PDA

View Full Version : Salamanders - how to balance fluff and competitiveness?



Kor'Vesh
16-09-2013, 10:13
So Salamanders are by far my favourite chapter/legion. They do pose something of a problem though when it comes to balancing their background and reported method of war with an effective play style.

Salamanders obviously use a preponderance of flame and heat based weaponary, and favour short ranged fire fights. They tend to be chapter that favours armour and infantry, with limited use of anti-grav, jump and bike units. The latter restrictions (to my knowledge) date back to Codex: Armageddon, where the army has I3 rather than 4, 0-1 unit restrictions on a number of Fast Attack choices, but a reduced price for terminators, and some interesting wargeer (reinforced ceramite was available for all vehicles I think).

So - over in the Salamanders tactic thread there has been a small amount of discussion about the production of Salamanders lists that stick within their "theme". Really this should go beyond buying losts of heat weopons, and into limitations on the Fast Attack slots too. However, to really make the most of Salamanders specific rules, the Fast Attack slots is clearly a go-to section: attack bikes, bikes & assault marines all grant access to multiple flame and or melta weopons which can be easily brought to bear against the foe, and the ever popular Storm Talon is hard for many to resist. This means these tend to feature a lot in Salamanders lists, and some folks don't reall see this as representative. I by no means think that all Sallies armies should be fluffy, or that using these units is particularly problematic: but for those who want to stick to the background while still staying some-what competitive, how would you do it?

The drop-pod army seems to be the defacto build, but what other approaches can be used?

How do you justify various fast attack choices in your force?

How do you feel about fliers in a Salamanders force?

Which units do you percieve to be very 'Salamander'?

Personally I do use faster elements in my army but try to limit it. I only have a single assault squad, and would never take more. I favour attack bikes over speeders, as I feel they fit better with the high gravity world fluff of nocturne. Salamaders are certainly pragmatists and would surely use fast platforms to bring their weapons to bear, so I feel this is reasonably justified.

So - how do you percieve Salamanders as a chapter, and how would you strike a balance between their background, and their short range specialism?

Banville
16-09-2013, 11:13
Your army selection and reasoning seems sound. The Armageddon book actually had a picture of a Salamanders force that specifically included a single Assault squad.

My two cents would be....

0-1 Assault Squad
0-1 Bike Squad
Zero Speeders or Flyers
1+ Units of termies
Lots of Arti Armour
Lots of flamers and meltas
Lots of Thunder hammers
Limit the long range stuff
The new centurions fit in perfectly
Sternguard
Vanguard (maybe without the jump packs)
Honour Guard
Dreadnoughts, Drop Pods, Landraiders, Rhinos etc are all good.
No restrictions on HQ, unlike the Black Templars who (I think) don't like Librarians.

That's how I see a Sallies army looking. I'm pretty confident anybody could go about building a winning list pretty easily from that selection.

Kor'Vesh
16-09-2013, 13:49
Yep, I'd be in broad agreement with your list. I wouldn't use vanguard myself though - I feel that vetran Sallies are far more likely to focus on fire fights (sternguards) or be schooled in the use of terminator armour. I don't think there is really room in the eite slot for the vangaurds. Maybe if they all had hammers and/or it could work, but I'm unsure.

Fliers is certainly an issue though - Sallies must use some for deployment if nothing else, and they certainly aren't using the anti-grav tech of speeders. On top of this, they provide great anti air cover. Sure the new tanks could fit this role nicely, but the heavy support slot is a loss (especially when you might want to take centurions, which I agree fit in well with the theme). I think my preference would be a mortis contemptor for Salamanders anti-air... dreads just feel right to me. Of course them you are playing the FW game...

Also - how do people feel about scouts, and more crucially the use of Storms on scout squads? I feel that these might be the most plausible speeders to use for a Salamanders force: if they want a recon element, the practical thing is to give them mobility. Thoughts?

Theocracity
16-09-2013, 14:59
I think its silly to limit flyers or speeders. If you're not fighting on Nocturne, why wouldn't you use them? As for the training issue, I'd think that any Salamander pilots who can successfully pilot a speeder on Nocturne would have skills that would make him an ace in regular gravity - he'd be forged in the fire, as they say.

Same goes for Assault and Vanguard squads, though I can see forgoing the jump packs and using rhinos or drop pods to position them instead.

