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'Tsup guys. I was over on B&C for a while, and they kinda let me down. I hope my first-family-of-gamers can perhaps help me out a little more. This is my personal DIY chapter, and I've been working around and off of them for about 3 years. I really want more suggestions on changes, so constructive criticism is preffered.
Chapter Name: Iron Dragons
Founding: no ‘official’ date recorded
Chapter Master: Xenohpon
Chapter Founder: Gilead
Geneseed: Imperial Fists
Traits: Blessed be the Warriors, Take the Fight to Them, Flesh over Steel
The Mark of Heresy
The Iron Dragons began as part of a far larger, far more renowned chapter, the Imperial Fists. As the Great Crusade marched ever onwards into the stars, the Imperial Fists brought rule and order to the many planets conquered beneath their power-armored tread. However, when the Warmaster Horus committed his vast attrocity against his loyal brothers, Rogal Dorn ordered the Imperial Fists to return to defend holy Terra.
The Legion did as told, setting small reargaurds behind them to ensure that their earliest gains were not swallowed by the vile forces of Chaos. One company was left to the small planet of Maice IX, and although they were surrounded, they vowed to fight to the last, as Rogal Dorn would have wished. After several months of grueling combat, the small force found themselves victorious, the traitors around them lying in great heaps of corpses. With their foes vanquished, the company turned it’s attention to the repair of the starship that had borne them to the surface. As the years dragged on without help or apparent progress on the vessel, the men ran out of food, ran out of ammunition, and ran out of hope.
Here it is said the first seeds of Chaos were planted. A mutinous sergeant slowly rallied men around him, stealing, plundering, and looting supplies from the planet's scant stores. The company turned a blind eye to such scavenging, understanding that in times of war, sometimes you must commit acts of piracy and violence just to survive.
Soon though the marines were baited in. With a terrible thirst for more supplies to 'ensure their survival', the now large group of followers assaulted their comrades in a deadly surprise raid. War and bloodshed once again engulfed the small moon as marine fought marine. The company was nearly decimated, but the followers of Chaos were again destroyed. The leaders among the remaining loyal marines became fearful now. Having gone so long with no word of either victory or defeat, the company realized that it must look to it's own survival. For even if the forces of the Emperor were triumphant, how would a company stained with heresy ever be welcomed peaceably?
With another foe vanquished, the good grace of the warrior was returned to the decimated brothers. Even as they cleared the field of corpses, the ship’s engines groaned back to life. Soon the vessel was travel-worthy, and the marines made their dash for the edge of the known galaxy.
Of New Planets and the Tribulations Therewith
The ship landed on the small planet Draconis, at the absolute edge of frontier space. While the planet rotates upon its axis, as does ancient Terra, its axis is tilted so far as to point the northern pole directly into the sun. The southern pole however is always bathed in shadow. The result of this is that only a narrow band of the planet is livable, and it’s days and nights are merely times of dawn and dusk. The northern pole is 70% water, while the south is a full 96% ice. The middle of the planet is fertile farmland and sprawling forests. Inhabited by a primitive human population ignorant of the light of the Emperor, the planet is by all means feral. The humans are divided into tribes, each responsible for their own crops and way of life. Around the center of the planet runs a massive mountain known by all the inhabitants as the Dragon’s Spine.
The marines made planet fall in the shadow of this massive mountain range. They were utterly without knowlege of the Emperor's triumph over Horus, and so they waited and listened for any sign of loyalist victory. Meanwhile moved into the mountains and hid in the far reaches of its peaks.
The company lived off of the native flora and fauna. The only plants in that part of the mountain were scraggly bushes called Beith Nion by the natives. It was bitter tasting, but carries enough nutrients to form a stable base for the living creatures of the mountainsides. The first of these is a small lizard which darted among the crevices of the mountain range. The meat was rubbery and vile tasting, but they formed an abundant food source. The marines learned to cook them into heavily spiced stews. The second beast had been a raptor-like reptile, the meat of the creature was tough and tasted foul but- like the lizards- it was edible. The final beast was a humanoid creature known as the Snow Fiend. It's meat was not much better than the other specimens, save that it provided much more.
