Well, the Crimson Slaughter codex arrived this morning electronically to the iPad, and my feelings are pretty mixed.
What do I like? Well, I absolutely love the integration of the rules and the fluff. They’ve used custom relics with recommended load outs for individual characters, changed possessed (different bonus table and become troops), and provided some absolutely brilliant missions custom to the Chapters history and general mission. From a rules perspective, I’d say this is the best Codex Supplement out there – with the possible exception of Farsight Enclaves, which is pretty amazing.
What don’t I like? Fairly obviously, if I like the rules, the faults in the fluff! Its not bad, really – but it just doesn’t feel new. I don’t want to post spoilers here, but for me the main thrust of the Crimson Sabres fall is so close to the Soul Drinkers series that it really doesn’t feel too new. In addition, the rivalry with the Dark Angels just feels really forced. They just found out about a secret kept by Dark Angels for ten millennia, so now the Dark Angels want to wipe them out? Why not just have them start as a chapter of the Unforgiven? That would have made the rivalry feel much closer to home and not as forced – it feels like someone said “we need a rivalry with a famous chapter, roll a d8 …. oh Dark Angels”. It generally just feels a little lazy. People are crying out for legion books, and have a high level of interest in the Red Corsairs. If you want to add to the Chaos forces in 40K, it’d be nice to do something that genuinely feels fresh.
One fluff note I do really like though, which is a tiny mention in passing, is the return of the 4th company of the Crimson Sabres to their home world, in an attempt to re-establish the noble chapter. Its not fully clear to me how far down the chaos corruption line the 4th went before they broke away, either? A loyalist chaos marine force? Or a hunted marine chapter? Either is pretty cool.
I can see more people using this supplement as a way of fielding Word Bearers, with the possessed troop options. I’m going to be fielding Crimson Slaughter, but thats more because I have the Dark Vengeance minis and a mixed Chaos force with icons to Slaneesh, Tzeentch, Nurgle and Khorne in crimson and gold already! Easier than trying to refit them to a World Eaters legion 🙂