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Direach

Progenoids and Gene-Seed

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Is there any reason why Astartes seconded to the Deathwatch wouldn't have their progenoids removed before beginning their term of service? For that matter, is there any practical reason why any Marine whose progenoids have matured wouldn't have them removed? Seems like a lot of tragic losses among the Astartes could be mitigated if they'd just give up their gene-seed as soon as it was possible to do so.

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 I suspect a pair of functioning progenoids are still necessary for a fully functioning Astartes. Perhaps they stabilize the augmented metabolism, or produce a much-needed hormone or enzyme.

For a more complicated reason, perhaps the progenoids possess a genetic memory, and organs cultivated from it are modified and improved by the collective experience of all the marines that came before.

For an even simpler explanation that those listed above, it's tradition.

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Well...  I am not sure that is the case, especially considering that on page 18 of the newly minted and finally in my hands rules book it says specifically that there are two parts to the Progenoid Gland, one portion in the neck and one deep in the chest cavity.  It states that the neck gland is mature and ready for removal after 5 years, and that after an additional 5 years (10 total) the chest gland.  Further it is specifically stated:  "A gland may be removed any time after it has matured, and it represents the Chapter's only source of geneseed."  Lest it be wondered that because it does not explicitly state that removal of the Gland(s) does not kill the Space Marine a paragraph down it explains the Apothecaries role in removing the Gland from fallen Battle Brothers and states this: "so that, even should he die before his glands are harvested".  This implies that as a general non-battlefield rule the Glands are removed prior to the death of the Space Marine, and in fact are probably most often removed in this way given the tithe required by the Lords of Terra and the propagation of the Chapter at large.

I think a more realistic answer to Direach's initial question is this:

Not only would all Deathwatch Space Marines have had their Progendoid Glands removed I can see no reason this wouldn't be a requirement.  Why risk effectively "pregnant" Space Marines when a comparatively short time (10 years max out of a hundreds year long career as a Space Marine) can pass and he can go forth to do battle against the foul Xenos without risk to the Emperor's Tithe or to the Chapter's future.

 

My 2 cents, and for what it is worth, how I will be adjudicating my own Deathwatch game.  Apothecaries will still carry Reductors as one never knows who the Deathwatch will battle beside, and letting any Progenoid be lost is a failure to the Emperor himself.

 

Madrigar

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Another thought,

and this also adds to the need for the Apothecaries, We only really hear about the Space Marines who live for hundreds of years and win at everything they do. What about those brothers who die BEFORE the 5 to 10 years has transpired.  The Space Marines charge head long into the biggest Sh*t storms the Imperium can muster up, 10 years of constant battle probably has low survivability, even for Space Marines. 

Do all those hero's who live to be hundreds of years old still have their Progenoids?

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 Deathwatch aren't the only Marines in the Jericho Reach, several chapters have companies fighting there, no Apothecary would leave any genseed behind,even corrupted seeds would be harvested and delivered to the Watch Commanders

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My guess was always that it was possible to remove them from a living Space Marine, but that it would involve a complicated operation (when they are dying or dead it doesn't much matter any more and quick extraction is more important), and that generally the removal of progenoids from live Space Marines was covered by some sort of taboo. These things are essential to the continuation of Space Marines and so I imagine they regard them almost as representing what it is to be a Space Marine, so they are probably as keen to have them removed as someone would be to lose their soul.

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There are arguments on both sides but personally I'm going to leave them in. If you have PC space marines without progenoids then you can't have desperate struggles to recover a fallen brothers body against overwhelming odds.

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Wargamer said:

There are arguments on both sides but personally I'm going to leave them in. If you have PC space marines without progenoids then you can't have desperate struggles to recover a fallen brothers body against overwhelming odds.

 

True, so very True.

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 My answer has been that they do have them removed... and a new set installed.  Basically, for every 10 years that any Space Marine lives, you can make 3 more Marines (minus tithes).  And when you think about it, that's a horrible replacement rate for a group of men that are constantly at war.

 

EDIT: And KommisarK beat me to it.  :P

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I figured the Progenoid to be a little like Adenoids of us mortals,

in that they grow back when clipped.

I think that is actually the most practical, logical and as preposters have decreed the most dramatically appropriate rule.

However.

Arguably, operating the chest is more dangerous than operating in the neck, so it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to operate both glands (if you can get more glands anyway).

Maybe, the neck gland is regularly operated on and the chest gland is really the last sacrifice a marine can make. Moreover, if the chest gland takes ten years to mature and the neck gland 5, then it would be easier to just operate the neck again and again instead of risking chest surgery over and over again.

-

Compromise: the first set takes 5 and ten years, subsequent sets take longer and more variable time periods. The chest gland is usually left alone, unless there are deadly (chest) wounds anyway that are either survived or require surgery.

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Cifer said:

 AFAIK, one gland is removed as soon as possible so the chapter can maintain numbers while the second continues to mature, soaking in the heroism of the carrier marine.

Agreed.  While it has been suggested numerous times on the hobbyist forums, creating a "heroic lineage" is one of the little bits of genius of Deathwatch, at least IMHO, and if they didn't include it I was going to ensure that it appeared in my own interpretation of the Space Marines in RPG.  I might have been a bit more overt about it, but still... Love it.

From a pure 'fluff' (not a game) perspective, they should be hoiked out. While it's a cool idea about multiple progenoids being installed so you can harvest more over the lifetime of a Marine, I would personally not allow for this interpretation in Kage-verse.  (You're free to include it in your-verse, though. :D)  It's far too logical for the 40k universe. ;)

Kage

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There's never been anything written about new progenoids being implanted; I don't think it's likely, since my understanding is that the progenoids have to grow, mature, and absorb genetic information from the other implants as those implants also develop and mature. Implanting new progenoids wouldn't do anything, because the other implants are already mature and aren't providing the information the progenoids need anymore.

