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Themed Army Ideas
Other Space Marine Themed Army Ideas

The Sons of Eriu by Patrick Eibel
As the Jungle heads into its eighth year (has it really been that long?), Kenton and I are going through and updating some of the articles that have become outdated. One of the first Themed Army Ideas I ever did was the Sons of Eriu, a take on Celtic-based Space Marines, and with the many changes to the game since 2000, it is high time they get updated.  

Eriu is a green, fertile planet, rich in natural resources, home to many small, feudal-level human kingdoms. Eriu was originally settled by humans during the Dark Age of Technology and absorbed into the Imperium by the Ultramarines during the Great Crusade. To defend the planet, Roboute Gulliman, the Ultramarine Primarch, established the Sons of Eriu, a Space Marine Chapter made up of the best native warriors. 

Gulliman’s prescience has paid off innumerable times, for Eriu has been attacked by countless Ork hordes, Chaos warbands, and—more recently—Tyranid swarms. Over the millennia, the Sons have abandoned many of the dictates of the Codex Astartes, but nevertheless remain fierce warriors with strong civic pride and a distrust of offworlders, going so far as to rarely leave Eriu unless ordered to by the High Lords of Terra. Other Space Marines who have fought alongside the Sons believe them to be undisciplined and uncivilized, but the Sons are likewise contemptuous of most Space Marine Chapters and care not for their opinions of them.  

The Sons of Eriu
Above: In a training exercise, the Sons of Eriu defend a Rhino
belonging to another chapter
Photo copyright 2000 by Lee Loftis. Used with permission.

The Sons of Eriu always strive to be the best they can be in this life because they believe their efforts will affect their standing in the afterworld. Bravery, excellence in battle, and honor (especially in the keeping of one’s word) are the standards upon which the Sons believe the Emperor shall judge them. A Son would rather die a slow, painful death than break an oath! 

Though the Sons are willing to fight any opponent, they particularly seek out the Eldar and Dark Eldar, whom they call the Sidhe (pronounced “shee”). The Sons despise them for their “trickery” and “dishonorable” tactics in battle, especially any sort of reliance on long-range attacks, psychic weaponry (such as Banshee Masks or Witch blades), or use of warp-manipulation devices such as Webway Portals and Warp Spider Jump Generators. The Sons accuse the Sidhe of being able to steal the souls of men and deny them their honorable reward in the afterworld; for this reason above all, they hate the Sidhe and hunt them whenever they can.  

The Sons prefer simple, man-to-man, “stand-up fights” to any sort of complex maneuvers and tactics. Though they are by no means raving madmen like the Blood Angels, they are nevertheless impatient and heedless of danger, prone to headlong charges straight into the heart of the enemy to “settle the matter” or die in the attempt.  Sons of Eriu armies use the No Mercy, No Respite and Take The Fight To Them Trait advantages and most commonly take the Aspire To Glory drawback, although some armies may take Flesh Over Steel.

The Sons of Eriu use only the HQ units given below:

  • Commander – as per Codex: Space Marines.  
  • Druid (Chaplain) – as per Codex: Space Marines Chaplain entry
The Sons are distrustful of all psychically powerful beings, and so do not use Librarians.  Sons HQ units may take Riastarthe ("rhee-as-tar-thay") Command Squads as described in the Command Squad entry, except that no member of the squad may take a heavy weapon.  Sons may not use Terminator Command Squads if using the Aspire To Glory drawback.  All members of the Command Squad must take the Furious Charge special skill for +3 points per model.

In keeping with the Aspire to Glory disadvantage, the Sons of Eriu use either a Dreadnought, or a Terminator Squad, and are limited to no more than one Riastarthe Veteran Squad (as per Codex: Space Marines Veteran Squad except no heavy weapon may be taken and unit must take the Furious Charge special skill.)

Space Marine Tactical Squads (see Codex: Space Marines). Any model may exchange their bolter for a bolt pistol and close combat weapon for no extra cost. The entire unit may take the Furious Charge special skill at +3 points per model. Tactical Squads may not take heavy weapons.

Scout Squad (see Codex: Space Marines). Only one Scout Squad may be equipped with sniper rifles or heavy weapons. All others may take bolters or bolt pistols and close combat weapons. All other options are the same as the Codex: Space Marines entry. 

Fast Attack 
The Sons of Eriu use only the following Fast Attack units: Assault Squad, Bike Squadron, Attack Bike Squadron, Scout Bike Squadron, all as per Codex: Space Marines. The Sons of Eriu are distrustful of Land Speeders, calling anti-gravity technology the work of the Sidhe, and therefore do not use them.

Heavy Support 
As per Codex: Space Marines.  In particular, the Sons like using Whirlwinds to lay down a suppressive barrage while the Tactical units approach the enemy. If a force of Sons uses the Flesh Over Steel disadvantage, they may not use Land Raider Crusaders or Predator Annihilators. 

Modeling and Painting 
Chapter colors are Dark Angel Green with Sunburst Yellow shoulder pads trimmed in Chaos Black trim. The chapter symbol is a circular Celtic knot design (below).  Some Marines in the Chapter paint parts of their body with wode before a battle to accentuate their wild look.  You could paint light blue markings on figures with visible skin to replicate this custom (think Braveheart).

Sons of Eiru Chapter symbol
Above: Sons of Eriu chapter symbol

General Tactics 
The Sons are fierce opponents in combat, favoring assault over shooting, as the only honorable way to fight is up close and personal. Sons of Eriu use lots of close combat troops and mobile vehicles. Long-range weaponry is only used as suppression fire as assault troops move toward the enemy lines.  

Optional Rules 
While the rules presented here follow Codex: Space Marines without much alteration, there are some optional rules that could be added to really add some unique flavor.  Permission from your opponent would be needed to use these rules.

  • Hatred of the Sidhe: In close combat, the Sons and the Sidhe will strike each other on a 3+, regardless of Weapons Skills. 
  • Claymores: For +15 points, one member of a Riastarthe or Tactical Squad can take a claymore, a large, heavy-bladed sword, which that acts as a power weapon. A squad that takes a claymore cannot have heavy weapons. 
Daughter of Eriu
Above: A Daughter of Eriu, a female Space Marine,
painted by Ma'ire Allen

Related Pages
Sons of Eriu at Games Day 2001
Other Space Marine Themed Army Ideas

Originally posted  July 2000; revised February 2008 


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