Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Bureau Astartes (post three of two)

In case you need to refresh your memory:

Bureau Astartes (post one of two)

Bureau Astartes (post two of two)

To take this a little further then;  We're going to look at one of these modest deployments that a Chapter Master ordains in order to project his force out where he wants it to be; ie to position enough of his assets in patterns he finds useful across territory he wants to influence.  A penny packet SM force is sent out into the warp; Two squads (our troops choices) a junior Chaplin (our HQ choice) and a Storm Drain (dedicated transport) to get them down to the planet and back up to the Strike Cruiser.

Paint by Golem

There may well be one senior sergeant and one more junior one; just to spread experience and opportunity around in equal measure.   The force is this small because it has to fit into the Strike Cruisers described in the fluff, in this case a Space Marine ship as described in BFG (which I don't play or have a copy of) and the Black Library books (which I don't read) and Lexicanum (the source of all my knowledge).

They leave the Chapter fortress and are consigned to the warp.  Perhaps their mission is to show the flag at a world that is suffering from piracy.   The warp jump takes a year, they spend a year in system, pulling over every space farer they encounter for a year and have a few fights.  Contacting the Chapter by astropath, they are directed to rendezvous with a Chapter Battle Barge - another mission encountered stiff resistance from the arch enemy and suffered a defeat and the stain on the Chapter's honour must be restored.

This paint by golem as well !

The little task force joins with others to make a larger force and they take the fight to the scions of the traitor legions.  A Chapter Captain is KIA and our senior sergeant is promoted to junior Captain and has to remain on the Battle Barge (to return to the Chapter fortress for his career interview with the boss Chapter Master).

The little task force moves off onto its next mission, spending another year in the warp.  They emerge to fight heresy on an Imperial World (perhaps they wanted free speech, or universal education or some other heretical nonsense).  They move off and fight some minor xenos incursion and then, because their Strike Cruiser is not very big, need replenishment.  Arranged by astropathic communications they undertake another warp journey to rendezvous with a larger ship from an allied chapter to take on bolter rounds and SM issue missiles and so on.

The little tasks force sets off on another mission and probably due to the vagaries of the warp, is not heard of again for a century.   When they are contacted, the Chaplin (leading from the front) is reported as KIA.  The two junior sergeants report that they are still confident and motivated and so are set another mission; another punitive mission in concert with other Chapter assets.

However, due to either resourcing issues or, again, the vulgarities of the warp, they miss a rendezvous and find themselves isolated on another human inhabited world, that has not had interstellar contact for a thousand years and remembers the Imperium as Myth.  Here the SM are hailed as gods (or at least angels).  Their astropath (who is NOT functionally immortal) is now old, tired and has much less range than he used to.

There are three ways this can go;

  • the SM remember the mission, stay true to their vows and return to their fortress monastery.
  • they set themselves up as planetary rulers and usher in a new age (one way or another)
  • their old, weak, astropath becomes a conduit for the ruinous powers and the little team go over to the other side.

You can see how, with variations in time and scale, this might play out again and again.  This is how bodies such as the Black Legion and the Red Corsairs recruit; they in probability still have limited capacity to create their own (C)SM, but things like this are going to get them more stable geneseed and result in better quality CSM.

The point of this post is, that driven both by operational necessity and the notoriously fickle nature of warp travel and communication, these little teams are going to spend a lot of time feeling isolated and abandoned.  And that's when allegiances change.  So, in terms of attrition, boredom and isolation are going to rob the Astartes Chapters of as many highly trained genetically engineered super soldiers as combat will.  The more out of the way worlds of the Grimdark 39th Millenium are probably liberally peppered with such dangerous rogue individuals.

And welcome to Gonewild, my 50th reader.

The Black Templars, incidentally, according to the existing codex, are possibly not going to be prone to this type of attrition - they bimble about mob handed; they believe they are being true to Dorn, but as discussed, on a fundamental level, they are probably being true to what Gulliman intended as well.  But these guys (the minis in the pictures) look cool, in an intolerant, purging sort of way, so they get a bit of bandwidth. 


  1. Ah the return of the Bereau. Another giggle worthy read one again highlighting how much the 40kverse doesn't make sense

  2. Believable take on the situation. Far more likely explanation on how the Chaos factions replace losses than the silly "re-spawns from the Eye of Error" option.

  3. Cheers gents. I think there's a bit more coming up in coming weeks on the whys and wherefores of the 1,000 genefreak chapter size. After that, org and det of Space Marines is just about exhausted and we'll have to discuss their sexuality.

  4. Being chem-gelded, that I'm guessing will be a short discussion.

  5. Are you sure Dai ? I don't recall ever seeing that in any of the fluff.

  6. There are lots of forums discussing this, but the thing is, there is very little evidence given. There is talk of Chem-gelding and Chem-castration but I am yet to see where this appears in the official fluff. There seems to be circumstantial evidence that SM don't have sex but nothing on sexuality. Lack of evidence isn't evidence (argumentum ad ignorantiam), so I can only conclude that nobody knows, and everything is speculation - which leaves a lot open.

    It is usually at this time in an argument that someone finally finds the official fluff on Chem-gelding/Chem-castration...

  7. Nah, I've only ever seen stuff hinting at it. But it fits better on superhuman warrior monks than otherwise. Chaos, sure, have them cavorting about in horrible carnal fashions. But Imperial Marines, just doesn't seem right.


    Please move on.