My original goal was to create a homebrew Space Marine Chapter with fluff. When I first got into the hobby in the early nineties I regulalry bought White Dwarf. I used to borrow back issues from friends and I really enjoyed the short stories in the older White Dwarfs. The stories made the worlds of fantasy and 40k so much richer.
Getting back into the hobby I have enjoyed revisiting these stories. I am glad to see GW producing more of this material through media like MalignPortents.com. There is also lots of third party stuff too. I particulalry enjoy the style of ExProfundis.com. It’s super GrimDark although a lot of it is Age of Sigmar. I think they refer to their style as AoS28.
It struck me that the fluff I like the best doesn’t explain everything. The ambiguities make it more interesting. There’s a real art to creating an atmosphere or eliciting an emotion in a short passage and it adds so much to what are essentially products and ExProfundis is so good at it. One of my favorite stories can be read here.
I wrote the fluff for the Sauroters quite early into the project. I have returned to it several times to edit. It’s not perfect by any means but I’m quite pleased with it. If you want, you can read it by clicking on the pages at the top of the site. I will also include all of it below for convenience:
Thalassa is an Ocean World in the Ultima Segmentum. Originally a Forge World during the Dark Age of the Imperium, a catastrophic accident caused a rapid, uncontrollable rise in sea levels. The unfortunate population either took to the waves in ramshackle craft or kickstarted a sudden explosion in marine life, heralding the geological development of a planet size ocean.
Rediscovered during the Great Crusade, Thalassa’s drastically reduced population had developed a trade based society centered around huge city-state flotillas. Their once high tech society reduced to seasonal migration and intermittent warfare. Eventually Thalassa became the homeworld of the Sauroters Chapter whose fortress monastery occupies the only land mass on the planet.
Located on the equator, Halia is the summit of a vast mountain, the bulk of which is underwater. The Sauroters maintain a fortress monastery there where aspirants may present themselves, having first solo-circumnavigated the planet as proof of their worthiness. Those not claimed by the dwellers of the deep oceans, nor driven mad by the unrelenting sun, are ready to begin their transformation into an Astartes.
As the Imperial Truth gave way to the Imperial Cult, so too did the Thalassan’s interregnum sun worship come to be replaced with an unwavering belief in the Emperor of Mankind. Represented now by the Vergina Sun. Symbol of the Sauroters Chapter and holy Terra’s ancient Agean past.
Life on the great city-state flotillas of Thalassa is spartan indeed. Free divers are able to reach the very tips of the submerged hive spires of old Thalassa but risk the ruptured eye balls and crippled lungs of the bends. Even more terrifying are the flora and fauna of the upper oceans, evolved to confuse and ensnare. To consume and absorb. Yet, no other source of metal exists.
Occasionally some titan of the deep ocean, swollen with the pestilent gases of decomposition will breach the surface. It’s chitinous spines and bloated poison sacks replenishing stocks of wargear—fueling raids against rival flotilla. Food, metal, mates and slaves. Of these, slaves are the most valuable. Both as a means of propulsion and in the lean times survival.
Observing all, the Apothecaries and Chaplains of the Sauroters, select the most resourceful and ruthless. Communicating via signs and portents, Chapter Serfs posing as Oracles are instructed to deliver these young men as tribute to the deities of Halia; sole land mass on Thalassa and undoubted seat of God.
Setting foot on dry land for the first time, Aspirants climb the mountain to the temple atop the highest point on Halia. There the inscriptions on the pillars of the temple describe the ordeal ahead. Alone, in an open boat, an Aspirant must circumnavigate the planet. Equipped only with a smooth handled adze of polished wood and bronxe and a carvel built boat fashioned from the sacred trees of the temple precincts.
Hollowed by hunger, desiccated by thirst, disfigured by the sun. Upon return, taken down into the vast complex below the holy mountain. Transformed physically by the Apothecarium; spiritually by the Reclusiam. Neophytes emerge blinking in the sunlight once more. To begin the often lethal process of becoming a full Battle Brother of the Sauroters Chapter.
The Sauroters is a Loyalist Codex Astartes-compliant Chapter of Space Marines created in 738.M41 during the 26th Founding. Sauroter means ‘lizard-killer’. The name comes from the Dory used by the ancient Greek Hoplites. The sauroter was the counterweight at the base of the spear, used to deliver the coup de grâce to fallen enemies. An Ultramarines successor chapter, the Sauroters act as an ouragos to their brother chapters the Mentors and the Storm Giants. The Sauroters specialize in counter-insurgency and asymmetric warfare.
The Four-Armed Emporer
Since the destruction of the Trysst Dynasty on Ghosar Quintus in 680.M41 genestealer infestations have grown in number beyond even the ability of the Deathwatch to contain. This paradigm shift from growing threat to ongoing state of emergency necessitated a permanent countermeasure. Created by secret edict of the High Lords of Terra, under cover of the 26th Founding, the Sauroters are a tacit admission of the shadow at the heart of the Ultima Segmentum.
Faith in Father (741.M41) As Hive Fleet Behemoth began it’s invasion of the Eastern Galaxy, heralds in the guise of genestealer cults professing ‘Faith in Father’ sprang up across the Ultima Segmentum. Endangering the production of the means to wage war againt the invading Tyranids. The High Lords of Terra tasked the Sauroters with a series of covert urban clearences of the administravtive centers of affected mining worlds.
Vae Victus (88.M42) In the aftermath of the Noctis Aeterna, the Sauroters undertook several major actions against a previoulsy unknown Word Bearers warband. Liberating worlds in the process and carriying out Exterminatus actions to ensure they remained free of the taint of Chaos. Although unable to bring the enemy to a decsisive battle, after attacks on eight worlds the warband seems to have ceased hostilities leaving the Sauroters to claim a phyrric vistory.