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I am unfortunately quite inexperienced with Warhammer 40k fluff, but nonetheless I have written an article on the background of my DIY chapter, the Nebula Raiders, and I want to introduce them here. I know that many despise the entire "lost in warp"-thing very much and that my chapter's history is very, very unusual, but I fear I will stick to it nonetheless.
I would very much like your expert opinions on it, though, so that I know what other people outside of my gaming group will think of this. Thanks! I hope you can enjoy it anyways.
NEBULA RAIDERS - Pirates of the Imperium
A young chapter with a dark blemish in its short history, the Nebula Raiders aspire to glory. Many a campaign have they fought for the protection of Mankind, repenting and longing for forgiveness. Wherever the enemies of the Imperium threaten human lives, the Nebula Raiders stand ready to strike with lightning fast raids.
ORIGINS and HISTORY
At the Imperium's frontier, the Scarus-sector has always suffered from incursions by a variety of enemies. Ever since, the forces of Chaos have been the greatest of threats, and, in the absence of a reasonable density of Space Marine chapters as found in the innermost sectors of the Imperium, Imperial Command soon had to realize that they were unable to hold their own. The forces of the enemy would strike unforeseen, and the sluggish Imperial Guard would be unable to react. And when they would retaliate the enemy simply evaded any engagement.
A swift and elite strike force was needed. Quick to deploy and hard-hitting. A brotherhood of superhuman warriors in service of the Emperor. It is thus that with the 23rd Founding, the High Lords of Terra approved of the creation of a Space Marines chapter in the northwestern Scarus-sector, initially known as the Sons of Fortuna.
As many resources as could be mustered flowed into training and equipping the new Space Marines as fast as possible. The chapter grew quickly and soon campaigned alongside the Imperial Guard and Navy to cleanse the vicinity of Narua, their homeworld. The unprepared enemy was easily driven off and the Sons of Fortuna helped to establish an era of relative peace, and the attention Terra had diverted to Narua was again withdrawn, the fate of the region sinking back into oblivion.
But the forces of Chaos returned reinforced, releasing all their fury and launching a broad invasion, following a major Warp-storm reaching across the galaxy's border from the Halo-Zone beyond. Facing a threat as large as the one approaching without the hope for assistance from without, the region was doomed.
Being an attack rather than a defense force the Sons of Fortuna were caught in the most inopportune of situations. Knowing a last stand could not make a difference and following the tactics they had inherited from the people of Narua, the Sons of Fortuna withdrew all of their forces, escorting all those who had ships for transport into the Warp and leaving everyone else behind. The Space Marines aimed to bring the survivors to safety and then to return and once again strike the enemy unprepared, performing lightning fast raids in order to disrupt the enemy's advance and slow it down until help was to arrive.
But the light of the Astronomican is faint at the galaxy's rim, and the Warp storm further hampered orientation and the fleet of refugees was lost in the realm of the psychic. Clusters of ships gathered and clung to each other, trying desperately to find a hold in the middle of nought. The Sons of Fortuna had to realize that they could not return. That they had forsaken those they had sworn to protect. That they had bathed in sin and disgrace.
For centuries the Sons of Fortuna and those they escorted, the majority of which were forgeships from the Adeptus Mechanicus' Forgeworld of Serva, were lost in space. They were forced to accept their fate and make the best of it, adapting to their situation as well as was possible, plundering and salvaging every resource they encountered. From the Naruan refugees in the fleet they recruited and trained many a Space Marine in preparation for whatever fate lay before them.
Out of necessity the chapter was reborn. As the Space Marines felt they should dishonor the name of their goddess no more, they were called a name more fitting from this day forth: the Nebula Raiders, the pirates of the Imperium lost among the emptiness between the stars. Symbolizing their attempt to wash themselves clean, the Nebula Raiders wore power armor in unstained white, but with red shoulder pads reminding of the blood of the innocent clinging to them still.
And along with its name and colors, the chapter's organization changed as well. No longer were there companies from which to draw forces for every single mission, as it was impractical to maintain large-scale fluctuation between the ships. Instead the Nebula Raiders -following the example of the people of Narua- subdivided into largely independently operating flotillas under the command of experienced captains who met in a council.
