Power Armour Through the Ages

Let me tell you, discovering that your site isn’t running is just a GREAT way to start the day. Turns out MySQL fell over for some reason. I’ll need to keep an eye on that…

Anyway here’s yet another blank 40k template, this time for all 8 Marks of classic Astartes Power Armour.

With Apologies to Leon Payne…

Can you fry me up some slab, Mamma?
‘Cause I’m as hungry as can be
Life in this hive is just so drab, Mamma
You know that everyone hates me

Like the Gangers with their hair, Mamma
Down by the manufactory arch
There was some lightning from the air, Mamma
And now they’re turning them to starch

Think I’m a Psyker, don’t you Mamma?
The warp into my mind it drips
Think I’m a Psyker, don’t you Mamma?
They’re gonna take me to the ships

You won’t believe the things I’ve seen, Mamma
When I lay me down to rest
I’ve been having crazy dreams, Mamma
About this lady named ‘Slaanesh’

She has all these wild plans, Mamma
And they all seem really great
But I just don’t understand, Mama
Why she keeps calling me ‘The Gate’?

Think I’m a Psyker, don’t you Mamma?
You think I’m gonna lose control
Think I’m a Psyker, don’t you Mamma?
They’ll put those bindings on my soul

You know the Temple by the shore, Mamma?
Well I was feeling kind of lost
So I walked in through the door, Mamma
But everything got rimed with frost

An Ecclesiarchy Clerk, Mamma
Offered me the Emperor’s Grace
Well I kind of went berserk, Mamma
And somehow melted off his face

Think I’m a Psyker, don’t you Mamma?
Please Mamma hide me here at home
Think I’m a Psyker, don’t you Mamma?
Don’t let them feed me to the Throne

Think I’m a Psyker, don’t you Mamma?
The Inquisition’s drawing near
Think I’m a Psyker, don’t you Mamma?
But Mamma…
Didn’t you die last year?

(And some versions of the original, in case you’re not familiar…)

The Sons of Pavlach

This post is part of the Skereig Subsector project

NAME: Sons of Pavlach
CHAPTER MASTER: Matteus Vyev
HOMEWORLD: Freo Prime, Insignus Cluster, Skerieg Subsector, Chiros Sector, Segmentum Tempestus
FORTRESS MONASTERY: The Anchor
RECRUITING WORLDS: Freo Prime, Saversnake III
PROGENITOR CHAPTER: Unknown. Raven Guard Presumed.
FOUNDING: Unknown. Earliest Known Reference 300.M36
GENESEED DEFECTS: Defective Melanchromic Organ and Betcher’s Gland. Missing Mucranoid.
CODEX COMPLIANCE: High Compliance
BATTLE CRY: Spectant Tenebris – “Look to the Darkness”
TACTICAL SPECIALTIES: Stealth, Infiltration
STRENGTH: Estimated at 847 Battle Brothers as of 985.M41

The Sons of Pavlach Astartes Chapter is based on the ocean world of Freo Prime in the Skerieg Subsector of the Chiros Sector of the Segmentum Tempestus. Established since at least 300.M36 the Chapter’s Fortress Monastery is constructed within the planet’s highest mountain – the Anchor – which is located near the centre of the world’s only continent.

Aspirants are recruited from the fishing people of the planet’s main archipelago, and expeditions are made approximately every 20 years to the feral world of Saversnake III to supervise the ‘Games of Ayefel’ – a tournament held to select the strongest and most athletic youths for induction into the Chapter.

Similarly to their presumed progenitors in the Raven Guard, the defective Melanchromic Organs of the Sons of Pavlach result in pale white skin and coal black hair and eyes. Unlike the Raven Guard however they possess semi-functional Betcher’s glands capable of generating a dilute form of the acidic venom produced by other marines. They completely lack the Mucranoid system.

Non-Astartes personal interacting with the Sons of Pavlach have reported unusually high levels of unease – occasionally approaching outright panic – in their presence, beyond that typically categorised as “transhuman dread”. It is theorised that this is the result of a low-level or subconscious psyker ability inherent in the Chapter’s geneseed. The Subsector authorities prefer to communicate with the Chapter via vox and viewscreen over which this effect does not manifest – a preference that does not appear to concern the Chapter in the slightest.

