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Knight-Champion
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my fluff justification for including a Counts-As version of Arch-Centurion Carnac Commodus (rules available as a PDF on the Forge World site) in my Ultramarines army. I meant it to be a couple of paragraphs but it went on a bit further than that!

ANVADIUS CALDERMANN, THE PENITENT

The penalties for breaching the directives of the Codex Astartes are well known amongst the Ultramarines. Captain Uriel Ventris returned to the Chapter and command of the Fourth Company upon completion of a harrowing death oath, and whilst some may say his ordeal was horrific, there are others in the Chapter who would say that Captain Ventris should be considered lucky...

DEATH OF A CAPTAIN

The Third Company of the Ultramarines, commanded at the time by Captain Azio Pilaeus, travel to the dead world Berien VI, responding to a distress call from an Adeptus Mechanicus explorator team surveying the planet and conducting salvage operations. When they arrived, they found the remnants of the Mechanicus contingent assailed by an army of daemons, thralls of the Blood God. The explorators had inadvertently activated a dormant warp portal which had allowed the daemons to manifest in huge numbers. The Third immediately deployed, the majority of the company forming a defensive cordon whilst various squads undertook sorties to recover isolated elements of the explorator force. Pilaeus was always at the forefront of each sortie, and they managed to bring back a significant of the cut-off tech-priests and their barely surviving Skitarii defenders.

The ever increasing number of Daemons and the council of the two Librarians who were accompanying the Third convinced Captain Pilaeus that it was senseless to try and fight the Daemonic hordes in a conventional battle, and he gave the order for the forces on the surface to be pulled out, so that the planet could be scoured from orbit, denying the minions of Khorne the conflict they craved.

Unfortunately the scions of the blood god were not prepared to let the Imperial forces withdraw so easily, and as landers came down from the Ultramarine's strike cruiser and the remaining Mechanicus ships, the Daemons attacked in force, throwing themselves at the Space Marine's defences with abandon, desperate to reap more skulls for their master before the opportunity was lost. Seeing that their defences were stretched close to breaking point, and with the withdrawal taking longer than expected, Captain Pilaeus made a play to allow their forces time to escape. Against the wishes of his Sergeants but unable to see another way out of their fate, and consigning his soul to The Emperor, Pilaeus roared a challenge from the top of the hastily-erected barricades containing the Imperial Defenders. A challenge for one-on-one combat with Khorne's chosen champion.

The Daemons ceased their assault, and a booming laugh echoed around the landscape. From he midst of the daemonic horde strode forth a Bloodthirster of Khorne, a Daemon who announced himself as Skullrend, and proclaimed the death of Pilaeus in honourable combat.

Undaunted, Pilaeus received the blessings of their Chaplain and strode forth with deliberate ceremony, every moment allowing more time for the defenders to evacuate. If the followers of Khorne noticed this they seemed not to care; the prospect of a duel of mighty champions too much to sacrifice for a simple massacre.

When he could delay no longer, Pilaeus met the greater daemon on the barren rock of Berien VI, a lone warrior of the Imperium, facing a nightmare of ancient times and surrounded completely by Daemons. There was near silence, broken only by the roar of thrusters as yet more ships left the Imperial encampment. Battle was joined. Pilaeus fought as though the fate of the Imperium depended on it, and it is a testament to his skill and his faith that he was not struck down immediately by the enemy he faced. His every move was a delaying tactic, executed with martial precision intended to draw the duel out in a way that ensured Skullrend would not wish to rush it. Pilaeus, however, was only mortal, and soon he was unable to continue the charade any further. Skullrend began his assault in earnest, and the daemon overcame Pilaeus quickly despite his dogged resistance. Disarming him and battering him to the ground, Pilaeus only had time to hold his head up high before Skullrend decapitated him with a ferocious swing of his axe.

Hearing the cries of dismay from the last of Pilaeus' Company, Skullrend picked up their Captain's headless body and flung it at the Space Marines, his power armoured form crashing to the ground amongst them. Pilaeus was dead, but his sacrifice had allowed the Imperial forces time to complete their withdrawal, and only a single Thunderhawk Gunship remained, waiting for the last of Pilaeus' men. They took their Captain's body and retreated into the ship, bolters barking as the foot soldiers of Khorne assaulted them once more.

Only one Space Marine did not fall back. Veteran Sergeant Anvadius Caldermann, Sergeant of the First Squad of Third Company, had to be dragged into the Thunderhawk by his men, all the while roaring oaths of hatred and vengeance against Skullrend. He swore on his beloved Captain's memory that the creature would be ended, or that he would die trying.

