Nunquam ut ira, nunquam ut saevio, nunquam ut festinatio.
Semper ut ultionis.
Semper ut ultionis.
That's right. They're baaaaaack. I've compiled all the current fluff into one giant Codex and I'm working on it again. Welcome to the world of the renegade, dear reader, 'cause the Dragons have reared their heads again.
Codex: Red Dragons
The Red Dragons chapter of the Adeptus Astartes had a long and noble history. Since their creation from the noble seed of the Dark Angels, they traversed the galaxy seeking out the enemies of humanity. They crushed heretics and xenos as they went, purging the Imperium of the galaxy’s filth. They rescued Targus in the Segmentum Pacificus from the Chaotic taint. They stood their ground on Pacificus next to the valiant Guard and drove back a massive Ork force, turning the tide of the Theta Tempestus Invasion at the gates of the Emperor’s temple. On Jartha, they diverted the ancient fury of the Eldar, purging the planet of xenos and restoring it to proper Imperial glory. Their fleet was a terrible sight for xenos and heretics alike, and the abnormally large number of Techmarines ensured that any blow struck against it was quickly repaired. For millennia, the Dragons spread the wrath of the Almighty Emperor wherever they went.
It was the fall of Kratol that first truly shook them. The Red Dragons were dispatched to counter a possible threat to the Hive World after a small shipping fleet was destroyed in the Warp nearby. As expected, the planet came under assault shortly after the Dragons arrived and the fight was joined by the Marines and the accompanying force of Imperial Guard. After two years of battle against the forces of Chaos, the system received an unexpected visitor. Inquisitor Argus and his entourage arrived during a rare lull and were greeted with much ceremony by Chapter Master Ryan once the Dragons and Guard helped them pierce the enemy lines in the southwest quadrant. After adding his forces to the Dragons’ to drive back the Chaos counter-attack, the Inquisitor delivered his message to the chapter. Kratol had been deemed a waste of further resources. There were simply not enough ships available to destroy the Chaos presence, and enemy reinforcements were en route. An Exterminatus was ordered, to deny the foul heretics a hive world’s worth of fresh recruits, and carried out promptly. The people of Kratol were given the final mercy of the Emperor – a swift and painless end. Once the planet had been purged, the Dragons and Inquisitor Argus punched a hole in the Chaos fleet large enough for the Imperial forces to escape. With a quick litany of sorrow, the fleets blasted through the gap with the loss of a mere thousand Guardsmen as their transports were caught by the pursuing vessels.
The Red Dragons moved on without so much as a farewell to the Inquisitor. After a mass debate, Master Ryan declared that the chapter would from that point on avoid the Inquisition whenever possible. Surely, such an act was not the will of the benevolent Emperor. The imperfect perceptions of the Inquisitor must be to blame, and thus such flaws must never again taint the actions of the noble Marines. They set their course to the opposite end of the galaxy, taking up a lonely vigil on the eastern fringe of the known stars. They became a vigilante force, crushing the foes of the Imperium from their unknown lairs and vanishing into the blackness of space before the astounded men they saved realized what was happening. Geneseed tithes from the chapter appeared under unusual circumstances whenever the laws required, and the matter was largely ignored due to the lack of mutation or taint. The Imperium had larger problems to worry them, and the Red Dragons were slowly forgotten, fading from the collective memory of Terra in favor of more urgent concerns. When a fledgling empire was revealed by a receding storm a millennia and a half later, few still remembered the avenging angels who struck from nowhere but those they still struck for.
The new Chapter Master, Commander Tallarus, called the Chapter together on the nearby world of Orison. When all had been assembled, he explained to them that they would be mounting a crusade. The intelligence the Dragons’ agents had returned dubbed it the “Damocles Gulf” crusade, and it offered a golden opportunity for the Dragons to support the righteous armies of the Imperium in their vigilant quest against alien infestation. This new threat, these “Tau”, had intruded on the Dragons’ ward and must be crushed as all past intruders had been. In a unanimous decision, the Red Dragons launched from Orison with new purpose. They drove south to rendezvous with the armies and pledge their support.
However, as they journeyed south to the swelling staging area, the Dragons received a dismaying piece of information. This new crusade was to be led by the Inquisition, and Inquisitorial forces were cataloguing every bolt and charge of lasgun ammo that passed forward to battle. If the Dragons were to participate in the crusade, they would have to submit to the probing eyes of the Inquisition. Master Tallarus immediately diverted the fleet east, toward the far side of the Tau territory. They would strike at the eastern edge of Tau space while the xenos’ attention was focused on the crusaders, catch the filth in a destructive pincer, and melt away once the battle was won as they had grown so accustomed to doing. They waited, poised, on the fringe of the empire until the crusade smashed into the western border with the might of the Emperor. Once the xeno fleets had been pulled away, the Dragons struck.
Unfortunately, they had underestimated the technology of the Tau. With their advanced sensory equipment, the foul aliens had seen the chapter lurking on the edge of their territory and had prepared an ambush for them. As the Dragons descended on a supposedly unexpecting sept world, they were beset on all sides by a vastly superior Tau force. Ship after ship of the Marines’ beleaguered force were destroyed or driven away, and those remaining made one last push to the sept world. The xeno fleet was apparently needed on the western front, as they pulled away and left the sept world’s ground forces to fend for themselves. This proved to be the Tau’s greatest mistake in the skirmish, for as the Dragons reached the planet’s surface an odd cluster of debris hurtled toward them.