In general I feel like a lot of old Space Marine fluff is too limiting, though, so YMMV.

morvaeldd
16-09-2013, 16:08
In a BL book Salamanders used a speeder on Nocturne. My view is that they use such equipment, but it's not widespread. It wouldn't be tactically sound to limit the Chapter access to some weapons completely.

daveNYC
16-09-2013, 16:19
I thought the problem with Nocturne and speeders was that Nocturne had 'funky' gravity, so the anti-grav on the speeders wasn't that reliable. Flyers that rely on something like real world physics to stay up (a stretch, given Imperial box themed design) wouldn't have that same problem. They might handle like a pig, but at least they wouldn't suddenly drop out of the air.

I'd actually ditch the centurions. Terminator armor is the best stuff that can be built, and Salamanders are very good at building stuff. A Land Raider Redeemer (w/multimelta) loaded with TH/SS Terminators is about as Salamandery as you can get. Melta, flamers, and big sticks to hit things with. Sternguard with heavy flamers would fit the bill too, but those come with other issues.

Thommy H
16-09-2013, 16:51
Salamanders certainly use less Land Speeders, Bikes, Assault Squads etc. than other Chapters - it's right there in their background section of the new Codex! - but it might be more useful to think of that in terms of the whole Chapter. Ultramarines have, say, a hundred Speeders (number plucked out of the air, no pun intended), Salamanders might have seventy five (same again). But unless you're playing a game that requires you to field seventy six Land Speeders, that's pretty irrelevant, isn't it?

They certainly have more of these "restricted units" than you're ever going to use in a game, so it really makes very little sense to impose any sort of limits for an ordinary game. If they need three Land Speeders or Bike Squads or whatever, I'm pretty sure they can get them.

That's one thing 3rd Edition was a bit weird about. It seemed to impose this idea that your force had to represent a precise cross-section of whatever organisation it was part of. As if the Salamanders are evenly distributed across the whole galaxy and no strike force could possibly be specialised for the war zone in which it was deployed.

Bonzai
16-09-2013, 17:00
To me, Salamanders have two specialties. First, they are the go to guys for brutal close quarter engagements. You want to pick a chapter to clean out a space hulk or Ork rok? They are your guys. Armed with powerful short range weapons they will cleanse every inch with fire. Second, they are known for having the highest quality gear. Tanks, dreadnoughts, terminator armor, and even the marines personal weapons will be top notch quality. In the Legion days, they and the Death Guard were the two legions that you could drop into the worst hell holes imaginable, against any foe, and count on them never giving an inch. They were the toughest and most
Unyielding of the legions.

Game wise, flamers and meltas are their thing. The master craft is great, but hard to build strategy around. For my part, I love drop pods and dreadnoughts, so I have built my list around being a planetary insertion force.

HQ
Vulkan
Ashmantle

Troops
10 tac marines w/ flamer, mm,
10 tac marines w/ flamer, mm, combi melta, pod
10 tac marines w/ flamer, mm, combi melta, pod

Elite
Iron clad w/ hvy flamer, drop pod
Iron clad w/ hvy flamer, drop pod
Iron clad w/ hvy flamer, drop pod

Fast
Storm Talon w/ sky hammer
Storm Talon w/ sky hammer

Heavy
Storm raven w/mm
Total: 2000

I justify my use of the fliers due to Vulkan being there. He is to important to pack into a drop pod and shoot off from orbit. Instead he gets a Storm Raven with no less a guard than a whole tac squad and Ashmantle himself. In addition he has a pair of storm talons escorting his ship to see that he makes landfall. To me, that isn't too much of a stretch fluff wise, makes common sense, allows me to justify fliers to take on enemy flyers, and go with a 100% reserve list which I really enjoy playing.

Kor'Vesh
16-09-2013, 19:14
Bonzai - I really like your description of the Salamanders specialties, and completely agree with you. I'd drawn the parallels between death guard and sallies myself, and their unyeilding nature is a really important part of their background. I saw your list in the tactics threads, and quite liked both it and you justifications for its use. I'm sure it's fun to play with as we'll.

Yep, certain element of the older fluff are a little limiting - if you being really militant about things, you could justify completely ditching all fast attack choices from the sallies! That is certainly limiting. So it seems that the general feeling is that for a thematic list, the key is having some stongly themed units, but ultimately, they are a codex force, so can use codex choices.

