedback. This forum exists to share ideas about a DIY chapter with other people, each with their own view on the 40k universe and how well ideas mesh together. You don’t have to take every piece of advice given, but if you are not going to budge on anything about your chapter, there is little point in you posting your chapter.

Most members will give helpful feedback, some will be harsher than others, but most will be attempting to be helpful. We all love our own chapters, and we have all been there, but it is important to make sure you don’t drag a poor idea long after its potential has faded. A good IA will grow as you write it, take a life of its own and become, hopefully, better.

Suggestions for creating a better Chapter

Do have a definite theme for your DIY chapter, and follow it through
The hardest but most important thing about a chapter is giving it a theme. This gives the chapter an identity, a purpose and weaves every aspect of the character into a single unity. What classifies as a theme, how to knit into the chapter and when a theme has gone too far is an entire section of its own. Once this theme has been identified, you start to consider how every aspect of the chapter from name, to home world, to history, to combat doctrine can be tied together. This makes the chapter seem more realistic, easier to write and, in the end, better.

Do read as much background material as you can
Read, read and then read some more. Try to read any codex your chapter will interact with, and then read the others. The Black Library books, whilst sometimes painful to read, give another view on the 40k universe which is always great.

Do specific research for your chapter
If your chapter is going to be a face a certain foe, make sure you know everything about that foe. If they are going to be fighting in a certain area of space, make sure you know what is happening in that area. If you are basing your chapter a historical culture, make sure you know a little about them. Make sure you know the defects in the gene-seed they are using.

Do have a rough idea of your chapter first
A full IA is a big project, with many twists and turns along the way. To attempt to create a chapter without a plan will lead to them feeling disjointed. It is always better to look at an IA article on the whole, as each section helps and links which the next. It would be a waste of time perfecting the home world section of an IA only to realise that it needs to be changed to fit more inline with the chapter’s beliefs or combat doctrine.

Do keep it simple
As always in writing, it is best to keep it simple. A simple idea written well beats a complex but poorly executed idea, plus simple is easier to write. With an IA, a simple idea will grow and become something more.

Do remember that ambiguity in the right place can be a good thing
Ambiguity, conjecture, conspiracy theories has hooked many people into the 40k universe. Did the Inquisition play a hand in the Celestial Lions destruction, how about the Crimson Fists’ Fortress-Monastery? The two missing legions are still talked about. Having everything in your chapter “unknown” will often make people believe you are being lazy, but in the right places, with the right amount of mystery, these little conjectures can help create an air of mystery about your chapter.

Do make them heroic but still believable
Space Marines are heroic, and your chapter will be the focus of the IA and will often be portrayed in a positive light, but make sure their deeds are believable. Having them destroy an entire Tyranid Hive Fleet, whilst at the same time wiping out a chaos chapter, bringing back the Emperor and doing all this without taking any losses before dinner, will leave your chapter unbelievable and, probably, mocked.

Do use a GW chapter if you want
There are many chapters which GW have named, maybe given a colour scheme to, but not fluffed out. You can use these if you want, there has been many great examples done. Be warned though, it is possible for GW to pick up this chapter and fluff it out themselves, which will make your background wrong.
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The Don’ts of DIY creation

Originally by Rogue Trader

From here on out, the guidelines become a little more personal. Whilst all of them will be commonly accepted by a high majority of posters, there is nothing (bar the fluff) saying you cannot break them, and as always, a good story can overcome breaking the background. If you go ahead with any of these ideas, be prepared to meet a lot of flak in your feedback.

Don’t claim your chapter is founded using traitor gene-seed
There is simply no reason for the Imperium to do this; they have a massive stock of loyalist gene-seed. Yes, they do have traitor gene-seed in storage, but it is locked in stasis fields. You can have your chapter not know its gene-seed origin and hint at the idea of traitor gene-seed, but at no point say it.

Don’t use Space Wolf gene-seed for your chapter
The Space Wolves had one successor chapter, the Wolf Brothers, and they were described as being ill-fated. The Space Wolf gene-seed is extremely unstable, and due to the Canis Helix, no other chapter seems to be able to survive with it. The supporting quote both states the fate of the Wolf Brothers and the reaction of the High Lords of Terra.

The Space Wolves were never a very large Legion and so were divided only once, creating the ill-fated Wolf Brothers Chapter. Perhaps the High Lords recognised the problems of genetic instability that would plague the genetic seed of Leman Russ, giving rise in later times to the terrible curse of Wulfen, and therefore decided against dividing and further spreading the Space Wolves' genetic base.

This isn't the end of the story though. To allow people to form the own Space Wolf forces, Games Workshop granted us the Lost Companies. Aurelius Rex has wrote a fantastic article on the matter of Lost Companies (found here).

Finally, if you just want to use the Space Wolf codex, it is much easier and more in-line with the background just to have your own feral chapter from a different genetic source.

Don’t tamper or mix gene-seeds
Gene-seed is the legacy of the Primarchs, created by the Emperor to create his superior warriors. The Imperium is backwards, unable to understand the complexity of gene-seed. To attempt to improve gene-seed is to attempt to do better than the Emperor, the greatest of heresies. There is the Dark (13th) and Cursed (21st) founding which allow some leeway with gene-seeds, but still it is never the greatest idea. GW did do this with the Relictors, but they are an exception not the rule.

Don’t have your chapter cure the Curse of Sanguinius
The Sanguinius gene-seed affects its recipients more than any other gene-seed. The Black Curse has thwarted to the attempts of their Apothecaria for ten thousand years. While the ill-fated Cursed founding moderated some of the effects, they had their own little side effects.

Don’t claim your chapter is one of the missing legions
Keeping the two missing legions unknown is part of the greatest charm of the 40k universe, not everything is known. We don’t what happened to them, we don’t know why they were expunged from the records and we don’t want to know.

Don’t claim your chapter is from a traitor legion
The traitor legions, how ever cool, are traitors. When their Primarchs turned to chaos, they all turned. Those who didn’t were quickly killed, or a small handful escaped on the Eisenhorn. Do not have your chapter be a section of a traitor legion which remained loyal during the Heresy or decided to switch back sometime between now and then. The Imperium is an untrustworthy place, and prefers to kill first and maybe ask questions later.

Don’t claim your chapter is part of the second founding
GW has the second founding locked, bar the missing seven Ultramarine successors which have never been named. Whilst it has been known for Black Library to crowbar a chapter into the second founding, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea which should be repeated.

Don’t have your chapter formed from a forgotten company
Any company or detachment of a chapter which is separated from the main chapter for what ever reason will not create their own chapter just because they paint their armour a different colour and change their name. A company of Ultramarines will always be Ultramarines, and would be simply reabsorbed as soon as they made contact with Macragge.

Don’t claim your chapter is created whole from another chapter
This happened once, and that was the second founding when the legions were split. Having a chapter build up to a number of marines large enough to split into two chapters isn’t going to happen. Having a cadre of veterans train a new chapter is fine.

Don’t claim your chapter was created by a Primarch in secret
The Primarchs commanded legions, why would they create a ‘secret’ chapter instead of adding more men to their legion. More to the point, there was twenty legions in existence; there was no need for a ‘secret’ chapter as there was more than enough manpower around

Don’t claim your chapter was created by an unknown twenty-first Primarch
There were twenty Primarchs, no more. Don’t try to break twenty-five years of background by creating your own secret Primarch. Gene-seed plays little role in defining the character of a chapter, so creating your own Primarch will only lead to your chapter losing credibility. In a similar vain, do not claim your chapter uses the gene-seed of the Emperor, only the Grey Knights can claim that honour.

Don’t have your chapter fulfil one of the roles of another Imperial organisation
Space Marines are the Emperor’s greatest warriors, his Angels of Death. They are near unstoppable bio-engineered killing machines that specialise in surgical strikes. They are called in when the situation escalates past the point were normal men can cope. Once they have succeeded in their mission, they move on. There are one million planets in the Imperium and only one million marines to guard them. Marines are too valuable to do a job a lesser man could do.

Don’t have your chapter founded by anyone else bar the High Lords of Terra
Only those who speak on the behalf of the Emperor may commission a new founding of Space Marines. Based on established fluff, it would be extremely hard for anyone else (be it Inquisitor, renegade Mechanicus) to obfuscate the AM sufficiently for them to embark on the creation of a new chapter. Again, this has been done by GW in the Steel Confessors, but they are an exception rather than the rule.

Don’t claim your marines are female
Rites of Initiation
"They [the recruit] must be male because zygotes are keyed to male hormones and tissue types."
Female Marines come up every so often, frequently like buses in batches. Throughout all the background we are given, from codices to Black Library books to artwork, there has never been a mention or an image of female marines. Astartes are always male, even from the time of the Great Crusade when they could turn anyone into a marine. The main background support for this case is the quote to the right.

Okay, it is not fantastic science but this is science-fiction, we play in the universe given to us by the writers. Thankfully, we've had more of discussion on this which resulted in the first of the Librarium Debate threads (found here) and my own personal article on the matter (found here).

Don’t claim your marines are nice
Marines are genetically-engineered, armoured killing machines. They just aren’t nice. Some marines are more humane than others, but they aren’t cuddly and nice. They still chant Catechisms of Hate as they go into battle, and they will still kill anyone or anything that opposes the will of the Emperor. There is a big difference between aiding stricken refugees when there is no fighting to be done, but to stop in the face of a green horde to pick up a little girl’s teddy is a no-no. The Imperium is a harsh place, nice people don’t live long.
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Clichés and Lazy Plot Devices

Originally by Rogue Trader

Most of the posters in Liber have seen hundreds if not thousands of chapters in their time, so they have seen all the common story lines. There is nothing wrong with using these plot lines, but be warned, many Liber posters will hold them in some grudge and believe they are often used to cover up poor writing. If you write a good story, then lazy devices become great story lines.

The Rogue Inquisitor Deus Ex Machina
The temptation to cover up the holes in your plot with the sudden and out of character appearance of an Inquisitor should be resisted. Having an Inquisitor appear, wave his magic wand and kiss all the chapters’ problems goodbye, then disappearing as quick as he arrived is lazy story telling. It is usually used to rationalise a bad idea or an unimaginative way of explaining a potentially interesting Chapter characteristic.

Don’t get your chapter lost in the warp
Often use to in one of two ways, either to make a chapter skip a few centuries of history or to explain why a company split from their chapter. We’ve seen it all before and I can’t remember a time it was done well.

Don’t claim your chapter was central to any of the major campaigns
GW have the pivotal moments of their campaigns locked down. The Battle of Macragge was the Ultramarines versus the Tyranids; no-one else was present. The more recent campaigns – Armageddon, Eye of Terror – are ideal for DIY-ers. They vastly allow DIY chapters to play a supporting role, perhaps turning up to mop up survivors. However, claiming your chapter was the pivotal force in a well documented campaign is not a good idea.

Don’t mistake codex deviations and GW precedents for originality and character
The character of a chapter is defined by how and why it does things differently from other chapters; but do not fall into the trap of loading your chapter with all number of flashy plot hooks and the flavour of the week in the belief this will add character. Just because there is a GW chapter that has something, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to do for your chapter ‘just because’.

Rogue Trader, the original author of this thread, had this as his final thought and I couldn’t not include it:

The most important thing to remember is that in the end, it's just a game. They're your models, you paid for them, you can do what you like, just as long as you have fun!
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Guide to: an Index Astartes

By Commissar Molotov

  • When was your Chapter formed?
  • Why were they created?

This section is where you can introduce and briefly summarise your Chapter. When and why was your Chapter created? Is your Chapter relatively young, or an ancient Chapter with many millennia of history? How have they lived up to the original expectations placed upon them? Have they accomplished their sacred tasks? Have they suffered any setbacks? Did any other Imperial organisations help them in their earliest stages?A Are they known for any glorious battles or disastrous defeats?


  • Does your Chapter have a homeworld?
  • Where is it?
  • What is it like?
  • How has your homeworld affected your Chapter?

Some Chapters choose not to have a homeworld, but most will. If your Chapter doesn't have a homeworld, why? Are they fleet-based in order to respond to threats rapidly? Or perhaps they wish to avoid having a static base that needs defending and can be attacked. Perhaps they even choose to recruit from multiple worlds to get the best recruits possible. Even if your Chapter doesn't have a homeworld, they may have a base of operations - a space station, a moon, an asteroid or even a Battle Barge. Tell us about it!

Where is your Chapter located in the galaxy? If you don't have a homeworld, is there a place or a portion of the galaxy where they can typically be found? Where have their more dramatic victories been? How would someone track the Chapter down?

What is the homeworld like? What kind of people do they produce, and why are they suitable recruits to be made into Space Marines. What kind of culture is it? If your Chapter doesn't have a single homeworld and recruits from several worlds, why not tell us briefly about a few of them. (It's worth noting that with multiple homeworlds, you probably want to go into less detail than if you only had one.) What kind of worlds are they, and how does your Chapter deal with the basic differences of culture? This might have an impact on your organisation section. The Iron Hands' clan-companies are distinct, based around ethnic groupings, whilst the White Scars break up tribe affiliations by sticking previous enemies together.

How has your homeworld affected your Chapter? Are they close to their people, or distant, fearsome harbingers of doom? Are they more lenient towards Humans as they see various peoples united beneath the banners of the Chapter, Primarch and Emperor? Or are they more critical of Mankind as they see that no matter where they are from they have the same basic human squabbles that threaten the Imperium with damnation?

Has anything happened on your homeworld that was important to the Chapter? Rituals that have carried over, an invasion from an enemy army? Have various rituals and customs from several different planets begun to surface in your Chapter? Are there smaller sub-sects that are comprised of people from the same planet, perhaps breaching Company boundaries?

Combat Doctrine

  • How does your Chapter fight?
  • Why do they fight this way?
  • Are there any examples of your Chapter's battle-history?

Does your Chapter fight as per the writings of the Codex Astartes? It ought to be remembered that the Codex can be a hugely flexible tome, allowing many different tactics. If your Chapter has chosen to diverge from Guilliman's teachings, why? There may be brilliant reasons for it - but tell us! Those reasons could possibly add character to your Chapter. If changes have been made from Codex doctrine, what are they and how were they made? How has this affected your Chapter's performance?

Is there a reason your Chapter fights a specific way? Has fighting a specific opponent moulded their preferences for battle? This is an important question to answer if your Chapter's methods differ greatly from those of their predecessors (A Raven Guard successor that may disdain infiltration, for example).

This may also be a good time to think about a few engagements your Chapter has fought in, and how they did. Who did they fight, why were they fighting, how long did the fighting last, where did they fight, who won? The key here is to try to use examples that somehow showcase the character of your Chapter. If your Chapter is dogged and resolute, perhaps have them taking huge casualties but not retreating. If they hate aliens, exterminating an Eldar force might well work for you.


  • How is your Chapter organised?

Whilst the Codex Astartes is the baseline we compare all Chapters to, it's undeniable that some Chapters differ in their adherence to the sacred tome. But it's important to note that according to the Insignium Astartes sourcebook, there are several versions of the Codex. Roboute Guilliman's writings can be interpreted in different ways, and it's possible for slightly different Chapters to still make a claim at being "Codex-Adherent".

If your Chapter differs from the Codex, why? What changes have been made, and what caused these changes to occur? Have they benefited the Chapter, or have they - dare I say it - even been harmful? Has their changed organisational structure changed the Chapter's fighting style at all?


  • What comprises your Chapter's belief system?
  • Why does your Chapter hold these beliefs?
  • How have these beliefs affected your Chapter?

Every Chapter has their own belief system, an intricate web of ideals and attitudes that help define what your guys are about. The Marines Malevolent will happily butcher civilians if they won't fight for themselves - because they're effectively aiding the enemy. The Salamanders are seen as a relatively 'humanitarian' Chapter. The Dark Angels won't fight on the same battlefield as an Ogryn or a Ratling. This section could cover anything as diverse as your Chapter's most hated enemy to what they think of their Primarch and the Emperor Himself.

But where did your Chapter's belief system come from? Have they inherited their ideals from their parent-Chapter? Their homeworld? A particularly famous leader, a devastating encounter with an enemy, a vision from the Emperor? Who, if anyone, began these beliefs? Was it a gradual change, or a sudden change instigated by a singular individual?

Perhaps most importantly, how have these beliefs moulded your Chapter? Has the Chapter changed in other ways because of these beliefs? In this way the Combat Doctrine, Organisation and Beliefs section can sometimes intersect.


  • Which Primarch does your Chapter descend from? Is your Chapter aware of its genetic legacy, or have they lost their records?
  • Which Chapter was your Chapter created from? The original legion itself, or one of the successor Chapters?
  • Why have you chosen that gene-seed?
  • Has your gene-seed mutated in any way?

The gene-seed of a Chapter is its the vital link to their spiritual father, the Primarch. Through the Primarch, a Space Marine is linked to the Emperor Himself. Try to remember that just because you have a particular theme in mind, you don't need to use a particular gene-seed. A Chapter that is fanatical about machinery doesn't need an Iron Hands heritage, and you don't need to be descended from the Salamanders to use lots of flamers.

