The Legio Bolter & Chainsword
By the members of the +Inner Sanctum+
The Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes are the mightiest warriors in the Imperium and their fury in battle is legendary. Few can stand against the might of a Space Marine Chapter and the foes of Mankind tremble at their name. But there are heretics and traitors within the Imperium whose evil threatens Mankind from within. To face such foes demands warriors whose hearts and souls are trained to withstand extremes of pain and terror, whose faith in the Emperor is as unwavering as it is strong. Since the dawn of the Imperium a brotherhood of Space Marines have fought these foes and defeated them. They are the Legio.
Starting in the days of the Second Founding, a number of Chapters maintained a loose alliance. This wasn't a formal alliance, but an unwritten agreement to communicate and cooperate insofar as they were able. Over the millennia, this alliance allowed a means of arbitration and cooperation among the participating Chapters. The heaviest participants were the Successors of Roboute Guilliman and Rogal Dorn.
On numerous occasions this alliance prevented whole-scale battle between Chapters and allowed the Adeptus Astartes to police their own before the rest of the Imperium learned of wayward Chapters.
When Goge Vandire rose to power and the Age of Apostasy began, the efforts of the alliance served the interests of all Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. Ever since the ascension of the Ministorum and the Imperial Cult, the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes had been at odds with the rest of the Imperium with regard to the Emperor's divinity. Knowing that Vandire's reign of blood was particularly intolerant, the loose alliance foresaw the Ministorum leaping at the opportunity to crush the heretic Space Marines. The various Chapters within the alliance saw the wisdom of remaining aloof from Vandire's campaigns and persuaded the majority of Chapters to do likewise.
As the Age of Apostasy continued, the various Chapters within the alliance saw Vandire for what he was. A few among these Chapters decided to take action, leading a massive force against Vandire on Holy Terra. The exploits of these Chapters are well documented.
Following the demise of Vandire and the end of the Age of Apostasy, three major organizations came about:
- The Inquisition formed the Ordo Hereticus to keep an eye on the Ministorum and orthodoxy of religion.
- The Sisters of Battle were re-created from the Brides of the Emperor. While they were formed as the military force of the Ministorum (with the prohibition on the Ministorum maintaining "men" at arms), they soon became tightly bonded to the Ordo Hereticus, acting as their Chamber Militant.
- The Space Marines formalized the loose alliance that had existed for millennia. This alliance was known only to a few outside of the Adeptus Astartes, calling itself simply "The Legio" as a symbol of their fealty to the Emperor and the legions of old.
- First was to maintain bonds of friendship and loyalty among the manifold Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. While each Chapter is a potent force in its own right, most number only around 1,000 men-at-arms. The most influential leaders among the Space Marines knew that individually their Chapters could be crushed by the massive war machine of the Imperium, especially in light of their unorthodox religious practices and independence from the Imperium. By cementing their alliance into a formal organization, they could better support and cooperate with each other.
- Second was to keep an eye on the Imperium. For too long the bulk of the Adeptus Astartes had remained aloof from the Imperium. Their independence was a double-edged sword - they were beholden to no one except themselves, but they lacked strong alliances with other elements of the Imperium's power structure. Individual Chapters had minor alliances or working relationships with various other Imperial organizations based upon need or convenience alone. These relationships related directly to the prosecution of war, whether it be Techmarines training with the Adeptus Mechanicus, the acquisition of materiel and ammunition from the Adeptus Ministorum, or other requirements. The leaders of the Legio knew that the Space Marines would need to maintain closer observation on the developments within the Imperium's power structure. Their aloofness could have been disastrous if Goge Vandire had decided to destroy the Space Marines he had long thought to be heretical. The Legio wouldn't allow such a prospect to come to fruition in the future.
- Third was to keep an eye on the Adeptus Astartes. The Space Marines were held in awe by the citizens of the Imperium and the various factions within the Imperium's power structure were wary of the various Chapters. Through the millennia several incidences of Chapters going renegade had occurred. At other times, individual Chapters' independence had put them at odds with elements of the Imperium. In addition, Chapters had often faced off against each other in battle over numerous and sundry issues. The Legio hoped to prevent future such occurrences as much as possible. By acting as watchmen and arbiters, the Legio might allow the Space Marines to prosper as much as possible so that they could continue in the work of the Emperor without coming afoul of each other or the politics of the Imperium.
