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Interesting View on Iron Hands


Aothaine
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Found this nugget on Reddit. It was posted by irregularjoe150. Click HERE for the source. This does have some spoilers in it.

 

"The thing of being an awesome amalgam of many positive aspects of others plus having some unique points means that they'll either end up in the kinda Mary Sue arena, or they'll end up as a homogenous average with some shiny facets because people can't write them properly.

 
I've posted this in the past as a general thing around the legion and Ferrus and why people should like them more:
 
*Look at it this way. There's an interesting side to every Legion, you just need to look at it right. I like all of them, there's plenty of tragedy to go around and it's all relentlessly grim.
 
So, start at the 30k Astartes. You're a superhuman killing machine built like a tank, armoured like a tank. You're a child sliced up and moulded to fulfil a singular task without any of the complex human maturity of an adult, mentally rearranged to be perfect at what you do, and what you do is kill. That's some crazy :censored:, dude.
 
Now, you're part of hundreds of thousands of guys like you, facing true Lovecraftian horrors the likes of which aren't present in the 41st millennium, because you are going around discovering these things and making them extinct on a level of terrifying scale pretty much only seen in 40k during Tyranid invasions. And you need Legions to barely scrape through some of these fights. Hoo boy.
 
So, as an Iron Hand, you've got the honour of having your primarch found third by the Emperor, and wow, if he isn't someone to aspire to emulate. He's tough as hell, a tactician extraordinaire, and well darn if you ain't gonna show some crazy fealty to this guy. Naturally, you go for the symbolism of removing your left hand and replacing it with a bionic one. Well, we all gotta have a hobby.
 
Over time, this gets out of hand (pun obviously intended) and you start trying to get a bit closer to his example, I mean, your father has metal arms, metal eyes, and in the arteries and veins of his intricately made demigod flesh pumps the liquid metal of a shard of an ancient machine god that he killed with his bare hands. Damn son, you gotta step up.
 
So naturally you figure that rather than wait for vat-grown replacements like the pretty legions do, you go for the machine parts. Hell, you guys learn from the best, someone that even the Mechanicum look upon as an avatar of the machine god. Guy can do pretty much anything, and you want a slice of that pie.
 
All said, there are flaws. Over time you start to develop an obsession, a mania. Strength above all else. Your brains have been fried and hammered into a near-autism by machines that make you into inhuman creatures that can eat brains to absorb memories, spit a corrosive acid and secrete a gel from your skin that helps you to survive in space. And there's a whole bunch of others out there and your father is sparing with his praise, driving you ever harder. The competition between Legions is a massive sore point for you, and you need to win.
 
Suddenly, out of nowhere, your best friends screw you over, a bunch of them all gang up against you, and dad dies.
 
WHAT. THE. HELL.
 
You aren't made for this. You lose it. You didn't know that dad was worried about you, that he wanted you to be happy with yourselves and to forge your own path, not copy him blindly.
 
But this is all you have. You resent his leaving you, you resent the friends you have left for not helping save him. The human parts of him failed you. The primarchs are just humans writ large, exaggerated in all aspects, including their flaws. The humans are weak, ergo the primarchs are weak. You, however, are different, changed, made to excise those aspects that fail so badly. Even your father had them.
 
You look at what made him special and you wonder if only he could have been more like that aspect of himself. Maybe he wouldn't be gone. So that's what you need to do. Become more like that.
 
More machines. More scars. Tamp down your feelings, and do your duty. Grind your bones down through war after war and replace them with metal. Shut yourselves off and feel content that you are doing the right thing. The less humanity remains within you, the less weakness remains within you. Give no quarter and chastise the others for not doing what you do. You remove your flaws, because those flaws killed your father, killed the dream.
 
The wrong answer, made for the right reasons. A toxic mix of shame and pride and anger, the sucking wound of deep betrayal, the irrevocably broken mind of sons trying their best to make up for a failure that wasn't theirs.
 
And so it continues into the future. The Iron Hands are second only to the Adeptus Mechanicus in their abilities with machines, and have become just as cold. The machines never failed them, humanity did. They're a Legion and a chapter steeped in pathos, misery, tragedy, following a path never intended for them that only reinforces the broken aspects of their mindset.
 