The ships that had been driven away during the battle had been coaxed back into real space by the countless Techmarines on board, but the gravity well of the system’s sun had been too much for the ravaged ships to escape. In response, the valiant brothers of the battle barge Gribaltar suggested a desperate solution. As many Marines as would fit launched to the nearby ships even as they fell into the lethal well of the star. Those who had no room remained behind and detonated every explosive available on the ship in a massive flare of plasma, sending a shockwave of pure energy washing over the remaining fleet and driving them toward the sept world. The ships crashed onto the surface and reunited with their brothers, forming a terrible guerilla force that quickly crushed the local defenses. When the smoke cleared, the Dragons held a small patch of territory in the heart of a Tau sept. As their supplies dwindled, they decided on a terrible compromise.
The countless Techmarines and chapter Chaplains forged a new body called the Purifying Brotherhood. These acolytes of the Immortal Emperor vowed to purge captured xenotech of its inherent taint and reclaim it in the name of both incarnations of the Emperor. With this dubious blessing, the Dragons began scavenging Tau equipment to continue their fight. After a terrible battle, the surrounding settlements were purged and the planet was claimed an Imperial world in the name of the Emperor. It was christened Gribaltar in honor of the lost barge and their fallen brothers, and the Dragons dug in and began preparing to leave the planet.
They began grafting Tau parts onto their devastated ships, repairing their fallen fleet under the watchful gaze of the Purifying Brotherhood. Even in the face of the inevitable Tau assaults, they continued to rebuild and strike back against the xenos with new, fluid tactics mimicking what they achieved in space. Once again, the Dragons struck invisibly from the shadows and vanished just as quickly. The few survivors spread tales of a black terror on the lost sept, and it was abandoned in the name of the Greater Good. The mysterious menace that was the Red Dragons was left to fester on the dead world, and the Tau moved on to less forbidding prospects. As the xenos left them to their righteous work other than a few curious expeditions, the Dragons continued their repairs and prepared for the day when they would escape Gribaltar and continue their quest.
Purifying Brotherhood: When the Red Dragons realized they were stranded on an alien world with dwindling supplies, they had a difficult decision to make. Brother Tallarus called the entire chapter together, as is their custom with vital junctures, and explained the situation to the hundreds of silent brothers standing before him in impeccable ranks. For hours he spoke, detailing every resource they were in immediate danger of losing, every step that had been taken, and every possible solution remaining to attempt. At the last, he pointed out the fatal flaws in each of the options he had already mentioned and suggested one final possibility. It was possible, he explained, to scavenge various materials from the Tau and convert them into the needed munitions, foodstuffs, spare parts, equipment, and weaponry the chapter so desperately needed.
As the Marines held their place in silence, waiting for their turn to speak, the red-armored figure behind Brother Tallarus uncurled from his condensed pose. He did not so much rise as deploy, whirring servo-arms clicking into place around him and countless gem-like sensor eyes lighting up and scanning the crowd of eerily silent armored figures. He stepped up next to the retreating Chapter Master and addressed the chapter with a curious proposition. The Techmarines were willing to take any filthy xenotech found by the brothers and beseech the Omnassiah to bless it, purging the devices of their foul machine demons and instilling proper Imperium-serving spirits within. In this way, they would purify the recovered technology and render it useable by properly pious Marines.
The head Chaplain came forward next, clanking toward the battle brothers in massive jet armor. He explained in a booming voice that the Chaplains of the Red Dragons would add their own prayers to those of the Adeptus Mechanicus. They would beg the Emperor for his aid, thus removing the curses and wards on the xenotech. Surely, if the Emperor would give his blessing, no power could stand against the righteous Marines and their newly purified wargear.
As he stood down, Brother Tallarus broadcast the customary command to the sea of power armor that was his chapter. At the quiet “Give voice to your wishes, or see your will commanded by another” in each ear, a myriad of icons appeared at the edge of the Master’s HUD. Every Captain had paged in with his opinion, and after them every Sergeant paged in with theirs. Once the Sergeants had completed their addresses, the hundreds of remaining Marines signaled Tallarus for their own turn. In the end, it took over a week to hear each brother’s opinions on the matter, but finally the debate was over. Once again, the valley lay still with utter silence. Row upon row of massive warriors stood utterly still, waiting for their Master’s word with palpable anticipation. Finally, Brother Tallarus stepped forward once more to end the discussion. “Every opinion has been stated, and now a decision must be made. Now set your wishes to the forge, brothers, and let those who would rule their own fate be heard.” A pair of numbers in the corner of his HUD swiftly climbed into the hundreds. When they had ceased their ascent, Brother Tallarus’ voice was heard once more, amplified by his helmet’s systems. “By merit of your vote, the Purifying Brotherhood will lead us in what piety we have left. Thus you have decided, and thus shall it be.” Tallarus bowed his head and continued. “From this day forward, we will seek the blessing of both faces of the Emperor as we do what we must to serve him. We will now rebuild what we have lost under the watchful eyes of the Purifying Brothers, and uphold the Immortal Emperor’s name as we purge the xenos with their own weapons.”
