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The Black Chapter

BLACK COMPANY SPOILERS Drafting IA Octavulg Octaguide

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#1
Octavulg

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BE WARNED: THIS THREAD CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE BLACK COMPANY SERIES OF NOVELS

THE MOST CURRENT VERSION IS SOMEWHERE TOWARD THE END OF THE THREAD

Introduction:
As a natural extension of the Octaguide, I'm going to create a chapter from scratch and properly document the process. This will hopefully be useful in its own right and also a useful test of the Octaguide's utility.

A warning: this will be somewhat stream-of-consciousness. I'm doing my best to transcribe an actual process, so it's a hazard that must be endured.

Right.

The chapter in question will be inspired by the Black Company, last of the Free Companies of Khatovar. If you are unfamiliar with the Black Company novels, they are in many ways one of the original 'hard fantasy' serieses (and, I remain certain, the inspiration for the Night Lords in A D-B's books). The Black Company is an ancient group of mercenaries whose fortunes have varied widely over the years, and who are doing relatively poorly at the opening of the first book. Out of practicality and a need to survive, they sign up with one of the lieutenants of the Lady, who rules an expansionist empire to the north with her dark magic. Events develop from there.

The Black Company fight hard and well, but most of all they fight dirty. They're smart, they're cunning, they're creative, and they're ruthless. They almost always win, and they almost always keep their word. They may be a brotherhood, but they're not nice people. Their value lies in their experience and the sneaky and evil things they come up with, not the strength of their arms, for all that they're excellent soldiers in their own right.

Note that there will be spoilers here. Lots of juicy spoilers. One of the most interesting facets of the Black Company is the secret of their history, and reproducing that means I will be discussing that. I will do my best to spoiler-tag it, but it's kind of inevitable. So if you don't want the later history of the Black Company spoiled (specifically, why they're the Black Company and what being a Company of Khatovar means), you may want to avoid this.

Now!

The aspects of the Black Company I like and am going to try to reflect, in no particular order (what I want):
-The Annals (the records kept by their company archivist)
-The importance of their standard (the relic that remains from the founding of the chapter)
-Their relationship to their lost history (both how they strive to discover it and what that history turns out to be)
-The names given to brothers (brothers have nicknames reflecting their personalities or features)
-Their mercenary nature (they're loyal, but they're loyal to the people paying them. And if you betray them, they get very unpleasant)
-Their underhanded tactics (they're good at being insurgents, they're good at being counterinsurgents, and they're just generally devious)

Things I like but won't reflect, or don't like:
-Their name. It works for them, but it won't work for a Space Marine chapter
-Croaker. The 40K universe already has an underhanded-yet-noble medic who exerts influence over his fellows disproportionate with his station and longs for lost glory days that may or may not have existed (
Spoiler
.
-Their later history. The Books of the South are OK, but the Books of the North are the fun bit.
-Their symbol. I'll try and make reference to it, but it's bloody complicated.

Note that I intend for them to be a loyalist chapter. I'm going to do this with ITs some time, but I wanted to do it with an IA first.

The next post is determining ways to implement these ideas.

Edited by Octavulg, 01 February 2013 - 04:24 PM.

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#2
Octavulg

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OK. Next step is to figure out how I want to try working in the various aspects:

-The Annals (the records kept by their company archivist)


This seems simple enough - Space Marines already see their history as important. This is basically what Librarians do anyway. I do like the way annals are sometimes lost in battle, and would like to retain this. The obvious way to do this is to have each company of the chapter have an annalist and a set of annals (there's also a larger set of chapter annals). Perhaps the annals are viewed (and sometimes used) in much the same way as standards - carried into battle to inspire the men. This, of course, means that sometimes they're lost - giving me the history gaps that are so fun with the Black Company.

-The importance of their standard (the only relic that remains from the founding of the Company)


The Black Company's banner pole is damn important (on several levels), and I want a relic with the appropriate importance to the Chapter (and an appropriately double-edged nature). I think the concept can be translated pretty directly to the chapter banner.

-Their relationship to their lost history (both how they strive to discover it and what that history turns out to be)


This ties into the banner pole to some extent. Now we're in the spoilery part.

Spoiler


Anyway, the chapter doesn't know all that, and so they are very interested in traces of their history. That sort of stuff could make good sidebars.

-The names given to brothers (brothers have nicknames reflecting their personalities or features)


The tone of the names is probably insufficiently serious for 40K (One-Eye would work, but Goblin is pushing things, and Croaker and Geek are right out). Nonetheless, the concept is fairly sound. I'll give it a shot - it might work. It suggests things about the chapter's relationship with the outside world, but we'll get to that when the time comes.

-Their mercenary nature (they're loyal, but they're loyal to the people paying them. And if you betray them, they get very unpleasant)


I want them to be mercenaries, but loyalist. There are two things Space Marine chapters need: supplies and recruits. It's simple enough to make them short on both - they lack recruits because they have no home world, and they lack supplies because of limited forge capacity (this may be a recent development). So these days they indenture squads, companies, and even the whole chapter to the authorities of a particular region in exchange for supplies and recruitment rights in that area. The Black Company's reputation often cost made them mistrusted, and so the same could happen here (thus explaining why they can't just ask for things).

Sometimes they don't get everything they want, and so to an extent the chapter is spiralling toward ruin. An obvious reflection of this is that the chapter shouldn't be at full strength, and equipment will likely be battered and relatively light.

-Their underhanded tactics (they're good at being insurgents, they're good at being counterinsurgents, and they're just generally devious)


This works well with low numbers - since they're not as numerous as they once were, they'll often do sneaky, Alpha-Legiony things that other chapters would never contemplate.