As they took off for the atmosphere, Caldermann could only watch from the viewport as Skullrend brandished Pilaeus' skull, barely listening as Chaplain Cadecius told him that he was Pilaeus' chosen successor, and that Captaincy of the Third had fallen to him.

THE THIRST FOR VENGEANCE

Returning to Ultramar, the Third mourned their fallen Captain, and Anvadius was officially instated as his replacement. Caldermann petitioned the Chapter for leave to avenge Pilaeus, but he was told that whilst the Ultramarines would pursue the Daemon where possible, his duties must always come first.

Disheartened but resolute, Captain Caldermann returned to active service with the Third. He serves with distinction for twenty-three years, though on every return to Ultramar he consults with the Librarius, always wanting to know if there have been any signs of Skullrend.

In the twenty third year if his leadership of the Third Company, during the purging of a minor Khornate cult, Caldermann interrogated a captured member of the cult. There is no transcript of the event. After the mission was completed, Caldermann returned to Ultramar once more, ostensibly to resupply. They left once the resupply was completed, and for once Anvadius had not visited the Librarius. It was believed at the time that he had finally made peace with his mentor's demise; this was however far from the truth.

It was first realise something was amiss when the Third ignored a request for aid from Imperial Guard regiments embattled with Orks in the Charadon area; it is later found out that Captain Caldermann was made aware of the request but ordered that they proceed onwards. The Third Company made several planet falls, seemingly in places of little consequence. It was later related that Caldermann was searching for something, but he would not share the details with any of those who accompanied him, either misdirecting them or leading them to believe he was acting to fulfil orders.

THE CHALLENGE

After two years on the hunt, Caldermann finally found what he had been looking for. On another Dead World, the Ultramarines found a shrine similar to the one they had bombed from the face of Berien VI. While his company beseeched their Captain for its destruction, Caldermann advanced on the damned rock and bared his palm, then sliced it with his combat knife flung his blood upon the debased altar. He shouted a challenge to the sky; in an echo of his predecessor, it was a challenge to Khorne to send his champion - and named him as Skullrend. Reality warped around the stone, and the Third's enemy was given form, the same booming laughter preceding his appearance. Skullrend taunted Caldermann, telling him that the chance to take his skull would be even easier that Azio's. Caldermann fumed at the Daemon's use of his former Captain's given name, but did not allow him self to be baited. He merely repeated his challenge, all the while ordering his company to stand down and leave the Daemon to him.

Skullrend accepted Anvadius' challenge, and in the chosen arena, they had their duel. The Captain of the Third was not going to be any easy kill, however; he had had twenty five years to prepare. It was found out after his Company had departed Macragge that Caldermann had removed several items from the Chapter's armoury; a feat which would have been extremely difficult without the access granted to him as Master of the Arsenal. He had taken a power armour cuirass, an expertly forged masterpiece once believed to have been touched by the Emperor, as well as a stripped down assault cannon gifted to the Ultramarines by an Inquisitor, loaded with psychically impregnated rounds, and the power fist Soulcrusher, an ancient gauntlet thrice blessed by the Eccelsiarchy. So armed and armoured did Caldermann take to the chosen arena; if Skullrend was aware of the power of the artefacts he gave no sign of it.

Anvadius had no interest in the delaying actions his predecessor had employed against Skullrend; he merely waited until he was ready to begin, then brought up the 'assault gun' and unleashed a hail of psychic rounds. Though they were not enough to stop the Daemon, they did slow him down, and tore a patchwork of rents in unnatural hide. Skullrend bellowed his fury at Caldermann, charging him head on despite the barrage of bullets. Caldermann tried to dive aside but he was too slow; Skullrend caught him a glancing blow with his Khornate axe, sending Caldermann spinning away and smashing him into the ground.

The Daemon's booming laugh returned as he advanced on the Space Marine, and only Caldermann's explicit orders kept his company from trying to intervene. The Daemon advanced on him, and there was an echo of history as the Daemon advanced on the felled Captain of the Third. The Skullrend regarded his fallen foe with contempt.

"No honourable death for you, Astartes." The Daemon promised. "I will crush your bones and flay your hide one inch at a time!"

