The article is followed by some commentary, the result of, I hope, maturation and increased sophistication. I haven't focused on the grammar and spelling, instead focusing on the content.
FISTS OF PURITY
The Fists of Purity were created shortly after the death of Rogal Dorn. The Emperor, through the High Lords of Terra decreed that it was necessary to bolster the Imperial presence near the Cadian Gate in order to combat the increasing predations of Chaos from within the Eye of Terror. Upon their creation, the Fists of Purity were given the planet Rosslyn IV as their base of operations. The planet had seen much combat in the endless war against Chaos and was inhabited by a fierce warrior people who would provide the suitable stock necessary for the continuance of a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. Most of the Chapter's early history is forever lost as the Chapter's original fortress-monastery was destroyed in M38 during the Black Crusade of Tegeades the Fallen. The few records that survive from before this time have been passed down in the oral history of the Chapter's rituals.
The Black Crusade of Tegeades the Fallen
In 509.M38, a small fleet of ancient spacecraft vomited forth from the Eye of Terror, laying waste to the nearby Imperial systems. The leader of the black crusade was a corrupted Inquisitor known as Tegeades the Fallen. Decades before, the Inquisitor had visited Rosslyn in order to assess the loyalty and devotion of the Fists of Purity. In the conduct of his investigation, Tegeades had learned of the Sword of Purity. That weapon, he realized, would be a potent tool in the war against heresy. Over time, he began to covet the weapon. His fall to darkness took place over the years and he eventually turned from the light of the Emperor and pledged himself to Chaos. Mastering eldritch powers, he gathered a mighty fleet and set out for Rosslyn, seeking to take by force of arms the sword that he knew could end his existence. The Lodge of Faith intercepted the Chaos fleet, but fought a desperate delaying action against the more numerous foe. Outmatched, the Lodge sent out a hasty call for assistance and assessment of the Chaos fleet to the fortress- monastery. The Lodge of Honor and the Sixth Company of the Angels of Vigilance arrived too late to save Faith, and barely escaped back to Rosslyn. The Fists of Purity had been able to prepare their defenses in the Rosslyn system and the black crusade was met with surface defense fire for which it was not prepared. Half of the traitor fleet was destroyed, and most of the other ships were crippled as they lumbered to the surface of Rosslyn. Tegeades' flagship, the Storm Claw, crashed into the Fortress-Monastery, destroying most of the edifice.
Grand Master Pike led the force that scoured the wreckage of the Storm Claw. Tegeades the Fallen, however, had survived the crash and set an ambush for the Fists of Purity Chapter Master. The heretic's trap succeeded, and the Chapter Master was slain. Tegeades took the Sword of Purity from the Grand Master's lifeless hand, then decapitated the Grand Master. Using his Chaos-born powers, Tegeades escaped the wreckage of the Storm Claw and set off to rendezvous with the remainder of his force.
Finding the body of their Chapter Master, the Fists of Purity were dismayed to discover that the Sword of Purity had been taken. A new Chapter Master would have to be installed, but without the badge of office.
While the main force of the Fists of Purity and Angels of Vigilance assumed defensive positions surrounding the fortress-monastery, a solemn ceremony was taking place. Within the Great Hall of the Fortress-Monastery the Grand Lodge installed the new Grand Master - Hiram, formerly Master of the Lodge of Fidelity. Without the Sword of Purity, though, all seemed lost. Hiram, however, was a man of strong faith. He prayed to the Emperor for the wisdom necessary to defeat the black crusade. In his prayers Hiram was visited by a vision of the Emperor and granted His divine blessing. Overcome with the Emperor's Grace, Hiram became the first Fist of Purity to bear the title Emperor's Champion. The Chaplains performed the ancient Rites of the Champion upon Hiram. Wearing the Armor of Faith and bearing the Blade of the Champion, Hiram led the remaining Fists of Purity upon the traitors.
