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Index Traitoris: Black Hammers

Chaos Lysimachus Malal

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#1
Lysimachus

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“What wins the fight is what wins the fight. Ultimately, nothing should be excluded if that exclusion leads to defeat.”- Roboute Guilliman

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At first glance, the Black Hammers Chapter appear to be the archetypal Traitor Marines; grimy, ancient warriors clad in baroque power armour decorated with furs, trinkets and chaotic litanies, marching under the myriad icons of the fell powers. However, beneath this dark surface the Black Hammers view themselves as the very opposite, as the eventual destroyers of Chaos and the saviours of Humanity.


Origins:

The tale of the Black Hammers begins in dark days of the Horus Heresy, deep beneath the ruined, irradiated surface of the planet Calth. Tor Agamon, a Brother of the 19th Company of the Ultramarines Legion, had survived the Word Bearers' initial act of treachery and joined the other Loyalist survivors beneath the planet's surface as they battled against the hated sons of Lorgar.

Even as Agamon fought, theoreticals tumbled over and over through his mind. The Ultramarine victory had been borne of pure luck, the Word Bearers should have crushed their former brothers. But how had Lorgar's children become so capable, so mighty, that they could so nearly defeat the best trained and most numerous Legion in the Imperium? Brother Agamon had identified only one possible factor; the unknown creatures who seemed to come from the Warp itself. These beings had aided the Word Bearers, given them strength and focus beyond their own reach. Why and how they had done so, Tor had not known, but he was determined to find out. Guilliman himself had taught his Legion; 'Information is victory', so Agamon devoted himself to understanding his enemy. Unbeknownst to his brethren or his superiors, he began to collect and study weapons, armour and other paraphernalia he was able to take from fallen Traitor Marines during Calth's Underground War.

Over the following decades of the Scouring, even as Agamon won honours in battle and promotion through the ranks of the Ultramarines, his obsession with comprehending and negating the power of Chaos continued to grow. By the time the Primarch divided the Legions, Agamon had attained the rank of Master and was given command of 1,000 Ultramarine warriors clad in freshly painted black armour. He named them for his only desire, to hammer to extinction the traitors that cowered within the Eye of Terror. Agamon led his fleet to the Segmentum Obscurus, patrolling the Sectors surrounding the Eye like a coursing hound searching for its prey. For long years the Black Hammers fought against the forces of Chaos wherever they could bring them to battle and Agamon instilled in his warriors a hatred but also a healthy respect for the fell powers of the Great Enemy.


Homeworld:

While chasing down a warband of the Emperor's Children, the Black Hammers discovered Gruaimach, a feudal world on the northern edge of the Great Eye. The people of Gruaimach were primitive, grouped into clans and tribes, their fighters warring and raiding against one another to control their home's few resources. However, it was not their aggression or battle skills that made Master Agamon decide to take the world for his own. Rather, it was that he had uncovered on Gruaimach a culture that had somehow found a way to survive despite its close proximity to the raw, ever-warping power of Chaos. The clans fearfully venerated what they called the 'Chinnidh de na Diathan', a terrifying assemblage of divine creatures that Agamon was immediately able to correlate with what he had already learned of the greater Pantheon of Chaos. The Gruaimachii elders had learned to appease and mollify the Gods, turning away their anger with sacrificial offerings and protecting themselves with shamanistic charms and totems. They had come to understand in a limited way the contrary and divided nature of the warp, how one might protect themselves from the fury of one aspect of Chaos by appealing, even temporarily, to its opposite.

Agamon was enthralled by the prospect of learning from the wise men of Gruaimach, of using their knowledge to protect his Chapter and Humanity. Without explaining any of these dangerous thoughts to the Imperial authorities, he claimed the planet as the Black Hammers' own. While initially tight-lipped and unwelcoming towards the giant Astartes, the leaders and shamans of Gruaimach quickly saw the advantage of having such titans as their protectors. They also perceived the eagerness of Master Agamon and his followers to learn of their culture and traditions. In a few scant months, as the Chapter continued in its campaign against the forces of the Traitor Legions, it became commonplace to see Black Hammers Astartes going into battle wearing armour adorned with placatory votive offerings or tokens, or graven with protective charms and warding sigils. At the same time, Chapter Apothecaries had begun to do their work of initiating new brethren from the Gruaimachii clans into the Hammers' Companies, tying the world and its new overlords ever closer.

