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Chaos Marine musings


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#1 Lightbringer

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:27 AM

Been thinking about the Chaos Legions recently. The majority of the 40k background material suggests that the Chaos Space Marines who live within the warp are the 10,000 year old survivors of the Horus Heresy, kept alive either by the dark power of the Chaos powers, or by the strange shifting of time within the warp.

But there are also tantalising suggestions that some Legions are still recruiting. The Alpha Legion write-up in an old WD suggests that they recruit many of their marines from within the Imperium itself. Other Chapters - notably the Night Lords - are said to have extremely pure geneseed that remains relatively untainted by the warp, suggesting they're doing something with that same geneseed.

I think it's too simplistic to say that even among the more tainted and" chaotic" of the chaos legions (Death Guard, Emperor's Children etc) that ALL of the members of those legions are the same individuals who rebelled against the Emperor. Sure, many might be. But I am interested in the idea that perhaps a significant proportion of the Chaos Legions are new recruits, humans from warp-trapped worlds, renegades or the offspring of slaves bred just to provide recruits for the Chaos Legions. 

I also like the roleplay potential this creates: a Horus-Heresy era chaos marine might have a very different outlook on the universe to a more recent recruit. A more recent recruit might regard the Heresy-era marine as a loser, a tired old warhorse full of tedious stories about an ancient war, and embittered about his defeat.     

What's your take on this? Personally, I think there's a great deal of room for Black Crusade to explore precisely what the Chaos Legions have been up to for the past 10,000 years within their strongholds. 



#2 Cifer

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 04:24 AM

It's pretty certain that the CSMs recruit new marines. In some cases, this happens in the traditional way - in others, the recruits aren't actually traditional marines, but mutants whose mutations both are fitting for a marine and leave them able to wear power armour.

Improving the marination process is the shtick of good old Fabius Bile.



#3 Mjoellnir

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 06:17 AM

Personally I would say that they are still recruiting. Let's be honest, it's completely impossible to explain the incompetence of Chaos Marines otherwise. The 13th Company of the Space Wolves was as long in the warp as they were and all who didn't become Wulfen were veterans with 2 attacks. Even all the specialist chaos marines that are based on Thousand Sons, Death Guard, World Eaters or Emperor's Children only have 1 base attack (not counting their chosen and the Mark of Khorne).



#4 Dulahan

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 06:45 AM

Definitely do.  I know they talk of Gene Seed in Blood Gorgons.  And I've heard at least one other book talks about the recruitment process for one of the legions?



#5 ddunkelmeister

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:30 AM

The Traitor Legions keep up their numbers through a combination of adoption and recruitment. The Black Legion in particular is (in)famous for co-opting marines from other legions or bands of renegades.

As for making new marines, the novel Dead Sky, Black Sun illustrates one unusual method employed by the Iron Warriors.

WARNING: Potentially Disturbing

http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Daemonculaba

 



#6 Gurkhal

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:38 AM

Ok, that was slightly disturbing. But while most certainly a very possible way to make Chaos Marines I would doubt its the most common one. I wouldn't be suprised however if other legions and warbands have similarly warped ways to produce new Astartes for them to fill the ranks.



#7 bladerunner_35

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:50 AM

I am surprised that no one has mentioned Fabius Bile.

It is well established canon (from various Chaos Space Marine codexes) that he is one of a very select few who knows the secrets of creating new space marines. He sells his knowledge to the highest bidder (Abaddon and the Black Legion is mentioned).


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#8 Warmaster_Horus

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:54 AM

They definitely recruit. In the novel storm of iron, the Iron Warriors raid a planet that houses a secret cache of gene seed that is stored there by the Adeptus Mechanicus for testing and development purposes to provide new geneseed for Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade (some of this looted geneseed was later used to hastily create new recruits for the Iron Warriors  in the novel Dead Sun Black Sky).

Also in the novel Blood Gorgons, it is said that Blood Gorgons get potential slave recruits from the populations of the world they hold in thrall. Other Legions have been reported to recruit from subjugated worlds, daemon worlds or from among other dregs of humanity as well.

Another thing to keep in mind is that since they have been subjected to the whims of the Dark Gods and exposed the very nature of Warp itself, it is very possible that traitor legionaires already killed in action or have yet to be created can be encountered as well.

