So this is my first attempt at writing a full on history on one of my homebrew chapters. I apologize for any grammatical errors, or the lack of interesting facts. that said, I present to you my current pet project: the Flesh Takers!
Before The Hunger
Claiming a small number of worlds in the Barsabas System, The Black Suns Chapter of Space Marines was originally founded in response to the chaos reavers and traitor marine warbands that plagued the region. The Black Suns very quickly set to work, following codex doctrine in their efforts to break the grasp the Ruinous Powers had over the region. Though they fought bravely and with great distinction, even reclaiming a few worlds to include their Homeworld, Barsabas Primus, the Black Suns could not match the combined might of the Forces under the command of the Daemon Prince Asadrubael. Beleaguered, worn down, and without any other recourse, the Black Suns retreated to their Fortress Monastery on Barsabas, in order to plan their next, and perhaps last assault on the forces of Chaos in the region Just as they locked themselves in their war rooms to plan, However, not more than a few hours into their planning, a Warpstorm engulfed Barsabas Primus, and a massive fleet of Chaos Ships appeared in orbit of Barsabas, completely annihilating the Chapter’s Strike Cruisers and Battle barges before disgorging a truly numberless host of Cultists, Mutants, Daemons, and the hated traitor Marines of the Broken Sword Warband. Led by none other than Asadrubael himself, Chaos Army laid siege to Barsabas, burning and corrupting all that they could. The only bastion of sanity in the sea of blood and madness that had become Barsabas was the Fortress Monastery of the Black Suns, who held off repeated assaults on their position.
The hardiness of Space Marines is legendary, and for what seemed an eternity of near constant battle on their homeworld, the Black suns held out, stretching their supplies as best they could. However, even the Emperor’s angels of death must eat eventually, and at long last, the Black Suns ran out of provisions. Though they continued to fight with all their strength and heart, faith and Hatred can only sustain a body for so long, and the chapter master of the black suns, Geryon Malefecarus, knew his chapter’s days were numbered if they could not find something to eat. It was during a pitched battle when Master Geryon was struck down by a heretic’s blade that Geryon bitterly came to find an answer to his brothers’ dilemma. As the Chapter master was carried into the fortress monastery to be treated for his grave wounds, he grabbed his chief librarian, Malchus, by his tabard, and with his dying breath, ordered for his life to be ended, so that his flesh may serve as nourishment to the gaunt and withered soldiers around him. Though Malchus knew what a blow it would be to the Black Suns as a chapter to have their Master die in their greatest moment of darkness, He also knew what the outcome of this doomed battle would be if the Black Suns did not get something to eat. Heavy hearted, Malchus raised his Force Sword, and ended his Master’s life.
Deliverance found in Flesh
In a forlorn ceremony, a deeply saddened Malchus explained to the assembled black suns what the Chapter Master wanted done with his body. Though many balked at the very thought of eating one of their own, their chapter master no less, the Chapter as a whole silently gave thanks for a chance at a meal, any meal, No matter what it was. Proceeding in a line, Malchus gave each present a bit of the Master’s flesh.
It was a miracle. Through an act of the Emperor himself, the Black Suns were all fed, and each was satisfied. As a Chapter, they received a vision of the enemy and their plans, as well as what they must do in order to turn back the tide of chaos that washed over their planet. It would not be easy, and it was not honorable, but it had to be done.
They struck at night, killing hundreds of cultists and mutants, and taking hundreds more captive. The Black Suns retreated to their fortress monastery before first light, and the following day was filled with the screams of those captured, and the unmistakable smell of roasted flesh. The following night, the Black Suns struck again, this time wearing the cured and tanned flesh of their victims as grisly trophies and mementos. Once again, hundreds were butchered, and once again, hundreds were dragged kicking and screaming to the fortress monastery. This continued on for ninety-nine nights, and the Chaos forces on the planet grew fearful, as each cultist, pirate and mutant wondered whether he would be taken next, when night fell. Many warbands and cults quit the field, fleeing to their ships, more willing to risk the wrath of Asadrubael than the predations of the Black Suns. Asadrubael railed against their cowardice, and launched assault after assault on the Fortress Monastery of the Black Suns. The Suns continued to weather the storm with ease, fighting with strength greater than what they had when this siege had first begun. Then, on the Hundredth day, on the anniversary of Chapter Master Geryon Malleficarus’ death, the gates of the Fortress opened, and the Black suns rode forth, much to the glee of Asadrubael. His joy was short lived, however, when he saw the forces arrayed before him.