DaveNYC - why do you say ditch centurions from a List of thematic units? Sure terminators are a lot more tightly associated with salamanders, but the centurions are both quite technological, and have an excellent level of short to mid ranged fire power. They seem to fit nicely to me.

facepalm
16-09-2013, 19:16
For a fluffy unit that takes the largest advantage of there special rules ill be taking a 5 man terminator squad with heavy flamer. Cheapest of the 3 weapon options but IMO the most effective against ALL types of infantry with its free upgrade to twin linked and your squad Sargent gets a free upgrade on his power weapon to master crafted. Get a teleporter homer or two and you can have them exactly where you want.

I also plan on taking 8 sternguard in a rhino with dual heavy flamers. Really its all about the flamers take them where ever you can and don't be afraid to man up and get in someones face even if they have a decent Armour save. even against power armour you only need to hit 2 with your average flamer (now twin linked) for it to statistically do more damage than a rapid firing plasma gun (with a heavy flamer you only need to touch 4).

Also you can feel more justified to give equipment to squad leaders e.i. combi-weapons or power weapon's and make the most of the free upgrade that they all get now, which i believe now makes very cool looking models more viable then before.

Reinholt
16-09-2013, 21:17
Some thinking on this topic...

As others have said, having a precise cross-section of the force doesn't make sense, even in 40k terms (where driving a tank closer to people so you can hit them with a giant fist makes sense). That is to say, Salamanders are still fans of the same rapid deployment tactics as other marine chapters (so fliers, drop pods, and rhinos for rapid insertion are all in), and definitely utilize fast attack as a result. No space marine commander is going to tell his forces they have to do the exact same thing, with the exact same gear, in all situations.

I think the allowance for background comes from the fact that the overall chapter does not specialize in it (for instance, an all bike Salamander force would strike me as weird), and that the rapid moving elements should be complemented by more standard elements where possible, rather than replacing them entirely.

So in terms of fluff, use whatever you want. I would avoid super specialized fast attack builds (again, without a clear rationale, as there will definitely be tactical situations where that might work), and on the margin, lean towards fire, melta, and close range shooting, but for me, those concerns happen on the margin. Don't refuse to take bikes or speeders because you are Salamanders; just remember to put a heavy flamer or multi-melta on the speeder (or both), essentially.

In the end, a preference is not a restriction. Salamanders aren't stunningly idiotic: they aren't going to assume the tactics that work on Nocturne are going to work on wide-open, windswept desert plains and tell their scouts to hoof it instead of giving them a Landspeeder Storm, for instance. They aren't going to deploy on foot and use only flamers facing an armored company. They aren't going to refuse to use flight and anti-grav on a mostly ocean world dotted with multiple small islands, and just stand, completely blocked off, at the edge of an ocean when they need to get to the next island.

Build the army you want, just don't be egregious about it, and have actual background justifying it. I find most people are totally supportive of things when you have fluff (which is not insane drivel) behind it.


I also plan on taking 8 sternguard in a rhino with dual heavy flamers. Really its all about the flamers take them where ever you can and don't be afraid to man up and get in someones face even if they have a decent Armour save. even against power armour you only need to hit 2 with your average flamer (now twin linked) for it to statistically do more damage than a rapid firing plasma gun (with a heavy flamer you only need to touch 4).

This is not correct.

A rapid-firing plasma gun will kill 2 (number of shots) * 2/3 (odds to hit with each shot) * 5/6 (odds to wound with each shot) marines, or 1.11 guys.

A flamer hitting 2 will kill 2 (number of hits) * 3/4 (odds to wound) * 1/3 (odds they fail their save) guys, which is .5. You need to hit 5 guys to get above the plasma gun.

Likewise, a heavy flamer is higher strength, and should always require less hits to do the same damage as a normal flamer, not more.

facepalm
16-09-2013, 22:01
yea sorry, was a typo, fairly obvious 2 wasn't right and meant to put 5 with the "(with a heavy flamer you only need to touch 4)." inferring that the 4 is a lower number than the previous. Still stand by what i say though twin linked flamers are better against infantry than plasma, its not that difficult to hit 5 marines when u only have to clip them and against weaker Armour saves the stats are no contest.