Meanwhile, Tegeades' forces had flanked the hasty defenses erected around the remains of the Fortress-Monastery and advanced upon the Fists of Purity. Tegeades and his army attacked, able to gain access through several breaches that had been created when the Storm Claw had crashed. Hiram and his Fists of Purity confronted the Chaos traitors in the Great Hall of the Fortress-Monastery. The Grand Master faced the sorcerer in single combat. The battle between the two was hard fought, Chaos sorcery and Emperor-born faith clashed. Hiram finally managed to defeat the traitor, but was mortally wounded in return. The Grand Master's bodyguard recovered the Sword of Purity and the body of their lord, giving of an exultant victory cry. Seeing their leader slain, most of the remaining renegades fled. Only the remnants of the Chaos Space Marines stood their ground to the bitter end, the daemonic allies of Tegeades being dispelled upon the death of their summoner. Pursuing the other traitors, the Fists of Purity slew their adversaries without giving any quarter. Unable to leave the planet, the renegades sought refuge in the wilderness. It took over 150 years for the Fists of Purity to hunt down and rid Rosslyn of the traitors' foul presence. The Angels of Vigilance, hailing from nearby Pervigilium, aided the Fists of Purity in this effort. Since then, a close bond has developed between the two Chapters.
Although much of the Chapter's Fortress-Monastery was destroyed when the Storm Claw crashed, the Reclusium and Apothecarion survived. The Chapter had been reduced to one third its original numbers and needed time to recover. Additionally, the traitors killed over half of Rosslyn's population.
Since then, the Fists of Purity have begun recruiting from any nearby world with a suitable population. Even though the society on Rosslyn has fully recovered, even prospered, in the millennia since the attack, the Chapter has retained the diversity in its numbers by drawing Apprentices from a variety of worlds.
Since M38, the Fists of Purity have re-built their Fortress-Monastery upon the site of the original. A series of watchtowers has been created to watch over the places where the traitors crashed and sought refuge. These towers are manned by small contingents of Techmarines and servitors, led by a Lexicanium Librarian. There is always a Lodge garrisoned on Rosslyn. This Lodge has the mission of guarding Rosslyn and training Apprentices. Additionally, the surface defenses have been augmented with a small network of orbital weapons platforms capable of destroying a fleet twice the size of Tegeades' force.
Saving the Fire Claws
The Cadian Gate is one of the primary routes the forces of Chaos use to attack the Imperium. The systems nearby are always ready to combat this menace, and several Chapters of Space Marines are stationed near the Gate. The various Imperial units near the Gate often conduct joint actions, working together closely to provide mutual support. The Fists of Purity are one of the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes who are stationed near the Cadian Gate. The Fire Claws is another of these Chapters and the two Chapters have participated in several joint actions, notably the Domian Crusade and the purging of Alterus II.
When the Fire Claws, influenced by Inquisitor Demarche, began using Chaos relics and calling themselves the Relictors, the Fists of Purity endeavored to free them of this taint. The Fire Claws, though, refused. Fearing for the purity of their fellow Space Marines, the Fists of Purity contacted the High Lords of Terra and reported the Fire Claws' heresy.
When a cell of Inquisitors was dispatched to confront the Fire Claws, the Fists of Purity were one of the Chapters of Space Marines in orbit above the Fire Claws' homeworld. Although the Fire Claws surrendered Inquisitor Demarche and their Chaos relics to the Inquisitors and have embarked on a century-long penitent crusade, the Fire Claws have continued to call themselves the Relictors. Suspicious, the Fists of Purity have monitored the Fire Claws' crusade and the relationship between the two Chapters has been tenuous ever since.
The Third War for Armageddon
When the Orks launched their most recent, and devastating, assault on the planet Armageddon, numerous Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes responded to the call for aid. The Fists of Purity, though, had three Lodges on the Romine Crusade to the daemon world of Rathnark on the fringe of the Eye of Terror. Two Lodges were dispatched to assist in the Armageddon campaign, but they were too late to participate in the main fighting. Instead, they assisted the Black Templars in the pursuit of the fleeing Ork vessels.
