A Ramilies-class Starfort is a massive semi-mobile space fortress that is capable of Warp travel. These massive edifices have been utilised by the forces of the Imperium of Man since the earliest days of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium.
The Imperium's remaining scant supply of gigantic semi-mobile space stations like the Ramilles are vital to the Imperial Navy as forward fleet bases and have formed a vital lynch pin in Imperial strategy for ten standard millennia. Each one is capable of shortening campaigns by decades through its deployment.
The Ramilies-class Starfort was supposedly designed by the hitherto unknown Adeptus Mechanicus artisan Magos Lian Ramilies from Standard Template Construct (STC) materials captured in the purgation of the "Stone World," Ulthanx. Bristling with weaponry, the Ramilies itself is heavily armed as befits its role and is fully capable of fighting off a fleet of attackers if need be. The Ramilies cannot be boarded by starships as whole regiments of heavily armed troops would be needed, far more than most voidships can easily carry. The only vessel that could attempt to board a Ramilies is a Space Hulk, as only a Space Hulk would posses the requisite number of troops.
On occasion these starforts are commandeered to be placed as permanent orbital bombardment emplacements over embattled worlds, or act as part of the defences of a vital star system, such as Watch Fortress Erioch, the notable Watch Fortress of the xenos-hunting Deathwatch, the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos, which is based within the Jericho Reach of the Segmentum Ultima. Often times a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes may be granted the unique honour of being placed in charge of one of these mighty edifices, utilising it as their Chapter's mobile fortress-monastery. At any one time the Imperial Forge World of Cypra Mundi, which serves as the primary Imperial naval and military base in the Segmentum Obscurus, will include between six and eight of these gigantic fortresses as part of its orbital defensive ring. Some are used as Adeptus Mechanicus deep space research facilities for projects too secret to be placed near any inhabited world. Others have gone to the Inquisition to be used as hidden fortresses for that clandestine and all-powerful organisation.
Over the centuries, blasphemously altered Renegade starforts have been sighted likewise supporting the activities of Chaos warfleets. Such abhorrence is attached to these twisted parodies that they are pursued doggedly by Imperial Navy captains, but the last accredited destruction of one was in the Tauran Annulus in the 39th Millennium. Ork raiders have captured partially crippled Ramilies starforts at least six times, most memorably in the notorious "Skaggerak Incident" during the Segmentum Obscurus fleet review of 975.M41.
The hyper-plasmatic energy conduction system used by the Ramilies is barely understood by the Tech-priests in current times, but thanks to the STC system it is still reproducible and has a guaranteed endurance of over 3,000 standard years. The greatest advantage of the Ramilies by far is that its powerful plasma generators can erect a Warp-bubble over the entire structure, enabling it, with the aid of seventeen Navigators and an attendant fleet of tugs, supply ships, warships and system craft, to enter the Warp and be towed to different star systems.
This operation, always perilous, has resulted in the loss of over twelve hundred Ramilies starforts in their ten millennia of service to the Emperor. However, each journey has shortened Imperial campaigns by years at a time by allowing the Imperial fleet to move repair, command and resupply facilities right up to the frontline, saving its voidships' lengthy return trips to temporary supply bases or full repair dock facilities far behind the warzone. That such a rare and precious commodity should have been risked in transport all the way to the distant Jericho Reach and then left essentially unused speaks volumes as to the perceived value of the location -- and of the overpowering reach of those who caused the fortress to be established there.
The Ramilies starfort is so large that its weapons, hits and defences are divided up into four "quadrants" representing the different sides of the space station. Each quadrant has its own Void Shield emitters to protect it from enemy ordnance. Individual quadrants have their own ordnance, its basilica weapons possessing nearly an unlimited supply of torpedoes that never seem to run out.
Damage control is also undertaken individually by quadrant. For all intents and purposes, the four quadrants function as individual stations placed "back-to-back." Friendly vessels can fully dock within one of the four inter-quadrant docking piers. These docking points can be used by any vessels up to a Strike Cruiser in size to undergo repair and resupply, even amidst the heat of battle.
Unlike most defences, the command and control communications of a Ramilies starfort is superior to even that of a warship. Ramilies starforts are also typically manned by experienced Imperial naval personnel. Fleet Commanders are typically placed in command of Ramilies, utilising their superior leadership and tactical acumen to the starfort's advantage.
Notable Ramilies-class Starforts
- Faithful's Deliverance - The Loyalist Space Marine Chapter known as the Doom Legion is responsible for the maintenance and garrison of the Faithful's Deliverance, the pre-Horus Heresy Ramilies-class Starfort that overlooks the notorious Elusian Maze asteroid fields. Few other Space Marine Chapters can boast of spaceborne firepower of such magnitude. All that is known about the Doom Legion's homeworld, Elusia Prime, is that it is situated within the Ultima Segmentum. During the Imperial Abyssal Crusade in 321.M37, six companies of the Doom Legion deployed and were lost in the Eye of Terror. They reemerged into Imperial space centuries later as the warband of Chaos Space Marines known as the Vectors of Pox, servants of the Plague God Nurgle. The remaining four companies of Doom Legion remained true to the Emperor, though their genetic purity came under intense scrutiny by the Inquisition.