It was less than half a century later, while fighting in a joint campaign against the vile Death Guard, that the Ultramarines and their Successors would first discover the changes in their Black Hammers brethren. They were horrified by the appearance of the black-clad Astartes, their armour decorated in a manner that seemed to many reminiscent of (and scarcely less disturbing than) the equipment of the Word Bearers at Calth. Tor Agamon and his men were shunned by the other Chapters and, after a blistering argument with the campaign's overall commander, the Black Hammers pulled out and returned to Gruaimach.

Two months later, a punitive force comprised of no less than four full Ultramarines Successor Chapters, led by the Primarch himself, arrived at Gruaimach. Guilliman and his troops were prepared for a bitter siege, their hearts hardened to the possibility of fighting brother Astartes by the long years of the Scouring. What they found was an empty world, devoid of human life but for a few scattered tribespeople. The Black Hammers fortress monastery, it's basic structure only recently completed, had been stripped back almost to the bare foundations. Tor Agamon, ever the strategist, had foreseen what the response of his peers and Primarch must be, as well as the end result of any attempt to stand against them. However, he was unwilling to lose the precious knowledge that could be the salvation of Mankind, simply because of the prejudiced ignorance of others. Therefore he had ordered that his Companies gathered whatever they could, including as many of the Gruaimachii as could be carried in the holds of the Chapter Fleet, and flee.

Gruaimach died that day in the fires of Exterminatus. At the behest of unknown individuals within the Adeptus of Terra, all records of the Black Hammers Chapter were likewise scorched from Imperial history. The scions of Ultramar pursued Agamon's forces across the wilderness between worlds, unrelenting in their hatred for what they saw as a betrayal as great as any of the Heresy. The Black Hammers were hunted from system to system, their beleaguered fleet eventually turning to the only refuge it had left, the Eye of Terror.


Organization:

One of the Chapters' earliest battles within the Empyrean was to secure a base of operations from which Tor Agamon could continue his research into the mysteries of the Warp. His choice was the Custos Pertinax, a powerful Star Fort, assigned to the World Eaters during the Great Crusade and dragged into the Eye as the Traitor Legions were forced to retreat. However as time passed, few of Khorne's chosen had been willing to accept garrison duty while their brothers rampaged across the stars, leaving the otherwise mighty fortress poorly defended. When the canny Master of the Black Hammers learned this, he quickly threw the entire strength of the newly arrived Chapter against the fortress, overthrowing its remaining occupants in a furious, week-long battle. After this, Agamon took the Custos Pertinax and hid it away in an unimportant star system deep within the Eye. With the aid of his Techmarines he strengthened the Star Fort's Geller Field and Void shield generators. With the aid of the Chapter Librarium and the wise men of Gruaimach he wrapped the vast station about with prayers and spells of warding, misdirection and concealment. With these mystic defences solidly in place, the Black Hammers would have a home from which to continue their work.

Nearly ten millennia have passed since the Black Hammers fled into the Eye. In that time the Chapter has grown strong, moving beyond the strictures of the Codex, and it is estimated that they could muster at least sixteen Companies worth of Astartes warriors, with sufficient fleet assets to deploy them with ease. The Black Hammers Armoury is less impressive, consisting of fewer ground-based fighting vehicles than an 'average' Loyalist Chapter. However the Hammers offset this lack of heavier support with the presence of large numbers of non-Astartes auxiliaries, selected from the former population of Gruaimach. While these clan-born troops cannot compare individually with the Chapter's Marines, they are nevertheless capable soldiers as well trained and equipped as the graduates of any of Ultramar's Battle Academies.

Powerful though the Chapter's resources are, they are minimal when compared with some of the other forces who call the Eye of Terror home, in particular those Traitor Legions who have maintained a central command structure and power base. Therefore, Master Agamon made pacts of mutual support (or at least of non-aggression) with the Black Legion, Iron Warriors and the Thousand Sons, as well as with the Lords of various Dark Mechanicus strongholds. The Black Hammers have ever refused any alliance with the hated Word Bearers Legion, their warriors simply unable to forget the treachery at Calth. Oddly, the scions of Lorgar seem unconcerned by such hatred, rumour even suggesting that the Daemon Primarch himself views the Black Hammers with a certain black amusement, perversely pleased by the thought of the sons of his brother Guilliman turning against their father.


