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SpaceMarines and Spaceships

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kenshin138 said:

 I agree, I just can't come up with any situation where the DW would have a Battle Barge.

Firepower. Few vessels can match the capacity for orbital bombardment possessed by a Battle Barge.

Personally, I've changed it for a Strike Cruiser (the Wrathbringer) as I'm running Oblivion's Edge at the moment, rationalising the vessel as a rarity in its own right (the Deathwatch has very, very few cruisers) and as being different from a standard Strike Cruiser, operating more like a mobile Watch Station (with a large Kill-Team and their Watch Captain serving as the Astartes contingent of the crew) than a full-fledged Strike Cruiser, allowing them to operate autonomously for years at a time.

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Lightbringer said:

 

The Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach alone have at least 1 former Ramilles class Star Fort and about a dozen small strike vessels, together with enough Kill ships to wipe out the entire Sector. That is a fleet  which is capable of going toe to toe with a Chapter fleet on its own (for short periods.).

 

 

 

As per Oblivion's Edge there is a Deathwatch Battle Barge nearby.

 

 [Edit] I should read topics in their entirety before posting.

 

Alex

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Chrynoble said:

muzzyman1981 said:

 

From what I understand it depends on the Chapter, I can with certainty tell you that the Space Wolves have a Space Wolf Captain in charge, the usual Navigator (from House Belasarius <not sure of spelling>),Adeptus Mechanicus, and astropaths but the rest are Bondsmen, those who have failed the trials (and didnt die) but was deemed worthy to continue to serve the Chapter.

Others probibly would be along the same but the crew depends on the Chapter, some use the dregs and prisoners of worlds, others use Imperial Navy crewmen, most I would think is a mix....the dangerous tasks are done by the dregs overseen by Imperial Navy crew/officers.  The bridge crew is usually Imperial Navy or specially trained humans from their homeworld or other worlds.

 

 

 

I have never heard of Astartes needing the help of prisoners or dregs, but I haven't read everything. My understanding is that all crew belong to the chapter, with the aforementioned exception of the Navigators (even then some chapters can use their librarians as Navigators in emergencies). Also the chapters don't borrow the ships, they belong to the chapter so I don't see Imperial Navy being allowed to control any function of an Astartes vessel, but again I am only recently a lore junkie.

The typical Chapter hierarchy goes something like this:

Astartes (typically 910 marines): Including Chapter Master, Chief Lib, Chaplins, the Captains, down through the lowest ranked squad members. This also includes the anchient and mighty dreadnoughts, but they don't count in the 900 figure above I believe.

Scouts & initiates(90 - ??): Those initiates still on track to become full Battle Brothers. Recruiting is never a even flow when you are as picky as all Astartes chapters are. Thus there are often a variable number of initiates at various levels from just recruited through full scout. Death and rejection rates are high, but even those that fail to become scouts then Battle Brothers will serve the chapter provided they don't die. The Astartes waste nothing.

Serfs (Thousands): Those initiates that have proven unworthy of becoming a Battle Brother, but not so unworthy as to be made a servitor. Often these men are great warriors, tacticians, and thinkers, but perhaps a implant wouldn't take but didn't kill them. A few chapters maintain a hereditary population of serfs however. Most chapters have a rank and hierarchy system for the serfs, but I believe they are more feudal and less military in most chapters.

Servitors (Tens of thousands): All those acquired by the chapter that fail in some way to be worthy of serving any other way. These men (maybe even women) are integrated with machines that will assist them in function and they are mind wiped. Most can do one or two tasks very well, but are not capable of independent thought. Most of the grunt work on Astartes ships is done by Servitors directed by Serfs.

 

For those of you more versed in the lore of 40k, did I miss something, get something wrong?

 

There are actually more then 1000 marines per chapter, because that count is for line infantry, and doesn't include vehicle crews, the librarius, whatever the chaplain organization is called, the apothicarion, armory (not that there are a lot of astartes in the armory), or other parts of the chapter like the honor guard, command squads and those non-codex formations that crop up. 