When the chapter had weathered its odyssey and was once again able to make contact with the Imperium in 714.M41 the Nebula Raiders were significantly above a chapter's nominal strength and their organizational structure was what some may call a mockery of the Codex. A fleet missing in Warp for several hundreds of years and reappearing in an undeniably altered state was bound to raise extreme suspicion and the forces of the Inquisition grew unutterably wary.
But a war against an entire chapter of Space Marines is costly, and the power to battle them successfully was not given at the galaxy's edge. The Nebula Raiders returned to Narua unmolested but found their home world destroyed. In a holy crusade against their sworn enemy the Nebula Raiders -now forever bound to be a fleet-based force- turned towards the Eye of Terror, where they aided innumerable nameless Imperial armies in the battle against the Dark Gods.
Despite the Inquisition's doubts remaining unsolved and a thorough investigation yet to be conducted, the military is very grateful for the assistance provided by the Nebula Raiders and their acceptance among the Imperial institutions is slowly growing. For safely returning the fleet of the Forgeworld Serva, the Adeptus Mechanicus rewarded the chapter with the gift of a flying fortress monastery: the heavily-modified Ramilies-class spacefort Mother Eris.
Until this day the Nebula Raiders fight hard to save as many human lives as possible in order to repent for what they themselves call the Great Desertion. Their reputation is growing throughout the realms of Mankind as a reliable ally, striking fast and hard wherever there is a threat to Imperial citizens.
HOME WORLD AND ANCESTORS
More than 90% of the surface of the planet Narua was covered by water, with myriads of small islands and archipelagos as its only landmass. Due to the atmospheric conditions there almost always was a layer of fog and mist on the waters, hampering navigation and reconaissance.
The ancestors of the Nebula Raiders were sea-faring tribes rivaling each other in constant warfare. Each tribe was comprised of an entire fleet of ships of varying sizes and functions, and they survived by scavenging and plundering outposts or vessels of another raider clan.
Almost every clan had its base of operations, but it was common to relocate it frequently: if a rivaling fleet was too big to face the people of Narua tended to evacuate as much as they could bear and left off, leaving the enemy behind to either counter-attack or find another island as an anchor point.
Because of the fogs constantly hampering sight, the raiders of Narua's warfare is a history of sudden engagements where the defender is most commonly surprised. Their so-called hunting tactics relied on the fleet moving out in a loose chain and signaling acoustically once they ran into a prey of some sort, so that the rest of the hunting fleet would -one after the other- come to aid in the bloody assaults of boarding action.
The Nebula Raiders have been a fleet-based chapter ever since their homeworld Narua was destroyed. On their long way back to Imperial space the Nebula Raiders' organization has changed significantly. In order to survive, they were in need of small flotillas operating largely independently from one another, thus required to carry a mix of forces on their own, in order to scout ahead and find resources to salvage - just as their Naruan ancestors had done it too.
The chapter was thus subdivided into the Chapter Command and three fleets: Home Fleet, comprised of the ships that would stay very close to the escorted ships and act as the innermost bulwark, Border Fleet, comprised of the ships that would patrol the Raider-controlled space, flexibly assisting the chapter's other forces either acting as a first line of defense or supporting the offensive, and Attack Fleet, comprised of those ships who would stray the farthest from the escorted ships, conducting reconnaissance and attack missions and engaging in any battle where the enemies of the Imperium can be crushed or, more importantly, the soldiers and civilians of the Imperium be saved. The fleets are all headed by a battle barge, and the chapter is further subdivided into its most common unit of operation: the flotilla, each headed by strike cruiser.
Each flotilla is led by a captain, the captains of a fleet form the Fleet Council under the command of the fleet commander, known as the Lord of Home Fleet, Lord of Border Fleet, and Lord of Attack Fleet. These fleet commanders meet in the Chapter Council that also includes the chief chaplain, known as the Master of the Reclusium, the chief librarian, known as the Master of the Librarium, the chief apothecary, known as the Master of Purity, and the chief techmarine, known as the Master of the Armory. The Chapter Council is commanded by the Master of the Chapter.
