The Account of a Lifetime

August 14, 2008

The Battle for Isstvan V

Filed under: Cogitations,Reflections — xisor @ 8:36 am

I did a bit more thinking last night, and substantially little work.

I started thinking again about Space Dwarfs. They used to be the Squats, but folks on Warseer have adopted a new abhuman subsect instead as a replacement: The Varingyr.

I spent an hour or so last night working on a loose fleet list for them. I’m actually rather pleased with it! I think it works well and is quite characterful. Not terribly balanced, but we’ll see in time.

For myself, however, I’d started. The BFG ball was rolling. I’d been thinking of the Dropsite Massacre again, and that got me thinking further: the fleets. The Expedition Fleets. Pretty fun stuff, huh?

Well, yes. Precisely. Absolutely rip-roaring stuff. And I got a little carried away. I started making a loose assembly of the complete disposition of forces for the entire Great Crusade. Well, a template for it at least. Imperial, Mechanicum, Astartes, Civilian, Outremar, them’s the basis for the fleet. In addition there’s obviously the  Sisters of Silence and Adeptus Custodes too, but they come under the direction of Imperial Vessels IMO, as distinct vessels (SoS Destroyers & AC Strike Cruisers).

I need to reverse some of the ‘Character Ships’, the Terminus Est, Horus’ BB, I’d like to do the N’bel’s Hammer too (the Salamanders flagship) and basically to try to compute and correlate the entire force present at Isstvan during the dropsite.

I wrote a bit about it on the BL forums, and I came up to the idea: The Salamanders, Raven Guard and Iron Hands fleets were altogether impressive enough to fight, reliably, the entire might of the other traitor legions.

(NB- I think I’ve pinned it down for Isstvan V:
Initial Baddies: Sons of Horus, Emperor’s Children, World Eaters, Death Guard
Initial Goodies: Salamanders, Raven Guard, Veterans of the Iron Hands
Immediate Traitors: Word Bearers, Alpha Legion, Night Lords, Iron Warriors
So really it’d have been the Salamanders & Raven Guard fleets, the few Iron Hands vessels against the direct fighting forces of six other Legions [inc. Titan Support and a contingent of Word Bearers])

The only way I can see it working is as the Salamanders and Raven Guard had plenty of ships with them. Their legions might not be big, but their fleets may well have been, and it’s possible that they might have arrived at the Isstvan V Rendezvous with a rather complete complement of fighting vessels, whilst initial traitor legions might have only had their own astartes ships on a combat footing (the rest of the fleet perhaps making it absoltuely necessary to engage them on that particular dropsite*).

