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Heralds of Ash


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#1
TechCaptain

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This is a Early look at what I am trying to develop as a Chapter.

Chapter Datafile: Heralds of Ash



 
The Heralds of Ash


Date:...............57.M42
Ref:................LBC//TEC7710101
By:.................TechCaptain
Re:.................Adeptus Astartes - Heralds of Ash
Thought:............"."



CHAPTER NAME: .............. THE Heralds of Ash
FOUNDING: ..................6TH
CHAPTER WORLD: .............Accusation
FORTRESS MONASTERY: ........Sanctuary
GENE-SEED (PREDECESSOR): ...Unknown (Blood Angels Suspected)
KNOWN DESCENDANTS: ........."NONE"

 

HQ.gif Primary Data HQ.gif

Allegiance: Imperium of Man (Fedelitas Constantus)
Chapter Master: Magister
Size Estimate: Unknown
Specialty: Psychic attack, Predictive Understanding, Religious Purges, Policing Actions, Suppression of Ideological Revolt, Targeted Decimation
Battle Cry: " "
Colours:

 
 The Heralds of Ash are a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes created during the 6th Founding, which occurred sometime during the latter years of M33. Suspected of being created from the lineage of the heroic Blood Angels, the Heralds of Ash were one of several Chapter founded in the wake of the notable event known as 'The Year of Ghosts', when the Imperium was beset by extreme Warp activity and daemonic incursions. Only when the honoured dead rose up from their graves to drive back the terrors of the warp that the heart of the Imperium just barely managed to survive. Following this event the High Lords of Terra authorised the raising of a new Founding to help bring about stability and law back to those imperilled worlds that still suffered in the iron-grip of those who followed the Dark Gods.
 

Chapter History

In M33, the newfound Heralds of Ash Chapter was ordered to claim their own Chapter planet, after being initially fleet-based. During their search for an unclaimed planet within the Imperium, a charismatic Rogue Trader convinced the Chapter Master to aid in his search for a long-lost relic on behalf of the Ecclesiarchy in exchange for exclusive rights to trade on a lucrative pilgrimage passage, which the Trader believes is on Accusation. A deal was made; the Rogue Trader received the relic to return to the Ecclesiarchial Cardinal of the sector, the Astartes would the planet. Upon landing, a large contingent of Drukhari and Chaos cultists were discovered, and the subsequent combat between the Imperial forces, Dark Eldar, and Chaos heretics was ferocious. In the course of the brutal campaign, the Rogue Trader fell in battle alongside his forces and the Heralds of Ash. To honor him, the Space Marines chose to build their fortress-monastery around the relic's burial site, preserving it for his descendants of his Rogue Trader House to return. The Inquisition, however, suspected the "relic" to be tainted, and outright warned them to stay away, leaving the artifact in the Chapter's care. They stand vigil over its corrupting influence to this day.

Around the year 831.M33 (know as the Year of Ghosts) the fairly young Chapter was assigned to a Campaign against a Word Bearer invasion of a Holy world that was created during the War of the Confessor not many years before along side a contingent of Space Wolves, and many others. For a Hundred years the war raged on as not even the dead stayed truly that way. Ghosts and Demons were common sights, but in the end the Heralds of Ash and their allies were victorious but not without great cause. Their Chapter was critically low of personnel and even the Space Wolves were eliminated. When the Inquisition came forth to investigate the war it was decided the best policy was to kill those who were direct witnesses but more so to use the superstitions as a guard against further invasions.

The First Chapter Master should have the First Captain undertake a pilgrimage to Fenris, to return the fallen Wolves' gene-seed and relics, and tell of their valor.

The Heralds of Ash during the Plague of Unbelief (Unknown.M36) sent out several companies tracking down and eliminating the many false prophets that appeared throughout the anarchic Age of Apostasy, some little more than madmen leading rebel armies, others spiritual demagogues who commanded worlds and armies.

Homeworld

Accusation's surface is Ashen Wastes full of the graves of the dead and the structures to house them. With nearly every square metre of dirt on Accusation devoted to the dead, even the capital city was considered an extravagance. This world is full of feral Tribes who live outside the processing center cities. Mountains full of Cairns and Tombs fill the world while very large cities act as the points of contact with the greater Imperium.

The narrow alleys and passages were steep and cobbled, leading up to the crowning monument -- the heart of the main hive city in both a physical and spiritual sense -- the Memorial Mausoleum. Nestled at the heart of the devotional architecture and adorning the metropolis like a crown was the enormous roof-dome of the sacred vault that dominated the city skyline. A colossal archway-barbican decorated the entrance to the memorial mausoleum. The pillars of the stately sepulchre were thick and tall, and the darkness of the threshold beckoned Imperial pilgrim and cleric alike.

The funereal beauty of the Mausoleum was astounding: the intricate scrolling on the wall internments; the silver lettering adorning the floor slabs, recording the names of past pontiffs and cardinals of the Ecclesiarchy; loggia supports and fat sculpted pillars reaching up to the exquisite detail of the Mausoleum’s domed ceiling. Candles and incense burned from a thousand suspended sconces, and stern statues of Ecclesiarchs already elevated to sainthood by the Imperial Cult adorned the sepulchre space in a ring around a simple block-crypt of obsidian brick.

A silver-plated elevator was used to transport clerics and Adepta Sororitas guardians deep below the sepulchre to a small complex of condition-controlled crypt chambers residing behind a thick vault door. A circular gallery spiralled about the sepulchre’s exterior, made up of marble steps and landings, providing access to the wall-combs, vaultia and the upper stories of the Mausoleum.

