It’s been a while, but we’re back again with the What Legion series, this time Andy from Tales from the Maelstrom steps up with his Horus Heresy Emperor’s Children army. If you’re unfamiliar with his blog, and you’re reading this, you’re in for a treat. There’s a tonne of classic gaming and miniatures from the Rogue Trader era. This is an article that will take you down memory lane, back to flicking through those late 80’s copies of White Dwarf.
First up, can you let us know who you are?
I’m Andy, I’ve been a gamer since the mid 80s and worked as a games designer for Games Workshop, Fantasy Flight Games and various other companies since 2001. I’m currently product manager in charge of bringing the most beloved of the specialist games range to a new generation.
All of the above at different times and to different degrees! I’ll certainly paint stuff that may rarely or never see the gaming table, as there are few sights more glorious than a fully painted army sat proudly on the display shelf, but even those units are still put together with the intent of being gamed with. I find the biggest drive to actually get stuff painted is a campaign though – my mate Michael Power (the man who broke the Moritat!) and I played through the Isstvan III campaign from Horus Heresy Volume 1 (he was Traitor World Eaters, I was Loyalist Emperor’s Children) and what started out as a bare minimum force rocketed to several thousand points over the course of the year we played for.
What flicks your switches about them, in a world where there are essentially 20 identikit armies with different coloured armour, why that one legion over another? Did you choose them, or did they choose you as you became exposed to them?
I’ve always liked the 40k iteration of the Emperor’s Children, ever since I worked on the 3.5 edition of Codex: Chaos Space Marines, but never got around to actually starting an army. Their appearance in the Horus Heresy novels and later the Forge World books presented a new side, which I instantly found appealing. The noble but doomed quest for perfection is incredibly engaging as manifested in both the stories and the models. Seeing this whole spectrum, from the noble sons of the Emperor to the twisted mockeries of that ideal they are by the 41st Millennium is really attractive to me a collector. I also really like the fact that the Emperor’s Children continue to wear the Imperial Aquila, partly as a deliberate insult to the Loyalists, but also because they genuinely do believe that they, and no-one else, are the true exemplars of what it originally stood for.
Another appealing aspect of the Emperor’s Children from a collecting point of view is that they were present at so many major campaigns, there will always be opportunities to use them in games and campaigns inspired by the story, especially the campaigns published in Forge World’s Age of Darkness books. We know that ultimately they’ll be present at the Siege of Terra, so my aim is to start adding in some obviously corrupted elements over time, so that when we eventually get to game the battle of Terra they’ll be ready. I’ve also started collecting a small loyalist (White Scars) force, so I can play either or both sides in that final battle.
Can you pinpoint the moment when you though “Yeah, this is the legion for me”?
When I started looking back into the original background and found the first few images of painted Emperor’s Children marines and vehicles in the first edition of Space Marine. I was really attracted to the fact that the vehicles were all painted a utilitarian black/grey, and the small notation that by the later stages of the Heresy the Emperor’s Children were fielding their vehicles in this colour.
This formed a nice link to their later 40k look, but what was especially cool was that these vehicles had been painted back in 1988 by Tony Cottrell, who is now the head of Forge World and my boss, so the circle is complete! Since then I’ve deliberately sought out other really old references in order to keep this going, and I have a soft spot for anything that harks back to the formative days of 40k.
Were you aware of the legion before the Heresy books and games began appearing, or has the passion for your chosen legion sprung from the new wealth of information now available?
Both – the novels and gaming books coming along cemented my attraction to the army by revealing why and how it became what it is the 41st Millennium. In fact, I was talking with a mate just a few days ago about eventually playing a campaign set in the Slave Wars between the Emperor’s Children and the Sons of Horus/Black Legion within the Eye of Terra soon after the end of the Heresy, and that was inspired by the background in the Black Legion codex. I always find its nice when you have loads of information to get your teeth into but enough room to make up your own stories, and the Age of Darkness is a great setting for that.
Fulgrim is one of those typically tragic figures who you simultaneously love and loath, which makes for a great bad guy. Game-wise his rules are great fun to play with and the model is incredible. There’s also the fact that he ascends to daemonhood, so I’m really looking forward to being able to play him as a Daemon Primarch one day!
We usually finish every blog post with a music track, can you give us a song that in your mind sums up your legion?
That’s a really difficult one! Having had a quick scan of my YouTube favourites, of the tracks I regularly listen to I’d go with The Spaces In Between by How to Destroy Angels. It was a stark beauty that could absolutely apply to the Legion, its deliberately shocking in an oddly detached way, and its dark as hell, just like them!