Keep in mind that your choice of gene-seed might well have an impact on your Chapter. A number of the original legions have missing or defective organs, and these will be transmitted to your Chapter. In fact, your gene-seed could even be more degraded than the original. If so, how has the Chapter dealt with the grim realisation that their holy connection to the Emperor is weakening and becoming dilute? Have there been steps made to purify their gene-seed and slow down the degradation? Or do they encourage it, like the Black Dragons?

Battle Cry

  • What gets said? Who says it?
  • Is it screamed in the heat of action? Sworn as a vow beforehand? Chanted throughout battle? Something else?

The battle-cry is a peculiar section. It's the least necessary part of your article, but can certainly serve to be a good summary of your Chapter's character and mindset. It's not needed, by all means - some Chapters may not bother with it, whilst others might use a huge and dazzling array of cries - but then, you could detail that in this section.

When going with a battle-cry, try to keep it short. Long, drawn-out speeches make for poor battle-cries.

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Time Line

By Ferrata
Colour Code
Chaos/Traitor Event - Yellow
Ork Events - Green
Necron Events - Blue
Space Marine Founding - Orange
T'au Events - Light Blue
Tyranid Events - Purple
Other - White

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> M29 First Founding

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> M31 The Horus Heresy

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 021M31 Second Founding

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 781.M31 Abaddon's First Black Crusade

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 001M32 Third Founding -- Takes place on first day of the Millenium.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 001.M34 Abaddon's Fourth Black Crusade - The Devastation of El'Phanor

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> M36 Twenty First - Cursed Founding

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 200.M36 The Age of Apostasy

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 288.M36 Formation of the Sisters of Battle

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 288.M36 Formation of the Ordo Hereticus

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> M41 First contact with the advanced T’au

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 143-160.M41 Abaddon's Twelth Black Crusade - The Gothic War

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 392.M41 Lord Solar Macharius begins his crusade

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 738M41 Twenty Sixth Founding - Most Recent Founding

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 742.M41 Damocles Crusade against the T'au

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 745.M41 Hive Fleet Behemoth

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 891.M41 First War of Armageddon

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 897.M41 First recorded contact with Necrons

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 901-912.M41 Badab War

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 941.M41 Second War of Armageddon

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 944.M41 Balur Crusade

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 993.M41 Hive Fleet Kraken

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 997.M41 Hive Fleet Leviathan

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 998.M41 Third War of Armageddon

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> 999.M41 Abaddon's Thirteenth Crusade

<{POST_SNAPBACK}> Unknown but between 999.M41 - 006.M42 The Fall of Medusa V

More Detailed Time Lines
The Ultramarine Timeline
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Naming a DIY Chapter

By Commissar Molotov

What's in a name? Everything. When creating a DIY Chapter, one of the key things to consider is the name. It is perhaps the most important decision in the life of a DIY chapter, and can be a very tricky one.

This stickied thread gives a lot of suggestions for Space Marine Chapter names. This thread is designed to be a little more specific, offering some inspiration for you to choose a name yourself.

Names often help to summarise the chapter. Ferrata's Wings of Death give the impression that they're a close-combat army with a lot of jump-packs. According to Insignium Astartes, the Chapter Master chooses the name of his Chapter (I'm guessing this happens when the Chapter is considered to be "mission capable"). The Chapter Master has access to a list of extant Chapter names (likely incomplete) as well as words/names that are forbidden (presumably because they are the names of traitor Chapters/Legions). Likewise the Chapter Master of the nascent Chapter also chooses the Chapter badge and color scheme/heraldry. There is likely some assistance/guidance from the Administratum/Adeptus Mechanicus and the Chapter "staff", but the responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the Chapter Master.

With this thread, put yourself in the position of your chapter's first Chapter Master: Choose names that your first chapter master was likely to have picked. The pre-heresy legions seemed to number their Grand Companies (about the size of a chapter nowadays as far as I can tell) and so you might find Chaos forces described as the 29th Great Company, 4th Cohort or the 17th Legion of Fear. This is admittedly a chaos thing, but a good example is Sleepwalker's chapter, the 920's, who were unlucky enough to get devastated even before they got properly established or assigned a proper name. You occasionally hear that a chapter like the Mentor Legion was given the number 888 or such, well these guys take it to the next level.

The article on chapter names in UK White Dwarf 299 suggests five basic groups, although there are many more:

...Iron Hands, Fire Hawks, Storm Crows...

We use materials often in English. How often have you talked to a brick wall? Materials such as Iron or Fire summon a lot of imagery. That's one of the key things in a Space Marine Chapter name. Symbolism. Using a name with a prefix like 'Ice', for example, wouldn't really fit if your chapter originated from a volcanic death-world near-inimical to human life. Perhaps your chapter shares characteristics with the material in their name. Perhaps the Ice Dragons are slow to anger, much like a glacier that takes millenia to move. Perhaps a chapter with 'fire' or 'flame' in their name are fiery and quick to anger?

...Crimson Fists, Black Templars, White Consuls...

Space Marines are similar to the knights of old. Heraldry matters a lot; Space Marines take great pride in who and what they are, and the enemies of the Space Marines quail in fear as they see their death approaching. Colours can link into this. The colours needn't refer to the chapter's colour scheme, though - the Dark Hands are a dark green, but have a black hand as their symbol. The Red Scorpions are most definately not red, but the Red Hunters are. The colours usually have a great symbolism. The Crimson Fists are called such because of the ceremony Rogal Dorn carried out with the chapter masters of the Black Templars and the Crimson Fists. The Black Templars are black because it marks them out in the sight of the Emperor, just as Sigismund did in the battle for Terra.

...Space Wolves, Black Dragons, Howling Griffons, Blood/Dark Angels...

Animals are very powerful, often born survivors, sleek hunters. You won't see a chapter called the Death Hippos, but the Death Hawks are a possibility. Chapters named this way are usually because the marines admire the animals and wish to follow their example. Perhaps the chapter operates in a similar way to the animal in question (The Space Wolves, for example, certainly do, operating in packs and the like). Even the 'Angels' from the Blood Angels and Dark Angels links to mythical creatures.

...Night Lords, Iron Warriors, Sons of Guilliman...

This splits into two categories; chapters named after people, and chapters with a title/honourific in their name. The Sons of Guilliman or the Scythes of the Emperor, for example, would perhaps idolise the person that they have immortalised in their name. Perhaps they wish to emulate him.

If the Imperium is a fuedal society, then the Space Marines are knights of the Emperor. Hence chapters like the Praetors of Orpheus or the Masters of Protelus. On some worlds marines are installed as an upper class, and a connection to their homeworld could give them a very decent theme. As most Space Marine chapters recruit from a single system and defend that sector to the death, they could well be proud of their system and incoprorate it into the name.

Stand Alone Names/Self-Explaining Names
... Destroyers, Marauders, Castigators, Raptors...
Chapters such as the Marauders, the Destroyers, the Rampagers or my own Castigators tend to have suitably destructive names. They generally suggest what the chapters wish to do. My Castigators see themselves as punishers. They wish to punish (or Castigate). This can be an idea.

...Imperial Fists, Brazen Claws, Red Talons...

Space marines are warriors. They obviously have a connection to weapons. Different weapons have different characteristics, and different connotations. A sword and an axe, for example, give radically different impressions. Think of a sword and you might think honour duels, knights lined up in formation, and civilised warfare. An axe might give you the impression of an uncouth barbarian. These could have a link to the style of warfare the chapter practises. Are they slow, methodical and destructive, like a Broadsword? Or quick and effective like a Rapier?

Themed Chapters
Many people base their DIY chapters on a particular real-life culture that they are interested in. The obvious example in this are the Aegyptus Astartes, by Nephren-Ka and company. In this way it is possible to use a name associated with this chapter so that, straight off the bat, the theme is obvious. Some people prefer their theme to be a little bit more subtle (They're called Space Wolves, not Space Vikings, for example). For example, a roman chapter could be called the Imperial Praetorians. It's important to balance the real-world and the 41st Millenium. Take 30 seconds extra and modify something, even just a little - 'Sons of Teutonia' is better than the original 'Teutonic Knights'.


Progenitor Legions
Chapters don't have to choose names that relate to their parent Chapter. The process of creating Chapters is still uncertain. While it's possible that the parent Chapter sends battle-brothers to form the core of the new Chapter, it's just as possible that the new Chapter is created entirely from the ground up. We also have the fact that many Chapters don't know their lineage. So there is the possibility that at least some Chapters don't even know which Chapter they are descended from, nor their gene-seed heritage. Even if a Chapter does know who it's "parent" is, the new Chapter Master might not choose a name reminiscent of that Chapter. A lot of this will depend on the new Chapter's Master.

Additionally, certain name elements aren't the "property" of specific first founding Chapters and their descendants. It's quite possible and acceptable for Chapters of other descent to incorporate those name elements. So a Chapter might choose the name "Fiery Wolves" and not be descended from the Space Wolves, or "Angels of Purity" and not be descended from the Dark Angels or Blood Angels.

Re-naming a Chapter
On the subject of renaming a chapter, it would be a major thing to have a chapter change it's name. There are examples of chapters that have done it - the Luna Wolves changed their name twice, but then they are all have the Mark of Chaos Undecided - but chapters have histories of up to ten thousand years, and few have done it, and they value continuity and history, so consider carefully if a name change is warranted, or even adds something to the chapter history... Even a campaign where they lost 80% of the chapter would probably not warrant it, but something like them going over to the service of the Ruinous powers might be the sort of thing that they would want to celebrate with a name change to go with the new mission statement, but even then not necessarily. I doubt it would be very popular amongst many marines for their chapter to change its' name.

Considering the chapter master choosing the chapter's name, I would have to admit that I don't think the chapter master would just pick a name that he fancied, or liked the sound of, or got out of a hat. I imagine it would be after many days of meditation, or consulting the Emperor's Tarot. Thusly, the Emperor chooses the name, not the Chapter Master. (Or else the Chapter master could just say "The Sons of Me.")

As such, the name has been chosen by the Emperor, and changing the name would be going against the Emperor's will. The way around this is the chapter master/librarian getting a vision to change the name, but still I'm not sure on this.

The Luna Wolves changed their name twice, but for very different reasons. They became the Sons of Horus because the Emperor renamed them to honour their warmaster. They became the Black Legion because Abaddon commanded them to do so after Horus' body was stolen by the Emperor's Children. They repainted their armour black to symbolise their shame in failing. However, Abaddon favours an autocratic style of leadership, where those that disagree find themselves dead.

The Practicalities
Try saying your chapter's name out loud. A name that sounds fine in your mind can often sound odd out loud. Some names are easy to twist into insults (The Fiery Lions becoming the Fiery Loins, for example...) You also don't want to have a chapter name that's too long. Marine chapters tend to have a four-word name at the most, and that's counting "and", "of" and "the".

It's also important that you check your chapter's name is spelt correctly. You don't want the "Knites of Kharkol" when they should be the "Knights of Kharkol".

Also check to see if anyone else has appropriated the name you intend to use. Whilst it's not so bad if a fellow frater has taken the name (though it could cause confusion), it's a lot worse if you find they're an official Games Workshop chapter. If you find yourself in this sticky situation, consult a thesaurus for alternative words. The 'Night Lords' could become the 'Dark Lords' or the 'Lords of Darkness'.

Last but not least...
If you run out of inspiration there's always this. :lol:
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How are New Chapters Founded?

By Aurelius Rex

This comes up periodically, and while GW has been unclear on the subject, this particular theory has gained acceptance on Liber as logically being a good explaination. The first three points are GW canon, and inviolate, with the rest being the favoured way to explain the known facts. The High Lords may have done things differently over the last ten thousand years, but this should give a template to work from. :lol:

1. The High Lords of Terra, speaking for the Emperor degree a new Founding of Adeptus Astartes Chapters. There is great jubilation and much quaffing.

2. The Adeptus Mechanicus on Mars selects geneseed from the tithed stocks, say from the Ultramarines / Roboute Guilliman gene-line, although as there are only nine First Founding Chapters out of the thousand possible, it is most likely that the geneseed selected will actually be from a successor Chapter.

3. The Adeptus Mechanicus cultures some more geneseed from the original sample selected using mindwiped subjects floating in big glassteel tanks. They would also supply some equipment (Rhinos, ships, armour) to get them started, with the rest expected to be produced by the new Chapter's Forges, or requisitioned like every other Chapter does.

4. A small cadre of experienced marines from the chapter that supplied the geneseed is given the honour / responsibility of training the initiates from the fledgeling chapter. This would ensure that they follow (broadly) in the footsteps of their parent chapter from a doctrinal and philosophical point of view, although there is still the potential for deviations... children never turn out exactly like their parents. ;)

5. The cadre could be made up of a captain from the parent chapter to be the first Chapter Master, along with experienced marines to become the training scout sergeants, and eventually marine squad sergeants and captains. There would also be specialists like a Chaplain, Techmarines, Apothecaries and Librarians to get the chapter going and train up a new generation from among the initiates.

6. This would number between 20-40 marines, and there is no way that the First Founding chapters could do this for multiple (up to 20 at a time) successors. Again this supports the idea that later Founding Chapters would have to have a hand in founding the new Chapters, so while two thirds of Chapters are from the Guilliman geneline, the actual geneseed and initial cadre of Marines might have come from the Mortifactors, Black Consuls, Eagle Warriors or any other Chapter with Guilliman geneseed as well as directly from the Ultramarines themselves. For ease of explaination GW (and the Administratum) may call all of them with the Guilliman geneline 'Ultramarines successors', and there is always the chance of snobbery existing, with a chapter wanting to call itself an Ultramarines successor when technically it is the successor of a 25th Founding Guilliman Chapter that no-one has ever heard of. :lol:

7. The Chapter will recruit and grow in numbers until after many decades it reaches the full compliment. It will participate in battles and campaigns as it's numbers allow, perhaps fighting alongside other Chapters until it has sufficient numbers to conduct independant actions. Remember that a Chapter will rarely send its whole compliment of ten companies to war other than in the most dire of circumstances, so squad and company level actions are common and will be possible quite early in the Chapter's history.

8. The initial cadre of marines may return to their parent chapter once they have got the new Chapter running - they may always be Crimson Fists at heart. Alternatively they may elect to stay. Going back to being a Captain after having been a Chapter Master might not appeal to many. It could depend if the secondment was temporary, or of a more permanent nature.
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Guide to: Renegade DIY Chapters

By Aurelius Rex

There are a whole range of different Space Marine chapters possible, and with the advent of the Index Astartes article on Renegade Chapters in White Dwarf I have decided to delve a little deeper into the murky world of Marines who have slipped from the Imperial fold. This is intended as an appendix to the article above which generally covers the loyalist Chapters, as a guide to the things to consider when creating DIY renegade marine Chapters.

Loyal Space Marine Chapters:

These Chapters are true to the Emperor and the Imperium. They were all created in one of the 26 foundings decreed by the Emperor, via the High Lords of Terra, and draw their lineage back to one of the nine loyalist legions. They all have their own warrior cults, practices, quirks and distinctive ways of doing things, and are the most common type of marine chapter. As such, they are the subject of the main Chapter Creation thread which I urge you to read, as it is packed with generally relevant ideas.

Renegade Chapters:

Renegades are once loyal Chapters or parts of chapters that for whatever reason have fallen from grace and broken away from the Imperium of Man. There are many reasons that a chapter would turn Renegade - Megalomania, corruption by the Ruinous Powers, doctrinal heresy, a misguided admiration for the workings of the foul Xenos, or even inadvertently coming into conflict with another arm of the Imperium like the Inquisition. Whatever the root cause, the final effect is always the same: Damnation in the eyes of the Emperor and his loyal servants.

As a result they are hounded by the forces of the Imperium, constantly moving from place to place, or hiding from prying eyes in loosely populated areas like the Maelstrom, the Eye of Terror, or beyond the limit of the range of Astronomicon, among the cold, haunted stars of the Halo Zone. When the extent of the heresy of the Astral Claws was revealed, they attempted to fight from behind the formidable defences of their homeworld, but even they were eventually routed, fleeing into the Maelstrom and becoming Red Corsairs. Without the support of the Imperial Machine, and the Adeptus Mechanicus Machine God, all of these Chapters face the problem of obtaining and maintaining their ships, weapons and wargear, to say nothing of the difficulty in producing the implanted organs for the initiation of new marines. Because of the need for stealth, and the necessity to �live off the land� as it were, many renegades fragment into smaller groups, rarely gathering their entire force together in one place.

There are two main types of renegades, based on their philosophy more than anything:

1. Chapters who see themselves as still loyal to the Imperium

When a chapter is labelled as Excommunicate, it can either stand and fight and die, or run. It does not matter if the judgement is sound or not, they are now renegade. Some chapters and groups, such as the Relictors, and to a degree the Legion of the Damned and the Space Wolves 13th Company are hunted, yet still profess to be loyal to the Emperor.

The standard marine codex can be used to represent these chapters, perhaps withdrawbacks which reflect their lack of equipment or inability to take Imperial allies.

