Hi folks, been writing a story on SB for a while and have had an ongoing effort to try and make nominal rules for them to sort of make a mental reference. Trouble is I sort of suck when it comes to rule-making and so am turning to you folks for advice. Any feedback is appreciated! .
The Dawn Knights
Numeration: The IInd Legion.
Primogenitor: Galtine Ap Ailbe, called the Retaliator.
Cognomen: The Wild Hunt, The Cavalcade; (Prior) The Witch-Eaters, The Fox-Headed Ones (Informally called the 'Omen Dogs' by allied forces, a moniker which yet retains currency within the Old Hundred).
Observed Strategic Tendencies: High-Tempo Maneuver Warfare, Counter-Aetheric Operations, Cunctatori Counter-Offensive Campaigns, Societal Recalibration, Deep Range Penetration and Acquisition Raids.
Noteworthy Domains: Calengwag (Imperial Designation: Hollow), The Eight Daughters.
Allegiance: Fidelitas Totalis
The Second Legion are much like every other one of the gene-lines of the Astartes, idiosyncratic, occluded and so removed from their source as to become something akin to a parody of myth. It is perhaps telling of the traits bred into the Astartes that their own distinct oddities make them prone to thinking themselves alone in their eccentricity, any who have delved into this forbidden archive are by now well-familiar with the tales. The occult secrecy of the Fifteenth, who in their pride sought no help as their flesh rebelled. The all-consuming hunger for complexity that devoured the twentieth whole from their birth. The overwrought tales sung by Wolves of stories that they have hidden from even themselves. And of course, the inviolate pride that animated the First from their very inception as they clad themselves in the expectation for others to recognize honors they themselves deem others as unworthy of knowing. While these are perhaps the most extreme cases, it cannot but be noted that this peculiar form of madness dogs every Legion.
And that is perhaps just, for why should the actions of something that is not human make sense to those who are? The Astartes are creatures fashioned to feed from glory the way a baseline human seeks water and meat, a bellicosity whose merit has proved its worth countless times across the long centuries of the Crusade and the Unity before it.
Yet the Second were made in a way distinct from their fellows in this regard, they are as a bloodline uninterested in personal glory, markings of triumph or even the occult victory tallies held by those Legions who disdain the conventional praise of the masses as worthless. This is not due to a lack of the bellicose pride nor due to some form of beatific humility, it is best said that the Second Legion, the Dawn Knights, were born with a singular battle wedged deep in their minds. A war to whom all others are merely single steps on the road to a victory whose very existence can be debated.
It is in this that every scrap of oddity, every discrepancy in their long history and their seeming disinterest that the Dawn Knights of the House of Ailbe can be understood. From their seeming appearance out of thin-air during the dawn of the Legiones Astartes, to their seeming death as a Legion on Drem to the things that emerged from shallow grave as a cavalcade of knights lead by a pair of figures that seem in their own ways as mad as the thing they were bred to kill.
The Second were made for the simple purpose of ending the things in the Warp. All else is to them simply preamble, a setting of the stage to a battle which they themselves can neither define or fully understand.
Origins: The Ill-Omened Foxes
It is generally speculated that among those who have access to the records of the Terran Court that the Second Legion first became active at some point around the midpoint of the Unification Wars. While it cannot be said with any certainty, records of figures which match the gene-traits of the Second most credibly begin appearing around the time the secondary Legions began to gain numbers after the First began functioning as independent hosts.
These accounts are perplexingly not taken from the reports of Imperial Army Officers, nor from other figures within the nascent Imperium such as the Emperor's scientific cadres or the agents of the Sigilite. Instead coming from the preserved ravings of madmen, the chronicles of long-dead heroes and those extracts of pre-Imperial writings spared from the fires of the First and Seventeenth.
The first of these, dating from 628.M30, tells of a curious encounter by one of the chief War-Magisters of the Teledon Citadel decades before it surrendered to the armies of Unity. The War-Magister Eldara De La Tormenta tells of a giant clothed in ragged robes and 'with the face of a fox with lead for eyes' which haunted her nights for a span of months. This figure which she called 'the fox-headed monk' always seemed to appear regardless of what measures she took to prevent its intrusion, each night repeating the names of those slain to fuel the blood-forges that provided the city with its unnatural weapons. A long-time opponent of this debased psyarkana, the War-Magister at first deemed the creature a manifestation of her frustration as no others reported its presence. Over time, she began confiding her frustrations to the creature, which in turn provided counsel so eerily well-shaped that she came to be certain that it was some sort of revenant seeking to provide her with the means of avenging its death.
