Home > Army Backgrounds, Trenchmates, Warhammer 40,000 > Trenchmates – Canticles of Redemption – A Background by Tim Chant

Trenchmates – Canticles of Redemption – A Background by Tim Chant

Today we hear from a good friend and regular opponent of mine. Tim’s been working on the background to his marine chapter for a very long time and as you will see, it most definitely shows! As well as detailing his chapter’s history Tim has also provided a gallery of his boys in action as well as a piece where he discusses his inspiration and aspirations for the future of his army.

The Reavers Redemptor

Founding

The Reavers Redemptor came about as a result of an series of administrative errors and misunderstandings in M40, when as part of a small Founding the newly created Emperor’s Reavers were given a homeworld in the far Galactic North, on the border between the Segmenta Obscurus and Ultima. None realised, when the Chapter Fortress was raised upon the world of Nagol’s End to watch East into the Ghoul Stars and defend the Forgeworlds and agrarian colonies of region, that they were trespassing in the protectorate of a much older Chapter – the Crusaders Redemptor.

The name of the official responsible is lost to history, but it is thought to be the same clerk who became known as the Great Disruptor, whose almost heretical incompetence only came to an end when he was demoted to a Filing Servitor.

Little is known of the history of the Crusaders. Their own legends maintain a provenance in the Second Founding, of Ultramarine genestock. A Chapter noted for little more than its perhaps overly strict adherence to the Codex Astartes, it had quietly and competently maintained its watch in the area from its homeworld of Knassos V, with such little incident that Terra had forgotten its very existence.

The Knassos and Nagol systems are scant lightyears apart, so it did not take long for the Crusaders Redemptor to discover the trespassers (as they saw them) in their sector. Not only that, but the Emperor’s Reavers had already begun requiring the fealty of local systems to augment their stocks of munitions, vehicles and ships.

Relations between the two Chapters were cool but cordial to begin with. Excursions of nameless horrors from the Ghoul Stars, an incursion of Dark Eldar pirates and a marauding World Eater war band kept the two busy for a few centuries. Indeed, Crusader and Reaver Companies occasionally fought side-by-side to great effect.

This changed in mid-M41 with the accession of Mordecai Klaass to the position of Chapter Master of the Emperor’s Reavers. Young (a mere century and a half), Klaass had been Captain of the 5th Company and an unlikely candidate for Chapter Master – he rose to the position by dint of being the first to the side of the previous Master as he died, his body racked by a Dark Eldar neurotoxin. His feat in rescuing his predecessors body, armour and weapons from the vile Xenos propelled him into the position.

Unfortunately, it rapidly became apparent that he was not ready to command an entire Chapter. Impatient and reckless, he had become frustrated by the Crusaders’ cautious, methodical approach to warfare. Maintaining personal command of his company despite his weightier responsibilities, he came into conflict with the Crusaders when working with Captain Nuremberg of their 2nd Company. Believing them to be missing an opportunity to crush the same Dark Eldar raiders who had killed his beloved mentor, he rushed the Raiders along with his acolyte Sergeant Tann Hauser and the bike squads for which 3rd Company was famous. He ran straight into and wrecked the careful ambush the Crusaders had set, using a unit of the 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry as bait. In the ensuing firefight, the Xenos slipped away, the Guard suffered horrendous casualties and, at the height of the fighting, the Crusaders and Reavers began exchanging fire.

Tensions over the resources in the area and the differing doctrines of the two Chapters came to a head after this unfortunate incident. A conclave between Chapter Masters on the Forgeworld of Kadesh ended in violence, from which Nuremberg barely escaped with his life thanks to Hauser’s intervention.

For the next two centuries, the two Chapters fought whenever they came into contact. At first it was minor skirmishes, almost honour bouts that did not interfere with their normal duties, but as the divisions deepened the violence became lethal until the Chapters were embroiled in full scale warfare that consumed their entire attention. The focus of the fighting was Kadesh, both chapters seeing the resources and manufactorums as being their right and the key to victory. It became so intense that much of the world was devastated in the full-scale battles between the full strength of the Chapters.

