This is my Chapter, the Lions Rampant. Please let me know what you think!
The Horus Heresy may have been the bloodiest, most famous, and most monumental of the civil wars to plague the Imperium, but it was by no means the only one. During the Age of Apostasy that followed the Great Crusade, when many of His subjects denied the Divine Emperor, a number of internal struggles erupted within the newly-formed interstellar empire. Few inspired such reform as Vandire’s Reign of Blood, which occurred at the culmination of that age of heresy.
Goge Vandire, 361st High Lord of the Administratum, was able to become both head of the Imperial Church as Ecclesiarch as well as maintain his position as head of state in 216.M36. He was a man of vision—his goal was to purge the Church of the God-Emperor of the corruption that had plagued it since its inception. His conquest of the Cardinal World Ophelia VII was the first sign of the conflict that was to come.
The other High Lords of Terra—the Fabricator General of Mars, the Master of the Inquisition, and the Lord Commander Militant—were completely at Vandire’s insane mercy. As Vandire’s power grew, so too did his bloodlust, and countless atrocities against Imperial citizens were carried out in his name without question. It was the Master of the Inquisition’s place to ensure that none were under the sway of Chaos, and Vandire was not. It was the responsibility of the Lord Commander Militant to prosecute the wars of the Adeptus Terra, which Vandire controlled. The Fabricator General’s responsibility lay with the Adeptus Mechanicus, whose needs were being fulfilled despite the increasing instability in the Imperium. Thus, for seventy years, the purging of worlds in the fires of the Exterminatus continued.
From the conquest of Ophelia VII, Vandire took the organization known as the Brides of the Emperor. From amongst their ranks, Saint Dominica came before the Emperor, who told her of Vandire’s treason. She, with a detachment of Adeptus Custodes, the Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter, and a sizable crusade from the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter, prosecuted a second siege of the Emperor’s palace. Forces belonging to the Eccelesiarchy were the primary opponents who stood in the way of those executing the Emperor’s orders. Saint Dominica beheaded Vandire in his own throne room, ending the Reign of Blood.
With Vandire’s death, Sebastian Thor assumed the post of Ecclesiarch. One of his first acts as Ecclesiarch was to issue the Decree Passive, stating that no man may bear arms under the direct command of the Church. Saint Dominica reorganized the Brides of the Emperor into the Adepta Sororitas, who eventually became the standing army of the Church, as they were not men and thus did not technically violate the Decree Passive.
In the wake of the Reign of Blood, which left the Segmentum Solar devastated, the High Lords issued the order for twenty-eight new Space Marine Chapters to be founded. They would be tasked with the defense of strategically vital worlds within the Segmentum Solar. Of these was a Chapter whose progenoids were designated the seven hundred and thirty-third.
Due to the Decree Passive, Chapter 733 could not be pulled aside during their founding by the Ecclesiarchy and made into puppets of the Church, despite the widespread dissenting opinion amongst the priesthood regarding Saint Thor’s Decree. However, particularly militant sects within the priesthood agreed that the Church could not leave the entirety of their fighting strength in the hands of the then-unproven Sisters of Battle. Priests selected to monitor the spiritual development of the Chapter were drawn from these sects, and thus, from the outset, the Chapter was lead in the direction of servitude to the policies of the Church. The dissenting sects agreed that they could not directly violate the Decree Passive, however—the Chapter would have to operate independently but maintain a close relationship to the Adeptus Ministorum—so much so that they would be inclined to side with the Ecclesiarchy in a time of crisis.
The geneticists on Mars declared Chapter 733 battle-ready when its Battle Companies reached full strength in 266.M36. The Chapter was immediately dispatched to Elyseč, a staple agri-world positioned less than a light year from several hive worlds in the northeastern reaches of the Segmentum Solar. Elyseč’s governor had cast aside the rule of the Imperium and halted all exports from the planet. The governor had cited Ecclesiarch Thor’s reforms as his reason for secession. While an agri-world would normally not warrant the attention of the Adeptus Astartes, the Ramilies-class Star Fortress and numerous orbital defenses made it utterly impossible to land Imperial Guardsmen to secure the world.
Accompanied only by a small detachment of Magos Biologis to monitor their battlefield performance, and a detachment of hundreds of priests and confessors from the Ministorum, Chapter 733 swiftly brought Elyseč back into compliance with Imperial rule. Deeming the Chapter fit for full, independent service, Chapter 733 was left to defend Elyseč as its homeworld.
