Ladies and Gentlemen!
For your consideration, I've decided to post the following lore for my homebrew Chapter. I hope that it meets with your approval. The background influences are derived from a multitude of sources. The most prevalent of which are, as you can see, the now defunct Warhammer Fantasy's Bretonnia, Medieval Chivalry, the Winged Hussars of Poland, Steppe History and Arthurian Myth.
I hope I haven't written anything that makes them seem too perfect or that greviously violates the canon as established by Games Workshop's writers.
I'm more than happy to take comments, advice and criticism as I said. I've got a thick skin and am more than happy to discuss things with you all.
With that said:
The Iron Paladins:
The Iron Paladins:
Descended from the White Scars, the Iron Paladins Chapter was created during the 24th Founding. They were sent to the galactic north to guard the frontier against the many threats that stood against the Imperium’s citizens in that benighted region. Consisting of over a thousand Astartes, they favored the highly mobile and decentralized form of warfare practiced by their progenitor Chapter.
As such, the Astartes of the Iron Paladins chose to deviate strongly from the Codex Astartes in their beliefs and practices.
After the fall of Cadia and the creation of the Circatrix Maledictum, the Chapter was among the many that became unaccounted for during the long years following the division of the Imperium prior to the Indomitus Crusade.
The Marines of this Chapter have a Fortress-Monastery known as Karak on the world of Gauntlet, located in the galactic north, west of the Malefactus, beyond the Weeping Star and far from Apollonia. However, they favor projecting their forces as far afield as possible and it often a handful of their knights might have to decide the outcome of a battle across several planets.
Located on the fringe of Imperial space, along the Logres Reach, they were always confronted with a multitude of foes. With division of mankind’s realm, they became locked in a grim crusade, a fight for their lives along the rotting edge of the Imperium.
A coiled black dragon on a red field.
Organization and Tactics:
Due to their location on the edge of the Imperium and their non-Codex way of fighting, the need to expand their highly mobile way of war was further reinforced to the Chapter’s first leaders. They needed a mobile combat platform that could carry one of their knights into battle. Something that could be sustained on local resources and cover great distances without needing parts or fuel. To that end, they turned to the genetically enhanced steeds ridden by the aristocracy on the feudal world that was Gauntlet.
Over a generation, the Chapter’s combined resources and the help of local tech-priests produced the first of the Destriers. These mighty steeds were clad in ceramite barding and could bear the weight of their Astartes riders. These genetically altered war-steeds were deemed a worthy fit for the Chapter’s needs and it was a way of fighting familiar to the primitive aspirants that came from Gauntlet’s feudal lands.
Due to the fact that the Chapter is operating on the edge of the Imperium and its holdings are strung out across several primitive worlds, its Marines have been instructed to use their melee weapons primarily and conserve their precious ammunition if possible. A set of instructions which already suited their highly mobile and aggressive way of war.
Following the division of the Imperium, the Chapter began hurriedly throwing out heavily fortified outposts and later citadels called Keeps across the Logres Reach.
This system of offensive operations from a fortified position allowed the Iron Paladins to mitigate their numerical weaknesses and shore up their position across the Reach. The remaining Astartes based on Gauntlet operate as a mobile reserve for any beleaguered force in the Reach.
Every Company was over a hundred battle-brothers strong at the Chapter’s inception. The Companies were given to the charge of Knight-Captains. They were further broken down into two Demi-Companies, led by a Knight-Banneret. The Demi-Companies were broken down into five-six squads of ten-plus Marines, known as Lances.
After the introduction of their steeds the chapters maintained their organization, as established along the following lines:
1st Company: Axeblade
2nd Company: Winged Lancers – Known for their wings that they wear attached to their armor’s powerpacks.
3rd Company: Reaver
4th Company: Manticore
5th Company: Questors – Often a Demi-Company in size, the Marines of this Company are often on different quests across the Logres Reach. Whether searching for lost artifacts or recovering caches of weapons, these Marines may spend years wandering across the bounds of the Reach. Any Astartes from one of the other companies who declares a desire to go on a quest is moved over to this Company, but a Battle-Brother who has returned must then take his place in his former unit.
