I was flicking through my 40K rulebook's background section yesterday and I happened to notice several references to a race known as the Barghesi, a hyper-violent breed of xenomorph with the capacity to alter their genetic structure at will so as to better their chances of success in battle. I was intrigued to say the least, as several of the older codices make passing glances towards their existance in the Ghoul Stars (formerly the Wings of Sanguinius) and occasional conflicts betwixt the Imperium and their own brutal race. My mind began to, as it annoyingly does when I discover an interesting snippet of background, theorise ideas as to what sort of race they would be and how they would play on the battlefield, if at all. I started to wonder whether they would possess architecture and structures or whether their buildings would be oozing symbiotes crafted of flesh and capable of transforming to defend their pulsating walls. I started to ponder their battle tactics, whether they would attack with physical weapons and armour or simply shapeshift into forms more appropriate to their combative roles- or perhaps a fusion of the two? And I started to factor in their tendency for violence- how would their casual brutality and mindless aggression affect their society and more importantly their battlefield behaviour in game terms? Thus engaged, I began this thread, to encourage you all to contribute to both a stream of background shaping their existance and also a stream of rules material attempting to create a bare-bones codex allowing for their use in-game. I myself will commence the process with the following thoughts I have insofar lingered upon as to both their 'fluff' and playable aspects:
- A society built on an ethos of 'survival of the fittest', where even the slightest show of weakness would be punishable by conflict and death. Their lives revolve around ritual duels to prove their strength spiritually, wars fought against other nearby races to bloody their warriors and forge their hearts for war and a constant struggle to survive in a demanding world of cruelty and malice.
- Not unintelligent brutes like the Orks, but insidiously cunning despite their bloody-mindedness. They possess weapons designed to kill savagely and yet efficiently, and armour designed to allow for their shapeshifting to succeed regardless of what form they choose to adopt. The style of their equipment is a morbidly gothic yet clinically systematic, where everything possesses a destructive purpose but still allows for foreboding appearances.
- Each warrior is capable of transforming his/her malleable genetic structure at will, flesh becoming living blades, tissues hardening into impenetrable armour plating and muscles expanding into vast expanses oozing strength and raw primeval power. This is performed through an exertion of their anger, which is psionically fuelled- a warp defect, perhaps, that has lent them astonishing adaptability but cursed them with perpetual hyper-violent mental states? The Ghoul Stars are certainly nightmarish places...
- Fleshcraft: Every unit type has a number of forms between one and three, one of which may be selected at the beginning of each turn. These forms allow for profile alterations, the gaining or losing of special rules and even the use of new equipment previously unavailable to the unit. Some statistics of the unit may increase, others may decrease- the forms of a unit have to be used tactically in order to get the very most out of them.
- Primeval Rage: Every unit type is subject to the Preferred Enemy special rule against all foes. In addition, at the start of every turn, a D6 must be rolled for every Barghesi unit in play. On the roll of a 1, that unit immediately becomes subject to the rules for Rage until the start of its next turn.
- Equipment and Vehicles: Equipment should be fairly normal, but be primarily austere alien technology using perhaps warp-energy in conjunction with biological inputs and ammunition. Focus should be on melee armaments, but ranged weapons designed for assault should also be included to reflect their guile and cunning. Heavy weapons should really be confined to specialists only. Vehicles could perhaps be a cross between biologically based and stark machines; allowing them to have Fleshcraft forms, however, may be stretching the boundaries a little.
So, now what I want to see is plenty of you lot giving feedback, suggesting new ideas for rules and background, discussing the Barghesi as a race and generally having fun with what I hope will be an interesting creative process! Of course, this experiment will only work if a lot of you engage with and commit to the idea- try to get as many people as possible to contribute and help with the fleshing-out of an as-of-yet unexplored race from the Games Workshop codex background. I would like to see an actual Codex draft being the product of all of this, but I cannot do it on my own. That's where your ideas and input will help massively. I want this to be as much of a team project as it is just to satisfy my unnatural desires for well-crafted fluff and intricately designed yet flavoursome rules material. So get your brains in gear and let's create something good!
(p.s. any input at all would be valued- even if it is just to say an idea is useless, please just go ahead and post!)