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Fluff-wise, which flavour of Alpha Legion do you prefer?


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#1
mawhis

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I was just wondering which version of the Alpha Legion people prefer? Secret Loyalists, Confirmed Traitors, or a combination of both?



#2
The Pariah

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The combination of both. Due to the legion splintering after the Horus Heresy, it gives people the room to do whatever kind of cell they want: want loyalists attacking worlds to make them stronger? Go right ahead. Another cell that plays the part so well they are now just a warband? Enjoy yourself. It's all there and it goes even deeper than that. In two of the Black Library books recently published about the AL, one is a cell of purebloods who are just trying to survive at this point while not trying to fall to Chaos while the other deals with a band of traitors where only one of them has AL geneseed while the others are renegades from different chapters/legions who are trying to live up to Alpharius' tenets.


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#3
Marshal Loss

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Confirmed Traitors - I always preferred the pre-BL Index Astartes era AL. The entire cabal/perpetual plotline isn't something I'm exactly fond of.


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#4
The_son_of_Dorn

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Loyalist is my preference.

Knowing they will be hated, will have to preform things that will even make them hate themselves but all for a good outcom

Also, plot twist, when Alpharius/Omegon (which ever sucker is actually alive) takes of his helmet it will actually be Guilliman who gives a Fonzie "ehhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyy" to the sons of the Hydra.

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#5
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To quote Donald Rumsfeld, I like them being "Unknown Unknowns".

 

I had the pleasure of hearing Alan Bligh talk about the Alpha Legion at one of the early HH Weekenders, and hearing him describe how they operate less like a Legion and more like a Terrorist organisation. That there would be individual cells who would be operating on orders provided to them, but they would have no idea if they were even receiving orders from the same person - it could just be a masked individual on the end of a vox, who literally could be anyone. Then after Alpharius' influence has left the Legion, each of these cells would undergo their own missions, and be free to carry out orders of their own design. The possibilities are limitless; maybe they think they're loyalists but are instead subtly undermining the Imperium. Maybe they think they're striking out at the heart of the False Emperor's Imperium, but instead are wiping out other traitors / renegades. They might not really know anything at all, and just decide they're out for themselves. A split Legion, with a myriad of independent war bands, each with their own goals and opinions.


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#6
Lucerne

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The first Istavaanians. Renegade, with an ideology that acts to ensnare "Imperials" by presenting itself as compatible with throne "loyalty" or acting "for the greater good".

 

They're coldly calculating rogues with a collectivist streak and no loyalty to anything but whatever their cell thinks "the plan is". Everyone and everything is ultimately disposable- the Legion just doesn't play games with its own membership the way it does to its catspaws about that- and when their collective ego and need to make a point isn't getting the better of them, they're dangerous in that they're competent, calculating, and completely amoral.
 

I greatly dislike warp-worshipping AL since worship itself seems to go against their nature (though strategic warp-use does seem to happen even from the early Heresy with experiments into Alpha gal vorbak) so I think they'd treat sorcery and Warp use as "a blade without a hilt"- and the pracitioners and victims as disposable assets, ie: if they drink too deep or start to degenerate they get euthanized, exiled, or sent on suicide missions. They're pragmatists but the Warp is fundamentally a loss of control- and the Alpha Legion is infamous for being a disciplined Legion.

 

I don't think the AL should ever be trustworthy allies but at the same time they should be too useful and competent to ignore when they do offer their services. Basically, they epitomize the trope of "the rogue spymaster"- and if you think you have a grasp on their full agenda, there's a good chance you're being played.

 

 

 

To quote Donald Rumsfeld, I like them being "Unknown Unknowns".

 

I had the pleasure of hearing Alan Bligh talk about the Alpha Legion at one of the early HH Weekenders, and hearing him describe how they operate less like a Legion and more like a Terrorist organisation. That there would be individual cells who would be operating on orders provided to them, but they would have no idea if they were even receiving orders from the same person - it could just be a masked individual on the end of a vox, who literally could be anyone. Then after Alpharius' influence has left the Legion, each of these cells would undergo their own missions, and be free to carry out orders of their own design. The possibilities are limitless; maybe they think they're loyalists but are instead subtly undermining the Imperium. Maybe they think they're striking out at the heart of the False Emperor's Imperium, but instead are wiping out other traitors / renegades. They might not really know anything at all, and just decide they're out for themselves. A split Legion, with a myriad of independent war bands, each with their own goals and opinions.

