I play 40k with my family at home (the only good thing about quarantine was that we got most of our minis painted), and we’re using a heavily homebrewed 3rd-5th pastiche that allows us to create narrative campaigns without anyone feeling cheated because of a broken list. We also play 1st edition Space Hulk and Advanced Space Crusade with rule streamlining, so that’s the kind of family we are. When we were playing once, she commented that our game was an alternate universe 40k, like the anti-matter universe in Justice League.
And that got me thinking.
Now that the ideas are in some kind of order, I thought I’d share them.
OK, so the idea behind the Chaos Marines is that they are sort of the dark mirrors of the loyalists already (SoH vs. Ultramarines, Blood Angels vs. Night Lords, Iron Warriors vs. Imperial Fists, and so on) with some deviations to keep the parallel from being too direct. But that’s not what an antimatter universe is. It’s not that the bad guys are twisted versions of yourself, it’s literally “evil twin” syndrome.
That the idea that struck me as interesting – kind of like the Dornian Heresy this site did earlier. An alternate universe where all the details were backwards.
- The Emperor is still a powerful psychic, but his plan was to psychically consume all the Chaos Gods and become the One and Only God of All Things.
- Unification Wars. During his conquest of Terra, he discovered that his Thunder Warriors were being improved upon by the techno-barbarian warlords in the form of the Primarchs. Enraged, he led an attack on the clone labs where they were being grown and used the power of the Chaos Gods to scatter them across the galaxy.
- The Great Crusade. The Primarchs built small Dominions of their own, becoming powerful warlords. When the Emperor’s armies reached their borders, each one of them was reunited with their would-be assassin, and swore vengeance. The Emperor had teeming hordes of slave armies and Thunder Warriors corrupted (enhanced?) by the powers of Chaos. Each of the Primarchs creates a clone army from their genetic code, who come to be collectively known as Space Marines. At first, there were legions of them, but as they conquered regions further away, they became fragmented and independent. Soon, war has broken out in every region of the galaxy.
- The Horus Heresy. The War Against the Emperor was as much a galactic war with at least twenty sides at any given time – the only thing each of the Primarchs had in common was desire to keep or expand their own power base. Alliances rose and fell, the power of Chaos expanded and contracted, as whole parts of the galaxy were consumed and reconquered over and over again. The war took 20 years, during which time genetic instabilities in the Primarchs either begin to kill them or turn them into horrible mutations.
- The Siege on Terra. Eventually, a loose coalition of Marine Legions invades Terra (which by now is a full-fledged Daemon World), overthrows The Emperor and wires him into the Astronomicon on Mars so they can use him to navigate through the Warp. The remaining Thunder Warriors were given Mars to rule as long as they kept the Emperor imprisoned there and kept the Astronomicon working. Terra becomes a prison planet, where humans are exiled when they want you to die, but they want it to take a long time and be horrible.
- The next few millennia are spent with every planetary Dominion fighting against each other as each of them tries to conquer as much of the galaxy as it can, as well as reconquer the warp-infested regions of the galaxy.
- The Galaxy is a massive patchwork of interstellar Dominions, ruled by Space Marine Tyrants (normal and Chaos varieties), insane political cults, Technocracies, military dictatorships, Daemon Lords, Genestealer-led cults, and alien civilizations. It’s a Machiavellian nightmare where Social Darwinism rules supreme.
- The galaxy has no memory – the past is usually ignored in favor of the present. What is known about the past is fragmented and passed along informally. People just aren’t interested.
- The major alien threats are the Kroot, the Hrud (Space Skaven), the Squats, and The Laer (basically Tyranids, but allied with Slanessh).
- Chaos is seen as a sort of semi-sentient energy, essentially a side-effect of Psychic power, and an occupational hazard. It can become dangerous, but it’s value seems to be greater than it’s threat (think nuclear power in our own world).
- There are no Tyranids – Genestealers are a species all their own that parasitically infect every other species like DNA locusts.
- The Ork race is under the control of the Brainboyz (highly intelligent runts) who direct their worker/ soldier slaves in an ordered society that might be the stable Dominion in the galaxy.
- The Eldar are basically pirates using the Harlequin rules. No greater civilization.
So what does everyone think? I like it for the modelling opportunities, but the setting itself seems like it has some promise. Right now, I’m playing Omega Marines, and have started an Index Astartes article for fun. If anyone is interested, I’ll post it when I’m done. If not, I’ll keep this idea to myself... or inflict it on my long-suffering family.
Comments welcome, and thanks for taking the time!
Edited by Camillo, 01 June 2021 - 11:01 PM.