Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?


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Post Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:03 pm

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

One thing that never really seemed consistent in 40K (well in RT at least - I didn't follow it closely after that) was the space marine fluff and the space marine stats. For "the ultimate human warriors" it seems a bit lame that they are only a touch better than a regular human champion.

It also seems odd to me that there are (at most) a million marines - only equivalent to one marine per Imperial planet as memory serves. To put it another way, why doesn't the Imperium just collect together all the minor/major heroes from the Imperial Army, put them in powered armour and call them space marines? - it would save all that faffing around with psycho-surgery and would actually live up to the hype around them.

How do folks reconcile these different parts of 40K? Do you take it that the space marine stats have been toned-down for game balance?

My own take is that the space marine fluff is just Imperial propaganda. Maybe at the start of the Imperium the marine's training and genetic/surgical modification produced superhuman soldiers but after 10 thousand years of not really understanding how it works, the marines' enhancements give little or no benefit. They're just like good special forces now. The corollary is that there are more than a million of them (after all, with only 1 wound they have a habit of dying) - the Adeptus Terra has turned a blind eye to the limits on Chapter sizes since Chapters started to get wiped out too often.

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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:10 am

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

Marine stats got a bit of a bump around 1991 I think. Should be in the 40K Compilation with the new Eldar lists and Genestealer cults. Can't remember how much better it made them though.

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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:46 am

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

stone cold lead wrote:Marine stats got a bit of a bump around 1991 I think. Should be in the 40K Compilation with the new Eldar lists and Genestealer cults. Can't remember how much better it made them though.


+1 toughness, and some extra morale rules. I think the morale rules were basically what ended up in 2e, including the shaken condition.

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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:34 pm

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

MadGav wrote:One thing that never really seemed consistent in 40K (well in RT at least - I didn't follow it closely after that) was the space marine fluff and the space marine stats. For "the ultimate human warriors" it seems a bit lame that they are only a touch better than a regular human champion.

It also seems odd to me that there are (at most) a million marines - only equivalent to one marine per Imperial planet as memory serves. To put it another way, why doesn't the Imperium just collect together all the minor/major heroes from the Imperial Army, put them in powered armour and call them space marines? - it would save all that faffing around with psycho-surgery and would actually live up to the hype around them.

How do folks reconcile these different parts of 40K? Do you take it that the space marine stats have been toned-down for game balance?

My own take is that the space marine fluff is just Imperial propaganda. Maybe at the start of the Imperium the marine's training and genetic/surgical modification produced superhuman soldiers but after 10 thousand years of not really understanding how it works, the marines' enhancements give little or no benefit. They're just like good special forces now. The corollary is that there are more than a million of them (after all, with only 1 wound they have a habit of dying) - the Adeptus Terra has turned a blind eye to the limits on Chapter sizes since Chapters started to get wiped out too often.


I simply dropped the idea of 1000 man chapters. Never happened. My headcanon chapters are made up of 10 divisions of Space Marines, not 10 companies. I can think of times when 1000 Marines is enough to do the job, but there are too many scenarios where it snaps my suspenders of disbelief. I think 40K got the scales right in many cases but were out when it can to numbers of Marines and the size of the Eldar Craftworlds. Craftworlds should have millions on them, not thousands. Thousands is just a space craft, millions is a city in space. Same with Marines. I want Marine chapters large enough to assault and seize worlds. I like the Rogue Trader gritty, die in a knife-fight at a farm marines more than the idea of unstoppable supermen able to take on armies. So I have to up the numbers. Otherwise the fluff doesn't work for me.
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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:44 pm

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

MadGav wrote:One thing that never really seemed consistent in 40K (well in RT at least - I didn't follow it closely after that) was the space marine fluff and the space marine stats. For "the ultimate human warriors" it seems a bit lame that they are only a touch better than a regular human champion.

