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The Koi (reimagined Emperor's Swords)


Smoke Frog
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First time posting to the Liber Asartes. I have a few space marine ideas to include the lore I made for my Black Templars crusade, and am currently working through my Deathwatch marines for my watch fortress Sentinel IX. That being said, I came up with this chapter idea while working on my Deathwatch, and plan to include at least one marine in my force.


The Koi (Emperor's Swords)

gallery_103048_17195_3779.png

Chapter Names:

  • Low Gothic: Emperor’s Swords (also have been known as the Imperial Swords and Swords of the Emperor at various times in their history, or even the Emperor’s Katanas)
  • Localized language: the Nishikigoi, also more simplified as the Koi

Founding: Unknown (surviving records point to sometime after the 3rd Founding)

Successor of: Unknown (theorized to be Ultramarines, White Scars, Blood Angels. Quite likely they are traitor stock from the Emperor’s Children)

Chapter Master (M41): Ienobu of the Bekko Clan

Homeworld: Edo, urbanized archipelago world

Fortress-Monastery: Nijo, Palace of the Shogun

Chapter Strength: non-codex compliant, unproven but estimated to be over 2000+ marines

Allegiance: Imperium of Man

Colors: primarily white and red, also can include black, yellow, blue, and orange

Symbol: Koi fish, writing in kanji

gallery_103048_17195_495317.png

Abbreviated Chapter History

The Emperor's Swords, or as they are more commonly known as the Koi, are believed to have been constituted after the 3rd Founding, sometime between M32-M35. Their gene-seed succession is unknown, but has been theorized to be either Ultramarines or White Scars, with some members of the inquisition positing the Blood Angels due to their preference for bloody hand-to-hand assaults. Heretical evidence has surfaced of possible links to loyalist successors of the Emperor’s Children, which would go a long way to explaining the chapter’s obsession with protocol ceremony and pursuit of martial perfection, as well as a strong inclination for high-quality craftsmanship and non-martial arts such as calligraphy or poetry.

  • End of M37- Two feuding battle companies ignite a conflict resulting in the assassination of the Chapter Master and destruction of the 1st Company. Chapter plunges into civil war, early history of the chapter is lost. Chapter companies fracture into smaller warring factions across the surface of their homeworld. All campaigning outside their home system ceases with much of the wider Imperium believing them lost.
  • M38- Senso-Wakusei , the Planetary War, also known as the Age of the Chapter at War or the Chapter Civil War. The daimyo, former chapter captains, fight amongst themselves for supremacy against their rival clans, using many mortal soldiers in their campaigns to bolster their flagging numbers
  • End of M38- after over a thousand years of chapter and planetary wide civil war, Ieyasu of the Bekko clan seizes power and proclaims himself the new shogun, reunifying the warring clans under his rule and re-forging the chapter into a single, if decentralized, fighting force. Rule of his genetic-descendants in the Bekko clan continues to this day
  • Present day- peace is maintained between the marines within the chapter, but many low-level conflicts continue to this day between the mortal members of the clans, including incipient clan warfare and low-level military and competitive conflicts across the homeworld.

Chapter Organization

Non-codex compliant. Due to the decentralized nature of the chapter command structure, it has grown far beyond codex standards, estimated to be over 2000 marines based on some campaign records.

The chapter is made up of over 30 clan-companies, each commanded by an independent captains called daimyo who answers only to the chapter master, the shogun. The clan companies are individually small, most containing fewer than 50 marines, with the largest of up to 100 marines. The largest single company is the clan of the shogun. Numbering over 450 marines, it contains nearly a quarter of the strength of the chapter, and boasts more manpower and resources than the next five largest companies combined.

Each individual clan has its own company fortress on Edo, its own armories, training program, and space fleet able to operate independently from the rest of the chapter. The largest company fortress is Nijo, a massive citadel controlled by the Bekko clan atop a mountain overlooking the planetary capital.

The shogun, equivalent to the chapter master of other marine chapters, is the absolute authority within the chapter and supreme Imperial ruler of the planet of Edo, answering to the Emperor alone. The shogun has a complete monopoly on trade with the rest of the wider Imperium, which flows through the spaceport in the capitol city and distributed between the clans as directed by the shogun’s representatives. This trade includes both the export of foodstuffs to the wider Imperium, as well as imports of technology, weapons, and other materials required by the chapter’s warmachine. The shogun is also the ruler of the Bekko clan, the largest clan company within the chapter.

The captains of the chapter are known as daimyo, and maintain command of not only their company of marines but the mortal members of their greater clan as a whole. Among the daimyo there are three groups (ranked from lowest to highest in prestige):

  • Tozoma Daimyo- the “outer” or “outsider” daimyo, these captains control the clans who did not side with the Bekko clan during the reunification era, and have remained most independent from the shogun’s rule. While more independent in their internal dealings and jurisdiction, they often receive the least support in terms of supplies, technology, or weapons, becoming less well equipped but more self-reliant in the process. Often seen as barbaric by the more established, loyal clans.
  • Fudai Daimyo- the “inner” daimyo, these captains control the clans who either sided with or were vassalized by the Bekko clan during the reunification era. While they retain much independence in their internal structure, they have less freedom of action and are more restricted than the “outer” clans. However they are also considered the most loyal. They can be called upon and will receive much more technological and logistical support from the shogun in return for their loyal service.
  • Shinpan Daimyo- These captains are members of the preeminent Bekko clan, the clan of the shogun himself. While directly under the control of the shogun, they also have the best equipment and weapons available. The Shinpan maintain the largest coherent fighting force within the chapter, which includes nearly a quarter of the chapters full fighting strength in marines and armaments.

Chapter Homeworld

The Koi have been defined by their homeworld since their inception. The planet Edo is described as a archipelago world with a four medium-sized landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The largest of these landmasses contains the capitol city Nijo, though in at present the human population is highly urbanized and concentrated in the numerous cramped hive cities spread throughout the planet’s islands.

gallery_103048_17195_95038.jpg

picture source

The intense competition between the clan companies and their mortal retainers has led to open warfare in past centuries, devastating much of the countryside and led to sprawling slum districts within many of the hives. Damp, choked streets and hive alleyways are littered with refuse with neon advertisements blare slogans and glory to the Imperium overhead. Lights from signs and lanterns illuminate the desperate lives of the hive denizens, who are caught between a daily battle for survival between the corruption of the clan bureaucracy and the competition of the street gangs.

Outside the cities, almost four-fifths of the exposed land area is covered in mountains, many of which are considered sacred. Many mountaintops are dotted with shrines constructed and maintained by the locals as offerings to the Emperor. Earthquakes are frequent, and while there are many volcanoes most are dormant. The seas and oceans surrounding the islands were known to be rich with fish and other sea life, and were an integral part of planetary trade and food supply in the planet’s history.

Chapter Culture

No marine can take up arms on Edo versus another marine, save in honor duels amongst members of rival companies or with those who hold grievances. These rarely result in permanent injury or death due to the ban on open warfare amongst the clans.

  • Note that despite the ban prohibiting outright warfare amongst the clan companies, this has not prevented competition between the clans’ mortal followers and retainers. Covert operations and gang violence have continued in secret beneath the primary urban centers on the homeworld or in the countryside and mountainous wilderness far from prying eyes.

The customs of meditation and zen are strongly held by members of the chapter. Prior to any battle, marines will seclude themselves in private quarters and compose a death poem, giving praise to the Emperor. Calligraphy and art are also held in high esteem, almost as highly as the arts of warfare.

Marines of the Emperor’s Swords hold honor and martial prowess in high regard. Status and glory can be gained by claiming the head of an enemy in combat, as well as being the first to engage with the enemy in close quarters. As such the chapter has developed a strong preference for close combat and aggressive tactics, but will certainly not shy away from ranged weapons to inflict massive damage on enemy forces. Often the clans will travel with large numbers of mortal auxiliaries, which provide weight of numbers and firepower in any prolonged conflict.

The martial culture of Edo has bred a strong artisan and weaponry culture within the chapter. All marines are expected to take care of their arms and armor. Senior members of the company are gifted suits of armor and priceless artifacts that have been handed down through the generations within the clan and carefully preserved by their clan.

Honor is extremely important to members of the Emperor’s Swords, and marines will often do drastic things to prove the merit of themselves and to bring honor to their clan. For gross slights of honor marines often will swear oaths of vengeance or conduct ritual honor duels against the offended party. In the event the honor of a marine is lost, they may choose or be ordered to commit ritual suicide, called seppuku, to allow their clan to regain their lost honor due to their transgressions or failures. Since the end of the chapter civil war however, all marines must get special dispensation from the shogun to commit seppuku. Also since that time it is expressly forbidden for marines to commit ritual suicide if their commanders fall in combat.