Imperial mortuary lighters brought an unending supply of the Imperium's noble dead from necrofreighters down to the Accusation surface. The prestige of spending just a century in the precious earth drew cadavers from light years around. Senior officers of the Imperial Guard, the Imperial Navy, members of of Hive World noble houses, powerful merchant lords, Navigators, other planetary nobility and devoted members of the Ecclesiarchy itself were all buried in Accusation’s sacred topsoil. Coffins and sarcophagi are dug up for shipment back to the families following the expiration of their leases in an unending cycle of inhumation and exhumation on a planetary scale. Grave niches in the catacombs are reused. A body may lay there for a set amount of time and any more time the buried or relatives are willing to pay for, thereafter are the bones removed and placed in an ossuary or charnel house.

A Servo-skull Manuifactorum make up one of the great industries of the world along with a trade in pilgrimages. The tourist and pilgrim industry for people wanting to visit the mausoleums of famous people and saints is booming. Pilgrims have to pay to get to the areas where their mausoleums are, then have to pay to get close to the mausoleum, and then pay extra to go in in the mausoleum. Many pilgrims don’t think about how to get back home after having visited the holy sites and stranded pilgrims make up a notable underclass on Accusation. Mausoleums have to be paid for. Those that don’t have any tourists or pilgrims paying for them, nor any founds or relatives paying upkeep are abandoned or reused.

Cremation happens often and the kind of wood used important. The poorest dead are just thrown into gas crematories while those that have paid a bit more get burned with wood, while the richest get buried for a time unless they were significant enough to get one of the Imperial Organizations to pay. Notable parts of Accusation are plantation forests that are grown only to create good funeral wood. Bones that are still there after cremation is considered blessed and are used to create lesser relics.

Fortress-Monastery

The Sanctuary is a structure in the center of the ruined city of The Unredeemed that is under the "protection" of the Heralds of Ash. The tower has since become a symbol of judgment by the Heralds of Ash as the city of The Unredeemed was built around it. For over the millennia, the tower cast a great shadow down on the inhabitants of the city which became a site of daily persecutions with the lower class living in tents outside the city and either dying of torture or from starvation and plague. Only the Strongest survive going through the ruined city of the downtrodden to make their way to the Sanctuary and finding none. Their they have to pledge sacrifice and loyalty to even undertake trials to become one of the Angels of Death who were above the prosecuted. The only Sanctuary to be had is being strong enough to grant it to one's self.

Chapter Beliefs

They deviate significantly from the Codex Astartes. Ash is considered sacred by the Chapter, and when Heralds of Ash Battle-Brothers are called to go to a distant war they perform one last act before leave-taking, a ceremony known as the Shouldering the Burden. This ash is carried in a flask by every member of the Chapter, to anoint every planet that they step foot on in a ritual ceremony called the Sharing the Burden.

Knowledge was power but needs to be seen through the lens of the Emperor. They believed there was no discipline their intellect could not master, no secret he could not unlock and make serve their purpose. For the Ashen Heralds, knowledge is salvation, the means to controlling the psychic legacy of their Primarch's gene. Every book was sacred, every writing worthy of study, every document a resource to be drained. The Ashen Heralds are publicly dogmatic, swearing oaths of loyalty and singing the Imperial hymns. They fight for the expansion of the Emperor's realm with diligence. To further this Vision Journeys to understand the future and their connections to it as blessed by the God Emperor.

Heralds make use of fire in many of their rituals and ceremonies and believe that they must be cleansed by the pain of fire before every major undertaking or initiative. The Chapter Cult that governs the beliefs of the Heralds, placing great emphasis on self-reliance, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. They hold a firm belief in isolationism, the tenet that only through spiritual meditation and exploration performed alone and in isolation from others can a person gain a true understanding of both themselves and how they can best serve the will of the Emperor.

Heralds are an extremely devout group whose faith ventured into fanaticism. They are completely dedicated to the Ecclesiarchy and an ardent followers of the God-Emperor. They greatly emphasized religion in everything they do and act with great zeal in their quest to purge the worlds of "heretics". They are portrayed as a considerably dangerous zealots and are known and feared around the Imperium. They possess an intense proclivity towards the use of torture to "purify" those they saw as heretical and are infamous for using painful and varied forms of execution. They have tried and questioned hundreds using brutal and intense methods of religious interrogation, but only a traumatized few had lived through the treatment.

After battle the Chapter keep a great memorial service for the fallen, they expect any allied Forces to participate, and react hostile to any who don’t. Most Battle-brothers write death poems before important battles. The Heralds, when possible, treat all the dead on the battle field with proper burials/cremation and death rituals. Be they allies or enemies. The Heralds are usually a quiet, sombre, and melancholic Chapter but have great reveling feasts for the death after battle. They try to keep their hunger and rage in check by doing some form of artistic endeavours mainly calligraphy, death poem writing, gravestone carving, death mask making, scrimshawing, coffin making, sculpting of grave statues or mausoleum planning and making. The Chapter’s generally battle-brothers rest in specially prepared grave niches. Battle-brothers always carry around candles they light at any graveyard or lone grave they pass, including the ones they dig themselves.

Dead battle-brother's remains are used to enhance the arms and armor the fallen use to have. By using the reclaimed carbon from his ashes to make auspex-absorbent material with which to coat repaired armor, or press the ashes into a diamond coating for the fallen's sword, in addition of using the bones of the fallen as pieces for the fallen's weapons like Femurs for buttstocks. Techmarines and Chaplains tell a Marine his predecessors' names, when/where/how they died, how their remains were used to improve the relic arms and armor he is about to inherit, and how his own remains will be used to improve his successors' arms and armor, in a grim ceremony as the wargear is issued.