The confessors which accompanied the Chapter to Elyseč spoke to the terrified, newly compliant populace as was their way, using passionate oratory and promise of a violent end to reaffirm the Imperial Creed in the populace. The most senior of the confessors described the Chapter’s Astartes as being as noble and as fierce as lions, clad in the white light of the Emperor. The people of Elyseč began to refer to the Chapter as Lions Rampant, in reference to the arch-confessor’s speeches. Chapter 733 took the name as their official one, petitioning Terra for their approval. In 302.M36, the Lions Rampant were entered into the Liber Astartes on Terra, noted as the fourteenth Chapter of the Twenty-Sixth founding.
Shortly after becoming a fully independent and operational formation, the Lions Rampant found themselves pursuing the interests of both the Ministorum and the newly-formed Ordo Hereticus. No formal oath of loyalty was ever given to the Ministorum, as it would violate the Decree Passive. However, a general understanding has evolved between the Lions Rampant and the Adeptus Ministorum, and the Lions Rampant answer any call from the Church with overwhelming force. Over the centuries, that understanding has grown to include full indoctrination of the strictest interpretations of the Imperial Creed, and the Lions Rampant have developed an exceptionally strong distrust for psykers.
The Lions Rampant are said to be as passionate as an Imperial missionary and as fierce as a confessor in their faith. They are unshakably devoted to the Adeptus Ministorum’s interpretation of the Imperial Creed, and readily pursue those that the Church perceives, or they assume the Church would perceive, as heretics.
Like all Codex Space Marine Chapters, the Lions Rampant place emphasis on the lifestyle dictated by Guilliman’s great work, the Codex Astartes. Elysseé has a twenty-two hour day, as opposed to the approximately twenty-four hour day assumed to be in effect by the Codex. The Lions Rampant follow the Codex schedule when not on campaign, using the difference in daylight to better attune themselves to conditions which may be in effect on other planets they may be called to fight upon.
The Chapter considers sneaking about in a warzone cowardly, and, with the exception of reconnaissance missions conducted by the Tenth Company, only by the direct order of an Inquisitor will the Lions Rampant attempt to work their way forward undetected. The brethren firmly believe that the Emperor must be shown their worthiness to stand beside Him upon their death, and that He would not approve of their attempting to slay their foes from the shadows instead of up front, proving both honor and valor.
When death claims a Space Marine, the Lions Rampant typically allow their fallen brother his rest. They believe that the Emperor allowed the Space Marine to die so that the Astartes could go to His side in eternity. The only cases where brethren will be interred in a dreadnought’s sarcophagus are when they have expressed the desire to sacrifice basking in the Emperor’s glory in death to further serve him in life. Even if the spark of life remains in a mighty hero, as is the case in most Chapters, the Lions Rampant will not inter their fallen unless the statement of the desire to continue to serve post mortem was given prior to their fall. The chaplains argue that it is the sacred duty of the brethren to not allow their comrades the opportunity to show weakness in their final moments, and assume that a plea to be interred in a dreadnought when death’s gaze is upon a Space Marine is born out of fear of oblivion rather than a genuine desire to continue service. Despite having access to superior, older dreadnought chassis, the Lions Rampant field very few of their venerated fallen.
The Lions Rampant hail from several Ultramarines Primogenetor Chapters, and as such, follow the Codex in general organization. The exceptions come in regard to their interpretation of the Edict of Nikea, which requires Space Marines to ‘nurture and train the most powerful of psykers’ among their ranks. They also display a slight variance in Company markings.
The Lions Rampant are terribly paranoid of psykers, and allow only navigators and astropaths amongst them because they are simply vital to the function of the Chapter.
The Lions begrudgingly acknowledge the Emperor’s Edict of Nikea, which dictates that the Astartes shall train and nuture the most powerful of psykers within their ranks, that their talents might be used in the harshest of conflicts. Unlike most Chapters, where the Librarium maintains records of the Chapter’s deeds and provides administrative support, the Librarians of the Lions Rampant are kept locked away in a dungeon far beneath the Chapter Fortress on Elyseč, where they are closely monitored by several Chaplains. The Librarians spend their days pouring over heretical texts, trying to understand the diabolic foe that they are called upon to fight. They also serve the more normal function of screening potential recruits for psychic talent. Woe be he who has psychic talent and is brought before the Librarians of the Lions Rampant, for the attendant Chaplain will execute the aspirant without hesitation. Only candidates sent from Terra, screened by the Ordo Malleus and proven through horrific trial are accepted to become Astartes, though what the Lions Rampant Librarians are is hardly worthy of the name. Only when the Chapter faces a moral threat do the Librarians come forth from their dungeon, and even then, they do so in chains. They are little more than psychic lightning rods, made to attempt to subdue the most vile of warp magic. The Librarians wear the blue armour the Codex dictates, but are not permitted to wear Chapter livery. Instead, their armor is marked with icons denoting them as witches, and are carefully marked with hexagrammic wards.
