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Hypothetical Horus Heresy Series


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#51
Bobss

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I would've liked a bit more of a commitment to showing the changes wrought on the Legions from an earlier stage. It was cool to see French bring in the Newborn and to have new commanders climb the ladder, but it feels like we should've seen this shift across the board as in A Storm of Swords 2 and A Feast for Crows.

 

John French is the type of guy that the Horus Heresy Series needed more of. While he sometimes struggles to convey the gravitas of a situation (Dorn Vs. Alpharius, Abaddon Vs. Jubal, Ahriman Vs. Amon - all of these fall considerably short compared to, say, Abaddon Vs. Sigismund) his attention to detail in-universe and his ability to work new angles into existing lore is one of the best in the business. It's no surprise he's a leading figure in Forge World's publications. The duel between the Newborn Son of Horus and the veteran Imperial Fist in The Solar War was a great example of this - same for Abaddon reminiscing about recent campaigns with his own brothers


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#52
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To his credit, I liked Dorn vs. Alpharius and Sigismund vs. Jubal was great

I don't think the Newborn SoH had a "duel" with the Fist, but the scene was well-executed.

#53
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Bobss,

 

I agree with your other examples, but I thought the encounter between Alpharius and Dorn was very well done. Beyond that, I’m on board with your assessment of French, and share Xisor’s earlier sentiments re: Wraight. I hate to come off as disparaging of authors (as ultimately I’m sure all of them cared about the series), but I genuinely wish French and Wraight had gotten involved earlier in the series.


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#54
bluntblade

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I'm hoping that we get some non-numbered books later on which fill in some elements of this - while, being mindful of the "only lore" argument going on in the same subforum, finding some resonant tales to tell.

 

I'd actually love a story charting the rise of a Newborn Astartes, maybe even one who takes on some significance after the Heresy.


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#55
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The changes in the Legions, especially, bluntblade. I maintain that the writing team missed an opportunity to really capture the fundamental transformation the traitor Legiones Astartes underwent: ideologically, morally, physically, and psychologically. This should have been a conflict every bit as meaningful as the military campaign itself. It’s something internal pogroms and Isstvan III could never have addressed, because it’s not about drawing lines between loyal and traitor. Rather, it’s about the traitors confronting and coming to terms with what they are doing and becoming relative to what they set out to do.

 

It’s the idea of Little Horus not just looking morose, but actively addressing the fact that they’re not simply rebelling against tyrants to take back what they rightfully won.

 

It’s a Word Bearers Chaplain who wants to believe in Lorgar’s new way so desperately, but can’t reconcile it with his Primarch’s old ideals: the truth they have discovered is terrible, and where they once uplifted their people, as on Colchis, their new gods demand sacrifices in ever-greater numbers and by ever-crueler means.

 

It’s an internal conflict that should have paralleled and mirrored the military one across the series’ fifty-four numbered entries. The Emperor’s Children at the end of Fulgrim and the Word Bearer Apostles of the Shadow Crusade, to name two examples, should have represented the culmination of this insidious, internal and external transformation — not what we saw the moment the curtains were drawn and the treachery revealed.

 

It genuinely felt to me that this was only attempted in a couple novels. Did anyone besides Aaron Dembski-Bowden present it as an internal conflict for his characters to struggle through when it truly mattered with regard to the timeline of the series (the foundational first half)?


Edited by Phoebus, 26 April 2020 - 02:00 PM.

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#56
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Wraight and French have done some work on that front, but relatively late in the game. I feel like - and again, I don't like being hard on authors - this is where the absence of Abnett in the middle years was really felt.

That was arguably the point where the less creative elements of BL were the ones driving the series. This may be a heuristic on my part admittedly, as I tend to think of Furious Abyss, Nemesis and Vengeful Spirit coming under that banner.

Heck, just the fact that Horus largely disappears from view for the portion of the Heresy in which he and his forces are rampaging across Imperial space. I've read Forge World's excellent take on that era, but I think it's largely missing from Black Library. And while it's present in short stories like the Shattered Legion ones, the lack of long-term narratives from the period leaves a real gap.
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#57
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I think having a novel focus specifically on pre-fall Horus would have done wonders for his character, though I still maintain the series should open with Lorgar a la First Heretic, which would cast an ominous shadow over the next novel...throwing us in media res into the later stages of the Ullanor Campaign, with Horus fighting for the Emperor and apparently saving His life. If you're going to do the HH series, it doesn't make sense to shy away from characterising the pivotal primarch. 



#58
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I think TFH coming when it does works just fine. Though some more material in the lead-up would have been good, and in light of the transitional period FW gave Horus, I feel like Falso Gods skipped two key phases of character development.

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#59
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It has become apparent to me my idealized Heresy write-up is going to be far too long for a single post. In light of that, I'll go by legion. My goal is to provide each legion with a mono-author series that can be read on its own, with a clear arc for the characters involved. I'd hope for easter eggs between books so the most rewarding experience is reading them together, but I hope to avoid the really significant events for a legion happening off-screen.