RunepriestRidcully
16-09-2013, 22:07
I must admit I've always been a fan of speeders and Salamanders, the thinking being that the Salamanders will be very good at creating and maintaining speeders.

daveNYC
17-09-2013, 11:17
DaveNYC - why do you say ditch centurions from a List of thematic units? Sure terminators are a lot more tightly associated with salamanders, but the centurions are both quite technological, and have an excellent level of short to mid ranged fire power. They seem to fit nicely to me.

Well for starters, I'm just not a fan of the models or the general concept of sticking an armored marine inside of more armor. I think the iconic element of a space marine army is the whole power armored genetically engineered super-solder, and I feel that layering additional technology or machinery on top of the marine takes away from that.

From a fluff standpoint, I think that Terminator armor is more advanced and a more elegant solution to increasing the firepower and survivability of a marine. And since the Salamanders are skilled craftsmen and relatively high on the 40k tech tree, I think they'd have more terminators than centurions in their armory.

Bonzai
17-09-2013, 16:52
Well for starters, I'm just not a fan of the models or the general concept of sticking an armored marine inside of more armor. I think the iconic element of a space marine army is the whole power armored genetically engineered super-solder, and I feel that layering additional technology or machinery on top of the marine takes away from that.

From a fluff standpoint, I think that Terminator armor is more advanced and a more elegant solution to increasing the firepower and survivability of a marine. And since the Salamanders are skilled craftsmen and relatively high on the 40k tech tree, I think they'd have more terminators than centurions in their armory.

I thought about this a bit, and the answer that came to me regarding Centurions, is that Terminators are 1st company only. In deployments with a battle Company on its own, centurion armor is as good as it gets. 1st company can't be everywhere at once, and every battle company should have a few suits of each variant on their strike cruiser/battle barge for those situations where they would be advantageous. In fact, I can see assault centurions being right up the Salamanders alley. They fit their style a lot more than the jump packs the assault squads would normally field.

daveNYC
17-09-2013, 17:35
Assault centurions definitely do fit the Salamanders far better than the devastator versions do.

Kor'Vesh
17-09-2013, 19:38
I like Bonzai's point about the centurions being the battle companies' terminator equivalent. I think Dev centurions fit pretty nicely with the grav cannon, just due to its relatively short range. Less convinced with Heavy bolters or Lascannons though. Assault Centurions do fit Salamanders better than Devs, flamers and meltas, coupled with SnP feels very much like the Salamander approach to combat - though I would take THSS terminators over them (no least because I dislike the look of the drills on those models!).

The idea about a Salamanders army representing only a small cross section of the chapter is a good point - it leads me onto another question, which is a bit more fluff related. Just how is the chapter structured? I feel like accounts vary on this - The Tome of Fire series seemed to me to indicate that there were only 7 companies, including the scouts. The new Codex contradicts this, and is in line with C:Armageddon is suggesting that the scouts form an 8th company, unattached to a sanctuary city. Of course, the codex also mentions the 7 sanctuary cities each having a company, but the Firedrakes are based on Promethius as far as I'm aware!

So - How many companies are there, and do we know much about there structure? Are there reserve companies? How much bigger than a standard Space Marine Company is a Salamander company (I always assumed around 110 120 marines)? And how does this effect an army on the table (if at all)?

Bonzai
17-09-2013, 22:08
I like Bonzai's point about the centurions being the battle companies' terminator equivalent. I think Dev centurions fit pretty nicely with the grav cannon, just due to its relatively short range. Less convinced with Heavy bolters or Lascannons though. Assault Centurions do fit Salamanders better than Devs, flamers and meltas, coupled with SnP feels very much like the Salamander approach to combat - though I would take THSS terminators over them (no least because I dislike the look of the drills on those models!).

The idea about a Salamanders army representing only a small cross section of the chapter is a good point - it leads me onto another question, which is a bit more fluff related. Just how is the chapter structured? I feel like accounts vary on this - The Tome of Fire series seemed to me to indicate that there were only 7 companies, including the scouts. The new Codex contradicts this, and is in line with C:Armageddon is suggesting that the scouts form an 8th company, unattached to a sanctuary city. Of course, the codex also mentions the 7 sanctuary cities each having a company, but the Firedrakes are based on Promethius as far as I'm aware!

So - How many companies are there, and do we know much about there structure? Are there reserve companies? How much bigger than a standard Space Marine Company is a Salamander company (I always assumed around 110 120 marines)? And how does this effect an army on the table (if at all)?

