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Messages - Masked Thespian

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1
News, Rumours and Trading / Re: New 40k FAQs released today!
« on: January 22, 2017, 09:56:41 PM »
See, I think the difference is you're interpreting the rules given, I'm taking them at face value.
If we trim out the unrelated parts, the FAQ says
"Q: Can Kill Team combinations take a Dedicated Transport within the limitations dictated by the types of models in the squad?
A: No."

I'm taking them at face value, too.  The problem comes from the fact that the way the question is worded means that both of our interpretations are potentially correct.  Both of us are able to make our arguments simply by removing words from the FAQ entry and not adding any in.

My interpretation of that FAQ entry has two pieces of evidence behind it: Veterans do have a Dedicated Transport entry implying they can bring it along when bought as part of a Kill Team, and each Kill Team entry specifies that the 10 model limit excludes Dedicated Transports, implying that Dedicated Transports taken as part of a Veterans squad can be taken.  That's two pieces of evidence in favour of my interpretation and I can't see any in support of yours.


Lastly, I really don't think the problem is with internal consistency vs. Consistency with other codices. This isn't the same as having two different versions of Storm Shields or two varieties of Inquisitor in two different books. The Beacon Angelis was a unique piece of wargear with unique rules - There was no reason it had to be consistent with other similar gear, because it wasn't that gear. There was a precedent for the Beacon to work immediately, too, because other wargear from different books works in the same way.
It's just a pretty big nerf to a codex that was already middle-of-the-road.

There's just one problem with this:

There was no reason it had to be consistent with other similar gear, because it wasn't that gear.

There was a precedent for the Beacon to work immediately, too, because other wargear from different books works in the same way.

These two lines are directly contradictory.  Saying that it doesn't have to be consistent with other gear, then saying that there is precedent due to items from other books is a contradiction.  I agree that the Beacon Angelis has unique rules, but just because another piece of wargear from another book works in a superior way, that doesn't mean the Beacon gets to act in that similar, superior manner.

2
News, Rumours and Trading / Re: New 40k FAQs released today!
« on: January 22, 2017, 04:14:05 PM »
"Q: It’s not specifically stated that anything other than Veterans can take a Dedicated Transport. The assumption is that all Kill Team combinations,Terminator units, etc. can take a Dedicated Transport within the limitations dictated by the types of model in the squad. Is this correct?
A: No, but you can select Transports as Fast Attack
options, for example, if you like."

So no, you can't take transports for Kill Teams.

I don't think you're parsing the question right here.  I'm reading it as:

"Q: It’s not specifically stated that anything other than Veterans can take a Dedicated Transport. The assumption is that Terminator units can take a Dedicated Transport within the limitations dictated by the types of model in the squad. Is this correct?
A: No, but you can select Transports as Fast Attack options, for example, if you like."


The question here is asking if Terminators, who don't otherwise have a Dedicated Transport entry, can take a Dedicated Transport.  They can't.

All Kill Teams, on the other hand, MUST include a Veteran squad, which gets access to a Dedicated Transport as part of its unit entry, therefore the Kill Team which they then become a part of has that Transport (subject to the other limitations that the FAQ brings up).


I can *sort of* see your point with the Boltgun/Shotgun, but if that's the case, why is Boltgun/Special Weapon and Combi-Weapon/Shotgun still legal?

Because it's clear that GW doesn't understand the intent behind the question.  The question was asked with the intent being, "We've found this loophole that, amongst other things, allows you to take a Bolter and a Shotgun.  Are all versions of this loophole intended?" and the question answered was, "Can you take a Bolter and a Shotgun?"

I feel that it's clear that this is a loophole that was clearly unintended, yet exists due to the way the Codex is written.  The fact that GW have ruled that Bolter/Shotgun isn't allowed implies that Bolter/anything else isn't allowed either, but I'm sure there will be rules lawyers out there who will argue the toss.


As for the Beacon Angelis, I also wouldn't mind, except that it uses the same wording as the Icon of Chaos, and the Icon of Chaos is actually allowed to work on the turn that it arrives.

Games Workshop have never been consistent with how things work between different Codexes.  Back in 4th Edition it was possible to have three different Storm Shields on the tabletop that each had a different ruleset: the 4th Edition Dark Angels Storm Shield rules were different from the 4th Edition Space Marine Storm Shield, and both were different from the 3rd Edition Daemonhunters Storm Shield (that carried over into 4th Edition).

A Codex is designed as a single entity with a particular mindset in mind.  GW has proven over the past 21 years that they will not errata things to match other Codexes for the sake of having a unified ruleset, rather preferring that each individual Codex is as close to the initial intended mindset instead.

3
News, Rumours and Trading / Re: New 40k FAQs released today!
« on: January 22, 2017, 12:46:15 PM »
A few things are a little bit game-changing. Deathwatch has been kicked in the teeth, by disallowing the Shotgun/Boltgun combo, nerfing the Beacon Angelis, and disallowing Dedicated Transports for units in formations. It's really frustrating, considering I spent a lot of time modeling my DW Vets with that weapon loadout.

