Sorry about the length, but here's the (preliminary) write-up:
The Revenants chapter of the Adeptus Astartes was founded in 927.M41, primarily to offset the losses of the Badab War - losses due both to actual combat losses and to those chapters sent on penitent crusades. Work was begun as early as 912.M41, and in the next 25 years the Magi Genetor of the Adeptus Mechanicus repaired the gene-seed of the Raven Guard to a point at which it was declared fit for a new founding. Early indications were promising, and in 929 Zechariah Dyvik - already a seasoned commander of men and would-be Astartes candidate (if he had come from a world normally recruited by the Space Marines) - succesfully completed an accelerated implantation/indoctrination schedule and became the first Revenant. He was sent to live, fight, train, and study with his parent chapter - the Raven Guard - en route to becoming chapter master of the soon-to-be formed Revenants. In the meantime, suitable candidates were found to become the captains, chaplains, and sergeants of the chapter; then the bulk of the brotherhood was recruited and created. Finally, in 941.M41, Dyvik was united with his chapter. Selecting a world relatively close to where he studied, Dyvik settled the Revenants on a Halo world at the southeastern part of Segmentum Tempestus known as Tholos. Tholos itself is a rocky world of plains, hills, and karst landscapes where the Revenants built their fortress-monastery - known as "The Crypt" - both on the surface and in vast subterranean excavations. Tholos' three natural satellites serve as dockyards for the chapter fleet and orbital defense outposts.
Since their founding, settlement, and indoctrination, the Revenants have yet to participate in a conflict involving the full chapter. However, individual companies and/or combined-arms elements have participated in the Balur Crusade against Orks in 944.M41; the Second Tyrannic War in 993.M41, against a flanking offshoot of Hive Fleet Kraken; and in the Zeist Campaign against the Tau in 999.M41; as well as the smaller-scale skirmishes common to most chapters. The lessons learned from these engagements, as well as those learned from the Raven Guard - both in practice and in genetic disposition - have cemented the Revenants' combat philosophy of fast, hard-hitting assaults along with ambush, surprise, and misdirection. In addition, their youth as a chapter and self-sufficiency of many of the worlds in their area have lent themselves to the heavy usage of high-tech weaponry and wargear.
The congenital defects of the Raven Guard and their later foundings still mostly exist within the Revenants. The Betcher's Gland is absent, and the defect in the melanchrome still is still present, causing Revenants to develop their characteristic pallid skin and jet-black hair and eyes. The mucranoid, however, has been repaired to an extent, as detailed below. Because of the earlier issues with the genetic line the creation of neophytes is a slow process, with rigorous genetic testing being the norm and approval from Terra required every generation.
Reclusiam and chapter cult
Like most Astartes chapters, the Revenants do not follow the same dogma as the Imperial Cult. However, the recent founding of the chapter has lent itself to some of the more supernatural beliefs of the modern Ecclesiarchy becoming incorporated into the chapter cult. The renewal of the Raven Guard gene-seed, the slow process of Revenant initiation, and the continued superficial defect of the melanchrome which plagues the Raven Guard have all led to a chapter-wide philosophy of viewing the major milestones in life as being times of death and undeath. The transformation of a recruit into a Space Marine is seen this way; in a symbolic way, so is the activation of the mucranoid before a campaign. The mucranoid was repaired in the process of founding the chapter, but it is not perfect - the activation can be an arduous and painful process for the individual Marine, and often involves very brief periods of fever and cataleptic states. Because of this, the activation of a unit's mucranoids is as much a ritual as a medical process and is overseen by a chaplain as well as administered by an apothecary. The Emperor's deathless state on the Golden Throne is seen as the highest example of service in a state of undeath, and is referenced in the chapter's liturgies. Brothers are often considered to be reborn from their original human state into an undeath as an avenging spirit.
The Reclusiam itself comprises a Master of Sanctity, two reclusiarchs, and the company chaplains. They wear the traditional black armor and skull helmets of Astartes chaplains, and are equipped as follows:
- company chaplains (9) - power armor, rosarius, jump pack, plasma pistol, crozius arcanum, frag and krak grenades
- reclusiarchs/Master of Sanctity (3) - terminator armor, rosarius, storm bolter, crozius arcanum
Librarians are oddly viewed in two ways within the Revenants. The chapter was founded amidst acceptance of the Codex Astartes and the normalcy of librarians. However, Corax' initial dissent with Magnus and antagonistic view toward psykers is not easily forgotten. This results in Revenants librarians being viewed with just a touch of suspicion until their bravery and dedication are proven - in which case they are hailed as much as any other tested battle-brother. Librarians follow Codex heraldry. While librarians aren't assigned specifically to any one company permanently, they are often assigned in units to deploy with a company or task force; on occasion, a more senior librarian may command a unit made up of elements from different squads.
