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Wordbearers of unknown loyalty. What do?!


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#1 Nearyn

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 11:03 PM

During the last few gamesessions, our Throne Agent Cadre have encountered marines none of us were quite able to identify. Recently it turned out that these marines were of the Wordbearer chapter. However, they have been seperated from the imperium since before the heresy.

 

Now don't worry about how they came to be in their current state, because this will likely remain an unsolved mystery for the rest of the campaign.

 

A bit of context.

We've recently found a lost Imperial saint on a deathworld in Segmentum Tempestus. This great find, as well as the recovery of a daemonhammer and an absolutely ancient print of Lexio Divinatus, has led my Hierophant to declare the planet a Shrine-world and send word to the Imperium to send a missionary-fleet. They are due to arrive in a week or two.

 

In the meantime, we've started exploring the planet. It turns out the planet is actually playing host to a few enemies of the imperium, who are currently ripping each-others throats out over something. Eldar and Traitor marines are fighting on the planet, and as we approached the ancient ruins of an Imperial cathedral, another group entered the mix. The offshoot wordbearers. The CSM were trying to take an imperial cathedral, the WB were holding, while the Eldar waited for a moment to strike (BTW our party's scout is amazing)

Long story short, we flattened both the CSM and Eldar with the use of the foolproof Imperial tactic of drowning the enemy in lasgun fire and a mountain of corpses. Now it was just us and the cathedral, and the marines inside.

 

Our inquisitor spoke to them and it appears that for now, he is willing to give them the benefit of doubt, so we haven't nuked their position from orbit yet.

 

What is your take on these marines?

They have openly declared their allegiance to the Emperor, however they have also flatly stated that the Emperor is by no means a holy man, nor should he be worshipped in any fashion.

 

Now, of course, the only thing stopping me from charging them in suicidal, burning frenzy was the fact that I had solemnly sworn to let the Inquisition handle this matter until the Missionary fleet arrived.

This got me thinking. Many Astartes chapters have different views of the Emperor than what the Ecclesiarchy would prefer, but I actually don't know alot about how much these views differ, nor if they are openly accepted or if they are secrets, kept between the marines and higher-ups of Imperial government. Nor do I know how to react to these supposedly not-fallen marines.

 

Are they guilty of heresy, by being Wordbearers alone, or is there some Imperial writ that lets them seek redemption? Does it matter that they were not involved in the Horus Heresy?

Is it even for us to decide, or is it supposed to be decided by the other marines, or some congregation of Ecclesiarhcal, Inquisitorial and other officials?! What kinda matter are we dealing with here.

 

My gut told me to firebomb them and let it be done with, but I am wondering if there isn't more depth to it than that.

 

What do you guys think?

 

Thanks in advance.

-Nearyn



#2 Gurkhal

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 11:49 PM

Nearyn said:

 

 

What do you guys think?

 

 

 

I think that these Marines are dead men walking. The Imperium will never ever let members of the Traitor Legions back into the fold no matter what circumstances are involved. The Word Bearers Legion turned traitor and thus they are all traitors to the Imperium no matter if they claim to be faithful. Your best bet is probably to nuke these guys before other Imperials arrives because they think it suspecious that you have conversed with the members from a Traitor Legion and not engaged them when you were able.  



#3 Faern

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:12 AM

 Take off and nuke them from orbit. Only way to be sure..



#4 coolzyg

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:42 AM

Minority of Space Marines think that E. is God most of them think that he is just a great guy. During Great Crusade only Word Bearers thought that E was God, and he was quite pissed at them. Only after HH Imperium announced that E. is god but still SM don't think that he is a God.

So it's weird that Word Bearers don't think that E. is God. But it's ok. Maybe they are from times before Lorgar was found and started worshiping E. or they are loyalist who listened to E. and didn't worship him.

During HH many Marines from traitor legion run from their traitorous brothers and helped Imperium (Iacton Qruze, Nathaniel Garro started the Inquisition) so there is some hope for they. But I wouldn't trust them before ]I[ checked them for corruption.

