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The Case for Chaos

Alpha Legion Chaos Chaos Space Marines Heretic Astartes

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#1
Iron Father Ferrum

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One question that pops up fairly often in all the various Alpha Legion or Chaos Marine groups/fora that I attend is whether or not the Alpha Legion is really Chaotic in the same vein that the Black Legion or Word Bearers.  This usually involves a rousing back-and-forth that leaves no one satisfied, so instead of making that same argument over and over again I'm writing it all out here complete with citations so that I -- and any of like mind -- have an easy reference when the time comes that this particular sticky wicket rears its head again.

 

So with that said, on with the show.  My first army in this game was Alpha Legion, and my first codex was the infamous "3.5" Codex: Chaos Space Marines written by Pete Haines.  At this point, there was no question that the Alpha Legion were true-blue Chaos Marines.  No one ever painted loyalist Space Marines in Alpha Legion colors. It wasn't until Horus Heresy: Legion arrived that the concept of "secretly loyal" Alpha Legionnaires entered the 40K zeitgeist and it's been a trope that has bled over from 30K to 40K despite having little basis in published canon.  And while GW doesn't strictly maintain a rigid canon like other IP's do, every reference I am going to use is an officially published Games Workshop product: straight from the horse's mouth so to speak, because Do-It-Yourself, "head-canon," and fan fiction sources bear no weight in an argument.  So let's take a look at some of these sources.

 

 

1. Codex: Chaos Space Marines (Chambers, Andy et al, 2002).

 

The older codices were generally light on lore, lacking the multi-page spreads on each subfaction and each unit entry received a short paragraph at most.  The Alpha Legion is dealt with specifically with a single page of lore and rules, and one small color section displaying a single squad in Legion colors.  Notable in these admittedly limited layout are the following points:

 

- Most obviously, the Alpha Legion has lore & rules in this codex, and the only restrictions on unit selection was that "Alpha Legionaries can only bear the Mark of Chaos Undivided..." (pg 40) so no other Marks and none of the four Cult Squad types (Berzerkers, etc).

 

- There was an entire section of rules on the use of daemons.  This reads in whole: "Daemons: The Alpha Legion cannot normally rely on Daemons remaining stable for long enough for them to be useful because they are so far from the Eye of Terror.  When operating on a world where they have secured the belief of Chaos cults they will gladly add Daemons to the diversity of their attacks.  Because of this the Alpha Legion may include Daemon Packs but only Cultist units may carry Icons to summon them.  They may use Daemon Princes and Possessed Chaos Space Marines." (pg 40).  This section explicitly tells us that they have Daemon Princes, Possessed, and Daemons.

 

- The color section on page 75 shows a single squad of eight Alpha Legionnaires. They are wearing corrupted armor that features all the same skulls, spikes, horns, and Chaos stars that every other Chaos Space Marine in the book is wearing.

 

 

2. Index Astartes IV (Arp, Jeffrey et al, 2005).

 

- This tome contains the article "The Enemy Within: The Alpha Legion Space Marines Legion" by Graham Davey.  Now this article is written from an in-universe perspective and is hinted at potentially being a complete fabrication.  Regardless, I'm going to include it because although the information may be a fabrication. . . it may also be entirely true.

 

- The color plate on page 31 displays artwork of Alpha Legionnaires whose armor is decorated with the usual assortment of spikes, horns, skulls, and Chaos stars.

 

- On page 34 is a piece of artwork showing an Alpha Legionnaire killing a Dark Angel.  This Legionnaire's armor is once again decorated with Chaos stars, spikes, and some severed heads.

 

- Under the "Combat Doctrine" heading, there's a fairly exhaustive list of the various tactics that the Legion employs on a regular basis, including "...sponsorship and supply of heretical cultist groups, alliance with anti-Imperial military forces including other Traitor Legions and aliens." (pg 36)  A few paragraphs later it goes on to state that "It is known that the legion recruits, supplies, and organises hundreds of cultist cells on Imperial worlds.  These groups are not all crazed devotees of the Chaos gods and insane daemon-worshippers [sic] (although there are plenty of those)."  It's hard to indoctrinate and supply daemon-worshiping cultists if you don't have a doctrinal basis to do so; ergo, those who build the cults must be worshipers themselves.

 

 

3. Space Marine Battles: The Hunt for Voldorius (Hoare, Andy, 2010).

 

- I won't quote chapter & verse from this novel, but suffice to say the following:  The primary antagonist is a Daemon Prince of the Alpha Legion named Kernax Voldorius.  An Alpha Legion Daemon Prince.  This novel also includes the use of a Chaos Spawn, Chaos cultists, and a sub-officer named Nullus whose scarred face was "the result of countless years of exposure to the warping, unclean energies of Chaos" (pg 59).  Now I completely understand you, dear reader, having a dislike of this novel.  Black Library novels are rarely pieces of sublime prose but Andy Hoare did a :cuss job on this one.  It's also true that the Alpha Legion antagonists do very little of the tricksy stuff that we all know and love...but that doesn't mean they're not Alpha Legionnaires.

 

 

4. Codex: Chaos Space Marines (Kelly, Phil, 2012).

 

- Color plates on pages 76, 77, and 88 feature more pictures of models in Alpha Legionnaire colors that include all the usual skulls and stars, but with a kicker: now there are daemon engines included!  That's right, a Forgefiend and a Heldrake in Legion colors!  Not to mention the Dark Apostle on page 77 tucked next to a Dark Vengeance Chaos Lord.  Not to mention that Helbrute that's all mutated and warp-ish.