- A byproduct of the Legio's role in keeping an eye on the various Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes is the Legio's self-imposed mandate to hunt down traitor Astartes. Most Chapters are very reticent about revealing when any of their members turn renegade, so the Legio usually captures and executes traitor Astartes. On the rare occasion when a Chapter reveals information about renegades, however, the Legio is willing to work in concert with that Chapter and to turn captured traitors over to their parent Chapter.
The influence of certain founding Chapters enabled the Legio to prosper. The Imperial Fists were pivotal in the creation of the Legio and those members of the Imperial Fists Chapter who helped to form the founding core of the Legio brought with them the Imperial Fists' good relations with other elements of the Imperium's various factions. They brought every influence they had to bear on the Legio's formative alliances with the Adeptus Mechanicus, Scholastica Psykana, and Navis Nobilite.
The Legio acts as an enforcer for the Adeptus Mechanicus, and ensures that each Chapter submits the required gene-seed tithes. In return, the Adeptus Mechanicus provides the Legio with the materials of war, training of their techmarines and apothecaries, and even gene-seed to propagate the Chapter.
The Scholastica Psykana provides psykers suitable for induction into the Adeptus Astartes. It is primarily for these recruits that the Legio needs the gene-seed provided by the Adeptus Mechanicus. While the various Chapters of the Space Marines are willing to allow the Legio to take a handful of Space Marines, the specialists within a Chapter are invaluable. While the Adeptus Mechanicus can train techmarines and apothecaries, only psykers can become librarians. So the Legio uses the gene-seed secretly provided by the Adeptus Mechanicus and implants it in aspirants recruited from outside the various Chapters. A handful of Librarians within the Legio are drawn from Chapters willing to give up its psykers, the Black Templars being a notable example. For the most part, however, the Legio's Librarians have no parent Chapter, being created solely for the Legio.
The Navis Nobilite provides navigators for the fledgling organization's space-faring ships. Over the millennia, the Legio has secretly worked to support various navigator houses and in return, the houses have continued to provide the Legio with navigators and confidentiality.
The Chapter's strength is maintained through an ancient compact with the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. Each Chapter provides one or two of its battle-brothers to the Legio. In return, the Legio will ensure that the Chapter receives the gene-seed of the battle-brothers when they fall in battle. This gene-seed is supplemented with pure gene-seed from that Chapter's stocks maintained by the Adeptus Mechanicus. When the Legio delivers the new gene-seed and the gene-seed of the fallen, the fallen battle-brother is replaced by the Chapter.
The home world of the Legio, if such exists, is a closely guarded secret. Several minor bases exist in strategic locations throughout the Imperium, but the Legio's main base is known only to the Great Captains, Captains, and the Navigators. Most often, the companies of the Legio patrol independently aboard strike cruisers. The Chapter has three battle barges, each commanded by one of the Great Captains. Each of these battle barges houses considerable assets and they are often used when the Legio needs to muster significant forces or impress upon any of the other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes the need for diplomacy.
The Legio doesn't have any specific combat doctrine. Drawing from all Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, the Legio possesses a great amount of flexibility. While an individual company or detachment might be trained extensively in a specific area based on the experience and desires of the commander, the overall combat doctrine of the Legio follows the Codex Astartes mandate of maximum flexibility.
The Legio is organized into three Great Companies, each named for one of the aspects of the Emperor to which the Adeptus Astartes are devoted. The Blood of the Emperor Great Company is named for the sacrifices the Emperor made in order to see the Imperium created, and which he continues to make in order to perpetuate the Imperium; the Light of the Emperor Great Company is named for the wisdom and knowledge the Emperor brought to the pockets of humanity that had been scattered throughout the galaxy, delivering them from the darkness of separation from the world of their origin; and the Justice of the Emperor Great Company is named for the punishment the Emperor and his Adeptus Astartes delivered to the enemies of Mankind. Each of these Great Companies is commanded by a Great Captain, the three Great Captains form the council that, with the leaders of the specialist orders within the Legio (the Chief Librarian, Reclusiarch, Master of the Forge, and Chief Apothecary), directs the overall efforts of the Legio.