The Thirteenth Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler
When Abaddon the Despoiler launched his latest Black Crusade on the Cadian Gate, the Lodge of Fidelity was caught up in the defense of the forge world of Antioc. Long a supplier of the Chapter's materiel, Master Dumas and his Lodge were en route to the forge world when a massive Chaos fleet attacked. While the Lodge's vessels and Space Marines put up a valiant effort alongside allies from the Imperial Guard, Iron Hands Chapter, and Adeptus Mechanicus forces, the world was overwhelmed.
As a result, the Chapter found itself cut off from its main logistics chain and was forced to rely on stores maintained within the Chapter's fleet and within the Fortress Monastery. The Fists of Purity fought a desperate guerilla campaign against the encroaching Chaos forces, keeping the traitors at bay and off guard. During one particularly desperate defense of the Rosslyn system, the Lodge of Fortitude made the surprising discovery that Tegeades the Fallen had survived Grand Master Hiram's blow and had escaped Rosslyn through a Warp portal. The fallen Inquisitor now led a fleet under the banner of the Despoiler, although his fleet had been tasked with preventing the Fists of Purity from interfering with the attack on Cadia. The Fists of Purity marshaled their forces, making a concerted effort to destroying the Chapter's nemesis. rand Master Sinclair himself led the boarding parties aboard the traitor's flagship, planting charges and destroying the fell vessel. The Grand Master was unable to locate Tegeades the Fallen. In combating the fleet of the fallen Inquisitor and the loss of the Lodge of Fidelity at Antioc, the Fists of Purity lost almost a third of their Chapter.
The Fists of Purity Today
At any given time, several Lodges of the Fists of Purity are either on patrol or crusading in the space near the Cadian Gate and the Eye of Terror. One Lodge is always garrisoned in the Rosslyn system, maintaining security and recruiting. Other Lodges are either training or responding to calls for assistance. The Chapter is carrying on the dual missions of regaining full strength while hunting down any remnants of the Chaos fleet that harassed Rosslyn and the surrounding systems during the 13th Black Crusade. Grand Master Sinclair is on a personal mission to ascertain the fate of Tegeades the Fallen and, if the traitor survived, render the Emperor's justice on the fallen Inquisitor.
The fourth planet of the Rosslyn system was colonized by humans in the early days of space travel. The small colony fleet had been forced to land when their drive systems had been severely damaged in the journey. As it was near the Eye of Terror, the Rosslyn system was often isolated by Warp Storms. Cut off from contact with the rest of the human race, the early colonists established a simple civilization on Rosslyn. They developed into a feudal agrarian society, gradually losing their understanding of the technology they brought with them.
During the Great Crusade, the Space Wolves brought the Emperor's Pax Imperium to Rosslyn. The planet had developed into a feudal system and the rulers submitted willingly. An Imperial Guard regiment established a small garrison on Rosslyn and the system was all but forgotten.
When Horus' rebellion was crushed and the surviving traitors fled into the Eye of Terror, the Word Bearers savagely attacked Rosslyn. They met with stiff resistance from the planet's inhabitants, but succeeded in destroying the garrison and much of the civilian populace. The pursuing Imperial Fists, however, weren't far behind. Dorn's Legion attacked the Word Bearers with vengeful fury, driving the traitors from Rosslyn in short order. The Imperial Fists were wholly dedicated to destroying the traitors, though, and refused to remain on Rosslyn. The Librarians psychically informed Terra of the planet's situation, then the Legion set off in hot pursuit. Only a small force remained on Rosslyn, its mission was to assist the few surviving Imperial Guardsmen in rebuilding the planet's defenses. After only a month, this force, too, abandoned the planet and set off to link up with the rest of the Legion.
For undetermined reasons, word of Rosslyn's plight was never acted on. The planet was left to its own devices for several thousand years. The feudal society remained, although the events of the Horus Heresy were absorbed into the religion of Rosslyn. Because it was so close to the Eye of Terror and just outside the Cadian Gate, Rosslyn was occasionally set upon by the forces of Chaos. This was also the reason that Rosslyn was selected as the Fists of Purity base of operations.
