Hey everyone. This is an Index Astartes article for my latest army, a group within the Space Wolves known as the Dreadwolves. I'm looking for some feedback on this, in particular the believability of what I've laid out here. I, for one, hate "special snowflakes"; a special snowflake is someone that absolutely has to feel special, usually by violating some core tenet of whatever project they are participating in. In 40k, this 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). However, I'm worried that I've stepped too far into this territory due to certain aspects of my army's background and I'd like some other people to take a look at it and tell me if I've gone too far.
Please let me know what you think.
I've spent a few hours tonight rewriting this, and I'd again appreciate feedback. I'm going to keep the old version in a spoiler, but there's a new version later on in the thread, specifically in this post
[spoiler]Index Astartes: DreadwolvesOrigins
Amongst all of the Great Companies of the Space Wolves, foremost amongst them versed in combat in the abyss of space is the Great Company of Engir Krakendoom, the Sea Wolf. The Space Marines under his command do not fear the dark vacuum that exists outside of their starships and are greatly experienced in such combat conditions, such as zero-gravity combat and exposure to the cold void of space.
Though the whole of Krakendoom's Great Company is well known for its starfaring ways, the Dreadwolves are the first amongst their peers in this aspect of war. An elite group of warriors within that Great Company, the Dreadwolves have honed their proficiency for ship-to-ship combat through many years of practice and conflict. They utilise some of the best, and oldest, equipment available to Space Marine or man in order to maintain their combat superiority amidst the lonely stars.
Their leader is a Space Marine named Magnus Blackwolf. A calm, calculating man outside of battle, Magnus leads the Dreadwolves from the forefront in combat where he is a whirlwind of rage and destruction. It was Magnus who first coined the name Dreadwolves, and his role in their founding is why he leads them to this day.
Twenty-three years after taking command of his Great Company, Engir Krakendoom and his men found themselves aboard the Space Wolf Strike Cruiser Well of Urdr, returning to Fenris after a long conflict far to the galactic north of Segmentum Obscurus. Despite looking forward to a well-earned feast in The Fang in celebration of their victories, the Well of Urdr responded immediately to a garbled planetary distress signal.
As the Strike Cruiser shifted into real space from the warp, it was immediately beset by weapons fire from a previously undetected vessel and its escorts. In an agonisingly short space of time, sustained lance fire and bombing runs by Doomfire Bombers laying in wait reduced the Well of Urdr's weapon batteries and engines to smoking slag; the ambush had been so well coordinated that the crew had barely been able to raise their void shields in order to protect themselves.
Their attacker soon revealed itself; the Doomblade was an old cruiser of the Devastation class. It lazily swung alongside the Well of Urdr, knowing that it had all the time in the world to line up the killing blow.
Refusing to be defeated without making eye contact with his enemy, Krakendoom ordered every Space Marine aboard the ship to the Thunderhawk transports and Caestus Assault Rams located within the relatively undamaged launch bays, whence they sailed across the dark void to meet their foes face-to-face and blade-to-blade in a potentially suicidal assault.
The Doomblade's crew was not expecting a boarding action; they had thought that they had crippled the Space Wolf cruiser and were in the process of picking it apart a little at a time. So overconfident in their victory were they that they didn't bother scrambling any fighter squadrons to defend themselves and their defence turrets only started spitting death at their oncoming foes during the final moments of the Space Wolves' approach. Numerous shots missed the boarding vessels and whilst a few struck home, most of the damage was superficial or was otherwise unable to halt their advance.
The Space Wolves boarded the vessel in multiple areas. Their primary target was the engine room; to capture the engine room meant that the ship's self-destruct mechanisms could not be used to deny victory. The lance batteries were the secondary target, to prevent the Well of Urdr from taking further damage in the battle.
Krakendoom and his Wolf Guard bodyguards crashed into one of their foes' launch bays and swiftly disembarked, stalking past dark Swiftdeath Fighters and silent Dreadclaw Assault Boats as they cut down anyone unlucky enough to be caught in the launch bay when they landed. Spreading out from their points of entry, the Space Wolves overran the vessel's crew in short order.
