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Grave Wardens: First Draft


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#1
Firepower

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Origins
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The Grave Wardens were a chapter of the 18th Founding with gene stock drawn from tithes collected from the Black Templars. For all intents and purposes, the Black Templars placed in charge of the infant chapter considered their charges worthy and formidable additions to the Imperium’s forces, noting in particular a relentlessly violent streak the young marines seemed to manifest exponentially through prolonged combat. The exact reason why a chapter as puritanical as the Black Templars would not regard this as a dangerous mutation is hotly debated. Some accuse the Templars of seeing the genetic idiosyncrasy as a boon on the battlefield and particularly akin to their most commonly employed tactics, while others say the Templars were merely incapable of telling apart the perpetual battle rage from the chapter’s deeply instilled righteous fury on the battlefield. Regardless, once satisfied with their charges’ performance after several crusades, they were granted autonomy and immediately began their own crusade.

It was not long after gaining their independence that the young chapter’s crusade took them to a system known as Pergatum. The system was not uncharted by any means, but several thousand years of tumultuous warp storms appearing on and off had left the worlds within largely isolated from the Imperium. Determined to bring them back into the fold, the marines made planetfall on the world showing the largest population density, a once prosperous industrial world named Galora.

Almost immediately after landing, the marines found themselves under attack by roaming war bands of mutants and madmen wielding scavenged, poorly maintained weapons that upon closer inspection were believed by the techmarines to date far back into the Imperium’s history, possibly to the Great Crusade itself. The attackers were quickly dispatched by sword and axe, only to be followed moments later by yet another band drawn by the sounds of battle. And so it continued, one wave after another of the mindless and the mad threw themselves unto the blades of the marines as they fought their way into what remained of the planet’s singular, dilapidated metropolis. The battle fervor that had been observed as a boon by their parent chapter grew gradually into wild rage with each brother that fell to the ramshackle weaponry and mutated claws of their assailants.

Their rage was at its zenith when an unexpected attack suddenly blasted apart the brothers at the head of the advance. A vast, towering structure ahead of the marines had opened fire with an automated defense system, adding lascannon and missile salvos to the already taxing threats faced by the marines. Furious, the remaining marines sprinted towards the massive, baroque doors of the structure and tore it down with meltabombs and power fists. Once inside, they took to slaying anything that moved, lost to rage and grief from their endeavor. In their fury they didn’t notice the important changes around them; the way in which the automated defense system switched to targeting their foes as they tried to pursue into the structure from behind, the way in which the people inside rarely raised weapons to defend themselves, nor the intricate and lovingly maintained artwork around them that was now blasted apart by stray bolt shells and rent by stray chainsword swings. It was only when the central chamber had been cleared and the marines’ surviving quarry escaped deeper into the complex that the marines found a moment of piece to gather themselves. The survivors fleeing through the catacombs, already terrified, froze in fear at the roars of pure anguish that echoed down the halls from behind them.

The marines fell to their knees in the grand chamber of the Fortress Mausoleum, looking about themselves in horror at the incredible atrocity they had just committed. The structure was nothing less than a grand memorial to the marines, millennia hence, that had once claimed the world in the name of the Emperor. The bodies laying in pieces around them, men, women, and children, were draped in scriptures and symbols of the Imperium. Every statue, fresco, and mural they could see had clearly been lovingly maintained, only to be blasted apart by the recent battle. Worst of all, on the central altar, stood a sarcophagus not unlike that of a dreadnought, though worked directly into the wall with a vast array of mechanisms, a single hole smoldering from a stray shot in its center that oozed the life sustaining preservatives from within. In a world filled with madmen and monstrosities, the marines had found a single, surviving flicker of the Emperor’s light: and nearly snuffed it out in their rage.

The crestfallen marines gathered themselves and set about looking for the survivors of their assault. Weapons hanging at their sides, they approached the terrified survivors and urged them from their holes, gathering up those they could find back into the central chamber still fresh with the coppery scent of their families’ blood. From what the marines could gather, the inhabitants were the only thing even resembling loyalist Imperials on the planet, with some rudimentary understanding of the technology that kept their bastion running. The interred marine, now dying in his damaged sarcophagus, served both as a living techno-management system for the Mausoleum and a holy guide to the humans that depended on him for their survival.

As an amends to their folly, the marines took up the fallen bodies around them and sought out one of the complex’s many burial chambers, entombing them alongside the long dead marines as a testament to their bravery and courage over the long years since. The eldest of the marines, Marshal Vambrent, volunteered to take the place of the dying interred marine that allowed the fortress to function for so long, and even focused the fortress’ fire upon the marines’ pursuers as they poured into the building. Finally, the marines took upon themselves the mantle of Grave Wardens, vowing to live up to the example of the brave people that tended to the holy sight. When the Wardens pushed out from the Fortress Mausoleum to cleanse what remained of the genetic filth beyond, the survivors fought alongside them, purging the monsters that haunted their existence since before their grandparents were children. After the world was cleansed, those who wished it were taken into the chapter as aspirants, forgoing the usual trials due to their courage and commitment in taking back their homeworld. Overtime, Galora’s population has grown to flourish again, and now sits as the central pillar in the space conquered by the Wardens’ unending crusades.


