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Mr T

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Arguably as much as marines should get awesome bonus to strength they should get similar penalties to interaction checks. For example a marine may not understand a passing reference to some recreational activity that a unaugemented human makes. May not sound like a lot but say a Raven Guard is listening to what an enemy officer is saying. In slang the officer says he plans to hook up with his mistress then get drunk. A normal human could work it out from context but a marine would have no context. Sure 99% of the time probably won't matter but GMs should be aware that marines don't have ordinary lives. Added to this most of the time they only see world's at war. There might be marines who have never been to a functioning civilian city during peace time. Again this might be relevant if a marine is searching a building for clues.

Basically it should be remembered that when all is said and done marines are humans. They are at war because most of their time is spent training. That's undisputed but raises a question of when they learn very basic other things.

Edited by Visitor Q

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The way I see it, Marines know much more about the human experience than we give them credit for. Even if we put aside the knowledge they might get as children before they're chosen, they're actually in constant contact with their very own human microcosmos. Admittedly they tend to dress them in uniform jumpsuits or monk-like habits and call them chapter serfs, but those people do live and multiply in fortress-monasteries, ships and whatnot, numbering at least in the tens of thousands - just think about the crew one Battle-Barge requires to operate. They might not engage in the whole range of normal human activities because of constant combat readiness, and society as a whole is doubtlessly way more disciplined than it's healthy, but can it be completely devoid of ordinary human drama? The kids must play and go to school somewhere, people love and hate each other, and it would take a very arrogant Marine to not catch a glimpse of it at all. Most Chapters extend their camaraderie to their serfs to some extent, and a group as observant as the Raven Guard, as gregarious as the White Scars, as keen on good stewardship as the Ultramarines must know the basic workings and mental schematics of a normal, unaugmented human to some extent.

 

That being said, many of the peace-time human activities might seem baffling to them, although probably not the activity per se, rather the motivation behind it. A Marine can likely relate to the feeling of adrenaline rush, just might not understand why someone goes to an amusement park to experience it instead of enlisting in the Guard. It is doubly so if we take the mind-blowing cultural diversity of the Imperium into consideration. If an enemy officer speaks in slang, it's not only the spying Marine who's left confused, it is also the fellow rebel who was born a hundred floors higher or lower in the same hive city. Also, speaking in slang? Make them throw a Speak language (Low Gothic) test with -40 because of the local variant's divergence - bet they didn't use dice on that skill since ages. ;)

 

I admit a Marine is probably not the greatest in the people skills department (and might very well get those minuses on a skill check), but that has a myriad reasons in addition to the Marine being (somewhat) distanced from the mortals. There's obviously room for your interpretation, and also for individual differences - some characters or Chapters may choose to disconnect themselves more and more in order to be more effective (hello, Iron Hands), some may be so single-mindedly focussed on some goal that they ignore what they are otherwise capable of experiencing/understanding (hello, Black Templars), some may adopt a smug sense of superiority or be too drunk with freshly discovered power, and so on.

 

The motif of the human-Marine or human-human cultural divide and cognitive dissonance can be massively atmosphere-setting and rewarding in DW - I like to play with its nuances as a GM, so I feel we wouldn't do it justice by simply hand-waving it away with a blanket interaction penalty.

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They might not engage in the whole range of normal human activities because of constant combat readiness, and society as a whole is doubtlessly way more disciplined than it's healthy, but can it be completely devoid of ordinary human drama? The kids must play and go to school somewhere, people love and hate each other, and it would take a very arrogant Marine to not catch a glimpse of it at all.

 

This is a good argument, though I think it too casually dismisses just how alien even this interpretation of "human" society still is. I suppose the only good real world comparisons we have would be some crazy religious cults like they exist in some parts of the world, and which still function as a society on some level, but which are deeply influenced by their doctrine that the lifestyle is utterly different to what we'd call normality.

 

And that is before we keep in mind that a whole lot of Chapters don't exactly give their warriors much in the way of spare time to actually explore these aspects -- at least as per the 3E codex, they had something like 15 minutes per day for "self-contemplation", everything else was just filled with battle drills, religious service, maintenance, you name it.

 

I'm sure a Marine would still learn some weird semblance of "friendship" (more based on mutual respect) or dislike based simply on the interaction with their fellow battle brothers, but nothing that could prepare them for how to properly react to normal human socialisation.