Yeah, the organization is a bit sketchy. Supposedly there are 7 companies (including the 1st and Scout Companies). Each is supposedly based in one of Nocturns 7 great city fortresses, and have 120 members each except for the Scout company who number around 60. The problem is that two of the companies don't live in the cities. The scouts roam around training, and the 1st company lives on the chapter fortress monestary on Nocturns moon, Prometheus. The new fluff tries to fix this by making the Scouts the 8th company, but forgets about the 1st company on the moon.

From the old fluff;
1st Company: 12 veteran squads
2nd-4th Company: battle companies with 7 tactical, 2 assault, 3 devestator squads.
5th Company: reserve company with 8 tactical, 4 devestator squads.
6th Company: reserve company with 4 tactical, 8 devestator squads.
7th Company: Scout Company with 6 scout squads.

Roughly 780 marines plus honor guards, command squads, captains, librarians, tech marines, chaplains, and chapter master (who I believe in this case is also acting captain of the 1st Company. So smaller in size than a traditional chapter. We will have to see what the supplement says.

morvaeldd
17-09-2013, 22:12
Of course GW sees it different than the players. In the ebook about Centurions they stated that Ultramarines and Salamanders were the second batch of chapters to use those battlesuits, just after Imperial Fists and Iron Hands. Probably it's just an evil conspiracy to sell more plastic crack to owners of any SM force, nevermind previous fluff :-)

Treadhead_1st
17-09-2013, 22:38
The idea about a Salamanders army representing only a small cross section of the chapter is a good point - it leads me onto another question, which is a bit more fluff related. Just how is the chapter structured? I feel like accounts vary on this - The Tome of Fire series seemed to me to indicate that there were only 7 companies, including the scouts. The new Codex contradicts this, and is in line with C:Armageddon is suggesting that the scouts form an 8th company, unattached to a sanctuary city. Of course, the codex also mentions the 7 sanctuary cities each having a company, but the Firedrakes are based on Promethius as far as I'm aware!

So - How many companies are there, and do we know much about there structure? Are there reserve companies? How much bigger than a standard Space Marine Company is a Salamander company (I always assumed around 110 120 marines)? And how does this effect an army on the table (if at all)?

I do not know how much the modern fluff has changed - Nick Kyme's book and the 5th Edition Codex certainly confused me (talking about their "seven line companies"). However, I have both Codex: Armageddon and the White Dwarf with the Index Astartes: Promethean Warriors sitting right here (incidentally White Dwarf 248 is from the time of the Armageddon Campaign and the publishing of Codex: Armageddon).


"The Salamanders have never been great in number and were the smallest of the First Founding Legions."

"The Salamanders Chapter organisation was laid down when Vulkan swore allegiance to the Emperor. Each Company was founded from the seven greatest settlements of Nocturne, each commanded by a Captain from that settlement. This organisation is still true today...Each company is slightly larger than a standard Codex company, and squads were reorganised following the writing of the Codex Astartes after the Great Heresy."

"The Scout company is the smallest known in any Chapter, the sparse population of Nocturne and the Salamanders' slow but meticulous selection process gives a low turn around of new recruits".

"The First Company is treated as a warrior cadre within the Headquarters itself, and forms the personal guard of the Chapter Master."

It lists the following Chapter Organisation chart.

Chapter Headquarters

First Company: Chapter Master, Master of Chaplains, Chief Apothecary, Chapter Standard Bearer. 12 Veteran Squads. Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Land Raiders, Terminator Armour.

Battle Companies

Second Company: Captain, Chaplain, Apothecary, Standard Bearer. 7 Tactical Squads, 3 Devastator Squads, 2 Assault Squads. Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Bikes, Land Speeders.

Third Company: Captain, Chaplain, Apothecary, Standard Bearer. 7 Tactical Squads, 3 Devastator Squads, 2 Assault Squads. Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Bikes, Land Speeders.

Fourth Company: Captain, Chaplain, Apothecary, Standard Bearer. 7 Tactical Squads, 3 Devastator Squads, 2 Assault Squads. Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Bikes, Land Speeders.

Reserve Companies

Fifth Company: Captain, Chaplain, Apothecary, Standard Bearer. 8 Tactical Squads, 4 Devastator Squads. Dreadnoughts, Rhinos.