- lexicaniums (18) - bike (twin-linked bolters,) bolter, bolt pistol, force weapon, frag and krak grenades
- codiciers (9) - bike, psychic hood, plasma pistol, force weapon, frag and krak grenades
- epistolary - terminator armor, psychic hood, storm bolter, force weapon
- Chief Librarian (epistolary) - terminator armor, psychic hood, force weapon, storm shield
As a legacy from their parent legion, the Revenants have a healthy respect for technology and thus their chapter Techmarines. While the chaplains may mutter about the Techmarines' leanings toward the Cult Mechanicus, no battle-brother would ever question a Techmarine's loyalty, bravery, or dedication. The rust-red of the Techmarines' armor may be found repeated on the chapter's tanks and APC's as well as on its Thunderfire cannons.
The Revenants have a good working relationship with the Archmagos of the nearby Forge World Tolkhan, even having taken the field alongside Tolkhan's skitarii in defense of some of the local resource worlds against corsairs or Freebooterz. While nothing is confirmed, there have been rumors of the chapter working with the Forge World in creating a variant of the Land Speeder Storm enabled to carry two terminators and a power-armored pilot - most likely for use in transporting terminator-armored librarians or chaplains.
- techmarines w/ servitors (9) - these techmarines, mounted in Mk I Razorbacks (lascannon, twin-linked plasma guns, smoke launchers, searchlight, storm bolter, extra armor,) will commonly accompany a company's armor/APC's: artificer armor, bolt pistol, power axe, servo-arm, frag and krak grenades, 5x servitors (each w/ servo-arm; one replaces servo-arm w/ heavy bolter, one replaces servo-arm w/ plasma cannon)
- techmarines w/ bikes (9) - these will commonly accompany a company's bike and land speeder squadrons: artificer armor, bolt pistol, power axe, servo-harness (2x servo-arms, twin-linked plasma pistols, flamer,) frag and krak grenades
- Thunderfire gunners (27) - generally applied 3 per company, these techmarines will often take the field with the unit when their associated cannon isn't deployed: artificer armor, bolt pistol, servo-harness, frag and krak grenades
- Master of the Forge - artificer armor, conversion beamer, power axe, servo-arm, frag and krak grenades, 6x servitors (as above - when embarking with the chapter master, the Master of the Forge will usually take one servitor)
While the Revenants adhere to the Codex Astartes as far as logistical assignments, heraldry, etc., they do not use the traditional order of companies. Rather, there are 9 battle companies and no reserve or scout companies. Scouts are distributed among the squads in each company, and are rotated regularly among the different types of squad (and among the apothecarium and armory, as well) in order to expose each scout to the different specialties and determine each scout's area of expertise. At any given time, a scout is attached to each assault, tactical, devastator, and bike squad per company. All wear scout armor, of course. Company and squad command tends to be rather flexible; it is common for certain elements of a company to be fielded, or even certain elements from various squads if the occasion calls for it. These mixed squads will generally be commanded by a chaplain or librarian in order to avoid having to take authority from one sergeant over another. Squads are composed as follows:
- terminator squad: 1 sgt., power weapon and storm bolter
1x power fist/assault cannon
1x power fist/heavy flamer
1x power fist/storm bolter/cyclone missile launcher
1x chainfist/storm bolter
3x power fist/storm bolter
- terminator assault squad: 1 sgt., pair of lightning claws
4x pair of lightning claws
3x thunder hammer/storm shield
- assault squad: 1 sgt., pair of lightning claws*, meltabombs
2x plasma pistol/chainsword, frag and krak grenades
7x bolt pistol/chainsword, frag and krak grenades
1x scout bike (twin-linked bolters) - shotgun, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
* - in Companies 4-9, one assault sergeant will carry a plasma pistol, power weapon, and combat shield instead of the lightning claws
- devastator squad: 1 sgt., bolter, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades, signum
1x multi-melta, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
1x lascannon, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
1x plasma cannon, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
1x heavy bolter, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
5x bolter, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
1x scout w/ sniper rifle, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
- tactical squad: 1 sgt., bolt pistol/power weapon, frag and krak grenades
1x plasma gun, frag and krak grenades, bolt pistol
1x multi-melta, frag and krak grenades, bolt pistol
7x bolter, frag and krak grenades, bolt pistol
1x scout w/ heavy bolter/hellfire shells, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
- bike squad: 1x sergeant, plasma pistol, meltabombs/frag and krak grenades
1x plasma gun, frag and krak grenades
1x bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
1x attack bike (multi-melta, twin-linked bolter,) bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
1x scout bike (Astartes grenade launcher) - shotgun, bolt pistol, cluster mines
- land speeder squad: 1x Land Speeder Typhoon (heavy bolter, Typhoon missile launcher)
2x Land Speeder Tornado (multi-melta, assault cannon)
- company command squad: 1x captain, bike, artificer armor, lightning claw, plasma pistol, frag and krak grenades, Iron Halo*
1x apothecary: bike, chainsword, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades, narthecium
1x company champion: bike, power weapon, combat shield, bolt pistol
1x company standard bearer: bike, company standard, chainsword, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades
1x bike, plasma gun, frag and krak grenades
1x bike, bolter, chainsword, frag and krak grenades
* - captains of Companies 5, 7, and 8 sub a storm bolter with Hellfire shells for the lightning claw and plasma pistol.
