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Ariolan

Chapter differences

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Hello fellow GMs,

 

I plan on starting my campaign with the Marines not yet introduced to the Death Watch. They will travel to the Jericho Reaches ( a road serving as prelude and one-on-one session), meet at Fortress World Pyrathas and have their first "real" adventure there. The session will conclude with induction into the Death Watch.

 

Now, what I have been contemplating is differences of the Chapters. Sure, they have different skills/abilities/geneseed etc. , but I figured their political influence, monies and worlds to be vastly different as well. A chapter, for instance, with no Techmarines must have strained relationship with the Cult of Mars. Both the Ultramarines and the Imperial Fists probably are a lot wealthier than other chapters and have huge armies of serfs. The Dark Angels, being distrustful and loathe to divulge their dark secret of the Fallen, probably employ relatively many mercenaries and servitors while at the same time in total numbers having very little ancillary personnel. Maybe, because of the Horus Heresy, they are also somewhat fallen from Imperial Grace.

One of the players, from the Imperial Fists, will travel with a large retinue of serfs and huge amounts of gifts to the Death Watch, on a priority ship that will be received with all pomp and circumstance on the road. Another player, from the Dark Angels, will travel as an honoured guest on a regular, good ship and will have to provide bodyguard services to an important official, be accompanied by a handful of hardened mercenaries and carry very modest supplies for the Watch. Something like this.

Anyway, I was thinking of making a small Gazetteer, Reikland-style (WHFRPG 1st anybody) with relative statistics for each chapter pertinent to the play, just for a general feeling of how they relate to one another,

something along

Chapter

Allies

Opposition

Mundane Wealth (1-5)

Control (1-5, depends on holdings, planets, ancient customs, a measure for local control)

Serf army

Imperial Influence

 

What do you think, and would you suggest more or other attributes - maybe something like this has already been done.

Thanks everybody for creative input on this idea and its uses for a smaller part of the campaign...

 

 

 

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An interesting concept.

There are a great deal of differences between marine chapters (from the viking style of the Wolves to the Dark Angel space-monks). The main currency of the chapters is influence and allies, marine chapters have little use for actual currency.

As far as i'm aware (willing to be proven wrong) the loyalist chapters don't employ any form of merc's, though they do have chapter serfs who deal with the mundain day-to-day chores that don't need a space marine.

Each chapter has its own views on the Imperium as a whole, and how much they deal with it. For example the Space Wolves have an alliance with one of the major navigator houses (i forget its name) that was forged by Leman Russ before the Heresy; Whilst the Dark Angels are famous for never letting an outsider from stepping foot on the Rock (there fortress monestary) without a 24/7 escort, and even bannning newer members of the chapter from certain areas until they have gained the chapters trust.

Just my thoughts.

Surak

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I like the idea of bringing the characters into the deathwatch and playing it out, though I agree with Surak and think some of the items you have may be a little misplaced.  If your players are unfamiliar with the setting and the chapters though, some form of sheet indicating some basics like alliances, enemies, Imperial attitude or influence, etc. could help them out to understand where their guy comes from, what his motivations and loyalties are, etc.

In the book they discuss, in brief, that different chapters have different ceremonies, etc. for induction into the watch.  Sometimes they send them off with just their company, other times they assemble the chapter, others may have little ceremony for it.  I'd come up with those methods, and then just play it out.  Maybe the DA shows up alone, with a small cargo of offerings to the watch, while your IF shows up expecting a parade.  Once the players join up with the watch though, their chapter holdings will mean little, and while it would make for some good posturing and role playing opportunities, they won't get to flex the chapter muscle to really do much of anything.

So the Ultramarine could talk about how awesome they are and how they have the most planets and they invented the codex, etc., all of that amounts to little more than "my dad could beat up your dad" once they depart.  Makes for great inter-party play though.

Surak is right on other points- SMs have no need for money, they wouldn't employ mercenaries, and they wouldn't provide mundane tasks to other folks (like protecting an official) unless there was a pact previously made that requried that service (like the one the Space Wolves have).  SMs may deploy to protect someone that was super important, but the chapter masters don't send any of their marines out without very good reason.

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Howdy!

Remember the internet is your "friend." I ask players new to the WH40K universe to please read the amazing source material in the core rule book, and to go to 40K wiki and read the additional info on their chapter. 

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Thanks (everybody). Please let me clarify:

One thing I always found hard to swallow is the "1000 men" rule. Sure, they have 1000 marines to the chapter, but they must, especially in the 40K world, have hundreds of thousands of ancillary personnel. This is only a sideline in the official background and some name it "serfs". I figured that for the Ultramarines, these serfs might actually be in the millions of people, and the Dark Angels might have little in that way. Someone cleans toilets, serves food and maintains armour and tanks, mans spaceships and so on. I decided to give these serfs a more pronounced role in the early stages of the campaign. Moreover, I figured that the different Chapters probably hold different degrees of imperial leverage. Sure, they probably get more than enough money from all the ancient contracts, but to me, that doesn't mean they all have equal access to Throne Gelt or can swing Senate decision quite to their liking.