Organization: The Dragons’ plight has necessitated a drastic shift in tactics. Since they were led into hiding by Brother Tallarus, they have adopted guerilla warfare to combat the Tau. The top-heavy organization and ponderous methods of their foes have prompted the Red Dragons to develop a fluid, shapeless force that can congregate, strike, and melt away into the night before the xenos can rebuild their shattered chain of command and retaliate. This new fighting style is achieved through two fundamental changes in the chapter’s doctrine.
First, rather than the companies detailed in the Codex Astartes, the Dragons are now organized into individual squads that operate independently. These squads function as separate units, and most operations involve no more than one or two specialized units, usually including no more than fifteen to twenty brothers and often as few as five to eight. Each squad now has its own symbol, which is emblazoned on the right shoulder pad, and is considered almost a separate army in itself.
Second, when a larger force is required, multiple squads are assembled into a temporary task force. Standard operating procedure for the Dragons is now for a task force to dissolve into its component units once its mission is complete. The leaders of the squads lead their Marines away to an appropriate hiding place, avoid pursuit, and await further orders. It is a shameful life for the once-proud Adeptus Astartes, but it remains the only way they can serve their Emperor.
Heraldry: When the Red Dragons first crashed on Gribaltar, they rejoiced that the banners and tokens of the chapter had been saved. They proudly wore these symbols of the Imperium into battle against their xeno adversaries, and took pride once more in the honor and history of their chapter. However, when they took to stealth, they realized that the heraldry and bright banners had no place in their new, shameful lives. They were a hindrance to the guerilla strikes the Dragons had adopted, and more importantly such a shamed chapter had no place wearing such honorable tokens of the Emperor’s favor.
With great lament, the banners and flags of the once-proud Dragons were arranged in the tomb-like underground shrine they had excavated. They were put away with the other relics of the chapter as symbols of a proud time, of a golden age when the Red Dragons charged into glorious battle with their colors proudly displayed. The day the chapter’s banners were enshrined was the day the proud brothers truly realized how far they had fallen. Once they were giants among men, proud symbols of the Emperor’s might. Now they had been reduced to the lowliest of servants. As the Chaplains led the ceremony, the once-proud Marines looked on with grief.
The Dragons would continue to serve the Emperor. However, their once-precious honor had been shattered by failure. No longer would they wear the emblem of the Red Dragon. Each Marine painted black over most of his armor as a sign of penance, and the red dragon emblem on their shoulder pads was changed to a black shadow of itself. Brother Tallarus kept the original emblem on his shield, at the behest of his troops, but he blackened every other part of his armor in penance for his terrible mistake. Since then, there has been only one Red Dragon, and only his shadows remain in the chapter proper. Only the symbols of the chapter remain crimson on the Dragon’s armor, the knee and shoulder pads, and then only because of the Techmarines’ demands. Even shamed brothers will not risk the wrath of the Omnassiah.
Tech-Adept Calhoun’s Log:
8.21: While filing mission logs, Servitor G-5 noted a strange trend. Upon perusal of past logs, I saw the same thing on many, and more disturbingly in records far too old for this to be a recent problem. I plan to run some more tests, but this looks like a geneseed issue considering how far back the problems go.
8.26: The checks are complete. This is too consistent to be a fluke. In every case I’ve looked over, Marines older than approximately ninety years begin to exhibit obsessively perfectionistic tendencies. According to preliminary calculations, this may have increased mission fatalities as much as eight percent on certain assignments. The effect seems to be magnified by the Mechanicus hypno-training procedures. I suspect this is because of the Machine Spirit doctrines, but I cannot be certain without access to the programs.
8.27: I have the entire G Servitor set poring over the geneseed, looking for abnormalities that might result in such a disorder. I have instructed them to focus on the Catalepsean Node, the Omophagea, the Occulobe, and the Sus-an membrane. Hopefully they will discover something minor and I can stop worrying.
9.02: It’s not a problem with the brain-related organs. Unless there’s something wrong with the hypno-therapy, I have no idea what could be causing this. G set is cross-checking the hypno system, and I have E set running over the rest of the geneseed. I just can’t shake the feeling that this is genetic. Tomorrow I’ll check over the older Marines for long-term effects.
9.04: Well, I believe the cause has been found. There is a mutation the Larraman organ, of all things. I theorize that something about the blood cells slowly damages certain parts of the brain. I have no idea how such a thing could happen, but apparently it has. I have yet to discover the long-term effects.
9.09: This aberration is worse than I realized. In all cases over five hundred, the motor functions begin to deteriorate. However, oddly enough, something about the mutated geneseed prolongs the life of the Marines. I think it’s time to look over some old records about Tallarus. If I can find them.
