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IA: The Iron Hounds


Warsmith Aznable
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Iron Warriors 49th Grand Company "The Iron Hounds"

Who do you kill for, cousin? Who would you die for? The Imperium betrayed the Emperor as surely as the Emperor betrayed his sons. Do not seek your Way there. What reward do you see your brothers earning from the Gods of the Warp? Do not seek your Way there. Hwaet! I will tell you of the true Way. - Excerpt from "Sayings of the Warsmith"
 

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j91/montismo/hosting/49th-grand-company-300-v2_zps14101c7b.jpg                                             http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j91/montismo/hosting/ironhound-300_zps39d9223c.jpg



Origins

All of this? An illusion. A floating world of dreams and fancy. Nothing more, but nothing less. We eat, drink, and sing. We make war, we make art. We float along. That is all.

T
The 49th Grand Company Iron Hounds was an autonomous battle group of the Iron Warriors Legion formed during the latter stages of the Great Crusade. The purpose of the unit was to draw out the bulk of enemy maneuver units in the early stages of a planetary assault, by whatever means necessary, so that enemy formations could be assessed and their weaknesses exploited by follow-on units of the main assault force. The 49th was rumoured to be one of Perturabos exile postings for Legion personnel who were deemed loyal but of unorthodox temperament. Nothing much is said of the 49th during the subsequent Horus Heresy and their place within the IV Legion Order of Battle during any of the major engagements is not known.

Following the Horus Heresy the 49th Grand Company fled with the bulk of the Legion into the Eye of Terror but did not stay long on Medrengard. Their last known location under their original Warsmith was a battle fought in the ruins of an unrecorded Crone World against a warband of the III Legion. Following this conflict no word of the 49th Grand Company was heard of on Medrengard for several millennia. It wasnt until the run-up to Abaddons 7th Black Crusade that the 49th Grand Company returned to the homeworld of the IV Legion in their unusual spacehulk, their armour rededicated in orange and black, and a new Warsmith at their head. They ventured forth with the Iron Warriors flotilla during the break out of the Eye of Terror, but took advantage of the confusion of the so-called Ghost War, slipping the leash of the Warmaster and headed for the fringes of galactic civilisation. There they reestablished themselves as mercenaries and pirates, known only to the galaxy at large as the Iron Hounds space marines chapter.

Homeworld

The boundless vastness of the great Galaxy is my enclosed property, and I bury the dead on my own premises.

T
he Iron Hounds are a fleet based warband. Though they control a number standard warships and their escorts, it is the ancient space hulk The Child of Calamity that is truly their home, and it is far and away their most dangerous asset. Its origin is obscured by dozens of void ships from multiple species, many of which are lost to history, all captured in an impossible framework of leviathan girders and protected by enormous sheets of armour and modular collections of weapons. The outer layers of the spacehulk features the ships and structures of the many auxiliaries and clients of the warband, refugees from burned worlds and shattered cultures who have sworn their service to the Warsmith in return for the dubious haven of the The Child of Calamity. The overall result is as deadly as a star fort, defying Imperial classification, bristling with weapons and launch bays, capable of housing hundreds of marines and their thousands of auxiliaries, able even to maintain and land Dark Mechanicum war engines and superheavy battle tanks.

Deep within the bowels of the monstrous hulk, protected by dark, labyrinthine passages where the fey and otherworldly mislead and snatch away the careless, lies the Warsmith's fortress. A virtual city, the home of the Iron Hounds is crafted of stone and iron inside the cavernous holds of the ancient, forgotten vessel at the center of the hulk. The towers, barracks, temples, manufactorums, monuments, and museums of the fortress are connected by open plazas and promenades, with the skies and environs cloaked in visions of lost planets and histories that never were. At the center of this web, high above the other structures like an Olympian temple, is the throne room, where the Warsmith holds court with his subjects and guests, and communes with the ancient and bizarre gestalt machine spirit which controls the space hulk.

Combat Doctrine

The Old Gods are always watching, and it is a sin to leave them bored. Me, I like the big guns. Nothing builds dramatic tension quite like a cannonade.

T
he Iron Hounds favour attack through combined arms, depending heavily on their unique war engines and aerial assets. Mobility and firepower are central themes, with the Iron Hounds breaking radically from their parent Legion's image of protracted siege specialists. Swiftly bringing as many heavy weapons forward to fire as rapidly as possible, the Iron Hounds seek to overwhelm defenses early in the fight then destroy the survivors of the initial bombardment piecemeal. When a swift and decisive victory cannot be claimed, the Iron Hounds will often simply leave, preferring the exhilaration of the initial attack to the boredom of a steady campaign. Indeed, when withdrawal has been impossible or delayed, the Iron Hounds are known to seek out honour duels from the enemy, challenge one another in acts of suicidal daring, or even play deadly pranks upon ostensible allies.

