Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Index Astartes - The Rapturous Angels


The Rapturous Angels are a motley crew of renegades and degenerates. Some have been Chaos Space Marines for all of their cursed existence and others betrayed their former battle-brothers to join the warband. Some were created into their service and others were recruited from amongst their defeated foes. The core of the warband, and indeed their leader are traitors, previously of the Angels Exemplar chapter. After they turned against their own they fled with their leader, Mithridates The Torturer, into the Eye of Terror. His cadre of supporters formed the foundations of the Rapturous Angels, their souls already lost to Slaanesh, they attracted like-minded individuals amongst the heathens calling the Eye of Terror their home. There is a high prevalence of combat drug usage amongst their members, presumably orchestrated by Mithridates, drawing upon his experience as a former Chief Apothecary. Occasionally the Rapturous Angels recruit candidates to create new marines. The gene-seed they use is harvested from enemies and fallen comrades alike and the vast majority of it is very unstable, in part because of the rampant warp energies it is subjected to. Mixed with the warband's tendencies towards the overuse of combat stimulants and narcotics they create psychopathic mutants at best, the taint of chaos running through them. All those in the warband though share their addiction to combat stimulants and an increasingly devoted worship of Slaanesh.

The Betrayal

Mithridates The Torturer delights in inflicting excruciating torment upon his victims even more than he enjoys inflicting it upon himself but it had not always been so. He has long since lost interest in preserving lives but he was once Chief-Apothecary Mithridates of The Angels Exemplar.

He had risen through the ranks to become master of the Apothercarian through dedication to his work and to his Chapter. His speciality had always been in the field of combat drugs and he devoted an age to study and experimentation aiming to create perfect combat stimulants that amplified the already impressive traits of the Space Marines without any of the negative side-effects commonly associated with their use. Chapter Master Xiphares allowed for Mithridates to test his various concoctions on the fatally wounded that he treated so that he could better document his progress. (Xiphares name has since been stricken from the records of The Angels Exemplar, his treachery in allowing the possible contamination of the chapter's precious gene-seed and, indeed, allowing Mithridates' heresy to take root have made him a shame upon their brotherhood). When Chapter Master Xiphares was slain in battle and Chapter Master Polemon took on his mantle, he saw the successive failures of Mithridates in his endeavour as good reason to redirect the Apothecarions energies into other matters. He also took a dim view on his predecessor's controversial decision to allow testing on battle brothers whose gene-seed had not yet been harvested. Mithridates though had dedicated himself to his trials and believed he was close to the answers he sought so he continued to experiment. With no further access to test subjects he began the insane practice of experimenting upon himself, injecting numerous amounts of his creations into his bloodstream. This birthed an addiction to stimulants which in turn attracted the attention of the chaos god Slaanesh.

Slaanesh whispered to the Apothecary, promising that he'd give him the formula he sought if he offered up his soul in exchange. Still relatively sound of mind Mithridates declined the chaos god's offer and whispered prayers to the Emperor of Mankind to safeguard his soul. So Slaanesh turned his gaze elsewhere. Desperate to find the answer himself Mithridates began adding all manner of strange substances to his creations. Over time few of them were added to improve the effectiveness of the mixtures but more so to satisfy his addiction to stimulants. He began field-testing his experiments and it was not long before his brothers in arms quietly remarked on the visible improvement in his martial abilities, his impetuousness and need to be in the fray. He regularly took to the field on a bike so that he could quicker meet the foe in battle. The rush of combat a stimulant in its own right. From then on, when his brothers fell in battle, he would attend them using chemicals and substances, often of his own creation, to either mend their wounds or dull their minds to them. They were seemingly all highly addictive in their nature as Mithridates rapidly developed a core of supporters, dependants who required the continued survival of the Apothecary so that he could manufacture and provide their next fix of stimulants! These devotees ride with Mithridates to this day but their tastes have long since moved on from just mere combat drugs.