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SomVone said:

There are actually more then 1000 marines per chapter, because that count is for line infantry, and doesn't include vehicle crews, the librarius, whatever the chaplain organization is called, the apothicarion, armory (not that there are a lot of astartes in the armory), or other parts of the chapter like the honor guard, command squads and those non-codex formations that crop up. 
I'm pretty sure it always just said Space Marines, not "line infantry". Anything that goes beyond the 1k is Chapter Serfs and stuff (except for those cases where a Chapter willingly broke the rules, of course).

Else it would be real easy for a Marine Chapter to undermine this limitation by simply fielding 10.000 Predator tanks or a "Honor Guard" the size of twenty Companies or so.

I also thought that their vehicles are always crewed by Marines as well, anyways?

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You're half right. The 1,000 limit for Chapters isn't just for line infantry, or anything like that. They're going to count officers and specialists too, no reason not to. Though, I'm not sure scouts would be counted against the number, just because they're not exactly garaunteed to rise to become a full marine.

But I'd wager that most Astartes Chapters try to maintain roughly more than the number anyway, until it gets to a point where it appears excessive (assuming they even care about the limit, because the Black Templars certainly don't). But because of battlefield losses, the number tends to be in flux, and more often is a bit less than 1,000.

As for the Deathwatch, it's really a Chapter in name only. There's no reason to limit such a force to 1,000 marines when it's deliberately spread all over the galaxy, generally in small groups. Being a specialized taskforce, officially recognized by one of the major Ordos, should come with considerable perks like that afterall.

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Scouts are usually a Company of their own (10th?), aren't they? If so I'd wager they count towards the total number. But yeah, of course that number is only Index Astartes theory, and there will be lots of deviations both up (breach of treaty) and down (battlefield losses). I'd even put money on not a single Astartes Chapter actually hitting the exact mark.

As for the Deathwatch being a "Chapter", I was very confused at this retcon too. Imho they fit better as a simple "prolonged Inquisitorial assignment", bringing their own personal gear but relying on the Ordo Xenos for transportation and stuff (would also relieve the Chapters that volunteered for it - sending a couple Veteran Marines away for a decade or so likely hurts them enough already ... a Battle Barge? Really?).

Though I never actually thought of how many Marines would be sent to Deathwatch at any given point in time. I think not every Chapter actually participates in sending their men to DW, so a number above 1k would probably bother the volunteers a lot. Given their small squad focus, I always assumed their appearance is generally a very rare thing, and thus the total number of Deathwatch Marines being rather small. At least that was the theory (admittedly based solely on "feeling") I had up until now.

Oh well, the Chapter stuff is not the only thing that seems to be different from the pre-RPG fluff.

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Lynata said:

As for the Deathwatch being a "Chapter", I was very confused at this retcon too. Imho they fit better as a simple "prolonged Inquisitorial assignment", bringing their own personal gear but relying on the Ordo Xenos for transportation and stuff (would also relieve the Chapters that volunteered for it - sending a couple Veteran Marines away for a decade or so likely hurts them enough already ... a Battle Barge? Really?).

Oh, I'd hate playing something like that. Your character being little more than a lackey at some inquisitor's beck and call. And having to schlep around on Black Shops, relying on the Inquisition for wargear, and having to take all their direction because they couldn't operate otherwise. I'm glad things turned out the way they are, it makes so much more sense considering the legendary stubborn independence of the Adeptus Astartes.

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Lynata said:

Though I never actually thought of how many Marines would be sent to Deathwatch at any given point in time. I think not every Chapter actually participates in sending their men to DW, so a number above 1k would probably bother the volunteers a lot. Given their small squad focus, I always assumed their appearance is generally a very rare thing, and thus the total number of Deathwatch Marines being rather small. At least that was the theory (admittedly based solely on "feeling") I had up until now.

Nobody in the 'normal' Chapters would even know how many Astartes are in the Watch; merely how many they have tithed. 

