So this particular idea for a chapter grew out of an idea I had years ago to build a set of rules to represent the cursed founding chapters. This particular piece of that idea was to have a loyalist version of the World Eaters with out it actually being the world eaters. Recently I've been putting brain to paper and working on expanding them out into an actual space marine chapter and developing the chapters back story, explaining where they come from and why they are the way they are. I have an idea of what codex I'm going to use to represent these guys, but I don't want to say. I want to see if my descriptions will tell you which one I'm thinking of. So, here we go.
A sky chocked in smoke, a city choked in misery and decay. A landscape blasted by radioactive meteors. An earth scorched by the heat of its own core. These are the lands that give rise to the men who will become members of the Blood Brothers.
While technically a chapter of Space Marines, the Blood Brothers completely disregard the Codex Astartes in favor for their own organization and doctrine; a doctrine that revolves around blood and an organization that bears a resemblance to gangs more than a formal military force. Reminiscent of the Blood Angels belief in the power of Sanguinius’ blood, the Blood Brothers hold blood, particularly their own, to be of incredible worth to warriors. The strength of one may shared by many if they take a portion of their blood and the Blood of the enemy is seen as a kill mark and thus can be used to signal out greatness amongst themselves.
The Blood Brothers exhibit a number of unusual qualities among the Space Marines. Their obsession with blood notwithstanding, their total dismissal of the Codex has earned them not a few detractors. Beyond these qualities, they utterly shun outside contact even with other Space Marines. The exact nature of their indoctrination practices is not known, and no Inquisitor has yet managed to penetrate into their inner circle to learn of their dealings, if indeed they have any, with any other groups besides themselves and their recruiting worlds.
Motto: Strength from the strong.
The Blood Brothers have a strong belief in the strong leading, but also in the strong sharing their strength and thus strengthening the group more than its’ members could ever be alone. And it is from the blood of the strong that they draw their greatest reverence from. To a Blood Brother, all of a warrior’s strength is held in his blood. The Strength to fight, the strength to learn, the strength to heal and the strength to win. It is from this belief in blood that the Blood Brothers take their name.
Many of the Brother’s rituals involve the smearing of blood on their bodies and these are all practices kept hidden from outsiders. But more than simply the smearing of blood, the Brother have discovered something else though they are themselves unaware of it. It is in fact a virus carried in their blood. In it’s normal form it’s benign and utterly harmless, a holdover from some previous plague perhaps. But once it has passed through the enhanced filtering systems of a full matured Astartes it changes, becoming no longer harmless, but in fact beneficial. When introduced onto the body of a developing initiate it has the effect of granting the initiate a temporary stamina boost and enhanced healing abilities. Though the abilities are nothing compared to those of a fully matured Astartes, they are considerable all the same and allow young initiates to fight at a level approaching their fully blooded brothers. The initiates are prepared for battle by ritualistically drawing a portion of blood from their training mentors and painting an oath rune upon their faces with the blood. Known as the “Blood Fire”, this virus has served the Brother well throughout their history.
Enemy blood is considered to be tainted and unclean by the Brothers and thus it touching a warrior’s body is considered to be an extremely Taboo event. However, it is used a means of ‘kill mark’ during battles. Blood Brother marines are encouraged to spill enemy blood in the most gratuitous fashion they can and to have the blood spray across their armor and weapons.
The blood marks the warriors armor, and thus the warrior within, to indicate a variety of things. First and foremost, it signals the warriors’ ability. To have slain an enemy is note worthy, to have slain him in such a fashion that your entire front is bathed in his blood is a mark of a truly dedicated individual. Secondly it serves as a test of the armors ability to protect the wearer.
Fighter: The Warrior, the Weapon and the shield
The Blood Brothers maintain a note worthy belief when it comes to their solders. To them they are not solders, they are fighters. But fighters are themselves made up of 3 separate, though interconnected parts: The Warrior, the Weapon and the shield.
The warrior is any man who survives to the age of 12. Life in the Cruor cluster is extremely difficult and reaching the age of 12 is no simple accomplishment, and those that make it to that age will have faced many trials to make it.
Perhaps owing to Cruor Prime’s history as a mechanicus world, the Blood Brothers hold a deep reverence of technology, though their belief is different from that of the mechanicus’ belief. A fighters armor is as much
Returning from a large battle, with the enemy’s blood covering every inch of exposed armor plating is a sign of the warrior’s ability, while the fact the blood has not touched the warrior a mark of excellence for the armor.
For the warrior to be untouched by the tainted blood is a sign of the armors ability and the warrior will be responsible for its maintenance and upkeep. Thus the Blood Brother form a strong bond of camaraderie with their armor and weapons, many even going so far as to attribute names to them and inscribe the armors history and a chain swords kill.