As the marines implanted their geneseed in the native warriors, it became apparent that such rough fare had altered their genetic compound. The recruits began to grow small bony ridges on the bones of their forearms. Their skin thickened and in severe cases cracked, forming a scaly appearance. Their canines grew long, like Space Wolves. Their throats and voices grew deeper. For the first time since the Founding Legion of Rogal Dorn the marines regained use of their Betcher’s Glands. Their spittle was now hot and sour, and highly acidic if it touched flesh. The company had become an entirely different creature than their brothers before.
A Decision of Consequence
In M30 a Black Templars Crusade passed through the system around Draconis. They were amazed to find that there was already a marine expedition on Draconis. A small party was sent to the surface to make contact with the marines, and gather whatever information they could offer. What the Templars brought back with them to the battle-barge was far more intriguing than any information of the local system.
As the marine stepped into the great chamber of the barge, Templars recoiled around him. Fangs glinting in the dim light, and broad-scaled shoulders rippled with muscle, his weathered stature was a stark contrast to the red and yellow gauntlet on the shoulders if his robes. The marine was immediately questioned upon the happenings upon the surface of the planet. As he felt the bulk of the ship being turned so that it could obliterate the planet below him, along with the other lost warriors, the warrior told the story of how the company had been forgotten, and how they had managed to barely cling to life on the feral planet below.
In a move that would nearly mark him for execution, the marine bellowed above the rumbling engines. He spat contempt upon the Empire for allowing them to fall so far. He told them of the suffering and hardships they had endured. He reminded them that his men had been nothing but loyal to Rogal Dorn and the Emperor, and that to be forgotten and left for dead was undeserved of even the lowliest rating.
The court looked at him again, at his ghastly features and intimidating eyes. Most hated him for what he had become, but a few took heed of his words and decided that through his mutation he was still one of the Chapter. They tried him before the Chaplains and Apothecaries, and they found no taint of Chaos.
The Black Templars retained the marine- a sergeant named Gilead- on the vessel for several weeks as they debated on the course of action. They could hail the Imperial Fists, as it could be argued that the lsot marines were still of the chapter, or they could take action themselves. On the eighth week of the court, it was decided that the marines on Draconis could not be readmitted into the Imperial Fists, or any existing chapter. It would be their responsibility to rebuild themselves into a chapter of their own.
Gilead returned to the new chapter on the ground. He met with all the other sergeants and leaders among the men. They held a vote upon who would become the first leader of the chapter. It was voted unanimously that Gilead would lead the Chapter, since it had been him who saved it. He was renamed that day, Gilead the Saviour.
The Golden Age
With Gilead now heading the entire chapter, things began to change. First, the chapter ended its long exile. They spread far into the lowlands of the planet. Each squad created their own strongholds of grand design. They fraternized with the Natives, who deemed them gifts from the Gods. Gilead’s own squad remained in the mountains, building what is now known today as the Shrine to the Ethereal.
Next, Gilead decided to forge a new and better chapter than the one which had forgotten him. He ordered the garrish yellow to be repainted black, and the shoulders of his men to be painted a blank silver. He recruited several youths from the tribes of warriors that lay scattered throughout the lowlands. He trained each of them, and each had the chapter’s geneseed implanted into them. The mutations did indeed carry over to the new marines, causing the natives to call them the Dragon Men. This became the new name to the Chapter- the ‘Dragons’.
The Dragons lived freely on the planet, forever searching for a way to spread-out and broaden their horizons. Finally they hailed a passing trade fleet from their sector. The ships landed, and the Dragons were able to barter for transport over a small time. In this time they formed an alliance with the captains of the fleet, promising to protect the trading posts within the sector, and serve as marines aboard the ships in return for transportation.
The Dragons now recruited from distant planets, and for several centuries, they grew and flourished. Their halls were great works of art, and they challenged any man to reach them, rewarding them with good food and wine.
