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The Black Orthodoxy chapter is a religious loyalist chapter with a strong connection to both the Ecclesiarchy and the Ordo Hereticus. They pull their recruits from the religious death world of Anglos- a bleak and dismal world of unconquerable nature, constant storms, and near-impossible farming conditions. They allow no psykers amongst them and employ many pariahs (psychic blanks) as battle brothers to combat them. They are an stern, odd, reclusive, secretive, and slavishly devoted to the Emperor.
To some Anglos would have been a punishment but it was settled by a deeply religious group of settlers who saw the adversity as a way to grow closer to the Emperor. Though stern perseverance and strict laws they tamed the wilderness of a world that was ravaged by constant storms and deadly predators who stalk the deep woods of the planet. The population of Anglos produced more pariahs than any other planet and the Black Orthodoxy is happy to recruit them.
Gene Seed Edit
Imperial records do not contain information on who the Black Orthodoxy chapter was descended from but the two most popular guesses is that they have Dark Angel stock or perhaps Grey Knight. While they do produce the occasional psyker- they kill them the instant they are detected and thus have none in their ranks.
Pariahs / Blanks Edit
The Black Orthodoxy chapter employs a large number of so called “pariahs” or “psychic blanks”. They fill much the same role that a chapter’s Librarian would normally fill. These are called “The Purified” among the Black Orthodoxy. They believe that the hate they feel for pariahs is Chaos’ attempt to get them to forsake pariahs because they are so effective against Chaos. Armed with this knowledge they actively work to treat them better, which is an uphill battle for sure. However, to fall to that temptation is to succumb to Chaos in their minds and shows a lack of faith.
Attire & Names Edit
All members of the Black Orthodoxy are supposed to wear simple, formal, respectable clothing. This generally means a black frock coat or a black waistcoat over a matching waistcoat and bitches with stockings. Most wear black hats with a wide brim to keep the sun out of their eyes while doing labor. They often wear their hats into battle as a sign of humility and write scripture upon their armor so that they can keep it with them at all times.
When they join the take a hortative religious name. These honorific names are their formal, legal, names and are often quotes from scripture that they identify with. Some examples are:
- Richard Praise-the-Emperor Nelson
- Joseph And-They-Shall-Know-No-Fear Rathborne
- Bartholomeu Righteous-Is-The-Fury-Of-The-Anointed-And-Pale-Is-The-Might-of-The-Faithless Kelly
- Jose My-Life-For-Terra Hernandez
- William Suffer-Not-The-Witch-The-Mutant-Or-The-Heretic-To-Live Anderson
Chapter History Edit
The Black Orthodoxy is a 5th Founding chapter of unknown descent. They were believed to have been founded around 600.M33.
Notable Campaigns Edit
- War of the False Primarch: Reconstructed data shows that they may have fought in the War of the False Primarch.
- 1st Impaler's Crusade: Soon after their inception they began a crusade against a quasi-official group of psykers after they learned about it. They purged everyone there, impaling a good number of them on spears. The Black Orthodoxy claimed they had data of a credible threat and an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor later backed up their claim. They continued on to 6 nearby worlds, seeking out psykers (even latent ones) and impaling them outside their cities. The Imperium turned a blind eye to this but they received an official rebuke for their actions in private. The Ordo Hereticus was pleased however.
- 1st War of Faith: Working in concert with the Ecclesiarch, the Black Orthodoxy waged war against Confederation of Light. Their actions did not take place on Dimmamar but on other worlds where secret elements of the cult were believed to be hiding.
- War of the Confessor: The Black Orthodoxy took part in the War of the Confessor, serving without being asked to do so.
- 2nd Impaler's Crusade: After discovering a cult of chaos worshipers the Black Orthodoxy went on a crusade that saw them locate and kill over two thousand psykers and cultists across eight planets, impaling many of them.
- The Barbarus Incursion: It is believed that the Black Orthodoxy may have partaken in The Barbarus Incursion as an auxiliary compliment to the Black Templars.
- Daggers in the Night: During the The Reign of Blood, forces loyal to Goge Vandire attempted to ambush a Black Orthodoxy ship under the guise of pirates. Goge feared Black Orthodoxy might aid the other side The Black Orthodoxy destroyed the invaders, impaled them on the hull of their own ship, snuck inside, sent the hulk back to the small moon the imposter pirates had been operating from, and killed all of the Vandire-aligned forces. The moon became known as “The Spiked Moon” for all the bodies that were implied there.
- Plague of Unbelief: The Black Orthodoxy was one of the chapters that helped clean up the 50 converted worlds during the Plague of Unbelief caused by Bucharis.
