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I got into 40k through Dawn of War and fell in love with both 40k and Fantasy after reading some of the books. I do some writing of my own, and I'm working on some fan fiction about a Chapter of Space Marines I've created. I've just painted my first two miniatures too, and really enjoyed that so I thought I'd post the background for my Marines to see what everyone thinks.
The Doom Tigers were one of the first successor Chapters created after the Second Founding. They were commissioned to protect the Osweald system and it's important forge world from Chaos incursions due to Warp Storms that were predicted to appear in the system. Planet Osweald's defenses once included a mighty Titan Legion, but during the Horus Heresy the legion destroyed itself after half its number turned to Chaos.
Brother Godric was chosen to be the first Chapter Master and legend has it that Godric stood before the Emperor himself and was charged with the defense of the sector. Caring little for speculation and idle chatter, Godric has never confirmed nor denied this rumor but many among the Chapter believe it is true.
The Chapter maintains strong relations with both the leaders of the various planets and organizations within the subsector. Godric foresaw that such ties would be critical to the survival of the subsector if the Warp Storms cut Osweald off from the rest of the Imperium. The Doom Tigers are based on planet Osweald's solitary moon, which had been terraformed then abandoned for centuries for unknown reasons.
The Doom Tigers were created using Blood Angels genetic material, most likely tithed from one of the Second Founding Chapters. The techpriests of Mars sought to correct the flaws in the geneseed, and they succeeded to an extent. They were able to significantly reduce the occurrence of the Black Rage and Red Thirst, but at a heavy price. It was quickly found that rather than eventually being able to suppress the Red Thirst or be somewhat controlled by a Chaplain in the Black Rage, Doom Tigers who succumb to either go berserk and kill anything that doesn't kill them first, including their own battle brothers. When one succumbs to such frenzy if he is not killed quickly then the condition may begin to spread to other Marines.
For this reason, Godric tasked the chaplains and librarians under his command to try to find a way to help control what he called the Death Frenzy and prevent its spread when a Marine was overtaken by it. Through decades of research and field experience, secret rites were developed that helped decrease the likelihood of the frenzy. The only part of these rites known outside the Chapter is plainly evident when the Doom Tigers go to war.
In order to master themselves, the Doom Tigers constantly take themselves to edge of reason when in combat. An Inquisitor sent to investigate the enigmatic Chapter wrote that while they work themselves into an almost berserk rage before and during battle, any Marine who is thought to be succumbing to the Death Frenzy is quickly identified through unknown means and subsequently eliminated, by his own battle brothers if necessary. She hypothesized that by taking themselves to the edge of madness and learning to control their fury the Doom Tigers became more resistant to the Death Frenzy.
The librarians also developed special techniques to shield their brother's minds from the psychic energy emanted by a Marine taken by the Death Frenzy. Thus, no sizeable force of Doom Tigers ever deploys without at least a chaplain and a librarian.
For over four hundred years, Godric led his Chapter and commanded the defense of the sector against orks and other savage aliens. Then the Warp Storms came. As predicted, much of the subsector was isolated from the rest of the Empire. Over the next two hundred years, the Doom Tigers fought almost continuously to thwart the daemons and other creatures of the Warp that the storms spit into reality.
Seeing that the Space Marines were the subsector's only hope, the Master of the Forge pledged to supply the Doom Tigers with the best weapons and artificers the forge could produce. The governor of the subsector made all the worlds under his control available for recruiting new Marines to replace those lost in the battles against Chaos.
The Doom Tigers, along with the Imperial Guard and Planetary Defence Forces of the subsector, suffered heavy casualties during this first Warp Storm. Godric fell defending the forge from a massive Chaos invasion of planet Osweald just before the storms began to abate. He was interred in dreadnought armor and continues to serve the Emperor as such.
