Of all of the possible armies within the Horus Heresy, the cults and militia / solar auxilia army lists arguably provides the most leeway in creating a completely new narrative. While blackshields and mechanicum can also have a lot of narrative variations, cults and militia across the Imperium of Man in the 31st Millennium were so numerous and varied on both sides of the fight that the potential is massive. This combined with the ability of a player to mix and match provenances (similar to Rites of War for the Legions) allows players great flexibility.
I have had plans to create a militia army since I read Know No Fear as part of my 5th Edition 40K shadow crusade inspired Word Bearer / World Eater army. At the time I was creating a 40K guard army to represent cultists supporting the traitor legions. This project never really materialize, but it gave me a narrative to work around: The Rampaging Host was the name of my chaos warband. Once rules for cults and militia came out, I knew at some point I would need to develop a force but had not settled on it until recently. I have been slowly collecting models from various factions / model ranges to use for an eventual militia army over the years. Recently I worked a deal with a buddy of mine to trade for a large militia lot that has sorted me with most of everything I will need for 3,000 points of militia.
A recent class with CK Studios ‘Eavy Metal where I painted a knight titan also influenced this. Originally I was going to paint up a mechanicum knight to augment my mechanicum, but decided the week before that having a knight paladin in my army would give it some needed firepower to rally around. With this, I began to develop a narrative to explain how all of these disparate forces came together. Below I outline the narrative and different factions; this is a bit of a lengthy article, but may give you some ideas on how you can organize background for your armies.
The Rampaging Host Force Organization
- HQ – Force Commander, Rod’rex, Thegn to Baron Darren Artelier (Feral Warrior and Tainted Flesh Provenances)
- HQ – Alpha Level Rogue Psyker, Sapalon, Emissary of the Warmaster, High Priest of the Davinite Bear Cult, The Witch Host
- HQ – Rogue Psyker, Lieutenant Damron Sykes of the 49th Jungle Irregulars, The Witch Host
- EL – 5x Ogryns, The Brutes of Haspia, Huscarls to Rod’rex
- TR – 20x Grenadiers, 11th Keshian Regulars
- TR – 20x Grenadiers, 3rd Haspian Enforcers
- TR – 50x Inducted Levies, 3rd Platoon, 29th Haspian Irregulars
- TR – 50x Inducted Levies, 5th Platoon, 29th Haspian Irregulars
- TR – 50x Inducted Levies, 1st Platoon, 49th Jungle Irregulars
- TR – 50x Inducted Levies, 7th Platoon, 59th Jungle Irregulars
- HS – 2x Basilisk Gun Carriages, Haspian Irregulars assigned to 1st Battery 32nd Rasuberg Artillery
- HS – 2x Medusa Gun Carriages, 4th Battery 32nd Rausberg Artillery
- HS – 3x Thudd Gun Carriages, Special Support Battery, 32nd Rausberg Artillery
- Fortification – Castellum Stronghold “The Rock of Haspia”
- Lord of War – Knight Paladin “Lament of Peace”
The Betrayal of House Artelier
Saphalon, Emissary of the Warmaster, Davinite High Priest of the Bear Cult, was received by the court of House Artelier a solar year before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. At that time, the majority of House Artelier was on Questoris in support of an Ultramarine compliance fleet. The youngest son of Baron Kalas Artelier, Darren, was left on Haspia to maintain order and see to the houses defense. Darren, who felt slighted because of his assignment, proved to be an ill tempered and capricious ruler. More concerned with his personal ambition than babysitting his father’s fiefdom, Darren was quickly enamored with the honeyed words brought by Sapalon.
Promising glory and acknowledgement of Darren’s true worth, Saphalon convinced Darren that the will of the Warmaster usurped family loyalty. All the while, Saphalon’s small entourage of advisers had quickly established themselves within the ranks of Darrel’s followers. Rod’rex, Darren’s huscarl, was shown power and wisdom of embracing ancient knowledge and blood ritual. It was not long before chaos worship had been adopted by many in the keep and its surrounding areas.
Word was received that House Artelier had been ordered back to Haspia to refit for an upcoming campaign, stripping the Ultramarines compliance fleet of heavy support as they were ordered to muster at Calth. Saphalon, Darren and Rod’rex devised a plan to turn the house to chaos upon its return. If this failed, a secondary plan was developed to strip the house of its teeth before they would be able to defend themselves.
Upon arriving back to Haspia, Baron Artelier was pleased to find that his youngest son had kept everything in order. A great feast had been arranged for the knights recently returned from crusade. While the pilots of the house enjoyed the comforts of home, Darren sought out Kalas and Dur’rel, father and mother of the house. In the Baron’s chambers, Darren explained the wonderful changes that had occurred, and how the House had been blessed by the Warmasters and ancient gods.
Confused and horrified, Baron Kalas Artelier called for his house enforcers to secure Darren for trial. The enforcers arrived with due haste, let by Rod’Rex and Saphalon. Confusion turned to fury as the scope of betrayal became apparent, Kalas and Dur’rel were detained, while enforcers pre-positioned in the great hall were given the signal to execute the knight pilots and their loyal vassals.
As loyal blood flowed, Kalas and Dur’rel were brought to witness the death of their house. Saphalon began an ancient blood rite, while Rod’Rex stepped forward to execute the last loyal Arteliers. He severed the heads of Patriarch and Matriarch at the height of the ritual, gaining the favor of Khorne. Newly imbued with powers, Darren appointed Rod’rex as his general and re-designated his forces as the Rampaging host.
Rod’rex, Thegn to Baron Artelier, General of the Rampaging Host
Rod’rex rose to his current status from relative obscurity. A proven and competent soldier, he rose to command the 3rd Haspian Enforcers. The 3rd had been assigned as the personal bodyguard of Darren Artelier, 3rd child of Kalas and Dur’rel. Rod’rex and his men were Darren’s Huscarls, and loyal despite his personal failings.
Lieutenant Damron Sykes, 49th Jungle Irregulars, Rogue Psyker and member of The Witch Host
Damron Sykes was a lieutenant of the 49th Jungle Irregulars, tasked with securing a critical communications in the Neo-geddon system. On the eve of the Istvaan 3 betrayal, Sykes was haunted by dreams of flames and treachery. Latent psychic powers were activated, and upon waking, Damron Sykes sought out his commanding officer to convert him to the Warmasters side. His CO rebuked him, and ordered Sykes to be arrested. Little is known about what happened next, but when the dawn arrived the communications compound was held by Sykes and his loyal men. Those who refused to swear loyalty are believed to have been set to the flame. Since that time, the remnants of the 49th Jungle Irregulars have been seen on various battlefields of the Shadow Crusade in the service of the Word Bearers Legion.
The Brutes of Haspia, Militia Ogryns
The Brutes of Haspia have become the personal bodyguard to Thegn Rod’rex. They were originally maintenance serfs of House Artelier who were tasked in maintenance and gunnery bays. They now form a mobile bulwark of mass, blade and fury always found where the fighting is thickest.
11th Keshian Regulars, Grenadiers
The 11th Keshian Regulars are the remainder of the Keshian troop tithes a decade before the outbreak of the heresy. Drawn from the noble houses and their own raised levies, the regiments of Keshians have become valued for their stalwart actions in the face of overwhelming odds. Within the ranks of The Rampaging Host they are often deployed to anchor the defensive positions and provide direct support to its artillery batteries. They favor short range fire support, augmented with precision grenade fire to hem in the enemy while close combat units make the assault.
3rd Haspian Enforcers, Grenadiers
The 3rd Haspian Enforcers are the veteran core of the original Haspian forces. They were the house guard for the Artelier Knight House and Rod’rex was their commander. During the Night of the Long Knives, it was the 3rd Haspian who drew first blood against their house, setting the ambush in the great hall which would see all loyal servants of the Emperor slain before the night was through. Within The Rampaging Host, they are assigned specialist assignments that require a higher level of discipline and skill.
29th Haspian Conscript Company, Inducted Levies
The 29th Haspian Conscript Company is formed from press ganged citizens of Haspia. Following the fall of House Artelier, the Haspian Enforcers and brutes rounded up all military aged and able bodied citizens. They were given the chance to follow Rod’rex in the war against the false emperor. Those who refused were executed on the spot. Those who complied were forced into discipline collars and put into the care of an enforcer before being herded onto bulk troop landers for indoctrination.
49th Jungle Irregular Company, Inducted Levies
The 49th Jungle Irregulars hail from a deathworld of thick jungles and dangerous fauna. Prized for their ability to operate in dense jungle terrain and their willingness to take on tough tasks, this company was assigned to defend a communications outpost in the Neo-geddon system located in their favored terrain. The company had been assigned a command cadre from another regiment because of a general lack of discipline within the company. Following the events that awakened Lt. Damron Sykes latent psychic powers, the 49th Jungle Irregulars were happy to see the pretentious cadre assigned to them burned for their abuse and disrespect.
32nd Rausberg Artillery Regiment, Basilisk, Medusa and Thudd Gun Batteries
The 32nd Rausberg Artillery Regiment are the remnants of a larger formation of the noble Rausberg tithes. Having been in the service of the Word Bearers Legion a decade before the events of Istvaan 5, their remaining command structure chose to honor oaths to a legion they have served with, rather than the distant Emperor. While their capability is a shadow of its former capacity, those remaining Rausberg artillery batteries have begun to train the more compliant Haspians conscripts how to crew a gun to augment their batteries.
The Rock of Haspia, Castellum Stronghold
The Rock of Haspia is a castellum stronghold that was gifted to Baron Artelier and Rod’rex after several successful but grueling actions. Traitor logicians had determined that The Rampaging Host would be 63.9 percent more effective with a fortification to base artillery from, as well as a deployment base of operations for prolonged infantry assaults.
The Lament of Peace, Questoris Knight Paladin
The Lament of Peace is an ancient knight chassis that has been passed down to the hier of the Artelier bloodline since before the chaos of Old Night. It has been a defender of Haspia for millenia. When Haspia reached compliance early in the great crusade, House Artelier swore fealty to the Imperium. The might of House Artelier was entered into the rolls of Questoris Houses, and would see compliance actions across many sectors. The house served honorably over the decades, supporting the Luna Wolves, Deathguard, Night Lords, Word Bearers and Ultramarine Legions.
During the Night of the Long Knives, dozens of loyal pilots were slain before they could reach their knight chassis. Darren Artelier, having claimed his fathers title, chassis and life, ordered all other knight chassis to be given to the Warmaster as an offering. He had no interest to lead a house into combat, favoring the adoration of his tainted mortals, who saw him as a god like icon.