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Crusade Unending

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What if the great crusade never ended? How would such a change even occur?


In this timeline, the primarchs are never found. Where did they go? Not even the emperor knows. But what it means is that the crusade never ends with the Horus Heresy, and it becomes much more... Decentralized, to say the least. The legions are split into chapters, and the chapters are split into companies, and so forth. But the vain attempts to keep each chapter's precious gene seed intact will only stave off deterioration for so long. Each chapter's 'Genekeeper' , their Chief Apothecary, is entrusted a great deal of responsibility in maintaining their gene seed and keeping it from deterioration and mutation. But inevitably, with the empire stretching thin, mutations will inevitably build up without a check, and each chapter will form its own genetic identity over time.


In the crusade, they will take over planet after planet.


But as their crusade wages on TEN THOUSAND YEARS LONGER THAN IT SHOULD, they will inevitably cross paths with many xenos, and many rogue companies and chapters of space marines as well. In the original view of Rogue Trader, the forces of Chaos don't play a major role. Perhaps in this setting, all they needed to do is to interfere with the primarchs, and the result is enough chaos to sate them for millenia.


But back to the bug-eyed alien freaks. Ork, Aeldari, Drukhari, Necron, Slaugth, Khrave, T'au, Saharduin, Vespid, Rak'gol, Hrud, Tyranid, Q'Orl, Demiurg, Kroot... There's no shortage of enemies that the Imperium will face. Without a heresy, they are the biggest threat out there.


As for the emperor? I would imagine having to command even a fraction of a massive galaxy spanning crusade is tiresome, and the emperor would become rather reclusive with few people remotely equal to him in body and mind to talk to. There is just nobody remotely close to him (except Malcador I guess). And so he sits on his throne alone and let the space marine chapters crusade around the galaxy in his name while probably focuses on regular bureaucratic work and making sure there aren't cults dedicated to him popping up or anything.


Anyway, the crusading space marine chapters, such recognizable chapters as... Well, not really. Because the primarchs are never found, the chapters are all much closer to their initial incarnation. So you still get The Rout, the Luna Wolves, the Warborn, the Ghost Legion, the Dusk Raiders, and plenty of successors who will inevitably split off. Also, original legion colors.


I plan to create a game system on this alternate setting of unending space crusading, probably a heavily modified variant of HH 2.0 with a bit of mainstream warhammer injected. I think it'll be fun to make rules for xenos in HH style rules at least.


But what do you guys think? What do you think of a setting in which the primarchs are never found and the great crusade extends out ad infinitum? What rules do you think this should embrace to really create the feeling of isolation, exhaustion, and unchecked brutality?

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The Chapters of the Unending Crusade - The First Ten


I - Angels of Death

They are the OGs, and they know it. They are brutal, ruthless killers, but they also care a lot about tradition and identity, to a nearly psychotic degree. They used to do a lot of the heavy lifting, as they were always the frontline, but they were left weakened by their efforts in the Rangdan Xenocide. In the 4th Decimillenium, they are a smaller force than they used to be, but they have stubbornly resisted change. They wish they could maintain the frontline, but they are tied down by obligation and limited by their losses: Their numbers are a mere thousand.


Their abilities are centered around their fearsome reputation and their masterful use of rare and special weapons.


II - Valedictors

The Emperor's executioners at heart, their job is to kill. They typically go with the action-hero approach, because their numbers aren't super high. Which isn't to say they aren't still capable of teamwork, they absolutely can, when a full company of Valedictors show up, :cuss: is getting done. Other than that, not much to say.


Their abilities are about dealing the most damage they can against the most enemies they can, and just plain surviving.


III - Emperor's Children

They were actually quite a benevolent chapter, they legitimately did care about the people they protected, more so than the Angels or Valedictors, which is why the Emperor let them use his symbol. They have been through a lot of hardship: Much like the Angels of Death, their numbers have been diminished greatly, as bad as if not worse than the Angels. Their geneseed was very pure, but after an attack by the genetic cultists of Luna, their numbers have fallen, because their ability to produce more marines has plummeted, with only one in ten recruits surviving the implantation process. They are still a proud chapter, but they are getting desperate.


Their abilities are about melee dueling and organized team formation and combat.