OK. So we've got a bunch of facets of the chapter, and have a pretty solid picture of them as underhanded, if reliable, mercenaries (who are still a real chapter) with a hidden past. That should keep an IA busy. Next post, I turn all this into an outline. After that, I start the actual discussion/growth/people-being-mean-to-me process.

Proud author of the Ice Lords, the Bronze Prophets, the Stone Hearts, the Steel Dogs and the The Marines Tenebric.

The Octaguide - Your very long guide to very long IAs

Help me update the Big Liber Timeline!

"Wake up. Pray. Train. Pray. Drop screaming through the atmosphere from low orbit into a raging battlefield, and take the fight to enemies that may outnumber us by as little as three to one. Do battle with the most horrific enemies of mankind imaginable and charge into lines of weapons that could shred a tank into ribbons. Afterward, lunch, time permitting." - Marshal Arturas, 15/05/08


#3
Octavulg

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OK. Outline time.

Outline.

Chapter Name
-No idea yet. Storm Crows might be appropriate. The Black Chapter is too unsubtle. Marines Atramentar (damn you, A D-B, I just got that), Marines Picear, Marines Iniquitatar, Marines Calliginar, Marines Tenebric...all options.

Origins
-"In those days the Chapter was in service to..."
-Founding details will be unknown. Actual founding details may sneak in as hints, but not explicitly.

Later History
-Large gaps, assembled piecemeal from a bunch of different sources. Hints, half-truths, all kinds of fun stuff. Sometimes they're up, sometimes they're down. Sometimes they're in, sometimes they're out. Etc.

Home World
-None. Fleet is old, battered, and short on supplies and forge equipment.
-Discussion of their relationship with employers might fit well here. Basically, the chapter shows up and offers their services. Since they have a reputation for being harbingers of conflict, this is almost always accepted. They then begin recruitment (if permitted), training of local forces, and improvement of local defenses. In some cases, local government is uncomfortable with this, in which case the chapter tends to function more conventionally and independently. In particularly rare cases, the government will insist on more complete control, which the chapter usually accepts unless they think it's going to cost them their lives or their supplies. Chapter fights in eventual war, and will eventually move on. Individual companies may hire themselves out separately to areas near where the main body is serving.

Beliefs
-Close relationship with their history
-Company as family - alternate names for brothers. Outsiders tolerated, but not trusted.
-Emperor is not a god. Relatively less zealous than other chapters.

Combat Doctrine
-Preference for underhanded tactics and using preparation and misdirection to minimize casualties (though they are still capable at head-to-head engagement.
-Discussion of limited resources and their effects

Organisation
-Generally codex
-Company and chapter annalists important and influential positions. Company annals fill the role of standards in other chapters.
-Relatively few Chaplains and Librarians. Often overlap between annalists and specialized positions.
-Discussion of effects limited resources has had on organization - chapter is understrength.

Gene-seed
-Unknown. Most of the more special ones don't make sense. I'd lean toward Ultramarine or one of the more stable traitors - stable traitor probably makes the most sense. Not that that will be explicitly stated.
-Lots of discussion and speculation about their origin. Perhaps the chapter even keeps pushing the Mechanicus to do a thorough investigation.

Battle-cry
Doesn't matter yet, though I'll need something soon. Something terrifying, yet professional. A simple "For the Chapter!" might work, though it's a bit dry.

Color Scheme
Doesn't yet matter. Black should probably figure prominently. Adapting the Black Company's actual symbol is a possibility, but something of a pain.

Sidebars
-One on the chapter standard and its design
-Perhaps one on a notable campaign (the one where they lost their original history?)

And that's what I hammered out this afternoon. Now I get to turn it into a chapter. ;)

Thoughts, comments, etc. appreciated on all parts of this.

Proud author of the Ice Lords, the Bronze Prophets, the Stone Hearts, the Steel Dogs and the The Marines Tenebric.

The Octaguide - Your very long guide to very long IAs

Help me update the Big Liber Timeline!

"Wake up. Pray. Train. Pray. Drop screaming through the atmosphere from low orbit into a raging battlefield, and take the fight to enemies that may outnumber us by as little as three to one. Do battle with the most horrific enemies of mankind imaginable and charge into lines of weapons that could shred a tank into ribbons. Afterward, lunch, time permitting." - Marshal Arturas, 15/05/08


#4
CKO

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Ok so thats how it is done, when I post Chapter 3.0 my outline should be better.

#5
Octavulg

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Feel free to critique it, if you want. That's why it's there. Well, part of it. :)

What I'll do from this point is basically keep adding ideas to and fleshing out sections for a while. Once I hit about 60% of the IA being fully written, I'll probably finish the rest in one go and start into working on fixing the details.

Edited by Octavulg, 13 October 2011 - 05:27 AM.

Proud author of the Ice Lords, the Bronze Prophets, the Stone Hearts, the Steel Dogs and the The Marines Tenebric.

The Octaguide - Your very long guide to very long IAs

Help me update the Big Liber Timeline!

"Wake up. Pray. Train. Pray. Drop screaming through the atmosphere from low orbit into a raging battlefield, and take the fight to enemies that may outnumber us by as little as three to one. Do battle with the most horrific enemies of mankind imaginable and charge into lines of weapons that could shred a tank into ribbons. Afterward, lunch, time permitting." - Marshal Arturas, 15/05/08


#6
Brother-Sergeant Bohemond

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very interesting, I really like your guide, it helped me, glad to see a practical demo for those others.

