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UPDATED Added an intro, things not to do, and the section trying to convince people away
This is partially for my own guidelines when fleshing out my own and partially for aiding others with a more comprehensive guide. So here goes...
DIY chapter guideline
The purpose of this guide
I am writing this guide as an aid to new and old players alike who wish to design a Space Marine Chapter of their own. Many such guides have been written, however too many of them just give a glance at the process instead of actually giving a comprehensive look. Personally I see this as a problem as hunting down all of fluff to try and integrate with, or looking at all the Primarchs can be difficult. This guide isn't a necessity for players to build a DIY chapter, but is instead a kind of “for Dummies” guide to aid people in the process. I hope that all who read it will find it helpful.
Things NOT to do
New players, especially, have a strong desire to munchkin their Chapter, making something that ends up breaking the fluff of the whole game, just to seem like they have a kind of “godly” chapter. DONT DO THIS! Every guide written will give this advice, and many of the players who really care about the background of the game will find your attempts extremely irksome.
Space Marines are super human monstrosities to begin with. Their implants allow them to be shot in the heart and still live (Secondary Heart), have super hard skeletons that form bone armor around their chests (Ossmodula), have super human strength (Biscopea), have amazing blood that makes yours look like water (Haemastamen), heal wounds faster than Wolverine (Larraman's Organ), can stay awake for weeks (Catalepsean Node), eat rocks and blue-ringed octopuses (Preomnor), read minds of corpses by being cannibals (seriously, and that's entirely cool with everyone. Omophagea), breathe chlorine gas and water (Multi-lung), can see in the dark ten times better than a Pirate (Occulobe), never get seasick and can hear a twig snap on the other side of a football field while someone is screaming in their ear (Lyman's Ear), go into hibernation for centuries (567 years once, Sus-an Membrane), detoxify poisons in their blood almost instantly (Oolitic Kidney), track prey and identify poisons by taste (Neuroglottis), walk naked through a vacuum or run around in a volcano (Mucranoid), spit poison and eat through metal (Betcher's Gland), and connect directly to their armor making them able to move like a ninja (Black Carapace). They are Ninja, Pirate, Wolverine, Acid Spitting Supermen. You dont need to say that they're awesome, they already are.
Also, the Emperor did not command that your Chapter be created, that doesn't happen. The closest you will get is having the High Lords of Terra command that more Chapters be made... and they do, that's like 10% of their job. So yeah, your Chapter was commanded to be made by the most powerful humans, you dont need to say it, you don't need to claim you're special and super awesome, by picking SM you already are. And remember, no amount of claiming ridiculous things will let your opponents let you play that way, so just relax and fiddle around with your chapter's background in cool ways. Find out how to fit into the fluff of the game, and just try and mesh in with everyone else in the Galaxy, because in the end that's more rewarding that way. And no one likes a munchkin.
Why you shouldnt make a DIY Chapter
There are over 200 Chapters already listed out, many of which with barely any background on them, just so you can come up with your own. Try looking through the listed Chapters on the Lexicanum, you may find something you like. In addition I will be adding information here on some of the Successor Chapters. Cool stuff is already out there, ripe for the picking, making your own Chapter is difficult and time consuming. So unless you a fluff hound and you really want to write something out for yourself and work hard to make something that fits into the galaxy, please just turn back now.
So you've decided you don't like the other Chapters that already exist, or that you really want something that is all your own, either way you have come at the crossroads and chosen your path, now comes the tricky bit, coming up with the idea on which to build your chapter. This is probably the most critical step and is composed of a theme and the niche they fill. When you have those down you can come back to the idea, work on it more, and refine it down to only a few words through which you can define everything about your chapter from. This is something of great import when you design anything or work on any concept, the governing words that really sum up what you want. When you have those everything will actually begin to build itself as your mind goes one way and then another and works off those words to sculpt something unique. If you've ever designed worlds, come up with campaigns, or worked as a DM in a PnP game, you will know this experience well, if not then it is better late then never.
One of the governing concepts of the idea is the theme. Do you want warrior monks? Or perhaps you would prefer Knights, Roman Legionaries, or even the Russians. Whatever you may want many of them already exist, like the Guardians of the Covenant, Dark Angels, Ultramarines, and well I took the last one from the IG's Firstborn. There are loads of existing chapters out there, and you can easily look into them and get some kind of inspiration, or you can pull out elements from a book or series you like, TV shows, anywhere really. When you have a theme decided on you can build on it as well as the niche to make a decent starting point to build ideas on.
What kind of role do you want your chapter to play? Will they be keen on siege warfare like the Iron Warriors? Or perhaps they are excellent at lightning strike tactics, in any case this will be how they act on the battlefield and what kind of fighters they are, most all chapters have some kind of specialty here and it's fairly wise to have the same for your own chapter. Various niches include; siege, assault, fast attack, defense, covert ops, etc. This, as it turns out, has major effects on the psychology of the chapter itself, defenders tend to be iron hard, while fast attackers tend to be fairly rash. This, along with your theme, will come together as a general idea to work with, and when you have that general idea you can narrow down that idea into simply a few guiding words that will guide you through the process of designing a chapter (although simply knowing a theme and a niche is sometimes all that is really necessary, I just find guide-words help give direction).