A belief that proved true when it began guiding her along the paths of the great Hive-Citadel, whispering her down halls which should have been heavily defended but yet stood like crypts in their silence. It gave her weapons hexed to kill the secretive psy-agumented smiths of the blood-forged, it guided her hands as she slit the throat of witch after witch, each time watching as the monk fed on the lambent brain-meat of the sorcerer. The thing would then guide her back to her chambers each night, whispering to her what she need do to ensure that the death could be of use and feeding her a sort of tea which drained her of fear, fatigue and her memory. Over and over again, this story repeated itself over and over again until one day the fox-headed monk stopped appearing and the blood-forges of Teledon came to a stop as the knowledge to fuel them was lost. When the armies of Unity finally made their way to the Citadel-Hive, it was not a besiegers but instead as honored allies welcoming the Citadel-Hive and its vast production capacity and craftsman into the Imperium. The story of the long-dead War-Magister and the fox-headed monk would not be discovered until years later.
The Tale of the War-Magister and the Fox-Headed Monk forms a template as to the early days of the Second, cells of either a single Astartes or a small squad ranging far beyond even the scouts of the Vth and inserting themselves into cultures that fit one of two key criteria. Assets which would be valuable to Unity and a pre-existing and problematic tendency to the culture's existence within the Imperium, most often behaviours steeped in superstition and esoterica. In this the Second Legion acted to manipulate actors within these cultures to take steps to preserve the one and uproot the other, often through the deliberate adoption of local mythemes to present themselves as hallucinations or creatures of superstition. An impression which while obviously laughable becomes increasingly uncomfortable as one reads more of these sources.
The haunted monks of Ankerwycke, which lead mobs to rip apart the homunculus house of the Black Barrow and opened the way for their rejuv-harvesting technologies to fall into the hands of the Imperium, told of their ancestors driving them mad as they whispered of atrocities from their tombs. The fear-riven warrior Ushiwaka who purged the witch-clan Tairashi from Nippon centuries before the Imperium made war there, she was said to have been raised in the wild heights of the crumbled mountain by a tattered spirit. The Kindly Broker who gave Tak Apple-Sewer the means to reclaim the Last Forest from the Harvest Reavers in the great wastes of Udsen's Depression and preserved one of Terra's last sources of autocthonic flora-samples.
While no lab records survive to tell us of the Second Legion's original cull or even any data to indicate from their creation, there is a great deal which can be gleaned from these tales.
Firstly, the Second seemed possessed from the beginning of a strange ability to see into the hearts of men and to manipulate those they caught in their stories to achieve results which would not garner useful results for generations at least. These indicate either a gene-quirk or doctrinal focus which gave the Second Legion an extremely long-term view of warfare and a singular ease in shaping agents over long periods of time to act in their stead. More tellingly, it shows that some factors in their early creation made the Second seemingly unable to field considerable assets even long after Legions which entered service long after the first of these Legions achieved Chapter-Strength.
But perhaps most telling is the most consistent element in all of these tales, and one which would over time come to identify the Legion as they began to act more openly. Their tendency to devour the brains of the psykers and abominists they directed heroes to kill for them.
A behaviour which would see them be called 'Witch-Eaters'.
LEGIONES ASTARTES (DAWN KNIGHTS)
All models and units with this special rule are subject to the following provisions:
- Legiones Astartes: Units with this special rule may always attempt to regroup at their normal Leadership value, regardless of casualties.
- Seeker's Madness: Units with the Legiones Astartes (Dawn Knights) may reroll failed Leadership Characteristic Tests and are immune to the Fear Special Rule when inflicted by a unity with the Daemon or Psyker Special Rule. Units with this rule have the Preferred Enemy (Daemons, Psykers) Special Rule. Lastly, units with this special rule may not be targeted by Psychic Maledictions.
- Soul Readers: Enemy units locked in melee with units possessing the Legiones Astartes (Dawn Knights) rule receive -1 Attack penalty to their attack characteristic (to a minimum of 1) when they possess fewer models than an assaulting enemy unit. Should more than half of a unit with this rule be removed, the remaining models gain the Hatred Special Rule but must move towards the nearest enemy unit after the assault is resolved.
- Knights of Oddity: When an enemy unit must take a Morale Test as a result of losing an Assault to a Unit with the Legiones Astartes (Dawn Knights) Special Rule, they must reroll the lowest of the two dice. Allied units within 12" of a model with this special rule suffer a -1 to their Leadership Score.
- The Hunters' Cavalcade: May not include more (Tank) Vehicles than (FLyer) Vehicles in a Primary Detachment with this Special Rule. Any unit in the detachment that may purchase an additional Close Combat Weapon must do so. Additionally, any Primary Detachment chosen from the Dawn Knights must take a second Compulsory HQ Choice on the Force Organization Chart. That choice must always be a Lord-Errant or Exemplar Consul. Legion Veterans must take Weapon Masters or Stalkers.