Homeworld
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Galora is the closest thing to a homeworld the Grave Wardens have, but as a crusading chapter it does not serve the same purpose as those of codex chapters. Galora is home to the largest and most ancient Fortress Mausoleum [dubbed the Bastion of the Glorious Fallen] under the Warden’s protection, and as such serves as a central hub for the constantly growing sector of space being brought into the Emperor’s graces. It is also boasts the largest population by a sizable margin amongst the Mausoleum worlds, meaning it provides the largest percentage of recruits.

Geographically, Galora is a world in recovery. The environment suffered badly under its former role as an industrial world in the Imperium’s early history, leaving much of the worlds water supply tainted with chemicals and radiation. When Galora was severed from the Imperium, the industrial sectors quickly fell into anarchy, and very few were left operational for any length of time. Over the thousands of years that followed, the environmental damage subsided considerably, but still remains a danger in some regions. Since the return of the Emperor’s light, the world has grown as a site of pilgrimage, with cathedrals, monastaries, and monuments sprouting from the ashes of the decaying factories that dot the ash gray landscape. Originally, food could only be grown in artificial facilities, and only those brave or desperate enough to hunt the mutated beasts of the ash-wastes could look forward to a full belly in their lifetime. Since the Wardens’ arrival, several large and relatively clean tracts of land were devoted to agriculture and Grox livestock, which have allowed the population to grow exponentially over the centuries.


Combat Doctrine


The Grave Wardens’ way of war is almost fully in line with their parent chapter. They prefer to meet their foes in hand to hand combat and rarely employ serious long ranged firepower for anything other than cracking open a formidable fortification or crippling enemy armored columns. The most common tactics employed are the trademark Drop Pod assaults of the Adeptus Astartes into the heart of the enemy lines, heavy armored spearheads with mid to close range firepower, and head on rushes of massed infantry flanked by bikers and Landspeeders.

If there is any significant diversion in tactics from the Wardens’ parent chapter, it is their emphasis on speed and efficiency. The Wardens have grown to understand their inherent genetic flaw as something that grows more dangerous with prolonged combat. Although they learn to control and harness this rage as they gain experience as marines, even the eldest Wardens risk losing their control if left in combat indefinitely. As such, they generally embrace tactics that end the given threat as quickly as possible, allowing them to temporarily phase out marines left in combat for too long when they move to mop up any remaining enemies later. If such tactics are not an option, it is not unknown for the Wardens to attack enemy positions far outside the range of allied assistance, preferring to face far greater risk in battle to ensure that they do not bring harm to their allies as the battle rage inexorably grows into fervor.

Once a world is declared cleansed and victory is attained, a small contingent of Techmarines and the chapter’s architect serfs stay behind to oversee the construction of a new Fortress Mausoleum. Normally, these buildings are erected on battlefields where the Wardens took the majority of their casualties during the campaign, however sometimes they are located purely to exploit possible forging resources or a more tactical position. On those rare occasions when the world is no longer habitable after a war’s end, the Wardens have been known to construct space stations in the planet’s orbit that fulfill roughly the same purpose as a normal Mausoleum.


Organization


The Grave Wardens’ organization has, over time, grown to stand apart from its parent chapter. As the Wardens’ protectorate spread outward from Galora, they recognized a growing lack in central authority and organization throughout the many individual crusades. Worse still, as crusades grew further apart, it became harder to assemble any formidable defense network in the Warp Storm prone region of space under their jurisdiction. Eventually, seven Mausoleum worlds, including Galora, were made into central points of authority for the chapter, based on size, tactical significance, and resources. The Bastion of the Glorious Fallen remains the supreme authority in this organization, though all seven worlds have control over a full fleet of the Wardens equivalent to a normal crusade. Together, these seven worlds are regarded as the Grand Chambers, while all others were assigned the title Lesser Chambers. The Lesser Chambers do not serve as a central hub for any one of the seven crusades, but are often employed as resupply stations, and can themselves petition the Grand Chambers for new crusades. The Lesser Chambers also contribute to the considerable amount of raw recruits brought into the Grave Wardens, but only the Grand Chambers have the technical and medicinal resources to put aspirants through the regiment that transforms them into true space marines.

The Grave Wardens themselves run each Mausoleum alongside civilians of the local population. Every Mausoleum has a trinity of interred marines which will manage the station’s defense systems, particularly important prayer services, and assessment of new recruits in alternation every century, ensuring their peace and longevity for as long as possible. A handful of Chaplains and high ranking Wardens deal with the rest of the Wardens’ duties on each world, ensuring peace and prosperity as well as proper reverence for the Emperor among the population. Civilians chosen most often for valor in combat or notable piety by the Wardens fulfill the role of governor, managing the world’s political affairs and assignment of resources. Together, the interred, marines, and civilians are known as a Curator Assembly, and to date have worked well enough as to never have a single case of open revolt among a world under the Grave Warden’s protection. Quite to the opposite, on those rare occasions when an enemy force has assaulted a Mausoleum world, the populations have tended to fight with all the ferocity and rage of their protectors. This is hardly much of a surprise though, as most civilians on the Mausoleum worlds spend at least some portion of their lives as Caretakers, mimicking the example of the Galora survivors by tending to every nook and cranny of the vast structures with worshipping care and learning the lore of the Wardens’ long history.

