Realm Guard and Mercenaries
This page is a work in progress, part of the Imperium Asunder project, a fan remake of the warhammer 40 000 history.
The million worlds of the Imperium have been fractured between the thousand warring realms that now rule humanity, undoing all the Emperor had accomplished in the Great Crusade. Ironically, in this fractured state the galaxy is closer to what it truly is: a collection of diverse and terrible worlds with ecologies and cultures so utterly different from one another that they are irreconcilable. However, this lack of uniformity is the strength of an interstellar empire, as all manner of men and women are available to serve the Legiones Astartes as auxiliaries and vassals. From the hottest worlds and the coldest corners of the galaxy come the Realm Guard, the Knight Houses, and the mercenaries of Segmentum Tempestus.
The space marines are the greatest weapon of their realm, but humans are their most numerous. The Realm Guard are common men and women called upon by their masters to fight in faraway worlds, never to see home again. Each guardsman is given what their world can afford; at minimum, it is the primitive weapons of a feral world, and the logical limit is in superheavy tanks and advanced armament from a forge world. Regardless of kit they are not expected to live long, for in a universe of supermen and devious creatures normal humans are of little worth as soldiers. Rather, their strength is sheer numbers, exceeding all the space marine legions combined a thousandfold. Without the Realm Guard, the worlds of the galaxy would fall to xeno forces who exploit the small numbers of the Astartes, and even one decisive battle between legions would decide the fate of an entire realm.
Anthrax Chem GuardEdit
Far within the reaches of the Dark Imperium lies a poisoned bastion world of insects and toxins. A deadly forest covers the planet in a coat of noxious gas, its roots and spores reaching deep into the ground and across the land spreading its poisons. Only the Chem-Bastions of Anthrax, manufactor-fortresses, can protect the Anthraxians from the forest's blight. The cramped Chem-Bastions provide insufficient sustenance for its population, and little work is available for the massive swathes of homeless. The only way to escape from the confines and destitution of Anthrax is to join the Chem Guard, and fight the Warmaster's enemies in the Galaxy.
Every year the marshals of Anthrax hold a lottery for the privilege to join the Chem Guard; for a small price a citizen may have a chance of finally leaving the dangers of turning gears and deadly gas, but even then only slim. However, the recruits quickly find themselves in a different kind of peril. The Chem Guard is so named for its affinity for deadly life-eating weaponry-chemical weapons, biological agents, and rad weapons of unparalleled power. The Chem Guard's method of warfare is a slow and violent one: surround the enemy, shell and gas them, spread plague and radfire within their walls and cities, and grind them to nothing. The battle against Anthrax troops is one of attrition and willpower, but few on either side of the line have the will to survive Anthrax's poisons. If not for their masks the Chem Guard would die as quickly as the enemy, but even with protection from the gas and the plague they are still susceptible to the lasbolts and the ordnance of the enemy, and thus the life of a Chem Guard legion is short and taxing.
The concerns of the Dark Imperium lie not in the preservation of its people, but the destruction of the galaxy. Aboard a secret space station in deep space are a myriad of dark projects conducted by the Dark Mechanicus, among them the production of suicide troops pumped full of combat drugs and low-quality bionics. Corps Zero is their designation, an impersonal designation that highlights their lack of humanity. Placed in cryosleep, a regiment of Corps Zero is shipped off in a transport to their first and last battle, where they shall achieve their one mission and perish.
Corps Zero burns quickly like a raging inferno, destroying everything in its path before succumbing to wounds or their own enhancements, both chemical and cybernetic. The Corps Zero regiment is given its target - a hill, a fortress, a titan or baneblade company - and unleashed on the battlefield. Zero Troopers rush their enemy in a suicidal charge, ignoring the pain of gunfire and flying shrapnel, and meet the enemy in close quarters. With reflexes temporarily enhanced they tear opponents limb from limb until either the enemy or the enhancements kill them, and without any concern for their own well-being they tackle vehicles and equipment with explosives strapped to them. The soldiers of Corps Zero were not meant to live; if their own cybernetics don't tear themselves from the flesh, or if their combat stims don't cause catastrophic organ shutdown, then the enemy would certainly kill them. However, even if the attack fails, it is all but certain that Corps Zero had inflicted enough damage for a follow-up attack to finish the job.
Karadon Cold OnesEdit
Karadon is a world of ice and fire. Its seasons are at the mercy of the planet's tectonic instability and the dangerous asteroid ring too close for safety. When the world is stable and the skies are clear, the lands freeze and the oceans hide under thick ice. When the Ring of Fire around the equator erupts violently, it pumps gases into the atmosphere that trap the sun's heat and scorch the surface, plummeting Karadon into darkness and fire. But woe truly comes when the rare asteroid impacts the planet, shattering it and awakening ancient creatures from deep within the crust. To compete with the machinations of the universe, the Saurians of Karadon have evolved adaptations specific to each event, the ecosystem alternating with the cycle of ice and fire. In the times of fire, cold-blooded predators emerge from their slumber, smelling the sulfur and blood that choke the atmosphere. In the times of ice the cold-blooded Saurians hibernate and make way for the hot-blooded ones, who scour the land for prey.
The people of Karadon too have adapted to the cycle. They are a primitive collection of tribes, too backwards to be called civilized, whose culture is based on the Saurians. They hunt them, eat them, capture them, tame them, and ride them. When the Undying Scions come to Karadon and the Karadoni give their pound of flesh, they bring their beasts with them. Thus the Karadon Cold Ones are two regiments: The Cold Years who master the tundra and ice fields, and the Hot Years whose Saurians excel in the heat. Their pets are all manner of beast, from the miniscule petaraptors to the colossal gigarexes, their teeth all sharp and deadly.
Argon Silverbacks and Argon ApemenEdit
Argon is a stormy ocean world, with only one large island that houses a massive prison. This is the Argon Correctional Facility, the home of countless inmates and the charge of the most brutal prison guards in the Jade Empire. The scum of the galaxy are in a constant conflict with their jailers, a never-ending battle between the criminals craving freedom and the guards who must violently repress their desire for such. It is prime ground for Chaos influence and infiltration, and the jailers must be ever-vigilant for the spread of heresy within the facility, and would not bat an eye if they had to purge the prison as they have many times before.