The current Chapter Master is Matteus Vyev, a native of Freo Prime who was promoted from Captain of the Second Company in 878.M41 after the death of Chapter Master Kristoss Mann and First Company Captain Lang during the Purge of Adderstone.


In case you were wondering, the Sons of Pavlach – originally the Freo Marines – began as a joke based around creating Space Marine chapters out of AFL teams. But then I decided to incorporate them into my Skerieg Subsector project and had to clean them up some. They are now slightly less ridiculous, although it is sadly unavoidable that any AFL fan would recognise their origin immediately.

The Skereig Subsector

This post is part of the Skereig Subsector project

Click to Enlarge. It’s really big and impressive!

Overview

The Skereig Subsector is located in the Chiros Sector on the western side of the Segmentum Tempestus, close to the border of the Segmentum Pacificus, around 22,500 light years from Holy Terra. It has remained loyal to the Emperor for several thousand years, despite occasional isolation by warp storms and Xenos incursions.

The subsector extends for 15 light years around the Skereig system, although the furthest inhabited world is just over 8 light years from the capital. There are numerous uninhabited worlds further out, some of which are scheduled for colonisation over the next few centuries.

As of 991.M41 the subsector is dealing with the aftermath of an invasion by the Orks of Waaagh! Krumpfist, who attacked from the galactic south-west in 923.M41. Invasions of several systems – including Cnossath and St Cuthbert’s Slumber were repelled, but two systems remain under Ork control. The Subsystem Governor has been appealing to Imperial authorities for support in retaking these systems for over 7 decades, particularly the agriworld of Feargal, the loss of which has caused food shortages across the subsector.

Saints

The two most popular Saints in the Skereig Subsector are Saint Guinefort and Saint Beinagrind.

Saint Guinefort was the pet canid of High Ecclesiarch Zosimus CXXXVII of the Orphean Conclave. During an official visit to the Basilica of Saint Hermon on Skereig Prime in 885.M39 the Ecclesiarch was informed that he could not bring the animal inside. He reacted to this by immediately canonising the creature. Unable to bar entry to a confirmed Imperial Saint the door wardens reluctantly acquiesced and the canid accompanied the Ecclesiarch to all religious services for the duration of his stay in the subsector.

The general unpopularity of the Ecclesiarch – who was notable for his more worldly appetites – appears to have encouraged adulation of his saintly canid instead, although it is certainly possible that such worship was initially tongue in cheek, only transitioning to a genuine cult in later centuries.

Saint Guinefort is invoked as a protector of children and a defender of the Emperor’s realm against Xenos infiltration. He is typically depicted as a noble hunting hound with yellow or golden fur. This is despite accounts from the period describing the animal as resembling a stumpy-legged, overstuffed sausage with thinning fur and a jowly, scowling face.

Typical Icon of Saint Beinagrind

Saint Beinagrind, also know as the Holy Skeleton or Saint Bones is said to have been martyred on Ragnar’s World some time in M36. During a time of religious schism he remained true to the Imperial Creed and was executed by having his flesh scraped from his bones with sharpened scallop shells. Afterwards his bare skeleton arose and took holy vengeance by killing his persecutors. Attempts to correlate the legend with historical records have failed, nonetheless the Holy Skeleton remains popular on all worlds in the subsector, invoked against heresy and loss of faith.

Saint Beinagrind is typically depicted as a human skeleton bearing a scallop shell in its left hand and a fishing harpoon in its right – this being the tool he is said to have used to slay his murderers.

Notable Worlds

Cnossath: Cnossath is a Knight World allied to the Adeptus Mechanicus Forgeworld of Volund 27. It is home to three Knight Houses, Ventris, Cashel and Krater and with the assistance of the Valhallan 294th “Toecutters” Astra Militarum Regiment repelled the Orks of Waaagh! Krumpfist in 925.M41. More on Cnossath…

Dullrock 431: Apparently named by an extremely bored Explorator this lifeless body was later found to be rich in numerous rare minerals, with mining colonies established in the early 300s.M41. The highly corrosive atmosphere requires all colonies to be heavily shielded, with the majority of facilities placed deep underground adjacent to the ore deposits. Some Ork landings were reported in the 920s.M41, but the hostile conditions appear to have made short work of the would-be invaders.