- Indomitable - The Indomitable is a Ramilies-class star fort utilised by the Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter located in the outer orbit of Calth. In 935.M41, a notorious Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided, known as M'kar the Reborn, emerged from the Warp and led a Chaos force in seizing the star fort in Ultramar space, which was then boarded by Ultramarines lead by their Chapter Master Marneus Calgar. Calgar defeated M'kar in single combat, but M'kar's hatred of the Imperium and Ultramar was so strong that it was not possible to banish him to the Warp, even with the help of the Inquisition. The best the Imperials could do was bind M'kar to the Warp core of the star fort; this ingenious bond meant that every time M'kar struggled to escape into the Materium, he would be pulled tighter within the core. The starfort, garrisoned with fully half the 5th Company of the Ultramarines, was then ordered to plot a secret course through the remote, uncharted areas of Ultramar. The fate of M'kar was kept secret out of a fear that someone else might eventually seek to free him. In 999.M41, Chief Librarian Tigurius of the Ultramarines had a vision which foretold the reappearance of M'kar as the destroyer of Ultramar, although he did not know who the vision truly foresaw save that it would be an entity called the Thrice Born. The truth was revealed when the Iron Warriors Warsmith Honsou discovered the secret of M'kar's imprisonment, and after finding and conquering the Indomitable, set him free as his ally in a new Chaos campaign against Ultramar. Possessing a desecrated Dreadnought shell to remain in the Materium, the newly rematerialised M'kar bound the Indomitable to a Warp Gate and called forth a huge army of daemons, who along with others under his command he named the "Bloodborn." M'kar eventually faced Calgar on the planet Talassar, but his essence was completely annihilated by the Chapter Master and the Indomitable was recaptured by the Ultramarines.
- Lycurgos - The Lycurgos Starfort is one example of a void station that remained in the unexplored regions of the Periphery Sub-sector of the Calixis Sector, in the Helena II System during the Angevin Crusade, with the expectation that Imperial forces would eventually make use of it at a critical junction for the next step in the Crusade's expansion. Unfortunately, the Crusade petered out, and lacking the means to moving the fort, it was essentially discarded and forgotten. Without any support or supplies, the starfort's crew simply grew old and died during the centuries of isolation. When humanity once more began active expansion into the Periphery Sub-sector, explorers rediscovered the Lycurgos. The void station's Servitors remained operational, continuing to perform their last orders, keeping the station's essential systems functional. The Imperial Navy made claim to the derelict starfort, and successfully assumed command over it. After Naval Command asked for their assistance, the Adeptus Mechanicus willingly committed to the significant task of restoring the starfort to its intended glory. In addition to being a potent weapons platform, the Lycurgos is also capable of refitting and resupplying Imperial voidships. Further, it possesses the ability to manufacture a number of crucial vessel components that are otherwise unavailable within the Spinward Front, which makes it of enormous strategic value to the Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy forces within that warzone.
- Relictor's Fortress-Monastery - Located in the Segmentum Obscurus, the formerly Loyalist Space Marine Chapter known as the Relictors utilised a Ramilies-class starfort as their mobile fortress-monastery, which orbited the Feral World of Torva Minoris, called Neutra by its population. Due to the Chapter's continued conflict with the Inquisition over the use of Chaotic artefacts, the Relictors were finally judged to be Extremis Diabolus and their lives became forfeit. The Inquisition's decision was swift and unanimous and they were ultimately declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Ordo Hereticus. The Chapter was all but destroyed in a cunning ambush by the Ordo Malleus' Chamber Militant, the Grey Knights, under the command of Inquisitor Cyarro, whom the Relictors had left for dead on the Agri-World of Fremas. The assembled Inquisitorial fleet hammered the dying remains of the Relictors' fortress-monastery with concentrated fire from their powerful gun batteries. A Ramilies-class Starfort was a massive edifice and took time to fully destroy, but the Inquisition only left after every trace of the Relictors was reduced to dust.
- Watch Fortress Erioch - Watch Fortress Erioch is the notable Watch Fortress of the xenos-hunting Deathwatch based within the Jericho Reach of the Segmentum Ultima. Within Erioch the Deathwatch's Kill-teams train and prepare for coming missions. Watch Fortress Erioch combines the functions of a command centre, keep, archive, garrison and more. Erioch is also home to all manner of Astartes training facilities. In vast domes, unique environments can be recreated in which the Battle-Brothers can perfect their battle drill and rehearse their missions. Some of these domes have been stocked with life forms, such as Death World flora and fauna, in order to create the most realistic training conditions possible. It has even been known for captured aliens to be set loose in the training domes, to be hunted down by the Kill-teams in deadly mission simulation exercises. At the heart of Erioch is to be found a sealed vault, known as the Omega Vault, which contains the most sensitive and valuable of assets available to the Inquisition in the Jericho Reach -- and perhaps the galaxy.
- Battlefleet Gothic Armada, pp. 21, 24
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 19, 22
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 28, 30
- Deathwatch - Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 125, 127
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 228
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 23, 39, 49, 66-68
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 44, 48, 202
- Only War - No Surrender (RPG), pp. 7-11
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 28
- White Dwarf 295 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Extremis Diabolus"
- The Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- The Legion of the Damned (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Battlefleet Gothic Resources: Imperial Fleets, pp. 31-34
- Ramilies-class Starfort
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Imperial Forces: Relictors