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The Athyxian Pyronauts; an introduction

homebrew Astra Militarum Imperial Guard

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#1
ChaoSam

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I know this isn't up to the pretty incredible standards I've seen here, but I'm trying to build a sense of who my homebrew regiment are before I make them, and so I wrote the following:
 
Athyxian Pyronauts
 
Athyxia Prime is a cursed world. It is a world that has felt the kiss of the Great Devourer, and shall never truly recover. Whilst the population were spared the fate of utter annihilation at the tendrils of hive fleet Moloch, the price was great, and that price is still being paid to this day. The planet is in an eternal battle with the rampant growth of xenos flora, the once desolate Hive World now threatened constantly by the ever encroaching alien jungles. The air is thick with deadly spores that choke the very life from you, and to leave the relative safety of the Hive Cities would be suicide. It is a world that would have surely succumbed to it's fate long ago, if not for one thing: Promethium. Each Hive City sits atop vast mines of Promethium, and it is this, plus the raw recruits for the Astra Militarum, that makes the world so valuable. It is this, that keeps the jungles at bay.
 
The people of Athyxia are hardy folk, their short lives given over to the ceaseless mining of Promethium, and the harsh industry of the vast Manufactorums. A life of perpetual darkness, and a world where the air itself is a death sentence, means that every man, woman and child have a complicated rebreather grafted onto their faces, for without so their lungs would disintegrate and their eyes would rot in their sockets. They are pale of skin, their only regular source of light burning Promethium, their only fuel the corpses of those that die in their work. On this sick planet the people live in symbiosis with Promethium, and thus regiments from Athyxia have both a callous disregard for human life, and a predisposition for flamers, in all their forms. In truth every soldier of the Athyxian Pyronauts is well versed in the use of flamers before joining the Guard, and they are used to devastating effect. The Pyronauts do battle in armoured formations, the better to close with their enemies and incinerate them, and alongside columns of Heavy flamer affixed Chimera APCs stride rank upon rank of Heavy Flamer toting Sentinels. Most prized of all are the Hellhound tanks; indeed it is many a foe who has underestimated the fury of these great beasts of war, and experienced their conflagratory roar render them unto ash.
 
“I don't care what we're fightin' really. Just point and shoot innit? They all burn the same” Private Dansk, 87th Athyxian Pyronauts.
 
I'd love to hear questions/critiques to help me to create a stronger background for them, and perhaps a narrative. Thanks in advance!
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#2
Tarvek Val

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This is a really nice start. There are a few areas that you could possibly expand to help flesh out the backstory a little bit more, but I think you did a great job of making a faction that is unique and interesting.

 

1. Could you elaborate on the aftermath of the tyrannic incursion? How did the world survive? What Imperial units fought in the engagement — just the Pyronauts, or were other forces involved (other Imperial Guard regiments, Space Marine detachments, Sisters of Battle, etc.)? What time period did the battles take place in? This is also an important component of your overall setting.

 

2. What specific strengths does being a fire-heavy regiment offer the Pyronauts? Are there specific factions of enemies that they perform exceptionally well / poorly against on a regular basis?

 

Lots of good culture instilled here, looking forward to seeing what's next.


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"Our holy hatred will make us free!" ~Nameless Dark Apostle

 

"Though my guards may sleep and ships may rest at anchor, our foes know full well that big guns never tire." ~Huron Blackheart

 

"You shall stand in midnight clad, your claws forever red with the lifeblood of my father's failed empire, warring through the centuries as the talons of a murdered god. Rise, my sons, and take your wrath across the stars, in my name. In my memory. Rise, my Night Lords." ~Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter

 

"So... How are you?" ~Cyrion, First Claw

 

 


#3
ChaoSam

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Thanks for the great feedback, that was exactly what I was looking for! In answer to your first question I tried to write a little bit of flavour:

 

'It had been three weeks since they had come. Three weeks since he knew he would die. For Lieutenant Krassik, it seemed a lifetime. In his desperation he allowed himself a hollow laugh, wet with mucus and punctuated by coughing. Krassik pulled himself to his feet, and limped out of the medicae tent. Under the thick bandages his leg seeped and oozed a noxious fluid, and not for the first time he thanked the Emperor for the rebreather cruelly stapled to his face; His soldiers did not need to see the winces of pain with each step, nor the hopelessness he knew lived in his eyes.

