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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-14, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Default Early Black Shields

In The Horus Heresy Book 1: Betrayal, Death Guard loyalist Crysos Morturg is repeatedly listed in his testimonies as a Black Shield.

A Black Shield as described in Deathwatch is a Space Marine who has removed his chapter heraldry and painted his left shoulderpad black in order to conceal his chapter of origin. His reasons for doing so are kept secret from his brothers in the Deathwatch, but it varies from Black Shield to Black Shield - sometimes it's because his chapter was destroyed and he is one of the if not the last survivor, and other times it's because his chapter turned traitor and he stayed loyal, or any number of things. In any case, he commits himself to the Deathwatch and the Ordo Xenos and undertakes a life of atonement.

There's no set date of establishment for the Deathwatch itself - although it's mentioned to have happened "centuries ago" (Deathwatch: Core Rulebook, pg. 305) - but it most likely came after the formation of the Ordo Xenos. However, Crysos Morturg and the loyalists he gathered "would live to revenge themselves against their former brothers".

Basically what I'm asking is, how does the Heresy-era Black Shield relate to the Deathwatch Black Shield, or is there a relation? I guess I can be pretty sure of the role that a Heresy-era Black Shield, in contrast to a Deathwatch Black Shield, would play in this case, but would this then imply that there are Black Shields outside of the Deathwatch organization? I guess it's hard to say without knowing Morturg's fate outside of the Istvaan III betrayal.

Let me know what you think of this!

Homebrew stuff for your viewing pleasure:
The Stormhunters Fluff/Crunch - Updated 10/07/13
The Rust Legion Fluff - Updated 5/19/13
Firaeveus Carron Rules - Updated 12/9/10

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-14, 06:04 AM
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Considering that the Inquisitorial Council that started the process of forming the DeathWatch eventually turned to the "Chapter Master's," for guidance leads me to beleive their may not have been a Death Watch during the Great Crusade. The Emporer was already fighting Xeno's on all fronts; and additionally the Nid threat was not yet known/understood.

If they did exist during/prior to the Great Crusade I would find that more functional pls. I don't think an interfued within the Imperium (during the Horus Heresy) is going to really to draw out their Chapter if it existed before.



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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-14, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by emporershand89 View Post
Considering that the Inquisitorial Council that started the process of forming the DeathWatch eventually turned to the "Chapter Master's," for guidance
They did? Referance?

@Protoss119: What's the page number in Massacre where Morturg mentions being a Black Shield? I can't recall it.

The link between the RPG and the TT fluff can sometimes be a little contradicting. The RPG fluff has created a lot of new subtypes of weapons, ranks etc which sometimes don't mesh well with the TT fluff, in the same way some of the BL fluff doesn't fit well with TT fluff (Back flipping terminators with multi lasers anyone?) it's entirely possible that the two "Black Shields" are different things. The organisation that would go on to form the =I= was still gathering members (Garro and all that) so the concept of having seperate Ordo's probably won't have even been floated yet. At the time the Imperium was too busy doing their best "fuck fuck fuck fuck" back peddling dance to deal with the Heresy to worry about potential Xeno's threats. There is nothing to say however that the idea of "Black Shields" predates the Inquisition and comes from the HH days to describe the now chapterless Loyalists. As a side note you'd think that after what the Inquisition has become Morturg would be a prime candidate for what would become the Ordo Mallus or the Grey Knights.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-14, 11:09 PM
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Jacobite, if I understand you correctly, you're positing that the Ordo Xenos could have been inspired by a Heresy-era practice: using a "black shield" to disavow former affiliations. If so, I agree: I think it's very apropos.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-14, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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I figured that HH Black Shields would spend most of their time fighting the traitors as opposed to Xenos, but this is also the only time I've heard the term used outside of the Deathwatch RPG. It's also possible that Morturg became a Black Shield after the Heresy, and that it could've meant something similar - erasing one's past glories to redeem one's failures and such - but with the focus on traitors instead of Xenos. Or it could just be another name for a Warrior Pilgrimage, which is essentially the same thing without the Deathwatch association. Honestly, I couldn't say.

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What's the page number in Massacre where Morturg mentions being a Black Shield? I can't recall it.
Pages 38 and 266.

Homebrew stuff for your viewing pleasure:
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-14, 04:33 AM
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They did? Referance?
Lexicanum actually, from the following passage in the "Death Watch," page.

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However a strategy was eventually formed and the Conclave requested an audience with many assembled Chapter Masters of the Adeptus Astartes. After hearing the Inquisitor's pleas, the Chapter Masters deliberated for one night before giving their verdict: they and the Inquisitors would together take a solemn oath and form a new Chapter, one drawn entirely from Battle Brothers from existing chapters. The alliance dubbed it the 'Deathwatch', for it would stand guard against the doom foretold by the conclave.[7]
According to the citation it was taken from the Death Watch Core Rulebook for the separate Table Top game.

My question is more where the Death Watch Astarte's stood during the Horus Heresy. Did they hide on their Fortress World or did they take a side? How about the individual Astarte's, did the Black Shield's return to their Chapters or did they stand by the Death Watch?



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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-14, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Phoebus View Post
Jacobite, if I understand you correctly, you're positing that the Ordo Xenos could have been inspired by a Heresy-era practice: using a "black shield" to disavow former affiliations. If so, I agree: I think it's very apropos.
Pretty much, yeah. Black Shield is simply a name after all. We don't know where it originates, but we now know that it was used either during the Heresy or immediatly Post Heresy by somebody who was now without a Legion/Chapter. Same as it is used by the Deathwatch today.

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I figured that HH Black Shields would spend most of their time fighting the traitors as opposed to Xenos, but this is also the only time I've heard the term used outside of the Deathwatch RPG. It's also possible that Morturg became a Black Shield after the Heresy, and that it could've meant something similar - erasing one's past glories to redeem one's failures and such - but with the focus on traitors instead of Xenos. Or it could just be another name for a Warrior Pilgrimage, which is essentially the same thing without the Deathwatch association. Honestly, I couldn't say.
We know that immediately following Horus's attempts to wipe out the loyalists some of them (notabaly the Son's of Horus/Lunar Wolves) reverted back to their "original" names if they had been renamed, Loken makes a big speech in Galaxy In Flames I think it is about how they are Son's of Horus no more but once again Lunar Wolves. I don't know if the Death Guard also reverted to their former name of Dusk Raiders but I do know that many of them defaced their Legion markings. Not sure about the World Eaters/War Hounds either. Garro and his lot take on the names "Knight Errant" though. However they are unique and thought to be 6 of the 8 Astartes that would go on to form the beginnings of the =I=/Grey Knights. (Can't find a source for those specific numbers though). Regardless this leaves a group of Loyalists from Tratior Legions who have no legions to go back to and because of their association with those same traitors they can't just up and join another, calling them Black Shields given what we know of their role within the Death Watch of today is not outside the bounds of possibility if you consider the name "Black Shield" a generic rank or term rather than a Deathwatch specific unit. I would put forth the idea that we can say with 99% certainty that the term "Black Shield" predates the Deathwatch as the chances of the Deathwatch existing when Morturg and others like him were testifying are very slim, and even if it did exist it would be in it's infancy however more on that below.

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My question is more where the Death Watch Astarte's stood during the Horus Heresy. Did they hide on their Fortress World or did they take a side? How about the individual Astarte's, did the Black Shield's return to their Chapters or did they stand by the Death Watch?
First up Deathwatch is a role playing game. In response to your second point, the Death Watch didn't exist during the Horus Heresy. The Inquisition along with the Chapter Master's of various Space Marine Chapters formed the Death Watch. The Inquisition therefore obviously predates the Deathwatch. The Inquisition was formed at the end of and after the Horus Heresy. Combine this with term "centuries" being used in the quote you link rather than thousands of years and Chapter Master's being consulted not Primarchs or Legion Masters and you have pretty solid proof that there was no Deathwatch (or any other Chamber Militant of the =I=) being active during the HH as the =I= did not exist.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-14, 06:24 AM
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I see, glad to know. However if that is so then why Protoss the intial question?

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Basically what I'm asking is, how does the Heresy-era Black Shield relate to the Deathwatch Black Shield
The Black Shield's are part of the Death Watch correct? Thus if the Death Watch came after the Heresy then how can one ask the question of what the Black Shield did during the Heres-era?

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First up Deathwatch is a role playing game.

Yes, but uses Table Top miniatures



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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-14, 10:30 AM
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Jesus christ in a fedor bouncing up and down on a pogo stick singing Underclass Hero in e minor. I really wonder why I bother.

In the Deathwatch there is now a group known as "Black Shields" yes, however just because a marine known as "Black Shield" exists in the Deathwatch now does not mean that a marine known a "Black Shield" during the Horus Heresy or immediately afterwards was a part of the Deathwatch, especially seeing as the Deathwatch didn't even exist then. You are familiar with how the concept of time works correct? @Protoss19 can correct me if I am wrong but I believe his question was "how do they relate to each other", which I do believe I posted a fairly clear theory on that particular question.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-14, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Jesus christ in a fedor bouncing up and down on a pogo stick singing Underclass Hero in e minor.
I pictured that in my head and now I can't unsee it.

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Regardless this leaves a group of Loyalists from Tratior Legions who have no legions to go back to and because of their association with those same traitors they can't just up and join another, calling them Black Shields given what we know of their role within the Death Watch of today is not outside the bounds of possibility if you consider the name "Black Shield" a generic rank or term rather than a Deathwatch specific unit. I would put forth the idea that we can say with 99% certainty that the term "Black Shield" predates the Deathwatch as the chances of the Deathwatch existing when Morturg and others like him were testifying are very slim, and even if it did exist it would be in it's infancy however more on that below.
Makes sense, and I figured as much. I do find it odd, though, that the Deathwatch have a monopoly on the Black Shields come the Age of the Imperium, unless they don't and there are other Black Shields unaffiliated with the Deathwatch. I've heard that some dishonored Space Marines will join Inquisitorial retinues or warbands, but I do not have a source for that. Of course, the other reason for that is that, without oversight, a penitent Space Marine runs the risk of going Renegade - with their heraldry, camaraderie, and past glories gone, there's little other than his own sense of duty and atonement keeping that Space Marine loyal, and those two can be eroded with time - and so Deathwatch oversight would be better than no oversight at all.

Homebrew stuff for your viewing pleasure:
The Stormhunters Fluff/Crunch - Updated 10/07/13
The Rust Legion Fluff - Updated 5/19/13
Firaeveus Carron Rules - Updated 12/9/10
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