2. Chapters who have embraced Chaos

These treacher chapters have renounced their oaths of loyalty to the Emperor, and are forever marked by the taint of the Chaos powers. The Red Corsairs and the Sons of Malice are the best known Renegade chapters, but there are many more, and how many were loyal chapters driven to the Ruinous powers by being wrongly accused of heresy and forced to do make unspeakable pacts just to survive?

These Chaos renegades can be represented by any of the options in Codex: Chaos Space marines, or using the lost and the Damned rules from C:EoT.

Note: Pirate and mercenary chapters, as well as marines from different chapters that have banded together for protection could fall into either type of renegade depending on their broader philosophy. Examples of this are The Damned Company of Lord Caustos, who 'sell their services to any force that will provide them with the equipment they need to continue their very existence', and Bootae's Shadowhawks DIY Chapter.

Splinter Warbands of the Main Traitor Legions

These appear to be relatively rare, as while many of the traitor legions have fragmented into warbands or individual Grand Companies under a charismatic or particularly brutal warlord, most retain at least a nominal allegiance to their parent legion.

The Basics for DIY Renegades:

- Which type of renegade are they? (Loyal, chaos or Splinter warband)
- What were they like when loyal? (Questions like Geneseed, Founding, etc from the main creation thread)
- What trigger event caused them to become renegades?- How do they avoid the Imperium?
- How has going renegade changed them? (Organisation, philosophy,etc)
- How do they continue to exist without Imperial support?
- What relationship do they have to the Imperium / Traitor Legions (Friends & enemies)

Representing a Renegade Chapter on it's Path to Damnation:

I have included a quote from SCC's handy guide to the Soul Drinkers - it shows how they can be represented in game terms as they go from loyalist to traitor. Note that this is from the third edition rules, but it should give you an idea of how to do something similar using the 4th ed traits.
[soul Drinkers]


Codex: Space Marines
Plenty of Assault Squads, maybe even a Vet squad armed with BP/CCW, very few heavy weapons (I'd avoid Dev squads entirely and maybe have 1 in 3 Tac squads with a heavy weapon, if that) and only a few special weapons (1 in 2 Tac squads with a special weapon maybe...).
Otherwise these guys follow the codex pretty well....


Codex:Space Marines
The odd mutation will have cropped up by now, Sarpedon and the other leaders in particular. I'd stick with C:SM and model the mutations more as wargear than Chaos style mutations, ie tentacles as CC weapon and so on. Coupla quick examples

Sarpedon's spider mutation might mean he's equipped with a bike - he seems to move pretty darn quick when he has too (TL Bolters could represent increased reflexes, hence he can fire his 'bolter' as TL'd), give him a Force Staff and you're set.

Tellos' blades are pretty easy to model, grab a coupla PWs and hack his wrists off and replace 'em, simple, he could count as an Emperor's Champion - he's dead keen on CC and that way the twin PWs count as a Black Sword (either PW or PF attacks).


I'd play 'em as a fairly simple Chaos Undivided army, maybe a squad or two of Vets with furious charge led by Tellos (as an Aspiring Champ), Sarpedon would be the Lord with the appropriate mutations and so on. I'd keep the armour and equipment Imperial and just add mutations, maybe to half of each squad, so that they look like they're mutating as a Chapter rather than already mutated...

Post-post Schism

Intrigued? Well if you have't read the second book (The Bleeding Chalice) and don't want it ruined then it's time for a


At the end of the 2nd book the Soul Drinkers appear to have found a cure for their condition and have inducted a large number of new recruits who will receive the new cleansed, pure gene-seed. They're still split from the Imperium, but determined to do the Emperor's work rather than work to fulfil the High Lords of Terra's corrupt agenda.They are still led by many of the older, mutated marines (approx 3-400 survive by my guesstimate), including Sarpedon, so you could use C:SM, plenty of Scout squads, all pure and noble examples of humanity's best warriors, led by older, battle-scarred, mutated survivors of the schism. Again you can fall back on the mutations modelled as wargear solution (Sarpedon/spider legs/bike etc.) for the Vet Marines. Maybe have a squad of vets with mutations tag along to show the youngsters how things are done. I think this one might actually be the most interesting of all of them, but that might just be me...

Plus they'd make a cool BFG Fleet when they're in that old SpaceHulk and whizzing 'round in those alien fighter/shuttle/bomber things...

Down the bottom I'll just say I disagree with GilgaladMightyElf on the use of Chaos equipment, they're mutants, not Chaos Marines, they should use the equipment they left the Imperium with, after all they have plenty of Techmarines surviving to look after their wargear...


- Can mercenary / Xenos influenced chapters use non-marine / Xenos equipment?
Fluffwise: Sure, why not!
Ruleswise: Only if you can think up a legal way of taking them as allies, using VDR, or some other really creative use of the Counts-As rule. Otherwise they follow the same rules as everyone else.

Thanks to everyone in Liber Astartes who contributed to the discussion - you know who you are.
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Religion in the Imperium

By Commissar Molotov

To begin with, it's important that we approach religion in the Forty-First Millennium. The Inquisitor rulebook (available to download in PDF format for free here and here) has this quote:

The teachings of the Ecclesiarchy are not a loving creed, as they were incepted to praise the Emperor above all other things and to give Mankind the faith and willpower to continue the endless fight against rebels, aliens and the forces of darkness despite horrendous hardship and torturous agony. THere are countless factions of belief within the Ecclesiarchy, each preaching a slightly different message. Some are more common than others, and in the dark times of the Forty-First Millennium the most apocalyptic, militant faiths have many supporters.

These doctrines are highly xenophobic and violent, its members sworn to expunge all sin with fire and blade. For some cults their focus of hatred is very limited: mutants, witches or aliens. For others, such as the Redemptionists, they see sin in every creature, which must be purged through bloodshed.; it really is a dogma of kill or be killed in the most extreme cases.

Now we've read that quote, it really establishes our baseline. The religion of the Imperium, although rarely examined in detail, really does help to ground the Imperium in that gritty, gothic universe that I've always really loved. The Imperium is surrounded on all sides by darkness, and it cloaks itself in religious intolerance in the hope that it will survive.

The Astartes and the Ecclesiarchy

At first glance, the Adeptus Astartes fit right into that mould. We're often told that the Astartes are 'warrior-monks', and many things tie into that - the robes, the parchments, the Librarians - all these things are hugely evocative of Earthly religions - Christianity in particular. The Space Marines even have Chaplains, whose role it is to dispense spiritual advice to the Brother-Marines.

But it's important to note that in many ways, the Adeptus Astartes could - and would, on some cases - be declared heretics by the Ecclesiarchy.

There has been constant conflict between [the Ecclesiarchy] and [the Space Marines]... they are rivals in power like any Imperial organisations, but more importantly, their beliefs differ at a very fundamental level... [the Space Marines] are the founders of the Imperium and the supreme defenders of Humanity. The Space Marines are unswervingly loyal to the EMperor and would die in the defence of his honour and the Imperium.

However, the Space Marines do not adhere to the teachings of the Ecclesiarchy. Their beliefs vary wildly from Chapter to Chapter, worshipping the Emperor and their Primarchs to differing degrees. In many ways they are heretics with their own traditions, ceremonies and beliefs, some of which are very barbaric compared to the well-ordered masses of the Ecclesiarchy.


An uneasy compromise has been reached over the millennia, which can be summed up as an agreement to differ. The Ecclesiarchy does not send its Confessors and Missionaries to the Space Marine worlds and the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes do not interfere with the Adeptus Ministorum. Space Marine Chaplains are given their precious rosarius by the Ecclesiarchy as a symbolic link between the two organisations, but the Chaplains still preach their own version of the Imperial Creed to their brethren.

So, we know that relations between the Imperium's official religion and the Imperium's greatest warriors are strained. And that's a great thematic element. It calls to mind the purge of the Knights Templar by the Catholic Pope. We also know that the Adeptus Astartes don't worship the Emperor as a God.


So, what do the Adeptus Astartes worship? And what can the Astartes worship? It's an important question that DIY Chapter Creators doubtless ask.

So, let's look at 'worship'.

1. reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.
2. formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor and homage: They attended worship this morning.
3. adoring reverence or regard: excessive worship of business success.
4. the object of adoring reverence or regard.
5. (initial capital letter) British. a title of honor used in addressing or mentioning certain magistrates and others of high rank or station (usually prec. by Your, His, or Her).
–verb (used with object)
6. to render religious reverence and homage to.
7. to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing).
–verb (used without object)
8. to render religious reverence and homage, as to a deity.
9. to attend services of divine worship.
10. to feel an adoring reverence or regard.

Well, the Astartes definitely 'worship'. If we take the term 'adoring reverence or regard', there's immediately several things that a Chapter can worship.

To begin with, the Emperor. We're often told that the Astartes have a 'debased' or 'altered' version of the Imperial Creed. This means you have to consider things in the context of your DIY's 'Chapter Cult'. It's fair to say that all Space Marine Chapters - all loyalist Space Marine Chapters, at least - revere the Emperor as the greatest Man to have ever existed. He is said to be the pinnacle of Humanity. So whilst the Space Marines might not see him as a God, they certainly see him as someone worth revering. Part of the trouble from our end is that the issue is confused by the Space Marines using a lot of terminology that is used within Christianity to refer to God. For example, we often hear about Him watching over us, or how the dead Astartes join Him at His side.

Whilst the Ecclesiarchy might have Saints, the Astartes has the Primarchs. His greatest creations - His sons. A Chapter will doubtless pay homage to its Primarch. They were ferocious warriors, men straight from the pages of legends who accomplished legendary deeds. Your view of the Primarchs might well be coloured by your gene-heritage. If you're an Ultramarines successor, you'll doubtless see Roboute Guilliman as the greatest of the Primarchs, the man who held the Imperium together in its darkest time. If you're a gene-son of Sanguinius, you might consider the greatest Primarch to be Sanguinius, he who died so that the Emperor might survive. Your Chapter might, at its rituals and prayers, bring to mind his exploits - the Primarch who fought a Bloodthirster on the Imperial Palace's walls. The Primarch who resisted temptation, who refused Horus' offer of service, who died so that the Imperium might live.

As a successor Chapter, you might well revere your First Chapter Master - an influential individual who would've had a great say in just how your Chapter has become what it is now.

All Space Marines revere their armour and equipment. One of the evocative elements of 40k is the way that every single piece of armour and equipment used by the Astartes is a hallowed relic. That helmet might've been worn by twenty other Marines, each a hero in his own right. The Astartes go to war clad in the contents of most of Earth's museums, and they look good. So, a Chapter's cult might pay attention to the weaponry they use, the Machine Spirits that inhabit it, or even all the warriors who have previously used their equipment.

When is 'Different' heretical?

Well, as was said before, there are a great many variations of the Imperial Cult throughout the galaxy. Heliocultists might worship the Emperor as the embodiment of the Sun, whilst Haemocultists might worship the Emperor as the lifeblood of humanity, and might engage in blood-rituals that'd make the most squeamish Archdaecon of the Ecclesiarchy turn green and faint in horror.

The Astartes recruit from a great many different worlds, and so are likely to come into contact with many of these religions. After all, consider how Mighty Horus was corrupted by the Warrior-Lodges of Davin. It's inevitable to a degree that after a long time of recruiting from a singular world that the beliefs and superstitions from that world will start to infiltrate and merge with that Chapter's cult.

With so many distinct variations on the Imperial cult, what on Earth is heretical? After all, the Blood Angels engage in horrific blood rites, and they get away with it.

Well, GW produced an article about renegade Chapters, and it featured two Chapters of interest, the Steel Cobras and the Sons of Malice.

These are the relevant quotes for discussion:

In the case of the Sons of Malice, the grisly tendencies that caused their excommunication was found to be rooted in the barbaric practices of the native, feral world population of the chapter's homeworld of Scelus.


The company's prolonged victory celebrations, led by the murderous Kathal, were observed by Inquisitor Pietas, a senior member of the Ordo Hereticus, who was revolted at what she saw as practices verging on the cannibalistic. Pietas mobilized a strike force of Adepta Sororitas Celestians, who deployed from orbit aboard their drop pods, making planetfall in the midst of the company at the height of the celebrations. The strike force found Kathal and his company a horde of fevered maniacs, having worked themselves into a state of animalistic barbarity over the course of their celebrations. Kathal's armour was splattered in gore, and blood ran from his mouth as he presided over the ceremony. Kathal and his brethren fell upon the strike force with a savagery the Inquisitor was utterly unprepared for.

The Steel Cobras - a chapter whose worship of the Emperor as an animal totem prompted a puritanical crusade against them led by a particularly bombastic Cardinal - are known to have established a base of operations deep beneath the ammonia seas of Tukaroe VII. Although the Imperium are aware of the renegade's existence, nothing short of an invasion by entire Space Marine chapter is considered likely to dislodge them from their fortified seabed bunkers. The only other option is Exterminatus, a fate that may still befall Tukaroe VII should the Adeptus Astartes refuse to assault their wayward kin.

The common element in these two cases were someone objecting. The Steel Cobras were persecuted by an Ecclesiarchal Cardinal who objected to their worship of the Emperor as an animal totem. The Sons of Malice were caught out by an Inquisitor who considered their blood rites to be heretical. The Imperium of Warhammer 40,000 seems to run on a system where the first person to accuse another wins. If you can accuse another of heresy without first being accused of heresy yourself, you're laughing. The Steel Cobras might be the most fervent, loyalist Space Marines in the galaxy. But because they've been accused of heresy, the stain is very hard to eradicate. The Imperium's a cluster of organisations constantly vying for political power. A Chapter protected by the Adeptus Mechanicus, for example, might be safe from censure by the Inquisition. Equally, it's not hard to imagine a Chapter being accused of heresy in an attempt to discredit another Imperial organisation.

A prime (but unrelated) example of this would be the Celestial Lions and the Space Wolves. The Celestial Lions were (allegedly) torn apart by the Inquisition after objecting to the exterminatus of a world. The Chapter's senior staff 'disappeared in the warp', and then supremely-accurate Ork snipers eliminated every single apothecary in the Chapter on Armageddon. The Space Wolves openly criticised the Inquisition after the First War of Armageddon, and they get away with it? The reason? The power and status the Space Wolves enjoy because they're one of the original Legions. They also have a lot of support throughout the Imperium. Could the Inquisition declare war against the Space Wolves? Arguably, but it would tear the Imperium apart.
  • Inquisitor Rulebook
  • Codex: Sisters of Battle
  • Index Astartes: Renegades
  • www.dictionary.com

So - when is 'different' heretical? Well, when you're vulnerable. If the Steel Cobras had strong connections with the Ordo Xenos, say, it would be very hard for an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus to accuse them of being heretics - because the Inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos would stand up for them and defend them. Inquisitors might be all-powerful, but they have to answer to other Inquisitors...

In conclusion?

In conclusion, don't be afraid to be creative when it comes to a Chapter's Cult. Perhaps your Chapter's closer to the Ecclesiarchal doctrine. Perhaps your Chapter worships all nine loyalist Primarchs as some sort of pantheon? Perhaps your Chapter worships the Emperor as the four elements. Perhaps your Chapter sees religion as the crutch of the weak. The Chapter cult offers a prime opportunity for DIY Chapter creators to explore their Chapters' relations with outside Imperial organisations, which can only strengthen your end result.
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Astartes and Mechanicus

By Commissar Molotov

The Adeptus Mechanicus acknowledges the Emperor as Mankind's Master, but it doesn't abide by Ecclesiarchal doctrine. Instead they have the Cult Mechanicus - the Cult of the Machine. The Adeptus Mechanicus is almost a seperate entity, co-existing with the Imperium of Man in an almost parasitic - or symbiotic - relationship. The Fabricator-General of Mars is one of the Terran High Lords. The Forge Worlds of the Mechanicus are spread throughout the galaxy, ensuring the Machine-cult's grip on Humanity's last vestiges of technology.

Strange Bedfellows

This piece is mainly designed to explore the interactions between the Adeptus Astartes and the Adeptus Mechanicus, with a view to letting a DIY Chapter creator know what might be possible. It might even give you some themes or ideas for a DIY project.

Well, 99% of Space Marine Chapters send Marines to the forges of Mars in order to be trained as Tech-Marines. These Marines are initiated into the Martian Tech-Cult and learn many of the secrets of technology. So, straight away you've got a point of connection between your Chapter and the AdMech. Within the confines of your Chapter's monastery, you have worshippers of the tech-cult. Some Chapters go further than that basic interaction. Your primary example would be the Iron Hands. They've become obsessed with the weakness of the flesh (and by extension, the strength and ferocity of metal.) They have extensive relations with the Adeptus Mechanicus, to the degree where they have Marines known as 'Iron Fathers' who roughly occupy the dual roles of Techmarines and Chaplains.

The other major example from 'official' sources would be a Chapter called the Steel Confessors. This Chapter featured at Games Day a number of years ago, and they were said to be a Chapter created by the Adeptus Mechanicus to serve their own ends. It's not so surprising, considering that the Adeptus Mechanicus stores the gene-seed and has the experts to implant it, that they might create a Chapter outside the bounds set by the High Lords. Why is this a bad thing?

