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Iron Snakes (Custom Chapter)


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#1 Michigan

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 02:31 AM

 


THE IRON SNAKES

The Iron Snakes of Ithaka are an old Chapter, although the origins of the Iron Snakes are difficult to pin down; reportedly a Second Founding chapter, their Legion of origin is unknown. Although they pay respect to Roboute Guilliman, it is uncertain if they are an Ultramarine descendant, particularly as they are a non-Codex chapter.

The Iron Snakes are based around the planet Ithaka, 'The Cradle of Snakes' and their Fortress Monastery is located on the fortress moon of Karybdis. The Chapter defends the Reef Stars from all enemies, regularly engaging their ancient foe, the Dark Eldar or Primuls as they are sometimes known in the region.

Ithaka is an ocean world that includes a rare species of giant water snake know as great wyrms or Iron Snakes. They are vast creatures, with hides covered in adamantine hard scales and with jaws big enough to swallow gunships and tanks whole. As part of initiation and training Iron Snakes petitioners must kill a great wyrm with a Sea Lance, a heavy harpoon that they throw from a fleet water skiff. It is a good omen for a petitioner to kill an Iron Snake with a single lance throw.

The Reef Stars
The Iron Snakes appear to have been stationed in the sector of space known as the Reef Stars many thousands of years ago, and charged with its protection as their primary mission. The inhabited worlds of the Reef, while varied in their technological development, each appear to have some form of summoning aid from the Iron Snakes ritualised into their society. The Iron Snakes are a myth or legend to some worlds, an awe-inspiring reality to others. Regardless of how they are viewed, the Snakes of Ithaka take their duty to the Reef Stars as seriously as only Space Marines can, and will go to any lengths possible to protect the sector and its citizenry.

The actions they have fought in the Reef Stars are numerous, as the whole area appears to be under constant threat by Dark Eldar raiding parties. As a result, the Iron Snakes have amassed considerable experience fighting the Dark Eldar, who they (and the people of the Reef Stars) also refer to as the "primuls." The Iron Snakes also fought a ten year all-out war against a supremely large Ork invasion. The Ork forces, made up of multiple Waaaghs, were so large that it was impossible for the Iron Snakes to defeat them by martial means. However, having managed to secure a relic apparently considered sacred by the Orks, the Iron Snakes were able to draw the Ork forces out of the Reef Stars and into unclaimed/Xenos territory. The remainder of the Orks were expunged, and the Reef Stars were judged greenskin-free for over a thousand years.

Combat Doctrine
When a mission, referred to within the chapter as an 'undertaking', is decided upon the Chapter Master announces how many squads he believes are required to ensure its success. All squad-leaders who wish to volunteer their units for the mission then place their tokens into a kylix (a form of drinking cup whose origins lie in ancient Terra). The Chapter Master then decides which squads to assign to the undertaking based upon which tokens he finds in the kylix.

The Iron Snakes appear to rely heavily on squad based tactics, operating rarely in company strength groups. However their most significant divergence is their use of Sea Lances and combat shields in combat. In certain situations, usually when sustained and hard fought close combat is expected, Iron Snakes squads are equipped with combat shields and adamantine tipped Sea Lances for the battle. Standing before the enemy onslaught the Iron Snakes thin their ranks with rapid bolter fire before forming a shield wall, using their lances and combat swords to present a united front to the enemy. Though this method of fighting seems anachronistic it has nonetheless proved effective, particularly against the greenskin menace. Beyond such special circumstances the Chapter appears to follow the Codex, relying on their power armour and bolter to carry most battles.

While the squad is the principal tactical unit of the Chapter, sometimes even less manpower is deployed. In cases of responding to general aid requests from the worlds of the Reef Stars, it is customary to dispatch only one Battle-Brother from the closest squad to investigate. The Brother chosen is often either the newest member of the squad, or a member being considered for the role of successor by the squad-leader; a one-person undertaking is seen as a fitting challenge for such marines. Historically, only one warrior usually suffices in cases of general aid requests, though it is no shame for the individual to request the presence of his fratery-brothers once appraised of the specific situation.

The Iron Snakes are unique in their tactical squads in the fact that all squads are attached with an Apothecary unlike other codex astartes who are assigned one per company.

IRON SNAKESCHARACTERS
Iron Snakes gain the following benefits +5 Weapon Skill, +5 to any other attribute, and the Self-Reliance Solo Mode ability.