The inhospitable conditions are the perfect environment to raise tough and violent warriors, but it also creates violent sociopaths who have a disdain for authority. The Sky Serpents come by to sweep up penal soldiers from the planet, sending the weaponized criminals called the Argon Apemen to battle with explosives where one of their kidneys should be. They are a rabble of unlucky but deserving souls, convicts trudged up from many gangs and cell blocks, an assortment of ogryns and ratlings, that would be as prone to fighting themselves and their allies as the enemy if not for the scars on their bellies reminding them of their duties.
However, the Apemen alone are not sufficient for the war effort. From the jailers of Argon are drawn the elite troops, the Apemen's alpha so to speak. The Argon Silverbacks bring with them the tools of their trade: shotguns, lasguns, carapace armor, riot shields, repressor transports, and brutal techniques and inventions for controlling unruly cons. Behind a thick line of cybernetically-controlled bullgryns and rhinos they hide as they advance down streets, moving from building to building to clear them of the enemy.
The planet Brimstone is so rightly named, for it is an unstable world that mines the sulfur spewed from volcanoes and the promethium pouring from the toxic oceans. Its people are hearty and spiritual, but deeply disturbed at their hearts. They spend too much time in the foundries and mines of Brimstone, and over their lives they inhale fumes that degrade their minds and bodies. Life on Brimstone is one of hard labor and a slow descent to madness, and so many are happy to leave once the Storm Hammers come to the world seeking warm bodies for the eternal war against Chaos. With them the Brimstone Fire-Eaters bring their heavy hazmat suits that protect from fire and chemicals, and their handy reserves of holy promethium to cleanse the galaxy in flame.
The tools of the Fire-Eaters are fire and hate. Flamers, hellhounds, incendiaries; the stuff that cleans the soul and purifies the land. Pyromania is the Fire-Eaters' forte, and they live to burn the enemy to pure ash. They are the feared shock troops who sweep buildings with holy promethium and walk through the flames untouched. They are the hammer that breaks the heretics, the flame that incinerates ork spores before they can take root, and the light that shows the way to righteousness.
The terrible realm of the Hunting Grounds is the birthplace of many traitor regiments whose doctrines are forged by the Bloodhounds' bloodlust and love of fresh meat. The unfortunate denizens of the North are caught in an eternal hunt for prey and foes, the unending cycle of blooded seasons bringing new quarry. In such a violent realm there can only be the hunter and the hunted, the ruler and the servant. The nobility of the industrial world Tor take great joy in hunting, especially the most dangerous game of them all. When the Bloodhounds head south they are undoubtedly joined by the Tor Ironheads on their robotic mounts, whose scouts are ever vigiliant, ever watchful. Their high mounts stalk the battlefield, their lasguns aim far, their eyes see to the ends of the Earth. Then, once they have found their prey, the regiment gathers for the slaughter. They charge the enemy, overrun them with steel too tough for lasbolts, legs too swift for cannon fire. Once the prey is encircled and slaughtered the Ironheads take their trophies. They post the heads of the fallen on spikes, take the wargear as prizes. The hunt is complete when the bodies of the enemy are shredded by scavenging vermin and rotted by maggots and fungus.
Artillery is the king of battle. It brings pain and fury on the enemy's heads, spewing gas and shrapnel in the air. The cannon is the bane of the soldier, the tank, the plane, and the bunker; a versatile and destructive weapon that reaches to Heaven and drags the heretics to Hell. But if artillery is the king, then the Grogan Thunderheads are the kings of kings. Thunderhead siege crews are the hammer of the Unyielding Vigil, rightly feared for their raw power and accurate fire. Though they are typically miles behind the line, Thunderheads make themselves known with the booming of guns and deafening explosions, pounding positions into dust. A Thunderhead's life is loud and dangerous, so much that anyone who survives misfires, counterbatteries, enemy raids, commando strikes, breach-related accidents, and alcoholism are near-deaf. You would know how experienced a Thunderhead is by how loudly he shouts, and how often he asks,"What did you say?! Speak up, mousy!"
Between the Realms of the Dark Imperium is the hiveworld of Vytoria, one like many others in the galaxy. Its upper class is full of haughty warmongers who revel in their families' proud histories in service of the Warmaster. These aristocrats enjoy contributing to this heritage as officers and commanders of the massive armoured battlegroups that are the Vytorian Highborn. Their continued duties to their lineages, however, are executed by the men and women they dredge up from the hives. Every year millions of guardsmen are drafted from the common populace to serve the Warmaster, armed by the might of two forgeworlds that give thousands of tanks to Vytoria. Soldiers are trained in every aspect of warfare, as infantry, grenadiers, artillerymen, and pilots; but they all support the armoured spine of the Highborn. Armoured battle craft headed by hive-princes smash into the enemy and overwhelm them with a wall of steel. Their numbers and strength make the Vytorian Highborn among the most feared regiments of Chaos, able to defeat the Realm Guard of the Crusader States in an ironclad spearhead.
There are some worlds, far from the light of Terra, where the lay of the land is so savage and unforgiving that humanity has had to change its very nature simply to survive. Hygelac is one of these worlds. Considering itself a subject of the Unyielding Vigil despite lying a hairsbreadth beyond its western border, the craggy forest world of Hygelac is littered with the ruins of its old masters - ancient gene-warlocks and tech-sorcerers of the Dark Age, their time now long passed. Plagued by torrential rains, howling winds, and a local wildlife adapted to the extremes of the planet, the people of Hygelac used the genetic sorcery of those ancient days to make themselves the apex predators of their hostile world.
Lithe powerful, with reflexes honed well beyond human perfection, the people of Hygelac's sprawling forests are endowed with several noticeably canine traits such as an enhanced sense of smell, exceptional nightvision, and vicious claws and fangs. Natural hunters, the soldiers of Hygelac are superb guerilla warriors, able to brave any environment and confound their foes with swiftness and cunning akin to that of a wild pack. Most prominently, the bloodlines of the old warrior castes retain a survival mechanism built into their very genome - in times of rampant adrenaline, they can surge free of their humans forms, growing muscle mass and tough, prickly fur at an astounding pace, their teeth and claws lengthening and becoming the equal of any blade. Possessed of a savage speed and strength, these feral abhumans make short work of their enemies in close quarters, rending man and xeno alike in twain.