* It might be worth considering that Horus hadn’t strictly accounted for the dropsite massacre itself and would’ve preferred to engage them completely in orbit, but, on seeing that the Salamanders/RG/IH fleets were as impressive as they were, he had to engage the fleets andentice the loyalists onto the planet. It might be testament to Ferrus Manus’ capacity as a primarch that they even got nearthe dropsite. I’d need to reread the books to check that though!
I wrote this on Warseer a few moments ago:
Book 1: The retraction of the Raven Guard and Salamanders from their various expedition fleets (surely some non-Astartes vessels were with them around Isstvan V). Here we see the rise of the Lecticio Divinatus, the instatement of Warrior Lodges within the RG and Sallies. We also see a decent amount of treachery and intrigue within the fleets themselves. Endpoint with the opening shots of the Isstvan V dropsite attacks. Ends with the beginning of Ferrus’ pursuit of the traitors.
Book 2: The actual length and breadth of the dropsite massacre. Includes perspectives from tons of sides. Though it follows the rough core of the story, it might even serve well as an anthology of stories showing aspects of the Dropsite Massacre and the Battle for Isstvan V (spacebattle) from many outlooks and in a lot of detail.
Book 3: The Survival of Vulkan. Truly ‘concluding’ the Isstvan saga. We see the spreading out of Horus’ legions. The dispatch of the Word Bearers, Night Lords and Alpha Legion, the mustering of the other Chaos fleets and then we see the flight of Rylanor, Tarvitz (his death?), Vulkan and their escape. But to where? How? Help from loyalists? Xenos?
And that’s the cunning part. If ‘Book 2’ were an anthology of short stories in omnibus format, you’d easily fit in almost 20 short stories at, oh, 30 pages each?
So, for the format of book two, which things need to be told?
  1. The Battle Begins.The opening conflict as described by the fleetmaster of the loyalist fleets 2 to 12(+?) Expeditions’ worth of non-Astartes  vessels and plenty of Astartes vessels. The bulk of Horus’ fleet engaging them and holding them off from the main battle. The arrival of the four supporting fleets. This might well be told from the perspective of a destroyer-captain, a merchantment or even a terran administrator rather’n a warrior.
  2. The Flight of the Traitors. Basically the Iron Hands pursuing the traitors and us seeing the landing of the main traitors.
  3. Traitorfall. A story from the perspective of one of the dropping-traitor legions. Showing the onset of the massacre
  4. <Another fleetborne battlesequence>
  5. Scorched Mountains. Imperial Army support tries to aid the Raven Guard against the Iron Warriors in a tragic and surprising struggle.
  6. Machine Fracture. A tale of betrayal between factions of the Mechanicus in orbit of Isstvan V
  7. The Flesh is Weak. A tale from the Iron Hands’ Strike Cruiser. Told by Mechanicum adepts and deals with the uncovery of traitors within the Iron Hands’ own ranks.
  8. Conviction. A sign of the strife, trials and determination suffered directly by Mortarion of the Death Guard. We see here both the strength of his treachery and the flimsiness of his loyalty, and vice versa. Not a tragic fall, but one where we can see Mortarion as a bit of a magnificent bastard.
  9. Command Post Strihaleion. The attempts at rallying during the massacre as told by a Raven Guard Captain.
  10. Scattered. A Raven Guard Stormbird Malfunctions and crashes hundreds of miles from the dropsite. A force of World Eaters are dispatched to seal their fate.
  11. Betrayal at the Forge. A Salamanders based starship suffers a near complete mutiny by the Mechanicum Adepts and many of the Iterators, Remembrancers and other officiaries aboard. Nocturnians fight for the Emperor whilst Terrans betray!
Gap of some time
Well, it’s been a while since I compiled this but I’ve had a long time to think about it. Personally, I think it could work out well. I think the story of Isstvan V and, specifically, the battle in orbit ought to be a compelling tale with some extensive depth to it. Enough to include many of the legions and aspects of the fledgling Imperium so as to be, for want of a better ideal, all things to all people!
Okay, maybe that’s a bit rich, but I still think it’s viable.

1 Comment »

  1. Dear Xisor,

    You have some nice ideas here. I agree with you : the battle for Istvan V was nice in fulgrim, but really much to short. We defenitely need some other perspective. Istvan III got 3 perspectives : book 3 GIF, book 4 FOTE and 4 Fulgrim. This was great.

    So another perspective of the droppsite massacre would be nice.

    Indeed it’s the best idea to have some books on the Raven Guard and the salamanders, since they only appear shortly until now. Perhaps it would be nice to see the Raven guard bringing Istvan III into compliance ? Since this is told in GIF.

    Perhaps it would be cool if book 2 shows us the battle from different perspectives, but an entire book on 1 battle ? Mmm, that’s a little bit strange I think. Perhaps this book could few the preparations also.

    But I agree, some different perspectives would be nice. What about Kharn ? He really should get wild here I think. ( so it was always told in the codex ). And it would be nice to see Lucius, Eidolon, Abaddon, Little horus etc a bit more into action. And then against some salamanders or raven guard captain which are the heroes of book 1.

    These are only some ideas of mine, as are yours off course.

    We shall see what BL does in the future.

    Cheers and see ya on the BL forums.

    Bastiaan Vergoossen a.k.a. Captain Demeter
    ( on the forums )

    Comment by Bastiaan Vergoossen / Captain Demeter. — June 25, 2009 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

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