Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

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Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby kojibear on Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:37 am

The Other Dave and Me in Japan mentioned that it is great when Space Marine chapters have a more unique or flesh out story. So I thought for those that are interested in such, you might like to share information about chapters that fit into this category.

I'll start with a chapter I only came across recently and thought was cool. The Celestial Lions.

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These are supposed scions of Rogal Dorn, but have developed a more brotherly and compassionate doctrine. They got on the wrong side of the Inquisition... :? ...oopsy...after an Inquisitor ordered a planet they had just spent months liberating, exterminatus. The Celestial Lions thought that a few days was not really enough to judge that the entire civilian population was corrupt and that the inquisitor was just a tad too...err...spirited in his efforts to purge the unclean and had taken the 'unclean' part a little too literally. I mean, hey, it is hard to find the time to bathe in a war zone. But instead of just turning their guns on the inquisitor and voxing in to the inquisitor and saying: "Hey, exterminate that planet we just spent months and many lives liberating and we will liberate you out an airlock.", the Celestial Lions thought going through the right channels to have the inquistor slapped on the hand by the Mums and Pops in the council on Terra would be much better. Oppsy... :? Yep, that didn't happen. The ship the Celestial Lions sent with representatives to Terra to make their case never arrived, found two years later way off course in Ork space with not a soul on board. The Celestial Lions were a bit peeved about that, but were not ready to let the matter rest. Unfortunately, neither was this particular cell of the Inquisition ready to let it go. Nope nope nope. When the Celestial Lions headed to Armageddon to do their bit to defend the souls of the Imperium, the Inquisition thought, "Hey, let's screw these guys over and show everyone what happens when you mess with the Inquisition. Cause, you know, no one expects the inquisiton." So began a major screwing over of the proud and honorable Celestial Lions. Misinformation, sabotage of munitions and transports, deployment orders to kill zones without expected support and the infamous 'Ork snipers' - inquisition assets hidden among ork forces that sniped all but a few of the last remaining Celestial Lions apothecaries and leaders. And so it was that an entire chapter of space marines had been depleted to under 100 marines. If it had not been for the intervention of Chaplain Grimaldus of the Black Templars, the chapter would have decided to rush the Orks in order to go out in a blaze of honor and glory. Instead they went out in a hopefully non-suicidal tactical sortie to kill an Ork warboss. As fate would have it though, only a single Celestial Lion survived, Squad Sergeant Ekene, who had fought with Grimaldus to defeat the Ork Warboss. Grimaldus forced leadership of the Chapter on the reluctant sergeant and the Black Templars presented Ekene with an ancient set of space marine armour and even a ship and some Black Templar marines to ensure that he return to the homeworld of the Celestial Lions to start rebuilding the chapter. Unfortunately, the Inquisition have long memories, probably due to their photographic implants, so that was not to be the end of the disagreement between the Inquisition and the Celestial Lions...

The Celestial Lions' home world is a depiction of Earth's African continent, hence the lion epithet and iconography. They have also have a distinctive ritual of sitting around a campfire before battle to share stories of past deeds and heroics. The grander the tale, the more respect given to the teller.

I really like these guys. Compassionate, noble, determined, a love of story-telling but with a habit of being a little too righteous - yep, I dig these guys.
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Re: Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby The Other Dave on Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:27 am

Arrgh, I had a whole effortpost about how the Nihilus book does interesting stuff showing how different chapters integrate (or don't) their primaris marines differently, but a network error ate it. I shall rewrite it later this evening!
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Re: Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby Primarch on Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:07 pm

@Koji - I see that they finally got around to fleshing that story out a bit. I think it was originally just a side-bar style bit of fluff in a marine 'dex, but it looks like Black Library made a short story about it. Cool.
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Re: Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby The Other Dave on Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:48 am

Weren't the Celestial Lions the chapter they created for the RPG? It's always cool how they flesh stuff out - the Sons of the Phoenix (mentioned in the thread this spawned off of) get a whole page writeup in Vigilus.

