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This is the starting story of a renegade chapter of space marines, forced to sever the ties of the Pax Imperialis in order to survive. No longer worshiping the Emperor, they instead revere the word of Contract, which guides them in their lives as Mercinaries.
The Space Marine Chapter that eventually formed the core of the Astartes Dorsai was a splinter chapter that broke off of another, much larger chapter, seeking to bring order to the far east of the galaxy, where the rule of the emperor was weakest. Selecting a system that, two centuries earlier, had been scouted by the Empire. The system itself had an unusually large number of habitable worlds, seven in total, which would support the marines along with the newly established forge world, Ichthius XIb. For generations this small chapter fought back the green tide of Orks, protecting the colonies out on the eastern fringe from destruction on numerous occasions. The chapter was on the path to making its name synonymous with destructive efficiency.
The interpretation of the Tacticus Imperialis is different with every chapter. The progenitor chapter that created the Astartes Dorsai found it as a superb guideline for common sense training, but too rigid to be used in real combat scenarios. By devising their own tactics, they became a devistating force, using tactics not associated with space marines. Many imperial governors referred to them as "Swamp crawlers" or "night fighters", and their flagrant disreguard of the Tacticus earned them the frowns of many of their battle-brothers. To them, honor in combat is another way for you to get killed, wearing impressive symbols is another way for snipers to pick you off. Fighting where and when the enemy expects it is a field day in slaughter for both sides.
When Horus began his Heresy, and warp storms tore across the galaxy, the chapter were hit far worse then most. Warp storms prevented any sort of long distance transit and messages, so communication was cut off. The forge world got caught in a storm and was scoured to the blighted earth, not a single machine remained on the planet. Several neighboring systems fell quickly to the ruinous powers, and had to be quickly exterminated to prevent the spread. Word reached them so late in the campaign, that by the time they were able to mobilize for battle, Horus was already dead, and what remained of the rebellious chapters had already fled to the eye of terror.
Without the forgeworld to supply them, the birth of the imperium and the inquisition, and the distrust forming between the chapters, the chapter seemed to be doomed to a slow and terrible end.
When the chapter tried to harness the seven worlds of the Dorsai system to support them they discovered a terrible fact, the scouting of the world centuries ago had proven false. The seven worlds were almost devoid of natural resources, making the planet only suitible for agricultural development according to the newly formed Imperium.
The Declaration Mercenaria.
For almost a century the chapter continued to assist in the defense of its remaining neighbors, gradually reducing its aid until all it could afford to provide was tactical advice. For almost a decade, the chapter did not have enough bolter rounds to supply a single tactical squad. When the marines were forced to work the fields with the civilians on the worlds, the Chapter Master called a meeting of his capitans to discuss their future.
He informed them that an imperial colony world was under attack by a tyranid splinter fleet, and has called for aid that they could not provide. He offered to aid as long as the world provided the chapter with as many weapons, vehicles and raw materials it could spare.
This caused outrage with the captains, it was the sacred duty of the space marines to aid without lent. Demanding pay makes them little better them mercenaries.
The chapter master then lifted the ancient scroll of the Pax Imperialis, which he had prepared for this conversation, and tore it to shreds before his capitans, he declared with a roar, "If by destroying this piece of paper that our worlds do not fall into decay, our geneseed destroyed, or the people of these worlds not consumed by the devourer, So be it. We have seen no aid from the empire that birthed us. It is time for us to cut the umbillical, and survive on our own."
While shocked, none of the capitans could argue this point. Many of their battle brothers had never seen combat, even more needed repairs to their power armor that not even their tech priests could handle without the right supplies, and bolter ammunition was worth its weight in thorium. The agreement was made, they had become the Astartes Dorsai.
The Contract Laws of the Astartes Dorsai
Formed almost fifty years after the declaration mercenaria, by the Chapter leader and the capitans, the Dorsai Mercenaries formed the standards of which they lived.
1. Surrender does not Pay
2. A Contract may be made for those who can Pay
3. Do not exceed the Contract.
4. Do not Ignore skill.
When the Astartes Dorsai formed, their organization spread quickly in their sector. There was much work to be had in such a dangerous sector of space. Aside from them, the closest chapter homeworld was Ultramar, who had more then enough problems on their hands, and many seek the aid of Space Marines during times of war. However, not all of these employers are human.