Chapter Recruitment

While the cities and hives of Edo maintain a tremendous population from with the Asartes could recruit from, initiates to the chapter are solely taken from the highest echelons of the ruling clans warrior caste. This practice has endured for centuries, and has ensured close ties between the chapter and the mortal populace. The ascension of a clan-member into the ranks of the Asartes is the highest of honors, for those who go one to take the mantle of a space marine will wind up ruling their clans for centuries to come.

Chapter Appearance

Chapter symbol

The symbol of the Emperor’s Swords has many variations between its different clans, but tends to maintain several key elements. In ancient records it is recorded as a single skull with two crossed swords. In the more recent era the skull has been replaced by a fish, the symbol of luck and prosperity in the culture of their home planet. Often it is arranged either as a single or pair of fish, sometimes with a sword in between or behind the fish themselves.

Heraldry Display

Each marine proudly displays its clan’s colors and heraldry on their armor, often in bright colors of red and white along with yellow, orange, and bone. Most are equipped with an individual back-banner, called a sashimono, affixed to their power pack, which displays the chapter skull with crossed swords or fish symbol on one side, and clan markings on the other.

  • There can be considerable variation of marking colors between clans, or even marines within the same clan. One exception is the chest Aquila: nearly all marines have their chest Aquila colored red.
  • Vanguard marines are few in number in the chapter, and tend to be limited to a single individual or squad per company, if there are any at all. Infiltrators, Incursors, or Reivers often wear black armor and/or cloaks which conceal their movements, following the shinobi tradition of their homeworld.
  • In addition to heraldry or script markings, marines often bear tattoos on their skin in the shape of fish or written verse.

Clan armor coloration and heraldry markings

Bekko (clan of the Shogun, largest clan)- primary colors are yellow armor with black markings. Helmets are yellow. Sub-branches include:

  • Shiro Bekko- white with black markings
  • Aka Bekko- red with black markings
  • Ki Bekko- orange with black markings

Bekko Clan banner and markings:

gallery_103048_17195_706871.png

Aka Bekko Clan banner and markings:

gallery_103048_17195_270101.png

Kohaku- white armor, large red markings. Helmets are white, sergeants’ helmets are red with white faceplates.

Kohaku Clan Sergeant banner and markings:

gallery_103048_17195_201956.png

Taisho (also the Taisho Sanke)- white armor, large red markings along with small black markings. Helmets are white, sergeants’ helmets are red with white faceplates.

Taisho Clan banner and markings:

gallery_103048_17195_532742.png

Showa (also Showa Sanshoku/Showa Sanke)- black armor with large red and small white markings. Helmets are black, sergeants’ helmets are red.

Showa Clan Sergeant banner and markings:

gallery_103048_17195_659542.png

Asagi- blue armor with red and white markings. Helmets are white, sergeants’ helmets are red.

Asagi Clan banner and markings:

gallery_103048_17195_438743.png

Other Clans:

  • Utsurimono- black armor, with four variants of either large red, white, yellow, or orange markings. Helmets are black, sergeants’ helmets are primary marking color.
  • Tancho Kohaku- white armor, helmets are red with white faceplates.
  • Shushi- armor is primarily white with red markings, save for top of helmets and chest Aquila which are blue.
  • Higoi- red armor, small white markings
  • Magoi- black armor, small white markings
  • Kigoi- yellow armor
  • Kinbo- black armor, gold or bone colored markings. Black helmets.
  • Kabuto (also Kin Kabuto)- black armor, yellow or bone colored markings. Helmet is either yellow or bone, same as marking color.
  • Ogon- bone armor
  • Hageshiro- black armor with white markings. Helmets are white.

Notable Members

Ieyasu (EE-aye-YAH-zoo)- shogun and the unifier of Edo, who brought about the end to the Senso-Wakusei , the chapter civil war. Now long since interred within a dreadnought sarcophagus, he is referred to as the Ogosho, the Cloistered Shogun, and still rules Edo and the chapter from behind the scenes. Responsible for the overwhelming prominence of the Bekko clan on Edo, and genetic descendants of his most trusted advisors still rule as the shinpan captains within the clan.

Ienobu (EE-aye-NO-boo)- current shogun of the chapter, public face of the Bekko clan and ceremonial leader of its forces.

Hanzo (HAN-zoo)- marine of the Bekko clan, highly trained in both stealth and terror tactics, assigned to the Deathwatch.

Tadakatzu (TAD-eh-CAT-zoo)- heavy intercessor marine of the Bekko clan assigned to the Deathwatch.

Edited by Smoke Frog
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Your concept is most promising, but further refinement is necessary. My strongest objections are towards the following:

Successor of: Unknown (theorized to be Ultramarines, White Scars, Blood Angels. Quite likely they are traitor stock from the Emperor’s Children)

Heretical evidence has surfaced of possible links to loyalist successors of the Emperor’s Children,

If you want to create a Loyalist Chapter with Traitor gene-seed, you should be subtle about the gene-seed's source, not obvious.

 

Who would even be able to recognize the specific genetic markers that distinguish one Primarch's gene-seed from another's, and why would this individual make a fuss? Did the Koi piss off an influential Inquisitor, who then went "Full Radical," and accused the Marines of using Traitor gene-seed in an attempt to discredit them? Did Fabius Bile capture some Koi members, and during the fight to rescue them, he claimed the Marines were his brothers, fellow descendants of Fulgrim?

Chapter Strength: non-codex compliant, unproven but estimated to be over 2000+ marines

The chapter is made up of over 30 clan-companies, each commanded by an independent captains called daimyo who answers only to the chapter master, the shogun. The clan companies are individually small, most containing fewer than 50 marines, with the largest of up to 100 marines. The largest single company is the clan of the shogun. Numbering over 450 marines,

This is DEFINITELY going to draw the Inquisition's attention, and not in a good way.

 

The Space Wolves get away with having more Marines than the Codex authorizes, because they're a First Founding Chapter, with prestige and powerful allies earned over millennia of service; the Black Templars get away with it because the Codex specifically allows a Chapter to recruit above its mandated limits, in anticipation of heavy casualties that'll be suffered during a crusade, and with the Templars fighting an eternal crusade all across the galaxy, it's near-impossible to get an accurate count of how many Templars there are.

 

The Koi have none of those advantages. With each Clan-Company having a fortress on Edo, it'll be easy for the Inquisition to get an accurate count of the number of Marines the Koi have, and realize the Chapter has violated Lord Regent Guilliman's decree- with possible consequences to include declaring the Koi "Excommunicate Traitoris" and subjecting the Chapter planet to Exterminatus.

 

If you have the Tozoma Daimyo exile themselves from Edo, and embark on crusades in an attempt to earn the Shogun's forgiveness and regain their honor, then it'll be more difficult for an Inquisitor to accurately count the number of Marines the Koi have, and the Chapter is (and you are) more likely to get away with having more than 1000 Marines.

The symbol of the Emperor’s Swords has many variations between its different clans, but tends to maintain several key elements. In ancient records it is recorded as a single skull with two crossed swords.

Why stop using such a cool-looking symbol? Did a Clan-Company that uses this symbol, turn to Khorne to gain the power necessary to win the Chapter war? And afterwards, the use of the symbol became associated with worship of Khorne and betrayal of the Emperor, leading to an unspoken ban on its use? Edited by Bjorn Firewalker
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First off welcome to the Liber. You have created quite a lot which is admirable. I think you will find most of us see a few "red" flags but nothing that cannot be refined, and a few places we

 

Founding: Unknown (surviving records point to sometime after the 3rd Founding)

Successor of: Unknown (theorized to be Ultramarines, White Scars, Blood Angels. Quite likely they are traitor stock from the Emperor’s Children)

 

The Emperor's Swords, or as they are more commonly known as the Koi, are believed to have been constituted after the 3rd Founding, sometime between M32-M35. Their gene-seed succession is unknown, but has been theorized to be either Ultramarines or White Scars, with some members of the inquisition positing the Blood Angels due to their preference for bloody hand-to-hand assaults. Heretical evidence has surfaced of possible links to loyalist successors of the Emperor’s Children, which would go a long way to explaining the chapter’s obsession with protocol ceremony and pursuit of martial perfection, as well as a strong inclination for high-quality craftsmanship and non-martial arts such as calligraphy or poetry.

