The Horus Heresy: Fafnir Rann, Lord Seneschal of the Imperial Fists

The Black Library celebration is upon is, and it brings with it two of the Siege of Terra’s great heroes. This past week free rules for Fafnir Rann dropped, a man in strong contention with Sigismund for the title of Coolest Loyalist Space Marine.

Fafnir Rann. Credit: Rockfish
Fafnir Rann. Credit: Rockfish

Who is he?

Fafnir Rann is the Lord Seneschal of the Imperial Fists, Captain of the First Assault Cadre and a loyalist through and through. Where Sigismund is the Emperor’s Champion, reaching out to strike down those who aim to strike at Dorn, Rann is the wall, holding the line and reaping a bloody toll on those who dare stand against him

Where can I read about him? 

We first see Rann in Praetorian of Dorn, where he plays second fiddle to Arachmus. He shows up again in the audio drama Templar before continually stealing the show during the Siege of Terra series. He plays a pivotal role in every Siege book so far, especially First Wall, and is an indispensable member of the loyalist command cadre

Imperial Fists Phalanx Warders
Imperial Fists Phalanx Warders. Credit: Jack Hunter

What does he do in-game?

Fafnir Rann starts off with a Praetor’s statline and only goes up from there. For an extra 100 points, which admittedly is a fairly hefty sum, he gains an Iron Halo, boarding shield, and a whole host of special rules, including Hammer of Wrath, Hardened Armour, Master of the Legion (this is important for Stone Gauntlet, keep this in mind!), and his unique rules including the Unbroken Wall Warlord Trait, Executioner’s Tax and Shield Master. Whether all that is worth the 70 point rules tax (his included equipment costing 30) is up to you, but I’m inclined to go with a resounding yes – Fafnir Rann is a beast in close combat, with a model to match.

His Warlord Trait, the Unbroken Wall (pretty sure one of the key books you’re in features you having the wall you were defending be broken, my dude) grants Breacher squads and Phalanx Warders +1WS during the assault phase in which they charge, and allows a single squad of Phalanx Warders to be taken as troops (normally Fast Attack for some reason). It’s an… interesting pick, as Warders and Breachers normally find themselves in the Stone Gauntlet Rite of War in Imperial Fists, where Warders are troops anyway and models lose their +1 Toughness bonus if they charge. Should Rites of War go the way of the dodo, as some rumours suggest, then this might be a bit more interesting, but as it stands it’s a situational benefit that, if things go well, you probably don’t want to be using.

Executioner’s Tax is another odd but much, much nastier rule, inflicting D3+3 S5 AP- automatic hits on any unit that charges him or a unit he has joined. That’s a lot of free damage in a game system where S4 is the default, and doubles down on the “come and get me” gameplay style that has defined Imperial Fists in 30k thus far.

Where normally named characters have a warlord trait and a unique rule, Fafnir Rann isn’t content with just one. Shield Master inflicts a -1 Strength penalty on attacks allocated to Rann when locked in combat, but restricts him to using the single axe weapon profile (we’ll get to that in a moment). This is nasty, especially, once again, in Stone Gauntlet, where he’s already at +1 Toughness. That’s a swing of -1S incoming, +1T on the defence, meaning your S4 attacker is now wounding only wounding on a 6. 

This is all a pretty nifty defencive profile, but the Lord Seneschal doesn’t disappoint on offence either. In the single axe profile, where Rann also benefits from Shield Master, Rann gains Strength +2, AP2 and Master-crafted. It’s probably a slight downgrade from your traditional Praetor’s Paragon Blade with its S+1 and Murderous Strike, but much nastier at killing mass infantry with that higher strength. Fighting with his twinned axe profile Rann goes down to only +1 Strength but gains Rampage, gaining +D3 attacks if he’s outnumbered in combat. This is… fine, and probably a side grade, but I’d prefer the higher chance to guarantee the wound than the lower chance to kill more. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on your opponent, with daemonic hordes or cultist mobs probably needing the +D3 attacks, while higher toughness robots deserve the higher strength to counter.

Intriguingly, he can take a Teleportation Transponder for +10 points, opening up a range of possibilities but also being one of the very few named characters who have options

Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists
Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists. Credit: Jack Hunter

What happens to him?

The Executioners are a third founding successor chapter of the Imperial Fists, famous largely for making the mistake to secede from the Imperium during the Badab War. As penance, they were tasked with a hundred-year crusade which… probably isn’t a huge punishment for a marine chapter, all things considered. The chapter was founded in M32 with Fafnir Rann as their first High Executioner/Chapter Master, which means Fafnir Rann was around for two thousand years, GW messed up timeline continuity, or this later High Executioner took this name as a deed name from the earlier, Horus Heresy era Fafnir Rann. Which it is, we don’t know, so good news! There’s still time for your favourite Imperial Fist to die!

No Pity! No Remorse! No Fear!

The Horus Heresy continues to ramp up, and I’m looking froward to getting Dominon Zephon’s rules later this week! If you’re looking to strike down the False Emperor or defending the last scraps of true humanity, you can check out the rest of our Horus Heresy content here!

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