One thing i'd be interested to see with this chapter is the influence of an Inquisitor discovering something about that banner, or, as they do not like outsiders, an Inquisitor attempting to use them - indeed, could be interesting to have an Inq turn up and demand their services and how this affects them as the Inq aint gonna pay up for their services...hmmm...sounds like it could be a good story...

anyways, I like the concept, will be watching this with interest!

#7
StGene

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Sounds badass. Unlikely, but hey, the Imperium's a big place. They should probably operate on the galactic fringe FAR away from other Astartes. The others would flip a Fulgrim-class fit if they knew that some unknown Chapter was hiring themselves out as mercenaries. I've never heard of the "Free Companies of Khatovar", but everything else seems solid. I'm eager to see how this turns out!
◊GLORIA◊MACHINA◊DEVS◊

#8
Lysimachus

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I get the feeling I've read at least the first of these books somewhere back in the mists of antiquity, am I right in remembering that the lieutenants of the Lady are all manner of wierdos, and the whole thing is very gritty and 'real' in terms of writing and attitude?

Damn, another book I'm gonna have to look out for.

Anyway, on the Chapter, it sounds good so far. On the point Bohemond mentioned, I guess an Inquisitor could possibly relate to the oddball type lieutenant they follow?

#9
Heru

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I had a DIY called The Black Company long ago, based directly on The Black Company. :tu:

That then turned into the Phantom Hounds who sound allot like your BC inspired ideas. :)


Also these may be of use to you:

The Black Company symbol under Soulcatcher:
Posted Image

Which became:
THIS

This was also used at somepoint (it has been a long time since I read the books):
Posted Image

Edited by Heru Talon, 13 October 2011 - 03:47 PM.

My Chapters (Blue) & Traitors (Red):
gallery_20677_1567_12051.jpg
1st Row: Falcon Knights, Darkwatch, Silver Scorpions, Phantom Hounds, Onyx Warlords, Wicked Gods, Wolves of Horus, The Blight, The Bloodborn
2nd Row: Iron Raptors, Immortals, Imperial Monarchs, Starbreakers, The Shadow Kings, The Fallen Lords, Black Wasps, Black Oracles, Dream Eaters

#10
Ace Debonair

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Well, I know nothing about the Black Company, so I'll be giving C&C from a purely-40k-perspective, which may or may not prove useful.

Beliefs
-Close relationship with their history
-Company as family - alternate names for brothers. Outsiders tolerated, but not trusted.
-Emperor is not a god. Relatively less zealous than other chapters.


If they're so concerned with their history, how do they deal with contradictory fragments? Do they argue and bicker like narky B&C'ers over conflicting canon?* :huh:

I'm not sure about this naming thing. How do recruits get their names? How do they identify themselves until someone slaps a name on them?

Organisation
-Generally codex
-Company and chapter annalists important and influential positions. Company annals fill the role of standards in other chapters.
-Relatively few Chaplains and Librarians. Often overlap between annalists and specialized positions.
-Discussion of effects limited resources has had on organization - chapter is understrength.


How understrength, roughly?
I know it's not the most important question ever, I'm just trying to get a picture of exactly how worn-down the Chapter is.

Gene-seed
-Unknown. Most of the more special ones don't make sense. I'd lean toward Ultramarine or one of the more stable traitors - stable traitor probably makes the most sense. Not that that will be explicitly stated.
-Lots of discussion and speculation about their origin. Perhaps the chapter even keeps pushing the Mechanicus to do a thorough investigation.


Part of me is greatly amused that both of us are now having a bash at this 'loyalist-traitor' malarkey after years of telling people it's a bad idea.

At least if it goes wrong we'll have examples to point to!

Battle-cry
Doesn't matter yet, though I'll need something soon. Something terrifying, yet professional. A simple "For the Chapter!" might work, though it's a bit dry.

'For Victory!' might also work.
After all, winning gets them paid, right?

Color Scheme
Doesn't yet matter. Black should probably figure prominently. Adapting the Black Company's actual symbol is a possibility, but something of a pain.


Do you have something in mind, or should I be reaching for my Heraldry Dept. Hat?


*That's not directed at anyone in particular, so if you're reading this, please don't take any offence. <_<

#11
Octavulg

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Bohemond

One thing i'd be interested to see with this chapter is the influence of an Inquisitor discovering something about that banner, or, as they do not like outsiders, an Inquisitor attempting to use them - indeed, could be interesting to have an Inq turn up and demand their services and how this affects them as the Inq aint gonna pay up for their services...hmmm...sounds like it could be a good story...


I rather like that last one. I think I may steal it. :P

* * *

StGene

Sounds badass. Unlikely, but hey, the Imperium's a big place. They should probably operate on the galactic fringe FAR away from other Astartes. The others would flip a Fulgrim-class fit if they knew that some unknown Chapter was hiring themselves out as mercenaries. I've never heard of the "Free Companies of Khatovar", but everything else seems solid. I'm eager to see how this turns out!


Well, they are serving as mercenaries to Imperial authorities (or authorities who can pass for Imperial - I suspect they join the occasional civil war). So it might be more palatable than usual. It's more of an alternative-pay arrangement than a slight on the chapter's honor. Sort of. ;)

Being on the fringes definitely makes a certain degree of sense. At minimum, they should be in one of the more inconvenient corners of the Imperium.

The Free Companies of Khatovar is a Black Company thing, not a 40K thing, just to be clear.

* * *

Lysimachus

I get the feeling I've read at least the first of these books somewhere back in the mists of antiquity, am I right in remembering that the lieutenants of the Lady are all manner of wierdos, and the whole thing is very gritty and 'real' in terms of writing and attitude?