If a [5 man] kill-team ranges across a thousand planets on duties for the Watch (which is pretty thinly spread), and there are only a million inhabited planets in the Imperium, that alone would make 5,000 Deathwatch. The Watch can be as large or small as you like (to a probable maximum of under 20,000 - Chapters might start to smell a rat if the mean intake from each was over 20 at any given time)

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Siranui said:

Nobody in the 'normal' Chapters would even know how many Astartes are in the Watch; merely how many they have tithed.

It is said that not all Chapters actually participate in sending their Marines to the Deathwatch - but still you may be right. The RPG has turned the entire concept of the Deathwatch around, from an Inquisitorial Chamber Militant to a fully independent "Chapter" that is even said to have access to all the resources of any other Marine Chapter there is - including Battle Barges and Predator tanks. Ironically, they still have the Ordo Xenos insignia on their chestplate, but I suppose this is merely an oversight of this retcon. It may well be possible that this New Deathwatch, the one that is too awesome to be seconded to a mere Inquisitor, is now exceeding Legion strength. It seems to be the preferred way to go by some players.

 

Aajav-Khan said:

If you are a believer in the "only 1000 Marines per Chapter"- myth, please read the following little treatise: http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/index.php?autocom=ineo&showarticle=291 

I wouldn't just dismiss it as a myth when the fluff clearly states it on several occasions. The article itself notes that it is based on a large amount of guesswork and interpretation, and only deals with a single Chapter (and we've already noted that not all Chapters adhere to the treaties). Plus there's always the chance that a single author simply didn't count right when writing deployment lists.

 

Still, there was some interesting information in that article. Thanks for linking it!

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ItsUncertainWho said:

 

One way to look at the Deathwatch's Chapter status may be that they do only have 1,000 marines, 1,000 permanent marines, and many, many, many more that will return to their home chapter one day.

 

To be honest, that makes it even worse for me. It makes the Deathwatch be larger and appear more often than any of the normal Chapters, including the Ultramarines. Especially if you go by the book and take those permanent Marines as being the Watch Captains/Commanders or Veteran Sergeants who coordinate and lead the kill teams. As that would mean there's a helluva lot of kill teams swarming the galaxy. They'd start to rival even the largest Sororitas Orders Militant in size.

That said, I'm kinda "stuck" in the old fluff, so bear with me for clinging to the old image of the Deathwatch at least in preference, even if it no longer seems to apply. The "small and rare Ordo Xenos elite" status is simply how I got to know them.

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Lynata said:

I wouldn't just dismiss it as a myth when the fluff clearly states it on several occasions. The article itself notes that it is based on a large amount of guesswork and interpretation, and only deals with a single Chapter (and we've already noted that not all Chapters adhere to the treaties). Plus there's always the chance that a single author simply didn't count right when writing deployment lists.

 

Still, there was some interesting information in that article. Thanks for linking it!

Thing is it's a strict 1000 Marine Chapter rule is very difficult to reconcile with both the necessary personnel for the operation of a Chapter, as well as almost every listing of a full strength Codex Company. Whereas it's much easier to mesh the 1000 Marine rule with the addendum that the rule refers to 'line Marines,' i.e. those of the 10 Companies, but excluding the support and command staff. It's not like the two conclusions are mutually exclusive.

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Data007 said:

Thing is it's a strict 1000 Marine Chapter rule is very difficult to reconcile with both the necessary personnel for the operation of a Chapter, as well as almost every listing of a full strength Codex Company. Whereas it's much easier to mesh the 1000 Marine rule with the addendum that the rule refers to 'line Marines,' i.e. those of the 10 Companies, but excluding the support and command staff. It's not like the two conclusions are mutually exclusive.

