The Imperial Fists

The Imperial Fists

The Imperial Fists are one of the First Founding Chapters,and as such their traditions and doctrines are shaped by ten thousand years and more of service to the Imperium. A character drawn from the Imperial Fists is steeped in these traditions and doctrines, and a proud son of one of the mightiest of the Space Marine Primarchs. A player that chooses to create an Imperial Fists character has the opportunity to role-play a Battle-Brother with a unique disposition. The Imperial Fists are masters of all they turn their hand to but they have never entirely shaken off the guilt that their Primarch took upon himself when he was unable to intervene in the final battle between the Emperor and the Warmaster Horus. The Imperial Fists test themselves constantly as if seeking redemption for a crime that has been redeemed countless times over the millennia. Their selfless devotion to duty is at once the Imperial Fists’ greatest strength, and their singular flaw.

The Emperor’s Praetorians

The Imperial Fists are second only to the noble Ultramarines in the honours they have earned through their dedication to the Imperium and to Humanity. Since before the dawn of the Age of Imperium, the Imperial Fists have stood resolute against any and every threat, standing firm where others have given ground and frequently making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of honour and duty. The steadfastness, stoicism and selflessness of the Imperial Fists is legendary, and the Chapter’s Primarch, the mighty Rogal Dorn, is a figure of adoration the length and breadth of the Domains of Man.

By Duty Bound

The history of the Imperial Fists Chapter is one of totaldedication to the Emperor, stretching back to the glorious daysof the Great Crusade in which the Emperor led his legionsfrom ancient Terra and unified the disparate worlds of manunder his rule. The Imperial Fists served throughout that age asthe Emperor’s praetorians, forming a strategic reserve that theirmaster could call upon when other forces wavered. Countlessworlds were captured, and a myriad of foes defeated by thetimely deployment of the 7th Legion, and numerous enemycounter-attacks turned by its heroic interventions. Through their prosecution of hundreds of campaigns of liberation, the legion’s warriors became the masters of both facetsof siege warfare, in defence they were immovable, and in attack they were unstoppable, their measured, artful application of military principles combining with their utterly selfless dedication to their master and his cause earning them their special place at the Emperor’s side.

When the traitor Warmaster Horus led his turncoat legions into the service of the Ruinous Powers and plunged the nascent Imperium into galaxy-spanning civil war, the Imperial Fists stood resolute at the Emperor’s side, refusing to take a single step back and ever at the forefront of battle. At the Siege of the Emperor’s Palace, Rogal Dorn commanded his warriors to hold the unbreakable fortifications, which he himself had designed and countless thousands of traitors and fiends expended their lives in their efforts to take them.

For the Imperial Fists, however, the Horus Heresy ended in a uniquely bitter defeat. Though Dorn’s warriours gave their all to hold the palace, when the Primarch teleported onto the Warmaster’s battle barge to fight by his master’s side against the arch traitor, he arrived too late to intervene in the final battle. It was Dorn who came upon the blasted and broken form of the Emperor as well as his brother Primarch Sanguinius, on the bridge of the barge.

Consumed by grief, Dorn bore the Emperor’s all-but-lifeless body back to the palace, nd led his legion outwards in a bitter war of redemption thatwas as much about atonement for his own imagined failure as itwas to punish the traitors who had almost destroyed all of the Emperor’s mighty works.While Roboute Guiliman, Primarch of the UltramarinesLegion, rebuilt the Imperium and the Space Marines accordingto the doctrines of his Codex Astartes, Dorn crusaded amongst the stars. Many of the Imperial Fists railed against the dictatesof the codex, unwilling to divide their Legion into Chapters and regarding the entire notion as a slur on their honour, for had the Imperial Fists not proved their loyalty and devotion athousand times over?

Dorn’s penance was finally ended in climactic fashion atthe battle known as the Iron Cage. Driven almost beyond reason by the taunts of his rival, the traitor Primarch of theIron Warriors Legion, Dorn plunged himself into what wouldprove his, and his Legion’s, ultimate crucible. The Iron Cagewas an entire world of fiendishly devised fortifications, whichtheir creator had claimed none, not even Dorn, could crack.The Imperial Fists went into the Iron Cage consumed by theirperceived failure, but they emerged victorious, for they wereprepared to fight to the death for their cause, while the IronWarriors were not. It was only when Guiliman despatched theUltramarines to put an end to the bitter struggle that Dorn saw the light, and took his place beside his brother Primarchs. Heaccepted the new order, and ordered his Legion broken up intoChapters according to his brother Primarch’s wisdom.Many of the more zealous, crusade-minded Battle-Brothersof the old Legion became the Black Templars Chapter,continuing the crusade their Primarch had begun in theaftermath of the Heresy. These had scant regard for the CodexAstartes, and took to the stars to follow their own destiny.The newest Battle-Brothers, who were perhaps less set in theirways, became the Crimson Fists Chapter, and readily embracedthe doctrines of the codex. The remainder became the ImperialFists Chapter, the true sons and inheritors of Rogal Dorn, andthey have served at the very forefront of the Imperium’s warsfor ten thousand years, maintaining the values instilled in themby their Primarch: duty, honour, truth, and sacrifice.

