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Traitor Legion to later Renegade ratio


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#1 Gurkhal

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:24 PM

I was thinking a little about Chaos Space Marines and thought that I should put the question here. What do you think are the ratio, roughly, between Traitor Legionnaires from the origional Traitor Legions compared to renegade Marines given to Chaos from later Foundings? I've always thought earlier that the Traitor Legions would be more numerous but as of late I've come to think that maybe its the other way around.

And yes I know that I can use whatever fits my narrative but I'd like to hear some input on what other people think about this.



#2 Dryad

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:14 AM

This gets really complicated...

First of all, Legion Astartes loosely fall into 3 main categories:

1. Made a Legion warrior, still organized with Legion (or smaller chunk of Legion, like a former "Company")
2. Made a Legion warrior, maintained Legion philosophy and markings, but organized in a modern Warband
3. Made a Legion warrior, shed Legion image and completely became part of a Warband or large pirate fleet like the Red Corsairs

Then there is your standard Renegade which there are really only 2 main categories:

4. Made a post Heresy Imperial, became a traitor
5. Made into a traitor Warband with stolen geneseed

If you break that all down there is really hundreds of combinations of what a Warband would look like. And I'm sure there are more categories, I just wanted to highlight what I believe are the 5 main types of Chaos Marines.

There are still tons of Legion warriors out there, but I would say only a fraction of them are really operating with a large portion of thier Legion anymore. Chaos in the 40th millenium is all about the Warband, and I think Black Crusade does a great job of recognizing that fact.



#3 Gurkhal

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 06:47 AM

Dryad said:

This gets really complicated...

First of all, Legion Astartes loosely fall into 3 main categories:

1. Made a Legion warrior, still organized with Legion (or smaller chunk of Legion, like a former "Company")
2. Made a Legion warrior, maintained Legion philosophy and markings, but organized in a modern Warband
3. Made a Legion warrior, shed Legion image and completely became part of a Warband or large pirate fleet like the Red Corsairs

Then there is your standard Renegade which there are really only 2 main categories:

4. Made a post Heresy Imperial, became a traitor
5. Made into a traitor Warband with stolen geneseed

If you break that all down there is really hundreds of combinations of what a Warband would look like. And I'm sure there are more categories, I just wanted to highlight what I believe are the 5 main types of Chaos Marines.

There are still tons of Legion warriors out there, but I would say only a fraction of them are really operating with a large portion of thier Legion anymore. Chaos in the 40th millenium is all about the Warband, and I think Black Crusade does a great job of recognizing that fact.

I totally agree with this and most importantly that the concept of warband is far more important than that of Legion to the Chaos Space Marines of present times. My main problem is that I tend to think in Traitor Legion Marines when thinking Chaos Space Marines and that does tend to make more "recent" (I know well that, say a Space Wolf Khornate Champion can be much older than a newly created Iron Warrior, but in this case I would call the Space Wolf "more recent" even if it makes little sense) Traitor Marines be more scarce than they should perhaps be, and that's one of the reason that I wanted to bring it up. I don't know if more people than me think about it this way but there it is.



#4 Lightbringer

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:47 PM

Dryad said:

 

1. Made a Legion warrior, still organized with Legion (or smaller chunk of Legion, like a former "Company")
2. Made a Legion warrior, maintained Legion philosophy and markings, but organized in a modern Warband
3. Made a Legion warrior, shed Legion image and completely became part of a Warband or large pirate fleet like the Red Corsairs

4. Made a post Heresy Imperial, became a traitor
5. Made into a traitor Warband with stolen geneseed

 

 

I'd tweak this slightly and concentrate upon the origins of renegades. As I see it, marine renegades by M41 are likely to fall into one of the following categories:-

(1) A Marine of a former First Founding Traitor Legion who turned to chaos at the time of the Horus Heresy, and who has continued to fight against the Imperium for 10,000 years. (This is your "Classic" Chaos marine - Kharn the Betrayer, Lucius the Eternal etc etc) (this is your categories 1-3, Dryad.)

(2)  A Marine of a former First Founding Loyalist Legion who turned to chaos at the time of the Horus Heresy, and who has continued to fight against the Imperium for 10,000 years. (This is a theoretical category. I'm not aware of any marines who fall into this category, but arguably the Dark Angel renegades do.)