I wouldn't say "difficult" - it just means one less squad of line infantry on the field to man ten Rhinos, as an example. It would surprise me if entire Companies wouldn't show up on the list just because they're drivers.* Completely leaving vehicle crews out of the equation also makes it very tempting to just train more Marines and classify them as drivers so your Chapter doesn't violate the rules. I'm more inclined to believe that someone in GW didn't bother to count the numbers (which wouldn't be the first time) - though I do realize that we're coming to a deadlock as we're basically stuck throwing two mutually exclusive pieces of fluff at each other.

In the end, I suppose we could settle for just leaving it as "the number won't be massively over 1k".

 

*: That said, if the Ultras - as per that quoted article - do have entire Companies of dedicated drivers, couldn't it well be that all of a Chapter's vehicles are only used on an "as needed" basis and that their drivers are otherwise part of a normal squad? Meaning they have X squads of line infantry and X vehicles, but cannot field them all but would have to re-deploy drivers from the squads to the vehicles as required by the mission? Just a thought for some theorycrafting, of course.

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I have to say, I don't understand the concept that the Deathwatch were "just" a chamber militant, and not a full chapter. I always understood them to be a full chapter! The immediate comparison is the Grey Knights who are also a chamber militant...and a full chapter. Being one certainly doesn't preclude also being the other.

Yes, they're an unusual chapter, but they're still a chapter. They lack some of the features of a "traditional" chapter, (identical primarch, Fortress Monastary based at a single location, etc etc) but otherwise I can't recall any reference off the top of my head to their "just" being a Chamber Militant.

To me, the Deathwatch are a chapter in the same way that the SAS is a regiment. No one in the SAS started out in the SAS : they were all members of other regiments or branches of the UK/Commonwealth military. But it is still formally a British Army regiment: in fact one that is better equipped than just about any other. I think the comparison is pretty apt there.

As for the size of the Deathwatch, I can't imagine this ever being properly pinned down by GW or FFG. Why would they want to? It makes more sense to keep the whole topic somewhat ambiguous, like they do with the Black Templars. Isn't this more a case of recent material not fitting a pre-existing personal interpretation of the Deathwatch concept? If so, I sympathise, because I've been there before in other situations ith 40k! However, the FFG Deathwatch material is exactly like how I always imagined the structure of the chapter in my personal interpretation...    

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Lightbringer said:

I have to say, I don't understand the concept that the Deathwatch were "just" a chamber militant, and not a full chapter. I always understood them to be a full chapter! The immediate comparison is the Grey Knights who are also a chamber militant...and a full chapter. Being one certainly doesn't preclude also being the other.

Yes, they're an unusual chapter, but they're still a chapter. They lack some of the features of a "traditional" chapter, (identical primarch, Fortress Monastary based at a single location, etc etc) but otherwise I can't recall any reference off the top of my head to their "just" being a Chamber Militant.

To me, the Deathwatch are a chapter in the same way that the SAS is a regiment. No one in the SAS started out in the SAS : they were all members of other regiments or branches of the UK/Commonwealth military. But it is still formally a British Army regiment: in fact one that is better equipped than just about any other. I think the comparison is pretty apt there.

As for the size of the Deathwatch, I can't imagine this ever being properly pinned down by GW or FFG. Why would they want to? It makes more sense to keep the whole topic somewhat ambiguous, like they do with the Black Templars. Isn't this more a case of recent material not fitting a pre-existing personal interpretation of the Deathwatch concept? If so, I sympathise, because I've been there before in other situations ith 40k! However, the FFG Deathwatch material is exactly like how I always imagined the structure of the chapter in my personal interpretation...    

Just like the Catholic church understood the Sun to revolve around the Earth? A chapter isn't a group of space marines. A chapter was a 1,000 man group of Marines from the Great Legions. When they got split up, they tended to stay in their Chapters.

All those things the Dathwatch doesn't have... A Primarch, distinct geneseed, those are things that define a chapter. The Deathwatch isn't even like the SAS, it's closer to one of those "Government Man from the Government needs a special, delicate job done; so he goes out and recruits the best of the best and makes a team of crack commandos to [mission here]." that you see in the movies. These guys aren't forsaking their chapter to join the Deathwatch, they don't serve for life, with some exceptions, of course.