 

Outright stating Traitor gene-seed is a no go. Many people will dismiss the rest of the IA solely for that. It is too blatant. It needs to be subtle. Find a few examples of Emperors Children behaviour/tenets, paraphrase those and work it in. As for founding, you have stated it is 3rd, just stick with that. No need for smoke and mirrors where there doesn't need to be.

 



Chapter Strength:  non-codex compliant, unproven but estimated to be over 2000+ marines

 

 

Absolutely no need for this. Bjorn mentioned Space Wolves but Black Templars are one of the other exceptions. Don't try to deviate too much from the codex where it isn't needed.

 

I have never been able to really get on board with a brand new chapter organization so I will skip reviewing that.

 

 

 



Chapter Homeworld

 

The Koi have been defined by their homeworld since their inception. The planet Edo is described as a archipelago world with a four medium-sized landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The largest of these landmasses contains the capitol city Nijo, though in at present the human population is highly urbanized and concentrated in the numerous cramped hive cities spread throughout the planet’s islands.


The intense competition between the clan companies and their mortal retainers has led to open warfare in past centuries, devastating much of the countryside and led to sprawling slum districts within many of the hives. Damp, choked streets and hive alleyways are littered with refuse with neon advertisements blare slogans and glory to the Imperium overhead. Lights from signs and lanterns illuminate the desperate lives of the hive denizens, who are caught between a daily battle for survival between the corruption of the clan bureaucracy and the competition of the street gangs.  

 

Outside the cities, almost four-fifths of the exposed land area is covered in mountains, many of which are considered sacred. Many mountaintops are dotted with shrines constructed and maintained by the locals as offerings to the Emperor. Earthquakes are frequent, and while there are many volcanoes most are dormant. The seas and oceans surrounding the islands were known to be rich with fish and other sea life, and were an integral part of planetary trade and food supply in the planet’s history.  

 

 

Chapter Recruitment

 

While the cities and hives of Edo maintain a tremendous population from with the Asartes could recruit from, initiates to the chapter are solely taken from the highest echelons of the ruling clans warrior caste. This practice has endured for centuries, and has ensured close ties between the chapter and the mortal populace. The ascension of a clan-member into the ranks of the Asartes is the highest of honors, for those who go one to take the mantle of a space marine will wind up ruling their clans for centuries to come.

 

 

 

These need a lot more fleshing out. I have said It before and I will say it again. 40kifying/grimdarkifying the Japan/Samurai concept is difficult. My poorly attempted Samurai chapter, came from a hive world where wyrms roamed outside the city walls. Hunting them etc. Just an idea. Your picture gave me images of Yakuza.

 

 


Chapter Culture

 

No marine can take up arms on Edo versus another marine, save in honor duels amongst members of rival companies or with those who hold grievances. These rarely result in permanent injury or death due to the ban on open warfare amongst the clans.

 

  • Note that despite the ban prohibiting outright warfare amongst the clan companies, this has not prevented competition between the clans’ mortal followers and retainers. Covert operations and gang violence have continued in secret beneath the primary urban centers on the homeworld or in the countryside and mountainous wilderness far from prying eyes.

 

The customs of meditation and zen are strongly held by members of the chapter. Prior to any battle, marines will seclude themselves in private quarters and compose a death poem, giving praise to the Emperor. Calligraphy and art are also held in high esteem, almost as highly as the arts of warfare.

 

Marines of the Emperor’s Swords hold honor and martial prowess in high regard. Status and glory can be gained by claiming the head of an enemy in combat, as well as being the first to engage with the enemy in close quarters. As such the chapter has developed a strong preference for close combat and aggressive tactics, but will certainly not shy away from ranged weapons to inflict massive damage on enemy forces. Often the clans will travel with large numbers of mortal auxiliaries, which provide weight of numbers and firepower in any prolonged conflict.

 

The martial culture of Edo has bred a strong artisan and weaponry culture within the chapter. All marines are expected to take care of their arms and armor. Senior members of the company are gifted suits of armor and priceless artifacts that have been handed down through the generations within the clan and carefully preserved by their clan.

 

Honor is extremely important to members of the Emperor’s Swords, and marines will often do drastic things to prove the merit of themselves and to bring honor to their clan. For gross slights of honor marines often will swear oaths of vengeance or conduct ritual honor duels against the offended party. In the event the honor of a marine is lost, they may choose or be ordered to commit ritual suicide, called seppuku, to allow their clan to regain their lost honor due to their transgressions or failures. Since the end of the chapter civil war however, all marines must get special dispensation from the shogun to commit seppuku. Also since that time it is expressly forbidden for marines to commit ritual suicide if their commanders fall in combat.

 

 

This is a good description. I think once you have fleshed out your homeworld more, it will allow you to transition this into something a bit more in depth

 

 


Chapter symbol

 

The symbol of the Emperor’s Swords has many variations between its different clans, but tends to maintain several key elements. In ancient records it is recorded as a single skull with two crossed swords. In the more recent era the skull has been replaced by a fish, the symbol of luck and prosperity in the culture of their home planet. Often it is arranged either as a single or pair of fish, sometimes with a sword in between or behind the fish themselves.

 

 

 

I am mentioning this in case someone else is reading this. Please feel free to ignore.

Many people have attempted a Japanese themed space marine chapter, and one of the biggest issues has always been how to grimdarkify the concept. Your idea of fish has given me an idea. A chapter symbol of a skullheaded fish skelton. Combining the imagery of luck, and death. Something interesting to explore.

 

 


Heraldry Display

 

Each marine proudly displays its clan’s colors and heraldry on their armor, often in bright colors of red and white along with yellow, orange, and bone. Most are equipped with an individual back-banner, called a sashimono, affixed to their power pack, which displays the chapter skull with crossed swords or fish symbol on one side, and clan markings on the other.

 

  • There can be considerable variation of marking colors between clans, or even marines within the same clan. One exception is the chest Aquila: nearly all marines have their chest Aquila colored red.
  • Vanguard marines are few in number in the chapter, and tend to be limited to a single individual or squad per company, if there are any at all. Infiltrators, Incursors, or Reivers often wear black armor and/or cloaks which conceal their movements, following the shinobi tradition of their homeworld.
  • In addition to heraldry or script markings, marines often bear tattoos on their skin in the shape of fish or written verse.

 

 

Just a different way of displaying your company number so do not need to do much with this. I would personally restrict this to the shoulder pads, and have a uniformed torso etc. I think writing script on their skin should be put under chapter cult and explained as to the reasons why, as it is something "under the hood"

 

 


 


 

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Minigiant brings up a good point on the Chapter colors. The Koi will regularly fight beside other Marines against Chaos Space Marines; having each Clan-Company identify itself with a different color, incurs the risk of becoming victims of misidentification and subsequent "friendly fire" incidents.

 

The Space Wolves all use a unified color scheme for their armor, differentiating their company with the symbols on their pauldrons, and themselves with runes on their armor; the Koi should as well, to prevent incidents where a Showa Clan member is misidentified as a Black Templar ally or a Black Legion traitor, an Asagi Clan member is misidentified as an Emperor's Children traitor, etc.

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The Emperor's Swords, or as they are more commonly known as the Koi, are believed to have been constituted after the 3rd Founding, sometime between M32-M35. 

Suggest just mentioning that they are of unkown Founding and the oldest known mention of them in the imperial records

 

 

 

Many people have attempted a Japanese themed space marine chapter, and one of the biggest issues has always been how to grimdarkify the concept

Not that hard really, just do as GW do with knights and take real historical things (or things made up in later eras but have been retold so many times that many believe they were, like iron maidens) and either make them standard (instead of something one-off) or twist it a bit or more. For samurais I can see overdeveloped purity rituals; a complete lack of concerns for non-astartes; tendencies to cut down non-astartes that they feel have in any way have offended them; Tsujigiri  is a standard practice; overdeveloped sense of honour and easily insulted; etc.

 

 

 

 

Minigiant brings up a good point on the Chapter colors. The Koi will regularly fight beside other Marines against Chaos Space Marines; having each Clan-Company identify itself with a different color, incurs the risk of becoming victims of misidentification and subsequent "friendly fire" incidents.

Or maybe the reason they get away with being a very big chapter is that many mistake them for being a group of Chapters that often work together

Edited by Gamiel
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Many people have attempted a Japanese themed space marine chapter, and one of the biggest issues has always been how to grimdarkify the concept

Not that hard really, just do as GW do with knights and take real historical things (or things made up in later eras but have been retold so many times that many believe they were, like iron maidens) and either make them standard (instead of something one-off) or twist it a bit or more. For samurais I can see overdeveloped purity rituals; a complete lack of concerns for non-astartes; tendencies to cut down non-astartes that they feel have in any way have offended them; Tsujigiri  is a standard practice; overdeveloped sense of honour and easily insulted; etc.