 

Krassik looked out across the vast maw of the promethium mine. In the gloom of the underhive, his eye lenses worked overtime to make out the perimeter barricades. The only lights were those of his soldiers' flamers, as they attempted to fight back the voracious alien flora. The mine was a giant chasm that ran down and round, a spiral abyss that swallowed all light. At it's edge a hastily built defence work of industrial machinery had been piled high, the jagged structures piercing the dull fug. It was as though the mine had rows upon rows of cold metal teeth, and his platoon were but morsels to be swallowed. “Ironic” wheezed the lieutenant under his breath, as he shambled over to the frame of his young Vox operator. Private Benkis was slumped over his Vox Caster, feverishly cycling dials and flicking switches, half crazed. The private was but a boy, and this was his first military engagement. As Krassik gently planted a gloved hand on his shoulder, Benkis appeared to remember himself. “No luck as yet Lieutenant but I am trying all the encoded channels, I'm sure our reinforcements from the 119th armoured are en route.” “The Emperor protects” was all Krassik could muster, but this seemed sufficient for the boy's morale, and once again the young private was lost to his Vox. Krassik yearned for the boy's faith. No one was coming.

 

It had been two days since the last of the Hive's population had been shepherded into the mines of Hive One. 16 billion all told, the largest Hive City on the entire planet. Two days since the last citizen descended into the inky black, even as the next Tyranid wave crashed upon their defences, and at great cost, was driven back. Two days since Krassik had sat by the deathbed of General Grousz, and through gurgled words heard the final order from high command, before the grizzled General had breathed his last. Those 16 billion would never know anything but the darkness of the mine, the touch of Promethium, and then the Emperor's mercy. Krassik alone knew the mine had been rigged to explode, and he alone had the detonator. His orders were clear, once the barricades were overrun, he was to consign xenos and Athyxian alike, one great funeral Pyre. He knew it was his Emperor's will, and that it was the only salvation for Athyxia Prime, and he had come to terms with it. It was the waiting that was wearing him down. The alien beasts had slunk back into the dark since their last engagement, and he knew they were out there even now, past the ruddy light the flamers cast into the haze...'

 

The splinter fleet of Moloch, as of M941.41, enters the Athyxian system. It is starved and in it's death throes after a protracted campaign of Kryptmanesque exterminatus on planets within it's path, but no less deadly for it. At heavy cost the Imperial fleet that has been harrying it's progress send word to The planetary Governor of Athyxia Prime, that here they shall stamp the bestial aliens out for good. When the Tyranids make planetfall they are drawn to the biomass of Hive One as moths to a flame. It is decided to use this as a trap, and detonate the Promethium mines under the Hive City, which explode with such magnitude that the Tyranid command structure is severed, at the cost of roughly a third of the planet's population. This horrific Genocide is corrupted into a story of selfless martyrs, and so in the current timeline the people of Athyxia Prime endure their hardships, believing that their continued existence is a result of the brave self sacrifice of billions. They are fanatically loyal to the Imperium, and prideful of their heritage, fabricated as it is. 

 

The Athyxian Pyronauts are City fighters without equal. Their days scratching an existence amongst the slums of their home, combined with their proficiency with fire, make them especially potent when deployed in close quarter engagements. Many Generals in the Segmentum request the Pyronauts exclusively for these engagements, such is their talent for close quarters firefights. Their fighting style however, does come with drawbacks, and even amongst the Astra Militarum, the average soldier's life expectancy is pitifully short. When deployed as a single force the Pyronauts are especially susceptible to artillery bombardments, and whole regiments have been tossed into the maelstrom of war, decimated before their pilot lights could be ignited.


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#4
Tarvek Val

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Very nice entry. This is 40k at its finest, with unrivaled cruelty and self-preservation in spades. This covers the backstory of the tyrannic incursion very elegantly. 