Speaking of, here's mark II of my effortpost about marine fluff in said book. I've been reading it through the lens of a recent interview with Phil Kelly (worth a listen - their relaunched official podcasts have been really interesting hour-long deep dives with Studio people) where he talked about how the writing surrounding primaris marines has been both intentionally created to add conflict-driven points to hang stories on and intentionally created to not push non-primaris marines to the sidelines and to allow gamers to keep using their old marine armies without having them made obsolete by the fiction. As sort of an example, they go into some detail in the Vigilus book about how a couple chapters are (or, as the case may be, are not) integrating the primaris marines they got from Mars into their wider chapter structure, and showing some different points of view different chapters have about their new recruits.

First up was the Dark Angels, who, unsurprisingly, react to primaris marines with extreme suspicion. They basically have primaris marines operate entirely independently from "real" Dark Angels, often in straight-up suicide missions, and are in no hurry to initiate them into the chapter. On Vigilus, their primaris units (unlike the Ravenwing and Deathwing) operate more or less alongside other Imperial units and, like the other Imperial units, have no idea what the heck the Ravenwing and Deathwing are doing zipping around attacking targets and withdrawing during battles on their own recognizance. The chapter sent a primaris lieutenant as their emissary to the general Imperial war council, and eventually he straight up admits, with mostly-hidden bitterness, that the plans of the Ravenwing and Deathwing are "not for the likes of one such as him to know". So that's one end of the spectrum - chapters seeing the primaris marines as unasked for and suspicious "gifts" that don't share their chapter's culture and values, having them operate independently of non-primaris marines, which (again, entirely deliberately) allows players who don't want to use them to say "well, my chapter / the leader of this strike force is suspicious of primaris marines and doesn't use them" and have it be a fluff-supported choice.

On the other hand are the Crimson Fists, who were down to their last 50 or so marines when a whole demi-chapter of primaris marines showed up on their doorstep, literally saving their chapter from oblivion (much like my own chapter of choice, the Scythes of the Emperor). While there was some grumbling, in general the chapter leadership did everything they could to actively initiate the new primaris marines into the chapter culture, going so far as to send them off to the Fists' homeworld to take part in their blooding ritual where they hunt down a ferocious beast and slay it to earn the right to paint one hand on their armor red. So in direct contrast to chapters like the Dark Angels you have others who actively try to integrate these new guys into the chapter and its rituals and culture. So you've got chapters who could have primaris marines and non-primaris marines fighting side-by side if that's your deal.

And, of course, there are four page-long write-ups of Ultima Founding all-primaris chapters and how they're making names for themselves and carving out chapter identities even in the mere hundred or so years they've existed. All four are actually, as far as I can tell, fan-created (or at least created by GW employees as part of an informal in-house "create a chapter" challenge they had a while back), which is pretty cool as well.
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Re: Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby YellowStreak on Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:55 am

I've always liked the Mentor Legion, before they got retconned into just another far-off secretive chapter.

They have a chapter number (888) that originally belonged to another chapter (Star Scorpions) who got lost in the warp and had corrupted geneseed. As a result, the Mentor Legion was founded with new geneseed. Are there any other examples of a chapter number being reused?

In their original fluff, they kind of come off as a pre-Deathwatch Deathwatch. Their geneseed 'flaw' makes Mentors all tactical geniuses, and as such they are rarely deployed en-masse, but loan squads of marines to imperial forces to act as battlefield commanders or advisors. Their elite cadre were the most elite of Space Marines, acting as 'special forces'; performing a number of important semi-military roles, from counter-terror operations to undercover missions and be capable of dealing with threats outside a normal chapter's field of expertise. They also seem reasonable and rather non-religious for Marines -- they don't name their weapons and don't ornament their armour.

Their deployment style also means they gather great experience and expertise on the fighting formations and tactics of all Imperial forces and as also used for testing new imperial technology.

On top of the above, their Chapter master, Nisk Ran-Thawll has had a private audience with the Emperor. What was discussed is unknown.

So why do i find them interesting? Add up the following:
• Elite of the elite space marines, trained in covert operations
• Equipped with the Imperium's most cutting-edge advanced technology
• Experts in the strategy and tactics of all Imperial forces.
• Secret audience with the Emperor

and to me they sound like the exact weapon one might use should something like the Horus heresy or a large-scale revolution reoccur, to both conduct battles against formerly friendly forces with a deep understanding of their likely strategy and tactics and to cut of the heads of rebel forces through the use of the most advanced special forces in the Imperium.

