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Imperial Fists Characterization

- - - - - Imperial Fists Chapter

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#1
BronzeFist6789

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I really can't help but love the Imperial Fists. They're one of my favorite space marine chapters, along with the Blood Ravens, Salamanders, Blood Angels, Ultramarines, White Scars, and Dark Angels. To me, the Imperial Fists remind me of the dwarves from Middle Earth: grim, stubborn, and utterly determined. 
 
I first became interested in Space Marines when 2017 began and onward to 2019. Aside from having their Primarch's reknowned determination and sense of loyalty to The Emperor, I alos wondered what else is a driving motivation for the proud sons of Rogal Dorn.
 
I've read "What It Means To Be An Imperial Fist," and "Who Is Dorn?' These two articles helped me understand more about the Imperial Fists. To me, there's a lot of pain stemming from the Imperial Fist's motivation. They are a legion/chapter that was hurt so badly during and after the Horus Heresy. They were badly wounded, and it's a pain that has never faded emotionally to this day in the modern Imperium. They are a chapter of Astartes who cannot forgive and cannot forget. I like to listen to the song "Song of The Lonely Mountain," by Neil Finn from the Hobbit series. Like the dwarves from Middle Earth, the Imperial Fists and many of their successor chapters have faced a LOT of hardships, but they have the strength and determination to keep going on in the Emperor's name in in the name of Humanity. They feel anger, yes, but space marines feel hatred and anger far more than any regular human being. I can already imagine the sons of Dorn nursing their eternal hatred of Mankind's foes (especially for their most hated rivals, the Iron Warriors) with each millennia. The Great Crusade ended long ago, but the Imperial Fists have never forgotten the dream of the Emperor. I can imagine that the Imperial Fists have attempted to right the wrong that happened long ago during the Horus Heresy, The Siege of Terra, and The Iron Cage.
 
They practically punish themselves for even the slightest mistake. I can relate to them, as I often punish myself mentally for mistakes. But it's not to drag themselves down into despair. It's so that they can understand where they went wrong, and how they can do better in the future. They throw themselves into the Pain Glove both to atone for their mistakes and heighten their endurance. That's why they're practically unbroken. They have to shoulder a lot of pain: the pain from the Horus Heresy and afterwards, the pain from the loss of fallen battle-brothers, and so much more. They are strong enough to shoulder those burdens because it's what they were created to do.
 
The Imperial Fists have continued to understand and endure this pain, and it's why their just so awesome. They are unyielding stone, and will never stop fighting to protect Humanity.
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#2
Knight of the Raven

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There's an interesting, ironic passage in Praetorian of Dorn that I feel describes the Imperial Fists well. Ironic in the sense that they're describing their enemies rather than themselves here, unaware of what the future holds.

Praetorian of Dorn, pages 376–377:

Spoiler

Defiant to the end and clinging to the past. I'd say that describes the Imperial Fists well, described as they are to be the only ones in the entire Imperium intent on pursuing the Great Crusade. A dream that was consigned to the ashes of the past with the Horus Heresy.

The reason they're doing this may be something as simple as 'on principle.' All loyalist space marines tend to be men of principles, but the Imperial Fists stand among the paragons of these virtues.

Failings and mistakes are meant to be punished, therefore they punish themselves when they don't meet their own exacting standards. What matters is that they fulfill their duty to protect humanity from its countless enemies, not that they live to tell others about it later. They were created as a bulwark against terror by the Emperor and they will continue to be that, unto the very end of eternity and the extinction of mortal flesh, even as this same Emperor writhes under the shackles of the Golden Throne.

All of this would explain why their fatal flaw is pride. Such important principles are to be upheld at any cost. It usually leads to appalling amounts of unnecessary casualties in their ranks, yes—but the Imperial Fists are the only force in the Imperium to have ever defeated a Tyranid invasion, not by wiping the tendril out, but by making the Hive Mind give up on consuming the world they defended.

"One more day on Miral Prime. One more day for Rogal Dorn."


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#3
BronzeFist6789

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Nice example! I just gotta read that book sometime! However, I don't think that pride is one of their fatal flaws. The Imperial FIsts are stubborn and determined, yes, but I highly doubt that they're the most prideful space marine chapter out there. Don't get me wrong, they still have their pride in their traditions and history, but the Imperial Fists are still level-headed, stout, and down to earth figures. A lot of Black Library books give good examples of this, like in the books by John French, Dan Abnett, Ben Counter and Steve Parker, and others. Still, they can make mistakes and learn from them, because all space marines have flaws, no matter what the chapter. 