Seperation of Power

Well, for me, the seperation of power is an integral theme to 40k. The Horus Heresy provided a telling eample of what can happen when one man gains too much power. Those lessons were only reinforced by Goge Vandire's excesses during the Age of Apostasy.In the wake of the Heresy, many of the Imperial organisations have been hobbled. The Space Marines have lost their extensive fleets. The Imperial Army was divided into the Imperial Guard and the Imperial Navy. So on and so forth. So how would the High Lords of Terra act at the Adeptus Mechanicus gathering their own Space Marine Chapter? Whilst we tend to be blasé about our little plastic men, you need to remember that a Chapter of Space Marines is a ferocious, near-unstoppable force. It could give the AdMech huge, huge advantages - and in the Imperial, the various political factions are often squabbling, trying to stay on an even keel.

Scions of Mars

The Space Marine trait 'Scions of Mars', inspired by the previous Iron Hands rules, opens the door for more technophiliac Chapters. What, then, are the a few of the advantages and disadvantages of close relations with the Adeptus Mechanicus?

Well, IA: Iron Hands describes the Iron Hands making "use of weaponry and armoury that is generally unseen outside the Mars-based Cult." So it's possible that with such a well-connected benefactor, your Chapter might be able to get better weaponry and equipment. They might be able to take better plasma weapons, or newer marks of armour. They might get prioritised when it comes to getting supplies and the like. Your Chapter might have tech-priests deployed to work alongside your Techmarines.

What negatives? Well, other factions of the Imperium wouldn't necessarily be too keen. The reverence for the mechanical and the distaste for the organic wouldn't make you lots of friends. But perhaps more importantly is to remember that your Chapter is now beholden to the Adeptus Mechanicus. They might demand that your Chapter carry out difficult tasks for them, or risk losing their favoured status.

Flesh over Steel

Lets go the other route for a second. There are some Chapters that have a distaste for the Adeptus Mechanicus. The primary example off the top of my head would be the Space Wolves who refer to their own 'Iron Priests' instead of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

If you want a Chapter that doesn't interact with the Adeptus Mechanicus, what to do? Well, there's a certain number of degrees of seperation. You might have a Chapter who simply distrusts the Cult Mechanicus. Perhaps they're religious zealots. Perhaps, like the Dark Angels, they have a secret or an agenda that they don't want the AdMech to find out about.

Perhaps relationships with the Mechanicus are just a little frosty. Or perhaps you want to go the whole hog. If you do, then you need to consider who'll be responsible for the repairs and maintenance of your equipment and arms. Most Chapters maintain legions of armourers and artificers, but they're relatively uninformed and uninitiated. Your Chapter will have to find some way to gain knowledge about technology, and then keep that knowledge alive. Perhaps your techmarines pass their own knowledge down to new techmarines, ensuring you never have to go back to Mars. Perhaps you have some other method. That's entirely down to you.

Alienating the Adeptus Mechanicus does carry risks, however. Life as a Space Marine Chapter would be difficult if the forgeworlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus refuse you access. Perhaps you'd have to gain supplies from merchants instead. Perhaps you could steal them... but that sends your Chapter down a dark road... :P Also, the Adeptus Mechanicus has a great deal of influence. Upset the Adeptus Mechanicus and they might lean on the Inquisition to come check if your Chapter's still pure...

Home Sweet Home

One thing I wanted to address was the issue of homeworlds. From time to time I see DIY Chapter whose homeworlds are forgeworlds. Arguably it's not impossible, but it would (to my mind) be unlikely. That stems from the seperation of power, again. It's basically rubbing the Imperium's nose in it that your Chapter and the AdMech are bosom buddies. But also, Forgeworlds are already ferociously protected. The Adeptus Mechanicus are insular and paranoid, distrustful of unpredictable 'organics'. There are legions of Skitarii, all manner of weaponry and the like. Space Marines aren't really best used as defensive forces.

I think some DIYers do it to justify their wonderful tech levels. But another option would be to have your homeworld near a forgeworld. The Forgeworlds need food, after all, and some forgeworlds sit at the centre of a network of planets - mining colonies for resources, agri-worlds for food... it's entirely possible to be near a Forgeworld and to be part of that 'web'. You'd be close enough to enjoy quick resupply, but far enough away to cause problems.


It's important when you're a DIY creator to try to tie your Chapter into the greater 40k universe. Doing so makes it more realistic, more three-dimensional. Some people try to tie their creations in by saying "Ah, my Chapter fought in the thirteenth black crusade and at Medusa V" - but an equally effective method is to detail your Chapters' relationships with other organisations.

Equally important is to remember that the Adeptus Mechanicus is not just one faceless organisation. There are a number of factions, each with differing philosophies. There are a few that might prove intersting for DIY creators. These are mainly taken from the Inquisitor supplement Corpus Auxilla Mechanicus, although the background for Techpriest Tesla provides information on Xenarite Tech-Priests that might prove interesting for a DIY creator.

Chapter Ideas

To show the sheer range of ideas that can be used for Chapters linked to the Adeptus Mechanicus, here are some Chapter concepts. Feel free to borrow or expand upon these!

A Space Marine Chapter created in the twenty-first founding is exterminated due to horrendous genetic abnormalities. As the twenty-third founding approaches, the High Lords order a new Chapter to be created using the same name, heraldry and homeworld as the previous Chapter. The Imperial Tarot points to this Chapter as having a pivotal role towards the end of the 41st Millennium. The Chapter fights to prove itself worthy, but should the same mutations return, the Inquisition will be forced to purge the Chapter a second time...

Wagon Train to the Stars...
The Explorators of the Adeptus Mechanicus search for undiscovered knowledge across the galaxy. Should any man discover a working STC databank, the Imperium would rise resurgent, able to crush all in its path. Perhaps a Chapter accompanies these explorators in their discoveries, defending them as they journey through some of the darkest parts of the galaxy, in search for Humanity's greatest prize.

Perhaps your Chapter fights alongside Robot Maniples, operated by Tech-Priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

"Gland Warriors"
The Inquisitor rulebook provides information on the forgeworld of Dantis III, which was invaded by Tyranids. Imperial Guard regiments from the planet of Lostok were drafted and altered by the Tech-Priests in order to fight on Dantis III's surface. These modifications included many organs and drug-secreting glands that boosted their combat abilities and their aggressiveness. Although only three 'Gland Warriors' survived the combat, perhaps a Magos Biologis has decided to augment a Space Marine Chapter with similar glands? In a sense, it's no different to the implants Angron and the World Eaters used to use. Perhaps these implants make your Marines aggressive berzerkers. Or perhaps they interact badly with the already delicate balance in the Space Marines' biology, causing organs to fail and a catastrophic reaction...

On the other hand, perhaps your Chapter has displeased the Adeptus Mechanicus? Unwilling (or perhaps unable) to destroy your Chapter, perhaps the Mechanicus has simply decided to cut you adrift, refusing to offer you resupply. Instead your Chapter deals with merchants, becoming seedier and seedier as they get more and more desperate...?
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Invaluable Fluff Resources

By Aurelius Rex

One of the most important things about creating a DIY Chapter is making sure that it meshes with the rest of the 40K-verse. The best way to do that is to do your research, so here is a guide to the basic information you need to make a good DIY chapter. Some people are new to the universe of 40K and I thought it would be of benefit to highlight the basic texts, the bare minimum that will put you on the right track for DIY creation.

1. The 6th edition WH40K rulebook.
- Lots of great background material on the 40k-verse. You can't play without it, right?

2. The appropriate Codex.
- More specific background material, and you can't hope to create a believable DIY chapter without knowing what units it can field.

3. The Index Astartes articles
- Either in the original White Dwarf run, or more likely in the collected Index Astartes volumes. These are invaluable as they have all about the foundings, the marine implants, the organisational structure of a codex chapter, and examples of GW chapters to give you a template for what information to think about and include in your article. They are mainly first founding chapters but you will get the idea for your subsequent founding DIY chapter. They will also allow you to get a feel for what the primarchs were like, and give you an idea what geneseed your chapter could be derived from.

4. An Original Idea!
- Not a text to buy, but a spark of originality. ^_^

It might sound basic, but without these bare minimum sources it will be very difficult for you to get the feel for what a marine chapter is.

Obviously the more Marine background sources you read, the better your grasp of the 40K-verse. At a more advanced level things like the 'Insignium Astartes' book is good for ideas on squad numbering and insignia, codices from other races and armies will give you an idea of the friends and enemies they will have made, and White Dwarf is an invaluable monthly guide to the Imperium.

This gives you a solid base on which you can build your chapter, with the aid of the Chapter Creation threads, and feedback from here in Liber Astartes.
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Intermediate Sources

By Several Concerned Cricketers

Novels will deepen your knowledge of how Chapters & Marines operate both at home and on the battlefield:

Space Wolf
Ragnar's Claw
Grey Hunter
Sons of Fenris
Wolf's Honour

Warriors of Ultramar
Dead Sky, Black Sun
The Killing Ground
Courage and Honour
The Chapter's Due

Soul Drinker
The Bleeding Chalice
Crimson Tears
Chapter War

Deus Encarmine
Deus Sanguinius
Red Fury
Black Tide

Grey Knights
Dark Adeptus
Hammer of Daemons


Soul Hunter
Blood Reaver
Void Stalker

Dark Apostle
Dark Disciple
Dark Creed

Rynn’s World
Hunt for Voldorius
The Purging of Kadillus
Fall of Damnos
Battle of the Fang
The Gildar Rift
Legion of the Damned
Architect of Fate
Wrath of Iron
The Siege of Castellax
The Death of Antagonis

Horus Rising
False Gods
Galaxy in Flames
The Flight of the Eisenstein
Descent of Angels
Battle for the Abyss
Mechanicum (Although not strictly about Space Marines, this book does offer an insight into an important aspect of the Imperium.)
Fallen Angels
A Thousand Sons
The First Heretic
Prospero Burns
The Outcast Dead
Deliverance Lost
Know No Fear
Fear to Tread
Angel Exterminatus

Sons of Dorn
Savage Scars
Lords of the Night
Brothers of the Snake
The Emperor's Gift
Daenyathos (Limited edition Soul Drinker book.)
Heroes of the Space Marines (Short Stories)
Legends of the Space Marines (Short Stories)
Treacheries of the Space Marines (Short Stories)
Victories of the Space Marines (Short Stories)
Storm of Iron
Iron Warrior
Iron Hands
Crusade for Armageddon
Angels of Darkness
Deathwing (Short Stories - contains the original tale of the Deathwing and at least one other SM related story)
Into the Maelstrom

Older Codices may have a few inconsistencies with current fluff and there is a great deal of the same material present in many codices, that said they will broaden your knowledge base and give you ideas...

2nd Edition Codices

Codex: Ultramarines - a must for Codex followers...
Codex: Space Wolves - lots of extra detail on the Wolves
Codex: Angels of Death - DA and BA get lots of background colour in this tome...
Codex: Sisters of Battle - the first SOB codex, detailing the Ecclesiarchy and it's chamber militant
Codex: Chaos - chocked full of details on the traitors of the Imperium

3rd Edition Codices

Codex: Eye of Terror
Codex: Cityfight
Codex: Space Marines
Codex: Chaos Space Marines (was later revised)
Codex: Space Wolves
Codex: Blood Angels
Codex: Dark Angels (was later revised)
Codex: Witch Hunters
Codex: Daemon Hunters

4th Edition Codices

Codex: Space Marines
Codex: Black Templars
Codex: Dark Angels
Codex: Blood Angels
Codex: Chaos Space Marines
Codex: Chaos Daemons

5th Edition Codices

Codex: Blood Angels
Codex: Grey Knights
Codex: Sisters of Battle
Codex: Space Marines
Codex: Space Wolves
Codex: Sisters of Battle (Published in White Dwarf)

6th Edition Codices

Codex: Chaos Space Marines

Graphic Novels

Lone Wolves
Damnation Crusade
Macragge's Honour
Obvious Tactics
Black Bone Road
Defenders of Ultramar

Though they're a bit light on info, the imagery can be outstanding, an excellent aid to brainstorming or for coming up with a theme for an army...

Inferno! Short Stories

You can find an index of Inferno! short stories that deal with Marines here

Advanced sources

I placed these sources in 'Advanced' for three main reasons, first is they can be hard to get, second is they can be hard to integrate into current versions of fluff, being oft-times contradictory to more recent material. The final reason is one of cost, many of the sources I'll list below will set you back $$$...

First in this list is Ian Watson's Space Marine novel, no longer published sadly, I still feel this novel captures Marines better than anything more recent -_-

Other sources here would be the original Rogue Trader rulebook for 40K and the attendant compendiums, the Slaves to Chaos books can also provide some insight for DIYers.

Insignium Astartes - pure Marine fluff goodness, but repetitive and fairly expensive. Excellent for markings, alternate markings and the like.
The Battle for Armageddon
The 13th Black Crusade

All of these are 'historical' works, some of which only have snippets on Marines while others are packed to the brim with them, excellent for filling in the little details that flesh out a good IA.

Imperial Armour II Vehicles of the SM & =][=
Imperial Armour III The Taros Campaign
Imperial Armour IV The Anphelion Project
Imperial Armour V The Siege of Vraks - Part One
Imperial Armour VI The Siege of Vraks - Part Two
Imperial Armour VII The Siege of Vraks - Part Three
Imperial Armour VIII Raid on Kastorel-Novem
Imperial Armour IX The Badab War - Part One
Imperial Armour X The Badab War - Part Two
Imperial Armour XI The Doom of Mymeara

Horus Heresy I Betrayal
Horus Heresy II Massacre


These are quality resources but tend to be expensive - lots and lots of inspiration here as well as little details of various campaigns and who fought where...

Web based resources

Hey! Free stuff! Brilliant!

GW's own webpage - kinda obvious, but they do have some good articles on Marines, converting, painting and so on, including some from WD or other GW publications...
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Latin Phrases

By Ferrata

The standard language of the Imperium is Low Gothic, a bastardised form of Latin. As such, many DIY chapters include rough Latin names for ships, systems etc. So for you help:

Latin Dictionary
Latin Dictionary
Latin Dictionary

Latin Phrases are also great to be use on banners, on the side of vehicles or painted on the miniatures themselves.

Dum Spiro Spera While I breath, I hope
Fides Omnia Vincit Faith conquers all
Alea Iacta Est The die is cast
Veni, Vidi, Vici Came, Saw, Conquered
Bellus Bellum Gratia War for War's Sake
Citius, Altius, Fortius Swifter, Higher, Stronger
Semper Paratus Always Ready
Potentia per Scientia Power through knowledge
Veritas vos liberabit The Truth will set you free
Dum licet, utere While it is permitted, use it
Pro bono publico For the public good
Facta non verba Deeds not words
Sic transit gloria mundi Thus passes the glory of the world
Deus ex machina God from machine
Mox Nox Soon night
Nil sine lumine Nothing without light
[blank] Edax Omnium [blank], the consumer of all things
Memento Mori Remember the dead (be reminded you will die)
In hoc signo vinces In this sign, you will conquer
Divide et Impera Divide and Rule
Fortes Fortuna Aduvat Fortune favors the brave
Fiat Iustitia! Let there be Justice
Primus inter pares First among equals
Defensor Fidei Defender of the faith
Persta Atque Obdure Stand firm and also have strength
Nemo est supra leges No man is above the law
Necessitas non habet legem Necessity does not know any law
Principatus virum ostendit Leadership proves the man
Amat victoria curam Victory likes careful preparation
Virescit vulnere virtus Virtue grows powerful by wounds
Crimine nemo caret No man is free from accusation of wrong-doing
Pauci sed boni Few men, but good ones
Post tenebras lux After the darkness, comes light
Mortui non dolent The dead do not grieve
Urbes constituit aetas, hora dissolvit A period of time builds up cities, an hour destroys them
Ignis aurum probat, miseria forte viros Fire tests gold, misfortune tests brave men
Silent leges inter arma In time of war, the laws are silent
Furor arma ministrat Anger furnishes arms
Crescit in adversis virtus Virtue is born in hardship
Estis servatus etsi estis obscenus Be saved even though you are filthy
Te Morituri Salutant Those who are about to die salute you!
Aere perennius Truer than steel
Amor patriae For love of country
Arma pacis fulcra Armed strength for peace
Arte et marte By skill and by fighting
Aucto splendore resurgo I rise again with greater splendour
Audax et cautus Bold and wary
Auspicium melioris aevi Token of a better age
Bellum omnium contra omnes War by all against all.
Cede nullis Yield to none
Celer et audax Swift and bold
Certa cito Swift and sure
Defendimus We shall defend
Ducimus We lead
Ex coelis From the clouds
Ex dentibus ensis From the teeth a sword
Exemplo ducemus We lead by example
Fac et spera Do and hope
Facta non verba Deeds not words
Fiat justicia Let justice prevail
Fide et fiducia In faith and trust
Fidelis et paratus Faithful and ready
Fideliter More faithful
In arduis fidelis Faithful in adversity
In hoc signo stabilitas Steadfast by this sign
In pace paratus In peace prepared
Inter pericula intrepidi Fearless amidst danger
In veritate religionis confido In the truth of religion I trust
Justicia in armis Justice in arms
Manui dat cognitio vires Knowledge gives force to the arm
Mente et manu With mind and hand
Merebimur We shall be worthy
Mox surgere victor Soon to rise as victor
Ne obliviscaris Do not forget
Nec aspera terrent Not even hardships deter us
Ne kah ne tah We lead others follow
Nemo me impune lacessit Nobody assails me with impunity
Nemo nos impune lacessit Nobody assails us with impunity
Nil sine labore Nothing without work
Nisi Dominus frustra Unless the Lord be with us all is in vain
Non nobis sed patriae Not for ourselves but for our country
Nulli secundus Second to none
Nunquam cede Yield to none
Nunquam retrorsum No one shall cause our retreat
Oderint Dum Metuant Let them hate, so long as they fear
Officium primum Duty first
Omnia audax In all things daring
On ne passe pas No one shall pass
Paratus Ready
Paratus et fidelis Ready and faithful
Paratus pugnare pro patria Always prepared to fight for our country
Parva sub ingenti The small protected by the great
Per ardua Through adversity
Per Ardua ad astra. Through endeavour (toil, struggle etc) to the stars
Per aspera ad astra Over thorns to stars.
Pericula in mora Danger in delay.
Pervias rectas Constantly alert
Pristinae virtutis memor Mindful of former virtue
Pristinae virtutis memores Mindful of former valour
Pro aris et focis For our altars and our homes
Pro patria For country
Pro rege et patria For King and country
Pro rege, pro lege, pro patria conamur For king, for law, for country we strive
Quansem ilep Always first
Quem timebo Whom shall I fear
Quo fata vocant Whither the fates lead
Regi patriaque fidelis Faithful to King and Country
Sagittari Steadfast
Securitas Security
Semper alacer Always swift
Semper fidelis Always faithful
Semper paratus Always ready
Servire armatis Serve the soldier
Servitium nulli secundus Service second to none
Si vis pacem, para bellum If you wish to have peace you should be prepared for war.
Spectamur agendo By our deeds we are known
Spem reduxit Hope returns
Sua tela tonanti His missiles thundering
Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re Gentle in manner, resolute in deed
Sub cruce candida Under the white cross
Ubique honor et equis Everywhere honour and equality
Ut irruant omnes Aggressive in attack
Utrinque paratus Ready for anything
Vel exuviae triumphant Even in defeat triumphant
Velox, versutus, vigilans Swift, skilled, alert
Vestigia nulla retrorsum We do not retreat
Veteri frondescit honore Ever green with ancient honour
Vae victis! Woe to the defeated!
Viret in aeternum It flourishes forever
Virtutis fortuna comes Fortune is the companion of bravery
Volens et valens Willing and strong
Vota vita mia My life is devoted
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Maps of the 40k Universe