 

 

I agree with you on how to do it but, it is my observation that for many people that is not enough 'Samurai'. I actually think most Japanese chapters presented tackle at least one of the few challenges the theme/concept poses very well. In this chapters case, drawing on the symbolism of koi is very unique "strength of character, perseverance, accomplishment and courage". It is some of the other aspects that in my opinion are not quite subtle enough as they stand now.

 

 

 

Minigiant brings up a good point on the Chapter colors. The Koi will regularly fight beside other Marines against Chaos Space Marines; having each Clan-Company identify itself with a different color, incurs the risk of becoming victims of misidentification and subsequent "friendly fire" incidents.

Or maybe the reason they get away with being a very big chapter is that many mistake them for being a group of Chapters that often work together

 

I actually don't think that needs to be changed but how it is presented does. 'Less is more' in this case, concentrate on the company colours of the company that you are building, state that other companies display their colours differently, and be done with it. By showing us different colours it gives "us" too much to criticize.

 

 

 

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Many people have attempted a Japanese themed space marine chapter, and one of the biggest issues has always been how to grimdarkify the concept

Not that hard really, just do as GW do with knights and take real historical things (or things made up in later eras but have been retold so many times that many believe they were, like iron maidens) and either make them standard (instead of something one-off) or twist it a bit or more. For samurais I can see overdeveloped purity rituals; a complete lack of concerns for non-astartes; tendencies to cut down non-astartes that they feel have in any way have offended them; Tsujigiri is a standard practice; overdeveloped sense of honour and easily insulted; etc.

I agree with you on how to do it but, it is my observation that for many people that is not enough 'Samurai'. I actually think most Japanese chapters presented tackle at least one of the few challenges the theme/concept poses very well. In this chapters case, drawing on the symbolism of koi is very unique "strength of character, perseverance, accomplishment and courage". It is some of the other aspects that in my opinion are not quite subtle enough as they stand now.
Well said. It should also be noted the word "samurai" literally means "serve," i.e., unwavering loyalty is demanded of a samurai, such that if his master orders him to kill himself, the samurai will kill himself without any more delay than the time needed to draw a sword and bring its edge to his own belly (for seppuku).
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Wow first of all thanks for the great feedback!

I realize I have committed several cardinal sins when it comes to creating a space marine chapter... may the Emperor forgive me! I have two more sections I neglected to post last time on deployments and general author's notes:

Chapter Deployments


Pre-Unification:

While few records exist of the chapter prior to M38 and their civil war, it is believed that the Koi would deploy into warzones as single clan-company units and support vehicles/aircraft, with additional companies only rarely deploying in support of each other.

Post-Unification:

After the restructuring of the chapter at the end of M38 under Shogun Ieyasu, the chapter now conducts campaigns under a more unified structure. Individual clan-companies still maintain their decentralized autonomy in terms of logistics and supply, but will deploy as part of a larger kill-team or combined company force. Under the overall command of either a Shinpan Daimyo from the Bekko clan or a trusted Fudai Daimyo from one of the inner clans, individual marines from the disparate companies will be integrated together into squads and kill teams dependent on expertise and fighting method of choice. In this way the Bekko clan ensures an integration of the separate clans into a singular fighting force.

While this often results in individual units of marines armored in the vibrant and wildly different color schemes of their individual clans, ranging from white to orange-red to yellow, all marines of the Koi are able to easily distinguish each other during combat thanks to both their sashimono banners and armor markings.

The chapter also makes extensive use of mortal auxiliaries recruited from their home planet Edo, formed into Imperial Guard ashigaru regiments. These units are able to bring a sheer weight of numbers and firepower to bear in support of their asartes overlords, and have proved vital to the overall success of many campaigns.

Example of a kill team of Koi marines:

gallery_103048_17195_706080.png
Note: The kill-team is lead by a sergeant of the Kohaku clan. I repeated two marines from the Taisho clan only because I didn't have a unique seventh armor scheme to add to the picture... and I really wanted seven samurai marines in the picture! :happy.:

Author's Notes


I always wanted to design a chapter with a backstory based on Sengoku-era Feudal Japan, and after I came across the Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten thread and the Index Asartes on the Red Fish chapter, the idea was sparked and things fell into place. Being guilty of having been a history major, I have spent a decent amount of time reading about the period, with a big interest being the Battle of Sekigahara, on which I have based my historical samurai collection on.

Chapter colors are of course inspired by the koi fish. Since koi are bred in many different colors and types (hence the clan names), I thought the huge blend of colors could potentially look interesting as a mixed force when deployed together on the tabletop or as part of a kill team, provided there are enough unifying things on the models themselves (such as the sashimono back banners) or the use of repeating colors (whites, orange-reds, blacks, some yellows). The visual look of the chapter with lots of different colors was most important here, more important than any tactical or battlefield sense. I agree this will make things look confusing to an outsider of the chapter, being either a space marine ally, chaos space marine enemy, or imperial guardsmen, but it would be mitigated somewhat by the pretty obvious sashimono back banners strapped to their backpacks.

