The Path to Glory - Creating a Traitor Warband

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Creating a cut-throat bunch of murderous Chaos Marines should be easy, in theory, but like so many things theory falls flat on its face the moment you want to be a little more daring than collecting Iron Warriors. Whilst it seems many Chaos Players (myself included) are quickly drawn to the shiny Traitor Legions, we must not forget there are a plethora of other Chaos factions, smaller and less renowned than the Big Nine. So, should the Ruinous Powers one day convince you to strike out alone and forge your own Warband, you could do a lot worse than listening to these pearls of wisdom.

Step 1 - Your Lord:
Begin by considering who leads your merry band of misfits. This will give a great position to start from. Is he a Black Legionnaire who has struck out alone, a mighty Daemon who seeks to carve his own empire within the Eye, or perhaps a once-loyal Captain of the Space Marines, turned to the Ruinous Powers...

Who leads your force will ultimately shape its destiny. Your Chaos Lord is not some weakling Imperial Commander; he is master of his own destiny. Your army marches by his dictate, and his alone. Your Lord bows to no-one, and your army fights to further his ambitions.

With that in mind, consider those ambitions; does he fight for wealth, or to honour the Gods? Is he alligned to one Patron, or to none of them? Is he Rebel or Traitor, Sorceror or butcher, Sadistic or honourable? These questions will shape your Lord, and so shape your Warband.

If you have been lured by the immense killiness of the Daemon Weapon, consider where such an awesome tool of the Ruinous Powers came from. A Daemon Weapon is not the sort of thing you just find lying around in a toolshed! Every one will have its own backstory; the double-headed sword Titulator may have been forged by Khorne himself, binding the soul of a Keeper of Secrets who dared to assault his stronghold before casting the blade into the void. Alternative ly, it may have been the discovery of this weapon that corrupted your Lord's soul and brought him onto the Dark Path in the first place. A Daemon Weapon is a very important tool, both in game terms and in background. Treat it as such.

While you're at it, choose a name for your Lord. Don't be afraid to add impressive titles, or even just to go for a name that sounds suitably awesome; your Lord may have been born Cecil Limpwrist, but by the Gods, he'll die as Fleshrend Spleeneater!

Step 2 - Your Chosen:
Every Warband will have a core of warriors to call its own - a Chosen entourage of the Lord's most favoured. In a small warband, these Chosen might make up the full extent of your Lord's power... though commanding two dozen Chaos Space Marines is no small feat! In a larger Warband, the Chosen might reflect the inner circle; the most battle hardened and viscious warriors your Lord can call upon.

It is wise to decide not only what your Chosen consist of in terms of numbers, equipment and skills, but where they came from. If your Lord defected from the Raven Guard Chapter, did his Chosen follow him into Damnation? Is his Sorceror some Warp-spawned creation of a Rogue Magos Biologis, or a Thousand Son who fled following the Rubric's casting? Your Chosen may also count within its number great champions of its own - warriors who serve either through loyalty to your Lord, or because he crushed them under his mighty heel.

Step 3 - Your Allies:
Now your Chosen is amassed, it's time to call in some favours. Even the mightiest Chaos Lord has to bargain and beg with certain powergroups within the Eye if he wants their strength in battle - does your Lord sign pacts with Daemons, or lure Khorne Berzerkers with the promise of blood and carnage? Perhaps some or all of your Chosen, even your entire Warband, have given themselves over to the Dark Prince, and as such others devoted to Slaneesh flock to your banner. Obliterator s are amongst the most sought-after allies within the Eye, but perhaps you would rather trade secrets of Sorcery to lure Thousand Sons, or barter for the mighty siege tanks of the Iron Warriors.

Remember that Alliances are fickle things; your Warband may discard allies like a cheap suit of Flak Armour, grinding them down in battle to spare those your Lord values, or you may create pacts that last for decades, if not centuries. These alliances can at the same time strengthen a theme within your Warband, or provide a pleasing contrast. If nothing else, it might explain why Kharn the Betrayer and his drinking buddies are running around with Lord Wartus the Pustular!

Step 4 - Your Enemies:
What's a Chaos Lord without enemies? Apparantly, very popular. I suggest you change that at once! Chaos Marines have no trouble finding enemies; if they didn't betray their Loyalist brethren, they probably unholied a few holy places running from the Eye, or testing out that newly built Defiler. If all else fails, have them scream "Death to the False Emperor!" loudly enough, and someone is bound to take offence, even if it is the Dark Apostle next door whose trying to get some sleep.

There is nothing that sets off an Evil Villain like a Hero... or another Evil Villain competing for Turf! In all likelihood, your Nemesis can tie in with your Warband's goals; if you seek nothing but mindless slaughter, perhaps you despise the only living soul ever to best your forces in battle - a large Ork Warboss whose more than happy for a rematch! If you lust for technology, you could go for anything from a Tau Shas'O to an Iron Warrior whose tech you filched, or perhaps your meddling on a Forgeworld incurred the wrath of an Iron Hand Captain.

Whatever you pick, make sure you have a Nemesis; if you don't, all those hours rehearsing your evil monologues will be for nothing!

Step 5 - Wrap it up:
Now you've got your background, it's time to polish it off. Give 'em a name, slap on some paint, and make the galaxy burn!

To give some examples, here's a selection of Chaos Warbands currently running amock...

The Chosen of Corax:
Servants of Lord Corax, a mighty Sorceror Lord whose loyalty once belonged to the Thousand Sons, the Chosen of Corax are amongst the most elusive warbands active within the Eye and beyond. They are believed to number less than twenty, though each is a warrior worth a thousand men. They operate covertly, manipulatin g other forces or using mercenaries to fight battles on their behalf. They have an extreme hatred for the Black Legion, and seem to relish in plots that cost the Legion heavy casualties. They are also known to slaughter any who fail them without mercy.

The Daemon Brotherhood:
A subcult of the Word Bearers, the Daemon Brotherhood have given themselves over body, mind and soul to the Daemons of the Warp. As a result, they have all gone stark raving mad. In battle, they hurl themselves into the enemy unheeding of losses or opposing numbers, the very soil they stand on warping and corrupting due to the Daemonic influence that courses through their bodies. The Brotherhood is led by a mighty Lord known as The Cultfather. His body is wracked with Daemonic Energies so fierce that he can use it as a weapon to liquify tanks and slaughter entire platoons of men, yet that same power is destroying his very soul...

The Revenant:
Commanded by a renegade Librarian named Nichodemus, the Revenant are rumoured to be the souls of the dead returned to life. They are protected by etheric energies, with attacks that would kill a lesser man leaving not a mark on their armour, or passing straight through them. However, the Imperium has learned, at the cost of countless thousands of lives, that their weapons are corporeal enough.


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