I – Hope is the first step on the road to betrayal


I – Hope is the first step on the road to betrayal

  • Timespan: January–March
  • Narrative: Volnoscere, the False Primarch appears along with his Silver Stars. Forces flock to him; battles between Partisans and Guard/xenos forces.
  • Lore: We look at a selection of the Partisan Chapters.
  • Works: Example models are unveiled of Dramatis Personae for both the Pentarchy and the Partisans.

If you've been following along on Instagram, you'll likely have seen a few posts pop up already. This article is intended to give you some framework for the broader conflict. In this early stages, the information that is reaching the High Lords is nothing out of the ordinary. 

Towards the end of the period, it becomes clear that the False Primarch – as the orthodoxy of the Imperium refer to Volnoscere – represents the potential to become an existential threat to the Imperium. To that end, the High Lords assemble a significant fleet; one rivalling the later Crusade fleets. They sanction five Chapters of Astartes – the Pentarchy of Blood – to head the fleet and counter the four rebel Chapters. 

[//Flesh Eater bearing the Rose of the Pentarchy+]

As it becomes clear that it is rather more than four Chapters that have joined this partisan movement, the High Lords are put in a difficult position. Bring in more Chapters and risk spreading word of the movement, or finding other, less straightforward methods...?

Against the backdrop of the broader region, the Segmentum Pacificius (see map below), the action mainly takes place in two subsectors: Helipolis and Morqub. The major battles of the period – the first two decades of the war, are outlined below, though there were countless smaller conflicts as the Partisans spread the word of the Returned Primarch. Please use these as inspiration for your own modelling and writing. 

Most of the named battles are quite large, so do feel free to illustrate them. You're not treading on anyone's toes: quite the opposite. I'd like to use as great a variety of models as possible to illustrate these, so if you'd like to see your models, artwork or colour text in a later article, please do refer to the battles here in your captions on Instagram/submissions via comments here, and I'll fold in your material.

The tags for this stage of the project are:


Starmap of Sector Morqub

Battle of Hong-Qi

  • Precis: First recorded appearance of the Silver Stars. A battlefleet of unquantified displacement – codified as AY-0975B – arrives during a battle between Eldar of the Halo Region and the Inheritors. The interdiction routs the Eldar; and the fleet leaves without communication.
  • Belligerents: Silver Stars; Inheritors – Craftworld Dain Mir

Battle of Choeropsis

  • Precis: The damaged Inheritor fleet is targeted by Inquisition vessels on the route to their homeworld; they divert to Choreopsis, a Civilised world of religious fundamentalists. The intervention of a Void Baron picket fleet routs the Inquisitorial fleet.
  • Belligerents: Inheritors; Void Barons – Ordo Propter; Ordo Astartes; including Astartes members of the Vigilants – a short-lived Ordo Astartes Order Militant; somewhat equivalent to the Deathwatch. 

Conclave on Jiam-III (dead world)

  • Precis: First recorded appearance of Volnsocere; assembly of the Four. The first Four Chapters to declare for Volnoscere gather on this dead planet, and pledge service. 

[//Pict capture unresolved – Jiam III operatives uncontactable+]

Delphurnan War: Siege of Ul-Hiyar

  • Precis: An assassination attempt is made against Volnoscere in the City of Ul-Hiyar on Ishim, the Chapter Homeworld of the Red Fish. Covering his retreat, the planet is sacked by the Death Eagles Chapter; supported by Vigilants and Ordo Forces. News of the atrocity draws the Riven Lords and Wormwood Sons into the broader conflict.
    • The Siege of Ul-Hiyar prompts the formation of the Marines Mendicant, a counter-operative force of Partisan Astartes intended to meet and exceed the Shadow War operatives of the Inquisition. 
  • Belligerents: Red Fish, Silver Stars – Death Eagles; Ordo forces under Lord Inquisitor Masheev Leong-Cassar; Legio Validus (Titan Legion).

Acylus – The Methuselan Affair

  • Precis: A convoy of House Methuselan Navigators are targetted by the Silver Stars' fleet, eager to capture as many Navigators as possible. They walk into an ambush headed by the Pentarchy of Blood, who rout the Silver Stars and their allies; the Jade Talons and Marines Saturnine. 
  • Belligerents: Silver Stars, Jade Talons, Marines Saturnine – Flesh Eaters, Carcharadons, Red Talons, Charnel Guard and Death Eagles. 