(3) A Marine who was recruited as a normal human Post-Heresy by a Traitor Legion, Chapter or warband, implanted with their own geneseed, turned into a full marine  and indoctrinated into the traditions and culture of that group. (The Alpha Legion in particular are said to recruit on a regular basis, but presumably others do as well to some extent.)

(3) (a) A subcategory of the above would be a marine who has been recruited into a Legion/Chapter/Warband and implanted with geneseed from another First Founding Legion. The Astral Claws in particular do this, just to keep their numbers up. (This is your category 5, Dryad.)

(4)  A former Imperial Marine, a member of a Post-Heresy Chapter, whose entire Chapter has turned wholeheartedly to Chaos (Like the Astral Claws)

(5) A former Imperial Marine, a member of of a Post Heresy Chapter, has turned to chaos either on his own or as part of a small group of renegaes from his otherwise loyal Chapter (Like that handful of Space Wolves who turned on their colleagues to join Huron Blackheart's renegades)

By moving away from how the Marine operates and just concentrating on his origins, you can then remove some of the hundreds of options you talk about, Dryad.

As to the original OP's question, it's hard to say what the proportions are, really. The overall feel one gets is that my category 1 Traitor Marines substantially outnumber the other categories among chaos forces. Personally, I'd like to see more exploration of categories 3-5, as there's not a lot of information about them.

I particularly think that category 3 needs some exploration. The "classic," category 1 chaos space marine has always seemed a little implausible in some ways to me. I know that time runs differently in the warp etc etc, but the impression one gets is that the chaos marines have been fighting pretty much continuously, without break, for damn near 10,000 years. It seems to me that for there to still be huge numbers of the original traitors left, this really means that these marines dying and then being resurrected over and over again by the  chaos powers. In many ways its a nice conceit, but is it really workable? Yes within the Eye of Terror, where the laws of reality break down...but in real space? If a chaos marine is killed on Ultramar, does he really "respawn" back in the Eye of Terror?

I prefer the concept of the category 1 marines forming an "officer class" of ancient, depraved and deadly warriors who lead chaos marine armies consisting of largely of category 3 marines. For this to work, the major marine warbands and Legions within the Eye of Terror would be recruiting on a regular basis, from slave or vassal worlds. (This is my take on it, bear in mind, there's not a lot of talk about these category 3 marines in the canon.) 



#5 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:16 AM

Lightbringer said:

(1) A Marine of a former First Founding Traitor Legion who turned to chaos at the time of the Horus Heresy, and who has continued to fight against the Imperium for 10,000 years. (This is your "Classic" Chaos marine - Kharn the Betrayer, Lucius the Eternal etc etc) (this is your categories 1-3, Dryad.)

(2)  A Marine of a former First Founding Loyalist Legion who turned to chaos at the time of the Horus Heresy, and who has continued to fight against the Imperium for 10,000 years. (This is a theoretical category. I'm not aware of any marines who fall into this category, but arguably the Dark Angel renegades do.)

I think there are possibilities missing here. As made clear in Aaron Dembski-Bowden's Night Lords novels, even those who fought during the Heresy and knew their own Primarch haven't necessarily fought non-stop for the last ten millennia, especially if they've been in the Eye of Terror or travelling in the Warp for any length of time. The Fallen Dark Angels are noted as having been scattered across time by the sundering of Caliban, and it's entirely fitting that warbands and battlegroups and even individual Traitor Marines could easily find that the amount of time that has passed for them in a manner completely unrelated to the actual passage of time. This also allows for Traitor Marines for whom the Heresy is a fresh memory, a bitter war that started only centuries ago, rather than an age shrouded in legend and misinformation.


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#6 Lightbringer

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:57 AM

So perhaps there are subtypes of category 1? Like this:

1(a) A Marine of a former First Founding Traitor Legion who turned to chaos at the time of the Horus Heresy, and who has continued to fight non-stop against the Imperium for 10,000 years, his lifespan unnaturally enhanced by the dark gods of chaos. (This is your "Classic" Chaos marine - Kharn the Betrayer, Lucius the Eternal etc etc)

1(b) A Marine of a former First Founding Traitor Legion who turned to chaos at the time of the Horus Heresy, and, through the vaugueries of warp travel and the whim of the Chaos Gods has found himself in the 41st Millenium with no time having elapsed since the death of Horus. For this marine, the  Heresy is a fresh memory, a bitter war that started only days or weeks ago, rather than an age shrouded in legend and misinformation.