It appealed to me that they were somewhat political and had a complicated web of alliances and servitudes that allow them to function, and I thought it appropriate to my campaign that they sometimes might even have to do stuff a little below their dignity - just like many monastic knightly orders. Of course they are no mercenaries, but nothing speaks against the SpaceMarine guarding a Senators daughter on her way to her betrothal far far away in exchange for getting the Marine to that point (and the gifts for the Death Watch).

To make these differences obvious, I gave the IF character a small army of servitors and serfs as a retinue (he is a Techmarine) together with all the Hardware (I never could get swallow the idea that the 10 or so techmarines do all the maintenance, pilot the spaceships, repair the tanks, chapter fortress etc single handedly with a couple of servitors, it must be an army of unknown serfs helping them). He will travel with all pomp and circumstance. The Dark Angels Marine will have only a handful of long-time serfs that amount to little more than mercenaries in so far as there is no emotional connection and certainly a lot of distance.

Once in the DW, the retinue will fade into the background and seldom play any major role. It will continue to provide a source for trouble, intrigue and such. Iwas very much inspired by a recent series on the Knights Templar I read and wanted the relationship between the Adepts and the Serfs reflect that. 

Yes, I realise I am bending the canon to suit my needs. Still, I figure, not by much - its really an embellishment of what is already there.

The players are all long-time 40K wargamers....I, the gamemaster, am the only one with a more shallow understanding of the canon.

Sometimes I wonder whether this is both the strength and the weakness of the background, people tend to have strong opinions on how things "are meant to be", which curtails the liberties you can take without discussion as a Gamemaster.

It stuck me as evocative if the Chapters weren't the same, money-wise as well. Of course the individual Marine doesn't care and maybe even doesn't understand money, but the Chapter Commander will. The rounds must come from somewhere, as does the food, the Navigators etc.

Certainly they have all these Alliances and such, but when a Chapter loses a Cruiser or even Battleship, they have to buy a new one, and that probably isn't equally easy for all chapters.....

 

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The thing that always bugged me about 1000 marines per chapter, were how are vehicles handled? I mean, a rhino has like what, a crew of 2? So when SM decide to go mechnaized, do they just take drivers from some of the squads?

Generally, I see the 1000 marine thing as a general guideline, its probably more of a 10 company limit (in general, for codex following chapters), and that companies generally consist of 100 marines. Vehicle pools are probably exempt. (or at least, thats my logic, in my game)

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Regarding the piloting:

that is probably indeed the biggest pill. Either it is easy (and then there's no point in not just training everybody and have the serfs pilot it) or it is hard - that means the Marine doing the job can't fight as well as the rest of the guys since he's constantly training.

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 Greetings All

I presonally believe that the '1000 Marine' thing is like '300 Spartans' at Thermopylae where the force was actually made up of 7000 men which just included the spartans - in the uber-superstitious world of the God Emperor a myth that there is only ever 1000 marines per chapter is easy to understand but far from the truth - like many things in the rich, medieval world of 40K...

Anyway that was off topic!

I agree that development of the political side of the chapters would certainly make individual kill team interactions more interesting and give the game master more scope for intrigue and complexity rather than just FIND ALIEN, PURGE ALIEN game types.

As to the specifics of same lexicanum is an awesome place to start.

Happy Hunting.

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It's pretty clear from the fiction that the Space Marine Chapters all have huge support staffs in the form of Chapter serfs, menials, and servitors. Techmarines (for example) oversee important tasks and perform the required rites, but day-to-day tasks and maintenance are performed by servitors and servants/slaves. Space Marine starships are captained by veteran Astartes commanders, but the rest of the crew are servants and servitors (and probably a number of Techmarines to oversee the engines, weapons, etc).

I don't think the '1000 Marines' is a hard and fast rule, even for Codex-compliant Chapters; it would be impossible for an organization continually at war to maintain an exact number of warriors like that. It could also be intended to mean a fighting strength of 1000 Marines, which would allow for considerably more Marines devoted to vehicle crews, etc.

I'm not sold on the notion of Space Marines being accompanied by a large retinue; I'm pretty sure a Space Wolf would fall down laughing if he saw an Imperial Fist or Ultramarine with a train of servants and followers. But go with whatever works for your group!

 

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1000 man rule:  It is often stated that that is the normal strength of a chapter according to the codex astartes. BUT in all rule books it is also stated, that
this number is NOT absolute. Some chapters have far less, but many chapters (especially while fighting wars) have way more than 1000 space marines
(I think it is mentioned that they can have a few hundred more).