 



#5 Gurkhal

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:37 AM

coolzyg said:

Minority of Space Marines think that E. is God most of them think that he is just a great guy. During Great Crusade only Word Bearers thought that E was God, and he was quite pissed at them. Only after HH Imperium announced that E. is god but still SM don't think that he is a God.

So it's weird that Word Bearers don't think that E. is God. But it's ok. Maybe they are from times before Lorgar was found and started worshiping E. or they are loyalist who listened to E. and didn't worship him.

During HH many Marines from traitor legion run from their traitorous brothers and helped Imperium (Iacton Qruze, Nathaniel Garro started the Inquisition) so there is some hope for they. But I wouldn't trust them before ]I[ checked them for corruption.

 

 

And after the big ]I[ has killed these guys as a an act of caution since they are from a Traitor Legion then the Acolytes will come under questioning for having consorted with Traitor Marines. If the ]I[ gets to them both of you are dead so its best to toast these guys or get the hell out before more Puritan Imperials arrive.



#6 Simsum

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:09 AM

My take would be something like this:

Like Coolzyg said, the Word Bearers were all about deifying Him on Terra, and were so way back before there was an Imperial Creed and Ministorum. Back when the Emperor Himself was alive, able and dedicated to stamping out all such silly ideas. The Word Bearers are not the origin of the Imperial Creed, but it's arguable whether such a religion would have arisen without their efforts.

The Astartes, generally speaking, have a far better understanding of the history and origins of The Empire of Man than any of the other Adepta, and know that The Emperor taught atheism everywhere he went. Most Chapters do not worship The Emperor as a god. They venerate him as the greatest hero and wisest philosopher humanity has ever birthed, but they do not consider Him a deity.

The Astartes Heresy is kind of an open secret. Whether the Astartes themselves try to keep it secret in their dealings with the wider Imperium varies from Chapter to Chapter, but the Ministorum, not the Astartes, is the reason it isn't common knowledge. Both Ministorum clergy expected to deal with Astartes and pretty much any Inquisitor would know of the Astartes Heresy, and Inquisitors with an interest in ancient history might know the Word Bearers actively tried to create a religion with The Emperor as godhead.

Both the Ministorum and many Inquisitors are extremely unhappy about the Astartes Heresy, and if it were up to them to decide what to do about these particular and rather peculiar Word Bearers, they would most likely consider themselves bound by faith and duty to destroy every last trace of their existence. But it is rather unlikely that the Ministorum would know anything specific about the Word Bearers. Outside the Astartes, and perhaps a few very inaccurate and incomplete Inquisitorial archives, that kind of information pretty much doesn't exist and access to it is as highly restricted as anything can get. Indeed, access would probably have to be in person and quite likely in some datavault on Holy Terra itself.

Assuming the Word Bearers are genuine, an Inquisitor might find some way to transfer them into the Deathwatch, or maybe find an even more unlikely way to keep them alive and useful. But it would probably have to be a fairly powerful Inquisitor of somewhat radical persuasion, and he or she would no doubt have to do it in utmost secrecy.



#7 TorogTarkdacil812

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 05:16 AM

Kill them if you are more Puritan. Or secure them for a VERY rigourous integorration. There is tiny-miny possibility they are special loyalist snowflakes, but especialy when playing Dark Heresy, better be safe than sorry. 


There is nothing as good as seeing rebel scum running out of a cave full of gas, right into the blasters of your battalion-–well, except sunrises, but for those you have to get up early.


#8 Skeletor

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:43 AM

One name: Nathaniel Garro. A loyalist belonging to the Death Guard traitor chapter. Why is this name important? He was among the founding members of an organization created at the behest of the emperor himself through Malcador the Sigillite, a foundation which would become the Holy Ordos themselves.

To be honest he wasn't even the only loyalist from a traitor chapter that joined. So if they are truly clean of the taint of chaos and pure of soul, then sit back and glean knowledge from the impossible fortune you have to walk among men who shared the same sky and breathed the same air as the holy emperor himself.

Truly if the Emperor's judgement was to spare them before, and no man's authority is higher, who are you to even share thought at the fate of these glorious warriors of mankind?



