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Index Astartes: Gatebreakers


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#1
apologist

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GB01h.jpg
 
Founding: 9th (posited)
Chapter World: Andocrine Tertiary
Fortress Monastery: N/A
Primogenitor: Unknown
Known Descendants: None
 
+ Abstract +
By M34, the Gatebreakers are a Chapter in some distress. Nominally Lords of Andocrine – a system on the very edge of Imperial territory at the Galactic rim – their homeworld has, through necessity, long been abandoned. It is used along with the other inhabited planets in the region by the Chapter only for snatch-and-grab recruitment.
 
The Chapter itself occupies the vast wilderness space of the region, with the Astartes roving nomadically, only intemittently returning to largest of the ammonia-wreathed dwarf planets of Androcrine. The Chapter specialises in void warfare and ship-to-ship assault.
 
Or at least; that is its boast. In truth, the Gatebreakers are suffering from numerous and growing gene-rune problems. Their melanchromic organ and neuroglottis are non-functional, and more than ninety per cent suffer catastrophic collapse of the sus-an Membranes prior to leaving the Scout Company-analogues. Many suffer irregularities of the oolitic kidney or paralysis of the multi-lung; while a minority also suffer failures of the occulobe or Lyman's ear, necessitating bionic replacement. While it is officially no shame to bear geneseed with failed or misgenic organs (the Imperial Fists being a good example) the sheer level of failure to the Gatebreakers' seed is a point of deep shame to the Chapter, and they go to huge lengths to conceal the extent of their sickness.
 
Recruiting heavily in order to make up for the sheer level of catastrophic failure, the Gatebreakers harvest the three worlds of Andocrine regularly, launch slaving raids on any non-Imperial human worlds they come across, and demand payment in the form of a planet's youth when they come to its aid. As a result both of this and of the weak influence of the geneseed, the Gatebreaker's phenotype is hugely diverse.
 
The Chapter's culture – insular to the point of isolationism – has deemed this inner corruption must be hidden; to the point of short-stocking or withholding their tithe completely. Thus far, their distant galactic position and mobile nature has meant few Imperial parties are particularly interested.
 
 
+ Absent guardians +
GB01b.jpg
The Gatebreakers are not unusual in being isolated. There are, after all, said to be just one thousand Chapters Astartes, spread across the vast cobweb that is Imperial space. Further, by virtue of their demesne's position in the galactic halo, contact is inherently harder to maintain in comparison with a Chapter positioned within the galaxy. 
 
The tenuous nature of their position has been further exacerbated by galactic drift, poor record-keeping and their roving behaviour. Over the millennia, supplies from within the Imperium became lost en-route, found no-one authorised to receive additional equipment and materiel, or – latterly – emerged in an area of space where Andocrine no longer sits. This fed a vicious cycle: low on supplies, the Chapter adapted to become more dependent on roving and raiding, and thus their few established supply drop positions dwindled. By the opening of the Alien Wars, the Gatebreakers had become listed amongst the Chapters Inperceptus – a status of inability to be contacted. Suspected to be lost or destroyed by the Adeptus Terra, their heraldry and Chapter number were reserved, as occasional reports from Rogue Traders and the like brought legends, if not confirmation, of the Chapter's continued existence. 
 
From the Gatebreakers' own point of view, of course, they had remained adherent to their ancient oaths, and continued to send a scanty but sufficient tithe to Mars. They are, as with so many Imperial institutions, largely forgotten; and when recalled, assumed by the High Lords to be performing their duty.
 
+++
 
+ The Gatebreakers during the Nova Terra Interregnum +
Although unusual in their many divergent traditions and patchwork approach to war, the Gatebreakers are typical in one way – they are dutiful. Their ancient role is to guard a region of the rim-worlds of the Imperium from extra-galactic xenos threats, and to enforce the Emperor's will over his Imperium. This means they rarely have contact with other Imperial institutions. This is in many ways fortunate. So isolated are the Gatebreakers that their belief system has become hugely divergent – were they better-known to the Adeptus Ministorum, it is almost certain that their beliefs would be termed heretical, even given the leeway of the Chapter Cults.
 
While they have little official contact with the broader Imperium, they do respond to calls of aid, and have on occasion served besides other Imperial forces. In such instances, they remain secretive, reserving their contact to missives and Chapter serfs where possible. On those rare occasions when the Chapter are called upon to send an Astartes delegate, they nominate a Claviger – or Macebearer – an in-Chapter term for Astartes granted leave to liaise with other Imperial authorities. 
 
Clavigers are almost invariably members (or 'Gentles') of the Apothecarion, and tend to be well-respected, as the Chapter's pragmatic and adaptable apothecaries are highly skilled and intimately knowledgeable about biochemistry and the Astartes form. They are few and far between, but most Deathwatch who have served alongside a Gatebreaker tend to admire their medical knowledge and skill; if not their social graces. Clavigers serve with honour, with faith... and with the understanding that they must bring back information, evidence or – better still – samples of other Astartes Chapters' gene-organs.
 