 

I also hope to give the saga a bit more restraint than what we ended up with. The point-of-view characaters are those with uncertain fates, and the only looks into a primarch's head are those they confide in the cast. I've also tried to radically cut down on in-person primarch duels. While I won't be outlining most of them, I hope for each series to have a significant baseline human element, be they navy, army, remembrancers, etc.

 

The outline I'm using is the lore from the original Visions of Heresy books, with expanded elements based on the parts of the novel series I most enjoyed. If I highlight a battle in bold, it means that books would be an in-depth look at the surrounding campaign. For example: many legions were at Isstvan V, but the battle itself will only be the focus of a few select legions for whom it is most important. I hope to have at least 2 legion POV's for these events.

 

I don't pretend this is anything beyond my personal fan fic, and obviously it is written with hindsight. I acknowledge most of my criticisms of elements in the Heresy series we got probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

So, on to the I Legion:

 

Dark Angels – Chris Wraight

POV Marines: Zahariel, Nemiel

 

The Arc: The Lion is great at everything he does, his only weakness is his unstinting belief in his ability over his advisors, and rarely entertains non-unilateral decision making. He handily outdoes every challenge he encounters in the first two books, but near totally unravels in the third, when he discovers he’s failed to reach Terra on time and learns that Caliban is in rebellion. Zahariel allows for POV with Luthor, and Nemiel allows POV with the Lion.

 

1. The time period is around Ullanor, the Lion is frustrated with not being named Warmaster, but dutifully continues role as Emperor’s xenos exterminator against the Khrave. Flashbacks to the glory days on Caliban. The Lion finds that the veteran Terran legionaries are a better fit for his command, as they obey his orders without council. He sends Luther, Zahariel, and select other Caliban veterans back to their homeworld to ensure recruitment produces a more duty-bound legionary. The Lion takes Astelan as one of his few advisors, and at the end of the book learns of Isstvan V. Zahariel and Nemiel's relationship develops similarly to their arc in Descent of Angels.

 

2. Parallel storytelling a la Fallen Angels (but good). A bitter Luthor returns to Caliban, but finds everything he valued about their culture has been subsumed by the Imperium while he was away, Chaos influence is only hinted at. With the Lion, Astelan unceasingly councils they move directly in support of Terra. The Lion dallies at Thramas, as he doesn’t know how quickly the Heresy is moving, and wants the chance to handily defeat the Night Lords so they aren’t an issue in the future. The Night Lords fleet is all but destroyed, and the Lion makes way for Terra. He sends Astelan to join the others on Caliban, as he was getting tiresome. While this goes on Nemiel ascends to chaplaincy, and Zahariel is brought into Luthor's more arcane inner circle.

 

3. The Lion arrives in the ashes of Terra, and broods for a while. He considers redeeming himself by becoming Imperial Regent in place of Guilliman. When he learns of Caliban’s rebellion, giving into his anger is his only means of ignoring his personal failures. On arrival at The Destruction of Caliban, he finds a Luthor who has been corrupted, but seems ignorant of it. Zahariel and Nemiel face off, Nemiel is killed and Zahariel’s death is ambiguous (a possible Cypher?) The Lion and Luthor have their climactic duel and the planet explodes.

 

How legions and primarchs deal with failure is going to be a running theme in these.

 

 

EDIT: I suppose I should give some reasoning for a few of my decisions.

 

I really like the idea of the Lion being "the First and the best," the big brother figure who may have even been designed as Warmaster before the scattering. I don't really subscribe to the idea that all legions are equal, so I don't mind throwing the Night Lords under the bus to show his supreme competence. From that, I like the idea that "the guy who always wins" fails for just that reason; in a 7-year Heresy he would have absolutely made the right choice and saved many lives, but the timeline is much more compact in my vision for it. Even the most intelligent people can miscalculate when overwhelming success is dangled in front of them.

 

Additionally, I like the idea of the Lion's mistrust manifesting in a less 40k-flavoured way. Ignoring the council of his men makes him a far more reasonable, though flawed, leader in my eyes, as opposed to all the knightly order layers upon layers of secrecy that even in the actual series I'm not sure why he maintains.

 

To this day, I don't understand why the Lion sent Luthor back to Caliban at the end of Descent. Here, I tried to come up with a situation that grew out of the Lion's unique trust for Luthor, rather than whatever happened at Sarosh.

 

Astelan is a character I frankly find insufferable, but I do like the concept that he believes he knows best for the sheer history he's got with the Imperium. I'm happy to use him and put him where he needs to be, so long as he doesn't start to consume the plot.


Edited by Roomsky, 26 April 2020 - 08:56 PM.

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#60
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I find myself torn on the matter of Imperium Secundus. Still sympathetic towards the idea of it, but I think the strand was allowed to end up as a lot of nothing. 

 

Admittedly that does show the downside of the Yes And approach; it leaves you at the mercy of any weak creative links in the chain.


