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Themed Army Ideas
Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice: January 2007  by Patrick Eibel
Recently, we received the following:

Hello, oh mighty guru,

I’m starting a Space Marine army called The Emperor’s Dragons (yes, I know, how cliché, but I like the name). I would like some modeling tips and how to stress the draconic feel.

Here’s the boring background story. As any gamer should know, there are two blank spots in the list of First Founding chapters that have had all records expunged. Well, here’s part of one of them…

On the world of Gigarev (or maybe Drogen’s Forge…. Haven’t got that far yet) the old legion had broken itself into two: traitors and loyalists. The traitors held almost ¾ of the legion under their control (including their Primarch), but the loyalists were strong and courageous enough to drive them off into the Maelstrom and Eye Of Terror. This was during the siege of the Emperor’s palace on Terra, and what remained of the chapter (about 470 men) went to Terra during the siege. They were there as the final attempt at Horus’ life was mustered and helped to hold off the massive onslaught of traitors as Horus and the Emperor fought. The mightiest of all was Drogen, the Bane of the Keeper, who destroyed a mighty Keeper of Secrets in a one-on-one battle. But though their heroics were legendary, when they returned to their homeworld, the Inquisition was virus bombing the planet, saying that they were traitors. They finally convinced the Inquisition to stop, by saying they would allow themselves to be broken up, but it was too little, too late. Only 8% of the planet was habitable; fortunately, the massive fortress monastery was an enclosed environment, and thus, still usable.

Since then, they have held a massive distrust and dislike of the Inquisition and won’t work with anyone who works with them, save the Grey Knights. The remaining members managed to escape undetected and went to the Salamanders and Dark Angels who sheltered them until they could become a new chapter under a new name. The Emperor’s Dragons chapter is divided up into three sections, one for each world. They all have the same color scheme: green with a red right arm. It ranges from Goblin Green to Dark Angel Green. They also have about 17 Companies. The army draws Scouts not only from their three worlds, but they also have foreign legions of Scouts everywhere. It is even rumored that one of the High Lords of Terra is a member. Most of these Scouts are Imperial Guardsmen. They number almost half a million. They are sent to do important jobs for the Chapter so it doesn't become involved in anything too large. 

Their first job was to cleanse a world corrupted by the traitors of their old legion. It was close to the Maelstrom and became their second home world (their first was near the north edge of the galaxy). Their second job was to cleanse a gas giant similar to a world used by the Vespid in their own system. It was only half infested, this time by a group calling themselves the Basilisk, who were of the old legion traitors. They quickly became the Dragon’s worst enemy. Drogen has become an ancient venerable who knew the primarchs.

What I have:

  • Commander with storm bolter, power sword, adamantine mantle;
  • An unassembled Commander with lighting claws;
  • A Chaplain in Terminator armor, with storm bolter; 
  • A Venerable Dread;
  • A Terminator squad;
  • Three Tac Squads (two at five men and a missile launcher and one at seven men, including a flamer);
  • A Command Squad fully loaded with Rhino or Razorback (accompanies the Commander with the storm bolter)
  • Led by a Chapter Master known as “The Wyrm;”
  • Chaplains are known as “Purebloods;”
  • Scouts are known as “Hatchlings;”
  • Marines are known as “Dragons;”
  • Terminators are known as “Drakes”
Fighting Style:
  • Use Traits to allow Infiltrators to begin most of my army (the Tac Squads) in cover and then Deep Strike my Terminators and Chaplain in and drive the Razorback with Command Squad up to the enemy lines; or
  • Be shooty and bring up a counter assault with the Command and Dread
I got nothing.

Thanks for your help, 

Getting Started
Wow, there is certainly a lot of information here. To start, let’s use the advice presented in Kenton’s fluff article to try and streamline the background. Then we will address the modeling issues.

The first item to address is the idea of being one of the two chapters expunged from the records. As Kenton discusses in the “Keep it Real” section of the fluff article, it is best not to tamper with such major bits of 40K lore. Besides, if the Chapter was expunged from the records, it is unlikely that even the loyalists would still be around and sanctioned by the Lords of Terra. Also, the idea that this chapter was there at the final assault on Horus and never got mentioned is just too much. 

There are other ways to depict the conflict within the chapter between Chaos and Loyalist. Finally, the backstory seems to be at odds with itself: in the beginning, the Chapter is sundered by a split between Loyalist and Traitorous Marines, but then they are described as having 17 Companies and an elaborate network of spies. You can’t have it both ways: the process of creating Marines is way too arduous to go from nearly wiped out to one of the largest in the Astartes, especially for a Chapter under scrutiny by the Inquisition.

A more streamlined back story could go like this:

The Emperor’s Dragons, a Chapter descended from the Salamanders, was founded on the planet Gigarev by the Chapter Master, Drogen. Drogen’s second-in-command was his chief Librarian, Sinock. Sinock was a powerful telepath and frequently heard voices from the Warp telling him enemy battle plans or the thoughts of his brethren. These voices began to corrupt Sinock against Drogen, playing the psyker’s hunger for power and his jealousy of the love the people of Gigarev had for Drogen. Eventually, Sinock turned over half of the Chapter to his cause, using his powers to affect the minds of the Marines. Only the most strong-willed Brothers stayed loyal to Drogen, nearly 500, and a fierce civil war ensued. 

Drogen sent word to Terra seeking aid, but instead, a fleet of Inquisition ships arrived above the planet. Meanwhile, a pitched battle was taking place between the Dragons and Chaos forces at the Chapter’s fortress. Drogen suffered a severe wound from Sinock’s force weapon, and was only spared by the actions of the Grey Knights.  The Chaos forces were beaten back, the surviving loyal Marines were taken to the Inquisition ships to be interrogated (and in Drogen’s case, interred in a Dreadnought sarcophagus), and the planet was virus-bombed to eradicate any remaining trace of corruption. Sinock and several of his followers fled into the Maelstrom. 

Once Drogen’s men were cleared of any taint, they were given a new home planet, renamed Drogen’s Forge: a gas giant, with large cloud cities suspended over the planet by massive anti-gravity turbines. The planet has two moons that house more conventional monasteries and from which new recruits are drawn. Sinock and his traitors survive as the Basilisks, Chaos Marines that are the Dragons’ worst enemy.

Figures and Modeling
The list presented is a good start. I would add a Rhino for the Tac squad with the flamer, an Assault Squad, and a Predator or Devastators for some heavy support. Since the Chapter is descended from the Salamanders, using bits such as Xavier’s cloak makes total sense. Using parts from plastic Cold Ones could also be a good way to enhance vehicles and larger surfaces. 

If you are feeling really ambitious (and have a lot of spare cash), you could use High Elf Dragon Prince heads for each Marine (or even just the characters). This would mean hacking the heads off the elven figures and fitting them to the Marine bodies – lots of work, but man, would that be a cool-looking army.

Creating a background that is cool, but that fits into the 40K universe, can be challenging. It is sometimes hard to know what areas are better left unexplored. In this case, I hope the ideas presented here are in keeping with the original concept and that Cody likes the changes. The whole point to the Jungle Juice series, as well as the article on creating fluff, is to help players think about what might make a good background or army idea and how to make it work. So, as long as we get submissions, we will be here to help. 

If you would like me to develop some ideas for you, check the introduction page of this series for the e-mail address.

Related Pages
More Jungle Juice

Posted January 2007. Used with permission.


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle