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Below you will find a complete description of my own Adeptus Astartes Chapter [I can hear the moaning - not another Chapter!]. They have a curious history and organization, as their initial concept was that it is a Space Marine Chapter from the Cursed Founding whose Gene-Seed is based on recovered Raven Guard seed from the Heresy (yes, that's bad). Later their history and concepts evolved, primarily due to the fact that I game-mastered a long 40k RPG campaign in which the creation of the Chapter was the background. Players influenced many aspects of the chapter's character and history, among others the young chapter's recruitment sources and initial alliances. Later the Chapter got entangled in politics of local noble Houses and Navis Nobilite clans, which in effect made them indebted and forced the chapter to acquire and use corsair patents extensively. On top of that, the whole Chapter got in trouble because one of the players decided to be a secret Nurgle cultist when already being the Magos Geneticos working at the Chapter's Gene-Seed, which added the Chapter its nice sticky flavour. Yes, the whole Chapter started living its own life and became something quite different than I planned. Even the chapter combat doctrine changed with time. Initially I planned the chapter to use only jump pack troops, scouts and scout devastators, yet later I acquired very cheaply some non-jump pack models from Ebay and painted my Epic 40'000 army in Raven Angel colours. In effect they became more orthodox than I planned, as they started using Land Raiders, Rhinos and Tactical Squads. Also, in the RPG campaign the Raven Angels started fighting onboard ships extensively so the use of non-jump-pack squads became mandatory. Finally, I had to adapt the combat doctrine to the existing situation. So, this is the end-product of a few years of madness. The sinister sons of the Raven Guard changed into the arrogant Raubritter of the 41st Millenium. Have fun reading.
PS I don't think you are bored enough to read the whole thing anyway
'If you wish to be victorious, learn to suffer, if you wish to live, learn to die.'
– Dante of the Raven Guard
A Dire Age
During the last days of Goge vanDire and his Reign of Terror, when the troops of the Confederacy of Light were closing in on Terra, far away in the Segmentum Tempestus the Raven Guard Chapter had their own problems. For over a century they were trying to acquire new Gene-Seed from the Adeptus Mars, as their own Gene-Seed pool was in a rapid decline. Technological failure, contamination and battle-losses reduced the Chapter's Gene-Seed pool to a state where there existed a real threat that the Chapter would go extinct. All companies were under-strength and the political fragmentation and general turmoil in Segmentum Tempestus only added to the general misery. The Chapter Master called a council and gathered representatives of three other Raven Guard relatives who were in similar trouble – the Raptors, the Revilers and the Black Guard. It was decided that a special delegation was to be sent to Terra in order to acquire the necessary Gene-Seed. The delegation was to adress the Lords of Terra directly, as the negotiations with the Adeptus Mars failed on every other occasion. It was believed that bribery and favour with other Chapters who supplied larger Gene-Seed tithes caused the Adepts of Mars to ignore the Raven Guard pleas. The delegation was also to talk with the Inquisition to prevent an investigation into why the Seed-tithes were so low. Head of the delegation was Raven Guard Senior Techmarine Martinez and Raven Guard Veteran Sergeant Dante, who on many other occasions represented the Chapter as diplomat.
The Pilgrimage of Dante and Martinez
They began their long pilgrimage to Terra and arrived shortly after Sebastian Thor had finished his work on Terra and was already on his way to other sectors that needed his presence. He was unable to help in the negotiations with the adamant priests of Mars who still refused to give away Gene-Seed to the Raven Guard. The delegation addressed the Lords of Terra as planned, but received nothing but signs of sympathy. The Lords of Terra were freshly nominated by Thor and mostly inexperienced in dealings with the Priesthood of the Machine. The Adeptus Mechanicus was at this point too powerful – not only did they have most of the young Lords under control but they had also won political prestige during the fight against vanDire. There was little the delegation could do. Bribery did not work despite the monstrous corruption in the Halls of Terra and Mars. In an act of desperation the delegation went to the Inquisition for help. The Inquisition was at this point entangled in the cleansing of the Ordo Assassinorum (see: Vindication Wars) and had little resources to spare for the Raven Guard, yet a young and daring Inquisitor with the codename Sabathiel noticed that the delegation could suit his personal plans. He belonged to the small and obscure Ordo Astartes whose task was to map all known Astartes Chapters and ensure their genetic purity. For years Sabathiel was eager to enter the Adeptus Mars Gene-Libraries yet access was always prohibited for various reasons. He decided to use the Space Marine's desperation and skills to get at his prize. The Raven Guard entered a dangerous game which could eventually mean the end of the Chapter, should the Inquisition uncover the Raven Guard's impure dealings during the Heresy (see Index Astartes Raven Guard), yet they were desperate enough to try.
