20 Things to Fix in the Space Marine Codex part V by Digital Unicorn

25 Nov

Hello Chaps, no witty intro this week, were discussing something far too serious for that. It just wouldn’t be appropriate. This is literally the honour of the Imperium were dealing with, not some measly neophyte troop squad. The very heart and soul of every space marine chapter. The embodiment of the emperors will! Paragons of virtue! Masters of the ancient traditions!! Champions of Valour!!! Guardians of our eternal souls!!!! The pinnacles of dedication!!!!! GLORY! GLORY! WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO DIE!!!! GLORY! GLORY! WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO DIE!!! GL…

Sorry, I don’t know what got into me there, I think I’ve been watching too much Band of Brothers. Anyway…(cough)… HQ choices! Yes, that’s it. We’re still on those and were moving onto one of my first loves, The Chaplain. To avoid getting dragged into another escalating extolling of their virtues, ill skip the part where I explain why I love these guys and just get right into the meat of the article.

Why, you might ask, if you love them so much, do they need to be better? Clearly you are biased and just want to make one of your favourite units better. And to that I would say, how dare you, how very dare you. Have I not spent these last 4 articles carefully analysing each point thoroughly and carefully only giving the most harmless of consessions? Besides, a wise man once said, the Ship of State is guided well if its leadership is based on merit and run against the rocks when it is based on blood. Which…I think completely undermines my arguement…

Anyway, what I mean to say is, as much as I love the idea of the Chaplain, I’ve never “loved” them on the table top. They always seemed about 3 inches from glory, almost there but, never quite living up to their fluff. And I’m going to tell you exactly why…

Yeah they call me the recluse…

There are 4 other marine books that have Chaplain equivilents in them. On the table top the Chaplain is mostly a combat character, 2 wounds, Initiative 4, WS5 with 2 attacks and a power weapon as standard, he packs a reasonable punch in the assault phase. He also greatly enhances an assault units charge with his special abilities if he is attached to one. What are the abilities?

Well right off the bat, he and any unit he joins is fearless making them difficult to shift at range and impossible to break in close combat. He also has the special ability Liturgies of Battle, which allows him and the squad he is attached too to re-roll failed rolls to hit when THEY charge into assault. This is a great buff for small squads or squads with a few powerful attacks as it means the majority hit and bad luck can be mitigated.

Now, this is how they appear in the marine book, what about in the other books? Well let’s see, in the Blood Angels books, their the same, in fact its a straight rip from the Nilla codex, except this time, their in the Elites section. Space Wolf Wolf Priests have the same statline. In the older books they start to break away a little, in both the Dark Angels and Black Templar books the Chaplain equivilent is BS5 instead of 4, has 3 attacks base and is Initiative 5. Now, obviously the older books are to be read with a pinch of salt when it comes to balancing the new ones but, this isn’t the point I’m making. The Base Chaplains in these books are all quite similar, the difference is unlike the marine book, base isn’t all they get.

Dark Angels, Black Templars and Blood Angels all have the option to take what amounts too a High Chaplain. They all have slightly different names, their statlines however are not different. The High Chaplain is BS and WS 5, I5, with 3 wounds and 3 Attacks. I don’t know about you but I think that is a significant upgrade from the basic Chaplain. However, all these extras come at a cost, in the Blood Angels book, the Reclusiarch cost 30 points more than the basic Chaplain and is a HQ choice. I feel this is a fair price. What I want to know is, which writer did this guy upset to not get in the marine book?

I could understand if this, High Chaplain, idea was new and just missed the older Marine book but, it clearly isn’t. I’ve already gone through how the older power armour books all have the option for him, hell, even 4th Edition Codex Marines has him. Why was he just dropped? I think their a fantastic idea. And it makes perfect sense, the Chaplaincy is basically its own order within the Chapter itself, just like the Librarium, so its makes sense that they would have their own internal hierachy. The Chaplains themselves have always been frontline squad leaders rather than battle leaders, the Reclusiarch fits the Battle Leader role much better.