Combat Doctrine

The Heralds of Ash have a preference for close-ranged fire fights and use many Melta and Flamer weapons to burn whole swathes of infantry troops and to smash armoured foes. Their coming was nothing less than apocalyptic judgement delivered upon the guilty from on high, as descending from the skies on wings of fire. Against the xenos, no such quarter was given, and the wrath of the Chapter was made manifest as a tide of unrelenting carnage that only gave way once complete extermination had been achieved. The Chapter's tactical doctrines are heavily focused on the use of powerful shock assaults to shatter an enemy's resistance in a single, devastating blow. However, they cannot be counted upon to hold a position in the same disciplined way as the Ultramarines or Dark Angels, as any Marine in the midst of battle could suddenly him to charge forward in an attempt to tear the enemy limb from limb. This often has the benefit of creating victories in the unlikeliest of situations through sheer aggression.

Before battle, the Heralds of Ash gather in ritual prayer, chanting hymns and doctrines to affirm their faith in the power of the Emperor burning great effigies of the enemy and invoking blood rights to engage their primal instincts. Once done groups of Heralds charge forth in Berserk fury as remainder pick up the standards and chant holy prayers for guidance and victory to a steady drumming of war. The relentless advance of the Heralds is a terrifying sight, as the monotonous chant and beat of drums can break even the strongest will. The night before battle, the enemy can hear mutterings emanating from all around, echoed in the pounding drums, stretching the nerve and instilling every man with fear. The unshakable belief of the Heralds of Ash, that they alone can save the galaxy. Any victory won over the Heralds of Ash is only won at a terrible cost, as their fanatical attacks will only ever end when all are dead.

Groups of Heralds are charged beyond the battlefield with hunting down works of false doctrine and those who purveyed it, consigning both to destruction and eradicating flame. On the battlefield, they are tasked with seeking out those things which gave the foe the heart and courage to fight: charismatic leaders, priests, battle flags and champions. Once singled out, they are destroyed with brutal fervour, often far in advance of their own lines in order to do so, with no thought as to their own survival. Carrion eaters are somehow drawn to the Chapter’s presence and follow them, partially due to the Chaplains and Judiciars bearing censers burning incense whose scent attracts the beasts. Though none say why this is for it has not been proven the correlation.

Chapter Gene-Seed

A high percentage of Heralds of Ash manifesting some level of psychic ability. A small, but significant percentage are prone to physical mutation. The rate of fatalities among aspirants is frighteningly high. There are also those who argued that the mental scars suffered by those who survived the change were just as deep, instilling a sense of cause and purpose that manifested as unflinching, unreasoning fanaticism bordering on madness, a certainty which could in mere moments turn to insane fury when that purpose was challenged.

A tendency for skin pigmentation to permanently darken and appear Ashen often adopting an unnatural granite-like or ash quality. The Heralds of Ash have a grim determination to do their duty. This is not so much a desire to die as it is an acceptance that death is the only end to the path a Space Marine treads, and everything he does is another step along that path and one closer to his eventual demise. As this condition increases, the Battle-Brother can become more and more fatalistic about his chances. These black moods will not affect his willingness to do his duty nor makes him turn from his brothers, but it can press in upon his squadmates all the same.

Primarch's Curse: Holy Path of Destruction

The Craving for Battle

Deep within the psyche of every Herald of Ash is a destructive yearning, a battle fury and hunger that must be held in abeyance in every waking moment. Few Battle-Brothers can hold this in check unceasingly -- it is far from unknown for Heralds of Ash to temporarily succumb to its lure at the height of battle. This craving is the Heralds of Ash darkest secret and greatest curse, but it is also their greatest salvation, for it brings with it a humility and understanding of their own failings which make them understand their connection to the Emperor as humanity's warriors.

Holy Rage

The Heralds of Ash suffer from a psychic imprint left upon them they don't understand. This can cause them to go insane prior to or during battle and feel a terrible rage that is almost all consuming. Rather than let them face a slow, insane death, Heralds of Ash will form those who have newly succumbed to the Rage into a special unit known as Breakers. Breakers who has fallen to the Holy Rage are kept awake and not sedated but bound when not in combat. Their ravings and screams are faithfully recorded, since it is believed that there are prophesies and holy insights hidden in them. Wounds appear on the raving and restrained Marines despite there being no sign of the hand that inflicted the wounds, due to the sheer psychic trauma inflicted upon them. Sometimes meditative rituals during which the battle-brother is buried alive and has to claw themselves out when finished are used to try to bring a brother back from the brink of becoming a Breaker.

Chapter Recruitment

Accusation's society is full of death cults who each practice their own way of sending the enemies of the Emperor's to his judgment and there is a constant shadow war between the cults about whose practice is the true path. Every 10 years all the cults send their best young aspirants to the gates of city of The Unredeemed where they have to first get to the Sanctuary tower. The prospects are told they must enter the catacombs, and fight the undead haunting the tunnels, clearing the way so a Chaplain may conduct an exorcism and banish the traitors' spirits; in truth, they're fighting predators imported from death worlds, as well as aesthetically modified combat servitors, with which the observing Chaplain may see how the prospects fare under stress. Many cult-aspirants die during this time, those that return either do it broken or in honour, those that don't return are either dead or have been found fit to become initiates in the Chapter. The chapter have hidden keeps beneath the deepest/most dangerous catacombs protected by traps, and many passages are too small for full-grown men, those making it so that only the young can get all the way. Once they have come far enough they are captured and given a full mental and physical check, those boys that are show to be physically and mentally fit become initiates, the others are healed, memory scrambled so they don’t remember anything. Chapter took over some disused catacombs for use as training sites. To avoid ruffling feathers with the organizations maintaining graves on Accusation, these organizations and the planet's populace are told the catacombs belong to traitors whose crimes and sins weren't revealed until after death, forcing the Administratum to declare them damnatio memoriae.