The crusades themselves are organized not unlike the Black Templars, though instead of households marines often tend to congregate into groups particular to their Chamber of origin. They have no scout company, preferring instead to keep new marines under close watch as to better guide and train them in harnessing the dangerous fury instilled by their gene seed. It is also every full Battle Brother’s grim duty, should the need arise, to execute an aspiring young marine should he lose himself and turn against anyone but the enemy: as central as it was to the chapter’s structure, the Shame of Galora will not be repeated. At the head of each crusade is a small group functioning as the Wardens’ First Company, trained in using Tactical Dreadnaught Armor and carrying the honorific title of Soul Shepherds.


Beliefs


Considering their history, the Wardens are an unusually open chapter as far as most Adeptus AStartes go. They make no effort to cover or conceal the Shame of Galora which shaped the chapter to its current form. Nor do they go through any great lengths to conceal their history: in fact, that very topic is often a subject of contemplation and study amongst the civilian populations which congregate at the Wardens’ many Mausoleums. The reasoning for this behavior is rooted in the most central of the Wardens’ belief structure: even though they’re stronger, older, better armed, and often smarter than a normal human, they exist purely to serve their needs. The Wardens are a chapter of sacrifice, often interjecting themselves between enemy forces and tactically insignificant locations purely to ensure the protection of non-combatants within. The shame of Galora is an open wound that every Warden carries with a strange pride, as it taught them the ease with which one can slip into heresy and betrayal. That memory serves to remind them with every waking moment that while superior in almost every way to the humans they once were, purity and piety are measurable only in their deeds.

The other notable peculiarity of the Grave Wardens’ beliefs is their relationship to the dead. Marines dead for thousands of years were all the inspiration that humans needed in the blasted ash wastes of Galora to keep their faith true. It is that example that every Warden strives for. The courage and piety of the countless generations that survived in the Bastion of the Glorious Fallen are the model for the Wardens in life, but the legend and reputation that inspired those same generations is what each strives for in death. Every Warden dies proud, knowing that by his example others might walk a pure path, and that while any of their brothers live their example will not be forgotten. Those granted the honor of internment in a sarcophagus, be it in a Dreadnaught or a Mausoleum, are counted among the most blessed, for their lives were deemed exemplary to such an extent as to deny death itself, for a time.

Gene Seed


The Grave Wardens’ gene seed is derived from tithes acquired from the Black Templars. The seed has been flawed from the beginning, leading to heightened aggression and eventually rage under heavy stress and stimuli. However, the Wardens’ apothecaries believe the seed has continued to degenerate slowly but steadily over thousands of years, leading to a much higher attrition rate among new recruits. Those freshly implanted with the Wardens’ gene seed are prone to fits of rage with very little provocation, and as such are kept in isolated cells for a number of years learning the chapter’s lore and dogma between sparring sessions with Chaplains overseeing their development. During this probationary period, those with enough willpower to control themselves to some degree are eventually assigned to a Crusader squad for further training in live combat, while those incapable of overcoming their aggression are euthanized. The Wardens’ show these fallen neophytes the same burial respects as a fallen battle brother: each marine knows the rage within themselves all too well, and simply by undergoing the implantation procedure an individual has proven himself willing to sacrifice all for humanity’s survival. As a Warden ages, the rage becomes more familiar and even a useful tool on the battlefield, though they are ever watchful of themselves and their brothers for any sign of weakness.

Disturbingly, the Grave Wardens’ apothecaries have made no efforts to cure the genetic flaw. They do everything they can to slow the progressive mutation of the gene seed, but the whole chapter regards the flaw as an important source of spiritual and physical strength. Simply put, the constant threat of damnation and madness makes sure only the strongest are found among the Wardens’ ranks, while ensuring an important (but not entirely forgiving) sympathy for those they are sworn to protect.




So, that's what I have so far. In case you made it this far without figuring it out, that weird black mess in the skull's forehead on the Chapter Badge is a keyhole. I have no photoediting/MS art skills ;) . Still Haven't come up with a battlecry i like yet, but for some reason i feel "No rest for the wicked!" is appropriate in a twisted sort of way.

Thanks for all the help to get me this far, and thanks in anticipation of all the C&C yet to come!

Edited by Firepower, 05 January 2010 - 11:47 PM.

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#2
soddinnutter

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Would tone down the Exterminatus a little bit. The imperium has a fianite number of habitable worlds. Maybe they are honour bound to guard the place that they fell untill the emperor returns. these grave sites could also double as recruitment posts.

