The dense and incredible inhospitable planet now known as Kolrad was an incubator for only the hardiest and most stubborn forms of life. What little vegetation managed to survive on the deeply irradiated and sun-scoured surface was intensely poisonous, while the scarce supplies of water were unfailingly contagious stews of brackish sludge that had been contaminated with untold bacteria and parasites. Wherever the screaming winds carved a hollow, acidic lichens and chemovoric flora cluster about the oases that shelter in the lees that hide them from the unbearable sun, all of which provide convenient cover for the voracious and highly adapted fauna. Categorical study of life on the surface would be nigh impossible, thanks in no small part to generational mutation and swift die-offs, to say nothing of the microclimates that sprang up around each of the bodies of water. The entire environment of the planet was a lethal game of one-upsmanship that often brought death.
When they arrived, the Chapter found no signs of human inhabitation whatsoever, but expeditions below the surface soon uncovered a small but thriving population of exiles. The vast majority of the underworlders were a misshapen, barbaric parody of Imperial society, where the strongest of the tribes would protect those who slaved within their caverns against the predation of other tribes while thinking nothing of casual brutality and atrocities against those same chattels. Many of them would risk journeys to the surface to slay or break beasts for their own use, though the peoples who consumed surface-creature flesh brought down below shared in the corruption. By contrast, the true Kolradi themselves were remarkably free of mutation or heresy, merely backwards by Imperial standards.
Alone amongst these apostate, immoral tribes, the Kolradi practiced a primitive feudalism that granted the weaker amongst their number far more humane treatment than their counterparts. They were obviously the true descendents of the lost scholar-monks who had come to the planet for isolation and peace, but who had found instead the embodiment of marrying their philosophy to the warrior spirit of the Emperor. Rallying the soldiers of the tribe and leading them in a crusade to cleanse the nearest regions of the warren-like underground, the Chapter had cemented their image as wrathful angels that brought fire and death to the debased cultists.
Soon after, the Crusade took on a life of its own as the inspired populace adapted tactics shown by their betters and adapted them to their much more primitive weaponry, fighting valiantly even through the swarming death that was the later days of the unexplained curse. Though no contact was attempted with the Kolradi or the missionaries before the final days of their existence, the Black Friars are content in believing that they would have approved of the assumption that all Imperial citizens should be prepared to die at any time. That they would perish in the flames of the Emperor's most holy Light is merely a fitting coda to a life of warring in His name, ensuring their flesh could not be debased after their passing.
Now a lifeless and nearly airless dead world, Kolrad's sepulchral silence and extreme distance from the Imperium's core suits its masters perfectly. They have no need of food nor any concern for the radiation of its star. Only its blinding, eternal reminder of His watchful gaze seems to matter to them at all.
As a consequence of their lack of vehicular support, the Black Friars fight almost completely on foot and rely on Devestators extensively to provide the heavier punch that other Chapters might gain from tanks. The Chapter does maintain a large number of jump packs and their formative experience is in close-range combat under confined conditions, leading them to prefer assaulting enemy strongpoints and breaching defenses rather than standing off at range. In the time since the Theosis, the Friars have cultivated methods of hunting armored vehicles that allow them to make use of their unusual nature and the focus of their training, engaging at extremely close range while Brothers provide misidirection and distraction.
Edited by Apothete, 14 July 2009 - 08:15 PM.