SELF-RELIANCE (IRON SNAKES)
Required Rank: 1
Effects: All Iron Snakes are trained in repair and the maintenance of their gear. The Battlebrother gains Trade (Armorer) as a trained skill and chooses one field of mastery from Bolter, Flamer or Power Armor. All testes to repair or maintain equipment of the chosen mastery may be rerolled by the marine and he may un-jam weapons he has mastery in with a half action.
Improvements: At Rank 3 the Battle-Brother may choose one additional mastery from the list and his penetration with weapons he has mastery in is increased by 2.
At Rank 5 the marine counts all gear he has a mastery in as having a quality one step better than it is. (No effect if already master crafted)
At Rank 7 he gains the last remaining mastery and +10 bonus to pinning and fear tests.

CHAPTER DEMEANOR: SELFISH
The emphasis on small unit training and independent action of the Iron Snakes space marines makes them ideal for small scale operations where they may need to fight for extended periods with little or no support. However, it makes interaction and cooperation with other Chapters difficult. Cohesion between the Iron Snakes and more traditional chapters (GM's discretion) is always considered 1 less.

PRIDE OF ITHAKA
Works exactly like Pride of Ultramar (Ultramarines), see page 281 for details.

Iron Snakes Chapter Advances
Navigation ................................ 300 ..... Skill ..... ---
Navigation +10 ......................... 400 ..... Skill ..... Navigation
Navigation +20 ......................... 600 ..... Skill ..... Navigation +10
Survival .................................... 300 ..... Skill ..... ---
Survival +10 ............................. 400 ..... Skill ..... Survival
Survival +20 ............................. 600 ..... Skill ..... Survival+10
Tactics .................................... 400 ..... Skill ..... ---
Tactics +10 ............................. 400 ..... Skill ..... Tactics
Tactics +20 ............................. 400 ..... Skill ..... Tactics +10
Blademaster ............................ 800 ..... Talent ..... WS 30
Hatred (Dark Eldar) .................. 500 ..... Talent ..... ---
Talented (Survival) .................... 500 ..... Talent .....Survival+10

CHAPTER ATTACK PATTERNS: Can't Think of One!
Action: Dunno Action
Cost: ?
Sustained: Maybe
Effects: Stuff Happens
Improvements: If stuff happens it gets better.

CHAPTER DEFENSIVE STANCES: SHIELD-WALL
Standing before the enemy onslaught the Iron Snakes may form a shield wall, using their lances and combat shields to present a united front to the enemy.
Action: Free Action
Cost: 3
Sustained: Yes
Effects: When two or more battle-brothers, armed with melee weapons and shields, are within support range and take no more than a half-move action, they gain +10 to Weapon Skill and a further +10 bonus to Parry attempts.
Improvements: If the Battle-brother is Rank 4 or more each member within the support
range gain +20 to Weapon Skill and a further +20 bonus to Parry attempts

CHAPTER TRAPPINGS

Ithakan Sealance
The Iron Snakes regularly issue combat shields and sealances (javelin-type fighting spears) to all brothers, enabling them to close up and use phalanx (shield-wall) style tactics. The Iron Snakes sealance is a high tech, adamantine-tipped verision of the native sealance, designed for the use of the Astartes.

Sealance, Melee, 2d10+4R, Pen:5, Tearing, Unbalanced; Weight: 15kg, 15 Requistion.
(Note: The sealance is not considered to be either Master Crafted or of Exceptional Quality, although and these upgrades may be added to it should you wish.)

Ithakan Seawater
Although Iron Snakes are able to train in a number of environments across their homeworld, it is the sea that is most precious to them, to the point where each marine carries a vial of Ithakan seawater with him when on active duty, and with which he anoints the soil of any other planet he steps on.
Waters of the Arctic Wastes: +3 to all Survival rolls
Waters of the Wyrms' Nest: +2 to Weapon Skill
Waters of the Storm Coast: Add +3 to Command Tests



#2 ak-73

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 02:56 AM

Loving it. Solo Mode Ability seems a tad underpowered though (compared with BAs or DAs).

 

Attack pattern... hmmm... maybe I can think of one soon enough.

 

Alex

 



#3 Michigan

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 03:10 AM

The big difference is that Self-Reliance is more of an out-of-combat thing; The marine suffers fairly little by not being in solo mode during an action scene. Other chapters offer more tempation to use them in combat, at the expense of squad mode, and this is balanced by being more potent.



#4 ak-73

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 03:12 AM

Michigan said:

The big difference is that Self-Reliance is more of an out-of-combat thing; The marine suffers fairly little by not being in solo mode during an action scene. Other chapters offer more tempation to use them in combat, at the expense of squad mode, and this is balanced by being more potent.