The Lions Rampant often find their beliefs regarding witchcraft reaffirmed, as the oppressed brethren who suffer in the Librarius on Elyseč are quite open to suggestion from the ruinous powers. Of the few Lions Rampant who have turned from the Emperor’s Light, nearly all have been Librarians. The most infamous of these traitors is the individual who calls himself the Black Lion, who fell in 949.M40, and remains at large.
The Chapter traditionally requires officers to have served as Chaplains prior to assuming their office. Virtually all of the Chapter’s apothecaries, all of its Captains, and the Chapter Master himself are ordained priests of the Ministorum. The Lions do not deviate from the Codex regarding the number of Chaplains attached to a Company—there is still always only one assigned permanently. They do, however, maintain an exceptionally large Reclusiam, from which officers and candidates for ordainment are drawn following their service to the Chapter as priests. The Reclusiam takes on the role of other Chapters’ Librariums. In addition to the tasks of maintaining the general spiritual purity of the Chapter, Reclusiam Chaplains are held responsible for recording the Chapter’s history, maintaining its logistical records, and managing communication with the rest of the Imperium.
While the apothecary and standard bearer are found in Command Squads in every Chapter, the rest of a Captain’s Command Squad is not particularly dictated by the Codex. The Company Champion is extremely common throughout the Astartes, and the Lions Rampant Command Squads include that title. Additionally, a Lions Rampant Command Squad contains an individual with the simple title of Preacher, who has begun to walk the road to ordainment as a priest of the Ministorum, and must prove his faith to be the strongest of his zealously faithful brethren to his Captain before he can be sent to the Reclusiam. There is no formal limit on the number of Preachers who could be in a given Command Squad, although generally there are only one or two.
Like any other Chapter, the Lions Rampant send the most technologically-minded of their brethren to Mars, to become priests of the Machine God. When those brethren return as Techmarines, they are met with suspicion and scrutiny, though not in the same capacity as an individual with psychic talent. They are a more insular lot than the Techmarines of most Chapters, as a result. The Master of the Forge is, as in any other Chapter, the most senior Techmarine. The Chapter allows the Master of the Forge to preside over the rites of the Omnissiah amongst the Techmarines, under the assumption that the beliefs of the Cult of Mars did not offend the Emperor, and therefore should not offend His faithful. Perhaps unusually for a Chapter so focused on its faith, the brethren of the Chapter do not share the beliefs of the Machine Cult (and by extension, the Chapter’s Techmarines) that every machine has its own spirit that must be placated to function properly, but rather assume that a given device is simply a mechanical device, no more infused with a divine soul than a blade of grass.
As the Codex Astartes dictates, the Chapter is broken into ten Companies. The First Company is the Veteran Company, as is the case with virtually every Chapter. Each Veteran Lion Rampant is a violent missionary, a well-versed preacher of the Imperial Creed. The Lions Rampant boast an unusual number of suits of Terminator armour for a Chapter of so late a founding; a benefit of their close ties to the Ministorum. Unusually, all of the Chapter’s dreadnoughts in active service are attached to the First Company, as the Chapter’s beliefs make dreadnoughts an extremely rare sight amongst their fighting ranks, and inevitably, a dreadnought will have earned the Crux Terminatus posthumously for his sacrifice if he had not already won it in life.
The Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Companies are the Battle Companies, and are identical to the prescriptions of the Codex. The Sixth and Seventh form the Tactical Reserve, the Eighth is the Assault Reserve, and the Ninth is the Devastator Reserve. The Tenth Company is the Scout Company, as is the requirement of the Codex Astartes.
The training of a Lion Rampant in the Tenth Company generally lasts slightly longer than what most other Chapters require. This is because the Chapter mandates that every Initiate be as versed in the Imperial Creed as they are in the Chapter lore and traditions, and upon initiation, most Lions Rampant would be the equal in faith of the most hardened veteran of any other Chapter.
The Lions Rampant do not typically display Company colors outside of officers’ heraldry and on banners, but instead display a white numeral over a green field on their right greave or knee denoting their Company affiliation. Officers usually only display their Company’s color in their own heraldry, and generally select it as the color for their cloak. Common themes for officers’ heraldry are stylized lions, the fleur de lys, grails, images of Imperial saints, angels, and punished heretics.