#4
Knight of the Raven

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I'm only going by what Angels of Death is telling me; that supplement states their greatest flaw to be pride. That's also where I got that the Imperial Fists were still fighting the Great Crusade, something which I believe was exclusive to the Black Templars before 6th Edition.

Here's the actual quote; Defenders of Terra, page 25:

This continual mortification is necessary, for pride has ever been the Imperial Fists' greatest weakness.

 

I don't know much about the Imperial Fists. My first-hand knowledge of them amounts to codices and this supplement, plus the grand total of one article focused on them (or rather Darnath Lysander pre-Sentinels of Terra) in my incomplete White Dwarf collection spanning over ten years, and finally Praetorian of Dorn.

I'd advise reading that novel for the narration alone. I'll however warn you that the Alpha Legion have at least as much time devoted to them as the Imperial Fists do. It also subscribes to the writing style that stays outside of the primarchs' heads and shows them only through the eyes of others, so you won't know what Rogal Dorn thinks unless he states his thoughts out loud. On the other hand, this does mean we get a nice passage of what a primarch in general and Rogal Dorn in particular 'looks' like from an astropath's point of view.


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#5
BronzeFist6789

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I guess you may be right in some regards. While the Imperial Fists can be prideful at certain times, I still think that they're smart enough to learn from their mistakes. That's why they throw themselves into the Pain Glove so much. I don't want to start a whole argument about the whole thing. 



#6
Knight of the Raven

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I'm not trying to start an argument either. I'm just providing information available to me: information possibly out of reach of some fans because of their date of publication and probably outdated for the same reason.

Speaking of which, good timing. I read Pete Haines' thoughts on the Imperial Fists in the White Dwarf covering 4th Edition space marines not two weeks ago. He co-wrote the codex with Graham McNeill and was in charge, among other things, of none other than Darnath Lysander himself.

His interpretation of the Imperial Fists is that they always 'strive to prove their faith' and believe 'everything has to be earned.' Not a single mention of pride. A sharp contrast from Angels of Death, indeed.

The lore never stops evolving. This gives us the benefit of having many versions to choose from, all of them equally valid.

I'm certain the Imperial Fists can learn from their mistakes. I just haven't read enough about them to actually witness one of their mistakes; the Miral Prime business could qualify as one, but then that's a mistake that led to victory. Not much incentive to learn from that.


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#7
Marshal Rohr

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Its not pride, its obstinance. A vice, to be sure, but doesn't come from the same place as pride. 


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Your opinion is important, and someone posting here probably does care what you think. You should go tell them. Remember that it really hurts to come up with an idea you care about and have no one else care. Go care about something and tell them what you think. Now. Think of what it would have meant to you when you were young.

 

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#8
MegaVolt87

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Nothing wrong with the Fists being proud of what they have achieved for the Imperium. Sure it can lead to arrogance, but arrogance and contempt are more our thing over here with the IW's. If anything they are a bit bitter with grudges though. You are as only as strong as your enemies, which is why I always liked the IF and successors, you can very much hate and respect them as an enemy. IW and IF blood feud is top tier in the setting IMO. HS.gif


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#9
Fulkes

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So I was mulling this over and I think U can say if I were say the Imperial Fists fit any archetype it's that of Dwarves.

Stubborn, proud, tougher than average, great builders, hold long grudges, bluntly honest and also called "Men of Stone".

Give them an axe and a beard (though most of assume they have some of the nicer facial hair in the Astartes so this mat be moot) and they'd be Dwarves with giganticism.
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 My company inform me that their new primaris brother just don't fit in the safety harnesses. And the Chaplain won't let us ride unless we buckle up.


#10
Gederas

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So I was mulling this over and I think U can say if I were say the Imperial Fists fit any archetype it's that of Dwarves.

Stubborn, proud, tougher than average, great builders, hold long grudges, bluntly honest and also called "Men of Stone".

Give them an axe and a beard (though most of assume they have some of the nicer facial hair in the Astartes so this mat be moot) and they'd be Dwarves with giganticism.

So THAT'S why I like the Fists so much. One of my major/favorite fantasy races is dwarves (seriously, one of the people I DM Pathfinder even said "You and dwarves go together like cookies and milk" regarding how well I play dwarves).

 

I'm still not going to make a Fists force though. Screw painting all that yellow :lol:



#11
Fulkes

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So I was mulling this over and I think U can say if I were say the Imperial Fists fit any archetype it's that of Dwarves.

Stubborn, proud, tougher than average, great builders, hold long grudges, bluntly honest and also called "Men of Stone".