 

Mind you, the same would be true for Sororitas or Commissars. And Feral Worlders are a whole 'nother topic again, too, in that those would probably occupy the other extreme of the spectrum ("too open" as opposed to "too reserved"), again resulting in awkward situations.

 

The extent of this divide may indeed be different from Chapter to Chapter, but I on the other hand feel we would be doing it a disservice if we were not to consider a blanket interaction penalty, as the absence of it would ignore the entire predicament. All that matters is to keep in mind where it would be justified, and where not. For example, characters such as these probably would have little difficulty as long as they are talking to folks accustomed to dealing with elite Imperial forces, and as long as the discussion remains on an official level. Here, they would probably fit right in, and might even earn bonuses depending on their reputation and who they are talking to.

 

As soon as the interaction moves into the region of (blunt) jokes, personal interests or, Emperor forbid, romance .. or the Marines are talking to ordinary citizens who may very well be afraid by the Marines' "monstrous" appearance, I'd say bring on the penalties. :P

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Hi, I think both of you make very good points. Blanket interaction penalties was more in the context of the trade off if we allow Marines extra bonuses with strength and toughness.

I think their is a tendency to push marines into this demigod category where they are good at everything. But it's not the case. marines at the their core are still human. Time spent learning to be expert at a bolter means time spent not watching the Simpsons or whatever passes for a popular show with universal appeal in the Imperium (kidding obviously but you get the point).

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I think the emotion of fear might be the key to understanding here, as it is as well established as it can get within 40k. Marines understand fear on an abstract level - they don't feel the gut-wrenching panic, but they know about it, can formulate their plans around it, and, generally speaking, experienced Marines can handle it in enemies and allies alike. Other emotions must be the same - romance, jealousy, even sexual drive must be something they learn about in theory. There are tales, myths and legends acting as repositories of human knowledge, experience and societal norms in our world, and it's hard to picture that it would be so much different in a Chapter, other than a massive shift of balance in favour of military lessons. But, then again, just think about the amount of military history classes they must sit through - these motives and emotions come up inevitably when analysing the acts of long-forgotten human allies or enemies. It's human history after all, and human history is in large part actually driven by such emotions. Some xenos, I imagine, also experience emotions, so if the weak point of some tentacle monster or knife-ear is sentiment, it needs to be understood in order to exploit it. 

 

There's also a learning curve for Marines, I give you that. Presumably an Assault Marine in the 8th can't handle regular people as well as a veteran sergeant, who has seen things, man, or the 4th Company Captain, who - as Master of the Fleet - has to regularly approve ordering shipments of condoms, nappies and schoolbooks. In that sense I concede defeat, what I just wrote combined with Imperial customs and reverence towards Marines and their own monstrous appearance might very well warrant a blanket interaction penalty.

 

It's just... when the Raven Guard spies on an enemy officer announcing plans to get a few drinks and bed the missus in Visitor Q's example, I can't help but imagine the Marine recalling how Corax exploited a very similar situation during the liberation of Deliverance, where Sector 02-Epsilon fell in twenty minutes after catching Overseer Verwoerd off-guard in a seedy hotel room with his lover, a crate of crappy boxed wine and some fluffy handcuffs (the presence of which still baffles the scholars).

 

What actually got me thinking was when my alternate GM's campaign kicked off last month and he asked for a character background, including childhood events. Doing a bit of a research, I realised the Red Scorpions whisk off recruits still in their infancy. Since the organ implantation still needs to wait until the kid is 10, that leaves them with a massive orphanage (they carry off infants, they have to start with a high number to have room for all the projected losses), complete with daycare, kindergartens, school and all. As a personal bit of info, I attended an old-timey all-boys boarding school and I think it must be somewhat similar, with added Boy Scout survival skills and Hitlerjugend indoctrination. Then I remember the silly stuff we pulled with my classmates, just because we were bored, and suddenly I can't take the Scorpions, one of the most Serous Business Chapters around, well, seriously. Because what else can you do? Put them in a coma until they reach 12? The missing development would make them physical and mental wrecks. Anyway, that kickstarted my train of thought of how life in a Fortress Monastery is actually much more human than we think, and even the Marines of the most isolated of Chapters share this living space with a small town's worth of people (including a given percentage of horny teenagers) at least tangentially. My point is, they can't possibly be totally blindsided by the mere concept or existence of, say, motherly love or human sexuality. They might not know the appropriate answer or reaction, especially in an unknown cultural environment, so yeah, bring on those penalties, but their brains don't melt away like some cheap sci-fi robot when exposed to a logical fallacy, just because somebody tells them humans have uses for those things between their legs.

