Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Small Discourse about the Mark of Malal

A long time ago, I got thinking about designing some "generic daemons" for lesser powers and, more specifically, Malal. Although I didn't quite turn that series in to a mini-dex (perhaps I will one day), I did gather all the articles together and got thinking about what the Mark of Malal might possibly be.

Independently of other players, I figured that the special rule "preferred enemy" would be a good fit. Having since read some historic forum entries about the same thing, I discovered that my opinion was not a new one -- other players had thought of this one before.

Additionally, others had suggested other ideas such as an increase in the number of attacks for a follower of Malal; perhaps specific bonuses versus daemons and / or mortals with the mark of another chaos power; and so forth.

It seems that the preferred enemy special rule is a good fit to the (sparse and finite) background material available about Malal. Briefly, Malal encompasses the emotion of vengeance and self-destruction -- with a distinctly anti-chaos bent. So how would the preferred enemy rule work? Which enemies are we talking about here?

I personally see the answer to that question as having multiple answers. Firstly (and perhaps obviously) it would be against models that have the mark of another chaos deity - but would that include those with the Mark of Malal itself as well? Probably, under certain circumstances. And what about those who serve chaos in a general manner? Would Malal followers have any beef with the Word Bearers legion for instance?

Personally, I think that they would. The Word Bearers worship chaos in all of its forms. Ironically, that would include Malal as well. Malal would certainly be happy to help out against such a legion. Hence, I believe that the preferred enemy rule needs to be expanded beyond other models with marks.

Would it be preferred enemy against "chaos" in general? This seems more plausible, but it would need further definition. Does it include possessed rhinos? Yes, probably. What about obliterators? Again, probably yes. And everything from the daemons codex? Yes. But what about chaos furies? They're kind of independent (representing un-named fear). Again, though, they're certainly chaotic enough for Malal to be active against them. How about chaos spawn? Many of them probably once served chaos and subsequently became spawn through too many mutations. But on the other hand, given the psychic power available through both the chaos space marines and daemons codex, it might not be the spawn's fault that they're highly mutated. But here, I think the answer is still yes as they've been highly affected by the powers of chaos (arguably).

Okay, I'm happy with that then (i.e.: preferred enemy: chaos, with a very broad definition of chaos). But here's a puzzle for you. Would the Mark of Malal enable a bonus against Sanguinius? After all, he's certainly been "mutated" by the powers of the Warp. Well, that's enough rambling from me for now. I hope I haven't caused a riot.

Addendum (March 14th 2010): I've become pretty convinced by the comments I've received that the Mark of Malal should be = preferred enemy (chaos and anti-chaos). As such, I think the easiest / simplest way forward is to have preferred enemy (everyone).


Menos said...

I've always been under the assumption that the followers of Malal where not only against Chaos in general but also those that Chaos was against. I understand your proposition of Preferred Enemy: Chaos, but what about when facing the Imperium (Space Marine, Inquisition, and IG)? Xenos are Xenos so I wouldn't worry about them, but I see not only Chaos but in the very least having some type of special rule to combat the Inquisition (especially if you're playing the Sons of Malice).

jabberjabber said...

Thanks for the additional thoughts, Menos! I hadn't fully considered a bonus against the inquisition.

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