*Please note the last map is not a B&C creation but simply hosted here as the original site seems to have vanished. It's also quite a large file so give it time to load!*
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  • 1 month later...
The Tyranids

By Ferrata

Brief Overview

The Tyranids are one of the newest, and possibly the deadliest, threats to the Imperium. First appearing on the planet of Tyran, their threat quickly came apparent with the appearance of Hive Fleet Behemoth. This first appearance of the Tyranids was only defeated by the heroic stand on their home world by Ultramarine veterans. Two other Hive Fleets have threatened the Imperium, Kraken which was destroyed by major defeats by the Ultramarines on Ichar IV and by the Eldar of Craftworld Iyanden, although the Scythes of the Emperor and the Lamenters were all but destroyed. Leviathan, the latest of the Hive Fleets, has been diverted into the Ork Empire of Octavius. Although the Tyranid threat has been halted for the time being, it is unknown what price the Imperium will pay for this tactic. Although defeated, elements of defeated Tyranids which avoided the destruction of their fleet and created an unknown number of splinter fleets which have been plaguing the Imperium ever since.

Detailed History

745.M41 – Hive Fleet Behemoth

The first signs of the Tyranid horror were on the ocean-bound planet of Tyran. The Tyranids had, unknown to the Imperium, destroying numerous planets and leaving them as lifeless rocks, a phenomena the research team on Tyran were studying. Their work had interested the now famous Inquisitor Kryptman, who on arrival to Tyran found it a dead rock like those they had been researching themselves. A data-codex found in the planet’s crust revealed the deadly horror which was now plagued the Imperium.

The Hive Fleet had then moved onto the Thandos system which was quickly overrun before Kryptman could arrive, before arriving at the Macragge system. Even though the system had been protected by a ring of ships, the massive alien fleet pushed aside all attacks and headed in system. A number of creatures descended upon the garden world of Prandium and left the “jewel in Macragge’s crown” a barren rock. A risky tactic by Lord Calgar of the Ultramarines, to retreat from the system to draw the Tyranids onto the defences of Macragge, allowed the Ultramar fleet to assault the spread out fleet, destroying one of the major Hive Ships and slaughtering hundreds of bio-ships. As the Ultramarines begun to win the war in space, the battle for the planet was about to begin.

Thousands of spores had landed on both the Northern and Southern polar fortresses and assaulted across the ice fields. The Ultramarines first company along with the titan legion Praetor defended the two keystones of Macragge’s defences. When Calgar returned to Macragge after forcing the Hive Fleet into jaws of Battle fleet Tempestus, the scene of the battle for Macragge were one of unbelievable carnage. The polar plains ran with the alien blood with the flaming wrecks of the titan legion strewn amongst them. The veterans’ last stand took place in the lower generatorium, each brother giving his life for his home world, but in the end they were overwhelmed. The remaining Ultramarines were able to destroy what remained of the Tyranid force, and with that, defeating Hive Fleet Behemoth.

993.M41 – Hive Fleet Kraken

Two and half centuries after the destruction of Behemoth, systems in the galactic south-east were hit by an epidemic of unrest, riots and rebellion. A young inquisitor, Agmar, active on the industrial world of Ichar IV, was the first to piece together the cause of these rebellions, Genestealers. Quickly, a task force of Ultramarines were detached to the planet and with three weeks all signs of the Tyranid vanguard had been defeated. Unfortunately the second Hive Fleet had begun to be detected in the outer reaches of the system.

Unlike Behemoth, Kraken attacked entire sectors of the Imperium, sub-sectors being swallowed up without warning or resistance. Tales of the slaughter are told by the handful of survivors, how many billions loss their lives in the first moves of Hive Fleet is unknown. The most tragic loss in these times is that of two Astartes’ chapter, Scythes of the Emperor, who gave their lives on the planet of Miral Prime, and a company of Lamenters who allowed civilians to escape whilst they held back the swarms upon Devlan. Such a broad spectrum of assault left the Imperium unable to draw up defensive plans and forces had to be retreated to the most vital of planets, leaving others to the fate of the Great Devourer.

One of these vital planets was that of Ichar IV, were in 993.M41, one of the bloodiest battles took place. With Calgar at the helm again, the Ultramarines were able to mount a solid defence of the system. Whilst crack teams of Tyranic War Veterans fought a series of grudging battles amongst the hive cities of Ichar for almost a year, Calgar led the Ultramarine fleet in a devastating victory of the Tyranid armada. Aid in defeating Kraken came from an unexpected quarter, with the Eldar of craft world Iyanden coming under heavy assault from the Tyranids. With their space fleet in tatters, the battle had taken place in the corridors of the craft world itself. Finally, with four fifths of their population killed, the Tyranids were defeated.

Although the Imperium had survived another onslaught by the Tyranids, an unknown number of splinter fleets managed to push through the defences and now devour unexpecting worlds. Running battles with these splinter fleets have tied up the eastern fringe ever since Kraken first arrived.

997.M41 – Hive Fleet Leviathan

As the year dawned to a close, the Imperium began to lose contact with several systems in Segmentum Tempestus. Inquisitor Kryptmann was the first to recognise this as a sign of a new Tyranid advance. Struggling to keep contact with those planets in the wake of the new hive fleet, Kryptmann was able to track the path of destruction and concluded a horrifying theory. Worlds had been lose in three segmentum, Tempestus, Ultima and Solar, with the Tyranids forming into two prongs of attack hundreds of light years apart. The psychic void which accompanies Tyranids spread across the reach between the two forces, effectively cutting off a large section of Imperial space. As no reinforces could breach this void, these planets were effectively dead unless one of the jaws of the Tyranids could be halted. This was not the most horrifying fact of the new assault, the invasion would eventually lead to the Halls of Terra and the Emperor himself.

On Tarsis Ultra, once again the Ultramarines stood in the path of the Tyranids, along with the brethren of the Mortificators chapter. The defending forces slowly withdrew from the outer parts of the planet in the face of the unimaginable vastness of the onslaught. Under siege for weeks, it looked like the planet would slowly fall as the Tyranids were without number, until a lictor was captured within the Hive itself. Magos Locard was able to reverse engineer a disease which would rip the Tyranids apart if injected directly into the Norn Queen. A death watch squad under the command of Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines, were able to penetrate the Norn Queen and deliver the virus. As hope dwindled for the survivors of Tarsis Ultra, the Tyranids turned upon one another. Without the guiding synapse of the Hive Mind, they became bestial animals only thinking of their own survival. With one of the tendrils destroyed, Kryptmann switched his focus to the other.

As the shadow which had been casted between the two tendrils began to disappear, communication with these standard systems could be remade. In many cases, this was a mistake as system after system was wiped clean by the Tyranid advance. With Imperial morale failing on every world, Kryptmann devised a murderous theory. A band of worlds in the route of Leviathan would be evacuated, whilst any planet currently under invasion would be reduced to ashes. This single action was the greatest act of genocide by the Imperium on its own people since the Horus Heresy. As Orks took over many of planets abandoned by the Imperium, Kryptmann was declared a traitor and a Carta Extremis was issued, removing his rank of inquisitor.

Although he had been shamed, Kryptmann’s plan had succeeded as Leviathan halted to a trickle of movement. During this time, they fought both the Orks on Tesla Prime and the Adeptus Mechanicus on Gryphonne IV. The Mechanicus fell within days and with them the titan legion of the War Gryphons. The Orks held on for longer, with a massive war exploding between the two aliens which spread to nearby worlds. This was the key to Kryptmann’s final gamble.

The exiled Inquisitor and a squad of Deathwatch still loyal to him, advanced deep into the catacombs of Carpathia to capture a most deadly of foes, a live genestealer. Placing the specimen in a stasis field, Kryptmann was able to place the cargo into a passing space hulk. Exploding a nearby moon, Gheist, the space hulk was redirected into the ork held empire of Octavius. Within weeks, the genestealer had infected a large number of rks within the system and their psychic imprint was large enough to call Leviathan to this new feeding ground. The two species are still locked in bitter combat, and what the outcome for the Imperium will be is unknown. If Leviathan is able to win, that it will become stronger, absorbing the DNA of the orks that makes them great survivors. The Imperium now waits, preparing for the next onslaught of the Great Devourer.

Under one will

One of the most important features of the Tyranids, not only in terms of their character but also their style of warfare, is synapse. Without it, Tyranids are nothing more the primitive beasts with little or no cooperation amongst themselves, an easy target for a battle brother. Synapse is what makes the Tyranids so devastating, so unbreakable but it is ultimately one of their greatest weaknesses. Once the synapse chain has been broken a Tyranid force can quickly be culled.

Synapse is a potent psychic connection between all Tyranids, linking them all to the sole will of the Hive Mind. Whilst some of the larger variations of Tyranids can act as synapse beacons, they ultimately serve the Hive Mind. Under the command of a single mind, Tyranids will not flee, fear about their existence or be intimidated. This allows them to send continuous waves at the enemy, even if they have to scramble over a mountain of corpses of the previous waves.

Survival of the Fittest

Any key aspect of Tyranids which needs to be pointed out at this moment is the ability to adapt, and adapt quickly. In any hostile conditions, most tyranid organisms which land planet side will simply perish, but as they do, the Hive Mind will learn more about the environment they are assaulting. The next wave of organisms will be slightly more suited than their predecessors until an entire wave is able to survive. There are two good examples of this, the first in the Ultramarines book “Warriors of Ultramar”, when tyranid species quickly gain ‘blubber’ to protect them from the harsh cold. The other example is not from 40K, but the film “Evolution”, were alien species quickly adapted to our oxygen-high atmosphere.

I.I.A.C Warfare

Tyranids operate in a roughly four stage operation – infiltration, invasion, annihilation and consumption. The vanguard of the Tyranids is gene stealers, who are the first to land on any planet. They operate at distance from the Hive Fleet, acting as beacons for the entire fleet. They attempt to destroy a civilisation from within, setting up gene-stealer cults.

Once a planet has been marked by gene-stealers, the second vanguard organism will infiltrate the planet, Lictors. Lictors are able to survive for long periods of time behind enemy lines, being perfectly suited for stealthy activities. It is their job to mark the major population centres of the planet, directing the invasion force to key targets. Using a specialised organ, it releases different levels of pheromones depending upon the density of food.

A Tyranid invasion is nothing short of a biological doomsday. Spores rain down from the sky across the entire planet. Whilst hordes of chitin assault any defended position, small organisms begin the consumption of the planet. Everything is consumed, planets, animals, humans and even fallen Tyranids. Taken back to digestion pools, all organic life is consumed by the Hive Fleet so it can create yet more Tyranid creatures. Once a planet has been fully eaten, the Hive Fleet will finally consume the atmosphere leaving a barren planet incapable of ever supporting life.

Unrest from within, from without

Gene-stealer cults are the first signs of any Tyranid invasion. They will often infiltrate a planet via an infected shuttle which is unaware of the deadly cargo it carries. Once on a planet, they will quickly head underground and slowly infect the population. Gene-stealer cults are consist of pure strains (pure tyranids) and hybrids, humans which have been infected and begun mutating, growing additional limbs made of chitin.

They will attempt to infect many of the senior positions, so when the time comes they can cause maximum damage. Once a cult has grown strong enough, and a fleet is nearing, they will begin a series of riots, attempting to cripple a population via civil unrest. Entire PDF regiments will turn upon their comrades; Imperial Governors infected to decay any resistance from the top downwards. By the time the Tyranid fleet arrives, a planet might already be on its knees.

Tyranids and the DIY chapter

There are two main mistakes which are made when attempting to utilise Tyranids in a chapter’s background. Tyranids first appeared in 40,745, seven years after the last founding of Space Marines, which makes it impossible for a chapter to be created to defend the Imperium against the Tyranids. A chapter could have been engaged with the Tyranids for much of the life, but they cannot be created for this purpose.

The other mistake is saying that your chapter was central in defeating one of the major Hive Fleets. As their history shows, all three of the Hive Fleets has been accounted for, mainly by Inquisitor Kryptman and the Ultramarines. Any DIY chapter will be combating splinter fleets of varying sizes.

Books featuring the Tyranids
Caiphas Cain “For the Emperor”
Caiphas Cain “Duty Calls”
The Ultramarines “Warriors of Ultramar”
Desert Raiders
Words of Blood
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  • 4 weeks later...
Home Worlds

by Octavulg

The first question to consider when writing about your marine’s home world is whether you want one. After all, the Imperial Fists manage just fine without one, as do the Black Templars, and having one certainly didn’t help the Crimson Fists much.

The advantages of having a home world are numerous. It allows the chapter to establish a Fortress Monastery, which gives them greater security for their treasures, records and gene seed. It grants them a regular and steady source of materials and supplies, to say nothing of recruits. And, of course, it gives you the ability to fill out your IA more without having to work out how to make your chapter absolutely riveting in and of themselves. It can also give you a clear idea of your chapter’s literal position in the universe, and what this means.

The advantages of not having a home world are also considerable. It saves you from writing about it, lets your chapter wander about at your will, and allows you to focus on the chapter, rather than the neat stuff of their home world (where many an aspiring writer has gotten lost before). If you lack interesting and exciting ideas for your home world, or just lack interest entirely, going fleet-based is probably a good choice for you. Being fleet-based, however, still leaves open the question of where you get your recruits - which means you still ought to read this.

The Galaxy

The next step is of course to choose where your chapter bases its recruitment or has its home world. The 40K galaxy is divided into five Segmenta. Segmentum Solar is central, located around Terra. Then there’s Segmentum Obscurus in the North, Segmentum Ultima in the East, Segmentum Tempestus in the South and Segmentum Pacificus in the West. Each area of the galaxy has different threats.

The Segmentum Solar has pirates, Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan, and Orks. Orks are all over the galaxy. Eldar craftworlds, since they’re mobile, also wander through occasionally (Eldar are all over the galaxy as well, but that’s because craftworlds move). The massive forces defending Terra make the Segmentum Solar the most secure in the Imperium. Nonetheless, it was home to the Wars for Armageddon, so there would seem to be enough action to keep a Space Marine chapter busy.

The Segmentum Obscurus holds the Eye of Terror - the prime concern here is Chaos. Eldar are a minor worry, and (as previously mentioned) Orks are everywhere. Still, if you’re in the Segmentum Obscurus, you’re going to spend all of your time worrying about Chaos, and most of your time fighting it. There are no ‘Nids or T’au, though, so if you’d prefer to pretend the little grey devils didn’t exist, this is an excellent place to be.