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#61
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I find myself torn on the matter of Imperium Secundus. Still sympathetic towards the idea of it, but I think the strand was allowed to end up as a lot of nothing. 

 

Admittedly that does show the downside of the Yes And approach; it leaves you at the mercy of any weak creative links in the chain.

 

I like the fundamental idea behind Imperium Secundus. 'Unremembered Empire' is also a neat title in my opinion. I would probably drop Sanguinius and the Bagels, and I would definitely drop the Lion and the Dongles. Sanguinius' place is at Terra. Simple as. And I don't care if 'there is enough space in the timeline for him to be at Ultramar' either. Meanwhile, the Lion's place is being indecisive at Thramas. I don't have a problem with Guilliman desiring Sanguinius as his stand-in Emperor-like figure or even wanting the Lion for his military might, but I don't want to see either Primarch bollocksing around on Macragge. Curze can also be removed because he was nothing more than a boogeyman/one-man army in that arc and added nothing to his character or his Legion in my opinion. Curze can remain on the Eastern Fringe while segments of his Legion push towards Terra. Guilliman, using the Pharos, joining together a massive fleet of survivors from Phall, the Shattered Legions, the Space Wolves watchmen, Blackshields, isolated Mechanicum assets, Loyalist elements of Traitor Legions and others to begin the big rearguard action against Horus as the Ruinstorm gradually dies out would be sufficient. It also parallels Guilliman's advance towards Terra post-Fall of Cadia - not that I really care for post-Fall of Cadia lore, but it would be a neat touch I guess. In fact this is what I thought Dan Abnett's book was going to be about when it was first announced. Imagine my shock when the Lion pops up... then Curze... then Vulkan... ermm.gif

 

In fact I just want to touch on galactic travel a little bit. Yes, warp drives make the galaxy feel a lot smaller than it is; and yes the Chaos Gods were working overtime for their boys; and yes the Heresy went on for over a decade, but I could really do without Perturabo's bizarre roadtrip in the Eye of Terror or Leman Russ reaching Terra then having a prep talk on Fenris. Perturabo has Phall and Tallarn to develop over, and I appreciate the work he put in for Horus late-game as well. Fulgrim can basically ascend in any relevant location. Find me a random Craftworld or invent a chain of exodite worlds or something. Hell, if Angron ascending on Nuceria is received positively by the fandom, Fulgrim and the Third Legion could be linked to the Chaos artefact on Tallarn. Russ meanwhile can hurl his Legion at the Traitor Armada in a do-or-die assault because it's perfectly in-character for him post-Prospero, or even the simple explanation 'the Wolves took monumental casualties at Prospero and were hounded by the Alpha Legion throughout the rest of the Heresy' is perfectly okay for the Wolf Cull. Either way, respecting galactic distances and keeping your 30k sandbox nice and huge (looking at you Kalium Gate/Dark Glass) is what you should be aiming for. Terra, Mars, Fenris, Macragge, Ullanor and Cadia aren't the only 6 planets in the Milky Way funnily enough!


Edited by Bobss, 26 April 2020 - 09:05 PM.

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#62
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My preference is still for Russ to be involved in Beta-Garmon. Just cut out Wolfsbane, show the Wolves actually fighting alongside the rest of the Imperial forces and be the ones to confront the Warmaster on his arrival. Then have Horus demolish Russ... only Russ knows that Horus won't be able to resist the final jibe when he thinks it's all over.

 

"Any last words, brother?"

"Yes. Morkai." (stabbity doo whop)

 

Boom, you're all set for Slaves to Darkness.


Edited by bluntblade, 26 April 2020 - 10:08 PM.

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#63
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Roomsky,

I love your reasoning on the Lion.

bluntblade, Bobss,

What do you guys think about the very basis of the Imperium Secundus storyline: the assumption that the Emperor has fallen to Horus? Was that the best way to reconcile what those three Primarchs were doing between 009.M31 and 014.M31?

Edited by Phoebus, 26 April 2020 - 11:54 PM.

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#64
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Emperor’s Children – Josh Reynolds

POV Marine: Arkanuada

 

The Arc: The Emperor’s Children devolve over the course of the Heresy into their corrupted norm, but they don’t realize how far they’ve fallen until Terra. Most characters are wilfully ignorant of what is happening to them.

 

1. Great Crusade, the Legion is doing well (here, against the Laer) but the paranoia about another degeneration of their geneseed is in the back of everyone’s mind. Fabius, as always unfettered, experiments warp juice in an effort create a permanent cure, utilizing xenos tech if it seems valuable. They crusade with the Iron Hands against the Diasporex, where some of Fabius’ improvements help win the day. Fulgrim’s warriors are praised by Ferrus for their skill. The climax is Isstvan III; Fulgrim has joined Horus because the Emperor’s dogma may doom his legion if they proceed (possibly another II and XI situation), and he believes all other legions will inevitably join them. Only the most stubborn are sent to die after several attempts at persuasion, and Arkanuada and the others try to convince themselves that when the Emperor sees his creations in revolt, he will surrender peacefully. Fulgrim weeps at the necessity. Tarvitz is a prominent supporting character, and tempers Arkanuada's downward spiral.