Tradition & Culture

Tradition is a duty. Without it we have no identity. Without it we are just another group of rabble, clawing at the edges of the Imperium.

T
he culture of the Iron Hounds is a curious mixture of romantic literature, heroic age poetry, and the mystical philosophies of several tribes of Ancient Terra, deliberately blended by the new Warsmith to achieve his own hidden ends. Outwardly they resemble most strongly the ancient Saexn and Skandic warrior cultures, and have superficial similarities with Fenrisian culture. Carefully selected Hindik and Nihon aspects guide the inner culture of the warband, demanding that individual space marines pursue self control through refinement of the mind in imitation of ancient Zen practices. This exercise of internal control and focus allows them to face the vagaries of fate stoically. Even more radical than this, however, is a peculiar assembly of myth and legend they have developed concerning the nature of the gods and reality itself.

Waelheim & The Old Dead Gods

He refused to believe unless he could see it for himself, which is not unreasonable. I told him to go ask the Old Warsmith and his brothers down in the Armoury, but he cried out that talking to Dreadnoughts was liable to get him killed. Of course it would get him killed! How else do you see Waelheim?

T
he new Warsmith hardened his heart and will toward the Ruinous Powers. To be mutated into a Chaos Spawn, enslaved through daemonic ascension, or to have his soul torn apart in the Warp was all the same to him. The Long War was ashes in his mouth, and the Great Game a bitter joke. The Imperium was a perverted shadow of what it once was, and the glorious promise of the Great Crusade a scorned memory. Redemption was instead revealed through the Warsmith's twisted vision of The War in Heaven.

When the Ruinous Powers formed and overthrew the gods of the Eldar, so too must they have usurped the true gods of Mankind. The 10,000 gods of human history were but multiple facets of the same basic truth, a central pre-Chaos pantheon, and they were not destroyed when the Ruinous Powers overthrew them. They reside in a sanctuary realm beyond the Warp that the Iron Hounds call Waelheim, and a divinity known as Khalder moves freely from that realm and the Warp.

The Iron Hounds believe that the Old Dead Gods are always watching, calling out to Mankind. Khalder is their herald, who gathers those worthy of them. Souls that are fearless, those that die glorious deaths in combat and with clean souls, these will burn bright in the eyes of Khalder. He will pluck them from the Sea of Souls and spirit them away to the Pure Land of Waelheim to live in a warrior's paradise with Mankind's most ancient forefathers.

So the Iron Hounds fervently believe.

Organisation & Disposition

Do not bother me with details. Except the good ones.

T
he Iron Hounds are organised into specialised companies: Battle, Assault, Attack, Support, and Reserve. In addition to this is the Comitatus, which is essentially a veteran Terminator company, as well as the war machines of the Armoury and the specialists of the Apothecarion and the Temple. In support of the main space marine forces the Iron Hounds also make extensive use of unaugmented human auxiliaries. At the head of all this is a council known as the Isarnhauld, a group composed of company captains, masters of the warband, and favored sergeants and champions.

While their organisation is not far from codex adherent loyalists, their method of arranging a task force is more haphazard. The Warsmith chooses a force commander and gives him a mission. It is up to that force commander to assemble an appropriate task force by petitioning individual leaders throughout the warband to join their respective squads to his efforts. The interpersonal relationships of the warbands leaders is hugely important, and a good deal of charisma and luck is necessary to cajole an effective force into existence. It is unusual for an entire company to go to war under its own captain and fight as cohesive force, but not unknown. The captaincy of a particular company is largely administrative and a matter of title.

Gene-seed & Purity

Nothing of lasting value can be achieved by being a slavish plaything to the creatures from another dimension that dare to call themselves "gods" or "daemons". They exist to be subdued, used, then disposed of. The galaxy belongs to Humanity, and Humanity belongs to the Legions. Make them to know their proper place, bind them into iron and brass, yours to command, or suffer not their unclean presence.