Each squad is marked as is prescribed in the Codex Astartes—an arrow for Tactical Squads, a cross for Assault Squads, and a lambda for Devastator Squads, with the icon placed on the right shoulder. Somewhere on the right shoulder pad, a squad number will also be present. The Lions Rampant display a fleur de lys, a rather unsubtle indication of their loyalty to the Imperial Creed, and by extension, both Ordo Hereticus and Adeptus Ministorum, on their left knee or greave, and display the Lion Rampant, the Chapter Icon, on their left shoulder pad.
Company squads are numbered as the Codex prescribes. In the case of the Battle Companies, the first six squads in a Company are Tactical Squads, the Seventh and Eighth squads are Assault Squads, and the Ninth and Tenth squads are Devastators.
The Space Marines of the Lions Rampant wear white power armour trimmed in a vibrant green, and feature gold aquilae and Imperial iconography. The white is intended to symbolize the purity of the Emperor and, by extension, the purity of Man; while the green is a reflection of the rolling hills and fields of fair Elyseč.
The Lions Rampant utilize the majority of Space Marine battle honours common to all Codex Chapters. The Iron Halo is the badge of office for a Captain; the Iron Skull the device of a Sergeant; etc. Brethren carry a Chaplet Ecclesiasticus, a strand of prayer beads, identical to those carried by the Adepta Sororitas. For the Lions Rampant, each bead represents a single mission or campaign prosecuted against the unfaithful, though long-serving brethren will eventually begin to count each bead for every ten missions, or even every hundred. The Lion Errant is a sculpted icon of brass depicting a stalking lion, awarded to brethren who have shown exceptional ferocity in combat in face of insurmountable odds. For smiting a demagogue speaking against the Emperor, brethren are awarded the Flower of Elyseč, a golden fleur de lys painstakingly etched with one of Saint Sebastian Thor's many psalms.
Veterans and any Astartes of the rank of Sergeant or higher are denoted by green faceplates on their helmets, and generally wear green, sleeveless robes over their their power armour. Imperial laurels are generally sculpted onto a veteran’s helmet, and additional awards of the laurels are displayed by brass fleur de lys attached to the Astartes’ strand of prayer beads.
Like all Chapters, the Lions Rampant issue service studs to long-serving brethren. Rather than a simple silver stud, however, the Lions favor sculpted brass studs depicting a snarling lion. Each stud represents a century of service in the Emperor's name. Upon becoming ordained as a priest of the Emperor, further studs are issued in the form of brass fleur de lys. It is considered a great badge of honor amongst the elder members of the Chapter to have more service studs bearing the fleur de lys than the lion.
It is common for the brethren of the Lions Rampant to adorn themselves in devotional tattoos, brands, and piercings. Many have the Fede Imperialis branded to their torso, and most have a fleur de lys tattooed upon their right bicep.
The Lions Rampant were founded from the genetic repositories of the Primogenetor Chapters on Mars, specifically that of the Sons of Guilliman, Libators, and the Praetors of Orpheus. As such, Lions Rampant boast remarkably pure gene-seed. All of the enhanced organs unique to the Adeptus Astartes are present and functional, and genetic compatibility in recruits is estimated at ninety-four percent. Survival to initiation is estimated at forty-seven percent-- higher than most Chapters, which speaks volumes of the tenacity instilled within even the lowest recruit amongst the Lions Rampant.
There are a number of established recruiting grounds for the Lions Rampant, although they often pick up recruits over the course of a campaign, finding orphans and other forgotten youths of quality in warzones of suitable ferocity. As is the case with all aspirants, recruits must be ideally between twelve and fifteen years of age. The eldest recruit who has been initiated to date in the Chapter was selected as an aspirant at the age of eighteen, and suffered many complications during the chemical treatments associated with the transformation into a Space Marine.
The implantation processes are highly ritualized, as is the case with most Chapters; however, the Lions Rampant Apothecaries tend to offer specific prayers at given points in surgeries. Generally, the rest of a given batch of recruits will be present for their comrades’ surgeries, offering their own prayers along with the operating Apothecary’s. The most dangerous of the implantation surgeries for a Space Marine is his initiation, the reception of his Black Carapace. A chaplain is always present during that final surgery, and offers prayers in the Apothecary’s stead, as unnecessary delays in the procedure invariably cause the Novitiate undergoing the surgery to bleed out on the operating slab, despite his enhanced blood.
All Chapters have various traditions for removing the second, non-vital set of progenoids which are grown specifically within a serving Astartes with a new recruit in mind. The Lions Rampant remove the secondary progenoids after an initiate has served for three decades in active service. Generally, that places the age of the Astartes approximately at fifty years of age.