It was the resultant drop off in productivity from Kadesh that brought a resolution of sorts. Noticing the reduction in war materiel from the planet flowing to the arsenals of the Guard, the enigmatic and extremely reclusive Inquisitor Cliranda Montague journeyed to the sector with her entourage. Expecting Xenos interference, sedition or the influence of the Ruinous Powers, what she found disturbed her deeply – brother Marines who had been at war with each other so long they had forgotten their duty to the God Emperor. Indeed, the violence had been so extreme and the war so long that each Chapter could muster barely five hundred warriors apiece.

Montague knew this could be tolerated no longer. While her extensive entourage worked on assessing the extent of the war and infiltrating the alliances each Chapter had built up with planetary governors and even some Guard Regiments, Montague and her closest followers travelled to Maccrage to enlist the aid of Marneus Calgar and the Ultramarines.

The Lord of the Ultramarines took some persuading. Despite having access to some of the most extensive records in the Imperium, his sages could find little record of the Crusaders and certainly no record of them being Primogenitors of his own Chapter. The intensity of Montague’s representation, and the fact that she took the unprecedented step of meeting with him in person rather than through proxies, eventually piqued Calgar’s interest and he travelled with his 2nd Company to the Kadesh system.

Within days of his arrival in the sector, he had brought peace between the two Chapters. His towering rage, force of personality and the backing of some of the finest warriors in the Imperium soon brought the warring brothers to the table. Once again in conclave on the ravished planet of Kadesh, Chapter Masters Klaass and Hieronimo Trent of the Crusaders were offered a stark choice – put aside their differences, or face censure and destruction at the hands of the Ultramarines and other chapters. To ensure the situation never occurred again, Calgar and Montague made a simple decree – the two understrength Chapters were to become on. The Crusaders Redemptor and Emperor’s Reavers would become the Reavers Redemptor. Montague’s investigations had thrown up the surprising fact that the Crusaders’ genestock was actually that of the White Scars, as was that of the Reavers. The two Chapters were fully compatible.

Wearied by an internecine war he had never sought, Trent agreed to the proposals, although many in the Chapter reacted in anger, not least at the suggestion that their long-held belief in their provenance was indeed false. Only Trent’s wisdom and the loyalty he had earned brought the remnant of his Chapter into line.

Klaass reacted with anger and predictable violence. While Calgar was absent, he attempted to bring the war to a conclusion that suited him better by striking at both Trent and the assembled Reavers as they gathered for the final ceremonies of the peace treaty.

Only the intercession of Tann Hauser, now Captain of the Reavers’ 3rd Company, prevented this vile stroke from falling. Realising the folly of Klaass’ actions and that, rather than accepting the presented victory, Calgar would destroy the Reavers, Hauser informed Trent of the attack. Recognising in Hauser an honest Marine as wearied by the war as he was, Trent acknowledged the warning and personally intercepted Klaass and his Honour Guard. Deep in the Great Ash Basin of Kadesh, the two Chapter Masters met and fought for the last time. Despite the fact that by then both men were several centuries old, the struggle was epic, lasting almost seven days and changing the very terrain they fought on. On the third day, Calgar arrived and, recognising the necessity of his grudge being settled, chose to adjudicate rather than interfere.

At the start of the seventh day, Klaass finally made a rash error, letting his guard down briefly and allowing Trent to strike a might blow with his power sword, mortally wounding his opponent.

Trent decreed an end to the fighting and acknowledged the wisdom of Calgar’s plan. Himself wounded beyond recovery, his made each and every one of his four hundred and ninety one surviving Battle Brothers swear that no rancour would remain in their hearts towards their new Brothers. Calgar himself took the personal oaths of the surviving Reavers, beginning with Hauser. The war was over, and out of the crucible of fire and bloodshed the Reavers Redemptor were forged.

Homeworld

The new Chapter was allowed to retain the Fortress Monasteries on both Nagol’s End and Knassos V, but purely as recruiting centres.

Nagol’s End is a wild world of high mountains and broad, windswept planes. The semi-barbarous people exist amongst the ruins of the early colony, which collapsed into anarchy during Old Night. Even millennia later, the inhabitants are able to salvage workable technology from the fallen cities, as well as artefacts they trade with offworlders for what they require. The largest import to the planet are vehicles, bikes in particular, and munitions, for the people of Nagol’s End are either at war with each other or preparing for war. The world revolves around a few permanent Holdings, governed by those who are strong and ruthless enough to maintain their position, built to take advantage of the vast road network of the old colony. These long, broad avenues were laid with a material that remains a mystery to Techmarine and savant alike, and has not decayed despite not being maintained since before Old Night. A nomadic culture exists upon the network, one that survives on warfare and trade and favours those who are able to move and fight at speed. Those who form this culture are known as Blacktoppers, and are particularly favoured by the Astartes recruiters.