The Bloodthirster dropped his axe to the ground with a resounding clang, reached down and grabbed Caldermann by his chest plate. As he did so there was a flash of white light, and the Daemon howled, unable to release the cuirass touched by the hand of Him On Earth, its blessed surface anathema to the warp spawned nightmare. Caldermann took his chance, and drew back Soulcrusher and hammered the anointed power fist into the Daemon's bellowing maw, the impact causing a flash of lightning and a thunderclap leaving a stink of ozone.
The Daemon staggered backwards, but still could not release the Space Marine, and Anvadius launched another punch into the Daemon's face, a blow which actually caused the Daemon to fall to the ground, roaring in rage and pain. Caldermann brought his other arm up and unloaded the assault gun into the Daemon's body, even as he continued to bring Soulcrusher down on its increasingly battered form. Warp matter was flooding from an increasing number of wounds. Though battered and bloody him self, Caldermann crushed the Daemon's arm with his power fist, not relenting for one second.

Finally, Caldermann stepped back and the Daemon started to rise, but with a single word he unleashed the guns of the Third Company. Bolt round, plasma bolt and purging flame and struck the Daemon, and it was unable to survive the barrage. Rapidly losing its hold on physical form, the Daemon cried out one last time.

"Coward! You have no honour!" Caldermann actually smiled at the monster's rapidly dissipating form.
"You know better than I that your god cares not from where the blood flows, Daemon. Your fate will be no different to those you have slain."

With a howl of rage, Skullrend finally lost its grip on reality and disappeared in a crack of warp energy.

As peace returned to the dead world once more, Caldermann collapsed.

Borne back to their Strike cruiser by the men of his company, they set course for Ultramar. A victory had been won over an enemy of mankind, and their former Captain had been avenged, but Caldermann's men knew that the course of action their Captain had taken could not have been approved by the Chapter.

DISHONOUR IN VICTORY

When they approached Ultramar, the Battle Barge Octavius intercepted them and escorted them to Macragge. When they returned, the slowly recovering Captain Caldermann was transported to the surface, separated from his company.

Anvadius was taken to the Chapter Master's quarters, and though no record is made of what was discussed, it is known he was made to account for his actions and describe every detail of his quest for vengeance. Over two weeks several other Captains as well as Librarians and Chaplains attended upon the Chapter Master, but none would speak of what they had discussed.

Eventually, the Chapter Master assembled the Third Company, along with all of the other Ultramarines in Ultramar.

He described to them Caldermann's quest to avenge his former Captain, the burning desire that had lived within him for two decades, and the lengths he had gone to see his oath of vengeance fulfilled.

Though he had defeated a fell champion of the dark gods, Anvadius had disobeyed the Codex, stolen from the Chapter's armoury, and had put the prosecution of his quest for revenge above the protection of the Imperium's citizens. Caldermann had made no attempt to justify his actions, and submitted himself completely to the judgement of the Chapter.

The Chapter Master decreed that though he believed Caldermann should be executed for his deeds, and though misguided, he had acted to Honour a promise made to his former Captain and had led the Third for twenty years with exemplary skill. In light of this, Caldermann was not executed.
Instead, the Slayer of Skullrend was stripped of his rank and command, his armour replaced with plain blue lacking in any insignia save the Chapter icon, and his weapons taken from him, replaced with a simple bolt pistol and chainsword.

So it was that Anvadius Caldermann, Captain of the Third Company of the Ultramarines, became simply The Penitent. He goes where he will, and no Ultramarine will bar his path. He will accompany the Chapter into battle whenever it is possible for him to do so, and he will always be at the front of the fighting, relentlessly slaying foe after foe, allowing no enemy of mankind to escape. He has no hope for redemption, but knows and accepts that his punishment is to serve as a very visible example for those who would flaunt the Codex and the chain of command. He stands beside his fellow Ultramarines, but never as one of them. A brother no longer, he is to be pitied, but never forgotten.
 

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Son of LO
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The fluff is fine, but I'm not really seeing how it fits Commodus' special rules (which seem to be about being really bloodthirsty as opposed to pragmatic and penitent.) Also, if he was stripped of command and permanently banished to the lowest possible rank, how does he fill a HQ slot like Commodus does?

He really sounds more like a counts-as Lone Wolf than a counts-as Carnac Commodus.
 

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Knight-Champion
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The fluff is fine, but I'm not really seeing how it fits Commodus' special rules (which seem to be about being really bloodthirsty as opposed to pragmatic and penitent.) Also, if he was stripped of command and permanently banished to the lowest possible rank, how does he fill a HQ slot like Commodus does?
I thought of him as being overly zealous in his pursuit of enemies rather than bloodthirsy "relentlessly slaying foe after foe, allowing no enemy of mankind to escape." - I'm using the pure rules without fluff as my basis for him, he's not Commodus by any other name, he is another character with bonues to sweeping advance and a souped up chainsword. He might fit better into an Elites slot from the fluff, but I work with what rules are available I also think that other Ultramarines may follow him during the course of a battle, so he could work as an HQ, though in a less commanding and a more "follow the Penitent and slay the foe" type of way.

