Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Farseerixirvost

Deathwatch Marines - how old?

Recommended Posts

Can't search for 3-letter words like 'age' or 'old' so hopefully I'm not beating a dead horse here...

 

How long would a veteran type SM have been a Space Marine?  How about a Space Wolf Long Fang (who is probably older than your average space marine)?

 

I recall some 40k fiction indicating some of the more upper echelon marines are on the magnitude of having served for multiple centuries.  But is something like being a SM for 100 years common?  200 years?  Or more like 40 or 50 years being 'old' for a SM?

 

Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Space marines can live for up to a thousand years, at least. In practice, most don't make it that long, what with being in the most dangerous profession in the galaxy. Some die as scouts, barely serving at all before running into something big with power claws. A few live for multiple thousands, being interred inside a Dreadnought to sleep the decades away. (For example, Dante, the chapter master of the Blood Angels, is a thousand years old and still running things. Bjorn, of the Space Wolves, is in a Dreadnought, and has been since the Horus Heresy, which was ten thousand years ago).

Some people believe that if left alone, a Space Marine could live forever. But no one knows for sure. I don't know of any Space Marines who ever died of old age.

So to answer your question, a Space Marine wouldn't really be considered old till around his sixth, seventh, probably eighth century. Most who make it through their initiation phase can expect to serve a good few centuries before biting it.

Edited by Ramellan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure it would depend on the Chapter, meaning how often they actually go to war, and how reckless they are when doing so. Things like these would greatly affect attrition, and thus the average age of the various ranks.

 

If we were to go by Games Workshop, I recall it being mentioned that "service studs" are bolted to a veteran's skull to denote years of service - 100 years per stud. Now, if you look at the miniatures, you'll notice how most Captains seem to have one or two studs. The oldest active Ultramarine, Chaplain Cassius, is "close to 400 years of age", though Cato Sicarius is said to have taken command of the 2nd company within decades after his recruitment.

 

I don't think there is much you could actually do "wrong" here, given how the answer to your question relies so much on interpretation and circumstances - not to mention that in this IP, you will be able to find official sources that confirm and contradict just about anything.

 

Some people believe that if left alone, a Space Marine could live forever. Bu no one knows for sure. I don't know of any Space Marines who ever died of old age.

 

"Space Marines live extended lifetimes - if they do not fall in battle, they can easily live two or three times longer than a normal man, and sometimes far longer." 
-- 6E Rulebook p181, 'Forces of the Imperium'
 
The exception to the above are, of course, the Blood Angels and their peculiar geneseed. Though again, this is just what GW's own writings are saying, and I almost expect this to be contradicted by some Black Library novel. As always, there is no absolute answer here - OP will simply have to pick what they think sounds best for them (or consult their GM! common ground is important for RPGs).
Edited by Lynata

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The understanding I had is that marines can get a good few hundred years but even an Astartes will eventually succumb to old age...however usually they fall to a traitor bolt round, enemy railgun blast or other fate.

 

Dante of the Blood Angels is indeed one of the oldest living marines out there at 1100(ish) but in the 5th Ed Blood Angels codex it acknowledges that he has lived far longer than he should and that his time will come soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about Sanguinor of the BA's? Is there any age attached to him or is he just a mysterious figure?

There is a rumour in the Blood Angels chapter that the Sanguinor is Azkaellon's soul, which mean he should be as old as Bjorn fell-handed. But, note that the Sanguinor is actually believed to be some sort of manifestation/wraith/specter, so it doesn't count that much if you want to compare his age to that of other marines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't have to be a veteran to be in the Deathwatch, Librarians are all considered to be Lexicaniums as the higher ranks in the Librarium have too many duties to the chapter to take the time off. A Lexicanium is essentially a Psychic Battle-Brother and isn't likely to have served very long (relatively, they could be a hundred years old and not be a "veteran"). A brother may join the Deathwatch after performing a great deed, learning something about Xenos that's new or that he shouldn't have, or as a way for a promising Marine to gain a greater experience that he can bring back to the Chapter. 

 

Marines in the Deathwatch are exceptional, that doesn't mean they have to be a Veteran.

 

But in answer to the question, Marines have an unknown lifespan, there probably isn't a Marine who has ever died of old age. Yes Bjorn is in a Dreadnought, he is also 10,000(ish) years old and still technically alive, and the Horus Heresy books seem to state that Marines are probably immortal, just none have really lived long enough to test the theory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But in answer to the question, Marines have an unknown lifespan, there probably isn't a Marine who has ever died of old age. Yes Bjorn is in a Dreadnought, he is also 10,000(ish) years old and still technically alive, and the Horus Heresy books seem to state that Marines are probably immortal, just none have really lived long enough to test the theory.