 

2. Fulgrim meets with Ferrus to have him join traitors, but is violently rebuffed. Fulgrim is genuinely hurt and confused, as Ferrus too strives for a stronger legion. Leading up to Isstvan V, Arkanuada receives his first upgrades from Fabius, and marvels at his even greater skill. Horus is irate that Fulgrim was unable to turn Ferrus, and has Fulgrim take responsibility by being the one to destroy the Iron Hands. Fulgrim lures Ferrus out, and is forced to kill him. Arkanuada is able to channel his frustration with the Iron Hands into murder, feeling just as much betrayal that they remained stubborn rather than joining Horus' vision for the future. Fabius realizes his enhancements are having strange side effects (Slaanesh), but has no alternative but to continue.

 

3. The legion reaches the Sol system for the Siege of Terra, but the chain of command is breaking down as the enhanced legion is more interested in greater extremity and grandstanding. Arkanuada displays similar traits, but finds many of his fellows are delirious, still apparently believing in their once noble goals. Arkanuada leads ground forces on Terra, but finds he cannot maintain squad cohesion.  Fulgrim and the rest of the legion become distracted tormenting civilians, surprised at how easy it is to exploit the people they were to defend. As a result, Arkanuada does not get the support he needs and is surrounded by loyalists. Arkanuada is killed by Sigismund, in his last moments realizing his legion has been manipulated by something supernatural. By the time they decide to retreat, Fulgrim has all but forgotten his commander.

 

 

So I debated using Cario for a protagonist here, but I think a commanding officer works better for this kind of corruption story, it would allow a closer look at Fulgrim and a more distant view of the line troops. Additionally, Arkanuada's perspective would be more understandable as he would have experienced first hand the III Legion's gene seed troubles.

 

For treachery between Space Marines being so unthinkable, the Heresy series sure has no shortage of going zero to a hundred with murdering your friends. Fulgrim especially is guilty of this, not only do they become traitorous in a remarkably short time, but they transform into their 40k selves in about 500 pages. I wanted to instead give the legion an arc born out of insecurity and a feeling of helplessness. Even once they start taking corruption into their bodies, they don't notice what's happening until it's too late. Rather more an extended high that leaves them compromised, rather than jumping off the slippery slope because evil feels good. 

 

I use Ferrus to reinforce their behavior for some dramatic irony, there's no one else Fulgrim would take greater encouragement from. As for Isstvan III, I'll touch more on it with Horus, but for some of the legions involved I think it would be more effective if regarded as a necessary evil rather than a bit of villainous pragmatism. Each step of the way, the cast says to themselves "alright, this is as far as we go," until they're already well off the deep end. And, of course, I omitted the daemon sword. I like the Dorian Grey shenanigans in the original, but Mcneill decided to undercut that tragedy anyway so there isn't much lost.


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#65
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i'd make a side series starring ferrus' decapitated head

imagine all the whack stuff he's seen

He's seen nothing, his eyes were gouged out.

 

fair call.

 

*all the whack stuff he's heard


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'WHEN WE CONFRONTED THE CORRUPTED, HOMICIDAL HORUS WHO ONCE USED TO SHINE LIKE THE BRIGHTEST STAR, WHO USED TO BE OUR BELOVED FAVOURITE – WHEN THE FATE OF THE GALAXY HUNG BY A THREAD – WERE WE NOT COMPELLED TO EXPEL ALL COMPASSION? ALL LOVE? ALL JOY? THOSE WENT AWAY. HOW ELSE COULD WE HAVE ARMOURED OURSELVES? EXISTENCE IS TORMENT, A TORMENT THAT MUST NOURISH US. EVIDENTLY WE MUST STRIVE TO BE THE FIERCE REDEEMER OF MAN, YET WHAT WILL REDEEM US?’

 

#66
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Roomsky,

I love your reasoning on the Lion.

bluntblade, Bobss,

What do you guys think about the very basis of the Imperium Secundus storyline: the assumption that the Emperor has fallen to Horus? Was that the best way to reconcile what those three Primarchs were doing between 009.M31 and 014.M31?

 

I feel like the Ruinstorm takes this question out of Guilliman's hands somewhat. Even if Guilliman had confirmation of the Emperor's existence, he would still be trapped by the Ruinstorm and would be presented with the perfect opportunity to bide his time and build up a massive fleet that could march on Horus' rear at the nearest opportunity. The only things this would change would be Imperium Secundus' name which would sort of be moot at this point, and Guilliman's desire to use Sanguinius as an Emperor-like figure (which is nevertheless an interesting topic and I wonder if Sanguinius ever had a special relationship with the Legio Custodes for example as he seems to embody the 'spirit'/divine perception of the Emperor the best)
 
