Monday, 19 September 2011

Building the Desert Lions - Part 1: Some Background

Because really, this is what today's post is...
Atreides is back!

As may have been somewhat apparent from the dearth of updates, I have been taking something of a hobby break.  This is partially due to the remnants of burnout and partially due to World of Tanks, but that is another story.  In any case, in the last week I have finally felt able to get on with some serious construction and have completed all six of the anti-gravity rhinos and razorbacks needed for my army.  A little while ago I also completed the first two henchmen squads.  Todays post though, contains, a little background on my chosen chapter, the Desert Lions. I don't usually go into detail on this sort of thing, but I think that when making a true counts as army, it is completely necessary.  Warning, anyone who gets pissy about canon may not want to continue reading.  I don't care if it conforms to the established story or not, I just made it up because I think its cool!

It is all based on an old piece of Rogue Trader fluff, which can be read HERE.


The Desert Lions chapter recruits from a harsh desert world named Korun's World after the rogue trader who discovered it.  Much like the Space Wolves, the chapter is named for their supposed resemblance to the fierceness of one of the native creatures of the planet.  In my case, the native creature is the Desert Lion, a mighty sabre-toothed beast bearing some resemblance to the lions of ancient Terra. 

Due to a gene-seed flaw, the chapter has a very high rate rejection rate amongst their neophytes.  This fact, and its knock on effects, account for the multitude of ways in which the Desert Lions differ from codex chapters.

Firstly, the high failure rate is to a certain extent countered by a massively high recruitment rate.  Every year, each of the tribes on Korun's World gives as many of its fiercest warriors as it can spare to the chapter.  There is no fixed tithe, but any warrior who successfully hunts, traps and ritually scars one of the famed adult Desert Lions is expected to volunteer himself.  Many do so, because it is regarded as a great honour.

The chapter has only five companies, an elite 1st company, three battle companies and one scout company.  However, it also has two company equivalents made up of around 500 men each, comprised of recruits who have not yet been given the gene seed.  These men are lightly equipped and have an extremely high attrition rate, but they are well equipped and are useful auxiliaries, mechanics and peacekeepers.

While this is unusual, and frowned upon by many other chapters, the rest of the strength of the chapter comes from an even more contentious source - the Adeptus Mechanicus.  The chapter maintains and uses some thirty maniples of the Legio Cybernetica.  While technically still controlled by the Legio, these one hundred and fifty robots are honorary members of the chapter and to all intents and purposes, fight as part of it.  In battle, the marines will fight just as hard to recover the core of a fallen robot as they would the gene seed of a fellow warrior.  After all, both are equally important to the functioning of the chapter.

Since Operation Carthage on Istvaan V during the 31st Millennium, when the chapter first worked with the Legio, they have always maintained maniples of robots.  In the last millennium this has begun to extend beyond the Legio Cybernetica.  Several high ranking techpriests are now seconded to the chapter on a permanent basis where they maintain a large array of extremely rare and valuable vehicles and weapons.  These range from highly effective personal arms and armour, to experimental ammunition and from a fleet of anti-gravity battle tanks and troop transports, to larger examples of the might of the Legio Cybernetica. It is even rumoured that in the chapters fortress monastery there is a large chamber in which a new battle Titan is being constructed, bearing emblems of both the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Desert Lions.

The chapter knows that its own existence is owed at least in part to the continued aid of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and even though such close ties are frowned upon, and in some eyes entirely illegal, the chapter has little choice but to continue on its present course. 


So there you have it, a short background on the Desert Lions.  This all comes from a desire make a cool army with lots of robots, while simultaneously having an effective list that with a bit of practice, will stand a chance in most tournament games.  Hopefully, the Grey Knight codex does this rather well.  It has lots of cool units, rules and wargear to fulfill the ad-mech side of things, and this ties in rather nicely with the failing gene-seed and the need for auxiliary soldiers (henchmen).  I am sure some may say I am just justifying my use of an 'overpowered' codex, and that I could easily use normal marines, or BA, or whatever else, and they may be right in part.  However, this comes from my desire to be a well rounded hobbiest succeeding in all aspects of it, rather than from any particular desire to win.  besides, it isn't as if there are existing rules for a marine chapter with robots in it is there!

I have already posted my first few units a few months back.  My first company members (the company names still need to be decided) based on purifiers and my Dreadknight/Robot can be found HERE
Next time I willshow you my first two squads of henchmen, and the completed Anti-grav transports.

I dont expect many comments, since this is hardly the place to come for fluff discussions, but if you did want to let me know that I am a WAAC douchbag, a fluff massacrist (so not a word) or just plain old insane, feel free to do so!!


  1. What do you mean this is not the place for fluff discussions? I was labouring under the impression the the Son's were all about fluff?

    I like it alot mate. It's very well written, concise and well, it has robots in it! How could it not be awesome!

    I think that this level of hobbyism (?), hobby commitment/whatever demonstrates the one occassion where I think the 'counts as' label cannot be anything but positive.

    The auxiliary concept is well done, as is the maniples and relationship with Mars...

    I actually would be keen for more!

    Does the hinted,new Titan build imply tht work is underway? Because after the Dreadknight and your Valks I think I'd orgasm at the sight of the Atreides-Class Titan! haha.

  2. Good read, agree with Ven more of this.

    I think this is the route I am going to take when/if I come back into the game. I doubt I'll bother with tourneys et al any more, and even a roughly decent list will hammer everyone except you Andy ;P (at our store)

  3. thanks guys. i enjoyed writing this a lot so there might be some more of it. it is great to flesh out that one piece of text from 25 years ago and really make the chapter into something a bit more tangible.

    as for the titan, i have no plans to build one in the near future, but it is inevitable that i will succumb eventually (midlife crisis anyone?). i just like the idea of Mars basically forcing this on the chapter because they cannot function without their help.

  4. Its actually quite inspiring.

    This is making me completely disregard 40K/Competitive lists and just build stuff thats completely fluffy to my starwars theme.

    E.G - Deathstar = Stormraven (as close as you can freaking get ...) AT/ST's, Royal Guard, Emperor, Vader, some storm troopers and shizzle.

  5. I want pictures bitches!! Both star wars and hover rhinos!!

  6. something i was actually considering is writing a fandex for the chapter. i think it would be a cool project and i know people in the Kensington store would be more than happy for me to test it.

    i have been really taken with some of the less competitive sides of the hobby recently. this doesnt mean i plan on attending less tournaments because i love those too, but i just feel like i have missed the less crazy side for the last few years in my bid for world domination.

  7. Believe it or not, I too have found a passion I did not know I had for terrain building and even for painting again. I can't remember who said it in one of the comment streams of a '40k hate' rant..but true solace can be found in other aspects of the hobby!
    Still creating a part of the 40k universe... even if the terrain is mainly for Infinity...

    I think a fandex would be a great project. I am sure that you would make it nicely balanced, the danger in a lot of homebrew stuff is some element is always off..points is often a sticking point..go for it!