Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Two sides of the same deadly deadly coin: Chaplain and Mephistion in Herohammer

I'm taking a break from writing the Grey Knight Strike and Intercept Squad post. I am having problems taking pictures of my TMM that is worth a damn. This whole series is just holding up production of this blog. I enjoy writing them, but they are getting a little too epic. Thus, it is on hold for now.

We could be big damn heroes if just for one day.

Holding out for a Hero
The days of 2nd Edition 40k was sometimes known as Herohammer because of the habit it had of being full of super-powered leaders that could slay whole armies on their own. The supporting troops became an pitiful footnote in the epic saga of the hero. This style of play was diminished with the reset/restart of 3rd Edition. Flash forward to 2005-2008 and starting with the Eldar Codex and 5th Edition, you started to see these monsters stalk the battlefield once more.

These days, it is the hero that makes your army. some (like almost all the character in the Space Marine Codex) have special abilities that dramatically change the makeup of your army. Many characters relax restrictions on the types of units you can take or allow Elite, Fast Attack or Heavy choices to count as (or be taken as) Troops. Heroes can have abilities that enhance their abilities or enhance the abilities of the unit they are with. In this article, we'll examine two of the leader characters and with contrasting styles.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do you have what it takes to be a Grey Knight?

I'm planning on writing an article on the Creation of a Space Marine. Once that is done I'll have to come back and cross link these two articles. In this post I am going to try to focus on the differences between what it takes to make a Grey Knight and what it takes to make a Space Marine.

The Grey Knights are the chamber militant of the Inquisition and specifically the Daemon Hunters or Ordo Malleus. They cruse around, find the things that go bump in the night and bump right back. They can do this because each and every one them is a psyker. It is the very rare human that is a psyker and ever fewer of them still can muster their powers for anything productive.

The Grey Knights send out their Gatherers across the galaxy to seek out and recruit young mortals to become Grey Knights. The ply the black between all world and no planet of off limits to their scouring. As a sign of deference, other Space Marine Chapters allow the Grey Knights Gatherers ships to take mortals from worlds that are normally for their recruitment only. Some Chapters (most notably the Exorcists and the Silver Skulls) give the Grey Knights psychically talented aspirants of their own volition. Heck, the Gatherers have even been known to swipe psykers off of the Black Ships of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. This shows how much gravatas they have.

Very few mortals have what it takes to be a Space Marine (I can't find exact numbers but they are only looking for the best of the best of the best, sir! With honors), perhaps one in a hundred. Only one in a thousand aspirants can even hope to be a Grey Knight and many of those die in training. For starters they have to by psykers and that eliminates the vast majority of humanity. Once they are spotted and deposited in the Gatherers ships, they then begin their long trek back to the Sol System and Titan, their home for the next few years.

No, no, no, no, no, no, YES! No, no, no, no, no, no, YES!

The aspirants arrive in the Chamber of Trials and with a name like that I'm gonna guess that there is no complementary tea and cookies served. Nowhere is the experience of the aspirant described (I have not read any of the Grey Knight Novels so I can't say for sure. It's just not searchable.), but I wish it was. I think that Graham or Dan could make it an awesome scene. I imagine it is like the scene in Starship Troopers but without the warmth and tenderness. Thousand of scared children and youths (the ideal candidate is below 10 years of age), herded through gates and waiting in long lines while being poked and prodded by unfeeling servitors and acolytes. It's sobering.

But that's what they want. The training and indoctrination for "regular" Space Marines is designed to weed out the non-hackers from the start. For starters Space Marines only take those that have already proven themselves physically and mentally superior to most mortals. Grey Knights are denied this luxury (I suspect) as they have to select those individuals with psychic potential only. Therefor they need to wash out all the weak of body and mind in the training process. I am assuming again that the wash outs that were still living were sent to Terra to either become part of the Astronomicon or fed to the God Emperor.

Remember back when I said that only one in a thousand can aspire to be a Grey Knight? After reading some more in the Codex, I learned that this is because only1 in a thousand will survive the first of three challenges on the way to becoming a neophyte. There are some strange places with scary sounding names and anyone that wants to be a Grey Knight has to go through them. It is not explicitly stated but it is strongly implied that these trials are not only really really hard but also deadly.

So you're 10 years old and you've just wandered through the Valley of Death and come out the other side. Some man in robes with a metal face tell you that you've won the grand prize and could you please get on the probeulator. That's when the really hard and weird stuff starts. At this point, the aspirant undergoes the physical and psychological alteration necessary to make them a Space Marine and that takes about 8 years. Even this is not without danger as many humans are not physiological able to withstand the implants or go insane from the training.

Here is where we diverge from the "regular" genetically-engeneered super-human killing machine and talk about what makes Grey Knights special. For starters, once you start the training, your mind is wiped, name erased and you are given a number. With this you lose whatever made that person unique, but you also lose anything that might leave them open to corruption.

Also, Grey Knights do not really have a "work as your learn" program, meaning they do not employ Scouts. See, normally when you graduate from your 8 years surgery and indoctrination program, you get so spend some time in shake down as a Scout. Here you get to have light duty, mostly garrisoning places already taken by Marines, forward scouting duty or long range sniping and support. Grey Knights do not truck with that nonsense and that is a huge departure from the Codex Astartes.

In the service of the Grey Knights, when you say you are ready, you had best be ready to put on your boogy shoes and dance. There is no such thing as "light duty" when you are a Grey Knight and you should be ashamed for asking such a stupid question. They are given their power armor and weapons and sent into the fray. It is assumed that after 8 years of super-intense training that you have mastered all of the arts of battle and are ready for duty. This is similar to doctrine of the Black Templars where they mix in their Scouts with Marines. It is a kind of trial by fire and I guess the strategy behind it is to let the more experienced Brothers fill in any gaps in the Neophyte's training and the greenies that can't hack it just f-f-fade away

This post has set long enough as a draft (2 weeks) and is just too damned long. Stay tuned for the second part of this post that will detail my Strike and Intercept squads.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On The Table Now

Primarch, 3x Chaplains, 6x Death Company. Warsmith finished. Repair job to Lemartes. Been really busy! More posts to come. Finished next GK post but waiting on pictures. Mulling over Chaplain vs Mephestion post.