So maybe they're not so much a pre-Deathwatch Deathwatch, but a different type of Imperium special forces. If Grey knights are anti-chaos special forces and Deathwatch are anti-Xenos special forces, then perhaps the Mentor Legion are the anti-Imperium special forces.

While refreshing my memory for this, i saw that a Mentor is a major character in the "Spear of the Emperor" novel released last year. I'll have to check it out to see if they have expanded the fluff at all...
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Re: Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby kojibear on Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:04 am

@Prim - Actually I went ahead and read that short story. Quite short as you would expect being 'short'. Not too bad, but really it was Grimaldus who was the star. :D The Black Templars are quite interesting. Helsreach really gave them a bit of colour if you know what I mean. :)


@ToD - The Dark Angels reaction to the new Primaris marines can be expected. I guess they treat the new marines as neophytes in terms of how much is hared with them. Well maybe that is a bit exaggerated. The Primaris additions would be treated as any other Dark Angel who has just been given a black carapace, and that means telling them nothing. But I believe some of the Primaris would have been marines who actually lived during the Heresy and were put in stasis during their transformation. I wonder what they think? :?:

By the way - were there any interesting all Primaris chapters that you read about in the Vigilus book?

@Yellowstreak - Mentors - the secret service of the Adeptus Astartes? Their flaw of all being tactical geniuses really sounds quite err...flawless! I wonder how their social skills are though? That new book with the Mentor as a main character may answer that question. :)
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Re: Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby The Other Dave on Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:33 pm

kojibear wrote:By the way - were there any interesting all Primaris chapters that you read about in the Vigilus book?

Of the four outlined I like the Sons of the Phoenix best - not just because they're obviously Emperor's Children geneseed, but also because they're a lot more closely allied with the Ministorum than most marines, which is interesting. That and they have a thing for lighting the enemy on fire and then walking right into it. There's also the Necropolis Hawks, that are sort of a dedicated urban combat chapter (with a cool color scheme), the Void Tridents, yet another blue chapter that specializes in boarding actions, and the Castellans of the Rift which are pretty fairly generic.

I get the impression (and I'm no lore fiend so I dunno) that the DAs are treating the primaris even more suspiciously than regular new recruits, not even really letting them be in the same warzone as Ravenwing and Deathwing. I've read and heard elsewhere that the primaris who were woken up from being on ice since the Heresy generally have a harder time than "newly decanted" ones fitting in, as they'll have had basic indoctrination and training into a Legion and may find themselves assigned to a successor chapter with a very different culture and approach to warfare.

There's also a whole thing about "Grey Shields," which were Legion-sized formations of primaris marines Guilliman used at the start of the Indomitus Crusade, marines from all different gene-stock fighting together, and only later divvied out to their respective chapters or used to found new ones.
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Re: Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby YellowStreak on Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:48 am

kojibear wrote:@Yellowstreak - Mentors - the secret service of the Adeptus Astartes? Their flaw of all being tactical geniuses really sounds quite err...flawless! I wonder how their social skills are though? That new book with the Mentor as a main character may answer that question. :)

Well they are superhuman military history and tactics nerds, so they undoubtedly have great social skills :lol: and their chapter battlecry is probably "Well actually..."
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Re: Space Marine Chapters with Interesting Stories

Postby kojibear on Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:59 pm

YellowStreak wrote:Well they are superhuman military history and tactics nerds, so they undoubtedly have great social skills :lol: and their chapter battlecry is probably "Well actually..."


Nice! :lol:

@ToD - That Necropolis Hawks paint scheme is pretty cool. Being of Raven Guard descent, I thought their name might have been Crow Shields or somewhat. ;) Expert urban fighters - I imagine elite special ops. Who dares wins! I wonder if being so bulky is a bit of a hazard for stealth though. ;)

All good stories need conflict, so I am sure Black Library authors can use the attempted integration of the Grey Shields into their new chapters as good source material.
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