LEGION SPECIFIC UNITS
In addition to those found in the Army List, the Dawn Knights Legion has particular access to the additional unit types: Balor Terminator Squads (which are an Elites choice on the Force Organization chart), Fragarach Destroyer Squads (which are an Fast Attack choice on the Force Organization chart) and Dian’Cecht Apothecary Detachments (which are an Elites choice on the Force Organization chart). In addition, it has a specific options of Consuls unavailable to other Legions; the Exemplar, the Lord-Errant, the Balor Executioner and the High-Savant.
LEGION SPECIFIC RESTRICTIONS: PATTERNS OF THE WAR GUILDS
Champion, Chaplain, Esoterist, Librarian, Primus Medicae, Primus Nullificator, Mortificator, Moritat or Warmonger Consuls along with Apothecary Detachments and Destroyer Squads may not be used in a Dawn Knights Primary Detachment.
LEGION SPECIFIC WARGEAR
The Dawn Knights possess a host of strange exotic technologies, most carved to their innate antagonism with the Immaterium:
Moraltache-Pattern Greatsword: Known as the Weeping Swords, Fate-Chewers, Mors Mortale and a host of other names by those of more outdated beliefs, the favored weapons of the upper Echelons of the Second Legion are things of terrifying and indecipherable providence. No shortage of fanciful tales claim that these horrid weapons can cut through both ancient defensive mechanisms and even psychic phenomena with unsettling ease, legends that are made difficult to confirm both due to the frustrating shortage of records stemming from the Second Legion and the queer nature of the weapons themselves. The pale metal that forms the lengths of these weapons induces a curious effect on onlookers, eyes strain to hold the so-called 'White-Metal' and it is often difficult for most to recollect the exact features of the weapons after-the-fact, a trait made more unsettling by the fact that even the finest pict-capture technologies of the Mechanicum seem unable to capture anything more than ill-defined blank spaces where the weapon should be. Some even accredit stories that those outside of the legion that attempt to make use of these weapons suffer from an instant mind-death as a consequence, although such tales are often dismissed as exaggeration. While current speculation suggests all of these curious observations and the keening of the weapons is the result of some ill-understand technology, it would be dishonest to say that it was easy to ignore that there was a certain foulness about this handful of swords.
- Any Character HQ with the Legiones Astartes (Dawn Knights) special rule may purchase a Moraltache for +30 points.
- Range: Melee Str: +1 AP: 2 Type: Two-Handed, Psy-Lash, Keening (-1 to Enemy Invulnerable Save)
- Keening: It is said that when drawn, the white-metal swords produce a queer sound. A quiet yet pained note that tickles at the back of the mind, an oscillating note as if something somewhere is weeping in torment. Whatever strange providence imbues them with the esoteric property it seems tied to the infamous and inexplicable power of the Moraltache, for it grows to an ear-piercing wail when the blades make impact with what by rights should not be cut. Void shields crack and shatter like glass, barriers distend and warp before bursting and electro-magnetic arc away in fear of these strange weapons. Any model seeking to roll an invulnerable save against a wound inflicted by a weapon with this special rule is treated as having +1 to their save roll to a maximum of 6+.
Bane Mask: It is a hotly debated subject as to whether the 'Bane Masks' can be categorized as a true piece of technology in its own right or whether it is merely yet another eccentricity of the Second Legion. A Bane Mask is the name given to the unique masks of 'White-Metal' commonly integrated into the helmets of the upper-echelons of the Second Legion, faceplates which are invariably shaped into the likeness of some grotesque visage of unknown providence, each made unique save for the odd theme of pain and torment etched into the features. It is unknown what precisely is the meaning of the Masks, as they do not seem to be affiliated to any specific honor and appear inconsistently between the ranks, but it should be noted that there is an odd pattern noted among wearers that has led some to speculate as to the purpose and nature of the masks as something beyond mere aesthetic. Warriors wearing these masks are noted to be, for lack of a more rational term, lucky in the extreme. Records show near impossible parries, leaps which stretch a touch too far and a litany of wounds which by rights should have been fatal. The grimmest of these tales claim that in such cases, the Bane Masks accrue unexpected or unrelated damage at an unexpected rate as if to absorb the ill-luck of the wearer, only to appear at a later date undamaged. Such tales are difficult to disprove as the White-Metal is known for its bizarre resistance to pict-capture or even more conventional scrutiny and the Second legion is known for explanations without answers.
- An Independent Character HQ with the Legiones Astartes (Dawn Knights) special rule may purchase a Bane Mask for +10 points. Any model equipped with a Bane Mask may roll a single D6 at the beginning of an Opponent's Turn, on a 4+ the model gains the Eternal Warrior Special Rule for the duration of the Turn. This test may be passed on a 3+ on any turn that begins with the model within 12" of an opponent-controlled model with either the Daemon, Daemon of the Ruinstorm, Psyker or Brotherhood of Psykers/Sorcerors Special Rules.
Psyk-Out Munitions: Any unit may take Psyk-Out Grenades for an additional +5 points. Any unit with a Missile Launcher may take Psyk-Out Missiles for an additional +15 points.