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The Tiger Roars
Guest Commentary

Assembling an Army from Odds and Ends by Vicente L. Ruiz
Editor's note: I always urge people to plan ahead when they're putting together an army, but what if it's too late for that? What if you've already run out and bought a bunch of models without thinking how they'll fit together into a coherent whole?

All is not lost, of course. Vicente Ruiz is from Spain and recently e-mailed me this article describing how he put together his Chaos army. Read how Vicente started off the same way, with a bunch of eclectic figures, yet pulled it all together just by using what he had and by applying a little imagination. 

In 1996, I spent six months studying in England. The 2nd Edition Chaos Codex was released then, and I got a copy. I already had a Space Wolf army, and no intention indeed to get a new one, but I just had to have Jes Goodwin’s Abaddon...and in the end, I found myself starting a Chaos army.

As it was, I bought miniatures just because they appealed to me and not for their game value. I did get a number of ordinary Chaos Space Marines to build up the bulk of the army, but besides that it was pretty much a haphazard collection of models. I had five of the new Terminators and three old ones, one of those brilliant metal Berzerkers (by--who else?--Jes Goodwin) leading six plastic ones, three old Bloodletters, five plastic Chaos Marines, a converted Dread from the Space Crusade board game, and a few other things, together with Abaddon (I always intended to use him as a stand-in for my Chaos Lord).

Much later, 3rd Edition appeared, and I started to modify my Chaos army to adapt it to the new rules. Many bolters were replaced by bolt pistols, several squads increased their ranks, and when the new plastic Berzerkers where released I couldn’t resist, as they can also double as normal Chaos marines.

I decided that my Chaos Lord would bear the Mark of Khorne, as I’ve always preferred this god, and it would also allow me to field my Berzerkers either as Troops or Elites. Still my army looked strange: I had a Khorne Lord, Berzerkers, a Daemon Prince that was a cheap substitute for a Bloodthirster, Bloodletters and Khorne Flesh hounds, but there were also normal Marines in blue or green armor, dark purple Terminators and even Havocs....

My original intent of just collecting several squads made up of models I liked showed through and resulted in an army that wasn’t coherent. That didn’t worry me much, as Chaos is fickle in nature and the galaxy is vast, and anything could happen when a warband is forming. Still, I wasn’t entirely comfortable.

After reading the section on Themed Army Ideas on this site, I began to try to come up with some background that could justify such an army composition. It was when reading the last issue of the comic book “Avengers Forever” that the idea struck me. I was reading a scene where Rick Jones, The Eternal Sidekick of the Marvel Universe but a very powerful individual, reluctantly accepts to share his life with Captain Marvel (Jr.) –literally. They cannot exist at the same time, and when one is “on Earth,” the other disappears to a sort of nether-dimension. That, and the story (from Warhammer Monthly) where the Dark Elf Malus Darkblade is possessed by a Daemon, were my inspiration. Oh yes, so were many of the views expressed in the Jungle.

This is what I came up with.

Gothmog is a Chaos Lord. He was a worshipper of Chaos Undivided when he took command of his Chaos Warband. He never talks about his past, so the original Legion he proceeds from is unknown. Ever since reaching his actual position of leadership, he set out to look for power, maybe with the intent of achieving Daemonhood, but this also has not been revealed.

On a lost Daemon World, his quest for power became his doom. Gothmog had felt a sort of psychic call even from his cruiser Perdition when traveling close to that world, and had decided to make planetfall alone. He had gone to a cave and found, pulsating with incandescent power, an ancient Chaos relic that seemed immensely powerful and that later would come to be known as The Necklace of the Three Skulls, as indeed that’s what it looked like. Gothmog, in awe, had raised it above his head and had felt an strangely reluctant compulsion to wear it around his neck.

And then he felt possessed by a old rage he’d swear he’d be incapable of feeling, and power as he had never dreamed of traversed his veins. And as quickly as he experimented this, he found himself displaced, as if entering a limbo, and another presence took his place in the universe.

That was the first time that Gothmog was possessed by Udûn. As Gothmog learnt later from the Daemon himself, Udûn was a Bloodthirster, extremely old, and who should have been, by all rights, extraordinarily powerful. But some 30,000 years ago, Udûn lost a battle against Ahriman of the Thousand Sons. Though Ahriman couldn’t ban him from existence, he did manage to confine Udûn's essence into the Necklace, exiling him to a limbo-like realm that was neither the material universe nor the Warp. When Gothmog had worn the Necklace, he had opened a portal for Udûn to enter the real universe.

Now Gothmog and Udûn share their existence, and often Udûn likes to take Gothmog’s place, especially when in battle. Gothmog is not exactly happy with this situation and tries to avoid it at all costs, opposing the Daemon’s impulses and desires and endeavoring to fight him off every time Udûn tries to possess him.

Still the Daemon’s influence is evident, and Gothmog’s Warband has undergone several changes in its composition. A number of Berzerker bands have joined it, one of them even having become Gothmog’s personal retinue. Gothmog’s armor has started sprouting Khorne’s icons of its own accord, and he has forgotten his Chaos Undivided pretensions, having found himself unwillingly dedicated to the Blood God. 