The Ethereal Dragon
Without staunch value in the Emperor's newfound 'Divinity', the chapter began to slowly adopt the religion of the locals. As new warriors were accepted into the ranks, their tribal beliefs became more and more prevalent over time, molding itself around the weakened Imperial faith. A pantheon of hundreds of dragons and their thousands of children decorated the walls of Gilead's great hall. The story of the Ethereal Dragon, father of all dragons, was illustrated throughout the many keeps. The Ethereal Dragon's many sons included all of the major gods, including his four treacherous sons which the Imperium knows as the Powers of Chaos. Even the Emperor was worshipped as a valued son of the Ethereal. Every marine- being so changed by their nearness to the Draconic- was considered the vessel of one of these children, able to communicate and learn from it. Great leaders, such as Rogal Dorn, the other Primarchs, were said to be possessed by the Ethereal Dragon himself. Therefore Gildead, and all the chapter masters to follow him, became known as the Dragon Princes.
Unfortunately, refusal to acknowledge the Emperor as the highest divinity- and especially the idea that he is equal in stature to the Ruinous Powers- brought the Dragons into conflict with the more orthodox forces of the Inquisition. Their practices of ritual tattooing and their belief that every marine is possessed with the spirit of one of the sons of the Ethereal Dragon was found to stray rather a hair too close to the worship of Chaos. The Dragons learned to accept Inquisitional sweeps with outward airs arrogant tolerance, but that same arrogance was swallowed and the true nature of their faith was hidden and repressed under the eye of Inquisitor. Many Inquisitiors have searched for the Dragon's one true fault so that they could be declared Excommunicate and destroyed.
Of Red Sunsets and Black Dawns
This golden age was doomed to end, as all things good in life must end. In the year 237.M31, when on patrol on a piteous planet known only a Xeta 779.23, the chapter lost its beloved founder.
A leader by example, Gilead was on patrol overtop of his army. As he and his retinue disappeared over a tall mountain ridge, the Chapter’s keen hearing picked up the sound of distant bolter fire. The chapter immediately rushed to the source. They discovered the worst. Their founder and his squad lay dead upon the ground. The Banner of the Ethereal, the Chapter’s most sacred item, had been torn from its banner pole and the hated sign of Chaos hacked into the bearer’s chest. A marine shouted that their leader was still alive.
Through bloodsoaked lips Gilead uttered his last words “Take Vengeance to Diantos”.
A grandiose leader among the clans, Diantos was an off-worlder from the hellscape of Char. Diantos had been resentful and withdrawn since the day that Gilead named Keld as his successor- choosing to pass to law that only men born on Draconis could succeed the throne. Diantos was the only man not accounted for among the dead. The chapter raced their dead leader back to their home on Draconis, giving him a fitting funeral. Then they swore oath to seek vengeance against Diantos, damning them to a life of suffering.
It did not take long for them to find him. He returned to the Chapter begging for forgiveness. The chapter swore at him, and the great warrior Keld –the named heir-, attacked him outright, gouging a scornful mark across his face, and blinding Diantos’ left eye. Diantos fled further retribution. Several marines, nearly half the chapter, disagreed with the heartlessness that Keld had showed their captive. Keld reminded them of the blood debt that Diantos owed them, and the oath they had sworn. They chose to ignore him, saying that Gilead had been an arrogant heretic anyway, and that Diantos only meant to unfetter the chains he had bound the Chapter with.
Realizing the forked and twisted tongue of Chaos, the loyal men among the chapter rushed to slay their foes. Once again, their enemies escaped justice.
It was not long before Diantos rallied his followers and struck-out at the Chapter. He raided and burned dozens of the fine palaces that had been built. He burned the crops and food supplies of the tribesmen. He broke down ancient Runestones and toppled the idols of the Chapter. Leading his force was Jakael, leader Dragon Lord of the Yellow-Eyes clan. He had long served as Diantos’ second in command, until Diantos was promoted. Now he led his old master’s forces into a headlong battle against his one-time comrades.
The war spread to both ends of the planet. Bodies can still be seen frozen in the ice of the Southern Pole, and for years the Northern Sea was corrupted by black poisons. The entire planet burned, and the order that Gilead had fought so hard to attain came crumbling down around his tomb.
