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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Ice Claws are a Space Marine chapter founded in the early years of the 41st Millennium. Following an Ork Waaagh! that engulfed and nearly devoured the Narisa system in Segmentum Pacificus, the High Lords of Terra decided that a new Chapter of the Emperor's Angels of Death needed to be founded in the system. This was to ensure that the Ork spawn that was sure to follow such a Waaagh! did not grow strong enough to once again threaten the security of Narisa, with its vital Forge World, or the surrounding space. Their chapter colors are white with blue trim; their symbol is comprised of three curving claw marks. They have no set battle cry; most marines just shout, roar, or howl.

As the Imperial Fists had been instrumental in constructing the defenses that had led to the Orks' eventual defeat, the new chapter, dubbed the Ice Claws, was formed from their geneseed. A Fortress-Monastery for the Ice Claws was founded on the ice-moon Oso in orbit around Oris, a knight world that bore the brunt of the greenskin invasion. From their base, Hibernatus, the Ice Claws are dispatched to guard posts on the four habitable planets in the system.
At any given time, several dozen Ice Claws are on the surface of Oris, defending key points or making excursions into the ruins to ensure that the Ork population remains low. The Forge World Shiong has a much smaller Space Marine presence, as the Adepts of Mars are largely able to defend themselves from what few Orks remain on the surface, but the Ice Claws strive to maintain good relations with the local Priesthood of Mars. The Chapter's Techmarines often travel here to consult their brethren in the Mechanicum, who produce many of the fighting vehicles and armaments sent to nearby warzones.

A much larger portion of the Ice Claws' fighting strength is devoted to Forimos, a jungle world that is the largest planet in the system, but with a much smaller human population compared to Oris or Shiong. It is here that the chapter's initiates undergo most of their training, as the jungles of Forimos are teeming with Orks. Their primary missions are to infiltrate Ork camps and covertly remove any Boy or Nob that appears to be gaining too much size and sway over his brethren. The scouts are also tasked with sabotaging any equipment created by the Ork Mekboys that they feel could be a threat to Imperial forces. If they discover large congregations of the greenskins that are more than the scout squads can handle by themselves, the initiates mark the locations so that their full battle-brothers can come in force and eradicate the encampment.

The last planet in the Narisa system, Krees, used to be an agri-world, terraformed by the Mechanicum to be the breadbasket of the system. The Waaagh! saw the vast majority of its crops and villages destroyed under the heels of countless greenskin boots. While the Ork menace has largely been eradicated on the plains and fields through the widespread use of flamers to kill off any spores, the rebuilding process has been slow. Centuries after the Waaaugh ended, agricultural production is still but a fraction of what it was before the coming of the green tide. Some Orks remain in the mountains of Krees as well, occasionally necessitating Ice Claw intervention to keep them in check.

While the moon of Oso is an ice planetoid, it is not devoid of life. Many hardy life-forms eek out a living in the frigid conditions. A unique ecosystem exists on Oso, and at the pinnacle of that ecosystem reigns the Oso Ice Bear, from which the chapter takes its name. These hardy and ferocious beasts have been known to attack Rhinos and Predators that intrude on their territories while out on training maneuvers. Their fangs and claws are actually dense enough to gouge the armor of the vehicles. When an Ice Claw Space Marine is about to be transferred to the 1st Company and given his terminator honors, he must first go through a rite of passage. The Astartes must venture into the freezing expanse of Oso with nothing but an initiate's robe and a simple combat knife. He must then enter the forbidding wilds and face down an ice bear. If he is successful, he will bring the bear's corpse back to Hibernatus, where the Space Marine will feast upon its flesh and thereby take its strength for himself. The bear's pelt, fangs, and claws will be used to decorate the suit of terminator armor that will be presented to the marine when he is ritually inducted into the 1st Company. Marines in the Terminator squads invert the chapter colors, making blue the dominant hue with white around the edges. This helps their hard-won trophies from the hunt stand out.

Unlike some of the other Space Marines in the Imperium of Man, the Ice Claws take pains to maintain cordial relations with the other Imperial organizations represented in the Narisa system. As the threat of a resurgent Ork Waaagh! is constant, the Ice Claws work closely with the Planetary Defense Forces, the Priesthood of Mars, and the Imperial Guard regiments in coordinating the system's defense. As a result, the Chapter has a relatively large pool of recruits to draw from. While the hardy youths from the near-feral human tribes on Forimos, who grow up defending their homes against Ork incursions, make the best initiates, the Ice Claws also induct the cream of the crop from the Whiteshields and cadets of the PDF and Guard to take part in their trials. Because of this, the Ice Claws are almost always at full fighting strength, with new Scouts constantly being trained.