#9 Kasatka

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:53 AM

Skeletor said:

One name: Nathaniel Garro. A loyalist belonging to the Death Guard traitor chapter. Why is this name important? He was among the founding members of an organization created at the behest of the emperor himself through Malcador the Sigillite, a foundation which would become the Holy Ordos themselves.

To be honest he wasn't even the only loyalist from a traitor chapter that joined. So if they are truly clean of the taint of chaos and pure of soul, then sit back and glean knowledge from the impossible fortune you have to walk among men who shared the same sky and breathed the same air as the holy emperor himself.

Truly if the Emperor's judgement was to spare them before, and no man's authority is higher, who are you to even share thought at the fate of these glorious warriors of mankind?

Except that no member of the Imperium, let alone a member of the Inquisition, in the 41st millenium will have any idea of the origins and founding members of the Holy Ordos. There have been more years past from then till the 41st millenium than we have recorded human civilisation as of 2012, and look at how little we have kept true to from our ancestors!

I think that without some incredibly (read  half a dozen degrees of success) good Forbidden Lore:Inquisitor and Forbidden Lore:Traitor Marines/Horus Heresy (depending on what is in your game), that it'd be impossible to use the meta-game knowledge in character. Even then, trying to justify your conversing with the Word Bearers to your superiors would be little short of out-right treachery and heresy.

Now, if you have a psyker in the party who can read minds, or if you have some sort of restraints suitable for an astartes such as a stasis casket or field shielded cage then it may be possible to 'interrogate' one of these ancient warriors without specifically attacking them and thus betraying their supposedly honest intentions…


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#10 Skeletor

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:06 AM

Kasatka said:

 

Except that no member of the Imperium, let alone a member of the Inquisition, in the 41st millenium will have any idea of the origins and founding members of the Holy Ordos. There have been more years past from then till the 41st millenium than we have recorded human civilisation as of 2012, and look at how little we have kept true to from our ancestors!

I think that without some incredibly (read  half a dozen degrees of success) good Forbidden Lore:Inquisitor and Forbidden Lore:Traitor Marines/Horus Heresy (depending on what is in your game), that it'd be impossible to use the meta-game knowledge in character. Even then, trying to justify your conversing with the Word Bearers to your superiors would be little short of out-right treachery and heresy.

Now, if you have a psyker in the party who can read minds, or if you have some sort of restraints suitable for an astartes such as a stasis casket or field shielded cage then it may be possible to 'interrogate' one of these ancient warriors without specifically attacking them and thus betraying their supposedly honest intentions…

Wait… what? First you say "nobody knows" then you say "but if you get a great roll you do"

You're supposition is just as assumed as mine in that department, neither of us know what of the inquisition (or the greater imperium) knows about its past. I was just showing that obviously being from a traitor chapter isn't a death sentence in the imperium and in fact those who resist the call of chaos turn out to be some of the imperium's greatest champions.



#11 ranoncles

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:31 AM

As usual, the best answer would be: “it depends”.

Are Space Marines rock stars in your game whose exploits are lauded on human worlds with space marine dolls in correct chapter colours sold to children or are they mythical super warriors whose presence is only mentioned in prayers and fables? That would namely determine how much would be known about specific Astartes history.

Beyond that, knowledge known to low level acolytes/inquisitors would be rather different than that known to the highest levels of imperial leadership.

While several legions turned traitor during the Horus Heresy, many individual space marines from these legions remained loyal and were slaughtered by Horus for their troubles (e.g. Istvaan) so ‘loyalists from traitor legions’ is not unheard of. And indeed, the inquisition was founded with several of such space marines so simply deciding to kill these loyal marines out of hand would be a denial of the roots of the inquisition. These Space Marines would have to be examined closely for taint (as was done with the original founders of the inquisition) but executed out of hand as a matter of policy by the inquisition? I think not. Of course, one can argue the details of the founding of the inquisition have been lost to the mists of time but since the Imperium is big on worshipping saints it seems logical that the inquisition would have its own saints starting with its founders….who embody ultimate sacrifice and loyalty to the Emperor and mankind over brotherhood and personal ambition.