He really sounds more like a counts-as Lone Wolf than a counts-as Carnac Commodus.
I agree he would work well as a Lone Wolf, but Codex Marines can't take Lone Wolves, and can take Commodus. I work with what I've got :)

Well, the chapter master might not see him as a hero as such, but the warriors do. You never know, they might be willing to follow him.
As you say, Ultramarines may follow him in battle, though he would never really issue orders as such.
 

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Son of LO
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I thought of him as being overly zealous in his pursuit of enemies rather than bloodthirsy "relentlessly slaying foe after foe, allowing no enemy of mankind to escape." - I'm using the pure rules without fluff as my basis for him, he's not Commodus by any other name, he is another character with bonues to sweeping advance and a souped up chainsword. He might fit better into an Elites slot from the fluff, but I work with what rules are available I also think that other Ultramarines may follow him during the course of a battle, so he could work as an HQ, though in a less commanding and a more "follow the Penitent and slay the foe" type of way.
Eh. I'm still not really seeing the correlation. By that I mean I read the fluff and it doesn't really say "high strength chainsword and good Sweeping Advances." It makes him sound like a sombre, pragmatic kind of guy who sacrificed his personal honour and his authority as Captain to avenge a fallen friend. You've got that line about relentless slaying tacked on the end, but it doesn't seem like a natural description of the character.

I think the fluff is great, it just doesn't make any sense when you apply it to the rules or even to a HQ choice. This guy sounds like he would be an Elites choice or an upgrade character. And I know you don't have any Lone Wolves in C: SM, but that just makes me wonder why you wrote the perfect Lone Wolf fluff when you were trying to make a counts-as Commodus. You could have not had him stripped of leadership, or made his motivations less about sacrificing honour to avenge a friend and more about a Moby Dick-style killing-the-one-that-got-away rage spree (then the relentless killing would make sense.)

Also, this just occurred to me:

Captain Uriel Ventris returned to the Chapter and command of the Fourth Company upon completion of a harrowing death oath, and whilst some may say his ordeal was horrific, there are others in the Chapter who would say that Captain Ventris should be considered lucky...
That's not really true at all. I haven't read the Ventris novels, but there are a lot of them, and it seems like Ventris went through a lot of crap with his death oath thingy. Caldermann got off comparitively lightly, considering that he's basically just hanging around with the Chapter doing his old job and not, say, invading Medrengard.
 
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Knight-Champion
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Eh. I'm still not really seeing the correlation. By that I mean I read the fluff and it doesn't really say "high strength chainsword and good Sweeping Advances." It makes him sound like a sombre, pragmatic kind of guy who sacrificed his personal honour and his authority as Captain to avenge a fallen friend. You've got that line about relentless slaying tacked on the end, but it doesn't seem like a natural description of the character.
I see that as who he was before he completed his quest for vengeance, after which he was essentially left without that drive, and just the guilt of what he had done. He's trying to atone for his misdeeds by killing the enemies of mankind - even though he'll likely never succeed.

I think the fluff is great, it just doesn't make any sense when you apply it to the rules or even to a HQ choice. This guy sounds like he would be an Elites choice or an upgrade character. And I know you don't have any Lone Wolves in C: SM, but that just makes me wonder why you wrote the perfect Lone Wolf fluff when you were trying to make a counts-as Commodus. You could have not had him stripped of leadership, or made his motivations less about sacrificing honour to avenge a friend and more about a Moby Dick-style killing-the-one-that-got-away rage spree (then the relentless killing would make sense.)
Well I'm not really trying to create an airtight character; I'm just giving him a story - as a Penitent he is no longer a Captain, and since he's already defeated Skullrend he is no longer on a quest for vengeance; he's just a Space Marine who lost his way, and the only thing he has left to do is kill his enemies.

Also, this just occurred to me:
That's not really true at all. I haven't read the Ventris novels, but there are a lot of them, and it seems like Ventris went through a lot of crap with his death oath thingy. Caldermann got off comparitively lightly, considering that he's basically just hanging around with the Chapter doing his old job and not, say, invading Medrengard.
You're not thinking like a Space Marine though; yes, Uriel went through hell, but he came out of it redeemed and returned to his place in the Chapter. His honour was restored and he regained his brotherhood in the chapter. Caldermman may still be with the Chapter, but he has little or no hope of redemption - a much worse fate for an Ultramarine, the way I see it.
 
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