While not officially acting in the Alien Wars in any consulted sense, the rise in xenos activity across the galaxy was inevitably felt by the Gatebreakers, and their tenuous grip on their territory slipped further as they were forced into a number of stand-and-fight wars that drained their thin resources further.
 
So depleted were they that Andocrine itself fell to the brutal assaults of the zhote, and while their homeworld was liberated by the end of the Nova Terra Interregnum, the Gatebreakers lost a huge amount of their Chapter history. They became a Chapter in danger of extinction; and a salutary example of the fate of numerous Chapters in the face of a resurgent xenos threat.
 
+++
 
+ Member-ordinary Eo Daur +
 
GB01d.jpg
 
Pictured during a border skirmish with the halator Eldar, Eo Daur wears the Chapter's quartered grass green and sun yellow heraldry. His armour, like all Gatebreakers, is a mongrel suit that incorporates a number of unusual elements. Much of the Chapter's armoury is antique and much-patched, and where new pieces are forged, they are based on ancient STCs.
 
In a stark break from Astartes norms, the Gatebreakers maintain no Techmarines proper. Having long forgotten the necessity of sending delegates to Mars, their weapons and forges are maintained purely by tech-adepts overseen by an Astartes official called the 'Salt-Master'. This dangerous situation places them in a continual war of attrition, and has frequently placed them in the debt of pragmatic Magi of local Forgeworlds, who exploit the situation for their own gains.
 
 
GB01e.jpg
 
The Chapter symbol is a swinging mace, the handle of which symbolises the galaxy, with the Emperor at the centre. The Chapter itself, then, is represented by the mace head, striking the enemy at the edge of the galaxy. The five pointed spikes of the mace head evoke the multiple directions the Chapter takes – a metaphor both for their roving nature and for their adaptability.
 
Daur bears a wrist-mounted bio-monitor, jury-rigged to his power pack with thick cabling. Many such external devices are borne by the Gatebreakers, both to monitor their own weakened states and to substitute for absent autosenses, auspices and similar devices common to most Chapter's power armour suits.
 
 
GB01g.jpg
 
Gatebreakers rely heavily on consultation of the Tenets of the Ten Divine Princes – a garbled holy text that combines a surprisingly early edition of the Codex Astartes with centuries worth of the Gatebreakers' own traditions and sayings. Each Member-ordinary (the Chapter's idiosyncratic term for battle brothers) is expected to master the art of reading and writing and then to transcribe the Tenets himself. The resulting notes are understandably varied both in quality and accuracy. Far from consistency being encouraged, however, such accidental development is seen as a sign of favour; unconscious inspiration gifted by one or more of the Ten Divine Princes, the Emperor's Sons.
 
A Member's copy of the Tenets is frequently consulted, amended, annotated and swapped, Above, you can see a number of calligraphic extracts used as purity seals.
 
 
GB01b.jpg
 
Company and squad markings vary, but will be familiar to scholars of the Astartes. The upward pointing arrow here denotes a Tactical squad, the '4' in the circle at the top clarifying membership of fourth squad. Frequently understrength, squads are kept fluid, with members moving from one to another freely within the strikeforce. The strikeforce itself is the nearest equivalent to a Company, with the Chapter having no permanent Company-analogue organisation. Here, Daur is marked as belonging to strikeforce IX, as denoted by his bracer.
 
Strikeforces are simply those Astartes assigned to a particular squadron group of ships from the Chapter's much-battered fleet, and placed under command of a senior warrior, usually a Gnostic. For the Gatebreakers, members of the Librarius are not always psychic (though most are), instead regarding the making of records and communications as their critical role. Non-psychic Gnostics therefore make use of Chapter astropaths and similar non-Astartes personnel for battlefield support.
 
The small circular marking at the front of the pauldron above is an archaic marking denoting him as being equipped with a boltgun.
 
 
GB01c.jpg
 
Marked on Daur's chest is an hierarcic ferroglyph, styled after the petroglyphs of the Androcrine homeworld. This is a sign of holy favour granted by the Sages as intercessionaries for the Ten Divine Princes, a step below the Emperor himself: the symbol is thus a cross between a medal and a religious fetish.
 
+++
 
+ Gatebreakers culture and way of war +
 
Gatebreakers' culture is a peculiar mix of direct self-reliance and highly abstract reasoning. When two strikeforces meet, they will spar both physically and rhetorically; each contestant expanding the audiences understanding of the core beliefs espoused in the Tenets of the Ten Divine Princes and their supporting texts. In this way, the Chapters' lessons are kept flexible. Through continual application to the innovative ways of warfare with which the region's innumerable alien races fight, the Chapter never fights in quite the same way twice, allowing it to quickly adapt and overwhelm their foe.
 