The Segmentum Ultima is home to the Ultramarines, but it’s big enough you can avoid them if you want to. It’s home to T’au (the only place they are found), the Chaotic raiders of the Maelstrom, Orks and Tyranids. These threats are somewhat concentrated toward the Southern end of the Segmentum, the Northern end being mostly the domain of the ubiquitous Orks, and pirates.

The Segmentum Tempestus is famous for its Warp Storms - and not much else. It is to the south of the Segmentum Solar. The chief concern here is Orks. And more Orks. And then some Orks. There’s also Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan.

The Segmentum Pacificus is relatively calm and stable - though it’s close enough to the Eye of Terror to see some Chaos activity, and there are the obligatory Orks. There are no Tyranids or T’au here. In the grim darkness of the Segmentum Pacificus there is only relative peace.

Choosing a region for your home world based on the enemies your chapter regularly fights can be a good idea. Alternately, choosing a region you like can be just as satisfying. Never choosing a region at all can work just as easily. This is certainly the most optional aspect of choosing a home world, and plenty of official chapters get by without every really clarifying where exactly they are in the galaxy.

A Million Worlds

Once you have selected the site for your home world, the next questions is what kind of world it is. There are a number of different kinds of common planets in the Imperium. The best source for this is the 3rd Edition Rulebook, which elaborates on each of the common Imperial planet classifications (as well as important little tidbits about them). When choosing a Space Marine home world, it is important to keep in mind that Space Marines are looking for tough, warlike and dangerous recruits - though not all recruit from hardbitten deathworlders, it is unlikely that Paxia Wussificus, planet of the peaceful artists and their concubines, will be a Marine chapter's choice for a home world. Space marine recruits need to be tough, capable and young - and their home world needs to produce people like that through whatever means necessary.

Determining what your home world is a fluid process. Some will read the list of planets, decide they want a Death World, and proceed from there. Some already know what they want, and the following list will help them determine what, exactly, that is.

Civilized Worlds are the most common type of worlds in the Imperium, making up 35% of all Imperial worlds. It is basically a catch-all category - if it's not one of the others, it's a Civilized World. Civilized Worlds can make great Space Marine home worlds - Deliverance, home world of the Raven Guard, is one such example. They have a population somewhere between ten billion and fifteen million.

Agri-worlds are the next most common type, composing 20% of all Imperial worlds. An agri-world has "no less than 850 parts per 1000 given over to the cultivation of crops, hydroponics, animal fodder or animal husbandry". Although no official GW chapter has an agri-world home world, they are not necessarily unsuitable - a hardy group of ranchers or herdsmen might make excellent recruits for a Chapter. They have between one million and fifteen thousand people - suggesting that life will either be very hard or that it will be very easy, depending on the technological development.

Hive Worlds are the next most common. A Hive World is covered in giant cities - Coruscant or the Earth of Judge Dredd are Hive Worlds. Even though they make up only 14% of all Imperial worlds, some quick math will demonstrate that they contribute a hefty chunk of the population of the Imperium. Recruiting from hive gangs is a time-honoured tradition among Space Marine chapters, the most obvious example being the Imperial Fists. Hive Worlds can very quite widely - some hive planets are liveable outside the confines of their giant cities, while some may not be. Hive planets hold between one hundred and five hundred billion people.

Forge Worlds make up 10% of Imperial planets, and are very popular choices for Space Marine home worlds. This is a crying shame, since Forge Worlds are all controlled by the Adeptus Mechanicus, and thus are not suitable to be Marine home worlds. The Iron Hands, whose relationship with the Mechanicus is tighter than a very tight thing, recruit from a Feral World. Do not make your home world a Forge world.

Feral Worlds make up 8% of Imperial planets. Feral Worlds are defined as anything from pre-gunpowder right down to pre-stone age. Space marine chapters love recruiting from Feral Worlds - there’s nobody harder than a kid who just killed a tiger with a stone axe. Medusa and Plain’s World are both excellent examples of Feral Worlds. They have from five million to one hundred thousand people.

Death Worlds are 6% of Imperial planets. Any world innately hostile to human life is a Death World - Mercury would be a Death World. The famous world of Catachan is a Death World, as was the Death Guard home world of Barbarus. Death Worlds make excellent recruiting grounds for Space Marines. They have between fifteen million and one hundred thousand people.

Feudal Worlds are 4% of Imperial planets. Feudal Worlds are either just about to discover gunpowder or have just worked it out. They also make good sources of recruits for Space Marines, for similar reasons to Feral Worlds (though with more warfare and less hunting to survive). They have from five hundred million to ten million people.

Dead Worlds are 2% of planets. Since the definition is zero population, they make very poor chapter home worlds. This is not to say you can’t base your chapter on a dead world, merely that doing so means you need to figure out some other way to find recruits.

Research Stations are 1% of planets. They also aren’t necessarily planets at all, including space stations and outposts on planets of other types. Since research is typically the domain of the Adeptus Mechanicus, it seems unlikely that a research station would be a Space Marine home world (since most, if not all, the inhabitants will be Adeptus Mechanicus Adepts). Half a million to a hundred inhabitants.

Determining what a world is like culturally and geographically can be tricky. Copying reality verbatim is a common practice, especially by GW - look at Macragge, or at Mundis Planus. Worlds with a single terrain type are also common choices, like Caliban (forest world) or Barbarus (swamp-gas world). Having a diverse and varied world can be interesting, but the home world section of an IA is not really enough space to fully explore a diverse and realistic world - keep that in mind when writing. In any case, an IA is not a place for full and complete exploration - it’s an overview. It also should be noted that just because you are stealing the culture wholesale from history does not mean you should refer to your blue-painted barbarians as Pictish. That will both break the immersion of your article and make it incredibly obvious that your idea isn’t original to you - both things you want to avoid.

The geography of a world and its culture interact. You wouldn’t find the hardy riders of Mundus Planus on the volcanic upheaval of Nocturne. Consider what world the people you want would live on, or what people would live on the world you want.

The imposition of marines upon the native population is an obvious issue that needs to be addressed. On some worlds, the population virtually never sees the marines - on others, the marines are almost constantly visible. Decide what is appropriate, and work out what that would mean for the population and for the marines, and decide why the marines do whatever it is they do with the population. Rounding them up like cattle, picking out the appropriate recruits and shooting the rest is fine in an IA - if there’s a justification for why they do it and why it works.

It also needs to be explained what drew the marines to this world in the first place. There needs to be something about the planet that makes its ten-to-fourteen year olds strong, tough and fast enough to be Astartes recruits. Every planet can produce great warriors, but not every planet can produce great aspirants - and the two are not the same thing. Whether it be where they grow up, how they grow up, or what tries to eat them as they grow up - there must be something that makes them ready and able to do the things required to join an Astartes chapter (which as some brief reading will tell you, are seldom easy, safe or non-violent).

The Fortress Monastery and Home Worlds

Any Space Marine chapter with a home world has a Fortress Monastery. Sometimes the Fortress Monastery is one of the most interesting things about the Chapter - the Ultramarine Fortress of Hera and the Labyrinth of the Praetors of Orpheus are both interesting and unique locations.

A Fortress Monastery includes accommodation and facilities for all of the Chapter’s companies, offices and rooms for the administration and organization of the Chapter, chambers for guests, foundries and manufactoriums, the chapter’s vehicle armoury, the chapter apothecarion and gene seed stores, the chapter’s librarium and the weapons and armour to defend all this. A Fortress Monastery is the chapter’s strongest point, and its most important - destruction of the Fortress Monastery can virtually ruin a chapter.

Fleet-based chapters of course lack these, and thus tend to have larger fleets - with the necessary facilities spread throughout the fleet. There are several chapters with big, huge, space-going Fortress Monasteries, but since they all used to be legions, it seems safe to assume that most fleet-based chapters are stuck with standard ships. It is far too easy for giving your chapter a special ship to look like giving them cooler toys than everyone else.

Losing a Home World
Various chapters throughout Imperial History have lost their home world. Several chapters lost theirs in the Badab War for fighting against the Imperium. The Relictors were driven from theirs by the Grey Knights, as were the Flame Falcons. All the Traitor Legions had theirs destroyed. Others were conquered or destroyed by some disaster. Once having had a home world can be almost more interesting than still having it, if done right - the Dark Angels home world is long gone, but its influence on the chapter is still clearly felt in the present time. Just keep in mind that a chapter would only have their home world taken away for fairly major transgressions.

Frequency of Home World
Something all too many people seem to lose track of is just how rare Space Marines and their home worlds are. There are approximately one thousand chapters of Space Marines. There are a million worlds in the Imperium (possibly more). That means that there’s one chapter for every one thousand worlds - which means there are even fewer home worlds. This means being a marine home world is a great honour - and a rare one. Thus, while you might want to have six chapters in one system, the chances of it anyone accepting it are rather remote.

This concludes the Liber Astartes DIY Guide article on home worlds. Hopefully, the light of wisdom now shines behind your eyes and you can go forth and write something which puts us all to shame. Failing that, hopefully you can now write something which won’t put you to shame. ;) Good luck.
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Suspension of Disbelief

by Ferrata

Suspension of disbelief is one of the most important factors to an IA article, which is strange for a fictional piece of work which is obviously not fact. What is suspension of disbelief I hear you ask? Well, we all know that Space Marines aren’t real (well, I hope we all do) and thus these articles are all pieces of unbelievable fiction. A good writer will be able to suspend this disbelief for an entire article making the reader believe in their chapter. This ideology isn’t only in 40K IA articles; it spreads to all other forms of media. Sometimes a writer wishes to break the sense of disbelief to make sure the viewer knows it is a story (which, as I was informed, is why Moulin Rouge used actual and famous songs instead of making new ones up). Unfortunately, the suspension bubble is weak and fragile and is so easily punctured. Here is a small extract from the Planetfall: Alcmene story (by Rogue Trader):

“Digging the toes of his boots into the rubble, Jarrett pulled his knife from its sheath, and tensed his legs for the lunge toward the traitor.”

A lovely sentence isn’t it? You really believe this is happening, especially if you read the rest of the story. Now, let’s look at the same sentence again but I’ve replaced ‘Jarrett’ with a well-known mythological character:

"Digging the toes of his boots into the rubble, Lancelot pulled his knife from its sheath, and tensed his legs for the lunge toward the traitor.”

As soon as you read the name ‘Lancelot’ it broke your belief that this was really happening. This is just one example of how fragile the suspension bubble is. Now I’ve got you’ve worried about popping your own bubble I shall inform you of some of the major bubble-bursters.


This one carries on from the initial example. Names are one of the most common disbelievers out there as it is so easy to throw in a famous name and think it sounds good. These names can be anything, from famous historical/mythological characters to just cheesy names. I would always suggest avoiding any name that is easily linked to your chapters theme because it makes the chapter seem too neat, another bubble-burster. For example, having a chapter master called ‘Arthur’ in a random chapter is fine, but having a chapter master called ‘Arthur’ in a chapter which is hunting the holy grail and has a second in command called Lancelot it a bad idea. Full names, such as Julius Ceaser, should never be used.

Cheesy names are harder to define, as one persons cheese is another persons cool. Having your master called ‘Bloodbath’ or ‘Uberman’ will instantly break any readers belief that this guy is real. This is more common in planet names and chapter names then in character names. Planets called “Death’s Door” or “Hellmouth” will probably make the reader laugh at your attempt at naming your planet.

Over Themeing

This one again is hard to define as there is a very fine line between a theme and over-themed. GW themselves are prone to over-themeing a chapter, it is quite lucky that a chapter named the Flame Falcons burst into flames and not the Lamenters. For once, the Space Wolves are a good example, their name being obviously linked to their Norse theme without being overly obvious. This extends to chapters being named after animals which just so happen to be at the top of the food chain on their home world. How do you control this? It is very hard, you just need to keep looking back at your IA article and ask yourself if you are pushing something too hard.

Extending this to the theme themselves which can often be a fall for many chapters. Keeping with the slight Arthurian theme, a chapter only needs hints of this to make it a good themed chapter, whilst too much is bad. What are the good things to take? More the mentality over anything else, as these are easily translated into a chapter. The Knights were meant to be noble, honourable and individual; all these can easily be part of a chapter. A chapter seeking a holy grail or a love triangle between two marines and a women isn’t likely to be happening in the 40K universe, but even these can have their spirit altered to fit.


Another great killer of the sense of belief. Everyone wants their chapter to be the greatest of all and no-one wants their chapter to be weak, it just isn’t cool. This is a big pitfall many writers find themselves in as they write their IA. Making your chapter too great, uber, awesome, fantastic or however you want to describe them will only lead to the reader questioning your chapter. If they are so great, how come we haven’t heard of them yet?

Out-of-character Phrases/Knowledge

There are two versions of all fictional stories, an in-character and an out-of-character story. The first is what the subjects of the story know, how they react and how they feel. The second is what the writer knows and the reasons behind the decisions in the story based on the writers feelings. A great example of this is a chapter having knowledge which they wouldn’t know, for example about the Black Curse or the Wulfen. As soon as an article states something which shouldn’t be there, the suspension of disbelief is broken. If the reader needs to ask why a chapter has done something, again the bubble is burst. You don’t need to justify everything about a chapter based on why they are doing it, but everything major should be.

Phrases are another key one. This just includes terminology that we use today that would be around in another 38,000 years. Saying a chapter ‘let that cat out of the bad’ in regards to a secret will break all disbelief, instead something along the lines of ‘[character] was able to draw the information out’. This probably includes keeping in theme with the rest of the 40k imagery as well. Make you’re your chapter seems to fit nicely within the realm of the story. Remember, in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war not fluffy kittens and nice genetically-enhanced cuddling machines.

That pretty much sums up this confusing theory. The key is to suspend disbelief as long as possible or make the reader question it as few times as possible. Go back and read all of your favourite IAs and you will see how the writer makes you believe this chapter is real all the way through
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  • 1 year later...
Refining Ideas

By Telveryon and others.

It's exceedingly common for people within the hobby to want to come up with at least a little story to go along with their little plastic men, but it seems like there's an issue with finding a core idea and then extending it to its logical conclusion. The intention of this article is not to show you how to write your article so much as it is to help in the process of developing your concepts to the point where it can practically write itself. You've already done the hard part if you can honestly say that you know what they're going to be and all of the consequences that come from that decision, with the rest being detail work and polish.

Welcome to Boot, Meat

The Rule of Cool

First and foremost, the project itself needs to appeal to you as a writer and a fan of the universe. If it doesn't seem cool then you're not going to be motivated to finish it.

Regardless of any editing that may come or suggestions that you receive from the community, the thing to remember is that you're the one who has to live with these guys once they're written, painted, and on the field of battle. Make sure that the central themes that you saddle them with are going to be ones that you find to be worth exploring, not because you find out that you have to but because it's enjoyable to think about. Whether cursed skeletal loyalists are your thing or you'd prefer a profound but smoldering hatred for the Adeptus Mechanicus that's borne out through a pronounced independence, pick it and stick to it.

Mine, Not Yours

While we are here to pick apart errors and show you all the failings of your moral character, ancestry, personal grooming, and just about anything else that might give an angle to show how an idea won't work, the simple truth is that your ideas belong to you. If you don't want to accept the view that someone else expresses then you are absolutely within your rights to keep your writing exactly as you want it to be.

This is going to be your article and so it should come almost entirely from you, which means that we have no real say over how you go about constructing it. Take exactly as much criticism as you think is useful and then discard the rest. Nobody can tell you that you're not allowed to believe that the Custodes would all have children and organize their sons into a new Legion that's the size of the pre-Heresy formations, though they can say that it won't fit with the current universe at all.

And on that note...

1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration

The Almighty Why

Things happen for a reason.

It's not just a platitude that people pass around in times of strife, it's basically a law of literature and human history. When fleshing out your Chapter, it's important to keep in mind their reasons for doing as they do and making the choices that lead them to their current position. This also goes for outside events that shape their beliefs and practices, since there's usually a motivation for an Eldar corsair to be raiding settlements or Chaos warbands to be assaulting a planet.

Why does your Chapter hate the Adeptus Mechanicus or a particular Traitor Legion? What's with that obsession that they have over locating archeotech or maintaining genetic purity within their ranks? Where did all those Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts come from, how did they get them, and how is it affecting the way that they prosecute the Emperor's holy wars?

These questions and more help you to put flesh on the bare bones and their answers are what make a Chapter more than just another tickbox on the roster back at Terra. They're also the most difficult, controversial, and demanding aspect of the entire process because of the broad knowledge of the Imperium that is often required to make an idea fit into the established world. Plausibility sometimes denies the coolness of an idea and some quirks make for easier justifications than others. It doesn't take much to explain why your Chapter hates the Black Legion, but it could certainly take more work to convince your brethren on the board that the Chapter Master would spare the lives of Marines who lead an open rebellion against him.