Feargal: A highly fertile agriworld, Feargal supplied much of the subsector’s grain before being occupied by the Orks of Waaagh! Krumpfist in 923.M41. An expedition to reclaim the world has been waiting for Astra Militarum support for close on 75 years.

Gruts: An agriworld famous for a variety of wild truffle traditionally prepared by frying in butter. Several forested areas of the planet have been left undeveloped solely for the production of these rare delicacies.

La Salle: An arid, sun-blasted, desert world, La Salle is rich in rare mineral salts which are extracted by convicted criminals from across the subsector. Being condemned to the salt mines of La Salle is as good as a death sentence for all but the strongest convicts, with very few surviving the 20 years of servitude required for a preliminary parole hearing.

Mandrenke: The ocean world of Mandrenke teems with life, almost all of it inimical to humanity.

Ragnar’s World: An ocean world chiefly notable for the subsector’s main Naval facility, the orbital shipyards of Port Ragnar. It is also the reputed site of the martyrdom of Saint Beinagrind and many pilgrims make the journey to worship at the Grand Basilica on the island of Saint Skeleton, or the smaller, rival, Shrine of Bones on Beinagrind’s Strand.

Ravenser: The subsector’s only significant hive world, Ravenser has six major hive cities and around four-dozen smaller dependent hive conglomerations with a total estimated population of around 120 billion. The majority of the subsector’s manufactured goods are produced on Ravenser with raw materials sourced from the system’s three massive asteroid belts.

Keeping the population of Ravenser fed has always presented a challenge, but has been particularly problematic since the occupation of agriworld Feargal by the Orks in 923.M41. Food related riots and uprisings have become a permanent feature of the planet with three entire regiments of Skereig Varyags seconded to the planetary Arbites to enforce the peace.

San Guinefort: Named after the Saintly Hound, San Guinefort is home to the Battle Sisters of the Order of the Argent Veil – a minor order believed to have split off from the Order of the Sacred Rose in the early M40s.

St Cuthbert’s Slumber: An unremarkable agriworld, St Cuthbert’s Slumber was invaded by the Orks of Waaagh! Krumpfist in 924.M41. The attackers were successfully confined to the northern continent, but the Xenos scourge was not completely eliminated until 932.M41. Advice on proper cleansing of contaminated areas from Valhallan units in the relief force has kept feral Ork outbreaks to a minimum.

Werinos: Werinos is a mostly oceanic world with highly acidic oceans. The major native form of life are gigantic bacterial colonies established around deep geothermal vents and extending into the planetary crust. These colonies produce massive amounts of volatile gas which diffuses into the oceanic water column, from which it is extracted by thousands of floating platforms and piped to refineries on the single, middle sized continent on the planet’s equator for conversion into promethium. Promethium exports from Werinos provide upwards of 80% of the subsector’s fuel requirements.

Much technology on Werinos and on the nearby Forgeworld of Volund 27 has been adapted to use the gas in its raw form, with both planets’ manufactoria greatly skilled in the production of highly efficient gas turbines. The experimental Werinos Pattern Gatling Cannon uses two such miniature turbines for power, providing the same rate of fire as a standard Punisher Cannon with a simpler mechanism and fewer moving parts. Deployment of Werinos Pattern cannons on the battlefield is currently limited by the difficulty of keeping them supplied with gas – they are common on both Werinos and Volund 27, but are rare elsewhere.

The Saint

I’ve been thinking about how to field Saint Sabbat in a game of Warhammer 40,000.

Saint Sabbat. I can’t seem to find the name of the artist, but official GW art and hence copyright to them.

The obvious place to start is with the only Living Saint that actually has rules – Saint Celestine. I figure Sabbat should have the same statline as Celestine, with the exception of her movement, because while the Beati is undoubtedly awesome, the God Emperor declined to give her wings.