As Mithridates descended further into his addiction and created a vast list of crimes to which he would one day have to be held accountable for. Slaanesh spoke to him once again. Again, dark whispers promised to tell him the secret he longed to know. This time Mithridates relented, his soul seemed a small price for such a potent chemical, something that would reawaken his drug-dulled senses once more. In a possessed state he manufactured a single dose of the chemical and, desperate to feel its effects, injected it into his system. His senses were magnified far beyond the super-human level they already operated at, his body manufactured adrenalin to extreme levels, his strength was multiplied and his muscles worked his frame at a blistering pace that no mortal could ever hope to match. Although potent beyond what Mithridates could have hoped for it was short lived and all that it had brought had been wasted in the gloom of his study within the Apothercarion. He tried to manufacture a second dose but he had no recollection of what ingredients he'd used or their quantities. He beseeched the Dark Prince for the formula once more. Slaanesh agreed to allow Mithridates to manufacture another dose but only in exchange for a gift of one hundred souls. So it was that Mithridates' fall was complete. He barely considered his actions such was his need for the drug. He summoned those loyal to him to the Apothercarion in secret and then revealed his treachery. Promising the souls of all those on board the company's Strike Cruiser to Slaanesh, he released a neurotoxin into the the Aeration Systems. The neurotoxin was a side product of a failed experiment of his that had led to a separate more deadly use for the chemicals he created. Even the advanced physiology of a Space Marine couldn't fend off the affects of the neurotoxin without aid. His battle-brothers died in droves as the toxin attacked their nervous system causing violent convulsions until asphyxiation killed them. The advanced systems within marine power armour easily warded off the toxin but so few of the marines on board the strike cruiser donned their armour whilst in transit. Mithridates and his followers wore theirs and they were easily able to mop up those that survived the toxin amidst the confusion. Only those that swore their souls in service to Slaanesh were spared from death. Slaanesh held his end of the bargain and Mithridates was able to manufacture another dose of the chemical he craved. He enjoyed its powerful effects as his followers set the strike cruiser on a course for the Eye of Terror, fleeing the violent retribution they knew would follow them otherwise.

Since that day Slaanesh has strung Mithridates along, demanding exponentially greater numbers sacrificed in his name for each new dose. Mithridates' mind is now completely broken by his addiction. Now he is a creature devoted to achieving new levels of stimulation, ever injecting himself with stimulatns and toxins for the sensations they inflict on him. As his altered physique adapts to the poisons he increases the dosage or creates new ones. He now though finds an even greater joy in sharing these toxins with his victims.

Rapturous Angels Marine


The Rapturous Angels organise themselves into packs. The strongest of their number championing and leading these packs into battle. The packs are always 6 bikes strong in tribute to the Dark Prince. Many of them count an attack bike as one of their number and the position of gunner on these often given to the weakest of their number as punishment, denying them the right to ride their own bike to war. Their bitterness makes them cruel beyond compare and ironically makes them the perfect candidates to wield the devastating weaponry at their fingertips.

Leading the packs to war will be Mithridates The Torturer, often with his own entourage of former Angels Exemplar veterans, those that turned with him. Mithridates has any number of lieutenants eager to lead in his absence but it is indeed very rare for him not to be drawn out by the sound of war and the scent of fear. The warband's Land Speeders, in theory, form their own separate pack but such is the headstrong nature of their pilots that any organisation is quickly abandoned upon contact with the enemy.

Rapturous Angels Champion

Combat Doctrine

The Rapturous Angels almost exclusively conduct warfare from the saddles of their bikes. So lost are they to sensation and excess, that even the cacophony of emotions, sights and sounds that is war carries a limited thrill for them. When conducted at breakneck speeds and as a disorienting dance of death it can still hold some appeal. The use of combat drugs to enhance all of this is a common trait amongst the heathens that make up their number. Exponents of hit and run warfare, they work to confuse and overwhelm their foe. They love nothing more than the panic their attacks breed amongst their foes and often avoid the "quick kill" tactics employed by many imperial commanders, preferring to extend their prey's agony for as long as possible. Letting the anticipation reach fever pitch or allowing fear and stress to overthrow reason so that their foes turn upon their own in their terror. Occasionally this tactic fails and their actions only strengthen the resolve of their enemies. To the Rapturous Angels though this is of little consequence. Pain and death are new experiences to be explored to their fullest just as much as the infliction of them should be.

One thing that sets the Rapturous Angels apart from many renegade warbands is their continued use of Land Speeders. Normally these machines require far too much maintenance to be practical for the disjointed bands within the Eye of Terror. The Rapturous Angels take great pride in keeping a wing of these fast vehicles operational. Entire campaigns have been fought for resources so that this can remain the case. A team of Techmarines and adepts of the Dark Mechanicum take care of the Land Speeders. The most advanced practitioners of daemon-technology sought to attach themselves to the Rapturous Angels for the chance to work with technology so rarely seen within The Eye. This has made many warbands envious and more than once have attempts to steal these Land Speeders been fought off. The pilots of these craft are obsessed by their vessels and are amongst the most unhinged members of the warband. Perhaps the greatest risk to the survival of the warband's Land Speeders though are these pilots themselves. The combat drug addled, thrill-seeking maniacs are reckless beyond measure, initiating suicide dives and lightning attacks with equal fervour and constantly striving to push themselves and their craft to the limit. It is not unknown for these pilots to fly their craft straight through enemy formations, firing their deadly weaponry at point blank range and engaging foes in hand to hand combat from their cockpit before accelerating away through them, howling with maddened glee all the while!