The Flight of the Raven Angel
Their first target was to acquire a ship capable of bearing Gene-Seed safely. The Adeptus Mechanicus was supposed to supply a convoy as was normally the case and the delegation had no time to return to Deliverance and ask for one. Yet the occasion was at hand: the Adeptus Mechanicus always kept a number of long-distance cruisers for the sole purpose of transporting Gene-Seed tithes and Adeptus Astartes implants between Chapters and Mars. These ships were specially equipped with laboratories and special storage banks which would not only grow implants and Seed over the time of travel but would also provide the necessary instruments to monitor their development. Because at the time the Imperial Navy was going through the process of removing any remnants of old-imperial obsolete ships and mass-producing the Lunar pattern, some of these old ships were going into the martian orbital drydock for deconstruction. One of these old warhorses, a scarred and heavily modified Slaughter class cruiser, caught the eye of the delegation. Its name was the Raven Angel, a name which Dante believed was a sign from the Emperor himself. Thanks to the help of the infamous corsair Lucien Ma'Caella and a local smuggler-baron named Crawler important documents vanished from the Mars Libraries; documents and maps explaining where the Adeptus Mechanicus kept their off-Mars storages and laboratories containing Gene-Seed. Before the Priests were able to react the Raven Angel broke orbit and escaped into the warp together with the documents. Lucien was nominated captain, Dante the tactical officer and Sabathiel became the coordinator of the operation.
A long and exhausting pursuit begun. The Raven Angel visited all the Adeptus Mechanicus research labs where it was believed that Raven Guard Gene-Seed was stored. All evidence of the visits were erased together with the labs. This was Dante's personal revenge on the Priests of Mars. Over the span of twenty years more than seventy research labs were plundered, lanced and fusion-bombed. Meanwhile the Adeptus Mechanicus was desperately trying to hunt down the Raven Angel which became marked as Excomunicate Traitoris. The Raven Guard delegation was of course accused of having a deal in this madness, yet to prevent that the Techmarine Martinez stayed behind on Terra to cover the Raven Angel's back. He won the friendship of the Imperial Fists who aided him in the negotiations with the Mechanicus. Slowly a compromise was being worked out – the Priesthood would supply some Gene-Seed to the Chapter as a lease and the tithes would be delayed by two hundred standard years. It wasn't much but it was always a good start.