 

Edit: Wow. I just realised there's automatic censoring. Funny how for me (being a non-native speaker) these swearwords occasionally don't register as that offensive, especially after watching some police procedural show or listening to a hip-hop track. Anyway, I'll keep that in mind in the future.

Edited by musungu

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I think the issue is less exposure to emotions and interpersonal relations, but rather that it is so incredibly limited and filtered that the Marines simply won't "get it". When they see ordinary troops getting drunk after or before a tough fight, they probably wouldn't think about the cameraderie, but rather either pity these humans for apparently requiring time to unwind, or consider them a disgrace for the lack of discipline. The intense focus on war, and nothing but war, makes everything a Marine encounters look completely different.

 

As for the Red Scorpions' supposed orphanage, it is quite possible that this institution is run similar to the Ecclesiarchy's Schola Progenium, which would make these places a pretty grim thing to grow up in. Less your (comparatively) relaxed boarding school, and more like Nazi-Germany's Napola academies, complete with frequent injuries, corporeal punishment, accidental casualties due to live fire exercises and hazardous tests, and possibly even executions. At least if that Chapter really is as "serious business" as you say.

 

I'd also presume that any "horny teenager" inducted into the Chapter won't stay horny for long once the chemical treatments and hypno-indoctrination begin, not to mention that the aspirants would probably have very little contact with the average Marine, and instead mostly be around humble and silent Chapter Serfs and the Apothecary's staff.

 

Here is a copypasted text from the 3E codex detailing just how "a day in the life" of a Space Marine stationed in the Chapter Monastery looks like, and personally, I just don't see much time for socialisation here.

 

That being said, interpretations will unsurprisingly vary or even conflict between sources, so ultimately it also depends a great deal on just how we want to see the Space Marines. Myself, I'm biased towards the "posthuman living weapon" approach I see depicted in the original source material, in part because I deem it a sort of "narrative balance" that the Marine has to basically "sacrifice their humanity" for the gifts they receive. YMMV.  ;)

Edited by Lynata

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I'd also presume that any "horny teenager" inducted into the Chapter won't stay horny for long once the chemical treatments and hypno-indoctrination begin, not to mention that the aspirants would probably have very little contact with the average Marine, and instead mostly be around humble and silent Chapter Serfs and the Apothecary's staff.

 

Or worse: Once the Librarians go to work peering into the new recruit's mind. It must be kinda awkward looking a guy in the face who knows exactly what sort of kinky stuff you are in to.

 

Or maybe they just scramble your mind, so that every time you want to fap you see devotional images of the Emperor in your mind. :)  That should cure the hornyness don't you think?*

 

 

 

 

* or make for some really "devotional" space marines ;)

Edited by Robin Graves

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LOL 15 minutes of free time! And people wonder why these guys turn renegade...

 

I know! Totally irresponsible. They should just keep them occupied 24/7 -- everyone knows thinking leads to heresy! 

 

* or make for some really "devotional" space marines ;)

 

Duuude. :P

 

But yeah, in all seriousness, I think sexual drive is something that just gets eliminated during a Marine's, uh, ascension. It's not something that is of use on the battlefield, after all.

 

(I actually like to think they just chop off their dangly bits while they're at it, as they no longer serve a purpose other than distracting the Marine by chafing or getting squished in combat -- much better to just replace the whole set with a simple plug for the waste recycler for maximum efficiency at armour interfacing.

But I do know that such an invasive dehumanisation is a radical, even somewhat sadistic interpretation, and one that isn't very popular with those fans that like to see them as the epitome of masculinity. ;) )

Edited by Lynata

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Actually the 4 hours of sleep surprised me. Don't marines have that catalepsan node or whatver that let's them "sleep" by temporarly switching off parts of their brain? (Great fun when that goes awry! :) ) Altough having some actual sleep time can only be beneficial.

 

 

 

(I actually like to think they just chop off their dangly bits while they're at it, as they no longer serve a purpose other than distracting the Marine by chafing or getting squished in combat -- much better to just replace the whole set with a simple plug for the waste recycler for maximum efficiency at armour interfacing.