Over the millennia, the Doom Tigers became legendary heroes on the worlds under their protection. Godric, in particular, came to be viewed as a mighty hero who appeared in the darkest times to level righteous fury against the enemies of mankind. The Warp Storms appeared several more times throughout the Chapter's history, and each time the Doom Tigers held back the forces of Chaos while suffering staggering losses themselves, but each time the storms subsided they rebuilt their strength in anticipation of the next storm.
Brother Godric continues to serve the Emperor and protect the subsector even after thousands of years in his mighty dreadnought armor. He has served as an advisor to the Chapter Masters who succeeded him and is viewed with a sense of reverence and awe by his battle brothers. He has an array of weaponry at his disposal, but rarely chooses to go into battle without both his dreadnought power fists. Mighty weapons in their own right, the fists serve mainly to house his primary weapons, three retractable lightning claws mounted on each. Under his left fist is a heavy flamer and under his right is the storm bolter he sometimes wielded in life. Both weapons are sanctified and use holy fuel and ammunition, making them effective against the daemons and other Chaos minions of the Warp.
Countless enemies have fallen to the mighty dreadnought and ever has he been able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Being the most experienced warrior in the subsector and a brilliant strategist, he is often called upon to command the overall defense of the subsector in times of great danger.
This is a good start to your fluff but there are a few things that need some work.The "Red thirst" and "Black rage" are closley guarded secrets, I'm shure the mechanicus is aware that the BloodAngel geneseed has a mutation in it but they have no idea of the results.The techpriests of Mars sought to correct the flaws in the geneseed, and they succeeded to an extent. They were able to significantly reduce the occurrence of the Black Rage and Red Thirst, but at a heavy price.They would never let an Inquisitor see that stuff. If one came round and started poking her nose where it didn't belong...... Well, the Flesh Tarers ate an Inquisitor!An Inquisitor sent to investigate the enigmatic Chapter wrote that while they work themselves into an almost berserk rage before and during battle, any Marine who is thought to be succumbing to the Death Frenzy is quickly identified through unknown means and subsequently eliminated, by his own battle brothers if necessary. She hypothesized that by taking themselves to the edge of madness and learning to control their fury the Doom Tigers became more resistant to the Death Frenzy.
Other than that it's a solid start to your army fluff.
In the 41st millenium there is no such thing as paranoia, the universe realy is out to get you!
Well, they might. Although the Astartes are technically independent, there are many practical reasons for voluntary cooperation with the Inquisition. And the Inquisition knows about the Red Thirst/Black Rage; it just isn't viewed as heretical or Chaotic. (This is why they haven't shut down the Flesh Tearers despite their atrocities. Even the Blood Knights were only declared renegade, not excommunicated.)They would never let an Inquisitor see that stuff. If one came round and started poking her nose where it didn't belong...... Well, the Flesh Tarers ate an Inquisitor!
I like the Doom Tigers being sent to reclaim a dead forge world and other assets ruined by the Heresy. (Many opportunities for internal politics here!) I would recommend making them a Third Founding, partly because the Second Founding is well-established by official fluff and partly because the "personally tasked by the Emperor" doesn't work; it was Guilliman who oversaw the breakup of the Legions. It also provides time for their geneseed's flaws to become apparent.
You might as well call the Death Frenzy the Black Rage; there's little difference. FYI, this isn't the only time efforts have been made to correct the BA flaws. It was successful with the Lamenters, although they then suffered the worst run of bad luck ever. So this (earlier) attempt succeeded in suppressing it, except for...ah...catastrophic failure when the Marine finally gives in? Not bad, not at all. Keeps the concept of "a cure at a cost" alive.
Interesting that the Warp Storms keep recurring. You could use this to make a nemesis for your Chapter, maybe a cult that they need to keep suppressing vigorously? Or a powerful daemon that, for some reason (maybe a relic, maybe a survivor of the Heresy like Godric), really has it in for the Doom Tigers?