Beliefs:

The core beliefs of the Black Hammers Chapter are those of their leader, Tor Agamon. From the earliest days of the Heresy, Agamon believed that the only way for Mankind to be saved from the horrors of the Warp was knowledge. Knowledge of the true nature of the Gods; their strengths, their weaknesses, their goals, their motivations.
”No man is forced to worship the gods,
but only a fool fails to give them their due.”
Tor Agamon
His studies before and after arriving on Gruaimach brought him to one inescapable conclusion: Chaos was both perfectly balanced and yet inherently self-destructive. He further realised that a prudent, careful man could use this fact to his advantage, that when endangered by one aspect of the Great Pantheon he could find protection, or even vengeance, by temporarily invoking its opposite. The only danger of such a course lay in drawing too much attention, of becoming entangled by any of these fell powers, the result of which would surely be an eternity of madness and servitude.

Agamon's followers have learned from their Master, though they hide it well from the other denizens of the Eye. The Black Hammers secretly see themselves as Mankind's only true hope for salvation from Chaos. They believe in using the Empyrean, turning its power against itself. Chapter brethren march into battle beneath the icons of Dark Gods, channeling their blessings even as their charms and litanies protect them from the harmful effects of such attention. They also seem to view the colour white as lucky or protective, as many brethren choose to repaint sections of their armour before going into battle, in stark contrast to the black that names them.

The Black Hammers walk a deadly tightrope, as it is all too easy for a warrior to become ensnared by the lure of power that Chaos gives. If a Marine does fall in this way, he will be destroyed without mercy, having become the very thing that the Chapter hates above all else. Remarkably, it seems that the majority of the Black Hammers continue to escape this fate. The Hammers themselves claim that such resilience against the effects of Chaos shows that their ideology is the course of wisdom for all of Mankind. However, an observer with a deeper understanding of the truth of the Empyrean might suggest that no amount of crude charms or litanies can turn away the power of Chaos. They might further imply that the Black Hammers are in reality already lost, protected by some unknown God for its own purposes or caught up in some self-destructive undercurrent within the swirling flows of Chaos.


Combat Doctrine:

Despite the Black Hammers turning their backs on the Imperium, their combat doctrine has continued to follow the pragmatic and adaptable combined arms approach espoused by their gene-father. The Chapter's forces tend towards flexible units of infantry, well equipped to face a multitude of different targets. These units work together as precisely coordinated, mutually supporting battle groups, equally able to defend or advance as needed. A handful of vehicles, most typically basic Predators and Dreadnoughts, will provide heavier firepower and units of Gruaimachii clansmen act as light auxiliaries and scouts.

The Confrontation at Tybur-Al III
Amongst the elite of Tybur-Al's secondary Hive, a cult dedicated to the Prince of Pleasure arises. Even as the heretics begin to enact their perverse coup, a Strike Cruiser bearing the black and white of the Black Hammers appears in orbit. Most of the Traitor Astartes strike at the primary Hive, but a small force led by a coterie of Sorcerers infiltrates the second, carrying with them the Spear of C'harak. This ancient blade contains within it the bound essence of a mighty Bloodthirster of Khorne.

The Sorcerers plant the Spear in the Hive's central plaza and retreat. Likewise, after a brief battle with minimal casualties on either side, the Black Hammers main contingent pulls back to their transports. As the Strike Cruiser departs from Tybur-Al, the wards binding C'harak loosen and break. With a bellow of rage, the freed Bloodthirster smells the hated servants of his master's greatest foe and goes out to do battle with them. Over the next three days, the Greater Daemon of Khorne decimates the Slaaneshi cultists, hunting them down one by one in an orgy of furious bloodshed.
Though the Black Hammers rely primarily on their own strategic and tactical prowess, they also make use of the more esoteric resources available to the followers of Chaos. Warriors carry all manner of arcana, some intended to beseech the aid of the Gods but far more to hold off the negative effects of their attention. The summoning of the capricious creatures of the Empyrean is avoided where possible, and the acceptance of possession by them is refused at all cost. However if such beings can be safely bound, often into weapons, vehicle systems or other objects, where the process of binding creates a greater degree of control, then the Chapter will countenance their use.

