I had a burst of inspiration today and decided to make an IA article for the DIY chapter the Steel Scythes. What follows is very much a work in progress, as this definitely is NOT finished, and definitely NEEDS polishing before I would say I’m happy with it. Let me know what you think, especially if you have ideas for how it can be better.
Without further ado…
|Current Strength||Approximately Full Strength (~1,000 Astartes)|
|Current Chapter Master||Odysseus Castori|
|Colours||White armor, Black helmet, right arm, left leg|
The Steel Scythes chapter of the Adeptus Astartes was created in M40 because of increased demand for protection on the Imperium’s Eastern Fringe. Escalating conflict with the Tau and Tyranid xenos races spread Imperial forces thin, a problem made worse by the need for those same forces, especially the Astartes of the Ultramarines, to fight against incursions from the warp in the Cadian Sector. At the time, a Captain of the Ultramarines by the name of Darus Proganthes proposed the creation of a new chapter whose sole responsibility would be the Eastern Fringe; they would not fight in other areas of Imperial space except in the most absolute desperate times of need. The chapter’s charter was ratified just after the conclusion of Abbadon’s 11th Black Crusade, and work began to build the newly founded chapter.
Having been the one to propose the new founding, Proganthes was offered the role of Founding Master and was allowed to select a small handful of Ultramarines to form the foundation of the chapter’s forces. Proganthes was considered a paragon of the “citizen soldier” concept that defined the culture of Ultramar and the early Ultramarines, and saw the Space Marine as a civil servant as much as a military leader. He decided to make this the culture he would instill in his new organization, a decision approved by his superiors due to the nature of the chapter’s permanent station in one area, necessitating a deeper relationship with local citizens than would otherwise be warranted.
The homeworld Proganthes chose was Napolis, an agri-world located in the area of space just to the galactic Northeast and outside the realm of Ultramar. This choice of homeworld served two important purposes: first, Napolis was strategically positioned to be able to respond to a variety of threats; and second, the fertile farmlands and post-feudalistic culture of Napolis would provide the perfect place for his “servant leadership” project to begin. And it was on this world, where Proganthes observed farm workers using ancient harvesting tools, that the name Steel Scythes was born.
Thus the Steel Scythes came to be, and continue to serve their people and the Emperor to this day.
The Steel Scythes are fundamentally a Codex Astartes compliant chapter, in the spirit of their Ultramarines primogenitors. However, given their unique nature as a garrison chapter and their deep roots in the citizenry of Napolis and the surrounding system, the chapter differs in two key areas, both revolving around the initiation of new recruits.
Neophytes of the Steel Scythes–those recruits who have completely genetic alteration but are not yet ready for combat–are called hoplites, a title given as a mark of honor and as an expectation of commitment. Hoplites combine their martial training with education to prepare them in their new roles as servant leaders of the Napolisian population. Part of this education is practice, in which the hoplites actually serve in some capacity in a village somewhere on the planet, under the counsel of a Socrat, or tutor who oversees the theoretical instruction and placement of hoplites in various areas such as farming, construction, banking, etc as needed by the village in question. A hoplite will remain in this role, rotating through various fields of work, until an opening in the ranks of the Scout Company becomes available, and the Socrat successfully petitions him to the Council of Turin, a small group consisting of planetary leaders and veteran Astartes, who decide the promotion of hoplites to full battle-brethren, and the addition of hoplites to the Scout Company.
In this way new members of the chapter learn what it means to serve the ones they lead and protect, a culture which has allowed the people of Napolis to flourish and give deeper purpose to the mission of the Steel Scythes, many of whom were born on Napolis and, in rare cases, serve the very families they were born into.
A hoplite who is inducted into the Scout Company does not become part of a squad of other scouts in the traditional way. Members of the Scout Company are sent out to serve under the personal tutelage of a battle-brother who will teach them the ways of war, and continue their education in servant leadership. When scouts are needed for combat duties such as infiltration and sabotage, hoplites will be placed into essentially ad-hoc squads with other hoplites under battle-brothers in the same squad or company. Since the martial skills learned in service to the Scout Company is invaluable to a young Astartes, this is seen as a necessary evil to the combat effectiveness of the fighting company, though the Socrats–who all went through the same process–would prefer it not need to be the case.
In battle, the warriors of the Steel Scythes fight according to the dictates of the Codex Astartes, adhering to the theories of strategem laid out by Roboute Guilliman as stringently as any chapter can, except that they allow for much more tactical freedom among squads. All squad leaders are present during planning sessions regardless of the size of the operation. This allows them to provide input and be able to adapt to the changes in combat conditions as they arise much more effectively. As with other Codex-compliant chapters, the Battle Companies of the Steel Scythes rarely fight major engagements without the support of veteran Socrats from the First (Veteran) Company or Hoplites from the Tenth (Scout) Company, as has been described earlier.
The members of the Steel Scythes follow a path foreign to most other chapters. Throughout his life, a Steel Scythe serves primarily in the military capacity for which all Astartes are created. When not needed for war, they also serve in governmental roles on various planets in Napolis’s solar system. They become part of the population there, living among the people, taking up leadership roles in whatever areas need it. They believe that they must know for whom they fight, that intimately knowing the citizens of the Eastern Fringe gives them purpose in their mission as protectors of the realm. This was the way Proganthes taught the first hoplites, and remains a fundamental belief over a thousand years later.
Proganthes also taught that the Emperor was not a god to be worshipped. Where other chapters ignore the teachings of the Codex which described the Great Crusades as a struggle to unite humanity under the banner of reason and order, which could only come from shunning god-worship, Proganthes embraced it. “The Emperor fought to abolish religion and faith,” Proganthes is noted as saying. “So why do we worship him as a god?”
Having adopted this as a chapter-wide belief has brought them into conflict with the Ecclesiarchy, though the High Lords themselves have commended the Steel Scythes and their commitment to seeing the Imperium thrive. Several times the priests of the Ecclesiarchy have decried these Astartes as heretics, but after so many years and countless investigations by the Inquisition, not a single Marine has been found to be tainted.
- 399.M40¬—The Steel Scythes are created from Ultramarine gene-stock, under the command of former Ultramarines Captain Darus Proganthes.
- 523.M40—The Steel Scythes first major engagement, defending the Dracon system from an invasion of Orks under the banner of Waaagh! Grimskul, whose faces were half painted black. It is believed that prior to this conflict, which the Steel Scythes executed perfectly and completely, their helmets were painted white, and that they changed to black to honor their trial by fire.
- 998.M41—The Taros Campaign is fought against the expanding Tau Empire. Three hundred Scythes participated, their first official encounter with the Tau xenos. As a result of this conflict Brother-Captain Davos of the Third Company devoted himself to studying the Tau and how to fight them. This study has revealed philosophies on government that are being slowly integrated into Steel Scythes practices.
- 800.M41—The Steel Scythes are called up to contribute to the Damocles Gulf Crusade, but increasing reports of Tyranid Hive Fleets require their attention. As with every Imperial force who faced the aliens, the Steel Scythes took heavy casualties, but were able to fend off the bio-daemons.
The Steel Scythes wear armor that is primarily white, with the right arm and shoulder, as well as the left leg and the helmet in coal black. Eyes and lenses are colored red, and any fabric worn in ornament is colored white, black or red according to the desire of the wearer.
The badge of the chapter is two crossed scythes in black.
Companies are marked by a black Greek letter to the right of the squad designation on the right shoulder pad. Squads are marked by Roman numerals to the left of the squad designation.
Edited by khalaek, 07 August 2012 - 05:21 AM.