Today, Rosslyn remains a feudal world. The religion of Rosslyn, the Brotherhood, reveres the Emperor of Mankind. The Ecclesiarchy favors the Brotherhood, viewing the religious practices of this cult to be in keeping with the Imperial Faith. The Fists of Purity rule the world with stern magnanimity. The planet is scarred from the numerous battles that have been fought there, though, and the populace is always prepared to defend their planet from the predations of Chaos or xenos lifeforms.
The Fists of Purity follow the combat doctrine of the Codex Astartes.
In their utter devotion to the Emperor and emulation of His example, the Fists of Purity often fight on against all odds. The concept of self-sacrifice is one of the basic principles of the Chapter, and it is not uncommon for forces to ignore all risks in their dedication to mission accomplishment.
This ancient tradition was brought to Rosslyn by the ancient colonists who landed there. It developed into the organization known as the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is based around units of organization known as Lodges, and teaches worship of the Emperor through symbols and prayer. When the Chapter was created, the pervasive organization system of the Brotherhood was incorporated into the Chapter's own warrior cult. Frequently cut off from contact with Terra and heavily influenced by the native culture, the Fists of Purity Chapter maintained the oral tradition passed down since the earliest days of the colony. This oral tradition was modified at several significant times in the intervening millennia. Most significant of these times was the Horus Heresy and the Ascension of the Emperor to the Golden Throne, and the black crusade of Tegeades the Fallen.
The Fists of Purity Chapter is famous for its zealous devotion to the Emperor, both in its frequent crusades against Chaos and its tireless efforts to spread the worship of the Emperor. They feel that even though they are superior to normal men, they have sacrificed their humanity for the good of all. As such, they act with a great deal more humility than is found in many other Space Marine Chapters, and do not treat other forces of the Imperium with condescension. The Chapter's proximity to the Eye of Terror leads to frequent operations against Chaos.
An outgrowth of the Chapter's frequent combat against Chaos and their steadfast devotion to the Emperor is an intolerance of mutants and aliens. The Chapter sees these as insidious threats to the purity and ascension of the human race. The only mutants tolerated by the Fists of Purity are psykers, for these rare humans are close to the Emperor. All other mutants, aliens, and traitors are regarded with a deep hatred.
The Fists of Purity Chapter is mystic in nature, based upon an order which legend holds to have originated before the Emperor ascended to the Golden Throne. Much time is spent in praying and training. The Fists of Purity are fervent in their devotion to the Emperor of Mankind, and dedicate themselves toward furthering the Emperor's glory.
Inner Mysteries of the Brotherhood
All of the loyal Primarchs are revered by the Fists of Purity, although the most favored are Sanguinius and Rogal Dorn. Sanguinius' devotion and sacrifice related in lessons to those initiated into the Grand Lodge. Rogal Dorn, the Champion of the Emperor, is honored for his loyalty and honesty. Each of the loyal Primarchs has a memorial in the Chapter's Reclusium.
As with other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, the Fists of Purity have been the subject of investigation of their religious orthodoxy. The most recent occasions were in 790.M39 by Inquisitor Korias of the Ordo Hereticus and in 622.M40 by Cardinal Buchinae. On each of these occasions the investigator was satisfied with the spiritual purity of the Chapter. No outside investigators have ever been privy to the rituals of the Chapter's highest-ranking members, however, only being allowed to observe the teaching of Apprentices and the mass rituals of the Chapter. The Inquisition and Ecclesiarchy would, no doubt, strongly object to the teachings of the Inner Mysteries. As such, they are kept secret from all those but the initiated.
Holy Relics of the Chapter
The Fists of Purity are known for their zealous devotion to the Emperor. The warrior cult of the Brotherhood teaches its lessons through symbols and parables. In the enactment of the Chapter's rituals, a great many artifacts are employed for the benefit of the battle-brothers. Most of these hold little significance beyond their use in the lessons. Some, however, are held in high esteem and will be carried into battle for their ability to inspire the brethren.
