The Castigators have fallen victim to the Photobucket Purge of 2017! Which is as good an excuse as any to try to bring them up to scratch.
Here's the most recent version of the Index Astartes article, after moving all my image hosting to Imgur and making some touches in an effort to try to bring this up to a more modern standard. I've tried to reconcile some of the awkwardness along with removing some egregious references and comments that seem a little tacky now.
- The Castigators no longer recruit from one single world; they are recruited from across several sectors, but Losanco is the glue that holds them together. All recruits spend some time on the planet amongst its people.
- I've removed some of the elements regarding the Chapter's self-mutilation and reverence of pain - it's a little too angsty for the Castigators now, and I think it draws too many parallels with the Emperor's Children and the Imperial Fists. Neither comparison really serves the chapter well.
- I've taken out references to Monodominant thinking - although I do see the Castigators as unflexible, judgmental and dour, I don't think I need to borrow from other Imperial institutions in order to make my points.
I'd love some feedback from people if they are so inclined; a fresh pair of eyes would be just what this needs!
Index Astartes: Castigators
"We are the Emperor's will made manifest!"
art of the fourteenth founding of the Adeptus Astartes, the Castigators have earned a reputation as staunch and stalwart guardians of the Imperium in the millennia since their inception. The Adeptus Mechanicus birthed the nascent Chapter from the gene-legacy of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, and it is said that a Martian dictate ensured that only the purest progenoid glands were used during their creation. If true, this is an arguably excessive measure considering the exemplary nature of Guilliman's gene-stock. Some fanciful tales further claim that the Genetor-Magi considered and then discarded many perfectly usable progenoid glands in their efforts to create the Castigators.
The reasons for the drastic measures undertaken in the creation of this Chapter may well have their roots in the after-effects of the thirteenth Astartes founding: the so-called 'Dark Founding'. All records relating to this tumultuous event have long since been eradicated or lost within the labyrinthine bureaucracy of the Imperium, leaving behind only supposition and fevered assumption. Those few individuals aware of exactly what transpired during those dark days would seem unprepared to divulge their secrets. Whatever exactly occured, it is clear that the myopic focus upon genetic purity that characterised the founding of the Castigators has affected the Chapter deeply to this day.
The Chapter's first Master was a Black Consul by the name of Baraquiel. Known amongst his brothers as 'the Castigator' for his fervent desire to purge the enemies of the Emperor for their transgressions, he bestowed the same name upon his nascent Chapter, hoping to inspire the same righteous fury in its warriors.
During the Castigators' first centuries of service, the Chapter maintained an unceasing war against the enemies of the Throne. Baraquiel was a keen strategist, and he drove his newest warriors to their limits. The world of Rihad witnessed the Castigators scuttling an Orkoid reaver-fleet, the patchwork vessels falling in flames only to be crushed by the gas giant's gravity. On Kessok, the Castigators swore binding oaths to defend its populace from the predations of the Fade-kind, creatures of shadow and smoke that dissipated only once Baraquiel's terminator elite put their Duskmothers to flame. At the head of the Swordpoint Crusades, the Castigators brought the light of the Imperium to a swathe of Imperial space. Moving from campaign to campaign, the Chapter fought to establish a legacy that would last the ages.
pon the height of their xenocidal campaigns against the alien Ryssith, an expeditionary fleet led by the Castigators entered a tumultuous and unstable region known to spacefarers as the 'Howling Stars'. An area of perennial eddies and whirls in the Immaterium, the Stars were a place where the skin of reality had been stretched to breaking point by unnatural forces. Roiling warp storms burst forth to destroy vessels whole and hamper travel still further, and only the most skilled of Navigators could reliably traverse the area. It was on the edges of this benighted expanse that the Castigators found the small and unassuming world labelled on the fleet's star-charts as Losanco Secundus.
The planet was perhaps most notable for its 'tidally locked' orbit, which resulted in one half of the planet being shrouded in perpetual darkness whilst the other basked in permanent light and debilitating radiation. It should never have sustained life - and yet it did. Drawn to the world by a flickering distress signal, the Castigators discovered that millennia ago, an Imperial vessel had crashed onto Losanco's surface. The descendants of the survivors clung the thin strip of land between the light and dark sides, an arid and inhospitable area of perpetual twilight. Their scattered settlements were fortified towns, built mainly from scrap metal recovered from the ruined hulk of their vessel. These established enclaves of human existence were defended by armed militias and sustained by the slowly degrading technologies.