T
he Iron Hounds maintain a rigorous apothecary program. As well as retrieving the gene-seed of fallen battle-brothers, the progenoids of noteworthy adversaries are highly sought after. While the Iron Hounds prefer the gene-seed of their Primarch, pragmatism and all-important purity outweighs any prejudice in selection. The apothecary-brothers also serve a religious function, zealously excising mutations, which are seen an impediment to earning Khalder's favoring eye. The summary execution of battle-brothers who succumb to becoming Chaos Spawn or are in danger of daemonic ascension is also a duty of the grim apothecaries. The warband makes extensive use of cybernetic augmentation enabled by the advanced facilities aboard the Child of Calamity, and it is not unheard of for long-lived veterans to be more cybernetic than flesh. Past a certain point, survival in this manner is considered unlucky or ill-fated.

 

Alongside the apothecaries, the Iron Hounds also maintain a corps of warriors who function similar to chaplains. Where the apothecaries excise sin from the flesh, these priests focus the minds of the Iron Hounds. On top of attending meditation sessions and ritual, each herjar-brother is expected to practice an art, and to pursue it with dedication and zeal during the down time between battles. A favorite among the Iron Hounds is epic poetry, though more creative herjar-brothers sculpt or paint, while the more eccentric become experts on obscure scholarly topics. The priests monitor these activities, assigning deadlines for new content and organising exhibitions to ensure the constant engagement of the warriors' minds. Herjar-brothers who fall behind in their artistic or scholarly endeavors are censured, with the priests having broad power to inflict punishment on stubborn warriors to ensure that the chaos of the warp does not find purchase within undisciplined minds.

Battlecry

Yes, a dream. That is all. But there are idylls and nightmares. I bring terror in order to cleanse the soul. I bring death in order to release the soul. They call me evil, but they have no understanding. I bring darkness in order to exalt the light.

Most commonly heard is "To Waelheim! To Waelheim!" Also heard is the old Legion battle cry, "Iron Within! Iron Without!" Edited by Warsmith Aznable
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Critiques appreciated. What I was going for was a sort of mash-up of Anglo-saxon/Norse warrior culture and Pure Land Buddhism, and a Chaos warband that maintained a highly professional mechanized unit (with interesting options for cult troops). The idea around the Pure Land Buddhism angle is that somebody eventually at sometime had to realize that Very Bad Things happen at the deaths of the overwhelming majority of the Chaos Marines, but this person was repulsed at the idea of becoming a Daemon Prince or a mutant Chaos spawn. So the cult of Khalder provides a "Chaos Bodhisattva" to take the hardest warriors who die the most stylish deaths to a magic place where the Ruinous Powers won't eat them. Then I thought that "all the other gods of human cultural history" sort of get shafted by the Imperium, becoming just aspects of the Emperor, and that's sort of cruddy. So instead of all the cool gods from human cultures being guises of the Emperor, they're DEAD, having a grand old time in whatever heaven that dead gods go to, and you too can be with them if you're awesome enough to remember them and reject both the Emperor and the Ruinous Powers.
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You shouldn't expect the Liber to work very quickly... We are gentlemen of lee-soo-are.

This... is a very interesting and well-written IA. The concept is brilliant, and when I have time later this evening to read it completely and thoroughly, I'll give you a critique (in fact, I'll print out a copy for myself and make notes - I review better that way).

At a quick glance though... not much to criticize. Pretty much great. Then again, some more veteran Liberites will likely find something wrong that I missed in my quick read through. I'll comment later on this evening with some notes.

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Thanks for that. The slowness of the B&C has taken some adjusting to, so I'll just be patient and chant the names of the Blood God until I've got enough feedback to start editing the entry -_-

 

The hardest part about writing this was narrowing it down, as I have a ton of information written up about this warband and their home system. My ultimate goal is to have their own mini-dex and a collection of short stories to go with it. And to have all my minis painted... :rolleyes:

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Okay, here's what I've come up with after reading through the whole thing:

 

4th Waelheim Free Company (Mechanized)

First of all, why the 4th? I don't see anywhere else in the article any mention of them being something like a Lost Company, or a Company that betrayed its former Chapter, even in its distant past or whatever. Is there a reason for it being called the fourth?

 

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j91/montismo/hosting/4thfreecobanner002.gif

So, according to your Beleifs section, you don't worship the Four Gods of Chaos. So why put the symbol of Chaos Undivided on your banner?

 

The Jarl
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Okay, here's what I've come up with after reading through the whole thing...Feel free to disregard my comments, I'm just offering my take and opinions. I'm sure that if someone else comes along they could disagree with me, and you'll have to decide for yourself whether to take the advice of one of us, or do your own thing. I look forward to seeing more of this, and am always glad to help.