The Koi as they are commonly known to themselves (standard Gothic: the Emperor’s Swords) are an incredibly decentralized chapter that nearly tore itself apart in civil war, much like the samurai clans of the Sengoku-era Japan. Through the course of the chapter’s history, one clan rose to ultimate dominance, the Bekko clan, and were responsible for the restructuring of the clan afterwards, though maintaining loose overall control of the decentralized power structure. This mirrors the rise of the Tokugawa clan’s rule during the 200ish years of the Tokugawa shogunate.



~~~

With that extra stuff posted, now to take a look at some of the excellent points made!

If you want to create a Loyalist Chapter with Traitor gene-seed, you should be subtle about the gene-seed's source, not obvious.


Who would even be able to recognize the specific genetic markers that distinguish one Primarch's gene-seed from another's, and why would this individual make a fuss? Did the Koi piss off an influential Inquisitor, who then went "Full Radical," and accused the Marines of using Traitor gene-seed in an attempt to discredit them? Did Fabius Bile capture some Koi members, and during the fight to rescue them, he claimed the Marines were his brothers, fellow descendants of Fulgrim?

Outright stating Traitor gene-seed is a no go. Many people will dismiss the rest of the IA solely for that. It is too blatant. It needs to be subtle. Find a few examples of Emperors Children behaviour/tenets, paraphrase those and work it in. As for founding, you have stated it is 3rd, just stick with that. No need for smoke and mirrors where there doesn't need to be.

That makes a lot of sense.

In a world where potential Ultima Founding chapters built on stores of traitor gene seed, it makes it much easier to justify an older chapter being constructed from traitor-seed in my mind, though they would have had a much harder time hiding their heretical origins over thousands of years than a newfangled-chapter built in the last few centuries.

That being said I didn't take any steps to obscure or hide their lineage at all. Mostly that is due to the format I am using to do my chapter write ups for my Deathwatch fortress, which is very bare bones (veteran name, home chapter, chapter gene-seed origin, homeworld, etc) to give the barest hint of flavor for each individual marine in a kill-team. Considering we are viewing this chapter from the outsider-omniscient point of view, we have a lot more information that would be readily available to most members of the Imperium or the chapter itself, save for maybe some apothecaries who have done some digging.

Some more thoughts:

Chapter Traits that suggest a lineage from the Emperor's Children-

I have a few things sprinkled into the culture of the chapter that could point to an Emperor's Children lineage that I will expand upon here.

  • Martial Perfection- like the Emperor's Children, the Koi are obsessed with honor and honing their combat abilities to the absolute limit. They desire to achieve perfection in all forms of combat, and hold in highest regard the ability to slay the enemy in close quarters. Known as the "way of the sword," their combat method relies on speed and pin-point precision; those who rise to the highest ranks within the chapter are duelists and swordsmen without peer.
  • Artisanry and Craftsmanship- the Koi expect, demand, and create only the highest quality arms and armor with which to equip their battle brothers. Their swords in particular, elegant katana more refined than cruder chainswords, are constructed so sturdy and razor-thin that they are able to slice through ceramite or xenos exoskeleton alike. Each clan is responsible for their own armouries, and many battle brothers train for centuries to be able to construct the highest-quality weapons. It should be noted that only the Bekko clan and their closest allies within the chapter have access to the highest quality materials traded for with the Mechanicus.
  • Artistry beyond the scope of War- While all members of the Koi are naturally well versed in the arts of war, it is highly encouraged to the point of being essentially mandatory for all battle brothers to take up cultural pursuits outside of the realms of war. This is not difficult to enforce, as all battle brothers appreciate and willingly take part in these activities. All marines will compose death poems prior to entering battle, or prior to ending their own life in ritual suicide. Calligraphy and other forms of art, to include painting, meditation, and select gardening pursuits are also held in high esteem.

Heretical Lineage Liabilities in a Hostile Imperium-

So this is something I have been considering since I first slapped together my ideas for the chapter, and your thoughts have allowed me to organize them a bit more.

The Imperium is vast and there are thousands of space marine chapters, unnotably the Inquistitors would have their hands full inspecting everyone for compliance with the codex. But eventually they will catch up with the outliers right? I agree that this chapter has little to no chance at forgiveness if they were caught red-handed (purple handed?) for being of traitor gene-stock.

I am thinking of going the route that now in the "modern" era (so around M41/M42) the chapter is found out as being from traitor gene stock. This would fit into the backstory of the chapter well too. I can run it is a Commodore Matthew Perry analogue, the American admiral who (forcibly) opened up Japan to world trade after 200 years of isolation thanks to the Tokugawa Shogunate. Maybe the Koi space marine chapter had been forgotten by the Imperial Bureaucracy after their civil war, and essentially ignored by the Administratum that allowed them to operate with no oversight for a few centuries, grow their numbers outside of the view of the Imperium. Until present day when the Inquisition shows up, does an inspection and figures out what they have been doing, and a new conflict starts that will decide the fate of the chapter.

I got a lot more thinking to do along these lines.

Suggest just mentioning that they are of unkown Founding and the oldest known mention of them in the imperial records

Fair point, the only reason I put down 3rd Founding in the first place was due to it's inclusion in one of the wikis/lexi's for the original Emperor's Swords. Considering my reimagining of the chapter has them loosing most of their records prior to their civil war, an unknown founding date makes much more sense.

This is DEFINITELY going to draw the Inquisition's attention, and not in a good way.

The Space Wolves get away with having more Marines than the Codex authorizes, because they're a First Founding Chapter, with prestige and powerful allies earned over millennia of service; the Black Templars get away with it because the Codex specifically allows a Chapter to recruit above its mandated limits, in anticipation of heavy casualties that'll be suffered during a crusade, and with the Templars fighting an eternal crusade all across the galaxy, it's near-impossible to get an accurate count of how many Templars there are.

The Koi have none of those advantages. With each Clan-Company having a fortress on Edo, it'll be easy for the Inquisition to get an accurate count of the number of Marines the Koi have, and realize the Chapter has violated Lord Regent Guilliman's decree- with possible consequences to include declaring the Koi "Excommunicate Traitoris" and subjecting the Chapter planet to Exterminatus.

If you have the Tozoma Daimyo exile themselves from Edo, and embark on crusades in an attempt to earn the Shogun's forgiveness and regain their honor, then it'll be more difficult for an Inquisitor to accurately count the number of Marines the Koi have, and the Chapter is (and you are) more likely to get away with having more than 1000 Marines.

Absolutely no need for this. Bjorn mentioned Space Wolves but Black Templars are one of the other exceptions. Don't try to deviate too much from the codex where it isn't needed.

I have never been able to really get on board with a brand new chapter organization so I will skip reviewing that.

My reasoning for having "a few" extra marines was pretty simple, as it had to do with the decentralized nature of the chapter started during their civil war. The individual clan companies did everything in their power to grow their own numbers to the point the chapter in total far exceeded their 1000-marine limit, codex be damned until the civil war is done!

When the civil war did complete, the new shogun/chapter master took steps to consolidate his own power over the homeworld. While there was a new boss in town, due to a thousand years of civil war the individual clans were able to maintain a great deal of decentralized power over their own numbers and recruiting. Recognizing this, the shogun took steps to make use of this extra manpower at his disposal, by launching campaigns and crusades across their sector or outside to make full use of the numbers of the clan companies manpower.

I like the idea of ordering large numbers of the Tozama Daimyo and lesser clans out from the homeworld to waste their strength, that would help obscure the total numbers the chapter had. If I look at a historical precedent, Regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the middle of the Sengoku period did a very similiar thing with the glut of samurai leftover after he had nearly consolidated his rule of Japan, by launching several ill-fated expeditions of Korea. This was a big waste of manpower (as the conquest of Korea was not effective at the time) but helped put a lot of now unemployed samurai to work, and also paved the way to shogun Tokugawa to take control of the country upon Hideyoshi's death.

That all being said, one marine past 1000 is indeed heretical. Similar to the previous bullet, I think this is something that would get them hemmed up with the Inquisition once they finally figured it out, and would be interested in taking my chapter that direction.

Why stop using such a cool-looking symbol? Did a Clan-Company that uses this symbol, turn to Khorne to gain the power necessary to win the Chapter war? And afterwards, the use of the symbol became associated with worship of Khorne and betrayal of the Emperor, leading to an unspoken ban on its use?

I agree, the previous symbol of the Emperor's Swords was pretty cool.

gallery_103048_17195_24352.jpg

Easiest explanation I can think of for the chapter's transformation would be simply the chaos surrounding their civil war, that led to their decentralization and diversification into many different color schemes by the war's end due to the power of the clans. After the war was done, the preeminent Bekko clan would reintroduce some measure of conformity by enforcing the new koi symbol across the chapter, while respecting the companies autonomy and allowing them to continue to wear their clan colors.

I also supposed I could have changed the swords to katanas, but I liked the simple fish motif. I could play around with the design a bit more and refine it on gimp but haven't gotten around to it yet. I also did not want to go the extra skulls route only because I again wanted to keep it simple.

Minigiant brings up a good point on the Chapter colors. The Koi will regularly fight beside other Marines against Chaos Space Marines; having each Clan-Company identify itself with a different color, incurs the risk of becoming victims of misidentification and subsequent "friendly fire" incidents.

Or maybe the reason they get away with being a very big chapter is that many mistake them for being a group of Chapters that often work together

I agree that the color schemes might look a bit jarring, but then again that was the point for me while I was making this chapter.

Having a desire to create a Japanese-inspired chapter, the index asartes for the Red Fish is what sparked me down this rabbit hole (fish pond?). I knew I wanted to make a single chapter that was united, but diverse in color schemes to fit the motif.

japanese-carp-japan-peter-essick.jpg

I settled on figuring out a way to make the chapter extremely decentralized, which led me to keeping a civil war in their history and the troubles that could entail.

In terms of identification, I am not worried about the space marines of the Koi chapter being able to differentiate themselves only because that is what they are trained for. Whether they look at the colors, clan symbols, and back banners, or have a full heads-up-display within their helmets to take the work out of it, they should be able to tell friend from foe.

Their human auxiliaries should be able to figure it out too, but probably the allies from the home planet are really going to be comfortable with it. Other marine chapters will take some getting used too. And if not, its 40K and friendly fire happens sometimes!

Many people have attempted a Japanese themed space marine chapter, and one of the biggest issues has always been how to grimdarkify the concept

Not that hard really, just do as GW do with knights and take real historical things (or things made up in later eras but have been retold so many times that many believe they were, like iron maidens) and either make them standard (instead of something one-off) or twist it a bit or more. For samurais I can see overdeveloped purity rituals; a complete lack of concerns for non-astartes; tendencies to cut down non-astartes that they feel have in any way have offended them; Tsujigiri is a standard practice; overdeveloped sense of honour and easily insulted; etc.

Already mentioned my interests in Japanese history, but it was a natural fit once I had the "I want to do a chapter with colors based on koi fish" idea. Since I am most comfortable with Sengoku-era history, and love it, that was also an easy fit. I don't have everything one-to-one but close enough that the inspiration its pretty obvious to me, and if anything a bit lazy? If I were to build more on the backstory I could expand it quite a bit, but I am good with a general timeline structure for now.

Fun fact! This would be the second time I have ported my interest in Japanese history into a warhammer universe; my first attempt was in creating a backstory for Warhammer Fantasy's Dragon Isles. Basically think WHF/AOS Lizardmen, wearing samurai armor, and duking it out between their separate clans for control.

~~~

Hope I didn't miss anything, took me a while to respond and sort out this post. Thanks again for the feedback!

Edited by Smoke Frog
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I remember what I forgot!

 

I meant to post a picture of the Battle of Sekigahara (1600 CE) to make note of how confusing samurai battles could be:

 

dbb881a9ac8be8ae8700336d61cb8d38.jpg

 

Excuse the large image, the original was from wikipedia, I just added labels. Red is Eastern Army, blue is Western Army, yellow is Western Army Traitors. It helps illustrate how banners may have been used by the two sides in this particular battle.