Warriors Clad in Flesh and Bedecked in Blood
Gone was the livery of Black and Gold that Asadrubael had become accustomed to seeing on his favored foe. Gone were the battered soldiers bearing worn or broken arms against Asadrubael’s Chaos Host. Gone were the tired Space Marines who were such easy pickings for his soldiers. In their place stood grim Astartes bedecked in Gold and Scarlet, their sword arms left black as if in mocking tribute to what they had been. They wore the flayed flesh of their enemies as grotesque trophies. Though many still bore their original armaments, many more bore the butcher’s tools, carrying cleavers and heavy carving knives. At their Forefront stood Malchus, the Chapter Librarian, his face stained red with blood of his victims, his force sword replaced with a vicious looking two-handed cleaver. The voices of these unrecognizable Marines rang out in guttural roars, their voices conveying wrath, vengeance, and a hunger for the flesh of the dead. For the first time in a very, very long time, Asadrubael knew fear.
The battle was a rout. Hundreds of thousands of Cultists fell under the blades and bolters of these Marines. Asadrubael himself fell under the psychic and physical wrath of Chief Librarian Malchus. Those Forces who did not flee for their ships and the safety of the warp were hunted down and taken away to the blood slicked halls of the Fortress Monastery, whom the surviving indigenous population would one day come to call the Citadel of Hunger.
Access to the Barsabas System was blocked by Warp Storms for one-thousand years. If the tales of the local populace is to be believed, the Black Suns brought the surviving populations from planets across the system to repopulate Barsabas Primus, and not once was there a warp incursion, so great was the Warp’s fear of the beings that protected the System. When at last an expeditionary party of Space marines from the Blood Angels gained access to the planet, they greeted their lost brothers, hailing the Black Suns for their unchallenged loyalty to the Emperor, and their unflagging strength in the face of the enemy. The Crimson Clad brothers looked at the Blood Angels, and did not respond. When addressed again as Black Suns, an unnamed Astartes looked at the Captain of the Blood Angels and said:
“The Black Suns Died one Thousand Years Ago, at During the Time of Hunger. We are what came from their deaths. We are the Devourers.”
Nightmares Of Barsabas
The Devourers today are still noted for their Barbarism and disturbing habit of taking the bodies of their foes for purposes known only to those within the chapter. They are often seen wearing the flayed skins of their kills, positioning them in such a way that their foes can clearly see what the Devourers wear. Rumors abound about grisly feasts held in their halls, where they dine upon the flesh of their enemies, the meat provided from the day’s battle. The Devourers do not tolerate such talk, claiming their reliance on Corpse Starch a matter of pragmatism, not preference. That their initiates are not only forced, but encouraged to kill and eat each other or succumb to starvation is an argument that is pointedly ignored by Devourers when it is levelled.
The World of Bones
Located in a remote part of the Scarus Sector In Segmentum Obscurus, The Feral world of Barsabas is a bleak, broken world that never fully recovered from the prolonged taint of chaos that held the planet in the Devourers’ darkest hour. Very little of the land is arable, with fierce winds and torrential rain making any kind of farming a battle in itself. Packs of twisted, once human creatures called Ghuls roam the planet, attacking settlements and feasting on the dead and still living alike. Barsabas breeds a hardy and ruthless people used to death and familiar with killing at a young age. It is from this population that the dreaded Devourers are drawn.