Last but not least, Fabius Bile is constantly working on new ways to create better and improved versions of Space Marines that he calls New Man. And if you choose to accept the events of the Blood Angels novels as canon, he has unlocked the secrets of the Primogenitor Program (primarch project) and is even working on creating a new version of the Emperor by combing for ancestral DNA from space marine legions and tissue left over from the primarchs.

Hope this helps :D



#9 MKX

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 08:57 PM

ddunkelmeister said:

WARNING: Potentially Disturbing

http://wh40k.lexican...ki/Daemonculaba

Yeah it is disturbing that Frank Herbert wrote them back in Heretics of Dune with the Axlotl tanks and modern writers that can't come up with their own ideas and shamelessly continue to steal his ****. ;)



#10 Lightbringer

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:16 AM

Well scientifically speaking it's far far simpler to grow a clone inside a female of its species than it is to grow it in a tank. That's how they clone animals in the real world - by implanting eggs containing the original's genetic material in host mothers. So unpleasant as the concept is, it does have some scientific validity.

Not quite sure that the Daemonculaba method sounds THAT simple though. Or scintifically valid. But it's characterful and appropriate to the sort of thing that goes on in the depths of a Daemon World!  



#11 Voronesh

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:36 PM

Also one shouldnt forget all the renegade chapters which have been written into the canon.

Every single one of those had Apothecaries. Unlike the battle chaplains they would defect as well and be a prime candidate for adoption or mercenary "sell to the highest bidder" style services.

The recruitment process is still very, very strong. The attrition as well though, since internal fighting culls their number by quite a bit as well.



#12 MARVIN THE ARVN

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 12:27 AM

If they didnt recruit I dont see how they could still exist in any number.

The Soul Drinkers novels details that renegade chapters attempts to recruit new blood.



#13 Da Warboss

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 09:13 PM

I have always liked that about the Chaos Marines; that many of them are 10,000 year old veterans who fought in the original Horus Heresy. The bitterness and spiteful infighting in the aftermath of that is what has kept them down for so long. Abaddon can call all the Black Crusades he wants, and wear Horus' lightning claw, but he isn't Horus, and has never united the Traitor Legions like the Warmaster did. So they putter around, raid the Imperium, and fight amongst themselves. As destructive as their raids, wars and Black Crusades are, they have never really come any where near destroying the Imperium. They are written to be exactly like the fallen angels in Paradise Lost; they lost, and now all they can think of to do is to tear down the Imperium that defeated them, forever.

The fact that they have to hide in the Eye, where the Warp bleeds into realspace, has allowed them to survive and continue this war. Time doesn't pass in the warp like it does in the material world, so like ships traveling through the warp, the Chaos Marines timeline is vastly different from the Imperium's. In the Night Lords novel Soul Hunter, for at least that ship, they're only a century from the Heresy. The main character is an Apothecary, and he talks about the need for recruitment and the difficulties inherent in it. Geneseed is corrupted by demonic taint and mutation, which has become widespread through the traitor marines. He also mentions how few have the knowledge and expertise to create new marines.

I happen to love the concept of the Night Lords, as well as the novels starring them. Traitor Marines who mostly scorn Chaos, and view becoming enslaved to the Dark Gods and daemons to be a failing. Their principles have also weakened them, compared to the other Chaos Marines. They can't make up for losses and deficencies in their forces and supply lines with daemons and other profane instruments, so they're stuck scavenging the dead for power armor parts and tending to ever diminishing numbers of vehicles and manpower. Their viewpoint, as being the last righteous rebels, is a maudlin and interesting one. While still fearsome terror troopers, they still try to maintain their pride in their, now effectively defunct, legion. They haven't broken up as much as the other Legions, but they know they don't really exist as a unified force anymore. And what kills them is that's all they have left. They haven't fallen to Chaos, and exchanged one slavemaster, would-be god for another, but it hasn't kept them together anymore than the other legions.

They show how dangerous Space Marines really are though. Even bitter, broken and divided, they fight on and inflict terrible damage. 10,000 years of exile in hell, and they return again and again for another war. They just keep coming. Cut off from the supply lines that loyalist Chapters have, they steal, scavenge and bargain with hereteks and the Dark Mechanicus for wargear and technical assistance. Even then, the Imperium's technology has increased with time as more STC's were discovered and deciphered, while the Traitor's technology, with the exception of magitech devices, has stagnated. So they make do, and improvise daemon weapons like the Defiler to fill in their gaps. Their allies' have become unreliable at best, and zealous psychotics at worst. Actually, becoming possessed and entralled by daemons at worst. But they soldier on, and continue to attack, like Space Marines should! Because, as Konrad Curze said, death is nothing next to vindication.