I first came into contact with the Horus Heresy story one day after school in 2005 when I was reading a Wikipedia article about it  - and one of the things that really resonated with me was the sheer desperation showcased by either side. The Imperial Fists, Blood Angels and White Scars always seemed like a strange collection of Legions to me (especially the White Scars - and I like to affectionately refer to these three Legions as the 'Bulwark Legions') but they were simply the closest to Terra at the outbreak of the Heresy. No tricks or traps, they were simply the guys who got there before Horus did (and the Luna Wolves' 'speartip thrust' combat doctrine has always seemed like a nod to Horus' race to Terra to me). Likewise, Horus himself is extremely desperate during his final hour when the remaining Loyalist Primarchs are hot on his heels. The defenders of Terra's main strategy is to quite literally bide time: wall by wall, step by step, brick by brick, instead of trying to beat Horus' Armada outright or bleed him dry in a classical siege. This sets up a truly, wonderfully desperate struggle. Authors I hold in high regard have largely upheld this atmosphere with solid content like Path of Heaven and The Solar War
 
Sadly Black Library has picked apart this atmosphere at almost every opportunity, with several additional Primarchs and their Legions returning to Terra before the Siege, only to wander off again to do their own thing, alongside various detours on the Traitor side and of course the Traitor fleet falling apart at the seams with everyone acting near-enough their 40k counterparts already. Of course, the Black Library team are under no obligation to care about my anecdote or how I felt as an 11-year old, but what they have created is a setting where events unfold at both a break-neck pace and are also slowly meandering. So to answer your question about what these three guys were or would be doing in this timeframe, I would keep it simple: Sanguinius and the IX Legion go to Terra after the carnage of Signus (you can even have Sanguinius and the Khan spearhead the defence of Beta-Garmon, because I don't think that battle is inherently detrimental to the overall storyline and fits into the race-against-time factor both sides are feeling), Guilliman builds up his relief force until the Ruinstorm abates and the Lion is battling the Night Lords who have spread themselves thin across the Eastern Fringe, and is a victim of his own tunnel-vision, ignorant of the wider Heresy before racing to Terra with Russ
 
This might sound boring to some readers, but I like to keep things simple and avoid convenience. I am not a fan of anime- or comic book-style storytelling, so things happening for logical, in-character, in-universe reasons has always been my preference - what a bore I am!

Edited by Bobss, 27 April 2020 - 12:38 AM.

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#67
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Emperor’s Children – Josh Reynolds

POV Marine: Arkanuada

 

The Arc: The Emperor’s Children devolve over the course of the Heresy into their corrupted norm, but they don’t realize how far they’ve fallen until Terra. Most characters are wilfully ignorant of what is happening to them.

 

1. Great Crusade, the Legion is doing well (here, against the Laer) but the paranoia about another degeneration of their geneseed is in the back of everyone’s mind. Fabius, as always unfettered, experiments warp juice in an effort create a permanent cure, utilizing xenos tech if it seems valuable. They crusade with the Iron Hands against the Diasporex, where some of Fabius’ improvements help win the day. Fulgrim’s warriors are praised by Ferrus for their skill. The climax is Isstvan III; Fulgrim has joined Horus because the Emperor’s dogma may doom his legion if they proceed (possibly another II and XI situation), and he believes all other legions will inevitably join them. Only the most stubborn are sent to die after several attempts at persuasion, and Arkanuada and the others try to convince themselves that when the Emperor sees his creations in revolt, he will surrender peacefully. Fulgrim weeps at the necessity. Tarvitz is a prominent supporting character, and tempers Arkanuada's downward spiral.

 

2. Fulgrim meets with Ferrus to have him join traitors, but is violently rebuffed. Fulgrim is genuinely hurt and confused, as Ferrus too strives for a stronger legion. Leading up to Isstvan V, Arkanuada receives his first upgrades from Fabius, and marvels at his even greater skill. Horus is irate that Fulgrim was unable to turn Ferrus, and has Fulgrim take responsibility by being the one to destroy the Iron Hands. Fulgrim lures Ferrus out, and is forced to kill him. Arkanuada is able to channel his frustration with the Iron Hands into murder, feeling just as much betrayal that they remained stubborn rather than joining Horus' vision for the future. Fabius realizes his enhancements are having strange side effects (Slaanesh), but has no alternative but to continue.

 

3. The legion reaches the Sol system for the Siege of Terra, but the chain of command is breaking down as the enhanced legion is more interested in greater extremity and grandstanding. Arkanuada displays similar traits, but finds many of his fellows are delirious, still apparently believing in their once noble goals. Arkanuada leads ground forces on Terra, but finds he cannot maintain squad cohesion.  Fulgrim and the rest of the legion become distracted tormenting civilians, surprised at how easy it is to exploit the people they were to defend. As a result, Arkanuada does not get the support he needs and is surrounded by loyalists. Arkanuada is killed by Sigismund, in his last moments realizing his legion has been manipulated by something supernatural. By the time they decide to retreat, Fulgrim has all but forgotten his commander.

