As my writing of a Black Templars novel was announced on the Black Library website a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d talk about them a bit. Specifically, and of great importance to the way I write them, I’ve come to the following conclusion: Black Templars are fanatics.
Consider the following factettes from Codex: Space Marines:
- They consider that they are still fighting the Great Crusade.
- They alone of the oldest chapters see the Emperor as a god.
- They venerate Imperial psykers, especially Astropaths, because these people have been directly touched by the Emperor himself.
- Their hatred of alien and non-sanctioned psykers knows no bounds.
- They have close ties to the Ecclesiarchy of Terra.
History tells us that people on “missions from god” are rarely nice. So this led me to the following on how they might think:
- They believe they are the “chosen ones” (in this case, of the Emperor).
- Because they are the chosen sons of the Emperor, they believe they can do no wrong.
Both such opinions are commonplace among real-life keepers of the “one truth”, whether that’s religious or ideological, and Black Templars certainly think that they know that one truth. That, in conjunction with my research, then led me on to this:
- They can be suspicious or dismissive of other Space Marines, who are misguided in not seeing the Emperor’s divinity.
- They see the other couple of chapters that worship the Emperor as being lesser in quality than they, as they are younger.
- They are honourable, staunch allies, but terrifying foes who can be utterly merciless, sometimes in ways that we would find shocking.
- They are steeped in religious mysticism and harsh ritual.
- They are hierarchically hidebound.
- They are not beyond underhand actions to get their own way.
- They take failure badly.
- They are inclined to be secretive.
- They are arrogant and impatient.
- They respect martial prowess.
- Their ties with the Ecclesiarchy are important to their character and to their actions.
- Hubris could be a problem.
I don’t see them as shining-white “goodies”. These are not Ultramarines, Space Wolves, or Salamanders, concerned with the lives of lesser men, but highly religious warriors conducting a holy war, with all that entails. Their self-perceived rectitude makes them fantastic to write, as they’ve a brilliantly complex character.
So that’s the way I see them, anyway. How about you?