 

 

Investigations: Heralds of Ash

Date:...............Multiple
Ref:................LBC//TEC37ORD56
Re:.................Adeptus Astartes - Heralds of Ash

  • Inquisitional Archive: Noted Artifact discovered by Heralds of Ash on world now designated Accusation has markings of Xenos and possibly other origins. The artifact seems to be indestructible, pursuant of artifact now deceased. Family of the pursuant warned never to claim artifact under Inquisitional authority. Archivists will be dispatched to study artifact under the care of the Heralds of Ash. Cardinal who dispatched pursuant, eliminated. Sizable compensation that was to be awarded upon retrieval has been forwarded to the family but now they are marked as worthy of observation evermore.

Investigation Status: Logged


Edited by TechCaptain, 06 September 2021 - 02:21 AM.

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#2
Sandalphon

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I like where this is going!
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"More like Dork Angels - amirite?"
-Anon. [Deceased]

Dust falls through my hands, Dreams shatter away
Burning glow turns to ash, Thrown to wind

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#3
TechCaptain

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Thanks man, I am trying for a chapter type that I don't usually do so it's been hard. Where do you see it flowing to next? and do you have any ideas or tips to improve them?
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#4
TechCaptain

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I am not sure I am keeping Heralds of Ash as a name.

Some of my leading ideas are:

Grave Walkers
Revenant Heralds
Death Heralds
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#5
Bjorn Firewalker

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You have good ideas, but they need refinement. As you described, Fellheim is a planet-sized cemetery for the Imperium's honored dead- from the Ecclesiarchy, the Astra Militarum, the Imperial Navy, the Navigator Houses, and more- none of those organizations will tolerate the desecration of its members' graves, so the planet cannot be a death world with which the Space Marines may breed hardened youths worthy of induction into the Chapter. I expect Fellheim's people to be law abiding, the laws harshly enforced to discourage grave robbing; this rigid adherence to the rules will influence anyone recruited from the planet's populace.

More details are needed regarding the Chapter's relationship with the various organizations using Fellheim as a cemetery for their honored dead. Why would they tolerate a Chapter taking control over it? Did Chaos cults attempt to enact a foul ritual, using the interred heroes' desecrated remains as a focus? Such a scandal may justify basing a Space Marine Chapter on Fellheim- with the fortress-monastery built over the rigorously cleansed ritual site, so the Marines may monitor it for any lingering and/or returning Chaos-taint.

As for a name, "Cremators" or "Pyre Guard" (as in funerary pyres) are my suggestions.

EDIT: Just had an idea for where the Chapter may recruit from. IIRC, Roman gladiatorial battles were originally held as funerary games. Let's say Fellheim hosts gladiatorial battles between the interred ones' next-of-kin, letting young relatives of the honored dead draw the God-Emperor's attention to their ancestors' final rites. The Chapter may dispatch Chaplain's to observe the funerary games, offer promising youths induction into the Chapter and a chance to avenge their recently buried kin.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 14 November 2020 - 04:48 AM.

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#6
TechCaptain

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Thanks a lot Bjorn for the in depth response. This helps a whole lot to the refinement process.

You have good ideas, but they need refinement. As you described, Fellheim is a planet-sized cemetery for the Imperium's honored dead- from the Ecclesiarchy, the Astra Militarum, the Imperial Navy, the Navigator Houses, and more- none of those organizations will tolerate the desecration of its members' graves, so the planet cannot be a death world with which the Space Marines may breed hardened youths worthy of induction into the Chapter. I expect Fellheim's people to be law abiding, the laws harshly enforced to discourage grave robbing; this rigid adherence to the rules will influence anyone recruited from the planet's populace.

So to clarify a few things, Fellheim I was never planning to be a Death World. I do plan on outside the cities to be Feral (i.e. barbarous). The idea I was thinking sort of sudo Viking or some other not usually pictured as civilized race but is civilized in their own ways and traditions. Fellhiem is mostly law abiding, what I was thinking in what created the populous to be good material is a near constant war between interpretations of religion for the God Emperor, i.e. different factions and understanding of the Ecclesiastical faiths. Persecution and war being near constant but less with guns and bombs and more of witch trials and torture stuff. (Not really sure how to make this worded good.) Inside the cities I was thinking great crematoriums and that the world would be filled with a fine layer of ash, making it not a great place to live but a decent place to be dead.


More details are needed regarding the Chapter's relationship with the various organizations using Fellheim as a cemetery for their honored dead. Why would they tolerate a Chapter taking control over it? Did Chaos cults attempt to enact a foul ritual, using the interred heroes' desecrated remains as a focus? Such a scandal may justify basing a Space Marine Chapter on Fellheim- with the fortress-monastery built over the rigorously cleansed ritual site, so the Marines may monitor it for any lingering and/or returning Chaos-taint.

This I definitely need and that is a great idea, and I think Word Bearers being the ones who caused the taint and who they are protecting this world from would be a good way to go about it. I hadn't really thought of their relationships before this other than they are closely aligned to the Sisters of Battle and the Bishops, etc. The more religion based organizations however I wanted them to be treated as suspicious as well considering they regularly use psykers in which they call powers granted by the God Emperor and Acts of Faith.

As for a name, "Cremators" or "Pyre Guard" (as in funerary pyres) are my suggestions.


