Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard "Wiki"

Ave Omnissiah!

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My blog is primarily my own personal fluff in the Warhammer 40,000 universe regarding the Draconis system such as the Knight House Yato in Draconis III, the Imperial Guard...I mean, Astra Militarum regiment trained there, the Draconian Armored Defenders, and the Forge World of Draconis IV with its Adeptus Mechanicus priesthood, Cybernetica cohorts and Skitarii legions, and the Titan Legion, Legio Draconis, known as the Dark Dragons.

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Horus Heresy Janus Campaign

I had a great weekend at the Horus Heresy Weekender, which was organized by the Frozen North Horus Heresy group - thanks to all the organize...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Imperial Guardsman - the game

Given the wide range of Warhammer 40K games we have in the last couple of decades, I think we can say we PC gamers have been pretty blessed. There's Fire Warrior, which allows you to play as Tau, but that's pretty much the only exception. And then we have the famous Dawn of War series, where if you remember, the trailer for the third game in the series has just been released! Then we have Battlefleet: Gothic Armada, which I haven't gotten yet because I lack the money and funds (argh), and a few shooters in addition to Fire Warrior. The acclaimed Space Marine, which never got as sequel, the upcoming Space Hulk: Deathwing, and probably the RPG-3rd person shooter hybrid Inquisitor.

In the face of so many Warhammer 40K video games, I have a single proposal to make. It's going to sound stupid, and is probably stupid and will never see the light of day, even if I were to make a Kickstarter project. But I wish there is an Imperial Guardsman game. Yeah, sure, I know Space Marines are the poster boys for the Warhammer 40K universe, but I'm not a big fan of Space Marines. I didn't even enjoy most of the Deathwatch short stories in Deathwatch: Ignition. Funnily enough, the only stories I enjoyed was the Blood Ravens and Space Wolf one, and the first story, One Bullet (which is by Ben Counter, one of my favorite Black Library authors). Oh well. The rest just painted Space Marines as this boring, one-dimensional dudes whose sense of duty is overwhelming, blah blah. Only the Ultramarines in the first story, Blood Raven and the Space Wolf, and maybe the White Scar dude, actually received character development.

As I suspected, the Imperial Guard novels are the ones I enjoy the most, because being frail and imperfect human beings, the Imperial Guardsmen have the most room to grow, such as Ibram Gaunt, Ciaphas Cain and more. Superhuman genhanced soldiers don't mean godlike beings who are infallible, which is why I enjoy Ben Counter's depiction of Space Marines more than anyone else's. His Grey Knight series are quite the enjoyable read, as Justicar Alaric isn't exactly this "oh, duty is everything" infallible supersoldier as most other Space Marines tend to lean toward. Ugh. I enjoyed his One Bullet story, but I didn't like his Flesh of the Angel. Oh well.

But video games are a whole other story. Gamers like to feel empowered. They don't want to feel weak and helpless. That's why playing as a strong Space Marine would feel much more appealing to them than playing as a frail and fragile Imperial Guardsman.

So how do you make a good game about an Imperial Guardsman that will appeal to gamers? Well, the first solution is to make it a survival horror game. Space Hulk: Deathwing has the right idea. We could have a game where a colony or Hive City has been overrun by Tyranids and Genestealers, and you're forced to navigate your way through the dark, shadowy city as a mere Guardsman. A mere mortal, as you will. With no Terminator Armor to protect you, and your first weapon being a laughably weak flashlight...uh, lasgun, that will make for quite the awesome survival horror experience.

But it wouldn't just be Tyranids. As it turns out, there's other enemies such as Orks and the enigmatic Eldar infiltrating the Hive City for their own reasons. The Orks had been attacking the Hive World before the Tyranids arrived, and there continues to be clashes and skirmishes between the two xenos, which makes for some fun and interesting strategic compoments. You can wait for the Tyranids and Orks to weaken each other before jumping in and finishing off the survivors. Whereas the Eldar are here to bring off some soulstone or wraithstone that contains a collective of Eldar souls before the Tyranids get to them.

On the other hand, you can't stay jumping in the dark forever, especially as the Tyranid, Ork and Eldar enemies get progressively stronger. You have an upgrade path. So the Imperial Guardsman starts out with flak armor, but can upgrade to carapace armor to improve his endurance. There can be bonuses to upgrade the carapace armor to stormtrooper armor, which provides benefits such as better aiming, higher resistance to acid or projectile attacks, higher health, more ammo capacity, etc.

Weapons will definitely have an upgrade tree. You can eventually upgrade your pitiful lasgun into a powerful hot-shot lasgun, which then further evolves into a hot-shot volley gun. You also have the standard Imperial Guardsman armory available, such as the flamer, plasma gun and meltagun, as well as grenade launchers. The flamer can be upgraded into a heavy flamer which does increased damage and covers a wider area. The meltagun can be upgraded with tank and monster hunter, which in video game terms could mean it deals bonus damage to vehicles and monstrous creature-type enemies, increasing the chances of critical hits and blowing them up with one hit. The plasma gun provides a high rate of devastating firepower, but overheats easily, which causes it to stall and deal some damage to you. But an upgrade of Preferred Enemy could then remove that overheating problem, which allows you to spam plasma shots as much as possible in late game, if your ammo allows it.