Here's the thing, though.  I've spent an awful lot of money on the recent Deathwatch release and I'm not disappointed by the FAQ in the slightest.  I never thought that the Shotgun/Boltgun combo was supposed to be legal, nor that the Beacon Angelis should be allowed to be used in the way that has now been disallowed.

Dedicated Transports aren't disallowed for units in formations, so I'm not sure where you're getting that from; there are only two entries in the FAQ that discuss Transports: The first of which states that unit entries without Dedicated Transport entries can't take Dedicated Transports (which makes perfect sense), and the second of which states that Kill Teams that feature Terminators can't take a Rhino or Razorback Dedicated Transport and Kill Teams that feature Bikers and/or Vanguard Veterans can't take Rhinos, Razorbacks, or Drop Pods as Dedicated Transports (which also makes perfect sense).

About the only entries that took me off-guard were that you can now give a Deathwatch Watch Captain in Terminator Armour a Storm Shield, which was something I assumed was not an option due to the way the unit entry was written, and that Watch Captains and Librarians in Terminator Armour with Combi-weapons get Special-Issue Ammunition, but since they both give me extra options (and pretty decent ones at that) I'm not unhappy in the slightest.  I guess I am a little bit disappointed that the Deathwatch can't use the Imperial Space Marine or the Warhammer World exclusive tanks, but seeing as I wasn't ever going to paint my ISM up in Deathwatch colours, and don't yet own the WW exclusive tanks, it's not a terrible loss.

I'm actually very happy with the FAQ, especially as it's provided clarity on the Thief of Secrets (which is something I've been eager to try out) and that I no longer have to maintain my stance that certain things are supposed to work in a certain way, because the FAQ has ruled that they do work in that way.


P.S.  Best thing ever is putting ALL of them into one zip file.  My mouse finger thanks you.

Agreed.

4
News, Rumours and Trading / New 40k FAQs released today!
« on: January 20, 2017, 08:49:32 PM »
FAQs for the core rulebook and all Codexes have been released/updated today, over at the Warhammer Community website.

5
Fluff and Stories / Re: Index Astartes: Fort Excalibris
« on: December 30, 2016, 11:32:37 PM »
As mentioned above, I've incorporated that information about Watch Master Feron into Arcturus's background.  I've also fleshed out out Magnus's and Ambrosius's backgrounds a little more too (since I like having equal paragraphs of information about each).  I've added the following paragraphs:



He (Arcturus) succeeded his predecessor, Watch Master Feron, when the latter was slaughtered by a dozen Genestealers on the planet of Cagalian IX in retaliation for slaying their Patriarch in single combat, his death buying time to allow the troops under his command to be extracted safely.  Upon receiving word of these events, Arcturus immediately led his Watch Company of Deathwatch Marines to cleanse the planet of alien filth before receiving his new title and responsibilities.


In battle Magnus often wears an ancient suit of MkIII “Iron Armour”.  Originally designed for the brutal close-ranged firefights found in boarding actions, it is all but proof against attacks that could otherwise penetrate the vulnerable spots of inferior types of armour.


Ambrosius is constantly surrounded by a cloud of exotically-scented smoke, which he claims aids his concentration when manifesting his psychic powers.  In actuality, he is surrounded by the leavings of the fat, stubby lho-sticks that he chain-smokes constantly.

6
Project Logs / Re: MT's Project Log (currently: Deathwatch)
« on: December 30, 2016, 11:29:25 PM »
I've not really done anything over the last two months.  Missing my target deadlines really demoralised me and I've not had the heart to pick up my paintbrushes since the end of October.  I'll try and get more done, and especially to try and finish off the 15 models I've already gotten half-painted.

I have, however, written a little extra for the background.  I've added the following three paragraphs to my Index Astartes article, fleshing out the three named characters a little more, including incorporating information from October's White Dwarf battle report into Arcturus's background.



He (Arcturus) succeeded his predecessor, Watch Master Feron, when the latter was slaughtered by a dozen Genestealers on the planet of Cagalian IX in retaliation for slaying their Patriarch in single combat, his death buying time to allow the troops under his command to be extracted safely.  Upon receiving word of these events, Arcturis immediately led his Watch Company of Deathwatch Marines to cleanse the planet of alien filth before receiving his new title and responsibilities.


In battle Magnus often wears an ancient suit of MkIII “Iron Armour”.  Originally designed for the brutal close-ranged firefights found in boarding actions, it is all but proof against attacks that could otherwise penetrate the vulnerable spots of inferior types of armour.


Ambrosius is constantly surrounded by a cloud of exotically-scented smoke, which he claims aids his concentration when manifesting his psychic powers.  In actuality, he is surrounded by the leavings of the fat, stubby lho-sticks that he chain-smokes constantly.