Each of the loyal Primarchs is portrayed on a banner. These banners are occasionally carried into battle by the Standard Bearers, especially when the enemy is known to have fought the Primarch, or the battleground was once fought upon by the Primarch.
The Chapter's sacred teachings are written in the Sacred Canon. Versions of this book are often carried by the Chaplains or their Acolytes into battle, and the bearer will recite verses from the book in order to inspire the brethren.
In reciting the litanies of hate, the Fists of Purity often focus their hatred upon trophies of past battles. After a battle, the Chaplains and their Acolytes will take the heads of their defeated foes. These will be taken back to the Fortress-Monastery, ritually purified by the Librarians, and consecrated by the Reclusiarch. Prior to engaging similar enemies in the future, the Chaplains will recite the Litany of Hate, holding the head of their enemy for all to see and focus their hatred upon. These heads will often be carried into battle in order to inspire fear in the enemy and fury in the Fists of Purity. In battle, those battle-brothers who can see the displayed heads will redouble their efforts at fighting the enemy.
Regarding war as their most holy work, some of the most highly revered artifacts of the Chapter are the weapons used by the most pious heroes of the Chapter's past. Principal among these are the Blade of Hiram and Amraos' Fist.
When not carried into battle by the Emperor's Champion, the Blade of Hiram is often carried by the Standard Bearer or Senior Acolyte in order to remind the battle-brothers of Hiram's sacrifice.
Amraos was Warden of the Lodge of Valor during the Inferin Crusade. Amraos had led a small force of veterans in a desperate assault on the stronghold of the enemy. When the main force of the Fists of Purity arrived, they found the body of their Warden with the heads of the daemon prince Laegor and the sorcerer Xuliard in his power fist. Warden Amraos' last stand allowed the rest of his Lodge to destroy the cult. Amraos' power fist became a symbol of steadfast devotion to duty unto death. The fist is often granted to Veterans who have demonstrated outstanding dedication and bravery against all odds. In game terms, the holy weapons of the Chapter's heroes are simply the appropriate weapon (i.e. power weapon, power fist, etc.) and a Holy Relic represented as the same item. As such, they may only be carried by models that may take such wargear (Standard Bearers, Chaplains, and Senior Acolytes).
The Sword of Purity has been the Chapter Master's badge of office ever since Inquisitor Heymoore granted the weapon to the Chapter following the Draviel Crusade in M37. Although there has been no confirmation of the Inquisitor's story, Heymoore claimed that the weapon had been consecrated by the Emperor during the Great Crusade, but had been lost during the Horus Heresy. Whatever its origins, the Sword of Purity is a potent weapon against daemons.
One of the Chapter's most holy relics is the Shroud of Hiram. When Grand Master Hiram succumbed to his wounds after slaying Tegeades the Fallen, his bodyguard recovered his body and conveyed it back to the Reclusium wrapped in the Grand Master's battle standard. When the body was removed from the standard, the blood from Hiram's wounds had stained the standard, making it glow. None could explain this phenomenon, although some say that the powers conferred by Hiram's extraordinary faith in the Emperor and the Grand Master's self-sacrifice found favor with the Emperor and were forever enshrined in his blood upon the battle standard. This standard came to be known as the Shroud of Hiram, and it was incorporated into the teachings of the Chapter's warrior cult. The Shroud reminds the brethren of Grand Master Hiram's sacrifice and is often carried into battle against the most formidable of opponents.
Although this is unknown to the Fists of Purity, the Chapter was created using the gene-seed of the White Consuls Chapter. As such, they are descended from the Ultramarines Legion and the Primarch Roboute Guilliman.