In contrast, Knassos V is a world that has maintained a more civilised aspect. Founded during the Great Crusade, it is a pre-eminent centre of art and learning whose burgeoning population relies on the surrounding worlds for food and industrial output. Governorship, though invested in the Reavers Redemptor, is maintained though consensus with the city-states that make up the society. The Marines drawn from its gleaming spires and sprawling suburbs tend to be Knassans who, at an early age, have demonstrated both intellectual excellence and rigour in the pursuit of the classic sports of wrestling, pugilism and athletics.

Calgar and Montague, however, declared that the new Chapter’s Homeworld would be Kadesh, and the semi-derelict Great Port in orbit over the planet was given to them as their new Fortress Monastery. As the war between the Marines had ravished Kadesh, so would the joining between them rebuild it. The Reavers have thrown themselves into their newfound duties, restoring the great hives of the night-bound world, rebuilding the transport network and re-engaging the ancient Manufactora. Like Nagol’s End, Kadesh was founded before the Age of Strife and managed to maintain order and a structured society in the intervening period. Like many Forgeworlds, Kadesh’s environment has long since been poisoned by the effluent of human industry, and the sky has been so burnt that no natural light penetrates the cloud cover. It is never anything more than twilight on Kadesh. Its people are stoic, accustomed to suffering even before the War Between the Chapters, and hardened by their environment. Despite the bitterness left behind by the conflict, the Reavers have begun recruiting on Kadesh. Some Kadeshians take pride in becoming Reavers Redemptor, going from a reborn world to a reborn Chapter, and are often greatly valued as potential Techmarines and tank crew.

Combat Doctrine

In combat, the Reavers Redemptor have combined the studious, Codex-based approach of the former Crusaders with the wild, fluid warfare of the Emperor’s Reavers to great effect. The Crusaders were the masters of careful ambush, surgical orbital strike and well thought-out defensive lines. The Emperor’s Reavers specialised in raiding deep behind enemy lines, often relying on Bikes, Razorbacks and Rhinos, and lightning strikes to decapitate enemy forces. With the added element of the Kadeshian’s native affinity for heavy armour, the Reavers Redemptor have formulated a devastating style of warfare involving targeted Drop Pod and teleport assaults to form redoubts that are then linked up by armoured columns spearheaded and covered by the waves of Blacktoppher bikers. Few can stand against such a devastating combination. In defence, the Reavers utilise heavy firepower in gunlines to break up enemy formations, which are then shattered by Bike countercharges and Drop Pod deployments in the enemy’s rear areas.

This doctrine is enunciated in The Canticles of Redemption. Begun by Chapter Master Trent and continued by his successor Elizias Cutter, formerly Captain of the Crusaders Redemptor’s 1st Company, it contains reflections on combat doctrines to be employed against a variety of foes. Most recently, and tragically, this has included contemplation on the suppression of rebellious Imperial Guard Regiments, as well as countering the raiding of the Xenos filth known as the ‘Dark’ Eldar.

Force Organisation

The Reavers Redemptor. Despite its odd lineage, maintains a reasonably close adherence to the Codex Astartes. Still commanded by Elizias Cutter, it maintains a standard ten-company structure. Few companies are drawn exclusively from a single word, a deliberate tactic to ensure full integration, although recruits from a particular world will tend to gravitate towards the company that best expresses their personal ethos.

The soul deviations from this rule, in terms of organisation, are the 2nd and 3rd Companies. 2nd Company (Captain Rikkard Nuremberg), although commanded by a Knossan, contains a great many Marines of Kadeshian origin and tends to employ a greater number of heavy vehicles than the other companies. At the other end of the scale, 3rd Company is still commanded by Captain Tann Hauser and contains a great many Blacktoppers. Of all of the battle companies, the 3rd is pre-eminent in its use of mounted assault. Despite their differing backgrounds and the fact they often fought against each other, Hauser and Nuremberg are now fast friends and often co-operate to great effect.

The Chapter’s heraldry does reflect its unusual heritage. The Crusaders wore a universally dark green armour and the Emperor’s Reavers’ a dark rust-red. The two colour schemes were combined, with a standard scheme of a red torso and upper legs and green lower legs and torso, company colour on the trim of the shoulder pads and squad designator on the knee pads. The Veterans were allowed the honour of deciding whether to maintain the heraldry of their original chapters, with veterancy denoted by a silver helmet or laurels. Captain Hauser maintained the right for his troops to wear the company colour, a deep burnished gold, in their helmets as well as shoulder pads, maintaining the tradition of the tribe of Blacktoppers he was recruited from.

The Reavers are also one of a handful of chapters to have the dubious honour of having a single squad of Ultramarine veterans attached to them on a rotating basis. Currently Sternguard Squad Apothes has been assigned to the Chapter.

Beliefs

The Reavers Redemptor have found a new devotion to the Imperial Creed, in particular those elements that focus on redemption through struggle and suffering. They have extended their enforcement of a particularly militant interpretation of the Creed to other elements of the Imperial apparatus in their ever-increasing sphere of operations. This has led them into conflict with at least two Imperial Guard Regiments they regard as being rebellious, if not heretical. They have skirmished with elements of the 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry to the Galactic West of their operational zone and fought two full-scale wars with the Genovasian 4th Equatorial, from the Dasop Sector not far from the Reavers’ sphere of influence. The first of these conflicts was precipitated by a Radical Inquisitor, something the Reavers find to be anathema. The second is on-going at the end of M41, triggered by Ecclesiarchal interference with a world recently brought into the Reavers’ domain. To the Reavers, this is tantamount to Heresy, leading some to question whether the entire organ of the Ecclesiarchy has become corrupted.

Inquisitor Montague, through her followers, has maintained close links with the Chapter, both to monitor them and to harness their newfound fervous when her investigations require the most extreme and direct sanction.

Significant/Defining Moment

The fight between Trent and Klaass is seen by many as the pivotal moment in the Chapter’s unhappy history. Indeed, many of the current Reavers lived through the war and the reconciliation. To remind the next generations of the dangers of quarrelling with their brothers, the gruelling Ritual of Dust that new initiates undergo in the arid Dust Plains of Kadesh is focused on the Valley of the Masters. Here the titanic battle actually carved a new topography into the surface of the planet which now stands as mute testament to their struggle.

This moment also gave birth to the Chapter’s darkest secret and greatest shame. Not all of the Battle Brothers of either founding chapter swore the oaths either to Trent or Calgar, and some who did recanted them. These apostates fled the fold of the new Chapter. Some renounced their oaths of loyalty to the Emperor entirely, becoming renegade and Traitor. Ironically, renegade Crusaders and Reavers have found themselves forced to form war bands together to survive. Others, either as individuals or squads, maintain that they are loyal to the Emperor but refuse to accept the authority of the new Chapter. Although most still fight on, as they can, against the enemies of the Imperium, their isolation has driven them all increasingly towards a precipice they cannot return from. Hauser and Nuremberg, between them, have sworn a solemn oath to bring the renegades to justice and attempt to redeem the recidivists.

Battle Cry

‘Imperator Redentor!’ – Emperor the redeemer. Few Chapters feel as much need to seek redemption for past misdeeds and errings.

Geneseed

White Scar stock. The Crusaders Redemptor, although an ancient chapter, are not of the Second Founding or indeed a Primogenitor of the Ultramarines. Their geneseed was drawn from a Primogenitor of the White Scars in the Third Founding. Through the beneficence of the God Emperor, the Emperors’ Reavers geneseed was drawn from the same Chapter, albeit eight thousand years later. There is some debate as to how the geneseed of a wild chapter like the White Scars could have given rise to the strictly doctrinal Crusaders Redemptor. Some even whisper that the original geneseed of the Crusaders had been interfered with in an attempt to abate the wild streak. A few daring or mad souls even suggest that the Crusaders were in fact drawn from Ultramarine stock, and that the Inquisitor Montague lied to all and committed the heresy of combining the geneseed of different lines. Some say it was for pragmatic reasons, others that her motivations were entirely more… radical.

There is little doubt that the combination of the genestocks has led to the Chapter returning to the character of its roots, albeit tempered by the clinical nature of the old Crusaders.