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#3
ChaplainMathreyn

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Ooooo... Yeah.... Instead of Fortress-Monastaries, like the Black templars build, your Marines can build Fortress-Mausoleums, instead?...

The Grave Wardens are reluctant to commit themselves to a battle in which there is no foreseeable conclusion (i.e. Armageddon) which has lead to a number of the Imperial brass and even fellow Space Marines to question their courage, and even their loyalty at times. Likewise, there is the possibility for past conflicts with other chapters over committing Exterminatus when the Wardens felt the battle was hopeless.


You don't KNOW right off the bat, if a battle is "hopeless"; Plus, it never is... If the Imperium Can afford to lose a planet, they'll grind away with the Imperial Guard, and they'll succeed or fail... If the Imperium Can't afford to lose a planet, they send the Marines to assist, slaughter and destroy in the Name of th eEmperor.

Right now, though, Imma going to go and make a dang sandwich... Be back later.
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#4
Lord Heremes

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i think a quick and easy way to explain there preference for close combat and they're need to keep watch over the recruits would be to make them have Blood angels geenseed. they could be more suceptible to the black rage as a recruit and so on the battle field they are watched by the older, more experienced and more controlled brothers who try and make sure the recruits dont run off willy nilly trying to kill everything.

that could also be the past lost, on a specifique battle field many brother marines fell to the black rage and got slaugtered by an overwhelming foe or something of the like.

#5
Firepower

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Ohhh i LIKE the Fortress Mausoleum idea...super cool! In that same vein, I would imagine the Wardens would have a strange relationship with dreadnoughts. Either they'd be regarded as abominations that didn't allow the marine the rest he deserved (meaning i couldn't take dreadnoughts in my lists- lame) or they'd basically be walking symbols of that very sacrifice. In effect, a Warden Dreadnought standing on a planet's surface would be the same in their minds as a fallen brother lying on it.

As for the Exterminatus, yeah, I can see what you mean. Not only is it excessive, but it would be a bit contradictory to annihilate the planet that had just become the grave sight for your brother marines. As far as the "hopeless battle" thing goes, I think hopeless was a bit too strong a word. The idea I had in mind was more like the Wardens would be reluctant to commit themselves to wars they couldn't decisively end in a relatively immediate time frame. Marines are the sort to drop in right in the heart of the enemy force and rip it to chunky bits, whereas wars like Armageddon are essentially quagmires that would eat up the resources of the chapter and leave them unable to fulfill their prerogative. As i recall, this sort of behavior is similar to the Silver Skulls who only commit to a fight if there are the necessary signs/portents/omens first.

On the geneseed, I'm a bit reluctant to make them Blood Angels successors simply to use the Black Rage as a plot filler, especially considering the problem is in watching the Neophytes and not the Initiates. That aside, the general idea is a sound one: some sort of flaw in the geneseed that naturally causes heightened aggression in the recipients, which takes careful honing and focus to keep in check. Also, it could explain the lack of Librarians without the Abhor the Witch sort of mentality the Templars have: the last thing you need when turning a walking warp beacon into a space marine is a genetic chip on his shoulder! Plus, it could further reinforce the caution when choosing a battle to engage in, as constant combat and frustration would make it harder and harder to control themselves.

This flaw could easily work into the Chapter's past shame too. Say, when the Chapter was still in its infancy and the flaw was not widely recognized, the Wardens went above and beyond during a war and slaughtered everything that came close to em, Imperials and non-combatants alike.

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#6
soddinnutter

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Could have it where common Bouts of uncontrolled violence are how all the innitiates start out. as the Marine gets older they start to develop a resistance to it.
0-50 years in the chapter: constant boundless desire for violence of the sort the World Eaters would be proud of.
50-100 years: in the chapter: bad tempered, overly aggressive and likes to kill things with bare hands but can function in normal society if prepared to make an effort.
100-150 years in chapter: still has a very strong preference for close combat when in battle. when between campains might nearly pass for normal.
150+ years in the chapter: could pass for normal if Marines were ever normal. still a remote chance of going bezerk in times of extreme stress.

Of cource this makes a very high attrition rate amoung the younger members of the chapter. but what the hell. its not like the Imperium is short of meat to grind. this could be the reason for no scouts either, can you see someone frothing at the mouth being particuely useful for anything stealthy.

Maybe the dreadnaughts could be the ones who run the Recruitment Mausoleums. Who better to judge the worth of the living than one who has passed through life and out the other side. pluss the Dreadnaughts will normaly be the most rational members of the Chapter, having cme to terms with their aggression many centuries ago.

Edited by soddinnutter, 27 December 2009 - 09:50 PM.

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#7
ChaplainMathreyn

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Don't combine your playing Lists with DIY fluff... The two almost never go together. You can Try to incorporate each, but it absolutely isn't necessary, and it seems like people who Do base their IAs off of their lists of super cool units and super cool tabletop models, suck because they lose the "core" of their IA...

And the idea of abominations beng Dreadnaughts would work... But always remember, you need a good Why (Which is usually why Tabletop lists and fluff don't go together... ). Dreadnaughts are already highly honored veterans... Maybe have them be abit shunned... For whatever reason. That'd be a nice twist.