6th Company: Ironclad
7th Company: Shieldwall – The only Company that fights on foot in the manner of a more conventional Astartes Chapter.
8th Company: Spearhead – Like the 9th Company, the Astartes of this unit are stretched thin, the bulk of the Chapter’s remaining armored vehicles, such as their tanks and land raiders, are concentrated here.
9th: Company: Dragonriders – More of a demi-company after the sundering of the Imperium. Contains the Chapter’s Jump-Pack Squadrons. With the Imperium being divided and the Chapter so far from help and spare parts being in short supply, these Marines are generally held as a mobile reserve at the Fortress-Monastery of Karak on Gauntlet.
10th Company: Hammerhand – The Chapter’s Scout Marines, known as Demi-Lancers.
Champions and Dreadnoughts are not attached to any one company but are instead sent where needed.
The Immortals: These Space Marines are chosen from the most promising leaders and champions. To serve in the Grandmaster’s Honor Guard is to gain insight into the inner workings of the Chapter and how to command. For this honor is a key step in becoming a commander. This opportunity allows an Astartes to prove his loyalty to the Chapter and not just his Company. Following his service in the Immortals, a Marine may choose to continue along the path to Knight-Banneret and then Captain.
Dragon Knights: The Dragon Knights serve as the Grandmaster’s war council and theater commanders. Only by proving themselves in battle and slaying one of the mighty fire-breathing drakes that lurk within the mountains of Gauntlet’s northern regions, can they earn a place in this esteemed brotherhood. These veteran warriors have often served as Captains, for the Chapter will not let a junior Space Marine embark on such a perilous quest. The Dragon Knights serve as the Grandmaster’s inner circle and his right hand throughout the Reach.
Recruitment and Ranks:
Even with their ties to Terra severed, the Astartes knew their mission remained. To that end, they redoubled their efforts to try and replenish their depleted ranks and then to increase their Chapter’s strength. Whether it’s Gauntlet or any of the other primitive worlds across the Logres Reach, all aspirants follow the same general path to becoming an Iron Paladin. Those who fail or choose to leave the path may return home or continue service as Chapter Serfs or Retainers in the Planetary Hordes.
Acolyte: A hopeful entrant to the Chapter’s ranks.
Page – A recruit who has passed the first tests and can now begin his journey.
Squire – Much of the training has been completed and nearly all the implants required to make an Astartes are present.
Demi-Lancer: A Marine who’s received his black carapace and can now prove himself worthy of his spurs as a scout.
Knight-Brother: A fully fledged Astartes knight.
Knight-Sergeant: A veteran warrior and leader. Also chosen as Honor Guards and Champions.
Knight-Technicus: The Chapter term for a Techmarine
Knight-Arcanos: The Chapter term for a Librarian
Knight-Sanctis: These zealous warrior serve as the Chaplains, they remind their Brethren of their chivalric values and to adhere to their way of war, preserving ammunition and precious vehicles when savagery and steel will suffice.
Knight-Banneret: An experienced leader and tactical expert, these Battle-Brothers lead Demi-Companies and plan operations.
Knight-Captain: A Knight-Captain is entrusted with one of the Chapter’s precious Companies and must be a master of his craft in all aspects.
Knight-Castellan: A proven commander who has been charged with overseeing the many keeps strung across the Logres Reach. After the emergence of the great Rift, they also serve as the de-facto Barons for each planet in the Reach.
Knight-Marshal: The Chapter’s second-in-command.
Grandmaster: The senior-most leader and most powerful warrior in all the Chapter, a master of warfare on both planets and the void. Only a proven Dragon Knight may serve as the Grandmaster of the Chapter. In recent times, the Grandmaster and his Castellans have assumed a more direct role in ruling the worlds of the Reach.
The Cilician Campaign:
Before the Fall of Cadia and the creation of the Circatrix Maledictum, the Astartes of the Iron Paladins had planned to both expand their Chapter’s size and their influence. They’d learned of many calls for aid along the eastern fringe, near the Blazing Frontier, and they determined to send a force to help safeguard that region. They chose the thinly defended Cilician Nebula as their position and began gathering their strength.