Besides just Night Lords, the other intriguing thing I've seen about the Chaos Marines in Black Crusade is the Renegade archetype. What does a Space Marine do, when his Legion is dead or broken, and he has no more desire to stay with them? Marines are defined by their Chapter and Legion. It is community, vocation and religion to them. When one walks away from that, into the wastes, with only the wind and whispers of daemons for company, what motivates you?

 



#14 redhead22

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 01:50 AM

personal glory would be my vote

the nightlord are a intresting charater study as are the alpha legion who`s motivation and plan are a total mistory too everyone. probly member of there own legion too.

world eathers: just want too kill everyone

deathguard: what too spread sickness and corruption

emperors children: i`m not sure what they seek

thousend sons: power, knowlege and the means too return there legion too there former glory (i think)

black legion: deaht of the emperor and the colaps of the empire (with maybe them self as the new rulers of mankind)

the others are a bit less preditabal in what they want



#15 Lyinar

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 04:00 AM

 I'm thinking that part of Arhiman's quest is to find enough knowledge to pull one over on Tzeentch and free his Primarch and his Legion.  I think that Tzeentch is encouraging this and trying to prevent it, because that's what Tzeentch does.



#16 Gurkhal

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 04:36 AM

Redhead22: I think its a pretty good summery, although I would add the following

Word Bearers: Convert mankind to the worship of Chaos

Iron Warriors: Reveange?



#17 bladerunner_35

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 07:19 AM

Da Warboss said:

I have always liked that about the Chaos Marines; that many of them are 10,000 year old veterans who fought in the original Horus Heresy. The bitterness and spiteful infighting in the aftermath of that is what has kept them down for so long. Abaddon can call all the Black Crusades he wants, and wear Horus' lightning claw, but he isn't Horus, and has never united the Traitor Legions like the Warmaster did. So they putter around, raid the Imperium, and fight amongst themselves. As destructive as their raids, wars and Black Crusades are, they have never really come any where near destroying the Imperium. They are written to be exactly like the fallen angels in Paradise Lost; they lost, and now all they can think of to do is to tear down the Imperium that defeated them, forever.

The fact that they have to hide in the Eye, where the Warp bleeds into realspace, has allowed them to survive and continue this war. Time doesn't pass in the warp like it does in the material world, so like ships traveling through the warp, the Chaos Marines timeline is vastly different from the Imperium's. In the Night Lords novel Soul Hunter, for at least that ship, they're only a century from the Heresy. The main character is an Apothecary, and he talks about the need for recruitment and the difficulties inherent in it. Geneseed is corrupted by demonic taint and mutation, which has become widespread through the traitor marines. He also mentions how few have the knowledge and expertise to create new marines.

I happen to love the concept of the Night Lords, as well as the novels starring them. Traitor Marines who mostly scorn Chaos, and view becoming enslaved to the Dark Gods and daemons to be a failing. Their principles have also weakened them, compared to the other Chaos Marines. They can't make up for losses and deficencies in their forces and supply lines with daemons and other profane instruments, so they're stuck scavenging the dead for power armor parts and tending to ever diminishing numbers of vehicles and manpower. Their viewpoint, as being the last righteous rebels, is a maudlin and interesting one. While still fearsome terror troopers, they still try to maintain their pride in their, now effectively defunct, legion. They haven't broken up as much as the other Legions, but they know they don't really exist as a unified force anymore. And what kills them is that's all they have left. They haven't fallen to Chaos, and exchanged one slavemaster, would-be god for another, but it hasn't kept them together anymore than the other legions.