The wastelands were also inhabited by bands of scavengers and reavers. Many were mutated as a result of the radiation - some almost beyond recognition. Highly aggressive, Losancan legends suggested to the inhabitants that one day the Emperor would appear, bringing light and tranquillity to its troubled people and transforming the planet into a verdant paradise. The legends continued that He would only appear when the planet was 'deserving' - which was taken to mean when it was freed from the blight of the 'impure'. The survivors had grown to blame the mutants for their predicament, learning to fear and hate with what had become an almost instinctual loathing for imperfection and disease. Babies showing even the most minor of malformations were hurriedly and quietly killed by their own mothers or families, such was the stigma of giving birth to a mutant offspring. This hatred of mutation extended beyond the physical form - those children that displayed burgeoning psychic abilities were executed in public ceremonies of devotion to the Emperor.
The plight of the Losancans was dramatic and precarious; they were caught between light and dark, between mutation and freezing doom. Such potent symbolism struck a chord in Baraquiel's soul. The dichotomy between light and dark and the survivors' struggle against corruption convinced him that they could serve as a potential source of future Castigators. After settling on the periphery of the Howling Stars, the Castigators became responsible for the surrounding sectors of space, chief among them the Dalthus Sector, the Swordpoint Stars and the Taurelian Expanse. Apothecaries and Chaplains of the Castigators have recruited aspirants for the Chapter from across several sectors in order to ensure that the Chapter recruits the strongest, most genetically suitable candidates.
The Chapter's fortress, known as Sanctuary, is buried deep within Losanco Secundus's rocky moon. Hanging heavy within the skys, its pitted surface is studded with arched gunports, the squat shapes of lance-batteries and other defences. Those newly recruited into the Chapter are brought here and are inducted into a legacy of war; surrounded by campaign banners, the armour and accoutrements of long-dead heroes and the spoils of war, neophytes will undergo gruelling biological and genetic testing before being implanted with the gene-seed that will sustain them through a lifetime of combat.
All brothers of the Chapter, whatever their origin, return to the surface of Losanco Secundus. Bringing with them weaponry and basic equipment, they will join the militias that defend the settlements and scour the wastelands. Sand-scarred, hard-bitten, these warriors lead their parties with a steady hand and a commanding voice that rises above the harsh winds of the endless desert. Some are survivors of mutant raids or destroyed settlements; others simply serve from a sense that something must be done to protect their lives. The aspirants are expected to interact with the populace, to inspire them - and to learn of the pernicious danger posed by the impure. For many, it is a humbling experience - that these ordinary men and women endure through faith and determination. It is an experience that they will carry throughout their lives.
As the aspirants fight alongside their mortal counterparts, they will be observed from afar by the Chaplains of the Chapter, looking for any sign of weakness or unsuitability. Those that cannot endure hardship, that cannot thrive amidst despair, will never return to the Sanctuary and join the ranks of the Chapter.
Chapter Cult and Belief System
ecruits to the Chapter are strong-willed, used to hardship and driven by a heartfelt desire to root out deviance and impurity. The Chapter's rituals and cults foster this intolerance, seeing it as a virtue. Those that endanger the Imperium should be exterminated - mutants, aliens, psykers and religious deviants are all to be called to account for their activities. The only punishment for those who stray from the Emperor's path is death. The Chaos powers are abhorred by the chapter, despised for their warping touch. Those that have allowed themselves to submit to temptation and fall to Chaos are especially hated by the Castigators. As far as they are concerned, it is unthinkable to allow oneself to stray from the Emperor's path and into the worship of the Dark Gods. Those that submit to the dark powers are weak and must be killed before their heresy can corrupt others. The Castigators are known to have participated in several protracted engagements against Chaos Space Marines, including the so-called 'Harvesters' chapter and the Word Bearers legion, for whom the Castigators harbour a special hatred.