7
The Baron's back!   ;D

Looking forward to seeing where this goes...   ;D

8
Project Logs / Re: MT's Project Log (currently: Deathwatch)
« on: October 17, 2016, 11:13:09 AM »
Things really got away from me last month.  I didn't manage to get any models painted, but I accepted that and continued.  I didn't continue very fast as I've taken the first half of this month off (partially due to attending a Magic the Gathering Grand Prix last weekend, which took up a significant amount of time, but I've been catching up for my absence).

I've finished modelling my first 15 models and will be undercoating them today with the intention of starting to paint them from tomorrow.



You've seen most of these before in this thread, but I do have some new things.  I've used some of my old GW basing kit that I purchased many years ago.  I intend to use the technical paints for my bases (specifically Blackfire Earth) but I've used the slate pieces and resin pieces from the basing kit for a little extra detail and have glued the gravel to the bases already to hide the plasticard I've used to boost the models higher on the base so they don't appear to "sink" into the basing material.



These are the magnetised arms and weapons.  My two Combi-weapon-armed Veterans can have either Plasma Guns or Meltaguns, my two Bikers can have any two Power Weapons out of a Power Sword, a Power Maul, and a Power Axe, my "heavy" weapon Veterans can each have either a Frag Cannon or an Infernus Heavy Bolter, and my Watch Sergeant can have any of the aforementioned Power Weapons or a Power Fist or a Boltgun.

I've deliberately chosen to model my Bikers and Watch Sergeant with the magnet in the left shoulder so that I can swap weapons easily enough (plus I have plenty of Deathwatch "Chapter" shoulder pads so I can spare them for the extra arms).  I intend to model a left-handed Power Lance, Auspex, and Xenophase Blade at some point, but this is all I've gotten done so far.



Here are my five Bikers all together.  They're mostly as you've seen before but the "Black Shield" has had a lot of green stuff work done, mostly filling gaps but also sculpting two Purity Seals on the right shoulder pad since the plastic ones broke off when I tried to bend them backwards so they looked like they were flapping in the wind.



Here are the two "weapon" Bikers, each holding a weapon they can be armed with.



Here are the ten Veterans, all together for the first time.  It took me a while because I had to wait for my local store to finally get a pin vice in so that I could drill the holes to magnetise the Watch Sergeant, the Combi-Weapons, and the "heavy weapon" Veterans.



This guy was originally going to have a Boltgun and Chainsword, but I was starting to run out of time last month so I decided to drop the Chainsword and just have him reloading, using the "Stalker Bolter" left arm and removing the clip from the Bolter.





I trimmed a piece of plasticard into a square "C" shape before gluing it to where I trimmed the clip off of the Bolter.







Here are the two Combi-weapon-armed Veterans and, as can be seen, they can each have Combi-Meltas or Combi-Plasmas.







And here are the two "heavy weapon" Veterans, who can each have a Frag Cannon or an Infernus Heavy Bolter.



Finally, here's my Watch Sergeant with all of his possible, current, weapon options.  The Boltgun is the current, default option as I don't expect to arm my Watch Sergeants with much equipment outside of specialised squads, but having the option is nice.

So, from here I'm going to try and paint these models over the course of the next two weeks.  I reckon that I should be able to do that.

9
Non-GW Games / Re: Planeswalker Libraries [Magic, the Gathering]
« on: October 13, 2016, 01:27:20 PM »
So last weekend I went to GP London.  We only really get 2 Grands Prix a year in the UK, with GP Manchester back in May being Constructed Standard and this one being Limited Kaladesh.

I had an absolutely fantastic time. I only went 2-3-1 in the main event before I dropped but I did a lot of side events, including three Chaos Drafts and all three Conspiracy 2 drafts (Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 6pm).

My best moment of the weekend happened during the main event itself. It was game 2 of match 1 and I'd won the first round. The battlefield was clogged up with a whole bunch of creatures on the ground, so neither of us could attack. I'd cast a Cloudblazer a couple of turns earlier so I was starting to break the deadlock, and I also had a Torrential Gearhulk that I'd Flashed in a few turns before that to eat an attacker. My opponent cast Revoke Privilege on the Cloudblazer to stop it from attacking. In his End Step I cast the Acrobatic Maneuver that I'd sideboarded in for game 2, targeting the Gearhulk. I flickered the Gearhulk, drew a card off of the Acrobatic Maneuver, and put it into the Graveyard. I put the Gearhulk's ETB trigger onto the stack, targeting the now-in-Graveyard Acrobatic Maneuver, and cast it (without paying its mana cost) targeting the Cloudblazer. The Cloudblazer went to exile, the opponent's Revoke Privilege went to his Graveyard, then the Cloudblazer returned to the battlefield. I drew another card off of the Acrobatic Maneuver and exiled it. Then, I put the Cloudblazer's ETB trigger onto the stack and resolved it. When all was said and done, I'd drawn 4 cards, gained 2 life, and blanked one of my opponent's best pieces of removal for the cost of 2W and a card. My neighbour said, "I have no idea what you're doing, but I like the sound of it." Upon telling the story to a friend later in the day, he said, "I didn't realise they'd reprinted Sphinx's Revelation in Kaladesh." This was the best value play that I've ever made, and I doubt I'll ever get to make a play with as much value ever again.