IV - Corpse Grinders

These guys can sympathize with the Angels of Death, because their rate of attrition is critical. They aren't unlucky, they aren't incompetent, they have just been pushed to a breaking point. They are brutal tacticians, but they have been exhausted. Their focus remains in siege, but they have become expert at blending guerilla tactics with siege tactics, becoming one-marine killing machines, finding their way through any wall or trench, and letting nothing get in their way.


Their abilities are about breaking through troops and armor and generally being a menace.


V - Star Hunters

Scouts and pioneers, the Imperium's eyes and ears, their rangers, their scouts, their vanguard. They do surprise raids and assaults to gain information and critical materials. They are very professional in their work, and enjoy a privileged position due to their critical focus in military espionage and raiding strength. They recognize the importance of vast armies and heavy weapons, but that's not their calling. Like the other first five chapters, they are small, but unlike the others, this is by choice. They are an elite team.


Their abilities are all about movement and damage.


VI - The Rout

Nobody really likes these guys because they are basically a psychotic Varangian Guard. They kill indiscriminantly and remorselessly, and they are difficult to keep in line. The Emperor finds the most use in them as state-sponsored terrorists. They focus on CQC tactics and shock troops. They are very egotistical and undisciplined because they are just that naturally good at what they do.


Their abilities revolve around melee range and dumping damage out very very fast.


VII - Imperial Fists

A very charming bunch. Or not. They are rigidly loyal to the emperor and they are great at getting the job done. They march as an army and no defense will keep them out. They are a lot like the Corpse Grinders, they get the job done without complaint, and the only real difference is that their numbers haven't been gouged out by circumstance, and they aren't as willing to use "underhanded tactics" as the CG are and see them as a fallen force. You see, they really don't like the Corpse Grinders, but this is more of an inferiority complex thing than anything else, because they aren't the original, and despite the Iron Fists' "honor", the Corpse Grinders are consistently far more effective in their tactics, and the Iron Fists' practicality is limited by their rigidity and conformism to established tactics.


Their abilities are about consistent damage dealing and having strength in numbers.


VIII - Night Children

These guys are basically the product of the Valedictors, the Corpse Grinders, and the Rout all mixed into one. The end result is a chapter that, while horrific, is also quite logical and skilled, and knows actual tactics. They get along surprisingly well with the other chapters despite being devious and monstrous in combat. The Valedictors are executioners, the Corpse Grinders are siegebreakers, the Rout are barbarians, and the Night Children are... somewhere in between. Mainly infiltrators and assassins. But also quite flexible, knowing when to use troops, and when to jump to orbital bombardment. The Corpse Grinders like them more than they like the Iron fists, that's for sure. They get a cookie.


Their abilities are mostly based on debuffing the enemy through fear and moving around the battlefield unimpeded.


IX - Corpse Eaters

These guys are the Navy SEALS or Green Berets of the space marine world, but en masse. They will survive in damn near every climate, toxins and radiation be damned. They are relentless troops, and they are merciless in the fulfillment of their mission. Also they eat each other. Yeah. They uhhh... They don't have a problem eating their fallen brothers. They'll eat their brains. Definitely a well adjusted and moral legion. And they eat a lot, because they recruit far more than most chapters can. Their gene seed is extraordinarily responsive to hosts. So if one of their own falls, they'll feast and replace quickly. The only reason they aren't a massive chapter is because they run through recruits very fast. Needless to say they aren't the most popular among the other chapters, especially not the Corpse Grinders, who think the Corpse Grinders stole their name. This is except for the Flesh Eaters, and Flesh Tearers, and Blood Drinkers; They get along well with those guys.


Their abilities center around tanking damage and giving it right back out, and they gain added buffs when they are taking losses. 


X - Stormwalkers

They focus on heavy bombardment of the enemy. That's their focus. They never specialized more than that. In fact, as a chapter they struggle to find an identity, and while they are rather moody, they also have had a lot of time to master heavy weapons, and in terms of damage, they take the lead. They don't mean to sound conceited, to those who just don't know them. It's a sad life they've been leading, but only because it can get lonely at the top.


As expected, their abilities empower their ability to use heavy weapons to a masterful degree.


XI - Rainbow Warriors

Despite the hippy-dippy name, the Rainbow Warriors are somewhat freakish. They have an unmatched obsession with weapons of mass destruction and relish in the chance to use them, such that they have perpetrated more Exterminatii than any other chapter.