 

- Going into the lore, there's this line in the Legion's call-out box on page 12: "The Inquisition holds a special loathing for the Alpha Legion for their favoured tactics of subverting Inquisitorial operations, spreading Daemon cults and cultivating the seeds of heresy."  So there's even more references to the Legion being heretics and be able to summon and utilize daemons.

 

 

5. Codex: Chaos Space Marines (Unattributed, 2017).

 

- On page 27, there's this paragraph: "The Alpha Legion coordinates and directs the activities of Chaos cultists across entire sectors and instigate massive insurrections against Imperial rule.  These revolts are often used as a cover for a series of shattering Heretic Astartes raidsor as a precursor to a full-scale invasion from the Eye of Terror."  Notably, this is direct evidence that some Alpha Legion elements spend time in the Eye of Terror, a fact that both Index Astartes and the 2002 codex specifically said did not happen.  There's also a plate with a Legion Terminator on it adorned with all the usual accoutrements of being a Chaos Space Marine, and more on page 29.

 

- Page 106 is the model gallery, and our friends the Helbrutes, Forgefiend, and Dark Apostle all appear alongside cultists and Space Marines bearing the hallmarks of Chaos worship.

 

 

6. Codex: Chaos Space Marines (Unattributed, 2019).

 

- The Legion's lore and color plates are essentially the same as the previous entry, but I would direct your attention to page 101 where a full squad of new-style Chaos Space Marines are depicted, yet again, with all of the marks of corruption and mutation you'd expect to see.  Additionally, one of these Chaos Marines has a single horn emerging from his bare skull -- not helmet-mounted, but from his head - which is a key distinction if a naysayer wants to claim that all those Chaos stars and severed heads are just there "for appearances."

 

 

7. The Talon of Horus (Dembski-Bowden, Aaron, 2014).

 

- I touched on the fact that previous sources mentioned that the Alpha Legion did not enter the Eye with the rest of the Traitor Legions; I've already cited one source that contradicts that, but here's another.  Iskander Khayon and Ezekyle Abaddon are having a conversation about the Legion Wars that erupted in the Eye after the Traitors had been harried from real-space.  Khayon remarks that so many of the Legions have suffered grevious casualties, but: "Of the Twentieth, no one can say with any surety, but -"

      "They're here," Abaddon interrupted with a smile.  "Take my word on that."

 

 

 

 

So there it is.  Evidence of life in the Eye of Terror, of warp corruption and mutation, of the employment of daemons in multiple forms, of the raising of Chaos cults, and of direct worship of the gods via the canonical appearance of a Dark Apostle.  Any questions?


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#2
Lucerne

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I'll note that any claims about visuals representing their allegiances are a moot point when one of their core themes is their love of false flags and impersonation.

 

Spikes are if anything suggestive of archaic armor choices, and severed heads are trophies which mean very little in and of themselves. (More interestingly, the AL in question is wearing Mk 8- it seems M41 AL having cutting edge technology they probably shouldn't have is a quirk the Legion never really gave up on)

 

The "invasion from the Eye of Terror" never says WHO invades from the Eye- there's long standing precedent of the AL cooperating with the Black Legion among others as part of its standard approach- you might as well say the AL is made entirely of Kroot because they cooperate with xenos!

 

Now, there are undeniably "chaotic" Alpha Legionaires and splinter warbands, at least partially because games workshop is all too often lazy and dismissive of their own lore, especially where the AL is concerned- as mentioned. Voldorius, Daggerfangs, Dawn of War and generic studio armies without so much as bitswapping, somewhat regrettably, exist. (And in the case of the Daggerfangs, are explicitly called crackpots going against their own Legion's norms in the very sourcebook they originate from)

 

The 3e rules for AL absolutely allow for Daemon Princes and Possessed. Voldorius and Nullus are, technically, canon for one particular M41 Alpha Legion warband, and making your own Voldorius and Nullus is canon compliant. (As a side note, the Alpha Legion has had an understanding and willingness to weaponize Possessed since the Gal Vorbak- in a way that explicitly excluded worship or the mentality of other Legions.)

 

However, these "bastard Alphas" cannot be taken as representative over the (omniscent narrator) lore stated for the Legion's mentality in the Codexes and associated Marine appearances for several reasons (beyond the obvious of being a oneoff warband)

 

Firstly, outliers existing from any Legion is a given. The Daggerfangs make it very clear that they're black sheep for their warp worship. FFG's sourcebook offers plothooks for exiled Alpha Legionaires being "severed", with ambiguous explanations for why and if it's genuine.

 

Secondly, sons of the hydra makes it clear that at least some Marines in AL colours are "adopted". This casts any individual outlier into question about if they're anything more than a sheep in wolf's clothing.

 

Supporting chaotic cults is absolutely an AL tactic- but they're notable for their operatives rather than their cultists. The cultists- and their daemons- are AL tools, but as the quotes cited note, they fall into the roll of facilitator and enabler rather than being daemonic puppets themselves. They're facilitators. The idea that it's impossible for Space Marines (or mortals) to enable turncoats for their own purposes without buying into whatever cult dogma a given cult parrots is...a little strange, especially since we have examples of people doing exactly that in Eisenhorn and the FFG Radical's Handbook.