This is more of a shooter than a melee game, so you're not encouraged to rush in and perform melee attacks. However, you have the option to do so via power fist or power weapon upgrades, which allow you to rush in and perform Glory Kills...uh, sorry, this isn't Doom. But anyway, yeah. There's an option for you to invest in melee should you desire. By the way, there are no iron sights or aiming down sights. You're an Imperial Guardsman who starts out with Ballistic Skill 3. Half your shots are bound to miss. The stormtrooper armor will help improve your aim by making the crosshairs smaller, but that's about it. We don't need no aiming down sights. We're Imperial Guard!

The kicker, and why you should play as an Imperial Guardsman instead of a Space Marine, is this: Imperial Knights. Space Marines will never become nobles who pilot Imperial Knights. On the other hand, Imperial Guardsmen could be men from these noble houses who decided to sign on with the Imperial Guard to fight the enemies of the Imperium of Man. In this particular game, the narrative begins when the Imperial Guardsman you play as learns that his elder brother, who pilots a Knight (House Yato of Draconis III, yay), has died in battle, and the Adeptus Mechanicus has enlisted the help of your platoon to salvage the fallen Knight machine. Well, because Knights are extremely valuable and relatively rare, and they can't allow it to fall into the hands of the enemies such as Orks. So in the final few missions, you basically get to climb into the repaired chasis of your brother's Knight, take over as the new Baron or noble, and pilot your Knight to wreak destruction on those hated Xenos. As they say in the first mission, "it must be fate that his brother's platoon is sent to reclaim his Knight."

The second and third-last missions could be you just going to town in your Knight and basically stomping and blasting all manners of xenos enemies, whether Tyranid, Ork or Eldar to bloody bits. At the end of those, you're introduced to the Super-heavies and Gargantuan Creatures of the respective xenos factions, like Stompa, Wraithknight and Hierophant. The last mission, Lords of War, changes things up by pitting you against multiple Stompas, Wraithknights and Hierophants, before wrapping things up with a Gargant and a Revenant Knight. Sweet. So you basically turn from Imperial Guardsman into an Imperial Knight by the end of the relatively long single-player campaign. Woohoo. Speaking of which, your Imperial Knight is customizable, so you can turn it into a Knight Warden, Paladin, Errant, Gallant (if you favor melee) or Crusader (if you love shooting). The carapace weapons can be swapped out, for example Ironstorm Missiles deal less direct damage but has a much wider area of effect, Stormspear Rockets deal massive amounts of direct damage, but has pitiful area of effect range. Twin Icarus Autocannons...well, forget Skyfire, let it deal a steady stream of continuous automatic fire that can suppress enemies, which can be useful (it's a chaingun versus the slow-firing missile launchers kind of thing). And if you like throwing stuff, switch the Reaper Chainsword with the Thunderstrike Gauntlet to hurl the dead enemies' bodies around after executing them with a Glory Kill! Uh...I mean execution attack.

As for multiplayer, let's just turn it into Titanfall. You can play as an Imperial Guardsman, Eldar (Fire Dragon or something?), Ork Mekboy or a Hormagaunt/Termagaunt. There's a timer at the bottom of your screen that slowly counts down, though you can speed it up by killing more enemies or dealing damage by shooting or meleeing. Up to you. Once the timer reaches zero, you can call down a "Titan". Of course, there will be different animations for each race. An Imperial Guardsman will look up at the sky as his Imperial Knight falls from above and lands in a crackling power field (yeah, let's rip off Titanfall). An Eldar will wait for a gate to open up before a Wraithknight walks out and then he transfers his body through Eldar witchcraft into its cockpit (fits with the fluff, as twin Eldars are needed to pilot the Wraithknight, and you play as the still-living twin). The Ork will blow something up and have a Stompa dig itself out of the ground or something. The Termagaunt will wrap itself in a cocoon before evolving and bursting out as a brand-new Hierophant a few seconds later or something. Hey, look! We have more variety for our mechs than Titanfall! Yay! These guys all have their customizable options, so yay. Then you can have Attrition, which is standard Team Deathmatch, Hardpoint Domination, which is capture zones or whatever, Frontier Defense, which is a 4-player co-op where you play as Imperial Guardsmen/Imperial Knights against waves of Tyranids and you must defend your promethium plant against them. Or something. Stuff like that.

What do you guys think? Obviously it's going to be hard to kickstart it with Kickstarter and I don't have the Information Technology or computer design skills to pull this off. I can only do storyboarding and concept design. Oh well. For the Emperor?