Use a tribe/civilization/people burial customs as a guide, maybe? Just remember, Everything is almost feasible (No, bringing Horus back as a good guy, ISN'T one of them...), but you need to explain Why.
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#8
Firepower

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I see your point about combining army lists and fluff Mathreyn. Even so, with certain lists it's much easier than others: complicated, widely variable lists like the new space wolves are much harder to align with a whole new fluff than the current BA or BT lists, for example. I could just be a bit anal in truth, but I don't see any reason not to at least try to merge the two.

That said, I think you might have misunderstood what i meant by saying Dreadnoughts could be abominations. With the current fluff already in place, Dreadnoughts COULD be seen as either abhorrent or incredibly holy artifacts, with no real significant changes to the main concept of the Chapter. It just so happens that the holy artifact possibility is more in line with what I'd like to put on the field.

As for the reasoning behind the Wardens' obsession with burial, you are right- I do need to flesh out a real significant reason. Ideally, I hope to do this with a single, significant event in the chapter's history that shaped it to the force it is today (the BA and DA for example are both shaped entirely by a single, catastrophic event, but their lists and continuing fluff are still perfectly fluid).

Soddin, i really like where you're going with things. That little age range template is pretty much exactly what i had in mind, and the idea of Dreadnought Mausoleum guardians/recruiters is pretty solid. However, since Dreadnoughts are rare, i could see the Wardens instead using something similar but not war worthy- for instance, a life support sarcophagus of a brother who fell in battle to claim the world the Mausoleum is on, positioned at the center stage of the altar. As such, he could be revered as a bridge between the living and the fallen, a mentor to keep the world's inhabitants in the know of past events and sacrifices, etc. Taken to its furthest extent, that same fallen hero could be linked by his sarcophagus to the Mausoleum itself, giving him control of its automated defense systems, mechanical functions, and whatnot, making him as much a guardian as a holy pillar of the building.

As for the cataclysm that shaped the Chapter into what it is now, I have a loose idea. The Chapter descended upon a planet in its infancy and suffered horrendous losses- roughly half its fighting force. The aggression trait in the geneseed was yet to be fully realized, until a high ranking Librarian, stricken by the grief and rage of losing so many brothers, manifested the flaw in himself and via his psychic powers inadvertently transmitted it to his surrounding brethren (think Waaaagh! in reverse). Overcome, they moved forward to slaughter the enemy, but were left unable to differentiate between friend and foe, and tallied high casualties on both sides in their frenzy. As a result, they recognized their genetic flaw, as well as the vulnerability of Librarians with that same flaw, and shaped their chapter accordingly as they came to understand more of how it manifested. That same stain on their honor would turn the chapter into a crusading force, just as the Black Templars continue their crusade as penance/a proof of loyalty. Likewise, the loss of so many brother's for a single world ingrained in them the tenacity and determination they have today. That world would then have the largest of all Fortress Mausoleums, filled with nearly 500 fallen brothers whose sacrifice earned the world.

So far, it's admittedly full of holes, and doesn't fully explain the penchant for graves/burial practices. I dislike the idea of using a cultural remnant from the chapter's home world, as simply making one would open a whole new can of worms that isn't wholly necessary. I'd prefer to simply say that the Chapter, after being forced to bury over half their brothers, swore that any world in which their blood spills would be fought for just as hard to earn them rest. After all, how is a marine's soul to rest in peace when the ground above him is trod by traitors/orks/tyranids/whatever?

Thanks a ton for all the help so far, and I'm counting on more to help fully flesh out these up n' comers!

Edited by Firepower, 28 December 2009 - 04:20 AM.

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#9
Dark Apostle Thirst

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Don't combine your playing Lists with DIY fluff... The two almost never go together. You can Try to incorporate each, but it absolutely isn't necessary, and it seems like people who Do base their IAs off of their lists of super cool units and super cool tabletop models, suck because they lose the "core" of their IA...

I hope you don't mind if I sig that because that is the best advice for DIYing that should be abvious but must be remembered. Look at the Sons of Anubis, it has really good fluff - except for the orginization, which is a rip off to try and justify using a Space Wolves codex. What he should have done is just wrote whatever he wanted to about the orginization, so what if he uses a Space Wolves codex? Shouldn't affect the fluff if he does.

#10
Firepower

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So I think I've worked up something to better explain the Warden's love for crypts, while fleshing out their shaming to boot.

Very early in the Chapter's history, they made planetfall on a world that at one time was within the fold of the Imperium, but had since been left stranded from the Emperor's light, as so many others have. Upon landing, the marines were almost instantly attacked by the techno barbarians (I'm thinking Road Warrior level tech/society) and mutants, and of course set to purging them. As battles continued and losses grew, the as of yet unknown genetic rage began to manifest, driving the marines from rage to fury and finally bloodlust.

Eventually, battle took them to a clearly ancient, massive structure erected when the world was still part of the Imperium, and didn't hesitate to begin slaughtering the squatters dwelling within. It was only after most were dead and the rest hiding in catacombs below that, while resting, the marines calmed enough to grow aware of their surroundings. The structure was a vast mausoleum with murals, frescos, and statues worked to remember battles that had apparently first liberated the world and brought the Emperor's light to the inhabitants. Upon closer inspection, they realized that not only were many of the graves ancient, fallen marines from the first legions, but also lovingly cared for and maintained.

Realizing that the very people they had just nearly wiped out were those responsible for the structure's very survival, the marines set about searching for those inhabitants that had fled and hidden, eventually bringing them out and gathering them in the building's massive central chamber. Ashamed of their utter failure to protect the few people left on the world that could truly be called pure, the chapter's master took the shattered bodies of the mausoleum's defenders and buried them in the crypt alongside the ancient marines.

Inspired by the bravery and tenacity of these few pure humans, and in penance for their sins, the marines took on the mantle of the Grave Wardens. They took the example of the pure survivors' long struggle as their own and, after purging what mutants and barbarians still roamed about, claimed the world as the chapter's homeworld. Since then, they have built similar structures on every world they've liberated, burying those brother's who fought for the world and those allies that showed exceptional valor in its liberation side by side in the tombs. The Fortress Mausoleums stand as a reminder of sacrifices past to the worlds' inhabitants and serve as recruitment centers for those who yearn to live up to this example.

I think this is a lot more solid than before, but still needs editing (which is where all you lucky readers come in, of course). Details like the planet's name, the name of the Chapter prior to these events, and the like aren't included because i just havent thought of them yet.

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#11
soddinnutter

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If the chapter was young when they discovered their homeworld then they might not have a name, just a number.

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#12
Lord Heremes

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i really like the direction your taking with this chapter, the history to explain there liking of crypts is solid and beliveble.

#13
Firepower

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Thanks much for the kind words Heremes!

Soddin, I have to admit I'm ignorant in this department. I know the Mars adepts are responsible for creating the initial 1000 progenoids for creating a chapter, but i don't know much of how they are actually started off. From what i can recall, I think they're put under the supervision of preexisting chapters until they're deemed worthy for autonomy. In any case, some enlightenment on this topic would be much appreciated!

Now as an update, I've come up with a good theme for the Warden's librarians. Grave Warden librarians do not normally take to the battlefield, as they're particularly dangerous to those around them when the chapter's genetic flaw begins to manifest. Librarians instead serve as custodians for the many fortress mausoleums. Most often, they spend their time walking the deeper recesses of the vast structures, tending to sarcophagi, memorizing engravings and records of the fallen, and committing chapter lore to memory. Otherwise they occupy themselves evaluating and testing fresh recruits that gather at the mausoleums, and taking those with psychic potential under their wings to form small enclaves. The only time they are known to take to the battlefield are when the mausoleums themselves come under attack, emerging from the catacombs as pale, dark figures shrouded in black robes and carrying crackling force scythes. While they can cleave many attackers with their blades, they normally prefer to call upon their gifts: consuming their opponents in flashes of light that rend flesh from bone and leave nothing but a smoldering skeleton at their feet.

But now, I need some help. I'm having trouble coming up with a rational organization for the chapter. I don't care for the codex organization much at all. Nor am I too fond of the household/nobility style organization of the black templars or the pack organization of the space wolves. As of yet, this is what I've already come up with. The bulk of Librarians and at least one chaplain are permanently stationed at Mausoleums to monitor and guide recruitment. Also, each Mausoleum has a living space marine hero entombed into its central structure at a position of particular reverence (I'm thinking more than one would be required, as waking the dreadnought-like interned for the frequent initiations/lore sharing/holy days/defensive battles would mean waking the fallen marine far too often). Crusading fleets are each run by an elite individual, but the chapter still has a singular marine in charge (similar to the BT's with marshals and the High marshal). Again, Neophytes fight directly alongside Initiates to keep close watch over them. Beyond that, I've got no clue how to continue.

Thanks again for all the help, and by all means keep it coming!

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#14
soddinnutter

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I have always understood the Founding prosess to be a cadre of very experienced vetrans from one chapter (preferably from the same liniage) being given a contingient of serfs/thralls/bondsmen/slaves/assistants/servitors/whatever and quite a lot of gene-seed on ice. they then recruit in whatever way they see fit. they then train the new chapter in the ways of the old chapter. eventuely the new chapter is strong enough to survive on its own and the surviving cadre either goes home or stays on to guide the new chapter for the rest of their lives.

but thats just how i would do it. i am not sure if its official or just the ravings of my fevered brain.

perhaps you could have a massively de-centurelised chapter. each of the mausoleums has a small store of gene-seed, training facilities, baraks, apothecariun, micro-forge and libery. the various warbands, or whatever name you give them, move from world to world in the Great, and ever growing, Warden Protectorate recruiting as they go and requisitioning what they need as they need it.

for leadership they could have a Iron Hands style council of Wise Elders, or maybe the intered living, so bound to the mausoleum as they are, could be the council. they could comunicate throught the use of psyker doplegangers. twin psykers, one individuel in two bodies, what one body sees the other body sees sort of thing. this could allow a comunication across the Protectorate in real-time. exactly where they chapter gets these much sought after doplegangers is a mystery and some of their rivels darkly whisper of the forbiden art of Cloneing, an art of the darkest of the Dark Mechanicus.

