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Some questions about background, spacemarine, etc...


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#1 Durzodur

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 02:51 PM

Hi, I have some questions about the W40K universe :

 

- Can a space marine take off is armor ? Can he do it alone ? How much time do it take ?

 

- Are space marine sterile ?

 

- What is the black carapace ?

 

Thanks (and sorry for my english) !



#2 Alrik Vas

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 03:22 PM

From my understanding, Space Marines can take their armor off.  It likely has a way to be removed manually, a piece at a time, but puttng it on is nigh on a religious ceremony performed by the astartes and their serfs.

 

I'm uncertain as to if space marines are sterile, but I don't think it matters as their fighting instincts and aggression are divorced from the instinct to procreate.  from my understanding, sex and love aren't things they consider any longer.  Well, maybe space wolves do, but they're odd. :P

 

The black carapace is an implant.  It is a collection of sensors and receptors that is under the skin and links the space marine's reflexes directly into the armor, giving them the ability to move very fluidly in the Hulking shell of their suits.  Part of it shows on the outside, around the abdomen (at least in some art that i've seen) but it isn't a secondary layer of protection, it's just what makes them so great at wearing power armor.

 

You're welcome.  Hope i was at least a little accurate.


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#3 Kshatriya

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 04:07 PM

Between hypnodoctrination, Chapter culture (the vast majority view themselves in the "warrior-monk" mindset, and even the Space Wolves aren't too far from this really) and the probably-incredible amount of artificial hormones (generated by new organs) and stimulation of existing hormone-producing glands, I'd say few Space Marines are interested in sex. I tend to think about what anabolic steroid use does to human gonads: testicles atrophy to a degree due to testosterone imbalance, which can result in non-production of sperm until steroid use is discontinued. 

 

This is why it's hard to play Astartes: they're human, but they're really, really not. I think it's easier to understand the mental processes of mundane Tech-Priests than it is to understand Astartes. The Cult Mechanicus is just a religion - we have a basis for understanding religion, and zealotry within religion. We can't really understand what it's like to be fundamentally changed in body by surgery and in mind by hypno-doctrination and thousands of years of Chapter culture. Astartes are very uch both more than human and quite a bit less. 


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#4 Lynata

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 05:18 PM

On Power Armour
 
For most purposes, I like to think of power armour like a suit of medieval platemail, which fits to the usual depiction of Space Marines as a sort of knights. So .. yes, it can be taken off, even alone - but as Alrik Vas pointed out, in most Chapters it'd be more of a ritualised activity, performed with support of various underlings such as the aforementioned serfs, just like squires helped their knights in medieval times.
 
In terms of time I'd guesstimate about 10 minutes with aid, 20-30 when alone. It might also be interesting to know that, contrary to most other sci-fi franchises, the bits of armour that are "powered" are not the metallic plates, but rather a sort of undersuit consisting of many bundles of fiber that, when exposed to electric stimulation, can simulate and replicate the wearer's own movements with greater strength, essentially carrying the armoured plating themselves.
 
w40k_ia_roi_4.jpg
 
On Sterility
 
For some reason, this continues to be a topic of huge debate amongst fans. The official material tends to elegantly circumvent the issue, but as Alrik and Kshatriya mentioned, there are several different reasons as to why sex may simply not be a thing within the Adeptus Astartes.
 
If you consider that Astartes power armour includes a waste recycling plant, one might even speculate that the Space Marines had their little bits down there lopped off and replaced by an adapter that allows quick and easy interfacing with the suit, without a need to place a catheter every time they change into their armour. Plus, it prevents risk of chafing. Compared to these advantages, there really isn't any good reason for why the Emperor would have wanted them to keep their equipment, given that he wanted an army of living weapons whose sole purpose is to conquer the galaxy - not the next stage of human evolution.
That's a very "drastic" interpretation, however, and I entertain this theory merely because it further dehumanises the Space Marines, almost turning them into victims of a dystopian war machine in the far future, rather than the resplendent heroes that myth and propaganda (and their own perception) would make them out to be, so it depends a lot on how you as an individual want to see the Marines when examining them from a out-of-universe perspective, rather than giving in to the legend.
 
It is important to remember that this setting does not entertain a 100% consistent background, and its creators fully intend for you to "make it your own", so if you'd rather have Marines that keep their dangly bits operational, or even get to use them, it's your call. I do believe that such details do affect the overall tone and atmosphere of the setting, though, so you may want to think twice on some topics.
 
w40k_ia_roi_6.jpg
 
On the Black Carapace
 
... I actually don't have much to add that wasn't already mentioned by Alrik Vas. The old 1st Edition Rogue Trader rulebook had a cool cross-section of Marine power armour that featured a set of metal spikes placed within the armour's back section that would drill into the wearer's vertebrae, which is how I believe the armour interfaces with the body. The Black Carapace basically works like a bodywide gatherer of information that, using these interface points, is then passed on to the armour.
 
