- "Pirates of the Galaxy, unite! We have nothing to lose but our lives!"
The Brethren of Spite are a fleet based war band of piratical Chaos Space Marines. Originally making up the core of the “Brotherhood of Man” Space Marine Chapter, the Brethren formed from secessionist splinters that remained after the Chapter collapsed in 703.M37. The Brethren are led by Cain, Grand Imperial Admiral of the Brethren of Spite.
Origins and Early Days (698.M37 - 703.M37)
The Brotherhood of Man where a bitter and rather insignificant chapter of Imperial Fist descendants who found themselves in campaigns in the far reaches of the Eastern Fringe, operating with outdated equipment and often a lack of reserves or manpower. Many of it’s members were equipped in older and poorly maintained Mark 2 and 3 suits of power armour, while using weapons supplied (or forcibly taken) from Planetary Defence Forces and Imperial Guard units fighting alongside them. Some of it’s support craft were modified for Astarte, such as aged Leman Russ tanks and older marks of Basilisks. Over the long years on the Eastern Fringe, the Brotherhood found themselves operating as shock troops against increasingly well armed alien forces fighting to take back lost territory rather than conquering new worlds. As the Brotherhood battled knee deep through mud and dirt, bone white power armour bathed in grime and dust, witnessing the slow but gradual collapse of the Imperium's holdings, something akin to dismay and disappointment took hold of them. While they grew famous for unorthodox and desperate tactics, such as Brotherhood ‘bikers’ mounting cavalry charges on mutant beasts against Eldar Wave Serpents and using outdated auto-cannons as anti-tank weapons against renegade armour such as Land Raiders and Predators, the ennui would not disappear. Cynicism was rife in the underlying nature of the Chapters culture.
The Brotherhood earned themselves a reputation as tenacious trench fighters and storm troopers due to a number of wars against their hated ancestor-rivals, the Iron Warriors. From 700-900.M36 the Brotherhood waged several long campaigns to dislodge the Iron Warriors from positions across a string of fortress worlds and foundry planets. This also saw the Brotherhood find success in naval warfare, but despite these impressive successes the Brotherhood continued to become bitter and disconnected from the Imperium. They took back desolate worlds from the Chaos Space Marines, helped to topple tyrants and warlords, but at some point the Brotherhood realised that their achievements were all temporary. More warlords would take the place of those they killed while the decay of the Imperium would not stop.
The Chaplin's of the Brotherhood tried to ale this Chapter wide, cultural decay, but even their ranks were weary and starting to suffer from the miasma. The loss of many of the Chapters best Captains and Sergeants also had a distinct impact on the moral of the Brotherhood, as well as their combat ability. Space Marines may not be ordinary soldiers, but the loss of experienced commanders and veterans was devastating to the combat ability of the Brotherhood.
In 698.M37 a band of Eldar corsairs began launching raids deep into Imperial territory across the Eastern Fringe and the bulk of the Brotherhood were redeployed to assist a large build up of the Imperial Navy and Imperial guard. At this point, the 600 or so Brotherhood had been in a long war against an Ork insurrection.
It was during the battles to dislodge the Eldar from an Imperial shipping lane that would see disaster strike. While great in number, the Brotherhood were too ill equipped and lacked competent officers to properly conduct the battles against the Eldar corsairs. resulting in severe losses during the initial landings and boarding actions before being thrown out of the battle entirely and pursued by the Eldar in a grand counter offensive that saw the rest of the Imperial forces outflanked and destroyed. The Brotherhood were routed.
Regrouping, the Brotherhood fell apart in a series of bitter disputes. Factions formed around company commanders, sergeants and veterans, however by far the largest was that of Cain Rumkowski who promised to resolve the crisis. This “resolution” was immediate execution of all opposition officers and systematic purges by specially organised death squads. The Chapter was then reformed, becoming a fleet based army of well armed pirates. Then the Brotherhood renamed themselves “the Brethren of Spite”, and hoped to quell their bitterness by looting the local sectors and re-equipping themselves to become soldiers of fortune.