 

 

So I debated using Cario for a protagonist here, but I think a commanding officer works better for this kind of corruption story, it would allow a closer look at Fulgrim and a more distant view of the line troops. Additionally, Arkanuada's perspective would be more understandable as he would have experienced first hand the III Legion's gene seed troubles.

 

For treachery between Space Marines being so unthinkable, the Heresy series sure has no shortage of going zero to a hundred with murdering your friends. Fulgrim especially is guilty of this, not only do they become traitorous in a remarkably short time, but they transform into their 40k selves in about 500 pages. I wanted to instead give the legion an arc born out of insecurity and a feeling of helplessness. Even once they start taking corruption into their bodies, they don't notice what's happening until it's too late. Rather more an extended high that leaves them compromised, rather than jumping off the slippery slope because evil feels good. 

 

I use Ferrus to reinforce their behavior for some dramatic irony, there's no one else Fulgrim would take greater encouragement from. As for Isstvan III, I'll touch more on it with Horus, but for some of the legions involved I think it would be more effective if regarded as a necessary evil rather than a bit of villainous pragmatism. Each step of the way, the cast says to themselves "alright, this is as far as we go," until they're already well off the deep end. And, of course, I omitted the daemon sword. I like the Dorian Grey shenanigans in the original, but Mcneill decided to undercut that tragedy anyway so there isn't much lost.

 

i'd be good with this fulgrim reboot. it goes back to the roots of the character as "one of the primarchs you'd never believe would turn" and gives him and the legion some complexity.

 

personally, i'd also like a bit more of the IA stuff with fulgrim so outraged to hear even a whisper of horus turning that he races to confront horus, but horus exploits fulgrim's psychological weaknesses to bring him across.

 

on top of their feeling of "insecurity and helplessness", i'd work in addiction.  in the way that some extreme victims of addiction become a danger to themselves and others in their lives , some emperor's children could be aware of the horror of their actions but helpless to stop it in the face of their overwhelming need to feed their new addictions. could be the middle ground on their way to becoming joyfully dependent on slaanesh.


Edited by mc warhammer, 27 April 2020 - 12:55 AM.

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'WHEN WE CONFRONTED THE CORRUPTED, HOMICIDAL HORUS WHO ONCE USED TO SHINE LIKE THE BRIGHTEST STAR, WHO USED TO BE OUR BELOVED FAVOURITE – WHEN THE FATE OF THE GALAXY HUNG BY A THREAD – WERE WE NOT COMPELLED TO EXPEL ALL COMPASSION? ALL LOVE? ALL JOY? THOSE WENT AWAY. HOW ELSE COULD WE HAVE ARMOURED OURSELVES? EXISTENCE IS TORMENT, A TORMENT THAT MUST NOURISH US. EVIDENTLY WE MUST STRIVE TO BE THE FIERCE REDEEMER OF MAN, YET WHAT WILL REDEEM US?’

 

#68
Roomsky

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i'd be good with this fulgrim reboot. it goes back to the roots of the character as "one of the primarchs you'd never believe would turn" and gives him and the legion some complexity.

 

personally, i'd also like a bit more of the IA stuff with fulgrim so outraged to hear even a whisper of horus turning that he races to confront horus, but horus exploits fulgrim's psychological weaknesses to bring him across.

 

on top of their feeling of "insecurity and helplessness", i'd work in addiction.  in the way that some extreme victims of addiction become a danger to themselves and others in their lives , some emperor's children could be aware of the horror of their actions but helpless to stop it in the face of their overwhelming need to feed their new addictions. could be the middle ground on their way to becoming joyfully dependent on slaanesh.

 

 

I try to avoid doing a full play-by-play but I didn't think of a lot of this; I agree with everything you brought up.

 

I think the best writing of Chaos corruption shows how well it amplifies existing desires, but not so much you realize what is happening until you're growing horns. Far too much in your face shenanigans in the series proper for my taste. I quite like the addiction angle, plays into the idea that the legion enters into a sort of collective dilerium.


Edited by Roomsky, 27 April 2020 - 01:00 AM.

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#69
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I feel like the Ruinstorm takes this question out of Guilliman's hands somewhat.

From Guilliman and Sanguinius’s hands, yes. From the Lion’s, though? No.

Please note, the rant that follows isn’t directed at you, man. It’s Just me venting.

 

Even if we accept the (very convenient) revelation that Tuchulcha can get past the Warp storms ripping the galaxy apart to reach Macragge but not to reach Terra, the Lion didn’t know that until Ruinstorm. Even then, Tuchulcha was still a good Deux Ex Machina and got the Primarchs where they needed to be to solve that particular problem. The decision-making that drove Imperium Secundus was never convincing to me, and what was delivered in the epilogue of Ruinstorm didn’t strike me as any better. If Guilliman and the Lion were never meant to reach Terra, then perhaps the authors shouldn’t base their decision not to return on really shaky claims of prophecy.