 

For Attack Pattern I would have a look at the tactics of wyrm hunting, btw.

 

Alex

 



#5 Karl.lurack

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 08:17 AM

could do with a relic



#6 SomVone

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:49 PM

 A couple nitpicks.

1 Demeanours shouldn't have and in game effect like reducing cohesion. I'm not sure if you want to reduce cohesion like that.

2 The sealance should be throw-able. Maybe 30 meter range increment?

 

Everything else is awesome.



#7 ak-73

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 09:40 PM

How about an Attack Pattern that allows to ignore AP on a Killing Strike/Throw (Wyrm Hunting)?

 

Alex



#8 Nimon

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:10 PM

 

           Maybe this-

           Attack Pattern Python

           Cost 2
           Action Free
           Sustained Yes

          The Iron Snakes encircle an approaching enemy placing all memebers in a maximum sector of fire. All squad members are considered in overwatch mode and can attack as a reaction +10 BS/WS.

         Improvement-If a Battle Brother of rank 4 or more is present it is +20 BS/WS and the first round all attacks reduce horde magnitude by an additional 1 point.

 



#9 Direach

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 04:06 AM

I like the idea of a "weak point" Attack Pattern that improves Penetration for the squad; maybe increase Penetration of all attacks by the Iron Snake's Fellowship bonus while the Attack Pattern is being used?

I also like Self-Reliance as a Solo Mode in concept, but not the power as listed. I think perhaps a +5% to all skill rolls in Solo Mode would be a suitable effect, scaling up with Rank.

I don't like the Chapter demeanour as presented. The Iron Snakes have their own ways, but nothing in the novel suggested they have great difficulty working with other Chapters. I think "Traditional" might be a better demeanour for them, along the lines of "Honour the Codex" but relating more to their specific Chapter traditions and rites. Perhaps if they led their adopted squad in the Rite of the Sharing of Water they might grant a bonus to the squad for that mission...

Nice work overall though; it's a good, balanced interpretation of the Chapter. :)



#10 Michigan

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 07:32 AM

Thanks everybody for the positive feedback (if only my Fighting Tigers entry was as popular!)

This thread isn't meant just for me to show off my ideas, anyone else who wants to throw out some Iron Snakes rules should feel free!



#11 Arkidda

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 08:29 AM

Michigan said:

Thanks everybody for the positive feedback (if only my Fighting Tigers entry was as popular!)

This thread isn't meant just for me to show off my ideas, anyone else who wants to throw out some Iron Snakes rules should feel free!

Thanks to alex, I found your thread here on the Iron Snakes and I found what you did up here is going to help me a good deal when I try and do them up using the RoB.  After I do them up, I will repost here to share. I hardly doubt there will be much of a difference.



#12 Siranui

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:54 PM

 Might be worth clarifying that the lance nor combat shield are 'free' trappings and must be paid for as normal.

Solo mode critisisms have already been voiced. A shield wall with a range of 'support range' is a little generous. Perhaps it should only be when the marine is adjacent to another.



#13 jbuck

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:33 PM

I'm trying to cook up some Shield Wall rules myself.

My 1st instinct was to simply modify the "Double Team" talent and make the bonus only apply to parry rolls.

I was also considering adding something allowing a shield wall to provide cover/concealment from ranged attacks, but wasn't sure it that would be too much under one talent.

Are there rules somewhere for using a shield for cover or concealment?



#14 Siranui

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 10:43 PM

 The best bet is just to use the Double Team skill.

Shield walls aren't all about defence. They give the option of striking at foes who are in front of the people you are next to, and coordinating attacks, too. Suddenly the guy in front of you needs to worry about three people potentially stabbing him, instead of just one.

The Combat Shield is too small to give any cover, let alone concealment. The Storm Shield is represented as providing cover by adding 4AP to torso and left arm. It is also far too small to conceal anyone.



#15 Jodelmarine

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 07:25 AM

First of all: Awesome work - your post really captures the spirit of the Iron Snakes. I'd like to post some of the modifikation I'll probably use in my Deathwatch Campaign. Please excuse typos, I'm not a natural english speaker.

