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The Cult of the Gun

Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,
Great Gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;
Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse
Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!

Ingius spent the time in the Rhino as he had always done, checking his bolter for imperfections, cleaning it, whispering to it and tracing it’s clean lines with his gauntleted fingers. It mattered little that the transport shook and jarred him and his brothers as it sped them to battle, his practiced hands could still dismantle and strip the gun, lovingly caress its components and slot them neatly back into place again without worry. It had never failed him before, and it would not fail him today.

The headset in his helmet crackled into life and the distinctive echoing, sepulchral tones of his warsmith spilled onto the line.

“Estimated time to battle one minute and closing.” It said. “For the glory of the gun.”

“For the glory of the gun!” his battle brothers repeated in unison within the transport.

Ignius checked his ammunition levels. It would not do to dishonour his weapon with so simple a mistake as forgetting to feed it.

Ignius stroked his bolter once more and bought it close to his helmet.

“Soon” he whispered as much to himself as to the weapon. “Soon!”

Then it was time. The Rhino skidded to a halt and like a well-oiled machine the squad of marines burst through the doors and slid into firing positions around the vehicle. Ignius pulled the trigger and the weapon sprang into life, singing it’s beautiful song of death. He let the dulcet tones of the shells lull him into tranquillity as his practiced arm and eye sought out the enemy, bought the fire of the weapon to bear upon them. It had ceased to matter years ago who the enemy were or why they fought, it was enough to hear the joyful dirge of the gun and see the red craters explode across their bodies as they died.

The battle brothers stopped a moment as they heard the Great Gun speak, and they turned their heads skyward to watch as their gods’ spittle traced its beautiful arc of plasma across the heavens toward them and the foes they faced. Unerringly accurate as always he projectile part shell and part daemon essence exploded into the middle of the enemy battle group, melting flesh and armour and sending bodies and earth fountaining into the air. The brothers felt the ecstasy of the shockwave through their battle armour and knew that it was good.

The foe ran screaming from the field as Ignius fired up his bolter once more and sent the hot fire and bright tracers screaming after them.

“Iron within! Iron without” he shouted, laughing. “For the glory of the gun!”

Background

The cult of the gun are an unusual group of marines within the Iron Warriors chapter. Lead by an enigmatic warsmith known only as The Mouth of The Gun, the warriors hold that only the gun gives meaning to their lives, and furthermore that the gun has come amongst them in spirit form: a great basilisk, possessed with the spirit of a daemon is their god. Even other iron warriors consider them unbalanced.

There remains some debate as to who, or what is the real leading force within the cult. The Mouth of The Gun holds that he is nothing but a spokesperson for the will of The Gun (such as they refer to their basilisk machine-god) who communicates to him alone. Others believe that the daemon possessing the gun is nothing but an animalistic spirit and that The Mouth is the real power in the cult, who is controlling the belief of his marines for his own ends.  In truth, only the Mouth himself knows the answer, and he isn’t telling.

The precepts of the cult are really very simple, and can be expressed as follows.

We are warriors of chaos. Within the eye of terror, this is the totality of our existence.

As warriors, the gun is the tool of our trade. Without the gun, we cannot kill our enemies, we cannot bring death to the false emperor. Without the gun, we are ineffective as warriors. Therefore, the gun brings meaning to half of our lives.

As servants of chaos, we recognise that the gun is also a great tool. What better way is there to encourage the baser instincts of man than to arm him when his fellows are powerless?  What better way to bring conflict than to offer the gun as a prize? What better way to sow discord than to put the gun in the hands of the primitive who knows not its purpose? Therefore, the gun brings meaning to the other half of our lives.

The gun is the totality of our existence. Without the gun, we have no purpose. The gun is all.

Iron Warriors who belong to the cult worship the Great Gun and devote their lives to the care and use of their armaments. They know their weapons inside out, and treat each one with the reverence deserved to a minor god. They know that without their weapons, they are nothing but with them they are all-powerful.

When not in battle, gun cultists love nothing more than distributing guns amongst primitive life forms on backwards planets. They see this as the most effective way of promoting conflict and chaos through the universe. For what is chaos if not the feeling that one is oneself a god amongst his fellow beings? Such is the feeling that the gun provides.

Army Choices

  • All units in the army that can take the mark of chaos undivided must do so.
  • No model is allowed to take a close combat weapon.
  • All vehicles must take any gun upgrades that they can, including extra pintle weapons and havoc launchers
  • Only the Great Gun is allowed the daemonic possession and parasitic possession gifts: it will tolerate no rivals

The general of the army is the Mouth of the Gun. He is a chaos lord with a servo-arm, kai gun and daemonic aura, which he draws from the Great Gun itself.

The only elites allowed are Obliterators. To gun cultists, obliterators are the pinnacle of the cult for they have become living weapons themselves, becoming one with the gun in the way most cultists can only dream of. The patron of the gun cult, the Great Gun itself bestows no other or better daemonic gifts to its servants. There are no chosen, there are no possessed: those shown favour are granted the joy of fusion with their weapons.

Squads of gun cult marines are fielded as normal, within the restrictions for the whole army. They are usually mounted in Rhinos. Tactical doctrine suggests that heavy weapons and obliterators make up the firebase while the job of marines is to flank the enemy and pour withering fire down upon their sides and rear. Transport is also vital in case the cultists have to rush to the defence of the Great Gun itself.

No fast attack choices are allowed. It’s just doesn’t fit with the character of the army.

I’m willing to forgo the extra heavy support choice in the interests of not being accused of fielding a typical iron warriors army. The first heavy support choice is the Great Gun itself. This is a basilisk, which always takes the following upgrades:

  • Daemonic Possession and Parasitic Possession to indicate the god-spirit dwelling within the vehicle.
  • Mutated Hull to represent the extra armour that the cultists have lovingly grafted on to protect their god.
  • Dirge caster to represent the constant moaning, screaming and incoherent babble that the Daemon gives out, which is interpreted by the Mouth.
  • In keeping with the tenets of the cult, a pintle weapon and havoc launcher have been grafted on to the body of the Great Gun.

That all makes it one expensive basilisk, but it's in keeping with the theme. I'm toying with the idea of giving it living hull as well: although it fits well with the idea of a god-vehicle it's also a short range attack, which isn't really in keeping.

The Great Gun is usually accompanied by Havocs with move-and-fire anti-infantry weapons and/or obliterators to protect it from foes that get too close.

The final heavy support slot would probably be a predator, just because I like the model.