Monday, 20 May 2013

Seminar 4: The Legions

The Legions - How each legion has its own characters
With Nick Kyne, James Swallow, Rob Sanders, Gav Thorpe

A structured and then open Q&A session

What legion do you represent the most and how do you make it different?
Raven Guard and Dark Angels. The story is how the legions change and how they are affected by the things around them. The raven guard are trying to stone to themselves for the shame of defeat. Trying to make a difference for the emperor. The dark angels is a lot more complex. Is about loyalty, where it lies and how it is tested. I focus on their organisation, wargear, and stuff devised by their Primarchs and allies. We can be a bit more adventurous in creating kit because most of it has been lost by the time of 40k. The story is all about the development of the founding legions and how that story has developed over ten thousand years.
Corax was the saviour of the Deliverance Raven Guard, the embodiment of the ideals of the great crusades. He was raised amongst them but raised above them. The lion has never really been one of them, he has been set apart. He tries to relate to them but he's so different, he had to learn differently. Corax was raised by political ideals, the lion by a need for survival. The RG are very down to earth - they are beefed up tunnel rats and have a very pragmatic relationship with their primarch whereas the dark angels are more customer and traditional.

How are the alpha legion specifically different from the others?
Omagon and Alpharius finish each others' sentences. The AL take their duties and complete them differently. There is a subtle hint of tension between the two Primarchs that could suggest that the AL could end up turning on each other. I try to make it feel like the twins are holding back something from the reader, we learn a lot but there is the suggestion that there is more to learn. 
The Iron Warriors are an archetype. I wanted to demonstrate supreme siege craft, I characterised them through the fortifications that they used. The greatest challengers to their authority in this area is themselves.

How do you tackle such a well known 40k chapter in the mythical world of the heresy.
The blood angels have drama built in. Their gift is their cause. The thing that makes them superlative warriors is the the thing that has them balancing on the edge of a berserk fury. You automatically create drama or the tension of drama. That's what I really love. Tis aspects works across 30k and 40k. In ther heresy they are a bit more mythical. They are epic in scale and are largely removed from humanity. They are angels. You have different shades of characters within the legion but they have the essential core, larger than life mythical quality to them. The heresy is a massive, epic story that is the bedrock of the 40k legion.
I've also written about the death guard who a the opposite side of the coin. They are gritty, dirty behind the ears, working class space marines. They are built to endure not reach higher. I need an excuse for these two legions to fight to show this difference. We gets template idea to start from for each legion but not each Astartes needs to stick rigidly to that structure.

We knew a lot about lots of other legions, apart from the Salamanders, where do you start with them?
Even in 40k there isn't much known about them. Thy got cuffed up on Istvaan but that's about it. The two main points are the humanity of the primarch, Vulkan is the most humane where as the legion aren't. The second is transition as its key to what makes them tick. When you think of transition you need to think fire, fire changes everything. Salamanders are closely associated with fire. The Salamanders were not in great shape before Vulkan arrived, you'll come to understand this in Vulkan Lives. Try had to change with his arrival, one of the things I wanted to do was make the legion better. With a lot of the other legions when the primarch turns up the legion gets worse. Vulkan brings the enlightenment and the promethium creed with him to the salamanders. He desires to protect humanity and is brought about by his influence. He is extremely important to the culture and substance of the legion. When they lose Vulkan they are forced to change again, another period of transition. They become one of the shattered legions and have to change how they do business and contribute towards the heresy. The presence or not of Vulkan has a huge effect on the legion and this is really apparent in the book. The themes of humanity and transition are really at the fore.

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