The Chapter often targets other smaller chaotic or renegade forces. This is seen as nothing unusual by the powers-that-be, as warbands all too frequently attack one another for control of resources or to honour their patrons. The Hammers also raid into real-space, ravaging Imperial worlds along the borders of the Eye. Sometimes these are genuine missions to secure needed supplies, sometimes their brutal violence is simply part of maintaining their appearance as devout Chaos worshippers or fulfilling pacts made with other forces. However, on occasion the Chapter is able to use these raids to attack their true enemy. In more instances than can be considered a coincidence, the Black Hammers have decimated a seemingly loyal world, only for Imperial authorities to discover in the aftermath that the planet in question had become the home of Chaos cults, in many cases on the verge of open rebellion.


Geneseed:

The geneseed of the Black Hammers is that of Roboute Guilliman. In the few cases that bodies of Marines of the Chapter have been examined by the Adeptus Biologis, these remains have displayed a remarkable lack of the mutation and warping so typically seen among the Traitor Legions. Whether this is due to the absolute purity of the Ultramarines' genetic material, the successful protection of the Black Hammers ritual offerings and charms, or even the blessing of some unknown Chaotic benefactor, is unclear.

A further benefit of this lack of mutation in the Black Hammers genetic material is that their rate of successful geneseed implantation is far, far higher than that of most chaotic warbands. This means that it has been easier for the Chapter to maintain - and even incrementally increase - its numbers over the millennia, despite the battlefield losses that are common to all renegade forces.


Battle Cry:

The Black Hammers have no specific war cry, but will often march into battle mumbling Gruaimachii prayer-chants that either request the aid of the Gods or attempt to deflect their notice.

Edited by Lysimachus, 17 July 2017 - 09:49 AM.

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#2
bloodhound23

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Woof. I'm about to go to work and can't read this right now, but just wanted to say that I'm very excited to see more from you.

 

I love the scheme and I am excited to read this later.

 

Cheers.


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#3
Conn Eremon

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Not going to lie, I keep reading the warlord's name a bit different than probably intended.

 

It's a cool article, it kinda feels like a reimagining of the core concept that led to the Sons of Malice. Like another take on a not-Malal force.

 

I like their backstory, and I like their approach to Chaos, but I only really got to know about the Chapter actually does in the last paragraph of the Combat Doctrine section. It's the contradictory nature of the warband. If it had been a straightforward traitor or loyalist force, it really wouldn't need to be stated.


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#4
Lysimachus

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Thanks guys!

@bloodhound23: thanks, that's a nice response! I hope it lives up to your expectations, let me know what you think?

@Conn: Thanks mate! :P How are you saying it? All as one word? Definitely needs the .... between Tor and Agamon! (Ag.a.mon) Supposed to sound vaguely Greek/Latin, Ultramarine-ish?

There's definite similarities with the Sons of Malice, although I'm not aware of any 'official' fluff written about them, especially as Malal worshippers. Speaking of which (them following Malal) is it obvious enough in the article without being too obvious?

It is a tricky one as far as getting into who they are at present goes. (But then it often is, especially with ITs?) You have to tell the backstory, how they got there and all that stuff, or the 'current' bit doesn't make any sense...

Edited by Lysimachus, 14 July 2017 - 08:43 PM.


#5
Conn Eremon

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Just waiting for him to digivolve to Greymon. :P

My understanding is that the Sons of Malice are a way of keeping the idea of Malal in the setting without actually having Malal, as he is unavailable to the IP.

The cues that cemented it for me was the use of white on black, the idea of using Chaos on Chaos, and oh by the way, they might be under the sway of an onscure Warp entity. It might only be obvious to those who are as immersed in the background as us. Plus, I'm starting to feel like we might have talked about it once before. :D

Perhaps you can use modern quotes that show how their history continues to affect them?
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#6
Ugolino

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I'd scale them down a bit to somewhat above Codex size- Chaos is a cruel master, and traitors that aren't a full Legion should struggle to maintain their numbers, let alone swell into multiple Chapter size. Between infighting, attrition, and simple unreliability of everything in the Warp, the likes of the old Legions like the Word Bearers are the exception rather than the rule.

 

That said, nice fluff for traitor Ultramarines- their fall is fairly fitting and summed up by the quote.


Edited by Ugolino, 15 July 2017 - 10:46 PM.

