My painting room is currently stuffed with miscellaneous stuff that will be there until the decorators have finished. This means that the chance of me getting anything painted up for ‘Miniature Monday’. So instead as a (hopefully) nice treat for my wargaming pals I am posting the background I wrote for my ‘DIY’ Blood Angels successor Chapter for Warhammer 40k -the Brazen Angels.
I have been working on this army since the beginning of the year and it’s the closest I’ve gotten to a completed GW army in about six years. Those of who who read my previous blog post will know that I recently decided to take a step back from GW due to their rising prices and falling quality of service. That said, I will be buying the few models necessary to bring this army up to a nice round 2000 points which I will hopefully be able to take for at least a few games amongst friends.
Special thanks go to @CaitoGalenus for beta reading the text and making a few creative suggestions that helped a great deal.
And so, may I present, the Brazen Angels:
The 22nd Founding in the final years of M36 saw creation of over twenty new Chapters of Adeptus Astartes. The majority of these Chapters were fleet based to better tackle the increasing threat from highly mobile raider forces of the Dark Eldar and Traitor Marines, as well as the growing number of Waaaghs encroaching into humanity’s realm. Amongst their number were the Brazen Angels, created from the gene line of Sanguinius and tasked with patrolling the dark places between the disparate worlds of the Ultima Segmentum.
Its first and greatest Chapter Master was Gideon Malthus, formerly first captain of the Angels Encarmine. Malthus had already been the salvation of countless worlds in his three hundred year service to the Emperor. After choreographing the crushing defeat of a Word Bearer war band who had an entire sub-sector enthralled, Malthus earned the attentions of the high lords of Terra who urgently sought a proud, noble and brilliant commander to nurture a new chapter blessed with Sanguinius’ blood.
Malthus was given permission by his former lord to select ten of his most capable and seasoned veterans, who saw the bloodiest fighting in the war against the Word Bearers – those who had seen the unmasked face of Chaos and did not break, to take command of the chapters fledgling companies. The new Chapter Master was sworn into his office in a ceremony aboard the battle barge Sanguine Praetorian. A relic of the Golden Age, the Praetorian had been painstakingly returned to its former glory after a restoration lasting nearly millennia.
The Praetorian would become Malthus’ flagship and it was upon this mighty vessel’s bridge that he vowed in the name of his Emperor and Primarch to protect the people of the Imperium from the mutant, the daemon and the alien. Malthus took the oath without a pause and with pride in his hearts. His newly appointed captains bore witness to the moment alongside representatives of the Holy Ordos of the Inquisition, the Departmento Munitorum and the Administratum Terra in high anchor above the feudal world of Falchion Primaris.
This world would become the primary recruiting world for Malthus’ chapter. Falchion Primaris was home to households of knightly orders who constantly vied for dominance on open plains of battle at the head of highly disciplined and organised armies. The brazen armour of the baronial dynasts at the head of these households inspired the chapter’s colours and name.
With such a strong martial ethic – a life of drill, skill at arms and metallurgy – it took less than a decade for Malthus’ captains to have aspirants of sufficient health and skill to form into a force able to support a taskforce of the Silver Skulls Chapter crusading against a Genestealer cult on distant Nova Augusta. Although the Brazen Angels were predominantly limited to scouting missions, interference raids and rearguard duties it taught its aspirants much, not only about the true face of war but what it means to be Astartes.
Chapter Master Malthus would eventually fall in battle against the Word Bearers, their Dark Apostle, Marius Doomsayer, avenging himself against the Captain who had once reduced all his works to ash. Command passed to First Captain Josiah Bentham who in turn avenged his late Master within the week. Malthus however would be interred within a Dreadnought and would continue to act as advisor and spiritual figurehead to the Brazen Angels for a further two millennia.
Malthus finally took his place at the Emperor’s side at the battle of Corinthia, a world fallen foul of daemonic infestation. At the wars climax Malthus engaged the foul Daemon Prince, Riventhrax, in mortal combat. Although hopelessly outclassed, Malthus managed to keep the daemon occupied long enough for a contingent of Grey Knights to banish the beast back to the warp. It is said that his name is inscribed on the wall of the fallen within the tombs of the Grey Knights sanctuary on Titan.