This plan almost immediately attracted the attention of Imperial authorities, but their warnings were issued too late, with the Brethren bypassing a number of small worlds and Imperial facilities before fleeing. Quickly the new Astartes renegades were battling PDF on various fronts and finding themselves advancing rapidly and deep into the Eastern Fringe. Earning themselves a name as pirates as they raided a score of shipping lanes, the Brethren of Spite were pursued by ad-hoc force of Imperial vessels out of Imperial Space. Cain, pleased with the success of their first foray proclaimed to his soldiers that they would become wealthy corsairs and would rule a pirate empire spanning several sectors. This would never become a reality.
This idea of a “Pirate Empire” would require resources, as well as a viable location and an army of servants bigger than what the Brethren could already muster. Slaves would need to be gathered, and the living space would need to be cleared out. Cain’s simplistic view of a takeover based on the strength of the Astartes, and that a slave labour force could be quickly established. The Brethren of Spite had found a small collection of feudal worlds, and while they quickly bowed to the godlike Astartes and their worlds had rich sources of minerals, they had no mining equipment and would have to reorganise several planets populations into a proper working force while defending the system with nothing but a small fleet of ships.
Despite this, the Brethren of Spite continued with their plan and within a year had managed to - by accident - kill off over half of the combined populations of three worlds by spreading disease (most of which the populations would have never been affected by had they been left on their worlds) and had only managed to produce a meagre amount of resources. The Brethren had however, managed to fortify the world and had successfully waged war against a number of small, more primitive planetary states and had collected more slaves and equipment. They hoped that with this, they could truly begin their pirate empire.
Raiders (703.M37 - 711.M37)
This proved to be a poor prediction on the part of the Brethren of Spite. An Imperial fleet, alongside several Imperial Armies were deployed to destroy the Brethren and return the worlds to Imperial rule. The renegade Astartes made preparations to defend themselves against the invaders, allowing the Imperial advances to be blocked and bogged down by other Xenos and Pirate forces. The fleet, having expanded slightly, waited patiently for the arrival of the first Imperial ships. The Brethren, keeping most of their ships in reserve, planned to stand and fight or flee depending on how well equipped the Imperials proved to be.
The first Imperial battleships that pulled out of the warp encouraged the Brethren of Spite to take flight, but under the direction of Cain, they waited and engaged in only minor sparring actions. Forced back by superior fire power, the Brethren’s fleet allowed the Imperial’s to land before swarming any beachheads with slave militias and numbers. This initial success captured a large amount of heavy equipment and saw moral bolstered considerably, but the next Imperial landings were so great in number and fast that the Brethren had little time to react, and any attempted counter attack was beaten off.
While on the ground the Brethren of Spite organised a defence, the fleet launched their attack in hopes of stemming the tide of Imperial reinforcements. The Imperial fleet, not having planned or expected the number of ships the Brethren could muster was caught off guard and their offensive crippled. The Brethren launched boarding parties and overtook a small number of Imperial vessels. While confusion ran rife in orbit, the Imperial troops on the ground still posed a significant enough of a threat that the under equipped Brethren (with no real heavy artillery or air force) were thrown back on every front until the Imperials supply lines ran dry. Then began a series of back and forth counter attacks and operations, until the Brethren eradicated the starving and encircled Guardsmen.
In space the Imperial’s had not recovered and after the loss of several ships, retreated. The Brethren, having overcome a superior force with far less fire power celebrated wildly as they began evacuations. Cain, cautious of another Imperial attack, understood their victory had come out of a mix of cunning and luck. Had the Imperial’s known of the Brethren’s fleet strength or had waited until they had no fleet left to engage them, their victory might have well been ensured.
Once again the Brethren of Spite were on the move, with a fleet, slaves and a dream of a Pirate Empire. They would learn from their mistake and move towards victory, or so they thought. By 705.M37 the Brethren had become mercenaries and soldiers of fortune. Operating on various worlds and supporting various regimes and races for money and technology, Cain and his pirates made a name for themselves as an army of efficient and dedicated soldiers. Dedicated to profit, more specifically. Brethren of Spite Space Marines could be easily identified by both their pale bone white armour as well as the various xenos and human awards welded to their chest plates, or the strange alien weapons they now carried. Many had also by now adopted Cain’s personal skill and blades heraldry as their own.
