+ inload: The Battle of Urba Sanctium +

+ inload: The Battle of Urba Sanctium +

I'm gearing up with some pals from The First Expedition forum to have a ruck up at the new Warhammer World in Nottingham in August. Sanction City (or Urba Sanctium) is the principal battleground of the Byblos campaign; where the Ultramarines meet the Death Guard and Word Bearers in combat. +

+ Of course, to fight a war, you need an army! For that reason, I've been painting away... +

+ A transport pool, and (in the background) Rapiers. The infantry will be the focus of this army, so I'm steering clear of lots of elites and flashy unusual tanks. +

+ Whatever happened to the Praetors of Calth? +

+ When I heard that Black Library and Forge World were releasing books that detailed the history of the Horus Heresy, I was excited and also slightly nervous about whether they'd mention the 15th Chapter; which is the one my army were based on. I picked the Chapter because I assumed it'd never be detailed or touched on, giving me freedom to do what I liked in terms of history, markings and personalities. +

+ On reading Tempest (the big book about the atrocity of Calth), I found there are indeed a few mentions of the 15th. Fortunately for me, they're fairly vague and – happily for me – fit in rather nicely with the story I'd built up over the years. +

+ The section entitled 'The Calth Muster' states that the 15th were:
[D]eployed to Calth after seeing heavy combat in the Eastern Fringe, all at a nominal strength of at least 6,000 Legionaries and slated for full resupply at the munitions plants of Dainhold before loading for transport outsystem.
+ That's perfect for me – the Hypon conflict (the big campaign I'd made up that was set immediately prior to the 15th's recall to the Calth Muster) was implied to be in the Galactic east, and they'd certainly had a good kicking from some orks. Best of all, the Dainhold area of Calth is a heavy industrial area, which fits in nicely with the ideas that Doghouse and I have been working on in our joint blog. +

+ So, what happened to the 15th? Here are the relevant extracts: +

+ Oh dear, that doesn't sound promising for them..! Note the reference to the Satric Wilds; a throwaway line that fits in nicely with the idea I've developed for the 190th Company – training in the tundra with the supervision of a small number of veterans of the 15th Chapter. +

+ Cool – a confirmed set of 'bad guys' to build into the background of the army. +

+ So, a desperate last stand before being murdered and hung up on the walls... That rather reminds me of a very cool picture by Paul Bonner from Epic: Space Marine (1st edition): 

+ The story accompanying the original picture is of Ultramarines 'Captain Gatham' leading his men to avenge the strung-up fellas on the left of the image. They're fighting Sons of Horus in the bit of colour text that accompanies it, but the imagery is very strong and familiar – it wouldn't surprise me if this were an intentional little nod to readers of the older material. I know Doghouse and myself have both taken a lot of inspiration from this picture. +

+ While you might think I'd be upset (in a rather nerdy way!) that the 15th get killed, I'm actually really pleased. This is for two reasons: Firstly, Forge World always seem to be careful to provide evocative hints rather than outright statements, and the limitations this provides are actually very useful for guidance when structuring your force, as I'll illustrate below. Secondly, it's relieving to have an 'ending' to a six year wait. The fact that 'my' army, which has been built up for year, gets wiped out in a few curt sentences is just what I want to see from the Horus Heresy. One of me favourite 40k quotes is 'For every battle honour, a thousand heroes die alone, unsung and unremembered.' I can think of few quotes that sum up the pathos and misery of the galaxy in this universe. It really helps to hit home that not everyone gets to be the defiant hero, and that makes the misery and horror of 40k much more effective to me. +

+ So a (fittingly) hopeless, miserable death rather than a heroic victory against the odds – but where do I go from there? Well, I've already established that the 190th Company are training under veterans of the 15th, so in my own background, a few of the Praetors of Calth will live on (and probably be seeking some vengeance). This also has the potential for feeding into new background for the 190th – fresh recruits led by vengeful veterans into the horrors of galactic civil war... How will that shape them? The book has also provided named places such as the Satric Wilds and Dainhold – perfect to shape a story around, and vague enough that I can quite happily build them into the tundra area in which I've said the 190th are training. +

+ As another example, there's a reference to the 15th in the colour plate section, where a legionary is mentioned as Honour Guard to a Captain Teutona (who then promptly dies in the accompanying colour text). I think I might have to have a go at building a Captain Teutona – that way, when he dies on the table, we'll have done an historical refight. +

+ However, note that this adds to the potential background of the army, rather than limiting me. For example, we know that Teutona was a Captain of the 15th, but there's also mention of Line Captains and Company Captains – so if I wish to, I can keep my own character (Captain Mercian) as the overall leader, or adapt him to become a subordinate. If Teutona dies, who succeeds? Who proceeded him, and what happened to that guy – killed, or promoted/demoted away? That's just a very minor example of how the 'canon' of the background can be used for creative purposes instead of bemoaning apparent changes or retcons. +

+ All the material GW publishes is intentionally left open in this way – Everything you have been told is a lie – so the additional information can only add texture to whatever story I (or you) want to make up. I think that's fantastic. +

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting lore, hope to see the tanks finished ^^ I love the Ultramar Praetorians, and Ultramarine's historic in general.
    Great work man !


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