Stubbornly loyal to the Vigil despite the disgruntled disapproval of purists both within and without, the Dog Soldiers of Hygelac see combat across the Segmentum Tempestus, blending the patient skill of the hunter with the merciless savagery of the beast.
Chaeronea Aquila GuardEdit
Situated off the rimward shoulder of the Perfidian Gap, the world of Chaeronea is one defined by a tradition of constant martial readiness. The people of Chaeronea pride themselves upon their history, quick to remind others at how readily their world accepted the Imperial Truth - how it took in the first, lost explorators who found it, many centuries before the main body of the Imperial forces would arrive, and protected these heralds of unity, building its strength in preparation for the day when its people would be called upon to serve the Master of Mankind. Devotion, honour, and diligence are the core tenets of Chaeronean life, and they are reflected in the quality of its soldiery, the planet producing some of the finest regiments to serve the Storm Kingdom.
The primary virtues around which the Aquila Guard are composed are a consequence of Chaeronea's ancient caste system - the original Aquila Guard were the elite forces tasked with the preservation of the original explorators to find Chaeronea and their descendants. It is no surprise, then, that the Aquila Guard of today are line-holders and staunch vanguard forces, their renown bestowing them with the heaviest of carapace armour and the finest equipment, their most decorated units making use of integrated servo harnesses in order to handle heavy weaponry suited to close-fire engagement. Unyielding in service and schooled from birth to uphold the values of Chaeronea, the Boys in Blue are often deployed as attendant legions to individuals of extreme importance, ready and willing to lay down their lives in the defense of the Imperial dream.
Rayyib Armoured InterventorsEdit
A barely-habitable desert world, the value of Rayyib to the Eldar Empire lies not in any mineral or material wealth, but in its strategic location. A world of the Corsair Princedom of Iorlethe, Rayyib is located perilously close to the Passage of Vaul, the only safe route through the Blackstone Net that guards the Empire's eastern front. The planet's far orbit is one of the places where a Warp-jump can be made safely into the breach.
Mere desert tribesmen prior to the expansion of the Empire, the people of Rayyib owe their entire modern way of life to their spacebound overlords; their technology, their architecture, their various resources imported from surrounding worlds - all of these things are contingent upon their continued service to the Empire. It is no surprise, then, that the planetary population is profoundly loyal, and has been forged by the harsh environment of their and strategic importance of their homeworld into a heavily martial culture.
Equipped with heavy mesh armour and advanced lasblaster technology, the Interventors of Rayyib are a relentless foe, their loyalty and determination ensuring that their armies see constant battle, both upon the fringes of the Empire and in the Empire itself, putting down armed uprisings on other Custodian worlds. Most iconic to the Interventors are the Storm Brigades - veteran soldiers clad in towering, advanced servo-armour, standing taller than even most Astartes when fully harnessed and boasting incredible durability. Laying down torrents of heavy weapons fire, these armoured units advance as a wall of unyielding plasteel, willing to brave the thickest of enemy salvos for the glory of their alien masters.
Aleksandros Half-Lifers / Aleksandros FuriesEdit
When the Golden Age came crashing down, some worlds fell too far to ever picked up again, even the Great Crusade of the Emperor choosing to simply pass them by. Aleksandros is one such world.
Gutted by nuclear fires and swathed in radiation, Aleksandros is an arid, rocky hellscape, water and nourishment in severely short supply. There is no civilization worth mentioning on the planet's surface, its people having long ago degenerated into warring tribes of gene-scarred mutants. Adapted fully to their environment, the battle-tribesmen of Aleksandros are strong and hardy, boasting severely overactive adrenal glands. They do not last long, however, the eldest among them generally living to be fifty at very most, the strain of their own enhanced metabolism eventually burning them out. The culture of Aleksandros reflects this - its inhabitants live short, brutal, energetic lives, prizing legacy over life. It was this trait that eventually attracted the attention of the Negators Legion to Aleksandros, the Traitor Astartes periodically drawing from the planet's population to staff their auxiliary forces. Over time, these visitors from the stars have become entrenched in the folklore of Aleksandros, and the Marines have been deified as heavenly messengers, arriving to escort the chosen to the greatest and most glorious of battlefields.
The dominant battle-clans of Aleksandros are divided upon gender lines, communities raiding one another for courtship purposes. The males, referred to as Half-Lifers, are valued for their boundless energy and fearless natures, and often move in great convoys of ramshackle, looted war machines, charging straight toward enemy lines, praising their armoured gods with bloodied lips. The females of Aleksandros are known as Furies, notable for their extreme savagery and innate quietness. Units of Furies are most often employed as scouts or infiltrators, making use of brutal, close-range weaponry.
Beleth Corpse CorpsEdit
Under the pale light of a rotting star, the world of Beleth languishes in a perpetual half-night, its distant past as an Agri World buried under mountains of stinking waste and toxic fire. One of many playgrounds to the illustrious flesh-shapers of the Behemoth Guard, Beleth exists in its current state for one purpose and one purpose only - to put the waste products of a galaxy at war to good use.
The vast ranks of the dead, both friend foe, are delivered to Beleth in the hundreds and thousands of tons, dumped across its surface for the skittering mechano-servants that staff the world's flesh-fields to pick at and measure, sorting the chaff from the grain. For those that fit their standards, death will not be a peaceful slumber, but a nightmare.
Bodies are merged with arcane galvitic technology by the thousand, their atrophied muscles and silent veins crackling with sinuous arcs of electricity and filled with terrible adrenal concoctions. Recalled into a state between life and death, the Corpsmen of Beleth are fitted with a neural interface that fills their decaying minds with a near-simulation of the world around them, the present becoming conflated with their pasts, the battles of their previous life overlapping their new existence. Possessed of the tireless fortitude of dead flesh and filled with manic fervour by the nightmare universe projected into their minds, these unfortunates fight and die with a terrible, desperate ferocity that has proven enough to overwhelm the most steadfast of foes. If they are lucky, to be struck down on the battlefield is a mercy, finally allowing them the rest they have been denied. If not, and the Legion recovers them, they can always be sewn back together and plunged once again into the fray.
It is a testament to the tenacity of mankind that, in all of ten thousand plus years of bloody warfare, so many still feel the need to rub shoulders with death and feel its breath upon their backs. A bustling Hive World on the lower precipice of the Storm Kingdom, Milanau produces one thing of use to anyone - warm bodies. Its remoteness makes supplies limited, and its lack of true industry makes employment scarce. Its teeming thongs of shuffling billions live in abject poverty, the great superhighways and criss-crossing narrows of the planet's Hives fraught with ganger violence and overflowing with all manner of severely illegal narcotics.