His former Tzeentchian Sorcerer was killed by his own Marines, and three Noise Marines that had been with him for decades abandoned Perdition. Nevertheless, his band still has a squad of Havocs, and several squads of Marines who, even having nominally dedicated themselves to Khorne, do not (for the moment) behave like the frothing madmen that the Berzerkers are--although all the squads tend to have eight members (Khorne’s number)....

Army Composition
My intention is to employ my army using the already existing Chaos rules, so that it will be a standard, albeit willingly limited in options, Chaos Space Marine army.

HQ: Gothmog is a Chaos Lord, wearing power armor, the Mark of Khorne, Axe of Khorne and plasma pistol. I will possibly give him more items of wargear, such as grenades and stuff. He wears “The Necklace of the Three Skulls,” which has no real game effect. He leads a retinue of seven Khorne Berzerkers armed with bolt pistols and close combat weapons and rides in a Chaos Rhino.

Udûn is a Bloodthirster. He has no special rules, but he, like Gothmog, wears “The Necklace of the Three Skulls.” As Udûn has spent 30 millennia “inside” the Necklace, his physical growth does not reflect the power he should have, and so I use a converted Daemon Prince model.

Elites: Chaos Terminators or Khorne Terminators, Chaos Veteran Space Marines, and Khorne Berzerkers can be chosen (Berzerkers may be taken as Troops as well).

Each power-armored squad must have eight Chaos Space Marines. Terminator Squads are recommended to follow this rule, but are scarce enough to accept less troopers in each squad (actually, this is just a lame excuse, as I have five new Termi models painted dark red and five old ones painted dark purple, and I just don’t want to mix them into a single squad). No Chaos Champions may be taken in any case.

Troops: Chaos Space Marines and Khorne Bloodletters can be chosen. Each squad must have eight members. No Chaos Champions may be taken.

Fast Attack: Flesh hounds, Juggernauts of Khorne, Chaos Space Marine Bikers and 0-1 Raptor Squad can be chosen. Chaos Space Marine Bikers and Raptors are recommended to have eight troopers per squad, but are scarce enough to accept less troopers in each squad. No Chaos Champions may be taken in any case.

Heavy Support: 0-1 Havoc Squad, Chaos Dreadnoughts, Chaos Predators and Chaos Land Raiders can be chosen. The Havoc Squad must have eight Chaos Space Marines and no Chaos Champions may be taken.

Points cost for all models above are as appear in Codex: Chaos Space Marines. Only troopers, items of wargear, Chaos rewards and Vehicle modifications belonging to Chaos Undivided or Khorne may be taken. Under no circumstances items from Nurgle, Tzeentch or Slaanesh may be chosen.

One instance where I’d include a special rule would be when fighting a campaign with rules for dead characters. Gothmog should again lead his warband after each battle in which Udûn had appeared, as he doesn’t die when possessed. In a similar vein, it would also be appropriate to have Gothmog back in the battlefield if Udûn is banished. Banishing Udûn would incapacitate him to appear until the next battle. And lastly, killing Gothmog might mean that somebody else should have to wear the Necklace....

The Necklace of the Three Skulls, Gothmog and Udûn: The Necklace is just a symbol of Gothmog’s and Udûn’s relationship. In game terms it has no effect. Udûn is still a Bloodthirster and needs to possess a Champion to appear. But--and this is the point of the army--please notice that no Chaos Champion may be chosen except Gothmog. So if Udûn wants to join a battle, the only possession roll that can be made is the one corresponding to Gothmog, thus representing the fact that both share their existence. The fact that Udûn will only enter on a roll of 6 represents Gothmog trying to fight the Daemon off.

It should also be noticed that taking Udûn is NOT an option, it is COMPULSORY and points for both must be paid for in all cases. In fact, Gothmog and Udûn must be considered as a single character. Another important fact is that, if no 6 is rolled, Udûn will not appear and a perfectly good Bloodthirster will have been wasted!

Moreover, the lack of Champions means that no power weapons or power fists can be chosen, making this a difficult army to master.

Final Notes
I wanted a Chaos army where I could include my background. At first I thought that to  represent Udûn’s possessing Gothmog, I’d have to roll for possession starting with my Chaos Lord (which is reverse order to what everybody would do, I’d say). But of course, this didn’t guarantee that the possession of Gothmog would take place, and so I went a step further and decided to ban Champions from my army. This meant that now Udûn would always enter the battle via Gothmog, but it would depend on the die roll, which fitted the background perfectly.

My real army is still a bit from being finished. Counting painted figures only, I have:

  • Two Terminator Squads;
  • One Berzerker squad with a Rhino;
  • Three Chaos Marine Squads; 
  • One Havoc Squad; 
  • Five Flesh hounds;
  • Four Bikers; and
  • One dreadnought. 
Gothmog and Udûn only have a black undercoat on them, and I still have to paint some 20 Berzerkers and Marines as well as two Rhinos. I’d also like eight (of course) new Bloodletters, and I am planning to scratch-build a Chaos Land Raider. 

For the far future, I’d love to convert four or seven Chaos Terminators into Khorne Berzerker Terminators; four or seven because I already have one, thus making the squad the minimum number five or the magical number eight. 

And that’s it. I hope this article has been enjoyable and helpful. 

Like what you've seen? Then vote for the Jungle in the "Top 100 40K Sites"

© Copyright Vicente L. Ruiz, October 2000. 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