During one of the several jobs taken by the Brethren of Spite, they worked alongside Eldar Corsairs as part of a collective operation to drive out Word Bearer fanatics from a fortress world turned rouge in an anarchy ridden backwater system. Much to the disdain of both forces, the rouge Eldar Farseer leading the corsairs and Cain engaged in a tryst. Still, by the end of the campaign the Brethren stood victorious and managed to take the lion’s share out of the loot, but only because most of it was corrupted or infected by the taint of the Word Bearers. When the Eldar moved to destroy the world as they had always planned, they were drive off. The Word Bearer’s gene seed was harvested, their armour pillaged and any artefacts considered valuable were collected. Like many of the diseases Brethren soldiers had collected in pubs and bars across the Eastern Fringe, the taint of Chaos spread quickly through the Brethren’s ranks.
This proved problematic for the Brethren’s relations. The Brethren of Spite found themselves rapidly transforming into the soldiers they had fought years before, but had no intent (or possibility) of stopping. Embracing Chaos Undivided, Cain officially declared it the “official religion” of the Brethren in 709.M37. By now he had become a power champion of Chaos, while the Brethren of Spite had recruited other renegades into their ranks and spread the taint even further. Despite this, the general attitudes of the Brethren remained the same Money was king, appeasing Chaos was a secondary goal.
The Covenant of Sin (711.M37)
In 711.M37 the Brethren of Spite discovered a derelict Ark Mechanicus drifting in space. Boarding the vessel and finding that it had been abandoned years ago after some terrible accident, the Brethren set about repairing and refitting the vessel for their own use. The project, lead by Orion Strasse, saw the ship repaired in a short span of only 6 months before the final retrofitting and alterations were complete. Cain named the vessel "the Covenant of Sin" and declared it his flag ship, while the Brethren began to see it as a new home for the Chapter. The Brethren of Spite swiftly began to make use of the colossal ships massive factories, pillaging it's storerooms and vaults for desperately needed weapons and supplies. Much of this was then used up in a project of rebuilding and requiring the Chaos Space Marine brigades of the Brethren.
Invasion of the Maiden World (712.M37)
In 712.M37 the Brethren of Spite happened upon the Maiden World of 'Jong', a paradise world typical of those inhabited by the Eldar Exodites. With the Brethren of Spite hoping to loot the planet for advanced alien weaponry to dominate their opponents, as well as anything priceless and that could be sold to collectors. Cain also sought a new harem, and believing Eldar to be the best source, decided to launch a massive raid upon Jong. This offensive would see every Brethren of Spite fleet operate as one, a rare event.
However Cain, well aware of the difficulties in fighting Eldar, decided to even the odds by launcher a world shaking, atmosphere choking nuclear and biological barrage that reduced the paradise planet to a large ball of cinder in a matter or two hours. Having in almost two hours destroyed around 70% of the Exodite population, the Brethren of Spite landed in droves and occupied swathes of the planets surface.
The Exodites attempted to wage a guerrilla campaign against the Brethren, but their eradicated planet and dying, weakened bodies made it hard for them to produce any real resistance as they broke into ancient vaults and looted the crystal cities. As they prepared to leave, the Brethren of Spite were ambushed en masse by a force of Eldar from the Saim Hann Craftworld alongside a counter attack from the Exodites. With a nuclear winter settling down and their fleet cut off, the Brethren settled down for winter among the broken ruins of the Eldar cities.
Surrounded by their enemies, the Brethren of Spite brought every weapon and vehicle they had available as they blunted Eldar incursions, counter attacked and in turn lost ground. The Brethren, who had sworn they would never be bogged down in an extended campaign ever again where now fighting for their lives in an embittered struggle. Within under two weeks of being surrounded, the Brethren were using artillery pieces as anti-tank guns, while some struggled to try and make use of the Eldar's own weapons with mixed results.
As the massed Dragon cavalry charges and Wave Serpent penetrations increased, and the territory the Brethren still held became smaller and smaller a break out plan was formulated. The Brethren of Spite's fleet would launch an all out offensive on the Eldar, with all of it's reserves and allow the stranded Brethren to board their ships and flee with most of their loot. It seemed perfect, until the Eldar launched their own grand offensive. At the same time.
In the confusion, a whirl storm of violence erupted as the Brethren and Saim Hann forces collided. The exhausted armies slammed into each other, over and over again, until the Brethren finally broke out in one final battered offensive that saw the Eldar fall apart. Surging back into space, the Brethren of Spite's flee unleashed one final barrage of weapons onto Jong, ensuring any Eldar or Brethren of Spite soldier still remaining on the planet was dead. Cain declared it a great victory, and to the Brethren of Spite who had survived mostly in-tact, it was. They had sort-of defeated a semi-famous Craftworld in battle in a fighting retreat.