In terms of what I came away from the event with, here's my haul.



The box of Conspiracy and the 8 packs of Kaladesh were what I got off of the Prize Wall or traded for using the proceeds of my Prize Wall winnings, whilst I bought the Cardboard Crack 6-book set myself, and the deckbox and the sleeves were as part of the event entry. I seem to have missed out on taking a photo of the GP playmat, but you can see that here if you'd like.

In terms of the big block of cards at the bottom of the screen, I've taken a few more photos of them.



Here are my pulls from my Chaos Drafts, with the Caustic Hound, Vines of Vastwood, Vedalken Archmage, and Eye of Ugin all in foil (and the Grim Reminder being what I was passed as the final pick on a pack at one point); the Fire-Lit Thicket is my first ever "filter" land that I've ever pulled or even owned, so that made me pretty happy.



Here are my pulls from my three Conspiracy 2 drafts, with the Bronze Sable (along with its two non-foil brothers all having Firebreathing from Incendiary Dissent and "Deal combat damage to a player, pay U to draw a card" from Hired Heist), Goblin Tunneler, Opaline Unicorn, Kiln Fiend, and Gang of Devils all in foil; the Sovereign's Realm was my pack-1-pick-1 in the Friday night draft, and I proceeded to draft Removal.dek including three Garbage Fires on 3, 4, and 7 (all in pack 2) but the Duskmantle Seer ended up being my downfall (as I was on 6 life and revealed my only 6-drop, the Harvester of Souls).



Here's the event promo which I'm quite pleased to finally get a copy of.



And finally, here are my Kaladesh pulls across the whole weekend, with the Fairgrounds Trumpeter, Armorcraft Judge, Fortuitous Find, and Plains all being foil.



Why, yes, that is a Masterpiece Chromatic Lantern, that I actually got in my main event pool (and as it's the first ever Expedition or Masterpiece I've ever pulled, I'm extremely happy with it).

Overall I had a great time.  Anyone who's never been to a GP before should try it as, at the worst, it's like a Magic convention (similar to a GW Games Day) where you can talk about, and play, Magic with loads of people you've never met before.

10
Fluff and Stories / Re: Index Astartes: Fort Excalibris
« on: October 06, 2016, 10:51:17 AM »
It's been pointed out to me that Watch Master Feron in the October White Dwarf battle report is supposedly from Fort Excalibris.  At some point I'm going to include him in my background as being the former Watch Master before Arcturus, but mostly as a footnote/nod towards that battle report.

Also, since I've mentioned it on the Bolter and Chainsword, it would be lax of me to not point out that "Arcturus" is the Latin form of "Arthur" making him one of my five Arthurian legend references...   ;D

11
Project Logs / Re: MT's Project Log (currently: Deathwatch)
« on: September 27, 2016, 11:46:20 AM »
Some excellent conversions! I especially like the "Black Shield" Biker :D

Do your Vets only need four members or have you not finished the Sergeant character yet?

Thank you   :)

The Veterans do need 5 minimum, though I've got 10 in total on the work bench (in the little plastic trays you can see in the background of the first photo).  I've yet to finish one more with a Boltgun, two with Combi-Bolter and Chainsword, two with Frag Cannon/Infernus Heavy Bolter (magnetised), and the Watch Sergeant with a Storm Shield and a magnetised left arm like the Biker Black Shield.

Very nice. My personal favourite would probably be the thunder hammer vet, but they are all very well done.

I was extremely happy with how the Thunder Hammer Vet came out.  At this point he's probably my favourite too   ;D

12
Project Logs / Re: MT's Project Log (currently: Deathwatch)
« on: September 27, 2016, 01:30:04 AM »
I've been puttering on, though I took the weekend off to go to a number of Magic prereleases at my local gaming store.  Had a jolly good time there, too.

So far, out of my 15 initial models, I've managed to assembled 8 of them: 4 Bikers and 4 Veterans.  I'm a little disappointed at that number, as I'd hoped to have all 15 done by now so I could get started on painting them, but I'm okay with them as they are.  My local store is still out of pin vices, so I've not been able to drill any Bolter barrels out yet, nor drill holes for magnets.



Here are my four Bikers.  Let's take a look at them up close.



This guy's just a regular Biker.







This guy's a member of the Dark Angels Ravenwing.  I used as many Dark Angels bits on him to make him stand out, even customising the shoulder pad with a small Ravenwing emblem (since the existing Ravenwing shoulder pads have the emblem facing the other direction).  That pad's since had a little green stuff used so there aren't any gaps underneath the emblem.





This guy's a White Scar and is modelled as if he's in the process of riding through the enemy ranks and is swinging his Chainsword through them.  I'm going to see about modelling an arc of blood trailing from the front edge of the Chainsword and using Blood for the Blood God technical paint to make it look pretty gory.