As a general practice, you want to find a reason for any deviations that your Chapter displays but it isn't necessary to spend inordinate amounts of time in explaining each one. If you find the writeup becoming cumbersome and bloated, it's probably best to do as the Astartes would and step back to reevaluate your position.

Time to Take Your Medicine - Consequences Hurt

The most often overlooked or glossed-over aspect of writing an Index Astartes is the dreaded application of consequences, where one takes the sum of their experience and beliefs and figures out just where it would leave them in relation to the 40k universe.

If you're trying to write a Chapter that tickles your fancy without quite going over the line into Mary Sue territory, it's sometimes difficult to keep ahold of the elements that make them seem cool without denying the more negative aspects. However, to do so is to remove your work from the grimdark that we all know and love.

To pick an example, there have been many Chapters written which detest the Adeptus Mechanicus for their inhuman behavior and occasionally questionable loyalty. It's a perfectly viable plot element to include in your writing but it comes with an awful lot of baggage that often isn't represented terribly well. The political climate in the Imperium is such that any Chapter which blatantly defies the Mechanicus or which makes public its dislike will soon find itself on the receiving end of their ire. Very few organizations within the Adeptus are going to be in a position to cause you hurt in as grandiose and far-reaching a fashion as they, in that there is only one body officially in charge of research, manufacturing, and the recovery of all technology. Quite pointedly, they provide the geneseed for the founding of a Chapter and evaluate the tithes for purity, they build all of the more complicated wargear and vehicles (including starships), and they train the Brothers who are responsible for maintaining just about everything mechanical or digital.

You can certainly write your Chapter into animosity with the Mechanicus, but it will have a profound effect on the way that they wage war and resupply themselves. Where are your Marines getting their gear from? How do their Techmarines learn to do their jobs if not through Mars itself, and how do they justify making use of the knowledge which only comes from hated enemies? Most important of all, how do they avoid the possibility that a truly horrendous feud could have the Mechanicus claiming that their geneseed tithes are tainted?

I Need Less Cowbell! - Toning It Down In the Forty First Millennium

Everyone wants their Chapter to be engaging, powerful, and eye-catching enough that they will stand out from the sea of ceramite. The issue that must be avoided if you want to productively make use of the Liber is one of scale, however.

It's perfectly acceptable for your Chapter to be genetically engineered, immensely powerful killing machines that do the work of the Emperor until they're either incapacitated or dead, since that's what an Astartes is. The problem arises when people try to write too much awesome into their creations and make them something which rivals or even exceeds the already published material in terms of scope and scale. Balancing between what you find a cool and appealing idea and what the community finds to be overwrought and Mary Sue can be a difficult line to walk, but it's generally best to tone things down if there's any doubt in your mind.

A quick and dirty way to test your ideas for failing this aspect of writing an article is to compare them to the established Chapters, then to ask yourself whether or not the characteristic you want to keep would make them known galaxy-wide. For example, claiming your Chapter has thirteen companies because the Space Wolves do... Or my Chapter has well over the Codex-sanctioned amount of Astartes, like the Black Templars; ideas like these are against people's perceptions of the W40k universe. Chapters like these have been around for Ten Millennia and have a great deal of standing and political clout within the Imperium due to their efforts during the Heresy. That shields them from consequences that your Chapter will not be safe from. Always remember that, unlike GW Chapters, your Chapter needs to fit within the Warhammer 40,000 universe rather than making the universe around them. This includes adding your Chapter into Campaigns that have already been established by Games Workshop, it may work on the rare occasion - but why wouldn't GW mention them in their texts? See, we're back to that all important 'Why' again. The main point to take away from this ramble is that you're not Games Workshop designing a new Chapter, you have to fit within the rules of their Universe, not shatter their rules to fit within that universe. If you can honestly look at what you've written and say that they're not so powerful or unusual that even hiveworlders would know about them, then you might have hit that sweet spot. We're not the Chapters of Legend and our writing should be aimed accordingly, since we cannot be better or more visible than they are.

Trust your instincts. If it seems too super, it probably is.

Evolve or Die (Or How I Learned to Love Being Wrong)
Those Responsible for This Article
While most of the credit goes to Telveryon, he was helped in this endeavor by Ghost Legion, Grey Hunter Ydalir, Grand Master Tyrak, Nash Trickster, Ferrus Manus, and Ace Debonair. Formatting and presentation was done by Apothete.

Too many writers tie themselves down by stubbornly sticking to a single idea no matter how untenable or difficult incorporating it may be, to say nothing of internal inconsistencies. If there's a concept that you want to incorporate but it's just too much of a clash with the rest of your Chapter or it breaks too much with canon, then perhaps you can set it aside for later use or find a new approach to that allows it to come back in a different form. There's no shame in admitting that you have too many ideas to put them into a single project or that they can't all be welded together into a harmonious whole.

This aspect of the process should become easier as you follow the earlier steps, since things that are contradictory have already been dealt with or isolated from the rest of the article. Once you see the lumps, hack them off or smooth them down.

Stepping Out - Making Friends and Ripping Off Enemies

While we all know and love the 41st Millennium and the world that has grown up around the basic ideas, it would be foolish to stick only to that universe for inspiration. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using books, movies, comics, fairytales, folk lore, music, religion, philosophy, art, or just about anything else to come up with ideas. Just make sure that you liberally salt them with grimdark and put on your thinking cap when it comes time to justifying their presence within the universe.
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Giving Feedback to Others' DIY Chapters

By Sigismund Himself

Be Nice!
This should be the number one rule. When giving feedback on DIY chapters, it is all too easy to come off as superior to the original poster. To avoid this, you do have to make an effort with your expression of your critique. If your post comes across as negative and self important to the chapter owner, the less likely it is that they will listen to your feedback. It also makes the process of refining a DIY chapter feel as though it is just defending yourself against others' attacks. We know that you're trying to help and that you've taken your own time to post a critique, but being friendly makes it easier to get your point across and keeps the process of making a DIY chapter easier for everyone.

Don't Belabor a Point
If you can't get your point across to the owner of the chapter in five posts, another five isn't likely to resolve it. Let it lie or try to find someone else to attempt to explain what you mean or what is wrong with the particular aspect of the chapter's IA. Don't continue to butt heads, try to move onto another area that needs help.

Explain in Detail
When you give a critique, simply don't say that "This bit is wrong". Explain why it is wrong and provide links to sources (such as the Guide to DIYing or an article from the Librarium). If you do this, the DIY chapter owner has the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and get a deeper understanding of the 40k universe more than from you simply posting "No, this is wrong". Just think that if you explain it properly now, it will reduce the amount of critiquing you have to do in the future ;)

Try to Give Alternatives
As with the previous example, it's better not to just say "That's wrong". Try to give an example of what does work. This is one of the most hard things to do, especially if you aren't particularly into what the chapter's themes are. Although it is not our job to write the chapter for the creator, just simply suggesting small ideas that they could pursue will help people greatly.

Avoid Critique Pile-ins
If someone's already critiqued the chapter in detail, you should avoid treading over the same ground that they have already covered (unless they are wrong in their critiques). A simple "I agree with the above poster, but with there's also this..." works. If a couple of people are already engaged in discussing a point, you should be careful in how you enter the discussion. If done wrongly, it often comes across as ganging up on a DIY chapter owner.

Don't Sidetrack Too Much
If you get into an argument over a point of canon veracity, you should take it to another thread. This doubly applies if the debate is not between you and the original poster. Although it is for their benefit, it generally clutters the thread up too much and detracts from the rest of the discussion about the chapter.

Great Bulls Were Once Grasshoppers Themselves

All of us start off as first time posters and DIY chapter creators. For some of us, we are lucky enough not to have our first DIY chapter attempt posted on the board. Unfortunately, I'm not such a person :P My first ever DIY chapter can be seen here. The Gryphon Guard were a beautiful chapter, who had every cliche bar "Lost in the Warp". Ferrata took it upon himself to explain the background errors and mistakes in the IA to this newcomer to the background side of the hobby and to the board. I developed my ideas a couple of more times, before letting the IA rest. Ferrata's advice was friendly and helpful. It drew me into the creation of DIY chapters, an addiction which I still have today. This really is a prime example of the way to deal with a newcomer to the Liber subforum.

Unfortunately, the number of responses which are not even as half as good as Ferrata's have really begun to rise lately. I don't want to point fingers at anyone or accuse people. I just want to call upon the members of the Liber, especially the veterans, to actively try to improve the way in which we respond to newcomers to our subforum. Sure, you're old and jaded now. You've seen the same concepts surface again and again. Spartan marines, joke chapters and loyalist renegade fads have all come and gone across the years. It is hard not to get a little tired of seeing the same ideas. However, we need to think back to when we were first starting out and how we would have been like treated back then. We need to remember when we didn't know half of the background about Space Marines that GW has printed and when we didn't see cliches but cool plot hooks. With this in mind, that's how we should respond to first time DIY chapter makers.

Responding to and Preparing for Feedback on Your DIY Chapter

Establish Your Objective
What do you intend to do with this chapter? Are you trying to make the chapter fit fully into the background of 40k or with a bit of leeway canon-wise? Is your chapter going to be a parody chapter? Are you going to do female space marines, come what may? It's a very good idea to establish this as early as possible. If you do this, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary discussion and debate in your thread that may not help you develop your ideas. So if you're just making this chapter to your own ideas, without intending it to match the background greatly, just say so in your original post or as soon as possible in a reply.

Don't Ignore Critiques
At least acknowledge that people have made the effort to critique your work, even if you don't intend to take their advice. They've taken the time to try and help you develop your ideas. If you ignore the critiques that have been made, you're less likely to attract more people who are willing to look over your work and help you. All you need to do is post a few words to thank them for their time and thoughts.

I Know What I Mean...
When you respond to feedback on your DIY chapter, you should try to explain the intent and ideas behind what you have written to the person critiquing your work. It is a lot easier to help you if the person replying to your IA understands what you are trying to accomplish with the particular bit that has been highlighted. If they don't understand a particular section of your IA, you should have a closer look at it. Just because you understand it doesn't mean that everyone else can understand it.

A Slow Day in Hell
Liber is slow; it always has been and always will be. It is a strange phenomenon which occurs given the statistics, but everyone will agree that Liber generally seems like a slow board. Don’t get annoyed or over eager if your thread doesn’t receive a reply in the first hour, or the first fifty views. Some people like to give feedback on fresh ideas where they feel their opinions might bear fruit, others love to get into full blown chapters and given grammatical feedback, we are all different. If your thread drops of the front page without a reply, then either your need to do some more work yourself and repost, or maybe consider PMing one of the Mods and ask them really nicely, we don’t want anyone not to get the attention they deserve.

Everyone Hates Me
Critique is generally negative; we will rarely say we think something is good. Generally, if we don't post a note on something, we think it's at least alright, if not good. We are a fan of the stick in this forum because it is what works. It is presumed that any chapter posted in Liber wants to fit the collective universe created by GW, so we'll all attempt to push background in that direction. There is little point going “cool”, that is what PC&A is for. Don’t be disheartened if all you are getting is “Change this bit” “This is wrong”, it is not that you are useless and can’t do anything right, it is we are giving critique and not a slap on the back. Unfortunately, text is always a cold medium.

What the Liber
It is your duty to come up with the original ideas for your chapter, don't expect the members of the Liber to come up with them. What you can expect from them is to steer you away from the bad ideas, and, if they can, to offer better alternatives for said bad ideas. Everyone likes a good IA, it is up to you to do the rough part, it is up to us to point out what's wrong. To quote a very wise Liberite, you should think of the Liber as quality control, not the assembly line.
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Astartes and the Inquisition

By Grand Master Tyrak

The Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition is the shadowy organisation that polices the Imperium in an attempt to keep the right from doing wrong, to punish those who do wrong, and to defend against the enemy within and without. Its authority is absolute, its members are (mostly) as fanatical and devout as the Astartes, and there are few doors that can successfully be barred against an Inquisitorial Seal. No-one is truly safe from their judgement, even the Astartes.

And you are?: The theory of the Inquisition

Before we start examining the interactions between the Astartes and the Inquisition, let's take a moment to run through the legal theory on which the Inquisition is based. The Inquisitorial Mandate is what gives the individual Inquisitor his power and authority - it gives them absolute authority over all other Imperial organisations, and the presentation of an Inquisitorial Seal is an authority that cannot be blocked. Unlike the Planetary Governors and the Adeptus Arbites, who merely enforce Imperial Law, the authority of an Inquisitor covers the grey area which the authority of the Emperor covers but which Imperial Law does not. Since the Astartes reside in that grey area, that means the Inquisition can and will police you - unless the Emperor gets up off the Golden Throne and blocks it, it trumps any authority you've got.

Dodging Bullets: How authority is applied

However, the practical reality is not so simple. Thanks to the Imperial policy of the separation of powers and the introduction of Guilliman's Codex, the Astartes Chapters are responsible for their own policing. This doesn't make the Inquisition redundant, but it does mean that they generally operate a "hands-off" policy when it comes to the Astartes. They are still proactive when it comes to policing you, and Inquisitors will turn up from time to time to check up on you, but there is still an underlying responsibility for the Astartes to police themselves. Problems within the Chapters will generally be resolved in-house, meaning that the traditional independence of the Astartes can be maintained. Due to the Inquisition's permanent mistrust of anyone required by their role and the desire of the Astartes to protect their independence, relations between the Astartes and Inquisitors are not going to get any better than mutual respect. The Space Marines get a great deal of latitude under Imperial law, but if they fail to uphold their end of the deal by policing themselves then the Inquisition will definitely step in.

Since interfering with the Astartes always causes a diplomatic stir, the wise Inquisitor will simply tip off another Chapter about the problem, allowing the Astartes to resolve their problems in-house without showing the hand of the Inquisition at work and without any diplomatic baggage. The Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes are still powerful political forces in the Imperium (some more than others), and it doesn't do any good to upset them for no reason. Often the Inquisition can manipulate the situation without causing any trouble, so it's really a rare situation where an Inquisitor has to turn up in person to deal with a wayward Chapter. After all, the original creed of the Inquisition was "Strength through Unity", and there's only one faction who'll willingly violate that on a regular basis (more on that later). It's not really plausible for an Inquisitor to turn up and try to punish your Chapter for a minor misdemeanour - he's going to receive short shrift when his peers hear about it, and is likely to be censured. The ripples caused by censuring an Astartes Chapter are severe, and are even greater if the Chapter is declared Excommunicate Traitoris. Bringing an Inquisitor into your Chapter to punish you requires a good reason, and this is particularly relevant for Index Traitoris articles. If your defection is caused by an Inquisitor, there needs to be a good reason for him to be involved. Why is he there? What has your Chapter done wrong, and why couldn't it have been resolved in-house? If you can't answer these, chances are the Inquisitor is being used as a variant of Deus ex Machina - Inquisitor ex Machina.

The real reason why we came - what the Inquisition wants

Most of the time the reason an Inquisitor will involve himself with your Chapter is because he wants something. Favours have always been the currency of political power, and the same is true of the Imperium. Perhaps there is an emergency that the Chamber Militant cannot get to in time, or he's got some information about one of your Brother Chapters that need acting on without having to officially involve the Inquisition. For those Inquisitors of a Radical bent, maybe he knows precisely what you've been up to and has come to blackmail you into helping him. For the DIYer, the general rule is "Play nice". Ignoring his request isn't going to gain you anything but trouble, and even if you can validate your action because of another emergency you might still end up earning his enmity (this will almost always mean he's lost something important to him/his faction/his Ordo rather than anything petty-minded). Agreeing to his request will mean he owes you one, and if it's a particularly big favour it might earn you something more tangible too.

Don't bargain too hard though - the Inquisitor can just "pull rank" and invoke his authority to make you get on with your duty. He's not going to be asking for anything outside of your duty (even the Radicals stick with what they believe is the good of the Imperium), and if you strain the diplomatic niceties too much he'll just use his Inquisitorial seal. Play the political games and don't have your Chapter behave like a bull in a china shop. Only the Chapters of Legend have enough political clout to get away with that, and that's because there will always be Inquisitors who think that those Chapters are not worth alienating. Your Chapter will not have this advantage. A Space Marine Chapter is a highly valuable asset to the Imperium, but very few are priceless.

"I thought you were my Brothers" - the consequences

For those of you looking to have a rocky relationship with the Inquisition in your Chapter, I'm afraid there's a lot of baggage that comes with that decision. The biggest and baddest is of course the label of Excommunicate Traitoris. If this happens to your Chapter, it can be a defining moment, especially for Index Traitoris articles. First of all, you need a reason - why have you been excommunicated? It's not quite as serious as a declaration of Exterminatus, but excommunicating a Space Marine Chapter is still a major event in the Imperium and isn't going to happen for no reason. The best way to examine the deterioration of relations which can lead to excommunication is to study the Badab War. In that scenario, that was provoked by the Astral Claws trying to exercise freedoms that they did not have a right to: withholding their gene-seed tithes. That was ultimately exploited by Huron to his own ends, but the important point is the reactions.

