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The Grey Slayers


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#1
Camillo

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OK, so I've been cogitating on this idea for a little while, and I thought I'd share it. Just to see if anyone else thinks it’s interesting. It's probably been thought about before, but I'm hoping there's enough different here that you'll find it fun.

The problem with DIY chapters is making them unique without making them special snowflakes. You want the chapter to be cool and over-the-top to match the aesthetic of 40k, but there's an unspoken rule that the only people that can effortlessly do the impossible are characters invented by GW. If you want to avoid the "Mary Sue" label, your chapter has to be less impressive than a canonical one. But who wants to read about the middle management of 40k? Who wants to have the chapter that is OK at stuff, but doesn't really stand out?

That problem leads to creative difficulties when writing about anything in 40k. Your chapter can be good, but not great. This means that your ideas have to be three times better than the broad stereotypes that GW uses, because you have to snatch people's attention and keep it. But if your ideas are too creative, they don't fit into the established canon (with daemons, planet-destroying super-weapons, devices that turn whole populations psychic, angels, living saints, 10,000 year-old space marines, space elves, space orks, and an Inquisition capable of any plot contrivance).

So that got me thinking:

What if we used discarded plot contrivances to create a 40k faction centered around space marines?

Specifically, I'm talking about the 40k Illuminati.

Fair warning: this is going to be long, but the logic here takes awhile. I’m going to try to put the sections it spoiler tabs, so that if you don’t care you can skip them.

Here’s the starting point:

Hidden Content


So what if the Illuminati wasn’t destroyed after all, but just evolved?

There is historical precedent for this line of thinking. The original Bavarian Illuminati on which this (and many, many other) conspiracy theory draws inspiration was officially suppressed and destroyed in 1785, but many people believe that it continues to this day. That’s the nature of secrets societies, after all. They’re secret, so you can’t really be sure how extensive or powerful they really are. The original Illuminati is thought to have simply changed its operational practice, sacrificed a few exposed members, and continued.

Further explanation:
Hidden Content


Such could be the case for a 40k Illuminati.

Think it through -what do we really know about the Illuminati in 40k? It never officially existed, except that it has been destroyed (maybe). We have documentary evidence that it’s gone, which might be fabricated, but is official, even though it can’t be verified (because actions of the Inquisition aren’t subject to independent review or verification). The people in it were chaos worshippers, even though officially they didn’t exist, so they were working with demons (which the Imperium strictly claims aren’t real except when you find out that they are). You can trust this account of events, because the people that have lied endlessly to you and everyone else in the past claim it to be true, and will punish you if you question it.

This is the climate that secret societies flourish in.

But what would it look like, and how does it fit in with my desire to create a Homebrew Space Marine Chapter?
Alright, more documentation and history time (all hidden, in case you don’t care).
Hidden Content

Put it all together, and you have a conspiracy in crisis just as it might be coming to fruition. Fortunately, new weapons and tools have become available that might make a final push possible.
It just needs new leadership…

Finally, Here’s the “truth”:
Hidden Content


OK, that’s it. What do you think? Fun? Interesting? Trite? Derivative? All comments welcome. I’m having fun with the idea, and want to make this chapter, but I’m always afraid of “Mary Sue” syndrome.

Edited by Camillo, 26 December 2019 - 09:01 PM.


#2
Brother Cambrius

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It certainly is a concept full of options and toys to play with in the 40k sandbox, especially with the breadcrumbs left behind by GW's older editions of lore in this universe.

 

I think it can definitely be a fun one to write upon and develop/explore further, the challenge will be to ensure it does not fall either-side of the knife edge it runs on with the established canon, trying to keep it within some semblance of immersion for the reader and none too many egregious shatterings of the main pillars of the Canon.

 

So I say go forth and go for it! Remember, as always, this is your Chapter and your work. We only add comments/critiques for you to consider. The choice to use them in any capacity is up to you. :)

 

Cambrius


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#3
Lysimachus

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I'm a fan of anything that references the older fluff, and that highlights the contradictory nature of 'truth' in the Imperium.

My only nit pick is the Chapter name, as it's also the name of the Space Wolves 13th Co equivalent of Grey Hunters (and apparently also now a squad type for 30k SW Legion!) Now of course, things can get reproduced and reused by the Imperium, so it's not impossible... but readers who know the older fluff (like the Sensei/Illuminati stuff) will probably turn up to the thread expecting a Space Wolf Successor - I know I was. Edit: So they are SW Successors? This conflicts with the newer SW fluff that says they only had the Wolf Brothers, who died out due to genetic instability?

Now as I said, it's not impossible by any means, but does it add anything to the Chapter or would another name work just as well and without causing (the wrong kind of) confusion?

Edit: Hmm, just doing more reading, am I getting it the wrong way around??? Are the 13th Co squads named after this Chapter? (Not in-universe obviously, but by the writers?) If so, I still might change the Chapter name to avoid any confusion with the newer SW fluff?
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#4
Camillo

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I'm a fan of anything that references the older fluff, and that highlights the contradictory nature of 'truth' in the Imperium.
My only nit pick is the Chapter name, as it's also the name of the Space Wolves 13th Co equivalent of Grey Hunters (and apparently also now a squad type for 30k SW Legion!) Now of course, things can get reproduced and reused by the Imperium, so it's not impossible... but readers who know the older fluff (like the Sensei/Illuminati stuff) will probably turn up to the thread expecting a Space Wolf Successor - I know I was. Edit: So they are SW Successors? This conflicts with the newer SW fluff that says they only had the Wolf Brothers, who died out due to genetic instability?
Now as I said, it's not impossible by any means, but does it add anything to the Chapter or would another name work just as well and without causing (the wrong kind of) confusion?
Edit: Hmm, just doing more reading, am I getting it the wrong way around??? Are the 13th Co squads named after this Chapter? (Not in-universe obviously, but by the writers?) If so, I still might change the Chapter name to avoid any confusion with the newer SW fluff?


Your second supposition is correct - The Grey Slayers were the name listed in the Slaves to Darkness book, which predates the 13th company dileniated in the Codex: Eye of Terror (where the Space Wolf Grey Slayers first appear). It's a shame, because the name is a stunning one in my opinion.

I have no trouble changing the name - the only reason I kept it was that I was already changing the name of the conspiracy, and I didn't want to appropriate the story without any connections to the fluff.

In the best of all possible worlds, any new name would be close enough to the chapter's "original" name that the "history" could be traced back to it.

Maybe just call them the Slayers? Or the Grey Sons?

On the other hand, a completely different name could be used, explined as the old chapter was folded into a newer one as a way to hide its affiliation and motives.

What about...

Brazen Sons?
The Sacred Band?
The Reborn?

#5
Brother Cambrius

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I have no qualm with Grey Slayers still being used. The Imperium is vast and labyrinthine with beauracracy, so duplicate names are easy to come by potentially.

But if an alteration is required, a few options:

Ashen Slayers
Grey Reavers
Ashen Sons

Cambrius

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