I'd love to hear word for word quotes or more details if there were any?


Edited by Lucerne, 12 January 2020 - 06:03 PM.

"The Alpha Legion has- in spirit if not in body- remained much the same since its creation."

 

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#7
m_r_parker

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It was a while ago, and I think the B&C either had some technical difficulties that lead to some threads getting lost, and I remember a purge a while ago removing inactive threads of a certain age. I've used the search function but can't see anything before the 2017 HH Weekender, and I have a suspicion its from 2016 in the 'Iron and Stone' seminar Alan and John French did together.

I did start doing sneaky audio recordings of seminars on my phone. There is a strict 'No Video' policy at these events, and I've never tried to upload these recordings - they're there for my personal use. Sometimes someone says something online that I don't think is right, or can't remember, and I want to get the phrasing correct on. Other times I've written reviews and wanted to listen back to ensure I've made the correct points and misinterpreted what the speakers have said. I do have some recordings from 2016 that I can go through, but if it's earlier than that then I'm afraid it's all lost to the warp...

 

Alan was an absolute treasure to listen to, because he was so knowledgeable. He was articulate, playful when it came to spoilers of future events, and always had time for you. Hearing him speak about the AL Legion and the cell organisation, he revealed that as part of University degree he took a module focussed on terrorism and part of that was about how cells organised, controlled, and the complications of anonymous leadership. All of this played into his creation of the 30k setting, and the founding of each of the Astartes Legions.

 

I'll have to check tomorrow if any of those recordings are of the right seminar. I hope so.


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#8
Lord_Caerolion

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I've never fully liked the "secret Loyalists" idea, mainly because it flies against all the stuff about the Alpha Legion operating solely on a "need to know" basis for Alpharius to have told the information about the Cabal etc to every single one of them. That information would have definitely been kept to the inner-circle as it were, with the rest of the Legion being told the prior fluff's explanation.

 

Some AL would still be the "secret Loyalists", but the vast majority of the Legion would never have known about the visions shared with their Primarch, and just believed in Horus' cause, or believed it was because they were removing the weak from humanity, or whatever other reason. I mean, this is a Legion that couldn't even agree on a Legion-wide colour scheme.


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#9
The Sorcerer Rasofiel

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I vastly prefer the old Index Astartes Alpha Legion. Dan Abnett's Legion actuelly turned my off the entire Horus Heresy novel series because I disliked the direction the Alpha Legion took there. I like them more in Forge World's black books, but I am not a huge fan of the extreme focus on secrecy. I always enjoyed the little brother aspect more.

 

My old Alpha Legion army were full on traitors, but with less of a chaotic bent to their looks (Chaos Marines without enormous horns on their helmets and so forth). 


Edited by The Sorcerer Rasofiel, 13 January 2020 - 01:17 PM.

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#10
Iron Father Ferrum

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My warband are a combination: they started as a "do good by doing bad" but over the millenia...well, Chaos corrupts.

In every 40K depiction of the Legion, they're Chaos Marines. Every picture of models or art from a codex, their novels, their rules...they're Chaotic. This whole "closet loyalist" thing is a cute gimmick for 30K, but in 40K we're bad guys.

Edited by Iron Father Ferrum, 13 January 2020 - 02:43 PM.

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#11
Lucerne

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My warband are a combination: they started as a "do good by doing bad" but over the millenia...well, Chaos corrupts.

In every 40K depiction of the Legion, they're Chaos Marines. Every picture of models or art from a codex, their novels, their rules...they're Chaotic. This whole "closet loyalist" thing is a cute gimmick for 30K, but in 40K we're bad guys.

I mean, "bad guys" is subjective- considering every Legion is basically a bunch of walking war crimes with dubious reasoning/justification for their actions- and if anyone had the right mentality to mitigate the most damning effects, it'd be the Alpha Legion.

 

They're atheistic, they're intelligent, they're no strangers to dangerous and corrosive strategems and were some of the first to be aware of the dangers of both chaos and possession- and a lot of their modern art is "diet CSM".