If all the Librarians are doing all day is reading old books and making sure there is silence in the library then you may as well not have them as psykers at all. in point of fact they may as well not be Marines. Maybe The Grave Wardens could resurect the obsolete title of Rememberencer from the days of the Great Crusade, humans bound to the chapter and trusted with its dark and glorious secrets. many could be failed aspirents, or not.

perhaps one way in which they could recruit is for each marine to take on an apprentice and train them in the arts of killing. they would not count towards the 1000 marines per chapter rule because they would not get the Black Carapace untill one of the 'true' marines has died. This would do away with the need for a traditional 10th company and any sort of Ultramarines style Accademy. it would laso mean that the chapter could number 2000 as each marine could theoreticaly have one aprentice ready to inherit his power armour should he take one artilery shell to many.

maybe the Adeptus Terra is growing concerned at their increaqsing sphere of influence. they have a continued presence on any world where even the least of their brothers has died and over the millenia this is now quite a large area. the Inquistion is not so concerned because there is a fianite level of damage they could do to the Imperium as a whole because of the way in which the Grave Wardens stick adherently to the 1000 marines per chapter rule (discounting Rememberencers, the living intered, failed aspirents and aprentices). and the Council could be getting concerned because of the way in which they are spreading themselves over too large an area.

Because none of us are as cruel as all of us.


#15
Firepower

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Ok then, here's my first stab at fleshing out the Warden's organization

After the chapter donned the Grave Warden title, the world's they conquered on their crusades would each have a vast Fortress Mausoleum erected, often at the site of climactic battles where many brothers fell. Over time, this became an impractical doctrine, as the resources and time required to construct the vast, self sustaining structures proved immense. From that point on, the chapter divided into 7 distinct Battle Cults: warbands linked directly with one of the chapter's seven greatest and most strategically located Mausoleums, known as the Grand Chambers. Governance of those worlds is handled by a council permanently stationed at the Mausoleum consisting of high ranking marines, the living interred, and civilians appointed by the Wardens, collectively known as a Grand Parish. The other Mausoleums were titled Lesser Chambers, and these simpler structures are the template for the buildings constructed on newly conquered worlds. Lesser Chambers will occasionally have micro forges, apothecariums, or even libraries of note, but even then their capabilities are dwarfed by the Grand Chambers. Because of this limitation, those aspirants drawn from the Lesser Chambers' worlds are transported to the more capable Grand Chambers for testing, implantation, and training. The Lesser Parishes are normally composed of a smaller number of marines and interred in relation to civilian members.

Parishes are highly involved in the daily routines of the world's populous, and more often than not any attack on a Fortress world under the Warden's care is as likely to face outraged, fanatical civilians as they are the Wardens themselves. The stationed marines and interred overlook recruitment and operation of the Fortress, while those civilians not directly preoccupied carrying out political referendums and managing the populous are known as Caretakers, and spend their time working alongside failed aspirants: tending to and maintaining the tombs and artworks, leading religious services, and keeping the chapter's records up to date. Servitors are practically absent from the worlds under the Wardens care. Even the most menial task in a Mausoleum is a chance for reflection and prayer that would be wasted on an unthinking drone. Worse still, the Wardens regard servitors as something of an abomination: a walking, talking corpse with its soul stripped out to make room for unliving mechanical parts. As such, only the foulest of criminals among the populous ever end up servitors, and even then they are assigned administrative tasks under the high ranking civilians, far outside of the Chamber's walls.

The 7 Battle Cults, meanwhile, are most often space bound and crusading through the nearby systems. Each is capable of calling upon their respective Grand Chamber to supply arms, equipment, and fresh recruits. Lesser Chambers are most frequently used as sights for basic repairs and resupplying. Logistics, general patrol courses, and occasionally specific crusades can be assigned to the Battle Cults by their respective Grand Parish, but otherwise a small group of marines known as the [insert cool name here] that act as each Battle Cult's standing First Company autonomously manage their own crusades.

The Battle Cults are much more fluidly organized than most Marine Companies. Generally, they are composed of large amounts of infantry with a handful of armored and fast striking units. The infantry squads tend to fight in squads based on familiarity and camaraderie, most often forming squads that loosely align to the marines' Chamber of origin. Those yet to earn status as a full Battle Brother are not assigned to any specific squad, instead moving from one to another to ensure a thorough, versatile training in the arts of war. Their armor bears the Warden's Cross, but only full battle brothers complete the chapter's insignia with a skull at its center.

I'm not totally sold on the names I came up with (Grand Chamber, Battle Cult, etc.) because they don't seem to fit with the Mausoleum feel, more like a churchy feel. So suggestions there would be particularly appreciated.