Trials of Terror
Aspirants to the Chapter are chosen from the strongest, hardiest children, many of whom have had to take a life well before the Devourers come for them. Once found, they are brought to the Citadel of Hunger, where they go through their basic training and indoctrination. There, they are beaten, abused, and starved, forced to steal, fight, and kill for every scrap of food and each piece of clothing. The Devourers know this, and do not stop the violence, as the aspirants will weed out the weak and unworthy amongst their number. As time wears on, the Aspirants begin to band together in small groups, realizing the value in numbers; Aspirants who choose to go it alone or cannot keep up with a group are unerringly killed off, their bodies harvested for everything: the bones for weapons, the skins for clothes, and the flesh for food. Cannibalism is a central part of the identity of a Devourer, and Aspirants cannot be avers to feasting upon their foes if they are to Become brothers of the chapter. Once the Aspirants are deemed to be strong enough, they face their final test before Joining the Devourers as Recruits, Scouts and, Ultimately, Battle Brothers in the Chapter. They are released en masse into the Valley of Bones, where many large packs of Ghuls make their homes, and where the Aspirants must somehow find their way back to the Citadel. Many groups are found and eaten by the Ghuls, and many more lose themselves within the labyrinthine paths and causeways that carve up the Valley. Those Aspirants that do make it to the citadel are changed by their experiences, inured to hardship, intimately familiar with violence, and filled with a craving for the flesh of the enemy.
From then on, the Aspirants, now Recruits, are treated as full-fledged brothers in the chapter, receiving their training at the hands of more senior Devourers. Throughout their training, the Recruits are constantly tested and questioned, not only on combat tactics, bolter drill, and Chapter Doctrine, but also on what it means to be a Devourer. Some are taken away by the Chapter’s chaplains, the Skin Wardens, never to be seen again. Once they are fully trained, the newly christened Scouts must then face one last test in the Fires of War, acting as advance forces and shock troops. Those that survive this final on the warfront are fully accepted into the Chapter as Battle Brothers, granted their own suit of Power Armor, and assigned to one of the nine Great Abattoirs that make up the rest of the Chapter.
The Truth Behind the Myth
What many within the chapter do not wish to admit is that there is more than spite and fear to the rumors of their feasts. While it is known that the chapter once supped of the flesh of their foes, and the members of the Chapter do not deny that they continue to sustain themselves on Corpse Starch derivatives, it is also true that the greatest and most powerful of enemies felled in battle are taken back to private places, where the Devourers will prepare their greatest kill for consumption in a ritual that the Devourers believe will give them some measure of their enemy’s power and knowledge. However, such practices are shared by many other chapters, such as the Soul Drinkers and the Blood Drinkers, and thus the Devourers are nominally left alone when such practices are discovered. What is of greater severity and secrecy is the Fate of those battle brothers who draw the attention of the Skin Wardens, the Chaplains of the Chapter. While the majority of Chaplains for the chapter are chosen while they are still aspirants, and train with the Reclusiam almost exclusively following their return from the Valley of Bones, those Battle Brothers who are sought by the Skin Wardens after they have been recognized as Devourers have Fallen to a curse referred to only as the Hunger. Such Brothers are often taken by the Skin wardens, either to be rehabilitated or executed, and the Chapter as a whole does not know of the insidious nature of their hunger. However, there are those Battle brothers who hide their taint, afraid of what their brothers will think of them, and attempt to master it on their own. These brothers invariably fail, and become monstrous parodies of the Devourers known as Ghasts, unholy creatures that care for little more than to gorge themselves on the flesh of their victims. When such Ghasts are identified, a Skin Warden will lead the former astartes’ squad in a hunt to purge the creature, utterly destroying it when it is found. Those Brothers who do not die in the hunt are irrevocably marked by the event, and must be separated from their brethren, lest the Chapter learn the terrible secret of its curse. Those brothers who have participated in slaying one of their wayward kin are removed from their current posting and reassigned to the 5th abattoir of the Devourers.
The Brothers of the Fifth
Like all Codex Chapters, the First Abattoir of the Devourers is an Honor Company, its brothers adorned in Terminator Armor and wielding powerful weapons. However, what many in the chapter to a true Honor is to serve in the revered Fifth Abattoir of the Chapter. The Fifth Abattoir is a unique organization, completely abandoning the Codex, each individual squad possibly containing any number of members from the squad’s various specialties. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see Fifth Abattoir Squads made up entirely of apothecaries or Librarians, or squads containing a diverse mixture of Assault Marines, Devastators, Tacticals, and even Scouts or Terminators. One cannot petition to join the Fifth Abattoir, and it is considered a great honor to be selected to serve within its Ranks.