 

I truly appreciate your taking the time to read and comment on this IA. Constructive criticism is always welcome. I originally typed out a comment by comment response, but the forum told me there were too many quote boxes.

 

Instead of retyping two or three drawn out particular responses, I will get to work on addressing some of the concerns in a rewritten IA. Some stuff is simple, like typing "Iron Hands" when I really did mean "Iron Warriors". Other stuff will take a bit more fiddling.

 

What I will say is that this warband is the first of an intended several (armies I want to build for the game), and that the glut of fluff I've come up with to tie it all together is in danger of overpowering this one IA entry. If I leave something out, something about the warband will seem weird. If I include too much, it's a "fluff tangent" that distracts from the warband the IA is supposed to be about. It's hard balancing all this, and keeping the entry from being too long.

 

Again, thanks you for the critique.

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First revision attempts to address some of the above concerns. I've also added two new sections for history and organization in an effort to address some concerns, as well as adding pictures just to help make the article attractive and show off the few painted models I have...
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Hmmm, so it pops in and out of real space along the fringes at random? I like that idea, it explains why they haven't been heavily assaulted yet, and why others haven't tried to claim it for themselves. By the time they get there it is usually gone.

 

Now then, is the Hidden King a Daemon Prince or an actual minor power? Don't forget, Daemon Princes are pretty freaking powerful in and of themselves, even without a direct patron. With his love of plots within plots and the manipulation of his frienemies, as well as the chaotic nature of the Phenomenon itself, I'd say he's more likely dedicated to Tzeentch. However, the lack of mutations is a bit of a loop, but then again who needs Tzeentch to make sense? It makes sense that if nothing is constant with his followers, that includes his followers most defining traits, such as Sorcery and Mutation.

Edited by Astral Scorpions
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Hmmm, so it pops in and out of real space along the fringes at random? I like that idea, it explains why they haven't been heavily assaulted yet, and why others haven't tried to claim it for themselves. By the time they get there it is usually gone.

 

Now then, is the Hidden King a Daemon Prince or an actual minor power? Don't forget, Daemon Princes are pretty freaking powerful in and of themselves, even without a direct patron. With his love of plots within plots and the manipulation of his frienemies, as well as the chaotic nature of the Phenomenon itself, I'd say he's more likely dedicated to Tzeentch. However, the lack of mutations is a bit of a loop, but then again who needs Tzeentch to make sense? It makes sense that if nothing is constant with his followers, that includes his followers most defining traits, such as Sorcery and Mutation.

 

Actually I threw in a major assault into their history, just so they wouldn't be so special and carefree inside the Phenomenon.

 

What the reality of it is supposed to be is that Tzeentch is in fact behind it all, and the Utgaard Phenomenon is just some "side project" or "idle fancy" of his. The whole thing is basically an elaborate plot of my own to have a contained set of fluff for any army I want to play. And an excuse to write a bunch of stuff, to have my own universe within the 40k universe to make a personal canon with.

 

The lack of mutations in the 4th is a personal modeling preference, so the 1st and 4th won't get them, but when I get around to the 6th they're going to be all kinds of weird, so it's not like the Phenomenon is a mutation free zone. I'm just concentrating on idea #1 right now...

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At the center of all this floats Wælheim, an enormous gas giant of orange and black bands. Wælheim is surrounded by the Hundred Moons, and chief among these is Yule, the hive encrusted world where the Warp entity known as the Hidden King rules the entire system from deep within his sprawling temple complex. The instrument of his will is his Dark Ecclesiarchy, the Cult of the Wheel, who enforce his rule through the so-called Free Companies. The Free Companies are many and diverse, but among the most infamous is the 4th, the warband of Jarl-Captain Bolverk.

 

Yule? Really?

 

The Jarl, along with his closest advisor, the Sorcerer Forn Grimnir, arrived in the Utgaard System on a ship lost in the Warp, as many do. But Forn Grimnir insisted it was a dark fate that brought them there. Following the Sorcerer’s prophetic dreams, Bolverk set about subduing the warbands of other Chaos champions on the fringe worlds of the Phenomenon, winning a notoriety for himself that eventually earned the notice of the Dark Ecclesiarchy. After absorbing the warband of the renegade Iron Warrior Volundr, Bolverk represented a force too large to be left to its own devices, and too large to be easily done away with. In return for an agreement of vassalage to the Hidden King, the Cult of the Wheel offered Bolverk lordship of the Hallow Moon as a way to control the threat he represented. Bolverk at first balked, but urged on by Forn Grimnir and his powerful visions he reluctantly pledged his loyalty to the Hidden King. His warband was recast as the 4th Wælheim Free Company, flying a banner of the Dark Ecclesiarchy as their own, the price of their deal with the Hidden King.