They are good with high damage weapons and swift high damage strikes.


XII - Warhounds

They were originally recruited from violent criminals, much like the Night Children, but their gene seed allowed them to gain a much stronger sense of empathy than most, with their librarians being especially strong. They have a strong sense of honor and loyalty above all else, and they won't take a life unless they have to. But don't mistake their mercy for weakness. When given the order, they can and will rip and tear everything until it is done. Their rage remains, it is merely tempered by compassion.


They are good at duelling and melee. 


XIII - Warborn

The orphans of the unification wars, all they know is the battlefield. They are in many ways highly structured and precise, but at the same time, they have a rebellion streak to them. Good soldiers follow orders but orders can be... reinterpreted. The Warborn are a very cycnical bunch, but they are crafty, creative, and cunning. They aren't popular, they aren't exemplary, what they are is effective.


They will generally work well with one another, lots of synergy abilities.


XIV - Dusk Raiders

They are as tough as the Corpse Eaters and also not cannibalistic, mainly as a virtue of the fact that they don't have a freakishly mutated gene seed like the Corpse Eaters that allows them to generate new troops quickly, they instead focus on precision. They are the actual Navy SEALs, they are built Ford tough. They do the really hard work, working in inhospitable climates and against impossible odds. They fight in the darkness so the Imperium can live in the light. 


They will endure a lot of punishment and they'll take out high priority targets with ease.


XV - Thousand Sons

They were once a small chapter whose gene seed was very unreliable, and most recruits would mutate into horrific flesh monsters that needed to be put down. Even in the great crusade, their height was barely over a thousand. The recruits that survived the process of becoming a marine were rather average, and thus, the Sons were a relatively average chapter. Until something changed in them. Something changed in their minds. The Sons a chapter of psykers. Every single one of them (that doesn't become a flesh monster) has a font of potent psychic power in their skull. As a chapter, they are elites, their role is very special in the Imperium because of their abilities. They are often sent to deal with psychic threats to the Imperium such as the Enslavers, and the Khrave. As they are unique able to match these enemies at their own game.


Their abilities are all psychic in nature.


XVI -  The Luna Wolves

They are vicious, tactically adept, and laconically efficient. They were one of the leading chapters in the Great Crusade. After subduing the Gene Cults of Luna, they have established a Lunar Base. They are very stringently when it comes to the purity of their Gene Seed.


Their abilities are all about quickness and simple effectiveness.


XVII - Imperial Heralds

They are messengers by trade. They can be very violent messengers. They enforce the Imperial Truth, and will burn all things that are heretical to that truth. They are pretty normal outside of being psychotically obsessed with rules and procedures. They occasionally butt heads with the Warborn, as while they are both very structured chapters, more so than any of the other chapters, but compared to one another, the Heralds are sticklers for the rules, and the Warborn are more flexible.


Their abilities are all about taking out priority targets, but they can also deal mass damage.


XVIII - Dragon Warriors

These guys are suicidally determined to succeed. And they will sacrifice themselves, in large numbers. They are among the chapters that rank lower in terms of population because of it. They are actually surprisingly clever, and they'll fulfill any mission given no matter how complex. It's just that they know exactly when they should stop and willfully ignore it.


Their abilities are all about buffing their allies in life and in death, and making heroic last stands.


XIX - Pale Nomads

These guys are close friends of the Star Hunters, Night Children, and Dusk Raiders, they do secret-y stuff. Their specialty is guerilla warfare, sabotage, bleeding their enemies dry. They will bring a formidable enemy to their knees. They know how to turn the tide of a war better than most any other chapter.


Their abilities are those of movement and debuffs.


XX - Ghost Legion

The Ghost Legion does not exist. They are information gatherers of a different variety than the Star Hunters, and infiltrators of a different variety than the Night Children or Pale Nomads. They work on the inside, and they have eyes and ears everywhere.


Their abilities are too complicated to describe here.




Next on Chapters: The Black Templar, Blood Drinkers, Blood Ravens, Flesh Eaters, Flesh Tearers, Silver Skulls, Soul Drinkers, Marines Malevolent, as well as the Astral Claws, Mantis Warriors, and more...

Edited by 40k_fan
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Color Schemes Guide:

I - Black, with white and red. Winged sword.