 

Samurai battle armor was often highly individualized, and rarely were "units" all decked out in the same color armor except for notable exceptions like Ii Naomasa's Red Devils all wearing red-lacquered armor. Sashimono back banners were useful for individual Soldiers to determine who held what allegiance to what lord/clan. 

 

Cool stuff :happy.:

Edited by Smoke Frog
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Will an Inquisitor force the Koi to launch a crusade against its own Clan-Companies that were off-world and fighting crusades, in order to bring the number of Marines down to Codex mandated levels?

 

By the way, the "1000 Marines per Chapter" count does not necessarily include vehicle crews and other support personnel- one I took advantage of to give a Chapter an additional 600-800 Marines, as it has a large fleet, requiring many crewmen to operate its many ships. Keep the TOTAL number of Marines below the forbidden 2000, pass any more than the Codex mandated 1000 as support personnel (i.e., not allowed to cross blades with the enemy, as they'll be too busy driving tanks, flying fighters, loading and firing Earthshaker cannons, sailing starships, etc.), and you'll be OK.

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Will an Inquisitor force the Koi to launch a crusade against its own Clan-Companies that were off-world and fighting crusades, in order to bring the number of Marines down to Codex mandated levels?

 

By the way, the "1000 Marines per Chapter" count does not necessarily include vehicle crews and other support personnel- one I took advantage of to give a Chapter an additional 600-800 Marines, as it has a large fleet, requiring many crewmen to operate its many ships. Keep the TOTAL number of Marines below the forbidden 2000, pass any more than the Codex mandated 1000 as support personnel (i.e., not allowed to cross blades with the enemy, as they'll be too busy driving tanks, flying fighters, loading and firing Earthshaker cannons, sailing starships, etc.), and you'll be OK.

 

That is a sneaky way to do business... but I could see something like that happening. That's probably how the Ultramarines are able to have honor guard, tyrannic veterans, and all those other special squads crammed into their 1000-marine-limited chapter right? I suppose hiding extra numbers within vehicle allotments could work, I think I like hiding the numbers in various campaigns would be better suited for this chapter. 

 

I doubt an inquisitor would call a chapter to crusade on itself; I guess they could but I doubt this particular chapter would abide by it simply because they already had one civil war and would not want a second one. Likely some other chapters (Space Sharks come to mind) would be called in to bring them into compliance Badab-war style if they didn't execute their own battle brothers immediately. 

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Regardin the pauldron, Kelly Kim's samurai inspiered Spirit Dragons (appeared in WD#276 US ed.) used Tau pauldrons instead of SM ones to give the feeling of the shoulder guards that many samurai armours had.

 

That all being said, one marine past 1000 is indeed heretical. Similar to the previous bullet, I think this is something that would get them hemmed up with the Inquisition once they finally figured it out, and would be interested in taking my chapter that direction. 

Or they might decide that the decentralised nature of the Koi just make the hassle not worth it as long as they work with other imperial forces; or order them to not take in any new recruits until they have fallen under a 1000 marines; or go on a penance crusade where they are not allowed to recruit new members until the crusade is finished after 100 years (or similar) and if they survive they may begin to recruit again but now have to stay at 1000 max.

 

And there is also the people need to notice that they are too many for somebody in power to call out and scream "HERESY"

 

the "I want to do a chapter with colors based on koi fish" idea. Since I am most comfortable with Sengoku-era history, and love it, that was also an easy fit.  

I suggest adding some more koi referenses, either by looking at what things different cultures have had koi symbolise or stories with them; look at how kois have been used in different cultures; or just having that koi ponds are standard for all common areas (for the SM), maybe the different clan-companies have a kind of unofficial contest with which of them can create the best koi pond garden in their fortress-keep.

So they are not just “Sengoku-era samurai in space”, you have one more twist with it. More or less all of GW’s Chapters with a notable RL culture base are actually two or more things combined (SW are not just Vikings, even if they are the most notable, they are Vikings, other European barbarians, wolftotem warriors, and werewolves).

Edited by Gamiel
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Shinpan Daimyo from the Bekko clan or a trusted Fudai Daimyo

 

 

elegant katana more

 

In my opinion using samurai/japanese specific terminology is part of the lack of subtlety I mentioned. A solution to this is to describe how that position varies. E.g The Koi will spend considerable amounts of time folding steel, and inlaying details into their combat blades. I have described a part of the Samurai and applied to Space marine lore.

 

 

 

Pre-Unification:

 

Post-Unification:

 

Japanese/Samurai concept is such a strong flavour, do you really need a second crutch? I have discussed this at lengths before but in essence it is my opinion that the best chapters only alter one small detail, and the effects ripple out from that. It could be a single mutation, a single event, a homeworld. Those effects are then weaved into a narrative. The Civil War seems disconnected right now and I don't think it adds anything valuable.

 

 

traitor gene stock

It would certainly solve the independent clans, and different colours. The revelation of the traitor gene-stock splinters the chapter, each company (now a warband) takes on the heraldry of a homeworld clan (Before it is purged)

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  • End of M37- Two feuding battle companies ignite a conflict resulting in the assassination of the Chapter Master and destruction of the 1st Company. Chapter plunges into civil war, early history of the chapter is lost. Chapter companies fracture into smaller warring factions across the surface of their homeworld. All campaigning outside their home system ceases with much of the wider Imperium believing them lost.
  • M38- Senso-Wakusei , the Planetary War, also known as the Age of the Chapter at War or the Chapter Civil War. The daimyo, former chapter captains, fight amongst themselves for supremacy against their rival clans, using many mortal soldiers in their campaigns to bolster their flagging numbers
  • End of M38- after over a thousand years of chapter and planetary wide civil war, Ieyasu of the Bekko clan seizes power and proclaims himself the new shogun, reunifying the warring clans under his rule and re-forging the chapter into a single, if decentralized, fighting force. Rule of his genetic-descendants in the Bekko clan continues to this day
  • Present day- peace is maintained between the marines within the chapter, but many low-level conflicts continue to this day between the mortal members of the clans, including incipient clan warfare and low-level military and competitive conflicts across the homeworld.

 

Chapter Organization

 

Non-codex compliant. Due to the decentralized nature of the chapter command structure, it has grown far beyond codex standards, estimated to be over 2000 marines based on some campaign records.

 

The chapter is made up of over 30 clan-companies, each commanded by an independent captains called daimyo who answers only to the chapter master, the shogun. The clan companies are individually small, most containing fewer than 50 marines, with the largest of up to 100 marines. The largest single company is the clan of the shogun. Numbering over 450 marines, it contains nearly a quarter of the strength of the chapter, and boasts more manpower and resources than the next five largest companies combined.

 

Each individual clan has its own company fortress on Edo, its own armories, training program, and space fleet able to operate independently from the rest of the chapter. The largest company fortress is Nijo, a massive citadel controlled by the Bekko clan atop a mountain overlooking the planetary capital.

 

The shogun, equivalent to the chapter master of other marine chapters, is the absolute authority within the chapter and supreme Imperial ruler of the planet of Edo, answering to the Emperor alone. The shogun has a complete monopoly on trade with the rest of the wider Imperium, which flows through the spaceport in the capitol city and distributed between the clans as directed by the shogun’s representatives. This trade includes both the export of foodstuffs to the wider Imperium, as well as imports of technology, weapons, and other materials required by the chapter’s warmachine. The shogun is also the ruler of the Bekko clan, the largest clan company within the chapter.

 

The captains of the chapter are known as daimyo, and maintain command of not only their company of marines but the mortal members of their greater clan as a whole. Among the daimyo there are three groups (ranked from lowest to highest in prestige):

 

  • Tozoma Daimyo- the “outer” or “outsider” daimyo, these captains control the clans who did not side with the Bekko clan during the reunification era, and have remained most independent from the shogun’s rule. While more independent in their internal dealings and jurisdiction, they often receive the least support in terms of supplies, technology, or weapons, becoming less well equipped but more self-reliant in the process. Often seen as barbaric by the more established, loyal clans.
  • Fudai Daimyo- the “inner” daimyo, these captains control the clans who either sided with or were vassalized by the Bekko clan during the reunification era. While they retain much independence in their internal structure, they have less freedom of action and are more restricted than the “outer” clans. However they are also considered the most loyal. They can be called upon and will receive much more technological and logistical support from the shogun in return for their loyal service.
  • Shinpan Daimyo- These captains are members of the preeminent Bekko clan, the clan of the shogun himself. While directly under the control of the shogun, they also have the best equipment and weapons available. The Shinpan maintain the largest coherent fighting force within the chapter, which includes nearly a quarter of the chapters full fighting strength in marines and armaments.

