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The Black Talons Initial concept by Matthew Stewart 
Everyone knows what a Space Marine's job description is, right? Travel to distant, exotic worlds, meet new and dangerous aliens, and kill them. Whether "bug-hunting" in Tyranid-infested jungles, cleaning out space hulks held by the forces of Chaos, or exterminating whole hordes of Orks, Space Marines do one thing and do it very well.

Back in the bad old days of Rogue Trader, Marines were expected to do more than show up and smack down bad guys. Marines enforced Imperial law, explored alien worlds, guarded key installations, and so on. As 40K progressed, Games Workshop's writers assigned these duties to other Imperial units such as the Guard, the Inquisition, and the Adeptus Arbites. 

When Matthew Stewart e-mailed me a few months ago asking for some help with his army, his initial description of what he ultimately wanted his army to become reminded me of the expanded roles the Space Marines held under the Rogue Trader rules. Here then, are the Black Talons, privateers for the Imperium.

Background
The Black Talons are a Blood Angel successor Chapter formed immediately after the Horus Heresy. Initially, they were instructed to hunt down daemons and Traitor Legions (especially the Sons of Horus) in vengeance for their Primarch's death. Over the millennia, their mission has changed. Now, sanctioned by the High Lords of Terra, their fleet roams the outer fringes of the galaxy, raiding alien ships and settlements and confiscating riches for the Imperium.

The current Chapter Master of the Black Talons is Thoran Bonecleaver, who fights with a chainsword in each hand, and whose motto is: "Forget shooting the heretics--tear them apart!" He is assisted by Aywania Shadowgale, a female Librarian, who is armed with a force sword and a chainsword. In addition to fighting, Aywania meticulously logs each battle fought and each item (including its properties and estimated value) seized. 

Philosophy
The Black Talons retain the Blood Angel's lust for close combat, preferring to strike quickly, destroy the enemy, and retreat with the spoils. Upon their induction into the Chapter, every Black Talon swears an oath upon the memory of Sanguinus, their Primarch, to scrupulously turn over every piece of booty they seize to the Imperial Treasury agents that travel with them. The punishment for a Black Talon keeping so much as single Imperial credit for themselves is to be slowly torn to pieces on a rack. In the 10,000 years since the Horus Heresy, not one Black Talon has ever suffered this fate.

HQ/Elites/Troops/Fast Attack/Heavy Support
The Black Talons use the rules found in Codex: Blood Angels. While most of the Black Talons' raids are against other ships, they also attack planetside targets, necessitating the use of Bikes, Attack Bikes, Speeders, and tanks. Therefore, the Black Talons have no additional restrictions (beyond those imposed by their mission and those found in Codex: Blood Angels) on the types and numbers of units they may use.

Modeling and Painting
Originally, the Black Talons wore red armor with black gauntlets, but over time, their color scheme has changed to Chaos Black on all armor pieces except the leg greaves (the shinpads) and shoulder plates, which are Mithril Silver (with appropriate Blood Angel markings). Eyelenses are Blood Red.

General Tactics
Charge! 

Optional Rules
Privateers: Against most armies, Black Talons are always the attackers. If playing against Dark Eldar, the Black Talons will be the attackers on a d6 roll of 1-3; if playing against Necrons or Armored Company, the Black Talons will (like all other armies) automatically be the defenders.

Note
Black Talons are most in their element when attacking other ships. If you decide to play Black Talons, it would be well worth your time to design missions and rules for fighting aboard ships. For example, a scenario could call for the Black Talons to seize the bridge of an enemy warship. Instead of laying out a typical battlefield, you would lay out the interior of the enemy ship (perhaps using the floor pieces from GW's Space Hulk game). 

Fighting inside a ship would force you to rethink how you conduct a typical 40K battle. Are the ship's corridors large enough (and strong enough) to accommodate vehicles? Do the Black Talons have to follow the layout, or can they tear their way through the ship with powerfists? What happens if someone fires a lascannon and misses--is there a chance the shot could go through the outer hull and cause massive decompression aboard the ship?

In addition, you could also incorporate Battlefleet Gothic into your games: Black Talons will tear through the crew of most ships--if they can catch them first! Wise ship captains would use every ounce of maneuverability and firepower at their disposal to keep the privateers from boarding them....
 

Related Pages
Other Space Marine Themed Army Ideas
 

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© Copyright Kenton Kilgore, November 2000. 
 

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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