- 6th Black Crusade: Eight full circles (roughly 4 companies) of the Black Orthodoxy were destroyed during Abaddon’s 6th Black Crusade.
- Children's Crusade: Reports claim that the Black Orthodoxy was deployed during the Children's Crusade.
- 8th Black Crusade: Seeking revenge the the Black Orthodoxy deployed in force again Abaddon. While they fought bravely, they lost another 3 circles to Abaddon’s Black Legion.
- Great Malagantine Purge: There is a persistent rumor that the Black Orthodoxy was one of the five “Manus Irae” chapters that committed such slaughter in the heretical Malagantine Sector. It does fit with the Black Orthodoxy’s typical battle plan and they have not confirmed or denied this allegation.
- 10th Black Crusade: The Black Orthodoxy helped successfully drive back Abaddon’s 10th Black Crusade from the Iron Hand’s space. Their help was not requested but was given. The 23rd Circle was lost during this battle, following the Black Legion back into the warp and have never been heard from since.
- 3rd Impaler's Crusade: Though the details are classified, the Black Orthodoxy has records of a 3rd Impaler’s crusade that saw the death of many heretics on a desert world.
- 13th Black Crusade: Black Orthodoxy forces saw combat in the Diamor Campaign of the 13th Black Crusade.
The Black Orthodoxy and the Ecclesiarchy have similar viewpoints and though they do not have open communication between them and the Ecclesiarchy has no special power or relationship with them- the Black Orthodoxy tends to have views that align with them. When the Ecclesiarchy declares a war of faith the Black Orthodoxy will often join in either directly or indirectly. They may suddenly appear and join the the fray before leaving without so much as a word or they may hit a foes outer defenses while Adeptus Ministorum forces attack the main force. Oddly the Ecclesiarchy has offered them no official endorsement and the Black Orthodoxy would probably just turn down such a gesture.
Ordo Hereticus Edit
Similar to the Ecclesiarchy, the Ordo Hereticus and the Black Orthodoxy do not have a formal relationship. Unlike the Ecclesiarchy, the Witch Hunters have requested Black Orthodoxy support on many missions and the battle brothers of the Black Orthodoxy have shown up when called. The Ordo Hereticus is believed to cover for the Black Orthodoxy when they go on their infamous psyker-crusades.
The Black Legion Edit
Twice Abaddon’s Black Legion has slaughtered the Black Orthodoxy and twice the Black Orthodoxy has sworn revenge against them. They won back their honor during the 10th Black Crusade but the Black Orthodoxy will still go out of their way to hunt them.
Chapter Beliefs Edit
Some key tenants of the Black Orthodoxy’s viewpoints are:
- “Witches” (psykers) are the greatest threat to the Imperium.
- Pariahs are “hated” because Chaos tries to psychically “scare” people away from them.
- Be simple, humble, and unadorned except by proclamations of faith.
- Save your words for when they are needed.
- Anything in excess is wasteful and harmful.
The Black Orthodoxy has a tradition of implailing their defeated foes, particularly psykers or heretics. The see it as educating people and making a proclamation of faith.
They speak very little, believing that speaking too much devalues your words.
They hold that, as they are descendants of the Emperor in a way (genetically, spirituals, etc) they should be held to the highest standards. As such they are always polite, humble, and live simply.
Their humility comes from the notion they hold dear that says that things in excess are bad. Pride is excess honor, lust is excess love, heresy is often excess curiosity, betrayal is often excess ambition, etc. They try to channel and constructively use their excess. Their sin-eaters, who flagellate themselves, are believed to be atoning for the sins of the Imperium by using their own excess honor.
Unproclaimed: Those who are new to the chapter are expected to prove their faith by taking a vow of silence, except during prayer, so that they may learn it’s value.
Brethren: Those who pass various tests of faith and impale at least one witch are welcomed as full brethren. Brethren form a council of war. Many Brethren cary power spears into combat to impale their opponents.
Elders: The eldest 5 brethren are given positions of honor and are allowed to speak first. If all 5 Elders of a circle veto something, it cannot pass. Elders generally run circles.
Black Priests: The one responsible for a circle is ultimately the priest that leads them. They are effectively chaplain / captains.
Purified: Space marine pariahs employed by the Black Orthodoxy. They are given positions of honor but distance- keeping them apart from their Brethren and even other Purified.
Sin-Eaters: The Black Orthodoxy has groups of brother marines who carry out self-flagellation as a way to absorb the sins of the rest of the Imperium. These holy units are armed with two sets of electro-flails. One is asked to become a sin-eater if they have earned a great honor so that their excess of honor may be used to abaite sins of the Imperium. Being a sin eater is a temporary assignment.