But that's just one of the thousands of cases throughout the Imperium where the dream of unified humanity is sacrificed to maintain the grim status quo, and it ain't gonna stop there..
 
Plus, also, there's the fact that Ferrus Manus is certainly very underrated. One of the first primarchs found, entrusted with a third of the Great Crusade (the other thirds being commanded by Horus and The Emperor) over Leman Russ and one of the unknown primarchs, loyal to a fault, a peerless weaponsmith and technologist, and a bro to his Legion.
 
According to the Forgeworld guys when I was reading through their primarch design notes, he's also the strongest physically; Vulkan was more massive, some of the others were more skilled fighters, but individually he was most certainly the primarch possessed of the greatest strength.
 
Now, that's pretty damn interesting. You've also got the living C'tan metal as a source of possible taint from something that isn't Chaos. Again, this is something unique.
 
GW don't give them any love, and that's where they've gone wrong. Few books, critically mismanaged characters (RIP Meduson..), no non-Forgeworld models, Forgeworld models often going against established fluff (everything is MK3, yet M41 Iron Hands are known to have been one of the few chapters in the whole Imperium who have perfect MK4 manufacturing capability), their Contemptor dread is no longer available, man, it's a :censored:-show.
 
They're meant to have the most highly trained Techmarines out of all the chapters, but we don't see this on the tabletop (wishlist: modular servo-harness plastic Tech marine, 4 servo-claws, Doctor Octopus style, just take all my money), they're meant to have all the bionics, but there just aren't enough models, I've not fully read the recent books yet, but I can't help but feel like GW just don't get what makes them unique. They're coming across as, well, just pricks. That's the role of the Marines Malevolent, dammit.
 
Iron Hands rock, but you can make anything not work by neglecting what is great about it. Just give them some love, and they'll shine. Since the lore seems to be pushing forward, I'm hoping we get a campaign or something centering around them to make a real difference.*
 
Given the cool stuff during the heresy with the Keys of Hel, and unless we actively see them die, there's possibly still a ship flying around with Iron Hands who can resurrect themselves, now that is cool as absolute :censored:. And man, doesn't that throw some neat possibilities out there.
 
You've got a loyalist chapter who never intended to break up their legion, with at least an internal faction who have the technology to resurrect their dead. The loyalists of death, with the coincidental awakening of Ynnead and the Ynnari, the demonstration of the Legion of The Damned being loyalist daemons created from the souls of fallen astartes, Ferrus appearing as one of The Emperor's own resurrected psychic creations in the webway..
 
The fact that he could potentially be brought back in that way that makes so much sense, with so much bloody necessary pathos, the juxtaposition of the demonstrated power of the soul in contrast to his sons' dampening and mutilation of what makes them strongest, it's grim, it's dark, it's exactly what they need.
 
I want someone to do them justice. My metal-handed buddies have been dealt the short straw, someone needs to redress their balance in comparison to the others.
 
Roll on a proper codex.."
 
 
Anyway, hope you enjoyed it! I know I did. I think it is quite a good summing up of the Iron Hands and think this could be really good for incoming Iron Hands players to read through to help them understand the chapter. Still just one view though. There is a lot more information now in the codex as this was posted over a year ago and prior to the supplement drop.
 
Edit: Fixed the spoiler tag lol!
Edited by Aothaine
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psssst. add a "/" between the "[" and the "s" in the bottom spoiler tag ;) 

 

Cool write up. 

 

I think Ferrus is the single most mishandled part of the entire setting. He should be a Ned Stark: someone's who's absence is felt in every single moment afterwards, but instead he's just forgotten and only made worse by every attempt they've made to make him interesting. 

 

To me, the defining moment for Ferrus comes in the Fulgrim HH novel where Fulgrim is trying to meet up with him to bro-vince him into joining Horus' side. You don't know anything about Ferrus at all up to this point in the entire series and then the book cuts to an Imperial fleet about to drop the hammer on some utopian star civilization made up of both humans and aliens bonded together for efficiency, survival, and bacon and eggs. Ferrus is on the bridge about to give the order to attack when he is informed that Fulgrim has arrived and wants to talk. Ferrus cooly passes off command to a subordinate and decides to meet with Fulgrim. 