 

The idea of them being conventional loyalists is obviously a bad joke, but them still being the ambiguous wild card with (intentionally) unclear motivations is one thing that consistently fits the modern versions of the Legion.


Edited by Lucerne, 13 January 2020 - 05:32 PM.

"The Alpha Legion has- in spirit if not in body- remained much the same since its creation."

 

https://i.imgur.com/YxV2bFv.png <-This is what the Warhammer 40k setting is about.


#12
Iron Father Ferrum

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They're not atheists in the classic literature. They have Possessed and mutants and Daemon Princes in Index Astartes and Hunt for Voldorius, they could use Cultists to summon daemons in the 3.5 codex.

They have always been true Chaos Marines. For some reason though everyone wants to look at them now through the 30K lens and whitewash them a little.
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#13
MasterDeath

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The AL remembers me of my daughter´s cereals. I did not prepare them and they are not mine, but I surely enjoy them. I am sure thats the way Tzeentch looks at the AL. All these "the hand does not know what the foot is doing", plans in plans, covering up traps and misdirection, thats only distraction for a feint. They are more Tzeentchian than the TS. I think the AL is so corrupted that they still think they are following a grand plan. In the end they are just playing games to proof themselves to their bigger brothers.


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#14
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Definitely agree, Iron Father Ferrum. Whatever the Alpha Legion were like in the Heresy, they've definitely changed now. Sure, there's probably some old guard still clinging to the original justifications, but the bulk of the Legion would never have been told the truth, and have trained up new recruits who never even saw the real Primarch. Chaos is always offering power. The new recruits aren't going to be rejecting this because of the truth shown to Alpharius in the Acuity by the Cabal, and they're secretly loyal to the Emperor. They've definitely thrown their lot in with Chaos.


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#15
Indefragable

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I kinda think the Alpha Legion are the perfect bad guys in the setting...because they can be whatever you want them to be. They are the designated role players, able to play whatever role you want since their core tenet-decentralization, is something that is almost self-defeating after 10,000 years.

 

I see them as the polar opposite of say the Dark Angels in 40k (as opposed to 30k). The Dark Angels totally split up into multiple chapters that operate independently and are in no way shape or form a de facto coherent Legion. The Alpha Legion, in contrast, have splintered into every possible conceivable mutation (not like, in the possessed way, as in an organizational/doctrinal/belief way) of the original pattern possible. In some ways, the only common factor among all of them is that they call themselves Alpha Legion. It's disinformation and psy-ops to a level unseen in human history. They are a viral entity. Where the independent cells diverge so much that they form back in on themselves and become cannibalistic even, purging other Alpha Legion units. To the outsider this seems counter-productive and a sign of the original pattern's failure when in fact the Alpha Legion smile at this and see it as the desired natural evolution, culling the weak parts of themselves so that only the strongest patterns and subdivisions remain.

 

I also like to think that in 30k the Alpha Legion were secretly one of the largest Legions, yet their operational techniques ensured that no one could truly grasp this. I also like how in Malevolence the V Legion discover that many elements of the XX Legion fleet blocking them in at Chondax are in fact derelict space craft with nifty paint jobs to make the fleet seem even larger. Techniques like that help explain the wide variance in operational performance for them as well, with the XX Legion sometimes being portrayed as "not as good" at the frontline stuff as most other legions, while other depictions have them being disproportionately good on a pound-for-pound basis. I like to think that the Alpha Legion were/are some of the best individual warriors of all Space Marines, again with the focus on decentralization and independent action making them particularly deadly. However, since they also deploy so many decoys and ruses (in my mind, even putting mortals into AL power armor to inflate the size of a unit), the end Net effect is that they basically even out to other forces.

 

Sorry, got off track there. In short, I personally prefer the fluff to be a bit ambiguous which each layer pulled back making things less clear, with the audience left to wonder how much of the internal confusion is deliberate misdirection and how much of it is actual disagreement between Alpharius/Omegon/other high ranking members.


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#16
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Time for my take! 

 

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I think the Alpha Legion embody the old "your dudes" aspect of GW from back in the day. There is room for so much within a Legion that operates like a rogue CIA. I agree with almost all the terrorist analogies and the trove of information Extermination gives us (while giving us far more questions). At the outset of the HH, sure, they have plenty of cells, agents, non-Astartes... but they're also the third largest Space Marine Legion. With a little brother complex. And about as prideful as the Emperor's Children. And with logistical systems rivalling the Ultramarines. This all makes them so incredibly full of creative space to explore. A Panzer Division? Go for it. A bunch of partizans? Sure! 

