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“They came upon our position like a river of red; an unbroken line of armor and guns stretching across our battle lines. Without a word they opened fire, and I witnessed destruction the likes of which I had never seen. Minutes passed, and still they kept firing. With so few of us left, I knew it was the end, and at that moment, as I took one last look at the grim facades of these soldiers, I knew the Machine God was real. I threw my weapon away and awaited his judgment.”

–Last recorded testament of Vasallis Noch, the Butcher of Sahcrin

In the wake of the War of Brass, the Skitarii Legions of the Lathe Worlds were in utter ruin. Entire forge worlds found themselves with virtually no troops left, their warrior cohorts smashed and their command structures decimated. Outside of the wounded Legio Venator, the Mechanicum of Calixis lacked a strong standing army, and for the first time in hundreds of years were suddenly vulnerable.

To alleviate this weakness, High Fabricator Kovikal Quietus used the Iron Wall of Silence to start a discreet rearmament drive throughout the Calixian forge worlds. A number of the more militarily minded Tech-Priests were moved into positions where they could work to replenish the fighting ranks, and the remnants of the Calixian Explorator Fleets were used to ferry these new recruits to various training installations, usually under the guise of supply runs to keep their true nature hidden.

It took many years to bring this grand plan together, but once everything was in place Quietus found himself with a new force consisting of some of the best-trained and best-equipped troops in the Sector. He dubbed this new force the Venatorii, the new hunters of the Calixis Sector, a force that was to remain separate to the recovering Skitarii forces and act as the true elite of the Lathes. With their unique organization and frightening red armour, the few outside of Mechanicum circles aware of them soon began to call this untested army the Crimson Guard.

The Calixian Conclave, always watching when new powers appear in the Sector, took a keen interest the formation. Quietus may have instigated a wall of silence, but the eyes and ears of the Inquisition were everywhere, and hidden agents of the Ordo Hereticus watched each step of the Venatorii’s development. But the Conclave unexpectedly decided this Crimson Guard was not a threat for their concern. They would keep their eyes upon them though, and perhaps even call upon them should the need arise.

The Inquisition has called upon the Venatorii on numerous later occasions since their formation, most dramatically during the Meritech Wars. The savagery with which the Venatorii fought cemented their reputation throughout the Calixis Sector, but the Inquisition soon found themselves shut off once again as the Iron Wall of Silence slid back into place.

It took another five hundred years, and a new heresy born of the Tech-Priest Umbra Malygris, to end this era of exclusion. Those Inquisitors whom the Mechanicum approve of have received Venatorii support. The Inquisition guardedly uses such forces, knowing that they are undoubtedly reporting back to their Mechanicum masters, but viewing it as an opportunity to see these Crimson Guards in action and gauge their prowess.

To be a single Venatorius within the Crimson Guard is to walk at a level above common warriors, even the Skitarii. Equipped with powerful integrated weapon technologies that draw their energy from the soldier’s own Potentia Coil, a single maniple of Venatorii can unleash a ceaseless storm of death at their enemy. The Venatorii wear thick crimson carapace armor recovered from the deepest data crypts of Lathe-Het, and use millennia-old designs for powerful lasrifles. This unique armor, itself a product of the peculiar gravity of the Lathe Worlds, covers their features entirely, leading to a solid and inexorable wall of faceless red and black that can often defeat enemies with fear before a single shot is even fired.

The higher ranks of the Crimson Guard are more frightening still. The Triarii maniples are amongst the most experienced, their bodies altered with additional cybernetics and ancient las technologies that few outside of the Lathes can match. The graceful Celerii, taken from the best the Triarii have to offer, rise on broad Alatus-pattern jump packs and act as the Venatorii’s shock troops. The elite Celerii Tribuni officers, far more machine than man, represent not only the best fighters but also the finest strategic thinkers within the Crimson Guard. These dread commanders can bring a terrifying array of weapons to bear, and their presence can quickly turn the tide of a conflict.

Through the power of their unique organization, their training, their augmentation, and the weapons technology each soldier carries, the Crimson Guard rival any of the armed forces within the Calixis Sector, and the Fabircators of the Lathes have done everything in their power to make sure this fact is well known among their would-be rivals.