And for giggles, here's a link to pics of my test model!
http://i828.photobuc...ns/IMG_1935.jpg
http://i828.photobuc...ns/IMG_1937.jpg

Edited by Firepower, 30 December 2009 - 11:19 PM.

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#16
Firepower

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I'm currently working on making this whole wall of text i whipped up more readable (should probably have something more eye-friendly by tomorrow), but in the mean time, i could still use some help editing the Organization post above. The more i read it, the less pleased I am :( . Some C&C on the test model would also be much appreciated: I'm already busy assembling some more, but don't wanna paint em up until I'm certain.

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#17
Firepower

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Majorly updated things today, took me some time to write up a draft I liked and figure out the BBCode basics. Enjoy!

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#18
Firepower

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OK, so the more i read my own work, the more bored I am with the idea so far :) . I could just have an indecisive streak (actually i KNOW i do) but frankly everything I've whipped up just feels like a sloppy rewrite of the Black Templar codex (guess you were right to warn about that Chap. Mathreyn).

Sooo, Im analyzing things from the ground up, and I have some questions i could use insight on. The Origin story i have, for one, seems flimsy to me, so Im working instead on having the Chapter's homeworld (abandoning the Crusade chapter concept as well) instilling a cultural prerogative to have particular veneration for burial practices. The problem is, how should one go about having the world a Chapter is based on rewriting their already established belief structure? Chapters like the Space Wolves are blatant examples, but having a Primarch grow up on a world and shaping his chapter to its influence is a luxury I cant use. I have a hard time seeing it as plausible for a group of zealous warriors to land on a planet and go "Wow, you know, these guys here really have it together...let's just do what they do from now on!" The alternative would be to buttress the story I already have, but again, I'm fresh out of ideas to pull that off :P .


Also, Im looking for links or resource material on Galactic Geography, for a number of reasons. Anyone have anything on that?

Things on the agenda for a hatchet job/dramatic rewrite: Black Templar parent chapter (hatchet) Crusading Chapter (hatchet) Organization (hatchet) Origin (rewrite) Gene seed flaw (hatchet or rewrite)




Thanks in advance for any much needed C&C. I look forward to hearing thoughts other than my own (they're so mean!)

Edited by Firepower, 08 January 2010 - 08:48 PM.

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#19
Dark Apostle Thirst

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Three things -

1) just how large is your chapter?

2) if it is below two thousand, you don't need that many chambers. Having three grand chambers is probably the most you will need, and the small ones can be just a small outpost instead.

3) This bit is more difficult. How often do they participate in large scale battles? If it is often, you can probably do something I like to call a penitence crusades, which is where the chapter finds some major troble brewing and throw themselves at it to give more Imperials time to arrive and manage to keep themselves holy. If your chapter rarely does anything large scale, you can do what I tend to do, and have a supplement chapter. This is where they send one or two squads over to as many different campaigns as possible, their mere presecence inspiring the Guardsmen to heroic deeds, or to make life a little easier for an otherwise marine lacking astartes commander.

The first - absolutely nessessary information. The second - why the first is so important. The third - totally up to you.

3/21

Edited by Dark Apostle Thirst, 08 January 2010 - 11:19 PM.


#20
Ace Debonair

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Hopefully the chapter is a thousand marines in size, give or take.

Having more and getting away with it is very unlikely. :ph34r:

You don't need a black templar lineage to have the black templar mentality. White Scars, for instance, also exhibit a lot of agression, and a successor chapter might encourage that battle rage rather than deny it.

Chapters like the Space Wolves are blatant examples, but having a Primarch grow up on a world and shaping his chapter to its influence is a luxury I cant use. I have a hard time seeing it as plausible for a group of zealous warriors to land on a planet and go "Wow, you know, these guys here really have it together...let's just do what they do from now on!" The alternative would be to buttress the story I already have, but again, I'm fresh out of ideas to pull that off .


Have the homeworld slowly influence the chapter's beliefs, perhaps?
It's slightly cliche, but since you'll be doing something unusual with the mausoleum aspect, it'll probably work out well anyhow.

#21
Lysimachus

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Very quickly (I'm out of time this morning!) it's a good start, nicely written with very few typo's/grammar errors which makes it so much nicer to read!

I agree with your concerns about the similarities with the BT, do they have to be BT successors? Could be Dornian without being BT, might be better; less obvious, could still have similar problems with the rage thing, and don't have to worry about the issue of whether the BT would be used to train a new Chapter (it's generally frowned on because of their 'individual' Chapter structure).

EDIT: Agreed on numbers too, make sure you stick to around the normal 1,000; BT are a special case and get away with it, you can't.

As to this:

Also, Im looking for links or resource material on Galactic Geography, for a number of reasons. Anyone have anything on that?


Have you seen the 40K maps? There are a couple of links in the DIY guide stickied at the top of the Liber Astartes main page, might be useful!

cheers

Lysimachus

PC 8/40

Edited by Strike Captain Lysimachus, 09 January 2010 - 08:29 AM.





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