Many years ago I purchased the rulebook for the now sadly defuct Fantasy Flight Warhammer 40k RPG Dark Heresy. While I thought the game was great I was rather annoyed by the poor quality of the planet icons used in the provided map of the Calixis Sector, and being the kind of obsessive nerd I am I couldn’t help but make my own version of if where you could tell what planet was what without having to use a bright light and a magnifying glass.
One thing led to another and by 2019 I’d produced an entire library of icons for 40k maps, free for anyone to use, which could be found on Reddit.
Recently someone contacted me having problems downloading the icons, so I decided it was time to make some updates, and post the files here where I know where to find them without having to sort through my rather chaotic Reddit history.
So here it is – Version 5.0, for your downloading pleasure!
SVG Version – This is the version to use if you know what you’re doing with Vector graphics. If you’re making your map in a vector editor such as Illustrator or Inkscape this is the superior option. If you’re not, then one of the PNG versions will probably be more convenient. DOWNLOAD
Transparent PNG version – A PNG export of the SVG icons with transparency enabled. If your graphic editor works with transparent PNGs (which pretty much everything should these days) you should use this one. Each icon is rendered into two versions. One with no glow and one with a white glow suitable to paste onto a dark background. DOWNLOAD
Flat PNG Version– A PNG export of the SVG icons with no transparency. This is the last resort version for really old or simple graphic programs that can’t handle PNG transparency. There are two versions of each icon, one with no glow on a white background, and one with a white glow on a black background. DOWNLOAD
As the turning of the year speeds us onward into winter the time has come for me to actually make a post. Don’t expect this to be a regular thing mind you, it’s likely only possible because I’ve taken a week off work and hence actually have the time to think.
Anyway, this week someone on Reddit had decided to compile a list of Adeptus Astartes war cries (yes, I’m on about Warhammer again, deal with it) and helpfully posted the same to the 40kLore subreddit. When browsing through this list I noticed something a bit strange – can you spot it?
“Doom ye! Doom ye! Doom ye!”–Doom Warriors
“Skovakarah uhl zarûn!” (“Redden the earth!”)–Emperor’s Spears
“Bringers of war!”—Emperor’s Warbringers
“In too deep, against all odds brothers!”—Genesis Chapter
“”We are the hammer!” or “I am the hammer, I am the right hand of the Emperor, the instrument of His will, the gauntlet about His fist, the tip of His spear, the edge of His sword!”—Grey Knights
“Primarch-Progenitor, to your glory and the glory of Him on Earth!”—Imperial Fists
“The flesh is weak!”—Iron Hands
In case you’re not an ageing Gen-Xer and the title of this post didn’t tip you off, it’s the war cry of the Genesis Chapter, who apparently charge into battle yelling “In too deep, against all odds brother!”. What immediately startled me about this can best be summed up with the inclusion of a couple of videos…
So, we are being asked to believe that the war cry of the Genesis Chapter just happens to be built from the title of a Genesis song, and a former-lead-singer-of-Genesis-Phil-Collins song?
Now, sure, Warhammer 40k is probably the most plagiarism-guilty IP in human history. It’s cobbled together from chunks of Dune, Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, the collected works of J. R. R. Tolkien, Judge Dredd, the generalised evil of Margaret Thatcher and dozens – if not hundreds – of other sources. There’s barely an original idea in the whole thing. But directly quoting prog-rock lyrics seems a little too on the nose even for Games Workshop. So what the hell is going on?
I started digging. The oldest reference I could find to the alleged war cry is on the Genesis Chapter page on the 40k Fandom Wiki – which immediately sounded all kinds of alarm bells.
Warhammer 40,000 has been a thing since 1987, and since then an absolutely titanic amount of background lore has been generated. Organising it all into a Wiki is the obvious management solution, and as a result there are a number of 40k Wikis on the web. The big three though are Lexicanum, 1d4Chan and the 40k Fandom wiki.
Lexicanum is – in my opinion – the most reliable as it insists that all information must be properly sourced. It can be a bit dry and academic though, being very much the “just the facts ma’am” 40k wiki.
1d4Chan (when it hasn’t gone offline, which it seems to do regularly) is an obscenity laced carnival of memes that – once you scrape off all the hyperbole – is often surprisingly accurate. It’s also the only of the big three to really include meta-information – that is to say info about the history and community of 40k . If you want to understand the hate directed towards C. S. Goto, or know why Matt Ward is your spiritual liege it’s the place to go. On the downside it’s not updated that much any more, and if not tempered with more reliable sources can easily delude new 40k fans into confusing memes and jokes (usually very dated memes and jokes – like those involving Matt Ward and C. S. Goto…) with actual lore (For instance the Death Korp of Krieg are not suicidal and they do not regard shovels to be their ‘cultural weapon’, and you cannot kill Orks by pointing a gun at them and shouting ‘bang!’).
The 40k Fandom Wiki… well, to be frank, I do not like it. Its moderation and sourcing rules are extremely lax – pretty much anyone can post anything they like there and it’s up to other uses to spot and correct it. Which brings us back to the Genesis Chapter…
On February 8th 2011 – yes, that’s over a decade ago folks! – some wanderer of the digital waste decided to have a bit of fun with the Genesis Chapter Fandom Wiki page and made a series of edits to the info box, which I shall display here as a before and after screenshot…
Such wit! Such satire! Actually, to be entirely honest, it’s exactly the kind of joke I’d make, but I certainly wouldn’t go and vandalise a wiki with it!
The joker’s changes were reverted pretty quickly, but whoever did it seemingly lacked the necessary knowledge of Phil Collin’s back catalogue to recognise the war cry as part of the prank, even adding quotes around it to standardise the format. And so it has sat there unchanged for 11 years, spreading through the fan community as the accepted war cry of the Chapter!
I may try to do something about this. Or I may not. All in all I suppose we should just be glad that the Genesis Chapter don’t charge into battle yelling “Billy don’t you lose my number!”
His name is Mal-Mal-Malcador! The greatest Sigillite! No treasure too old, no psyker too bold, Who’s that!? Malcador the Sigillite!
Well hello there! I’m Malcador, the last surviving member of the Ancient Order of the Sigillites. My friends call me ‘Mal’ but you can call me First Lord of Terra and second in command of the Imperium of Man. I make sure the Emperor’s will is done – when the big E says ‘jump’ we don’t even bother asking how high! (If we get it wrong he’ll let us know!) But it’s not all work, work, work in the Emperor’s service, no siree! We know how to have a good time too – isn’t that right Horus?
Mal… M-Mal… al…
Oh don’t mind him! He’s just trying to pronounce the name of one of the Lost Primarchs. Keep at it Horus, you’ll get it one day! Yes, we inhabitants of the Imperial Palace work hard, but we also play hard! As my good friend Constatin Valdor will agree! Get over here Constantin!…
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.
I’ve been thinking about how to field Saint Sabbat in a game of Warhammer 40,000.
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)
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.
* Target is at -1 Toughness until the end of the Battle Round
Master Crafted Autopistol
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!