This guy...  he's something of a mystery.  He's a Black Shield, a Space Marine whose Chapter we don't know and whose Chapter Badge has been removed from his armour and the shoulder pad painted black.  He rides an ancient type of Space Marine bike, one rarely seen in the 41st Millennium (it's a 1st Edition bike, in the old Lead compound, that I bought alongside 7 others and 2 Attack Bikes back in 2nd Edition, well before the plastic Biker kit was released) and wears an older mark of Power Armour.  He currently doesn't have a left arm because I'm going to put a magnet in his shoulder socket and magnetise various close combat weapon arms (a Power Sword, a Power Axe, a Power Maul, and I'm going to try and convert up a Power Lance) for both him to use as well as for the final member of the Biker squad to use.

Bikers can't take Black Shields in the Codex, so he's there for background and flavour, and the model won't benefit from the Black Shield's usual rules or improved stat line.  This is subtly shown by the fact that he's wearing a helmet (albeit under a hood) as I intend to only give my models with the Character rule (Watch Masters, Watch Captains, Chaplains, Librarians, Watch Sergeants, and actual (in rules terms) Black Shields) bare heads.

As an aside, in a previous post I mentioned that I'd managed to find everything that I wanted, other than a single item; the 1st Edition bike was the one item I didn't manage to find, but I did find it on a later search, as I'd been planning this conversion for a little while.



He carries a mysterious sword across his back.  I haven't yet decided whether, in his background, he's never drawn it or whether he has (the former sounding a little too much like Cypher for my liking).  In actuality, the sword is there because I messed up melting his cloak with heat and it's bent in the wrong place, so the sword is there to make it look like the cloak is straining against the sword's weight in the wind.  I intend to paint a little golden chain up the cloak to behind the backpack, so it looks like it's secured.





I constructed the legs for this Biker from the crouching legs in the Command Squad box.  The groin and right leg are pretty much used as they came, but the left leg needed repositioning, a new foot constructing, and a little green stuffing (such as the ribbing at the thigh and filling in gaps where the foot meets the greave).

I kind of like the position of his legs as it's very different to those of the plastic Biker kits.  The pose makes it look almost like he's riding a Harley Davidson.



Here are my Veterans.





The Heavy Thunder Hammer Veteran is made up entirely from the regular Deathwatch Veterans kit, with the exception of the legs which are from the Vanguard Veteran sprue.  I think it's a really cool pose and I definitely wouldn't like to see him charging right at me on the battlefield.



Just a regular Deathwatch Veteran, with Bolter and Chainsword.



Likewise, though this one's a little more active in his pose.  In both cases I've taken a Power Sword arm and chopped it off at the wrist, attaching a Chainsword and hand from the Assault Marine sprue so that I keep the nice little "elbow shield" that Deathwatch left arms come with.



This guy was tricky to do.  He's got a pair of matched arms from the Tactical Marine sprue but I chopped the right arm off after the elbow guard and replaced it with a forearm from the Deathwatch sprue (including the bio-monitor and nice-looking Bolter).  I had to add some green stuff (which you can't see here) as it was a little shorter than I'd have liked.  I also had to remove the cable in the process but will be replacing it with a green stuff one once my pin vice comes in.  I also want to add one of the Deathwatch "elbow shields" to the left arm, as well as obviously drill out the Bolter.

That's all I've got for the moment.  Hopefully I'll have this lot done by the weekend (including all the drilling I need to do) so will probably update with more pictures then.

13
Fluff and Stories / Re: Index Astartes: Fort Excalibris
« on: September 20, 2016, 01:30:12 PM »
A highly enjoyable read. My Tech Priests hereby pledge their support to Fort Excalibris, although Raikan is pretty much on the other side of the galaxy.

I think it looks pretty believable, from what I know of Deathwatch and AdMech fluff. I certainly couldn't see anything that would constitute a "special snowflake". Sadly, I also couldn't spot the Star Trek/Arthurian references.

Much appreciated   :)

The references are subtle, so if you didn't get them that's all right.  I'm just glad someone's reading my work.


I get the impression I may have to read the new Deathwatch Codex. I struggle to imagine Deathwatch operating as anything more than a lone squad, nevermind a multi-Company force with tank support.

Knowing what I know of you, Wargamer, I get the feeling that you wouldn't be too happy with it.  It doesn't really go into much detail about how they operate on a larger basis (other than, "They deploy and kick alien butt!") and there are other aspects that I know will likely tick you off, such as, "We have Puritan ideals, yet gladly use alien technology against them," "Of all the things we could have stolen from aliens and refitted for Imperial use, Necron Warscythes were the easiest ones to do (and are the only one in our armoury)," and "Oh, look at us Black Shields, we're so mysterious and edgy and TOTALLY not ripping off the Dark Angels' Fallen or anything."