It has been noted by Imperial observers that the Castigators grudgingly tolerate both the Astropaths and those of the Navigator Gene. This has led some to criticise the Castigators' belief system as hypocritical. The Castigators roundly refute such allegations, arguing that both institutions were created and sanctioned by the Emperor - just as the Adeptus Astartes were. Whilst some have called the Castigators overly aggressive, narrow-minded, or bigoted, none can deny the fervour with which they go about their tasks. The Castigators have influential allies that allow them to continue unmolested; some traditional and puritan Inquisitors have gone so far as to openly applaud the Castigators, seeing their actions as those of the truly faithful. The Chapter has worked in concert with puritan elements of the Inquisition on several occasions throughout its history, assisting in the prosecution of heretics and the faithless.
In memory of their auspicious founding, every fourteen years those companies not currently engaged in battle meet at the Sanctuary. Battle-brothers, comrades and friends are allowed to meet and honour their success together. Great trophies are brought back to the fortress monastery and relics are paraded in front of the assembled marines. Each and every dreadnought in the chapter is awoken and great prayer services are held to honour the fallen, to remember the great moments of the chapter's history and to reaffirm oaths of loyalty, piety and faith. Captured banners are paraded, the heads of defeated foes exhibited and the manner of their capture and defeat recalled with grim detail. The ceremonies last for fourteen days and then the chapter disperses once more to where they are needed to continue the protection of the Imperium of Man. Neophytes inducted into the chapter during this two-week period are seen as blessed and are usually predicted to become great warriors.
Before each battle, the force gathers together in prayer to affirm their faith. The higher ranks of the chapter - especially Captains and Chaplains - are known as skilled orators and they put these skills to good use, rousing a righteous fury in the hearts and minds of those beneath them. When the chapter fights, it is sustained by a deeply-held belief that they are the guardians of humanity. It is their divine duty to defend the Emperor's flock, and they will not accept failure in what they consider to be the holiest of all endeavours.
n no small part due to the legacy of the Black Consuls, the Castigators have adhered closely to the tenets of Roboute Guilliman's Codex Astartes
throughout their history. War is the reason for the Chapter's existence, and the Castigators seek to prepare for it well.
Ancient Rhetoricus, Bearer of the Crimson Standard
As Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes, practical issues dictate the Castigators' tactical orthodoxy to a degree. The limited numbers of the Chapter ensure that they are not used as a blunt instrument like the numberless masses of the Imperial Guard. The Castigators could be considered a predominantly attacking force, mounting and executing rapid, overwhelming assaults that ensure the Space Marines always maintain the initiative. Indeed, the Commanders of the Chapter would accept a traditional battle only on the most favourable of terms, or if necessity dictated. Drop-podding troops and thunderhawk-deployed vehicles can rapidly assault the enemy. Tactical and Devastator squads can suppress the enemy with skilled gunfire before the Chapter's Assault Marines descend upon them. Faced with such decisive force, the enemy simply cannot resist.
When called upon to defend ground, the Castigators raise icons of faith and sacred standards high before planting them into the ground, vowing to make the enemy pay a heavy price for each step taken. They will grimly fight to the last whilst inflicting as much damage as possible upon enemy forces, asking no quarter and giving none. The Castigators are ferocious warriors, known on occasion to fight to the last man rather than admit defeat. Battles against the chapter are always bloody and hard-fought, simply because the Castigators refuse to retreat unless their commanders order such. As part of their defensive strategy, the Castigators will attempt to disrupt their attackers. Assault forces undertaking skillfully-executed raids can cause huge amounts of damage before rapidly disengaging. Scouts can sabotage enemy materiel or assassinate prominent leaders, even going so far as to teleport the Chapter's Terminators into an enemy camp to brutally decapitate them.
Because of the chapter's unflinching bravery, even the Collegiate Strategos has paid tribute to the Castigators, its annals acknowledging them as one of the finest examples of the Imperial maxim 'death before dishonour'. The Castigators are determined, stubborn warriors, determined to struggle to victory whatever the cost. Whilst some have criticised the Castigators for their tactics, the Chapter has - thus far successfully - refuted these statements, claiming that rather than single-mindedly fighting their way into certain death, they judge their fights well to ensure that the enemy is eradicated. To the Castigators, a wasteful death is pointless, but a justified death is the greatest honour.Chapter Organisation
he Castigators' adherence to the Codex Astartes has led to the Chapter adopting a conventional ten-Company structure. The first consists of the Chapter's veterans, the most skilled warriors who have received additional training, particularly in the use of Terminator armour. The Chapter possesses only twenty-one venerated suits of Terminator Armour, and these are worn by the greatest warriors in the chapter. When not in use they occupy positions of honour in the First Company's Chapel of Heroes. Should a Terminator fall, the techmarines will painstakingly repair the armour so that it may see battle again. The first company typically disperses to fight alongside the battle-companies, allowing the more experienced warriors to impart their wisdom to their brethren.