For a great many Milanau youths, the only means of escape from the drudgery are the hyperlane races. High-octane, super-sonic sportsmanship, the sport is almost emblematic of Milanau itself, and possibly its sole glimmer of flamboyant pride. Technically illegal but impossible to stamp out, the races tear across Milanau to the fevered roar of a planet enthralled, their participants somewhere halfway between fabled celebrities and truant gangers, most beginning their careers as highway bandits.
While the hyperlanes are the sole distraction from the poverty of Milanau, they're not a way off the dead-end planet. To achieve that, a racer - being technically a lawbreaker - must surrender themselves to the planetary authorities and pray that they have the stuff to be punished through service rather than execution. These are Milanau's Burnouts - the stars of the racetrack, their reflexes and killer instincts honed by the death-play of supersonic racing, re-purposed as shock cavalry to be exported to one of many warzones throughout the Storm Kingdom and beyond. Their turbocycles fitted with dependable bolter technology, the Burnouts are flankers and outriders, trained to encircle their marks and pick off hard targets with heavy las-lances and hunter-killer missiles in daring blitzkrieg charges.
The Jantine FortressmenEdit
Operating out of Forgespace in the Tempestus gap, the Jantine Fortressmen are a force of combat engineers specializing in the rapid transformation of ordinary planets into self-sufficient fortress-worlds. Their method of operation is deceptively simple: they are deployed to worlds within the Gap that are either of strategic significance or will soon come under threat.
To this end, they have a wide variety of specialized equipment, from a bewildering array of pre-fab fortifications to super-heavy engineering vehicles to the fearsome 'drop citadels', massive forts equipped with over-sized grav-chutes and ablative plating meant to be deployed directly from orbit. However, the true secret of their effectiveness is their logistical genius and powerful propaganda machine. The Jantine are experts in mobilizing every available resource, co-opting the rulership and population of the worlds they land on in the transformation of their planet. The efforts of millions of conscript laborers scar the surface with trench lines, dig massive agri-vaults miles below the surface, build and upgrade weapons factories and fill the orbits with mines.
Despite their skill, most Jantine-held worlds are over-run. Either they are attacked before the Fortressmen can start their transformation in earnest, or repeated Chaos attacks wear down the defenses over decades. But some hold, becoming outposts of Forgespace within the gap for use as staging grounds in further operations. And even those that fall make the enemy bleed for every millimeter.
A force supported by the Forgespace in the Tempestus Gap. The Hermeticists are a specialized anti-Nurglite force. Where the NBC suits of the typical PDF or Guard regiment is bulky, restricts field of vision, makes it difficult to breathe, and chafes badly, the Hermeticists' 'iso-armor' makes use of some of the finest technology in the Forgespace to make it suitable for long-term wear. With its padding, lightweight alloy construction, wide-angle visor, fully sealed air supply, internal supply of liquid rations, and catheters, it is intended to be worn for weeks at a time without ever being taken off. Its sealant-resin layers even prevent small armor breaches from compromising the environmental integrity of the armor, and multiple layers of anti-corrosion coating protect the suit from Nurgle's many metallophages. In short, by almost totally isolating the wearer from the outside environment, the iso-armor removes Nurglite force's greatest advantage. It's not completely perfect, but it's the best you'll find short of Astartes.
In battle, the Hermeticists naturally use a fuckton of incendiary weapons. The flamer:lasgun ratio is higher than any other force in Forgespace, and hand flamers are the most common sidearm. Their doctrine emphasizes unrelenting, OCD thoroughness; no trace of Nurgle's diseases can be left. Massive formations of artillery and bombers saturate target areas with incendiaries and weaponized antibiotics. Then, vast sweeps of infantry and armor comb the ground, hunting down and pursuing any survivors of the initial bombardments. Once an area has been cleared of active enemy resistance (and it never goes as cleanly as the previous couple of sentences make it sound) (Nurgle duh), engineering teams move in for the deep sterilization. Ground-penetrating microwave and UV arrays, super-heavy pyre tracks, millions upon millions of tons of sterilizing agents; once the Hermeticists are through with a region, it is often left entirely lifeless. This is acceptable; life can be re-introduced, but once Nurgle has his grip on a world, he never relinquishes it.
Notably, none of the Oncolog Hermeticists are actually from Oncolog anymore. A reprisal raid by Second Sons forces, in retaliation for daring to set themselves against Nurgle, destroyed Oncolog entirely. However, by then the concept had proven itself; new regiments were raised on a hundred worlds throughout the Gap, collectively taking the name of Oncolog in remembrance.
The Golgorian Dungeon CrawlersEdit
A formation supported by, but not officially a part of, the Unyielding Vigil, operating in the Tempestus gap. Golgoria is a hive-world of ancient provenance; it was a hive-world when the Imperium conquered it, a hive-world when Long Night fell, a hive-world when the first human settlers made landfall although the original inhabitants had all gone, leaving vast and empty buildings behind. Although archaeology is not exactly a high priority in the remnants of the sundered Imperium, all indications are that Golgoria has been a hive world for millions of years, across dozens of owners.
As such, the Golgorian Crawlers are dedicated hive-fighters, mostly recruited from the gangs and militias that effectively control most of the planet's inhabited volume. They are armed for close-quarters fighting in enclosed spaces, storm shields paired with a variety of one-hand weapons: hand flamers, melta pistols, hell-pistols, chainswords. Long-range support weaponry is mostly abandoned in favor of more grenades, demo-charges, and flashbangs. (They do have some to deal with occasional open spaces, but less than what would be expected for a normal heavy infantry unit.) The only vehicle in common use among the Crawlers is a variant of the Rapier weapons platform.
In battle, Dungeon Crawler strategy emphasizes infrastructure control. Hold the water purifiers, the food distribution centers, the power plants, the transport trunks. Cut off the enemy from these vital functions, and wait for them to die of dehydration and their industries to grind to a halt. Tactically, they make heavy use of breacher charges- why go through a door when you can go through a wall? They also make good use of 3D mobility; Golgoria is a very vertical environment, so all soldiers are equipped with climbing gear and know how to use it.