 

The models appearing is lore-agnostic, as it suggests nothing beyond that GW is using standard models to represent that somewhere out there, there may or may not be a Marine in AL colours that fits into the studio standard appearance-wise- anything else and you have a suspicious number of synchronized poses and armor choices across the Legions as canon. Given that we know in modern lore the AL can and does give random renegades their colours (Sons of the Hydra), this is not evidence of their doctrine in any meaningful form. Studio armies, especially modern studio armies, are at best mildly suggestive of lore, or we'd have a field day with the heights of Firstborn next to Guardsmen as proof the Astartes are all midgets.

 

(Hell, even the idea that a Dark Apostle model/rules represents a dark apostle in lore is dubious  for chaos, given ADB's commented that the tabletop is a very poor analogue for what CSM ranks may actually look like!)

 

But these exceptions are not representative of the themes and concepts laid out in every codex from 3e onwards to the latest lore- placing an emphasis on coordination, discipline, and their traditional means of war over Warp worship.

 

Abaddon's line is ambiguous at best- but is hardly evidence of any change to the lore that the bulk of the Legion certainly did not flee to the Eye- indeed, we see sizeable warbands with realspace holdings in the galactic core in Sons of the Hydra, which is the closest we've gotten to a look at Legion infrastructure in ANY lore.

 

In short, there isn't actually any evidence of AL having a significant-  note that the AL having members present in the Eye at all was never in question even in the original Index Astartes- presence in the Eye.

 

Evidence of Warp corruption is by and large limited to the xerox-style studio armies, at best, which are a rather...limited source of canonical "appearance" for the factions they're representing, given we know the armour of, say, the Ultramarines 2nd company has canonical designs for every last marine which have little in common with the studio shots. At best, studio models are a loose, abstract representation of what these factions look like in-universe.

 

That some members of the Alpha Legion may use daemon summoning by proxy when convenient to do so is established lore, but does not in and of itself establish the Alpha Legion, even those practicing it, as Chaotic. It certainly suggests that at least some of them - and even potentially their overall mindset- may be willing to use the Warp to advance their goals, ie: the mindset shown by many Imperial Radical Inquisitors- but anything else said about the Legion's status is speculation not backed by direct and significant evidence.

 

Facilitating chaotic cultists, as stated above, is an agnostic act in and of itself.

 

There is no credible evidence for- and direct supplement lore against- the idea of warp worship being a relevant part of general Legion doctrine, except for the Daggerfang warband in particular which is noted to be an exception to the rule in its own summary blurbs.

 

What can be said for certain and as a generality about the Alpha Legion is that they have never been a traditional Legion, that since before the Heresy they have acted in ways that the Imperium would condemn them for were it aware of their actions, that it has certain recurring trends in its psyche and methodology (which the CSM Codex's omniscient narrator notes has basically stayed consistent since before the Heresy, in which time they were portrayed as downright atheistic, cold-blooded and pragmatic to a fault) and that any perceived trends in their appearance are intentionally depicted as unreliable in-universe as a means of judging their character.

 

 

Alpharius' doctrine was to attack the enemy in as many different ways as possible, all at the same time. What this meant in practice varied depending on the scale and location of the conflict. Tactics confirmed as having been employed by the Alpha Legion include flank attacks, tunnelling to undermine or bypass defences, teleportation of air drops behind enemy lines, diversionary attacks, infiltration, disguising troops and vehicles in enemy colours, disabling enemy transportation (both vehicles and routes), sabotage of fuel and ammunition dumps, poisoning of water and food supplies, atmospheric and ecological tampering, triggering of volcanic, seismic and tectonic activities, bribery and coercion of enemy troops (including officers) and Imperial officials, enlisting into enemy forces, impersonation of Imperial officers, distribution of propaganda to incite unrest and rebellion, organization of civilian riots and other anti-Imperial activity, sponsorship and supply of heretical cultist groups, alliance with anti-Imperial forces including other traitor legions and aliens. Generally a number of these tactics will be employed in careful coordination, often resulting in labyrinthine secret plots.

 

It has been noted on numerous occasions that due to their employment of a large number of completely unorthodox tactics, the Alpha Legion are able to deploy smaller forces than might otherwise be necessary. Combat is only ever really regarded as part of their overall strategy.

...

It has never been established if members of the Alpha Legion exhibit the same unnatural longevity as other Chaos Space Marines, who can apparently live for many thousands of years. This phenomenon is generally attributed to the Traitor Legions' existence in the Eye of Terror, where the laws of time and space do not apply, so it would follow that the Alpha Legion should not be affected.

...

much of what was known about them must now be considered a lie

...

Alpharius believed in planning and coordination, he always sought alternatives and multiple solutions to any given problem, with different elements working together for the end result. These doctrines have been thoroughly embraced by the legion as a whole, and have proved effective, especially in the disparate and secretive way they now operate.

 

All Space Marine legions set arduous tasks and trials for potential recruits, but prior to the Heresy, the Alpha Legion set these initiation tests for squads, not individuals. Squads had succeeded as a group or not at all - foolhardy heroics were frowned upon. The overall plan was paramount and more valuable than any one Space Marine. It is not known if this practice is still carried out.

...

While the Alpha legion does not reside in the Eye of Terror, and therefore is not plagued by the Warping effects of that maelstrom of insanity, there is still evidence of mutation in the gene-seed.