 

Ferrus is confident enough in his command to pass off the extermination of the Galatic Federation of Planets to one of his sons so he can go have a martini lunch with his best friend.

 

Dude, I want more of that.

 

Instead the rest of his screen time is devoted to him being an idiot.

 

Graham McNeill has both the best and worst ideas of all time...often in the same book. 

 

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I was listening to Wolf Lord Rho's readings of when Ferrus learned of Vulkan.

He was with the emperor and I guess the big E just found Vulkan recently and Ferrus and big E were just casually discussing Vulkan as Vulkan led part of Ferrus' legion in battle. It was really interesting! Here is the link to the video, there is also a link to the novel in question in the details of the video. The more I learn of Ferrus I just find him fascinating.
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Apparently Chris Wraight, blessed be his name, was desperate to do a dedicated IH/Ferrus novel, but the higher-ups said there wasn’t time and passed him over for the Primarch novel. This is one of my single biggest feelings of lost opportunity - the novel we got wasn’t even about Ferrus for God’s sake, and when he WAS around he was just a crappy version of Angron. Just... euch.
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I desperately wish the Iron Hands would get the White Scars treatment, IH have so much potential in the 30k universe that could go into depth about why they're the way they are in the 40k universe and why it's taken so long for someone like Stronos to come along

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Games Workshop needed a vision for the Iron Hands- something more than the "We hate everything made of flesh-and-blood, including ourselves, so let's mutilate ourselves like mega-masochists and self-harming freaks!" attitude they seemed to have before 5th Edition came along. Chris Wraight's Wrath of Iron was a big help, portraying the Iron Hands in a relatively human way, making their adoption of augmetics part of a desperate attempt to improve themselves beyond what could be achieved with mere flesh-and-blood, and having others recognize this came at a great cost to their spiritual health (in an Iron Hands Librarian's eyes) and mental health (in their AdMech allies').

 

The Chapter needs an advocate within Games Workshop, one who can coordinate with the Codex writers to portray the Iron Hands in an appealing way- human enough to attract gamers and readers (like myself), but not so human the Marines lose their distinctiveness- and to unify the portrayal so the various books won't contradict each other.

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See, I don't think it's bitterness, it's the fact that it fundamentally broke their guiding philosophy.

 

The thing is, the Iron Hands aren't really cruel, or merciless, what they are is Darwinian. Ferrus saw life on Medusa for its natives, and saw hardship. Where other Primarchs might have seen that as reason to improve things, to make things easier for the populace, Ferrus saw Medusa as a crucible. Hardship strengthened the Medusan population, removing the weak, and allowed the strong to flourish. So, as such, Ferrus didn't change things. He allowed the planet to strengthen those who had the fortitude to survive, and did not save those too weak to save themselves. When he took over his Legion, he brought this mentality with him. The Clan-Companies were brought into competition with each other. If a Clan-Company was strong, it would gain recruits and other resources. If it was weak, it would not. Prove weak enough, and it would die out as other, more worthy, Clan-Companies prospered.

 

Despite this harshness, Ferrus was still revered by his Legion, if not loved as other Primarchs were by their sons. He was distant, and often criticized as uncaring by those who didn't understand the relationship, but the Iron Hands knew better. Ferrus did love the Iron Hands, but he wanted them to be strong, so any interference to "save" his sons would allow weakness to spread, and cause harm to the Legion. His sons knew this, and understood that the perceived callousness was so they could thrive. 

 

Now, after this mindset spread throughout the Legion, that only the strong could prosper, and that weakness should be allowed to die out, Ferrus was killed. By the same credo that the Legion operated on, he proved his weakness, but the culture of the Legion held him as the ideal of what it meant to be an Iron Hand. This threw the Legion into an existential crisis. The greatest of all of them was proven fallible in the most obvious way, falling in battle due to his own failings. If that were true of him, does that mean the rest of the Legion was weak? They're following his philosophy, after all. The Forge World books actually gives this as the motivation for a decent amount of Iron Hands turning traitor after the Massacre, following their Darwinist philosophy rather than staying true to their oaths to the Emperor.