But I do know that such an invasive dehumanisation is a radical, even somewhat sadistic interpretation, and one that isn't very popular with those fans that like to see them as the epitome of masculinity. ;) )

 

 

The Iron Hands would actually do that i think. And replace them with giant brass balls. ;)  Same for the Imperial Fists (these guys always had a slightly masochistic tendency in my opinion.) The least likey chapters to do so would be the space wolves ("ye kenne neuter a wolf, laddy!") and the Salamanders (with their whole comunity/humanity feels thing. :) )

 

 

 

 

 

* or make for some really "devotional" space marines ;)

 

Duuude. :P

 

Hey, at least I didn't make any jokes about them using their power fists inapropriatly ;)

Edited by Robin Graves

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But yeah, in all seriousness, I think sexual drive is something that just gets eliminated during a Marine's, uh, ascension. It's not something that is of use on the battlefield, after all.

 

(I actually like to think they just chop off their dangly bits while they're at it, as they no longer serve a purpose other than distracting the Marine by chafing or getting squished in combat -- much better to just replace the whole set with a simple plug for the waste recycler for maximum efficiency at armour interfacing.

But I do know that such an invasive dehumanisation is a radical, even somewhat sadistic interpretation, and one that isn't very popular with those fans that like to see them as the epitome of masculinity.  ;) )

 

Heh heh! Reminds me of the responses I got on this forum when I wondered why Marines didn't have "Chem Geld" as part of their basic PC traits. I just got this impression form some of the texts (I think, in particular a couple of paragraphs on women in Ian Watson's Space Marine novel) that the sexual urge just went away during the surgeries / training.

 

 

But, y'know what? I'll leave that to the players. I'd rather le the group go with what's fun rather than try and enforce any kind of canon.

 

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[...] and the Salamanders (with their whole comunity/humanity feels thing. :) )

 

To be fair, I think that tends to get misinterpreted by the fanbase -- the original material in White Dwarf #274 seems to insinuate something darker:

 

"The Salamanders maintain very close links with their home world, mingling with the people rather than living aloof as many other Chapters do. The Salamanders are the settlements' leaders, a source of inspiration and guidance for the Nocturne populace, and it is as much this position of authority and respect that young aspirants crave as the chance to become a legendary warrior of the Emperor."

 
Maybe it's just that I'm very cynical, but to me this - in particular the last sentence - sounds like the Salamanders are just really enjoying lording over the local population. "Become a Space Marine and get your very own village on top of your complementary power armour!"
 
Keep in mind these people aren't chosen for their civic wisdom or social skills, but simply because they happen to have been born male, with a certain genetic makeup that's compatible with the Chapter geneseed, and because they've passed the Salamanders' silly blacksmith trials.
 
Coincidentally, this would explain the Salamanders' horrible behaviour in Gav Thorpe's story "Know Thine Enemy", which has been criticised by a number of fans as depicting these Marines as too aggressive for the common interpretation.
 

Hey, at least I didn't make any jokes about them using their power fists inapropriatly  ;)

 

Ouphh. Now that reminds me of a rather inappropriate joke about the Sisters of Battle.

 

 

But, y'know what? I'll leave that to the players. I'd rather le the group go with what's fun rather than try and enforce any kind of canon.

 

Yeah, especially since such details tend to reeeally depend on just where you look.

 

The group should have a common ground -- just where that common ground is simply depends on who 's playing. :)

Edited by Lynata

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"The Salamanders maintain very close links with their home world, mingling with the people rather than living aloof as many other Chapters do. The Salamanders are the settlements' leaders, a source of inspiration and guidance for the Nocturne populace, and it is as much this position of authority and respect that young aspirants crave as the chance to become a legendary warrior of the Emperor."

 
Maybe it's just that I'm very cynical, but to me this - in particular the last sentence - sounds like the Salamanders are just really enjoying lording over the local population. "Become a Space Marine and get your very own village on top of your complementary power armour!"

 

Hang on! Do they even have time to play mayor/lord over the vilagers? The Salamanders also follow that timetable from the article you linked to.

 

Nocturnan Town Elder: "Ah so good of you to come to the town meeting oh lord. we are ever your personal servants!"

Hestus Fireborn: "Right chaps, let's make this quick! I only got 15 minutes before bedtime."

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Oh. Uh. Guys, I only brought up horny teenagers (that is, a group of humans with poor judgement and even worse impulse control) as an extreme example of how normal humans' lives just might become visible for Marines under the same roof, not to disturb the hornet's nest that is Marine sexuality. For what it's worth, I think if you start with a 10-year-old, who has very rudimentary interests in that department, and start dissecting him in body and mind, giving hormones a radical overhaul in the process, and so on, doing it for years, there's a teeeeny tinty chance sexuality might not develop as it normally should :D Anyway, moving on.