As to the reaction of the priesthood? Most Space Marine chapters have their own ‘religion’ or relationship with the Emperor and most of these clash with the Imperial Creed. The priests don’t like it but since all attempts to have the space marines conform have failed (often very painfully) in the past 10,000 years, the status quo is to ‘live and let live’. Much like the church's relationship with the tech-priests, they don't like it but they have to accept it. Space Marines are practically an associated empire, not a constituent part of the Imperium.

Sure, the occasional cardinal might overreach himself but they tend to get slapped down pretty hard by the chapter they managed to piss off. As an organization, the church has learnt not to pick fights with space marine chapters and thus would be very wary of getting involved. There might be only a few Word Bearers but if other chapters decide that the church killing them was matter of principle…
Thus it would be safer to err on the side of caution.



#12 Gurkhal

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 05:23 PM

ranoncles said:

As usual, the best answer would be: “it depends”.

Are Space Marines rock stars in your game whose exploits are lauded on human worlds with space marine dolls in correct chapter colours sold to children or are they mythical super warriors whose presence is only mentioned in prayers and fables? That would namely determine how much would be known about specific Astartes history.

Beyond that, knowledge known to low level acolytes/inquisitors would be rather different than that known to the highest levels of imperial leadership.

While several legions turned traitor during the Horus Heresy, many individual space marines from these legions remained loyal and were slaughtered by Horus for their troubles (e.g. Istvaan) so ‘loyalists from traitor legions’ is not unheard of. And indeed, the inquisition was founded with several of such space marines so simply deciding to kill these loyal marines out of hand would be a denial of the roots of the inquisition. These Space Marines would have to be examined closely for taint (as was done with the original founders of the inquisition) but executed out of hand as a matter of policy by the inquisition? I think not. Of course, one can argue the details of the founding of the inquisition have been lost to the mists of time but since the Imperium is big on worshipping saints it seems logical that the inquisition would have its own saints starting with its founders….who embody ultimate sacrifice and loyalty to the Emperor and mankind over brotherhood and personal ambition.

As to the reaction of the priesthood? Most Space Marine chapters have their own ‘religion’ or relationship with the Emperor and most of these clash with the Imperial Creed. The priests don’t like it but since all attempts to have the space marines conform have failed (often very painfully) in the past 10,000 years, the status quo is to ‘live and let live’. Much like the church's relationship with the tech-priests, they don't like it but they have to accept it. Space Marines are practically an associated empire, not a constituent part of the Imperium.

Sure, the occasional cardinal might overreach himself but they tend to get slapped down pretty hard by the chapter they managed to piss off. As an organization, the church has learnt not to pick fights with space marine chapters and thus would be very wary of getting involved. There might be only a few Word Bearers but if other chapters decide that the church killing them was matter of principle…
Thus it would be safer to err on the side of caution.

 

To be honest there is no chance in hell that the Chapters will raise arms to protect members of the traitor legions, no matter how much the Word Bearers claims loyalty. Also I doubt that the roots of the Inquisition is known in the regard that it was mentioned that loyalists from the Traitor Legions were part of it. At the very best they could be split up and scattered across the galaxy as Blackshields in the Deathwatch at which point they will be allowed to die in combat and their remains destroyed. But the best solution is probably to just purge them least its a Word Bearer scheme to infiltrate the Imperium.



#13 ranoncles

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 11:53 PM

Gurkhal said:

To be honest there is no chance in hell that the Chapters will raise arms to protect members of the traitor legions, no matter how much the Word Bearers claims loyalty. Also I doubt that the roots of the Inquisition is known in the regard that it was mentioned that loyalists from the Traitor Legions were part of it. At the very best they could be split up and scattered across the galaxy as Blackshields in the Deathwatch at which point they will be allowed to die in combat and their remains destroyed. But the best solution is probably to just purge them least its a Word Bearer scheme to infiltrate the Imperium.

