Having bought my box of Finecast Sternguard before they go out of production (just watch, now I've bought them the rumours of plastic Sternguard will turn out to be utter lies) I have to decide what to paint them as. Enter a friend of mine who suggested that my inability to finish a Space Marine army might be because I always try to theme it around an existing Chapter rather than creating my own. He's got a point, the only Space Marine army I've ever finished were my own Guardian Pilgrims back when I first got into the hobby.
Which brings us to Rites Of Battle, a sourcebook for the Deathwatch RPG that includes rules for creating your own Chapter. These rules provide you with information on homeworlds, gene-seed, mutations and all sorts of other things. You can order from the menu or use a D10 to randomly generate attributes.
Just for fun, let's see what random results I can get through dice rolling:
Trials of the Aspirant: This has no chart to roll on so I'm going to decide my chapter uses the Exposure Trial to test its Aspirants. What sort of exposure will have to wait until I have more details of their homeworld, which I'll roll through later.
Why was the Chapter founded? I rolled a 7: Standing Force. The chapter was created to operate within a specific region of the galaxy.
When was the Chapter founded? Rolled 38, placing the Founding in the 36th Millennium of the Ur-Council of Nova-Terra, also known as the Nova Terra Interregnum according to the 40k rulebook: a period of nine centuries in which the breakaway Ur-Council denounces the High Lords of Terra and claims rule of the Segmentum Pacificus for itself. A time of ongoing civil war. Well, that gives me a pretty good idea of what was going on to cause this particular Founding.
Progenitor: 90: White Scars. Yes! Fantastic result! I bloody love the White Scars!
Gene-Stock Purity: 4: Pure. The Chapter is directly descended from their progenitor Legion rather than from one of the later successors.
Codex Demeanour: 2: Cleanse And Purify. This basically characterises the chapter as zealots who want not only to kill their enemies but wipe them from history, destroy all their works and any mark they ever left on the galaxy. It also gives them a predilection for flamers, meltaguns and plasma weapons: the sort of weapons that burn away any taint the enemy might leave (as well as any trace of the enemy themselves).
(Since I rolled for Pure gene-seed and the Chance Of Gene-Seed Mutation chart allows only a 20% chance for mutation in White Scars successors I've chosen to skip the Gene-Seed Deficiencies and Missing Or Inactive Zygotes tables.)
Chapter Flaw: 6: Faith In Suspicion. Basically the Chapter is suspicious of other Imperial agencies with one such institution (chosen by the player) to be held in particular contempt. Since the Codex Demeanour entry for Cleanse And Purify singles out the Ordo Xenos for studying alien tech instead of destroying it that seems a good place to start.
Chapter Characteristic Modifiers: Okay, this is an RPG stat modifier and so not terribly relevant to me. I was hoping to get something characterful to build the Chapter's background but instead rolled a very unhelpful 05 on the D100 which reads: “The Chapter steadfastly practices daily Bolter drills combined with prayers to the God-Emperor. Space Marines of this Chapter gain +5 Ballistic Skill and +5 Willpower.”
Which is just plain dull and something you would imagine every Space Marine Chapter does.
Figures Of Legend: I rolled 10 which meant the revered figure was a Battle-Brother seconded from the White Scars. I rolled again to find out what rank he was and got 27 which pegged him as a Chapter-Master. Makes sense therefore that this would be their first Chapter Master, the Khan who led them at their Founding.
For his legendary deed I rolled 26 in which he was a stalwart enemy of Chaos and slew a Daemon Prince.
Chapter Homeworld Category: 68: Medieval World. Hmm, pretty typical Space Marine recruiting world, really.
Chapter Home World Terrain: 60: Ice. Now that's interesting: a medieval world covered in ice.
Relationship to Home World: 3: Stewardship. The planet is ruled by the human inhabitants with the Space Marines only directing broad policy.
Successor Chapter Organisation: 8: Divergent Chapter, which is convenient since making them a staunchly Codex Chapter might rob me of the fun of making them a White Scars successor.
Combat Doctrine: 4: Stealth. Well that complicates things. Stealth is not the main attribute of a White Scars chapter so that's going to take some working to fit in.
(I'm skipping the Solo and Squad Mode tables, as they're very focussed on RPG rules I won't be using, and the Speciality Restrictions Table, since I don't want to limit what models I can buy for this project.)
Special Equipment: 90: Preferred Fighting Style. In brief this means the chapter has a preferred weapons load out, a signature weapon for its characters or a common weapon in use in all or most of its squads.
Chapter Beliefs: 56: The Emperor Above All. They centre their worship on the Emperor Himself rather than their Primarch or heroes of legend.
Current Status: 2: Under Strength.
Chapter Friends: 22: One Other Adeptus Astartes Chapter of my choice.
Chapter Enemies: 64: Chaos Space Marines: a warband, Chapter or Traitor Legion of my own choosing.
(I'm going to come up with my own name for the Chapter because what I rolled on these two tables was “Black Valedictors” which sounds bloody awful).
Now I just have to forge this into some sort of coherent narrative and see if it inspires me to coming up with a paint scheme and applying it to those Sternguard.