It may also not be possible. Canon sources have stated that the implant procedures are highly ritualized, and that the actual medical science underlying what's being done has been mostly lost. It seems to me that it would be borderline, or outright, heresy to attempt to implant new organs into a grown Space Marine.

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I was going to present a similar argument about the progenoids, but then had a quick re-read of the 'fluff' on them.  To create such an obvious tie to maturation of the other zygotes, one would imagine that it would make more "sense" (for this fictional universe, technology, yada yada) to put it in first.  Again, though, while I wouldn't allow it in Kage-verse (the last thing we need is more Marines!), there's some definite traction if you wanted to include it in your own interpretation of the setting.

Kage

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Wargamer said:

There are arguments on both sides but personally I'm going to leave them in. If you have PC space marines without progenoids then you can't have desperate struggles to recover a fallen brothers body against overwhelming odds.

So just turn it into a battle to recover valuable pieces of technology that the space marine used. Such as any master craftsmanship item.

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In my view removing a progenoid from a living SM would be forbidden by Codex Astartes - chapters able to do so would be tempted to go over the 1000 marine limit; on the other hand Black Templars might do it with the first one/both, which would allow them to maintain their 6000+ strong force.

Just my two cents.

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decPL said:

In my view removing a progenoid from a living SM would be forbidden by Codex Astartes - chapters able to do so would be tempted to go over the 1000 marine limit; on the other hand Black Templars might do it with the first one/both, which would allow them to maintain their 6000+ strong force.

Just my two cents.

It's not like certain Chapters haven't tried going over the limit anyway - by the start of the Badab War, the Astral Claws are believed to have numbered some three and a half thousand Marines, only becoming subject to the suspicions of the Imperium when their normal geneseed tithes dwindled and then stopped (it's apparently acceptable for short periods - a chapter may need to regain lost strength quickly - but the longer the situation persists, the more the Imperium gets concerned).

IMO, one of the progenoids is removed early, at some point after the five year mark, though the surgery to remove it takes the marine out of commission for a few weeks, so the Chapters' apothecaries have to wait for an appropriate "quiet period" when they can afford to have the marine laid up in an apothecarium bed recuperating. The other, requiring much more invasive surgery, is seldom, if ever removed while the marine remains alive, as it requires cutting deep into his chest and through his rib-carapace, taking longer to heal and having a greater number of complications associated with the procedure. The removal of the neck progenoid is also used as part of the Marine's ongoing purity testing, the geneseed being a useful indicator of how well the implants have integrated into the Marine's physiology during the early stages of the Marine's life, and allowing the Chapter's apothecaries to determine future risk of mutation or organ failure and act accordingly.

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Kage2020 said:

It's as good an explanation as any, though one imagines that the Marines aren't overtly concerned about invasive surgery all things considered. ;)

Kage

The individual marines may not be, but the Apothecaries (who have to perform the procedures) and command staff (who have to account for marines being incapacitated, even if only for a short while) may well take a different view...

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Honestly, whatever justification works for you.  I was merely pointing out that one doubts that marines are concerned about highly invasive surgery.  How one arrays the 'fluff' to our preference is ever eternal.  For example, you talk about recovery time.  Assuming that the Apothecaries do go in via the rib cage it takes a mere human 6-8 weeks to recover from open-heart surgery.  Surely with how buff the Marines are one can imagine that they're going to heal up a little bit quicker?  Especially on the new "extendo" warp trips?

Again, whatever twiddles your biscuit.  It's all good.

Kage

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I did read in one of the 40k books (I can't remember which) that a particular Captain had his progenoids removed becaused they had matured.  It was a source of pride for him, that he had lived to see his gene-seed live on.

I know, not much of a statement without the bibliography.  I believe it was one of the books written before the Horus Heresy series.

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WHITE DWARF 98 FEB 1988

P14

"After 5 years the neck gland is mature and ready for removal, After ten years the chest gland becomes mature and is also ready for removal. A gland may be removed anytime after it has matured. "

There is no mention of one of the a cultivated glands being re-implanted. But it is possible that cultivated Progeniods could be shared out to mature marines as well as initiates - i.e. Initiates are only implanted with one Progeniod gland - the other is implanted into the originator (replacing the one removed). This actually makes a lot of practical sense, as attrition rates amongst initiates may be far higher than mature marines. It spreads risk for sure. 

Removing the Progeniod glands soon after maturity would maximise the rate that a Chapter restores its losses. The worst method would be to leave all recovery to battlefield conditions! I would say both practices is well within the scope of an individual Chapter's traditions - what isn't? Also the idea that 'the more mature the better' would also be quite fitting of a Chapter's traditions.

Perhaps it depends on how much attrition a Chapter is suffering and how full a Chapter's geen-seed banks are. Perhaps both methods are Codex in different circumstances?

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As an aside, I wonder if anyone might have an answer to what happens to the progenoids of a SM that would be implanted into a dreadnought?  Would the gene-seed be removed beforehand and the suit itself continues to keep the SM alive?(Under the assumption that a marine needs at least one progenoid to continue to live)  Or would it be recovered centuries later from the wreckage of a destroyed suit(provided it survived), prized as the greatest and rarest of progenoids, having soaked up thousands of years of battle memory? (Under the assumption a progenoid can continue to develop and mature even after the 5/10 year period.)

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