|CHAPTER NAME: .............. The Errant Falcons|
FOUNDING: .................. 13th Founding
CHAPTER WORLD: ............. Fleet Based
HEADQUARTERS: .............. Battle Barge Indefatigable will
CHAPTER MASTER.............. Roland Valiar
MAIN COLOURS................ Black, Blue, and Silver
SPECIALTY................... Rapid Assault
GENE-SEED (PREDECESSOR): ... No Official Records, Presumed Blood Angels
KNOWN DESCENDANTS: ......... None
BATTLECRY................... For Honour and the Imperium!
ESTIMATED STRENGTH ......... 900 (including neophytes)
What is known is that at some point shortly after the end of the Age of Apostasy, the Falcons became embroiled in an extended conflict with a World Eaters warband on the world of Thraxis Secundus. Ever since the the birth of the chapter during the 13th Founding, the Errant Falcons have struggled to contain a tendency towards excessive bloodlust and berserker rage. In the heat of battle against blood-drunk World Eaters, the Falcons' self-control finally shattered entirely. The chapter's 4th company fell to collective insanity, and when destroying the traitors was not enough to sate their bloodlust, they turned their weapons on their own Imperial Guard allies and a nearby refugee camp. In the end, the Falcons were forced to turn their weapons on their own maddened brothers to halt the massacre.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, the Falcons undertook a radical reorganization of the chapter, in an effort to prevent such an event from ever occurring again. Over the course of a one hundred year penance crusade, the entire ethos of the chapter was rebuilt around the idea of absolute discipline, and a firm belief that protecting the lives of their fellow servants of the Imperium was the highest calling of any Errant Falcon.
The Errant Falcons have a complicated relationship with the Blood Angels and their successors. The fact that the chapter appears to suffer from the Red Thirst and Black Rage would indicate that they are Blood Angel successors, but the lack of official records confirming this has always left a small kernel of uncertainty that has at times tainted the relationship between the Falcons and presumptive parent chapter. Over the millennia, relations have varied substantially depending upon the personalities of the individual Chapters Masters, with the Falcons at times being all but unofficially accepted as Sons of Sanguinius, while at other times relations between the Falcons and the descendants of the Ninth Legion are cold and distant, with the Blood Angels denying any genetic relationship between the two chapters. Currently, relations have settled into a neutral middle ground where the Blood Angels neither accept nor reject the Falcons as a successor chapter, and generally attempt to ignore the issue entirely. However, when Chapter Master Dante put out the call to all Blood Angel successors to aid in repelling a massive daemonic assault on Baal, he included the Falcons in his call, and the Falcons sent three companies in response.
The Combat Doctrine of the Errant Falcons centres around launching a rapid, overwhelming assault intended to crush the enemy utterly before they even realize they are under attack. While the chapter does field an above average number of assault squads, their tactics do not particularly emphasize close combat over firepower; rather, the emphasis is upon bringing maximum force to bear against enemy to strike a crushing, decisive blow.
This doctrine has led to a number of changes in the traditional armoury of the Adeptus Astartes. In keeping with the doctrine of rapid assault, usage of jump packs is near-universal among the chapter's infantry squads, although some squads prefer to use the NT-3 pattern jump pack, which sacrifices speed and acceleration for improved stability and manoeuvrability, making them an ideal choice for Marines who prefer to use the bolter as their primary weapon
The Errant Falcons heavily use the Mark VI "Corvus" pattern power armour, as they prefer the Mark VI's somewhat lighter, more manoeuvrable design. While the bulk of the Falcons prefer to use power armour and jump packs, the chapter does maintain a supply of Terminator Armour, which is often used to launch a teleport attack at the decisive point of a battle. On rare occasions, the Falcons will even discard their jump packs in favor of insertion by drop pod.
Chain weapons and lightning claws are comparatively rare among the the Errant Falcons, as many Battle Brothers are extremely wary of using close combat weapons with a tendency to shed excessive amounts of enemy blood for fear of triggering the bloodlust their chapter constantly struggles to suppress.
The doctrine of rapid assault and heavy use of jump packs have resulted in a near total absence of any heavy armoured vehicles in the battle companies of the Errant Falcons. This is somewhat compensated for by heavy use of the Land Speeder, including uparmoured and upgunned variants like the Land Speeder Fulminata, and bike-mounted squads. Deathstorm Drop Pods, Stormravens, and Dreadnoughts (delivered via drop-pod or Stormraven) all provide the chapter with a modicum of armoured firepower, but the general lack of heavy armour leaves the Falcons lacking in durability when facing extended attrition-based slugging matches. Ultimately, the Falcons rely on the maxim that the from of best defense is to destroy your opponent before he has the chance to attack.
The Errant Falcons have few Librarians, and those which the Chapter does possess are of relatively weak strength. Because of their rarity and weakness, Errant Falcon Librarians will never participate in combat operations, save in extreme circumstances. Instead, the Librarians are charged with non-combat duties such as sensing taint of the Warp, warding the souls of their Battle Brothers from harm, and assisting with battlefield command and control.
Also of note is the Chapter's extreme aversion to inflicting collateral damage, a legacy of the tragedy of Thraxis Secundus. While the chapter accepts that some level of collateral damage is an inevitability in warfare, it is standing policy to keep minimize civilian and friendly casualties as much as possible without seriously jeopardizing the success of their operations.
Rather than follow the traditional ten company format presented in the Codex Astartes, the Errant Falcons only field nine companies. The 4th Company was never constituted after it's destruction on Thraxis Secundus, and now remains absent from the Falcons' Order of Battle as an ever-present reminder of the tragedies that can result from even a brief lapse in discipline. The marines would normally constitute a 4th company have instead been dispersed among the chapter's remaining nine companies, producing nine slightly overstrength companies (though battlefield casualties will often reduce the theoretically overstrength companies to ordinary levels).
Like many fleet-based chapters, it is not unusual to see the Falcons spread over a large stretch of Imperial space, though the Chapter's relative lack of Librarians can make this problematic at times. To offset the command issues caused by the removal of their Librarians from combat roles, the Errant Falcons give their Company Champions an unusually prominent role within the chapter, and it is not unusual to see them serving as secondary commanders when the company's captain and chaplain are unavailable.
Because of the Falcons' combat doctrine assault squads are present in larger numbers than most Codex-adherent chapters; most companies possess a relatively equal number of assault and tactical squads. To compensate for the loss of one of its battle companies and account for the fact that the chapter is often spread across several different battlezones, the 6th, 7th, and 8th companies retain a more balanced distribution of forces than the reserve formations dictated by the Codex Astartes. However, the 9th company, while also somewhat more balanced than one would find in a strictly codex-adherent chapter, still fields Devastators as a majority of it's squads. 10th Company is, of course, the Scout Company.
In addition to its large stock of jump packs and the prominence of the Land Speeder in its armoury, the Falcons maintain a small force of Marines mounted on Rocs; massive birds of prey named for a creature out of ancient Terran legend. While the Rocs are not suited to every environment the Errant Falcons must fight in, when the Rocs can be brought to bear they add yet another deadly weapon to the chapter's arsenal. Even the toughest of enemies will fall before the swooping aerial charge of a massive Roc and its Astartes rider.
The Errant Falcons instil a strong sense of honour in all their recruits, supplemented by iron discipline and strict self-control. An Astartes of the Errant Falcons is expected to be eternally self-sacrificing; the roles of honour for the chapter or replete with tales of Errant Falcons who gave their lives to protect their battle brothers or other soldiers of the Imperium. To give up your own life to preserve another is considered the highest honour that any Errant Falcon can hope to achieve. Should any other servant of the Imperium sacrifice their lives to protect an Errant Falcon, they are posthumously recognized as an honorary member of the Chapter, and their surviving family members often find a place among the chapter serfs, or might even receive the chance to attempt the trials and join the ranks of the Falcons themselves.
At times, the self-sacrificing tendencies of the Errant Falcons have proven to be extremely irksome to Imperial Commanders. Incidents such as occurred during the battle of Cobage II, where half a squad of Falcons died in the process of rescuing a single Guardsman trapped behind enemy lines, inevitably lead to complaints that the Falcons take their creed of self-sacrifice too far at times. While such extreme examples of self-sacrifice are relatively rare, many Errant Falcons have willingly given their lives so that others might live in their place.
Because of the priority placed by the Falcons on preserving Imperial lives, they also have an extremely low tolerance for any form of collateral damage. This inevitably leads to clashes with Imperial forces who possess a more sanguine outlook, and the Falcons have had several tense confrontations with Imperial forces whom they believed had gone too far.
The Errant Falcons appear to suffer from a gene-seed defect which can make Battle Brothers prone to uncontrollable battle rage. It is because of this flaw that the Chapter places such heavy emphasis on iron discipline and the importance of preserving Imperial lives, as some within the chapter's ranks fear that without a strong belief in self control, many of the Battle Brothers could succumb to these fits of rage and become berserk monsters little better than the horrors they are supposed to defend the Imperium against.