"When the Odes were first bound to parchment, it is said that the King of Al-Yinn declared them complete and perfect; that nothing more was to be written on the scrolls, nor to be taken away." 
Yeng's voice was soft, but not conspiratorial.
 
"The Sage Mem nodded, knowing the King's quick temper, and had the scrolls placed in their blank silver case and taken away. It is also said that for each day that it was in the Sage Mem's care, the case grew larger and more elaborate, and its decoration ever more fine." 
 
He smiled, and Solastion detected a sad sincerity to the Gatebreaker's words. 
 
"When the King of Al-Yinn went to join the Emperor, his Son demanded to see the scrolls. His servants brought the case to the King, and as four men struggled to place the case on the ground before him, so heavy and finely decorated was it, the front swung open, revealing nothing but grub-chewed fragments. 
 
'Alas!' cried the King, 'the weight of time has turned their wisdom to dust.' And so it was; for paper is like the hope of man; fragile, and easily lost. The new King wept, then, for he thought the wisdom of the ancients lost forever." 
 
Yeng looked straight at the Sanguinary Priest, meaningfully, as he went on. 
 
"The Sage Yinn bowed deeply. 'My treasured Lord, weep not. Though the words are gone, the wisdom remains.'"
 
Sample extract from the Tenets of the Ten Divine Princes, as espoused by Gatebreaker Oto Yeng during his M41 tour of the Deathwatch, to Solastion of the Blood Angels.
 
 
The Tenets of the Ten Divine Princes are highly metaphorical, combining hard-won battle reports with mystic claims and esoterism. It is a complex and opaque text to outsiders, and requires much reading and discussion for any claim of understanding. It is, however, highly valuable in terms of tactical and strategic advice, and is a holy text to the Gatebreakers.
 
Their unusual and divergent beliefs and organisation are a source of strength for the Gatebreakers, and one of the few things that unites the vastly divergent cultures of the Chapter.
 

GB01i.jpg


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#2
Beta galactosidase

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Obviously this is literate and fluent. The rank member-ordinary, the RT bolter marking on the shoulder, these are great. I like the sections on the ten divine princes. I think most chapters actually have more non functioning or missing organs than is usually written about and so on one hand it's cool that you're writing about it but also it seems like something that shouldn't be that much of an obstacle - when the origins article says that the only single zygote that's really essential to a chapter is the black carapace I take that very seriously.

 

The thing that puzzles me is why the first line is like it is. You don't just have the super-informed concepts and names for things, there are also parts where the writing is also fun to read. Then the first sentence is "the gatebreakers are a..."

 

 when that's the subject of the first sentence of this sub I'm instantly bored. I like a prepositional phrase in the beginning, and you have that, but a prepositional sentence is what I'm really looking for. The sentence "the red sparrows chapter is" is still about something I just don't know anything about at the time.

 

"All across the Imperium, chapters fade and go missing"  Ok, now I know what I'm actually reading about. Second sentence: "By M34 the Gatebreakers are a chapter..."

 

That's just me, but I think it's the kind of thing that separates a rough from a polished one. You should get the content of that great speech you wrote: "Though the words are gone, the wisdom remains," Put some one line version of that idea at the beginning, just so I know what I'm about to read about.


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#3
apologist

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Thanks for your time and feedback. This was largely cobbled together from an ongoing project, and I'd just lost any sort of objectivity on how it read, so your comments are much appreciated. You're absolutely right on the slack opening, which I'll tidy up. Ta!


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#4
bluntblade

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You have my attention.


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#5
apologist

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Cheers, Bluntblade – hope you enjoy. This being my first Index article; is the material above sufficient? I'm not really sure what else to add, or take away.


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#6
AHorriblePerson

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Considering the Gatebreakers' numerous genetic ailments, maybe it'd be worthwhile to explore what actions they take to undo them, if any? Maybe their Clavigers strive to secure genetic samples of other space marines during their assignments away from the chapter? A deeper dive into other traditions they might have would be interesting too.

 

What you've got so far is a really fun read; the Gatebreakers ooze character! My favorite part is your dissection of their armor and heraldry using Daur as a case study.


Edited by AHorriblePerson, 04 June 2020 - 03:19 PM.

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#7
bluntblade

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Your projects are reliably enjoyable, so I'm confident :)

 

One thing I'm curious about it how the Gatebreakers work with the other Imperium forces in the region, particularly as I recall you talking about how the Chapters function very much as special forces.


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#8
Brother Cambrius

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This is a wonderfully organic article that really feels like it's been built over time with additional details and the Gatebreakers are full of unique character befitting the 40k universe with their dogged determination despite defects and scraping survival whilst upholding their duty in the outer reaches away from the constant watch of the High Lords.