9.16: The tests are complete. It’s certain; a mutation in the Larraman geneseed causes the specialized blood cells to slowly eat away at certain parts of the brain. We don’t have the facilities to determine exactly how it happens, but it has something to do with the repair systems of the Larraman cells. Eventually, the motor centers degenerate as well. I can’t imagine the Mars-side Adepts have realized it, though. This is one of the most subtle mutations I’ve ever heard of. I still can’t find the records I need on Tallarus, though. I’m starting to think they were hidden. A and D sets haven’t been able to find them, and I think there might be a mind-block on all the Servitors. It’s time I take over personally. One Marine cannot go against the Adeptus Mechanicus like this.
9.21: I finally found the records. I was right – they were hidden as well as I’ve ever seen and every Servitor in the force has a mental block on them. Tallarus is old. From what I’ve recovered, he may be over a thousand. The mutations have warped his mind and body horribly over that time, though. He’s become pathologically paranoid, incredibly obsessive, and an extreme perfectionist. After some examination of the accessible files, I found out that they had been tampered with. He didn’t lose anything but his right leg in battle. The rest of his bionics are simply to replace the limbs that mysteriously stopped working. He couldn’t deal with his reduced effectiveness; the disorder had affected him too much. So he had the sluggish limbs replaced and covered up the evidence. I don’t know why he didn’t just delete the files if he knows as much as he seems to about our databases, but I think his damaged mind couldn’t bring him to destroy something that might be a resource to him at some point. After all, look at how he obsesses over his troops.
9.23: I submitted my findings to the other Adepts. Their studies turned up the same thing every time. The first mutation in the history of the Red Dragon chapter has been identified. The only question remaining is how to deal with it. Unfortunately, I don’t think we have any choice in the matter. Tallarus is our only hope of making off this rock with more than a squad’s worth of Marines. For now, at least, the Techmarines of the chapter will keep this secret among ourselves.
Gregos Malovich and Uziel Squad: Gregos Malovich, a particularly intelligent Marine, was called to Mars shortly after graduating from Scout status. He immediately departed to receive his new training, and his quick mind and adaptive thinking made quick work of what the Adeptus Mechanicus had to teach him. When he returned to the chapter, he was armed with a new knowledge of the Marines’ mechanical servants and an odd mindset springing from his Scout training. He immediately went to work, repairing broken equipment and vehicles, studying every nook and cranny and spot-fix. He became a gem among the innumerable Techmarines required for a space borne chapter, and grew a reputation for fixing the broken machinery given up for lost. He had a knack for creating practical and efficient solutions to problems, and it showed in his mannerisms. His feet strode silently among the heavy strides of his fellows, and every movement was guarded and precise.
The reserved, deliberate manner he had grown to practice brought him through near the top of marksmanship training time after time. Master Tallarus recognized this, and after much deliberation offered him a spot in Veteran Squad Uziel. It was a breach of Codex protocol, and Gregos was fully aware, but odder things had been done in the chapter since they took up their vigil. He readily accepted, and became an invaluable member of the squad. Soon enough, he was promoted to squad leader and his practical, objective eye brought his men through to victory on countless occasions. He prospered within the ranks of the Dragons, and the Chapter Master frequently sought his advice on battle plans. He was to be promoted soon, to command a Company, when he learned the horror of the chapter’s greatest mistake.
Gregos was on board the first ship to plummet to the Tau sept world. He survived, although badly wounded, but his fellows of Uziel squad did not. He joined the guerilla warfare with glee, and struck countless blows against the xenos in the name of his fallen brothers. After the area was cleared, Master Tallarus approached him with disturbing news. The chapter was running out of supplies, and the Marines were worried about the inevitable outcome of a continued battle. Gregos was offered a new squad, an experiment in the face of a new concept: The Purifying Brotherhood. He would adapt scavenged Tau equipment into functional gear for a single squad, whose membership he would select. The Brotherhood would purify his creations, and he would have the dubious honor of field-testing them along with his new squad. He accepted, and immediately began work on the new Uziel squad.
Although Master Tallarus expected him to create a new Veteran squad, Gregos had another idea. He designed an entirely new class of armor, which he dubbed Specter armor. It was a masterpiece, blending the greatest aspects of both Imperial and Tau technology. The merging of ceramite plates with Tau scale armor construction created a lightweight, sturdy frame with unparalleled mobility. The advanced optics of the Tau helmet was coupled with the Marine comm systems and target identification to produce a fantastic field device. He developed a silent, efficient, and cool-running power system from the common Fire Warrior backpack, and attached customized gel packs to the standard-issue Marine boots. The ten suits of Specter armor he produced gave up a small amount of protection for utter silence and a new level of stealth. He revealed his creation to Master Tallarus with a proposal to create a new kind of squad to fill such armor.
The new squad, Veteran Scout Squad Uziel, was to be a fully independent unit capable of covert mission deep within enemy territory. They would pick off important Tau officers and disrupt the fragile command chain, leaving the xenos open to assault by more conventional strike forces. The Chapter Master granted Gregos’ request, and nine of the stealthiest Marines in the chapter were chosen. They were given retraining in the use of Needle Rifles while the other Dragons were learning their way around newly repaired equipment, and they soon followed Gregos to their first target – a Shas’o commanding a nearby Tau force.