Upon reaching the bridge, Krakendoom discovered that the cowards in charge of running the ship had intentionally crippled their own vessel in order to deny the Space Wolves a prize; despite being unable to destroy their own ship, they had been able to vent atmosphere in several critical sections and sever power to others. Worse news still was an incoming transmission from the Well of Urdr; it had detected another ship entering sensor range. A Styx class heavy cruiser known only as the Hand of Death was approaching the drifting starships at a swift speed.
The boarding craft were damaged and spent and neither ship in the hands of the Space Wolves were capable of firing main weaponry. Engir turned to his most tactically minded attendant, a former Blood Claw recently inducted into his Wolf Guard in the recent campaign by the name of Magnus Blackwolf, for ideas in this seemingly hopeless situation.
Magnus pondered momentarily, before a grim look crossed his face as he recalled their landing upon the ship. Calling their surviving Rune Priests and Iron Priests to him, Magnus outlined a plan as brilliant as it was heretical. Using the surviving members of the Doomblade's crew as living sacrifices, the Priests would seek to perform an unconventional ritual to sate the bloodthirsty machine spirits of the Dreadclaw Assault Boats sitting in the launch bays, which the Space Wolves could use to lead another boarding action against this new enemy.
Krakendoom was unsure of the proposal. He knew that Logan Grimnar had openly defied the Inquisition following the events of Armageddon, and that the cold war that followed led to a costly battle over Fenris itself. It was one thing to take a stand against the Inquisition on matters of morality, but to use the artefacts of the great enemy? It seemed like a step too far towards damnation.
Magnus pointed out that the axe Morkai, blade of the Great Wolf himself, had once belonged to a champion of the ruinous powers, but that it had been reforged into a tool to push back the darkness. He admitted that the tales of the Long Fangs around the campfires telling of Dreadclaws devouring their passengers troubled him, but, aided by the Rune Priests and Iron Priests, convinced his lord that with enough spilt blood and raw flesh that the machine spirits could be convinced to transport the Space Wolves safely across the void.
In the end, Magnus's scheme was successful. Dreadclaw Assault Boats soared across the vast distance and made contact with the enemy ship before it entered weapons range of either the Well of Urdr or the Doomblade. Space Wolves disgorged from the ancient drop pods, which cut and burned their way through the Styx's hull armour, and swarmed the Chaos ship. Krakendoom's Dreadclaw took him directly to the bridge, almost as if it could sense his desire to slay the foul minions of Chaos. Krakendoom and Magnus together avenged the damage to their vessel upon a Chaos Space Marine champion and his entourage, seemingly the captain of the Hand of Death.
The Doomblade proved to have been too thoroughly crippled by its crew's efforts, and the Space Wolves were forced to destroy it lest it fall into the hands of the ruinous powers. The Hand of Death, however, was captured nearly completely intact. Upon repairing their engines, and confirming that the distress call had been a hoax, Krakendoom's Great Company returned to Fenris with a great prize.
Upon returning to their homeworld, Krakendoom realised the usefulness of keeping a cadre of Marines, trained in the use of Dreadclaw Assault Boats, and ready to board any given enemy vessel. He sanctioned Magnus to handpick a selection of his Great Company and to maintain training in the art of boarding warfare. Taking a cue from their spoils of war, Magnus named the group the Dreadwolves, after the assault boats that would bear them into battle.Homeworld
As with all Space Wolves, the Dreadwolves' homeworld is the icy death world of Fenris. However, the Dreadwolves, as do most of Krakendoom's Great Company, consider their Battle Barges and Strike Cruisers as much of a home as they do the planet of their birth. In fact many members of the Dreadwolves tend to remain aboard their starships when they return to the Fang, preferring the cramped bunks and artificial gravity to the more natural conditions found on the planet below.Combat Doctrine
The Codex Tactica Imperialis refers to certain battlefields as the 'Zone Mortalis' - the fatal ground. The contested decks of a void warship contain many limiting factors such as close confinement, limited access for attack or escape routes, as well as treacherous environments, which makes it a murderous venue for warfare. As a result of this, the Dreadwolves do not allow Blood Claws in their ranks; the future of the Chapter is far too important to allow raw recruits, keen on proving themselves in the heat of battle, to throw their lives, and gene-seed, away in the deadly arena that is the Zone Mortalis. Blood Claws are seen within the remainder of Krakendoom's Great Company, just not with the Dreadwolves.