Meanwhile the Raven Angel managed to gather a lot of Gene-Seed and other Astartes pattern implants. Yet there was no Raven Guard Seed in any of the visited labs. The captured Seed was secretly sold to the corresponding Chapters. There were dealings with Flesh Tearers, Dark Angels, Imperial Fists, Silver Skulls and many more. All were eager to buy the Seed and keep the whole operation quiet. Finally, while studying through the stolen documents, Sabathiel stumbled upon a strange information of a Space Marine training ground being deserted in M32. The notes mentioned that this operation was never approved by the Adeptus Mechanicus and that the base commander was supposed to be a Raven Guard Captain by the name of Averos. The base was marked to be visited by an explorator team yet the note also mentioned that due to bureaucratic issues the team was never sent and a complaint was issued in M35, that was a thousand years before their time! It seemed that noone ever visited this place. Sabathiel became very agitated, the whole operation being a great success anyway. Dante's was very reluctant – he knew of the shameful dealings of his Chapter and he knew that if the Inquisition uncovers this past, the whole of the Raven Guard line would be in peril. He could not kill Sabathiel as there would be people on Titan who would miss him and ask questions. This would possibly point to their actions. Dante was unsure how much information Sabathiel left behind. He decided not to return to Terra, as this could give Sabathiel the opportunity to consult this issue with his superiors. In the end Dante and Sabathiel excavated the old base. They found that the local trainees turned first on their superiors and then butchered one another in death-frenzy, leaving the base forgotten and deserted. This was truly a Raven Guard training base which functioned even after the end of the Heresy for some reason. Yet all the Gene-Vaults were intact and in stasis. They found enough Gene-Seed to produce over six hundred Space Marines, an astonishing find; yet it was not known how much of it was pure, if any. At this point Dante decided to make his move, before it was too late. He imprisoned Sabathiel, mind-scrubbed him and let him loose at Cadia while sending to Terra information and proof of Sabathiel going mad and becoming a traitor, which he eventually did. This made any of his subsequent statements questionable.
Back on Terra Dante and Martinez decided to load the Seed and the implants onto a private trawler they bought and sent the ship together with a supply convoy for Bakka. From there it would be a short way to Deliverance, the Homeworld of the Raven Guard. Dante went with the convoy to ensure the operation would succeed. Meawhile Martinez decided to stay behind and finish negotiations with the Adeptus Mars. He later vanished, together with the Raven Angel, never to be seen again. It is rumoured that Martinez and Lucien decided to visit the rest of the bases on the list, but at some point their relations got sour. Lucien killed Martinez, hid the ship inside an asteroid field and used his new fortune to buy himself redemption from sins, the title of Lord Commander, a wife of noble standing, a planet on which they lived happily ever after, planted gigantic pumpkins planetwide to feed the Imperial Guard at Cadia and make even more money. Or so the story goes.
The Dream of the Raven Angel
Back on Deliverance it was decided to check Dante's Gene-Seed for purity. Out of personal pride Dante never told his Chapter Master of where he got the Seed from. In fact, to ensure the operation a success he mind-cleansed himself before the return to Deliverance. Soon it turned out that 85% of the Gene Seed was pure and the surprise was even bigger when the Adeptus Mechanicus convoy sent by Martinez arrived with Martian Gene-Seed for all the four Chapters (Raven Guard, Raptors, Revilers and Black Guard) and the new agreement. Now the Chapter had more Gene- Seed than they needed. The puzzlement was great and Dante was immediately mind-scanned, yet they found nothing. The only information they got out of him was that he worked together with the Inquisition to obtain the Seed (which was true) and that they mind-cleansed him (at this point Dante believed it himself). Dante was praised as hero and a long dispute begun what to do with the remaining Seed. The more cautious members of the gathering advised to freeze the Seed and leave it for another dark hour, the source being suspicious. Some even said to destroy it. Yet at this point Dante interrupted the gathering and spoke of a dream he had the night before the gathering.
He said: I dreamt of an angel with black wings, alabaster face, white sword in one hand and a black penitent flail in the other.
'It is Corvus Corax, our holy Primarch!' - exclaimed one of the gathered. All were astonished and looked at Dante who started to speak slowly as if in trance:
'The angel came from the Throne in the sky and landed lightly nearby a black tree. The tree was withering and it bore no fruit. The roots were rotten and sickly. A sad, old and grey raven sat on its branches...'
'We are the tree, the tree is the Chapter! It is a message from our long lost Primarch!' - exclaimed some. Many fell on their knees and prayed to the Emperor.
Dante continued: 'With the white sword the Raven Angel cut off a branch from the black tree and planted it in the ground not far from it. Immediately there grew a grey tree which bore fruit and the old grey raven flew to the grey tree and ate the fruit from it. The raven immediately became young and healthy. It returned to the black tree which, when I turned back to face it, healed immediately. The black branches begun to shine again and it bore fruit. Many ravens came and fed on the fruit.'