The infiltration went off without a problem. Uziel Squad crept into ideal firing positions after two weeks of silent maneuvering, and the Tau were thrown into disarray as two needle rifle shots destroyed their leader’s head. Unfortunately, as Uziel Squad carefully extracted themselves, Gregos faced a serious problem. It was planned to be three shots, and the only reason it was not was a malfunction with one of the needle rifles. He examined the squad’s weapons and realized that only six of the ten rifles were still functional after the two weeks of meager supplies and no spare parts. Clearly, a new weapon was required that could be repaired from scavenged components. Thus the Pulse Sniper was born. Gregos grafted a Kroot Rifle barrel onto a Pulse Carbine, removing the fail safes and energy focusing lenses from the Tau weapon. This allowed an overcharged burst of unfocused energy from the Carbine to propel a solid round with astounding force. The design incorporated an electronic scope with a wireless connection to the Specter helmet, and most importantly could be repaired or even completely replaced with Tau parts scavenged from the battlefield. Thusly armed with newly purified weapons and a goodly supply of spare parts, Uziel Squad returned to Chapter Master Tallarus for their next assignment…
Profile | WS | BS | S | T | W | I | A | Ld | Sv | Pts |
Gregos | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 2 | 5 | 3 | 9 | 4+ | 75 |
Equipment: Personal Pulse Sniper, Bolt Pistol, Purity Seals, Terminator Honors (included in profile)
Forward Operator: Use the Scouts universal rule with Gregos and his accompanying Scout Squad if he has one.
Personal Pulse Sniper: Counts as a sniper rifle with AP4.
Marksman: You may choose which model in a squad Gregos fires at. However, you must
roll his attack before his squad’s.
Scout Master: Use the Move Through Cover and Infiltrate universal rules with Gregos.
Gregos may lead a Scout Squad as listed in the Codex, replacing the Sergeant. If this option is taken, Gregos and his squad count as a Troops choice. Otherwise, Gregos counts as an Elites choice.
Brother Tallarus and Altmer’s Doctrine: Deep in the subterranean shrine of the Red Dragons, lying among the retired sarcophagi of great warriors and the sacred banners of a naïve age is a massive slab of stone. Towering over even the most imposing Space Marine, this twenty-foot obelisk has stood for sixty years as a silent testament to the hundred and thirty-seven battle brothers lost when the Gribaltar was sacrificed. Every day the surface of the Memory Stone is cleaned by Servitors, every crevice of every letter of the litanies, tales, and most importantly names carefully returned to the state of their creation. Among the lines of this ancient record lie stories of valor on distant planets, near-forgotten sayings of lost fellows, and the last mention of brave warriors. The Lorestone is the most sacred relic of the Red Dragons chapter. Its every word is holy writ to the Marines of Gribaltar, and every day the work in its entirety is recited by every brother wherever they are. At the top of this sacred stone, placed at the beginning of the most important relic in the ancient shrine are the words of Chapter Master Altmer: “Never to anger, never to haste, never to fury, forever to vengeance.”
Brother Tallarus is the living epitome of that sacred liturgy. Of all the teachings of the Primarchs and the Emperor, he considers it to be the ultimate wisdom of battle. Brother Tallarus has led the Dragons in the manner of patience and chill demeanor for as long as he has been their Master. Brother Tallarus has led mass forces to vital locations on Gribaltar only to wait for a month or more until the foes all around them were in the perfect position. For three hundred years he has guided the ranks of his chapter to victory time after time after time against their countless foes.
When the Dragons’ fleet crashed to the surface of an alien world, Master Tallarus was the one to rally them. Even then, after the most horrific defeat the chapter had ever known and the greatest humiliation Marines could ever experience, Tallarus called the Dragons to stealth until they could be collected. He alone saw that the only way to save the chapter was the solid, unshakeable spirit of a true warrior. Through the near-impossible virtue of patience, the Red Dragons were led by their Master to seemingly impossible victory. Tallarus had expounded the virtue of Altmer’s ancient doctrine since his induction as Master, but after that battle he was consumed by it.
On the day of the final victory over the Tau forces in the Dragon’s home region, Tallarus changed. He became as a stone, slow in deliberation but implacable in execution. He began to favor intricate plans of deliberate, precise infiltration, creeping forward for months only to strike impeccably and crush his foes within a day. Over the years of vanished patrols and unexplainable losses, the Tau of the planet succumbed to the terror of the unknown and withdrew to the other Septs of the system. Upon their retreat in the face of his silent campaign, Brother Tallarus withdrew more and more into silence. He is rarely seen and even more rarely heard, preferring to relay his orders through Servitors and spend his time deliberating in his quarters among his maps and tomes. On the few occasions he joins his chapter in battle he is a terror, moving in a perfection of silence and precision, stalking his foes and drawing them on until he makes the strike they never see.
Brother Tallarus wears black armor in penance for his terrible mistake in the fateful space battle. This armor is an extremely customized blend of Tactical Dreadnought and XV-class that provides him a characteristic silence devoid of the whirs and clicks so common with more traditional power armor. He carries an elegant weapon called Shiva, designed and crafted by the master artificers of the Dragons over a period of seven years. No warrior of the chapter has ever seen its equal, and none expect to ever see such a blade again. He also bears a massive shield with the sole red dragon token.