14
Project Logs / Re: MT's Project Log (currently: Deathwatch)
« on: September 19, 2016, 01:24:44 PM »
No modelling updates of late.  I can't find my pin vice and my local store is out of them for the moment, so my progress has ground to a halt; I need to drill out bolters and pin some arms before I can continue further.

I have, however, completed the first version of my army's background.  It can be found here.

15
Fluff and Stories / Index Astartes: Fort Excalibris
« on: September 19, 2016, 01:24:04 PM »
Hey everyone.  I present to you all an Index Astartes article I've written for my army: members of the Deathwatch Watch Fortress Fort Excalibris.  I'm looking for some feedback on this, in particular the believability of what I've laid out here.  In the past I've mentioned that I dislike "special snowflakes" (being someone that absolutely has to feel special, usually by violating some core tenet of whatever project they are participating in) and that continues to this day.  In 40k, being a special snowflake tends to manifest itself in things like, "Oh, he's the only Grey Knight who's ever turned to Chaos" (despite background stating that NO Grey Knight has ever turned to Chaos).  I'm concerned that I might have gone a little too far in some of the things I've described here so I'd like some other people to take a look at it and tell me if that's the case.  I'm also a little...  I guess "scared" is the term, seeing as I've taken two actual GW places/Chapters and given them a history of my own (Fort Excalibris and the Imperial Stars).

Please let me know what you think.

=====

Index Astartes: Fort Excalibris

Origins

The facility that would eventually become Fort Excalibris was founded in the 34th Millennium as a joint venture between the alien-hunting branch of the Inquisition, the Ordo Xenos, and the Adeptus Mechanicus to capture and study the tools of the alien.  The Ordo Xenos provided a complement of Deathwatch Kill Teams to investigate alien activity and retrieve xeno-artefacts whilst the Adeptus Mechanicus pledged a cadre of Tech Priests and their servants to study anything captured, as well as the space station Er Kontor that would be their base of operations.  Non-military members of the Ordo Xenos would oversee the running of the facility and provide additional aid to help the Adeptus Mechanicus in their research.

Less than a century after the establishing of Er Kontor, the Fabricator-General of the relatively-nearby Forge world of Mezoa discovered the pro-xenos leanings of the Tech Priests doing research there and declared them Hereteks.  Unable to directly assault them for fear of reprisal from the Inquisition, Mezoa engaged in a secret cold war with the unknowing space station.

Whilst Er Kontor’s initial research was extremely promising, over time as their resources dwindled and former allies removed their support they produced fewer and fewer usable results to the point that the Ordo Xenos was prepared to scrap the project altogether.  But, on the cusp of victory, Mezoa tipped their hand and accidentally exposed their actions to the Inquisition, who were swift to take action.

Cold war exploded into open warfare.  With all pretence of subterfuge gone, the Basilikon Astra of Mezoa was despatched to blow Er Kontor out of the stars.  The Ordo Xenos responded in kind, sending a flotilla of Imperial Navy ships to defend the research facility.  The flotilla arrived just in time to intercept the Adeptus Mechanicus ships bearing down on the space station.  Massed rows of torpedoes flew across the ever-decreasing gap between the fleets before slamming into their targets in blossoms of red and yellow.  Weapons batteries on both sides blazed white hot as they spewed their fiery payload upon their enemies.  Lance fire sliced open ship hulls, exposing their innards to the void of space.

As the Imperial Navy flotilla drew closer, the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet attempted to outmanoeuvre them in the hopes of accomplishing their assignment then retreating without paying too heavy a toll in destroyed vessels.  But the ships loyal to the Inquisition managed to draw close and launched boarding actions against almost the entirety of the Mechanicus vessels.  Few of the Legiones Skitarii had been deployed to the fleet and soon their ships started to become overrun with troops of the Ordo Xenos.

In a last ditch effort to succeed in their mission the Adeptus Mechanicus’s flagship, a Retribution class battleship whose name has been lost to history, fired its final complement of torpedoes at the station before signalling the withdrawal of their fleet.  The deadly missiles closed the distance with Er Kontor, the salvo large enough to obliterate the already-damaged facility.  At the last moment, a Sword-class frigate named Excalibris flew headlong into the spread of torpedoes.  The Excalibris was utterly destroyed, ripped asunder by a full half-dozen of the plasma warheads igniting as they impacted its hull.  The remaining torpedoes continued on their path and hit Er Kontor, crippling the station as secondary explosions rippled throughout its structure.

As the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet limped home to Mezoa, it was clear that their gambit had failed.  Er Kontor, though crippled and listing in space, was still whole; the noble sacrifice of the Excalibris and her crew had saved the station from the majority of the torpedoes at the dear cost of the ship and their lives.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Inquisition censured the forge world of Mezoa.  Assuring them that the Adeptus Mechanicus personnel aboard the station had been wiped out in the explosions caused by the final torpedo impacts, the Ordo Xenos claimed the research facility as being solely theirs, renaming it Fort Excalibris in honour of the vessel that had sacrificed itself.  Mezoa gladly let the Inquisition claim the facility, knowing it was a small price to pay and that they could have been forced to repay far more.