However, those who are members of the Fifth Abattoir feel differently. To be selected to become a Brother of the Fifth Abattoir, a Devourer must have taken part in a Purge, a hunt to slay one of their number who have fallen completely within the sway of the Hunger. Having slain one of their own, some Devourers are unable to reintegrate themselves back into their Abattoir. Such Brothers are Seconded to the Fifth Abattoir, where they may serve alongside torn souls such as themselves. Wherever The Fifth Abattoir Deploys, Field Reports from other Astartes Commanders or Imperial Guard Generals make mention of Battle Brothers in Flesh Takers Livery committing atrocities and acts so gruesome, that even other Chapters can mistake Fifth Abattoir brothers as the enemy. Many a Guard Commander or Astartes Captain has accused the Devourers of attacking their allies with little to no provocation, though such claims are curiously Ignored by the Inquisition. Perhaps more Curiously is the Number of Inquisitors throughout the Ordos Rumored of having Xanthite or even Phaenonite leanings that include in their retinue great giants of men wearing robes of Black, Crimson and Gold, wielding Astartes Bolt Guns.
The Devourers are masters of psychological warfare. Known for attacking at night, the Devourers will kill a portion of their enemies and then take captive roughly half of what’s left, dragging them screaming into the night, taking them far enough away that the captured victims’ allies cannot save him, but keeping him close enough so that the survivors of the attack can hear the screams of their comrades as they are skinned alive. Devourers will then assault enemy positions in the predawn or predusk hours, wearing the skins of their enemies as trophies or cloaks. The sight is frightening, often sending many enemies fleeing in fear before a single shot is fired. Many rebellious planets will surrender within days of the deployment of Devourers planetside, assuming they don’t surrender at the notice of Devourers arriving in their system.
Though known for their shock and terror tactics, Devourers are not unfamiliar with open warfare. Trained in both counter strikes and siege defense, the Devourers use all of their terror tactics to the ultimate advantage in open combat, often skinning felled targets before the eyes of their comrades, before bringing down another enemy to do the same.
Perhaps most Interesting in the combat doctrine of the Devourers is the chapter’s heavy use of Librarians. Whether the native population of the planet is just prone to spawning nascent psykers or if the Flesh takers are very adept at finding psykers in their populations, it is not uncommon to see a librarian attached to each squad in an entire Abattoir. This is especially true in the First and Fifth Abattoirs, though why, the Devourers won’t say.
Devourers Demeanor: Every Kill, a Trophy; Every Foe, a Victim
The Flesh takers are a strange chapter, their deeds in battle the stuff of legend, and their rumored hunger for flesh the fuel of darker tales. Devours are masters of psychological warfare, and will often go to unnecessary lengths to instill fear in their enemy. When in combat, Devourers will often separate a single enemy from the group before overwhelming him and killing him in the bloodiest, most brutal manner possible. Furthermore, they will often stalk enemies who have retreated, well after the battle is over. It takes a strong commander to keep Devourers in line after a fight.
There is also more to their taste for flesh than rumors. Between battles, servants and animals are prone to go missing if they wander too close to a Devourer’s quarters. A commander who notices this must decide if it is worth confronting the Devourer over the disappearances, or if it would be better to act as if nothing had happened.
That is not to say that Devourer are little more than remorseless killers. Amongst themselves, Devourers are known for their dark humor and unwavering loyalty to the Emperor of mankind. Though they loathe showing anything other than cold efficiency to other chapters, singular battle brothers who gain the hard earned respect and confidence of a Devourer will find a staunch, if horrifically protective ally. Woe betide those who would lay low the valued brothers of a Devourer, for should they find their way into that Devourer’s hands, they will know pain and terror on a level that gives even Space Marines pause.
Primarch’s Curse: The Hunger
Level 1 (Carrion Call): the Devourer’s stomach continuously growls, no matter how much food he consumes; though the Devourer may deny it, he knows deep in his heart that the emptiness in his stomach can only be slaked with the flesh of his victims. The test he must pass in order to overcome his desire to consume the flesh of a target becomes difficult (-10).