Definitely adding these to the list, I think Pyre Guard is taken or maybe I just heard something similar in connection to Salamanders. Either way they sound pretty good and have a better feel.
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#7
Bjorn Firewalker

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I doubt the organizations using Fellheim as a planet-sized cemetary for their honored dead, will tolerate any feral element there. Hence my suggestion the same organizations hold "funerary games" (gladiatorial battles) between the interred ones' next-of-kin, allowing those youths to win glory in their recently deceased relatives' names- and if they impress the Chaplains sent to observe the games, a chance of becoming a Space Marine and gaining the strength necessary to avenge their loved ones.
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#8
TechCaptain

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I doubt the organizations using Fellheim as a planet-sized cemetary for their honored dead, will tolerate any feral element there. Hence my suggestion the same organizations hold "funerary games" (gladiatorial battles) between the interred ones' next-of-kin, allowing those youths to win glory in their recently deceased relatives' names- and if they impress the Chaplains sent to observe the games, a chance of becoming a Space Marine and gaining the strength necessary to avenge their loved ones.


Interesting, and probably would work too. I have a couple of questions on it however. One how would you incorporate the Rage and Battle lust (that is true for every Blood Angel) into the chapter's stuff? I was thinking being influenced either by Space Wolves for the using feral charge tactics or from the planetary populous, which was how i had the idea for a Feral Cemetery world. But I see your point there would be low tolerance, it could be that the feral populations living in mountains and valleys are hard to find and eradicate but that would make it then why recruit from something everyone is trying to kill. hmmm. Good points deserving of some serious thought.

Second, Why would the organizations hold such games when usually such youths are sent to Schola or to their relatives? such orgs, usually try to find some way to shape and mold the next generation for their organization. So whatever the solution it probably would involve some sort of diplomacy. It does make a good reason why the Chapter's Artistic bent is shaped for Song and Story, making them good speakers...

Edited by TechCaptain, 14 November 2020 - 05:40 AM.

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#9
Bjorn Firewalker

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I'm sure we can think up some reason funerary games are held on Fellheim. The possibility the Word Bearers attempted to desecrate the graves for a Chaos ritual, will justify funeral rites with martial theatrics, to scare away "evil spirits" that would otherwise despoil the dead by possessing them.

As nobles and other high-ranking figures are often buried with treasure, this will draw grave robbers to the planet, forcing its people to develop a martial tradition to deter the criminals, forcing the criminals to be heavily armed, forcing Fellheim's people to be more heavily armed in a vicious cycle.
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#10
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I'm sure we can think up some reason funerary games are held on Fellheim. The possibility the Word Bearers attempted to desecrate the graves for a Chaos ritual, will justify funeral rites with martial theatrics, to scare away "evil spirits" that would otherwise despoil the dead by possessing them.

As nobles and other high-ranking figures are often buried with treasure, this will draw grave robbers to the planet, forcing its people to develop a martial tradition to deter the criminals, forcing the criminals to be heavily armed, forcing Fellheim's people to be more heavily armed in a vicious cycle.


Okay, Okay. Thinking on this, how about the a superstitious culture reverent to their ancestors and to those of the ruling class. Who at one time got misled by a Chaos Cult of the Word Bearers that got defeated, now they hold games for the honor of protecting certain sites, and explore to find lost sites of burials as other sites are completely off limits due to thoughts of desecration. And this superstition is now used by the Chapter of Space Marines who ended the Chaos threat but couldn't explain all that had happen with the Chaos rituals, so instead use it to keep the populous sharp against any more threats.
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#11
Bjorn Firewalker

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Okay, Okay. Thinking on this, how about the a superstitious culture reverent to their ancestors and to those of the ruling class. Who at one time got misled by a Chaos Cult of the Word Bearers that got defeated, now they hold games for the honor of protecting certain sites, and explore to find lost sites of burials as other sites are completely off limits due to thoughts of desecration.

I think we can justify the exploration as seeking neglected tombs for cleaning and restoration- imaging a Bon Festival in a Tomb Raider game.

And this superstition is now used by the Chapter of Space Marines who ended the Chaos threat but couldn't explain all that had happen with the Chaos rituals, so instead use it to keep the populous sharp against any more threats.

As the Inquisition and the Grey Knights kill all with knowledge of Chaos and it's Daemons- with the exception of the few they trust to NOT abuse this knowledge- I think this is an excellent idea.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 14 November 2020 - 08:13 AM.

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#12
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Excellent and this reinforces the idea it is a culture of ritual. Maybe not necessarily Feral but those elements can easily be incorporated without conflicting with other elements. Now a way to word it so that meaning is seen in the actual writing instead of inferred or just talked through. Still I am liking how this is evolving as something more than Gothic urban centers or just massive plots of land. Series of Tombs, burial sites, and Cairns sound cool and spooky to me which is why I went this way.

What did you think of the combination of Melee and Flame heavy tactics as their go to? Especially combining it with chanting and such. I am trying to be reminiscent of pre heresy Word Bearers but not overly so. Especially with combining it with Visions/Psychic stuff.
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#13
Bjorn Firewalker

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What did you think of the combination of Melee and Flame heavy tactics as their go to? Especially combining it with chanting and such. I am trying to be reminiscent of pre heresy Word Bearers but not overly so. Especially with combining it with Visions/Psychic stuff.

As flame weapons are short-range, I think heavy use of them will force the Chapter to act like the Raven Guard and its successors (or like the Night Lords), avoiding enemy attention until the Marines are close enough to use the weapons. Flames are also a classic terror weapon (again, drawing comparison to the Night Lords).

Relying on toughness and heavy armor to survive until you're close enough to deploy a flame weapon, is foolish. There's no guarantee the enemy won't have a gun powerful enough to kill you before you're close enough to use the flamer. In short, don't act like the Iron Hands (or the Iron Warriors traitors) if you want to use flame weapons heavily.
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#14
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I was thinking acting more like Salamanders/Word Bearers or maybe their own lineage Blood Angels in how that will actually work.

I know horde tactics were washed away with the use of machine guns and volleys.

The image I have in the head is more using visions and seeing a small amount into the future to guide Their units to be in the right place at the right time seeming to suddenly appear with noise and pomp, doing rituals again that does increase fear in the enemy as they chant and shout, starting fires letting the enemy know they are dead before they actually die before charging a relatively short distance with axes, spears, and other fairly large melee weapons.