Becoming a Crimson Guard SoldierEdit

Although originally built from the remnants of the Lathe’s Skitarii legions, modern Venatorii are recruited far earlier in their military careers. Taken from the most promising of recruits, they are further augmented with additional cybernetics and implants, including the Potentia Coil that powers their unique and dangerous integrated weapons. Once their basic training and augmentation is complete, a process that usually takes between five and eight years, they join the lower ranks of the Venatorii cohorts, and are stationed on the various Mechanicus installations and forge worlds throughout the Calixis Sector. Those who prove more skilled than their fellow soldiers might find themselves fast-tracked for Triarius augmentation training, or even secondment to the Inquisition should such a request be made.

All Starting Skills, Talents, Traits, Gear, and Wealth listed here fully replace the Rank 1 Guardsman listing.

Required Career: Guardsman

Starting Skills: Common Lore (Machine Cult, Tech), Speak Language (Low Gothic), Tech-Use.

Starting Talents: Exotic Weapon Training (Integrated Melee Weapon), Exotic Weapon Training (Integrated Ranged Weapon), Melee Weapon Training (Primitive).

Starting Traits: Heart of Steel, Mechanicus Implants, Skin of Iron.

Starting Gear: Crimson armour, red Mechanicus robes (Good Quality clothing), Venator Blade, charm (Mechanicus devotional icon), Integrated Lathe-Lasrifle.

Starting Wealth: 100+1d10 Thrones

Monthly Income: Military Class

Restrictions: Must have the Forge World Home World Origin.

Unique EquipmentEdit

Integrated Lathe-Laspistol

Despite being the smallest integrated weapon in standard use among the Crimson Guard, the Integrated Lathe-Laspistol is no less deadly than its larger cousin. It has a good rate of fire and decent penetrative abilities, but lacks the range of the rifle.

Pistol, 40m, S/2/–, 1d10+5, E, PEN 2, Clip N/A, RLD N/A, Tearing, WT 2kg, Cost 150, Very Rare

Integrated Lathe-Lasrifle

Originally derived from an ancient archeotech design, the Integrated Lathe-Lasrifle packs a greater punch than regular Lasguns. The standard weapon of the Crimson Guard, Lathe-Lasrifles are fast beocming a more and more common sight throughout the Calixis Sector.

Basic, 100m, S/2/–, 1d10+5, E, PEN 2, Clip N/A, RLD N/A, Tearing, WT 4.5kg, Cost 200, Very Rare

Integrated Lathe-Lasblaster

The Lathe-Lasblaster sits at the pinnacle of Lathe-based las technology. Issued only to Triarii Crimson Guard and higher, the Lathe-Lasblaster differs from the Lathe-Lasrifle in that the entire forearm is removed and replaced, making it almost a form of cybernetic weapon. With a targeting system linked to a user’s bionic retinal implants, the Lathe-Lasblaster can cut down countless foes in a matter of seconds.

The Integrated Lathe-Lasblaster must replace either the user’s left or right arm. The gun itself replaces the hand and forearm, joining at the elbow. The arm cannot be used for anything else once the Lathe-Lasblaster has been installed. Installing an Integrated Lathe-Lasblaster is a time-consuming and delicate procedure that requires trained professionals, and therefore follows the rules for attaching bionics and implants. An Integrated Lathe-Lasblaster is not a normal cybernetic, however, and thus does not add to the user’s Toughness Bonus. Jury-rigging an Integrated Lathe-Lasblaster is an exceptionally difficult task; all Tests for adapting external power supplies, as well as recharging depleted Lathe-Lasblasters, suffer an additional –20 Penalty.

Basic, 80m, S/–/4, 1d10+5, E, PEN 8, Clip N/A, RLD N/A, Tearing, WT 6kg, Cost 950, Extremely Rare

Phased Plasma Rifle

Once a technology that could have supplanted all other forms of offensive firepower, plasma technology is now all but lost to the Imperium. Very few forge worlds possess the knowledge to create plasma weapons, and most of those only manage to do so by following ancient sets of instructions created millennia ago. As one of the more dangerous special issue weapons within the Crimson Guard, the Phased Plasma Rifle does away with many of the drawbacks common to Imperial plasma weaponry, all but eliminating the need for recharging, and significantly reducing the excess heat that conventional plasma weapons tend to generate. This technology is guarded jealously, and since it was rediscovered the Tech-Priests of the Lathes have refused any attempts to adapt the technology for more general use. From their perspective, the Phased Plasma Rifle is a weapon of purity, and to change it in any way would defile the machine-spirits that drive each weapon. With the Adeptus Mechanicus’ glacial opinion unlikely to change, this weapon will remain only within the hands of the Crimson Guard.