Yup.

Damn, another book I'm gonna have to look out for.


Yup.

Anyway, on the Chapter, it sounds good so far. On the point Bohemond mentioned, I guess an Inquisitor could possibly relate to the oddball type lieutenant they follow?


Yup.

Possibly not, of course. Soulcatcher's a little too...exciting for 40K.

* * *

Heru Talon

I had a DIY called The Black Company long ago, based directly on The Black Company. msn-wink.gif


What a twist!

I'm not surprised someone else has done this, honestly. I'll just have to do it better. ;)

Or different, which might be easier. :P

That then turned into the Phantom Hounds who sound allot like your BC inspired ideas.


Still got the IA around?

The Black Company symbol under Soulcatcher:


I've never been a fan of that intepretation - it looks more like a skull taking off into orbit than a fire-breathing skull to me. It is a pretty obvious source for the symbol, though. I'd forgotten about that entirely. Thanks. ;)

Which became:
THIS


That's better, though still not quite what I'd like. I'm thinking a skull in profile breathing fire. Or at least one with a jawbone. :P

This was also used at somepoint (it has been a long time since I read the books):


That's their banner. The skull thing was something they wore to show allegiance to Soulcatcher when they served under her. The banner is more permanent. It is, however, rather hideous (IMO). Since I don't think that's an entirely official interpretation, I'll likely keep various elements and just combine them in a fashion that's more palatable (and more conventional).

* * *

Ace Debonair

Well, I know nothing about the Black Company, so I'll be giving C&C from a purely-40k-perspective, which may or may not prove useful.


Good. But read the books anyway. At least the Books of the North.

If they're so concerned with their history, how do they deal with contradictory fragments? Do they argue and bicker like narky B&C'ers over conflicting canon?* biggrin.gif


Well, it depends. I'd assume most of the history they have doesn't contradict. I think they'd tolerate the contradictory elements as unofficial while trying to figure out the truth.

In fact, one of the Annalists may be obsessed with putting these clues together. That could be fun.

I'm not sure about this naming thing. How do recruits get their names? How do they identify themselves until someone slaps a name on them?


Hey, you.

It could be a formal thing - they may choose a name, and some may stick and some may not. Or they may just be Initiate #345 until they get a name.

How understrength, roughly?
I know it's not the most important question ever, I'm just trying to get a picture of exactly how worn-down the Chapter is.


Fluctuating between forty and eighty percent, with a tendency toward fifty-five. They'll reach a hundred sometimes, but they face a pretty high attrition rate for various reasons.

Part of me is greatly amused that both of us are now having a bash at this 'loyalist-traitor' malarkey after years of telling people it's a bad idea.


Who says I've never tried it before?

Loyalist traitors are fine if the whole reason for their being isn't to be loyalist traitors. Even then, it's OK. The problem lies in lack of subtlety, not in the concept itself.

'For Victory!' might also work.
After all, winning gets them paid, right?


Yeah, but it's kind of blah and kind of...nice. We need evil, or at least ambiguous.

Do you have something in mind, or should I be reaching for my Heraldry Dept. Hat?


Not particularly. I reserve the right to completely reject your suggestions, of course. And I think it might be interesting to have some lighter color in with the black. Don't really have many preconceptions, though.

Edited by Octavulg, 13 October 2011 - 07:38 PM.

Proud author of the Ice Lords, the Bronze Prophets, the Stone Hearts, the Steel Dogs and the The Marines Tenebric.

The Octaguide - Your very long guide to very long IAs

Help me update the Big Liber Timeline!

"Wake up. Pray. Train. Pray. Drop screaming through the atmosphere from low orbit into a raging battlefield, and take the fight to enemies that may outnumber us by as little as three to one. Do battle with the most horrific enemies of mankind imaginable and charge into lines of weapons that could shred a tank into ribbons. Afterward, lunch, time permitting." - Marshal Arturas, 15/05/08


#12
CKO

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Part of me is greatly amused that both of us are now having a bash at this 'loyalist-traitor' malarkey after years of telling people it's a bad idea.

At least if it goes wrong we'll have examples to point to!


There was a paradigm that you two freed yourselves from!

#13
Heru

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That then turned into the Phantom Hounds who sound allot like your BC inspired ideas.


Still got the IA around?

IA?! pah!

Since when have you known me to have IAs floating around for every idear I have!

Intentionally all I have online is the colourscheme. The rest is in my head. Essentially I only combined my Phantom Hounds (who were renegade mercenaries) with my own Black Company ripoff idea last year (ignore the blog post date, as that used to be another post which I edited).

I think the only real major difference between your ideas and my newer Phantom Hound ideas, was that my guys were more renegade and didn't (or maybe couldn't) recruit new members via geneseed anymore. Instead they picked up other Chapter and warband's cast offs (like the Red Corsairs or Iron Gods). I felt that would give them more diversity in their membership (like the Black Company), than the regular loyalist system (brain-washing and diversity don't often go hand-in-hand).

I also felt that they'd be allot more open to camoflague colours, keeping only the eagle and pad inserts the same colour but cycling through a range of other colours depending on the battlefield (the main armour colour pictured above is Tin Blitz, a good colour for urban environments).


Part of me is greatly amused that both of us are now having a bash at this 'loyalist-traitor' malarkey after years of telling people it's a bad idea.

At least if it goes wrong we'll have examples to point to!


There was a paradigm that you two freed yourselves from!

You love that word, don't cha'.

Edited by Heru Talon, 13 October 2011 - 10:39 PM.