The exact purpose of the Black Carapace is somewhat controversial in that different sources describe them somewhat differently. What is universally consistent is that it enhances the user's interaction with the armour, but the exact effects range from simply providing information to the armour's medical and maintenance suites, to shortening the time it takes for a Marine to "get used to" wearing a suit of powered armour, up to even considerably enhancing the speed with which they move, all depending on where you look. The latter is the effect used in the Deathwatch RPG.
 
marinearmour.gif
 
Hope that helps in some way. Good luck with your games! :)
 
 
[edit]
 

Astartes are very uch both more than human and quite a bit less. 

 

I really, really like this wording. Short and on the point. +1, sir.

 

(although I would say that Tech-Priests too are fundamentally altered, depending on their stage of mechanical enhancement ... I believe the study of such issues is called transhumanism? not to mention the very peculiar lifestyle on a Forge World that certainly must be every bit as twisting as chem-therapies and hypno-indoctrination)


Edited by Lynata, 03 May 2014 - 07:21 PM.

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#5 ak-73

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 11:52 PM

Space Marines are not sterile in Deathwatch (whether they should be according to the setting might be less clear). They do not have Chem Geld, for example, but theoretically could take it. Even though they are not sterile, they can be assumed to be impossible to seduce for all intents and purposes because of hypno-indoctrination (personally, I make an exception for Space Wolves - because Vikings demonio.gif ).

 

Fun fact: Chem Geld appears in the rulebook under Talents but is on no advance table. :D

 

Alex


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#6 SolP

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 08:39 AM

Actually many space marine, depending on chapter, doesn't wear there armour when they in safe surroundings, like home in their fortress-monestary or while in transit on a ship. Instead they wear simpel robes, again keeping with their monk-like lifestyle.



#7 Annaamarth

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:06 PM

Re: sterility, ADB has written Space Marines as feeling no desire, and in fact having trouble even recognizing whether a woman is or is not particularly attractive- this was a Grey Knight though, and a Space Wolf was able to recognize that a woman was attractive.  To a degree, I think that perception varies by chapter but the sterility is a hard limit.

 

Unless you become a Chaos Marine.  Then all bets are off.


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#8 Lynata

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 09:48 PM

Well, this is one of those topics where every author will have their own ideas. That said, regarding perception, personally I'd think that it might depend on when exactly the Space Marine was recruited, and what sort of culture he was hailing from:
 
If we stick to the age ranges provided in the Index Astartes (10-14 years), then this would be about the time when boys first start to become "aware" of girls, so whether you'd recruit a kid closer to 10 or to 14 may have a big impact on whether or not they'd remember what it was like to look at a member of the opposite sex (or the same sex, depending on how they are wired biologically) and consider them beautiful. Obviously, there are also degrees of difference on how fast some children develop, so even individuals of the same recruitment age may differ.
 
Another possible factor might be the age of the Marine, both because childhood memories may fade after decades or even centuries of service, but also as their minds grow hardened and accustomed to a life of nigh-constant warfare and simply forget how it was to be human. Both the homeworld as well as the Chapter may also have an influence - the homeworld as some cultures may support or delay contact with the other gender, and the Chapter as its rituals and environment may either engender or suppress a lifestyle that is in some parts reminiscent of parts of said homeworld culture and thus the Marines' older lifes. After all, each Space Marine Chapter is somehow influenced by the world(s) it is recruiting from, but how much and in what regard would differ from Chapter to Chapter.
 
Or that's how I'm interpreting the subject, anyways. :)

Edited by Lynata, 04 May 2014 - 09:49 PM.

current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#9 Annaamarth

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 07:07 AM

Of course each author is going to represent it differently; that's why I included the source. :)
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#10 Kshatriya

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 08:19 AM

 They do not have Chem Geld, for example, but theoretically could take it.

Chem Geld doesn't necessarily mean castration (and even so, post-pubescent castration just prevents a male from impregnating a female; it does nothing to the ability to get an erection, which is present even before puberty, but with less-frequent occurrences).

 

I'd say for Space Marines, Chem Gled is better represented as hypno-doctrination away from "mortal weaknesses" like lust and terror. Who knows, their testicles might be helpful in regulating hormone balance with all the new organs, and triggering testosterone production would be important for Marines. 


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#11 Lynata

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 11:19 AM

Who knows, their testicles might be helpful in regulating hormone balance with all the new organs, and triggering testosterone production would be important for Marines. 