 

OK. Not only do we understand like half these things, where the hell did the Company come from before this?

 

This could be really interesting - in fact, I'd love to see a larger exploration of the Phenomenon and its inhabitants. But this is a little too much stuff a little too quickly.

 

Huscarl-Leftenant Atrithi "the Wyrm Knight" of the 7th Squad "Blood Riders" patrolling the Jarl's lands on the Hallow Moon

 

That looks silly. I'm sorry.

 

* * *

 

This is interesting. But there's so much going on at the beginning and in regard to the Phenomenon that it's kind of hard to figure out where the weird stuff ends and the Free Company begins.

 

Honestly, I'd recommend exploring the other Free Companies and the whole Phenomenon a little more, and moving the focus off the Free Company somewhat. There's just too much we need to be told about things (IMO) to really make this work as an independent IA. Compare to the Space Wolves, who have fairly unique companies - the IA's still about them, not the companies.

 

Failing that, I think you need to re-organize the IA so it's more about the Free Company and less about the Phenomenon. The name doesn't help - it suggests that there's other companies, which makes this one seem a little less interesting by directing our curiousity in the direction of the others.

 

Anyway, it was a good read. Well done. :huh:

Edited by Octavulg
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  • 2 months later...

Finally got around to some revisioning and rewriting of this IA article.

 

Changes this time around:

 

"The 4th Wælheim Free Company" is now a second name, the primary warband name has been changed to "The Iron Hunt" or "Jarl Bolverk's Iron Hunt". This came from criticism of the first being confusing without the appropriate context (and the appropriate context being sort of confusing).

 

The origins section has been merged with some of the history and geneseed sections from before. This was to consolidate the history. I attempted to tell the story of origin and describe the major personalities in the same lines and to make it better to read, and go straighten out the relationships and histories of the primary players to be believable and coherent.

 

The Utgaard Phenomenon has been de-emphasized, trying to keep the focus on the warband itself and not cause too many "what the heck are all these names and organizations" moments. The Utgaard Phenomenon has its own post for reference purposes, which probably won't matter to anybody until I start making the other warbands and chapters that inhabit it. Which will be decades from now at the speed I paint models...

 

I reworded and excised some of the history section, and drew a line between the history of the origins story and the history after they solidified into their current structure.

 

Tried to find all the redundant mentions of Wælheim being a "black and orange gas giant" and keep it to just once or twice :lol: Also tried to eliminate redundancies in general.

 

I appreciate all the critique I have received so far. I believe that each time I do this it gets better, and I hope it's good enough for the archives eventually.

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I'm still waffling on this name thing...

 

I had two other ideas, and I just can't remain happy.

 

1. The Iron Hunt, what I currently have in the IA

 

2. The Iron Host, my second idea

 

3. The Iron Hounds, my first idea, which I was uncomfortable with for sounding too much like "Iron Hands", and maybe too obvious as a combination for a DIY group that is at its heart formed from Iron Warriors and Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus. But the one I like the most...

 

Does the LA have any preferences that might tip my hand one way or the other?

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I quite like Iron Hounds. Iron Host would work decently as well.

 

The is Octy displaying a preference; I was - not so subtly? - pointing out there are other potential options as the intial ones don't "reach out and choke the life from me".

 

EDIT: "Iron Yoda" is something I learnt from being a Bingo Caller - Google is your friend here kids - 99% of the time people don't pay attention to what you say when you talk alot of the time.

Edited by Captain Juan Juarez
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you don't want Iron Hunt. Childish adversaries might twist it into a name worthy of an Escher gang from necromunda, or perhaps a mercenary Amazonian force....

 

Iron Fangs?

 

Iron Wolves?

 

Iron Fyrd?

 

Iron Thing?

 

Iron Storm?

 

Iron Viking Kittens?

Edited by ringlancer
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I liked the Iron Hounds the most. In retrospect, I guess I sort of knew that people would come up in their heads with alternatives for "hunt"... Much better than Iron Viking Kittens, anyway.

 

Please removes the pictures!

 

They remind me of bad holiday pictures :tu:

 

OK, everybody hated the pictures. I mean, I liked them, but that's what peer review is for...

 

What if I instead I put photos there that were just the models without any cheesy background? Like so ☝ ?

Edited by -Max-
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