At this point Dante collapsed. The commotion was great, you can imagine. For two subsequent years the Astropaths of the Chapter and the Librarians together with the Chaplains tried to explain the dream and mind-probed Dante's mind and soul for any sign of corruption. Yet in the end they had to give in - Dante seemed clean and the vision bore no sign of Chaos. It was decided that the vision was real, that the Emperor and Corvus Corax had helped the veteran sergeant and the lost Martinez to acquire the Gene-Seed. There were many interpretations as to this vision though, yet Dante insisted that his interpretation was the only real one. After all it was him who was given this dream. He spoke of the corruption of Terra he witnessed and that the Chapter need take their fate in their own hands, guided by the Emperor's Light and free from the 'Machinations of Mars'. He spoke of the creation of a new Chapter, based on part of the recovered Gene-Seed. The new Chapter was to support the Raven Guard with Gene-Seed and be primarily a secret Gene-Seed factory which could even help proliferate the creation of new Raven Guard Chapters. This interpretation was received with mixed feelings. This action would be against Imperial Law. After all the Raven Guard had committed crimes against the Emperor before. Yet in the end the Chapter Master together with the elders of the Chapter univocally yet reluctantly accepted it. The Raven Angels Adeptus Astartes Chapter was born.
It is not known whether Dante really received his vision in the form he said. Perhaps he went insane after his self-cleansing, perhaps he was truly blessed. The Inquisition confirmed in later millenia that they did never mind-cleanse a Raven Guard sergeant by the name of Dante. Perhaps records were destroyed, perhaps they never existed. The fact is that the story of the Raven Angel got into the official Raven Guard canon of myths. And it is believed true. What else is important?
'The Gaerox Sector, Regicida in common tongue, is one of the strangest socio-political entities in the Segmentum Tempestus. It is full of anarchy but also of a peculiar elastic stability with an ever-shuffling but stable hierarchy. It was invaded and overrun countless times, but never truly conquered.'
- Imperial Emmisary Svorsa when asked by student about the Regicida
The Birth of the Raven Angel
The Chapter Master got in touch with a group of trusted renegade Adeptus Mechanicus under the leadership of a certain Giskard. This peculiar brotherhood was more of a company of ex-Adeptus Mechanicus freelancers and mercenaries rather than true zealous acolytes of the Omnissiah. Their equipment was maybe not of the best quality, but they had enough knowledge to be able to pass as real Priests of the Machine God (they even had a stolen Warlord Titan!). They were believed lost in the warp for many decades now and Giskard wanted it to stay like that. Now they were excavating old forbidden Adeptus Mechanicus bases in the Gaerox Sector.
The Gaerox Sector, famous for the Gaerox Prerogative in M34 (crossref. Gaerox Prerogative/ Bakka), was an Emperor-forsaken sector with a large number of inhabited low-tech agri worlds and small ore mining colonies. Since the Prerogative the Imperium was barely able to keep control of it. Officially four noble houses had divided the whole star cluster between themselves (Borya, Ursines, Hoenstoev and Dracke). Imperial Control was nominal, separatist republican sentiment strong and despite the closeness of Gaerox to Bakka, the Bakkan Lord Commander was reluctant to install another Sector Governor. Every former attempt to do so ended soon in tragedy for the new Duke (tragic shuttle accidents, reactor meltdowns, food poisonings and spontaneous human combustion to name but a few). The Lord Commander of Bakka was at some point running out of loyal nephews and cousins who would be ambitious and stupid enough to take such a title. So he left the whole Sector to the four houses - as long as they paid the minimum tithe he would stay out of there. Soon the whole Sector earned a very bad reputation and was called by ordinary people 'Regicida' – home to the Kingslayers. Pirate activity was abundant. It turned out to be the perfect place for secret operations.
Dante was once again sent as diplomat and he quickly persuaded the Adeptus Mechanicus and the leaders of the local regicidan houses to support the project. The Adeptus Mechanicus were stunned. In their dreams they would have never thought they would attain the honour of working on the creation of an Adeptus Astartes Chapter. They immediately agreed. Furthermore, the local houses were promised favorable recruitment opportunities into the new Chapter in return for resources and total secrecy. Having family members in the Marinecorps is an honour for the whole family and a source of prestige. They agreed. A secret base was set up and production and training commenced soon.