The three habitable worlds of the Cruor Cluster are all considered to be death worlds by most astro-navigators with little in the way of valuable resources. The system itself is too far to the galactic north to be of value based on location, and navigation within the system is incredibly difficult due to a combination of environmental conditions to make regular trade worth considering, even if they planets had anything of significant value.
The Cluster is made up of 5 planetoids and the estimated remained of at least 3 others. Two of these planetoids are permanently shrouded in dense atmospheres that make living on the planets, or even viewing the surface of them, utterly impossible. The high concentrations of vaporous acids in the clouds of these planets render most environmental suits worthless within a matter of hours while the extreme barometric pressures make any attempt to explore the surfaces extremely difficult if not outright impossible.
The remaining three planetoids are Ignias, Cruor Prime, and Mican and each is seen as a different sort of death world. Cruor Prime was once a forge world in ages past. For whatever reasons, that have been lost to the march of time, the Adeptus Mechanicus chose to abandon the world, stripping it of most material and leaving it to fall into chaos and disarray. Factories that had previous spanned hundreds of miles burned as the maintenance was neglected, fuels leaked, and safeties failed. Machines that had worked for centuries fell into disrepair becoming deranged or piles of scrap. Left to the dangers of the world ravaged by the chaos, the people of the world learned to push on and survive forming very close knot bonded groups. The world is still considered extremely dangerous, stalked by dark robotic predators, while ancient guardians protect stores of knowledge that no longer exist. Cruor Prime is subjected to acid strewn storm fronts, the lasting legacy of uncontrolled factory complexes that have long since broken down or evaporated substantial reservoirs of liquid into the atmosphere. These storms can be extremely deadly as their winds can reach speeds sufficient to tank grown men off their feet or hurl ferocrete debris hundreds of yards to crush an unfortunate Cruoran who finds themselves outside during a storm.
Ignias is an ash strewn volcanic waste land barely habitable by any standard. Temperatures reach beyond what most people would find survivable, even full Astartes find the temperature to be discomforting, while the abundance of volcanic activity presents a constant danger to all life on the planet. The volcanic activity is affected by the gravitational forces of the sun and the planets 4 moons, creating a yearlong cycle around the planet. Because of this, the inhabitants of the world are nomadic traveling throughout the world to stay just behind the worst of the volcanic activities, or the ‘burning’ as they refer to it. This has the added benefit of providing the inhabitants accessible growing areas, as the volcanic ash that is disgorged during these periods is extremely nutrient rich and the nomads can quickly plant and cultivate crops upon it. This allows them to cultivate in a few weeks the crops and food sources to survive for several months until their next planting season. Still, life on Ignias is difficult as it takes more than food to survive. Large regions of tectonically active land can be swathed in poisonous volcanic gasses for months at a time or be inaccessible due to massive chasms or rivers of lava.
Those that survive on this perpetually burning world survive due to combination of factors. Firstly they have developed methods of ultra-fast crop cultivation, enabling them to grow crops that will sustain them for several months in only a few weeks. The people of this world have also learned to do with out food for days on end and to conserve their meager stores of water to a level that even Astartes find to be impressive. With the plethora of dangerous conditions in the world, the nomadic tribes have learned to make use of fast moving scouts to determine if an intended route is safe to proceed into and to find alternate routes. Caves that the year prior would have provided shelter from the heat of the sun may this year be flooded with deadly gases, while the tectonic activity may bring mountain ranges together where there had been a pass prior. The scouts are exceedingly well trained and fast moving, able to move at 4 or even 5 times the pace of their respective tribes enabling them to range far ahead and return in time to allow their tribes to alter course.
The last habitable planet is known as Mican and it resides dangerously close to the close. In truth it is only habitable due to the presence of a dense asteroid belt between it and the sun itself. The asteroids shield Mican from much of the radiation given off by Cruor, which would make the planet un-inhabitable. So it is that the asteroid belt is a shield for Mican, but it is also the planets bane. As Mican’s single moon makes its decade long revolution, its gravity will pull on the asteroids and occasionally pull one toward Mican itself. Due to the asteroids proximity to the sun, and the heavy fusion energies they are subjected to because of it, they are typically extremely radioactive. These impact on the planet’s surface and create radioactive hot zones that last for centuries. Indeed, a notable portion of the Southern minor continent is totally un-inhabitable at this point due to these radioactive asteroid impacts.
While Mican is by far the most habitable of the three habitable worlds in the system it is still a very inhospitable world. The few cities that do exist on the world are created more as temporary gathering point then as anything an outsider would recognize as a city. Gatherings of reinforced bunkers to provide some minimal projection for the environment, these locations are used as gathering points and trading arenas for the tribes of Mican. They provide far too little safe space for the entire populace, and competition for control of these spaces is intense with different tribes taking control of one area only for it to loose control of another.