Heritors of Dorn

Even before their division into Chapters, the Imperial Fistsnever laid claim to a single home world. Instead, they area space-borne Chapter, and their home is an ancient andunique vessel called Phalanx. As large as a moon and capableof docking over a dozen cruisers, Phalanx is a marvel of thestarshipwright’s craft that predates the Imperium, the secrets of its construction lost in the long millennia since the DarkAge of Technology. During the Great Crusade, the comingof
Phalanx
was a portent of glory, for it shone so bright itappeared to the benighted souls of lost worlds that a new starglittered in their heavens. The Emperor himself called
Phalanx
his flagship during many campaigns, .and the Imperial Fistsknow that he once trod the ancient and worn deck plates theythemselves walk every day.Being a space-borne Chapter, the Imperial Fists recruitfrom a variety of worlds. The Chapter maintains a greatnumber of Fortress-Chapels on worlds across the Imperium.Such places are staffed by small, dedicated cadres of veterans,perhaps warriors wounded so grievously they can no longerfight, but still well able to serve their Chapter. The staff of these facilities keep a watch upon the peoples around them,seeking potential candidates for recruitment. On some worldsthey hold tournaments and contests to ascertain suitability,while on others they actually instigate combat in order totest potential recruits in person. On some Hive Worlds,the Imperial Fists conduct purges of the down-hive slums,ostensibly to clear out undesirable elements on behalf of theplanetary government, but they often return with captivesthey have judged such worthy fighters they will be invitedto undertake the trials. The Imperial Fists are unusual inmaking few, if any, demands of the peoples of the worldsthey recruit from, other than the right to test those whobelieve themselves worthy of entering the ranks of the Battle-Brothers. Whatever the source of the recruit, whether hecomes from a brotherhood of warrior-knights or a band of hive-gang psychopaths, the Chapter instils its noble doctrinesin him, retaining his essential martial qualities but overlayingthem with the qualities that the Imperial Fists have inheritedfrom their Primarch and their ancestors. The Chapter is notespecially shaped by the mores and character of the worldsits warriors are drawn form, and instead draws heavily on itsown traditions and the values instilled in it by its Primarch.One of these traditions is thought to date back to theearliest days of the old Legion, before it even left Terra on theGreat Crusade. The Imperial Fists engage in ceaseless duelsagainst one another, sometimes to settle a point of honourbut more often to test themselves and their swordsmanship.The most experienced and long-serving Imperial Fists sportnumerous duelling scars all over their bodies, each a reminderof a hard-won victory, or a salutary defeat.Another tradition that the Imperial Fists engage in is thepractice of scrimshawing the bones of their fallen Battle-Brothers. None know the roots of this practice, which formany Imperial Fists becomes an obsession they must indulgeevery hour they are not fighting or training. The bones of slain kin are engraved in minute detail, every surface lovinglycovered in lines of devotional script and illuminated scenesdepicting the deeds of the fallen. Even the bones of theChapter’s Primarch have been engraved in this manner,preserved as the most sacred relic the Chapter possesses.

A Chapter practice of a very different kind is the use of the“pain glove,” a body suit supported in a metal frame, into whicha Battle-Brother will step to undergo the most excruciating painhe is able to endure. It is likely that the roots of this practicelie in the period immediately after the Horus Heresy, whenthe Imperial Fists sought to atone for their perceived sin infailing to intervene in the Emperor’s battle against Horus. Thepain glove’s archaic systems keep the subject conscious as everynerve in his body is shrived raw by agonising stimuli. Whenhe first joins the Chapter, the Battle-Brother may undergosuch treatment as both a punishment for shortcomings andfailures, and as a means of inuring himself to bodily pain. Yet,even at the very pinnacle of his abilities, a veteran ImperialFist will periodically don the pain glove, testing, punishing andpurifying himself in ecstatic neural flagellation.

Combat Doctrine

The Imperial Fists adhere to the doctrines of the CodexAstartes as strictly as their brothers of the Ultramarines.Squads, companies and Chapter household are all organisedaccording to the standards set forth in that mighty tome, andthe Chapter is capable of prosecuting every type of warfare, from orbital drops to mechanised assaults-they are the epitome of a Codex Chapter

There is one particular method of warfare in which the Imperial Fists stubbornness has meant they are naturally suited: the art of the siege. This speciality can be counted as the result of theChapter’s character and doctrines, rather than an adherence toparticular tactics or equipment. The Imperial Fists are utterlyimmovable in defence, and their mastery of the scientificaspects of war makes them peerless as well as well doggedwhen holding a fortified position. The same is true in theattack. The Imperial Fists are able to identify weak points in anenemy’s defences, and through relentless application of forcereduce it to ruins. The Chapter is quite willing to engage theenemy in open battle though, and does not seek urban or siegeengagements above any other method of war.The Imperial Fists’ single-mindedness does have a sideeffect however. The Chapter’s refusal to accept that a positioncannot be held or the enemy cannot be cracked has onnumerous occasions resulted in far greater casualties beingsuffered than other Chapters would accept. Nevertheless, theposition will be held, or the enemy broken, no matter thecost, making the Imperial Fists one of the most celebrated andhonoured Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.

The Imperial Fists

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