Very recently, Tallarus began the mobilization of a large number of troops and vehicles into a group called “Task Force Alpha”. This unusually large task force will combine several smaller detachments for an as yet undisclosed purpose. However, the oddest thing about this force is that Brother Tallarus will lead it himself. It will be the first campaign with the Chapter Master at the head in three years, and a great deal of speculation has arisen among the Dragons concerning the content of the summit soon to be held at a forward outpost known as “Strongpoint Phi”. Whatever the aim, any mission with the illustrious Brother Tallarus at the head will doubtless be of extreme importance.
Profile: Same as Dreadnought.
Ancient Master: The Stone Man has over a millenium of combat experience and measureless training. He has evolved an uncanny ability to evade enemy strikes and survive far more than he should be able to. Brother Tallarus counts as Venerable.
Shield of the Red Dragon: Brother Tallarus' shield bears the only remaining red dragon emblem of the chapter. It represents what honor the Dragons still have, and the shield itself is an impressive piece of equipment. Brother Tallarus counts as having Extra Armor.
Shiva: Centuries ago, when Tallarus gained his immense armor, he commisioned a sword to be built to the proper scale. The chapter's finest artisans labored for a year and produced the finest weapon any Dragon had ever seen. It could cut through adamantium as if it was parchment, its impeccable balance complemented Tallarus' prowess to devastating results, and its graceful lines were a beauty to behold. Tallarus dubbed his new blade "Shiva", and together they have conquered mighty foes. Shiva counts as a Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon.
Burst Rifle: A good deal of the Techmarines' research has gone into improving the tempermental Assault Cannons of the chapter. The original mechanisms destroyed themselves long ago, and a hybrid of Assault and Burst Cannons has been developed for the Terminators to use. For Tallarus, a new weapon altogether was created. Pieces from many ship-mounted Tau armaments were cobbled together to make a terrifying rifle to Brother Tallarus' new scale. It is an imposing weapon, and its precision is matched only by its raw stopping power. The Burst Rifle counts as an Assault Cannon.
Chamelionic Plating: One of the most surprising features of Brother Tallarus' armor is the inclusion of modified chamelionic plates that allow him to melt into his surroundings. Unfortunately, the system drains an immense amount of power and can only be used in short intervals. Brother Tallarus counts as having Smoke Launchers.
Wrist-Mounted Storm Bolter: The Stone Man preaches surprise above all else. In battle, he considers it to be the most important element of victory. Certainly, the opponent who successfully deals with Shiva only to be destroyed by the Storm Bolter mounted behind her is surprised in almost every case.
Night Squads: A handful of squads have been retrained as night squads. These terrifying units are masters of stealth, passing among the ghost cities of Gribaltar as shadows in the night. They hardly ever speak to anyone outside their unit, but are the most tightly knit groups in the chapter. Their purpose is to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines and strike at the head of whatever Tau forces are present, throwing the xeno army into chaos as their command system is shattered in an instant and melting away in near-invisibility. This dangerous practice has turned even the steeled minds of the Adepts to paranoia, however, and the night squads are notoriously odd even among their fanatical brethren.
Profile--------|WS|BS| S | T |W| I | A |Ld| Sv | Pts
Space Marine| 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 1 | 4 | 1 | 8 | 3+ | 17
Sergeant | 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 1 | 4 | 2 | 9 | 3+ | 32
Number/Squad: Sergeant and 4-9 Space Marines
Weapons: Bolt Pistol and Close Combat weapon
Options: Up to two Space Marines may replace their bolt pistol and close combat with a meltagun at +10 points or a storm bolter at +5 points. Every Space Marine (not the Sergeant) in the unit may be given Terminator honors at a cost of +10 points per model.
Characters: The Sergeant may select equipment from the Space Marine Armory. He already has Terminator Honors included in the profile above.
Transport: A Night Squad numbering six or less models may take a Razorback as a dedicated transport at the cost listed in Codex: Space Marines. A Night Squad numbering ten models or less may take a Rhino as a dedicated transport at the cost listed in Codex: Space Marines.
Special Rules: All models in a Night Squad use the following special rules: Scouts; Infiltration; Move Through Cover
Active Camouflage: The unique assignments of a Night Squad necessitate an increased effectiveness in stealth operations. Thus, elements of the Tau Stealth Suit have been incorporated into their armor, decreasing their visibility in cover. The Cover Save of each model in a Death Squad is improved by 1.
Smoke Grenades: When the Sergeants of Night Squads repeatedly requested grenades to aid them in their assault on enemy commanders, the limited resource pool of the chapter was scoured for a suitable item. In the end, a large number of smoke grenades were adapted from the motor pool’s stock to be used by infantry. This has since proved to be the deciding factor in several Night Squad missions when the grenades were used to conceal the assaulting squads, allowing them to close on the enemy without being decimated by small arms fire. Once per game, each Night Squad may use its smoke grenades at the end of the friendly movement phase. For one full game turn, they count as being in cover and have a 2+ cover save against shooting. However, during this time they cannot fire.
Terminator Squad Orison:
Sergeant Ivan Nazariy, Close Combat Specialist:
Equipment: Chainfist, Master-Crafted Power Kris, Purity Seals, Bionics, Auspex
Equipment Aberrations: Substantial XV-8 plating (represented by Bionics), Life Sign Sensor Cluster on left shoulder (represented by Auspex), XV-8 right hand, Fire Warrior supplementary power pack.
Background: Born on Condor, Ivan is one of the few Night Squad members who survived long enough to be promoted to Terminators. He retained his preference for close combat, and Brother Tallarus had a special pair of kris crafted for him. On his right hand is grafted Malus, a quick slashing weapon (counted as Power Weapon). On his left sits Vaius, a powerful stabbing weapon (counted as Chainfist). For his incredible skill with these matched blades, he is known as Shiv. He is a master of stealth, as all Night Squad trainees are, and can slip through enemy defenses with a chilling prowess. Unfortunately, due to his age the Dark Whispers have begun to affect him.
Herienius Zenon, Demolitions Specialist:
Equipment: Chainfist, Storm Bolter
Equipment Aberrations: Fire Warrior shoulder pad on left knee, Magnetic Scanning Unit on right shoulder
Background: Born on Haven, Herienius showed an astonishing aptitude for explosive devices early in his training. He was considered for Mechanicus training, but rejected for pyromaniacal tendencies. However, he was later promoted to Veteran status for outstanding conduct in multiple battles and acting beyond the call of duty in the Task Force Alpha campaign. He carries an assortment of specialized explosives (counted as a chainfist) and can blast his way through most anything given a minute or so. For the distinctive sound his "homemade goodness" makes, he is known as Crunch.
Pepe Fortunato, Marksman:
Equipment: Assault Cannon, Power Fist
Equipment Aberrations: Tri-barreled Vindicare pattern Assault Cannon, spotlight on right shoulder, target lock on left shoulder, XV-8 based power fist
Background: Born on Targus, Pepe is an excellent marksman with a needle rifle and when promoted requested a precision weapon. He was the test subject for the Vindicare pattern Assault Cannon, and much of its design is tailored to his preferences. As a result, he is extremely dangerous with the end product and his success has led the chapter artificers to begin producing Vindicare Assault Cannons on a larger scale. He has impressively quick reflexes, and can respond to new situations quickly, earning him the callsign "Zippy".
Caelonius Draco, Heavy Weapon Specialist:
Equipment: Assault Cannon, Power Fist
Equipment Aberrations: Burst Cannon-based Altmer pattern Assault Cannon, XV-8 plating on right leg, helmet-integrated sensor cluster, bionic left arm
Background: Born on Haven, Caelonius was a plasma cannoneer for most of his Marine life. He lost his left arm when his weapon overheated and vented plasma onto it, but he continued with a new one. He has lived to a surprising age, and was promoted a decade ago to Veteran after jumping onto a grenade that landed in his squad. Somehow he survived, losing only a heart which was easily replaced. He is known for fierce protection of his fellows and a slight overexuberance in the use of his Assault Cannon, and is known as "Mulch".
Che Vielmas, Tactical Advisor:
Equipment: Storm Bolter, Power Fist
Equipment Aberrations: Additional chest plating, XV-8 based power fist, Fire Warrior shoulder pad on left knee, Life Sign sensor cluster on right shoulder, magnetic scanning unit on left shoulder, Fire Warrior supplementary power pack, helmet-integrated advanced comms unit
Background: Born on Targus, Che astonished his Scout Sergeant with a sharp mind and an incredible grasp of tactical response. He quickly rose through the ranks, and for a time he was the comms officer for Land Raider Tiger. However, when his conveyance was disabled during the Task Force Alpha campaign, he took up a Storm Bolter and led the shattered remnants of the Terminator squad within to victory over a substantial Tau force. He was promoted at the end of the campaign, and has proved a valuable asset to Sergeant Nazariy. He has become infamous for his disturbing crimson stare, earning him the callsign "Gazer".
Codex: Shadow Dragons
The Red Dragons chapter of the Adeptus Astartes had been shamed. In their quest to serve the Almighty Emperor, they had been forced to use xenotech. Blessing and purifying it in the name of the Two Faces of the Emperor, the Purifying Brotherhood had led them perilously close to heresy. In the name of their master, the Red Dragons flew in the face of His servants. For six hundred years, they battled deep in Tau space to regain their honor. And, for six hundred years, they sought a way to return to the Imperium. Finally, after a long battle on the part of the chapter’s Techmarines, they succeeded.
The residents of the Imperial world Targus were shocked when a patchwork fleet limped into realspace bearing the ancient colors of the Red Dragons. By the Emperor’s Mercy, Targus was among the handful of worlds that still remembered the Dragons. Planetary Governor Chavez remembered centuries-old legends of the world’s guardian angels, and recognized the Soaring Wyrm from a childhood storybook. He hastily dispatched a relief fleet to aid the Marines, and to discover their fortunes since last they tread his planet’s soil.
The remnants of the decimated Dragons were welcomed by the planet’s people. The odd, cobbled-together ships were towed to the planet and their passengers were invited to a great celebratory feast in the opulent mansion of the governor. They paraded through the streets to cheering masses, countless people packed into the walkways to catch a glimpse of the legendary saviors. When Tallarus and his troops finally passed the palace’s gates, the citizens of Targus no longer had any doubts that their guardians had returned, somehow emerging from the pages of fairy tales.