 

Great work! You are really on a good heading! :) 

 

A problem I find in your organization, is the that the organization is meant for a peacefull co-existing between a various of fractious and hostilie combatatant who might not agree on the leadership, and need to be kept from expanding their power...

To put it simple: What would happen within the chapter, if something happened to the Bekko clan that would damage the Chapter or the Bekko clan's presitege and/or power... like a military defeat? Is it so, that they only thing keeping the Daimyos trying to rebel/upseat the current order, that the Bekko Clan is the most powerfull? And if the Bekko clan would suffer large casualties, would the clan still remain in power?

What are the option for the Tozoma Daimyos to break new trade agrements with other suppliers to even their lack of supplies, technology, and/or weapons? After all, they are very self-subtainable and independent... What does, and can, the Chapter Master do/say about that?

 

I know, you want to refere to Japanese history but In Japan (which you are refering to), the problem the Togogawa shogunate face, when they became the power in Japan and wanted to maintain it, was first solved by Toyotomi (by banning the use of swords for none-samurais from then on), and then keep the status quo with a policy of isolation. Even if they were those who disagree with them, or where secret enemies of them, they could not rebel due to support and confidence of the status quo and there were no one else they could turn to! When the Americans force the shogun to open trade, and brought with them new technology, weapons and arms, this chanced everything, and brougth an end to the Shogun...

 

What I am trying to say, is that the organization you have made, make little room for changes should it acurre, and the 40k universe is full of chances - all the time...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Really fantastic feedback, again thanks!

 

 

 

 

I suggest adding some more koi referenses, either by looking at what things different cultures have had koi symbolise or stories with them; look at how kois have been used in different cultures; or just having that koi ponds are standard for all common areas (for the SM), maybe the different clan-companies have a kind of unofficial contest with which of them can create the best koi pond garden in their fortress-keep.

 

So they are not just “Sengoku-era samurai in space”, you have one more twist with it. More or less all of GW’s Chapters with a notable RL culture base are actually two or more things combined (SW are not just Vikings, even if they are the most notable, they are Vikings, other European barbarians, wolftotem warriors, and werewolves).

 

I really like this point, and it will be something I have to consider some more. 

 

The references currently baked in dealing directing with koi is the symbol and the color schemes themselves.

 

Two things that come to mind are the gardening/landscaping aspect that could be something that the chapter takes up in their spare time, or could relate to their love for the artistic works of man. 

 

Other thing I thought of was since meticulously breeding koi for specific sets of colors is a thing, perhaps the chapter could have an obsession with genetic purity... perhaps too obsessive? Apothecaries would need to be especially relevant for each of the clan-companies to ensure their survival into the future.

 

 

 

 

Pre-Unification:
 
Post-Unification:

 

Japanese/Samurai concept is such a strong flavour, do you really need a second crutch? I have discussed this at lengths before but in essence it is my opinion that the best chapters only alter one small detail, and the effects ripple out from that. It could be a single mutation, a single event, a homeworld. Those effects are then weaved into a narrative. The Civil War seems disconnected right now and I don't think it adds anything valuable.

 

 

traitor gene stock

It would certainly solve the independent clans, and different colours. The revelation of the traitor gene-stock splinters the chapter, each company (now a warband) takes on the heraldry of a homeworld clan (Before it is purged)

 

 

All fair points! 

 

Personally I like the civil-war aspect, mostly because it plays into the main segment of Japanese history I find interesting, and gives the strongest reasons for why the chapter is as divergent from their origins as it is, both in non-codex structure and disparate company color schemes. 

 

 

 

Great work! You are really on a good heading! :smile.: 

A problem I find in your organization, is the that the organization is meant for a peacefull co-existing between a various of fractious and hostilie combatatant who might not agree on the leadership, and need to be kept from expanding their power...
To put it simple: What would happen within the chapter, if something happened to the Bekko clan that would damage the Chapter or the Bekko clan's presitege and/or power... like a military defeat? Is it so, that they only thing keeping the Daimyos trying to rebel/upseat the current order, that the Bekko Clan is the most powerfull? And if the Bekko clan would suffer large casualties, would the clan still remain in power?

What are the option for the Tozoma Daimyos to break new trade agrements with other suppliers to even their lack of supplies, technology, and/or weapons? After all, they are very self-subtainable and independent... What does, and can, the Chapter Master do/say about that?

 

I know, you want to refere to Japanese history but In Japan (which you are refering to), the problem the Togogawa shogunate face, when they became the power in Japan and wanted to maintain it, was first solved by Toyotomi (by banning the use of swords for none-samurais from then on), and then keep the status quo with a policy of isolation. Even if they were those who disagree with them, or where secret enemies of them, they could not rebel due to support and confidence of the status quo and there were no one else they could turn to! When the Americans force the shogun to open trade, and brought with them new technology, weapons and arms, this chanced everything, and brougth an end to the Shogun...

What I am trying to say, is that the organization you have made, make little room for changes should it acurre, and the 40k universe is full of chances - all the time...

 

 

Really great feedback here too.

 

I think you are hitting on exactly what would make this chapter interesting to me, that they are on the edge of collapse due to a power structure that has the potential to collapse thanks to a strong enough outside influence. Kind of like how 40K always seems to be on the brink of falling apart. 

 

While the Tokugawa were able to maintain peace and a mostly centralized grasp on power for over two centuries, fundamentally their system was built on a shaky foundation maintained thanks to isolation, and fell apart in about a decade after the Americans showed up. I think this chapter would ultimately suffer a similar fate. 

 

Peace on the homeworld and between the clans could be maintained for a long time thanks to a few factors, spitballing a few ideas here:

  • Initially the power of the Bekko clan would be solidified through the alliances their clan was able to secure in the form of their closest allies (the inner clans, Fudai daimyo) as well as their own internal power. 
  • Further centralized control would be maintained thanks to a monopoly on technology. Closing all spaceports on the planet save for a single one at the capitol could make sure no other members of the chapter/cititzens of the planet would ever interact with the Mechanicus or Imperium at large, restricting the ability of subordinates to get any ideas or gather enough supplies for a full on insurrection. Perhaps techmarines are restricted the Bekko clan, and are parcelled out to the other chapters but retain ultimate loyalty to the shogun's clan?
  • Interstellar shipping could be an issue, but the Bekko clan could prevent this too by consolidating their power over the entire chapter's space fleet.
  • While on campaign, the Bekko Clan would ensure to deploy the chapter's forces only under the purview of trusted company leaders and in mixed squads to prevent issues with insurrection. 
  • Long term this would streamline chapter deployments and diffuse the power of their individual clans. 

 

This all being said, get one Inquisitor into range of the planet with enough power to order around some Asartes and the inconsistencies and heretical tendencies of the chapter would likely immediately come to light, no matter how hard the chapter attempted to hide it eventually they would get caught. Odds are some of the minor clans would attempt to side with the inquisitorial forces in a bid to secure their own power, so it would depend if the Inquisitor would need to play the internal factions of the chapter against themselves, or if they would brand the entire chapter as traitors and just attempt to exterminate the lot of them. Lots of good stuff to consider. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Be as swift as the wind, strong as the forest, fierce as the fire, immovable as the mountain –attributed to Brother-Captain Shingen of the Emperor’s Swords

Since you use this qoute in your other presentation in the other thread do I suggest taking a look at China, or at least the Mulan movie for ideas regarding their culture, or at least their homeworld's. If you want them to be a bit more than just Sengoku Japan in spaaaaaace.

 

It would prorobly be hard to do but maybe the Chapter's librarian have red dragon like creatures as familiars?

 

 

Be as swift as the wind, strong as the forest, fierce as the fire, immovable as the mountain –attributed to Brother-Captain Shingen of the Emperor’s Swords

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Be as swift as the wind, strong as the forest, fierce as the fire, immovable as the mountain –attributed to Brother-Captain Shingen of the Emperor’s Swords

Since you use this qoute in your other presentation in the other thread do I suggest taking a look at China, or at least the Mulan movie for ideas regarding their culture, or at least their homeworld's. If you want them to be a bit more than just Sengoku Japan in spaaaaaace.

It would prorobly be hard to do but maybe the Chapter's librarian have red dragon like creatures as familiars?

Thanks for the idea! I realize I didn't write the quote down correctly in the other thread, should have been "silent as a forest." Original quote is from Takeda Shingen.

I was thinking more about Edo their homeworld recently, and I think I would base the hives on my conception of Kowloon Walled City as it used to exist in Hong Kong. Really interesting history and organic design to the place that developed before it was eventually leveled.