 

Going by the Index Astartes, balancing of the organs is achieved through a lifelong dependency on drugs administered via an in-built autoinjector in the power armour. Also, you mentioned earlier how steroid use might lead to testicular atrophy - this wouldn't just affect sperm production, but testosterone as well (as the body basically recognises the artificial testosterone you pumped into your body and shuts down its own production). The ironic effect is that the more you "enhance" your body via such unnatural means, the less capable it becomes to even maintain natural upkeep, basically slaving you to the process in an effort to restore normal human balance. In a way, the subject is literally fighting their own body.

 

... not saying it couldn't work how you envision it - especially if you don't include the drug dependency in your interpretation of Marines (I actually think very few fans are still aware of this bit of fluff! I don't recall it being mentioned in any of the newer codices) - merely providing a counterpoint as to why it mustn't be the only way. :)


Edited by Lynata, 05 May 2014 - 11:21 AM.

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#12 Alrik Vas

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:02 AM

I actually had no idea they were all juicers.  I'm suddenly less okay with them.

 

I play Rifts also (if you're not familiar with it, I'm not surprised) and they have super drugged up soldier types in that game too.  The drugs are so hardcore that your body burns out in 5 years, you die from it.  Though you can detox and survive, it's just very difficult and your body is left as a husk of even what it was before augmentation.

 

For this purpose, I've thought a lot about how these super-aggressive, much more than human, warrior types would realistically act, and it's pretty much the opposite of nice.  If you have 5 years to get all your fun in, wouldn't you do every crazy thing you could think of, especially if you had the speed, strength, toughness and reflexes to get out of any nasty situation that normal people could throw at you?  They're a bunch of jerks, really.

 

And now the Astartes are on my list.  Not in the doghouse, but on my list.  :angry:



#13 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:48 AM

 

 

(although I would say that Tech-Priests too are fundamentally altered, depending on their stage of mechanical enhancement ... I believe the study of such issues is called transhumanism? not to mention the very peculiar lifestyle on a Forge World that certainly must be every bit as twisting as chem-therapies and hypno-indoctrination)

 

 

Definitely. The Noosphere is a case in point - The conversation that the Legio Famulous has with an unmodified human in Titanicus, makes that clear - seeing 'data haloes' floating around everyone and everything. The Bridge of the Ark Mechanicus in the Priests of Mars is the most extreme example, with the mechanicus crew essentially "oooooh-ing" and "aaaaah-ing" at a glorious technicolour blizzard of data that only they can see.

 

Yeah, the black carapace is always described as an 'interface', but exactly what level of interface varies by author and source. Broadly speaking, though, it is generally acknowledged that a marine has direct neural control, or even subconcious reflexive control of some systems - it's often made a big deal that proper powered armour is a 'second skin' where it's often more restrictive for other wearers.



#14 Lynata

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:35 AM

And now the Astartes are on my list.  Not in the doghouse, but on my list.  :angry:

 

Well, the drugs used by the Space Marines have only ever been described as regulating the balance of their bodies - think of all those implants and treatments letting an Astartes run on 180% capacity at all times; the chemical treatments simply prevent the body from going into shock. In a way, it goes back to that statement about fighting one's own body, or rather its innate, natural desire to restore a balance that is simply not desired by design (of the Project Astartes).

 

Either way, any effects on mental behaviour would be fan speculation/interpretation - for all we know it may be the drugs that actually keep them from acting like mad brutes due to how their bodies react! Certainly, many Chapters' image does not seem to suffer noticeable ill effects, and of those Chapters that do appear a lot like jerks, it is often described as rooted in geneseed degradation or simply a result of the Chapter's own culture (many times influenced by the local homeworld and interaction with the native population).

 

Personally, what I'd consider a risk is not the drugs, but the Space Marine's superiority, because power like that, without humility, is breeding arrogance. And I believe it is this that caused half the Legions to fall to Chaos, and keeps corrupting individual Space Marines or entire Chapters right unto M41.

 

"[...] I fully believe that the Marines Malevolent hold Imperial citizens in contempt and perceive themselves to be self-evidently superior to their fellow man. While biologically this may indeed be the case, I feel it is a worrying psychological trait that has not only brought about the deaths of nearly four thousand refugees and members of the Adeptus Ministorum, but shows a worryingly egotistical streak in the command structure of the Marines Malevolent."
- communique from Col. Destier Celestine to Gen. Vladimer Kurov (Armageddon 3 global campaign website)

 

Broadly speaking, though, it is generally acknowledged that a marine has direct neural control, or even subconcious reflexive control of some systems - it's often made a big deal that proper powered armour is a 'second skin' where it's often more restrictive for other wearers.

