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History & Organization: The Black Gauntlets are an Imperial Fists descendant chapter, although the date of their founding is a mystery. The Black Gauntlets themselves claim that they are a Second Founding chapter, but no mention of them can be found in the records of the Second Founding. However, as many records from that period are incomplete this is not considered good evidence either way. The first time they are thought to be mentioned in Imperial records is in M32; in a single account of one of the battles of the 2nd Black Crusade, Astartes warriors whose heraldry matches that of the Black Gauntlets are described as holding a breach in a fortress wall to the last man, long enough for the position to be reinforced. They do not appear again in any known Imperial records until the Apostasy, where they are noted in several accounts as fighting alongside their brothers in the Imperial Fists and Black Templars in the Second Siege of Terra. After this point the chapter’s name appears more frequently in the Imperium’s records. It is a notable and puzzling fact that the Black Gauntlets posses all 19 functioning implants, unlike the Imperial Fists who have lost the phase 12 and 17 implants, adding credence to the idea that their founding was an early one, before the Fist’s gene-seed degraded, although it is unclear why their own gene-seed has remained intact.
The Gauntlets’ most holy relic is a single large armored gauntlet, charred and pitted as if by great heat, that they believe to be their Primarch’s, recovered from the Sword of Sacrilege along with Dorn’s skeletal hand (which is itself in the possession of the Imperial Fists), although it is unclear how the chapter came to posses it. The Black Gauntlets adhere to the belief that their Primarch still lives, having withdrawn after his supposed “death” to avoid unwanted worship from imperial citizenry and to attend upon the Emperor that he might better ensure the safety and health of his beloved father’s body.
The Black Gauntlets are known, as their Primarch before them, for their adherence to duty and capacity for self sacrifice. This has earned them a great deal of respect among the other institutions of the Imperium, similar to that afforded to the Imperial Fists. Their chapter is also known for an intense focus on the swordsman’s art, and their veterans and assault units in particular are well known for their skill at arms. Their powerful sense of martial pride and adherence to duty has occasionally led them to a stubborn refusal to retreat, even in the face of overwhelming enemy force, while this has sometimes given them victory in situations where none was thought possible, it has also occasionally led to unnecessary losses.
Believing that the Astartes have a duty to strive to serve as examples the Emperor’s ideals, the Black Gauntlets are warrior philosophers, with each marine encouraged to devote some of his time to honing his mind with scholarly pursuits. Many of Black Gauntlets pursue history, as the understanding the battles of the past can pertain to current campaigns, but philosophy and even poetry are not uncommon. The contrast between the tranquility of these pursuits and the ferocity of the Astartes at war is frequently considered unnerving by those few outsiders who bare witness to it, but the Black Gauntlets themselves do not see any incompatibility.
The Black Gauntlets’ homeworld of Ceradin Cor is a mountainous world in the Cygnus arm on the border between the Obscurus and Ultima Segmentums. Classified as a Civilized World by the Administratum, it has a small population of only around 30 million, mostly concentrated in cities located in the valleys and along the coastlines. The planet is otherwise wilderness, the mountains being too harsh and sheer to be easily settled or cultivated. The Fortress Monastery of the Black Gauntlets is located high in these mountains. Many of the chapter’s recruits are drawn from this world, among the population it is considered the highest of honors to become an Astartes, those who desire to take part in the trials must reach the Fortress Monastery on foot with nothing more then they can carry. From this seat the chapter nominally controls two other systems with populated planets; the resource rich Death World of Sigattius Cor, and the Industrial World of Talis Cor, these three systems compose the Cerdium Reach and recruits are drawn from all three. Although the Chapter Master of the Black Gauntlets technically holds command of these systems, outright rule is considered incompatible with Rogal Dorn’s concept that the Astartes not be governors. Thus while the Chapter Master bares the title of Lord of the Reach, true governorship rests with the Council of Stewards, elected officials from all three systems, and the Chapter Master is considered head of the council, although he rarely if ever acts in this role.
Only one or two companies are ever likely to be present on the chapter’s homeworld at any one time. For the rest of the time they are spread out in mobile fleet units. Thus the Black Gauntlets have been involved in actions in every Segmentum at one time or another, although most of their actions have been in the Obscurus and Ultima Segmentums. Traditionally each company of the Black Gauntlets possesses its own Strike Cruiser and group of attendant escorts. Of the Chapter’s three Battle Barges, on is assigned wherever it is needed most, one is the headquarters of the 1st Company, and the third is the flagship of the Chapter Master.
The Chapter Master of the Black Gauntlets is known as the Lord Commander; currently Lord Commander Itkovian is the Chapter Master of the Black Gauntlets. At over 900 years old he is ancient even by the standards of space marines, and only a handful of other Astartes outside of the blessed hulls of the Dreadnoughts can rival his age and experience. With his flagship the Malleus Caelestis Itkovian is a very active Chapter Master, personally leading almost as many combat actions as any of his fellow chapter officers.
Battlecry: We are His mailed fist!
Chapter Trait: Dutiful
Advantage: No Mercy, No Respite
Disadvantage: Death Before Dishonour
Colors: black, red shoulder plates, left plate trimmed in white.