Piloting: At least in the fictions the piloting is either done by a space marine, or a servitor (even for Thunderhawks either servitors or scouts are being used.
But I also read in one fiction that one chapter uses serfs instead.). So I think it depends on the chapter and also how many servitors, and serfs the chapter has.

Chapter serfs: Most mundane maintenance things are done by servitors, serfs in most chapters (at least in the fictions) run the "household", and to a lesser
extent help in other areas (for example they overwatch the radar stations that are manned by servitors). Some chapters have been stated to use serfs and
servitors as ammunition transporters and even as additional warriors in some situations (like blood angels in the first space hulk game). So
how a serf is treated and for what he is used depends on which chapter he is part of.

 

 

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Black Templars are said to be as large as one of the old Legions from Horus Heresy and it is only the Chapter Master that knows the size of the chapter and they hide the info from the Inquisitors, manly because it is against the Codex and some othere Rules.

Second chapter is the Space Wolf for they have 12 Companies and ´the size is every where betwen 100 to 300 Battle Brothers.

I think the 1000 man rules is that each chapter should only have 1000  Battle Brothers and a new recruits dont count to that limit.

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Most chapters who don´t intend on having more than 1000 battle brothers have less due to losses in combat. 1000 is just a nominal strength. And yes as others have already mentioned vehicle crew somehow never made it into those organisation charts for whatever reason. Although Thunderhawk s are often piloted by chapter serfs all the other combat vehicles are piloted by marines. Numerous illustrations and Games Workshop miniatures show that.

From where these crewmen are drawn is totally up to guesswork, GW never really explained that afaik. For all I know landspeeders are crewed by assault marines, but that´s about it.

 

Other than that an Imperal Fist bringing along his own retinue to the deathwatch seems quite odd, tbh. Strictly according to the lore this would be highly inappropriate of the Imperial Fist and his serfs would not be allowed to stay with the deathwatch. They don´t exactly send letters of invitation ending with: "Oh, and bring your friends". Space Marines join the deathwatch alone.

The deathwatch has it´s own serfs, but they won´t build a retinue for an individual Marine to do his bidding. They serve the chapter as a whole.

If you are aware of this already, I don´t intend to patronize your game or play the RP police. Just in case you didn´t know.

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moepp said:

Most chapters who don´t intend on having more than 1000 battle brothers have less due to losses in combat. 1000 is just a nominal strength. And yes as others have already mentioned vehicle crew somehow never made it into those organisation charts for whatever reason. Although Thunderhawk s are often piloted by chapter serfs all the other combat vehicles are piloted by marines. Numerous illustrations and Games Workshop miniatures show that.

From where these crewmen are drawn is totally up to guesswork, GW never really explained that afaik. For all I know landspeeders are crewed by assault marines, but that´s about it.

 

Other than that an Imperal Fist bringing along his own retinue to the deathwatch seems quite odd, tbh. Strictly according to the lore this would be highly inappropriate of the Imperial Fist and his serfs would not be allowed to stay with the deathwatch. They don´t exactly send letters of invitation ending with: "Oh, and bring your friends". Space Marines join the deathwatch alone.

The deathwatch has it´s own serfs, but they won´t build a retinue for an individual Marine to do his bidding. They serve the chapter as a whole.

If you are aware of this already, I don´t intend to patronize your game or play the RP police. Just in case you didn´t know.

 

Thank you for the input.

First of all, I figured the Deathwatch must be getting supplies and serfs from somewhere. I figured from there, that the chapters not only second marines, but also hardware, serfs and servitors with them. Of course, these would not be the personal goofers for the Marines, but again, they have to come from somewhere.  I did not figure the serfs to be anything near "friends", and given the, ahem, separatist tendencies of the WH40K world, the chapter serfs might be little more than a commodity and in many ways less than the hardware they bring.

It just helped me visualize the "medieval-ness" of the world. Somehow, given the vast distances some of the more far away Marines will have to travel to reach Fortress Erioch, it seemed slightly anti-climactic that they should materialize in front of the door. Even with a good ship, they might be years away, and just going there while not sending manpower and equipment as well seems even more out of place.

As stated, the travel is an adventure on and of itself, and when they arrive at the Watch Fortress, their retinue is made part of the equipment at Erioch, but it certainly will form sidequests for some sessions. "Pssst, master, come here for a minute"-

Maybe the chapter even sent a serf to secretly watch over the marine to check whether he is doing too much of the no-no stuff....

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wealth and money are separate concepts. One can have wealth without money. Having said that. I would find it hard to believe that Space Marines never use money. I am sure they normally do not need for money. However I would bet Space Marine chapters have a bank account, or vault. Having things that other people want (money) is important in politics. Some Space Marine chapters must understand this. If nothing else offering a bounty on items lost in battle would benefit them.