The gene-seed of the Fists of Purity is notably pure. While Rosslyn remains relatively free from mutations, most of the planets the Fists of Purity recruit from experience a high incidence of mutations. The Apothecaries and Librarians are especially diligent at maintaining the physical and psychic purity of the Chapter. Perhaps because of their proximity to the Eye of Terror, psykers are frequently encountered in the systems the Fists of Purity recruit from. Most of these psykers are destroyed out of hand by the Chapter as they are too weak to be of any use. Some are saved for the Black Ships. The strongest among these psykers are recruited into the Chapter's Librarium and the Fists of Purity have an unusually high number of Librarians within its ranks.
The Fists of Purity do not have a single battle-cry. Instead, the Lodge Chaplains will assign a battle-cry during the prayers in preparation for each battle. Often, instead of a battle-cry, the Chaplains or Acolytes will sing the holy songs of war from the Sacred Cannon. The other Fists of Purity will join in the singing as they march into battle.
The Chapter's organization is firmly based upon the dictates of Roboute Guilliman in the Codex Astartes, although it has been slightly modified according to the teachings and organization of the Brotherhood.
While the Fists of Purity generally follow the Codex Astartes, there are significant differences in terminology. The Fists of Purity are organized into ten Lodges, each the equivalent of a standard Company. The Grand Lodge is the equivalent of other Chapters' First Company, and is comprised of the Chapter's veteran Space Marines. Where other Chapters generally name their Companies in numerical order, the Fists of Purity refer to the Lodges by one of the virtues espoused in their warrior cult. In an order corresponding to the standard Second through Ninth Companies, the Fists of Purity have the Lodges of Courage, Truth, Faith, Justice, Valor, Fidelity, Honor, and Fortitude. Where other Chapters have a Tenth Company, the Fists of Purity have the Lodge of Tribulation. Generally speaking, the Lodges are similar in composition to their counterparts in Codex Chapters.
The Grand Lodge is commanded by the Grand Master, who is the Chapter Master. Each of the other Lodges is commanded by a Master. The Masters often divide their Lodges into smaller battle forces. Those battle forces not led by the Master will be under the charge of an experienced veteran given the honorific of Warden.
The Grand Lodge rarely deploys as a single unit, instead detaching squads to the regular Lodges. On the few occasions when the Grand Lodge does go to battle, it is usually led by the Grand Master.
The Fists of Purity have several levels of advancement within the Chapter, and as a Space Marine progresses through these levels, he learns more of the Chapter's secrets, the history of the Imperium and the never-ending war against the forces of Chaos.
The basic color scheme of the Chapter is blue armor with white gloves, although the Fists of Purity deviate from the Codex Astartes with regard to their markings. The imperialis or other chest design, as well as other embellishments, are generally gold. The shoulder pads are white with blue trim.
The Chapter Badge is a white fist within a blue circle. The Fists of Purity disregard the Codex Astartes in the display of the Chapter Badge. Only the Masters and Grand Master display the Chapter Badge. All other Fists of Purity Space Marines either leave the left shoulder pad all white as a symbol of their purity, or, in the case of honored individuals, display the Lodge emblem upon the left shoulder pad.
The right shoulder pad is usually decorated with whatever litanies or markings the Marine chooses. Apprentices have plain white shoulder pads. The squad badge and number are displayed upon the Marine's right knee - the badge in white and the number in black.Sergeants reverse the color scheme of kneepad markings - the knee pad is white and the squad marking is blue. Adepts that have been trained in the use of tactical dreadnought armor usually replace the squad badge with the crux terminatus in gold. Members of Command squads display no squad badge.
Apothecaries and Techmarines have their right arm and the trim of their right shoulder pad in the Codex color for their specialty (white for Apothecaries and red for Techmarines). Chaplains have black armor with white helmets while their assistants, the Acolytes, have blue armor with white helmets. Standard Bearers and the Chapter's Ancient wear the imperial laurel upon their right shoulder pad. Regardless, all Fists of Purity Space Marines have white gloves, symbolizing the purity of their work. Adepts wear gold helmets.
As with other Adepts, the Wardens, Masters, and Grand Master wear gold helmets. Additionally, each bears their Lodge's emblem upon the right shoulder pad.
In addition to the standard Codex honors awarded to Space Marines, the Fists of Purity have several awards that are specific to their Chapter.