RITES OF THE CHAPTER
Despite the fierce adherence to the Imperial Creed, the Lions Rampant do maintain a number of rituals unique to the Chapter.
THE ANOINTING (DAILY)
One of two daily rituals that the Lions Rampant observe outside of the Emperor’s Mass is a simple ceremony the Lions Rampant call The Anointing. This ritual requires each participating Astartes to have forged his own weapon, whether it be a sword, axe, mace, or polearm. Following taking communion for the day, the Astartes will take their weapon to their Company’s altar within the Fortress-Monestary, or, if on campaign, whatever altar to the Emperor is available. The weapon will be placed on the altar, pommel or grip to the left, and striking surface to the right, parallel to the statue of the Emperor the altar stands before. Then, the Astartes will pour a specially-prepared mixture of holy water and the blood of slain foes over the weapon. The Astartes then offers a simple statement, “I give you my blade, God-Emperor, and anoint it in the blood of Your foes.”
THE GRAIL BLESSING (DAILY)
The second of two daily rituals the Lions Rampant observe, the Grail Blessing is performed at the end of the day. Generally, it is performed by a Chaplain before the assembled brethren, although on campaign, any Astartes can lead the ritual. A golden chalice is filled with the blood of fallen Imperial soldiers—often, this is blood of fallen Lions Rampant. The leader of the ritual turns towards the setting sun, raises the grail, and speaks, “God-Emperor, we commend the souls of those who have given themselves in Your service, and honour their memory. May they bask in Your glory until the stars themselves no longer burn.” Then, if the ritual is performed in either the Fortress-Monestary, or in a place where there is an altar to the Emperor, the grail is poured onto the altar. If there is no altar available, the grail is poured onto the ground where the most recent fighting the Astartes have participated in has taken place. If neither possibility is available, the leader will pour the blood over his hands, and then form the sign of the aquila over his breast, staining his armor, robes, or bare chest with the blood of the fallen.
SAINT MINA’S RITE (When fighting Chaos Space Marines)
Saint Mina is one of the patrons of the Adepta Sororitas, specifically that of the Order of The Bloody Rose. However, the manner of her martyrdom involves fighting against Astartes who have turned from the Emperor’s light. The Lions Rampant honor her sacrifice as an example, and emulate her final hours before fighting against, and after they defeat Chaos Space Marines.
The rite involves each Astartes kneeling in silence in the presence of a holy icon of the Emperor, a statue of the Emperor, or in a reliquary of holy artifacts. He remains in this position for twenty-six hours prior to engaging the enemy if it is at all possible. To not have time to perform this part of the rite prior to combat is considered a bad omen by the brethren. Following the defeat of the foe, the Astartes return to their position, and remain there until all corruption is gone from their mind. Brethren refuse any medical treatment during this time, and should an Astartes die of his wounds while performing the Rite, he is considered killed in action against the traitor Astartes, much as Saint Mina was, rather than having fallen from bleeding out.
This ritual takes the place of many Chapters’ rites which cleanse the mind and soul following fighting against the forces of Chaos.
ALL SAINTS’ DAY (Yearly)
The final day of each year is devoted to every Imperial saint in equal measure. The Lions Rampant unfurl every one of the Chapter’s banners, and hang each in the Cathedral of the God-Emperor within their Fortress-Monastery. Every Astartes spends the entirety of the day kneeling in prayer to the God-Emperor and contemplating the sacrifices and examples of those who are canonized in the Imperial Creed. Chaplains and the Captains wander the kneeling ranks, anointing helms with sacred incense and offering holy water to the brethren. As a fasting day, the brethren are allowed only to consume holy water to keep their throats wet so that their prayers can be spoken clearly.
FORCES OF THE LIONS RAMPANT
The Lions Rampant have no particularly common appearance, as some Chapters do, as far as physical features are concerned, since they have many and varied recruiting grounds. Coloration and build are as varied as humanity has to offer. Certain physical traits associated with Guilliman’s gene-seed do emerge over time, such as a stern visage and stronger features associated with Greco-Roman sculpture, however.