 

Legion turned me off the Alpha Legion quite a bit; if the Eldar could fornicate a god into existence, the Chaos gods hardly need some hairless apes to validate their existence. I just really dislike that entire narrative, and I've performed some headcanon acrobatics to ignore it for my own guys. I also don't like that in the BL novels, the AL have the competency levels of Scooby Doo villains hiding in an abandoned amusement park; we've so far had our arses handed to us by the White Scars, the Space Wolves, and the Fists, and this isn't an exhaustive list. To the best of my knowledge, BL hasn't given us a single win over anyone in 30k other than ourselves and some Mechanicum supply ship. 

 

My 30k Alpha Legionnaires is a Harrow that trained alongside the Luna Wolves, as thus operate using tactics that blend the Alpha Legion with the Speartip Strike of the Wolves. Full on combined arms. In my head, they turned Traitor as they were worried the Emperor was attempting his apotheosis to godhood and had to be stopped, and they were very easily convinced by their Sons of Horus brothers, whom they'd fought with and whom respected them. Then being able to test their mettle against other SMs, in particular, the UMs, was to delicious an opportunity to pass up (feeding their little brother and prideful aspect), so they wanted the justification to be true so badly. 

In 40k, we have a growing amount of information from BL (and bizarrely credited with winning the Battle of Tallarn in the Codex, which was the Iron Warriors) about us, and what I like is the creative space there as well. You can still have less Daemonic/Chaotic Alpha Legionnaires whom believe they're not doing the bidding of the Dark Gods... but we're all Slaves to Darkness. You can have fully mutated and overtly Octed-worshipping Warbands. And you can have something in between. That's the beauty; they're our dudes. We don't have the detail of the UMs, whom have each Tactical Marines named. We can create something that fits without ignoring the lore. 

 

 

My warband are a combination: they started as a "do good by doing bad" but over the millenia...well, Chaos corrupts.

In every 40K depiction of the Legion, they're Chaos Marines. Every picture of models or art from a codex, their novels, their rules...they're Chaotic. This whole "closet loyalist" thing is a cute gimmick for 30K, but in 40K we're bad guys.

 

 

 

My warband are a combination: they started as a "do good by doing bad" but over the millenia...well, Chaos corrupts.

In every 40K depiction of the Legion, they're Chaos Marines. Every picture of models or art from a codex, their novels, their rules...they're Chaotic. This whole "closet loyalist" thing is a cute gimmick for 30K, but in 40K we're bad guys.

I mean, "bad guys" is subjective- considering every Legion is basically a bunch of walking war crimes with dubious reasoning/justification for their actions- and if anyone had the right mentality to mitigate the most damning effects, it'd be the Alpha Legion.

 

They're atheistic, they're intelligent, they're no strangers to dangerous and corrosive strategems and were some of the first to be aware of the dangers of both chaos and possession- and a lot of their modern art is "diet CSM".

 

The idea of them being conventional loyalists is obviously a bad joke, but them still being the ambiguous wild card with (intentionally) unclear motivations is one thing that consistently fits the modern versions of the Legion.

 

 

 

They're not atheists in the classic literature. They have Possessed and mutants and Daemon Princes in Index Astartes and Hunt for Voldorius, they could use Cultists to summon daemons in the 3.5 codex.

They have always been true Chaos Marines. For some reason though everyone wants to look at them now through the 30K lens and whitewash them a little.

 

Dreams of Unity (30k) depicts us with at least one Gal Vorbak/Possessed kinda guy, whom is able to kill Custodes. And here's from Sons of the Hydra:

 

Spoiler


Edited by ChazSexington, 14 January 2020 - 10:20 AM.

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#17
Lucerne

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Tallarn being an AL "victory" where they inflicted "stinging defeats" on loyalists is very old lore that's been referenced up to the current day- there's a note that AL tanks butchered Imperial Army at some point in that whole mess.

 

So it presumably happened offscreen or in another battle of Tallarn.

 

 

 

They're not atheists in the classic literature. They have Possessed and mutants and Daemon Princes in Index Astartes and Hunt for Voldorius, they could use Cultists to summon daemons in the 3.5 codex.

