Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Salamanders

I won’t be going into the history of the Salamanders or how they wage war, since they are well-covered by the Space Marine Codex. Instead, I wanted to briefly discuss their role in the Badab War.

Though their presence was requested on both sides from the earliest days of the war, the Salamanders remained neutral because they had previously fought alongside both the Astral Claws and the Fire Hawks. They entered the war as Loyalists only after Inquisitor Frain presented them with proof that the Astral Claws were corrupt. The Salamanders committed the 2nd Company, a considerable portion of their Nocturne garrison including several veteran instructors, six Venerable Dreadnoughts, and thirty Firedrakes of the 1st Company, under the command of Pellas Mir’san, Captain of the 2nd Company. 

The first major engagement for the Salamanders was the Angstrom Incident. The Adeptus Mechanicus world of Angstrom, though neutral in the war, supplied a great bounty of advanced weapons and equipment to the Maelstrom Warders (and thus the Secessionists) every three years. As this tithe came due, the Salamanders and Red Scorpions infiltrated an elite force onto the planet. Angstrom was an earthquake prone, volcanic world, and the Salamanders were perfectly at home in such terrain. As the Secessionists landed to collect the equipment, the Salamanders and Red Scorpions attacked and inflicted substantial damage to the Secessionist forces and fleet. The Mechanicus, angered that either side had dared to bring hostilities to their world, attacked both sides and forced them both to retreat. This was a great victory for the Loyalists, though it did cause the Mechanicus to launch retaliatory attacks on several Loyalist-held worlds. Eventually, the Loyalists brokered peace with the Angstrom Mechanicus, though the Fire Hawks blockaded the world for the remainder of the war.

In their second major mission, the Salamanders, along with a force of Minotaurs led by Ivanus Enkomi, were sent the world of Shaprias, where the Astral Claws were training a massive army of feral humans to assault the Loyalists from an undefended quarter. The Salamanders dropped directly into the training camps and began slaughtering the feral army and its Astral Claw commanders, while the Minotaurs assaulted a line of bastions defending the encampment. Having taken the bastions and scattered the army, the Salamanders and Minotaurs explored the laboratories below the bastions and discovered that the Astral Claws were collecting gene-seed from slain Loyalist marines. This violation of one of the most fundamental tenets of Astartes warfare demonstrated that the Astral Claws were beyond redemption.

The Salamanders transferred the recovered Loyalist gene-seed to their Battle Barge Pyre of Glory, which led directly to the events of the Red Hour. The Salamanders’ fleet was caught in a warp storm, and forced to return to realspace for repairs. They were attacked by a combined force of Astral Claws and Executioners, who quickly disabled the Pyre of Glory and destroyed its support vessels. Thulsa Kane, High Chaplain of the Executioners, offered the Salamanders the chance to surrender, allowing them safe passage from the war zone in exchange for their promise to no longer take part in the war. Pellas Mir’san, who had fought alongside the Executioners as a Scout, trusted them and accepted their conditions. Both the Executioners and Astral Claws boarded the Pyre of Glory,  but while Thulsa Kane proceeded to the bridge to accept Mir’san’s surrender, the Astral Claws began to slaughter the surrendering Salamanders and collect their gene-seed, as well as assaulting the Apothecarion to recover their stolen gene-seed. Upon seeing this and hearing from Mir’san that the Astral Claws were taking gene-seed from other Chapters, Kane ordered his Executioners to massacre all Astral Claws on board. He presented the head of the Astral Claws’ commander to Mir’san and allowed the Salamanders to depart. This removed the Executioners from the Secessionist cause, and they began to attack hidden Astral Claw bases with a vengeance. After the war, Pellas Mir’san defended the Executioners actions as honorable throughout the war, and brokered their peaceful surrender to the Loyalists and relatively minor punishement.

 Captain Pellas Mir’san

Mir’san is Captain of the Salamanders 2nd Company and one of the oldest Salamanders in active service. He is a consummate swordsman, and acted as Chapter Champion before being elevated to Captain.

He has the standard Captain statline with an extra point of WS, wears artificer armor, and carries a master-crafted power sword, a standard power sword (I believe this pairing should confer an extra attack, but I’m not sure since one is master-crafted), a combi-flamer, and an Iron Halo. Mir’san is a Master Duelist, meaning he can either gain an attack or remove an attack from an enemy independent character, as long as he is in base contact with an enemy independent character. In addition, he and any squad he joins automatically pass all Morale and Pinning Tests.

Overall, he’s a strong assault character and excels at hunting enemy independent characters. Be careful with him, as he will cut through most characters but will be crushed against real close-combat monsters, such as Lysander or Abbadon. Also, he retains Combat Tactics¸ allowing a different approach to playing Salamanders than Vulkan He’stan.

Bray’arth Ashmantle

Image from IRONDOG Studios
 Bray’arth Ashmantle is a Venerable Dreadnought originally constructed by the Primarch Vulkan, and can be taken as an HQ choice. Ashmantle has an extra point of WS, front armor, and two extra attacks over a standard Venerable Dreadnought. He comes with two Dreadnought CCW’s, extra armor, and a pair of heavy flamers that he can also fire as a twin-linked meltagun.

In addition to being a monster up close, Ashmantle is also extremely hard to kill. No attacks can roll additional dice to penetrate his armor, and lance weapons do not lower his armor value. Finally, he can forego a single close-combat attack in order to hit every model in base-contact with a heavy flamer.

Bray’arth Ashmantle is almost absurdly hard to kill and really packs a punch in close-range shooting and assault. Not only that, but he has the ability to tear through hordes in assault, a traditional weakness of Dreadnoughts. These abilities are counter-balanced by his slow speed (he can’t take a Drop Pod, sadly) and his high points cost (more than a Land Raider). However, if he can get to the enemy, he will annihilate them with near impunity. He’s certainly a great choice if you love Dreadnoughts and want to play a more aggressive Salamanders army.

Master Harath Shen

Shen is the Master Apothecary of the Salamanders, and led the defense of the Pyre of Glory’s Apothecarion during the events of the Red Hour. His rules aren't actually in IA 10 but can be found here. He has the statline of a Chaplain, except he’s only LD 9. He carries a power weapon, plasma pistol, and digital weapons, and wears artificer armor. Perhaps most importantly, he carries a narthecium which grants any squad he joins Feel No Pain.

Even better, Shen is such a great Apothecary that he allows the squad to re-roll and 1’s for Feel No Pain rolls. Finally, Shen is so respected by the Salamanders that he adds +1 to the Assault results of the squad he joins and a single wound allocated to him each Assault phase can be transferred to an allied model.

Harath Shen grants Space Marines something they don’t have, access to an Independent Character that grants Feel No Pain. I know how massive this is from my Blood Angels. He can give any squad Feel No Pain, and it’s even better than normal. He’s no slouch in assault either, being essentially another Veteran Sergeant. Finally, though he lacks an invulnerable save, his ability to pass off wounds to his squad makes him surprisingly durable. He’s a great support character to tremendously increase the durability of a single squad, and he’s not too expensive either. A unit of thunder hammer, storm shield Terminators including Shen, particularly in an army also including Vulkan He’stan, would a terrifying squad on the table.

That was a long one! The Salamanders got a lot of new options from the Badab War, and play a prominent role in the fluff. The next installment will be back to the standard format. 


  1. I really enjoyed this, thanks!

  2. Glad to hear you liked it! I'm very interested in feedback on this post. So far, I've been writing very short summaries of all the Badab War chapters, but I would enjoy writing more in-depth histories such as here if there is enough interest.

  3. Yep id like to see more indepth historys too very interesting reading. Keep em coming.


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