Over the following generations, a force of five overstrength companies was assembled. They were allotted what Dreadnoughts, gunships and armored vehicles could be spared. In addition, a handful of Dragon Knights and the Tancred, the senior Knight-Castellan was chosen to lead the force.
A handful of Imperial Knights and a detachment of Planetary Guard were allowed to accompany the expedition as well. The Cilician Campaign was then allotted enough ships the supplies and human personnel needed to support the expedition.
The Astartes arrived successfully in the Cilician Nebula and it was shortly after that the Imperium was split in half. While the occasional ship will travel from the Logres Reach to Cilicia, communication has been infrequent and fragmented at the best of times. What is known is that, like their cohorts to the galactic north, the Astartes along the eastern fringe fight on with the same grim resolve as their brethren half a galaxy away.
The Imperium Nihilus:
The great warp rift ensured that, like so many others, the Iron Paladins were cut off from the Astronomican and all hope of reinforcement. Like their White Scar progenitors, they were a boisterous and comradely brotherhood. Living among and fighting along the humans of the primitive worlds they protected for so long had led them to form strong ties with them.
For the humans of the Reach, the Astartes were their inspiration and their hope. They represented the best of humanity and nearly every family on those far-flung worlds would send many of their sons to serve the Chapter or become Astartes.
The Iron Paladins had fought long and hard to defend this stretch of Imperial space and they would not abandon their charges now. They sent four of their precious ships to try and find a way across the great rift that now bisected the Imperium. One returned home after escorting the other three to their departure point.
Of those three ships and the handful of Astartes who boarded them, nothing is known.
Their forlorn attempt to try and call for aid done; the rest of the Iron Paladins turned back to their old mission of defending the Logres Reach. They divided their numbers even further and turned to their human servants. Ordinarily some of their decisions might have been out of the question, but they were on the frontier and no one was coming.
So it was that the Grandmaster of the Iron Paladins assumed all authority over the Logres Reach and planned for the last stand of its people. The Grandmaster became the High King of the Reach and his most trusted Astartes were given of its planets as Barons.
The populations of these worlds were small, but with the combined strength of each realm, the Astartes were able to reform the Planetary Defense Forces into something they could more readily use. Raw materials and any technology deemed useful were gathered and sent to the forges of the massive citadel known as Karak.
Suits of armor were forged for the men and women of the Planetary Hordes as they were renamed. While the improvised armor and new mounts were nothing compared to the ones of their Astartes warlords, the Planetary Hordes would go on to become a lethal and mobile mounted force, one that could ride day and night to defeat a foe.
Time flows strangely in the Dark Imperium and the war continues, the enemy might change, but for the humans and Astartes of the Logres Reach, their fight for survival goes on as it always has.
After the Imperium was cut in half, many Space Marine Chapters vanished into the newly emerged warp rift. Others were scattered or, cut off and without hope of reinforcement, were massacred. The brethren of the Iron Paladins know well that this could have easily have been their fate.
So it is that they welcome any remnants of other Chapters that wish to join their cause. Whether it’s what remains of a unit or a handful of straggling survivors, they’ll find a welcome at Karak. If they wish to fight in their traditional fashion or adopt the ways of the Iron Paladins, these Astartes survivors will find a home and comradeship once more.
Some of these survivors have espoused a desire to either find what remains of their own Chapters or revive them once more. To that end the Iron Paladins will lend what aid they can, when they can. But they have always held the stance that their own continued survival takes priority.
The Logres Reach was a far-flung region of the vast Imperium. As such, it lacked a true shipyard and merely maintained repair station in orbit over Gauntlet. The Cilician Campaign also diverted more precious ships, which most often remain in their current location due to the great rift.
Following their desperate attempt to seek help from Terra, the Space Marines commandeered the handful of warships and civilian vessels in the area.
The losses the fleet has incurred over the years have been grievous and so every vessel is treated almost like a priceless relic and only to be used in battle if the Paladins manning them have an overwhelming advantage.