 

I think the issue is less exposure to emotions and interpersonal relations, but rather that it is so incredibly limited and filtered that the Marines simply won't "get it". When they see ordinary troops getting drunk after or before a tough fight, they probably wouldn't think about the cameraderie, but rather either pity these humans for apparently requiring time to unwind, or consider them a disgrace for the lack of discipline. The intense focus on war, and nothing but war, makes everything a Marine encounters look completely different.

 

[...] I'm biased towards the "posthuman living weapon" approach I see depicted in the original source material, in part because I deem it a sort of "narrative balance" that the Marine has to basically "sacrifice their humanity" for the gifts they receive.[...]

 

That is a very good point. In recent background, its arguments and implications are probably summed up best (and in a very enjoyable way) in the new(-ish) Iron Hands literature - primarily Flesh by Chris Wraight (in HaB 7) and the new Deathwatch Short Story, Deadhenge. The problem with this approach is that in my opinion it takes away too much from the Marines as characters, giving substantially less in return - it essentially makes the Marines cookie cutter characters, which makes for bad entertainment, be it literature, roleplay or something other. Sacrifice is already a central narrative element in 40k, and it's even more so in Space Marine context, so I value a more subtle approach to this theme, like voluntary sacrifice, over something I feel is best described as ham-fistedness, like obligatory or unknowing sacrifice. That aside, I do like the sheer brutality in the second, and you gave me some food for thought for my next adventures, but I feel it needs to be used in moderation - the dose makes the poison, after all :)

 

As for the Red Scorpions' supposed orphanage, it is quite possible that this institution is run similar to the Ecclesiarchy's Schola Progenium, which would make these places a pretty grim thing to grow up in. Less your (comparatively) relaxed boarding school, and more like Nazi-Germany's Napola academies, complete with frequent injuries, corporeal punishment, accidental casualties due to live fire exercises and hazardous tests, and possibly even executions. At least if that Chapter really is as "serious business" as you say.

 

Since the Scorpions Chapter is the brainchild of Forge World, their background is detailed in various Imperial Armour volumes, where the writers take great pains to emphasize how they're more Catholic than the Pope (that is, how they're somehow more Codex-compliant than the boys in blue), how the central tenet of their beliefs is genetic purity, and how they scorn anybody they perceive less pure (other Marines, human soldiers, especially Abhumans). Everything we know about them seems to evoke Nazi Germany, so yes, I consider them to be more Serious Business than usual. I'll check this Napola stuff. 

 

To be fair, I think that tends to get misinterpreted by the fanbase -- the original material in White Dwarf #274 seems to insinuate something darker:

 

"The Salamanders maintain very close links with their home world, mingling with the people rather than living aloof as many other Chapters do. The Salamanders are the settlements' leaders, a source of inspiration and guidance for the Nocturne populace, and it is as much this position of authority and respect that young aspirants crave as the chance to become a legendary warrior of the Emperor."

 
Maybe it's just that I'm very cynical, but to me this - in particular the last sentence - sounds like the Salamanders are just really enjoying lording over the local population. "Become a Space Marine and get your very own village on top of your complementary power armour!"

 

For me, it sounds like it is the kids who crave Space Marine positions because of the implied elevation in social status, not the Salamanders themselves. I think on every recruiting planet where the Marines' existence is common knowledge, aspirants want to get on board for all the wrong reasons. How should they know what's in store for them, after all?

 

And Know Thine Enemy fails only where all bad GW background texts do: half of the people involved couldn't write military sci-fi if their life depended on it. I suspect Gav Thorpe is one of them, although he is usually a competent enough writer to hide this fact and compensate elsewhere. :D

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Actually the 4 hours of sleep surprised me. Don't marines have that catalepsan node or whatver that let's them "sleep" by temporarly switching off parts of their brain? (Great fun when that goes awry! :) ) Altough having some actual sleep time can only be beneficial.

 

Pretty much the latter, yeah. Switching off brain sides is more like an emergency measure for prolonged deployment, but nothing that should be done regularly, lest the warrior ultimately ends up with significant health issues.
 