Campaigns against the Eldar (712.M37-720.M37)
The Brethren of Spite had grown to hold an incredible bitterness towards the Eldar race, the retreating Brethren of Spite fleet followed for months after by a large collection of Eldar craft from various sources, all desperate to avenge the millions of lives the Brethren had obliterated on Jong and the many thousands now subject to the whim of the victors. Having lost a great deal of heavy equipment, and with many of it's troops exhausted from the effort of Jong, the Brethren of Spite were left conducting constant rearguard operations. On several occasions the Brethren were forced into extended orbital duals as the Eldar fleets caught up with them, battling for hours on end until they fled into the warp. While on the run, the Brethren of Spite were still causing severe casualties to their foes. Neither side could readily replace casualties, but the Brethren could still replace their fallen soldiers quicker than the Eldar. The same with ships and equipment, the mobile factory that was the Covenant of Sin producing vast qualities of war materials.
But the Eldar, consumed by rage did not care and continued to harass the Brethren of Spite at their every step. When the Brethren, believing themselves to have finally escaped the Eldar launched an invasion of a small Imperial world on the edge of Imperial space, the Eldar struck at them from every direction and once again the Brethren were in-flight. Cain and his generals began to realise it was time to strike back, but the Eldar were a subversive and unusual force. The armies that pursued the Brethren of Spite where a collection of pirates bolstered by vengeful members of Saim Hann and other Craftworlds. If they had any form of base, it was either their fleet or hidden in the Web Way.
So the Brethren of Spite interrogated any prisoners they possessed for answers, allowing Orion Strasse, a quickly rising figure among the loosely organised "Science Division" of the Brethren of Spite to pick them apart until they spoke. Few Eldar did, most dying in the process, but the treatment they endured produced enough information for the Brethren of Spite to use. Some of these prisoners, such as Drow Thel, would end up as members of the Brethren of Spite either through choice or persuasion.
The Brethren then launched their attack on the Eldar, finding a cluster of Haven Spire nestled near the furthest reaches of the Eastern Fringe and backed by a well armed fleet of Eldar craft, but they had been caught totally unaware with the Brethren of Spite right on top of them. The Brethren pounded the Haven Spire's with planet shattering fire, destroying one before the others fled with a sizeable chunk of the Eldar fleet. Anything left was destroyed or escaped on their own, becoming smaller bands of pirates. The Brethren, refusing to allow their quarry to escape, pursued the Eldar through the warp.
Falling into another ambush, the Brethren of Spite were caught up in another counter attack which descended into an extended void battle of no benefit to either side, with the Eldar fleeing after crippling numerous Brethren space craft. While the counter offensive had been an overall success, the Brethren had only forced the Eldar to change location and while having caused massive casualties, had themselves lost a number of prized ships and war material. With moral growing low once more, the Brethren of Spite returned to seeking out non-Eldar targets and laid waste to a number of small Imperial fringe worlds and primitive xenos empires. Meanwhile, the Eldar pirates continued to re-group and resupply, contemplating their next attack on the Brethren.
The 'Eldar Campaign' would reach it's height in 717.M37 when the Eldar and Brethren battled on a recently conquered Imperial Fortress World named Brion V, which had taken almost two years to fall to Word Bearer forces. The depleted zealots fell quickly to the Brethren of Spite's own invasion, who were then forced to take up the defeated Word Bearer's old positions as the Eldar fleet emerged from the Warp with renewed strength. Brion V's defences were already severely damaged from the two year siege, while the Word Bearers had twisted sections of the planet into a living hell scape. This left the Brethren once again fighting in trench lines with little in the way of supplies while at the same time relying on units of conscripted human and xenos soldiers.
But the Eldar also had no wish for an extended campaign and fell into their own trap, getting bogged down in failed ambushes or pitched battles with Brethren tank units. Rear echelon units of xenos and human soldiers proved to be dedicated soldiers with the right 'leadership', while the Eldar sight or interest in the campaign.