77th Heavy Infantry “Shieldbreakers”
History & Organization: The Shieldbreakers are a regiment with a respectable history. The Shieldbreakers are drawn from the planet Arkan, a Hive World in the Segmentum Tempestus known for raising formidable line regiments.
Arkan itself is generally cool with abundant small seas interconnected by channels and rivers (both natural and artificial). It was settled in early M37 during the Imperium’s explosive re-expansion after the Age of Apostasy to take advantage of the very high mineral deposits found throughout the system. It soon became known for exporting high grade refined alloys to Forge Worlds in the Tempestus and Ultima Segmentums, but also for the production of quality electronics such as vox systems, auspexs, and scanners. Arkan also became home to a large Schola Progenium faculty, the Schola Triarius, which finds abundant progenii candidates among both the children of the wealthy and the orphans of the poor.
With the large population base of a hive world, Arkan is a prime candidate for raising guard regiments, and has developed a strong martial tradition. This tradition is reinforced by the practice of veteran troops being returned to Arkan once they have been discharged (a fate tragically few active guardsmen live to see) or dropped so far below acceptable levels of combat effectiveness that complete replacement of the unit is deemed more expedient than reinforcement. These veterans form a training cadre for both the guard recruitment centers and for the Schola Triarius, thus ensuring that new recruits are trained by experienced troopers, providing a solid veteran’s perspective for new regiments and reinforcement companies sent to regiments in the field.
In an unusual practice, the recruitment centers on Arkan operate continuously, ensuring a steady trickle of reinforcements for existing regiments. While the logistics of this process are nightmarish, the benefits are telling in the discipline, expertise, and survivability of Arkanen regiments in the field, and Arkanen regiments may serve for centuries, slowly cycling troops, the 5th for instance has served continuously for 2,000 years. Most have long histories and posses considerable esprit de corps. Arkanen regiments are mixed gender, Arkanen society making little distinction between the roles of the sexes, at ratios varying from regiment to regiment.
The presence of the Schola Triarius on Arkan greatly impacts the structure of Arkanen regiments, with most officers receiving training under the auspices of the Schola and storm trooper grenadier companies serving as integrated components of Arkanen regiments. Commissars are also commonly interspersed throughout the command structure of these regiments, further bolstering the professionalism and discipline of Arkanen units.
The 77th numbers 5,000 men at full strength (although on combat tour, this number usually hovers around 4,250 depending on reinforcements rates and recent combat), divided into 20 companies of 250 men each. Out of these, the 1st through 12th are standard heavy infantry, the 13th and 14th are the recon companies, the 15th through 17th are permanently attached storm trooper companies from the Schola Triarius and the 18th through 20th are armored companies permanently attached to the regiment (Arkan raises no armored regiments, instead attaching them in company strength to the infantry line regiments).
This design is fairly typical Arkanen regiments, and is intended to ensure flexibility and effectiveness as frontline assault and breakthrough units. On the other hand, the composite nature of such regiments further compounds the logistical challenges that already exist from the reinforcements they receive. As a result, Arkanen regiments often face supply problems.
The 77th was founded in 823.M41 to answer the increasing unrest across the Ultima and Tempestus Segmentums in the wake of the First Tyrannic war, (including the many unexplained incidents that in hindsight might be attributed to the slowly reawakening Necrons). As such, the 77th is “young” by the standards many Arkanen regiments. The regiment has served in many conflicts across these two Segmentums, ranging from small “brushfires” to larger campaign actions, including helping to take up some of the “slack” during the Badab War while over a dozen Astartes Chapters were drawn from other duties into that conflict. The regiment acquitted itself ablely, though unremarkably. It has only been in recent years that the regiment has earned true notoriety for its capabilities and exploits.
Currently, the regiment is commanded by the redoubtable Colonel Maximilian Rhiane. Rhaine is a very skilled commander with considerable experience, and is known as an extremely capable tactician. He is recognized for carrying out cautious probing action followed instantly by vicious simultaneous attacks against whatever weak points are revealed. His career has only been marred by mild censures for repeatedly overextending his unit with regard to overall strategic plans, often driving his regiment miles ahead of the general advance. Considered the “heart and soul” of the regiment, it was under his command that the 77th breached the resolute defense line of the traitorous defenders of Sarpidon XII at the Battle of the Majov Breakthrough, cracking in under 3 weeks a defensive position that had held back the 56th Imperial Army Division for 3 years, and earning the 77th their renowned sobriquet of “Shieldbreakers.”
Special Weapon Squads
Colors: green fatigues, black flack armor, white embellishments on troopers, gold on officers.
Well, that’s what I have written for my first two armies, I must say I am very proud of it, fluff is one of my favorite parts of the hobby. I have been fine-tuning the SM fluff for a while, and I just finished the IG fluff (so it might still change). I am going to start working on background for my Inquisitor next. I would welcome any input or comments from my fellow LO members.
Last edited by Just_Me; May 23rd, 2008 at 05:03. Reason: minor corrections from posting
Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay;
The worst is death, and death will have his day.
-Shakespeare; King Richard II