Basic, 100m, S/2/4, 2d10, E, PEN 6, Clip N/A, RLD N/A, WT 12kg, Cost 1200, Very Rare

Catalytic Mass Driver Weapons

Despite a strange and unexplained aversion to melta-weaponry, the Crimson Guard are not bereft of armor-cracking firepower. Catalytic Mass Drivers are one of the strongest weapons in service to the Venatorii, and one of the few known integrated ballistic weapons. The gun uses energy from the Potentia Coil to propel tiny shards of metal at alarmingly high velocities, enough to rip through most known types of personal armor. The basic Catalytic Mass Driver is also one of the few integrated weapons that is known to run out of ammunition, yet the projectiles it fires are so tiny that the drum-sized magazines can last for many hours of constant use. The Heavy Catalytic Mass Driver is a larger version of the standard rifle-sized weapon. It does only slightly more damage than the regular weapon, but its rate of fire is considerably higher.

Basic, 120m, S/–/5, 1d10, R, PEN 12, Clip N/A, RLD N/A, WT 7kg, Cost 600, Very Rare

Heavy, 150m, S/–/10, 1d10+4, R, PEN 12, Clip N/A, RLD N/A, WT 16kg, Cost 2800, Very Rare

Coil Whip

Often seen in the hands of Venatorii Decani, and sometimes even the fabled Electro-Priests, Coil Whips are long, segmented chains that glow brightly with electrical energy. Swung in a great arc that fills the air with forks of man-made lightning, this integrated melee weapon can knock a man in full power armor off his feet with a single blow.

Melee, 1d10+5, E, PEN 4, Flexible, Shocking, WT 3kg, Cost 600, Very Rare

Venator Blade

Only ever seen in the hands of the Crimson Guard, the Venator Blade is a long dagger of Lathe construction. Like other Lathe weapons, its exceptional craftsmanship makes it almost impossible to destroy, whilst dealing far more damage than normal.

A Venator Blade grants its user a +15 to Weapon Skill Tests and cannot be destroyed by the effects of a Power Field. It counts as having an Armor value of 35 if directly attacked. Venator Blades are always considered Best Craftsmanship, and these bonuses are already included in their rules.

Melee, Thrown, 3m, 1d5+3, R, PEN 4, Razor Sharp, WT 0.5kg, Cost 2500, Very Rare

Crimson Armor

Only issued to the Crimson Guard, this armor is in many ways a standard set of Storm Trooper carapace armor. Where it differs are both its weight, reduced significantly thanks to the extraordinary manufacturing techniques of the Lathes, and the internal systems built into the amour's intimidating, skull-shaped mask.

All, AP 6, WT 6kg, Cost 12,500, Extremely Rare

Alatus-Pattern Jump Pack

Broad and baroque in design, the Alatus-pattern Jump Pack differs from other, similar, devices due to the way it is surgically attached to the user and draws its power internally from their Potentia Coil. Plugs and connections from the unit link directly into the user’s nervous system, allowing them to control the Jump Pack’s movements with the slightest thought. Often taking the form of a sweeping pair of mechanical wings, the Alatus-pattern Jump Pack is a common sight among the elite Celerii formations of the Crimson Guard—the personal bodyguards of the Venatorii commanders.

The Alatus-pattern Jump Pack doubles the user’s base movement value, or can be used to gain the Flyer (12) Trait for up to one minute. Extended flights tend to drain Potentia Coils far quicker than short jumps, so the user must pass a Challenging (+0) Toughness Test after using the jump pack to gain the Flyer Trait or gain one level of Fatigue. The mechanical wings grant the user the Fear (1) Trait, and can be used to buffet the enemy in combat, granting the user a +10 to all Parry Tests. The Pilot (Alatus Jump Pack) Skill, and the Mechanicus Implants Trait are required to use an Alatus-pattern Jump Pack.

Cost 3,000, Adeptus Mechanicus Only

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