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Now that my Imperial Guard army is finally (almost) built and had its first few games, I think I owe the community some fluff. I will post the hard, general facts here, and some time later I will provide a link to a short story describing the beginning of the war on Duglum XIII (the Birds of Prey's home planet and also the site of my gaming group's campaign the Battle for Duglum XIII) from the Birds of Prey's perspective.
The army this fluff is for consists of a company command squad and five veteran squads embarked on two valkyries (the Pegasus and Hippogriff) and four vendettas (the Ikaros and Daedalos, and the Hybris and Eschaton). It is my first Imperial Guard army and my first serious contact with Imperial Guard fluff. Comments and criticism welcome! Anyway, here we go...
The Shieldbearers Legion is the planetary defense force of the Imperial world Duglum XIII in the Duglum system, Vidrir-subsector, Finial-sector, Segmentum Obscurus. Located in the outer rims so far from civilization and being rather isolated and of little strategical interest, Duglum is a largely self-sustaining and relatively peaceful place being a combined agri, hive, water, and factory world -each to a limited extent- at the same time.
The planet's environment is quite hospitable when compared to the hostility of the various worlds from which the Imperium's fighting forces are usually recruited. And yet the Duglum Shieldbearers are not less adapt at fighting: the Orks, who do not care as much for the strategical value of a world as for the fighting its invasion will provide, frequently launch minor Waaaghs on Duglum XIII and have been a constant threat ever since, keeping the planetary defense force on its guard and in practice. And what they lack in experience, they make up for in amount and depth of training they receive, which -due to lack of pressure- rivals that of most other Imperial recruits by far.
The world's proximity to the border of the galaxy and to the Eye of Terror -and of course its population growth that is hardly kept in check for lack of threats- make it a choice location for recruitment into the ranks of the Imperial Guard, the Hammer of the Emperor. Many regiments have been drafted on Duglum XIII and shipped off for war in the Cadia region, and many are sent to reinforce other battle zones in the vicinity or the garrisons on besieged planets.
The Shieldbearers Legion owes much of its success to its swift air cavalry which is a renowned trademark of the planet's forces. In an experiment to assess the performance of massed air cavalry as a primary fighting force, the latest founding of regiments -only weeks before the Chaos insurgence in the Duglum system- included one regiment that was comprised of companies of air cavalry with their own gunships and assault carriers as permanent additions, breaking with the standard procedure of attaching such support units for the duration of single battles only.
This regiment was the Duglum 523rd Air-Ground Operations Wing. The core units of this regiment were an imitation of the Duglum planetary defense force's classical "elves", a nickname derived from the abbreviation of the official term Elite Landing Force: Shieldbearer veterans in their skimmer transports. Assistant units included other air-ground operations relevant equipment such as Thunderbolt fighterbombers and Hydra flak tanks.
The ELF's assignments were usually within the range special operations behind enemy lines: securing landing fields and establishing beachheads for the slower but larger and harder hitting battle groups, rescuing wounded or evacuating isolated combat units caught deep within enemy territory, or performing surgical strikes on key enemy emplacements far behind the front lines.
But despite having been officially inducted in the Imperial Guard, the Duglum 523rd never got shipped off-planet. Months before the Imperial Navy was scheduled to provide transportation, the Duglum system was turned upside down in the Night of a Thousand Rebellions: Duglum XIII was one of the planets that fell to the forces of the Warp as preliminary preparation for Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade.
For decades, the seed of heresy had silently dwelled in the populace. Cults had formed, especially among those in influential positions. Secret societies straying from their faith in the Emperor had slowly creeped forward until they had undercut every single institution and were in control over administration and military. For years these demon-worshippers had been planning their uprising, and long had they been ready to overthrow Imperial rule.
When the day came and the followers of the Chaos Gods revealed themselves, their coup met little resistance. Loyalists were caught by surprise and totally off-guard regarding an enemy from within. What opposition they could provide was easily crushed when the fleet of Chaos warlord Thadeus and his Black Hearts arrived in-system, timed almost perfectly with the rebellion.
As the planet fell to the enemy, the Shieldbearers were practically obliterated: a large part of them committed treason and defected to the heretics, as most of their higher-ranking personnel had long before been in the part of the enemy's secret circles. An even greater part was destroyed throughout internal conflict or trying to stand their ground against defective neighboring forces. Only few detachments had remained loyal to the Imperium, survived the Chaos invasion, and disappeared into hiding quickly enough to escape utter destruction.
And even of these soon only a few splinter groups remained. Venturing where hiding was best possible, many stumbled upon secret retreats of the Eldar -who had been guarding a slumbering evil on this planet long before the humans settled there- and were killed by the Xenos outright even before they could discover that those hiding places had already been taken. When the Chaos forces killed tens of millions in a mass sacrifice, the psychic cacophony of the ritual brought not only warp rifts and demons to Duglum, but also awoke what the Eldar had been watching over: the Necrons in their ancient tombs deep down below the surface became active and sought to harvest.
The once so peaceful planet having become a minefield, it helped only little that the Nebula Raiders Space Marine chapter's librarium had, too, observed the reverberations of the massacre, investigated the matter, and quickly deployed their entire chapter fleet to the Duglum system to battle the traitors. For the war grew in size, as the Orks did not want to miss out on the fighting, and even a tentacle of the remains of Hive Fleet Tiamet brought a swarm of aquatic Tyranids to Duglum XIII that ascended upon the shores and fed its way across the lands.