The Order of Hiram
The Order of Hiram is a prestigious order within the Chapter. The order is named for the first member of the Fists of Purity to become the Emperor's Champion, Grand Master Hiram. The Grand Master was blessed by the Emperor during the Black Crusade of Tegeades the Fallen. Although he himself was mortally wounded, his faith and determination inspired his battle-brothers so that they were able to defeat their adversaries. The Order was created in honor of the fallen Grand Master, and only those who have followed in his footsteps are inducted therein.
The Chapter's Ancient is usually selected from among the Sons of Hiram.
Other honors and awards are given for conduct in battle and noteworthy skills, with many being assigned by the leaders of crusades.
Use Imperial Fists rules (Codex Space Marines), but without the Siege Masters special rule. Additionally, Veteran Sergeants for the various squads may only be kitted out in a manner similar to Black Templars. Aside from the all-encompassing special rules I develop, the Fists of Purity don't have any special rules. Also note that certain restrictions and requirements are included in order to create an army that resembles the Black Templars, but only within the limitations and capabilities allowed by Codex Space Marines.
This was my first attempt at creating my own Chapter. I'd just begun actually playing WH40K, starting with 3rd edition. Previously, I'd collected miniatures and lore since 1st edition, but didn't collect an actual army for playing the game until 3rd edition. Spurred on by a painting contest at my local store, I decided to make a DIY Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.
I always had a fascination with the Knights Templar. I'd recently read the book Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades by the late John J. Robinson when WH40K 3rd edition came out and the cover of the rulebook and starter set featured the iconic imagery of the Black Templars, definitively changing them from their 2nd edition Codex Chapter roots. Liking Mr. Robinson's book, I was reading another of his books, Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, which was about the theories about the Freemasons descending from the Knights Templar. When Codex: Armageddon was released, I decided to use a modified version of the rules for the Black Templars - mostly because I've always loved Librarians and wanted to include them in my army. Also, I felt that the Black Templars rules were very distinct and should remain unique to that Chapter. So I added Librarians and Devastator Squads, and made a few changes that made the Chapter somewhat of a cross between the Black Templars and Codex: Space Marines.
Later, especially after playing against Black Templar armies, I decided that I didn't want the Fists of Purity to be too much like the Black Templars. I wanted them to resemble Codex Chapters more. In addition, the Imperial Fists rules were released at about that time. The Siege Masters special rules didn't really reflect my vision of the Fists of Purity, but the Blind to the Risk special rule did a fair job of reflecting my vision of the Fists' stubborn nature. So I decided to use the Imperial Fists (Codex: Space Marines) rules for the Fists of Purity, but without allowing the Siege Masters special rule to be used. Most players consider the Imperial Fists rules to be weaker than the standard Codex: Space Marines rules, so this was another bonus in my book (I prefer to play weaker armies and focus on the tactics). Another change I incorporated was to use rules limitations within the scope of Codex: Space Marines to force Fists of Purity armies to vaguely resemble the Black Templars. These limitations generally focus on the equipping of Tactical Squads and still allow for Scout Squads to be brought. Similar limitations are imposed on all of the standard (Assault, Devastator, Veteran, Scout) Squads, though, forcing Fists of Purity players to tool out squads in a very limited fashion. Again, these limitations make the rules for the Fists of Purity weaker than would normally be allowed (if using the Codex: Space Marines and Imperial Fists rules).
The basic feel of the Fists of Purity was that of a monastic Chapter, similar to the Black Templars or Dark Angels, but built within the combined limitations of Codex: Space Marines and the Black Templars (Codex: Armageddon).
The astute among you will have recognized that I took my forum name from one of the characters I had developed for this Chapter. In Freemasonry, the Tyler is one of the officers of the lodge. This Chapter was also created after the movie Fight Club came out, so the character of Tyler Durden was also in my mind when creating both the character and the forum name. At one time I planned to have a character named "Tyler" in each of my DIYs. Thankfully, I dropped that idea somewhere along the line.