 

For the rest of the Legion, it created an interesting issue where the Primarch is held in both reverence and disgust, almost hatred, by his Legion/Chapter. He gave the Iron Hands their strength, but he was also deeply flawed, something the Iron Hands cannot forgive. This started the rampant self-loathing amongst the Legion. As such, like their Legion removes the weak and praises the strong, they have done the same with Ferrus. The Iron Hands kept the beneficial elements of his teachings, while demonizing other aspects of his personality, in this case his emotion. They're desperate to eliminate weakness from themselves, and look to the failures of Ferrus to prove what must be removed. 

It's not that they're bitter about Ferrus' death, it's that when they look at the events of his death, they see their own flaws writ large, showing the galaxy their failings for all to see. Their Primarch shames them with his death. To the Iron Hands, Sanguinius may have died during the Heresy as well, but he died gloriously defending the Throneworld and Emperor against the Arch-Traitor Horus himself. 

 

It's almost like a form of dysmorphia. They only see their flaws, disconnected from reality.

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In some ways to me, Ferrus Manus epitomizes the idea of the “calculus” of battle perhaps even more so than Perturabo. Perty is the mathematician, the siege master plotting munitions trajectories millimeters and logistics table shown to precisely when the last  shell will be fired on both sides...but there is a sterility to him. He is the iron gate.

 

Ferrus on the other hand (hah), is part of the equation. He may not be precise as Pert, but he is also leading from the front, solving any unknowns with his own two hands. Where Pert would see a gap in capability and either moan to others about how unfair it is that he doesn’t have the tools he needs, or write off the casualties as cost of doing business, Ferrus would insert himself. He would see the same gap and fill it with his own body and hammer and hands. Partially due to his confidence and partially to prove to himself that he could take it...there was no one or nothing he could not directly overcome (other than the Emperor who he serves). 
 

The cybernetics piece shows that off best. Where Pert might see wounded or maimed Legionnaries and write them off as no longer useful, Ferrus would recycle them...would have them keep them as in some sort of fighting shape. It’s a challenge to them to overcome every hurdle. You have two eyes because one is a spare, etc...

 

That which does not kill you...

 

Perturabo saw his Legionnaries as bullets in a gun to be expended as needed.

Ferrus saw his Legionnaries as a hammer that may need the rust stripped a way, or the haft re-banded, or the head resurfaced. 
 

 

(ok I’m knocking on Perturabo a bit here and I don’t think it’s that black and white (hah) , but I do think they have more in common than what’s on the surface).

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Exactly. Perturabo is what the critics of Ferrus believe him to be like. Perturabo was cold to his Legion because they were essentially interchangeable, he just didn't see them at a personal level, but as tools to be used, pieces in the equation of war. Ferrus was cold because he wanted his sons to succeed or fail on their own merits, the ultimate version of "tough love".

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In some ways to me, Ferrus Manus epitomizes the idea of the “calculus” of battle perhaps even more so than Perturabo. Perty is the mathematician, the siege master plotting munitions trajectories millimeters and logistics table shown to precisely when the last  shell will be fired on both sides...but there is a sterility to him. He is the iron gate.

 

Ferrus on the other hand (hah), is part of the equation. He may not be precise as Pert, but he is also leading from the front, solving any unknowns with his own two hands. Where Pert would see a gap in capability and either moan to others about how unfair it is that he doesn’t have the tools he needs, or write off the casualties as cost of doing business, Ferrus would insert himself. He would see the same gap and fill it with his own body and hammer and hands. Partially due to his confidence and partially to prove to himself that he could take it...there was no one or nothing he could not directly overcome (other than the Emperor who he serves). 

 

The cybernetics piece shows that off best. Where Pert might see wounded or maimed Legionnaries and write them off as no longer useful, Ferrus would recycle them...would have them keep them as in some sort of fighting shape. It’s a challenge to them to overcome every hurdle. You have two eyes because one is a spare, etc...

 

That which does not kill you...

 

Perturabo saw his Legionnaries as bullets in a gun to be expended as needed.

Ferrus saw his Legionnaries as a hammer that may need the rust stripped a way, or the haft re-banded, or the head resurfaced. 

 

 

(ok I’m knocking on Perturabo a bit here and I don’t think it’s that black and white (hah) , but I do think they have more in common than what’s on the surface).