However, the ships are mostly crewed by humans, with only a handful of Astartes aboard the warships for command purposes. Due to their circumstances, the Astartes have also commandeered a number of civilian vessels for the purpose of transporting supplies and personnel.
Together, the battered and much repaired fleet must constantly patrol the scattered worlds of the Logres Reach and carry troops to wherever needed.
Rituals, Traditions and Customs:
Due to the somber nature of their duty and the nature of their progenitors there’s a loose dichotomy within the Chapter’s ranks. Many of the knights lean towards the boisterous nature and rough brotherhood of their White Scars ancestors. Others favor a more contemplative and ascetic approach. Yet, every single one of the Iron Paladins will gladly fight together.
Every year, the Astartes that can assemble will arrive at Karak to launch a combined expedition and beast hunt known as Tourney, this bloody festival will make its way across the worlds of the Lorges Reach and serves as way to show force and train newly fledged Marines.
When not in training the Iron Paladins spend the majority of their time either on campaign or hunting and carousing across the worlds they’re responsible for.
Because of their unique culture, they encourage their battle-brethren to maintain ties with their human families and many an Astartes has parents and siblings who’ve served the Chapter in other ways. In fact, is not uncommon for an Astartes to later see a younger relative or descendant of a sister join the brotherhood at a later time.
Iron Paladins are allowed to keep their human birth name, but they must also choose a secret name from the scrolls of the Chapter’s secret histories.
These traditions and ties to the worlds they protect help them reinforce their sense of duty as humanity’s defenders and provide them an anchor for their beliefs. The Chapter Masters believe that by reminding their warriors of their ties, origin and obligation to mankind that they will foster a sense of pride in their continued loyalty.
To them, for an Astartes to consider himself beyond humanity leads to Astartes that consider themselves mankind’s ultimate master instead of its protector. That way, they fear, lies heresy and the taint of chaos.
While the Chapter is still very insular, like most Astartes, they do allow their Serfs and Retainers and locals to partake in events like the tourney and to dine in the great hall during their feasts. Provided they remain at the tables befitting their station.
A complex and highly prized collection of processors and centrifuges, this system is supposed to contain a concoction of genetic materials and chemicals that will prepare a Squire’s physiology for the Black Carapace and allow him to take the final step in becoming an Astartes. Legend has it that the Grail also dispenses a mix of mind-altering substances that supposedly force the one who drinks from it to confront their past and deepest fears.
This shared ritual is that is highly secretive and the Astartes will not speak of it to any outsiders.
The Chivalric Code:
While many Astartes chapters have the Codex or their own teachings to rely on, the Chivalric Code is a set of values, legends, precedents and oral traditions that have since become mythologized with time. The Knights-Sanctis act as Chaplains and having been inducted into the secrets of their ancient practices, it is their duty to keep the Iron Paladins’ history, heritage and spirit alive.
The Lady Nimenus:
While the passing of the centuries has seen much of the Chapter’s history become legend is it said that long ago the Chapter was sorely pressed and in dire need of aid.
The first Chapter Master and his Chief Librarian Meridus visited the world of Gauntlet, seeking a cache of weapons supposedly locked in a forgotten depot from the Great Crusade. A local noblewoman and Pysker is supposed to have guided the Chapter Master and Meridus to the depot and aided them in slaying the great sea-drake that had claimed the trove of weapons as its lair. She was later canonized as an Imperial Saint. As such, the Lady Nimenus is one of the few humans, besides mortal drake-slayers, who have gained a place of honor in the Chapter chronicles.
What became of those weapons remains unknown, it is presumed they were taken to other some other front around the Imperium.
However, the mighty power blade, Terminus, remains from that hold. The blade was used to slay the sea-drake and became the symbol of every Grandmaster’s authority thereafter. When not used in battle, the ancient sword is held by a block of ceramite within Karak and only one with the genetic marker of the Chapter Master may draw the blade.