Homeworld

As with all Deathwatch Watch Fortresses, Fort Excalibris does not recruit new Space Marines but instead draws from the best xenos killers amongst the Adeptus Astartes.

Fort Excalibris itself is a sprawling complex located in the eastern portion of Segmentum Obscuris, almost on the border with Ultima Segmentum.  The initial space station has been built upon numerous times into a multi-hulled space fortress, surrounded by innumerable minefields and other defence emplacements.

Whilst the basic goal of the venture of Fort Excalibris hasn’t changed over the millennia, the contingent of Deathwatch Kill Teams initially stationed there has evolved over time into being a fully fledged Watch Fortress.  The research portion of the facility, initially staffed by the Adeptus Mechanicus, is now fully crewed by the Ordo Xenos and their servants.

As one of the few Watch Fortresses to have a facility exclusively dedicated to xeno-tech research, Fort Excalibris has a reputation within certain circles for being at the forefront of Imperial research into alien technology.  As a result of this, Kill Teams from all over the Imperium deliver numerous pieces of xeno-tech to the experts at Fort Excalibris in the hope that some vital information can be gleaned for use in the future.

Deep within the depths of Fort Excalibris lie a great many relics and articles of war, some of which are so dangerous they cannot be used lest they annihilate all life on a planet’s surface.  The Black Vault of Fort Excalibris is one of the most diverse in the Deathwatch, allowing its castellans to be armed with the deadliest weapons known to the enemies of Man.


Combat Doctrine

As befits a research centre such as Fort Excalibris, its Kill Teams are usually armed with the best equipment available to the Deathwatch.  In some cases this means brand new, barely-post-testing weapons whilst in others this means ancient artefacts dating from before the Horus Heresy.

The Kill Teams of Fort Excalibris are well-armed and equipped to face any foe on the battlefield.  Whilst capable of making quick insertions into hostile territory, they are also fully able to wage war on a longer term basis, particularly in circumstances where xeno-tech acquisition is highly likely.  In such cases specially adapted Corvus Blackstars and Thunderhawk Gunships are used to airdrop varying forms of forward command posts including Aegis Defence Lines, Imperial Bastions, and even Skyshield Landing Pads to allow the Deathwatch to maintain a mobile front line.

The armoury of Fort Excalibris contains some of the rarest vehicles deployed by the Adeptus Astartes.  Amongst other things, the Watch Commanders of Fort Excalibris can call upon the aid of motorised behemoths such as Legion Fellblades and Typhon Heavy Siege Tanks.  The Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer is a particularly useful and oft-requisitioned vehicle, as it allows the Deathwatch the ability to take down alien Titans at long range; many such massive engines of war have been salvaged as a result of this war machine.


Organisation

Like most other Watch Fortresses of the Deathwatch, Fort Excalibris follows the standard format of a strategium staff and an armoury supporting five Watch Companies, each consisting of a Watch Captain and four Kill Teams.  Due to the nature of Fort Excalibris, historically the Watch Commander has been an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor as often as it has been a Deathwatch Watch Master.  In addition to his usual duties, the Watch Commander is also the overall head of the research and development facilities, though a Deathwatch Watch Master holding the post usually delegates that responsibility to a senior member of the Ordo Xenos.

The current Watch Commander of Fort Excalibris is Watch Master Arcturus.  Originally from the Imperial Stars, a Codex Chapter whose Astartes are all curiously named after the celestial bodies the Chapter is named for, he has dedicated himself towards the extermination of the Enemy Without through a lifetime of committed service to the Deathwatch.

He succeeded his predecessor, Watch Master Feron, when the latter was slaughtered by a dozen Genestealers on the planet of Cagalian IX in retaliation for slaying their Patriarch in single combat, his death buying time to allow the troops under his command to be extracted safely.  Upon receiving word of these events, Arcturus immediately led his Watch Company of Deathwatch Marines to cleanse the planet of alien filth before receiving his new title and responsibilities.

Arcturus eschews the traditional Guardian Spear wielded by a Marine of his station, instead taking the field with an ornate and ancient Relic Blade of great length and power.  The more superstitious members of the Deathwatch whisper rumours that suggest this Relic Blade may have once been wielded by the Emperor himself and that the merest hint of His divine essence still resides within it.

The Watch Captain of Fort Excalibris’s Watch Company Tertius is Magnus Blackwolf of the Space Wolves.  Recruited from Engir Krakendoom’s Wolf Guard for his part in masterminding and leading an attack on an Ork-infested space hulk, Magnus has served in the Deathwatch with distinction for a great number of years. 

Distrusted by many within his own Chapter due to inadvertently choosing the name of the Space Wolves’ archenemy as his own following the Test of Morkai, Magnus finds himself more at home amongst his brethren in the Deathwatch than he ever felt in The Fang, the fortress monastery of the Space Wolves.  Comfortable with using the wide variety of weapons and wargear afforded him by his station, Magnus leads his Watch Company from the front with a feral grin on his lips.