During the feast, when Tallarus sat at the governor’s right hand, the Dragons looked around at opulent tapestries depicting their past visits to the world. Behind the governor was a massive depiction of a crimson-clad marine slaying a Tyranid with one hand and stretching the other out to a Targan. During the meal, Tallarus recounted the long and bloody tale of the Dragons’ crusade against the Tau. At one point, the governor gestured to the marines seated around the huge groaning tables. “Your men sit in leisure, clad only in uniform. Why do you still wear your armor?” Brother Tallarus looked at him and keyed a sequence into the pad at his arm, prompting countless panels on his jet armor to open. Upon seeing the masses of hydraulics and electronics underneath, the governor said, “Now I understand. Truly, you have paid a terrible price in the name of the Emperor.” Without a word, Tallarus nodded and resealed his armor.
When the Dragons had gorged themselves, the governor stood and had the singular experience of having four hundred massive heads simultaneously turn in his direction. “Noble Adepts, I admire your valor and congratulate you on your victories. Tomorrow, my men will begin repairs on your ships and soon you will be on your way back to the ranks of the Emperor. I wish you fortune in your future endeavors.” When he sat, Brother Tallarus rose and the marines around the tables wordlessly followed his lead. Tallarus thanked the governor and led his troops out to the streets and on toward the temporary residence arranged for them. That night, they slept well for the first time in longer than they could remember.
Three months later, their ships gleamed in their massive docks. The ravages of battle and time had been repaired, and the Dragons’ fleet had been restored to glory. As the Targans looked on and cheered, the marines filed onto their ships and prepared to leave the planet. Governor Carthas had one last thing to say to the Chapter Master, however. “I recognize the xenotech on your ships, Master. I understand your sacrifice. Never think that we will condemn you for what you have done in the Emperor’s Name.” Tallarus thanked him and followed his troops into the Dragon’s Fang. The chapter blasted off of Targus with those words ringing in its Master’s ears.
Their plan was to travel to Macragge and seek aid from Marneus Calgar. However, on their way to the system they were approached by an Inquisitorial battle group. Before the Dragons could react, the Fang was attacked by the lead ship. They sprung into battle, and crushed the inferior force, but before their victory a description of their fleet was broadcast in a massive burst in all directions. Realizing that the Inquisition would always react as this group had, the Dragons landed on a barren world nearby to discuss their next course of action.
After a month of debate, a final meeting of the Dragons was called. Once again, Tallarus stood in front of a sea of red and black armor and knew they were his to lead. “It has been decided,” he addressed them. “We will return to Targus and seek repentance in battle. But no longer are we the Red Dragons. The Inquisition has shown us what we should have seen long ago. When our fleet crashed to the surface of a hostile world, the Red Dragons died. Naught but their shade rose from the ashes of their ships, and naught but a shadow of their former glory still lingers. But we have risen to the post with all our might. We became as shadows in the night, striking and vanishing only to strike again. We became the terror of the xeno, that which lurks in the darkest night and comes forth to devour. We became shadows that day, shadows that haunt these Tau that dare threaten the Almighty Emperor. So today and ever after we will continue to stalk them as the Shadow Dragons!” A mighty roar leapt from the throat of every marine. And thus they set off for a new home renewed under a new banner.
They were welcomed back to Targus by a confused but happy populace. Once again, Tallarus met with the governor Chavez and explained the recent turn of events. At the end of his tale and the chapter’s meal, the governor’s brow was deeply furrowed.
“I offer whatever I can give to aid you, but we alone cannot support such crusades. You need equipment and ammunition, something we cannot provide you in great quantities. For the scale of operations you propose, you need far more men than we can spare. You need food and supplies and countless other things, and Targus simply cannot provide it all.” And then he looked up. “But I might know how you can acquire the support you need.”
Chavez pointed out Targus’ two neighbors, Haven and Condor. He reminded Tallarus of ancient campaigns the Dragons had fought to protect the two worlds, and told him of the legendary Dragons remembered on those planets as well. He outlined a plan in which, essentially, the three worlds would support the Shadow Dragons and in turn the Dragons would protect them. After a number of negotiations with the governors of Haven and Condor, the deal was struck and a fortress monastery was constructed on Targus.
And thus the Shadow Dragon’s first crusade, the Orison campaign, began. In time, the trio of planets now known as the Dragon’s Ward evolved a strong web of defense, trade, and government. They began a rather charmed life, guarded by the swelling ranks of the Shadow Dragons. The Dragons themselves continued their series of campaigns, striking devastating blows against the Tau. Orks and Chaos occasionally attack, as they do everywhere, and are repelled by the Dragons. A few Inquisitors have investigated, but they have been few, far between, and never more than the Dragons can handle. So far, the Shadow Dragons have not met a foe they could not crush in the Emperors name and day by day they do so, seeking absolution in the cleansing fires of battle.
<See coming thread for rules>
Oy. Like it? Hate it? Consider it an abomination unto the Emperor?
Expecting a lot of that last one. At some point I'll post the Shadow Dragon rules.