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The Laughing God

Acid drooling Space Marines: like or not?

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So Space Marines have acid saliva which they can spit into the face of Daemon Princes. They can chew their way through steel bars (this example is literally in the rulebook), frothing corrosive foam. They can EAT their opponents and gain information about them.

 

I know this is old W40K canon, but somehow I find it more suitable for Genestealers to drool acid and for Kroot to munch on the flesh of their fallen enemies. It’s way too bestial and alien for mankind’s superwarriors.

Agree or not?
 

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The Laughing God said:

So Space Marines have acid saliva which they can spit into the face of Daemon Princes. They can chew their way through steel bars (this example is literally in the rulebook), frothing corrosive foam. They can EAT their opponents and gain information about them.

 

I know this is old W40K canon, but somehow I find it more suitable for Genestealers to drool acid and for Kroot to munch on the flesh of their fallen enemies. It’s way too bestial and alien for mankind’s superwarriors.

Agree or not?
 

 

It sets Marines apart from other "heroes" in other fictional settings.

 

Alex

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I would say that the Omophagea is frowned on by most chapters because of the danger of corruption (even though you could argue that they could still eat parts of fallen allies for needed information). The Betcher's Gland is more of a last ditch weapon and escape tool. Most marines wear a helmet, and blinding your enemy with acidic spit is not really a honourable tactic. 

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 I know this is old W40K canon, but somehow I find it more suitable for Genestealers to drool acid and for Kroot to munch on the flesh of their fallen enemies. It’s way too bestial and alien for mankind’s superwarriors.

It's also wonderfully hypocritical, which is why I like it.

 

@Mjoellnir

The Betcher's Gland is more of a last ditch weapon and escape tool. Most marines wear a helmet, and blinding your enemy with acidic spit is not really a honourable tactic.

Neither is shooting an enemy with projectiles containing acid - or explosives, for that matter. The only honour Space Marines possess is directed towards their battle brothers, not their enemies.

 

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I've never liked the Omophagea, just because it seems so implausible. I know implausibility is a ridiculous accusation to throw at 40k given the numerous suspensions of disbelief required to enjoy the setting, but the omophagea has always grated with me. It's 40k's own "James Bond's invisible car" moment where you're jarred out of the setting by thinking..."hang on...I don't buy that." 

I really can't see how a brain (which is effectively an incredibly complex active collection of neurons combined in a specific order running electrical impulses at the speed of light) can communicate information to someone who's eating it, after death. The very act of consuming the brain would destroy all coherent information from it. It just...wouldn't work. I can buy psychic mindreading, passive observation of a living brain through incredibly sensitive magnetic resonance imaging etc etc...but not brain eating.

I know that so many other things in the setting wouldn't work either...but the other things that don't work work for me! happy.gif

It's a very personal opinion, though. Everyone has something in the background they don't like, whether it's Orky slapstick, Tau, Necron conspiracies...personally I like all those things, but this one point gets me down!  

 

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Genetic memory maybe nonsense - but it is a common science fiction concept. e.g. The classic Dune series. 

The WH40K universe makes the Dune universe look tame with respect to fantasy science elements.

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The Omophagea concept is slightly different to genetic memory, though. There are two genetic memory examples in 40k I can think of off the top of my head (and there are almost certainly many more), the Ork ability to intuitively grow to be a Mekby/Runtherd/Painboy etc, and the Jokaero ability to instinctively construct the most advanced technology in the universe while also being a placid tree dwelling simian...

I like both of those concepts. Deliberately encoding high tech knowledge into the genetic code of a creature's brain so it grows up knowing things by instinct is ultra high concept sci fi, but it seems plausible to me (for beings as incredibly advanced as the brainboyz and Old Ones respectively.)

I still don't like the Omaphagea, though! happy.gif

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They also say that many chapters have lost some of the abilities of the gene seed organs. I don't think I've ever heared about a Marine actually biting through a steel bar or spitting acid into the face of his enemies. The majority of marines wear helmets anyhow, so if you go spitting at the inside of your helmet your going to burn a hole straight through it.

The Soul Drinkers are the only chapter I remember making actual use of the Omophagea.  It was something which set them apart from other chapters, in so far as giving them their chapter name.  Even then, it was only fleeting if I remember correctly, like waking up from a dream and having only filiments of a memory to grasp at. 

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Personally I just accept the abilities of a Marine as somewhat crazy and model them.  The fact that the whole "eating of memories" thing is, for me, best modelled by necromantic telepathy might say much... ;)

Kage

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SinisterCheshire said:

The Soul Drinkers are the only chapter I remember making actual use of the Omophagea.  It was something which set them apart from other chapters, in so far as giving them their chapter name.  Even then, it was only fleeting if I remember correctly, like waking up from a dream and having only filiments of a memory to grasp at. 

The Imperial Fists use it in Ian Watson's "Space Marine" novel. They eat the brains of a Titan crew and then pilot the titan to destroy something not particularly memorable. I remember grinding my teeth in irritation over this whole concept, which rang false on a very large number of levels.  