Chapter Command has the fortress monastery Mother Eris and the two flotillas Shield (led by the strike cruiser Defender) and Armor (led by the strike cruiser Protector) at its own disposal, containing mostly by veterans. The Home Fleet is led by the battle barge Pride of Narua and disposes of the flotillas Durendan (led by the strike cruiser Penetrator), Dyrnwyn (led by the strike cruiser Perforator) and Excalibur (led by the strike cruiser Piercer), containing mostly terminators and vehicles. Border Fleet is led by the battle barge Eternal Vigilance and disposes of the flotillas Ma'at (led by the strike cruiser Justice), Osiris (led by the strike cruiser Death) and Sekhmet (led by the strike cruiser Destruction), containing mostly tactical marines and heavy weapons. The Attack Fleet is led by the battle barge Mutilator and disposes of the flotillas Red (led by the strike cruiser Lightning), Gold (led by the strike cruiser Thunder) and Blue (led by the strike cruiser Storm), containing mostly bikes, assault squads and drop pods.
Though the majority of the Nebula Raiders is comprised of Space Marines originating either directly from Narua or the few civilians that had escaped from the planet into the Warp along with the Sons of Fortuna, the chapter now recruits from a variety of different worlds, wherever they can muster suitable recruits, though water worlds are preferred.
In battle the Nebula Raiders rely on mobility and the element of surprise.
Landspeeders are their weapon of choice, resembling the fast attack boats their Naruan ancestors used to sink or board enemy ships or assault enemy bases of operations. These gunboats are highly revered, spearhead all of the Nebula Raiders' attack runs and perform a broad variety of functions ranging from fire support to reconnaissance. These are often complimented by squadrons of bikes accompanying the landspeeders, claiming strategic positions and engaging in close combat where it is necessary.
The standard procedure in battle involves a quick distraction with a small mobile force feinting an attack on a random flank, while the main force gathers to strike where the enemy is most vulnerable. By dividing the enemy army and focusing their entire force on one part of the enemy at a time, the Nebula Raiders often significantly outgun their opposition locally and therefore suffer few casualties.
If the enemy defenses are particularly strong and need to be crushed the Nebula Raiders often conduct a few hit and run raids to weaken the opposition before attacking it in a merciless all-out assault, using many tanks and drop pods. The Nebula Raiders' combat doctrine varies a little throughout their different fleets and among their different force commanders who have their individual preferences each.
The Nebula Raiders Space Marines are required to know the Codex Astartes, though not by heart. Since the chapter organization deviates significantly from what the codex requires, its rules are not entirely applicable to the Nebula Raiders. They have come to regard it as a set of helpful suggestions and recommendations.
The Nebula Raiders rever the Emperor as a great man and capable warrior but do not worship him as a God.
The only god worshipped by the Nebula Raiders is Fortuna, the Naruan goddess of destiny and fortune. The Nebula Raiders believe that every man controls his own fate, but they know that, in addition to even the most careful planning, everything is dependent on luck, and the Raiders pray to Fortuna to be blessed with all the luck necessary to fulfill their duty well.
The Nebula Raiders have also adapted their Naruan ancestors' belief that the souls of sinners are doomed to roam the darkness of the bottom of the sea into which the Naruan people disposed of the bodies of their dead. The Raiders dispose of the remains of deceased battle-brethren in deep space and fear that all their souls will be stuck in the blackness of the depths of the universe forever because of the Great Desertion, their retreat from Narua when their home had needed them the most.
But the Raiders believe that those who atone for their sins can achieve consolation in a minor form of salvation, as each soul a sinner saves will act as a beacon of light, warmth and hope in the afterlife. The Nebula Raiders often symbolize this by lighting candles on the memorial stones of their dead brethren for every few dozen or hundred human lives these had saved or enemies they had crushed, and the tides of little flames turning the Halls of Ascension, where the once brave warriors are remembered, into a sea of fire is a very impressive sight.
The Nebula Raiders firmly believe in truth and cooperation with all forces of the Imperium. They will gladly fight at anyone's side as long as it serves the purpose of either saving Imperial lives or hurting the enemies of Mankind, where they may even ally with one enemy to defeat a more dreadful one. They despise secrecy and self-imposed mystery, though, and will refuse to fight alongside any force that does not reveal its full intent or fail to share or lie about important information. Such occurrences often conjure the wrath of the chapter.