First of all, the Imperium steps in. The Astral Claws have responsibilities to fulfil and they are not going to get away with shirking them. Huron manages to sway three Chapters to his side by claiming that the independence of the Adeptus Astartes is being threatened, but only three. The rest of the Chapters do not join him, and stay out of the fight. This shows us that you can't go and do whatever you please and then expect your brother Chapters to back you up. The mythical Astartes vs Inquisition conflict is never going to materialise, not least due to the divided nature of both organisations. The conflict continues until the Fire Hawks are dragged in after an attack on one of their ships by the Mantis Warriors. That's the turning point in the conflict - it's clear that getting a Chapter on-side lends a huge amount of legitimacy to your cause, particularly since the Astartes police each other. If another Chapter has joined an Inquisitor (blackmailed or not) and both have started a conflict against you then your prospects do not look good. Since the Astartes are known for having a degree of pride, it might be easier than you think to convince another Chapter that your behaviour has stained the honour of the Adeptus Astartes and requires punishment in order to cleanse the stain. It is effectively a version of the "Chamber Militant trump" that can be used by the Grey Knights and the Sisters of Battle. For the DIYer, this can be used to have your Chapter be chased out of the Imperium (by a blackmailed Chapter perhaps?), or as a turning point onto the road to redemption for a Chapter that has been blackmailed. Revealing the Radical who's blackmailing you to destroy an 'innocent' Chapter could be enough to reduce your sentence for your original crimes.

There are also lesser punishments that the Inquisition can employ. Censuring is not unheard of, though the exact nature of the punishment has never really been outlined. Comparing it to the other known punishment, the penitent crusade, it seems that this would likely be either a warning of some sort. The penitent crusade can be a defining moment for your Chapter, as it usually involves you being stripped of your homeworld. Perhaps the penitent label has made your Chapter resentful, or perhaps they have found a new humility?

Whatever the punishment, an Inquisitorial sanction is going to be a lasting influence on your Chapter. Since it's going to be hard to run a plausible scenario where your Chapter was completely innocent but was punished anyway (but it's not impossible), you also need to think hard about what your Chapter did wrong. Is it something that can be redeemed? The flaws in a Chapter can be a great place to build character, and it's there that the Inquisitorial sanction is most useful for a DIYer.

Inquisitorial Politics

The structure of the Inquisition is deliberately designed to be disorganised - much like Guilliman designed the Chapters to be autonomous units guarding against each other, the individual Inquisitors can gainsay one another. Each one has absolute authority, but they have to answer to their peers. For you, this means that some friendly Inquisitors who are willing to stick up for you can go a long way to protecting your Chapter from other Inquisitors, and the motives of either group don't have to be all that pure :D . Either way, the idea that "the Inquisition thinks/does" something in a united manner is simply false. There will always be some who disagree about something, even against the big threats like the Black Crusades. Look at Lord Kryptmann - very few Inquisitors agreed with his policy concerning Hive Fleet Leviathan, and he got excommunicated for it, despite being the top expert on Tyranids in the Imperium. Influence only gets you so far.

However, this does not mean to say that the Inquisition consists of petty-minded, scheming, power-hungry sadists who torture people for fun and conduct Exterminatus' at the weekend for some variety. Nothing could be further from the truth - it's like claiming the Astartes consists of 99% traitors who are just waiting for their chance to break out and join the Traitor Legions in the Eye of Terror. If it was true, then the Imperium would have fallen millennia ago. The majority of Inquisitors are Puritan, a few are Radical, but the chances of finding an Inquisitor who's not dedicated to the good of the Imperium are coming close to nil. What they do disagree on though is their methods, and that's where the DIYer can benefit.

A little formula I like to use when analysing what should happen to a Chapter that's been caught red-handed at something barred by Imperial law is this: for every three to four Puritans who think the Chapter is guilty, there will be one Puritan who thinks the Chapter is innocent, one Radical who thinks the Chapter is innocent but is unwilling to speak up due to his own Radical leanings, and one Radical who thinks he should try to shield the Chapter from harm in order to extract favours and better serve his ends the greater good of the Imperium. The Inquisition is deliberately disunited, so it's quite easy for the DIYer to find some friends in the Inquisition. The trick is to justify it.

Ideology: Who will help you with dodgy things and why

The factional nature of the Inquisition means that there will always be some groups who are willing to help you, and some who will not. Rather than simply re-listing them, I'm just going to put in a link to the much more extensive Librarium article on Inquisitorial factions, and you can read up on the nuances as you wish.

Their motivations are the key to using Inquisitors with DIY Chapters. Why have they come? For the Puritan factions it is much easier - think back to the section on what the Inquisition wants. These are the dutiful, utterly loyal, all-but-incorruptible individuals who'll turn up with a particular problem for you to solve. When you involve the Radicals, however, things get a little more interesting. Perhaps your Chapter is unknowingly being destabilised and brought into conflict with other Imperial institutions by an Isstvaanian cabal, or a Xanthite is manipulating you for his research into Chaos. Perhaps, like the Relictors, you willingly associate with Radicals in order to further their aims in return for protection. You could even interweave factions - perhaps a Monodominant is looking for a squad of Space Marines to add some legitimacy to his raid and arrest on a suspected Horusian? The possibilities are all but limitless.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Some well-known Inquisitors

There are a few restrictions, exceptions and specialities though, which all come from named characters. In the same way that including a named Space Marine character in your Chapter's history can break the suspension of disbelief, including the "wrong" Inquisitor doing the "wrong" things can also break the suspension of disbelief. As with all named characters, including them in your IA is horribly tricky to do well and more often than not is simply a gimmick. Think long and hard about whether or not to include a named character - the Inquisition is vast, and all of the benefits of a named character can be gained from an Inquisitor who you've just made up yourself and with none of the issues that come with including a named character. All you really gain from including a named Inquisitor is the chance that the reader might already know who you're talking about, at the cost of having to work very hard to avoid breaking the suspension of disbelief. That said, if you are set on including a named Inquisitor, here's a list of the seven most prominent Inquisitors and how/if they can be included in your IA.

First off, Inquisitor Lord Kryptmann of the Ordo Xenos. This guy is the Imperium's premier expert on the Tyranid menace. Being a 41st millennium character, he's not going to be alive earlier than that, so you can't include him in the 36th millennium, for example. He was excommunicated due to his policy on Hive Fleet Leviathan - despite the success of that policy, it's not known if his excommunication has been lifted so it's not really possible to include him after the arrival of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Having him arrive in person is like adding Marneus Calgar to your Chapter though, so it's best if your contact is second-hand. Maybe you've had training from one of Kryptmann's disciple Inquisitors, or maybe you're trying to hunt him down to either bring him back to the (overt) service of the Imperium or to justice.

Secondly, Inquisitor Lord Czevak, who is assumed to be from the Ordo Xenos. He is to Eldar what Kryptmann is to Tyranids, and is privileged (cursed?) enough to have been into the Black Library itself. Again he's a 41st Millennium character, but his expertise is limited. The power that guards the Black Library prevents him from speaking on what is inside there, so it's not really possible to go and interrogate him for the secrets of the Eldar. His last recorded appearance is at the Conclave of Har, after his return from Eldar imprisonment and his trip to the Black Library, so his current status is unknown. The knowledge he gained about Chaos from the Eldar could lead him to provide advice on Chaos as well as Xenos, which causes the confusing between whether he's affiliated with the Ordo Xenos or the Ordo Malleus. Due to his significant status, I would avoid including him in your Chapters to avoid breaking the suspension of disbelief, but the same trick that can be used for Kryptmann can be used for Czevak - second-hand interaction.

Thirdly, Inquisitor Lord Torquemada Coteaz of the Ordo Malleus. Not much is known about him save what is in the Daemonhunters Codex, but he's still a fairly major character. He's Puritan, so no Radical stuff from him, and he seems to have little time for the political games that plague the Imperium. It's going to be very hard for the Loyalist DIYers to tie him in, but those writing Index Traitoris articles he can be very useful. As a famously ruthless and uncompromising Inquisitor, he's the perfect person to include if you want to legitimize your excommunication.

Next, Inquisitor Lord Fyodor Karamazov of the Ordo Hereticus. He's also Puritan, and a Monodominant to boot. This doesn't help with Loyalist DIYers any more than Torquemada Coteaz did, but again it's the Index Traitoris writers who can profit from including him. Use him and his Throne of Judgement in the same way that you would use Coteaz.

The newest Inquisitor to join the group is Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex of the Ordo Malleus. His allegiances are not mentioned, but due to his actions at Vraks and his association with the Grey Knights it's safe to assume that he's a Puritan. There's more space for the Loyalist DIYers to work with, since less is known about him, but otherwise use him in the same manner as Coteaz and Karamazov.

The last two are Inquisitors Eisenhorn and Ravenor. I'll do these together since the same applies to both of them. Unfortunately, despite being well-known characters they are off-limits to DIYers - they are simply too well known. Their activities have been so well documented that there really isn't enough space to work with - if it's not in the books, then it's not going to work.

Daemonic Awareness: The Grey Knights

All three of the major Ordos have their own Chamber Militant, and each will interact with your Chapter in different ways. The Ordo Malleus have the Grey Knights, the Ordo Hereticus have the Adepta Sororitas, and the Ordo Xenos has the Deathwatch.

First off, the Grey Knights. These guys are incredibly secretive about their existence, so if you want your Chapter to have had contact with them you need a Very Good Reason. Your Chapter is not going to know much about them, and that should be reflected in your Index Astartes article. For those of you with high psyker rates on your homeworld who want to send recruits into the Grey Knights, I'm sorry but it's not going to work. These guys haven't stayed secret for ten millennia with no reason, and no Inquisitor worth his salt is going to ring up the proud parent Chapter to tell them that one of their minions has been accepted into the Grey Knights. Psykers will just be loaded up on the Black Ships and disappear, like they do everywhere else. That doesn't rule out getting people from your homeworld into the Grey Knights, but it's not going to feature in an IA since you will never know. The fact that you never know means that it doesn't add anything to your Chapter, even if your IA is written from an omniscient perspective.

For those of you wishing to fight alongside them, think through it carefully. No Inquisitor is going to waste his favours calling on the Astartes when he can get the Chamber Militant for free. There's little chance of a major Grey Knight deployment alongside an Astartes Chapter without a very good reason (read: Angron), and that sort of significant event is best left to official GW work. Otherwise it might sound just a little too awesome :). A single squad is a realistic amount - there wasn't enough of the Chamber Militant available, the Inquisitorial Stormtroopers aren't up to it, and so we need your help. If it's a fully fledged Black Crusade, you can have two squads, or one of Grey Knight Terminators. This may sound restrictive, and it is, but there aren't nearly enough Grey Knights to go round. You're a privileged Chapter if you even get to see one.

A successor Chapter based off Grey Knight gene-seed is definitely out. Although there is still confusion about the gene-seed of the Exorcists and how they relate (it at all) to the Grey Knights, it's not possible for your Chapter to use it. Even if there is precedent, it's just too awesome to not break the suspension of disbelief.

For those of you writing Index Traitoris articles, the Grey Knights are to practical Inquisitorial authority what the Inquisitorial seal is to theoretical authority. They are the trump card - if they think you're guilty then no amount of pleading, political guile or favours will save you. Damnation from the incorruptible Chapter is the closest you can get to damnation from the Emperor. If you're looking for a definitive reason for you being kicked out for anything vaguely Chaos-related, these are the guys to include. However, that does sort of rule out the "renegade-but-loyal-to-the-Emperor" angle, unless of course you're going for a hypocritical Chapter.

Burn the Heretic: Sisters of Battle

Secondly, the Adepta Sororitas, also known as the Sisters of Battle. These ladies have a very good reputation in the Imperium too, and are much easier to involve in a DIY Chapter since there are more of them. Whilst there are much fewer Grey Knights in the Imperium than Space Marines, there are probably about the same number of Sisters of Battle in the Imperium as there are Space Marines, if not more. It's quite easy to include a battle alongside them in your IA without interfering with any fluff. Politically, it's a bit more complicated though. Although they are the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Hereticus, they are also the militant arm of the Ecclesiarchy. A dispute between the Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition over your Chapter is unlikely to result in the Adepta Sororitas taking sides. In the interests of diplomacy, they're likely to just sit it out until a conclusion is reached.

There are numerous orders of the Adepta Sororitas in the Imperium: the six major militant orders are the most prominent and are spread all over the galaxy, but there are also many minor militant orders. Feel free to exercise your creative side and invent your own Order. There are also the non-militant orders: these too are spread galaxy-wide, but generally don't have much business with the Astartes. The most likely place to come across a member of the non-militant orders is on an Inquisitor's staff.

For those making Index Traitoris articles, these ladies are also politically very powerful. When acting as a Chamber Militant, their credibility is second only to the Grey Knights. Despite widespread speculation among the Warhammer community, only one Sister has been confirmed to have fallen to Chaos. For any of you wishing to include fallen Sisters of Battle in your warbands, be aware that you are on very shaky ground. In my opinion, it's best to avoid that controversy. Whatever the truth, their faith still makes them highly regarded and a damnation from them is not one that can be brushed off. Despite not being Space Marines, the combination of numbers and training mean they are quite capable of turfing a Chapter out of their homeworld.

Suffer Not The Alien To Live: The Deathwatch

Last but not least, the Deathwatch. Information on these guys is scarce, so although there's not much you can use there is plenty of scope for filling in the gaps. What is known is that their recruits are taken from the Chapters themselves, and unlike the other Chambers Militant do not draw on a separate source. For the DIYer, this means there can be plenty of Deathwatch links in your IA. Whilst the Deathwatch retain the ability to pick and choose who it wants seconded to its Kill-teams, this is likely to be subject to the political reality of the Imperium. They aren't going to refuse a recruit lightly, but by the same token nor will a Chapter refuse to send a particular Battle-Brother if he's been specially requested. Once a Battle-Brother has served a tour of duty and survived, he returns to his parent Chapter, retaining the distinctive Deathwatch shoulderpad. For the Chapter, this means he gets access to certain special items that he brings back with him from his tour of duty - not much use to the rest of the Chapter, but a tour of duty with the Deathwatch can be useful for building up a particularly character. Alternatively, you could do what the Ultramarines did after the Battle for Macragge and send large numbers to the Deathwatch in order to replace the lost veterans of the First Company. A Chapter that suffers a particularly harsh loss may find that Deathwatch service can help fast-track replacements in getting up to standard. It may even be that the Ultramarines were not the first to do this - who knows?

For Index Traitoris articles, there's really not much to go on here. Being Alien Hunters, the Deathwatch don't really have much of a role in dealing with renegade Chapters. Alien-based corruption is always a possibility though, if done well. The insistence on a particular Battle-Brother for Deathwatch service may plant the seed of resentment in the Chapter, or it may inadvertently reveal a secret that the Chapter wanted to keep hidden.

A note to DIYers: as per the guide to the Don'ts of DIYing, it is not possible for your Chapter to have been created in order to fulfil the specific role of the Inquisition, one of its component Ordos or one of the Chamber Militants. The job is already taken. However, it is still possible for a Chapter to take it upon themselves to fulfil the role of a pre-existing organisation. This area is by no means "closed off". Perhaps the Chapter's mistrust of the Inquisition has led it to try to take over parts of its role, leading to the Inquisition in general interpreting it as a massive insult to their loyalty (which it is). Sparks will inevitably fly as a result of it, but a good story can overcome the set background if you are prepared to deal with the severe consequences of muscling in on another Imperial organisation.

The Inquisition
Factions of the Inquisition
The Thorian Sourcebook - more detailed information on factions, free to download from GW's website.
The Grey Knights
The Adepta Sororitas
The Deathwatch
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Gene Seed: A Brief Guide

by Ferrata

Below is a very short guide to the nine different gene seeds of the loyal Primarchs. All that is listed is simple the mutations that are present in each gene seed, so the characteristics and features that will be inherited by any successor chapter without question. In addition, there is note towards the possible mutations of the gene seeds, those mutations that we don't know if they are fully genetic or not. These can be passed on if you wish, or ignored if you don't feel they fit your chapter.

There is little information on how frequently the different gene seeds are used by the Imperium. We know that more than half of all chapters come from Guilliman's line. The gene seed of Leman Russ has never been used after the ill-fated Wolf Brothers. Finally, the High Lords are reluctant to use the gene seed of Lion El'Jonson, and seem to have halted the use of Sanguisius' gene seed. Of the remaining five Primarchs, nothing is stated about their usage but it can be presumed all have been used to create successor chapters.

Mutations None Possible Mutations None

Mutations Missing Betcher's Gland
Missing Sus-an Membrane
Possible Mutations None

Mutations None Possible Mutations Jet-black Skin (combination of genetics and environment)
Burning red eyes (combination of genetics and environment)
Slow reflexes

Mutations None Possible Mutations Genetic tendency towards savagery and a thirst for war

Mutations None Possible Mutations Hatred of the physical form and its weaknesses

Mutations Missing Mucranoid
Missing Betcher's Gland
Malfunctioning Melanchromic Organ that leads to black hair and pale skin
Possible Mutations None

Mutations None Possible Mutations None

Mutations Red Thrist
Black Rage
Possible Mutations None

Mutations Curse of the Wolfen Possible Mutations None
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