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#7
Ace Debonair

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For what it's worth, I didn't make the Malal connection at all until reading the rest of the comments. sweat.gif

 

But then I'm of the mindset that we don't see enough minor warp entities and their followers, so I happily took everything in the IT at face value instead of looking for hints. laugh.png

 

This warband is excellent, let me add. Very characterful!happy.png


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#8
Lysimachus

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Thanks all!

 

@Conn: Present day quotes looking back at the more 'historic' sections is a good idea, I'll have a think!

 

@Ugolino: Thanks, that's a valid point. The larger number was based on a couple of things; mostly tying into the fact of them still being quite Ulramarine-y in character despite being bad guys - so I see their recruitment being fairly well organized and successful (may add a bit to the Geneseed section on this!), plus their strategies are quite careful/well thought out, and they actively try to avoid getting into fights with superior forces. In fact I did start by saying around 3k Marines but figured it was a bit much so knocked some off. Plus remember it's only 2(ish) Chapters worth of line infantry, their motor pool is rather less than an average Chapter and is primarily made up of the more basic vehicles, Preds and Dreads.

 

Plus, 2k is still pretty small compared to the (loosely) unified Legions like the BL/WB, who I think(?) still number into the tens of thousands?

 

 

@Ace: Cheers bud, I'm glad the Malal stuff isn't too obvious, definitely wanted it to be a hint rather than a hammer to the face! tongue.png


Edited by Lysimachus, 16 July 2017 - 06:41 PM.


#9
Ugolino

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Yeah, but think about it- 40k Chapters tend to be understrength too- and renegades fare even worse.

 

Where are they getting new Marines from? How are they keeping their supplies stocked if they don't fight for them? Why haven't they been attacked by covetous rival Chaos warbands- resistant to mutation or not, they live in the Eye, which is less one big happy family and more countless petty warlords and kingdoms tearing each other apart in the name of survival? No defectors, no infighting? No Marines that fall to the whispers of the gods but have the subtlety to try and sway their fellows?

 

Would it be safe to say they're extremely pragmatic when it comes to picking fights? Not above withdrawing to avoid wasting Marines, or if the odds are against them, or using tricks like playing the Warp's forces against itself?

 

Black Legion is basically a Chaos Deathwatch in some ways, and has a fairly unique recruiting scheme in that its open to most lineages. Word Bearers have a full on Legion support base to draw from.

 

I mean your take is valid and you don't need to address any of this more than you have, I'm just commenting on a recurring theme in the official renegade chapters in case you want to flesh that aspect out a bit. The recent Crimson Slaughter fluff notes this as well- despite them being said to be disciplined for traitor Marines, the Slaughter still has a hilarious amount of infighting, fratricide between both traitors and between traitors and those who think things have gone too far, and general degeneration of pre-fall patterns of organization and rhetoric.

 

They may have a patron protecting them from the worst of the Eye's effects- and their fellow traitors may quietly laugh at their belief that they're immune to warp corruption, having seen this story play out time and time again- but at the same time, Chaos is corrosive and subtle, and Radicalism (which is basically these guys' hat, right?) generally has a very unhappy ending.

 

Anyway, again, this is a well thought out take on traitor Ultramarines and interested to see what else you do with it. Maybe list the fates of some of their leaders and how their Chapter mentality on the universe has changed- or remained unchanged?


Edited by Conn Eremon, 16 July 2017 - 09:58 PM.
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#10
Conn Eremon

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Ugolino does have a point bringing up the size of the Black Hammers. Remaining part of the Imperial infrastructure comes a lot more benefits than just Martian support. Maintaining size should be a difficulty for warbands, let alone seeing growth of any kind.

 

That said, Chaos as a faction is, by its very nature, incredibly broad and diverse. The old legions and new warbands shouldn't simply sit as the only available options. It's a spectrum where they aren't even at the extreme ends of. There's a warband that overshadows all of the old legions, and the old legions tend to have quite a few Warbands of Just Me.

 

There's no reason why warbands the size of the Black Hammers shouldn't exist, but it does mean some effort should be done to show why.

 

Like, here's an example, which you can use or discard as you like, Si.

