EDIT: The wonderful pictures were created using Bolter and Chainsword's Space Marine Painter: www.bolterandchainsword.com/smp.php
Our thanks to them for developing it.
Well, I am not yet ready to reveal the damned hamlet of Totentanz in the Desolation of Drakenmoor, so I will chat briefly about my DIY Space Marine chapter, the Blood Cross.
The Blood Cross was founded in the 37th Millenium just after the time of troubles dubbed "the Reign of Blood" by historians. Designed as a standing force to bolster the remote but tactically important Massilia Sector that was bordered by a small orcish "empire," the chapter established its Fortress-Monastery of Mediggo on the medieval desert world of Salusa Secundus. (Side note: The Order of the Blood Lily, one of the many Adepta Sororitas orders, was granted a convent, Stella Maris, in the planet's southern hemisphere for their aid in putting down the Jacurutu Rebellion. While they remain separate, the chapter and order assist each other in recruitment efforts and maintain a cordial, if reserved, relationship.)
|A Sister of the Order of the Blood Lily.|
The population of Salusa Secundus is divided between nomadic tribes of herdsmen and city-dwellers who live in urban centers carved from the basaltic rock of the hillocks and ridges that jut forth from the caramel-colored sands of the desert. There are some shallow seas on the surface of the planet, but they account for less than 8% of the planet's surface. The polar ice caps are also smaller than the norm for most habitable planets. Most of the world's oxygen is produced from various volcanic activities and the presence of a photosynthetic sand-plankton on the world's surface. Recruits are drawn from both the nomads and the city dwellers. The nomads provide a ferocious fighting spirit and the city-dwellers provider a certain academic mindset to the order's recruitment base. Both peoples revere the Emperor of Mankind as "the Father who came from the Sun to bring Light to all Mankind."
In general, the Blood Cross remains a loose hold on the people of Salusa Secundus allowing the populace to handle their own affairs as long as no alien or heretical taint takes root. A couple of millenia past, however, a chaos cult was able to subvert a group of tribesmen who managed to take a fortress city near the equator. The taint of Chaos was destroyed by a joint operation between the Chapter and the Order, and Jacururtu is a name still used to frighten young children on Salusa Secundus.
|A Brother of the Blood Cross armed for battle.|
The Blood Cross geneseed is that of Rogal Dorn. When the High Lords of Terra called for a new chapter to form, two space marines stepped forward to answer the call for a cadre. The two had served together in the Deathwatch. One was Sulla Corrino, a brother of the Crimson Fists, who went on to become the still-revered first Chapter Master. The other was a Black Templar/Deathwatch Chaplain by the name of Kjeran who is still present in the chapter as a Dreadnought. The two chapters followed the lead of their two sons by assisting the fledgling chapter with a training cadre and equipment drawn from both.
The heraldic colors of gules and sable obviously derive from the two chapters. Vehicles, dreadnoughts, and veteran armor retains much in the way of Templar iconography yet still maintains the utilitarian nature of the Crimson Fists. Interestingly, the chapter adheres to the Codex Astartes in most matters having only a few idiosyncrasies. For example, the 1st Company is comprised of the Veterans who use the mighty Terminator armor. However, all tactical sergeants must have served previously in 1st Company. Thus, all squad leaders are highly experienced and are occasionally seen wearing Terminator armor in the field (note: yes, this changes from edition to edition; some editions permit it, others don't). Brother veterans officially have a scarlet tabard, but generally eschew its use in the field, the helmet's red stripe of rank and red cross on the right pauldron (denoting Terminator honors) being sufficient symbols of status.
Brother captains and higher ranks are differentiated by the use of gold helmets and gold imperial eagles on their torso armor. Note also that the Chapter retains the Mark VI Corvus helmet in all models of armor. Among 1st company veterans, there are actually full suits of the Corvus design still in use.
As far as beliefs, like the Crimson Fists, the Blood Cross despises aliens in general and orcs in particular. They have taken this belief to such an extreme that causal use of cybernetics is almost seen as heresy. Replacement due to injury is acceptable, but not otherwise. In fact, the Blood Cross fields no servitors because that is seen as one of the severest of abominations.
The Blood Cross reveres the Emperor as the Suffering Servant of Mankind. He ascended his throne willingly and still shields Mankind from Chaos through millenia of agonizing suffering. One Blood Cross ritual is that of the Embrace of the Cross. The Battle Brother is tied into a pain slab and hoisted up to suffer in agony for up to three days, proving his resilience and willingness to suffer for the survival of Mankind.
And that, gentle readers, is a brief summary of my chapter. Enjoy!