 

 

In short, to quote another venerable source of lore, everything you have been told is a lie. tongue.png

 

Or in the words of the Index itself...

 

 


In the case of the Alpha Legion, reliable facts are even harder to come by, as the legion was notoriously secretive.


Edited by Lucerne, 24 January 2020 - 06:37 AM.

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

 

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#3
Lord_Caerolion

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Just to play devils advocate, Lucerne, I love the irony of both claiming that you can’t trust info about the Alpha Legion while taking all supportive information at face value.

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MasterDeath

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Just ask Tzeentch, if you beat him in a childrens card game, he will tell you.



#5
Lucerne

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Just to play devils advocate, Lucerne, I love the irony of both claiming that you can’t trust info about the Alpha Legion while taking all supportive information at face value.

Oh, I'll cheerfully admit there's intentional ambiguity and that's part of their charm and in itself part of their lore- but it's very much not ambiguous or accidental that out of universe lore with an omnscient narrator focuses on their coordination and discipline rather than even mentioning warp worship. That's not the Alpha Legion, that's the Word Bearers's hat.


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"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.


#6
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To be fair though, the Word Bearers thing isn't "warp worship", it's extreme warp worship. Other Legions can and do have elements of it, it's part of what makes them Chaos Marines, a relation with Chaos. The Word Bearers are just the ones that build churches and stuff.

 

If anything, the fact that the Alpha Legion are implied not to have gone to the Eye of Terror but remained in realspace strengthens the argument that they are aligned with Chaos, given the fact that mutations are frequent enough amongst the Legion to warrant a description of how they display them. If they're not getting them through the inherent mutative effects of living in Eyespace, they must have enough dealings with Chaos to gain the mutations that way.


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#7
MegaVolt87

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AL, NL and IW's are in the same boat in regards to degrees of chaos corruption/ degeneration lIMO. Outright chaos rejection or a mix of acceptance and rejection. These three legions have more scope in comparison for chaos acceptance compared to BL and WB. WB and BL are far more typecast with embracing chaos than the other three tradionaly undivided legions. This has only further been re-enforced with expanded HH and 40k lore.

Edited by MegaVolt87, 29 January 2020 - 06:01 AM.

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#8
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Thing is, you don't have to worship chaos to be a Chaos Space Marine. Just ask Ahriman... I know there is nuance in this, but I am surprised we are discussing whether the Alpha Legion are Chaos Space Marines. Just look at the name of the codex they are in.


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#9
Lucerne

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To be fair though, the Word Bearers thing isn't "warp worship", it's extreme warp worship. Other Legions can and do have elements of it, it's part of what makes them Chaos Marines, a relation with Chaos. The Word Bearers are just the ones that build churches and stuff.

 

If anything, the fact that the Alpha Legion are implied not to have gone to the Eye of Terror but remained in realspace strengthens the argument that they are aligned with Chaos, given the fact that mutations are frequent enough amongst the Legion to warrant a description of how they display them. If they're not getting them through the inherent mutative effects of living in Eyespace, they must have enough dealings with Chaos to gain the mutations that way.

I mean, the mutation description is pointedly from an article that was retroactively declared an unreliable narrator, questions if it existed pre-Heresy and is apparently based on a single concrete incident, never mind they explicitly have "adopted" Legionaries- and the Night Lords (in part) have atheistic (hypocritical and flawed) contempt for any form of devotion or worship as one of their "generic gimmicks" despite being Chaos Space Marines.

 

"Heretic astartes" have, in theory, a lot more variation than their loyalists with beliefs and relationships with the Warp- sure, you have your Abaddons, but the likes of Talos very much exist.

 

 

Thing is, you don't have to worship chaos to be a Chaos Space Marine. Just ask Ahriman... I know there is nuance in this, but I am surprised we are discussing whether the Alpha Legion are Chaos Space Marines. Just look at the name of the codex they are in.

The Legion's hat is intentional confusion and ambiguity- I agree they're probably traitor marines by any objective metric, ie: "heretic astartes", but the open-ended question of what they're doing is very much an intentional part of their characterization.

 

"For the Emperor" is a meme that got out of hand in and out of universe, but it was played up for a reason rather than being kept as "heretic obviously having a giggle".

 

AL, NL and IW's are in the same boat in regards to degrees of chaos corruption/ degeneration lIMO. Outright chaos rejection or a mix of acceptance and rejection. These three legions have more scope in comparison for chaos acceptance compared to BL and WB. WB and BL are far more typecast with embracing chaos than the other three tradionaly undivided legions. This has only further been re-enforced with expanded HH and 40k lore.

NL are explicitly "rejection by nature as the stereotype, with some involuntary slippage and some enthusiastic and notable converts" while IW tend towards more "weaponize it", but they're definitely the less theistic Legions.


Edited by Lucerne, 29 January 2020 - 12:06 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.


#10
RapatoR

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Well that is the question really. Does it matter what they THINK they are doing or it is more important what they are actually doing? Both? Neither?

 

In the end, it all boils down to this - If you use/tinker/flirt/play around with Chaos, it sinks your teeth into you, no matter what you think about the Chaos. You can despise/shun/hate it as you like, you will still get corrupted by it. You can't stare into the abyss without the abyss staring into you.


Edited by RapatoR, 30 January 2020 - 09:45 AM.