 

That's how I took it as first, too, though over time it dawned on me: how big can the difference actually be? What's the distinction between catching a nerve impulse via a spike burrowed in your body, and an electrode placed on your skin?

Is it possible that this is just an instance of real world technology having caught up with the setting, whose writers imagined (in the 1980s) this kind of interfacing to be far more complicated than it seems with our current understanding?

 

Though, as far as I know, the only GW product that ever described the differences between a power armour user with a Black Carapace and one without was the Witch Hunter Codex, and that one listed "only" smaller degrees of strength enhancement and life support as drawbacks for unaugmented personnel that has been thoroughly trained in PA use.

In a way, the "second skin" line might also just refer to users without a Black Carapace taking a lot of time and individual calibration until they "feel at home" in their armour. A Space Marine just steps in and feels no different from before. Perhaps the Black Carapace even acts as a sort of data carrier that memorises the Marine's movement pattern and muscle sensitivity, able to provide a suit of PA with this information to instantly have the armour adapt to the user...

 

Theories, theories. :D

 

[edit] This thread turns out to be an interesting exchange!


Edited by Lynata, 06 May 2014 - 06:35 AM.

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#15 Annaamarth

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:54 AM

So when talking about drug-using Astartes, we should be thinking less Juicers and more Chemotherapy? I mean, frequent, or even constant, drug regimens just to keep them operating-as-intended sounds like super-chemo to me.

 

I'm strangely okay with this interpretation.  Less roid-rage involved.


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RIP AND TEAR THROUGH THE TIDE OF BLOOD WITH BATTLESUIT PILOT. SUPLEX HIVE TYRANTS. DO WHATEVER, YOU'RE PILOTING A HUGE-ASS MECHA.

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#16 Lynata

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:55 PM

Yep! I suppose the controversy is part of why it doesn't get mentioned anymore, as perhaps they thought it'd harm the "knightly image" of the Astartes. Back in the days, I guess the designers and writers of 40k were geeks like us, but who, as a product of the sci-fi in their time, were still hyped by the latest Mad Max movie that was running in the cinemas, and who thought stuff like spitting acid and eating brains for memory was totally rad.

 

For better or worse, fluff these days tends to focus less on how Marines are equipped or how they operate (elusive articles like the Ultramarines tactica in WD #300 aside), but more on various myths and legendary battles or individual badass stunts they pulled off during some single mission. Same for the Sisters of Battle. Only the Imperial Guard seems to maintain a description that actually goes somewhat more into detail.

 

Anyways, from White Dwarf #147:

 

"Implantation goes hand-in-hand with chemical treatment, psychological conditioning and subconscious hypnotherapy. All of these are essential if the Marine is to develop properly.
 
Chemical treatment - Until his initiation, a Marine must submit to constant tests and examinations. The newly implanted organs must be monitored very carefully, imbalances corrected, and any sign of corrupt development treated. This chemical treatment is reduced after completion of the initiation process, but it never ends. Marines undergo periodic treatment for the rest of their lives in order to maintain a stable metabolism. This is why their power armour suits contain monitoring equipment and drug dispensers.
 
Hypnotherapy - As the super-enhanced body grows, the recipient must learn how to use his new skills. Some of the implants, specifically the Phase 6 and 10 implants, can only function once correct hypnotherapy has been administered. Hypnotherapy is not always as effective as chemical treatment, but it can have substantial results. If a Marine can be taught how to control his own metabolism, his dependence on drugs is lessened. The process is undertaken in a machine called a hypnomat. Marines are placed in a state of hypnosis and subjected to visual and aural images in order to awaken their minds to their unconscious metabolic processes."
 
I like to regard this as "yet another price" that has to be paid in the pursuit of duty, and testament to the "unnaturalness" of the Astartes' physical form and prowess.

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previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#17 ak-73

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:08 PM

FWIW, my Astartes are somewhere between angelic warrior-monks and bloody psychopaths. I leave it up to my player's to choose. :lol:

 

Alex


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#18 Lynata

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:26 PM

There's a Chapter for every kind of player! And if not ... just make one up.  :D

 

[edit] inb4 female space marines :P


Edited by Lynata, 06 May 2014 - 01:26 PM.

current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#19 Annaamarth

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:35 PM

You mean Sisters of Battle right?  RIGHT?


RIP AND TEAR THROUGH THE TIDE OF BLOOD WITH BATTLESUIT PILOT. SUPLEX HIVE TYRANTS. DO WHATEVER, YOU'RE PILOTING A HUGE-ASS MECHA.

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#20 ak-73

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:45 PM

I was talking about personal demeanour though. :P

 

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