Tuesday 8 September 2015

The Black Hands of Caliban - Army Fluff

Hi Readers,

Today I'm going to just be writing out a short bit of fluff for my Dark Angels, as I've decided to run them as a successor chapter of my own design. After a little bit of fluff I will explain how some of this back story will be conveyed in the modelling of the army and hopefully make you excited to see what I produce over the coming months!


The black hands of Caliban are notoriously secretive, even when measured against the clandestine benchmark of their progenitors the Dark angels. They are known for accepting missions that all but guarantee their isolation from other imperial forces and have seldom allied with others barring the notable exception of the Blood Angels Death Companies for reasons unknown. Some say that is because beneath the raging thirst and destruction that the demented and lost Blood Angels scatter about themselves in the field of battle, the Black Hand can remain focussed on a more personal sinister objective that such crazed minds cannot remember and even then are unlikely to remain alive should they be able too.

They are however always amongst the first wave of chapters to answer the clarion call of their progenitors when it comes to matters of hunting the Fallen Angels. This eagerness to reclaim those that were lost and subject them to the dark rites of interromancy generates a sick zeal and frenzy that even other Dark Angel Successor chapters find borders on the disturbing... Their feverish pursuit of these traitors appears to have given rise to a pale paranoid aesthetic for these Astartes that sets them apart from their iron chinned grim brothers.

Like all Dark Angel successor chapters, the secrets of the first legion and the fallen angels betrayal are kept from the youngest astartes and are only revealed to the veterans of the chapter, once all question of disloyalty has been silenced by decades if not centruies of servitude to the cause of the emperor. Despite this even the neophytes of the Black Hands exhibit this hightened paranoia, with wild accusing eyes and pale waxen skin; limp black hair laid across their heads like tendrils of insanity drenched in fever sweat.

To know the minds and heart of these Astartes and to discover the driving force behind their devotion to eradicating the fallen, you must go back to their very inception in a maligned Cursed founding. While all successor chapters are derived from the gene seed of their heirs, the illustrious Dark Angels, the Black Hands of Caliban are unique, in so much as their genetic lineage is derived from a single source of gene seed. And like so many of the cursed founding, their current fate lies interlocked within the helices of their genesis.

The black hands gene seed was derived from none other than Attias, a member of the Fallen. Attias, also known as Attias the untamed was said to have been at the side of Luther during the Great Betrayal of their Primarch Lion El'Johnson on Caliban. It is not known how his gene seed came to survive in the vaults of holy terra, nor is it known how it was this gene seed, and this gene seed alone that gave rise to the Black Hands of Caliban, but it is a shame they are burdened with, that leaves little reprieve for forgiveness. This secret of the Black Hands is known only to the Black Hands own inner circle and the inner circle of the Dark Angels, who keep a watchful eye on their successors, in particular the fervent gaze of both Asmodai and Sammael.

The inner circle of the Black Hands encompasses all veterans that pass the Rite of Unshackling. It is not known what catalyst gave rise to the Black Hands becoming aware of their origins but it is known that this gave rise to the current name of the chapter, with their original chapter name now expunged from all Imperial records. But this name is the foreboding of their livery and their initiation into the inner circle. All Black hands Astartes wear their armour black on their hands in the pre-heresy colours of the Dark Angels, as acknowledgement of the taint that lives within them. Those veterans who have lead squads to victory on the battlefield time and time again are hand selected every quarter century by the chapter master and must submit to the Unshackling.

The unshackling is an extension of the split that rent the Dark Angels in two with the traitorous Luther at its core, then as now the Angels shed themselves of their foul brethren and were made as new. Black Hands veterans must submit to interrogation, must have their minds scryed one final time for any hint or sibilant whisper of suspicion; and then surviving this horror, they are given a simple scouts combat blade. With this edge they must unshackle themselves from their past, like the Lion they must cut the wheat from the chaff and be reborn through its pain. All inner circle veterans of the Black Hands must forcibly cut off their own right arm.

This act of willing sacrifice represents the removal of their fear, and symoblises the death of their heritage, the death of the traitor their cells call father. In its place, bionics are driven into the flesh, neuromotors whirring into life as the gritted shallow breath of the applicant steadies himself to live and be reborn as one of the inner circle. The veterans of the black hands that have been inducted into the inner circle after surviving the unshackling are formed into veteran squads and company command squads that hold the line in battle and never falter, and never forgive. For they are the Unforgiven.


I do love writing. I've entered a few competitions here and there and not done too badly out of them, but I often fall foul due to my "flowery" language. Which a judge once described as "the writer has clearly sat with a thesaurus out using it for every word". Sadly that is just how I write! I've always had a love of words, the sound and the shape and the feel on your tongue and so flowery descriptive language comes very naturally, unfortunately at the expense of any great substance.

I would really welcome any comments on the fluff that would be constructive. I'm considering writing some more fluff about this but I'm not sure how it sounds to others so if its a bit pants, I might just tidy this up and then let it slide slowly into the abyss :P Comments below!

Needless to say that I also have some nice conversions planned for my veteran squads/company command squad.... tease tease tease...

Other news

In relation to an entirely arbitrary milestone, this is my 50th post!!! I know this blog is very young but I didn't honestly think I'd stick with it this long let alone every have 50 posts out there on the intertubes for people to look at! I get approximately 100 views a day at the moment which is small fry but still blows my mind a little to think, especially when so many of these come from all over the world.

In addition, its been fantastic to get to know more people in the blogopshere as you are all a great bunch and its a wonderful community that has helped me a lot in enthusiasm, inspiration and encouragement. I hope I'm doing some things right and I hope to improve other areas, not lest my painting and modelling. For those of you in the UK I hope very much to make your acquaintance at some point and to those elsewhere I wish I could get a game in with you all as well!

Till next time,

Peace out,



  1. Arbitrary milestones are the life force of continuous blogging, whatever the tenuous celebration. Congrats on acheving your half century. The fluff is really good too, clearly the guy in the bic hasn;t gone through the unshackling yet! Will you be putting bionics on the models or just running them with painted black hands?

    1. I shall have to invent ever more tenuous milestones then of course... Thank you kindly Dave, glad you enjoyed the read. I must admit I just pick cool pictures somewhat loosely related to the post at hand...

      I've recently put in a big order with Anvil Industries to make up a full and magnetised squad of Dark Angel veterans. Anyone who isn't inducted into the inner circle will just have black hands painted on.

      And any model, like the Dark Vengeance character models, will operate under the rational that they are from the Dark Angels chapter proper and are "checking up" on the Black Hands.

  2. Pretty cool! I know how that feels getting that kind of feedback. I just like cool words, I'm not trying to be pretentious! Get even worse after I started reading H.P. Lovecraft ;)

    All my Sergeants have their hands painted black. I still haven't come up with fluff justifications for it, but the real reason is so that I can more easily swap magnetized weapon options between my three Marine Armies :D

  3. Being a die hard space wolves player I can only curse you for a dirty heretic, and your primarch as a spawn of the chaos gods ;)

    Nice fluff dude. I can never write my own so admire you for being able to craft a story for your force. It really brings it to life :)

    Congrats on the milestone. 50 posts is nothing to sniff at and I am glad you are still enjoying it. 100 pageviews a day is pretty good man. I only get around 150 for mine and I have been doing it a little longer :). Shows you have been doing some good stuff on here :). Keep on truckin!