 

I think that's a fair assessment of Perty and Ferrus. Perty is like the boss who has brilliant plans, when the odd one out looks to fail/risky etc they put someone else in charge and they cop the blame for not making it work and its their fault lol. Of course if it works out, then all credit to the boss of coure, because they wouldn't get you to do something that would not work. :teehee:

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Yeah, Perturabo's failure was an inability to see beyond the plan. When dealing with numbers and schematics and planning, he was a genius. He just wasn't able to really see beyond "1st Division advances, diverting fire from 8th Division. Estimated casualties: 1st = 65%, 8th = 37%, enemy = 100%;  outcome acceptable."

He really needed Horus, or at least some other commander, to help make it so that he wouldn't eventually cause mutiny.

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Yeah, Perturabo's failure was an inability to see beyond the plan. When dealing with numbers and schematics and planning, he was a genius. He just wasn't able to really see beyond "1st Division advances, diverting fire from 8th Division. Estimated casualties: 1st = 65%, 8th = 37%, enemy = 100%; outcome acceptable."

He really needed Horus, or at least some other commander, to help make it so that he wouldn't eventually cause mutiny.

I apologize for going off-topic, but if Perturabo and the Iron Warriors remained Loyalists, and the Emperor appointed the IV Primarch commander of the Imperial Palace's defenders, do you think his callous attitude towards those under his command would make the Palace fall harder and faster to Horus' Traitor Legions?
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Really interesting. Thank you everyone for participating in this! I've only recently decided that I'm a son a Ferrus and have been trying to absorb as much information about the legion as I can to get a solid identity of the legion and how I want to pursue it. If you have more thoughts please share them! This is great stuff that I would have not thought about for years. I'm so far behind on books right now.

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Yeah, Perturabo's failure was an inability to see beyond the plan. When dealing with numbers and schematics and planning, he was a genius. He just wasn't able to really see beyond "1st Division advances, diverting fire from 8th Division. Estimated casualties: 1st = 65%, 8th = 37%, enemy = 100%; outcome acceptable."

He really needed Horus, or at least some other commander, to help make it so that he wouldn't eventually cause mutiny.

I apologize for going off-topic, but if Perturabo and the Iron Warriors remained Loyalists, and the Emperor appointed the IV Primarch commander of the Imperial Palace's defenders, do you think his callous attitude towards those under his command would make the Palace fall harder and faster to Horus' Traitor Legions?
Actually, I think Perturabo the Imperial Praetorian would be a very different Primarch than the Perturabo we got. He was always callous, yes, but the extremes he got to were partly a result of his bitterness and resentment towards Dorn, and the effects of Horus gradually breaking his spirit through constant tedious siege-work.

 

I think that if Perturabo were given recognition from the Emperor for his talents, he would be callous, yes, even cruel, but he would be effective. If he and Dorn swapped places, the Palace would probably still fall in the same way, although the fighting may be bloodier. If Dorn and Perturabo were both Loyal, I think Horus would have struggled to crack the defenses.

 

I’d also like to clarify my comments on Perturabo from earlier. While Perturabo is what people believe the worst of Ferrus, as the orders from Horus and the Emperor stand he didn’t have an option to be much else. Perturabo always had an issue seeing humanity beyond mathematics, but the siegework he was always given almost enforced that mentality. In the bloodiest sieges the cost is always extremely high, and he was always expected to pay it without question. The high number of deaths among his Legion was a result of the duties his Legion was expected to perform, so Perturabo couldn’t get attached to any of his men, as the next breach could claim them too. His Legion was always the one chosen for remote garrison work, so to a large portion of his Legion he would always be a distant figure, no matter his choices.

 

Perturabo’s real fault was expecting that things would change if he didn’t. If Perturabo were given control of fortifying Terra, it would remove him from the corrosive effect of the constant sieges, allow him to indulge his desire to build a better world rather than always tear cities down, and allow his Legion to escape the high costs of each battle.

 

He’d by no means be an easy Primarch to work under, but with a Primarch like Sanguinius beside him, his worst excesses would be curbed, much like the effect Horus had on him.

Edited by Lord_Caerolion
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