Above everything else, the Nebula Raiders despise Chaos and its dark minions. These are the sworn and foremost enemy of the chapter and will be killed on sight, regardless of losses.
The Nebula Raiders' gene-seed has been bred from those of the Hawk Riders whose founding chapter in turn were the White Scars. The gene-seed is stable and not known to feature any prominent flaws. Though the Nebula Raiders thrive on speed and fierce and ferocious combat it is unclear whether this is a characteristic inherent to the gene-seed or to the Naruan people, or the result of a combination of both.
BATTLE-CRIES AND PRAYERS
"For the candles on our graves!"
"There I shall meet my brethren and all those who fought at my side. They are waiting for me. In the Halls of Ascension, where the brave are immortal."
Master of the Chapter, Chapter-Master Tanadir of Narua
Lord of Border Fleet, Commander Rubinius Archer
Commander of Red Flotilla, Captain Achilles
Commander of Gold Flotilla, Captain Seregon
Master of the Armory, Forgemaster Robak
Master of the Librarium, Master-Epistolary Nestador
Master of the Reclusium, Master of Sanctity Zafar
Chief Apothecary, Master of Purity Para Celsior
Brother-Marine Saphiron, a plasma gun biker who weathered enormous amounts of gauss fire and defeated a Necron force as the last man standing, securing a strategically important position despite the captain's orders to retreat from the battle.
Brother-Marine Gorak, an attack biker dubbed "Bane of the Eldar" after defeating an Eldar general in close combat and deciding the next battle in favor of the Nebula Raiders by eliminating half of the enemy force with his squad alone, and cutting down an entire unit of Eldar guardians even after all of his comrades had been incapacitated by enemy fire.
Terminator armor going critical would be like Three Mile Island only very, VERY angry, and carrying a hammer.
LO rules in a nutshell: Don't post unit costs, be polite, rep posts containing of win.
Thanks for reading and commenting, rafis117!
My bike squad (sergeant with power fist, 2 bikers, 1 plasma bike, 1 heavy bolter attack bike) turbo-boosted up the flank of the Eldar as a diversion. The enemy did not fall for that and instead remained in position to intercept my main force, ignoring the diversion entirely.
That cost them, as Gorak's bike squad was just in range to charge a squadron of pathfinders in their crater. Two of them died from my bolters and heavy bolter, then I lost the two standard bikers to dangerous terrain, then I the remaining three pathfinders were killed in close combat. The bikes consolidated behind the crater.
Two guardian squads shot their EMLs into the bikes, the plasma bike fell. Gorak and his sergeant then risked charging straight ahead through the crater and shot the first of the guardian squads. A whirlwind tried to shoot the second guardian squad, but the shot scattered into the one in front of the bikes. The enemy wanted its missile launcher to stay operable, so only one of the crew models was removed - the second one proved to be just within assault range, though, as my bikes dared to charge right over a barricade. The remaining three guardians died in close combat, the bikes consolidated onto the other side of the barricade into cover.
The second guardian squad chose to move up, rapid-fire Gorak and his sergeant, and then assault. The sergeant died to shuriken fire, Gorak deliberately fell back into safety, avoiding the assault. He then regrouped, moved back in front of the guardians, shot three of them, killed two in the assault, received no wounds, forced them to fall back and caught them in a sweeping advance, though they were so close to the table edge that they had run from the board anyhow...
This is how it happened on the table-top.
Any tips on how you can explain a single model killing a lot of models in a sweeping advance fluffwise and believable? The Eldar retreat in panic, the surviving guardians run, but the attack bike runs two of them down, crushing them beneath its wheels, shooting bolt pistols left and right and taking them all out before they can get far?
P.S.: do you think the article is okay? I would appreciate your honest opinion. Thanks
ZOMG... That is the craziest mix of best and worst luck I've ever heard of...
Explaining it... Well, say that the Biker squad moved up and began tearing at the Eldar's flank (instead of the other way around like would normally happen) and then the flank and the bikers began tearing eachother up, and Gorak was the only survivor on either side, with a large number of kills to his personal credit as well.
Terminator armor going critical would be like Three Mile Island only very, VERY angry, and carrying a hammer.