So no Iron Hand or Iron Warrior tactics of attrition or slow march. More quick decisive strikes but ones that are 'honorable' the enemy 'knows' what they are going to face down and know they don't stand a prayer lol.

But here would be the difference they are really being 'stealthy'. Though they are using elements of surprise and fear to throw off responses.

They are mainly used in purges and actions in which your not really facing against harden foes like Chaos Marines. (Though i wouldn't say they never do. Just not their main thing. ) Maybe i am thinking about this wrong.

Edited by TechCaptain, 14 November 2020 - 08:41 AM.

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Thanks man, I am trying for a chapter type that I don't usually do so it's been hard. Where do you see it flowing to next? and do you have any ideas or tips to improve them?


Hey it looks like Bjorn has been contributing a lot to this, I haven't gone through it all but it seems to be taking shape!

I found he name really evocative and am hoping that you keep it. My initial thoughts were that there was a Zealotry of the black Templars mixed with the pyromania of the salamanders in there..some mortifactors-esque imagery too seems that thought has continued which is cool.. it also had a bit of a dark souls vibe which I also found intriguing.

I was thinking with the name it brought to mind both the psychic premonition and the literal delivery of an inferno such as Orbital bombardment/scorched earth...i noted you had no insignia but a flaming chalice or something similar would do well to represent them - assuming you keep the name!

There was also this thought about anointing themselves or a chaplain annointing the brethren with sacred ash before battle, this could be represented on helmets as a stripe or as literal ash smear..

There's plenty to work with!
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#16
Bjorn Firewalker

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The image I have in the head is more using visions and seeing a small amount into the future to guide Their units to be in the right place at the right time seeming to suddenly appear with noise and pomp, doing rituals again that does increase fear in the enemy as they chant and shout, starting fires letting the enemy know they are dead before they actually die before charging a relatively short distance with axes, spears, and other fairly large melee weapons.

So no Iron Hand or Iron Warrior tactics of attrition or slow march. More quick decisive strikes but ones that are 'honorable' the enemy 'knows' what they are going to face down and know they don't stand a prayer lol.

But here would be the difference they are really being 'stealthy'. Though they are using elements of surprise and fear to throw off responses.

So, distraction, misdirection, and deceitful theatrics to draw the enemy's attention away from the flamer-wielders, until they're close enough to use the weapons? Sounds good.

They are mainly used in purges and actions in which your not really facing against harden foes like Chaos Marines.

Chaos Space Marines ARE the best enemy for your Chapter to face. The Imperium can use normal Arbites, Astra Militarum guardsmen, and Adepta Sororitas members to conduct purges, without expending the massive amount of resources necessary to Found a Space Marine Chapter- resources the Ecclesiarchy undoubtedly feel are better used to decorate and maintain its members' crypts and graves on Fellheim. The theatrics you intend to use against the Chapter's opponents, are near-useless against Orks, Tyranids, and many non-human enemies; I doubt their effectiveness against the Dark Mechanicum, Genestealers, and other semi-human enemies.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 14 November 2020 - 08:08 PM.

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#17
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The image I have in the head is more using visions and seeing a small amount into the future to guide Their units to be in the right place at the right time seeming to suddenly appear with noise and pomp, doing rituals again that does increase fear in the enemy as they chant and shout, starting fires letting the enemy know they are dead before they actually die before charging a relatively short distance with axes, spears, and other fairly large melee weapons.

So no Iron Hand or Iron Warrior tactics of attrition or slow march. More quick decisive strikes but ones that are 'honorable' the enemy 'knows' what they are going to face down and know they don't stand a prayer lol.

But here would be the difference they are really being 'stealthy'. Though they are using elements of surprise and fear to throw off responses.

So, distraction, misdirection, and deceitful theatrics to draw the enemy's attention away from the flamer-wielders, until they're close enough to use the weapons? Sounds good.

They are mainly used in purges and actions in which your not really facing against harden foes like Chaos Marines.

Chaos Space Marines ARE the best enemy for your Chapter to face. The Imperium can use normal Arbites, Astra Militarum guardsmen, and Adepta Sororitas members to conduct purges, without expending the massive amount of resources necessary to Found a Space Marine Chapter- resources the Ecclesiarchy undoubtedly feel are better used to decorate and maintain its members' crypts and graves on Fellheim. The theatrics you intend to use against the Chapter's opponents, are near-useless against Orks, Tyranids, and many non-human enemies; I doubt their effectiveness against the Dark Mechanicum, Genestealers, and other semi-human enemies.


Good Points, I hadn't thought of it that way. This is shaping up nicely with them being all pomp and ceremony but using that effectively.
 
 

Thanks man, I am trying for a chapter type that I don't usually do so it's been hard. Where do you see it flowing to next? and do you have any ideas or tips to improve them?


Hey it looks like Bjorn has been contributing a lot to this, I haven't gone through it all but it seems to be taking shape!

I found he name really evocative and am hoping that you keep it. My initial thoughts were that there was a Zealotry of the black Templars mixed with the pyromania of the salamanders in there..some mortifactors-esque imagery too seems that thought has continued which is cool.. it also had a bit of a dark souls vibe which I also found intriguing.

I was thinking with the name it brought to mind both the psychic premonition and the literal delivery of an inferno such as Orbital bombardment/scorched earth...i noted you had no insignia but a flaming chalice or something similar would do well to represent them - assuming you keep the name!

There was also this thought about anointing themselves or a chaplain annointing the brethren with sacred ash before battle, this could be represented on helmets as a stripe or as literal ash smear..

There's plenty to work with!


