Index Astartes: Invectors

in·vec·tive
inˈvektiv/
noun
1. insulting, abusive, or highly critical language.
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Clad in deep blue and black, their armor often decorated with grisly trophies and scrawled litanies of hate, the Marines of the Invectors Chapter are a ruthless and enigmatic presence on the battlefields of the Ultima Segmentum. Prized by Imperial commanders as allies for their efficiency and strategic acumen, but often viewed with suspicion by their fellow Marines and other Imperial agencies, the Invectors have a long and storied, if troubled, history.

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The origin of the Invectors is shrouded in controversy. Their own Chapter records indicate a lineage traced back to the Ultramarines Legion and the Second Founding. And evidence seems to corroborate their homeworld in the Ultima Segmentum as being in the region of the galaxy once referred to as the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar. The Ultramarines own Chapter histories speak of the 79th Company, the “Tribunes of Cerceus”. However, the Ultramarines were split many times and neither Administratum nor Ultramarines records can verify that the Invectors are truly one of the Primogenitors. Many historians speculate that they are perhaps of the Third, or even Fourth Founding, and the Invectors’ records and histories have erroneously traced Ultramarines heroes with whom they are only lineally tied to via geneseed.

 

According to the Invectors’ histories, their first Chapter Master was Cestus Pullo, Captain of the 79th and famed for his heated and forceful rhetoric. Pullo gained acclaim during the Scouring in the aftermath of Horus’s defeat at Terra, leading the 79th in a relentless pursuit, hounding the fractured, demoralized, and often leaderless heretical warbands which scattered to the galactic winds. With the Codex Astartes and dissolution of the Legions, the fiery and bellicose Pullo christened his newly founded Chapter the Invectors and assumed control of the Cerceus system and responsibility for the surrounding sector.

The Invectors became known for their tenacity and viciousness against the bitter remnants of the Traitor Legions. The Kakos campaign in particular during the Third Black Crusade brought no small fame to the Chapter and gave birth to one of its first heroes. At the height of the conflict, Brother Captain Smedlus Butor, with only two of his Marines, infiltrated an Alpha Legion stronghold and defeated the cell leader in single combat. His actions led Butor to become the first recipient of the Honorifica Valorum since the Scouring. And he would go on to earn a second one only a few years later. Butor’s disappearance in early M33 was considered a tragic loss for the Chapter.

In 405.M37, the Invectors joined the Fire Hawks and a task force of Imperial Navy and Guard in crushing the Vasilus Crusade, led by the Dark Apostle Kor Vasilus, then-leader of the Sons of Damnation warband. After three years of ferocious combat across the Aldoloth sector, the crusade came to an end with the death of Kor Vasilus on the Shrine World of Etrithea. Pinched between strike elements from both Chapters, the Dark Apostle found himself trapped on a hilltop on the Sordos peninsula and annihilated by an orbital strike from the Invectors’ flagship. Leaderless, the remaining Sons of Damnation were forced to retreat to the Maelstrom. It took them nearly a millennium to become a significant threat in the Segmentum again. However, the action would sour the Chapter’s relationship with the Fire Hawks whose commander had demanded the right to dispatch the Chaos Lord personally.

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Sitting to the Galactic West of Ultramar and the Tau Sept Worlds in the Ultima Segmentum, the Invectors’ chapter fortress lies on the 4th planet of the Cerceus system. With the planet nominally governed by a republican civilian administrative body, the Invectors involve themselves little in the stratified tribal and socio-economic politics of their world. From a very early age, the educational systems are designed to identify the strongest and brightest youth, attempting to isolate suitable candidates. By their seventh birthdays, these potentials are whisked away to the Chapter’s screening facilities. So prestigious is it for a family to have a son selected for indoctrination, that while the young recruit is almost never seen again, and whether or not he ever successfully became a Marine almost entirely unknown, he will often remain a local legend for generations to come, and imagined stories of his exploits play in the minds of any who catch a fleeting glimpse of a craft bearing the deep blue and black livery of the Invectors.

 

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A fairly small and climatically unremarkable world, most of its civilian population is concentrated on the western continent in sprawling city-states, while the smaller eastern continent is home to the Invectors’ Chapter fortress and training areas. A third continent at the southern pole is bitterly cold, mountainous, and largely uninhabited save for small pockets of miners and fishermen.

Further out from the sun lies Cerceus VII, a ringed gas giant whose largest moon supports a thin but breathable atmosphere sustained by ancient terraforming constructs. Life there is far different from the homeworld, with the influence of the Invectors being more visible in the shipyards and defense platforms, but less invasive. The colonists of Big Seven are rarely screened and even more rarely selected for recruitment, so the Marines are viewed as omnipresent guardians rather than militaristic patrons and masters. While the colony itself boasts a significant native population, its primary purpose is to act as a hub for the system’s void-based industries. These include mining the asteroid belt that lies just beyond the gravitational influence of the massive planet, and the manufactorums which produce a large amount of the war material for the Chapter and the system’s Defense Forces. Docks and maintenance facilities spin a vast metal web around the moon, servicing the numerous military vessels and commercial traffic which pass through the system, while tiny shuttles and maintenance drones flit to and fro between their massive superstructures.

The final populated planet in the system is Cerceus II; known affectionately by its inhabitants as The Maze. A moderately sized planet whose close proximity to the Cercean star makes life on the surface nearly impossible, it serves a dual purpose as a training facility for the Marines, and an underground mining operation populated by a colorful cast of hardy pioneers. The extensive networks of tunnels and underground cities that give the planet its nickname are a wonder to behold, with miles of ancient but elaborately carved reliefs along the major transit routes. The mined ores and fuels are shipped off-world through a network of timed launch windows from underground launch facilities and a small space facility that maintains a fixed orbit in the planet’s shadow.

455632_sm-.pngAs true sons of Guilliman, the Invectors are learned students of the philosophies and strategies of the Codex Astartes. And while they revere the book’s wise teachings, over the millennia, the Invectors have slowly but surely adapted it, expanding the tome with lessons learned 455629_sm-.pngagainst a myriad of opponents, and the notes of many other great Space Marine generals from Chapters they’ve fought alongside. Invectors aspirants are steeped in a variety of tactics and strategy even before they set foot in the Scout units, and the importance of leadership and initiative is stressed at all levels. An Invectors Marine is expected to be able to fill any role in the Battle Companies at any time, as well as serve tours as part of the Chapter Armory, crewing the multitude of armored vehicles and multi-role flight craft.

However, with their obsession for Guilliman’s tenets of initiative and innovation, the compilation has resulted in the slow evolution of their own Chapter’s organization and marking. Only the Veteran and Scout companies operate according to the traditional model; the Invectors field eight full Battle Companies. Newly initiated battle brothers are integrated into existing squads to gain the valuable mentorship of their more experienced peers, while the Veterans and Scouts are distibuted as attachments to the Battle Companies. This leaves each Battle Company its own self-contained fighting force, though it is not uncommon for an Invectors task force to be comprised of two or more companies commanded by the senior officer present. Designations of rank or office are subdued and practical, and many individual Marines will make subtle alterations to the Chapter livery on their battleplate. Only for the rare parade or diplomatic situation will they adopt traditional Codex colorations, most notably when serving as delegates to the Council of Ultramar where the Invectors’ interpretation of the Codex occasionally creates friction.

On the battlefield, the Invectors are utterly ruthless, preferring well-timed, decisive actions intended to shock and disrupt their enemies’ will tosml_gallery_64093_6671_13231.jpg fight and ability to communicate. They also obsessively collect enemy prisoners. More than once have Invectors detachments clashed with Imperial agents over the rights of possession to captured foes. Little is known about the fates of these prisoners, as captives disappear swiftly aboard orbital transports and deep into the bowels of the Invectors’ vessels. It is whispered that ruthless interrogations of the unclean and the alien have brought them remarkable success in their campaigns, but it has also placed them under repeated scrutiny. More than once have extremely xenophobic Chapters refused to fight alongside them, and open hostilities almost erupted between a contingent of Black Templars and the Invectors’ 4th Company over the fate of Eldar captives. Only adding to this suspicion has been the propensity of individual Invectors Marines to take souvenirs and display trophies of exceptional kills on their battle plate. These range from xenos helmets and skulls and other artifacts, and the Invectors’ integration of those items into their armor and wargear has on more than one occasion offended more traditionalist chapters.

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As the Invectors’ interpretation of the Codex evolved, so did the Invectors’ adherence to its dictates. The flourishing industries of their home system provided the sub-sector with a strong standing defense force, and the Invectors often with far more access to military might than the typical Marine Chapter. These lines have blurred further over the recent centuries. After significant losses to their Chapter Fleet at Arnessk in 429.M38, the Chapter replaced several of its destroyers with standard Imperial hulls seized from the rebellious sector fleet, and integrated the Dictator-class fleet carrier Valeria Victrix along with its complement of attack craft. In conjunction with the ever-present detachments of Cercean auxiliary regiments which accompany Invectors forces, this practice skirts the guidelines of the Codex Astartes and the limitations it places on Space Marine power projection.

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With the emergence of the Tau Empire and the Tyranid hive fleets, the attention of the Invectors has moved eastward. The Chapter, which had spent so much time developing its doctrines against the insidious threat of Chaos insurrections, became particularly vested in combatting the nascent Tau Empire’s efforts to poach Imperial held systems. Seconded Battle Brothers from the Invectors have began to show up alongside Chapters in the Eastern Fringe which had found themselves most often engaged with the Tau and Tyranids, likely with the purpose of gaining insight into their experiences. The reception of these small detachments is not always warm.

 

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Let me know what you think in the comments. The idea was “What if the Ultramarines turned into Galactic Space Jerks?” and then sprinkled in some historical and pop culture references in true Rogue Trade-era fashion. Are they interesting? Would you consider playing as this Chapter?

True Scale Space Marines Invectors Chapter Steel Legion Imperial Guard Inquisitorial Henchman Chapter Serf

Painting Guide:

Gray Primer

Base Color – Equal Parts Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue and Vallejo Ultramarine.

Torso/Arms/Fingers – Black

Leather Parts – Rhinox Hide / Vallejo Burnt Umber

Bolter/Weapon Casings – P3 Ironhull Gray

Metals -Vallejo Gunmetal

Eagle – Vallejo USAF Light Gray

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2 thoughts on “Index Astartes: Invectors

  1. Hey there Veteran Sergeant! I love the fluff you created for the Invectors. It is well thought out and gives me the impression of a longstanding Chapter form the Ultramarine Legion that followed the Codex along the lines of “adaptability”. Their origins and the conflict you depicted helps explains their attitude towards warfare and their view of the Codex – I like that bold yet professionnal way of thinking. in fact, they remind me of the Raptors (Raven Guard Successors) but with a grittier, or more badass attitude! I’m not sold on the prisonner part of your story though, but I see what you wanted to do with that.

    I could definitely build and paint a detachment of Invectiors. Using the new Codex rules, I think a Skyahmmer Strike Force of Invector Brothers could be cool to include in my army. Do you think the Invectors use camouflage on their armour or do they stick to the blue and black?

    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know how much I’ve ever been sold on the idea of camouflaged power armor. It seems to me that it’s really not necessary to their type of warfare, where shock value is a side benefit of the strike. Scouts? Absolutely. They’d be camo’d up head to toe. But a Battle Company Marine is going to be used in surgical strikes, boarding operations, etc where speed and shock of action are of far more importance than stealth.

      However, you’re absolutely welcome to use the Chapter in your army if you want, and are free to paint them how you want. A handful of people have done them up in the past (mostly for Deathwatch squads) and I’m always happy to see somebody enjoyed my creation enough to use it themselves. By all means share it with me when you’re done, either on Facebook, or one of my forum logs.

      As far as the prisoners thing, it’s more of a flavor to them. There’s a lot of fluff behind it, but nothing I’ve published on the blog yet. It’s much darker than just the idea of squeezing them for information, but goes into the idea of torture and other disturbing sadism. I kinda want the chapter to be this one that appears all business and professionalism on the outside, but with these little cues that maybe they’re a bit over the edge sometimes. Maybe eventually I’ll publish some of those stories. I’m just a pretty self-critical writer, so something has to go through a lot of edits before I’m happy with it, and I don’t get as much time to spend on this blog/project as I used to.

      Like

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