My Chapters (Blue) & Traitors (Red):
gallery_20677_1567_12051.jpg
1st Row: Falcon Knights, Darkwatch, Silver Scorpions, Phantom Hounds, Onyx Warlords, Wicked Gods, Wolves of Horus, The Blight, The Bloodborn
2nd Row: Iron Raptors, Immortals, Imperial Monarchs, Starbreakers, The Shadow Kings, The Fallen Lords, Black Wasps, Black Oracles, Dream Eaters

#14
Ace Debonair

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First draft of Heraldry Dept. brand imagery:

I'm really just trying to narrow down some ideas at this point. Any of those in the right ball park, so to speak?

EDIT:

No, no they weren't.
Try again, Ace old boy, etc etc.

Edited by Ace Debonair, 16 October 2011 - 08:14 PM.


#15
Leonaides

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"Black Company"
reply:
"Wrack and Ruin!"
just a thought for warcries...

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gallery_19254_8784_1046.gifgallery_19254_8784_3201.gif gallery_19254_8784_3710.gifgallery_19254_8523_59626.jpg


#16
Octavulg

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Heru Talon:

I think the only real major difference between your ideas and my newer Phantom Hound ideas, was that my guys were more renegade and didn't (or maybe couldn't) recruit new members via geneseed anymore. Instead they picked up other Chapter and warband's cast offs (like the Red Corsairs or Iron Gods). I felt that would give them more diversity in their membership (like the Black Company), than the regular loyalist system (brain-washing and diversity don't often go hand-in-hand).


Makes sense. I've always preferred to downplay the brainwashing angle (the fact that chapters keep turning out traitors suggests it's not that effective).

It's a fair point, though. I think I may have the chapter be viewed as somewhat unlucky, ill-omened, dangerous, whatever. It's the sort of thing that most people don't want to join. Thus you'll get a nice range of misfits.

I also felt that they'd be allot more open to camoflague colours, keeping only the eagle and pad inserts the same colour but cycling through a range of other colours depending on the battlefield (the main armour colour pictured above is Tin Blitz, a good colour for urban environments).


That makes a lot of sense. Impractical to paint, but sensible. ;)

* * *

Ace

I'm really just trying to narrow down some ideas at this point. Any of those in the right ball park, so to speak?


None have yet grabbed me by the throat and screamed "THIS! THIS IS WHAT IT MUST BE!"

Speaking just to arrangements of color, not to the colors:
The top left is too conventional. Nothing in that style (i.e. one color with trim).
The top right has some merit. Could try having the backpack the same color as the head, too.
The bottom left I don't like.
The bottom right I like, but I'm not sure a quartered scheme isn't too gaudy for these guys.

In regard to the colors:
Ace, they are the Black Company. Perhaps a bit of black? Certainly, the shoulder insets must be black.
I think there need to be some large dark elements on the armor as well. Its distribution can vary, but there should be large parts that are a dark color. At least 25% dark, maybe? If the top-right scheme had a dark backpack or torso or something, that might be about right. Or it might look horrible.

I have every confidence in you. ;)

* * *

Leonaides

"Black Company"
reply:
"Wrack and Ruin!"


Like the second half. It'll be on the list. :)

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"Wake up. Pray. Train. Pray. Drop screaming through the atmosphere from low orbit into a raging battlefield, and take the fight to enemies that may outnumber us by as little as three to one. Do battle with the most horrific enemies of mankind imaginable and charge into lines of weapons that could shred a tank into ribbons. Afterward, lunch, time permitting." - Marshal Arturas, 15/05/08


#17
Heru

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Posted Image
Armour: Adeptus Battlegrey / Chaos Black = The Black Company was gritty and realistic, they wouldn't prance around in bright gaudy colours.
Chest Eagle: Tin Blitz = The dirtiest metal colour in GW's paint range, suits the Black Company to a T in my opinion.
Pipes: Charadon Granite = My default pipe colour when using the painter.
Helmet grill & pipes: Chaimail = My default helmet grill & pipes colour.

With the Black Company simple is better, but saying that they are a reasonably proud bunch (annals, banner etc) so that is went split scheme, sticking with dark gritty colours to both inspire fear and keep them grounded.

Edit: I also like the duality grey and black convey. The grey representing their present and the fact they weren't paragons of humanity, while the black represents their dark origins.

Edited by Heru Talon, 15 October 2011 - 01:48 AM.

My Chapters (Blue) & Traitors (Red):
gallery_20677_1567_12051.jpg
1st Row: Falcon Knights, Darkwatch, Silver Scorpions, Phantom Hounds, Onyx Warlords, Wicked Gods, Wolves of Horus, The Blight, The Bloodborn
2nd Row: Iron Raptors, Immortals, Imperial Monarchs, Starbreakers, The Shadow Kings, The Fallen Lords, Black Wasps, Black Oracles, Dream Eaters

#18
voi shet magir

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annalists

Marines of a company seem to shunt around between squads a bit, depending on circumstance. (Ultramarines') squads are often named for the sergeant leading them at the time. Squads don't have much institutional continuity or identity. For any marine, the lowest-order object of institutional loyalty and the most immediate group identity. Companies have their own heraldry, histories, amd tradition. They don't have much in the way of their own offices. Company captains, by comparison to most historical uses of the term, are creatures of the chapter. Captains sort of own, in name of the chapter, the company resources and represent the chapters' authority. Company chaplains do a job, they run drills and pep rallys. That is what they are trained for and that is why companies hire them.

I think the only office associated with the companies' identities are their standard bearers. The conventional codex Standard Bearer is a terminal career path for heroic marines who are dedicated to their company and become local historians and loci of their companies' continuing identities as Captains, Chaplains, and Veterans come and go. A Captain leads his company, and his company follows their standard, and the standard bearer probably has ceremonial authority, like to admit marines to the company that the captain has asked to join.

The black company seem like the operate more segmentedly, and I don't know maybe they group up around whichever leaders are popular at the time and your chapter's companies are just operational divisions within a seamless chapter institution. This is eactly why I read only the franchised types of genre fiction, I would alrady know who the Black Company are from playingg the game and seeing the movie and eating the happy meal, and the semi-anonymous author of Black Company novel #415 could write about actual people instead of whatever world building is going on and what are the Lady's true intentions, what is the dark secret of this new species of nymphomaniac warrior cats.

In 40k, everyone of galactic importance has been dead for ten thousand years. The stories of Macharius, Ghazkull, Tycho and Cassius are by comparison intimate. Your other IAs are character and event driven, try to keep on those planets instead of you know, all the Ice Bears are compassionate and family oriented and fierce so who cares how they are or how they feel about it.

#19
Octavulg

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Heru Talon

Armour: Adeptus Battlegrey / Chaos Black = The Black Company was gritty and realistic, they wouldn't prance around in bright gaudy colours.
Chest Eagle: Tin Blitz = The dirtiest metal colour in GW's paint range, suits the Black Company to a T in my opinion.
Pipes: Charadon Granite = My default pipe colour when using the painter.
Helmet grill & pipes: Chaimail = My default helmet grill & pipes colour.

With the Black Company simple is better, but saying that they are a reasonably proud bunch (annals, banner etc) so that is went split scheme, sticking with dark gritty colours to both inspire fear and keep them grounded.


This is brilliant.

Ace, I'm not sure you can top this, with the reasoning, and the persuasiveness, and the sensibility.

Edit: I also like the duality grey and black convey. The grey representing their present and the fact they weren't paragons of humanity, while the black represents their dark origins.


I really like this. I'm only not snapping it up right now because Ace might cry. ;)

Unless he pulls out something stellar, this is their color scheme. :P

* * *

voi

The black company seem like the operate more segmentedly, and I don't know maybe they group up around whichever leaders are popular at the time and your chapter's companies are just operational divisions within a seamless chapter institution. This is eactly why I read only the franchised types of genre fiction, I would alrady know who the Black Company are from playingg the game and seeing the movie and eating the happy meal, and the semi-anonymous author of Black Company novel #415 could write about actual people instead of whatever world building is going on and what are the Lady's true intentions, what is the dark secret of this new species of nymphomaniac warrior cats.


The Black Company series is 99% characterization and politics. There's remarkably little worldbuilding - city names tend to be actual English nouns, for example, and when they eventually run into another culture, it's basically a complete ripoff of India. The world is sketched in fairly lightly - the focus is very much on the company and the people who make it up. I think you might be pleasantly surprised by it.

That arrangement of companies makes a certain degree of sense, I think. I think some companies might be more permanent (reserves, for example, and possibly Veterans), while the Battle Companies would tend to be the fluid ones.

In 40k, everyone of galactic importance has been dead for ten thousand years. The stories of Macharius, Ghazkull, Tycho and Cassius are by comparison intimate. Your other IAs are character and event driven, try to keep on those planets instead of you know, all the Ice Bears are compassionate and family oriented and fierce so who cares how they are or how they feel about it.


Assuming I understand what you mean, I'll do my best. The trick is that the Black Company novels are already fairly character-driven, and so I need to find a way to do it without actually ripping off any of the existing characters.

I'll give it a shot. :D

Proud author of the Ice Lords, the Bronze Prophets, the Stone Hearts, the Steel Dogs and the The Marines Tenebric.

The Octaguide - Your very long guide to very long IAs

Help me update the Big Liber Timeline!

"Wake up. Pray. Train. Pray. Drop screaming through the atmosphere from low orbit into a raging battlefield, and take the fight to enemies that may outnumber us by as little as three to one. Do battle with the most horrific enemies of mankind imaginable and charge into lines of weapons that could shred a tank into ribbons. Afterward, lunch, time permitting." - Marshal Arturas, 15/05/08


#20
Allfather1

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Chapter Name
-No idea yet. Storm Crows might be appropriate. The Black Chapter is too unsubtle. Marines Atramentar (damn you, A D-B, I just got that), Marines Picear, Marines Iniquitatar, Marines Calliginar, Marines Tenebric...all options.
Maybe something that hints at their chaotic past but subtle enough to pass unnoticed?
Origins
-"In those days the Chapter was in service to..."
-Founding details will be unknown. Actual founding details may sneak in as hints, but not explicitly.
Your chapter should be founded early so they can turn to chaos, forget they turned and become what they are now.
Later History
-Large gaps, assembled piecemeal from a bunch of different sources. Hints, half-truths, all kinds of fun stuff. Sometimes they're up, sometimes they're down. Sometimes they're in, sometimes they're out. Etc.
Sounds good.
Home World
-None. Fleet is old, battered, and short on supplies and forge equipment.
-Discussion of their relationship with employers might fit well here. Basically, the chapter shows up and offers their services. Since they have a reputation for being harbingers of conflict, this is almost always accepted. They then begin recruitment (if permitted), training of local forces, and improvement of local defenses. In some cases, local government is uncomfortable with this, in which case the chapter tends to function more conventionally and independently. In particularly rare cases, the government will insist on more complete control, which the chapter usually accepts unless they think it's going to cost them their lives or their supplies. Chapter fights in eventual war, and will eventually move on. Individual companies may hire themselves out separately to areas near where the main body is serving.
Maybe some captains go to a world and offer to train their PDF, reorganise their defenses, protocols etc. without an enemy closing in. This would give them a more noble side, that will be downgraded by the price they ask. It would make your chapter seem to want to improve and defend the Imperium but still put their own survival first.
Beliefs
-Close relationship with their history
-Company as family - alternate names for brothers. Outsiders tolerated, but not trusted.
-Emperor is not a god. Relatively less zealous than other chapters.
Maybe a qoute about an imperial guard commander telling them that it's their duty to the God-Emperor to fight and your chapter saying that their survival must come first.
It's your duty to God-Emperor fight.
It's our duty to survive and fight an other day.

