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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.