On several different occasions, the Dorsai had been employed by aliens. Documented are several with the Eldar, Tau, Kroot, and even the orks on occasion. There is even one time where they accepted a contract from the forces of undivided Chaos, but the corrupted beings quickly discovered the price of not paying the Dorsai (at the cost of the demon world they inhabited. How the Dorsai clensed the warped planet is a mystery, though many suggest eldar intervention).
This unusual acceptance of alien employment has also led to the Dorsai recruiting of aliens they find particularly skilled in the field of combat. Unwilling(or unable) to destroy a particular group of individuals, the Dorsai offer them to join their ranks.
This behavior attracted the attention of the inquisition (more so then usual), and the high lords sent a High Inquisitor to investigate this renegade (but not chaos worshiping) chapter. His investigations were carried out in utmost secrecy, forming a contract of his own with the mercenaries to learn more, at the cost of one thousand suits of new power armor fresh from Mars. This contract was for personal protection during staged diplomatic talks with the Tau empire over several disputed worlds.
Finding a fully functioning chapter of space marines, allied with several alien influences disturbed him, however what distressed him more were the stories of those who tried to wrong the mercenaries. Legends of Jaques Cretean and the Hive of Roshmoth are frequently referred. When a hive governor tried to escape paying the Dorsai by sending the contracted battalion to die against his enemies armored might. When the Dorsai had slain every vehicle of the rival hive, Hellmont, the Roshmoth elders hanged the Colonel, Jaques Cretean, claiming that Hellmont bribed the dorsai and that no battle had been fought.
The next day, Roshmoth and every living thing within it, was leveled to the ground. in the remains of the town center was placed a monument to the Colonel, to remind everyone the price of breaching the Contract.
Realizing that not paying the heretical marines would lead to disaster, he decided to try and fool them, by sending instead one thousand suits of powered armor meant for the Adeptus Sororitas, figuring that the space marines could not use them. This Inquisitor was later executed when the first sightings of women with the Dorsai symbol in sororitas power armor appeared.
Now the inquisition merely observes this chapter.It being too far away and too small a threat to declare a purging, for now the task of observation lays in the hands of the Ordos Xenos, who have filed reports that Orks, Eldar, Tau, Kroot and others have joined their ranks, though are in small number.
Thats the intro. Tomorrow's installment.... The Rules and Army List
Last edited by Zelnik; October 9th, 2007 at 09:36.
hmmmm..... ok where to start?
First i want to point out that your marines won't have been around during the heresy, the chapters of marines that we know today were formed afterwards as a direct consequence of the heresy. Before the Heresy, there were 18 known (and possibly 2 unknown) legions, these contained tens of thousands of marines each and were led by a Primarch - one of the emperors sons and a god amongst men. Its generally not a good idea to claim that your marines are one of the missing legions either, it tends to get frowned upon by the fluff police.
Another point is that, though warpstorms are terrible, they don't tend to destroy the factorium of a world then leave, they might suck the world entirely into the warp, or break it up completely, but to my knowledge they dont tend to just brush the surface clean, mostly they just make travel and communication to and from the world impossible.
Another thing is about the marines lack of supplies, im pretty sure that, although supplies would be thin, the imperium wouldn't leave one of its most elite and valued fighting forces without enough ammo to equip a tactical squad, if nothing else the closest forgeworld would deliver. I also can't see marines working in the fields, farmer maines? no, although the salmanders live and work alongside their human populace, they would be at least protectors an weapon smiths.
Marines don't work for aliens, they Kill them. Simple.
Likewise they dont hire them, any chapter that did would be purged immediatly.
any chapter that goes rouge is declared excommunicate tratoris and purged by the inqusition, usually with the help from other marines who really dont like it when there brothers turn traitor. you could say that the chapter has so far escaped imperial justice as it takes time for the imperium to respond, but judgement is comming.
Lastly, Female marines NO! females CANNOT be marines, its to do with genetics
Just food for thought so dont let this depressyou or stop you writing fluff!
Good work starting this stuff, and Seth has pointed some of the problems that you may want to work on in order to fix it up. If you're bringing women into power armor without the geneseed, you would probably run into a faith problem if you wanted to treat them like SoB.
Also, while contracting with aliens I have no problem with, contracting with Orks....well, their money is teef, as in teeth, as in the ones from their own heads. This keeps the Ork economy simple, but I'm not sure as to their bargaining abilities with other races. Could be a particularly clever ork.
First of all, this army is not to appease marine purists, so if you have major issues with them, cry me a river.