So, what am I suggesting? Well, I don’t think basic Chaplains should be moved to the Elites. The Elites in the Vanilla book are crammed already and this guy still makes an awesome HQ for smaller point games, where a heroic squad leader fits nicely. What I want is to go back to the good old days where we had the option to make him something more if we wanted too. A plain and simple 30 point upgrade to a , High Chaplain or a Reclusiarch.

Grinds my Gears…

Aside from this addition, the only other changes I want to make is to the wargear. Although I considered and thought long and hard about changing the Liturgies of Battle, I decided against it. The Wolf priests version of this rule works differently and argueably better however, it is quite a fluff based rule (being an Oath and all) and the Liturgies of Battle rule has been the same since anyone can remember and should stay the same.

In the fluff for Chaplains, it is explained that the Chaplaincy are the guardians of the Chapters ancient relics and most holy and revered records and legends. So it annoys me a little that these guys don’t have access to certain things in their wargear, Articficier Armour for one, Stormshields for another. Both of these seem like strange ommissions in their army list entry that don’t really fit the background.

I don’t think however they’d hand these out to your everyday line running Chaplain though, although their tough, ancient relics don’t tend to be bestowed on thick of the fighting squad leaders unless your sure you’ll get it back. I think those options should only be given to the Reclusiarch to represent his higher rank. I think he should get the following extra options…

Replace boltgun and/or bolt pistol with:

Stormshield 20pts

Lightning Claw 15pts

Replace Power armour with:

Artificier Armour 15pts

Replace Terminator Armour Stormbolter with:

Stormshield or Power fist 10pts

So, in summary, we’ve re-instated the High Chaplain as a 30pt upgrade to a regular Chaplain. This also come with improved wargear options.

So this weeks question, is the Wolf Priests Oath of War better than the Chaplains Liturgies of Battle? And should Liturgies of Battle be changed to reflect that?

I hope you enjoyed this weeks article and remember, hold fast, hold the line and don’t stop reading until…

Digital Unicorn is GO!!!


5 Responses to “20 Things to Fix in the Space Marine Codex part V by Digital Unicorn”

  1. Mark Perry November 25, 2011 at 11:32 #

    I’ve used a chappie on a bike with a command squad. Pricey, but with those rerolls and then hit and run from Khan this is a unit that can cause total carnage.

    Only other time I ran him was with an assault squad, but if I want those I generally look at BA instead.

    He could also go with assault termies, but that’s probably about it. Unlike say a Captain or librarian you get little utility form sticking him in a Tac Squad/Devastators/sternguard etc.

    • Digital Unicorn November 25, 2011 at 12:15 #

      Haha, you think that’s pricey, I used to run a Chaplain with a Chapter Master and 8 Honour guard in a Landraider. 😀 Anything they hit melted but the rest of my army was made of paper, lol.

      Yer, he’s never been a force multiplier, he’s a Combat unit multiplier. I ran him with Termies for a while and he really helped with the WS4 problem, TH/SS are great until you realise that half of their 3 attacks on the charge will miss, with the Chaplain that goes to 75% hits which is better than hitting on 3’s.

  2. Andy Ovel November 25, 2011 at 14:14 #

    Good stuff Mr Unicorn 🙂

    It would be nice to at least have the option to take a tougher Chaplin, if you are willing to pay the extra points to get him.

    Having access to the extra wargear just gives more options, and would make him more a more interesting choice, with more flexibility on the battlefield.

    My chaplain doesn’t normally make it on to the board these days, as I feel I have to take a Librarian. A few more options would make him more a more attractive choice.

    • Digital Unicorn November 25, 2011 at 14:46 #

      Please, call me Digital, Mr Unicorn is my fathers name…

  3. Ruglud November 25, 2011 at 16:54 #

    Chaplain rocks with thunder termies … really unstoppable

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