Level 2 (Pangs of the Flesh): the Devourer’s hunger becomes more pronounced, his physiology demanding to sup of the Enemy. If the Battle Brother passes the willpower test to resist the urge to feed upon his dead foe, he must then pass a Challenging (+0) toughness test or take a -10 penalty to all characteristics, as the Devourer’s own body begins to suffer withdrawals for being denied the taste of flesh. Consuming a significant portion of any dead creature is enough to dissipate these effects.
Level 3 (Ghast Fever): the Devourer’s hunger reaches its apex, and his desire to consume the flesh of his foes almost maddening, even as his desire to keep himself in check drives him to true madness. When the battle brother rolls his test to resist the urge to feed, he gains one insanity point for each degree of success, and two insanity points for each degree of failure.
The Devourers are an older Chapter, forged in the crucible of eminent destruction and tempered in the circumstances of their survival. As such, each and every Devourer is Resilient both in Body and Mind, their history of facing down the forces of chaos as well as their own personal daemons leading them to become inured to physical and psychological hardship.
Devourer Characters gain +5 Toughness and +5 willpower, and the Horrific Killer Solo Mode ability
Devourers also have a Hyperstimulated Omophaega
The Devourer may replace his Astartes Combat Blade with a Butcher’s Tool.
Devourers Solo Mode Ability: Horrific Killer
The Devourers are known for their grisly practices of killing their foes slowly, even on the battlefield. Though this may seem like an impractical tactic, the fear instilled in the enemy from watching and listening to one of their own being butchered is enough to send most men and, indeed, many space marines running.
If a Devourer deals enough damage to an enemy to kill him, he may instead forgo his turn for the next round to slowly butcher and skin his enemy, eliciting blood curdling screams from him in the process. The Devourer must pass a Challenging (+0) weapon skill test to slowly finish off his target. If he passes, the target dies and the Devourer gains the Fear (1) trait for the remainder of the battle, his enemies acutely aware of their fate should they fall into the Devourer's hands.
The Butcher’s Tool: During the Siege of Barsabas at the Dawn of the Chapter’s history, the Black Suns had lost many of their weapons either to the rigors of battle or simple lack of maintenance or ammunition. As such, the noble black suns had to make do with whatever weapons they could find or make. Reinforcing any number of cleavers, bone saws, and carving blades, the Black suns charged into battle wielding implements capable of splitting flesh and cracking bone and armour with equal ease. The Devourers continue this tradition, many of them building these vicious weapons from the same materials used to make the more common astartes combat blades. Distinguished by their brutal and menacing construction and their uncanny ability to bypass any armor from a tyrannid’s chitin to even the famed protection of Power Armor, the Butcher’s Tools of the Devourers are the mainstay close quarters weapon of a chapter that operates on terror and close in fighting.
Melee 1d10+2 Pen 3 Razor Sharp Req 3
Skin Trophy: worn in much the same was as Purity seals on the armor of other Chapters. Devourers will often wear their most Prized kills well after their fight with such an enemy has ceased. They are sign of a Battle Brother’s skill both within the chapter and to the enemies of the imperium. The Trophies listed here are but a few
Eldar skin: small enough to be worn like a purity seal on the Devourer’s pauldron, the flayed skin of an eldar shows great reflexes and greater audacity on the Devourer’s part. The Flesh Taker gains a +2 to Agility after all other modifiers have been factored.
Greenskin Hide: it is a strong and hardy Astartes to face down an Ork, and a vicious Devourer to claim the hide of one of the Boyz. Worn as a cloak, the Devourer gains a +2 bonus to strength, after all other modifiers have been factored.
Tainted Flesh: be it the warped hide of some Chaos touched Mutant or the flesh of one of the hated traitor Marines, a Devourer who wears the mantle of a devotee of Chaos is likely to draw notice from even more senior Devourers. Draped about the Shoulders, the Devourer gains a +5 bonus on checks to resist fear from creatures with the Daemonic Trait.