"Normally, a Marine sleeps like any normal man, but if deprived of sleep, the catalepsean node 'cuts in'. A man implanted with the node is capable of sleeping and remaining awake at the same time by 'switching off' areas of the brain sequentially. This process cannot replace normal sleep entirely, but increases a Marine's survivability by allowing awareness of the environment whilst resting."
-- White Dwarf #247: Index Astartes Rites of Initiation, Space Marine Implants
 

Hang on! Do they even have time to play mayor/lord over the vilagers? The Salamanders also follow that timetable from the article you linked to.

 

Hmm, yeah. I guess they must cut down on something else in order to fit that in? As it notes in the codex, many Chapters regularly change some of the times and details just to keep their Battle Brothers on their feet and disrupt regularity, so perhaps there are days where the company's Captain is like: "Right, today's midday meal will take place in the villages! Here are your individual allotments".

 

Or perhaps visiting the villages counts as a "special duty" which commonly takes place between the evening meal and rest period (other examples include working in the Forge or the Apothecarium).

 

Or it is rotated just like the honour of guarding the Fortress-Monastery's walls. The Marines who make up the watch aren't able to attend the timetable either, after all.

 

 

The problem with this approach is that in my opinion it takes away too much from the Marines as characters, giving substantially less in return - it essentially makes the Marines cookie cutter characters, which makes for bad entertainment, be it literature, roleplay or something other.

 

Well ... yes and no. I like to think it just makes them a lot harder to roleplay, because the range of personality is a lot narrower than you'd see in the average human. They might appear "cookie cutter" at a glance, but ultimately, these are still warriors with their own opinions, preferences and aspirations. It's just that all of them revolve around war and their Chapter, as these are the only things of note in their life.

 

Perhaps Brother Jorus is a little philosophical and really good at writing passages that make for inspirational reading, having caused the Chaplain to have an eye on his further career. Meanwhile, Brother Insgar is a bit of a glory hound and fixated on promotion to Sergeant, so much so that that Brother Varus, who prefers a more tactical approach, started to silently dislike his aggressive stance.

 

It's certainly more limiting in terms of what you can portray, and the depth of these characters cannot be explored straight away, but I feel it makes for a more faithful portrayal of what is essentially beefed-up African child soldiers in sci-fi armour (I admit, I have just watched "Beasts of no Nation" the other day).

 

I see the very same "problem" with Sororitas and Commissars, but still you have some few novels that manage to convey this concept. James Swallow seems to get it right, at least for me, for the Battle Sisters in his books all have distinct characters without actually breaking the rather narrow mould that I see established by the codices.

Granted, Miriya is a bit of a maverick who is a step away from execution, but I guess that was necessary to make her a likeable main protagonist, and this flaw is at least addressed several times in the books.

 

For me, it sounds like it is the kids who crave Space Marine positions because of the implied elevation in social status, not the Salamanders themselves. I think on every recruiting planet where the Marines' existence is common knowledge, aspirants want to get on board for all the wrong reasons.

 

That's a good point. The question, then, would be just how much their thinking actually changes once they are fully-fledged Marines -- Chapter culture is commonly influenced by the people they are recruiting from (hence stuff like the ritualistic cannibalism), so some sort of "baggage" must carry over?

 

Also something that might influence the Marine's "minimised" personality as hinted at above, by the way! I'm sure at some point they forget most about their childhood, but by then who they once were will still have influenced a part of who they are today, even with hypno-indoctrination.

 

PS: I have no idea where you found that image, but the internet is a strange place indeed.  :P

Edited by Lynata

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the "posthuman living weapon" approach I see depicted in the original source material

 

Be careful what you wish for :D

 

 

I know it was a joke, but still, I couldn't resist

 

 

That picture reminds me a lot of the (older) artwork for Paranoia. (Especially the marines in the background.)

 

Also I keep hearing Monty Python's "camelot" song when I look at it.

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That picture reminds me a lot of the (older) artwork for Paranoia. (Especially the marines in the background.)

 

It even looks like it was made by the same artist, which is actually possible. The pool of RPG artists whose "talents" didn't limit them to drawing exclusively half-naked barbarian chicks in chainmail bikinis couldn't have been that big in the late 80s :D

 

It wouldn't even be the weirdest way 40k and Paranoia ever crossed paths - that honour belongs solely to Vulture Warriors from Dimension X Meet Plenty of Cheerful Orks with Plasma Cannons, from the olden days when White Dwarf had a much, much broader scope. ;)

 

Edit: Messed up quoting. Can't fix it. Meh, whatever.

