The Fate of Old Andrukah
The Shadow Bolts
The Shadow Bolts
The Shadow Bolts are a chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. Unlike most other chapters, The Shadow Bolts specialize in stealth and recon tactics. They excel at infiltration and elimination of high-value targets. Relative to other chapters, they are lightly armored. However, they are fast-moving and agile. Shadow Bolts, like their parent chapter the Ultramarines, strictly observe the Codex Astartes. They are methodical and disciplined.
The following section describes the background of the founding of the Shadow Bolts.
The Shadow Bolt chapter was founded in response to a rising threat of Ork empires. They developed their tactical strength of stealth and swift attacks in order to assassinate Ork leaders and throw Ork legions into chaos.
History of Founding
The founding of the Shadow Bolts occurred in the 36th millennium; during the time of the Council of Nova-Terra. After hundreds of years of planning, it was decided that a successor chapter of the Ultramarines was needed to guard against an unexpected attack from numerous Ork empires.
The Shadow Bolts were honored to receive up gene-seed from the Ultramarines and have safeguarded it’s purity since.
The Shadow Bolts cultivate a see, but don’t be seen demeanor. They are skilled in recon and observation. When they strike, they do so at the worst possible moment for the enemy and do so with precision. It is not uncommon for the enemy leadership and all lines of communication to be destroyed within the first moments of battle. Whereas some marine chapters use the fear of their approach as a weapon, The Shadow Bolts favor the fear of complete surprise.
Due the the purity if the Ultramarine seed, and the diligent care they have taken, the Shadow Bolt’s gene-seed remains pure.
Due to their secretive nature, the Shadow Bolts are mistrusted by other imperial organization. In particular, the Inquisition suspects that the Shadow Bolts harbor Xenos technology and even prisoners themselves. This suspicion is, in fact, well founded. The Shadow Bolts amass knowledge about their enemies in order to learn their weaknesses. They will confiscate technology or even hold prisoners in order to learn from them. Their secret fortress holds many vaults of such forbidden items.
The Shadow Bolt chapter received pure gene-seed from their sires. However, during the transfer a particular zygote was lost. The Lyman’s ear does not function for Shadow Bolts. This is a great shame to the chapter because it would be such an advantage given their preferred tactics.
Due to their specialized training and tactics, Shadow Bolts are known for the high agility and their strong cohesion under stress. (+5 to agility and fellowship).
One of the central heroes of the chapter is a common battle-brother by the name of Ozreman “Oz”, Ork Bane. He was one of the first warriors deployed by the Shadow Bolts. He was a veteran of many critical missions that delivered critical damage to the enemies of the Emperor. He personally killed several Ork bosses and developed a reputation amount both marines and orks alike. He was finally killed in action at the cost of a great many orks. There is some suspicion as to the circumstances of this tragedy.
The Shadow Bolts have a desire to remain secluded. They never want their own tactics of overwhelming surprise to be used against them. Their home fortress lies hidden in an asteroid belt in a small and largely unknown system. It exists as a connected series of bunkers, fortresses, and hangers. Their fleet of starships is concealed within this maze of space rock and shielded from detection by the radiation of a nearby sun.
The fortress is supported by servants selected from recruitment worlds in the surrounding systems. Some are volunteers. Some are men who failed the trials. Others are former prisoners.
Relationship With Home World
Though the Shadow Bolts have no direct home world they do watch over several worlds in the vicinity. They maintain loyal scouts and information networks who monitor the worlds for signs of chaos or recidivism. They are also the main worlds from which they recruit. However, they also seek recruits from much further afield and have been known to pick up potentials in the travels across the stars.
The Shadow Bolts are a strict codex chapter. They adhere closely to the sacred text of their primarch, Guilliman. However, there is some room for interpretation in the codes. They do have some strong disagreements with the Ultramarines on certain points of strategy and tactics. But overall, the two chapters share a kinship in the reverence for the text.
