7 Mar 2013

Space Marines - Creating a Home Brew Chapter

I'm ALL about teh fluff.
   Hey guys JT here with another article in our Space Marines series of articles focusing on the creation of a Home Brew Chapter or how to use a Canon Chapter in an effective way; you can find the previous articles in the series here and here; which are also indexed in the Hobby Portal. Today I will be talking about the creation process involved, as well as providing a template for you guys to take away and distribute/keep however you see fit.

Click the 'read more' link below to view the article.

   So you've decided on a kick ass colour scheme for your newly born Space Marine Chapter and yet, you're not quite sure where to go from there - or you are, and your thoughts really aren't that ordered at this point. This happens to a lot of us, some people will stop with their development at the colour scheme part and get to building their army, which is fine. For the rest of us, there are some very important things to consider - such as a theme for the army, which Codex you're using to best fit your theme, whether your Chapter is loyalist or renegade, and most importantly - a name for your Chapter!

Ninja Beakies FTW.
   I tend to start with choosing a theme - this will help when writing up lists and choosing a Codex, and really should be help get the creative juices flowing. When I say theme I mean mostly concerning Tactical Doctrine - aesthetics will come later - and what kind of army you want to be playing. The vanilla Marine 'dex has a good selection of special characters that can change your army composition or adjust your tactics quite well within reasonable bounds - if you're playing a stealthy army, a counts - as Kayvaan Shrike might be a good avenue to take if you also happen to like Assault Marines and want him jumping around like a lunatic; this is just an example. It is important to look at each character in the book as an avatar for a play style, and ignore the names/chapter associations as you can reasonably do a counts-as version to represent your own commander.

  After some reading you may find that the Vanilla Codex just is not cutting it, you may not necessarily want tac marines as troops in your army or you're after some cavalry or something to that effect, at this point it might be a good idea to start considering other Codex's and getting a feel for whether they could better suit the theme you have in mind. You may, for example - want a whole army of berserker's rampaging through the place, or an army consisting entirely of terminators; things that are impossible in the Vanilla 'dex, to help you guys; here is a quick summary of what each Codex's differences in a very basic sense:

  • Space Wolves - Best devastator equivalent's in the game with the best 'tactical' style squads for troops, perform well in midrange yet don't really have access to good Assault Marines, and have no fliers. They have the best psychic defence for any marine army, they also have the ability to take 4 HQ's in each detachment, and they can be absolutely insane in combat - also have the option to have terminators leading their squads (they can also ride in drop pods); also only marine army other then Chaos Space Marines that can take cavalry (thunderwolf riders - its as awesome as it sounds).
  • Blood Angels - Focused heavily on jetpack infantry and some crazy melee focused troops units, such as the notoriously brutal Death Company. They suffer from a lack of heavy fire power options available to Vanilla marines, but compensate for this with Fast tanks and the hard hitting Sanguinary Guard. They have some pretty nifty psychic powers stock and have the best Assault Squads of any marine Codex (mainly because they're scoring units) and thus can field an entire army of marines hopping around. They also have access to Storm Ravens, which used to be unique to Blood Angels and Grey Knights but have since been added to the Vanilla 'dex and Black Templars. Also have the ability to take 9 Dreadnaughts in a single detachment, and have the best melee Dreadnaughts. Plays more like a scalpel to the Vanilla dex's hammer.
  • Dark Angels - Have the ability to take an all Terminator Army, in the form of Deathwing squads - they also have a lot of nifty deep strike rules for these units - and their terminators have better access to heavy weapons and can make mixed squads much like Grey Knights and Space Wolves. They also have an option to take an all bike army, and do this a bit better then the vanilla codex in a lot of ways. Apart from this, they play almost exactly like regular marines; they don't get storm ravens but have awesome banners and work extremely well in larger games (2000+ points).
  • Grey Knights - What is widely regarded as the most unbalanced army list in WH40k, you won't be making friends easy with these guys. Almost every single member of the army has a storm bolter and some kind of force weapon, even the basic marines - which are extremely cheap compared to regular marines, all things considered. They also have some extremely nasty special characters which can heavily modify your army list to make it even more powerful - they have access to a whole host of extremely powerful yet short ranged heavy weapons. They have access to assassins, the iconic Dreadknight and are a real pain for psykers to fight - they also can take terminators as troops - who happen to be some of the best (if not the best) in the game. They don't have access to a lot of traditional marine units and are really an entirely different army - they do have analogues with a twist though. They do operate with a smaller amount of models then any other army out there as a rule of thumb, due to their highly elite nature. There is really too much to discuss here, if you think you want a super elite army of psychic knight marines - then grab the Codex, read guides on the internet and join in on the conversations - they also happen to be a relatively cheap army to get started with.
Black Templars - So cool, just so...old...
  • Black Templars - An awesome army to look at, but the outdated Codex makes them both unique and highly difficult to use. They have some neat tricks up their sleeves, such as the ability to give any tank power of the machine spirit - and have some old, but cool wargear options have interesting effects. Their primary difference between them and Vanilla is that they have no Dev squads, they can take scouts in their tactical squads - the old book does not sit well with the current edition and really can't compare to the newer books - but they are space knights in a very traditional sense, with a strong focus on close combat.
  • Chaos Space Marines - This might seem like an odd choice, but they can be good to represent some more unique units in an army you're thinking of. They can take hoards of marines like no other book, have the 2nd best devastators in the form of Havocs and have highly customizable troops choices. You can take a hoard of psychotic butchers or have inhumanely hard to kill marines who are...difficult to shift - you can also take some awesome walker's with excellent guns; and you have access to one of the best fliers in the game. They have some other unique units, like obliterators (terminators made from living guns) and cultists. With a lot of careful modelling, you could easily do a counts as army with a lot of conversion work and use this Codex to get some of the boons of the book - you really should not dismiss CSM out of hand just because they're Chaos (unless you're going for a renegade chapter/warband).