The high radiation the planet is exposed to, combined with it’s proximately to the Cuor star and the asteroid belt all interact on the world of Mican and on occasion interact to produce monumental storm systems of electricity and deadly winds that can span hundreds of miles. These storms can last for weeks at a time and should a tribe be caught in one it is almost certain they will die, whether due to being cut off from supplies or killed due to the storm itself. There are select individuals born on Mican who possess a strong sense of the storms, an ability to see beyond their world and see when a storm may form to ravage their lands. Known as “Storm Callers” their services are highly sought after, but they are frequently in extremely short supply as they are typically taken by the Blood Brother and inducted into the ranks of the Librarium.
It is known that the Brother recruit from these worlds, but outside of the chapter itself it is not known what methods of selection are used. On what criteria the Brothers select one child but not another is a total mystery and one the Brothers continue to guard with zeal.
Their training methods are likewise closely guarded. The only clue yet recovered by the Inquisition is a handful of vid caps showing the Brother’s initiates to have a series of scars around their temples. They appear to be surgical but their purpose is unknown. Theories have been advanced that they resemble the scars left by a partial lobotomy surgery or perhaps even cybernetic augmentation of the brain in some capacity.
The nature of these scars would be easy to determine were a single initiate’s body to be recovered by a member of the Inquisition, but the Brothers fight with fervor to recover their fallen that would make the Space Wolves battle fervor pale by comparison.
Within the walls of the chapter house, a darker truth is shown. Blood Brother Initiates are subjected to surgical implantation of cortical impulse beacons that drive the bearer to ever greater levels of rage. The reason for this is two-fold and it is a practice the Blood Brothers maintain with a passion.
Firstly, it creates a truly deadly warrior. Even the youngest initiate, what the Brothers call the ‘Unblooded’, when driven into a rage by their implants becomes a crazed killing machine. Second, the Blood Brother know that while rage is a powerful emotion, blind rage is deadlier to the wielder. They also understand that only experience and wisdom will grant a warrior the strength to control his own rage. By inducing rage with the implants they allow their initiates the chance to experience true rage sooner, and thus begin the process of learning how to control it.
It is in this way that the Blood Brothers begin training their initiates. Quite literally thrown into the crux of battle before they have even begun the surgeries that will transform them into the super-human warriors of the Astartes.
Units and Formations
Mostly culled from the ranks of the tribesman on Mican, Storm Callers are the Blood Brothers Librarians and psychic warriors. As Children they found they were able to see beyond their worlds and know when factors would come together to create a storm. Now they have been trained to fully utilize their unique skills to devastate their enemies on the field of battle.
With an oath sworn upon their own blood, the selected champion is called upon to seek out and slay the greatest monster opposing the Blood Brothers on the field of battle. Bearing the honor of the chapter upon their shoulders they spend months, even years preparing for their challenge never knowing just what it will be. Perhaps a monstrous Tyranid, or a terrifying greater daemon. No matter what the challenge, the Bloodied Champion will meet it. Should he succeed and defeat the monster, he will return with the head of his conquest and he himself shall be marked as Honored Blood, his body a note worthy vassal of greatness and his blood cherished. Often these individuals go on to become Honored Half Dead, or more rarely the Unliving, their strength being used to guide the chapter. Regardless, when they die those that have succeeded as Bloodied Champions have their right hand permanently enshrined in the hall of Legends while the blood from their bodies is drained and preserved so that it might impart a measure of the champion’s strength unto a new generation of Brothers.
Not yet full brothers, the Unblooded are vicious killers thanks to their recent exposure to Blood Fire. In their newly imbued state, the Unblooded are wild in their madness to engage the enemy and seek any opportunity to accomplish this goal. Eager to prove themselves worthy of being Blood Brothers, they frequently seek out an engagement as quickly as they can, in the hopes that they gain notoriety when they are elevated to the ranks of the brother hood.
With two of the three habitable worlds wrought with deadly storms, it is no surprise that Blood Brothers like to keep their feet on the ground. Still, the ability to deploy a fast moving assault force is a tactic the Brothers are not ignorant of. Due to the difficulty of training combined with their upbringing to be fearful of storms, the Blood Brother maintain extremely few assault troops with presently fewer then forty in total. For the select few that can master their fear of the storm, there will be a place in the revered ranks of the Blood Brothers Assault squads, known as Storm Runners. The Storm Runners are a cut above most that comprise the Brother’s battle companies. They learn quickly to make use of the adrenaline rush of soaring through the clouds to descend on your enemy. When combined with an Astartes enhanced reflexes, a Storm Runner quickly learns how to maximize their attacks to make the most of their limited numbers.