Starmap of Sector Heliopolis

+ Known events +

Battle of Gurro VII

  • Precis: Vigilants and Ordo forces spearhead an Extinction Force on the planet. Request assistance from the Argent Heralds, and Flesh Eaters; who are met in battle by a small Iron Guard fleet. The Iron Guard are beaten back, but as a result of the battle, the Argent Heralds and Iron Guard later break ties with the broader Imperium in favour of Volnoscere. 
  • Belligerents: Ordo Propter, Argent Heralds, Flesh Eaters – Iron Guard.

First Helepolian Void War 838.M33

  • Precis: The largest conflict thus far: Ilimoko of The Silver Stars heads an Astartes fleet against the combined might of Battlefleets Heliopolis and Morqub. During the battle, the Firebreak and Jade Talons reveal themselves to be supporters of Volnsocere and gut a significant section of Battlefleet Morqub. The shock defeat of the combined Battlefleets prompts questions amongst the High Lords.
  • Belligerents: Silver Stars, Wormwood Sons, Void Barons, Iron Guard, Star Wardens –  Battlefleet Morqub, Battlefleet Helioplis, Jade Talons, Death Eagles, Firebreak. 

Copperveil Drift: Icathus

  • Precis: The Riven Lords assault and claim the feral world of Icathus. This course of action places them under sanction of the High Lords.


  • Precis: Star Wardens and Wormwood Sons launch an all-out assault on Bastion-Sextant as recompense for the Methuselan Affair. Lightly defended, the planet is rendered lifeless – but the Carcharadons, Flesh Eaters and Red Talons retaliate.
  • Belligerents: Star Wardens, Wormwood Sons – Ordo Forces; Pentarchy elements 


Related events

You may wish to make note of, or foreshadow these:
  • Acylus – this system is a perennial thorn in the side for Volnoscere and the Partisans. The Inheritors and the Firebreak are wiped out in toto by the Death Eagles in the later stages of the war.
  • The core theme of this first section is Hope and Betrayal, so the more conflict, the better, really. Partisans, feel free to have your Chapter raid worlds that other Partisans protect on the assumption that the populace is resisting Volnsocere (or whatever pretext you like, really). The region is massive: there are roughly one thousand Imperial systems.
  • As mentioned in this post, the symbol for the Partisans is the Caputmori, a skull-headed eagle surmounting a wreath. This is suggested by the Inheritors following the Conclave on Jiam-Tertiary. It's not officially recognised by the Silver Stars, but it becomes a popular icon of the movement. You can choose whether and how it's applied to your models.
[//The Marines Saturnine bear a stylised version of the Caputmori in place of the chest eagle+]

  • The Silver Stars themselves are heavily pre-occupied with searching for something. Their fleet is split and divided across both the Morqub and Helipolis sectors. They can thus turn up pretty much anywhere you want them to for narrative purposes. 
  • Volnoscere is absent for much of the early events. He is rarely seen directly; though much is attributed to him. Mostly, the Silver Stars seem to operate through his inner council, a group of Silver Stars named the Kapihe.
    • The Silver Stars; naming scheme and culture is based loosely around the Hawaiian/Pacific Island region (so where you'd name a Blood Angel with Renaissance Italian/Angelic names, feel free to pick a Hawaiian name if you need to make up a Silver Star).
  • A second Helepolian Void War was fought forty years later in 878.M33.
  • The Riven Lords' actions on Icathus will later (in stage 2 or 3) result in an inter-Partisan battle, with elements of the Firebreak, Star Wardens, Inheritors and Iron Guard taking up arms against them; and two other Partisans (the Jade Talons and Marines Saturnine, perhaps?) coming to their aid as thanks for their support earlier in the war. The resulting battle will eventually be settled by the personal appearance of Volnoscere, but leave all involved Chapters weakened – this will be the setup for many to be wiped out by the Pentarchy.
  • The Vigilants are a bit like the Deathwatch; a group of individual Astartes from various Chapters. They are marked by red helms with yellow and black stripes down the centre (a la the Rogue Trader Military Police).
  • The Marines Mendicant are effectively an Honour Guard formed by Volnoscere from particularly loyal Partisans. They're granted the use of the Silver Star, and can bear a skull-headed Eagle on their armour.