Today I want to do something different - not a finished unit or an army planning, but a little overview of time settings you can use your 30k armies - beyond the classic Horus Heresy.
The topic came up when the new 'Gangs of Commoragh' box went up for pre-order and I said "Can't wait to add the contents to my 30k Commoragh Eldar army". Of course people started to ask - 30k Dark Eldar? Where are the rules?
Now, my personal oppinion on that question - rules are just a framework. If it makes sense for the story and the setting - and if it's ok for your opponent - go for it. At the end of the day, just view any of the 40k codices and expansions as exactly what they are - expansions for your gaming experience. Try them out, tweak stuff after the first games if you need it, and have fun. Fall of Cadia has an awesome warp storm table (perfect for re-creating battles near the Ruinstorm in 30k) and even the dreaded Decurion-style Detachments and formations could work if you trim down some of their rules (to make them more like the CAD versions for Xenos - since the CAD is actually based upon Space Marine structure).
But enough talk about the rules - let's take a look at some potential settings to explore with your 30k army - if you need some vacation from the dark times of the Horus Heresy :)
The Unification and the Great Crusade
Probably the most obvious choice - Late Unification Era and the Great Crusade.
The Legiones Astartes saw first use during the last days of the Unification and the pacification of the Solar System. Back then, most of them were just grey, but Forgeworld has added some cool "pre-Primarch" schemes for some of them in the Black Books (aswell as the classic yellow and black scheme for the Salamanders - they used it during their first big battle!).
Rules wise you probably just need a few tweaks here and there - of course no traitors rules for your Astartes. All kind of Eldar, Orks and Necrons can be used easily. Solar Auxilia and Militia army lists can be used to represent Human Empires, Space Skaven or even Squats!
The Great Scouring
Moving forward - the Heresy is over. Sorry guys, you lost (and with that I mean - it doesn't matters on what side you were, you lost - the big dream of the Emperor is over). Now, not all is bad - we still have a great time of loyalists hunting down traitors, some Primarch vs Primarch battles and even newly created Space Marine Chapters at the end of it.
An addition to your Scouring games could be another army that saw first use there (and actually fought longer than just seven years during the Scouring). Of course I'm talking about the Grey Knights. After all the build up they got during 30k - who doesn't want to use them to kill some traitors? Another newly created faction would be the Inquisition, lead by a certain Inquisitor using a relic suit of power armour ...
The Legion Wars
Also known as the Eye of Terror Slave Wars, this event was basically a civil war between the surviving Traitor Marines within the Eye after the Scouring was over. This conflict marked the final collapse of unity between the Chaos Marines that fought under Horus, aswell as the rise of the Black Legion. Who doesn't want to replay Abaddon vs Horus 2.0?
The 1st Black Crusade
Launched roughly 500 years after the Horus Heresy - the 1st Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler. Also known as the First Battle of Cadia, it was the first big assault of the forces of Chaos after the Scouring. Both Sigismund and Rogal Dorn were alive and kicking during these events - Fists and Templar fans rejoice ;)
The Beast Arises
The biggest conflict between the Horus Heresy and the Gathering Storm - The War of The Beast. For me, this is the last big conflict that screams to be played out using a mix of 30k and 40k rules - you have the Successor Chapters and First Founding Chapters, Sisters of Silence, Custodes, Mechanicus, Deathwatch, Iron Warriors and even one of the Primarchs.
For the Xenos side of things - of course Orks (giant one!) and Harlequins played a part in it.
I also want to recommend anyone to read 'The Beast Arises' - if you are a fan of the Heresy from it's first hour you will love it, and it also ends some plot lines started with the first HH novels!
That's it from me today - I really hope I inspired some of you to play out one of these events, or maybe even the start of a new army. Be creative - this hobby is wonderful and you can make a lot of cool things if you really want it. And always remember ...
Rules are just a framework!