Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Custodians: Creating Background for a Space Marine Chapter I

Back in the day, when Leman Russ was an Imperial Guard general and when marines came with beaks, I created my own chapter of Space Marines. They weren't much more than a colour scheme (blue and yellow) and a name - The Custodians - which sounded cool because it seemed like they were in charge of guarding something - I never really thought what. 
Well, that army played a few games before sitting in a box for twenty or so years, and then getting taken out to sell on ebay about 3 years ago.


Well, I decided to get that chapter back up and running, and have started a true-scale project.  Whilst I was working on that I thought I should find out who these guys were, and that would help me with the modeling and basing, and deciding what kind of chapter they were.

I'd recently come across Deathwatch, from Fantasy Flight Games, and there is an excellent chapter-creation table in Deathwatch Rites of Battle, that I thought would be the best place to start.  Now, I could have gone through this and picked out the most applicable things, but it seemed more fun and more interesting to let the Emperor's Tarot (the Dice Gods) decide. 

The Original Custodians... waiting for a revamp

 So I sat down with my D100 and started rolling.  And this is what I came up with: a bare skeleton upon which to base the fluff.

  • The Custodians were formed to counter a threat in the 38th Millennium, just prior to the Great Cull of 020.M37
  • They are rare in being based on gene-seed proginated from the Salamanders
  • Missing zygote: their gene-seed is notable in that they suffer from inactive Bletchers Glands  
  • Demeanor: Suffer not the work of Heretics - the teachings of the chapter focus on crimes against humanity committed by schematics and heretics.  This makes them intolerant of unusual expressions of the Imperial Cult
  • Chapter flaw - We stand alone: the battle brothers are either shunned by other Imperial forces, or they themselves shun contact
  • Shock and Awe: enemies are precluded by a bombardment staged by strike vessels or battle barges.  So effective is this strategy that the mere appearance of their vessels in a system is sufficient to bring about the enemy's submission. Some chapters have become too skilled at this, and cause more devastation than necessary.
  • Their greatest chapter hero was a Master of Sanctity who slew a daemon prince
  • they are a fleet based chapter: with only one main vessel
  • They are currently under strength
  • They are drawn from a temperate home world, but they maintain only distant contact with that world.
  • They are a divergent chapter
  • Honour the Ancestors - the chapter worships one of its own heroes above all others.  Although the Emperor and Primarch are likely to be fully acknowledged, this hero is regarded as an intercessional figure who sits at the right hand of the emperor.' 
  • Tyranids are their most notable foe
 It's an interesting list, and it's given me some great ideas - probably the most intriguing is the fact that as a fleet based chapter, they only have one significant space vessel.  What and why could that be? 
Is it related to the fact that they are under-strength?  or that they have come into contact with Tyranids?  A lot of interesting details, which I'll work into my story.


  1. That's some pretty cool randomized background you generated actually. What springs to mind is that they have only a single ship and are understrength because they stood full force against a tyranid hive tendril and while victorious they suffered a great deal.

    Perhaps also the reason for them keeping their homeworld at a distance is because it might have been corrupted by chaos at some point in their early days. Their master of sanctity slew the daemon but the stigma still haunts them. As a result they are shunned by most Imperial forces and deliberately keep themselves distant from society as a precaution as well.

    That is also the reason for them hating heretics because their homeworld was subverted by the machinations of a secret cult and they have taken it upon themselves to seek out and destroy this threat more than anything else if possible.

  2. Alex: yeah I think the combos here are really interesting. I was definitely thinking a brush wish nids had left them undestrength - but I thought a more interesting story would be them about them having a fortress monastery that cruisers like a comet through a sector - genes a distant relationship with their home world

  3. It said they were created to counter a specific threat, maybe they've relentlessly chased it across the galaxy, taking them far from their homeworld and making it impossible for them to take on fresh recruits for a long-ass time.

    1. Part of the fluff talked about how chapters were created to counter threats that the emporer's tarot might have predicted but which do not yet exist