Monday 6 July 2015

On creating your own Space Marine chapter

You know, as much as I don't like them popping up in Fantasy, there's nothing wrong with Space Marines. They're a great idea and creating your own chapter is one of the great pleasures of this hobby.

Over the course of the group's recent campaign I've been rediscovering my joy in writing background and inventing characters, in having them be defined by their victories and failures on the tabletop as much as my pre-determined ideas. Right now my Orks' primary Warlord has been knocked out for a couple of games and his second-in-command has been having great success in his absence. I smell a power struggle coming (as well as lots of barbecued Tau following my most recent game).

Anyway, I really fancy revisiting one of my own brand Space Marine chapters, but with a twist.

Once upon a time when I was nineteen I had an army called The Blades of Sanguinius. They were Chaos Space Marines dedicated to Tzeentch, the daemonic Changer of Ways who had cured them of their Flaw in exchange for service eternal. They were, essentially, little more than muscle employed by my Lost And The Damned when I had a particularly tough opponent. In time I got better at the game and moved on from needing the crutch of Astartes to prop up my LatD army.

So, the Blades of Sanguinius died, cut down by forces still loyal to the God-Emperor of Mankind.

Tzeentch, however, is ever-ready to snatch a continuation from the jaws of an ending. The contracts of Tzeentch are binding in both directions: the future and the past.

It is now a decade later and centuries since the Blades fell to Chaos. Across the Imperium records of their victories, their honours and their very existence have been incinerated to hide the terrible truth from the citizenry that Man's greatest champions can fall from the Emperor's Grace.

In the present of the group's 40k timeline, 012.M42, a fleet will emerge from the Warp that set out centuries ago to fight a war long over. The Blades of Sanguinius, true and loyal scions of the Ninth Legion, have returned. Cut off from their homeworld, set adrift in a galaxy that has alternately forgotten them or pledged to exterminate them, the time has come to explore who they were before I invented them.

It's timey-wimey but this is Tzeentch we're talking about (and, hey, I can experiment with Daemonology if I feel like it. Love me some Tzeentch Daemons).

In truth, I have to admit I was no real fan of the Blood Angels background when I first came up with these guys. I just picked that particular lineage because it gave me a simple reason for the chapter to fall. Since then I've really fallen for the whole angle of noble warriors cursed by a thirst for blood and an unquenchable rage that will inevitably consume them. Getting a chance to explore those concepts, which I criminally ignored in my youth, will be really fun especially as it'll almost be like creating the chapter as new. I didn't really give much thought to who they were before they became Chaos Marines.

Now I get to find out. First step: write an Index Astartes article for them. I loved the old Index Astartes books, they were my introduction to the hobby and the artwork for the Black Templars article was what convinced me I wanted to collect an army. Once that's done I'll see about getting some models together. 

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