The main problem that I see with this DIY effort is that it falls into the trap that I call "over-theming." There is so much about this Chapter that is obviously derived from the Freemasons (the stuff that isn't secret, that is ). In terms of colors, the only thing I really changed from the Freemasons was that the normally black suits (in the images that I found on the Internet) are shifted over to blue armor, with the gauntlets painted white in a manner similar to the white gloves that I frequently saw in pictures of Freemasons. This was partly due to wanting to differentiate this Chapter from the Black Templars, but it was also a visual cue from the "Blue Lodge" (the foundational 3 degrees of mainstream Freemasonry). Changing "companies" to "lodges" and using the names of both the offices (grand masters, wardens, etc.) as well as famous and/or legendary Freemasons (Hiram, Pike, Sinclair) and locations (Rosslyn). There is so much that is blatantly taken from the Freemasons that it becomes distracting.
DIY Chapters and hobbyists aren't the only ones that fall prey to over-theming. Two notable official examples are the Blood Angels and Space Wolves, each of which has taken the bloodiness/wolfiness to a sometimes ridiculous extreme. The occasional overt element is good, giving a Chapter something to distinguish it from all of the other Chapters. When a Chapter becomes a caricature of both the Adeptus Astartes and whatever influence the creator is drawing upon, however, the theme has gone too far. Similarly, when a single element becomes the overriding focus of the DIY, it, too, has been taken too far.
All of this doesn't mean that there isn't a place for heavily themed DIYs. There are times when a hobbyist has an idea and wants to turn that them up to 11. This is fine when it is done knowingly and deliberately. Such efforts can be very fulfilling and/or entertaining - from Mandalorians to Spartans to Samurai to the Thundercats - there's always room in this hobby for fun and inspired ideas. Those that draw upon real life models, such as the Spartans or Samurai, can usually be made to fit into the setting a bit more easily than those that draw upon some other IP. The Black Templars, after all, take the military orders of Christendom and tweak them for the WH40K setting. It's a bit more difficult to try to fit one's Noise Marine warband based on Iron Maiden in the setting. One can still make things work as much as possible, but when the theme is deliberately over the top, there is an amount of shoulder shrugging and winking that will inevitably take place.
Nobody wants their DIY Chapter to just be green or red or purple Space Marines, but nobody wants their DIY Chapter to be considered ridiculous, either. The trick is in finding the right balance. Subtlety is the name of the game. There is no single formula for finding this balance, however. Each hobbyist has to decide where that balance is to be found. Usually a small nod here and there is all that is needed to successfully create a Chapter of Space Marines that is based on X (where X is whatever your theme is) instead of creating some cartoonish X Space Marines. If I were to update the Fists of Purity for the modern era, there are quite a few things that I would revise. Point of fact, the concept of Grand Master Hiram was modified for my later DIY Nova Hawks Chapter and the story about Master Heltenblad.
An interesting side note is that the "Fists of Purity" name was one of several that I considered in the development of this Chapter. Another contender for the Chapter name was "Emperor's Hands" (and variations that included "fists" or "hands" and "Emperor" or "purity"). At one point, Games Workshop conducted a contest in which hobbyists were asked to submit their DIY Chapters, sending in painted miniatures and giving basic information on the Chapter. I participated in that contest, sending in my favorite old school Librarian (I can't get that mini any more ) and some regular Space Marines along with the article I had written at that time, including the comments about alternate names I had considered. Now I don't know for certain, but I found it quite interesting that an "Emperor's Hands Chapter" appeared later in the How to Paint Space Marines book, and though there were some changes (the fist that I used for the Chapter badge was changed to a hand/gauntlet style similar to the Iron Hands), the Emperor's Hands largely resemble the Fists of Purity. I suspect that Games Workshop saved themselves a lot of work by crowdsourcing most of the Chapters that appeared in that book, taking the various submissions and making some adjustments to each. If this were indeed true, I wouldn't be bothered. Instead, I take it as a compliment.[/url]