So, I entered a contest for The Eternal Warriors podcast to write the best blog post for their site. Here is what I entered, and it is currently on their front page!
If there is any one consistent truth about Warhammer 40k, its the prevalence of the Space Marine. It’s fairly easy to say that there are many, many Marine players, and that they are the iconic army of the forty-first millennium. Now, like every other player, I too find some interest and value in the Space Marines. They are fun to play, have an amazing history and background, and they are a very competitive army. When I collected my first real army, as opposed to a motley crew of miniatures, it was the Space Wolves. I loved the uniqueness and different kind of flavor that they gave the Space Marines. Sadly, I have floated away from the Space Wolves, due to the overwhelming number of bandwagon jumpers and haters of the new codex. I wished to go back to the uniqueness and interest that the Space Wolves had created for me in the beginning. I loved being the only guy bringing the Space Puppies. It set me apart from all of the other Space Marine armies out there. I like being unique. It was at this time that I had decided that I wanted to develop my own chapter of Space Marines.
Now, I had some experience with the creation of characters and back story. I am an avid reader and writer, an actor, and I LOVE RPGs, in particular Dungeons and Dragons. The concept of creating my own persona was certainly not new to me. I found the process of creating a Space Marine chapter, however, strangely difficult. It’s tough to create a unique overall design concept, but still be within some form of reality within the 40k universe. After a few months of deep thought and rough concepts, I was able to truly flesh out my own chapter, The Shadow Guard.
I figured that somewhere out in the realm of gaming, there would be another player that would love to create their own unique persona for their chapter. I wrote this article to hopefully help that other person go through the steps, and they will hopefully be successful in their own creation. These are some of the tips and ideas that I used to create my own design concept.
Step 1- Loyalist or Traitor?
This step is fairly simple. Does the chapter stay true to the Imperium or have they moved away, or possibly into the grips of Chaos? This, of course, is a really simple, but incredibly important decision in the overall development of their background.
Step 2- Chapter History?
Where have these guys been? Who founded them? Why were they created? What are their overall motives and desires? What sort of traditions and ideals do they hold dear? These questions really emphasis the foundation that establishes what your chapter is now doing in the 41st millennium. In theory, that could be a LOT of history to cover.
Step 3- Home world?
Where do these guys call HQ? What sort of planet is it? What kind of people inhabit the planet? Do they even have a planet? This creates the realm in which your Marines live. In a hive world, the Marines will likely play completely different roles on the planet and in the entire galaxy compared to a agri-world. Tied in with this concept would be, How does your chapter interact with the rest of the Imperium? Do they say F*** you, we do our own thing, or do they follow orders to the T?
Step 4- Leaders?
Who leads them now? What sort of person is he? Are there multiple leaders? What sort of relationship is there between the leaders and the rest of their battle-brothers? This does require a bit more of personal development beyond the normal marine, but I think it is important because it can give a hero that you really enjoy fleshing out.
Step 5- Appearance?
Especially with the role of hobby in Warhammer 40k, this is incredibly important. What sort of colors do these Marines wear? What kinds of symbols and other regalia are common? Do they have a very constant pattern or personal freedom? What would your leader wear? What would they wear outside of battle?
Step 6- Tactics?
This, for most competitive players, is the most fun step of the development. How does your Space Marine chapter win the fight? Do they bring as many heavy weapons as possible? Do they rely on manpower and brute strength? What sort of wargear do they have access to? If you could pick a preferred special weapon and heavy weapon, what would it be? Favorite vehicle? Each of these ideas can really emphasis your own personal strategies and preferences in the game, and they create an awesome set of fluff.
Step 7- Which codex should I use?
This step is the one that I write with some trepidation. I know from my own experiences, that many people ignore the true background and fluff of the codex in the effort to win games. That to me is perfectly fine. If you think it fits thematically with your own creation, that is ok. I would warn against the stretching and bending of the fluff to basically fit a square peg into a round hole. For example, just because the Space Wolves codex allows for 4 Psyker HQs does not mean that they would be good thematically for your Thousand Son army. Seriously. Don’t do it.
There you have it. Seven easy steps to create your own Space Marine chapter. Now the eighth step involves building, painting, writing, and, most importantly, playing. Keep track of your wins and losses. Creates small stories and little scenarios about your Space Marines. Did they totally whip Abbadon’s ass? Or did they get trashed by the Sisters of Battle? When you have your own creation and characters within the game, it creates more interest outside of gaming. I have found that it really adds a lot of interest and, most importantly, fun into my games. I record my amazing feats in order to look back and smile upon my achievements.
I hope that this article was some help to you all, and I would love to hear about what you have created! You can check out my blog at www.themanypostsofdobiegillis.blogspot.com , but most importantly…
FOR THE EMPEROR!