The Dragon Knights and the Grandmaster:
Like many of the primitive worlds in the Reach, Gauntlet is rife with deadly beasts. The most dangerous of which are the great Drakes. Many a brave Astartes has tried to slay one of these beasts and many have never returned. For those that can bring home the skull of such a dangerous creature, they are accorded the status of the elite honor guard and may take their place as Dragon Knights.
Only the senior Dragon Knight may serve as the Grandmaster. As it felt his status in the sacred order symbolizes his ability to lead and his prowess in battle. However, he must prove himself one final time. Only one who has slain a drake and been covered in its toxic blood may successfully raise a stolen hatchling from an egg.
The records are fragmented and much has been lost, but what is known is that the ancient drakes were a product of Guantlet’s natural evolutionary cycle and then later genetically altered by humans sometime before the beginning of the Age of Strife. There are more disquieting rumors that some part of the drakes’ genetic makeup might have been human once. But this is the merest whisper of a legend and one that the Astartes will brook no mention of.
Knight Meridus - The most powerful and famous of all the Chapter’s Librarians, this ancient Pysker has become a figure of legend. Although there are some who believe he still wanders the stars and will occasionally appear long enough to aid those in need before vanishing again.
Lady Nimenus – Later canonized as a Saint, this mythical Pysker and warrior was said to have aided the Chapter Master in finding the legendary blade Terminus, slaying a sea-drake and becoming one of the few mortals to have both slain a drake and tamed one.
Arthane – The first Grandmaster and Dragon Knight of the Chapter. It was he who took up the blade Terminus and wielded it long and well against the many forces that seek mankind’s end. His fate remains unknown. Some claim that he was betrayed and fell in battle, with his body taken by Nimenus to a hidden base on an uncharted moon where he slumbers eternally with the knights of his inner circle, waiting to be called forth for one final battle.
Martel the Hammer – The second Grandmaster, known for his use of the Thunder Hammer instead of Terminus and for singlehandedly bashing a mighty daemon’s skull open with it.
Bayard – The mightiest of the all the questors, the great knight was said to exemplify everything an Astartes and one of the Iron Paladins was supposed to be. Noted for his single combat against four enraged Berzerkers. If he’s still alive, he’d be of great age even for an Astartes. However, his location and fate remain a mystery.
Ancelone – Arthane’s right hand man. While considered a proud and cold sort by his brethren. His courage and ferocity in battle are undeniable. It is said he was never defeated in battle or single combat. Today his remains are interred beneath one of the ancient mounds and its said that only the inner circle know where the great knight is buried, having made his tomb into a shrine.
Garvrane – One of Arthane’s inner circle and the second knight to have tamed a fire-drake. A fact which made him a rival of Ancelones. He came to the
Chapter later than many of his peers and was a man grown by time he was able to take the Black Carapace. He nearly died during the procedure, but was at last able to join the ranks of the Astartes. He also began the Chapter’s chronicles and secret histories. A record of the Paladins’ deeds which was later continued by his blood-son and fellow Astartes, Parsinus.
Parsinus – One of the relatively humans to be both the biological son of an Astartes and to have followed in his father’s footsteps. Knight Parsinus would do many great deeds, but the mightiest of these was his discovery of the ancient grail. A leftover and largely unknown technology from before the Great Crusade. This ancient device is credited with allowing the Chapter to maintain a stable gene-seed for so long. Whether that is true remains unknown and any Astartes that knows the fact is unlikely to say.
Tancred – The leader of the Cilician Campaign and a hard-bitten veteran of many brutal campaigns. This powerful warrior is an unparalleled leader and relentless fighter. Caught by surprise during an attack, he faced a Chaos Dreadnought unarmored, with only a chain spear to hand, and was victorious. Some even claim he is Ancelone or Bayard reborn.
Henry of the 8th Company – This ancient Dreadnought is noted for his single-minded brutality in battle and for beheading seven daemons in one battle.
Misc: As well being a large, mobile strike force, the Planetary Hordes also boast a handful of armored vehicles and some Titans, as well as a few Knights from the fledgling scion of a noble house in the Imperium Sanctis.
Edited by SisterChristian, 05 March 2020 - 08:27 PM.