I never said the women were marines, they are just women who wear the power armor. they have their own rules.
Warpstorms have been known to destroy whole worlds, Medusa 5 is a fantastic example. while it is not common, it has been done.
Yes, its true that they don't need to have been as old as the heresy, but why not?
I would love to see the imperium attempt to purge something on the very other side of the galaxy. The last time they did that, the Tau repelled them. The imperium has more important things to worry about then a group of marines who sell their survices to the highest bidder.
Only space marines loyal to the imperium hate aliens, because it is what they are told. When your only hope for supplies lay with aliens, racial hate tends to be left behind. Not all marines are as insane as you think.
When it comes to being hired by Orks, Orks loot vehicles, ammunition and equipment which the mercenaries cannot get elsewhere. So they willingly employ themselves to an ork warboss who is willing to pay them in stolen equipment.
The inquisition is not as all knowing and all powerful as you think. If they were, then chaos would not exist. Suspend your disbelief for a moment.
The imperium as a whole has more important things to worry about than a thousand rogue astartes, groups like the ecclesiarchy and the inquisition, however, can let loose some of their own to deal with them though. (The entire weight of the imperium is n ot going to be bearing down on them, but don't believe that they are going to be left alone completely. Even the Soul Drinkers and Red Corsairs are hunted by parts of the imperium to this day.)
I would like to also point this out given that this is a space marine chapter:The above is the first guideline of the ones one of LO's fluff mistress's put down amongst the rules of LO. Yes, your chapter is renegade, but it shouldn't be to hard to tweak or add somethings to make it more appropriate for your chapter.Background information on your army, if not a standard codex army. Consider composing your information in the same style as the Index Astartes articles, including information on your armyâ€™s origin, homeworld, combat doctrine, organisation and beliefs. For Space Marine Chapters, a short note on the source of their gene-seed is also expected.
Also remember, this is the fluff forum, if your army has rules that go with it than those belong in the rules developement subforum with a post linking this thread to it. (Thats the fifth guideline in the ones Greph wrote down if I'm not mistaken.)
It just does not seem to add up from the very beginning, why would they break off to do what they could have done with an entire legion and fleet?
Of all the things to write about space marines, the above is the one thing I would delete without any question.
Seeing as this is currently taking place little after the heresy, these marines would mostly be fighting off traitor marines, eldar, dark eldar, and orks. Nids, tau, and necrons would not be around this early in the 40k timeline.
I think you may have to seriously think about just when this chapter of yours came to be and when they made some of these decisions.
Also, whether you be rogue or worshipping chaos, traitor is traitor in the eyes of the imperium.
Last edited by darkreever; October 10th, 2007 at 04:31.
Take my love, take my land, take me to where I cannot stand; I don't care I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.
"The difference between gods and daemons largely depends upon where one is standing at the time."- Lorgar
Member of the Fluff Masters Clan
Thanks for the constructive criticism and not flying into flaming
I will take it back to the drawing board...
some things though.
The nature of xenophobia i personally do not associate as a 'universal' trait. you can't really use the chaos marines as examples because.. well.. they hate everyone. The xenophobia is a stereotype, and there are always ones to break the stereotype.
The female power armor was sent originally as a dud payment, the inquisitor expecting them to discard the armor they could not use. He payed because he had seen the results of not paying (massive retribution), and worry about them later.
I recommend you all read the Taros Campaign to see just how difficult it is for the imperium to attack sectors in the far eastern parts of the galaxy. They are typified with nightmarishly long supply chains, lack of reinforcements, and little fall back options. attacking a single system would be quickly shelved in order to protect more important targets.
Again, the imperium is not all powerful, and nothing in the world is sacred
Sorry, trying to bring a little light in here.
What you have is well written, but your responses to the first critique were... provocative. There are indeed several issues with your fluff.
1) Time issues. According to "canon" (as useless as that word can sometimes be...), your Chapter cannot exist in the time of the Heresy. Also they cannot jump from the Heresy to fighting Tyranids. I'd rewrite the fluff to place them much further ahead in history- there's nothing in particular, from what I can see, chaining them to that era that could not be rewritten to fit in with established material.
2) Aliens. Gonna have to side with the majority here. CSM hate everyone, but SM still hate quite a few people... er, those things that they don't consider people anyway. Their mercy to the aliens and willingness to work for lesser beings is an issue. Speaking of which, I doubt a Marine could bear to beat his bolter into a shovel, or whatnot, and work in menial labor.
