With the recent Chaos Marine releases - Traitor's Hate, Wrath of Magnus and now Traitor Legions, there are likely a lot of players looking to get started with new Chaos Marine armies. I had some thoughts on a campaign to let you build up your army along with its narrative over time and give you some modelling inspiration along the way.
NO HONOR AMONG TRAITORS
This is a Warhammer 40K escalation campaign/league focusing on an aspect unique to Chaos Space Marines - the Chaos Boon table.
Warbands: All armies must be chosen from Codex: Chaos Space Marines, including such supplements as Traitor Legions. If the characters involved have the Champion of Chaos rule, it should be OK. So armies of Khorne Daemonkin for example do not have this rule and should not be used. Armies may not include a Daemon Prince unless they have had one ascend through the Dark Apotheosis result from the boon table. Decide if you want to allow allies, especially non-Chaos Space Marine allies for your campaign.
Boons of the Dark Gods: The Chaos Boon table is central to the campaign. Champions are vying against each other for power in the Eye and the favor of the gods, and this table is how that favor is bestowed. Unlike in regular games where the benefits of a boon fade after a battle, here the boon is permanent - assuming the character survives.
If a character has a Gift of Mutation, roll for it the first time the character is fielded and note that result for future games as well (again assuming the character survives).
If a character with existing boons is killed during a game, after the game roll to see if they are able to survive and come back. For an independent character they succeed on a 2+, while a non-independent character only succeeds on a 4+.
- -1 to roll if they were killed by an attack that would have caused Instant Death to them
- -1 to roll if they were killed by Perils of the Warp
Spawnhood: If the character has been turned into a Chaos Spawn, they do not get to roll to come back. However, you may now take that Chaos Spawn for free in future games, not taking up any force organization slot and outside of any detachments or formations. If that Chaos Spawn is killed in a game, it can come back for the next game on a 4+ (-1 to roll if was killed by an attack that would have caused Instant Death to it). If the character that fell to spawndom had a Mark of Chaos, the spawn has the same mark.
Dark Apotheosis: If a character ascends to daemonhood in the game this is just an intermediate form. Add a bullet point under the Dark Apotheosis result on the Chaos Boon table reading, "If the champion had any accumulated boons, apply them to the Daemon Prince."
The blessed character can no longer be taken in their previous mortal form, but you can now buy them as a Daemon Prince for future games. If the character was marked they will be a daemon of the corresponding type. The Daemon Prince keeps any boons previously accumulated, but of course as Daemon Princes do not have the Champion of Chaos rule themselves, it will not accumulate any further boons. Otherwise you can build out the Daemon Prince as normal, but it is recommended that you build them the same way each time. If a Daemon Prince is killed in a game, it can automatically come back for future games. NOTE: In this campaign Cultist Champions cannot attain this result; re-roll for them.
Dreadnoughts/Helbrutes: If a non-cultist character with accumulated boons was slain (but not turned into a spawn or a prince) and failed his roll to survive, he can be placed into a dreadnought. The fallen champion keeps any accumulated boons but cannot acquire any new ones. The dreadnought is considered a character for purposes of challenges but does not have the Champion of Chaos rule. Some boons function differently as a vehicle:
- Fragment of Immortality - The first explode damage result the vehicle suffers in each game is ignored and the vehicle instead takes 1 hull point.
- Bloated - +1 Hull Point
- Crystalline Body - +1 Hull Point
- Mechanoid - Improve all armour values by 1
- Cosmic Fate - Can force enemy to re-roll damage result, but must accept second result
- Meteoric Charge - Do two Hammer of Wrath hits instead of one
- Voice of Horus - Counts as being equipped with Dirge Casters
- Masochism - It Will not Die
If the character interred in the dreadnought was a psyker they can have up to the same mastery level they previously had, at a cost of 30pts per level. Death and near death are traumatic, so it is reasonable to purchase them at a lower mastery level if you so desire.
If the character interred in the dreadnought had a Mark of Chaos, apply the same mark to the vehicle at no cost, even though they normally cannot take Marks. For Mark of Nurgle, treat as +1 Hull Point.
If the character interred was a Possessed Champion, the dreadnought may take the Daemonic Possession upgrade for free.
If the dreadnought is destroyed in a game, after the game roll for survival as you would for a character. On a 2+ it can be rebuilt and used again. If the vehicle exploded, apply a -1 to the roll.
Advancement: Unit champions may advance in their warband.
A power-armored unit champion with two or more earned boons (not counting any from Gift of Mutation) can be promoted to a Chosen Champion, Possessed Champion, Warp Talon Champion or Terminator Champion. They keep their boons, but gain the new base statline and can choose different equipment and upgrades as appropriate for their new position. If they had a Mark of Chaos they should retain the same mark.
A non-cultist, non-daemon unit champion with four or more earned boons (not counting any from Gift of Mutation) can be promoted to an independent character. They can become a Chaos Lord, Sorcerer, Warpsmith or Dark Apostle as you prefer. If they had a Mark of Chaos they should retain the same mark, but otherwise may re-select equipment as appropriate and retain any previously accumulated boons.
Missions: Any missions should work, either use standard missions, develop missions for the campaign, or have players decide on what mission to use for each game.
Escalation: You can of course start at any level, but I would recommend starting out small, such as at 500pts with Combat Patrol-like restrictions and gradually moving up from there. How fast you escalate will depend upon your group.
Winning: By the end of the campaign each player should have an army with an impressive history and a lot of love (and hate) poured into it, so everyone wins! However, some other victory conditions are probably appropriate. Work out with your group what you want to use to measure overall victory.
Notes on detachments and formations:
- The Chosen of Abaddon: Blessed by the Chaos Gods - change this to read, "Chaos Lords and Sorcerers in this Formation may re-roll results on the Chaos Boon table but must accept the second result."
- Black Crusade Detachment: Path to Glory - change this to read, "If a model in this Detachment with the Champion of Chaos special rule slays a model in close combat with more boons than the model from this Detachment has, it may absorb one boon of its choice from the slain model. If the slain model survives its post-game test, it still has lost this boon. This does not replace the victor's normal roll on the Chaos Boon table if any."