LO rules in a nutshell: Don't post unit costs, be polite, rep posts containing of win.
Thanks for your suggestion about how to explain it fluffwise. Good idea to just zoom out a little and telling what was happening on a grand scale instead of getting caught up with the individual turns of movement and shooting and all that...
Actually it has little to do with luck. Considerung the courses of action me and my opponent had each decided upon, the outcome of each of the steps was entirely as one would predict. The craziness fully rests in the decisions made off the table, the dice just did their job.
Everything concerning the dice was just a little bit off, actually. The ranger squad was perfectly expected to get wiped out by shooting and assaulting from my bike squad. That I lost two bikes in the process was some bad luck indeed, but failing two out of five dangerous terrain tests happens once every six times, so that's nothing too unusual either. Getting a biker killed despite cover from two guardian EMLs is a little bad luck again, but wiping out a guardian squad with a whirlwind hit plus bolter fire and close combat from an attack bike and powerfisted sergeant is to be expected too, lies well within the averages for the required dice rolls. The whirlwind still hitting something despite scatter was due to the two guardian squads and dark reapers being clustered - I shot at the middle squad, so there was practically nigh impossible to miss, so it was actually bad luck that I hit the squad I needed to hit the least because it was going down anyway (no way it could win combat, and if it broke off it would have left the game because the models weren't much farther than 2" from the table edge). Losing only one wound to the eight shuriken catapults of the other squad is perfectly average too, bad luck for me that the sergeant had to die instead of the attack bike failing its save and losing one wound but me having both models left. The attack bike then failing its morale was not luck either, because I didn't even roll the dice: I used combat tactics and deliberately failed the test to avoid the assault. Me regrouping was automatic too, so no big deal here either. The attack bike then killing 3 in ranged combat is totally average too, and there is a good chance that they fail their morale check from shooting casualties, but they stayed. Killing two in close combat is a little lucky indeed (should only have been one), but they than failing their morale check was to be expected and their chance of being swept is 42% too - and even if they had not been swept they would have run off the table unless they had rolled about 3" or less for their fallback move...
Long story short: the outcome of this whole thing was actually very much predictable. It was my opponent's decision to ignore the bike squad, and my bike squad then killing off his three squads was not luck but the logical consequence. Ignoring this bike squad gave him the opportunity to ward off my main force and really put the hurt on hit, killing off other units that would have given him serious trouble, but entirely ignoring the bike squad is obviously not the best idea either...
I think the article is pretty good overall. Codex divergent but not too far. Knowing you run mainly bike armies I was a bit surprised to read that they come from a water world but it works out in the end. Maybe call the "attack" fleet the "raiding" fleet just to tie into the name and make it a bit more interesting. They do have quite an extensive fleet for being relatively young but its not too hard to explain. Overall it's good.
Oh and the mentioning of actual units from the game is a nice touch
Last edited by sultansean; November 30th, 2009 at 20:40.
Thanks, Sultansean, that was a very helpful statement.
Changing "Attack Fleet" to "Raiding Fleet" sounds like a good idea! Thanks for your comments and opinion. I know the fluff is pretty unusual, but I am very, very relieved it is within the bounds of the acceptable for others.
How come you know I play bikers?
Because I spend far to much time trolling the forum, when I should be fighting battles, or writing papers. You should do more battle reports and tie them to this fluff.
I'm a big fan of not being codex adherent, it's a big galaxy and chapters have had thousands of years to develop there own unique style. I also appreciate that they cooperate with the rest of the imperium there's a lot of xenos out there to kill so it will go quicker if we all work together.
Very impressive Red! I really like this chapter, and your ideas are very original. I've never heard of a Space marine chapter coming from a nautical culture before, but the Nebula Raiders have hit the nail on the head. I find the background of a piratical, raiding chapter really cool! The organisation of the Nebula Raiders is very interesting too, with all the different fleets and the chapter council. I am also very impressed that you have gone into such detail regarding your chapter, rather than just writing stories (there lies my shame), while still keeping such marvellous originality. It may be unusual, but it is very good indeed.
Do please keep it up.
2500 points of Empire for ToXG: Points painted for month 4: 0 Points painted overall: 510