The Dreadwolves maintain a large amount of specialised equipment to facilitate their combat capabilities, beyond the assault boats that they share their name with. A higher-than-average number of the Dreadwolves are armoured in Mk.III "Iron Armour" suits of Power Armour; the Mk.III was originally designed for ship-to-ship boarding actions with augmented frontal defences and ablative armour plates to the fore and the Dreadwolves make full use of its defensive capabilities. Tactical Dreadnought Armour is made readily available to members of the Wolf Guard attached to the Dreadwolves, and Terminator-armoured Wolf Guard-led squads of Grey Hunters are not an uncommon sight.
When assaulting a ship, sometimes the crew throws nearly insurmountable obstacles in the way. To combat this, the Dreadwolves make use of an older form of meltagun in combat. Called the fusion cutter, it uses archaic and currently unduplicatable technology that was later used in the development of Chainfists to envelop a rotating chainblade in a power field to carve into impediments in its path, whether that be barricades or sealed bulkhead doors.
Lone Wolves attached to the Dreadwolves serve a unique function within the group: that of the breacher. It is the task of a Lone Wolf to force entry into sealed and well guarded parts of enemy ships and create a beachhead for his brothers-in-arms to swarm into. It is considered the most dangerous job available in the Dreadwolves and any Space Wolf who has lost the rest of his pack relishes the chance to spend his life in this way so that his brothers may win the day. As the first into any given fight, Lone Wolves in the Dreadwolves often engage the strongest and fiercest of foes, granting them a glorious saga regardless of whether that saga ends that day or not. Lone Wolves often wear Terminator Armour and are armed with a Chainfist in order to breach adamantine bulkheads, with a Storm Shield to enable them to penetrate the enemy's defences as far as they can before they fall.
When the Dreadwolves are called to fight upon the open field of battle, their battlefield doctrine changes due to the difference in battleground. Still lacking in Blood Claws, and their jump pack-armed and bike-mounted contemporaries, the Dreadwolves mount up in a multitude of vehicles and seek to push the fight to their foes. Dreadclaw Assault Boats serve in their secondary function as a drop pod, and Caestus Assault Rams, normally used to punch through a ship's hull, serve as a delivery system for the most vicious of warriors. Though open plains and forested woodlands are not the Dreadwolves' favoured combat environment, they are still Space Wolves and they fight as well as any other.Organisation
The Dreadwolves are led by Magnus Blackwolf, a relatively young member of Krakendoom's Wolf Guard. A man seemingly at odds with himself, Magnus simultaneously walks two opposing paths. Outside of battle he is a calm and calculating man, able to formulate devastating plans of attack that utilise every resource he has at his disposal to their greatest effect. In the heat of combat, however, an animalistic rage overcomes him and the quiet tactician gives in to a berserker fury unmatched by few who have not fallen to the curse of the Wulfen.
Before taking the Test of Morkai, Magnus was an apprentice vintner and brewer in the tribe of the Black Wolf, a skill he maintains to the present day. With the years of experience only afforded him by his genetically enhanced nature, he has become a master of his art and his wares are often sought by many of his battle brothers. Every year, at the Feast of the Emperor’s Ascension, Magnus presents the High King of Fenris, Logan Grimnar himself, with a cask of his rarest and most potent brew; mead produced from the honey of the Catachan Scutellata
, insects with venom so deadly that even a Space Marine’s enhanced physiology cannot prevent death if stung by even a single one.