I appreciate the comments. Especially the idea of Annointing the Marines as one of the rituals. I am going to use that for sure.
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#18
Sandalphon

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The other thing I thought could be woven into them would be rankings/titles related to the stages of their impending firestorm such as squads or master's etc being ember, smoulder, flame, pyre, inferno, cinder, ash etc..

Have you got a colourscheme in mind?
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#19
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The other thing I thought could be woven into them would be rankings/titles related to the stages of their impending firestorm such as squads or master's etc being ember, smoulder, flame, pyre, inferno, cinder, ash etc..

Have you got a colourscheme in mind?


That is better than my original thinking of Magister and Thane as Chapter Master and Captain respectively. As far as a color scheme I have a working one but again I am not set on it.

 

Heralds Of Ash Concept wh40k SM 3

 


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#20
Gamiel

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Looks like a good start, some comments (with more to come later when I have the time):

 

Fellheim's surface is Ashen Wastes full of the graves of the dead and the structures to house them. With nearly every square metre of dirt on Fellheim devoted to the dead, even the capital city was considered an extravagance.

I can see the much of the ash being created from the great crematories where those who are not important or rich enough to be buried get cremated.

 

 

 

With nearly every square metre of dirt on Fellheim devoted to the dead, even the capital city was considered an extravagance. This world is full of feral Tribes who live outside the processing center cities. Mountains full of Cairns and Tombs fill the world while very large cities act as the points of contact with the greater Imperium.

Maybe most of the population lives below the catacombs, comming up to the surface to tend to the graveyards, mausoleums and such that covers the surface, returning into the underground when their work day is done.

 

 

 

They deviate significantly from the Codex Astartes. Ash is considered sacred by the Chapter, and when Heralds of Ash Battle-Brothers are called to go to a distant war they perform one last act before leave-taking, a ceremony known as the Rite of Ash Claiming. This ash is carried in a flask by every member of the Chapter, to anoint every planet that they step foot on in a ritual ceremony called the Rite of the Ash Giving.

Other possible ways they use ash could be:

* paint themselves and/or their wargear with the ash

* The ash (maybe the corps-ashes of the Chapter’s dead?) are thrown on the living battle-brothers and their equipment before missions


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#21
Gamiel

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The Accusation is a structure in the center of the ruined city of The Unredeemed that is under the "protection" of the Heralds of Ash. The tower has since become a symbol of judgment by the Heralds of Ash as the city of The Unredeemed was built around it. For over the millennia, the tower cast a great shadow down on the inhabitants of the city which became a site of daily persecutions with the lower class living in tents outside the city and either dying of torture or from starvation and plague. Only the Strongest survive going through the ruined city of the downtrodden to make their way to the Accusation. Their they have to pledge sacrifice and loyalty to even undertake trials to become one of the Angels of Death who were above the prosecuted.

I picture something as big as Empire State building, or larger, surrounded by ruins and building that are at best ten floors tall.

 

You could have that much of the tower is dungeon-esk and part of the recruitment is to get to the 20th/50th/such floor

 

 

 

A small, but significant percentage are prone to physical mutation.

Any pattern in their mutations? Is it the same kind of mutation (maybe in some variations) that appear?

 

 

 

A tendency for skin pigmentation to permanently darken and appear Ashen often adopting an unnatural granite-like or ash quality.

Should that not be "greyen" or "turn grey-ish", instead of "darken"?

 

 

This craving is the Heralds of Ash darkest secret and greatest curse, but it is also their greatest salvation, for it brings with it a humility and understanding of their own failings which make them understand their connection to the Emperor as humanity's warriors.

Think you could expand on this part a bit more. How dose it "brings with it a humility and understanding of their own failings" (it's a nice sentence for a shorter description but since we are going a bit longer here do it feel that it could be explained more) and how is that "their greatest salvation"?

 

 

 

EDIT: Just had an idea for where the Chapter may recruit from. IIRC, Roman gladiatorial battles were originally held as funerary games. Let's say Fellheim hosts gladiatorial battles between the interred ones' next-of-kin, letting young relatives of the honored dead draw the God-Emperor's attention to their ancestors' final rites. The Chapter may dispatch Chaplain's to observe the funerary games, offer promising youths induction into the Chapter and a chance to avenge their recently buried kin.

 

That's a cool idea.

 

 

I doubt the organizations using Fellheim as a planet-sized cemetary for their honored dead, will tolerate any feral element there. Hence my suggestion the same organizations hold "funerary games" (gladiatorial battles) between the interred ones' next-of-kin, allowing those youths to win glory in their recently deceased relatives' names- and if they impress the Chaplains sent to observe the games, a chance of becoming a Space Marine and gaining the strength necessary to avenge their loved ones.

We have to remember that this is the Imperium, a decadent society where even Terre, the throne world, is full of decay and gangs. The really important people likely pay for constant guards and caretakers of their mausoleum but ones the money dries out (which will happen) those areas are likely treated with no more respect than the other parts of the planet. And even if there is an inbuilt respect for the dead and their resting places we can have youth gangs that are possibly as violent against each other as any hiver but never damage the dead or their markers.
 


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#22
Gamiel

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Regarding recruitment, here are some suggestions:

 

+ maybe there are lots of semi-feral youth gangs that constantly fight each other (they could be the children abounded by family and society or maybe it's expected that kids spend some time fighting and even killing, maybe the gangs are actually sponsored by clans/guilds/unions/towns/city areas/such and are expected to constantly attack gangs of kids belonging to rival clans/guilds/etcetera and maybe even try to sabotage the works of the rival/s). The Marines keep a hidden eye on those fights and whenever they need new flesh send out their scouts semi-naked and covered in ash to hunt and capture promising boys, thereby also creating the legends of the child eating ash-ghouls.

 

+ maybe Fellheim's society is full of death cults who each practice their own way of sending the Emperor's to his judgment and there is a constant shadow war between the cults about whose practice is the true path. Every 10 year, or at a signal from the Chapter all the cults send their best young aspirants to the gates of city of The Unredeemed where they have to first get to the Accusation tower and then have to get to a certain floor in the tower. Many cult-aspirants die during this time, those that return either do it broken or in honour, those that don't return are either dead or have been found fit to become initiates in the Chapter.

 

+ The chapter have hidden keeps beneath the deepest/most dangerous catacombs where they spread rumors that great treasures can be found but are protected by traps (which they are), and many passages are too small for full-grown men, those making it so that only kids (theoretically) can get all the way. Ones they have come far enough they are captured and given a full mental and physical check, those boys that are show to be physically and mentally fit become initiates, the others are healed, memory scrambled so they don’t remember anything and are given some kind of treasures (and falls memories that they saw hordes of treasure but were not able to take it all) to make others interested to try their luck.

 

+ The Chapter constantly recruit when on mission, from the kid survivors of the conflict zones to where they have been called. Some of the initiates are actually children of pirates and those that tried to rebel against the Imperium but was put down by the Chapter.

 

+ A Cemetery World is most likely a place of pilgrimage, many pilgrims take with them their families, or creates ones during the pilgrimage. From the pilgrim children does the Chapter find their recruits.

 

+ The Chapter has no known recruitment method, something that irritates Ordo Astares.


Edited by Gamiel, 16 November 2020 - 04:25 PM.

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#23
Bjorn Firewalker

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+ maybe Fellheim's society is full of death cults who each practice their own way of sending the Emperor's to his judgment and there is a constant shadow war between the cults about whose practice is the true path. Every 10 year, or at a signal from the Chapter all the cults send their best young aspirants to the gates of city of The Unredeemed where they have to first get to the Accusation tower and then have to get to a certain floor in the tower. Many cult-aspirants die during this time, those that return either do it broken or in honour, those that don't return are either dead or have been found fit to become initiates in the Chapter.

Excellent idea!

+ The chapter have hidden keeps beneath the deepest/most dangerous catacombs where they spread rumors that great treasures can be found but are protected by traps (which they are), and many passages are too small for full-grown men, those making it so that only kids (theoretically) can get all the way. Ones they have come far enough they are captured and given a full mental and physical check, those boys that are show to be physically and mentally fit become initiates, the others are healed, memory scrambled so they don’t remember anything and are given some kind of treasures (and falls memories that they saw hordes of treasure but were not able to take it all) to make others interested to try their luck.

Good imagination. Let's say the Chapter took over some disused catacombs for use as training sites. (To avoid ruffling feathers with the organizations maintaining graves on Fellheim, these organizations and the planet's populace are told the catacombs belong to traitors whose crimes and sins weren't revealed until after death, forcing the Administratum to declare them damnatio memoriae.) The prospects are told they must enter the catacombs, and fight the undead haunting the tunnels, clearing the way so a Chaplain may conduct an exorcism and banish the traitors' spirits; in truth, they're fighting predators imported from death worlds, as well as aesthetically modified combat servitors, with which the observing Chaplain may see how the prospects fare under stress.

+ The Chapter constantly recruit when on mission, from the kid survivors of the conflict zones to where they have been called. Some of the initiates are actually children of pirates and those that tried to rebel against the Imperium but was put down by the Chapter.

+ A Cemetery World is most likely a place of pilgrimage, many pilgrims take with them their families, or creates ones during the pilgrimage. From the pilgrim children does the Chapter find their recruits.

These are plausible, and IIRC, have been used by other IA writers, if not by Black Library novelists.

+ The Chapter has no known recruitment method, something that irritates Ordo Astares.

Mysteries like this will get a Chapter declared "Excommunicate Traitoris", and purged. The Imperium and its Inquisition encourage citizens to be paranoid, BY NECESSITY.

Edited by Bjorn Firewalker, 16 November 2020 - 06:06 PM.

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#24
Bjorn Firewalker

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One idea I shared with Ulrik_Ironfist in his IA for a Raven Guard successor, is a ritual of cremating the bodies of those who died in battle (carving wood from "holy ash trees" into skeletons, if bodies are unavailable), and smearing the resulting ash upon oneself, to embody the fallen warriors' vengeful spirits in the next battle; and the Chapter modifying the ritual by reclaiming carbon released from the cremation to create "ghost woad," an auspex-absorbent material that, in-game, forces a -1 penalty to an opponent's To Hit rolls with all Ranged Attacks against a ghost woad-equipped unit (including vehicles).
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#25
Gamiel

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Regarding cremation so is often the kind of wood used important, you could have that the poor (relatively speaking they could afford to be sent to Fellheim) are just thrown into gas crematories while those that have paid a bit more get burned with wood and the more you pay the better the wood (until you pay enough to actually be buried in the ground for a time). Here could you have that notable parts of Fellheim are plantation forests that are grown only to create good funeral wood. Or maybe they import more or less all wood from other world? This could lead to some fun cultural things, like a society that think of wood only as something you use to burn the dead and find it a bit sacrilegious to use it for anything else.

 

 

 

+ The Chapter has no known recruitment method, something that irritates Ordo Astares.

Mysteries like this will get a Chapter declared "Excommunicate Traitoris", and purged. The Imperium and its Inquisition encourage citizens to be paranoid, BY NECESSITY.

What I have seen, not really. To declared "Excommunicate Traitoris" you seems to need a bit more than you don't know everything about them, since so many Chapters are in large part unknown to the rest of the Imperium. They usually need to have done something wrong and/or having a blatant mutation that's a bit more than the acceptable ones.
 


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