(It would have been highly thematic to give her 9 Wounds, but that’s just short of a Chimera APC, which seems a bit over the top)

MWSBSSTWALdSv
6″2+2+336692+

With stats sorted out the next step is wargear. Celestine wields the Ardent Blade – the handy-dandy, flame-throwing, power sword from hell, man! While very cool, this is a one of a kind weapon, and there is sadly a complete dearth of accounts of Saint Sabbat incinerating people with a sword thrust. So I decided to give her a knockoff Ardent Blade clone without the ranged attack.

Now a Saint cannot live by swords alone, so what else could Sabbat wield? Her description in Sabbat Martyr notes that her left hand is adorned with a gilded glove with eagle claws. This could simply be some Saintly bling, but I decided to do something with it. I have declared that the Eagle’s Talon gives anyone the Saint whacks with it a nice debuff, making it easier for everyone else to get stuck in.

Finally, what’s a Saint without ranged firepower? In Anarch she’s seen to be carrying a fancy golden autopistol, so let’s throw one of those in as an alternative for the Eagle’s Talon.

WEAPONRANGETYPESAPD
Power SwordMeleeMelee+4-32
Eagle’s TalonMeleeMelee+1-2*
* Target is at -1 Toughness until the end of the Battle Round
Master Crafted Autopistol12″Pistol 2301

Now we get to the fun bit, special rules!

I’m thinking that as Saint Celestine is a Saint for the Adepta Sororitas, Saint Sabbat should be a Saint for the Astra Militarum. So we’ll start by giving her the ability to inspire/boss around nearby infantry with Voice of Command. We’ll then nick Aura of Discipline from the great Commissar Yarrick, although we’ll call it Aura of Inspiration instead.

Checking back in with Celestine we’ll borrow The Armour of Saint Katherine, file off the serial numbers and call it Aquilan Aura, to represent that cool, glowing green eagle thing that shows up whenever Sabbat gets pissed off (see pic above).

Celestine also has that nice Shield of Faith ability. The 6+ Invulnerability Save is a bit much, but slapping down enemy Psykers is totally in character, so we’ll chop the save off it and call it No Miracles, Only Men (you know, since that’s a direct quote).

Finally we need something unique, an ability that only Saint Sabbat has access to. I can think of nothing better than giving her an Honour Guard. At the start of the battle a player fielding Saint Sabbat can designate a friendly unit with the INFANTRY and ASTRA MILITARUM keywords. As long as Saint Sabbat remains on the field that unit has +1 Toughness.

With that sorted the only thing left to do is set keywords and costs. Saint Sabbat’s Faction Keywords are IMPERIUM, ASTRA MILITARUM and <REGIMENT>, and her general Keywords are CHARACTER, INFANTRY, OFFICER and SAINT SABBAT. Her POWER level is 8 and points cost 150 – both estimates based on Saint Celestine

So, there we go. Completely untested and probably overpowered, but what the hey!

Saint Sabbat 40k Rules

With apologies to Messrs Gilbert and Sullivan…

On dense and rich worlds near the galaxy’s core,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Dwelt short, bearded bikers forever at war,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

And though all these bikers were terribly small,
A tyranid hive fleet devoured them all,
So if you want some Squats, then you’ll get bugger all,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The tale of the Bloodtide is one you should know,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The brave Battle Sisters held out ‘gainst the foe,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The Grey Knights raced up as fast as they could run,
But they wanted some blood, so they slaughtered the nuns,
And Khorne thought the whole thing was terribly fun,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

The Ultramarines you could never besiege,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Their brave Chapter Master’s your spiritual liege,
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

He’s Marneus Calgar, and he’ll never rest,
Of all Chapter Masters he’s clearly the best,
But why does the dude have a dinosaur desk?
Warhammer, Warhammer, Warhammer,

Horrible Warhammer 40k Memes

Sometimes I just can’t help myself…

That's a Paddlin'
Oh, you better believe that’s a Paddlin’!

 

It's GellAr - With an 'A' you idiots!
It’s GellAr – With an ‘A’ you idiots!