After a Lion Rampant is initiated into the brotherhood of the Chapter, he is typically assigned to a Devastator Squad in a Battle Company, or any squad in one of the Reserve Companies if there is need. This is consistent with the practices of the Codex Astartes, and allows a Space Marine to get used to fighting in power armour and with a boltgun at a relatively safe distance compared to the frontal assaults of the Assault and Tactical squads. Brethren who are exceptionally talented with heavy weapons will often spend their careers in a Devastator Squad, and those who are chosen to do so are as honored as the most potent Assault Marine, for their role is as vital to the Chapter’s success as any brutal, zealous charge. Such long-serving Devastators are often given “Ser” as a prefix to their name by their brethren, which is a shortened form of “seraph.” It is not an official rank or title, and more of a reference to the nature of the Devastator to provide supporting fire that guards the other brethren than anything else.
Once a Lion Rampant has served in several campaigns as a member of a Devastator Squad, he is often moved to a Tactical Squad. This is a deviation from the Codex Astartes, which recommends that a Space Marine serve in an Assault Squad prior to joining the ranks of the Tactical Squads. However, the Assault Squads are considered honored positions, where a Space Marine is assured of an opportunity to meet his foe face to face and uphold the Chapter’s, and the Emperor’s, honor in single combat with the enemy.
While serving in a Tactical Squad, which is often for the majority of his career unless he is exceptional amongst an already exceptional group of peers, a Lion Rampant will learn to fight with a sword or axe of either the chain or conventional persuasion in addition to his boltgun. While the Tactical Squads fulfill the same role as in any other Chapter, the attitude of the Lions Rampant often sees the Tactical Squads in close combat situations where the ability to use a boltgun effectively one-handed is a significant advantage. It is during their tenure in a Tactical Squad that many brethren forge the weapon which will take part in many of the Chapter’s rites.
The final stage of service prior to becoming a sergeant or a veteran for most Astartes is their tenure in an Assault Squad. It is an honored position, and it is often when Astartes will begin focusing on becoming an ordained priest of the God-Emperor. The Assault Squads are by far the most dangerous of the squads a Space Marine will serve in, and most Lions Rampant will conclude their service to the God-Emperor with a bolt pistol and sword in hand. They are deployed to the thickest fighting and used as a shock squad, and despite their training to fight as bike squadrons or as Land Speeder crews, rarely are fielded any other way than with jump packs.
The Assault Squads of the Lions Rampant are closer to other Chapters’ veteran squads in skill and temperament, and as such, have some unintentional deviation from the Codex Astartes amongst them. Many brethren will display personal heraldry in an Assault Squad, although it is never larger than the Codex markings a given Astartes is required to wear. Additionally, many Assault Marines will wear a green tabard, reminiscent of the veterans’ green robes. The Assault Squads tend to use their jump packs more aggressively than other Chapters’ Assault Squads, as well. Rather than simply using the jump packs as means of propulsion, Lions Rampant Assault Marines are noted for using their jump packs to make powered thrusts forward rather than bounding leaps, using their power-armoured mass boosted by the jump pack’s engines as a shock weapon. They also are capable of making daring fly-by attacks with their blades, turning onto their back and unloading their bolt pistols into the rear of any remaining foe before they have any chance to react. Such maneuvers are often the province of other Chapters’ Vanguard Veterans, but not so with the Lions Rampant.
LIONS RAMPANT VETERANS
When a Lion Rampant has proven himself exceptional amongst an already exceptional group of peers, he will be awarded the Crux Terminatus, and will be inducted into the First Company. He will paint the faceplate of his helm green, and will be given a flowing robe of the same color, which he will wear over his armor for the rest of his career as a badge of rank.
Where other Chapters maintain distinct Sternguard and Vanguard Veteran Squads, the Lions Rampant point out that no such requirement is made in the Codex Astartes, and so individual veterans are formed into squads as the need arises. Due to the high number of Tactical Dreadnought suits the Lions Rampant have in the armoury, the most common deployment of Veteran squads are as Terminator squads. The preferred armament for Lions Rampant terminators are dual lightning claws, although the standard storm bolter and power fist is a close second. All Veterans are trained in the use of Tactical Dreadnought armour. Unlike many Chapters, a Lion Rampant is not assigned a suit of Terminator armour, but draws it from the armoury when he is deployed as part of a Terminator squad. Thus, Veterans meticulously maintain their power armour, even if they rarely fight in it.
Upon winning the Crux Terminatus, a Lion Rampant is given an additional responsibility above and beyond what the Codex Astartes requires. He is expected to pursue his ordainment if he has not already set upon that path. As such, the Veterans of the Lions Rampant are a stern and unforgiving lot, each focused on his faith and preaching the Imperial Creed above all else.