However, because of the fact that the Ice Claws most often fight amongst the populations that they were drawn from, they are forced to conceal their identities from the normal humans they once were. Once he becomes a full battle-brother, an Ice Claws Space Marine is expected to wear his helmet at all times during the course of duty. This is to prevent former squadmates or tribe members from recognizing their altered former brethren, and expecting special treatment. That said, the possibility that they are fighting beside former comrades-in-arms who have become the Sword of the Emperor drives the PDF and Guard regiments to strive harder, not just because of the hulking presence of the Space Marine, but also in the hope that he may be chosen himself to receive the same honor. It is only after a century of service that a Marine may bare his face to the outside world once again, long after anyone who knew him in his former life has passed away. While some high-level Imperial functionaries have access to juvenat treatments that may increase their lifespan, they are not the type of people to be unduly influenced by the fact that they once knew an individual Space Marine in his past life. Many Ice Claws Astartes become so used to keeping their helmets on that they habitually do so whenever they are clad in their power armor, even after the initial century has passed.

In keeping with their parent Chapter, the Ice Claws are masters of defense. Ever since the Chapter's formation at the end of the Waaagh!, its members have been strengthening the fortifications of vital areas of the planets they protect, such as production centers and trade lanes. Long-range defenses are the norm, designed to wipe out the majority of an Ork horde before it gets close enough to do any real damage. This is not to say that the Ice Claws are just passive defenders, waiting for greenskin assaults. To earn their suits of power-armor, the Chapter's recruits bring the fight to the Orks, making sure that they never have the leadership they need to launch another Waaagh!. If they do encounter an Ork that has managed to rally support beyond their ability to handle, the scouts call for reinforcements from the Chapter, who bring the Emperor's vengeance in the form of withering fire and glinting blades.

Ice Claws battle-brothers begin as Devastators, putting the sharpshooting training they received as scouts to work manning the long-range defenses of the chapter's various fortifications, or laying down suppressing fire as they wade into an Ork camp. After several tours of duty, where they inevitably are forced to engage greenskins up close, Ice Claws move on to join Tactical squads. These squads are made up of those marines who have survived all the melees, and so are adept and experienced in both long-range and close-range combat. Only those battle-brothers who show a marked proficiency in and taste for close combat eventually are assigned to the chapter's Assault squads, where they can fall upon the greenskins like the Emperor's wrath from on high.

While the Ice Claws have a full complement of war vehicles available to it, thanks to the good graces of the masters of the Forge World, in practice, they rarely see service, at least in their home system. The jungles of Forimos are generally so thick that attempting to drive vehicles through them will only result in mulched vegetation jamming gears. On Krees, Rhino and Razorbacks are more commonly utilized to transport battle-brothers to the site of the latest Ork uprising. It is only on Oris that the chapter's armor pool sees much action. With all the wreckage left behind from the destruction caused by the Waaaugh, the Orks there have put the scavenged material to good use in building their trukks, koptas and walkers. More often, the Ice Claws armour assets are deployed elsewhere, wherever the chapter's proficiency in fighting greenskins is needed.

The chapter’s forces are also dispatched to whatever theaters of war the High Lords of Terra deem necessary. Several Ice Claws squads have also been seconded to the Holy Inquisition's Deathwatch chapter to serve with the Ordo Xenos. There, they share their combat expertise against the Orks with brother-marines from other chapters, while gaining valuable experience in fighting other xenos filth to bring back to the Ice Claws.
 

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Well, I like it. I'm not too sure how the 40k lore works with new chapters appearing. The helmet idea seams pretty unique and makes for good fluff in my opinion. I'm curious if you are actually going to model these guys with some Space Wolves bits. I'm also wondering if you have any homebrew special characters for this chapter or any unique rules that you want to use for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the kind words, Mykahel! I do plan on using Space Wolves bits, at least on my terminators. I've actually got a box of Wolf Guard that I plan to use as assault termies, and I'll use the extra bits to spice up my vanilla AoBR terminator squad. Fluff-wise, I've got at least two more parts planned, one for major engagements, and one for heroes of the chapter. May split that in two for heroes and then villains/renegades. I just started the hobby, so I don't know much about special rules, I had just planned to run them as a more-or-less Codex chapter, but with some hopefully-decent background XD
 
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