Hunters of the Night (40K, need advice!)

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Hunters of the Night (40K, need advice!)

Post by masterarminas » 2013-05-28 11:12pm

This isn't the actual story thread, but a tentative outline of an idea for one on which I need some advice.

Okay. I don't know too much about Warhammer 40K (I've played a few games, but am not a fanatic, and haven't read much of the fiction), but I think that I might be able to weave a tale within that universe. Now, what I need is some help to put this together. Advice primarily upon the all of the terms and factions within the W40K universe.

This is the gist of the idea that I have had (tell me if you think it make for a good story, and how well it would fit in the setting):

The story starts two centuries ago aboard the Strike Cruiser Stormcrow belonging to the Space Marine Chapter Nighthunters. Yes, this is a fan chapter, but with 750 unknown chapters I think it is safe to presume that such a Chapter might well exist.

The Nighthunters were part of the 18th Founding and are descended from the Raven Guard through the Black Guard. As with the RG, the Nighthunters have non-functional mucranoid and betcher's gland implants . . . and the melanchromic organ has further atrophyied, becoming useless as well. Formal Chapter colors are Charcoal Grey (base) highlighted with Gold . . . but the Chapter uses camo-patterns in the field (I know, not very sporting of them).

Like the RG, they value precision and stealth, but the Nighthunters have focused on ranged combat almost exclusively. They were sub-par in close-quarters, but excelled in long-range (for 40K) fire support. Their Battle Companies (2-6) are built around one Terminator Squad, six Tactical Squads, and three Devastator Squads. Companies 7-9 were standard reserve units (10 Tactical Squads each), while Company 10 was the Scout unit (as normal). Their First Company contained the Chapter's Veterans, fielding a mix of Terminators, Dreadnoughts, and two Devastator Squads.


The story opens aboard Stormcrow where we see the exhausted and despirited Nighthunters . . . all that is left of their Chapter. Abandoned in the middle of battle by other Imperial Forces, the single understrength company aboard Stormcrow is all that remains of the once proud Chapter. Their Fleet, their Battle-Brothers, their Foundry, their Monastic-Fortress . . . all has been lost. To make matters worse, Stormcrow had been boarded by the ENEMY (need a good enemy here) before she entered the Warp. During the fire-fight aboard the ship, the Navigator was killed and now the survivors are faced with a terrible choice.

There is one planet that they MIGHT be able to reach. Provided that the Marines entered hiberation. The ship's crew will die during the voyage (44 years at sub-light speeds), so to prevent their needless suffering, the remaining Apocatheries will euthanize them.

One Marine will remain awake for the voyage so that he might rouse his Brothers when Stormcrow arrives. But the ship will be drained of all fuel . . . and their destination world is far from the trade routes and mostly primitive.

Upon reaching this world, the remaining Nighthunters must abandon their ship and that is when they discover that this world is facing an invasion of its own. Cut off from contact with the rest of the Imperium, they must defend their new home and rebuild their Chapter.

Thoughts? Ideas? Let me know.

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Re: Hunters of the Night (40K, need advice!)

Post by dragon » 2013-05-30 12:33pm

sounds like an interesting premise.
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Re: Hunters of the Night (40K, need advice!)

Post by White Haven » 2013-05-30 01:58pm

Sounds like an decent premise, although there are a few things I'd advise tweaking. Firstly, on a purely semantic level, it's generally called a Fortress Monastery, not a Monastic-Fortress. That's just general terminology, though, and different branches of the Imperium often use different names, so if you want to be different that's fine. I just wanted to be sure it was an intentional divergence. More seriously, the Nighthunters are quite literally one letter, a space, and a capitalization change away from the chosen title of one of the Traitor Primarchs. Accordingly, I think that name is a touch unlikely to be chosen for a fresh founding of Astartes.

Their original TOE is also extremely well-equipped, particularly in Terminator suits, especially for such a young chapter. Again, not impossible, but something you might want to make a plot point to support or explain. You may also want to put some thought into their usual opponents; some opponents support a melee-weak, ranged-heavy doctrine, some less so. Remember that Astartes often deploy without significant or any support, so focusing on ranged combat 'almost exclusively' is a great way to get in huge trouble if anything unexpected happens.
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Re: Hunters of the Night (40K, need advice!)

Post by drakensis » 2013-05-30 04:49pm

It's usual - although not required - for reserve companies to specialise - one Assault, one Devestator, two Tactical. These companies act as a reserve for major deployments or detach squads to bolster a company on a long mission. Of course, unless it's a reserve company that survives, this isn't very important, but you might want to make one of the reserve companies Devestators even if you're not using Assault squads.

White Haven's right about that being a lot of Terminator armour for a chapter.

Also it's not _impossible_ to use the warp for travel without a Navigator - however it restricts you to short hops with frequent stops to re-orientate you. Therefore I'd suggest that the ship has taken severe damage to the gellar fields or similar, making warp travel impossible without repairs they can't make.

Besides that, crews of 40K ships are usually sizeable populations - numbering tens of thousands. A 44 year voyage wouldn't be an everyday event but there's no especial reason that the crew would die out - if nothing else they'd probably have children and raise them to join the crew in turn.

The Deathwatch sourcebook Rites of Battle gives some good guidelines on generating a new chapter. From what you have here, some questions remain unanswered:

Why were the chapter founded (at least in the form it was)? In general the Foundings take place for one of four reasons: to counter a new threat, to participate in a major and long-planned crusade, to bolster the Imperium's defenses or because the Imperial Tarot suggests it's going to be needed.

How Old Is the Chapter? The 18th Founding was probably around the 37th or 38th Millenium - during a period of resurgence by the Imperium as it recovered from the Age of Apostacy.

What is the chapter's demeanor? I.E. what is their distinctive philosophy not of warfare but of the universe and their place in it? (for extreme examples the Dark Angel's obsession with the fallen or the Iron Hand's technophilia)

Who are the chapter's heroes? The Stormcrow - like any Space Marine ship - will be full of chapels, memorials and relics of previous generations of the chapter. This is now ALL the legacy they have left so it's going to matter. Who do they hold up as examples of right and wrong behaviour? Are any of these legendary heroes still alive and leading them? Or might a few be thought to still be out there somewhere, likely now to join the Deathwatch in the belief that they are all that remain (not knowing of the Stormcrow).

What was the Nighthunter's homeworld like? It's likely that the culture and martial traditions of that worlds shaped their focus on firepower over all. Why? Did they rule the world directly or were they recluses, emerging only to defend the world or recruit from the populace?

(For that matter, why do you want the chapter to be firepower heavy? how will it serve the story? will they be running out of ammo?)

Do they have any distinctive weapons that are traditional?

Who are their traditional allies within the Imperium that they might be able to call on?

Who are their rivals and enemies within and without the Imperium? (the Night Lords legion might take exception to the name being so similar to the title of their Primarch).

Were those enemies connected to the fall of the rest of the Chapter? Was it part of someone's master plan (in which case Chaos and the Eldar are likely culprits)? Was the defeat of the chapter the result of some gross error by the chapter's leaders?

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