Keld was not going to sit by idly though. With a rage matching that of Diantos, he came charging down from the mountains like the flames spewed by his draconic gods. He crushed through Jakael’s army, and for the first time in the war Diantos was beaten back. In his flight Diantos took a portion of the traitors and fled north. They covered his escape, fighting a desperate geurilla war in the humid swamps around the Northern Ocean. It is said that some still remain there, plaguing the tribesman surrounding the area. Jakael took his forces south, trying to outflank Keld. He was caught and destroyed though as he attacked the Great Ravine. His body was broken and displayed at the entrance. The Banner of the Ethereal was found and restored to it’s natural place, as well as dozens of other stolen artifacts. With the banner reclaimed, Keld marched off to war in the swamps. He destroyed the rest of the rebels who fought there, but Diantos could not be found. He had somehow escaped through the Warp and into the stars.
At that point, Keld would have become the new Dragon Prince, but it was not so. He had been gravely wounded in the swamps, and was entombed in one of the few, massive dreadnoughts of the Chapter. The throne was taken by another brave warrior instead, and under this man the chapter began to rebuild.
At learning that Diantos had escaped, the first roars of pain and suffering echoed through the Great Ravine. The Tribes, which had been decimated and scattered, had no man or woman old enough to remember the great marines. Instead they live on in legends and fairy tales. The marines themselves are seldom seen anymore, choosing to rebuild in secrecy. The entrance to their home in the mountains is guarded by the 200 mile-long Portal Draconis. Initiates to the chapter live in a city at the foot of the gate, known as the City in the Shade.
The Dragons themselves became more bitter and hateful. They turned dark and cold to the world, like Iron. Here it was that they changed their name, becoming now the Iron Dragons. They painted their shoulders crimson, to remind them of their sacrifice. They daub their purity sigils in the blood of their fallen, remembering those who died before. The only wish of every man is to die an honorable death, so that he may ascend to the Realm of Dragons. The chapter will continue on until it finds Diantos and spills his blood onto the Casket of Gilead. With its final purpose served the chapter will stop recruiting marines, and will fade away, unknown and forgotten, just as it had entered this world.
the chapter is not organised into companies, as Roboute Guilleman had decreed, because the chapter was never made aware that the codex existed. Instead they are organised into several Clans. A clan consists of roughly 25 to 40 marines, and all of their support staff. The chapter is not based in a single Fortress Monastery on the planet. They reside in many small Keeps within the mountains. Each Keep holds two Clans. Several Keeps form a March. The chapter also fields a few specialized 'Holy Orders', dedicated to the worship of a single draconic god. Bikes, Tanks, and two orders of Chaplains form their own holy orders, independent of any March.
Newly recruited candidates await their time in the City in the Shade. While here, they serve a marine as his Squire, attending him in feasts, and serving to support the chapter in times of war. Once initiated, the marines are divided into existing clans. As the marines advance in knowledge they become assault marines. The most honored marine becomes the Clan Master- a gift that can only be bestowed by his brothers. The oldest Clan Master becomes the Master of the Keep as well. At any time, a marine may swear the oaths and commit to the trials to join a holy order.
In times of war, the High Prince calls a meeting of the Council. Representatives are formed of the masters of each Clan and Holy Order. Each member vies for the right to participate in the crusade, and clans or keeps are called to muster accordingly.
There are rumors that the chapter fields more than it's 1,000 marines. The rumor claims that in the second great battle against chaos, an entire March was isolated by combat. The entire March was reclaimed at the dawn of Xenophon's reign, but their fate is currently unknown.
Wow. I like! :yes:
With background like that, you'll have other members wanting to play your chapter
I have to say that was very well written. You seem to have developed the background very well, and it has ideas I haven't really seen before. As for constructive criticism, I'm finding it hard to think of any becasue I enjoyed reading that so much!
The only thing I'm not too sure on is how they were sort of stranded on Maice IX with no idea of what was going on in the galaxy. I would assume that they would have some means of space travel to discover the outcome of the heresy, or that the rest of the Fists would set out to find their rearguard groups that they had left behind.
That's about all I can think of, although I'm by no means a fluff expert.