   Please remember the above is by no means a comprehensive analysis when you're considering a Codex, you can find a lot of information on each out there on the net - and you can always ask at your local FLGS or GW, or any internet forum for some more advice.

   So hopefully you now have a theme, a colour scheme and a chosen Codex - its finally ready to start writing that all important army list. When you write your army list, feel free to stray from your theme as you can always adapt it to include the units you like - which is the beautiful part of making your own Chapter. You can't have anyone whinging that you have Land Speeders when you're playing Salamanders, for example. When writing list, there are some general strategies to consider first -

  1. Develop a core army, composed of your favourite untis/models and try and keep them consistently between any army list variations you have - this can be something like your configuration of HQ's and Troops, your 2 squads of Terminators, the 3 Vindicators etc. Then add onto this with any other units you need to fill holes, such as anti aircraft elements or allies.
  2. Consider your local meta and what you will be playing against most of the time - this can help you to make better choices about your army's composition.
  3. Post your army list in the relevant section over at the +Bell of Lost Souls Lounge, make sure you format it so it easy to understand - and people will help you write and refine your list, and offer a lot of helpful tips specific to your theme. You may even find myself or L2E commenting on your list and trying to help you.
   You can now call it done with your army, apart from creating a name of course, and no one will really notice the difference. Alternatively, you can go through and develop an intriguing back story for your army - with a lot of cool little details to really help you bond with your new Chapter of marines. I'm going to assume you want to do the latter; in which case I'm going to provide a helpful template for you guys to copy and paste, print, modify or whatever and fill out.

Name of Chapter:

Chapter Symbol:


Colour Scheme Description:

Renegade or Loyal:

Theme/ Specialty:

Homeworld (if any):

Homeworld Type:

Homeworld Population:

System Name/ Type:


Fleet based or Fortress Monastery:

Codex Astartes Compliant:


Associated Primarch (if known):

Chapter Master:

Alternative title for Chapter Master:

Notable members:

Specialist Formations:

Primary Company for Gaming:

Company Heraldry, Heraldry Locations etc:

Active number of Marines (1000 standard if Codex Compliant):

Preferred Enemy:

Gene Seed mutations:

Unique Rituals:

Rival Chapters:

Chapter Relics:

Recruitment Process:

Perception of Humanity (contempt, veneration etc):

Battle cry:

Successor Chapters:

Notable Engagements:

Chapter History/story/miscellaneous:

   As an example, I've filled out the template for the last home brew chapter I made; the Sons of Saul:

Name of Chapter: Sons of Saul

Chapter Symbol: As Emperors Children with sword through it.