Twenty eight years later six companies of Space Marines and seven companies of Scouts were ready, battle hardened in fights against local Orks, Eldar, rebels, pirates and other scum. The Chapter was born. Dante was renamed Kyvanes and appointed Chapter Master of the Raven Angels. They were ready.
The Raven Angels's main colour is grey. This is to reflect the Vision of Dante – the grey tree. The armpads are white as a sign of the white sword that planted the grey tree and a sign of purity. On the left pad they bear the Chapter Signum – the Black Raven of Corvus Corax. On the right they bear their names and squad markings. The Aquila on the cuirass is black, whereas officers wear it in bronze.
There is no distinction between veteran and sergeant – all those with special honours bear a white helmet as marking and are expected to be able to lead squads to combat. The Great Banner of the Chapter represents a tall white man with raven-black wings, white sword in the right hand and a penitent flail in the other, as in the Vision of Dante. At his feet lie daemons and mutants. The man wears a penitent robe.
The Curse of the Raven Angel and the Great Regicidan War
Soon after the Chapter's creation it became apparent that it is cursed. A great rebellion errupted in the Regicida, house started fighting house, the ore and food tithes were cut. The Lord of Bakka lost patience and sent an entire legion of the Karelian Imperial Guard to the Sector to restore order. The Raven Angels took part in a crusade to destroy the rebellious Republic of Peloponesis Secundus yet after three years of siege they had to withdraw. The Raven Angels lost two entire companies of battlebrothers in the cityfights. The stain on their honour was great and they weren't even able to exterminate the rebellious planet as unknown infiltrators sabotaged all planetary bombardement devices. As if things weren't bad enough at this point, the Ursine family started plotting against members of other families inside the Chapter's ranks. In return the Chapter invaded and occupied the Ursine's best-developed world of Firenze, which they claimed at this point as their Homeworld. They also took the Ursine's firstborn son into their ranks and trained him into a Marine, which effectively made the Chapter the heir to the Ursine domain. This move entangled the Chapter totally in dirty Regicidan politics. They were never truly able to sever this link since. The other houses became wary of the expanding Chapter, yet they were not able to do much because of the Raven Guard, who in the meantime were able to persuade some enormously influential and extremely corrupt bueraucrats on Terra that the fact that the Chapter of the Raven Angels was not registered with the Register Astartes was a clear misunderstanding and a fault of some low officials. The official papers and permissions were supposed to be delivered in 112.M36. Heads rolled, thrones changed ownership and the Raven Angels were officially recognized. At this point the Regicidan nobility had to bend over to the will of the Chapter. During the ill-fated Lansraad gathering of 289.M36 (a Lansraad is the official gathering of regicidan houses) the Raven Angels arrested, excommunicated and executed all those regicidan noble family members who were believed suspicious. Three weeks later a great warpstorm erupted enclosing parts of the Regicida (it was called the 'Corona' due to its ring shape which surrounded the star cluster like a crown). Strange warp entities started materializing and the Alpha Legion appeared from nowhere and attacked the startled houses and Marines. Casualties were great, Kyvanes was beheaded at the battle of Spartacus by the Chaos Lord Tancred the Serpent. The Chapter became trapped under siege inside the only hive city on the surface of Spartacus. The Alpha Legion bombarded, raided and assaulted the stronghold for a year. The Raven Angels held out but at this point the true nature of the curse materialized. This is something only the Chief Apothecary, Master Librarian, Grand Master and the Chaplain of the first company know about today. The rest was mind-cleansed afterwards. Battle-brothers started mutating during the course of the siege. The power of Chaos was unleashed upon the Chapter through this strange warpstorm and here the weakness of Dante's Gene-Seed showed itself. Some of the brothers became ill, grew a single horn from their forehead and their eyes melted together into one after a few weeks. They caught the Rot of Nurgle and slowly started turning into Plaguebearers. Bloody cityfights erupted inside hive Spartacus as the Chapter desperately tried to cleanse itself from within while defending themselves from the Alpha Legion assaults. Fortunately the Imperial Guard of the