"My tanks have names, my men have numbers." -Col. Edmund Grahvess, 23rd Kronecker Prison Guard
Thanks for the feedback!I don't really see how they could effectively keep these secret, and surely the Emperor, the Highlords of Terra, and, as Intrepid pointed out, the Inquistion would know about them. It is my understanding that the Emperor and the High Lords are the only ones who can order the creation of a new Chapter, so it would make sense that they would try to have the Mechanicus correct mutations in the gene seed. Maybe I could have worded that part a bit better to make my intent more clear, though.The "Red thirst" and "Black rage" are closley guarded secrets, I'm shure the mechanicus is aware that the BloodAngel geneseed has a mutation in it but they have no idea of the results.I never said they let her see the secret rites of their cult, just that she had observed them just before and during battle and made her own conclusions. And I think it would make sense that they would need to give at least grudging cooperation to the Inquistion (this is actually one of my major plot lines, centered on the conflict it causes), after all they have spent centuries at a time cut off from the rest of the Empire while exposed to the forces of the Warp Storms. They and their worlds will need to trade and resupply, and the Inquisition would likely be the first Imperial assett to arrive after the Warp Storms abate in order to ensure that such trade would not be spreading the taint of Chaos to the rest of the Empire.They would never let an Inquisitor see that stuff. If one came round and started poking her nose where it didn't belong...... Well, the Flesh Tarers ate an Inquisitor!That was my intention, I did said they were created after the Second Founding.I would recommend making them a Third Founding, partly because the Second Founding is well-established by official fluff and partly because the "personally tasked by the Emperor" doesn't workI think the fact that those who succumb to it become totally uncontrollable berserkers who will kill their own battle brothers if there is no one else around, plus the ability of it to spread to other Marines warrants giving the Doom Tiger's affliction it's own name. My intention was to make it similar to the Black Rage and Red Thirst, but distinct in its own right.You might as well call the Death Frenzy the Black Rage; there's little difference.This is actually a major part of the plot also. The fiction I'm writing centers on the Chapter in the 39th Millennium and explores the cause of the Warp Storms and is the prequel for the plot lines I'm working on in the 41st Millenium. There is also going to be a daemon that is Godric's archenemy. The daemon and it's minions are what nearly killed him and caused him to be put into the dreadnought armor, but Godric has successfully destroyed it's material form several times and thwarted it's plots to take over "his" worlds. Thus it is not particularly fond of Godric or the Warp Tigers in general, and seeks any opportunity to destroy them.Interesting that the Warp Storms keep recurring. You could use this to make a nemesis for your Chapter, maybe a cult that they need to keep suppressing vigorously? Or a powerful daemon that, for some reason (maybe a relic, maybe a survivor of the Heresy like Godric), really has it in for the Doom Tigers?
Last edited by lostdragon05; March 9th, 2011 at 22:54. Reason: grammar, clarity
The Red Thirst and Black Rage are known to an extent in the Imperium - the Black Rage is why the Flesh Tearers geneseed is no longer used, for example. But I think that the Red Thirst in particular is kept quiet; all there is is rumours of Imperial citizens going missing wherever Blood Angels are deployed.
And why the need to make something distinct from the Black Rage at all? It's a perfectly good curse as it is, and I don't see what narrative difference the distinction makes; it feels like difference for the sake of being different. Also bear in mind that "research and field experience" isn't something that marines do very often, or well. Technology and the implantation process are shrouded in superstition and ritual; I doubt they would be able to develop a research pattern to achieve definite results.
Their fortress-monastery is on a moon deserted "for unknown reasons" - care to elaborate/speculate? There could at least be rumours of some sort to make it interesting.
Godric is a nice touch, but I wouldn't involve him too much in the day-to-day affairs of the chapter; a comparable example, Bjorn the Fell-Handed of the Space Wolves (who admitted is older; he was around during the Heresy), spends most of his time in stasis and is only woken in times of dire need. The capacity of a dreadnought to preseve a marine isn't perfect.
Apart from those few points, it seems pretty decent. Have you thought about their overall location at all? Giving them a definite position would fill them out even more.