1© A Marine who falls somewhere between 1(a) and 1(b): a former First Founding Traitor Legionnaire who turned to chaos at the time of the Horus Heresy, and has spent some time of the intervening centuries lost in the warp and some time fighting the Imperium. He may have lived 50 years, 500 years or 5000 years in sidereal terms, but he does not feel the full weight of the ages upon him as those who obey the natural laws of the unverse should.



#7 Kasatka

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:48 AM

I think some of you may be over thinking this a little bit :P

Legion Astartes (that is marines as of the time of the Heresy) are hard to number. Each Legion varied in size drastically, though a rough estimate from Andy Chambers mentions 10,000 strong per legion. So of the 18 Legions in existence at the time of the Heresy, we have approximately 180,000 marines. Lets be liberal here, because it is said even at the time that the Ultramarines were more numerous than any of their brethren, and round that out to 200,000. Now the fighting during the Heresy would have accounted for a large chunk of those marines. So the maximum possible number of of traitor legionnaires from the Heresy era must be 100,000and the number of loyalists another 100,000.

The loyalist marines that were left after the Heresy were broken into chapters during the second founding numbering exactly 1000 marines each. Some chapters, such as the Black Templars, got around this restriction by constantly being in a state of 'crusade' which allows them to induct far more recruits than other chapters.  According to Lexicanum (javascript:void(0);/*1330018450843*/) there are 37 confirmed Second Founding chapters, placing the number of surviving loyalist marines at 37,000 approximately.

If we assume that the casualties of the Heresy were largely equal on both sides we can estimate that no more than 40,000 traitor marines could have survived the Heresy.

So the maximum number of Heresy traitor characters with the Ancient Warrior talent = 40,000. A fitting number i think :D

As for later renegades, well the successor chapters are numerous and varied in organization and loyalty plus many of the traitor legions and chapters have means of replenishing their ranks through more than new traitors (be it corrupted gene seed stolen from loyalists, Dark Mechanicum techniques or even vile sorcery). As such it's impossible to truly say how many later traitors there are but it would likely be higher than the previous number by at least a factor of 2 if not more.

As for the number of human renegades? Virtually infinite to be honest. There is little point counting human life in the 41st millenium as they are as numerous as.... a very numerous thing!


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#8 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:51 AM

Kasatka said:

I think some of you may be over thinking this a little bit :P

Legion Astartes (that is marines as of the time of the Heresy) are hard to number. Each Legion varied in size drastically, though a rough estimate from Andy Chambers mentions 10,000 strong per legion. So of the 18 Legions in existence at the time of the Heresy, we have approximately 180,000 marines. Lets be liberal here, because it is said even at the time that the Ultramarines were more numerous than any of their brethren, and round that out to 200,000. Now the fighting during the Heresy would have accounted for a large chunk of those marines. So the maximum possible number of of traitor legionnaires from the Heresy era must be 100,000and the number of loyalists another 100,000.

More recent estimates place the number of Crusade-Era Astartes in a Legion at closer to 100,000, with the smaller legions (Salamanders, Raven Guard, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons) having closer to 75,000 warriors, and the larger Legions (Ultramarines, Word Bearers) having in excess of two hundred thousand warriors. The total number of pre-Heresy Astartes at the peak of Imperial power would likely be somewhere around two million - twice that of the 'official' number of Astartes present in the 41st Millennium.

It should also be noted that the Ultramarines founded twenty-three Chapters in the Second Founding, requiring at least 23,000 Astartes remaining after the casualties endured during the Heresy (primarily the Battle for Calth) and the years afterwards (where the Ultramarines were one of the few Imperial forces remaining in a suitable state to continue fighting effectively).

Of course, the numbers left at the end don't seem to change in any noteworthy way, which just means that the casualty rates for the Heresy and the Scouring (the period between the Heresy and the Second Founding) are much, much higher...


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#9 Lightbringer

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:44 PM

Yeah, those Legion size numbers sound solid to me. I always felt the Ultras were circa 250,000 strong, Word Bearers 200,000+ and then gradually decreasing downwards from there along the lines you indicate. Two million sounds a good overall total. (Wasn't there something Miltonesque about a "third part of the host" turning traitor in some old canon source, though? Perhaps this suggests that the Traitors were always slightly numerically inferior to the loyalists. Logically, if the ultras really were that numerous, that actually hangs together.)