In terms of big bads the chapter could face, how about a Terracotta-army of Necrons they accidently awaken from a tombworld?

I though familiars were a decidedly chaos marine thing? That being said considering the potentially-heretical origins of the Koi marines that would not be a bad thing either. Some red-dragon familiars would be neat, especially if they had huge feathery tails like butterfly koi. For some reason I also like the idea of toads or frogs, probably because I have some in my bits box I could use if I so chose to :rolleyes:

~~~

Since the heavy intercessor Brother Katsuyori is the only Koi marine currently in model-form, here is his picture:

gallery_103048_17086_215532.jpg

His heraldry is displayed on his right shoulderpad, standard for the Deathwatch. He also has the koi-markings on his left kneepad.

gallery_103048_17086_109659.jpg

Link to his post in my Deathwatch thread.

Brother Katsuyori is from the Utsurimono Clan, a once-powerful clan that was nearly wiped out by the combined forces of the Bekko Clan and their allies during the chapter civil war. While proud of its history, the Utsurimon Clan it is but a shadow of its former glory.

Example of their armor: mostly black, with multiple variants of markings. Helmets are black, with sergeants' helmets painted red (below):

gallery_103048_17195_609782.png

I also went ahead and did up a rival Shusui Clan. Armor is white with red markings/shoulderpads, powerpacks are blue and have a blue stripe on their white helmets.

gallery_103048_17195_380698.png

Edited by Smoke Frog
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Good job on Brother Katsuyori's model. I notice he wields a Necron weapon. Do the Koi use captured xeno weapons for their own purposes- maybe even attempt to reverse-engineer them- or just the Deathwatch unit he's assigned to? Do they have... agreements... with Radical Inquisitors willing to use xeno weapons, e.g., for false flag operations?
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In terms of big bads the chapter could face, how about a Terracotta-army of Necrons they accidently awaken from a tombworld?

That's an fun idea, another possebility are a CSM/Renagade warband/chapter based on the huns.

 

 

I though familiars were a decidedly chaos marine thing?

Not really, Deamonic familiars are a CSM thing, while normal SM librarian use psyber-linked animals, servoskulls, cherubs or similar.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I completed a second Deathwatch marine for the Koi, this one is a reiver known as Brother Hanzo:

gallery_103048_17086_114682.jpg

Equipped with grapnel launchers and jet-black armor, he is well prepared for ninja-adjacent activities (link to his post).

Heraldry:

gallery_103048_17086_46254.jpg

Brother Hanzo is a member of the Bekko clan (hence the yellow-colored shoulderpad) and Tokugawa-clan symbol on his shoulder.

As a member of the Bekko clan, Brother Hanzo ultimately answers to the shogun Ienobu, chapter master of the Koi, conducting surprise raids on the enemies of the preeminent chapter clan. While other phobos-equipped troops often conduct reconnaisance or covert operations, reivers are often used specifically for infiltration and inflicting maximum damage and terror on their unsuspecting targets.

I was looking for a line-drawing of Reiver armor but could not find one on the internet that I could easily edit in paint/gimp, I was hoping to do the color scheme for this guy too. While the Bekko clan normally has yellow armor with black markings and shoulderpads, I would plan to have their Reivers in reverse of this scheme (black armor with yellow markings/shoulderpads) in keeping with a more sneaky aesthetic, and helps them stand apart from the rest of the clan. Other phobos troops would probably have a similiar theme going on.

Koi symbology on his left kneepad:

gallery_103048_17086_64768.jpg

Good job on Brother Katsuyori's model. I notice he wields a Necron weapon. Do the Koi use captured xeno weapons for their own purposes- maybe even attempt to reverse-engineer them- or just the Deathwatch unit he's assigned to? Do they have... agreements... with Radical Inquisitors willing to use xeno weapons, e.g., for false flag operations?

Thanks!

He just has the special Necron weapon due to his position in the Deathwatch; theoretically he has been stationed with them for some time and is trusted enough to wear some xenos-tech and wield their weaponry without compromising his faith in the Emperor's holy machinery.

In terms of big bads the chapter could face, how about a Terracotta-army of Necrons they accidently awaken from a tombworld?

That's an fun idea, another possebility are a CSM/Renagade warband/chapter based on the huns.

I though familiars were a decidedly chaos marine thing?

Not really, Deamonic familiars are a CSM thing, while normal SM librarian use psyber-linked animals, servoskulls, cherubs or similar.

Cool ideas!

Edited by Smoke Frog
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You put in good effort on Brother Hanzo's model. Close-ups show the paint is unevenly applied, but you can only improve via practice- LOTS of practice- and some patience with those offering constructive criticism. Keep up the good work!

 

I'm assuming the Reiver is named after the legendary ninja. Which Hattori Hanzo inspired you? The one from the Samurai Shodown video games? An anime and/or manga? The role Sonny Chiba portrayed in the Shadow Warriors TV series, and reprised in the 2003 film Kill Bill?

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You put in good effort on Brother Hanzo's model. Close-ups show the paint is unevenly applied, but you can only improve via practice- LOTS of practice- and some patience with those offering constructive criticism. Keep up the good work!

 

I'm assuming the Reiver is named after the legendary ninja. Which Hattori Hanzo inspired you? The one from the Samurai Shodown video games? An anime and/or manga? The role Sonny Chiba portrayed in the Shadow Warriors TV series, and reprised in the 2003 film Kill Bill?

 

Thanks, my painting is very rough most of the time but I enjoy painting heraldry and improving over time!

 

You are correct, Brother Hanzo was based upon the historic Hattori Hanzo. I will admit I heard about the real-world character before I experienced him in any media other than books. I did see the character crop up in the (pretty awful but hilarious anime) Sengoku Basara though. 

 

Didn't realized he was in Kill Bill, I have seen clips but never watched the whole movie. Cool fight scenes!

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Sorry if I missed something, I admittedly skimmed most of this topic, but the Emperor's Swords are a canon Chapter currently featured in the lore, with a name, symbol and homeworld. So why use them? Why not just make up a name? Did I miss something?

Aside from that, I like the inspiration for the Chapter. I made these real quick, maybe you find some use for them. Take it or leave it :smile.:

gallery_22046_1527_1029.png

gallery_22046_1527_20597.png

gallery_22046_1527_1513.png

Edited by Codex Grey
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Posted (edited)

Aside from that, I like the inspiration for the Chapter. I made these real quick, maybe you find some use for them. Take it or leave it :smile.:

gallery_22046_1527_20597.png

Wow thanks! I appreciate the help cleaning up the image I was using.

Sorry if I missed something, I admittedly skimmed most of this topic, but the Emperor's Swords are a canon Chapter currently featured in the lore, with a name, symbol and homeworld. So why use them? Why not just make up a name? Did I miss something?

No issue at all!

I liked the name "Emperor's Swords" when I was coming up with the idea for this chapter, but the lore I found was boring and it swiftly became the jumping off point for the rest of the chapter. Swords became Katanas became Koi, to the point where my reimagining looks little like the original source material.

There is a cannon conflict with the Emperor's Swords in the lore, at least two chapters have been known by this name in the past, and both were destroyed. Likely my chapter is a third chapter known by the same name, though considering how bad the Imperium's record keeping is its unlikely anyone could say for sure.

Ultimately, I settled on "Emperor's Swords" being the name the rest of the Imperium knows this chapter by, as it was the designation given to them upon their inception in the scant remains that still exist in the chapter's archives and imperial records. They and their marines/serfs/people call themselves the Koi.

Edited by Smoke Frog
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  • 6 months later...

I made a third Koi marine last month, an eliminator shiper!

gallery_103048_17086_40888.jpg

He is posted up along with the rest of my Eliminators (bottom of page 7 in my Deathwatch thread), but here is the accompanying lore blurb:

During the height of their chapter civil war, the warring clans within the Koi were known to regularly employ secretive cohorts of snipers to engage in what would be considered dishonorable, covert operations against enemy leaders. The downfall of the Utsurimono clan can be linked to one such successful operation, as marine agents from the Bekko Clan were able to strike downed the famed Utsurimono Shigen at the height of his power. Regardless of the hatred and loathing such despicable tactics engendered within the chapter, it is hard to argue their effectiveness, as they were crucial in bringing about an end to the centuries-long conflict. To this day the chapter deploys very few covert-trained operatives, but undoubtedly they remain a cornerstone to their behind-the-scenes strategies.

gallery_103048_17086_122803.jpg

The eliminators were some of my favorite marine models I have put together so far, I may make more in the future. If I make more Koi marines though I hope it can be a full kill team of Assault Intercessors. 

 

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