This is paired with a strong cadre of infiltration specialists (often abhuman). They are used to scout out enemy positions and seize vital infrastructure in advance of the main thrusts. There are ratlings in the ducts. Inside hives, the Golgorian Dungeon Crawlers are utterly lethal. Outside of them, they pay for their overspecialization.
The Dungeon Crawlers originated as a purely defensive unit, slicing apart enemy raiding groups using superior knowledge of the terrain in the endless miles of abandoned construction. Entire armies could be lost without trace in the expanse of abandoned, ancient structure- and were. This changed when Golgoria became a vassal of the Unyielding Vigil, trading basing rights and a tithe of its soldiers in exchange for technical support for its failing industries. This prompted a shift in the composition of the Crawlers, from a light-infantry urban guerilla force to a heavy-infantry urban assault force. Under the supervision of Vigil drill sergeants, the transition went smoothly, and now Dungeon Crawler detachments are a common sight among Vigil expeditionary forces in the Tempestus gap.
The Rhadam RaidersEdit
A formation of rough riders operating on and around the outskirts of the Unyielding Vigil, recruited from the death-world Rhada. The Rhadam Raiders are specialized as a stay-behind force, placed on planets in danger of falling to the enemy in order to wage guerilla war against the occupiers. Raider units are typically divided up and attached to other regiments to act as advisors and training cadre, teaching other forces their ways of war. For a full regiment of Raiders to be deployed as a single unit is generally a sign that something special is being planned.
In addition to their tactics, the Rhadam Raiders are noted for their animals. Genetically engineered to survive in any environment, half boar and half rat, their mounts are a far cry from ordinary horses, twice as smart and twice as vicious. They are capable of eating almost any organic matter, and give human-edible milk. With their mounts, the Rhadam are capable of operating for extended periods of time in the most desolate environments.
Despite their undeniable use, the Rhadam Raiders sit uneasy in the overall Vigil force; although their uses are undeniable, their tactics fit poorly with the overwhelming siege focus of the Undying Scions, and as a result Raider detachments tend to drift from one command to another. This lack of consistent oversight leads to discipline problems, which further encourages Vigil generals to pass them off like a hot potato as soon as possible. As a result, the Raiders tend to wind up assigned to some of the furthest and most desolate corners of the Vigil- which is where their tactics work best.
There are many worlds that lie outside the control of both the Dark Imperium and the Crusader States, especially within Segmentum Tempestus. Such planets are at the mercy of xenos and other invaders, and so must fend for themselves. Their defense forces, hardened by their home and the many battles there, are peerless combatants, and immediately available reinforcements if a commander is willing to pay.
The planet Suka is a grim world: its surface is devoid of any atmosphere, almost lifeless save the beasts that brave the distances between settlements and the plants which reach deep into the tunnels for sustenance. Not a human soul lives on the surface, but must reside in various airtight villages scattered around the planet, ancients structures from the Dark Age of Technology revered by their denizens with worship. In such a world resources are scarce, and so the tech-tribes must fight using their ancient artifacts, bringing void-suits and lasguns to bear against each other.
The tech-tribes of Suka do not wage war themselves, but instead send forth their gods. Among the most ancient technologies of Suka are ancient incubation vats, automated apparatus that give birth to flesh. What beings emerge from these metal wombs are not mere men to the tech-tribes; they are gods, born of machine, whose exclusive right is to lay waste to the bodies and spirits of machines. Only the Steelborn, sons of metal, can break metal; the lower born of flesh have no say in the affairs of spirits. Steelborn cross the airless surface of Suka, fighting other steelborn for their tech-tribe, scavenging archeotech, providing valuable services to the tech-tribes as they explore the world.
Occasionally, when the stars are too many, gods from the sky descend to Suka. Representatives of the Astartes, greater gods of machinery, come to the planet to spirit away hundreds of Steelborn into the larger galaxy's endless conflicts. Other times it is techpriests, truly divine men to the Sukans, searching for archeotech, bringing more technology to the tech-tribes to trade for rarer items. Sometimes, it is not gods but demons who come to Suka. In such times the Steelborn must defend their world against the horrors of the galaxy.
Sabbath Ice MaidensEdit
In the zone contested by the Crusader States and the Dark Imperium lies the frozen ocean world Sabbath. It is an unforgiving planet devoid of warmth and land, where inhabitants live in the massive floating cities that smash through the ocean ice and move with the marine megafauna. In most ways it is a world that lacks strategic significance; forces both Chaos and Crusader would pass over without bothering with sacking such a useless planet. What little it does supply, however, could make all the difference in a battle. The cities of Sabbath can only be connected by either the massive icebreakers that smash the sea, or by the brave pilots who take to the skies. Men are mariners, whalers, walkers; but women are pilots, leaders, and ultimately the fighters desired by the galaxy. Fleets dare come near Sabbath in hopes of trading vital materiel for the service of Sabbath women and their craft, not merely because they are good pilots, but because they are dangerous pilots. The skills of the Sabbath Ice Maidens are honed in the winds and darkness of their frozen home, and so have mastered nights and gales.
There are men in this galaxy who owe their allegiance to no one. Mercenaries, black knights, renegades, blackguards. Their loyalty is with gold and good food, and nothing may persuade them with anything but those. So tied is their integrity with their salary that it is said Segmentum Tempestus is so named for the tumultuous nature of the countless mercenary forces among its stars. Typically, the word "mercenary" is associated with simple men, soldiers of fortune with a lasguns, who run at the sight of a space marine they outnumber a thousand to one. Never mind that there are more disciplined or bloodthirsty mercenaries out there would would throw themselves at the space marine for a shot at glory, there is a greater force among them than normal humans. Within Segmentum Tempestus there are many houses of knights who desire honor above safety, glory above life; and among them is House Rammstein of the White Realm, the Black Bands of Meinherz.
Unlike the cowards who call themselves soldiers of fortune, the Black Bands are hard and unwavering. Their hearts are like hot stones, burning and unbreakable, heated by passion and hardened by battle. Their tongue is anger, and their weapons are the guns of their knight suits. They are bound by their contract to the highest bidder, till the day the battle ends and it is time to return to their knightly fortress.