I've always felt that it would be good to have more information about the second founding...the numbers we have from canon sources always seemed a little odd to me. As you say, we know of 23 Ultramarines successors from the second founding. If I'm right about 250,000 Ultras at the start of the Heresy, (a big if)  that means that if the 23 successors are the only chapters created at the time, we're looking at only 24,000 survivors after the Horus Heresy (including the Ultras themselves.) Did the Ultramarines really suffer 90%+ casualties during the battle of Calth? I suppose we'll have to wait and see what happens in the new Dan Abnett book, but in any sense, that's a massacre.

I never really got the impression that the Ultramarines came out of the Horus Heresy that badly. Indeed, the impression I always got was that they came out of it better than most, and were able to hold the Imperium together through their numbers when it ended. Again, as you say, the scouring could have reduced their numbers, but I don't get the impression that that particular series of conflicts were on the scale of the Horus Heresy, or anywhere near as intense. It always struck me that it was more a series of running battles, with the Traitor Legions in full retreat.

Other 2nd founding issues that seem odd include the low number (or in some cases complete absence) of 2nd founding chapters formed from other Loyalist Legions. If you add up the total number of known 2nd founding chapters, you get about 34. (That's based on a quick Lexicanum search.) That's 34,000 marines, plus the 9,000 for the First Founding. Were there really only 43,000 loyalist survivors of the Horus Heresy? If you're right about the two million crusade era marines, that's a 95.7% casualty rate for the loyalists!    

My inclination is to believe that the second founding was far more extensive than current records show. Indeed, as I seem to recall, this possibility was expressly written into the Space Marine Codex that first named them. Which means there are an awful lot of "missing" second founding chapters.

Or I could be completely wrong, and it is GWs intention to emphasize the shattering nature of Marine conflicts by deliberatly having extremely high casualty rates...I accept that's a logical possibility!



#10 Lightbringer

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:38 AM

On the subject of Legion numbers, I just grabbed a copy of Know no Fear half an hour ago. On page 40, it contains some interesting information on the size of the Ultramarines Legion. To paraphrase, the Legion is divided into twenty five Chapters. Each Chapter consists of ten companies. Each Company consists of a thousand Astartes. So the Ultramarine Legion was indeed 250,000 strong. 

(For RT fans, there's also an interesting reference to the Ultramarines' flagship, the Macragge's Honour, a 26km long vessel capable of docking with at least 18 "Fleet Barges" (presumably battle barges?).)     



#11 Kasatka

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:40 AM

 Apologies and thanks for further input all. My search was merely a cursory one, though i stand by my rough mathematics if not the quantities themselves.


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#12 Gurkhal

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 08:41 AM

I'd just want to thank everyone for all the great posts as this has cleared things up for me. :)



#13 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:28 AM

Lightbringer said:

Again, as you say, the scouring could have reduced their numbers, but I don't get the impression that that particular series of conflicts were on the scale of the Horus Heresy, or anywhere near as intense. It always struck me that it was more a series of running battles, with the Traitor Legions in full retreat.

It isn't really a matter of scale. Immediately after the Siege of Terra, the loyalist forces are essentially shattered - the Salamanders, Raven Guard and Iron Hands were all crippled by the Dropsite Massacre (and the Raven Guard continued to suffer casualties, as they pushed to remain active in the war), the Dark Angels were divided and shattered by their own internal betrayal, the Space Wolves had never been hugely numerous and had been involved in brutal fighting against the Thousand Sons at the very start of the war, and the Blood Angels, White Scars and Imperial Fists faced the brunt of the Traitors' assault on Terra... so the Ultramarines, who had been deliberately held away from the fighting by deceptive orders and the Battle for Calth, are the only significant, coherent armed force left in the Imperium... so they're the ones bearing the heaviest burden during the Scouring, picking up the pieces and rebuilding the Imperium.

That, I feel, is ample justification for the Ultramarines suffering such heavy casualties. Of course, there's plenty of unknowns about the era, but it certainly feels right that the Heresy and its immediate aftermath resulted in hundreds of thousands of Astartes dead.


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