Give them an axe and a beard (though most of assume they have some of the nicer facial hair in the Astartes so this mat be moot) and they'd be Dwarves with giganticism.

So THAT'S why I like the Fists so much. One of my major/favorite fantasy races is dwarves (seriously, one of the people I DM Pathfinder even said "You and dwarves go together like cookies and milk" regarding how well I play dwarves).

I'm still not going to make a Fists force though. Screw painting all that yellow :lol:
Do Crimson Fists then. Basically Blue Imperial Fists who have a personal beef with Orks.

 My company inform me that their new primaris brother just don't fit in the safety harnesses. And the Chaplain won't let us ride unless we buckle up.


#12
Ugolino

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The Imperial Fists are Paladins. Uncompromising adherents to an ideal and code up to and beyond reason. Never compromise, never give ground to evil.

 

..It's why Praetorian of Dorn is such a delicious treat for every Legion/character involved: it's a study in contrasts.


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#13
Slips

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So I was mulling this over and I think U can say if I were say the Imperial Fists fit any archetype it's that of Dwarves.

Stubborn, proud, tougher than average, great builders, hold long grudges, bluntly honest and also called "Men of Stone".

Give them an axe and a beard (though most of assume they have some of the nicer facial hair in the Astartes so this mat be moot) and they'd be Dwarves with giganticism.

So THAT'S why I like the Fists so much. One of my major/favorite fantasy races is dwarves (seriously, one of the people I DM Pathfinder even said "You and dwarves go together like cookies and milk" regarding how well I play dwarves).

 

I'm still not going to make a Fists force though. Screw painting all that yellow laugh.png

 

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#14
Boldthreat

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My interpretation of the Imperial Fists and Rogal Dorn is as the dedicated Samurai of the Emperor. To me, the Imperial Fists are all about service. Service to mankind, the Emperor and his Truth. The price for this ideal is worth anything and everything in its persuit. Of all the Legions, I always felt it was the Fists (and their Primarch) who both understood the simple truth and embraced it: The Adeptus Astartes are weapons. They are a tool to be wielded by its creator... the Immortal God Emperor of Mankind. They aren’t there to bring peace. They aren’t there to bring hope or prosperity or logistics. They are there to take back from the Dark and fortify that which was taken to prepare the way for those that do bring those things. To prepare the way for the light of their God, so his will is made a realty. Anything else is a distraction.

My favorite depiction of Fists is when they are portrayed as grim warriors who rarely speak. Who do not seek honor or laurels or recognition. Who follow orders to their certain death. Not for anything else but Duty to the Emperor. It’s not for their glory. It’s to the Glory of Him on Earth. And that’s worth never backing down. That’s worth dying on every inch. Worth dropping into any and every Hell. The ONLY communion worth anything in this brotherhood is Pain. Pain through service; Duty through Sacrifice. The Space Marines aren’t the hope of the galaxy. They are their to pay for it in blood. And they will always pay the price for it.

Other Chapters seek their progenitors words in hope of enlightenment, understanding and fulfillment. They seek prophecies and yearn for their return for some golden fulfillment. The Imperial Fists don’t have that problem. Rogal Dorn showed them what is expected by every single one of them. Duty in Death. Sacrifice in Service. Dorn practiced what he preached and willingly went to his death. He even did so because his death would focus humanity’s worship of his God, his Creator. How is that prideful? It’s not. It’s dying to yourself completely and following the Will of the Father on Terra. And for them, that means dealing Pain, and enduring it. Nothing else.

My opinion anyway.
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#15
Boldthreat

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Case Study: Warriors of Ultramar

Wait what? Brother Boldthreat.. this is a Ultramarines novel. A minor Mortifactors book. It’s about two chapters overcoming the docrtinal differences they have over the worship of the Codex.

All true. But let’s set back and look at the reality of that novel. The Ultramarines nor the Mortifactors were the hero of the story. I don’t care if it’s a Uriel Ventris book. I don’t care if it’s a Ultramarines book. Tarsis Ultra wasn’t saved by the Ultramarines. It was saved by Captain Bannon of the deathwatch. Captain Bannon had to straighten both chapters out. To cut out their stupid petty bull crap. And when it came time to decide between duty and survival, Bannon without question chose duty instantly and without discussion. Falling to his death via a swarm of Tyranids armed only with a combat knife. It was this sacrifice that inspired Uriel to pull his head out and do his duty as a Space Marine, not blindly follow a Codex.

Tarsis Ultra wasn’t saved by a Company of Ultramarines and their Mortifactor brothers. It was saved by 1 Imperial Fist who placed duty above all else, including his own life. Captain Bannon is the Emperors Fist.
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