Avalon is a hot deathworld, its one massive continent is home to countless man-eating beasts, and the only safety for civilization is on the islands around it. However, despite all its terrors the Continent is not feared by Man, who desire the hides and meats of exotic animals. Every years hunters travel to the Continent for a great hunt, their expeditions taking them as deep into the jungles and plains as provisions and courage can carry them. Many die in these expeditions, and many fail to catch their prey, but those that return with an animal's corpse on their backs earn the celebration that follows their homecoming. Those who survive are warriors, having mastered the skills of stealth and killing like no one else in the world. These hunters' skills, honed against violent and unpredictable beasts, are easily used on humans, and so it's from the hunters that the Crusader States draw Avalon's regiments.
The Avalon Manslayers are an elite force of commandos whose expertise is in scouting and beast-slaying. Their skills as hunters translate into skills as warriors; their patience, their aim, and their cool heads let them kill men as easily as any beast.
As the Thirteenth Crusade stretched on, the forces of the Unyielding Vigil launched a devastating assault upon Imperial Eldar space, hoping to cleave through the faithless xeno and encircle the Chaos Legions rampaging through the upper Segmentum. The first to feel the brunt of this offensive were the Corsair Princedoms at the edge of Imperial territory. Many worlds were abandoned as the Eldar made a fighting retreat, but some territories were struck harder, such as those of Prince Uledainn. The Prince's flagship was destroyed in the fighting and his fleet scattered, his Princedom falling into chaos. As the tides turned and the Eldar began to push back, the scattered elements of his fleet returned with new masters to reclaim Uledainn's worlds, but the Eldar underestimated the indigenous populations' loyalty to their former master. The Princedoms played fast and loose with the laws of the Empire, and many human Custodian Worlds within Uledainn's domain were bound to the deceased Prince not only by veneration, but by a sense of mutual respect.
Disgusted by the sight of their celestial lords bickering over Uledainn's holdings, the world of Iscarynn declared itself ronin, pledging that if they could no longer serve their former Prince, their only master would be fortune. Successfully fighting off the small, hastily-assembled force sent to reclaim it, the planet has since settled into a state of truce with its neighbours, and has become valued for the quality of its warriors, few Princedoms wishing to risk losing such an asset in an attempt to take the world for their own.
Since then, the Iscarans have fought on battlefields across the Segmentum and for a multitude of employers. Specializing in mobile warfare, they utilize large numbers of Stinger (simplified versions of the Eldar Wasp walker design, dumbed down for use by Custodian World humans) squadrons to great effect, engaging in perilous skydrop maneuvers to outflank their marks.
In the vast, winking dark of the void, it isn't hard to lose one's way. The tale of the Jhokanin is a fable whispered among naval academies throughout the Loyalist Realms - the story of the ancient Joukahainen, one of the last colony ships of the Golden Age, directionless and floundering through the vacuum of space in its attempts to leave the Iron Men and their terrors far behind. The Joukahainen never saw planetfall, but its people adapted, and tribes of their descendants - the pale, dark-eyed Void-Men - rove between the stars to this day, their bodies optimized by generations of gene-therapy for life in the void. A fleetbound people, the Jhokanin can be found across the breadth of the galaxy, trading and selling their services as mercenaries. Equipped with vacuum-sealed, servo-strengthened mesh armour and high-yield, limited-charge lascarbines, the Void-Men specialize in zero-g combat and daring boarding actions, utilizing carefully-maintained techno-charms to generate variable grav-fields as they leap between passing voidships or glide confidently across whirling asteroids.
Highly traditional and culturally insular, the Jhokanin reveal few of their customs to their employers, but rarely turn down an offer of employment. Wherever asteroid bases are to be secured or voidships are in need of scuttling, the Void-Men can by found plying their deadly trade.
Akyat Hive RacersEdit
Akyat is the only surviving hive on the planet Pintus. Once a thriving industrial world on the border of the Protectorate and the Imperium Minorum, an Ork invasion quickly destroyed the majority of the world's factorums. This forced the people of Akyat to use whatever they could find to keep their vehicles operational, and eventually improve them. Supercharged, fitted with hydraulics, and fitted with enough weapons to make a Titan blush, the armour of the Akyat Hive Racers has more in common with the vehicles of the Orks they fight than any human tank or transport. The only reason they have been left alone by the Mechanicus is their effectiveness, and relatively small numbers.
It is not uncommon to see a Hive Racer challenge an Ork to a "Death Race", where the only rules are go fast, no brakes, and kill the other guy. Winner is the one who isn't dead in a heap of burning fuel and twisted metal. These are seen as a way to please their God of Speed, and are the only way to receive promotions.
Light vehicles such as bikes and walkers are rarely seen in use by the Hive Racers, as it is seen as a more difficult challenge to convert a Leman Russ into something that can outpace a Thunderhawk. That, and Basilisks drifting at incredible speeds look awesome.
Beyond the Realm Guards of the Warmaster, beyond the serfs and slave-soldiery deployed by the Legions of the Chaos Marches, there are thousands upon thousands of independent warbands. A handful are led by Astartes seeking advancement beyond the normal confines of their Legion, but the vast majority are purely human. Or, well. Mostly human. Once human. Still human-shaped. Come to think of it, a lot of them include corrupted Xenos among their ranks as well. But the point is, they're not Astartes.
The Bloody RagsEdit
A Khornate warband operating in the Tempestus gap. They are notable for their evangelical fervor; where most Khornate warbands will simply slaughter indiscriminately and only recruit opportunistically when raiding, the Bloody Rags make concerted efforts to recruit as many people as possible. This process naturally still involves mass slaughter; the entire population is forced into gladiatorial combat until the survivors, soaked in the blood of family, friends, countrymen- generally somewhere between a third and a tenth of the people who went in- are inducted into the Bloody Rags. In this way, they have swollen to immense size, holds of their slaughter-ships bursting with billions of cultists.
On the battlefield, their most distinctive feature are their pure white uniforms. Whatever material they're made out of, it only stains in blood; the mud of the battlefield falls off it cleanly, but blood will never come out. How stained a uniform is forms a semi-formal rank system among the Bloody Rags; the more stained, the more status.
As the existence of an actual uniform indicates, the Bloody Rags have a decent logistical base, although it strains under their ever-growing numbers. In addition to their uniform, each cultist gets at least a lasgun and a chainsword. Support weapons like heavy stubbers and missile launchers are reasonably commonplace, although the Bloody Rags eschew any indirect-fire weapons like Basilisks or mortars as a matter of principle. While the majority of the force is light infantry, there are decent-sized detachments of armored cavalry and aircraft with each raiding group. Notably, although they have the resources to mount a proper training program they do not do so, preferring to let battle sort out the wheat from the chaff.