I did entertain other upgrade paths, for example, allowing the Imperial Guardsman to upgrade into either a Skitarius or a Primaris Psyker. The Skitarius option allows you to augment your character with physical enhancements to improve your damage, endurance and speed in melee combat, and turns you into a walking tank. Show them the weakness of the flesh! On the other hand, if you choose to stay human and not bother with grafting machine parts into yourself, you can become a Primaris Psyker and start hurling warp bolts at your enemies while conjuring up forcefields or turning yourself invisible. Yay. But the problem with this concept is that there's no way a Skitarius or a Psyker will be allowed to pilot an Imperial Knight, much for the same fluff reasons why a Space Marine wouldn't. So I decided to cut that out from the overall idea.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Regimental Standard

Attention, all Imperial Guardsmen!

The Great Enemy has foolishly attempted their 13th invasion of Cadia, which will certainly fail thanks to the valiant efforts and courageous defiance of our glorious imperial defenders. Yet, in this dark hour, it is understandable that several of you will falter in the face of such an immense threat.

Therefore, your local Commissar will be recommending The Regimental Standard, a series of motivational articles that enlighten even the most simple-minded of Guardsmen and open their eyes to the glorious truth of the Emperor. It will debunk heretical myths about xenos and their supposed superiority, and offer sound advice when fighting alongside the noble Knights of the Imperium, or supporting the god-machines of the mighty Titan Legions. All Guardsmen are advised to read this invaluable handouts, particularly the night before a major battle. These handouts will be available online through the nosphere, so you can have easy and convenient access to it by visiting the nearest Adeptus Mechanicus Nosphere Cafe that are often set up to provide Guardsmen entertainment.

Many Guardsmen have responded positively to receiving The Regimental Standard. Commissar Koflyers Kane highly recommends it, explaining that there was a drastic decrease in the number of guilible fools in his regiment after they were exposed to Imperial knowledge. Trooper Caffran of the 845th Cadian, when interviewed by Commissar Kane, had this to say.

"I've never read such grot sh...I mean, I've never seen such an enlightening piece of work that humbled me when I realized my lack of knowledge...I'm honest, I'm not faking it because I'm having a bolt pistol pointed at my head..."

Remember, do not deface, challenge or produce heretical parodies of The Regimental Standard, as this represents the word of the Emperor Himself, and such blasphemy is punishable by death, meted out by the Commissariat.

Any Guardsmen who still have doubts after reading the Imperial truth are advised to visit their regimental Commissar for consultation and psychological re-evaluation.

Thought for today:
"Question not the word of the Emperor, but the words of your weak, human heart."

Watch out!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dawn of War III

Emperor on Terra...

This...this is absolutely amazing news.

The Space Marine charging straight into a Deff Dread was...just stupid (correct me if that wasn't a Deff Dread, thanks). But the Wraithknight stomping on it was great. And the Imperial Knights showing up was pure awesome.

I love Imperial Knights. IMPERIAL KNIGHTS! Imperial Knights are in Dawn of War III! I absolutely need to get this game now!


By the way, even though the Imperial Knights are red, they don't look like they're from House Raven or House Taranis. Their House Crest is completely different. I've never seen it before, and I'm guessing it'll be an original in-game House.

Dawn of War III will most likely be a Real Time Strategy game in the vein of its predecessors, and from the looks of it, it will only have 3 factions, the Imperium, the Eldar and the Orks. I don't know if we'll have the Imperial Guard alongside the Imperial Knights and Space Marines in an all-Imperium army, but if we do that will be awesome (and cool if we have Craftworld Eldar, Dark Eldar and Harlequinns combined into the Eldar faction). We'll see. I'll wait for more news.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Crusade Imperialis

Oh my goodness.

For fans of Warhammer 40K...I mean Warhammer 30K, particularly the Horus Heresy series of the tabletop game, I have some awesome news for you!

Forge World is releasing a new...uh...codex? Or rulebook? Anyway, Forge World is releasing a new book that covers the army lists of Imperial (and Warp Cults) armies! The Solar Auxilia, Questoris Knights, Imperial Militia and Warp Cults will be bundled together into a new book titled Crusade Imperialis and will be released on sale soon! It will make its debut in Warhammer Fest, apparently.

You can find more details on the Forge World website regarding this book! This means we can resume the crusades that the Emperor carried out during the 31st Millennium, this time with the normal every-man of the Imperial Militia and Solar Auxilia instead of the superhuman genehanced Space Marines from the various Legions! No more all-Marine Horus Heresy battles! Well, there's still the awesome Mechanicum army, so what am I talking about? Argh...if only I didn't run out of money, I could build a Mechanicum army. Sigh. Well, whatever will be, will be. In any case, Solar Auxilia fans (and those who love Questoris Knights, Imperial Militia and Cults) will rejoice at the release of this amazing book!

If it's anything like the updated Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List that was released last year, I daresay we have a winner on our hands!