Power Cleaver: rarely seen outside of the First Abattoir of the Devourers Chapter, Power cleavers are vicious, frightening, and powerful weapons employed by the Terminators of the First Abattoir. Easily as long as many Astartes are tall, Power Cleavers are legendary in their ability to defeat any armor ranging from the chitin of a Hive Tyrant to the Hull of a Dreadnought.
Melee 2d10+2 E Pen 7 Razor Sharp, Power Field Req 50
Chapter Relic: Bloody Blade of Malchus
The legendary Weapon that Chief Librarian Malchus used to slay the Daemon Prince Asadrubael at the end of the Siege of Barsabas, The Bloody Blade is a vicious looking and massive cleaver. The Bloody Blade was brought to the Deathwatch by a Devourer Librarian who sought to use his abilities to help defend the imperium, as well as earn a great name for himself by slaying many a great beast. however, the Devourer in question eventually went mad, quickly gaining a taste for the flesh of friend and foe alike. the Librarian was eventually put down by his own kill-team, his body and the Blade borne back to the Watchtower. though the Devourers who came to reclaim what was theirs took the body, they curiously left the Bloody Blade. the Deathwatch has held on to it since, though they constantly attempt to return the blade to its parent chapter. A great weapon with the Razor Sharp and Tearing Qualities, the Bloody Blade is a frightening weapon in any Devourer’s hands, becoming especially lethal in the hands of a Devourer Librarian, Gaining the Force Quality. However the Weapon Truly comes into its own the Devourer faces a daemon, the Bloody Blade gaining the Felling and Proven (4) qualities. the Bloody Blade is not without its price, however, for those who wield it find the Hunger harder to deny. Devourers in the Grip of their primarch's curse treat the curse as if it was one level higher.
1: Eaters Of The Dead: Your Abattoir was Sent to the Agri-World of Harvest to quell a rebellion caused by demagogues preaching against the Sanctitiy of the Emperor. As you landed on the planet, you quickly came to realize that the seeds of insurrection had been sown by the treacherous Tau, and it is here that you did battle with one of the Tau Empire’s many Member Species: the Kroot. They were a mockery of everything you Stood for as a Devourer, even their eating of the dead an affront to the time honored Flesh Feasts of your chapter. You Butchered many Kroot, and instilled in the survivors such a sense of fear and respect that to this day, all Kroot whom you do battle with know of you.
2: A Brush With The Past: your Abattoir was sent to end a rebellion on a Hive in the Dracorius System, but what you found was more than poorly armed Defense Forces and traitor Guardsmen. Leading the Rebellion were the Chaos Space Marines of the Broken Sword Warband, the sworn enemies of your chapter. As you fought to destroy the hated Broken Swords, you caught a glimpse of some horrible, Daemonic Creature that had an uncanny resemblance to the Pictures of Asadrubael that hang in the Monastery Halls. You are haunted to this day by what you saw.
3: Brother of the Fifth: Even by other Devourers, very little is known of the exploits of the Fifth Abattoir, though those brothers who have served alongside them attest to their great prowess in battle and seeming single mindedness in the pursuit of their foes. You are a member of the Fifth Abattoir, a veteran battle brother marked not only by the skins you wear, but by Abattoir you call home. You are tight lipped about your past battles, preferring not to speak of such things, for if your Brothers in the Deathwatch knew the things you had done in the name of the Imperium, the consequences would be grave indeed…
4: Slayer of Tyrants: Sent to defend the Beleaguered planet of Harkon VI from an unknown enemy, you arrived in system to find the planet in the horrific grip of the dreaded tyrannid. You were deployed with haste to the planet to combat the beasts as best you could. It was a vicious Battle, and though you lost the planet, you gained insight into the tactics and habits of the dreaded Tyrannid.
5: Flesh Render: you are the epitome of what it means to be a Devourer.You have taken the skins of a hundred thousand different enemies, and have personally brought back the hides of some of the Chapter’s greatest foes. In honor of your skill and tenacity, you have been named Flesh Render of your Company, and charged with taking the skins of the greatest champions you can find when you are at war. Your failure to disappoint, coupled with the hard won experience and the ability that came with singlehandedly slaying great enemies is the stuff of legends, even among the Astartes
Edited by antijoke_13, 19 November 2013 - 08:33 AM.