The second, third, fourth and fifth companies are the battle-companies, each with a mixture of tactical, devastator and assault squads. With such a variety of squads, the Battle Companies are highly flexible and tactically adaptable. Indeed, a typical force deployed by the Castigators will be centred around a Battle-Company, with attached elements from other Companies.
The sixth and seventh companies are tactical reserve companies; the eighth and ninth are assault and devastator reserve companies, respectively. The Reserve Companies often fight support of their brethren in the Battle-Companies, reinforcing battle lines, launching diversionary attacks or countering enemy assaults. In addition, the Marines of the Reserve Company can be transferred into the Battle-Companies to replace casualties sustained. The Castigators' tenth company, the scout company, is small when compared to other chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, mainly due to the chapter's extremely thorough recruitment processes. Much like the first company, the scouts almost never fight as one force. Instead they are assigned to the battle companies where they can gain experience alongside their elders.
The newly-created Castigators chapter had a number of Librarians, drawn from the Black Consuls. During their initial ten-year crusade, the Castigators also recruited a number of psychically-gifted initiates from the worlds they fought upon. As the original Librarians died out, and the Castigators continued to recruit from a world where the pyschic population was eradicated, the chapter began to absorb the Losancan belief system. They could no longer countenance 'witches' sullying the chapter's name, and as such the responsibility of keeping a record of the chapter's history was given to ordinary brother-marines who adopted the role of 'Librarian'. Now each of the Castigators' brother-marines will undertake a period of service in the chapter's Librarium once every decade, working to duplicate ancient texts and to pass on the stories of the Castigators' past. These 'Librarians' accompany Company Captains, recording the chapter's history, recounting tales of battles fought throughout the millennia, and learning lessons from the actions of others. This allows every battle-brother to be intimately familiar with the chapter's history of warfare.Techmarines
Like the majority of Space Marine chapters, the Castigators honour ancient pacts with the Adeptus Mechanicus that stretch back millennia to their very founding. Those amongst the Castigators with an affinity for technology are dispatched to Mars, where they are initiated into the Martian tech-cults. This is acknowledged as a necessary process - without the techmarines, the Adeptus Astartes would be left unable to tend to the machine spirits, to observe the rites that ensure continued operation of their wargear, or to repair damage taken on the field of battle. But the process comes at a lamentable price - the loss of battle-brothers to the worship of the Omnissiah. The techmarines are mysterious and capricious, aloof and distant. Their inscrutable ways are not easily understood by most of the battle-brethren. Indeed, some of the more zealous factions among the chapter distrust the techmarines. To them, the worship of the Omnissiah is at best dangerous, and at worst heretical. It is a duty of the Chapter Master to ensure that these ideological tensions are defused and that no blood is spilt. It is said that some of the Castigators' techmarines struggle their entire lives to resolve the differences between their chapter's creed and the dictates of the Liber Mechanicus.
ears uncounted of rigorous gene-screening practices have inculcated an obsession for genetic purity within the Castigators. Having descended from the Black Consuls, the Brothers of the Chapter take pride in the fact that they can trace their genetic lineage back to Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines. The Ultramarines themselves are renowned for possessing the purest of all loyalist legions' gene-seeds, and that purity has been inherited by their successors.
The Castigators' Apothecaries demand absolute and total excellence in maintaining that purity. The Apothecarion ensures that only the strongest and healthiest of recruits are selected to become marines. The trials for neophytes are particularly stringent, and the Apothecaries take great care to ensure that the gene-seed does not develop flaws or mutate in any way. Any neophytes that exhibit signs of mutation are dissected as subjects of study in an attempt to determine what went wrong. Progenoid glands extracted from dead marines may not be implanted if there is any suggestion that they may be tainted.
This unyielding thoroughness means that the Castigators replace losses at a slower rate than in most marine chapters. As the forty-first millennium draws to a close, there have been few occasions when the Castigators have been at full chapter strength. The Castigators contend, however, that their rigidly maintained purity makes them more than a match for their foes.
Edited by Commissar Molotov, 05 July 2017 - 12:50 AM.