 

I think you understimate the value placed on Space Marines. They are hardly ever 'executed out of hand'. The fluff often mention Space Marines who have fallen foul of authority and then given the opportunity to redeem themselves. Penitent crusades and whatnot….In fact, the mere existance of black shields proves this. Any unknown SM can appear before the deathwatch and be granted effective absolution if accepted…

 

Also, Space Marines are very touchy about their unique status and will often band together when the rights of one chapter are threatened. In this case, if the church can get away with killing some Space Marines (who may or may not be tainted which is the main point, not their allegiance to the Word Bearers), that might embolden them and undermine the status quo between church and astartus. If they are tainted, nobody will raise much fuss. But not checking first will not be accepted, especially as checking for taint can appartently be done very quickly according to fluff. So having other space marines perform a slapdown if the church acts imprudently is not at all beyond the possibilities.

And then there is the unique status of these Word Bearers space marines. They are 10,000 year old. They might have known the Emperor personally. Witnessed the Great Crusade. They are in fact living relics of the foundation of the astartus. And if not tainted, they are a treasure trove of knowledge. This is not something that will be destroyed easily or without challenge.



#14 coolzyg

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 11:59 PM

I have similar situation in my game right now (Black Crusade) PC are in Morthis Thule (huge space hulk na Jericho Reach) and they met World Eaters from other universe where Dorn was arch heretic not Horus (does it ring a bell?). As my players are traitors (or loyalist as they are Alpha Legion) they liedy to World Eaters that they are friends. But soon they will met with Terminator squad from Imperial Fists and their lost Librarian who if needed would find that in World Eaters there is no taint. 



#15 Nearyn

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 02:22 AM

Could it be that the reason Nathaniel Garro and the other loyalists that survived Istvaan III, were permitted back in the fold, was because the Imperium of old operated differently? I'm just venting a thought here but:

 

In the Imperium, just before/during the Horus Heresy, the Horus Heresy was in fact not a matter of heresy, was it? It was an act of treason on the highest scale, but seeing as how the Emperor was outlawing religion, the idea of it being heresy was likely brought in with the rise of the Imperial Cult, later.

So the traitor legions were considered just that, traitors. When some of them returned, apparently not having turned traitor, but in fact having slaughtered their way through so many traitors, to get back and join their loyalist brethren, accepting them back in the folk was reasonable.

 

Now, 10.000 years later, every traitor chapter is considered guilty of heresy, and the Imperium have a tendency to find people guilty of heresy-by-association.

If you are excommunicated from the Imperial cult, for any reason, it's open season on your ass.

Loyalists marines who have ****** up and want to redeem themselves can become Blackshields, but I have not heard of traitor.-legion marines, being permitted this, or even being permitted to raise their voices in defense, without getting a bolt-shell in the teeth.

 

Thoughts?



#16 Gurkhal

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 02:29 AM

Nearyn said:

Could it be that the reason Nathaniel Garro and the other loyalists that survived Istvaan III, were permitted back in the fold, was because the Imperium of old operated differently? I'm just venting a thought here but:

 

In the Imperium, just before/during the Horus Heresy, the Horus Heresy was in fact not a matter of heresy, was it? It was an act of treason on the highest scale, but seeing as how the Emperor was outlawing religion, the idea of it being heresy was likely brought in with the rise of the Imperial Cult, later.

So the traitor legions were considered just that, traitors. When some of them returned, apparently not having turned traitor, but in fact having slaughtered their way through so many traitors, to get back and join their loyalist brethren, accepting them back in the folk was reasonable.

 

Now, 10.000 years later, every traitor chapter is considered guilty of heresy, and the Imperium have a tendency to find people guilty of heresy-by-association.

If you are excommunicated from the Imperial cult, for any reason, it's open season on your ass.

Loyalists marines who have ****** up and want to redeem themselves can become Blackshields, but I have not heard of traitor.-legion marines, being permitted this, or even being permitted to raise their voices in defense, without getting a bolt-shell in the teeth.

 

Thoughts?

I think you've nailed it pretty well. The Imperial isn't all that reasonable about alot of things, traitors and possible taint of Chaos is one of them.



#17 ranoncles

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:34 PM

Nearyn said:

Could it be that the reason Nathaniel Garro and the other loyalists that survived Istvaan III, were permitted back in the fold, was because the Imperium of old operated differently? I'm just venting a thought here but:

 

In the Imperium, just before/during the Horus Heresy, the Horus Heresy was in fact not a matter of heresy, was it? It was an act of treason on the highest scale, but seeing as how the Emperor was outlawing religion, the idea of it being heresy was likely brought in with the rise of the Imperial Cult, later.

