Index Astartes: Centaurs (I)

+An introduction to the Centaurs Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes+


We may look back now on the Third Founding as a time when our ambition outreached our ability.

What hubris! To think we could reconquer what was lost, to achieve what the Emperor himself and all his sons could not.

Consider the Centaurs then. An exemplar of their brotherhood. What feats they might have accomplished! What difference they might have made in a thousand other war zones, more vital, more pressing! Instead, they are squandered, battling for victory where none is possible, unable to accept the bitter truth that they are unequal to the task set to them. Not with a dozen chapters could Illyrius be tamed and the Centaurs are but one;- wardens of an unconquerable frontier.

The bitterest truth of all is that for all their strength, for all their nobility and singularity of purpose, they – like all their kind – are simply unable to rebuild the Imperium.

And in that fact is the lesson we must learn from the Emperor’s mighty astartes.

-Sallust ‘the Eldar’, Inquisitor, Ordo Hereticus


Stoic and honourable, the Centaurs are an exemplary successor of the Ultramarines, embracing a tactical flexibility within the parameters of the Codex Astartes that has drawn rebuke from some of their more dogmatic brother-successors. As one of two chapters designated the ‘Wardens of the March’, they, alongside the Astral Serpents, form the foundation of Imperial authority in subsector Illyrius. This far-flung and hostile hinterland in the Segmentum Pacificus, referred to as ‘the Marches’ is a frontier region where the grasp of Holy Terra is tenuous. Beset by the myriad predations of xenos, pirates and heretics for millennia, the Centaurs draw upon the tenants martial honour, order and administration to form a bulwark of Imperial authority in subsector Illyrius that they hope will one day allow the Marches to be integrated securely into the Imperium in the image of the realm of Ultramar. The Centaurs draw recruits from the savage tribes that populate the frontier and death worlds of this remote border region, who are then brought to the Chapter home-world of Thebas; a bastion of Imperial culture and civilisation in the model of Macragge, and there imbued with the principles of discipline and martial honour that temper and hone the barbaric ferocity of the cultures they are drawn from.

[the Illyrius subsector: Segmentum Pacificus]

Founding: The Centaurs are a product of the Third Founding – at sometime in the 32nd Millenium. Chapters founded at this time, such as the Executioners, Flesh Eaters and the Scythes of the Emperor bear reputations for aggression and stoicism in varying degrees, and so it can be said of the Centaurs. This blend of genetic traits were deliberatly selected by the Terran gene-wrights in all of the chapters of the Third Founding. This generation of Astartes were destined to watch over some of the most perilous and lawless regions of the Imperiums’ borders, eshtablishing – and in some cases, reeshtablishing – Imperial rule were little had existed since the time of the Great Crusade. The foundation of chapters such as the Centaurs were the first signs of a move away from the period of containment and recovery necessary after the Heresy-Scouring era, and towards a more assertive and aggressive future. For the first time since the Emperor had fallen, the Imperium felt emboldened enough to begin reclaiming some of what had been lost in the millennia since His internment in the Golden Throne. The Centaurs, and the other chapters of the Third Founding, were the vanguard of a new period of reclaimation, intended to pave the way for future conquests. Ultimatley, however, this would be a vain ambition, far beyond the resources of an Imperium convulsing with internal strife and buckling under the weight of vast Xenos threats from beyond.

Primogentor: XIII Legion, Roboute Guilliman [//+geneseedextract.-XIII.//ultra.//13255ctertius-alpha.+//]

Chapter Colours: Slate-grey and silver

Heraldry: ‘Bucephalus’ – The Centaur King of ancient Theban myth.

Warcry: Various recorded: ‘Sure and Swift!’, ‘For the March!’ and ‘Bucephalus!’ being among the most common.

Current Chapter Master: Lord Gaius Chiron, First of the Strategoi, Lord-Regent of Thebas.

Homeworld: Thebas, Herghast System, Sub-Sector Illyrius. [//+administratumdesignate.-‘imperialworldprimaris-theta:239857y.+//]

Observed Strategic Tendencies: Void interdiction and supremacy, pacification actions, combined arms warfare and large-scale strategic command and control operations.

Modus Operandi: As scions of the Ultramarines, the Centaurs use the tenants of the Codex Astartes as the foundation of their tactical and organisational doctrine. However, they consider the Codex as a guide for a wider tactical understanding, not a dogma to be worshipped. Due to the diverse nature of the threats they face – and the burden this puts on their resources – the Centaurs are by necessity flexible in their battle tactics and will seek to meet each threat with only the minimum force necessary to contain or defeat it. Wherever possible the chapter will seek to multiply its own power by working alongside Imperial Navy and Astra Militarum auxiliary elements. It is common therefore to see small detachments of Centaurs – from a kill-team to a demi-company strength – seeded amongst the various Imperial void-patrols and pacification fleets across subsector Illyrius. This requires a flexibility in force organisation, armament and squad composition that would be unacceptable to other, more orthodox chapters. At the heart of this method of waging war, is the tactical squad, whose flexibility forms the core of every Centaurs battle group. The numbers of its squads, and the armaments they use may differ wildly from deployment to deployment, with every battle-brother striving to master all battle roles. This fluidity of function within a battle group offers the Centaurs the flexibility to face any foe, whilst also maintaining a certain independence at the squad level that is perfect for a Chapter that is usually dispersed and with a decentralised command structure. Squad designations and composition, as dictated in the Codex Astartes, are therefore more of an administrative and logistical aid to management and supply than a tactical dogma on the battlefield.

The chapter also possessed a prodigious fleet. Two battle barges including an ancient Emperor-class and an Oberon-class battleship. These form the principle flagships of the chapter fleet that also includes over a dozen cruisers and more than a score of destroyers and frigates which – alongside their various escorts and supply vessels – makes the Centaurs fleet amongst the largest of any Space Marine chapter that is not fleet-based. This fleet has been carefully marshalled and maintained since the chapters’ founding. The Centaurs maintain close bonds and pacts of fealty with the Adeptus Mechanicum forge world of Syra Major in the Odessus Cluster and it is through this relationship that the Centaurs have been able to supplement their navy over the millennia since their becoming one of the Wardens of the March. This focus on void-power, and the aim to one day achieve superiority in the void of subsector Illyrius, is the keystone of the Centaurs’ ambitions to reconquer and hold the Marches. Without it, it would be impossible to maintain the subsector in any semblance of cohesion or singularity of administration. Simply put, without the tireless efforts of the Centaurs’ fleet, subsector Illyrius would barely be considered a part of the Imperium at all.

Brother Hyperon: IV Company, Third Squad [Tactical]:

Brother Hyperon is a typical example of an Astartes of the Centaurs chapter. Born to the native tribes of Cara’thùl in the East March, Hyperon’s initiation into the chapter is a typical example of the sort of the candidate that the chapter’s tithe fleet seek out when a new generations of Centaurs is called. Hyperon survived the Chapter’s blood-trials in the arid tundra of his home-world and was then taken to Thebas to begin his training. Having endured the proving grounds of the Black Glaciers and begun his induction in the culture of the Centaurs chapter in Bucephalon, Hyperon demonstrated himself to be a resourceful and pragmatic warrior, marked-out early as a potential leader and keen tactician. Hyperon would ascend to the rank of battle-brother and join IV Company under the command of brother-sergeant Durseus.

[Note: chapter heraldry: Bucephalus]

He wears an almost complete suit of Mk.IV Mars-pattern power-armour – date-stamped to be from the time of the Horus Heresy; it was originally worn in the azure blue of the Ultramarines legion and then gifted to the chapter upon its founding. This is common enough, many of the Centaurs wear similar marks of armour, relics of their parent legion. This particular suit was christened in battle at the betrayal on Odyssean against the World Eater legion during the Dark Crusade that set the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar ablaze. Such an ignoble beginning is considered an ill-omen and Hyperon is strives still to rid the shame of betrayal and defeat that blights his armours machine-spirit.

[Note: the crossed-lighting bolts, called the Valorous Mark, is an honour-marking granted for extrodinary courage and quick action that saves the life of a battle-brother.]

All equipment is chapter standard and codex-compliant – an type 4 Tigrus-pattern bolter, an Ultima-pattern bolt pistol sidearm and an elongated Noctrus-pattern combat blade – a typical load-out that lacks some of the more idiosyncratic additions often seen amongst the chapter’s veteran brothers; unsurprising given Hyperon’s relatively recent induction into the chapters’ ranks. Despite his relative youth, however, Hyperon has already forged a reputation for exemplary courage, being awarded the Valorous Mark during the Guul Xenocide campaigns in the Ayax system.


[end transmission]


3 thoughts on “Index Astartes: Centaurs (I)

  1. I really enjoyed this article, even though one must admit to a little moment of “Slander and calumny!” on seeing that a Chapter named ‘Centaurs’ were NOT Sons of the Khan; stereotyping, I know, but in my defence the White Scars are Hordes of Steppe Horsemen … IN SPACE! so of course they get first call on any hybrids of man & equine! (-;

    On a less quibbling note, I also expected to see a sagittarius emblem used – but must admit that a simple horse head makes much more sense when working on a tabletop model scale (it’s a pity that the Centaurs almost certainly do not operate in the Imperial territories encompassing what we would call the Horsehead nebula, although I don’t know enough about Astro-graphy to be entirely certain of that).

    Anyway, my compliments on your efforts and on these fruits of your hard work. (-:


  2. Another thought, if I might be permitted one – might I suggest that the Centaurs (or a successor chapter with a similar motif) might benefit from the symbolism of a two-tone colour scheme? (Top half one colour, bottom half another) in homage to the man-horse of Hellenistic mythology?

    Perhaps vehicles of the chapter could be painted in the colour of the bottom half only – as a way of suggesting a fusion between marine & machine?


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