The old days of fourth edition gave us something called Traits and these were fantastic for designing one's own chapter. Even though we can no longer use these for game-play we can still look back on them and use the ideas to help design the structure and flaws of our chapters. This isn't really necessary, but it can turn your niche and theme into something you can actually play with, as well as allowing us disadvantages that can couple nicely with the advantages we give our chapters. Many of these traits are outdated now as we cannot use the various benefits from them, however we can at least look at the concepts behind the traits.
Pious- A trait that centers around exterminating the wicked heretics and foul aliens, as well as worrying about maintaining the purity of one's chapter by having additional Apothecaries. It really accentuates the phobias that the Imperium is known for.
Zealous- A combat centered this has a lot of similarities to the Word Bearers. They have additional Assault squads as well as the option of giving CCWs and Bolt Pistols to Tactical Squads, it also granted an invulnerable save to the worshipers of the Emperor. The whole structure of this trait was based around bringing the light of the Emperor to one's enemies, usually through force.
Dutiful- Composed of three advantages that seem to not interrelate, the Dutiful trait actually just makes marines better at their respective abilities, as well as you better at yours. More Devastators may be taken and are better able to destroy tanks, tactical and assault squads are better at assault and finally you can keep the game going longer. This could be seen as a trait for chapters who constantly train in their own respective fields and go above even a normal chapter in such.
Wise- This is the trait for the tech lover, it allows more dreadnoughts to be used, makes devastators more effective at tank hunting, as well as allowing for the use of Masters of the Forge and allowing more access to terminator armor.
Courageous- Covert ops for your Tactical and Devastator squads, additional bike squads, and finally better combat skill for Marines. This kind of turns your chapter into the Navy Seals... with bikes. It's actually fairly interesting and it really does follow the trait name.
Sombre- Covert ops for Tactical and Devastator squads, wide usage of flamers, plasma guns, and meltaguns. And Finally it allows for the extension of the length of games.
Stern- Additional usage of flamers, plasma guns, and meltaguns as well as making tactical squads fill an assault role, finally it makes the Chapter better at killing xenos scum. Charging forward to burn away the enemy and exterminate mankind's outside foes.
Fierce- Assault kitted Tactical Squads, Additional Assault squads, and a ferocious attack from either. This trait was all about assault and wouldn't be out of place for a Blood Angels successor.
History (Notable Battles, Notable Defeats)
Last edited by archonofdeath; June 30th, 2011 at 05:56.
A youth with his first cigar makes himself sick; a youth with his first girl makes other people sick. - Mary Wilson Little
I like it keep it up.One thing i wanted to point out and i feel you should have covered first:
Duke Nukem chapters!What i mean by that?
Well all of us at heart want our boys to be there emptying bolter magazines to the tyranids with one hand and playing bowlling with the other.
No your chapter is not that awsome that the emperor got out of the throne to acknowledge your awesomeness(this is quoted from someone i dont remember sorry) and no you didnt save Guilliman from Fulgrim,thats the sort of thingie i am trying to say.
Remind them that they need to be consistent to fluff and not like this.
Might need an introduction explaining that people need not going off the top.
+Rep for the attempt dont leave it stranded expand it!
Praise be to the Emperor!!
I like where you've started with this so far. Being creative is usually just a bunch of stolen ideas mashed together in an original way.
One thing I would change would be your "Trait" section. I like the concept of giving an army a trait (ie: stoic) so that said trait influences the method on which you design your armies, but really it's overlapping quite a bit with your "Niche" section. In fact, it's rather like your "Niche" section, but in reverse; your army is into fast attack, so they are rash. The army has the "rash" trait, so they focus on fast attack. The problem with using the cut&paste traits from 4th ed is that people are potentially creating armies (ie: tactical marines with ccw's and bolt pistols) that nobody would allow them to use except in very friendly games. It's just confusing.
Still, though, good start. I hope you keep at it. I know I was eating these type of articles up when I first started playing and wanted to design my own chapter. And even old hands at the game can still use a reminder or two.
The reason I'm going over the traits is more the concept considering a lot of those are no longer playable (But most of the Iron Hands ones are, woooot. I love you, Master of the Forge). I'll mash it into the niche section, though, as they do actually both work off each other.
As for adding the anti-Duke Nukem section, the opening part is partially about that (yeah, I got lazy and jumped ahead to the more interesting stuff) as well as just generally trying to push people away from the DIY idea since there are over 200 Chapters listed that seem to be ignored (and some of them are really cool).
My overall reason for writing this guide is due to the lack of comprehensive DIY guides. A lot of the pre-existing ones are nice, but they usually just cover little bits of chapter building and add a tag to "check out the fluff elsewhere" in the guide. I want to make something that gives the reader access to an overview of the fluff of each Legion as well as some of the Successor Chapters, so they can remember bits of info they may have forgotten, or be introduced to the wonder of each of the prior chapters as well as the stellar fluff that we all know and love. In essence I'm writing a SM DIY for Dummies guide
A youth with his first cigar makes himself sick; a youth with his first girl makes other people sick. - Mary Wilson Little