Ages ago I asked you all for help with a project. ‘People of the internet’, I cried, ‘help me come up with ideas for Chaos Marines’. Most of you refrained. With retrospect I think I made the explanation far too complicated – all I really wanted was for you to pick a number between 1 and 1000. I would then look at the Personal Attributes table from Slaves to Darkness and either make whatever you’d selected or embarrass myself by failing in the effort.
As an aside, if you’re currently thinking “that’s a rad idea – my favourite number is 513!” then I’m sorry to say the project is on temporary hiatus. Due to the wonderful vagrancies of working contracts I’m currently living out of a suitcase in temporary lodgings and my copy of Slaves to Darkness is resting in storage. Once I’m settled somewhere again I’ll probably do more things like this so you’ll get another chance.
Anyway, most of you got shy and that’s fair enough.
Anyway, most of you got shy and that’s fair enough. Teselación wasn’t shy though. They took on the challenge I’d set, roared like a lion and typed 666 into the comment box. Obviously that was just so heavy metal I had to go for it. The mutation, when I looked it up, was ‘Multiple Heads’, with the designers adding a succinct description ‘The mutant grows one or more extra heads’. Presumably they felt there wasn’t much more they could add without becoming patronising.
Anyway, we kicked around some ideas including a Slaaneshi half male, half female androgynous creature (still have some options on the backburner that may or may not see that one realised in the future) and the old-fashioned ‘stick two heads on one body’ trick (tried this with a space marine – it looked awful).
It was at this point I stumbled on a few lines from the novel The Talon of Horus by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (so many good ideas in that book – let me yet again sincerely advise you to go and buy a copy at once).
“The empyrean’s alterations and flesh-changes are not accidental, indiscriminate mutations. The warp… reshapes them, siphoning the secrets of their souls and writing those truths upon their mortal flesh…This is the simplest truth of life in the Great Eye. Everyone sees your sins, your secrets and lusts, written plain across your flesh”.
Frankly I love the idea. What makes the story of the Horus Heresy and the fall of the Legions so compelling is the way that their own nature turns against them, the fact that their choices are – for the most part – reasonable, logical, even noble and high-minded (not you Night Lords), yet they are damned by them nonetheless. Thus it makes sense that the mutations visited upon them in the Eye of Terror do not come so much from a mad god handing out extra eyes, limbs and so on like trinkets, but from the inner, at times unacknowledged, nature of the individual themselves. The same nature which drew certain Legions to the service of individual gods now reshapes them to better suit that god’s nature. Thus Khorne doesn’t pause from being angry to say “You could really use a sword for an arm – and you’ve been doing good work for me so here you go. Nice one buddy”. Instead the same compulsion to kill that drew the marine to Khorne in the first place is manifested in their flesh. It makes the Gods much more formless, ineffable and Lovecraftian (which is my personal preference for them) and less like Olympian characters with a personal interest in their subjects.
Suddenly a character started to develop in my mind. Here we have someone who has proven to be two-faced, who tries to hide their thoughts behind a mask and, having double-crossed those who should have been his allies, now needs to keep a constant watch over his shoulder. The result was this guy:
Quite pleased with this shoulder pad by the way, it slightly freaks me out every time I look at it and even though in the end I went for an undivided chaos marine it serves as a nice reference to the original Slaaneshi ideas.
Anyway, hope you like him, cheers to Teselación for the idea and, as usual, any comments/suggestions/ideas I can steal/etc are welcome in the comments box below.