Company disposition is as follows:
1x company command squad
1x terminator squad
1x terminator assault squad
2x assault squad
2x devastator squad
1x tactical squad
2x bike squad
1x land speeder squad
1x company command squad
3x assault squad
2x devastator squad
2x tactical squad
2x bike squad
1x land speeder squad
Armor is limited in the Revenants, with the chapter preferring to use quick-strike and misdirection insertions with appropriate units such as drop pods including Deathstorm drop pods, Thunderhawks, Space Marine Landing Craft, and teleport homers. APC's are as follows:
Land Raider Crusaders: 6 (1 per terminator/terminator assault squad) - twin-linked assault cannon, two hurricane bolters, frag assault launcher, smoke launchers, searchlight, multi-melta, extra armor
Rhinos: 33 (1 per tactical/devastator squad) - two storm bolters, smoke launchers, searchlight, extra armor
In addition, for anti-armor firepower, the armory includes 13 Predator Annihilator tanks (twin-linked lascannon, smoke launchers, searchlight, two lascannons, storm bolter, extra armor) - approximately one tank per two or three APC's if deployed as escorts. Finally, four Whirlwinds (Whirlwind missile launcher, smoke launchers, searchlight, storm bolter, extra armor) are included for occasions when artillery-type or long range support are deemed necessary.
Chapter command/Honor Guard - Mk I Razorback (as above)
- Chapter Master: artificer armor, lightning claw, plasma pistol, auxiliary grenade launcher, Iron Halo
- Chapter Champion: artificer armor, thunder hammer, frag and krak grenades, bolter, bolt pistol
- Chapter standard bearer: chapter banner, artificer armor, power weapon, frag and krak grenades, bolter, bolt pistol
- 1x artificer armor, power weapon, auxiliary grenade launcher, bolter, bolt pistol
Having existed for less than two centuries, the Revenants have few dreadnoughts. However, dreadnoughts are revered in the chapter; while some chapters find the idea of interment in such a construct distatsteful, the Revenants view it as yet another chapter in the cycle of undeath and service to the Emperor. Brother Carrollus, a venerable dreadnought of the Raven Guard, volunteered to come with Dyvik upon the instatement of the chapter - he is now one of Dyvik's most trusted advisors and holds a place on the chapter council.
- Venerable dreadnought: twin-linked autocannon, twin-linked missile launcher, smoke launchers, searchlight
- Ironclad dreadnought: seismic hammer with meltagun, dreadnought close-combat weapon with storm bolter, searchlight, smoke launchers, extra armor (x2,) ironclad assault launchers, two hunter-killer missiles
- dreadnought: plasma cannon, dreadnought close-combat weapon with storm bolter, smoke launchers, searchlight, extra armor
- dreadnought: multi-melta, dreadnought close-combat weapon with heavy flamer, smoke launchers, searchlight, extra armor
Physically, there are even fewer variations in appearance among the brothers of the Revenants than there are in other chapters. This is due to both the uniform pale skin and black hair and eyes caused by the faulty melanchrome organ, and the rigorous reconstruction and constant purification of the Revenants' gene-seed. Facial features are individual, of course; and the more senior brothers develop individual patterns of scarring as a side-effect of the repeated trauma of mucranoid activation.
The chapter follows Codex Astartes heraldry. Armor is black, with underlayered systems in grey and flame-orange trim on the pauldrons and vambraces. The chapter badge is displayed normally and consists of a bone-colored skull facing, with flames erupting from the open mouth and the eye sockets. On banners, etc., this is commonly displayed on a field of rust-red. Squad markings are displayed in the company color, as is the squad number on the left knee. Terminators have their helmets painted in their company color, and the squad number on the right knee.
As may be expected, wargear tends to be very well maintained and cared-for. Officers generally wear Mark VIII armor, and take advantage of the improved vox systems which this armor offers. Power weapons generally take the form of typical Imperial power swords - however, mounted troops will usually use a sword more like a shashka or occassionally a szabla or yatagan. Officers and veterans of notable engagements are often awarded a dagger to wear, which takes the form of a kindjal - this is rarely used as a combat weapon, and is usually used to administer a coup d'grace or to execute a prisoner.
There is no telling exactly what's next for the Revenants - however, all indications point to a large mobilization to one of two places. Some believe that the chapter is due to be sent to Armageddon to help continue the fighting there; the presence of the White Scars and their successor chapter there, though, may preclude the diversion of another mobile, fluid chapter. More likely, a large detachment will be sent towards the Eye of Terror to help prosecute one of the aftermaths of the 13th Black Crusade - on the ground on Cadia, against the Orks in some of the outlying Cadian areas, etc.
"We've been over this. We don't shoot first and ask questions later."
"Of course! We never ask questions."