 

Warmaster Horace
Warmaster Horace

 

The Primarch Leman Ross
The Primarch Leman Ross (Thanks to Ryan for inspiration)

 

Changuinius
Changuinius

 

Joeytai Khan
Joeytai Khan

Cartographic Armageddon

Guess what? I’m back on that 40k Mapping thing again!

Behold Armageddon, one of the most fought over planets in the Imperium, with a Chaos invasion led by a Daemon Primarch, two Ork invasions led by Margaret Thatcher and the current general insanity caused by GW’s decision to move the plot forward under its belt.

Armageddon tired of GW's Cartographic Ignorance
Armageddon tired of GW’s Cartographic Failures…

It’s a pretty nice map, however ever since its publication everyone at GW has completely forgotten how to read it.

Look at those lines. That’s right, the curved ones. They indicate that we’re not looking at a flat map, we’re looking at some kind of globular projection. Furthermore notice that the lines are slanted – that means that we’re not looking at the map from a  cardinal direction (north, south, east or west), but at an angle. And hey! Look in the upper right hand corner! One of the lines is marked as the equator! This tells us that north is to the upper left!

NORTH IS THAT WAY!!!
NORTH IS THAT WAY!!!

Unfortunately this is something that has escaped the notice of GW’s writers and artists who have consistently read it as a flattened, north oriented map, even publishing redraws of it with an upwards pointing compass rose slapped on top – most notably in the recent reprint of Gavin Thorpe’s Annihilation Squad (a damn good read actually, despite the compass directions being all screwy BECAUSE NO ONE AT GW CAN READ A GODDAMN MAP!).

Perhaps the silliest aspect of this are the planet’s famous equatorial jungles. If we look at the map above we can see that this name makes sense – they sit right across the planet’s equator. If we go by the later maps however they’re just randomly plonked running north to south, giving one the impression that whatever Ordo Cartographica scribe first charted the planet was hitting the amasec really hard.

So, what to do about this all this malarkey (apart from making a ranting blog post that no one else will ever care about)? Why, redraft the map of course!

Now, this is a bit easier said than done. The globular projection adds all kinds of distortions and while I am sure there is software out there that can correct them in the twinkling of a nurgling’s eye I don’t have access to them. So I decided to go old school and resort to paper and pencil.

Step one was to make the map grid a bit denser. I did this by tracing the existing grid in Inkscape and then running additional lines between each of them, splitting each of the existing map squares into four. Step two was to grab a piece of graph paper and sketch in the details of each square…

armageddon_map_corrected
So there we have it! That’s what a flattened out, north oriented Armageddon map really looks like! Armageddon Primus is actually north of Armageddon Secundus and the entire continent is stumpier than the angled view suggests

So, I now expect GW to start using this corrected version immediately! ;D

EDIT: Yes, it is rather strange that the continent to the west (the Dead Lands) is completely frozen over while the central continent (at the same latitudes) isn’t. There’s a clue to this in that the eastern continent (the Fire Wastes) appear to be barren desert. This would suggest that Armageddon has a pretty severe axial tilt combined with some rather weird orbital characteristics – which given its ancient history (no spoilers, but go read The Beast Arises…) is actually rather plausible.

On Cnossath and its Knights

This post is part of the Skereig Subsector project

Name Cnossath Prime
Segmentum Segmentum Tempestus
Sector Chiros Sector
Subsector Skereig Subsector
System Cnossath System
Population 430,000,000
Cnossath

The Knight World of Cnossath Prime (or simply ‘Cnossath’) was discovered and settled by humanity at some point prior to M23. A temperate world with three major continents and several island chains it hosts three (originally four) Knight Houses that owe fealty to the Adeptus Mechanicus Forge World of Volund Two-Seven.

Crest of House Cashel
Crest of House Cashel

Traditions preserved on Cnossath maintain that the planet was settled by four separate colony ships, each claiming exclusive dominion over a planetary region (the ancient technology at the heart of the three remaining House Strongholds would appear to bear this legend out). Each Colony developed into a nation state ruled by Knights – House Cashel on the western continent, House Ventris on the north of the eastern continent, House Mabb on the eastern continent’s southern peninsula and House Krater on the central islands. The frigid northern continent was claimed by House Ventris but unoccupied (apart from mining colonies) due to adverse environmental conditions.