Campaign on Skov III (720.M37 - 721.M37)
Drifting through the edges of Imperial controlled space, the Brethren fleets raided small moon bases, far off Mechanicus fringe laboratories and the occasional Inquisitors hold before finding themselves in the Skov system. A distant and long dead collection of frozen or depopulated Imperial worlds, the population having disappeared or been evacuated hundreds of years beforehand with only a small collection of old Inquisitional aligned forces remaining as guards. Taking this as a 'good sign', Cain and the Brethren of Spite's high command ordered that the planets be searched, anything of value be collected and any Imperials taken captive.
Within a couple of days the Brethren had apparently rounded up anything or anyone of interest in the Skov system, much to their disappointment. The cities were long decaying or poor mausoleums, a collection of extensive but cheap tombs that offered nothing to the adventure hungry Brethren, who turned to their new collection of captives for answers. Offering nothing other than that a long lost Inquisitor (who had disappeared to the other side of the galaxy and had never returned) had left them garrison to watch over the world, the Brethren discovered that deep beneath Skov IIIs crust, a massive collection of catacombs had been dug for some ancient monarchy. Demanding more answers, the Brethren of Spite decided to descend into the caverns.
With several division sized units of human auxiliaries backing them, the main corps of the Brethren of Spite led the incursion into what they hoped to be possibly treasure filled tombs. Instead, as they came through the roof of the first series of caverns they found themselves crashing into a colossal series of city-sized crypts. As their xenos designed drop ships, landing craft and Daemon engines broken began to spread out through the labyrinth of dusty tombs, the Brethren's cabal of Sorcerers began to sense things.
Great Space Hulk Disaster (766.M41)
By late 766.M41 the Brethren of Spite had suffered numerous set-backs, defeats and failures under the increasingly erratic direction of Lord Cain. The Chapter, depleted of its man power and struggling to survive, was in turn thrown into a second chaotic civil war by a rebellious Drow Thel. By the end of 766.M41, the Brethren of Spite collapsed into a series of infighting pockets of warships. Their flagship, the Covenant Sin, was lost with most of its hands as it was destroyed in the fighting and ultimately was left adrift in space as a Space Hulk. By the end of this, the Brethren of Spite 'loyal' to Cain were only Orion Strasse and Xaphon. Xaphon would be killed during an encounter with the Inquisition, while Cain and Orion would find themselves under the employ of one Apollo Vahagn - effectively making Apollo the last genuine commander of the Brethren.
- "Good soldiers, bad officers."
The Brethren stand at around eight hundred or so Astartes supported by at least one - two million support troops as well as incredible number of support staff and crew. The Brethren of Spite are organised into a number of fleets and battle groups. These vary in size and strength based upon the influence of its commander, with Cain (and later Drow) commanding the largest fleet of around three to four hundred Chaos Space Marines. These fleets operate as separate armies, thought supporting and fighting alongside each other in battle. The core of all these forces is a Company or a Brigade sized unit of Chaos Space Marines, supported by several brigades or divisions of infantry, artillery and armour. Companies often are made up of Brethren of Spite Astartes dedicated to their commander’s Patron, thought this is sometimes only the other leading members of the fleet. Drow Thel for example had all of her lieutenants be followers of Khorne.
The Brethren of Spite also over time obtained the services of all major Chaos Gods “cult units”, as well as Sorcerers and Dark Apostles. Under the rule of Drow Thel all of these were purged or exiled, bar the Sorcerers who were enslaved for manufacturing Daemon Weapons and Daemon Engines.
The Brethren operate as raiders, relying on fast paced, concentrated assaults on weak points in the enemy line, which they then exploit and widen before securing whatever objective they have. In naval battles the Brethren operate in “wolf packs”, with the fleets broken down into small squadrons operating freely to loot and raid Imperial shipping lanes. They avoid any form of extended combat or battle, though are suitable for long, drawn out operations consisting of hit and run attacks.
- "We've run out of Vindicators and have no more anti-tank guns left. I suggest we send the Basilisks forward, with their guns lowered, and use them to try and destroy that Baneblade. I'm sure it will work."
The Brethren of Spite have been plagued with supply problems ever since their founding. Supplied largely with Mark 5 “Heresy” armour (a cobbled together, largely inferior variant of power plate) as well as older marks of Bolt Guns and other standard armaments. The Brethren continued to have issues during the long wars on the Eastern Fringe, using Imperial Guard equipment designed for normal humans opposed to Astartes, as well as modified tanks and transports such as Leman Russ's. When they became renegades, the Brethren’s equipment situation remained (and continues to remain dire). Most of the Brethren of Spite use cobbled together power armour suits, use a mix of Imperial and Xenos weapons and vehicles, and have great difficulty replacing anything. The Brethren also pioneered the use of custom made “repeating las bolt action rifles”, after a large number of Bolt Guns they purchased from traders turned out not to be usable with their power armour suits.
Notable members of the Brethren of Spite
The Brethren of Spite have produced a number of special characters and figures.
Cain was the original leader of the Brethren of Spite. Self styled as it's "Grand Imperial Admiral", Cain lead the chapter for most of it's existence as a brutal despot, womanizer and warlord. Despite this, Cain also had a reputation as a shrewd tactician and keen leader.
Former Eldar Banshee of Saim-Hann, Drow was captured as a sex slave for Cain before becoming a born again Khornate Champion. After this, she carved out a brutal reputation in the Brethren of Spite before usurping Cain in a bloody coup.
Chief sorcerer and archivist of the Brethren, Xaphon acts as Cain's chief adviser on arcane and daemonic matters. Despite his incompetence and occasional failure to properly preform psychic rites, Xaphon remained one of Cain's most favoured and trusted servants even after Cain's flight.
Orion Strasse was the chief surgeon and engineer of the Brethren of Spite.
Culture and beliefs
- "We march in the enemies land. We go forward and we hum the devils song. We fight for riches, we fight for women, we fight for glory!"
- — Brethren of Spite marching song
The culture of the Brethren of Spite is effectively a cult ideology exalting Cain (later Drow) as a saviour of the Chapter and a King (later Queen) of thieves. The Brethren are bound by this love of theft and looting, as well as the sense of adventure and glory they gain by performing these actions. Other than that, there is no real end goal or grand achievement for a Brethren of Spite soldier to look up to, other than one day reaching the grossly exaggerated status of Cain.
- "Look at that subtle off white colouring..."
The Brethren of Spite’s uniform is a bleached bone colour, marked by patches of black and a silver trim. Many Brethren carve or paint runes and icons of Chaos onto their armour, and many replace the patches of black with a hue more fitting of their Chaos patron. Common Brethren of Spite iconography depicts a cracked skull bearing a rictus grin, often flanked by a pair of fasces.
Geneseed and recruitment
- "It's filled with viruses and diseases."
The Brethren of Spite are descended from the Imperial Fists, and were part of the 13th founding. What is odd though, is that while the 13th founding is shrouded in mystery and with many Chapters formed from it ignorant of their heritage, the Brethren are fully aware of their origins. Being descended from the Imperial Fists means that any original Brethren lack of Betcher gland and Sus-an Membrane, however due to their recruitment of various renegades and traitors, alongside the theft of gene-seed leaves numerous mutations within the Brethren.
If you want to add anything ask me about it first
A standing Enemy hunting the Brethren of Spite, the Erranigos and their Automata despise the Brethren of Spite. The Erranigos have routinely engaged the Brethren at first opprotunity as to further bring their oaths closer to fulfillment and to bring further damage to the traitor and the Dark Mechanicus.
- "Cain, if one of your men so much as glances at me the wrong way, I will not hesitate to butcher them and use their skull as a cup, are we clear?"
- "We delay them as long as we can. If as much as a single locator beacon reaches the city, the Hive will fall. Lets show these heretic scum what a squad of Imperial ghosts can do."
- —Idria Salaman, Obsidian Blades 2nd Company Captain
- "Heretic, surrender your weapons and prepare to be cleansed in the name of the Omnissiah. Your fleet shall offer you no escape, your gods no protection. Your death was a inevitable, determined by the moment of your treason. "
- — Repeated message transmitted through Erranigos Vindicta Cohort automoa in battle to the warriors of the Brethren of Spite.
- "Far more trouble than they are worth. I'm not going to let Kyrkee forget this anytime soon."
- —Xeraz the Exquisite's considered opinion of the Brethren.[src]
- "Rape the churches, poison the women, burn the water!"
- "We'll take anything not bolted down, flush the crew out the airlock, find more women and drink their alcohol. Any questions about the battle plan? Good, lets get going!"