Something like that?


Organisation
-Generally codex
-Company and chapter annalists important and influential positions. Company annals fill the role of standards in other chapters.
-Relatively few Chaplains and Librarians. Often overlap between annalists and specialized positions.
-Discussion of effects limited resources has had on organization - chapter is understrength.

That arrangement of companies makes a certain degree of sense, I think. I think some companies might be more permanent (reserves, for example, and possibly Veterans), while the Battle Companies would tend to be the fluid ones


You could have the reserve companies as permanent companies with the rest following whoever they want. You could have the veterans being able to choose who they wish to follow and the normal battle-brothers being assigned or recruited (through promises of equipment, duels?) or following their veteran sergeant.

If you go with the recruitment type you could have captains promising loot and when this turns out to be dissapointing they could be in debt to others. Creating some friction in your chapter and to me it makes sense for a mercanery chapter. They will follow orders but if a captain wants them to fight for them he must pay for it or ask the chaptermaster.

Due to their low recruitment you could have the reserve captains being named Great Captains and being chosen from the very best the chapter has to offer. (Veterans and those in the battle companies know what to do, the younger marines require more and better leadership.)
This could be codex addherent if you add some qoutes about how they follow the codex's tactics.

Gene-seed
-Unknown. Most of the more special ones don't make sense. I'd lean toward Ultramarine or one of the more stable traitors - stable traitor probably makes the most sense. Not that that will be explicitly stated.
-Lots of discussion and speculation about their origin. Perhaps the chapter even keeps pushing the Mechanicus to do a thorough investigation.
Night lord geneseed seem pretty stable. You could hint at it by having a sidebar which happens in the past with a marine having black eyes.
Battle-cry
Doesn't matter yet, though I'll need something soon. Something terrifying, yet professional. A simple "For the Chapter!" might work, though it's a bit dry.

Color Scheme
Doesn't yet matter. Black should probably figure prominently. Adapting the Black Company's actual symbol is a possibility, but something of a pain.

Sidebars
-One on the chapter standard and its design
-Perhaps one on a notable campaign (the one where they lost their original history?)
One alluding to their geneseed, their beliefs and maybe their organization?




I'll be following this.

#21
Lysimachus

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Well, just wanted to say that I couldn't resist and have ordered the first Black Company Omnibus. I'm probably going to get into trouble with the missus for losing track of everything while I read it, so thanks Octavulg. :P :tu:

Edit: so this post is in some way helpful, following on from Allfather's post, if you did go Traitor geneseed, I'd consider Luna Wolves for their gritty, pragmatic nature and all-round tactical flexibility.

Edit edit: And the colour scheme. While I think Heru's scheme is generally awesome, I have to say I don't like the red eyes. They just don't pop and to be honest, they feel a bit cliched. To suggest some alternatives:

Posted Image
blue.

Posted Image
green.

or even:

Posted Image
a lovely bright purple to really stand out (I think this might be my favourite).



One last edit: I don't think I've quite got the other colours as Heru had them, but I reckon it's close enough to compare...

Edited by Strike Captain Lysimachus, 16 October 2011 - 03:51 PM.


#22
Octavulg

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Maybe something that hints at their chaotic past but subtle enough to pass unnoticed?


A good thought. Maybe one of those 'could be a warband but is apparently a loyalist chapter/could be a loyalist chapter but is apparently a warband' names? Like the Extinciton Angels or the Flesh Tearers?

Your chapter should be founded early so they can turn to chaos, forget they turned and become what they are now.


Doesn't have to be that early, though. Even two or three millenia'd be enough to lose the knowledge. I mean, how much do you know about what your greatx10 grandfather was doing?

Maybe some captains go to a world and offer to train their PDF, reorganise their defenses, protocols etc. without an enemy closing in. This would give them a more noble side, that will be downgraded by the price they ask. It would make your chapter seem to want to improve and defend the Imperium but still put their own survival first.


Oh, the chapter usually doesn't think there's an enemy approaching. It just always seems to work out that there is (this is also one of those things where a few incidents are enough to overwhelm a majority of non-incidents).

People think they're harbingers of doom. They may or may not actually be so. Though since it's good for business, it's not the sort of reputation you necessarily want to shake.

Maybe a qoute about an imperial guard commander telling them that it's their duty to the God-Emperor to fight and your chapter saying that their survival must come first.
It's your duty to God-Emperor fight.
It's our duty to survive and fight an other day.
Something like that?


Could work quite well. Will be appropriated in some form.

You could have the reserve companies as permanent companies with the rest following whoever they want. You could have the veterans being able to choose who they wish to follow and the normal battle-brothers being assigned or recruited (through promises of equipment, duels?) or following their veteran sergeant.