II - Green with white and gold. Roman numerals of the company.

III - Purple with gold. Imperial Aquila.

IV - Grey with black and brass. Symbol unknown (Bird of prey?)

IV (Alternate) - Bone-white w/ black skull ("Bone Grinders")

V - Camouflage (usually black and white camo.)

VI - Dark grey and pale orange or maybe gold. Storm symbol.

VII - Light grey with yellow. Crossed lightning bolts.

VIII - Unknown. (Blue with red? Skull?)

IX - Pale grey. Roman Numeral. (kinda boring, you could probably go with classic red instead)

X - Unknown. (???)

XI - Blue with white and rainbow. Winged lightning bolt.

XII - Blue-grey and white with bronze. Hound.

XIII - Black and blue with grey. Symbol unknown. (Crossed swords?)

XIV - Dark grey with blood red and brass.  Half sun, half skull.

XV - Pearl with orange and blue. Roman numeral of 1000 (M).

XVI - White with black. Wolf head and moon.

XVII - Black. Book and flame.

XVIII - Dark green with yellow and black. Ram's head. (???)

XIX - Dark grey and black. Roman numerals of the chapter (XIX).

XX - Indigo-purple and green with silver. Letter Alpha.

Edited by 40k_fan
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Xenos of the Galaxy that will get rules and stats in this game so help me god


Slaugth - Very tough, attacks ignore conventional durability, drone usage.

Units: Destructors, Intendents, Pricipals, Harvest Vassal, Warrior Vassal.


Mitu - Anti-psychic preference.


Arachen - Surprise attacks, mobility

Grandfathers, Skittlerlings, Oestromystics. 


Megarachnids - Pure murder monster.


Rak'Gol - Horde monsters, lots of melee, mass gunfire, modularity and modification.

Units: Marauders, Clutchmasters, Broodmasters, Techno-Shamans


Nephilim - Just plain big, very tanky. But also weird psychic buffs and debuffs.

Units: Green, Blue, and Grey varieties.


Yu'Vath - TBD (Research Ongoing)


Q'Orl - Hive tactic


Hrud - Stealth and sniping


Khrave - unnatural resistance, vampirism

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Short Stories from the Unending Crusade Setting: "One in Six."


"HOLD THE LINE GUARDSMEN!" barks a Commissar over all voxcaster frequencies. "THE DAY THAT CYGNUS ECKS-EYE-ECKS FALLS, YOU WILL FALL WITH IT!"


On the frontline, the lizards cut through soldiers like a hot chainblade through lard. Their acrid chemical miasma of their oils slowly sweeps across the battlefield, entrenching itself in the senses of the Militarum's troops for life.


Caelan Qasir hides behind the rubbled walls of the city, miles away from the frontline, yes, but his hands still tightly grip his standard-issued lasgun nonetheless.


Screeching, skittering. The clicking claws of the Rak'Gol might be far away, but he can't help but hear those sharp, harsh noises, echoing around his skull.


Just two days ago, he didn't know where 'Cygnus XIX' was, and he still doesn't know what purpose it serves, nor why its defense is paramount. He'd never heard of the planet. Not surprising, this place is no paradise world; While it might have been a prosperous up-and-coming colony a few decades ago, It was already half-rubble when the Imperial voidship made landfall.


The clime of this world is abysmal. At least the region that his division was deployed. It's cold and wet, and the pollen from the trees make his nose run. The people here seem genuinely miserable. Apparently this place only gets three weeks out of the year when the sky is clear. No wonder they are so pallid and weary-looking. Though the ongoing xenothreat probably isn't helping much.


He knew of the Rak'Gol long before meeting them: Scavengers by nature, predators by opportunity. And bloody disgusting to look at. For all of this tour, of which three days have thus far elapsed, he's only ran into one of those things. It was on the second day that his team came across it. Caelan never could say for sure whether it was male or female, but then again, he couldn't be sure whether Rak'Gol even had males or females, and even if they did, he wasn't versed in enough in Xenobiology to know, as is expected of any upstanding citizen of the Imperium. The beast was wounded, missing an arm and limping on three legs. But still, it was beyond the frontline, where it did not belong. And even so. Even so, missing the use of a solid third of its limbs and about half its blood supply, his squad is slashed in two, and hardly figuratively either.