Codex: Blood Angels

Colour Scheme Description: Purple with gold trimming

Renegade or Loyal: Loyal, but declared Excommunicate Traitoris as they refuse to submit gene seed tithes and do not fight along side other Imperial forces.

Theme/ Specialty: Rapid Insertion, air superiority, suicide squads, zealots.

Homeworld (if any): None

Homeworld Type: N/A

Homeworld Population: N/A

System Name/ Type: N/A

Segmentum: N/A

Fleet based or Fortress Monastery: Fleet based, flagship "Blade of Istvaan" roughly analogue to an Emperor Class battleship in size and capability serves as Fortress Monastery. Currently stationed near the Eye of Terror.

Codex Astartes Compliant: Yes.

Founding:  Unknown

Associated Primarch (if known): Fulgrim (suspected by members of the Inquisition)

Chapter Master: Marcus

Alternative title for Chapter Master: Lord Commander

Notable members: None.

Specialist Formations: The Unforgiven and The Repentia

Primary Company for Gaming: 1st

Company Heraldry, Heraldry Locations etc: Gold trim, displayed on knee pads and on shoulder pad trimming.

Active number of Marines (1000 standard if Codex Compliant): 843

Preferred Enemy: The Emperors Children, servants of Slaanesh.

Gene Seed mutations: Unusually sensitive Omophagea, increased psychic prevalence amongst initiates, tendency to descend into uncontrollable rages.

Unique Rituals: Go through unusual amounts of praying to the Emperor, have a high amount of Chaplains who watch over their brothers for any signs of corruption. They also, every Terran year - reconsecrate their original vows to hunt down the arch - traitor Fulgrim and bring him to justice along with all his fell children. They do not leave markings for their graves, as they believe they as cursed spawn of an arch - traitor, deserve no glory.

Rival Chapters: Have had numerous clashes with the Minotaurs chapter and other chapters stationed near the Eye of Terror, particularly during the 13th Black Crusade when they were wrongfully suspected of aiding Abaddon's forces.

Chapter Relics: The Shattered Sword; rumoured to be the fragments from Saul Tarvitz's own Broadsword, it has been reforged and is permitted only to be carried by the Master of the Repentia, a master swordsman who will only use the blade on the servants of Fulgrim; or pray - Fulgrim himself.

Recruitment Process: Takes recruits from feral worlds around the Eye of Terror after screening them for corruption; recruitment is high compared to a Loyalist chapter yet due to huge amounts of casualties, the Chapter is kept around 1000 active battle brothers at any given time.

Perception of Humanity (contempt, veneration etc): They venerate the mortal man, and believe that it is the people of the Imperium and the Emperor himself they owe their greatest debt to; through the actions of their gene father the golden age of the nascent Imperium was torn asunder and corrupted to its current, stagnant form.

Battle cry: "Never Forgiven! Never Forgotten!"

Successor Chapters: None.

Notable Engagements: Numerous engagements against the Emperors Children. Have killed Lucius the Eternal several times, the Master of Repentia always performing the deed and always inevitably turning into Lucius. The Master of Repentia will name his successor prior to his death and will be left on world as the rest of the Chapter make their withdrawal, to kill Lucius and his brothers another day.

Chapter History/story/miscellaneous: Formed from Emperor's Children gene seed stock hidden in the vaults of Mars, the Sons of Saul believe in the nobility of Saul Tarvitz and claim to be descended from him directly. They believe they can never be forgiven for the sins of their forbears, which has driven them to hunt down all their brothers in the Emperors Children. Due to their shame, they have wilfully isolated themselves from the rest of Imperium to conduct their hunt in private - it is not known how the Chapter came to possess such powerful artefacts and ships, but they are regarded as a massive threat by the Inquisition; who interpret their isolationism and corrupt gene seed as evidence enough of their need to be destroyed to the last.

No comments:

Post a Comment