I appreciate the feedback, but it pretty much just feels like you are telling me that trying to do something original and different is pointless. The Deth Frenzy is the most important aspect of the Chapter, it's what determined their fighting style and what sets the Doom Tigers apart. It is an aspect of their being that they must deal with and control or they risk losing themselves to it completely and irreversibly and possibly taking their battle brothers with them. If I wanted to write about the Black Rage and Red Thirst, I wouldn't have bothered to try to create my own Chapter. The Death Frenzy is one of the keys of the stories I want to write, and I actually came up with the concept for it first then worked backward to try to create a plausible back story for it. I understand it's a little different than the norm, but doesn't the thought of a Chapter that is full of blood thirsty lunatics on the battle field yet secretive and scholarly sound at least a bit intriguing?And why the need to make something distinct from the Black Rage at all? It's a perfectly good curse as it is, and I don't see what narrative difference the distinction makes; it feels like difference for the sake of being different. Also bear in mind that "research and field experience" isn't something that marines do very often, or well. Technology and the implantation process are shrouded in superstition and ritual; I doubt they would be able to develop a research pattern to achieve definite results.
Also, please keep in mind you don't have the big picture yet, and this is a writing project, not a gaming project. I have an overall set of story arcs designed, but if I reveal too much it won't be interesting for the reader to learn about what makes the Chapter and the heroes tick because I'll just be rehashing old material.I have plans for this, can't give away all the secrets yet though I was intentionally vague about a lot of things because when I am actually writing I often times rewrite certain aspects of the story several times to make it fit and flow with the overall theme or plot and not being locked in to too many details gives me more freedom when it comes to that sort of stuff.Their fortress-monastery is on a moon deserted "for unknown reasons" - care to elaborate/speculate? There could at least be rumours of some sort to make it interesting.I've actually been researching Bjorn as much as I can to try to get the dreadnought aspect right, since he is the only dreadnought I know of that has more than a few lines written about him. Trying not to give away too much here, but as Godric gets older and older it is becoming harder for him to keep the Death Frenzy at bay. Once he might have been awoken just to advise the Chapter Master on an important mater. Now, however, the Chapter only awakens him when there will be plenty of enemies to fight because each time he is awakened the Death Frenzy tears at his mind, threatening to rip away his sanity. The only way for him to keep it at bay is to unleash righteous fury in combat against mankind's enemies.Godric is a nice touch, but I wouldn't involve him too much in the day-to-day affairs of the chapter; a comparable example, Bjorn the Fell-Handed of the Space Wolves (who admitted is older; he was around during the Heresy), spends most of his time in stasis and is only woken in times of dire need. The capacity of a dreadnought to preseve a marine isn't perfect.
I also felt choosing a dreadnought main character would give me a lot of creative lattitude, since there isn't a lot written about them, yet it also lends a sense of epicness to the story I think.
Last edited by lostdragon05; March 10th, 2011 at 14:46. Reason: spelling
If you want something that makes them bloodthirsty/savage, instead of trying to tame one of the most enduringly hellish curses in the setting (which, as the example of the Lamenters shows, is almost impossible to overcome), give them a malfunctioning organ of some sort to account for it (some independent geneseed mutation). Then they can evolve their own practices to deal with it without worrying about any precedent for things like the Black Rage.
As to what that malfunction could be, there are several options. My first thoughts are a malfunctioning Larraman's organ that as well as generating Larraman's cells to aid blood clotting pumps a huge amount of hormones/chemicals (most obvious candidates in modern science are adrenalin and testosterone, but it doesn't have to be one known to modern science) around the bloodstream as well, making the warriors constantly on edge. This then increases each time the organ has to generate new cells to cope with new wounds, so the veterans of the chapter have to continually practice calming techniques and rituals to keep themselves able to focus. this bonds squads together so much that the units become dependent on the shared rythms of their techniques that if one member breaks them, they all succumb to the rage they've been suppressing.
Or a malfunctioning catalepsean node that stimulates the marine the longer he's awake rather than truly resting him. So if they're kept on campaign for a long time they get more bloodthirsty. This could be linked to something in the sus-an membrane that their calming rituals key into, one moderating the other.