Karelian Legion arrived in time to aid the oppressed Marines. The cityfights ended under the command of the second Chapter Master - Maximilian Zantir, who was able to exterminate most of the plagued. Seven infected battlebrothers fled into the warp onboard a stolen corvette. It is the Chapter's highest priority to find out the fate of these seven. So far none have been found. Years later the Librarians of the Chapter were able to track the source of the taint to a certain Adeptus Geneticos from the Giskard Brotherhood who were responsible for the creation of the Chapter. Her name was Sanara Vitra and it is believed that she was a secret cultist of Nurgle who realized the weakness of Dante's Seed and poisoned it. Sanara vanished soon before these events, never to be seen again. After the dust settled, the remaining Marines and Karelian Guardsmen forced the Alpha Legion into retreat but were unable to pursue. Out of gratitude for the rescue the guardsmen were mind-cleansed, rather than killed. They had seen too much and could betray the Chapter to the Inquisition. The population of hive Spartacus was erased with nerve-gas to clear out any contamination and memory.
The Great Regicidan War raged on for the next ten years and during this time the Chapter was reduced to a mere three hundred battlebrothers. Later they were not only unable to send the promised Gene-Seed to the Raven Guard, but they decided not to do so in order to prevent the possible contamination of the Raven Guard with the accursed Gene-Seed. This brought them in conflict with the Raven Guard and on occasion, to battle. No deliveries were made and the Raven Guard officially cut any links to the Raven Angels. Thus the Chapter was left alone and had to fight for survival. The Adeptus Mechanicus was very reluctant to support a Chapter with a name of such a bad reputation as the Raven Angels. Enormous bribes had to be paid and the Chapter got even more political at this point. They hired corsairs to be able to pay for Astartes pattern equipment, Seed and implants. Eventually they launched corsair attacks at convoys themselves, always ensuring that noone ever escaped.
With the advent of the 41st millenium the Raven Angels are again at full strength, with almost a whole star cluster at their command. The Ex-Adeptus Mechanicus Brotherhood of Giskard still continues its existence in secrecy and serves inside the Chapter so the Angels always have someone with minimal Adeptus Mechanicus knowledge and support. The Chapter is in good relations with the Lord Commander of Bakka and served on many crusades (about half of them were penitential by order of the Inquisition for various reasons). Yet the Curse of the Raven Angel persists and returns every once and again to plague the Chapter. Nobody knows today and most fear to ask whether Dante's Vision was a saintly or a hellish one. The Chapter endures and serves the Emperor loyally, that is seen as important.
'You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.'
- Inquistor Kynobi on the Regicida
Firenze is a rocky, volcanic world with breathable atmosphere. There is one, large continent which is inhabited only on its southern shores. The rest is ravaged by frequent storms and is enormously difficult terrain to settle due to the mountainous shape of the terrain itself and volcanic activity. The ocean is black and poisonous due to local microfauna. The Chapter maintains its fortress-monastery in orbit of the planet together with three other battlestations and an orbital shipyard. Recruits are trained on surface in the mountains and on the nearby Death World of Kegara.
The combat doctrine of the Chapter is close to the original Raven Guard Doctrine - lightning surgical strikes at key points with vast amounts of orbital precision lance support. Heavy equipment is shunned due to its slowness and the fact that the Chapter is quite poor in heavy machinery. Over the years the Chapter adapted to the specific fighting conditions inside the Regicida where the Angels stay for most of the time (and they're very busy all the time, Regicida is never boring). There is an immense number of conflicts on local scale which are hard to extinguish, guerrilla warfare is permanent and most fights the Raven Angels enter are totally asymmetric with the guerrillas preferring to flee and hide. Thus the Chapter specializes in hunting and elimination of key leader figures, always aiming at destroying the ringleaders of the rebellions. The Chapter never splits due to the fear that smaller detachments without proper control could easily fall victim to the Curse. Some companies specialized therefore for various tasks, as in most cases it is only a few companies that are required to finish the task at hand. See below...