 

 

 

The Athyxian Pyronauts are City fighters without equal. Their days scratching an existence amongst the slums of their home, combined with their proficiency with fire, make them especially potent when deployed in close quarter engagements. Many Generals in the Segmentum request the Pyronauts exclusively for these engagements, such is their talent for close quarters firefights. Their fighting style however, does come with drawbacks, and even amongst the Astra Militarum, the average soldier's life expectancy is pitifully short. When deployed as a single force the Pyronauts are especially susceptible to artillery bombardments, and whole regiments have been tossed into the maelstrom of war, decimated before their pilot lights could be ignited.

 

Some great details here as well. I think the logical next step would be to explore some of their major deployments: victories, defeats, campaigns fought. I would suggest coming up with a list of maybe three to five major engagements (more is great if you have the time and desire!) and giving some backstory on them. Do they often deploy alongside particular allies? E.G. maybe they are often paired with Cadian regiments, which offers them some advanced long range firepower while the Pyronauts bear the brunt of close-combat engagements? Krassik got some good character development already, if he survived the detonation maybe his character could be explored further? A list of notable commanders, soldiers, and other personnel would fit in well too. These are all just suggestions of course — hopefully you find some of them helpful. biggrin.png


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"Our holy hatred will make us free!" ~Nameless Dark Apostle

 

"Though my guards may sleep and ships may rest at anchor, our foes know full well that big guns never tire." ~Huron Blackheart

 

"You shall stand in midnight clad, your claws forever red with the lifeblood of my father's failed empire, warring through the centuries as the talons of a murdered god. Rise, my sons, and take your wrath across the stars, in my name. In my memory. Rise, my Night Lords." ~Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter

 

"So... How are you?" ~Cyrion, First Claw

 

 


#5
Mazer Rackham

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The mine was a giant chasm that ran down and round, a spiral abyss that swallowed all light. At it's edge a hastily built defence work of industrial machinery had been piled high, the jagged structures piercing the dull fug. It was as though the mine had rows upon rows of cold metal teeth, and his platoon were but morsels to be swallowed. 

 

This imagery is excellent.  It's the Imperium in a nutshell, an abyss of noise and insatiable hunger, chewing men up and devouring them in a ruthless mechanism of war.

 

This is shaping up very well, and is easy to read, which keeps the pace up.  I can't add much more, you've had some solid advice already.  What I will say is that when writing prose, and especially dialogue, start a new paragraph for every new speaker, like this:

 

Benkis appeared to remember himself. “No luck as yet Lieutenant, but I am trying all the encoded channels. I'm sure our reinforcements from the 119th armoured are en route.”

"The Emperor protects,” was all Krassik could muster, but this seemed sufficient for the boy's morale and once again the young private was lost to his Vox. Krassik yearned for the boy's faith. No one was coming.

 

Just keeps things clear, but that's structure and will come with practice - which I hope we will see more of!

 

MR.


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#6
ChaoSam

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Thanks both for the great advice, I really appreciate it!

 

 

Some great details here as well. I think the logical next step would be to explore some of their major deployments: victories, defeats, campaigns fought. I would suggest coming up with a list of maybe three to five major engagements (more is great if you have the time and desire!) and giving some backstory on them. Do they often deploy alongside particular allies? E.G. maybe they are often paired with Cadian regiments, which offers them some advanced long range firepower while the Pyronauts bear the brunt of close-combat engagements? Krassik got some good character development already, if he survived the detonation maybe his character could be explored further? A list of notable commanders, soldiers, and other personnel would fit in well too. These are all just suggestions of course — hopefully you find some of them helpful. 

 

Yeah that sounds like a perfect next step, I feel like they'd work particularly well with the DKoK, so a campaign involving them would be cool, and I also have an idea rattling around in my head of the Adeptus Administratum noting that they had rebreathers as standard and posting a Pyronaut regiment to a planet where there's no oxygen, and them getting slaughtered because none of their flamers work, but I'm not sure how I'd implement it huh.png I started with this though:

 

On the lush Agriworld of Druganet, the 117th Athyxian Pyronauts 'Bohm's Boilers' are deployed to hold back the light fingered Deathskulls, led by the Warboss 'Lukky Drukk'. Hundreds of miles of crop fields burn in the initial engagements as wily Athyxian scout Sentinel pilots put the savages to the torch. The Deathskulls are quick to loot the sentinels that fall, and turn them upon their former masters, but they are out skilled at every turn. Satisfied with the slaughter, the Imperial Governor requests that the Pyronauts pull back, as the Ork forces are devastated, citing confidently that her own PDF can mop up what remains. When Lukky Drukk and his resurgent Deathskulls return, it is at the head of a Waaagh of titanic scale, with a new respect for the lethality of fire. Bohm uses what he has learnt from their first engagement, and this time scouts ahead with massed ranks of Hellhounds. As the flame tanks are put out of commission one by one, the greedy Deathskulls begin the process of cannibalizing their new spoils. Unbeknownst to them, Bohm has rigged their promethium tanks to blow when mistreated, and the Ork battle lines erupt into a mighty conflagration as, one after another, the vehicles detonate. After a protracted campaign, 'Bohm's Boilers' manage to clear the planet of the Xenos presence, but at a significant cost. The once green Agriworld is now a wasteland, the air thick with black ash.

 

 

 

 

The mine was a giant chasm that ran down and round, a spiral abyss that swallowed all light. At it's edge a hastily built defence work of industrial machinery had been piled high, the jagged structures piercing the dull fug. It was as though the mine had rows upon rows of cold metal teeth, and his platoon were but morsels to be swallowed. 

 

This imagery is excellent.  It's the Imperium in a nutshell, an abyss of noise and insatiable hunger, chewing men up and devouring them in a ruthless mechanism of war.

 

This is shaping up very well, and is easy to read, which keeps the pace up.  I can't add much more, you've had some solid advice already.  What I will say is that when writing prose, and especially dialogue, start a new paragraph for every new speaker, like this:

 

Benkis appeared to remember himself. “No luck as yet Lieutenant, but I am trying all the encoded channels. I'm sure our reinforcements from the 119th armoured are en route.”

"The Emperor protects,” was all Krassik could muster, but this seemed sufficient for the boy's morale and once again the young private was lost to his Vox. Krassik yearned for the boy's faith. No one was coming.

 

Just keeps things clear, but that's structure and will come with practice - which I hope we will see more of!

 

MR.

 

The tip about dialogue is really helpful thanks, and I appreciate the kind words! More than anything it's made me excited to make this Regiment a reality!


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#7
Tarvek Val

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Yeah that sounds like a perfect next step, I feel like they'd work particularly well with the DKoK, so a campaign involving them would be cool, and I also have an idea rattling around in my head of the Adeptus Administratum noting that they had rebreathers as standard and posting a Pyronaut regiment to a planet where there's no oxygen, and them getting slaughtered because none of their flamers work, but I'm not sure how I'd implement it huh.png I started with this though:

 

A pairing with the Death Korps of Krieg would be really cool. As siege specialists, they'd give the Pyronauts the long-range support they need, and the cultures probably aren't too dissimilar either. I really like the idea of the oxygen-less world too — you could also potentially make the setting a damaged starship or void station too (say there's a damaged void station that's contested between the Imperium and an enemy faction, with some areas of the station exposed to the void and lacking in oxygen. The Pyronauts get sent in, only to find themselves in a death trap of a maze where sections of the station are running at full power and others have no electricity, life support, oxygen, etc.).

 

The campaign on Druganet is a nice entry. Above all, I encourage you to be as creative and outgoing as you want — this is your project, and while I definitely advise doing some research as you write to stay close to the canon (which you seem to be doing a great job of so far!), the sky is the limit. thumbsup.gif


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"Our holy hatred will make us free!" ~Nameless Dark Apostle

 

"Though my guards may sleep and ships may rest at anchor, our foes know full well that big guns never tire." ~Huron Blackheart

 

"You shall stand in midnight clad, your claws forever red with the lifeblood of my father's failed empire, warring through the centuries as the talons of a murdered god. Rise, my sons, and take your wrath across the stars, in my name. In my memory. Rise, my Night Lords." ~Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter

 

"So... How are you?" ~Cyrion, First Claw

 

 






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