The Brazen Angels are a fleet based chapter with no permanent home save for their fleet of strike cruisers and battle barges. The spiritual centre of the chapter is the flagship Sanguine Praetorian which houses the Chapter Reclusium and the household of the Chapter Master. The Librarium however is centred upon the battle barge Preceptor Encarmine. Each company is housed aboard a strike cruiser, save the tenth company who are split between Sanguine Praetorian, and the Chapter Keep on Falchion Primaris, set deep within the Halo Mountains, the lasting memory of a past age when a great comet struck the world. Within the encircling walls the Chapters recruits undergo psychic and spiritual scrutiny by a small cadre of Apothecaries, Chaplains and Librarians, all under the watchful gaze of the 10th company captain – usually the most grizzled and most exacting member of the Chapter Council, who will have seen the very worst the galaxy has to offer and lived to talk about it. Should the aspirants survive the gruelling and invasive testing they begin the first stages of the change to become full Space Marines.
Those more experienced members of the 10th company who are fully fledged scouts are split between the fleet and Falchion Primaris. Those at home, aside from rigorous arms training, are also charged with the protection of the planet itself from threats foreign and domestic. Through this all Brazen Angels understand what it means to be just in an unjust universe.
The Chapter recruits come almost exclusively from Falchion Primaris. The world is a temperate, late-stage feudal world governed by an official known as the Steward, appointed by the Chapter Council to rule in their name and protect the Chapter’s interests and the Emperor’s subjects. The citizenry themselves revere the Emperor in an ethereal state – a being always watchful and in all places, the chapter master being akin to his holy emissary, and to whom the warlords ultimately do homage, even as they compete amongst themselves for land and power. The Chapter Master will routinely return to ensure that his will is being done and that his Steward is being shown the respect due an agent of the Chapter.
The dynastic conflict is tolerated by the Imperium so long as it does not endanger or impede the Emperor’s interests on that world and continues to generate young warrior-prodigies for entry into the Brazen Angels. The chapter master oft tasks the orders with the elimination of threats to Imperial interests such as bands of brigands or the slaying of migrating herds of dangerous rockdrakes who are known to be drawn to populated areas in search of food. The knights and squires of the orders are expected to take oaths in the God-Emperor’s name to protect the innocent and not allow bystanders to come to harm and thus their wars seldom escalate beyond pitch battles, lasting long enough for honour to be satisfied.
Once per year – at the vernal equinox – the chapter’s Chaplains and Apothecaries stand upon the plains leading to the Halo Mountains – an area known as Gideon’s Reach – beneath a crimson banner awaiting young squires and errant knights. Only those that have successfully travelled from their homes alone and unaided to the plains are of interest to the chapter. Only those strong of mind as well as body are fit to compete in the trials to prove themselves worthy of serving the Emperor’s holy messenger amongst the stars. Only the most promising are chosen for the opportunity to become an Astartes, though the chapter’s officers frequently return with other promising youths who have been judged to have the potential to serve the chapter in other ways, such as starship crew or defence auxilia. The rest, having forsaken their old lives, take the limited solace offered in entering service in the Steward’s household, where they are able to still serve their Emperor, albeit in a far lesser capacity. Recruits are sworn to the service of the chapter and the Emperor and commanded to set aside the allegiances of their past, whether they be to an order, liege or homeland. An aspirant or novitiate who acts upon a grudge dating back to their old lives can expect swift punishment, which can prove fatal should the offence re-occur.
DOCTRINE AND ORGANISATION
The Brazen Angels adhere closely to the Codex Astartes, save in those areas where the traditions of the Blood Angels and their successors have taken precedence. Chapter Master Gideon worked hard to inculcate the ways of Sanguinius into his new Chapter. Inevitably however, the Brazen Angels have taken on their own identity, adapting their traditions and heraldry over the centuries.
The most notable quirk of the Brazen Angels’ combat doctrine lies in their Chapter’s Death Company. The Brazen Angels’ disquiet at the flaw within their gene seed is as acute as that of any of their brother chapters, if not more so. The traditions of Falchion Primaris in particular have encouraged an abhorrence of the collateral damage that can result when the Red Thirst or Black Rage strike a battle brother. As such, the Brazen Angels limit the use of their Death Company to situations where deploying their afflicted brothers poses no risk to allies or innocents.
Great stasis wards have been constructed aboard the Brazen Angel’s fleet to contain afflicted brothers when their deployment is not possible. When the time is right however, these lost souls, each in their individual stasis casket are loaded into drop pods and gunships under the supervision of a chaplain, ready to be released against the enemies of mankind without risk to those the Brazen Angels have sworn to protect. Though the Brazen Angels do not often deploy their Death Company, when they do so it as a large and nigh unstoppable force. Captain Baemner, who commanded the Brazen Angels at the Battle of the Basalt Plateau likened their Death Company to ‘a howling tide of black and brass, sweeping the greenskins before them like a storm’.