' Oh, but we are most devoted to the Emperor of mankind. And we have never supported piracy.'
- Chaplain Augustinus during dispute with representatives of the Ecclesiarchy
whose pilgrim convoy was found plundered, mind-cleansed and brainwashed into a state of permanent religious ecstasy
The Chapter ignores mostly the teachings of Roboute Guilliman and adapted their organization to reflect their style and needs. They have thirteen companies, six of which are scout companies. The first company consists mainly of veterans with jump packs. The Chapter owns twelve Terminator suits presented as a gift in M36 by the Raptors and the Revilers as a sign of friendship, before the Raven Angels got in conflict with their Primogenitors. The second to fourth companies consist mainly of tactical and devastator squads, deployed by Thunderhawk or drop pod but also having access to Rhinos if needed. Their prime specialization is starship combat though. Fifth company is the armored company which consist of a squadron of ten Land Raiders (questions to the origin of these Land Raiders are not welcome) and three Vindicators (again, no comments) and some assault infantry. These are deployed only on occasion and mostly on parades (where they are believed to be most effective). Sixth and seventh companies are reserve companies. Eight to thirteenth companies are scout companies, mostly adapted to starship combat.
As for the ranks inside the Chapter, it was mentioned that they do not have a distinction between Veteran and Sergeant. One can only become a Sergeant of a Squad if he becomes a veteran first. Because most of the figthing is done by the first and second companies, these have the largest amount of veterans who are then sent to other companies as sergeants. The main reason why only veterans are appointed positions of leadership is that the Curse manifests itself usually three to fifteen years after the installment of the Black Carapace. This way veterans, who are usually promoted to the veteran status after twenty-five years of service, run a very low risk of becoming plagued and force entire squads into submission to Nurgle as happened in the first place on Spartacus. All battlebrothers are therefore on trial period from the installment of the Carapace to their elevation to veteran. All those attaining the rank of veteran are expected to have good leadership qualities. Veterans are marked by their white helmet and are called Comites, Patres or Seniores. Veteran squads are deployed as specialist task units and only in situations when there is no unnecessary threat to them. Usually they keep in reserve and enter combat only in the most critical moments. This ensures a high survivability of veterans, which keeps a well trained cadre of experienced officers intact. This also ensures the favour of the local regicidan houses whose sons serve in the Raven Angels and get elevated to senior status earlier and more often. The houses would not look kindly upon unnecessary deaths of their finest breed.
Despite Imperial regulations the Chapter maintains a relatively large fleet. This is partially owed to the good relations with the Lord Commander of the Naval Base at Bakka and partially to the large numbers of Rogue Traders fighting officially as mercenaries under the Chapter Banner. Of course, these 'mercenaries' are well-paid, most of them loyal (don't cross the Chapter!), all are of local regicidan breed and in contract for many lifetimes. Most such contracts are signed unto the death of the grandchildren whose life-expectancy is strictly monitored, counted and included in the corsair contract. The core of the Chapter fleet is represented by the Battlebarge Corvus Corax which was given to the Angels as a gift by the Raven Guard. After relations got sour the Raven Guard demanded the return of the Battlebarge but the Angels obviously refused. Many battles were fought over this ship but it ever since stayed in Raven Angel hands. The second most senior ship is the venerable Styx Heavy Cruiser Storm Raven, believed to be given as a gift by the House of Ma'Caella. The Chapter also maintains a large proportion of corsair vessels which are used to hit enemy convoys, neutral shipping and unlicensed imperial convoys. By 'unlicensed' are meant those that do not owe allegiance to Bakka nor pay any protection tribute to the Angels. The Lord of Bakka of course gets his share of the plunder and in return provides corsair patents, permissions and the occasional blind eye. Everybody is happy, even the plundered as they are mind-cleansed shortly after the raids into a state of holy perpetual bliss.
