“The Emperor loves me. Oh yes he does, otherwise why would he be so keen to keep me alive?”
–Sirius Tan, 2nd Calixian Penal Battalion deployed to the Tranch Soot Warrens
The penal legions are a filled with scum of the worst kind. These murderers, rogues, deserters, cowards, madmen, seditionists, and drunkards fight for the Emperor in the bloodiest warzones---whether willing or not. The penal units in which these villains serve are the product of the harsh discipline enforced in the Imperial Guard. With millions of men and women under arms, all armed and trained to kill for the God Emperor, there can be no leniency if order and combat effectiveness are to be maintained. The breaking of any number of tenets of military law and the exhaustive wealth of Munitorium regulations up to and including murder are all punishable by death—or service in a penal battalion. The will of condemned criminals is not easily bound to the Emperor’s service, and so many methods may be applied to get these forlorn wretches into battle. These methods may include the generous application of lashes by electro scourges, or fitting the penal legionnaires with auto-injectors to flood their bloodstreams with frenzon, slaught, or other combat drugs and turn them into raving berserkers. Decimation of a penal legion that fails to advance is also a common motivational tool. In some cases legionnaires may be fitted with explosive collars which can be detonated remotely to reinforce an order or give instant punishment.
The penal legions are thrown into the most dangerous and suicidal of engagements where the chances of survival are minimal. Some go into battle filled with remorse for their crimes. Others walk like men already dead, their limbs trembling with fear. Some embrace the carnage and the prospect of their own death with madness born of fear. Most die in the first moments of such engagements and pay a quick price for their crimes---but a few may survive to be cast once again into the cauldron of blood and fire again and see if the Emperor is yet done with their service. These rare survivors are a savage breed who can walk into the mouth of hell and emerge screaming their defiance at death. In the end, however, death finds all, and even the most indomitable survivor will find the only release from their crimes that there can be. A very few of these rare and dangerous survivors may find themselves performing new and more lethal service for an Inquisitor who has use for resourceful and hardened killers.
Becoming a Penal Legionnaire Edit
Becoming a Penal Legionnaire for a member of the Imperial Guard requires being condemned for a crime that is punishable by death and taking the choice to meet that death by surviving in a Penal Legion. It means a decision to meet the death at the hands of the enemies of mankind rather than at the hands of the firing squad or Commissar’s bolt pistol. It is therefore preferable that the penal legionnaire Alternative Rank be taken at the point of character creation to represent a rare individual plucked from the ranks of the condemned to serve the Inquisition. It is ideal for characters created with more than the basic 400 XP to spend at the point of character creation. It is possible that a character on the Guardsman Career Path may opt to take this Alternative Rank later in his career, in which case it must be consistent with the character being condemned to serve in a penal legion for a crime he has committed.
A character who becomes a Penal Legionnaire automatically is fitted with either an Injector Rig or an Explosive Collar. The remote control for either of these items will kept by either another Acolyte or an NPC in the service of the Inquisitor that the Penal Legionnaire now serves.
Required Career: Guardsman
Alternate Rank: Rank 1 or higher (0 XP)
Note that this means that you may opt to specify this at character creation as the first rank of your Advance Scheme. This does not affect your starting Skills and Talents, only how and on what you can spend your starting XP.