A peculiarity of the Houses of Cnossath, traceable as far back as the planet’s histories reach, is that the Thrones Mechanicum of their Knight Suits lack the indoctrination protocols found on almost every other Knight World. It is unclear if this anomaly is by design or simply the result of some ancient accident, but it allows a far greater degree of individuality to the planet’s Knight pilots. It has also led to a bloody history of conflict and warfare between – and occasionally even within – the Houses.

Volund Two-Seven Maker's Plate
Volund Two-Seven Maker’s Plate

Cnossath first came to the attention of outsiders in M27 during the Age of Strife. An Adeptus Mechanicus colonisation fleet – dispatched during a lull in the galactic warp storms – settled the world of Volund Two-Seven on the far side of what would – millennia later – be absorbed into the Imperium as the Skereig Subsector. Explorators from Volund soon discovered Cnossath and the Knight Houses that ruled it. The Houses swore allegiance to Volund in return for the knowledge to repair and maintain their Knight Suits, however they retained much more autonomy than is standard in such relationships. An ancient legend claims the Houses traded “a treasure of great price” for this autonomy, a story that has been linked to both Volund Two-Seven’s mastery of unusually strong crystalline alloys and to the unusual nature of Cnossath’s Thrones.

It was the freedom allowed by the Thrones – and the lack of Adeptus Mechanicus control over the houses – that led to the greatest crisis in Cnossath’s history. In 218.M37 during one of the planet’s regular Knight Wars, the Stronghold of House Mabb and its surrounding hive city were destroyed by a titanic plasma breach triggered by a combined bombardment from forces of Houses Cashel and Ventris. The scale of this disaster – and the damage inflicted upon the survivors and their holdings – led to the three remaining Houses negotiating a set of laws governing their interactions and to standardise resolution of disputes – a document they named the Mabb Concordat.

The Concordat replaced warfare with ritual combat between champions and established a system of standard penalties for breaches of honour both between and within Houses. Designed from the outset to be flexible and to expand when necessary, the Concordat ended millennia of conflict, and under its rule both the Houses and common folk of Cnossath prospered.

It is therefore a great irony that while the Knights of Cnossath are free of the burden of conditioning by their Thrones, the ever expanding rules of the Mabb Concordat have created a society every bit as restrictive as on any other Knight World. Over two thirds of all calendar days require the nobles of the Houses to perform certain rituals or abstain from specific behaviours. The wearing (or non wearing) of specific clothing is common, as are restrictions on what foods may be eaten and at what times. Nobles of different ranks may be prohibited from communicating, or may only communicate in strange and roundabout fashions. Certain texts may have to be read out by specific Nobles, many of which are in archaic dialects extinct for centuries. The onerous nature of these requirements are believed to account for the comparatively high numbers of Freeblade Knights hailing from Cnossath.

Also contributing to the number of Cnossath Freeblades is the tradition of the Geas Penitens. A Knight that seriously violates the Concordat may find themselves penalised with the application of a penitent quest. They are ceremonially banished from their House, and assigned a task or series of tasks that must be completed before they may be re-accepted. These tasks usually take the Knight off-world and may take decades to complete. Many Knights so banished never complete their Geas and take up the mantle of a Freeblade rather than try to recover their lost honour.

Rarer than the Geas Penitens is the Geas Portorium. If a high noble of a House finds themselves in significant debt to an individual or organisation they may pay off that debt by assigning a subordinate Knight or Knights to their command. Such deals are a common way of dealing with disputes both within and between Houses, but a Geas Portorium refers specifically to Knights assigned outside of the Houses, and usually off-world. To be assigned to a Geas Portorium is viewed as a great honour, as no House would be so ignoble as to attempt to pay off a debt with any but their best.

A Knight undertaking a Geas Penitens defaces the crest on their tilting plate with a diagonal black stripe and repaints their Knight Suit to obscure all house colours and personal heraldry. A Knight assigned to a Geas Portorium maintains their House and personal heraldry, but repaints their Suit to match that of the individual or body they are assigned to.