In battle Magnus often wears an ancient suit of MkIII “Iron Armour”.  Originally designed for the brutal close-ranged firefights found in boarding actions, it is all but proof against attacks that could otherwise penetrate the vulnerable spots of inferior types of armour.

The highest ranking non-Deathwatch member of the Ordo Xenos at Fort Excalibris is Inquisitor Ambrosius Grax.  An ageing puritan of the Monodominant philosophy, since being assigned to Fort Excalibris he has tempered his methodology and now freely embraces the idea of using the weapons of the alien against them.

Despite nominally having nothing but a desk job, Inquisitor Grax often assigns himself to Deathwatch Kill Teams on their expeditions to retrieve xeno-tech.  When asked why, he smirks and replies, “Rank hath its privileges.”  Requests from members of his support staff to stop doing so usually end up with said support staff temporarily reassigned to scourge the environmental duct systems of dust, debris, and vermin.

Ambrosius is constantly surrounded by a cloud of exotically-scented smoke, which he claims aids his concentration when manifesting his psychic powers.  In actuality, he is surrounded by the leavings of the fat, stubby lho-sticks that he chain-smokes constantly.

Due to Kill Teams from all over the galaxy guarding and delivering new materiel to the researchers, Fort Excalibris is often host to Astartes from other Watch Fortresses, including such famous names as Watch Captain Artemis of Talasa Prime and Ortan Cassius, Chaplain of the Ultramarines.  On rare occasions, these outsider members of the Deathwatch are conscripted into Excalibris’s Kill Teams and sent on missions by Watch Master Arcturus.  Whilst technically an abuse of power, these actions are usually excused as the experience gained by fighting alongside Deathwatch members from other Watch Fortresses is seen as extremely valuable and are often “overlooked” by those who could do something about it.


Beliefs

The establishing of Fort Excalibris as a centre of research has led to the Deathwatch Marines stationed there embracing the use of refitted xeno-weaponry readily.  Likewise the majority of their Ordo Xenos personnel have at least a slightly radical bent, as any position within the Watch Fortress is naturally attractive to individuals who would prefer to use the tools of the alien against them.

The portion of the Adeptus Mechanicus who formed the initial alliance with the Inquisition followed a set of beliefs counter to those of the majority of their associates.  Their interpretation of the Xenos Testamenta, one of the Mechanicus’s Sixteen Universal Laws, meant they believed that even though the knowledge found within alien technology had been corrupted from the pure thought of the Machine God, it could still be salvaged for the Quest for Knowledge.  As a result, Fort Excalibris has become something of a pilgrimage site for members of the Adeptus Mechanicus who follow similar pro-xenos beliefs, though those who do visit often do so in disguise so as not to be identified.


Gene-seed

Like all other Watch Fortresses across the Imperium, the Deathwatch is composed of Space Marines from a number of different Chapters, with a variety of nearly identical to little-to-no similarity in their gene-seed.

The exact composition of Fort Excalibris’s Deathwatch Marines varies over time, but currently includes members of the Ultramarines, Dark Angels, Crimson Fists, Liberators, and Howling Griffins.  There is a slightly higher than average number of Astartes from the Silver Skulls Chapter, likely due to Fort Excalibris’s proximity to their homeworld of Versavia.


Battlecry

Raising his sword towards the heavens, the leader of a given Deathwatch Kill Team or army calls out, “FOR EXCALIBRIS!” which is echoed in turn by his comrades.


Watch Fortress Icon



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Author's Notes and Trivia

The major driving force of the background was justifying certain model choices in-universe.  This includes:
  • Wanting to convert the original limited edition Emperor's Champion into my Watch Master,
  • Including a Lord of War and a Fortification choice as per one of the painting and modelling challenges on another site that I'm participating in,
  • Wanting to include the Deathwatch special characters Watch Captain Artemis, Venerable Dreadnought Nihilus, and Kill Team Cassius in my army as themselves, and,
  • Wanting to include a Puritan Inquisitor with a roguish streak.
In my first draft of this, Fort Excalibris was initially a Ramiles class star fort, but I couldn't justify why such an impressive installation wasn't considered a Primary Watch Fortress (as per pages 12 and 13 of the codex).  The incursion by the Adeptus Mechanicus was originally an attempt to explain why it wasn't a Primary Watch Fortress (due to them maintaining a long-running grudge and starving the Fort of resources and allies), but all my attempts at writing it ended up with the AdMech holding the idiot ball.  In the end, I still included the AdMech attack because I liked the inter-Imperial conflict, and I especially enjoyed writing the battle.

For anyone paying attention, there are a number of references here.  In particular, there are 5 specific references to Arthurian legend (excluding the fact that the name of the Watch Fortress is "Excalibris" (which is where I took the inspiration from) since that's what GW called it) and 1 Star Trek reference (which kind of doubles up to 2 if you look at it in the right light).  Bonus points are available for anyone who finds them all   ;)

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