Inevitably, not all of the Errant Falcons will live up to the extremely high standards of their chapter. If a Battle Brother should dishonour himself too greatly, he will be shunned by his Battle Brothers until he casts aside his power armour and initiates a redemption quest. The Marine must continue to serve as a Redemptor until he has appropriately atoned for his sin, or has died in glorious battle (the latter outcome being, unfortunately, far more common).
Because the chapter has no official records of it primarch, the chapter cult largely focuses its reverence upon the Emperor and service to the Imperium and its people instead. However, due to the widespread belief that the Falcons derive from Blood Angel gene-seed, it is not unheard of for Battle Brothers to privately invoke of the name of Sanguinius with reverence. However, when Chapter Master Thierry attempted to formalize this practice in M38, it led to a noticeable cooling of relations with the Blood Angels.
As with all chapters of the Dark Founding, the Imperium has no official records of the source of the Errant Falcons' gene-seed. However, to all appearance the Errant Falcons suffer from the Red Thirst and the Black Rage, leading most to conclude that the Falcons derive from Blood Angel genetic stock. However, some observers have claimed that, while similar, the nature of the berserker tendencies among the Errant Falcons are not exactly the same as the troubles which afflict the Blood Angels and their confirmed descendants. Because of this and the fact that no official records confirm their heritage, the Falcons genetic heritage will always remain under a shadow of doubt.
The Errant Falcons have gone to extreme pains to mitigate the tendency to battle rage within their gene-seed by maintaining a code of iron discipline, supplemented with heavy hypno-indoctrinition during the initiation of new recruits. Despite these efforts, Battle Brothers will occasionally succumb to bloodlust. Should the Battle Brother go too far in his bloodlust, the Oath of Redemption and, in all likelihood followed by a death in battle, await him.
Aside from their possible Blood Angel flaws, the Errant Falcons gene-seed does appear to have two relatively minor quirks. The first is a tendency to produce weak psykers in below-average numbers, leading to the absence of Librarians from most frontline combat roles. While the Librarians still have an important role in protecting their battle brothers from the touch of the warp and monitoring them for any signs of corruption, the chapter simply cannot afford to risk any of it's few Librarians in combat unless the situation is critical. The second unusual aspect of the Falcons gene-seed is a higher than average tolerance for cold temperatures, which might be responsible in part for the Falcon's fondness for cryo-weapons.
As a fleet based chapter, the Errant Falcons do not draw recruits from any single homeworld, but instead hold trial at the nearest inhabited world whenever they have a particular need to replenish their numbers.
In outward appearance, the trials of the Errant Falcons are virtually indistinguishable from those of many other chapters, intended to test the physical and mental capacity of the aspirants and pick out the best amongst them for elevation. However, the true purpose of these trials is not to learn which aspirants are the strongest or best trained; elevation to the ranks of the Astartes will address any physical deficiencies, and even the best aspirants face years of training before they are full battle brothers. Instead, the purpose of these trials in to gain insight into the inner nature of the aspirants. Those who demonstrate strength of character and discipline will advance to the final test, even if their physical qualities are lacking, while the strongest fighter might be rejected if his demeanour seems unsuitable for an Errant Falcon.
The final test of every aspirant varies considerably in the exact form it takes, but ultimately always serves the same purpose. One commonly used test involves a full battle brother to provide the aspirant with an unloaded bolt pistol and inform him that he must execute one of the failed aspirants in cold blood to demonstrate his commitment to joining the ranks of the Astartes. Those who attempt to fire on their fellow aspirants fail the test, while those who refuse to do so are accepted. Other common tests include throwing "live" grenades into the testing area and seeing which aspirants focus on protecting their fellows over themselves, or taking the aspirants on a mock mission, only to have them ordered to withdraw and leave an Imperial settlement undefended in the face of an enemy attack. In all cases, the test requires that the aspirant place loyalty to the ideals of the Imperium above their own ambition to become Space Marines, an even above their own lives. It is a test most fail, but the Falcons believe that it is far simpler to teach a self-sacrificing man to fight than it is to teach a fighter to be self-sacrificing.
Despite regular recruitment efforts the chapter's dogmatic belief in self-sacrifice, which inevitably results in a higher than average casualty rate, means that the Errant Falcons are almost perpetually beneath their nominal strength of 1000 Marines.
Edited by Chengar Qordath, 04 October 2011 - 09:45 AM.