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With the 1000 marine rule most major chapters DO NOT follow that logic at all. For example the black templars actually number closer to 4500 if you count all their subsequent spawned chapters under them.

The same is true of the Blood Angels who I believe also are around 4500 total with sub chapters included.

There is one actual chapter with close to 5000 marines wihtout any subchapter counting towards there number, but I cannot remember which one that is, I believe its mentioned in the DW chapter Lore area somewhere.

The odd man out in this example could be the Blood Ravens who may number less than 300, if they indeed were spawned from the thousand sons as lore would lead you to believe.

My point is the thousand marines rule actually applies to very few major chapters.

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Warhawk X said:

With the 1000 marine rule most major chapters DO NOT follow that logic at all. For example the black templars actually number closer to 4500 if you count all their subsequent spawned chapters under them.

........................

My point is the thousand marines rule actually applies to very few major chapters.

     The "1000 Marine per Chapter" is a myth, pure and simple. Decessor already provided the link to the nice little article that deconstructs the myth. 

And the Black Templars do not need any successor Chapters to break the one thousand Marine limit several times over. The TT games Codex:Black Templars states the following ( page 8 ): "If certain accounts are to be believed, they could be even be as strong as five thousand to six thousand battle brethren in total, a force that would be all but unstoppable if ever gathered in a single place." 

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The Black templars keep being mentioned with regard to chapter size but i feel they are a bad example as they openly admit to being a "crusader" force, having never given up the great Crusade Era philosophy of burning all that stands against the imperium, liberating worlds and constantly pushing the frontiers.

Following the dissolution of the Legions, they were broken down into 1000 astartes (plus ancillarie staff) strong forces known as Chapter. Each Legion had a chapter take it's name, whilst others were derivitives of their social and combat stylings. For example the Imperial Fists, staunch defenders of the Imperium had a 1st founding chapter named the Imperial Fists, who operate to this day in a similar manner. They also had a chapter name the Black Templars who espouse their more militant crusading nature.

 

Anyway, with regards to chapter serfs, it does state in some fiction that chapter serfs are made up of those initiates who do not pass the rites to progress into the Chapter scouts fully, Brother-marines who are too severely wounded in battle to be repaired (but also not interred in a Dreadnought for whatever reason) and indentured workers.  Chapters such as the Ultramarines and their successors rule who swathes of space in a style similar to Senate of ancient rome, with high ranking astartes being assigned governorship of a planet or system and given garrison forces to protect them. In these instances, the chapter is well known and loved by the majority of the citizens who would see it as an honour if asked to serve as a chapter serf.

Other chapters, such as the Dark Angels and Black Templars are not only introverted and dislike contact with 'mere mortals' but also operate out of mobile start forts and fleets. This means they draw their recruits and serfs from whatever populaces they encounter and deem worthy,

 

As for the money issue, each chapter maintains ancient treaties and bonds with other organisations, be they shrine worlds that spread imperial creed and attach missionaries to space marine forces, forge worlds that gift technology to the chapter in exchange for the brightest tech-aspirants being sent to Mars to train as Techmarines, or shipyards that construct vessels for the chapter in exchange for protection from hostiles. Each bond is unique and not called upon without due thought to the consequences decades or even centuries later. For chapters that roam, they would claim resources as and when they need them. For chapters that hold large domains, they would haev a tithe of resources similar to the Imperial tithe extracted by the Adeptus Terra.

 

I have a lot more to add on this point but my time is up on this computer right now, so will have to wade back in later on in the thread.

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also by serf we all mean nothing more than brainwashed slave.

Also if lets say Battle Barge have only around 60k crew u may assume that birth rate amongst them can be enough to train new serfs... Void Born.

Also Space Marine chapters poses their own fleets of starship they normally don't need anything like civilian transport services.

And money... By Emperor right give me what i want or i will show u my holy bolter.

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boruta666 said:

also by serf we all mean nothing more than brainwashed slave.

Also if lets say Battle Barge have only around 60k crew u may assume that birth rate amongst them can be enough to train new serfs... Void Born.

Also Space Marine chapters poses their own fleets of starship they normally don't need anything like civilian transport services.

And money... By Emperor right give me what i want or i will show u my holy bolter.

I'm gonna have to disagree on the definition of chapter serf you put forth. I don't have any actual material to reference this to, but I'm fairly sure I've heard that candidates who could no longer progress through the implantation process often serve as serfs, and that serfs could actually attain some amount of social status. They are not simply glorified servitors.

On space marine vessels, I am almost certain I have read that they contain a higher degree of automation and servitor crews than most other imperial vessels, so a 60k crew may be rather large.

On the use of civilian transports (or non space marine vessels), if a chapter is sending a single marine to the deathwatch, and on the other side of the galaxy in some cases, I doubt they would send them in a chapter vessel. I imagine an inquisitorial vessel, or some other transport/navy vessel is more likely.

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