Or take a look at the Dark Hands chapter example I make and linked in my sig; they're savage through a cocktail of ritual practices, geneseed mutations and overuse of combat stimulants.
That sort of thing produces the effects you're looking for without needing the Black Rage. Another option is developing another section to the geneseed altogether, like the space wolf canis helix, that alters the whole physiology of the marine. The bottom line is I think that "solving" the curse of Sanguinius in any form (Lamenters aside) is almost a cop-out.
I think the point Xerxes is making is not that fan-made chapters shouldn't be anything except bog standard vanilla marines, but that piggy-backing onto the existing fluff about Black Rage actually doesn't do a lot for your story. While it's never been explicitly said that you can't cure or lessen the black rage, the whole narrative trajectory is very much that doing so requires delving into 'things man was not meant to know'. The Lamenters chapter are cursed for having done it, not just slightly defective or a emotionally unbalanced but full on supernaturally cursed in a way which will inevitably kill the whole chapter off.
If you want to ignore that, I guess that's fine. The story is great (and I mean that, you have a nice narrative style) and it's not like it makes no sense as it is, but I think it would be more believable and more in line with the overall theme of 40k if fixing the Black Rage, generally presented as a terrible and shameful curse, wasn't as easy as just sicking a bunch of Chaplains and Librarians on the task.
I really like Xerxes idea of tampering with the Sus-an membrane.. Reminds me of the X-Files episode 'Sleepless'. Plus it's very much the kind of thing which might have been done deliberately during the cursed and dark foundings (when all kinds of forbidden research to 'improve' marines took place). Maybe the marines just can't sleep in any sense at all, and ultimately become increasingly psychotic as the years go by due to the mental stress and inability to psychologically process trauma, culminating in all the surviving marines winding up in a 'death company' composed of those who are too far gone to distinguish reality from their waking nightmares. They might have all kinds of meditative and autohypnotic rituals designed to simulate dreaming and delay the process.
Hmm.. I might steal that one if I ever wind up wanting to play a Blood Angels list..
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; March 10th, 2011 at 18:59.
Thank you guys for all the great suggestions and feedback. I think I am going to keep the Death Frenzy idea as it is, but work on the backstory for it so it doesn't involve the Black Rage/Red Thirst, which means I'll probably be changing the primarch from which the Chapter originated. I'm thinking I may tie the Death Frenzy back to the reason the moon on which the Chapter was based, since that was already one of the plot points it sort of goes with the rest of the story. Maybe there is something on or in the moon that caused it to be abandoned in the first place, then later caused a mutation that is responsible for the Death Frenzy after the Chapter settled there. The great thing about writing is you don't always have to know exactly what direction you are going to take, and you can always go back and change things.
For now, the story I'm currently working on focuses on the last Warp Storm to hit the Osweald system and the outcome of it. Therefore, I'm probably going to make the origins of the Death Frenzy a mystery for this story and see how it plays out, then in one of the subsequent stories explore the early life of the Chapter, maybe set it in the time when Godric was still a normal Marine. That would give a lot of opportunity for some character development, and the chance to answer a lot of questions about the Chapter that may arise as I write other things.
Remember, it doesn't even have to be gene-seed mutation. Maybe as a response to the harsh environment and mutagenic influences, the local population of the planet have developed a kind of hyper-tuned 'fight' instinct (the death frenzy) which they sometimes enter in times of stress, giving them massive adrenaline and boosting their aggression and reflexes while temporarily impeding higher brain functions and reducing them to kind of atavistic state. There might be a whole ritual culture based around controlling this state, learning to harness it in battle and then having to pull themselves out of it before the strain kills them.
Or it could be more sinister. Maybe the chapter is experimenting with the same kinds of forbidden neurosurgery which made the World Eaters into the berserkers they were at the time of the heresy, or maybe they use combat drugs or synthetic glands (both available in the Imperium, but very questionable - especially the latter).
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; March 10th, 2011 at 23:45.