LIONS RAMPANT SERGEANTS
Sergeants amongst the Lions Rampant have survived service in the Reserve Companies, and then the Battle Companies. They have been hand-picked by those of their brothers ordained as priests of the God-Emperor as having exceptional zeal and piety, and have proven their worth a thousand times over. They have won the sacred Crux Terminatus, and all bear the rank of Veteran. The rank of Sergeant allows such men to access the armoury as they see fit, and thus it is common for sergeants to arm themselves with power swords, axes, and maces; combi-weapons, or power fists. They stand as an exemplar of what their charges should aspire to, and most have begun their first true steps on the road to ordainment as a priest of the Imperial Creed by the Chapter.
Each Sergeant is permitted to display personal heraldry, generally shown on a banner attached to the backpack. Assault Sergeants rarely do so, as their jump packs prevent them from displaying a banner. Brass icons associated with the Imperial Creed are common replacements, however.
LIONS RAMPANT CHAPLAINS
To be a Chaplain in any Chapter is to be a master of the rites and rituals of the Chapter, and a guardian of the spiritual purity of the brethren. To be a Chaplain amongst the Lions Rampant is even more, however.
To be a Chaplain is to be an officer, first and foremost. In a brotherhood where every Astartes is the pious equal of an Imperial missionary, the role of the Chaplain is more of a Brother-Superior rather than a spiritual guide and guardian. Donning the black armour of the Chaplain is the first step on the road to command—to be a Captain, join the Lionhearted, or even become the Chapter Master, an Astartes must have served as a priest and preacher first.
The Chaplains of the Lions Rampant are more numerous than in most other Chapters, and take on virtually every non-combat role an Astartes could perform. They keep the lore of the Chapter, watch over its brethren, divine the will of the Emperor, approve recruits’ spiritual purity, and a dozen other functions besides.
The Lions Rampant have three ranks within the Reclusiam. A newly-ordained Chaplain will bear the title Reclusiarch, and will not serve as the Chaplain of a Company. He will perform the aforementioned duties, and will be attached to strike forces as needed. At any time, there may be as many as twenty-five such brethren, although the Chapter has had as many as forty serving in this capacity in particularly troubling times. Currently, eighteen brethren hold the rank of Reclusiarch. The next rank amongst the Chaplains is that of Brother-Chaplain. There are nine such individuals in the Chapter; one for each of the Companies besides the First. Finally, the master of the Reclusiam, which the Codex Astartes calls the Master of Sanctity, but the Lions Rampant refer to as Cardinal, is the highest-ranking amongst the chaplains. He is attached to the First Company, and serves in the same capacity as a Brother-Chaplain. It is only with his blessing that a brother may be ordained a priest of the God-Emperor, and the Cathedral of the God-Emperor within the Fortress-Monastery on Elyseč is his domain. He is often considered the successor to the Master of the Chapter. Commonly, the Cardinal will wear a red cloak or robe over his armour, trimmed in green and white, rather than the usual green that Astartes higher than the rank of Brother-Astartes wear.
LIONS RAMPANT CAPTAINS
As a Chapter which honors the Codex Astartes, there are ten Captains amongst the Lions Rampant. Each is a paragon of his kind and master of diplomacy, tactics, and skill at arms, as are all Space Marine Captains. A Lions Rampant Captain is also an ordained priest of the God-Emperor, and a fierce missionary. He wields the stern gaze of the chaplains of other Chapters, and the raw power of faith rivaled only by the Canonesses of the Adepta Sororitas.
All Chapters assign additional titles to their Captains beyond the simple rank. The Captain of the First Company bears the title of Duke of the Keep, and the Fortress-Monastery and the surrounding lands are under his domain. The Captain of the Second Company has the title of Master of the Watch, as the Codex prescribes, and the defense of Elyseč falls to him. The Master of the Armoury is the title of the Third Company’s Captain, and the Master of the Fleet is the privilege of the Fourth Company’s Captain. The Captain of the Fifth Company is referred to as the Knight of Elyseč, and when a single representative of the Chapter is required for ritual combat with another Imperial champion, it is he who is called to serve.
Lions Rampant Captains balance the weight of their duty to the Chapter and the duty their Chapter emphasizes to the Imperial Creed precariously. It is they who must be able to balance the interests of the Ecclesiarchy, navigate the political arenas of the Ordo Hereticus, and still serve in the capacity of a Space Marine Captain. Without such ability, the Lions Rampant would find themselves the target of Inquisitors who view the actions of the Lions Rampant as frequently violating the Decree Passive.
LIONS RAMPANT LIBRARIANS
The Edict of Nikea in M31 chastised Magnus the Red for his dabbling in the arcane arts. However, it also demanded that the Space Marines train and nurture the psychic talent of the most powerful humanity can provide. The tradition of training Space Marines with psychic talent in the Chapter Librarium has carried on for ten thousand years, and is included in the Codex Astartes.