The Brazen Angels’ patrol routes through Ultima Segmentum frequently bring them into conflict with Traitors and Renegades sallying out from their lairs in the Maelstrom. Their frequent brushes with Chaos Space Marines had motivated the battle brothers of the Brazen Angels to prepare themselves for facing their corrupted former brethren. Plasma guns are a common sight in Brazen Angel squads and a higher proportion of veteran brothers than in other Sanguinian chapters opt to serve in Sternguard squads rather than Vanguard.
One of the Brazen Angel’s most successful campaigns was fought against the Renegades of the Word Bearers, fighting alongside the Crimson Avengers, a brother Chapter of the Sanguinian line. Together the Brazen Angels and Crimson Avengers brought ruin on the forces of Dark Apostle Gais Soulcager – former lieutenant to Malthus’ old nemesis Marius. In the aftermath the two chapters pledged eternal brotherhood and have fought together a score of times since. Another great victory was when the Brazen Angels fought in the Siege of St Sebastian’s Hive alongside the Rooks, Storm Crows and Frost Giants. The Brazen Angels held Malcador Gate against a force of Orks that outnumbered them twenty-five to one.
Like all Space Marine chapters the Brazen Angels venerate their Primarch and the Emperor above all, looking to the tales and legends of those great heroes for guidance and inspiration. The Brazen Angels have inherited the traditions of their forebears and their beliefs and customs are kept by their Chaplains, Librarians and Sanguinary Priests as in all Blood Angel successor chapters. As with other chapters however, they have also been shaped by the beliefs inherited from their recruiting world. The Imperial cult on Falchion Primus was shaped by the spartan, militaristic ways of that world, which in turn inspired a similar spartan way amongst the Chapter. The Chaplains of the chapter preach that devotion to the Emperor is best expressed through duty rather than outward piety. Prayer and meditation are encouraged as a means of developing self-control and self-reliance but the Chapter’s ceremonies are notably less elaborate and the Astartes of the Brazen Angels believe in demonstrating their devotion rather than proclaiming it.
The knights and squires of Falchion Primaris embrace a code that encourages them to protect the innocent even as they made war on their enemies. This ethos has in turn shaped the chapter of marines recruited from that world. The Brazen Angels conceive of themselves as defenders first and foremost and as such are quick to answer calls for aid and actively patrol in search of heretics, Orks or other xenos raiders in hopes of intercepting them before they fall upon Imperial worlds. In contrast, the chapter rarely commits its forces to prolonged crusades, lest their forces become mired in a grinding conflict that will sap their strength and prevent them defending worlds elsewhere.
This approach to warfare also makes them staggeringly adept at ship to ship boarding actions, preferring to take the fight to the enemy rather than allowing them to sully Imperial soil. Their relatively limited supplies of Terminator armour has forced the chapter to instead maximise the utility of their Sternguard units and develop an incredibly disciplined approach to war at odds with the near frenzy that some other sons of Sanguinius exhibit.
Additionally the Brazen Angel chapter masters have written dozens of lengthy tomes on xenos fleet tactics as well as shipboard assault tactics some of which have become required reading amongst other Space Marine Chapters, and are ranked alongside such definitive works as Ultramarines first captain Agemman’s treatise on the use of timed fuse bolt shells in zero gravity enclosed environments.
The Brazen Angels are one of the most recent chapters created from the Blood Angels’ line. Since their founding the Imperium has become increasingly wary of utilising this geneseed in the creation of new chapters. The Brazen Angels are all too aware of the flaws and their Apothecaries are vigilant in their efforts to prevent further degeneration. The genetic purity of the people of Falchion Primaris is screened by the Chapter Keep’s Apothercarin on behalf of the chapter to prevent anomalies entering the geneseed pool from outside.
The Brazen Angels don’t have a battle cry as such. Because to their brotherhood duty is faith they approach war with a monastic resolve, uninterested in the bluster inherent in battle cries. The Brazen Angels prefer deeds to words and do not feel the need to loudly proclaim their intention to do their duty, but instead to do it with lethal efficiency. Friend and foe alike find their taciturn approach to warfare unnerving, especially in contrast to their hot blooded gene brothers such as the Crimson Avengers, and some more militant chapters misinterpret their approach as a sign of insufficient fervour. The Brazen Angels in turn consider the elaborate pre-battle rituals of some Chapters to be indulgent and vainglorious.
Their allies are often unaware however, that before battle proper is joined, the Brazen Angels Chaplains and Captains will share their rhetoric with their brothers over a private vox-channel, the battle brothers in turn renewing their oaths to their Primarch. Thus, to the Brazen Angels, all that needs to be said has been said.