Impalers: A group in each circle is assigned to the ritual task of maintaining their weapons and the holy spears they use to impale witches. They serve as the group’s heavy weapon specialists and wield rock-launching lances.
The Puritanical: The senior Purified, often an ancient one who has been ritually purified and anointed, advises the council of the chapter on matters and provides a unique perspective on matters.
Other: In addition to these units a Black Orthodoxy circle may have Techmarine, Apothecary, or other character attached to them. They typically take the place of an elder.
Rough Equivalents: Edit
While wargears, implementation, and place within the chapter varies, the roughest equivalent of each of the Black Orthodoxy units is listed below.
- Unproclaimed: Scouts
- Brethren: Tactical Marines
- Elders: Sergeants
- Black Priests: Chaplain / Captains
- Purified: N/A (Veterans or possible Librarians)
- Sin-Eaters: Assault Marines
- Impalers: Devastators
- The Puritanical: Chapter Master
The Black Orthodoxy do not follow the dictates of the Codex Astartes; they organize their groups into “circles”. A circle is a group of about 50 marines and their attendants/support staff. A circle is run by all Brethren in good standing and matters that cannot be settled by them are decided on by the 5 Elders, who also have veto power if they unanimously reject something. Each circle is overseen spiritually by a Black Priest who represents them on the “Orthodox Council”. This council, comprised of a Black Priest from each circle, discusses high level military matters and is guided by “The Puritanical”- the most ancient pariah who serves as their defacto chapter master. Black Priests bring back battle orders and the Brethren decide how to approach it.
Circles form squads on an adhoc basis. A circle generally has a small number of Unproclaimed, a large collection of Brethren, 5 elders, and a black priest. Some of the Brethren may spend time as Sin-Eaters if they have recently been given an honor, and each Brethren will eventually serve as a Impaler for a time on a rotating schedule. Most circles have 1-10 Purified in their midsts as well who are kept isolated from the circle’s living space but deploy alongside them.
Because of their fluid nature, a circle is very tactically flexible. A typical battle deployment of a circle looks roughly like this:
- x1 Black Priest: Typically deploys along side a Brethren squad. (1 total)
- x2 Brethren Squads: Includes 10 Brethren and 1 Elder. (22 total)
- x1 Sin Eater Squad: Includes 5 Sin Eaters and 1 Elder. (6 total)
- x1 Impaler Squad: Includes 5 Impaler and 1 Elder. (6 total)
- x1 Unproclaimed Squad: Includes 10 Unproclaimed and 1 Elder. (11 total)
- x4 Purified: Typically deploys along side a Brethren squad or as an elder-less squad. (4 total)
There are roughly 20 circles in the Black Orthodoxy (~1,000 marines) though at times there have been as few as 13 and other times (particularly in the early years) as many as 26.
Most circles are considered equal but some have a special place in the chapter. The 1st Circle is the most senior circle and their Brethren wear terminator armor and lack Sin Eaters. The 13th Circle is known as the “Grey Circle”. It is comprised entirely of pariahs and is where Purified are trained and anointed. It contains only Purified and Unproclaimed (who are also prohias). This circle has suffered immense bad luck and has been rebuilt 3 times. However, they are a potent anti-warp tool for the Imperium and have served with distinction many times. This 13th Circle does not have a Black Priest but instead is lead by The Puritanical. The 23rd Circle is currently lost somewhere in the warp, having pursued the Black Legion back into the warp during the 10th Black Crusade. Their battle standard is still kept flying and honored as if they are still serving.
Unique Arsenal Edit
Impaler Lances: These single-use long spears are similar to those used by the Rough Rider Squadrons of the Imperial Guard. They are long, 15-20 foot, spears with meta or krak tips on them. These are popular with Brethren who like to impale heretics and often is only employed when an enemy charges a squad.
Inferno Pistol: Many of these pistols resemble antique flintlock pistols crafted on Anglos.
Null Rods: The Purified carry null rods to add to their terror. The Puritanical wields a large null scythe that they use to kill psykers.
Power Lances: These are long, power spears that many Elders carry and use to impale noteworthy psykers with. Once impaled the head of the weapon is removed, re-blessed, and affixed to a new shaft.
Electro-flails: Used by Sin Eaters in pairs these flails have 5-10 lengths of charged coils. They are much stronger than the versions used by the Ecclesiarchy’s flagellates and will eat away at most armor below that of a space marine. They are exceptionally useful for binding targets as they naturally coil around whatever they lash onto.