However, the Lions Rampant are terribly paranoid of psychic talent. The few recruits that are sent to Elyseč from Terra—those who have been screened by the Inquisition, endured the traumatic voyage aboard a Black Ship, and proven themselves so powerful that they do not require the Soul Binding ritual, are taken by a Reclusiarch deep below the Fortress-Monestary.
There, they become Space Marines, though it is a cruel parody of the honorable and noble image one normally conjures when thinking of the Astartes. The Librarius on Elyseč is a cold, nearly lightless place, windowless and made of hexagrammically-warded flagstones. Candle-light allows those psychically-talented brethren to review the plethora of heretical texts and forbidden lore locked away.
When the Lions Rampant are called to war against a strong moral threat, such as daemonic incursion, it falls to the Lord of the Reclusiam, the Cardinal of Elyseč, to determine whether it is appropriate to assign a Librarian to the strike force. Should one be seconded to a strike force, a gaunt, broken Space Marine will come from the dark dungeons, steel shackles and chains covering the wrists and ankles of his regal blue power armour. The brethren will view the Librarian with repulsion and suspicion, and recoil from the sight of the witch’s psychic hood and force staff.
In battle, a Lions Rampant Librarian is little more than a psychic lightning rod. They pour over arcane text to determine the most efficient way to stop psychic phenomina, and partially from self-loathing, and partially from a desire to be released from the constant drudgery and gloom of the Librarius, many Lions Rampant Librarians focus on learning to draw hostile warp energy into themselves, and dissipate it through their force weapon. Few ever learn the talents to conjure fire with the mind that sears the souls of the enemies of the Emperor, or learn to step out of the regular flow of time, as a result.
Should a Librarian survive the rather traumatic experience of acting as a psychic lightning rod against something as terrible as a daemonic threat or alpha-level psyker, they are made to perform Saint Mina’s Rite in the Librarius, and are closely monitored by several Reclusiarchs for several weeks to follow.
The gene-seed used in the Lions Rampant Librarians is separate from that of the rest of the Chapter. When a Librarian is killed, a Reclusiarch will take the progenoids from the fallen Librarian, and will place them in a warded vial. Only the progenoids from a fallen psyker will be used in the creation of a new Librarian when a suitable recruit is sent from Terra. The Reclusiam argues that the practice prevents any warp-taint from contaminating the rest of the Chapter’s genetic stock.
Unlike the Codex Astartes dictates, the Lions Rampant do not assign ranks to their Librarians. They are simply “witch” or “psyker,” and little more. The exception is the most senior of the Librarians is referred to as the Chief Librarian, which is a position required by the Edict of Nikea, although it is treated as largely a formality.
To date, four Lions Rampant have turned from the Emperor’s light. Three of those individuals were Librarians. Due to the conditions in which they are kept, and the suspicion with which they are viewed by those they should be able to call brother, they are often open to the whispers of darker powers.
The most powerful and most recent of these three deviants refers to himself as the Black Lion, and is a potent sorcerer of Tzeentch. The Chapter refuses to acknowledge the existence of this particular renegade, who is noted by the Ordo Malleus as one of the most dangerous individuals in the Segmentum Solar at large.
THE LIONHEARTED (HONOUR GUARD)
Every Chapter maintains a cadre of warriors who are a cut above even the First Company’s warriors. Often, there are only perhaps ten such individuals amongst a brotherhood of a thousand. The Codex Astartes calls such brethren the Chapter Honour Guard, and amongst their number include the Chapter Champion and Chapter Standard Bearer. Their duties include providing the Chapter Master’s bodyguard, and are invariably found in the most brutal fighting the Chapter is deployed to.
The Lions Rampant Honour Guard is a single squad called The Lionhearted. Each of its members is an ordained priest of the God-Emperor, and fight with lightning claws of craftsmanship not seen in many millennia. The Banner of Elyseč is the Chapter Banner, and features the Chapter icon holding Elyseč, with a scroll underneath reading “Noscč Tč Fidč,” which translates as “Know Thy Faith” in Low Gothic.
The Lionhearted only are deployed when the Chapter Master himself takes to the field, and as such, are only seen when a great many of the Chapter’s brethren are deployed to a single warzone. Each Lion Rampant in the squad is the equal of a dozen other Space Marines, and each is individually capable of turning the tide of a war on his own. Together, they are nigh on unstoppable, utterly fearless and assured in their faith in the God-Emperor.