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#11
Iron Father Ferrum

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Once again, the "not really Chaotic" thing raises its head. If Night Lords are not Chaotic, then why was Talos' warband led by a daemon Prince? Why is the single most powerful Night Lord warband we've seen in the fluff led by Krieg Acerbus...another daemon prince? Why does the Warsmith in Storm of Iron, lauded as one of the best Chaos-oriented novels in 40K and the Bible of Iron Warriors players everywhere, ascend to a daemon Prince at the end?

*Every* Traitor Legion is Chaotic. Does that change by degrees? Absolutely. Talos' Broken Aquila had no cult Marines or Possessed or daemon engines and they were sans the Exalted for the last book...but Uzas was Khornate and Cyrion was corrupted by Tzeentch.
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#12
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I think that "Shroud of Night" give us a good view of how the legion is right now.

More of an undetermined nature standing on a knife edge.

 

I get the feeling that some of them is more or less stuck in the "manage and maintain the flaws of man on an ongoing basis" routine while they are waiting for the next directive.

Or simply survive until called for.

 

Some have without a doubt fallen to chaos.

But I would guess even the loyalist legion has at least one member that had followed the path to demonic apotheosis.

So it would be really strange that a legion that is close contact with the primordial annihilator does not have a great number that have sought that goal.


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#13
Lucerne

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Once again, the "not really Chaotic" thing raises its head. If Night Lords are not Chaotic, then why was Talos' warband led by a daemon Prince? Why is the single most powerful Night Lord warband we've seen in the fluff led by Krieg Acerbus...another daemon prince? Why does the Warsmith in Storm of Iron, lauded as one of the best Chaos-oriented novels in 40K and the Bible of Iron Warriors players everywhere, ascend to a daemon Prince at the end?

*Every* Traitor Legion is Chaotic. Does that change by degrees? Absolutely. Talos' Broken Aquila had no cult Marines or Possessed or daemon engines and they were sans the Exalted for the last book...but Uzas was Khornate and Cyrion was corrupted by Tzeentch.

1) Closer to possessed than a daemon prince, which honestly does happen to just about everyone in 40k.

2) Krieg is the largest single warband. That's a very relevant distinction in itself given that post timeskip we see a pointedly non-Warp focused warband under Decimus that's implied to be the Legion congealing together.

 

3) The Iron Warrriors are meant to be technical-minded more than atheistic.

 

Saying every traitor Legion is chaotic is an oversimplification in itself.

 

 

I think that "Shroud of Night" give us a good view of how the legion is right now.

More of an undetermined nature standing on a knife edge.

 

I get the feeling that some of them is more or less stuck in the "manage and maintain the flaws of man on an ongoing basis" routine while they are waiting for the next directive.

Or simply survive until called for.

 

Some have without a doubt fallen to chaos.

But I would guess even the loyalist legion has at least one member that had followed the path to demonic apotheosis.

So it would be really strange that a legion that is close contact with the primordial annihilator does not have a great number that have sought that goal.

Ironically for its faults as a story, I'd say Sons of the Hydra is the better "Legion summary"- splinter warbands with unclear leadership and unclear goals that more or less cooperate at times and have a chain of command that sometimes is subverted, but anything else is definitely unclear even from the inside. (It's definitely a snapshot of major AL warbands operating in the eastern fringe in late M41, if from the eyes of a very unreliable narrator) Shroud of Night is too much of an individual look.

 

 

Well that is the question really. Does it matter what they THINK they are doing or it is more important what they are actually doing? Both? Neither?

 

In the end, it all boils down to this - If you use/tinker/flirt/play around with Chaos, it sinks your teeth into you, no matter what you think about the Chaos. You can despise/shun/hate it as you like, you will still get corrupted by it. You can't stare into the abyss without the abyss staring into you.

It's all very well and good to say "Chaos corrupts" but that's an oversimplification that takes the intentional question mark of the Alpha Legion and goes "yeah no there's no ambiguity about what the goal is and their status". Even from the Imperium, Radicals like the Oblationists and Istvaanians show it's possible to be extremely dodgy and "get away with it" in the short term. Even Eisenhorn, bad decisions and all, technically hasn't completely fallen in narrative- and has an Alpha Legion buddy, interestingly...


Edited by Lucerne, 30 January 2020 - 09:23 PM.

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#14
Iron Father Ferrum

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It's impossible to have this conversation with you Lucerne because every piece of evidence you're presented with that is contrary to your position is discounted out of hand.

Look at Dawn of War. Alpha Legionnaires who worship Chaos. Possessed and Obliterators. A Sorcerer ascending to Princedom.

There is more evidence *for* Chaotic Alphas "on the big screen" than against.

Edited by Iron Father Ferrum, 31 January 2020 - 01:21 AM.

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#15
Lucerne

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It's impossible to have this conversation with you Lucerne because every piece of evidence you're presented with that is contrary to your position is discounted out of hand.

Look at Dawn of War. Alpha Legionnaires who worship Chaos. Possessed and Obliterators. A Sorcerer ascending to Princedom.

There is more evidence *for* Chaotic Alphas "on the big screen" than against.

It's impossible to have this conversation with you because you're flat out ignoring that the writing for Alpha Legionaires aren't about making them Word Bearers- ie: warp worshippers- in blue-green as their central character trait. If GW intended to make "for the dark gods" xerox copies of  a generic CSM Legion as the canonical main theme for the Legion, they'd have said as much. Your position seems to be an extreme outlier and requires equally extreme and conspicuously absent evidence to be tenable.