They show how dangerous Space Marines really are though. Even bitter, broken and divided, they fight on and inflict terrible damage. 10,000 years of exile in hell, and they return again and again for another war. They just keep coming. Cut off from the supply lines that loyalist Chapters have, they steal, scavenge and bargain with hereteks and the Dark Mechanicus for wargear and technical assistance. Even then, the Imperium's technology has increased with time as more STC's were discovered and deciphered, while the Traitor's technology, with the exception of magitech devices, has stagnated. So they make do, and improvise daemon weapons like the Defiler to fill in their gaps. Their allies' have become unreliable at best, and zealous psychotics at worst. Actually, becoming possessed and entralled by daemons at worst. But they soldier on, and continue to attack, like Space Marines should! Because, as Konrad Curze said, death is nothing next to vindication.

Besides just Night Lords, the other intriguing thing I've seen about the Chaos Marines in Black Crusade is the Renegade archetype. What does a Space Marine do, when his Legion is dead or broken, and he has no more desire to stay with them? Marines are defined by their Chapter and Legion. It is community, vocation and religion to them. When one walks away from that, into the wastes, with only the wind and whispers of daemons for company, what motivates you?

 

 

Thank you for an evocative and well thought out post.


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#18 Poor Dick

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 03:31 PM

MKX said:

 

ddunkelmeister said:

WARNING: Potentially Disturbing

 

http://wh40k.lexican...ki/Daemonculaba

 

Yeah it is disturbing that Frank Herbert wrote them back in Heretics of Dune with the Axlotl tanks and modern writers that can't come up with their own ideas and shamelessly continue to steal his ****. ;)

 

 

Yeah, I'm tired of hearing people complain about artists ripping ideas off other artists. 

I don't believe you can even find a literary idea (that is not entirely based on newer technology) that doesn't exist in Ancient Greek, Ancient Chinese, Ancient Roman, Shakespeare's or Milton's literature. Even then, I'd say that there are a number of classical myths that at least 'touch' on Herbert's idea, even if he ratcheted it up a few more notches.

The entirety of art, culture, and human existence as a whole is centered around ripping ideas off of other each other. One of humanity's defining traits is our ability to look at others and imitate them without having to come up on the idea on our own.

 

Sorry for being off-topic. More on topic, I, too, enjoyed the post about the Night Lords.



#19 Banjulhu

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 11:06 PM

During the Heresey the Primarchs (plural) of Alpha Legion were convinced by a cabal of ancient super psykers made up various races (including one human) that for existance to survive and for Chaos to be forever defeated the destruction the Imperium was needed.

To this end the Alpha Legion joined Horus in his rebillion and gave their souls fully over to chaos in a bid to wipe out humanity. Of cource what they did it for now is entirely irrelavent, Horus lost, the Imperiums survived and they are now simply servents of chaos, as big and evil as the Word Bearers or the Black Legion.

And a fun fact about the Night Lords. The lightning on their armour is not a painted pattern there to shock and scare the enemy any more, it is now concentrated warp energy flowing over thier armour.



#20 Lightbringer

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 02:02 AM

Banjulhu said:

To this end the Alpha Legion joined Horus in his rebillion and gave their souls fully over to chaos in a bid to wipe out humanity. Of cource what they did it for now is entirely irrelavent, Horus lost, the Imperiums survived and they are now simply servents of chaos, as big and evil as the Word Bearers or the Black Legion.

That's slightly arguable. The Alpha Legion certainly agreed to assist the cabal's plan to let humanity fall to chaos in order to destroy chaos once and for all, that's true. But whether they have all fallen to chaos is debatable.

Many have: there are certainly true chaos champions among the Alpha Legion, look at the Siege of Vraks books.However, it is possible that the chaotic elements within the Alpha Legion are in fact only part of the picture.

Although Gulliman killed one of the Alpha Legion Primarchs (they're twins, remember) he didn't kill the other one. Meaning that there's still an unaccounted-for Primarch (half Primarch?) floating around somewhere. If he was a major Chaos Champion or Daemon Prince, one would imagine we would have heard mention of this by now. Actually, the fact we've heard nothing at all from him for 10,000 years is highly suggestive that he's up to something. 

Given the Alpha Legion's mastery of duplicity and distraction, I think it's conceivable that the Alpha Legion, led by either Alpharius or Omegon (remember, although we THINK Alpharius died, we're not certain it wasn't Omegon) has retained its core values, and are now seeking to either destroy humanity to bring about Chaos' final destruction, or have hatched some equally devious plan. This doesn't mean that they are all servants of chaos, there could be a core of uncorrupted marines, led by Omegon, who are plotting something spectacular.    






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