The way I'd been thinking, the reserve companies are not yet entirely full brothers (though most have names and such). They (and the veteran company) tend to follow the Chapter Master around and work under his immediate command. The Battle Companies, OTOH, are independent as you suggest, and tend to vary a bit in size and composition (not too much, since the Black Chapter find the Codex to be fairly sensible). They're theoretically formal entities, but there's practically a fair amount of fluidity.

If you go with the recruitment type you could have captains promising loot and when this turns out to be dissapointing they could be in debt to others. Creating some friction in your chapter and to me it makes sense for a mercanery chapter. They will follow orders but if a captain wants them to fight for them he must pay for it or ask the chaptermaster.


That feels slightly too mercenary. These are Space Marines, after all. Worldly pleasures don't tempt them (much). I'd actually expected it to be mostly affected by popularity - people would avoid the captains they didn't like for various reasons.

Not that they won't launch the occasional expedition-of-pure-greed. They're just the exception, not the norm.

Due to their low recruitment you could have the reserve captains being named Great Captains and being chosen from the very best the chapter has to offer. (Veterans and those in the battle companies know what to do, the younger marines require more and better leadership.)
This could be codex addherent if you add some qoutes about how they follow the codex's tactics.


Was intending Codex adherence, if only because it's easier than not.

I'd actually expect the Reserve Captains to be less important, since they'd have fewer men to command (and, at least theoretically, sometimes none).

Night lord geneseed seem pretty stable. You could hint at it by having a sidebar which happens in the past with a marine having black eyes.


That carries problems for their Librarians, though. Then again, prophetic dreams aren't unknown among the Black Company.

The Night Lords could definitely be a good fit. And if it's good enough for A D-B, it's good enough for me.

One alluding to their geneseed, their beliefs and maybe their organization?


Well, I was planning on putting some of that in the actual body of the article. ;)

More seriously: you mean the secret nature of them? I'd been going to try and weave it into the body, but depending on how that works a sidebar would be a good place for it.

I'll be following this.


Glad to have you. ;)

* * *

Lysimachus

Well, just wanted to say that I couldn't resist and have ordered the first Black Company Omnibus. I'm probably going to get into trouble with the missus for losing track of everything while I read it, so thanks Octavulg. msn-wink.gif tongue.gif


Damn right you did.

Edit: so this post is in some way helpful, following on from Allfather's post, if you did go Traitor geneseed, I'd consider Luna Wolves for their gritty, pragmatic nature and all-round tactical flexibility.


Yeah, but the Luna Wolves went all wussified and nostalgic/oedipal. They either whine that Horus is gone, or whine that Horus let them down. Always with the whining.

blue.


Maybe.

green.


Maybe.

or even:


Never.

One last edit: I don't think I've quite got the other colours as Heru had them, but I reckon it's close enough to compare...


That's why I miss the 5.0 painter...you just yanked the info out of the URL.

What were those color codes, Heru? :)

Proud author of the Ice Lords, the Bronze Prophets, the Stone Hearts, the Steel Dogs and the The Marines Tenebric.

The Octaguide - Your very long guide to very long IAs

Help me update the Big Liber Timeline!

"Wake up. Pray. Train. Pray. Drop screaming through the atmosphere from low orbit into a raging battlefield, and take the fight to enemies that may outnumber us by as little as three to one. Do battle with the most horrific enemies of mankind imaginable and charge into lines of weapons that could shred a tank into ribbons. Afterward, lunch, time permitting." - Marshal Arturas, 15/05/08


#23
Heru

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They are the default GW ones from the "Choose Colour" drop down list when you click a part (which is why I gave the colour names).

Besides you can also take the URL and add a "p" after "sm" before "beta9.php"
The beta9 bit can also be removed if you prefer, as I just use that beta painter because it colours the circle bit on the chest plate that the regular version doesn't colour.

THIS LINK will also work.

And I think other than red, green is the only real colour that wouldn't soften their appearance (unlike blue).
Posted Image

Edited by Heru Talon, 16 October 2011 - 08:10 PM.

My Chapters (Blue) & Traitors (Red):
gallery_20677_1567_12051.jpg
1st Row: Falcon Knights, Darkwatch, Silver Scorpions, Phantom Hounds, Onyx Warlords, Wicked Gods, Wolves of Horus, The Blight, The Bloodborn
2nd Row: Iron Raptors, Immortals, Imperial Monarchs, Starbreakers, The Shadow Kings, The Fallen Lords, Black Wasps, Black Oracles, Dream Eaters

#24
Ace Debonair

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This is brilliant.

Ace, I'm not sure you can top this, with the reasoning, and the persuasiveness, and the sensibility.

...

I really like this. I'm only not snapping it up right now because Ace might cry. ;)

Unless he pulls out something stellar, this is their color scheme. ;)


Yeah, I'm not gonna beat that.
I can't exactly out-reason Heru because I know nothing about the black company from the books.

That said, I might as well give Heru some competition to gloat about beating. :P
So, how about these:

CLEANING UP EDIT: Careless pictures cost lives!
OK, not true, but they do cost Brother Argos money, so I'll just shuffle these early drafts off-stage.



Also, yellow is a sweet lens colour for black/dark grey hats. It's as ominous as all get-out.

EDIT:
Why did none of us think of giving Batman's black chapter white lenses? :P

Edited by Ace Debonair, 26 October 2011 - 07:00 AM.


#25
Lysimachus

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Heru, you're a genius, why have I never noticed that box for choosing GW colours?!

Also, yellow is a sweet lens colour for black/dark grey hats. It's as ominous as all get-out.


Ace has a point, hmmm....

Posted Image


(using the right colours this time :P )