It reacted the searing beam of their lasguns against its scaly hide like a Jungler would to a small biting insect: Nothing. It's jagged claws raked through the flak jackets of Sakern and Ciess, and its tail spike pierced through Ryn's left knee. Its stubgun rattling off shots deep into Jorja's stomach, impaling Natan in the arms with its jagged bullets.


They thought themselves dead. But sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you get a helping hand. And it seems they've really hit the jackpot this time.


Even in the God Emperor's name, Marines will always be real unnerving, genetic freaks. But they're the Imperium's freaks, which is all that matters when you have a xeno lizard-bug running rampant only a few inches from your face.


The marine pulls out a pistol covered in glowing blue coils. In short work, the marine has shot the xeno through the sternum, leaving a smoldering hole. The beast screeches in pain, or perhaps anger, before charging with it's metallic claws, aiming to make yet another kill. The marine blasts its weak knee out from under it, leaving it crawling on its arms. The marine blasts about half it's face off, and that only makes it more angrier. The marine stands, aiming down, straight into the center of its inhuman skull. He pulls the trigger, and everything goes bright white.


When the initial flash wears off, and Caelan's ears are left ringing, he's met with a gristly scene. The marine clutches his arm, his hand blown off at the wrist, leaving a smoldering stump and the simmering slag that was once his gauntlet. The xeno monster takes its chance and rips out the marine's throat with its claws. With a deep retching sound, the marine collapses.


A symbol of no hope. / A symbol of no fear.


Caelan runs. If Ryn can keep up, unknown to Caelan, but if not, at least he'll be there to mourn his fellow guardsman. For its part, the Rak'Gol doesn't bother to take up chase. It's won what it came for. It peels the marine's armor, hunting for the precious organs inside for which to carve out and incorporate. The image of its toothy maw salivating in anticipation, its sawblade claws dismantling those armored plates, Caelan can bear to see no more. The last he hopes to see.


Caelan hasn't slept. It's been nearly thirty six Terran hours, and Caelan hasn't slept. He's not safe. Not here. Nobody is safe. If Ryn is out there somewhere, he can only hope they'll cross paths again. Natan followed him, but after a few turns through these crumbing, samey alleyways, they must have inadvertently split. Otherwise, he's alone.

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"How do I actually play 'Crusade Unending?" Part 1: Armor


Foreward: It's pretty much just Horus Heresy and 7th Edition mashed together with more stuff on top. This concludes the foreward.


Note, power armor of this timeline isn't very advanced, even 10000 years since the start of the Great Crusade. Most marines are fielded with the mass produced MkV "Corvus" armor, or the commonplace MkII "Crusade" armor. There is no armor more advanced than the MkV Maximus armor due to stagnation, and everything since is worse.


By the way, don't think too much about why the it's called Corvus armor even though there's no Corvus Corax to name it after. My handwaved reason is that it just looks like a crow. I mean, what else are you going to call it? Aquila armor, because it looks like an Eagle? Actually that makes more sense, I like that better.




Crusade Armor

+3 Armour Save

Iron Armor

+2 Armour Save, Bulky

Maximus Armor

+2 Armour Save

Corvus Aquila Armor

+3 Armour Save


You can take any applicable armor, but Thunder armor and Iron armor cost 10 points per unit, and Maximus armor costs 20, because it's effectively artificer armor to these Marines.


Let's move onto Terminator Armor. You have your Cataphractii and Tartaros. That's it though. And also Saturnine. There's no Indomitus, and also not Arkonak for the one Arkonak fan out there, and especially not the Nocturne, which has a lot more fans, most of which call it Saturnine, but it isn't. Anyway, they aren't invented yet, and they won't be. So cry about it.


Cataphractii Terminator Armor

+2 Armour Save, +4 Invulnerable Save, Bulky, Deep Strike, Slow and Purposeful

Tartaros Terminator Armor

+2 Armour Save, +5 Invulnerable Save, Bulky, Deep Strike, Relentless

Saturnine Terminator Armor

You can't equip this, I haven't made up any rules for it yet. There probably won't ever be any unless GW releases some sort of reference image for me to make stats based on.

Neither Cataphractii nor Tartaros cost more than each other, they are both interchangeable price wise.


For simplicity's sake, I'll enshrine it that keeping units consistent in what armor they wear, in general, is better for running a game.

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