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Kage2020 said:

 

 

Personally I just accept the abilities of a Marine as somewhat crazy and model them.  The fact that the whole "eating of memories" thing is, for me, best modelled by necromantic telepathy might say much... ;)

Kage

 

 

I know what you mean...On the whole, I rather like the other abilities of Marines, though. They don't seem TOO far fetched, assuming genetic science advances to a certain point. The healing, two hearts, sleeping while awake etc stuff all works for me. I like the spitting acid bit, too.  There isn't too much handwavery required to justify any of these things. It's just that &%$(^£) Omophagea...enfadado.gif 

[grumble grumble, mutter mutter nitpick nitpick pedantry pedantry] (happy.gif)

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 Back when I used to run the college gaming club, I had a long chat with one of the biggest 40K fans in the club. We went over all the abilities Space Marines were supposed to have by virtue of their modified organs, and we both came to a similar conclusion. "This is kind of silly, and how come our marines can't spit acid/eat people in the war game?" I think a lot of these organs and abilities sounded cool at the time, and to an extent they still do. But the absurdity becomes pointed when playing a game where you're responsible for a single Marine, rather than a whole squad. Thankfully, I like the theater of the absurd.

Oh, my group has a house rule related to the acid glands. A space marine can lick a melee weapon, coating it in acid and granting it the Toxic quality. The quality is temporary and risks destroying the weapon, but it can give you an edge when it matters. Nothing to stop an Apothecary from concocting an acid resistant polish for the weapon.

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Well spitting acid isn't that lethal an ability, really. If you had a choice on the battlefield between having a gun or spitting acid, I know which one I'd take. For the purpose of the TT game, the spitting acid at close range thing is incorporated into their already lethal profile.

As for licking blades, well...I dunno... I don't personally think this would increase their efficacy or lethality. People have had blades and acid for centuries, and the two haven't ever successfully been combined in combat, so I don't see why this would confer any particular advantage on marines in the game.

I always saw the acid spit thing as more of an escape tool. The original write up back in the 1988 White Dwarf on the topic talked about how, given their abilities, marines could "chew through steel bars when imprisoned...given time." Or for spitting blinding defiance into the eyes of an enemy when mortally wounded.   

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Brother-Sergeant Priad put his Betcher's Glands to good use in the final story in "Brothers of the Snake" (highly recommended BTW). I've only ever seen that implant used as a last-ditch measure in fiction. I think it serves mainly to reinforce the fact that even unarmed and unarmoured, a Space Marine is a very deadly opponent.

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Lightbringer said:

SinisterCheshire said:

 

The Soul Drinkers are the only chapter I remember making actual use of the Omophagea.  It was something which set them apart from other chapters, in so far as giving them their chapter name.  Even then, it was only fleeting if I remember correctly, like waking up from a dream and having only filiments of a memory to grasp at. 

 

 

The Imperial Fists use it in Ian Watson's "Space Marine" novel. They eat the brains of a Titan crew and then pilot the titan to destroy something not particularly memorable. I remember grinding my teeth in irritation over this whole concept, which rang false on a very large number of levels.  

I'll have to check that one out. Space Marine is in my stack of books near my bed.  That whole concept is pretty galling, seeing as Space Marines don't generally come equipped with a Mind Impulse Unit to allow them to connect with the Titans machine spirit. I figure the machine spirit might get rather mad at the marines intrusion and possibly blow out his brain if they were to attempt it...

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 Alot of chapters go sans-helmet, white scars & space wolves jump to mind.  The omophagea pops up rarely like the marines don't like to use it and the last time I saw it used was the Tau reference in the Ultras book.  Some sci-fi has made the electrical impulses of the brain out to be something that can be read and even downloaded, like it's the flow and path of electricity that matters rather than the matter itself y'know? If that's the case, then eating part or all of your opponent's brain could be considered akin to "downloading" your opponent's thoughts, it's a stretch but... really, it's 40k.  Space ships hurling projectiles the size of small buildings, 7ft tall genetically engineered warrior perfection... psychic space jesus ;)

As for spitting acid, you can raise or lower your own body's PH supposedly, it falls in line again, genetically engineered, why not? Space Jesus made them to conquor.  These aren't sci-fi Bretonnians, they're sooped up Marines... I love the smell of napalm in the morning types.  Now if only he'd made them bleed acid too but... I suppose most marines would say "Ain't got time t'bleed." ;)

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BrotherHostower said:

 Alot of chapters go sans-helmet, white scars & space wolves jump to mind.  The omophagea pops up rarely like the marines don't like to use it and the last time I saw it used was the Tau reference in the Ultras book.  Some sci-fi has made the electrical impulses of the brain out to be something that can be read and even downloaded, like it's the flow and path of electricity that matters rather than the matter itself y'know? If that's the case, then eating part or all of your opponent's brain could be considered akin to "downloading" your opponent's thoughts, it's a stretch but... really, it's 40k.

Personally, I'm more inclined to think of it as an extremely low-level form of telepathy/psychometry, a psychic impression drawn up from the remnants of a living creature. It's so minor a psychic ability that it goes unnoticed and isn't readily perceived as such, but the same can be said of the baseline psychic awareness possessed by most humans.

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

BrotherHostower said:

 

 Alot of chapters go sans-helmet, white scars & space wolves jump to mind.  The omophagea pops up rarely like the marines don't like to use it and the last time I saw it used was the Tau reference in the Ultras book.  Some sci-fi has made the electrical impulses of the brain out to be something that can be read and even downloaded, like it's the flow and path of electricity that matters rather than the matter itself y'know? If that's the case, then eating part or all of your opponent's brain could be considered akin to "downloading" your opponent's thoughts, it's a stretch but... really, it's 40k.

 

Personally, I'm more inclined to think of it as an extremely low-level form of telepathy/psychometry, a psychic impression drawn up from the remnants of a living creature. It's so minor a psychic ability that it goes unnoticed and isn't readily perceived as such, but the same can be said of the baseline psychic awareness possessed by most humans.

 

Don't tell a Black Templar though.

 

Alex

 

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