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I have put some work into developing the background to a new Space Marine chapter and since my regular opponent doesn't care as long as he knows how many/where the anti-tank weapons are, I thought I would seek your help. Any constructive criticism would be great.
First off, they are called the Myrmidons (from Greek mythology - see the movie Troy. These guys were Achilles personal army and were known for their prowess in battle and their loyalty to their king). They wear dark red power armour with black shoulder pads. Chapter symbol is a white skull though veteraens wear a black skull in a white circle. All marines have red helmets (veterans included) though commanders and sergeants have black helmets.
So for the fluff part:
They are a successor chapter (subsequent founding) of the Imperial Fists and originally shared many of their characteristics, notably the staunch resolve to never back down from a fight no matter the odds (this was alomost the end of their chapter). Originally their shoulder pads were white edged in black with company markings on the front half of their left shoulder (below and ahead of the chapter marking). Chapter symbol was the white skull edged in black (this was actually the first attempt at their colour scheme...).
Like all chapters, the Myrmidons have a long and proud history from the many campaigns they have fought in over the centuries and their battle honours include the 2nd and 3rd wars for Armageddon. During the 2nd war the 2nd and 3rd companies fought with distinction around Hive Hades and were instrumental in holding the western flank.
When the Orks returned to Armageddon for the 3rd war, the Myrmidons deployed 7 full companies to take part in the defence. The chapter was originally deployed with a number of other SM chapters on the edge of the Ash Wastes to stem the Ork advance. When the Orks sprung a surprise attack at Helsreach Hive, the 3rd company and a large contingent from the 1st company redeployed to Helsreach to assist in holding the Hive. The marines at Helsreach gave good account however fighting elsewhere delayed the relief force and the overwhelming numbers of Orks eventually wore the SMs down. By the time the relief force (including the Myrmidons 2nd company) fought their way into Helsreach, the 3rd company had virtually ceased to exist and all of the veterans deployed with the 3rd had been killed, including Brother Captain Glaucus of the 1st company and chapter Master Peracles.
At the centre of the carnage, two survivors were found, both of the 3rd company and both badly wounded. Brother Hector and Brother Ajax (who was later entombed in the sarcophagus of an ancient dreadnought) were all that remained of the 180 Myrmidons that had defended Helsreach.
The loss of so many brothers spurred the remaining Myrmidons to greater effort, bordering on recklessness. While this earned the chapter a reputation of fierce warriors and the thanks of many Imperial Guard regiments, the chapter returned from the 3rd war leaderless and without almost 300 Battle Brothers.
The aftermath of the 3rd war has left a lasting impression on the Myrmidons. Upon assuming the role as Chapter Master, Doimedes (previously Brother Captain of 2nd company) decreed that all shoulder pads were to be repainted black and all company markings were to be removed as a sign of mourning for those lost. Additionally the 3rd company was never to be rebuilt. To this day the only members of 3rd company are Brother Hector and Ajax (who also are the only marines to wear their company markings as badge of honour).
From their experiences at Armageddon, the chapter developed new training and tactics, based around smaller unit operations and an emphasis was placed on close combat skills - for all marines. This was also brought about by the loss of so much equipment on Armageddon (this is represented game wise by the trait system using the advantage Trust Your Battle Brother and the disadvantage Flesh over Steel - thoughts?).
The Myrmidons are still understrength (although now there can only ever be 902 marines with the loss of the 3rd). Hardest hit of course was the 1st company (who lost 80 marines at Helsreach and another 9 fighting elsewhere. The 1st was partially rebuilt with Armageddon veterans from the 2nd, 4th and 5th companies however it will be a long time before the company returns to full strength.
The list of the fallen is maintained by the Librarians who carry these scrolls into battle and the Chaplains bear the names inscribed on their armour (just a reason to do some converting). The Myrmidons' battle cry (previously "No backward step") is now "Remember the 3rd".
So there it is, the (slightly) abridged history of my new chapter, very long I'm sorry. Are the Armageddon details correct? And does it make sense? My aim is to create a characterful army that relies more on the marines themselves rather than their (admittedly very cool) equipment. Any thoughts, comments, etc would be very welcome......
Removing company markings is generally a bad idea, simply from a logistical and command and control point of view. Changing the shoulderpad color is appropriate for mourning however.
While there is nothing that says you can't have a smaller chapter then normal, assuming companies get wiped out or nearly so on campaigns, within a few thousand years you won't have a chapter left if they simply fail to rebuild the company.
I feel that perhaps a better option may be that perhaps the 3rd company is given a different color scheme and is given the role of the traditional 1st company in other chapters. Perhaps their armor is white instead of red to reflect purity (ala the Deathwing?) Or perhaps a leg or arm is a different color to make them stand out?
As fluff goes there isn't anything terribly wrong with it. These are just a few ideas and reactions I had as I read it.
Hope they are of use. And keep up the good work.
May your aim be true, and your targets plentiful.
I like it. Well written, interesting ideas. I like the idea of Ajax and Hector, the last 2 surviving marines. However, a good point is raised with the viablitity of a chapter under-strength. I think it might be better to have the company rebuilt, with Ajax and Hector being the only memebers to have the original armor patern scheme, to make them stand out.
Barring that, it's great.
i'm loving the whole 2 members left in the company thing. im not to sure about the removing squad markings though... maybe something like painting on of their arms black or something?
"In dedicato imperatum ultra articulo mortis"
Thanks for your input guys, I think in hindsight that you're right, it would be pretty dumb to not rebuild a whole company when your starting strength is just over 1000 troops. Perhaps if the two survivors change their armour colour to denote their special rank within the company (maybe white armour with red chest plate) and Hector (the one that didn't become a dreadnought) would assume the role of company champion (and all-round lucky charm!!!).
As for the company markings, it wouldn't be that hard for command and control, etc. From inside the chapter (and I'm assuming that marines are able to tell the difference between each of their brothers) everyone would know who every one else is (after all they have been together for a long time in the most part). Drawing on modern day military, for the most part the lowest section that actually has its own marking is the brigade or regiment (about 1000 troops, or so).
Companies have never displayed their own markings as squad, platoon, company, squadron, etc is just an effective way of breaking down the regiment into easier to manage pieces. Companies (apart from the new guys, they always struggle for the first few months, whatever unit they are in) know who their officers are just as a squad will always know who its Sergeant/Corporal is. And from the outside, who cares as long as the guy next to you has the right uniform on...