'Maneuver ship to low orbit, fire three lances at Capital when in position. Then ask again.'
- Chapter Master Maximilian Zantir after receiving a negative answer to the proposed peace solution.
The Raven Angels adopted most of the beliefs and myths of the Raven Guard but their 'world-view' was heavily influenced by the so called 'regicidan perspective' , that is an over-emphasis on personal honour and pride, local loyalty (Chapter and family first, then comes the Emperor of Mankind). The fact that the Chapter is recruiting from among the quarrelsome and warlike noble houses of Regicida only adds to its specific character. Despite strict discipline in the ranks of the Chapter duels are common and many brothers bear dueling scars. Furthermore, many Raven Angels are proud, arrogant and extremely stubborn, which sometimes affects their combat effectiveness. There were also numerous cases where young nobles recruited into the Chapter were able to bypass Imperial Astartes Conditioning to some extent and retained some of their personal house loyalty. This led on many occasions to conflicts inside the Chapter and censorship by the Inquisition. The Chapter was also forced on numerous penitential crusades for crimes against the Imperium and general misbehavior. They happily entered these crusades every time as the common belief in the Chapter states that the Chapter is cursed by the 'Madness of Dante' and must make penance for the sins of both the Raven Guard and the Raven Angels (which only infuriates the former). Many brothers ritually practice bodily mortification. Yet this never restrained them from the simple joys of good food, music, wine, war and piracy. They are not debauched in any sense, but rather value life in a nobleman's stoic way (which is even more irritating to other Chapters). The Raven Angels do not value riches – they merely acquire them to keep the Chapter alive (and a modicum of luxury). With the prevalent 'siege mentality' hoarding behavior becomes quite a strong impulse and has on occasion clouded reason. Yet still the Raven Angels stay devotedly loyal to Emperor and Imperium, despite the occasional lapses in manners and self-control.
The Chapter's Curse manifests in the Gene-Seed. It is believed a secret Nurg cultist - the Adeptus Mechanicus Sanara Vitra of the Giskard Brothehood, who helped in the creation of the Chapter, is partially responsible for the problems encountered and the spread of the Nurg Rot during the battle of Spartacus.
Implants often degenerate and have to be replaced by new ones or by bionics. A large proportion of the Chapter is heavily cyberneticized, although they try to conceal the fact out of shame. Very seldom cybernetic implants are visible – most are hidden below synth-skin or simply under the armour. The Apothacarion is keeping a very close watch on the level of degeneration inside the Chapter. They also seek a cure for the Curse, until now without success. Allthough Nurgle's Rot did not appear again on a mass scale after the Spartacus Disaster, the constant fear of 'the plague that eats souls' is always there and brothers keep a close watch at each other for any sign of corruption. Despite their vigilance once in seventy years there is an outbreak of plague and the infected brothers are usually sent to the Apothacarion where they undergo ritual suicide, their bodies given to the Apothacarion for study. Sometimes, in dire need, it was known that brothers were frozen in stasis and released upon the enemy as twenty-four hour shock-troops, after which the explosives in their bodies activate and melt the brothers in a ball of superheated gas. In this case they are gathered together in special units and led by the Chaplain
The largest technical problems experienced is the faulty Black Carapace implant – many brothers are unable to use it in order to connect to Power Armour. This explains the large proportion of non-power armour troops in the ranks of the Chapter. The 'faulty' are usually used as scouts and those with veteran status are promoted to take part in the doctrine and combat training program for new scouts. Many are also trained to serve in the Chapter Fleet as officers. The most ruthless are promoted to Rogue Traders.
'Mors in Gloria! Gloria in morte!'
How doeas an army of Raven Angels look like rule-wise?
You read until now? Wow, respect. Now because the rules change so often (and I really doubt anyone would want to make such an army) I will not write anything. The general idea is known, flaws as well. If you have any ideas, Iwill be glad to listen.
Last edited by Tzar_Katztic; March 23rd, 2009 at 21:41.