Solo Mode Ability: I don't like "passive" abilities so I altered it quite a bit:

ARMY OF ONE (IRON SNAKES)
Required Rank: 1
Effects: Iron Snakes emphasise on the individual. Most Battles are fought with only a handful Marines oder Squads present. That is why Iron Snakes are pretty self suficient. Iron Snakes gain a bonus of +5 to all weapon skill per opponent fighting them. That represents the skill the marine has aquired in confusing his opponents by moving through their ranks. It also represents the talent in holding narrow passages or doorways. The Marine is so proficient in fighting Hordes of Enemies that his Parries deflect one aditional hit per 3 Successes. This ability lasts for a number of rounds equal to the characters Rank, divided by 2 (rounded up).
Improvements: At Rank 3 the Battle-Brother may not be attacked by more than three man-sized opponents in melee. Hordes suffer a -10 penalty on all melee or ranged attacks into the melee.
At Rank 5 the marine may parry hits by ranged weapons as long as he is using a shield to do so.
At Rank 7 he deflects additional attacks with 2 net successes. This includes ranged attacks.

My Chapter Demeanor is called "Loner", i dropped the cohesion penalty (there are worse chapters out there, Demeanors shouldn't include penalties to cohesion).

I also added some Talents (the Chapter Advances were a tad underpowered) to represent the spirit of the Iron Snakes:

Duty unto Death.........................800........Talent.......WP 45
Combat Master.......................... 600 ..... Talent ..... WS 30
Double Team...............................400......Talent.......---CHAPTER ATTACK PATTERNS: BREAKING THE WAVE


I chose a ranged maneuver as attack pattern to represent the skill in breaking an assault by massed enemies (such as the typical ork attack). It shouldn't be "melee only".

CHAPTER ATTACK PATTERNS: BREAKING THE WAVE

Action: Free Action
Cost: 3
Sustained: No
Effects: Concentrated bolterfire breaks the enemy formations apart. Semi-Auto and Full Auto Attacks are „suppressing“, using the usual rules but inflicting an aditional -10 modifier to willpower tests to avoid being pinned. Hordes reduce the number of attacks on their next turn by one and suffer an additional D5 Horde Damage per hit.
Improvements: If the Battle-Brother is Rank 4 or more, the enemies suffer an -20 modifier to Dodge Rolls due to the overlaping fire lanes used by the Marines.

To balance the Defensive Stance i suggest the following change. +40 to parries is simply "too much".

Effects: When two or more battle-brothers, armed with melee weapons, are adjacent to each other and take no more than a half-move action, they gain +10 to Weapon Skill and a further +10 bonus to Parry attempts.
Improvements: If the Battle-brother is Rank 4 or more each member within the support
range can trade their parries with other Battle-Brothers next to him.

The Iron Snakes should have the possibility of taking the Sealance as a chapter trapping. I also think that the original was a bit overpowered. A greater shield should explain the "Phalanx Style Tactics". Here is what i came up with:

thakan Sealance
The Iron Snakes regularly issue combat shields and sealances (javelin-type fighting spears) to all brothers, enabling them to close up and use phalanx (shield-wall) style tactics. The Iron Snakes sealance a heavy Version of the traditional hunters weapon used by native Ithakans.
Sealance, Melee, 1d10+2R, Pen:4, Unbalanced; Weight: 5kg, 3 Requistion. May be thrown (range 20)

New Melee Weapon and Shield:

Warlance

The advanced Version of the traditional Sealance used by Ithacan Hunters is a adamantite-tipped, high-tech Version of the native sealance, designed for use by the Astartes. It can be thrown with a range of 20.
Warlance, Melee, 1d10+6 E Pen 7, Power Field, Unwieldy, Weight 10kg, 15 Requisition (Distinguished).
Body Shield
An adaption of the large shields used in boarding operations, the body shield is essentially a larger and more cumbersome combat shield.While not as advanced as Stom Shields, Body Shields provide adequate protection for Shield Wall tactics. They have the Defensive Quality, Provide 4 Armor to the arm wielding it, the Body and legs. They also reduce the time needed for a Guarded Attack to a Half Action. If used to bash an enemy, the Body Shield does 1d5+1 impact damage but suffers -20 to the attack roll. Due to the size and encumberance of the shield, characters using it can only use pistols in their other hands and suffer a -10 penalty on BS tests, dodge and acrobatics rolls and Weapon Skill tests.
Astartes Body Shield Protection Rating 35, Overload Roll 01-10, Wt 15, Req 25 Distinguished.

...

let me repeat: Very cool work, I'm just never happy until I changed everything to suit my campaigns.

Open for criticism!


 



#16 Soloman

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:27 PM

Thanks to Alex, I too have found your thread! :) I posted my own version of Iron Snakes using the custom rules in the book. I developed a couple of relics that don't seem to OTT.

 

http://community.fan...er-iron-snakes/



#17 ak-73

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 07:46 AM

Note that the original version is pre-Rites of Battle. So it and later sourcebooks might give some inspiration on how to make the chapter on par with other, official chapters.

 

Alex






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