Edited by musungu

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I once made an imperial guard regiment for Only War based on Alpha Complex troubleshooters...

 

 

It wouldn't even be the weirdest way 40k and Paranoia ever crossed paths - that honour belongs solely to Vulture Warriors from Dimension X Meet Plenty of Cheerful Orks with Plasma Cannons, from the olden days when White Dwarf had a much, much broader scope. ;)

 

You mean when GW was still into (importing) RPGs and not making miniature games :)

 

Now I kinda want top play a game in wich Alpha complex is on a world, seperated from the rest of the galaxy by a warpstorm since the age of strife. A warpstorm that has now abated and the imperium has discovered it. That should be interesting.

 

The admech will be all over Friend Computer as an avatar of the machine god. On the other had: Bots are AI's and that's a big nono. Also once the imperials find out most people are mutants...ho boy!

Edited by Robin Graves

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I once made an imperial guard regiment for Only War based on Alpha Complex troubleshooters...

 

Now if a girl ever tells me these exact words, I'll immediately propose... Hell, even a paraphrase will do :)

 

Now I kinda want top play a game in wich Alpha complex is on a world, seperated from the rest of the galaxy by a warpstorm since the age of strife.

 

If I may, I'd like to draw your attention to Amenophis IV, on p. 115 of The Achilus Assault. I think you will find The Array and its people to your liking ;)

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Hang on! Do they even have time to play mayor/lord over the vilagers? The Salamanders also follow that timetable from the article you linked to.

 

Hmm, yeah. I guess they must cut down on something else in order to fit that in? As it notes in the codex, many Chapters regularly change some of the times and details just to keep their Battle Brothers on their feet and disrupt regularity, so perhaps there are days where the company's Captain is like: "Right, today's midday meal will take place in the villages! Here are your individual allotments".

 

Or perhaps visiting the villages counts as a "special duty" which commonly takes place between the evening meal and rest period (other examples include working in the Forge or the Apothecarium).

 

Or it is rotated just like the honour of guarding the Fortress-Monastery's walls. The Marines who make up the watch aren't able to attend the timetable either, after all.

 

The Salamanders' lore is a weird thing, as it is riddled with internal inconsistencies: e.g. 5E Codex and Index Astartes IV states there are seven companies overall, then proceeds to associate the "seven line companies" with the seven clans of the seven Sanctuary Cities (which would make elevation of Scouts or Codex reassignment between companies tricky). Imperial Armour vol. 10 repeats the same (at least it assigns Scouts to a separate "sub-company"), but a page later states the First Company is manning Prometheus. Maybe those "villages" are the nomadic settlements outside the Sanctuary Cities? Anyhow, in light of this, and Nick Kyme's novels, the presented timetable seems to be quite unmaintainable, with all that recreational / meditative blacksmithing going on. Maybe it's a corrupted record, and not only the sidenotes are of Black Templar origin, but the whole document - it would certainly fit my mental image of the Templars.

 

Well ... yes and no. I like to think it just makes them a lot harder to roleplay, because the range of personality is a lot narrower than you'd see in the average human. They might appear "cookie cutter" at a glance, but ultimately, these are still warriors with their own opinions, preferences and aspirations. It's just that all of them revolve around war and their Chapter, as these are the only things of note in their life.

 

I'm growing convinced our stances are basically the same in this, with only cosmetic differences. I also enforce the limits imposed by just being a Space Marine in my games, but it mainly serves as a backdrop. In a roleplaying game, especially in Deathwatch, where the Marines are pushed well outside of their comfort zones, there must be more leeway in expressing the remaining humanity, individuality, identity and (Emperor forbid) freedom of choice - in one word, personality - than in the monolithic, isolated cultural environment of a Chapter. I think about, search for, and line up arguments supporting this slight increase in elbow-room, because I'm a huge canon geek at heart, and I need my universe to stay internally consistent.

 

If a player wants to be a "face" type Marine (of course no-one does, but bear with me for a sec), it's only all right if there are internal arguments supporting it. Choose a human-friendly Chapter. Choose a background of regular interaction with mortals, like living in a Nocturnean village, or ruling over one of the planets in the Realm of Ultramar for some period as a consul. Be prepared for massive penalties, as people crap their pants at the sight of you. The list goes on and on.