 

Because let’s be real for a second:

 

Sanguinius didn’t foresee that he, Guilliman, and the Lion were going to embark on a journey to shut down the Ruinstorm. He definitely wasn’t struck with visions of Guilliman peer-pressurIng him into being a faux Emperor. He didn’t even have an inkling that Signus Prime was a massive trap and a key gambit in a burgeoning rebellion aimed at overthrowing the Imperium of Man on behalf of alien gods residing in the Warp. Point of fact, the only certainty Sanguinius can provide with regard to the future hinges on whether or not something will kill him. Given this, it’s incredibly difficult for me to accept that his brothers — who are both advertised as possessing superhuman intellects — would settle on a course of action that could leave Terra defended by as few as two legions.

 

More to the point, if the authors were going to go that route, they could have supported those choices more over the remainder of the series. There’s at least some reference to Guilliman taking the fight to Horus’s rear-guard. Where the Lion is concerned, though? It’s just lip service and hand-waving: it’s Malcador the Sigillite informing us in The Lost and the Damned (also by Guy Haley) that the Lion’s attacks on the traitor home worlds are very important in a metaphysical sense. It’s too bad the impact of said attacks is neither felt or even qualified in a way that relates to any of the nine numbered Heresy entries that followed Ruinstorm or the first two Siege of Terra novels.


Edited by Phoebus, 27 April 2020 - 02:51 PM.

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#70
bluntblade

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I think they could've improved matters if, say, Russ didn't go back to Terra despite being in Loyalist territory. Instead he's always at the front.
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#71
Fedor

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They should have just had Signus be somewhere else other than the eastern fringe. Then Sanguinius can head to Terra from there without needing to get all entangled with the storylines for keeping the Ultramarines away.

 

The Lion doesn't really need to be there either, but works ok for the emperor figure for any planned Imperium Secundus type arc.I think the Lion and Guilliman need to be far darker, more ambiguous characters to really get the most out of that sort of thing though. Well, one of them at least.

 

I like Roomsky take onthe EC arc, much better as a framework than what McNeill did, though i don't think having the Lion be a best at everything Primarch would work well in any incarnation, even it is to eventually deconstruct it a bit. It just takes away from Horus and the Emperor choosing him as Warmaster imo, i'd rather just have Horus actually be the best all-rounder and seemingly best choice. They've basically done that with Sanguinius-though not nearly to the extent that elements of the fanbase have taken it as- and it has not been a good thing for the character.


Edited by Fedor, 27 April 2020 - 09:06 AM.

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#72
bluntblade

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I think more distinct phases to the war might've helped as well, giving a real shape to the conflict and building to major events. Molech and Beta-Garmon in particular, in my mind, ought to have been seen as particular crisis points ahead of happening, rather than being announced as such in their respective books.
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#73
Bobss

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I think more distinct phases to the war might've helped as well, giving a real shape to the conflict and building to major events. Molech and Beta-Garmon in particular, in my mind, ought to have been seen as particular crisis points ahead of happening, rather than being announced as such in their respective books.

 

Beta-Garmon is one of the most undervalued battles in the Heresy. There's no ambush or traps or tricks or betrayals or purges or half-surrenders or lengthy siege actions or Chaos plot devices, it is just a straight-up giant Legions Vs. Legions campaign between a significant Loyalist force and the tip of the Warmaster's vanguard. I didn't like the Corax books, but I enjoyed how they helped build up Beta-Garmon as this significant roadbump for Horus. It would've been a great theatre to showcase Horus' strategic acumen against his brother Primarchs, as he gradually wrestles each world from under their control with overwhelming force, tactical brilliance and sheer, merciless Chaos Space Marine-style brutality that they haven't seen before. I like Titans (who doesn't) but a primarily-Titan perspective of this war was the wrong approach imo. I appreciate it's a big thing for the Titan Legions, but richer and more varied perspectives usually work better. Something in the style of The Solar War wouldn't go wrong

 

Of course, the tightrope you have to walk here is to avoid turning Beta-Garmon into a mini Siege of Terra, but it could be done - I would mainly focus on themes like Beta-Garmon being the last throw-of-the-dice for the Loyalists, acting as their final proactive action against Horus, dealing with him on their own terms, whereas the Siege of Terra is pure, unadulterated backs-against-the-wall stuff


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#74
b1soul

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Had fun thinking through this...hope someone will have as much reading it. This building upon my skeleton structure here: 

 

Spoiler

 

So some possible changes to the Age of Darkness...

 

Ultramarines

  • Imperium Secundus involves a badly mauled Ultramar trying to survive WE, WB and their Daemonic allies, and splinter elements of other Traitor Legions or traitors of Loyalist Legions to spice things up.
  • There is no Lion and no Sanguinius. No Night Lords or Curze.
  • The Ruinstorm makes egress very difficult but not impossible. The dilemma is whether Guilliman should (a) risk it all and make a break for Terra with the surviving UM fleet, abandoning his beloved Ultramar or ( b ) turtle down and commit all his resources to Ultramar's survival first. He chooses ( b ) and rationalises it by surmising that the Emperor might already be dead and believing the risk of losing all hands in the Ruinstorm to be shockingly high. The Pharos plotline is dropped.