However one thing to keep in mind is that the books do tend to skew the facts a little and writers take an awful lot of creative licence :)

 

I would go with the argument that a marine can manage (with a good lifestyle and regime) at least a thousand years. After that and they will start to feel war weariness and generally start to decline. They are Astartes and strong but even biology and technology have its limits and they will slowly succumb to age. Although with dreadnoughts or stasis capabilities they can live longer but it is not a true life and more of a shell existence. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

However one thing to keep in mind is that the books do tend to skew the facts a little and writers take an awful lot of creative licence :)

 

Facts? What facts? ;)

 

It really depends solely on where you look.

  • Games Workshop says the average is 200-300 years.
  • Some Black Library books may say the average is 1000 years.
  • Other Black Library books (or FFG's RPG) may say they don't die at all.

Pick what you like! It's all equally "true" or "untrue".

 

PS: As far as I know, in all sources Dreadnoughts go into stasis when not in use, which essentially stops their biological clock. In theory, this could be called a form of immortality, just that (obviously) to maintain it you could never, ever actually activate the Dread, as by this very moment the clock would start ticking again.

Edited by Lynata

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was pretty much the reason for chaos Dreads being nutso in the 2E Chaos 'dex, basically they never put them to sleep, just took the sarcophagus out and hung it on a wall somewhere till they needed to plug it back in and smash stuff. No bedtime stories, nothing... Chaos are jerks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting that the Blood Angels and the Ultramarines canonically have different lifespans. The Ultramarines seem to live for around 3-400 years (Ortan Cassius is said to be the oldest at nearly 400) whereas the Blood Angels seem to live for around 1000 years.

I wonder if there are further variations between the original legions in terms of lifespan? Perhaps there were other chapters with far shorter lifespans? One imagines this might have been picked up in the circa 250 years of the Great Crusade, though, and I haven't seen any reference to this yet. Perhaps some legions with very high casualty rates (world eaters, death guard) might have had shorter lifespans which weren't picked up because they kept dying in industrial qualities in battle, preventing the shorter lifespans being discovered.

Perhaps also some traitor legions would have had extended lifespans like the Blood Angels, but this wasn't discovered because they fled to the Eye of Terror, temporally distorting them and obscuring their true lifespan. Perhaps some of the traitors were in fact functionally immortal, even aside from the Daemonic effects of the eye?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well in the night lords books the marines were nearly all from the time of the HH one even said he had met the emperor and that was set just before the 13th black crusade but the warp had hand in the spans there

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if there are further variations between the original legions in terms of lifespan?

 

Multiple explanations might be possible. Either the Blood Angels' unusual longevity was common once, and it is only thanks to an ongoing degradation in scientific know-how and the increase in mysticism that led to the vast majority of Chapters only living 2-3 times as long as a common man (similar to how they've suffered other geneseed flaws up to entire organs/implants being rendered inert) - or the Blood Angels' lifespan is a result of their unique mutation, quite possibly triggered by the irradiated conditions of their homeworld (see the theory of radiation hormesis, as well as various fictional examples such as Fallout Ghouls).

 

Personally, I am subscribing to the latter, for three reasons:

  • it would be odd if a perk that used to be common was now almost extinct
  • unnatural longevity is a classic vampire cliché, and as such it makes sense (from an out-of-universe PoV) to have it attributed only to the BA
  • long-living Space Marines don't make sense from a governmental point of view, as they'd be even less dependent on regular reinforcements, and thus harder to control (see also the arbitrary limitations on the pools of potential recruits) - as such, the Blood Angels' lifespan would have originally been considered an unintentional and potentially dangerous side-effect ... of course, by M41, few people would remember this

YMMV may vary, of course - after all, there is no canon, so anything discussed in this thread is pretty much optional!

Edited by Lynata

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what i've read in a WD(2007-ish) that had the blood angels codex list in it, it is mentioned that it's only the BA that get so old (Dante is over a thousand years old) and it's atributed to Sanguinius power/ blood rituals/ their geneseed.

 

I think average marine is around 400 hundred*. (think that was a dark angel)

 

* if not killed in battle.

Thats the tragic noble sacrifice bit of the marines thats so awesome:

 

You want to protect humanity, so they take your humanity away untill you can barely correlate with normal humans.