Sixth Company: Captain, Chaplain, Apothecary, Standard Bearer. 4 Tactical Squads, 8 Devastator Squads. Dreadnoughts, Rhinos.

Seventh Company: Captain, Chaplain, Apothecary. 6 Scout Squads. Bikes.

That gives a total of 780 troops, excluding officers, within the chapter.

"The conditions on Nocturne are not conducive to training for high speed attack or using the anti-grav engines of Land Speeders, so the Chapter employs relatively few of these specialised Fast Attack units".

The rules backed this idea up:

Fast Attack: 0-1 Assault Squad; 0-1 Bike Squadron; 0-1 Scout Bike Squadron; 0-1 Land Speeder Squadron (this was at a time when Tornadoes and Typhoons were completely separate entities, and you had to choose between a normal squadron OR a single Tornado OR a single Typhoon).

Thus you could field a full complement of Fast Attack even with these old rules - you just had to vary what type you wanted. So, I feel that if one is sticking to a fluffy build for the Salamanders, some Fast Attack (and these days Flyers) are perfectly justified - each company has 20 Marines that potentially can pilot Land Speeders, Jump Packs and Bikes. However, note that the Salamanders do not have an "Assault Reserve Company", which is where most Chapters draw their extra Bikers and Pilots from when they need the extra oomph in an engagement, thus a hypothetical Salamanders list that was entirely Bike-mounted would, in my opinion, be going against the background.

It is also perfectly fluffy to take some weapons other that just Flamers and Meltas:

"The upheaval opens up veins of precious gems and metals, uncovering vital ores for smelting. When the lava flows cool, they can be mined for other precious elements, pockets of gas that can be used to power engines, diamonds and other crystals valuable to the Adeptus Mechanicus for lasers and energy transmission systems. And this is how Nocturne survives, by trading its vast mineral wealth with other worlds, using its resources to bring in new livestock and building materials and the few weapons which the Salamanders Space Marines cannot construct themselves."

"Coming from a society that places great prestige in craftsmanship and which has high regard for artisans, the Salamanders have access to, and can maintain, highly sophisticated forms of technology. This is most evident in the numbers of Terminators in their armies, as well as a greater proportion of artificer armour and master-crafted weaponry and is supplemented by regular trade with the Adeptus Mechanicus, made possible by Nocturne's abundant mineral resources."

Codex Armageddon also states: "Unlike other Chapters, which rely upon their Techmarines to maintain their arms and armour, each Salamander is able to repair any damage his equipment sustains, and can make adjustments and improvements to his wargear. This leaves the Techmarines free to create wonderful technological artefacts of great beauty and perfection of function, which are then awarded to the bravest warriors after a battle or campaign".

Graviton Weaponry seems to fit right in, as to Lascannons and Plasma weaponry. With the several Codex updates that have happened since these rules/background were published, I imagine that Storm Talons/Ravens also fit (albeit in limited numbers) as they should be easy to maintain, and some of the weirder wargear such as Thunderfire Cannons and Conversion Beamers (not to mention Relics) are right up the Salamanders' alley too. Centurions might fit, as discussed above, but Salamanders are really known for having lots of Terminators on the battlefield so I would tend to favour them over Assault Centurions - but an argument can be made that they make for an effective deployment of Assault Marines when not in a Pod, with Packs or on Bikes - and Devastator Centurions should fit right in thanks to having the extra Devastator Squad in each Battle Company.

morvaeldd
18-09-2013, 07:31
If there are really seven cities for seven main companies, as the new codex says, then there should be 9 companies in total... the 1st being veterans selected from the main companies and stationed on the moon, 9th being scout company training recruits for those main seven, numbered 2 to 8.

Kor'Vesh
18-09-2013, 09:22
That's certainly one way you can read it morvaeldd, but I'm not aware that any official source has ever explicitly stated that there are 9 companies.

Thanks for posting all of that stuff tread- I haven't got my Armageddon codex here with me, and think I'll try and get hold of that white dwarf. I think I'll keep the number 7 on my scouts shoulder pads for now, though I do seem to have models for a fifth of the company! My storm is probably the least appropriate speeder that I could have too! Typical!

So part of my reason for starting this thread was to mail down the feel of the salamanders before the fw massacre book comes out. The chapter certainly has some very sketchy background, and it will be nice to see how they fleshit out, and where they pick their facts from. Does anyone know of any 2nd ed or earlier source on the Salamanders? And does "Vulkan lives" give much more of an idea of the structure of the legion?