 

War is the only thing of note, I agree. But there are many ways of waging war, and Deathwatch gathers experienced Marines, who need to learn (and, in fact, might even grow to appreciate) unconventional tools or methods to get the desired result. No wonder they usually get promoted upon returning to the Chapter.

 

One of my favourite parts in one of my favourite Black Library novels, Death of Integrity by Guy Haley, is the beginning of Chapter 7, where the Chapter Master of the Blood Drinkers, suffering from the Thirst and already on the precipice of falling victim to the Rage, is shown painstakingly putting together huge and complex stained glass windows depicting Chapter legends, while reciting litanies. The devotional activity, mind-focusing in its delicateness, is not surprising from a Marine, but it's coming from a brutally utilitarian reason: he does it to fight the Thirst. As he himself puts it: "The creation of art was a tonic to the soul, a distraction from the infernal itch of the Thirst." But it also intertwines with an appreciation of art, a desire to create something beautiful, and the immersion in said beauty. As his Reclusiarch says a few pages later when visiting him: "Artistry is the great foe of savagery."

 

For me, this probably the best 40k example of how a very utilitarian goal can be achieved through seemingly very unconventional means, how in forging the way to peak efficiency, as befitting a Marine, humanity and personality still can be expressed.

Edited by musungu

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The Salamanders' lore is a weird thing, as it is riddled with internal inconsistencies: e.g. 5E Codex and Index Astartes IV states there are seven companies overall, then proceeds to associate the "seven line companies" with the seven clans of the seven Sanctuary Cities (which would make elevation of Scouts or Codex reassignment between companies tricky). Imperial Armour vol. 10 repeats the same (at least it assigns Scouts to a separate "sub-company"), but a page later states the First Company is manning Prometheus.

 

After checking the 5E 'dex and the Index Astartes in more detail, it appears that the Salamanders Chapter organisation is not codex-compliant after all -- Index Astartes in particular provides a good explanation, mentioning that Chapter and Company structure are based on a pre-Heresy setup by their Primarch, and that as a result their companies are slightly larger than those of Chapters strictly following the Codex Astartes. However, on a Squad level, they have reorganised to follow Guilliman's writings.

 

This means they don't have Reserve Companies as Codex Chapters do, but with each of the seven Battle Companies being larger, I guess they just have Marines from the upsized Battle Companies fill the same role (support, drivers, replacements).

As for the Scouts, it appears they are simply part of the seven Battle Companies as well, thus preserving the internal affiliation with their recruiting grounds (and the slight rivalry between them). This way everything makes sense.

 

As far as Imperial Armour goes, personally I'd just dismiss it as a source if you subscribe to GW's version and IA throws up any conflicts. It has been written by a different team, and it'd not be the first time that a source from Forge World stands in direct contradiction to codex fluff.

 

For me, this probably the best 40k example of how a very utilitarian goal can be achieved through seemingly very unconventional means, how in forging the way to peak efficiency, as befitting a Marine, humanity and personality still can be expressed.

 

Yep, it's a good example, especially as it preserves the "mysticism" of the Marine.

 

Really, I think the "cardinal sin" is to make a Space Marine act and appear like a dude from next door. There's a certain skill involved in making them act somewhat "alien". We've got to remember that they - same as Sororitas or Death Cult Assassins and other people with special backgrounds - just don't live ordinary lives, and how their personalities would be affected by such a deeply monastic lifestyle devoted to a singular purpose, as well as the relative isolation their raison d'être brings with it. Arguably, there would be some differences between individual Chapters, but still, you get the idea.

 

The challenge, thus, is to hit the sweet spot between "too robotic" and "too human". After all, they are still individuals, even though their range of personality development is limited by their way of life.  ;)

Edited by Lynata

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The challenge, thus, is to hit the sweet spot between "too robotic" and "too human". After all, they are still individuals, even though their range of personality development is limited by their way of life.  ;)

 

Yay, a consensus! And all it took was a massive derailment of one measly thread! :D Seriously though, it's good to have my headcanon challenged occasionally. My next campaign will surely bring the restrictive aspects a bit more to the fore.

 

Also, I didn't read James Swallow's SoB novels, but I'll check them out. I consider him a good writer, at least by BL standards - his Blood Angels and Flesh Tearers stuff are, for the most part, quite fascinating. I like to see a hero who refuses to embrace the comfortable Manifest Destiny-esque narrative and looks for the small inconsistencies, not to mention his take on Seth is masterfully contradictory. Hooray for antagonistic, yet relatable Marines!

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