Thou shalt remember:
Warhammer Fantasy armies do NOT have Codices. They have Army Books.
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Couple of problems.
1: When they are stuck on the backwater moon right at the start why isn’t their first priority to get ship working again? You would think that would be at the top of their list of things to do. Assuming there was some reason why fixing the ship wasn’t working how did they get off the moon?
2: Lots of inquisitors running around and no one has brought a copy of the Codex Astartes? Why the hell not? You would think that would be the First thing an Inquisitor would do.
3: This variant religion is just a shade to heretical. Missionaries would have been sent, and the local religion ether suppressed or twisted to bring it into line with the official doctrine. That’s just how the Imperium works.
4: “In a move that would nearly mark him as a pawn to Chaos,” I think this line isn’t clear, it should be something like ‘a move which nearly got him executed’ or something. Just so its obvious he isn’t tainted.
5: “With its final purpose served the chapter will stop reproducing marines, and will fade away, unknown and forgotten, just as it had entered this world.” Any reason why the chapter has gone to this nihilistic attitude? I don’t see why they would just lay down an die after they finally destroy the arch heretic. You would think they would celebrate and launch a campaign to bring the planet to another golden age. Without some more explanation this part really doesn’t make sense.
I hope that was helpful, mostly its good, just those few things that seemed off.
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Yeah I'm gonna have to agree with just a few points that 'Teh_Ghost' made
And so on and so forth. The Imperium would do the same thing, and convert the very temples that *used* to serve the old faith into Chapels for the Emperor.
I'm a fluff purist, so be warned.
The Second Founding and the Betchers Gland are things that sunk in on first reading. They would likely not want to split from their brother Fists unless the Fists disowned them, I would just make them an independent chapter. It saves finding long-winded explanations as to why the marines' indoctrination in legion practices was stopped. Also, the Betchers Gland reactivating is taking liberties with the official fluff a bit much. We don't know whether the Betchers Gland has atrophied or has simply disappeared from the Fists' set of implants. If it's the latter, the reinstatement of it that you have simply wouldn't be possible.
Also, the scar... overly scientific I know, but that's unlikely to happen. Venomous animals are generally immune to whatever poisons they secrete, and marines have to be the same. Otherwise the inside of their mouths would be being perpetually burned and scarred and re-scarred as the acid corroded their mouths.
And as has been said, the Codex Astartes would have been given to them. It would be even more prevalent if the Second Founding idea is ditched. As would the Imperial faith; as soon as the Imperium would be aware of the world, missionaries would be among the first things the Imperium would send out. Which would, as mentioned above, mutate and/or stamp out native faiths.
A thought has just struck: if there's a civil war, tithes (imposed post-Heresy on all Imperial worlds that were registered, as this one would have been if the BTs found it) would stop. The Administratum would get curious and send out armed and armoured feelers to discover why the tithes have stopped. Would they let the civil war carry on unabated if they found it happening? I doubt it. And the Dragons would be forced into yet more contact with the Imperium at large, and thus Inquisitorial investigation (where mutation is heavily frowned upon. Think about how ostracised the Black Dragons are). Perhaps if you wove in some Imperial involvement and silver-tongued explanations by the "loyalists" to explain how or why the Imperium shouldn't just eradicate both sides of this argument for being deviant (through form and mind), it would be more convincing.
And just a slight point: Diantos would likely not be the only veteran Sergeant that the chapter has.
I love the clan system that you've got going, but how do the clans decide who lives with who? What if they fall out? How are Marches organised between the clans in order to conduct offworld assaults? How are they related to the chapter's fleet? Who decides who's the "most senior" marine, all clans are supposedly equal, what sort of system is in place? Duels? You've got some lovely potential for some inter-clan rivalry here over the honour of the place of chapter master, with the possibility of further schisms, particularly if one or two clans develop a particularly close relationship to the Orders (which can be reorganised into emphasising the different aspects of the Emperor, war leader, smith, diplomat etc etc) they can think they've got a "divine mandate" to have the Chapter Master from their clan, provoking anger from the others and so on and so forth. The potential is lovely, it just needs to be fleshed out a bit.
The only way I can see this working is if Draconis was outer-rim - far outer-rim, as in the border of the Astronomicon. Which makes sense that the Templars found them, as they're the most far-ranging Space Marine chapter.
See, for a Marine civil war to go unnoticed, there has to be no regular contact with the planet. For there to be no regular contact with the planet, it has to be outside any trade lanes, and have no trade in itself. For the Marine's sudden disappearance from active duty to go unnoticed, they'd have to be under no current military demands - so they'd have to be far from anyone capable of ordering them about.
For their mutation to go unnoticed, they'd have to work hard to ensure they aren't sidelined as pagans and forcibly converted (re: killed.) Which means that they'd have to practice their dragon cult in secret, because a wierd unconventional cult combined with inhuman mutations is more than enough evidence for corruption. They've already broken the major law already - the religion you describe is pretty much heresy. For one, it says that everyone's related to the Chaos Gods.
The only way I think you can explain the Betcher's Gland re-emergence is by the nature of the creatures they fed off; if they weren't natural, or were gene-engineered or mutated themselves, their effect on the body over a few centuries is unpredictable.
Also, little bit of confusion; why was the Chapter Master assassinated? Why not make it that he died, as he must have been getting old by then, and when he fell in battle there was a schism over the succession? The assassination just comes out of the blue. To make it more understandable, you could even imply that Gideon was going slowly senile in his last years, or that his worship of the Ethereal Dragon was becoming far too fervent for the off-world recruits to reconcile with. Also, probably make Diantos a Captain, or a member of Gilead's personal guard. Veteran Sergeants don't usually have enough influence to pull off a coup.
Re: their defeatist attitude: reword this. It sounds like you intend for them all to commit suicide or just lay down and die after Diantos is executed. Why not just imply that they'll give up fighting and turn to seclusion? If they think that getting involved with the outside world leads only to problems, then once they've cleaned up loose ends, you can have them aim to go somewhere different - even outside the Astronomicon. Because just lying down and sleeping until they starve is a little weak. Not as brave as flying off into the unknown and breaking all bonds of fealty.
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Sorry for not checking in quicker, I got nailed at school for 'improper use of resources'.
I like some of the points you brought up. It has gotten me thinking a little, and also given me reason to elaborate with some of my side fluff:
Location: draconis IS located on the outer rim of the galaxy, where the imperial influence begins to dwindle. I neglected to insert a location because I am still not sure what region of space (Pacificus etc) I wanted them in.
Religion: This is what always seems to get people riled. Originally, I had them written as not worshipping the Emperor in any way shape or form. I decided instead to go the route of making him a son of the ethereal, right along with the chaos gods. It was mentioned that this means everyone is related to the Chaos gods. However, if marines are always considered 'brothers' and chaos marines 'traitorous brothers' then doesn't that mean that they are all related in the eyes of the Imperial Creed? It is also the Iron Dragon's explaination as to why it was so easy to become so corrupted.
Will edit the scar to make it non-venom inflicted.
Inter-Clan Rivalries: there are some inter-clan rivalries. The Flames of Vengeance were particularly afflicted at the outbreak of Diantos's heresy. Thusly, they always volunteer for the more suicidal missions and are the chapter's most stoic warriors. The Yellow-Eyes on the other hand, is formed of the loyal members of Diantos's clan. They are often looked down upon and treated with contempt by the rest of the chapter, they are forced to wear red gauntlets to remember the blood they spilled. The Dark-Hearts however are like an inter-clan police force. So really, in campaigns, the clan-masters are like feudal lords on crusade- always vying for the more glorious missions and using the sway of their clan history and appelations to win them the honor.
Nhilism: the chapter is not going to commit sepuku or just let their enemies slaughter them. Instead, they are going to stop recruiting new marines, and let natural attrition thin their number. They would likely become almost monastic in nature once their numbers dwindled to a very low point. But that hasn't happened yet, and they won't quit until they have placed Diantos's head at the feet of Gilead's tomb
I will make these edits and work to rectify any other problems that you mentioned tomorrow (hopefully)