 

At best, your preferred position can be one that you can contort the lore into to fit your OCs. That's fine. Everyone does that to some extent when they write their own stories. It's nice of GW to leave some things open ended enough for fans to come up with their own little niche without breaking the actual lore too badly. Some people write fics about the Lost Primarchs and their Legions. Others like to make their own alpha legion warbands with lots of chaos and their own personal take. I honestly don't see anything wrong with any of that in itself.

 

But at the end of the day the last reliable word on the core themes, of the Legion proper is what the Codex and out of universe summary blurbs say about the Legion. The rest supplements that.

 

It's a bit like trying to cite Vul Bronn's scene in Angel Exterminatus as evidence the Iron Warriors are all somehow Slaaneshi Noise Marines, as opposed to just writing your own fanfiction about a Slaaneshi splinter warband?

 

There is no reasonable reading of the representative Alpha Legion summaries that can be contorted into "the Legion must be Chaotic" , as opposed to there being room in lore for more chaotic alpha legion OC warbands.

 

Also citing dawn of war as representative of the Legion lore...Yikes.

 

I don't know about you but tirades about metal boxes and baneblade memes aren't exactly the height of canonical consistency in my book? It's safe to say there are definitely Blood Ravens, with lore elaborated on elsewhere, and they were involved with chaotic "Alpha Legion" that included a Khornate Sorceror :^) but honestly, I wouldn't cite gameplay mechanics in your argument's shoes. biggrin.png

 

The point I'm trying to get through is that the Alpha Legion's core themes and narrative niche are not "Chaos worshippers". That does not mean it's off the table as a possibility- far from it- but it's not what their emphasis is supposed to be. It wasn't in the Index Astartes, it definitely wasn't in the Heresy novels, and it isn't their story hook in 40k. If you want to make a CSM warband that emphasizes that, knock yourself out, but it isn't the angle GW has emphasized for the Legion as a subfaction and you should probably make peace with that fact.


Edited by Lucerne, 01 February 2020 - 12:44 AM.

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#16
Iron Father Ferrum

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I pulled out my old laptop because trying to do this on mobile sounds impossible.  So let's break it down Barney-style.

 

 

 

 

It's impossible to have this conversation with you Lucerne because every piece of evidence you're presented with that is contrary to your position is discounted out of hand.

Look at Dawn of War. Alpha Legionnaires who worship Chaos. Possessed and Obliterators. A Sorcerer ascending to Princedom.

There is more evidence *for* Chaotic Alphas "on the big screen" than against.

It's impossible to have this conversation with you because you're flat out ignoring that the writing for Alpha Legionaires aren't about making them Word Bearers- ie: warp worshippers- in blue-green as their central character trait. If GW intended to make "for the dark gods" xerox copies of  a generic CSM Legion as the canonical main theme for the Legion, they'd have said as much. Your position seems to be an extreme outlier and requires equally extreme and conspicuously absent evidence to be tenable.

 

 

 

I never said that Chaos faith is their "main theme," so you can drop the strawman.  I've said that the Legion is "Chaotic" not that they're blue-green Word Bearers.  Whether Chaos is a tool for them or they're all-in on the Eightfold Path, you can't deny that the Alpha Legion is presented 90+% of the time as being involved some way with Chaos.  This is not an outlier because they appear in every edition of Codex: Chaos Space Marines ever published.  That is just undeniable.  If they're not intended by GW to be Chaotic, why lump them into Chaos codices?  Seriously, provide a decent answer to that for me.

 

At best, your preferred position can be one that you can contort the lore into to fit your OCs. That's fine. Everyone does that to some extent when they write their own stories. It's nice of GW to leave some things open ended enough for fans to come up with their own little niche without breaking the actual lore too badly. Some people write fics about the Lost Primarchs and their Legions. Others like to make their own alpha legion warbands with lots of chaos and their own personal take. I honestly don't see anything wrong with any of that in itself.

 

Hunt for Voldorius is not fan-fic.  Dawn of War (the novel, not the video game; apply a little critical thinking would you?) is not fan-fic.  These are GW publications which means that they are the official position of GW.

 

 

But at the end of the day the last reliable word on the core themes, of the Legion proper is what the Codex and out of universe summary blurbs say about the Legion. The rest supplements that.

 

It's a bit like trying to cite Vul Bronn's scene in Angel Exterminatus as evidence the Iron Warriors are all somehow Slaaneshi Noise Marines, as opposed to just writing your own fanfiction about a Slaaneshi splinter warband?

 

There is no reasonable reading of the representative Alpha Legion summaries that can be contorted into "the Legion must be Chaotic" , as opposed to there being room in lore for more chaotic alpha legion OC warbands.

 

Again, I'm not arguing about core themes: the core theme has always been "sneaky trolls."  I'm also not taking one sliver of evidence and using that to extrapolate that the whole Legion is that way -- ie, Vul Bronn and Slaaneshi Iron Warriors -- I've quoted chapter and verse from multiple Black Library and Games Workshop-main publications.  There's a vast difference between one piece of evidence and multiple pieces of evidence.

PRIEST

 

Also citing dawn of war as representative of the Legion lore...Yikes.