In battle, while the Bloody Rags are as eager as any follower of Khorne to close to close range, they're not stupid about it. They make use of orbit-mobile tactics to flank entrenched positions, and in the charge use smokescreens and suppressing fire from support weapons to cover the advance.
The Thousand Kinds of BlindnessEdit
A Tzeentchian organization operating in the Tempestus gap. The Thousand Blindnesses operate effectively as two parallel, cooperating, but ultimately separate units.
The first is the cult network. Spread across a large number of worlds, the cults of the Thousand Blindnesses do all of the typical cult things: conversion, destabilization, etc. They are much more effective in this than the average cult, having access to off-world support networks and professional-grade training in infiltration, sabotage, and subversion. The general pattern of operations is to smuggle a few agents onto the planet, who then start exploiting pre-existing fault lines among the society to recruit and build up infrastructure.
Then there is the raider fleet, which is a bunch of warships and landers stuffed with troops. Beyond a couple of daemon-ships, nothing out of the ordinary.
When the time comes to take a world, both arms of the Thousand Blindnesses act simultaneously. As the raider fleet translates in-system, the cults on the ground kick off the revolution, inciting riots, sabotaging defense systems, and assassinating leadership. When the ships reach deployment range of the target planet, the defense is already in chaos; chaos which will not be helped by having ten million Chaos reavers dropped on it.
In battle, the Thousand Blindnesses make heavy use of compromising enemy command networks.. In addition to the normal tricks of compromising vox networks and issuing false orders, sorcery opens up many more options. Subliminal messaging, psychic mind control, shapeshifting doppelgangers, hallucinogens in the officer's mess; the possibilities are near-endless. Setting up these opportunities is one of the prime duties of the cult network pre-invasion; done well and thoroughly, and the Thousand Blindnesses can force the enemy to feed their forces into trap after trap until the soldiers mutiny.
Among the petty powers of the Tempestus Gap, the Thousand Blindnesses have achieved a reputation for invincibility. In a sense, this is earned; nearly every offensive battle they have engaged in has been an overwhelming victory. However, this is because they choose their battles wisely. With the cult network providing detailed information and destabilizing defenses, the Thousand Blindnesses can choose when and where to fight with exquisite precision. The raider fleet never attacks a system unless it has already won.
Theologically, they view Tzeentch as a god of pointless change, meaningless change, the change of shifting static on a television screen. A god of Revolutions, named that because they go around in circles. That so many other followers of Tzeentch- and so many of his daemons, for that matter- fail to perceive this is the First Blindness. (Yes, they can name a thousand kinds of blindness. Being able to do so from memory is one of the tests of Grandmastery. The name is not (purely) fanciful.)
The Wings of RustEdit
A Nurglite force operating in the Tempestus Gap. The Wings of Rust are notable for their heavy focus on air power. Instead of the typical plague zombie horde or the plodding heavy armor favored by mechanized Nurglite forces, the Wings of Rust consist nearly entirely of aero-space craft, typically deployed from orbiting carriers. The strategy is entirely straightforward: first, achieve air supremacy. Then, blanket the helpless population centers in virus bombs until the planet succumbs to Nurgle's embrace. Leave.
The Wings of Rust have a theme of industrial pollution and decay, as opposed to the usual pus and vomit or the Second Son's Chernobyl. Their pitted, corroded aircraft trail thick clouds of chemical smoke, which jam the guns, foul sensors, and corrode the engines of enemy aircraft that fly through them. The bombs they drop are filled with toxic metals, asbestos, and condensed smog in addition to the normal run of diseases. Metal rusts, machines fail, and guns jam. Tetanus crawls on every surface as jagged oxide spikes sprout from every metal surface like some metallic fungus. Unusually for a Nurglite force, the Wings of Rust also make moderate use of incendiaries, adding plumes of choking ash to the pollution. As the relentless bombardment continues, the planet's sky becomes choked with ash and smog, the sun dims, factories choke. Everything comes to a halt.
Although their tactics are simple, countering them is usually beyond the resources of the average planet. With anti-orbital defenses always the first installations targeted, the target planet is soon deprived of the ability to strike at the carriers. With their starships forming an unassailable rear area, the Wings of Rust can then strike at any point on the surface of the planet with near impunity. Screaming down from orbit in deep dives, targeted installations are often given mere minutes to brace themselves for the assault. The Wings of Rust use extremely high force concentrations, often committing their entire force to individual attacks. This limits their operational tempo, but ensures that their specific target will be utterly outnumbered. Thus, the defenses of the target world are smashed apart one element at a time, until the planet lies helpless, incapable of meaningful resistance. Then the bombing begins in earnest.
The Wings of Rust do have a ground force, consisting of air cavalry and drop infantry. They are used as commandos, striking to destroy hardened targets where air power alone cannot suffice. On occasions where taking and holding territory becomes necessary, the Wings of Rust prefer simply to throw hordes of 'Smog Zombies' (a variant of the standard plage zombie, purely aesthetic) generated by their bombardment at the problem.
Once the planet has been reduced, the Wings of Rust simply depart. Although many planets such visited become sources of further Nurglite warbands, the Wings never recruit from the world they attack, and often never even land on them. They replenish their numbers and supplies exclusively from their unknown homeworld.
The Howling SwarmEdit
A Slaaneshi warband operating within the Tempestus Gap. In a variation of normal Slaaneshi operating procedure, the Howling Swarm makes heavy use of cybernetic and genetic augmentation, trying to achieve heights and types of sensation impossible for unmodified humans. Skin-grafts with massively denser nerve endings, eyes that see magnetic fields, internal drug reservoirs, dozens of tentacles for arms, yard-long cyberdongs, every day brings some new atrocity against decency and sense. Many members of the warband are no longer even vaguely human.
As a result, they have close ties with the Dark Mechanicus, volunteering themselves as guinea pigs and fighting for Dark-Mech interests in exchange for new implants. The majority of the warband give praise to the Omnissiah alongside Slaanesh, and most even see them as the same entity, in the same way OU orthodoxy held that the Big E and the Big O were the same entity. After all, both seek the same goal- the transcendence of the limits of the human mind- and, for the Howling Swarm at least, the same methods. Links with some more unscrupulous DEldar Haemonculi are also rumored, but not confirmed.
