Extract & ebook
Thoughts on the portrayal of the Brimlock Dragoons
Thoughts on the end of
The below are personal comments and are completely unofficial and unauthorised by the Black Library or Games Workshop. This is a derivative work of intellectual property owned by Games Workshop and may not be used in any commercial activity without permission from that company.
With the novel’s release, I’ve had a chance to re-read the story and thought I would share some of my thoughts on the portrayal of the Brimlock Dragoons.
Obviously, nothing in the Warhammer universes is ever fully set in stone, so if you are planning a Brimlock themed army or story feel free to take from the below whatever inspires you and discard the rest.
Note that Imperial Glory is set in 660.M41, and so it’s perfectly reasonable for changes to happen in the centuries before the involvement of the Brimlock regiments in the Damocles Crusade and the ‘current’ 40K timeframe.
Brimlock is a heavy industry/manufacturing world in the Ultima Segmentum. It’s based on a late Industrial Revolution era London with the rich living well, the workers manning production lines (some literally being born and dying there), and the poorest living in slums known as ‘rookeries’. Some workers work on the outside of dirigibles which float over the cities. The planet is particularly famous for producing ornate rifles and other military equipment. The people themselves have a personal name/family name system which uses a mix of 40K Gothic, British and Portuguese names.
The Brimlock system
Brimlock is the administrative and military centre of its system. The other planets in the Brimlock system are ‘tribute worlds’ which are under the control of the Brimlock governor. The tribute worlds provide material and men to fight in the Brimlock auxilia. One of these planets was renamed Marguerite by the Brimlocks after they conquered it after the Brimlock patron saint, St. Marguerite ("Blessed Marguerite" is a common oath, alongside "God-Emperor").
The inhabitants of Marguerite are commonly known as ‘margoes’. Some consider this term purely descriptive, but most use it to be mildly derogatory.
Brimlock Dragoons Troop types
As a fully populated planet, Brimlock is able to provide several million men to the Imperial Guard each year. These men are volunteers, driven by poverty or a sense of adventure, though Brimlock could choose to conscript men in times of crisis. These men are organised into regiments normally between five and ten thousand men each. Due to its high manufacturing ability, all regiments begin as Armoured Fist units, fully equipped with chimeras and other transport vehicles. Over the course of a regiment’s existence, these may well be destroyed or break down, leaving the regiment to go into battle on foot.
Brimlock provides regiments of armour, artillery and sappers (nicknamed ‘beards’ because of their tendency to have profuse facial hair).
Brimlock also provides regiments of ‘horse dragoons’ (rough riders), who can fight as regular infantry but are equipped with pistols and explosive lances and prefer to fight as cavalry. They wear gold and silver ceremonial armour and are nicknamed ‘tin bellies’ by the regular infantry. Brimlock cavalrymen are typically highly religious (as I’d suppose you’d have to be to ride a horse into a 40K battle), disciplined and consider themselves an elite. They’re based on the English Civil War New Model Army cavalry rather than the reckless and aristocratic British cavalry of the Napoleonic and Crimean wars.
The Brimlock auxilia are troops drawn from the tribute worlds and vary in terms of troop type and ability. The only one specified in the novel are the troops drawn from Marguerite. These are based on Ghurkhas, however instead of carrying a kukri, they use a heavy chopping blade that curves inwards called a falcata (actually of pre-Roman Iberian origin). Marguerite auxilia are nicknamed ‘fell-cutters’ after this blade and, in contrast to the low opinion that most Brimlockers have of margoes, the fell-cutters have a fearsome and savage reputation amongst regular Brimlock regiments.
Regimental numbers are always recycled. When a new regiment is raised, it is given the number and the colours of a previous regiment that has been retired. The regiment takes the colours with it on campaign until it finally loses so many men that the regiment is consolidated into another or dissolved entirely. When regiments are consolidated, the lowest regimental number is retained and the higher number is retired. As lower numbers are also given out first to new regiments, low regiment numbers such as the Brimlock 1st are constantly in use.
At that point that a regiment is dissolved, the regiment’s colours are returned to Brimlock in the company of a few of the most decorated officers and men of the regiment (known as the colour-guard).
Once a regiment leaves Brimlock, only the members of the colour-guard ever come back. It is the highest honour to be part of the colour-guard and competition to be a part of it can be intense. Its men are feted, promoted and either become the core of a new regiment or, if they are too old or injured, they become magisters (teachers) at the officer schola.
Along with experience, military strategy and knowledge of different foes, the colour-guard also bring more mundane items with them. One of these is tanna, a Valhallan beverage which was brought back to Brimlock by a returning colour-guard. Tanna is now a popular drink on Brimlock and their regiments spread it to whatever part of the galaxy they’re sent. Brimlock troopers also use tanna to stain helmets and uniforms as improvised camouflage.
While the Brimlocks vary their strategy to their campaign, they prefer to operate from fixed, defensible bases. A typical Brimlock campaign will begin by landing of one or more Deployable Outpost Vehicle (DOV) from orbit at a suitable location. These vehicles will then be deployed into a standard pattern fort in about a day, providing the regiments with a secure base of operations. Once that is done, they will proceed with the overall campaign objectives.
Orkoid birth & environment
Along with the Brimlock Dragoons, the novel also includes the birth of an ork and its first few weeks of life. Again, this may be incorrect or be altered, but this is how I described it.
- Orks and their ecology are fungus based.
- Orks shed spores throughout their lives, but particularly at the moment of death
- Spores may lie dormant if there is sufficient orkoid life around it, otherwise it will develop into a form of orkoid life (flora, squig, gretchin, ork etc.)
- Ork-spores grow in sacs under the ground. When sufficiently developed, the ork clambers out of the sac. New born orks gravitate towards ork settlements and there become a part of ork culture.