3) They escape the notice of the Inquisition too easily. No, the Inquisition is not all-powerful, but over the course of even a single millennia, to say nothing of the ten described in your fluff, they would respond to the Chapter in a big way. Once an Inquisitor has decided upon a course of action, little save his brethren can stop him. Or his own untimely death, in this case I suppose. In any case, the Chapter might consider becoming slightly more low-key.
Now, some good things. I like the idea of a Chapter going rogue and becoming mercenaries. Being on the Eastern Fringe in the middle of a Warpstorm would indeed make one difficult to supply. Therefore, I can see the Marines agreeing to this sort of way of life in a temporary sense, and getting sucked into it as a way of life as they discover their new freedoms. Or perhaps they decide to stay this way after encountering some brutal Inquisitorial 'betrayal' on the part of the Imperium.
Other than some stuff outlined above, your fluff is well written, explained, etc. It's very clear in most cases, and while they should not be in the Heresy, I appreciate you not making your Chapter uber-Marines who encounter no difficulties. That gets unbelievably boring.
Rewrite it, revise it, repost it. I personally would like to see more out of this. I find it helps to write a story out and really flesh out your characters in detail. That's only my approach, however.
Wow. I gotta say, I'm suprised how critised this idea was! I mean Darkrreaver, no offense, but that was soooo mucchh opposition and fething nit picking. but the basic jist I got from your LONG list of annoyances is that it's just that. Annoyances. You pracically picked this whole damn thing apart! Ok, so he got some dates wrong, so say that, instead of something like "Not to be prick or anything, but your totally wrong in everything stated above. ha ha" which is the basis of about all that you typed. and you critisied some things that he just made up. Like that imperialias thing, its obvious he MADE IT UP, which is all part of fluff!
Honestly, i think if you had just stopped chopping at every angle you could see, like "Your chapter rules belong in the rule forum" ( im pretty sure when they're done, he'll put them there) that you'd realise this is a pretty cool idea! note* if he is creating his own rules, then that means this isint even a fully fledged Space marine chapter! SO some of his points become auto valid because they are all the backing that exists*
I'd say that the whole chapter idea is a bit far fetched, and i assumed that after awhile the marines would have realised thier planets didnt have any natural resources, instead of them JUST finding out. I love the whole "Dont have shiny colors" "Pride gets you killed" and "Wear your f-ing helmet, always" theme of the army, and it's cool to imagine a rogue space marine chapter. There seems to be some controvery over your women in power suits, and im pretty sure those were sororitas suits, not the astartes version, so it is possible for ladies to be in those suits. You need to sorta show that,even after the marines get to that point where they dont need to keep mercenarying themselves out, that its become a part of who they are, and they do it for other reasons then need. I also enjoy the idea of marines being employed by other alien races, i think that after 11 milleniums, the xenophobia in the chapters views would have died down, at least somewhat. Hell, they could have been a liberal chapter to begin with, and just eventually gone with the flow, not caring who pays them.
Basically, i love your idea! It's very unique and original, but the thing was poorly written. Some cool fluff could cure your ills, and i cant wait to see some! Stick with your idea's!
PS. It really feels like this fluff is just based for the begining of a codex. Developing one for this?
One thing that I would say about the mercenary thing is to work out how it was slotted into the marines' rituals. While most of them don't directly worship the Emperor, much of the Imperial Creed and various xenos-hating tendencies are reinforced through hypnotheraphy treatments during a marine's creation. Given that pretty much all chapters don't understand the exact function of various parts of the creation ritual any more and have elevated it to a sacred practice, they couldn't take anything out of it without possibly cursing the marine involved and/or damaging the various processes that are used to trigger the implants in a marine. I don't see that there's a way around that particular problem, unfortunately.
And Alien, apologies for seeming to always try to stamp your comments out, I don't mean to in the slightest. You just always seem to be the most recent poster before I can get to things.
O no offence. I understand. And i also understand the purpose of helping people get a sure footing on the 40k fluff world. But over critiquing someones work where there's nothing but negativity and no positive feedback is no help at all.
with your creation ritual problems, a situation like that exists in Ben counters Soul drinkers book, where the marines lack the hypo indoctirnation. In the story, it leads to massive infighting, but stronger unity in the end. (Heh, sorry, i know how you dont like to mix books with fluff....even though they....eh, wont get into here )