 

I don't know about you but tirades about metal boxes and baneblade memes aren't exactly the height of canonical consistency in my book? It's safe to say there are definitely Blood Ravens, with lore elaborated on elsewhere, and they were involved with chaotic "Alpha Legion" that included a Khornate Sorceror :^) but honestly, I wouldn't cite gameplay mechanics in your argument's shoes. biggrin.png

 

 

Again, the novel not the game.  Say what you want about CS Goto's prose -- he is terrible, I'll admit -- but it's still officially published material and the closest thing to canon that GW maintains. So you can make snide remarks about Sindri and Bale all you want, but it's still a valid source that supports my argument.

 

 

The point I'm trying to get through is that the Alpha Legion's core themes and narrative niche are not "Chaos worshippers". That does not mean it's off the table as a possibility- far from it- but it's not what their emphasis is supposed to be. It wasn't in the Index Astartes, it definitely wasn't in the Heresy novels, and it isn't their story hook in 40k. If you want to make a CSM warband that emphasizes that, knock yourself out, but it isn't the angle GW has emphasized for the Legion as a subfaction and you should probably make peace with that fact.

 

It's not the Horus Heresy because the only faction that is overtly Chaotic in the Heresy are the Word Bearers and Emperor's Children, and if *I* cannot reference Index Astartes because it's unreliable, then *neither can you.*  And Chaos is very much part of the Alpha Legion's 40K themes because:

 

1. They're in every edition of Codex: CHAOS Space Marines.  Emphasis mine.

2. They are shown utilizing DAEMON ENGINES in their codex.

3. They are shown utilizing a DARK APOSTLE -- you know, a PRIEST OF CHAOS -- in their codex.

4. They are explicitly allowed to take POSSESSED, DAEMON PRINCES, and DAEMON PACKS in the 3.5 codex and there are no specific restrictions for the Legion for any of these unit types in later codices.  They also are explicitly allowed to take the MARK OF CHAOS UNDIVIDED.

5. Their relic weapon from the baseline 8th Edition Codex: Chaos Space Marine, the Blade of the Hydra, is specifically called out as being a DAEMON-possessed chainsword.

6. As for your critique about studio armies being "xeroxed" keep in mind that GW establishes what is and is not "canon."  So if GW uses unmodified Chaos models for its studio Alpha Legion army. . . then that's not an outlier.  THAT IS WHAT GW WANTS THE ALPHA LEGION TO BE REPRESENTED BY.

 

 


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#17
Lucerne

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Actually, they're in the Codex for heretic astartes. Which they are. They're heretic Astartes in the eyes of the Imperium for obvious reasons due to the Horus Heresy and a traitor (?) Legion by definition, but the Night Lords, Iron Warriors, and random renegades are all lumped into that category. This is literally trying to cite the codex they're in as evidence they must universally fit into your headcanon- one might as well argue that the Relictors aren't Radicals because they're in Codex: Space Marines or that cultists must be chaos space marines because they're in Codex Chaos Space Marines. Why stop there? Clearly, servitors are astartes because they're in the adeptus astartes codex!

 

If you want to contort"Chaotic" into being defined as  "found in Codex Heretic Astartes", then congratulations for your grasp of the blindingly obvious. Anything else, you have to prove, which you've spectacularly failed to do.

 

Hunt For Voldorius is a secondary Black Library source. All you've proved with it is that there is a Marine named Voldorius who had a warband.

 

Oh, jesus, you're citing the Goto novel as your reference? Do we really need to go over Goto's loose grasp of canon (never mind lack of source consistency or compatibility with other material) before you'll stop trying to cite it? I honestly thought you'd cite the game as the less laughable source. If that's your attempt at evidence then honestly there's no rebuttal needed beyond "the case for Chaos AL is passing off Goto as a higher canon source than the Codex". Honestly, for your sake, I think it'd be kinder to pretend you didn't say that.

 

Congratulations on finally admitting the actual core theme of the Legion, at least. That's the start and the end of it, and anything else you choose to impose on canon as core to the Legion is wishful thinking.

 

No one's stopping you from finding real evidence, be it in the Index Astartes or elsewhere. May I suggest starting with the omniscient Codex narrator describing what the factual status of the Legion is and leaving the headcanon out of said conclusions until explicitly proven?

 

1. Irrelevant semantics unless you're arguing daemonblades should be loyalist chapter master equipment because of the Relictors lol.

2. Random army glamour shots are not a convincing lore argument  let alone representative of said faction's in-universe appearance.

3. We have word of ADB that CSM HQs are at best a loose representation of their in-universe role (also, basic logic suggests that the tabletop is at best a crude representation of the lore)

4. Congratulations on proving a point no one was arguing- that there are possible Chaos options under the umbrella of the AL. You may as well argue that the random Fallen sergeant in the AL means Fallen should be their mandatory troop choice.

5. Congratulations, you've proven that some Alpha Legionaires may have daemonweapons- or in this case, a daemonweapon. This is not in question- but so do Radicals. Nice try.

6. You do realize you're arguing that the slapdash studio tactical marines are higher lore for the appearance of the Ultramarines 2nd company than the in-codex Marine by Marine appearance breakdown, right?

 

I think we've exhausted any chance of meaningful communication so I'll just remind you: nothing in the codex or high-end canon sources describing the Alpha Legion is stopping you from writing your fanfiction. People write it for the lost Legions all the time. It's perfectly okay to do your own thing. But it will never be the official canon summary for the Alpha Legion, it doesn't need to be for you to enjoy  doing your own, unofficial thing, and it's only healthy to accept that.