 

Space Marine Chapters tithe their gene-seed to the Mechanicus. The process in which the tithe occurs isn't really gone into, so that leaves a lot of room for us to extrapolate from. Say the tithe occurs once every century, for the Imperium is not particularly known for being quick-moving. Say there are gene-seed repositories scattered throughout the Imperium. Maybe they do all go to Mars, but the process is Chapter to repository, repository to Mars. The Imperial Revenue Ships show up, fill up with gene-seed, and then head to a repository forgeworld. The magos of this world process the gene-seed, sort it, tag it, get it all ready, and then ship greater quantities of it back to Mars for cold-storage.

 

Now, the Black Hammers have been having a tough time with their gene-seed. Sure, they've been more resistant than most to the corrupting touch of Chaos, but not everything of theirs is free from corruption, and none of it is all the time. The sheer attrition rates within the Eye are a bother, of course, but what's really a problem is when you have to forcibly vacate nearly sixty initiates into the void because the gene-seed you'd implanted into them had gone bad. So much for that. But when the going gets tough, the tough get desperate. Desperate enough maybe to target a particular Imperial convoy.

 

After all, odds are any pirated gene-seed would also be of Guilliman's blood . . . 


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#11
bloodhound23

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I agree with the others that your force is too large. As the others have said, the side effects of losing access to the Imperial resource structure are quite harsh, and- coupled with the difficulties of survival in the Eye- seem like they would prove too insurmountable without some sort of clever workaround. I like Conn Eremon's suggestion, but I suppose their could be others. But I do think there is a high burden on what sort of explanation could count as a proper workaround, instead of coming across as a shoehorning.

 

There might be a further difficulty involved re: your reliance on a particular sort of orthodoxy of the radicalist strain you describe in your section on beliefs. While you acknowledge the very faint line the Black Hammers must tread, I'm not sure you can use it to bolster your claim to larger numbers. And maybe I'm wrong in reading it as a piece of that puzzle, but to me it seems like that very fine line you're treading is a con and not a pro when it comes to the case you have to make for your larger numbers. Without me already knowing your plans to revise it, however, these may not end up being problems that outlast your taking into account the suggestions already given by Conn. tongue.png

 

Finally- tell me if I have this right: the warband's motivating idea is that of a middle ground between merely accepting the existence of the Chaos/Warp entities (as would any orthodox Imperial view) and realistically taking stock of what sort of capacities are offered by a more Radicalist approach and manipulating those entities, where those Empyrean powers are harnessed instead of just ignored, or so the argument might go. That being said, the beliefs sort of make these quantized leaps between a very systematic view (that of turning Chaos against itself using the logic of opposing forces) and the sort of pre-theoretical protections one might achieve via charms, amulets, runes, and the like. I would be interested to see more filling out of how exactly that tension can be shown to be merely apparent, because it does feel as if it reads as if there's a tension that needs some filling out.

 

All that to say that I had a lot of difficulty in coming up with constructive criticism, because it is otherwise so very good.

 

Hope my comments were more helpful (even if a bit scattered) that harmful, and I look forward to seeing updates.


Edited by bloodhound23, 17 July 2017 - 07:02 AM.

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#12
Lysimachus

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Thanks for the comments guys. Re: the numbers:

Firstly I didn't mean to suggest they didn't go and fight for what they had, just that they generally try to keep their heads down and stay off the radar of other warbands. If they do start fights, they're very careful to make sure it's a fight they know they'll win. Things like Conn mentioned of stealing geneseed would, I am sure, have happened over the long years.

Following on from that, I guess part of the reason for giving them higher numbers was also as an explanation of why nobody else had jumped them. You'd be crazy to attack a well defended star fort without at least double or triple the numbers*, and that would mean that there'd be very few forces in the Eye that could do it, except the larger/unified Legions. Hence the point about non-aggression pacts with the major players. It's all about keeping their heads down so they can get on with what they want to do without interruption. (This is also why it mentions about the star fort being hidden away)

*although I'm sure this would have happened at some point, crazy Khornates and all, but the Hammers would just be able to use it as another opportunity to gain supplies.


Anyway, I'm getting off the point of this post, which was to say that I recognize that their numbers do seem to be an issue for quite a few people. Now while I'm determined that they will have grown and been successful in their millennia in the Eye because it feels right both from the point of view of their own careful practices as well as the idea of something (Malal) helping them along the way, I do now wonder if I overdid it in terms of numbers. Hence I've changed the line in the Org section from 23 Companies to 16, still enough to show growth but hopefully not enough to be quite so jarring to readers. (Hell, it's not like I'm ever going to try and build/paint all of them - not even a tenth of them -so it's not like I'm constricting myself by lowering the numbers!)
Thoughts on that change?