Leading from the front, Magnus is always the first to step foot on any enemy vessel. As he slaughters his way through the enemies of the Imperium, he inspires his followers to greater and greater deeds in the name of the All-Father, Leman Russ.
Magnus's remit within Krakendoom's Great Company enables him to pick the most suitable members for the Dreadwolves. This doesn't necessarily mean the strongest or most skilled fighters, but instead those who are most suited for fighting in the conditions that the Dreadwolves excel at. Packs with excellent teamwork score very highly in this respect as often in the narrow corridors and cramped spaces of a starship then only people you can rely on are your packmates.Beliefs
The largest deviation from traditional loyalist thinking within the Dreadwolves is the use of Dreadclaw Assault Boats. Usually, only the most radical of Inquisitors are wont to use the weapons of the enemy against themselves, but the Dreadwolves have blended their native Fenrisian beliefs with those of the Iron Priests in order to make use of these deadly armaments of war.
To a Dreadwolf, a Dreadclaw is nothing more than the largest wolf they have ever encountered and is just as dangerous. They are treated as if they were savage beasts that would tear your throat out if you turned your back on them for even a moment. They are afforded a great deal of awe and respect as they know that any of the great metal beasts could choose to devour them at any given time.
The Dreadwolves, in conjunction with the Rune Priests and Iron Priests, both of whom maintain watch on each vessel that carries Dreadclaws, utilise horrific bloodletting rituals in order to satiate the assault boats' thirst for blood, and sacrifice numerous grox to each one on a regular basis. Often, the slaughtered grox are left within the Dreadclaw and, upon returning to it, no remains are even found. Occastionally, live grox are left within the Dreadclaw, and its horrific screams can be heard throughout the entire ship.
To this day, no member of the Dreadwolves has ever gone missing whilst using a Dreadclaw Assault Boat, so the rituals used to placate them seem to work. However, Magnus is constantly wary of such a thing occurring or, worse, discovery; he fears that, should the Inquisition find out about their practices and use of seemingly heretical equipment, they would attempt to eradicate the Dreadwolves or, worse, the entire chapter. It is a weight upon his shoulders that he bears willingly.
Aboard each of the Strike Cruisers seconded to Krakendoom's Great Company, there exists an area of the ship set aside for pursuits not normally found aboard Space Marine vessels. Storage areas, normally used for training or for equipment stowage, have been converted into seemingly-natural gardens, complete with an artificial sun and climate. The leader of the Dreadwolves, Magnus, was an apprentice vintner before he became a Space Wolf, and his long years as a Space Marine have allowed him to hone his skills beyond those of mortal men. He keeps a variety of bees and other insects aboard the ships in order to produce nectars and honeys that he can distil into potent alcohols. The gardens also serve as the home and breeding grounds for the Grox herds used to pacify and maintain the Dreadclaw Assault Boats.Gene-seed
The Dreadwolves share the same gene-seed as that of the rest of their chapter, which contains all of the strengths and weakness inherent to the Canis Helix. Due to the necessity of the rituals involved in the maintenance of the Dreadclaw Assault Boats, a larger than average contingent of Wolf Priests are seconded to the Dreadwolves, so any abnormalities in their gene-seed would likely be picked up upon quickly.Battlecry
The first thing that the enemies of the Dreadwolves hear, after the thunderous crashes of assault boats impacting upon their ship's hull, is the low whisper coming from every boarder, "Wolf!" That one word gets repeated, over and over, increasing in volume with each utterance, until the entire boarding party is screaming it at the top of their lungs. As the cries reach a crescendo, the leader of the party, usually Magnus himself, breaks into a ferocious wolf howl, quickly echoed by every member under his command. As the howls suddenly cease, the enemy is left trembling in the eerie quietness as the slaughter begins.[/spoiler]