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:
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.
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).
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”:
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.