Then they make you practically imortal but all you do is fight in the most dangerous warzones untill you catch a bullet/ borer beettle/ macrocannon shell/ faxmachine-teleport-lazer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A thought that occurred to me the other day was the idea that perhaps the Emperor engineered an Astartes lifespan that fitted in with his view of how long the Great Crusade would last.

At the time of the Heresy, the Great Crusade had been going for about 250 years. It was clear that Ullanor was a major victory, and following this victory the Emperor felt able to put Horus in charge of military operations and retire to the Imperial Palace. Perhaps the Emperor felt that at the 250-year mark, the hardest part of the Great Crusade was over? That two thirds of the work was done? The Emperor is always portrayed as the ultimate conquerer, one with an almost prescient ability to read events. What if he had estimated that it would take 3-400 years to conquer the Galaxy? This means that if the Imperium had, around the time of Ullanor, gradually stopped recruiting Astartes on the same scale, the first Astartes veterans, the ones recruited to conquer the Galaxy, would start dying of old age by the end of the crusade.

Perhaps the Emperor didn't WANT the Astartes living into the age of the new Imperium. They were intended to usher in the new age and then gradually fade into history.

Perhaps the Emperor built in obsolescence into the Astartes...like washing machines, or iPhones.

After all, he'd had problems with the Thunder Warriors who'd preceded them; there are references in the novels to rebellions and massacres of those troops. Perhaps, to avoid that, the Emperor, with his latest super warriors, the Astartes, designed them to live and die within the span of the Great Crusade.

Taking this further, perhaps he engineered different lifespans for different legions according to predicted casualty rates. Some legions ( particularly ones who were more mentally unstable like the world eaters or night lords) conceivably were able to replace casualties faster, but traded off a longer lifespan.

Perhaps also the Emperor intended that longer lived legions-like the blood Angels- were to survive the crusade by virtue of their 1000 year lifespan, and act as a police force for the new golden age of humanity, a standing army, one with a longer term view of the Galaxy than "normal" Astartes. Perhaps some quality in their geneseed (their nobility? Their respect for humanity?) made them more desirable candidates to usher in a new, peaceful Imperium, than the berserker qualities of some of the other legions.

Edited by Lightbringer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sixth legion is the Space Wolves. II and XI are unknowns. And speaking of them: Planned obsolescence might have been the reason one or both of them rebelled and were subsequently purged from history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the fact is NO Space Marine has EVER died of old age. they all die on the battlefield. thing is living centuries is apretty rare for Marines because statisticly they see a liot of fighting and a lot of tough fighting. Dante's longevity isn't exceptional because "omg marines don't live that long" it's exceptional because "1000 years of service and you'd got gotten a bolt round through the brain pan? impressive" 

 

for what it's worth Talon of Horus implies the founding chapter master of the black templars survived 1000 years after the Heresy, only to be cut down by the despoiler 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the fact is NO Space Marine has EVER died of old age.

 

Because it doesn't specifically say so in a book? The same is true for Guardsmen. ;)

 

The only fact is that Games Workshop has flat-out stated in the TT rulebook that Space Marines have a biological life expectancy of, and I quote, "three times that of a normal man". This is consistent with the Marine Codex telling us that Chaplain Grimaldus is the oldest active Ultramarine "at close to four centuries of age", and making a point about how he looks the part and how much of his body only keeps moving due to bionics.

 

Furthermore, it's not just Dante who stands out with his age - this is something we are repeatedly told is strange about the entire Chapter:

 

"Physically the Blood Angels are among the longest lived of all the Space Marine Chapters. One of the peculiarities of their gene-seed is that it has vastly increased the lifespan of those who possess it, so it is not uncommon for Blood Angels to reach a thousand years of age. Indeed, the current Chapter Master, Commander Dante, has lived for nearly 1,100 years. These vastly extended lifespans allow the Blood Angels to perfect their techniques in art as well as in war. They have centuries in which to perfect the disciplines to which they turn their minds, and this accounts for the fact that Blood Angels' armour and banners are among the most ornate ever produced."

-- WD #261 Index Astartes : The Blood Angels

 

It's perfectly okay to disregard all this and instead assume something different for one's own interpretation of the setting, because that's quite simply how the setting works ("pick your canon") and a lot of novel authors (and this very RPG) in particular do so due to artistic license. However, we still need to be aware of the original material, if only to prevent such problematic "false fact" statements to prevent misleading new fans of the franchise who may not know of these conflicting sources or how the IP operates when it comes to its background (it doesn't help that popular and otherwise very useful fan-edited sources such as Lexicanum still propagate the myth of a "universal truth" too).

Edited by Lynata

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...