Gallery

Above and below: Captain Tann Hauser leads his bike command squad in pursuit of fleeing Genovasian Imperial Guardsmen during the Bugham’s World Incident.

Brother Reddick supports Terminator Squad Antigor in clearing mysterious ruins on Cribdis, on the outer edge of the Ghoul Stars Cluster.

Tactical Squad Kollan, 2nd Company, deploy from their drop pod into the ruins of the Ork-infested City of Emperor’s Grace during the Purging of Kallandros.

Reavers Redemptor – Writing the fluff and designing the livery

Believe it or not, the original plan for the Reavers Redemptor was to have them in a very light blue and plum red colour scheme (something which horrified my flatmate [Elizabeth Corbett of Sexism in The Warhammer Worlds fame, who does accept commissions if anyone’s interested], who was doomed to paint them). Luckily, I took a trip to the Highlands in autumn and was deeply struck by the combinations of red and green as the trees lost their leaves. A chat with a member of staff in my local GW store and further discussions with the aforementioned flatmate led to the colour scheme, which is built up by (in old money):

  • White undercoat
  • Base of Mechrite Red on torso, upper legs and arms; base of Orkhide Shade on shoulder pads, gloves and shins/boots
  • Washes of Baal Red and Thrakka Green
  • Dry brush of Tin Bitz over the red.

Because I like a bit of variety and Elizabeth didn’t want to get bored painting, there are variations on the theme. Vehicles alternate the blocks of colours, and elite units are either entirely red or entirely green. I haven’t got round to working out how to do the scheme with the new paints. Thankfully, the bulk of the army (entire 2nd Battle Company plus 1st and 3rd Company elements) have already been painted by Elizabeth. Including the mention of Ultramarines will allow me to field the squad of Tyranid Hunters my partner’s brother kindly gave to me, and I’m very tempted to throw in the occasional squad of other Codex Chapters (alongside the small Dark Angel and Space Wolf armies I’m putting together).

Next up I have a few Dreads, a couple of Land Raiders, more Bikes….

As to the background, I have such a large selection at my disposal I like to vary my force composition and tactics (to keep my opponents guessing). I also wanted to give the Chapter a bit of the feel of being right on the edge and being drawn back into the fold – and, let’s face it, I enjoy writing and wanted to come up with something quite interesting. The background I’ve created gives a story to the different styles of play I enjoy. The relationship between the Reavers and Inquisitor Montague, and the situation with the renegades, is also something I’m looking forward to developing through my own writing and the games of Dark Heresy I run.

Many thanks to Tim for this fantastic insight into one of the False Emperor’s armies of lapdogs. Sorry, I came over all Chaosy. However on that subject I’d like to add that Tim and I have tied the backstory of the Reavers to those of my Imperial Guard (The 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry), Dark Eldar (Kabal of The Sundered Heart) and Chaos Space Marine (The Heralds of Desolation) of which more will be detailed very soon.

If you’d like to contribute an article all the information you need can be found here.

  1. Ian Macintyre
    10/26/2012 at 19:18

    I believe sir will find that the Reviers Redemptor are dangerous recividists who defy the rightful claims of the Emperors Church and that the Genovasion 4th Equitorial are fighting the good fight.

    More seriously Tims always been a cracking opponent and he and I agree most heartily that the Fluff is frankly the point.

    • furyofmenasa
      10/26/2012 at 19:30

      Oh agreed! Especially that Captain Tan Hauser, his lot mercilessly butchered a whole company of the Menasan 57th due to his negligence in the field.

    • Tim
      10/26/2012 at 23:03

      I think you will find that the Reivers are reminding the Genovasians that their duty lies with the Emperor, not the muling priests who style themselves His mouthpiece….

      • furyofmenasa
        10/26/2012 at 23:25

        It doesn’t matter, The Heralds of Desolation are returning to take their revenge on all of the Corpse God’s lackeys.

        The End Times are here, and the Imperium will fall.

  2. Ian Macintyre
    10/26/2012 at 19:51

    Him and Lieutenant Sangakarra have unfinished business. (my counts as Cpt Al’Rahem scouts officer)

  1. 11/11/2012 at 21:00
  2. 12/31/2012 at 14:23
  3. 04/22/2013 at 21:43
  4. 12/30/2013 at 21:38
  5. 05/25/2015 at 20:45

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: