Mini Codex Extension: The Custodian Knights

4th Edition

This mini Codex allows you to field the enigmatic Custodian Knights within your Dark Angel armies.

It is not Chapter Approved, and you will need your opponents permission to use a unit of this type in your games. As it is based as closely as possible on the Codex Space Marines' Honour Guard, there should be no complaints of over-poweredness.

Currently the recent Dark Angels FAQ allowed you to field such units provided you had your opponents' permission. But linking them in to the DA/Unforgiven background was always tricky and their use just smacked of powergaming.

With that in mind this has mini codex extension been devised as one 'fluff' reason (or should that be a 'fluff' excuse) to include the incredibly cinematic Relic Blade-wielding unit to be fielded alongside your usual mix of Deathwing, Ravenwing and Greenwing armies — to set yourself up to rip a hole through something soon.

1. Background

Introduction

Believed to be the last remaining vestige of the once fabled Knights of Caliban, the Custodian Knights are a mysterious and seldom spoken of organisation within the Dark Angels Chapter. As they are rarely seen — the very nature of their function keeping them hidden from prying eyes indeed they are actually considered by many not to exist, but to be of mythical status only. This is an image of the Custodian Knights that those within the Inner Circles of the Chapter and wider Unforgiven are most anxious to maintain.

Organisation and structure

The Custodian Knights are part of the Deathwing, yet they do not form a part of either the first company's organisation nor take a part in the battle order of any fighting elements of the Chapter. They form a separate organistion and have their own titular Master, usually of Grand Master rank, who always remains on Caliban. In numbers they are kept at 15 strong, they are not organised into permanent squads but are put together to form independent units whenever required.

Duties, function and status

On Caliban their main task is that of guarding any suspected captured Fallen or Fallen agents. To this end they are stationed deep within the bowels of the fortress homeworld, where they keep a silent vigil over their charges. Essentially they are custodians of all the cells, interrogation chambers and other offices of Caliban used by the Interrogator-Chaplains and Librarians to undertake their duties. It is also thought (though not confirmed) that the Custodian Knights bear responsibility for the activities of the Watchers in the Dark.

All Custodian Knights are members of the Inner Circle and the Deathwing. They take the normal Oaths of Fealty as do all Deathwing inductees, but in addition they take the Oath of Vigil, which, essentially, binds them to their custodial victims throughout their short time on Caliban. All are recruited from the Deathwing Company and from various levels within the Inner Circle itself. Indeed the rank-status of a Custodian Knight is equated to that of a Veteran Sergeant of a battle company — thought it is not unusual to see a Master serving in the ranks. Because of this many great Company Masters have emerged from the ranks of the Knights — XXXX (censored by the Inner Circle) currently Master of the Seventh Company and XXXX (censored by the Inner Circle) a former Master of the Fourth for example, as it is considered a great honour to serve.

In their role they present an austere demenor even by the standards of the Dark Angels. When on Caliban they wear robes of dark green lined with bone white, each is armed with a two-handed greatsword that is kept in a scabbard slung across their back. They have shaven heads, exposing both a tattoo of the crossed keys (the unit's emblem) and a Deathwing broken sword, as well bearing the usual service studs. In addition, as a badge of office, the Custodian Knights wear a golden key (the Last Key) slung from a chain around their neck. This is reputedly a representation of the key that was used to seal the stasis field cell of Luther.

Although of an archaic outer bearing the Custodian Knights are actually a formidable fighting unit, highly motivated and of undoubted loyalty, able to take their place upon the battlefield should they be required to do so. It is not unusual to see a small squad of Custodian Knights aboard a battle barge when the Chapter is on campaign, ready to fulfill their primary function should the need arise.

Yet there is also darker side to them. It is rumoured that the Master of the Custodian Knights has a series of sealed orders from the Primarch himself written on his journey to Luther and Caliban, and continually counter-signed by every subsequent Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter. It is thought that in order to prevent a repeat of the schism within the Unforgiven ever occurring again, the Custodian Knights are charged with the summary execution of all active ring-leaders and sympathisers to such an uprising no matter what rank and position they hold within the Chapter. Unthinkably, even Azreal could be subject to their grim jurisdiction.

Armament and equipment

Their largely ceremonial appearance has been detailed above but when called upon to fight they don power armour. This is coloured dark green but has the unique distinction of gold-rimmed shoulder pads and a gold chest eagle. The right shoulder pad bears the a crossed key motif with a skull below, while the left pad bears the Dark Angels Chapter symbol.

The main emphasis of the Custodian Knight doctrine is assault, as such the difference between them and their battle company brethren lies with their armament. Each Keeper carries a bolter and the two-handed Penitential Blade with which they are able to use with great skill and ferocity in close combat; they are also equipped with frag, krag grenades and a bolt pistol.

2. How to use the Custodian Knights

There are two distinct ways to use them, either based on Honour Guard Squads or as a Command Squad from Codex Space Marines. One option require the use of a Supreme Grand Master within your army; the second option may be used with a Master, including Belial or Sammael or their Successor equivalents.

Only a single Custodian Knights unit may be used with any army at any one time.

OPTION 1

As an Honor Guard

For unit composition, stats, points cost and options use the Honour Guard Squad entry from the Codex Space Marines unless detailed otherwise below. Note that the above-mentioned Penitential Blade represents the Codex Space Marines' Relic Blade.

HQ

Custodian Knight Squad

You may take one Custodian Knight squad when a Dark Angel Supreme Grand Master or Successor Grand Master is included your Unforgiven army. This unit does not use up any force organisation chart space but is otherwise treated as a separate HQ allowance, nor does the squad need to deploy with or remain with the Supreme Grand Master when on the tabletop.

Unit composition:
  • 1 Custodian Knight Exemplar (Chapter Champion)
  • 2 Custodian Knights.
Unit type:
  • Infantry.
Wargear:
  • As per Honour Guard squad from Codex Space Marines.
Special rules:
  • And They Shall Know No Fear.
  • Fearless (replaces Combat Tactics).
  • Honour or Death (Custodian Knight Exemplar only).
Dedicated transport:
  • May select a Drop Pod, Rhino or Razorback (using points and rules from Codex Dark Angels).
Options:
  • As per Honour Guard squad from Codex Space Marines.

OPTION 2

As a Command Squad:

For unit composition, stats, points cost and options use the Command Squad entry from the Codex Space Marines unless detailed otherwise below.

HQ

Custodian Knight Squad

You may include one Custodian Knight squad for a single Unforgiven Company Master in your Unforgiven army, including Belial and Sammael. This unit does not use up any force organisation chart spaces but is otherwise treated as a separate HQ allowance, nor does the squad need to deploy with or remain with the Company Master when on the tabletop.

In addition to the normal Commad Squad options, this Custodian Knight squad route also has the option to field them wearing Terminator armour, all with combi-weapons if dersired.

Unit composition:
  • 4 Custodian Knights.
  • 1 Custodian Knight Apothecary.
Unit type:
  • Infantry.
Wargear:
  • As per Command Squad entry from Codex Space Marines.
Special rules:
  • And They Shall Know No Fear.
  • Fearless (replaces Combat Tactics).
Dedicated transport:
  • May select a Drop Pod, Rhino or Razorback if wearing power armour (using points and rules from Codex Dark Angels).
Unit options:
  • As per Command squad entry from Codex Space Marines.
Model options:
  • As per Command Squad entry from Codex Space Marines, plus:
  • The whole unit may replace all wargear with:
    – Terminator armour, power fist and storm bolter for +90 points.
  • Any Terminator armoured model may replace their storm bolter with:
    – a combi-melta, -flamer or -plasma for +5 points
  • One model in the unit may replace their Terminator armour's storm bolter with:
    – an assault cannon (Dark Angels rules) for +30 points
    – a heavy flamer for +5 points
    – or keep the storm bolter and power fist and take a cyclone missile launcher (Dark Angels rules) for +20 points.
  • Any model may replace Terminator armour's storm bolter and power fist with:
    – a pair of lightning claws, or a thunder hammer and storm shield, for free.

And that's it. The widest flexibility is allowed to follow the Codex Space Marines as closely as possible, with Fearless thrown in to link to the battle doctrines of the Deathwing. The Command Squad varient allows you to take terminator armour.


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