AndrewGPaul
18-09-2013, 12:27
Another thought is that the "line companies" based in Nocturne's cities are numbered 1 through 7, and the HQ element isn't numbered.

Treadhead_1st
18-09-2013, 14:21
That's certainly one way you can read it morvaeldd, but I'm not aware that any official source has ever explicitly stated that there are 9 companies.

Nope, there hasn't been - although even the Index Astartes does not make sense when you consider how Marine recruitment works (how can each company draw recruits from the 7 cities when the First is purely Veterans and the Seventh is entirely Scouts?). Perhaps the whole "7 line companies" was an attempt to ret-con this, but there's been nothing new explicitly stating how many companies there are, thus I default to the older background.


Thanks for posting all of that stuff tread- I haven't got my Armageddon codex here with me, and think I'll try and get hold of that white dwarf.

You might struggle - it's ancient (my own copy is missing it's front page after years of excessive reading - try and get the one after it too, as the multiple battle reports were so huge it took 2 issues to cover them), they are still advertising the Space Marine Battleforce which was 10 Marines, a Land Speeder, 3 Bikes and 5 28mm based tiny Terminators - and the old-style Rhinos and stuff; it is when they launched the Land Raider Crusader. Unfortuantely I cannot give you a month of publication as that page is missing, so issue 248 (and 249) of the UK White Dwarf is the best I can help you with.


I think I'll keep the number 7 on my scouts shoulder pads for now, though I do seem to have models for a fifth of the company! My storm is probably the least appropriate speeder that I could have too! Typical!

I reckon a single Storm is absolutely fine - those Scouts will need mobility (and one is used in the Tome of Fire trilogy), and the Armageddon book allowed a Scout Bike squadron (so you could use the Storm instead of that 0-1 selection, just as Assault Marines replace their Jump Packs for Bikes in the background).

[/quote]So part of my reason for starting this thread was to mail down the feel of the salamanders before the fw massacre book comes out. The chapter certainly has some very sketchy background, and it will be nice to see how they fleshit out, and where they pick their facts from. Does anyone know of any 2nd ed or earlier source on the Salamanders? And does "Vulkan lives" give much more of an idea of the structure of the legion?[/QUOTE]

Unfortunately I am hugely behind on the Heresy series, having been at uni - I've only got up to A Thousand Sons so I cannot comment, but I did recently get my hands on the Scorched Earth limited edition book. I didn't want to read it until I had read the rest of the Heresy series, but I figure I could always crack it open to see if there is any info in there.

The Index Astartes did state that the Chapter Organisation is the same as when it was a Legion (albeit with different squads, and I presume much larger - though still the smallest of any Legion) - so they might stick with that. I too am looking forwards to more information on the Salamanders, but I doubt I will be able to get my hands on the Forge World books any time soon. I think there was some 2nd Ed info, I certainly remember people talking about how the Dark Angels colour-scheme is actually that of the Salamanders (the painter preferred the look so stole it, or got confused, or something like that), and I remember people saying that the change to coal-black skin and red eyes was how they were "originally supposed to be" when the older Marine Codex launched; but I have not seen any of that older material for myself.

Reinholt
18-09-2013, 15:54
I think if you are trying to unpack the organization of the Salamanders, you have to accept that the background is internally inconsistent and cannot all be correct. Namely, as previously stated:

- Some sources state there are exactly 7 companies
- It is almost always the case that there is a veteran company and a scout company
- The new codex clearly states 7 companies are each based in the sanctuary city
- The scouts have no base and the first company is based on the moon (which has no sanctuary city)

Obviously, there cannot be exactly 7 companies, based in the 7 sanctuary cities, and two companies which are not based in the sanctuary cities. I am no rocket scientist, but for most cases, 7 != 9.

So this leaves us with a few key points to try to reconcile things:

1 - We need to account for the existence of the Firedrakes and the scouts.
2 - There are definitely 7 sanctuary cities.
3 - The Salamanders don't follow an exact codex structure.