 

Dark Angels

  • Thramas is a rather drawn-out affair before the First decisively defeats the Eighth a la Prince of Crows but without any Tchulcha shenanigans. The NL are simply beaten by superior coordination and a sane primarch.
  • The DA lose a fifth of their fleet and the NL lose over half of theirs in the decisive fleet engagement.
  • Shortly after victory, the Lion (not Corax) receives an urgent request from a beleaguered force of SW and DA (more on that later).

Blood Angels/White Scars/Imperial Fists

  • Sanguinius does his thing at Signus but his fleet has a very rough time navigating the Warp. Two options:
  • Option 1: After time displacement due to the potent Warp sorcery around Signus (and an epics Warp Odyssey), the BA ultimately limp back to Terra (much earlier than the White Scars). The BA initially help Dorn with fortifying the Palace. Later, Sanguinius and the Blood Angels support the Custodes in the Webway as Dorn fends off the Alpha Legion shadow campaign. The Webway incursions and AL destabilisation efforts are coordinated by the Traitors to hit fever pitch simultaneously.
  • Option 2: After time displacement due to the potent Warp sorcery around Signus, the BA fleet manages to link up with a battered White Scars fleet (around two years after the Second Battle of Prospero). The Khan must transcend his solitary ways and luckily for him, Sanguinius is a brother primarch he generally gets along with. The two wounded legions are hounded by elements of the SoH, EC, DG, IW, and surviving NL fleet. The Swordstorm is lost in a savage engagement but the Khan survives. The Khan and Sanguinius combine their damaged fleets into a single unit led from the Red Tear. This fleet of red and white manages to escape through the Catallus Rift to Terra, where they finally link up with the IF. 

Space Wolves

  • The SW go through the Alaxxes ordeal and are severely depleted.
  • They are saved by a DA star-fortress but the DA forces are not hardcore Luther-sympathisers. These DA are not completely trusted by either Luther or the Lion.
  • Luther had relegated these unfortunates to garrison duty aboard the Chimaera and tried to spin it as an honour (but really just wanted these suspected Lion-sympathisers away from Caliban).
  • After helping Russ, a large portion of them join the surviving SW and find a degree of purpose.
  • They launch a campaign to harry the Traitors while trying to find a way to break for Terra.
  • They are ultimately holed up at Yarant, but the Lion finally manages to reach Yarant and the combined forces manage to stave off annihilation.
  • A wounded Russ now owes the Lion a weregeld as they struggle to reach Terra. 

Shattered Legions

  • Vulkan never makes it back to Terra. Neither does Corax.
  • They engage in protracted guerrilla warfare alongside attached IH survivors under Shadrak Meduson.
  • They face annihilation more than once after Istvaan V and are hard-pressed simply to survive.
  • The RG, Sallies, and IH barely total 10,000 survivors with a rag-tag, barely functional fleet. They are the Ten Thousand of Istvaan, and determine they can do more good as a hit-and-run force behind Traitor lines, rather than risking it all to break for Terra.
  • If they can link up with other Loyalists, they will, but this does not come to fruit until encountering WS Sagyar Mazan seeking honourable death.

Edited by b1soul, 27 April 2020 - 10:08 AM.

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#75
bluntblade

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I think more distinct phases to the war might've helped as well, giving a real shape to the conflict and building to major events. Molech and Beta-Garmon in particular, in my mind, ought to have been seen as particular crisis points ahead of happening, rather than being announced as such in their respective books.

 
Beta-Garmon is one of the most undervalued battles in the Heresy. There's no ambush or traps or tricks or betrayals or purges or half-surrenders or lengthy siege actions or Chaos plot devices, it is just a straight-up giant Legions Vs. Legions campaign between a significant Loyalist force and the tip of the Warmaster's vanguard. I didn't like the Corax books, but I enjoyed how they helped build up Beta-Garmon as this significant roadbump for Horus. It would've been a great theatre to showcase Horus' strategic acumen against his brother Primarchs, as he gradually wrestles each world from under their control with overwhelming force, tactical brilliance and sheer, merciless Chaos Space Marine-style brutality that they haven't seen before. I like Titans (who doesn't) but a primarily-Titan perspective of this war was the wrong approach imo. I appreciate it's a big thing for the Titan Legions, but richer and more varied perspectives usually work better. Something in the style of The Solar War wouldn't go wrong
 
Of course, the tightrope you have to walk here is to avoid turning Beta-Garmon into a mini Siege of Terra, but it could be done - I would mainly focus on themes like Beta-Garmon being the last throw-of-the-dice for the Loyalists, acting as their final proactive action against Horus, dealing with him on their own terms, whereas the Siege of Terra is pure, unadulterated backs-against-the-wall stuff

Having it pop up in some state-of-the-Galaxy scenes would be good too. On that note planning-table moments pass a la ASoIaF could have been handy to give a gradual sense of escalation.

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