Saying the Deathwatch is a chapter is like a squad of marines tagging along with guardsmen on a crusade and calling the guard regiment, or hell, the whole crusade, a chapter.

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Lightbringer said:

I have to say, I don't understand the concept that the Deathwatch were "just" a chamber militant, and not a full chapter. I always understood them to be a full chapter! The immediate comparison is the Grey Knights who are also a chamber militant...and a full chapter. Being one certainly doesn't preclude also being the other.

Yes, they're an unusual chapter, but they're still a chapter. They lack some of the features of a "traditional" chapter, (identical primarch, Fortress Monastary based at a single location, etc etc) but otherwise I can't recall any reference off the top of my head to their "just" being a Chamber Militant.

To me, the Deathwatch are a chapter in the same way that the SAS is a regiment. No one in the SAS started out in the SAS : they were all members of other regiments or branches of the UK/Commonwealth military. But it is still formally a British Army regiment: in fact one that is better equipped than just about any other. I think the comparison is pretty apt there.

As for the size of the Deathwatch, I can't imagine this ever being properly pinned down by GW or FFG. Why would they want to? It makes more sense to keep the whole topic somewhat ambiguous, like they do with the Black Templars. Isn't this more a case of recent material not fitting a pre-existing personal interpretation of the Deathwatch concept? If so, I sympathise, because I've been there before in other situations ith 40k! However, the FFG Deathwatch material is exactly like how I always imagined the structure of the chapter in my personal interpretation...    

^ What he said.

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Lynata said:

It is said that not all Chapters actually participate in sending their Marines to the Deathwatch - but still you may be right. The RPG has turned the entire concept of the Deathwatch around, from an Inquisitorial Chamber Militant to a fully independent "Chapter" that is even said to have access to all the resources of any other Marine Chapter there is - including Battle Barges and Predator tanks. Ironically, they still have the Ordo Xenos insignia on their chestplate, but I suppose this is merely an oversight of this retcon. It may well be possible that this New Deathwatch, the one that is too awesome to be seconded to a mere Inquisitor, is now exceeding Legion strength. It seems to be the preferred way to go by some players.

Although I sympathise with the concept that the Deathwatch could be well over the 1000 Astartes strength, I'm still not a fan of DW battle barges and armoured formations. Deathwatch operates with small kill-teams carrying out special objectives. It does not have tanks. If it needs tanks, it petitions a Chapter or gets the IG involved somehow. Delta Force, The SAS and every other special forces regiment in the world does not field MBTs or Frigates: If they need them, someone else will provide and crew them.

I do like the idea of the Watch being far larger than anyone imagines and it being quite a conspiracy, though. It could be quite possible for them to have 10,000ish men bearing arms, and for nobody to really know about it, save for senior figures in the Watch and Ordo Xenos. It might be a card up the sleeve that gets played at some point in the future.

I've also long-believed that the magic '1000' represented line infantry: The grunts. And that on top of that are all the peripheral staff listed in the link. It just makes sense. 

 

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Deathwatch are often in a position to find "lost" equipment, up to and including starships. Bear in mind their watch stations are equipped with ridiculously good sensors, including ones that monitor the warp. If they find say, a battle-barge, who's to say they're going to simply hand it over? Especially if the ship's chapter is dead and gone. As for the OP, chapter serfs are mentioned regularly

There is background in the DW book about the chapter having mothballed stocks of all sorts of equipment and vehicles they rarely use in "normal" operations but keep handy just in case. As for the numbers, even one marine from every other chapter gives DW a thousand marines. And there are almost certainly many more than that!

I was about to post the "1000 marine myth" link but Aajav-Khan beat me to it. With the vagaries of warp travel and the need to replace losses, strictly sticking to a thousand marines would mean that most chapters would be perennially understrength. A thousand could be described in propaganda or for ease of speech. It rolls off the tongue a lot easier than say "1,415 marines".