Where I have shaken out on the organization of the Salamanders, and I am hoping the Massacre book from Forge World gives more detail that can help translate to this, is the following (and keep in mind this is just my personal attempt to reconcile all the fluff as best I can while eliminating inconsitencies where possible without butchering anything completely):

1 - There are seven line companies, one from each city. These companies are likely organized in similar, though not identical fashion (each captain might have slightly different needs or preferences), and should be similar to the main battle companies of most chapters in having tactical, assault, and devastator elements within the company (as each city would need to field a viable fighting force in its own right, if they solely organize along city lines).

2 - The scouts are not a formal "company". This would fit the Salamanders having still be organized with elements of legion thinking, which did not originally incorporate the modern version of scouts. The scouts are likely pooled into a single resource each city can draw upon, to be trained and build bonds of brotherhood that span the chapter. Candidates would be assigned to their city upon the completion of training, or in the case of inhabitants of Nocturne not explicitly from a sanctuary city, to whatever company needs them most. In this way, you can rebuild damaged companies faster, but also retain some city allegiance.

3 - Similarly, the Firedrakes are not a formal company. They may be referred to as the veterans or the first company, but their official position in the chain of command would be outside of any of the company structure, and instead attached to the chapter command element. This would be similar to how an honor guard does not report up through a company command, but instead is separately accountable to the chapter master. Think of the Firedrakes as one massive honor guard, in this case.

4 - What you would end up with, then, is that the line companies do not have a fixed size and probably vary over time, so the Salamanders have been both above and below the 1,000 marine limit for chapters. The scouts and Firedrakes are outside the company structure, creating additional uncertainty.

5 - In terms of why the structure appears differently in the background in different places, my answer would be that various imperial sources more familiar with traditional chapters were trying to categorize the Salamanders as best they could with incomplete information, and as a result, were unable to accurately represent the true structure, which would be more similar to the traditional legion chart present in the forge world Betrayal book. As an example of this, Scouts with "7" on the shoulder pad were mistakenly thought to be the 7th company itself, where in reality, they were just Scouts that were drawn from the sanctuary city of the 7th company.

That is the best I've been able to come up with to align the Salamanders fluff with something that isn't internally contradictory and looks more like the original legion: 7 explicit companies, 2 additional formations that are not formal companies, and a varying number of marines and similar but not identical structure for each company.

daveNYC
18-09-2013, 16:07
Specifically regarding #3, the Firedrakes are probably equivalent to the Morlocks of the Iron Hands. Or any of the other fancy pants elite units that the legions fielded.

Miredorf
18-09-2013, 18:08
I think its silly to limit flyers or speeders. If you're not fighting on Nocturne, why wouldn't you use them? As for the training issue, I'd think that any Salamander pilots who can successfully pilot a speeder on Nocturne would have skills that would make him an ace in regular gravity - he'd be forged in the fire, as they say.

Same goes for Assault and Vanguard squads, though I can see forgoing the jump packs and using rhinos or drop pods to position them instead.

In general I feel like a lot of old Space Marine fluff is too limiting, though, so YMMV.

Also it would be actually right the opposite. LAndspeeders being gravitic would allow them ignore high gravity on their planet while assault squads with jump packs would have a really hard time.

morvaeldd
18-09-2013, 21:58
Great ideas, Reinholt. Similarly the men of the Imperium might think Firedrakes are 1st Company, while they are something extra. Good stuff, will use it for my Salamanders force. The only problem are the markings (from Armageddon codex I think) that clearly show 7 companies and their markings. Of course this information was clearly invalidated by new codex, which says there are 8. For me from now on there are 9 companies, though the scout one is a small one.

Kor'Vesh
19-09-2013, 08:37
Yeah, those are some very nice ideas Reinholt. You've certainly found a way to include as much of the existing background as possible, and in a characterful manner. Prior to Tread's post I was leaning towards the presence of 7 true battle companies, with no reserves. This fits nicely into the idea of the salamanders being self sufficient, not only as astartes, but also at The company level. As you, it also retains a lot of parallels with legion structure, which is also in keeping.

I also really love the idea of having my scouts running around with different numbers on my scouts shoulder pads, and replacing the 1's on my veterans with a fired remake logo, or personal heraldry. Could look very cool.

Tread - don't break your sequence of the Heresey series on my account! I missed out on Scorched Earth myself, so you could always PM me any new info you find as and when you do read it!

Miredorf - yeah, the whole high grav world thing was never that well handled, and feels a bit tacked on. Marines must regularly fight in very different gravity conditions anyway, and cope quite well.