Edited by Lucerne, 01 February 2020 - 03:37 AM.

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#18
Iron Father Ferrum

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If you look at the printing information on the title page - ISBN number, author attribution, copyright year, etc - you'll see the published title is indeed Codex Chaos Space Marines.

Also, how is Hunt for Voldorius a "secondary" source? It is written from an out-of-universe, reliable-narrator form.

Enjoy your head canon and fanfic. I'm content in the knowledge that *the majority representation of the Legion in novel, sourcebook, and model form* all point to them being Chaotic.
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#19
Lord_Caerolion

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Lucerne, you know as well as we do that the name of the Codex for 7 editions has been Chaos Space Marines, only in the 8th edition book was it changed.

Also, quit the strawman arguments that it’s either Word Bearer or nothing when it comes to Chaos worship.
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#20
MaliGn

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I always look at thes posts and this argument and think to myself hrmm. I remember that the key points of the alpha legion were:
1. Ultimate baby brother/youngest sibling/inferiority complex - making things more difficult and complex for themselves on purpose to prove that they were as good as if not better than their brothers.
2. In order to demonstrate 1. Utilising multifaceted attacks, and all the peculiar underhand tactics, but also doing things like wasting time allowing enemies to solidify defences only to then bring them down from inside and stuff.
3. As a result of 1. And 2. Earning censure from guilliman etc not dissimilar to lorgar for spending too long edifying the emperor.
4. Therefore ripe for the indisous temptation of the rebellion and siding with Horus as a final way of saying screw you we are better than you after all, even if you do think we're weak (whether or not that is how they were actually perceived)
5. Relishing Astartes on Astartes combat as finally a fight worth having.
6. Due to their unique tactical doctrines splintering into cells rather than retreating en mass to the eye, utilising minor warp stroma etc to conceal themselves and their plots.
7. Continuing to use their tactics of Infiltration and the sowing of discord, to pursue their ends across the galaxy, but now backed by additional resources from the powers of chaos.
8. That they cannot rely on quite so heavily as more eye-bound traitors but still definitely use.
9. Also prepared to play on the ignorance of mortal to pretend to be their saviours only to be wolves in sheep's (ultramarine) clothing.
10. Proud. Above all else.

This gives scope to model them however you like, depending on your own warband's narrative, bit they are still chaos marines, still warp touched and corrupted by their actions. not as heavily as someone hanging out in a literal helscape for 10,000 years, but spending enough time in that helscape to be corrupted by it to enough of an extent that they are in no way the same as a loyalist marine (even if they sometimes make an effort to look like one).

I'm basing this mostly on my interpretation of the background as presented from 2nd ed chaos codex onward, but pretty much only from codexes, no novels or other stories, just from rulebooks.
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#21
Lord_Caerolion

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Huh. Just went back to read the Alpha Legion write-up in the 2nd ed Codex Chaos, and it outright states the bulk of the Legion fled to the Eye of Terror.
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#22
RapatoR

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Well that is the question really. Does it matter what they THINK they are doing or it is more important what they are actually doing? Both? Neither?

 

In the end, it all boils down to this - If you use/tinker/flirt/play around with Chaos, it sinks your teeth into you, no matter what you think about the Chaos. You can despise/shun/hate it as you like, you will still get corrupted by it. You can't stare into the abyss without the abyss staring into you.

It's all very well and good to say "Chaos corrupts" but that's an oversimplification that takes the intentional question mark of the Alpha Legion and goes "yeah no there's no ambiguity about what the goal is and their status". Even from the Imperium, Radicals like the Oblationists and Istvaanians show it's possible to be extremely dodgy and "get away with it" in the short term. Even Eisenhorn, bad decisions and all, technically hasn't completely fallen in narrative- and has an Alpha Legion buddy, interestingly...

 

Well, does it? Look at any group of Chaos Space Marines and you will be hard-pressed to find two with same goals and status. I mean, the status and goals of the Alpha Legion was unclear even in the Index Astartes, despite being clearly presented as Chaos Marines.

 

Regarding your second point "in the short term" is the key phrase here. The thing is, you don't need to fall to be corrupted and a lot (perhaps even most) of times it works in much subtler way than *screams the devotional dirge to the prince of pleasure*.


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#23
Heliomanes

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I don't think it seems very meaningful to describe the Alpha Legion as one entity with one allegiance and one intent. We've had plenty of fluff examples and descriptions of Legion assets that could be placed anywhere on the continuum. The Heresy era fluff with multiple variants, subdivisions and factionalism within the Legion itself sets this up well, same with AL factions manipulating each other to achieve their "real" nebulous intent. So I think it is more meaningful to ascribe attitudes, intents and loyalties to specific individuals rather than the Legion as a whole.


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#24
slitth

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I would not rely on the Codex army list and army on parade to prove anything about the Alpha Legion.

 

They are after all there are designed to sell models and not to give flavour to the fluff.

Limiting the Alpha Legion Army list will not sell models, and they are not gonna release a more "neutral" box set only for the Alpha Legion.

We are not that popular.

 

Besides I like mixing in chaotic and "neutral" looks in my army. Just to show that no one really know where they stand.


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#25
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I'm amused by the sheer volume of material that is dismissed as exceptions, head canon or secondary here - including, but not limited to official miniatures, rules and stories.


Edited by Lay, 18 February 2020 - 06:16 PM.

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