They have always been true Chaos Marines. For some reason though everyone wants to look at them now through the 30K lens and whitewash them a little.

Hunt For Voldorius is godawful for AL lore and about as representative as dawn of war.

 

Index Astartes notes that their mentality towards mutations was "conceal out of pragmatism" and explicitly draws a distinction between the AL and the Legions that went into the Eye that has them avoid daemons unless their allied cultists can summon them. This is in keeping with the Legion philosophy that's explicitly noted to not have changed very much from pre-heresy in the CSM codex...and said philosophy is definitely not very pious.


Edited by Lucerne, 14 January 2020 - 06:29 PM.

"The Alpha Legion has- in spirit if not in body- remained much the same since its creation."

 

https://i.imgur.com/YxV2bFv.png <-This is what the Warhammer 40k setting is about.


#18
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I've always viewed Alpha Legion kind of like the CIA of the 40k universe. They are always doing stuff. Sometimes it is bad. Sometimes it is good. But they are always trying to push an agenda somewhere. 


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#19
Wayniac

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I always preferred the original fluff from around 2nd edition:  As the last Legion, the Alphas always felt they had to prove themselves to their older brothers.  Alpharius became closer to Horus so when the Heresy broke out, he followed his older brother because he could respect Horus as a warrior, while the Emperor was aloof and distant.  

 

I never liked the whole "Are we good or evil maybe both who knows Hail Hydra" stuff, even worse the whole "Secretly good but doing Chaos stuff to test the Imperium" lore; I'd take like a half and half "ends justify the means" over black ops good guys any day.  I don't remember the original IA article on them (I know that was when they first introduced the idea of "twin Primarchs") but I always liked the insidious cult/space terrorist thing they had going.


Edited by Wayniac, 14 January 2020 - 07:30 PM.

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#20
Iron Father Ferrum

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The twin Primarchs thing wasn't introduced until the novel Legion.

Rumor is it was always intended by the writers, but I've never found anyone who can 100% confirm that.
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#21
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FW AL from the black books for me, harrowing etc. Legion novel kinda made them members of meme marines, typcasting them negatively. I think they have a better showing in short stories and the praetorian novel.
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#22
Lord_Caerolion

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And then there's my conspiracy theory going full tin-foil hat from a few lines in the FW write-up of them that there's a third Alpha Legion Primarch.


"And then Horus landed on the Moon, which looked like the moon. Funny that, isn't it?"


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#23
Marshal Loss

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The twin Primarchs thing wasn't introduced until the novel Legion.

Rumor is it was always intended by the writers, but I've never found anyone who can 100% confirm that.

 

AFAIK it was definitely not intended by the writers, was an Abnett contribution

 

FW AL from the black books for me, harrowing etc. Legion novel kinda made them members of meme marines, typcasting them negatively. I think they have a better showing in short stories and the praetorian novel.

 

Agreed - Extermination's triumph was that it synthesized the IA and BL lore into something cohesive, realistic, and threatening. If all of the Omegon/Alpharius/Cabal lunacy had been alluded to as opposed to being shown overtly, I might not dislike it so much. But I'm not an Abnett fan so opinions may (do) differ


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#24
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For those who've already mentioned it, I'm another one in the old lore camp. Thinking of the Alpha Legion as the little brother Legion is what always sold it for me. It made the fall to Chaos convincing, the way they followed Horus to the end. It made their adherence to unusual tactics understandable, because they wanted to prove themselves.

There's a lot of stuff added by Forge World that I really like, little nuggets that really flush out their character. But I've never been impressed with anything that black library has done.
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#25
MegaVolt87

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For those who've already mentioned it, I'm another one in the old lore camp. Thinking of the Alpha Legion as the little brother Legion is what always sold it for me. It made the fall to Chaos convincing, the way they followed Horus to the end. It made their adherence to unusual tactics understandable, because they wanted to prove themselves.
There's a lot of stuff added by Forge World that I really like, little nuggets that really flush out their character. But I've never been impressed with anything that black library has done.


Yeah and people complain BL lore is ignored/ revised in army books is a bad thing- it's a good thing.
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My Iron Warriors Project   Guns for the guns god!, Bullets for the Brass throne!





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