In battle, the Howling Swarm tend to use sensory-overload weaponry. Hallucinogenic gases, mind-affecting magnetic beams, blinding lasers, seizure-inducing stroboscopes, eardrum- and mind-shattering sonic weaponry, and the simple overwhelming terror of their inhuman appearance, carefully sculpted for maximum psychological effect. Once incapacitated, the enemy force is collected for forcible induction, sacrifice, or sale as slaves. Against enemies hardened against these weapons, the Howling Swarm relies on its heavy augmentation to carry the day in close combat, backed up by swarms of lesser cultists/meat-shields.
If these don't work either, they will generally retreat, muttering that they probably wouldn't have made good playthings anyway.
Among the most powerful combatants by raw power, the knight titans are deadly war machines that stride the battlefields of the 41st Millennium. Some swear fealty to a higher lord, such as a legion; others keep to themselves or sell their services to the highest bidder. But in whatever case a knight house is a powerful ally should you earn one's loyalty.
Hades is a world of steep cliffs and plateaus, where the people live content as they plant seed and mine precious minerals. It is the ward of House Hekaton, the Chthonic patrons of wealth and death. From their underground lair of Tartaros they watch over the planet, keep it safe from repugnant invaders. When the Fists of Mars call upon them, the Hekatonkires answer. They bring fire and terror from the depths of Tartaros, and take a hundred weapons to bear against xenos and Chaos hordes. The modus operandi of House Hekaton is overwhelming firepower. They often forgo close combat weapons for additional weaponry, exchanging the sword and the clenched fist for the cannon. Their favored pattern is the Knight Crusader, a paragon of long-ranged destruction.
The Imperium is no more. What remains now is a gaggle of Legion-States that quarrel over the Emperor's legacy. Any hope of galactic unity was lost when the rifts between realms reached a lightyear in width, and the taint of Chaos poisoned the Earth. However, there are still those who dream for a united Humanity, an end to the heathenry of the West, and the death of Chaos in the universe. Among these idealists are the knights of House Hidalgos, stewards of Conquista, Third of the Emperor. They boast the mightiest tribute of all the Storm Kingdom - six hundred thrones Mechanicus of the Tercio Imperial - which they devote without exception to the crusades of the Storm Hammers. In their fight for the Imperium reborn they are relentless, resolute, and righteous. They close with the enemy, stomp them to pieces, and shred them with their chainswords.
In the far away worlds of the Northwest Galaxy there is an ashen planet long wrought with death. Once a flourishing knight world covered in fields of wheat and barley, Morgoth had lost its green and gold to pollution and war, and is now as barren as the moons in its orbit. Its knights, the lords of House Melkor, have nobody to rule, and now live only to destroy. The jagged black armor of the Melkor Knights is blackened by evil and magic, their battle cannons are infused with arcane energies of the Warp. They are the giants of Chaos Undivided, the invincible juggernauts that do the will of the Gods with murder and havoc.
Tracing their lineage back to the days of the Heresy, and even further as a simple noble house upon the feudal world of Catarina, House Rosier's loyalties were decided early on into the Heresy. Few records of the House's rebirth into the Warmaster's service remain intact, but what limited information is available suggests that it occurred much as similar power shifts across the Old Imperium did. Liac the Betrayer, secondborn of the House, in league with a motley of supporters, ambushed their own knightly kin and felled their ancient machines, fighting to slow the advance toward Terra by Loyalist forces in the eastern reaches of what would now come to be known as the Dark Worlds. Devoted in their worship of the Dark Prince, the knights of House Rosier seek martial perfection in synthesis with their machines, each Daemon-Knight of the House inhabited by a rapacious Warp-entity that mediates between pilot and mechanism. Liac - Daemon Prince Liacaraen, now - embodies this ideal, fused entirely to the shell of his Knight, daemonic flesh twining and twisting through solid metal. Prone to flights of fancy and, by their claims, divinely-appointed quests, the Knights of Rosier are obsessive duelists, maneuvering their Daemon-Knights with unnatural grace and employing exotic, Warpborn weaponry integrated into their systems. Immense, sinuous power whips, drooling sonic cannons, and prehensile tongues swathed in fiery ichor are commonplace armaments among the fighting machines of the House.
There are few that would argue on the matter of what House Grendel represents to all good Loyalists of the galaxy - they stand as a twisted testament to the corrupting influence of the xeno and the vileness of alien technology.
Knights of the Fortress Worlds, House Grendel originates from the border world of Demeter, where the once-fruitful soil is now burnt black and stained with soot, the sky coursing with the unnatural green fires of the planet's heretek foundries. Much like the Legion they serve under, the Knights of House Grendel are twisted mockeries of true Imperial purity, embedded with tumorous hearts of flowing, pulsing bio-steel. Flowing across and through the metal of their forms in great sinews, the blasphemous technology grants them unnatural fortitude, repairing damaged systems and absorbing nearby materials to fuel its functions, sloughing the armour from enemy constructs much as a hyena might slurp the flesh from the bones of its prey.
Preferring to fight up close and personal, the Knights of House Grendel are commonly equipped with Titan-sized lightning claws, and tend to employ volkite weapons or gatling cannons for their ranged capability, as well as a more esoteric weapon known as an Ionbuck - a close-quarters firearm that unleashes a spray of charge particles, frying the integral systems of its targets.
|Pages of the Imperium Asunder Project|
|Loyalist:|| Crimson Warhawks - Fists of Mars - Storm Hammers - Void Lords |
Angels of Light - Sky Serpents - Undying Scions - Knights Exemplar
|Traitor:|| Eyes of the Warmaster - Bloodhounds - Silver Spears - Judgement Bringers |
Second Sons - Iron Hearts - Behemoth Guard - Arms of Asura - Negators
|Renegade:||Warp Raiders - Paladins of Kor - Oathsworn|
|Other Astartes:||Diamond Watch - Black Suns - Hekatonkires|
|Other Powers:|| Resurgent Eldar Empire - Imperium Asunder Eldar Warhost |
Archaeotect Collective - Realm Guard and Mercenaries - Altair Enclave
|Related Pages:||Imperium Asunder Campaigns - Imperium Asunder Timeline|