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I would tend to think that the DW has around 6,000 temporary marines scattered about the galaxy, with around another 1,000 or so on a permanent basis.

As for calling them a Chapter,  any other term would lead to questions being asked by people who shouldn't be asking.

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Decessor said:

As for the numbers, even one marine from every other chapter gives DW a thousand marines. And there are almost certainly many more than that!

Well, as previously pointed out, not every Chapter sends Marines to Deathwatch.

In general, I like Lightbringer's comparison. By the way, this retcon also brings up the interesting idea of the Deathwatch now having tens, if not hundreds of thousands of "Deathwatch Chapter Serfs". Not to mention the supply chain necessary to keep this military juggernaut running. I guess all that means the other Marine Chapters and the Guard can just stay home when the next 'nid invasion arrives, the Deathwatch will just send in a dozen Battle Barges and get the job done.

Oh well, some like it, some don't.

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Siranui said:

Lynata said:

 

 

 

Although I sympathise with the concept that the Deathwatch could be well over the 1000 Astartes strength, I'm still not a fan of DW battle barges and armoured formations. Deathwatch operates with small kill-teams carrying out special objectives. It does not have tanks. If it needs tanks, it petitions a Chapter or gets the IG involved somehow. Delta Force, The SAS and every other special forces regiment in the world does not field MBTs or Frigates: If they need them, someone else will provide and crew them.

I agree with this as well. Thus far I have gamed the Deathwatch as having only items that work for their needs. This would, IMHO, be the following:

Space Craft: Frigate/Raider sided ships for the most part. 

  • Gladius/Nova/Hunter-class Frigates
  • Sword/Firestorm/Tempest-class Frigates
  • Cobra-class Destroyer
  • Strike-Cruiser (very, very rare, maybe one or two in an entire Segmentum)
  • Other non-Navy vessels that they may have captured, or use for hidden missions (very few)

Flyers/Skimmers:

  • Thunderhawk Gunship
  • Stormraven
  • Land Speeder (inc. Storm)

Land Vehicles:

  • Bikes/Attack Bikes
  • Rhino APC
  • Razorback APC
  • Dreadnoughts (very, VERY rare)
  • Land Raider (extremely rare, maybe one in an entire sector...maybe)

I just don't see the DW using things like Predators, Vindicators, etc. in any manner. Also, since the chapter operates typically no larger than a single squad (for the most part) then their equipment would reflect that. As an example, in the BFG rules the Gladius Frigate says: "The ship is crewed mainly by the chapter serfs that the chapters rely on to crew their vessels, with only a squad of Space Marines on board." So this seems perfect. Mostly serfs and servitors, it carries a single squad (or in this case, Kill Team) into battle.

 

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Lynata said:

Decessor said:

As for the numbers, even one marine from every other chapter gives DW a thousand marines. And there are almost certainly many more than that!

Well, as previously pointed out, not every Chapter sends Marines to Deathwatch.

In general, I like Lightbringer's comparison. By the way, this retcon also brings up the interesting idea of the Deathwatch now having tens, if not hundreds of thousands of "Deathwatch Chapter Serfs". Not to mention the supply chain necessary to keep this military juggernaut running. I guess all that means the other Marine Chapters and the Guard can just stay home when the next 'nid invasion arrives, the Deathwatch will just send in a dozen Battle Barges and get the job done.

Oh well, some like it, some don't.

 

True, not every chapter does send marines. But if there are multiple marines from the same chapters showing up in the Jerico Reach, one small region of the Imperium, then it suggests that there are potentially a lot more elsewhere in the galaxy. I find it hard to believe that every single Space Wolf and Dark Angel currently assigned to DW are all based in Erioch.

And for the same reason, it's highly unlikely that the DW would ever be able to throw "a dozen Battle Barges" at any target (if they have that many). No matter how big or powerful a chapter they are, they're scattered over the Imperium. Even concentrating for their crusades won't bring the entire force together at once.

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