So the traitor legions were considered just that, traitors. When some of them returned, apparently not having turned traitor, but in fact having slaughtered their way through so many traitors, to get back and join their loyalist brethren, accepting them back in the folk was reasonable.

 

Now, 10.000 years later, every traitor chapter is considered guilty of heresy, and the Imperium have a tendency to find people guilty of heresy-by-association.

If you are excommunicated from the Imperial cult, for any reason, it's open season on your ass.

Loyalists marines who have ****** up and want to redeem themselves can become Blackshields, but I have not heard of traitor.-legion marines, being permitted this, or even being permitted to raise their voices in defense, without getting a bolt-shell in the teeth.

 

Thoughts?

 

I am sure attitudes have changed in the Imperium since the time of the Emperor but in those days, genoicide and casual murder was as much a tool as it is in 41,000. Garro was not allowed in the presence of the Emperor, he was sent to Luna to be investigated for taint. So there was already an appreciation of the true nature of the traitor legions. 

 

As to the black shields, I have all the DW books and I don't seem to remember (doesn't mean it isn't true, my memory isn't what it used to be) that the DW is used as a dumping ground for fuckups. It is an elite organization and to be detached to the DW is a matter of great pride and honour for a Space Marine and his parent chapter. And I also can't recall SM's undergoing punishment having to relinquish their armor and identity. The whole notion of black shields is that they are unknown space marines, Except for the watch commander who accepted them, they could be anyone. From a destroyed chapter, from a rogue chapter or maybe even from a traitor legion. In the latter case, probably not an original marine since they are likely too mutated and too tainted to be accepted even if they wanted to switch sides but the legions recruit new marines who may not want to stay….

 

 

 



#18 the 8 spider

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 07:05 PM

from france

 

in fact they are. by some ironics jokes, logar wrote the "lecto divsionis" the book about his faith in the emperor as god wich has been the base of the imperial creed before being judged by the emperor and turning to chaos.



#19 Kasatka

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 02:25 AM

Skeletor said:

Kasatka said:

 

 

Except that no member of the Imperium, let alone a member of the Inquisition, in the 41st millenium will have any idea of the origins and founding members of the Holy Ordos. There have been more years past from then till the 41st millenium than we have recorded human civilisation as of 2012, and look at how little we have kept true to from our ancestors!

I think that without some incredibly (read  half a dozen degrees of success) good Forbidden Lore:Inquisitor and Forbidden Lore:Traitor Marines/Horus Heresy (depending on what is in your game), that it'd be impossible to use the meta-game knowledge in character. Even then, trying to justify your conversing with the Word Bearers to your superiors would be little short of out-right treachery and heresy.

Now, if you have a psyker in the party who can read minds, or if you have some sort of restraints suitable for an astartes such as a stasis casket or field shielded cage then it may be possible to 'interrogate' one of these ancient warriors without specifically attacking them and thus betraying their supposedly honest intentions…

 

 

Wait… what? First you say "nobody knows" then you say "but if you get a great roll you do"

You're supposition is just as assumed as mine in that department, neither of us know what of the inquisition (or the greater imperium) knows about its past. I was just showing that obviously being from a traitor chapter isn't a death sentence in the imperium and in fact those who resist the call of chaos turn out to be some of the imperium's greatest champions.

No, what i said was that without rolling well ingame, you cannot just use your personal knowledge of the setting and history of the setting and presume your character would know it. However, even with good rolls ingame it would not be permissable to just say "oh yeah, these guys are fine, lets hang out with them!"


Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.


#20 Radwraith

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:52 AM

 Point of fact: The word bearers are arguably the true "founders" of the modern Chaos legions.  It was Erebus, A Word bearer chaplain, that arranged for the corruption of Horus. Even If I "Knew" the history of this particular chapter they would be extremely suspect! That being said; In the days of the great crusade a Space marine legion was composed of thousands of Astartes and likely not all of them fell to the ruin of chaos! Original era Word bearers would likely feel vindicated that the Emperor was finally recognized as a god! It is up to your GM to determine where this particular band fits.






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