It is in the midst of these events, that the 11th company of the Duglum 523rd -the Birds of Prey- has supposedly remained active. First-in-command Lieutenant Colonel Bartholomew "Blue Bart" Quicksand is said to be a seasoned commander with the courage and determination to stand and fight, as well as the wisdom and experience to know when to withdraw. Though no centralized command among the various splinter groups of the loyalist Shieldbearers can be established, rumor has it that the Birds -designed to operate behind enemy lines- are fighting with all their skill and trickery to ward off the invaders to this very day.
Striking from the shadows, performing lightning-quick hit-and-run raids where they are least expected, the Ikaros, Daedalos, Hybris, Eschaton, Pegasus and Hippogriff fight the guerrilla of partisans and always disappear before they can be pinned, wreaking havoc among the various Xeno and Chaos factions attempting to gain control over the planet. And every time a convoy or task force suddenly vanishes under mysterious circumstances, bystanders claim to have witnessed huge shadows swiftly passing over the tree-tops, cast by huge metal birds of prey thundering across the skies...
Short story describing the coup on Mykonos (the Birds of Prey's home base) and how the Birds of Prey survived it is coming up. I will post here once it is done.
Haha its seems like everybody wants a piece of your regiment. Orks, chaos and even nids and necrons show up. It would be interesting to see how the black hawk down crew can come out of that situation alive and kicking.
"Hey sarge, this lasgun is heavy. I wish we had something lighter."
FF7: ABOUT RANDOM BATTLES
That's what (well, one thing among many) I like about my gaming group: a broad range of armies.
Thanks for your comment, KOS-MOS! I like your Blackhawk Down association, I keep getting it as well.
But luckily, so far, most of my birds remain up and functional, roaming the skies instead of littering the ground with wreckage. (Well, the vendettas do the latter a lot, but they use enemy vehicles for that, so hooray anyway.)
Still haven't had the chance to finish the story. Hope I'll make it sometime within the coming week.
Good stuff, but I think you need to clear up whether these guys are a PDF (planetary defence force) or Imperial Guard.
A PDF is a unit raised by the governing authorities of a world, kind of like any regular armed forces, and meant to provide protection in case the world is invaded. Depending on the budget, available resources and governors inclination they can range from peasants with spears to elite forces whose training and equipment exceeds that of the Imperial Guard, but they rarely leave the world they're raised on (if at all).
The Imperial Guard is the central Imperial armed forces, who are controlled by a high command responsible for the entire galaxy, and are shipped out to any warzone they're required in in massive transport ships. Imperial Guard tours of duty are generally permanent, and recruits won't often set foot on the homeworld again unless it's being invaded. It'd be extremely unlikely an Imperial Guard regiment would be left hanging around on their homeworld where they might risk deserting or putting down roots.
I would suggest one of two routes..
1) The regiment is a PDF regiment based permanently on the planet and who have now been overwhelmed as your story says. Assuming they survive, depending on how beat-up their world is and whether its habitable any more, they might become an Imperial Guard regiment ultimately, allowing you to expand the fluff to fight other opponents in future.
2) The regiment is an Imperial Guard regiment who happened to be close by when the rebellion hit and were called back to the homeworld to defend it. Maybe their transport ship was downed or something, and they're now cut off from high command, cue rest of story.
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; April 19th, 2010 at 04:06.
Thanks for your comments, The_Giant_Mantis!
So the story, as I had intended it to be, is the following: the Duglum Shieldbearers are the PDF. The Birds of Prey were part of it. But another Imperial tithe payment coming up, the Duglum 523rd was raised in order to be inducted into the Imperial Guard - and the Birds of Prey were made part of it. But while some of the regiment's equipment was still being manufactored and some of the companies still being recruited and trained, several months before the tithe was due and the transport ships were scheduled to arrive to take the regiment to a warzone, the forces of Chaos invaded Duglum XIII and the war began...
Just to clarify. So they are actually still PDF and have never yet fought as an Imperial Guard force, but they were to be inducted into the Imperial Guard as the 11th company of the Duglum 523rd regiment in a few months. Declared Imperial Guard, but not yet had a chance to actually live it, if you know what I mean.
Does that make any sense? Or do you think it just wouldn't work that way? Then I'll have to think about another option and will probably tend towards your first suggestion.
[Another fluff question, just in case: valkyries are incapable of space flight, right?]
First off, i must say, this is some well written fluff that i find to be very interesting. i like the backstory, especially their home planet, as there is too much, "blank" planet is a (insert forgeworld/hiveworld/agriworld here), and while i expect that most worlds are dedicated to a particular function, i like the unique idea.
second, ive not ever read anything to suggest valkries are capable of space flight, and i would suspect that their engine/fuel situation would not allow them to do so.
Thank you very much for your comments, Mushin!
I'm very glad someone else likes my fluff as well. I've updated it a little this weekend, but the updated version has not yet been translated to English. I'll have to do that as soon as possible. And finally finish the short story of course. Me and my empty promises...
Thanks also for the verification on the valkyries being incapable of space flight! (Regarding the fuel argument, though: I did not mean space flight like in space flight from planet to planet, but rather like in space flight from a carrier ship in orbit to the atmosphere. Anyway: still pretty sure they can't do that either.)