 

I spotted a pair of small spelling errors in there too, one with "scanty" instead of "scant" regarding their geneseed tithe to Mars and are the Apothecarions called "Gentles" or is it meant to be "Gentiles?"? :)

 

With their lack of Techmarines, how to they deal swith repairs in combat? Are their Tech Adepts suitably protected with Combat Servitors or do they have a small delegation of Gatebreaker Astartes to be their adamantine shield whilst they repair the necessary wargear?

 

Cambrius


gallery_26154_15777_7413.png sml_gallery_81492_11492_822.pngjHkptLG.png]gallery_77459_13226_2824.pnggallery_48988_10069_2782.png gallery_48988_11572_5225.pnggallery_48988_15094_15503.png

 


#9
Beta galactosidase

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A gentle is a high status person who doesn’t have to work manual labor, eg one who might be highly educated the way an apothecary is.

Everyone in 40k is a gentile, there’d be no need to call them gentiles. Well, except Rosen and Guilder from Killing Time, they’re probably of the people.

#10
Brother Cambrius

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A gentle is a high status person who doesn’t have to work manual labor, eg one who might be highly educated the way an apothecary is.

Everyone in 40k is a gentile, there’d be no need to call them gentiles. Well, except Rosen and Guilder from Killing Time, they’re probably of the people.

 

Oooh fresh knowledge today! :D Thank you for that. In which case I retract my statement on Gentle.

 

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gallery_26154_15777_7413.png sml_gallery_81492_11492_822.pngjHkptLG.png]gallery_77459_13226_2824.pnggallery_48988_10069_2782.png gallery_48988_11572_5225.pnggallery_48988_15094_15503.png

 


#11
apologist

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Considering the Gatebreakers' numerous genetic ailments, maybe it'd be worthwhile to explore what actions they take to undo them, if any? Maybe their Clavigers strive to secure genetic samples of other space marines during their assignments away from the chapter? A deeper dive into other traditions they might have would be interesting too.

 

What you've got so far is a really fun read; the Gatebreakers ooze character! My favorite part is your dissection of their armor and heraldry using Daur as a case study.

That's exactly the approach they take – they exclusively send their apothecaries to the Deathwatch because they're the ones best able to handle/disguise their own problems, and also have a very good excuse for getting hold of samples from other Astartes. 

 

Glad you enjoyed the read; I've been painting up some more in preparation for 9th, which have got the cogs turning...

 

 

 

 

Your projects are reliably enjoyable, so I'm confident smile.png

 

One thing I'm curious about it how the Gatebreakers work with the other Imperium forces in the region, particularly as I recall you talking about how the Chapters function very much as special forces.

 

Thank you. They've got a very straightforward approach, which is to avoid or minimise any direct contact. Where this is not possible, they use chapter serfs as liaison. Given the high failure rate of their inductees (and their lack of techmarines to convert them into servitors), they've got plenty of serfs who – while not making the grade for Astartes – are still highly capable. 

 

This approach is only really sustainable owing to the attenuated supply lines and poor communications of the rim region. The Imperial Navy does operate in the region, but rarely in force – the worlds are simply too isolated and not valuable enough to warrant much more. For much the same reasons, that's why the Gatebreakers themselves operate in strikeforces.

 

Their indiscriminate recruitment methods – basically snatch-and-grabs or issuing ultimata to Imperial Commanders – mean they're feared as much as respected by most Imperial forces.

 

The Adeptus Mechanicus are an exception, as they've basically got the Gatebreakers over a barrel. It's largely due to the Mechanicus' own factionalism – and Imperial loyalty, of course – that the Gatebreakers are able to play Forge Worlds off against each other. They have a very tense relationship with many Forge Worlds.

 

 

This is a wonderfully organic article that really feels like it's been built over time with additional details and the Gatebreakers are full of unique character befitting the 40k universe with their dogged determination despite defects and scraping survival whilst upholding their duty in the outer reaches away from the constant watch of the High Lords.

 

[...]

With their lack of Techmarines, how to they deal swith repairs in combat? Are their Tech Adepts suitably protected with Combat Servitors or do they have a small delegation of Gatebreaker Astartes to be their adamantine shield whilst they repair the necessary wargear?

 

Thanks for the kind words Cambrius – Beta galactosidase has hit the nail on the head with the etymology of Gentle. Quite aside from anything else, I thought there was a nice disjunct between the word and the actions of the Astartes. :)

 

Regarding the lack of techmarines, that's something that likely needs a bit more thought. I pictured them having allied techpriests attending them – only really on the battlefield when something's gone a bit wrong... The image is reminiscent of the sort of artwork I love, with cowled figures lurking amongst mobs of marines. Whether they're protected by the Astartes, their own resources, or in some other way, I haven't yet decided.


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