Within the Great Companies are lesser companies, each comparable to a standard battle company. These companies are led by Captains and are embarked aboard Strike Cruisers, carrying out the mission of the Legio across the length and breadth of the Imperium. The exact composition of each company varies with the desires of the Captains, each tailoring his fighting force to his preferences and skills.
The Legio's Chaplains are trained within the Legio. Drawing from most of the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, the warrior cult of the Legio is unique within the Space Marines. The Legio's rites honor the Emperor and each of the Loyalist primarchs. Beyond this central core, the Legio's warrior cult seeks to fulfill only those elements that all Chapters agree upon. The Chaplains of the Legio preach faith in its most abstract sense without supporting any individual Chapter's beliefs. The rites of the Legio incorporate only those elements in which the various Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes most agree. In many ways, the Chaplains act as disciplinarians and enablers to cooperation among the battle brothers.
Joining the Legio is for life. The Legio acts as an independent battle force, sending detachments where it will, often in aid of other Chapters or military organizations within the Imperium. Companies are composited to whatever suits the needs of the leader. Since most new members are seasoned members from their respective Chapters, the Legio can draw on a wealth of experience and training, enabling leaders to task organize and conduct operations in ways not normally available to standard battle companies of Codex Chapters.
When a battle-brother of the Legio dies, his gene-seed and wargear are returned to the parent Chapter of the deceased, accompanied by an honour guard. The parent Chapter will receive the remains of their battle-brother, taking the gene-seed for the continued survival of the Chapter. The parent Chapter will then choose a replacement for the deceased battle-brother. The criteria and rituals used vary from Chapter to Chapter, with the only consistent element being that replacement battle-brothers are usually full battle-brothers. Chapters very rarely give specialists such as Librarians or Chaplains, nor do they assign battle brothers higher than the rank of Veteran Sergeant to serve in the Legio. Some of the Legio's new recruits are volunteers, others are selected by the leadership of their parent Chapter. Regardless, assignment to the Legio is always an honour, never a punishment.
The battle-brothers who formed the initial core of the Legio agreed to the original heraldry, taking black as their main color as a sign of their devotion to the Emperor. The badge of the Legio is a skull, similar to the device used by the Chaplains of the various Chapters, with crossed bones added. Each battle-brother retains the badge of his parent Chapter upon his right shoulder pad, a reminder of the diversity within the Legio and the might of the Adeptus Astartes. Most of the original battle-brothers assigned to the Legio were Sergeants or Veteran Sergeants, and the Codex Astartes red helmet for Sergeants was adopted for all members of the Legio. The color of the battle-brother's Great Company is displayed upon his left kneepad - red for Blood of the Emperor, white for Light of the Emperor, and black for Justice of the Emperor.
Battle-brothers often transfer their personal battle-honours or parent Chapter traditions to their Legio armour. For example, Legio battle-brothers from the Crimson Fists always have both gauntlets painted red in the tradition of their parent Chapter, while battle-brothers from the Salamanders often include hammer or flame markings upon their armour. In this way, a Legio force has a unique appearance that draws upon diverse influences.
The Legio has no specified battle-cry, allowing the battle-brothers to rally around whatever battle-cry the commanders decide upon.
A typical Legio army is created using Codex: Space Marines. Players that desire may use any of the Space Marine codices (Black Templars, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves) to represent a Legio army that represents its commander in a non-standard way.
Note that we are in the process of developing alternate rules for using a Legio army. These will be provided when they are completed.
Many members of the Bolter & Chainsword discussion forum create miniatures to represent their B&C personas. It is not necessary for a Legio Bolter & Chainsword battle-brother to be armed with a bolter and chainsword, that was simply a requirement for the miniature painting contest. Legio B&C members can represent the entire range of standard Space Marines, scouts, squad members, chaplains, librarians, techmarines, apothecaries, etc. The upper echelons of Legio Bolter & Chainsword leadership should be considered off-limits. For the most part, new recruits into the Legio will be standard battle-brothers or Veterans from their respective Chapters. Within the Legio it's possible to have a Chaplain that used to be a Space Wolf (instead of making him a Wolf Priest), a Librarian from the Black Templars, etc.
Renauld de Chatillon's entry.