The Shadow Bolts are quite unique in their use of a stealth combat doctrine. Where as other chapters would regard hiding and waiting as an act of cowardice, the Shadow Bolts view it as patience and the ability to strike at the moment of greatest vulnerability. A typical Shadow Bolt strike is one where both leadership and communications are shattered in the first moments of a strike leaving the enemy without direction and blind. They are not as noted for their skill in siege warfare or armor as many other chapters. Neither are they known for the skill or ferocity in melee. But they are well known for their marksmanship and their skilled leadership under duress.
Solo Mode Abilities
As indicated by their chosen combat doctrine, brothers of the Shadow Bolts may reroll failed skill tests for either Concealment or Command tests. At rank 4, brothers gain a +10 to both Concealment and Command. At rank 8, brothers gain a bonus degree of success in both skills.
Squad Mode Abilities
Brothers of the Shadow Bolts employ the same, honored attack pattern of their parent chapter: Lead by Example. This ability allow all brothers in support range to enjoy the leader’s fellowship bonus on all tests. Plus, once per round one brother can reroll a failed test. The re-roll also uses the fellowship bonus. This tactic costs 2 cohesion points and is sustained.
For defensive stances, the brothers of the Shadow Bolts employ the Swift Advance tactic. This is used in the lightning raid strikes where they combine a stealth approach with a swift assault to achieve their objective. The Swift Advance tactic allows a brother within support range to use their reaction to make a full move if the successfully dodge a ranged attack. This costs 2 cohesion points and is sustained.
Due to their preference for stealth and fast actions, the Shadow Bolts do no have devastator marines. They are considered too slow, loud, and cumbersome for use in the chapter. The chapter boasts and abundance of tactical marines who have great adaptability in combat. Though they don’t deploy devestators themselves, may brother still train with heavy weapons in case they become necessary in combat situations.
Current Chapter Status
The current status of the Shadow Bolts is serious. Losses in several sectors of the Jericho Reach have been adding up. Successful recruitment has been lagging. In addition, there have been murky reports of some shadowy force attempting to hone in on the monetary fortress of the Shadow Bolts. Considering the current level of deployment this is a great concern as there are not many brothers available to defend the fortress. Only the chapter leaders occupy the main fortress, with a minimal garrison in the surrounding bunkers.
The strained relations with the Holy Inquisition have been most inconvenient for the Shadow Bolts. Many of the assets of the Inquisition would be most useful for discreet insertion and extraction of kill teams. However, the Shadow Bolts have cultivated good relations with a few, notable houses of Rogue Traders who have made their considerable assets available for use by the chapter. In return, those houses have profited. As with any war there have been losses. A few Rogue Trader vessels have been lost. But gains have outpaced losses and relations are strong.
One Rogue Trader in particular has cultivated a close (as is possible) relationship with the Shadow Bolts. Grimbold Krag is a Rogue Trader who has enjoyed much success on the Jericho Reach. He has turned most of his attention to the business of war. He has converted his sizable armada of void ships into a mercenary force for hire. He has turned a tidy profit in the process. He also fields small armies of trained mercenaries. He provides discrete transport in support of surgical strikes or recon missions.
Grimbold is not known for his fanatical loyalty to the emperor. He honors a good deal and a profit. He also enjoys letting the Emperor’s finest destroy Xenos threats and profiting by either claiming the world or rebuilding it. But, Grimbold always honors a deal once it has been made. Selling out a paying client would be bad for future business.
The most notable enemy of the Shadow Bolts are the Ork menace. Many great battles have been fought. Almost all of them on the Orks on turf. Many a Warboss have been assassinated by Shadow Bolt kill teams allowing coordinated attacks from other chapters or the Imperial Guard to attack a weakened and uncoordinated enemy.
Custom Chapter Advances
The Shadow Bolts use the Honour Thy Wargear Advances table on page 42 of Rites of Battle.