As to the point about science v mythology, that's an interesting thought. I think Agamon would have approached things from a logical, evaluating perspective at least initially, but the influence of the Gruaimachii would definitely have been a key factor in changing to a more superstitious attitude. That said, I don't really see the idea of balances and opposing forces as being particularly 'science-y' or - to be more accurate in my thought process - that it's particularly unmystic. I think they see the balance of things much like a yin/yang principle, or maybe even a galactic karmic balance, rather than a Newtonian Law?


Thanks again for great comments all!

Edited by Lysimachus, 17 July 2017 - 10:23 AM.

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#13
Conn Eremon

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Your choice, brother. You don't really need to change your numbers, in my opinion, I just feel like the numbers being brought up can be a good springboard to ideas on why and how.

 

For what it's worth, those Nam Erech of mine I've gotten some feedback from you guys last year? I fully intend it to be Black Legion-lite, an (initially) Word Bearer warband that will rival that which still calls itself the Word Bearers Legion, and I won't be going all that deep into the why and how of it.


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#14
Ugolino

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There's nothing wrong with them spitting on the Codex size restrictions and being successful enough to do so- the trick is to give enough of a reason for them to be the exception to the usual pattern. What you've mentioned about them being an entire Scouring-era Chapter, disciplined, and shielding- or being shielded- from the usual worst effects is reason enough.

 

I'm guessing that the practice of sacrificial offerings for protection was one of the habits they picked up that contributed to their fall?

 

Love to see more of their culture and mindset, though- or details about the characters. Are their commanders still largely Heresy-era Marines or have new recruits worked their way up into the command structure due to attrition from the long war? How many of the original traitors are still alive? (I always found something faintly tragic about the likes of the Iron Warriors- so many of their original commanders ended up dying pointlessly in petty squabbling despite being peers of the likes of Abaddon himself.)

 

Pragmatism, caution, and isolation seem to be their survival strategies for life in the Eye, right? Makes a lot of sense. They're "lucky" in that the Word Bearers more or less find them be to be amusing rather than an insult, as a major factor in infighting in the Eye is grudges from the Heresy.


Edited by Ugolino, 17 July 2017 - 07:58 PM.

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#15
Ace Debonair

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I thought the numbers were fine, but I'll admit sixteen companies is an easier pill to swallow than twenty-odd.

Being able to commit so many marines to both attack and defence definitely goes quite a way as to explaining how the Black Hammers have endured so long, too.

 

For what it's worth, those Nam Erech of mine I've gotten some feedback from you guys last year? I fully intend it to be Black Legion-lite, an (initially) Word Bearer warband that will rival that which still calls itself the Word Bearers Legion, and I won't be going all that deep into the why and how of it.


I'll be honest, I'm still eagerly waiting for the Nam Erech to show up on the old forums.biggrin.png

Maybe I'll follow suit with my own warband once they do - they've also been a long time in the making!

Although at this point perhaps we ought to just go back to the old PMs rather than hijack this excellent Warband's thread. sweat.gif


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#16
bloodhound23

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I read it as tension, but I now see that it's because I'm not nearly as enlightened as the Black Hammers. 

 

I kid, I kid.

 

I like the move to embrace a mystical holism that focuses on balance rather than strife. 

 

Thank you for the clarification. I'd like to also to say that I also do not have a prima facie problem with the numbers, but I agree with the others that just places a burden that I thought hadn't been met in the piece as it was written, not that you did not have any way of meeting that burden. I also agree that somewhere between 1-2 Chapters worth of infantry is an easier pill to swallow than 2-3. But again, both sizes trigger (to me) some sort of question about how they manage to get around the significant lack of resources. If we have to make it a numbers game- and I'd be curious to see what others intuitions are here- my hunch is that anything greater than 500ish (assuming a fall of a whole chapter) is safe, but anything higher than that typically should trigger a sort of natural suspicion. So I still do think there's something almost-extraordinary required to make the jump from 500-1600 (or 2600 or whatever) plausible. So far it just strikes me as a bit too...Goldilocks.

 

Cheers.


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