It also seems odd to me that there are (at most) a million marines - only equivalent to one marine per Imperial planet as memory serves. To put it another way, why doesn't the Imperium just collect together all the minor/major heroes from the Imperial Army, put them in powered armour and call them space marines? - it would save all that faffing around with psycho-surgery and would actually live up to the hype around them.

How do folks reconcile these different parts of 40K? Do you take it that the space marine stats have been toned-down for game balance?

My own take is that the space marine fluff is just Imperial propaganda. Maybe at the start of the Imperium the marine's training and genetic/surgical modification produced superhuman soldiers but after 10 thousand years of not really understanding how it works, the marines' enhancements give little or no benefit. They're just like good special forces now. The corollary is that there are more than a million of them (after all, with only 1 wound they have a habit of dying) - the Adeptus Terra has turned a blind eye to the limits on Chapter sizes since Chapters started to get wiped out too often.

I don't think it makes sense to treat fluff as Imperial propaganda as it's usually not written as such. The same with early novels. How would for example the Ian Watson tetralogy be an Imperial Propaganda?

The main problem is that Space Marines are supposed to be the flagship faction of game, while at the same time other factions like Imperial Army and Space Orks are supposed to be valid.
Space Marines as a faction on game tables are simply too common, too numerous.

Just imagine Battle of the Farm with fluff marines. How many orks there would have to be for 16 heroic marines? 50? 75?
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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:59 pm

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

Don't over think the fluff. The much loved nonsense they came up with about all the various organs incerted into the marines bodies, the fusing of the ribcage that would make breathing impossible, the way they think genes work. It's all Saturday morning action cartoon standard bollocks. But it doesn't matter. This isn't hard science fiction that obeys any sort of currently held scientific laws or even theories it's fun ill thought out sillyness, it's daft space fantasy. Enjoy it at that level and forget how many marines are in a chapter or if human champions should be better or worse then a standard marine. The answer is, depends on whats cool at the time.
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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:15 pm

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

Gallowglacht wrote:
MadGav wrote:One thing that never really seemed consistent in 40K (well in RT at least - I didn't follow it closely after that) was the space marine fluff and the space marine stats. For "the ultimate human warriors" it seems a bit lame that they are only a touch better than a regular human champion.

It also seems odd to me that there are (at most) a million marines - only equivalent to one marine per Imperial planet as memory serves. To put it another way, why doesn't the Imperium just collect together all the minor/major heroes from the Imperial Army, put them in powered armour and call them space marines? - it would save all that faffing around with psycho-surgery and would actually live up to the hype around them.

How do folks reconcile these different parts of 40K? Do you take it that the space marine stats have been toned-down for game balance?

My own take is that the space marine fluff is just Imperial propaganda. Maybe at the start of the Imperium the marine's training and genetic/surgical modification produced superhuman soldiers but after 10 thousand years of not really understanding how it works, the marines' enhancements give little or no benefit. They're just like good special forces now. The corollary is that there are more than a million of them (after all, with only 1 wound they have a habit of dying) - the Adeptus Terra has turned a blind eye to the limits on Chapter sizes since Chapters started to get wiped out too often.


I simply dropped the idea of 1000 man chapters. Never happened. My headcanon chapters are made up of 10 divisions of Space Marines, not 10 companies. I can think of times when 1000 Marines is enough to do the job, but there are too many scenarios where it snaps my suspenders of disbelief. I think 40K got the scales right in many cases but were out when it can to numbers of Marines and the size of the Eldar Craftworlds. Craftworlds should have millions on them, not thousands. Thousands is just a space craft, millions is a city in space. Same with Marines. I want Marine chapters large enough to assault and seize worlds. I like the Rogue Trader gritty, die in a knife-fight at a farm marines more than the idea of unstoppable supermen able to take on armies. So I have to up the numbers. Otherwise the fluff doesn't work for me.

One thing about Rogue Trader space travel:
I think that initially they haven't planned massive cathedral-ships. There are none present in the rulebook.

I think that generally, invasions and raids would be rather small scale due to difficulty of transporting large amounts of personnel and hardware. Attacks would be done mostly against weak, sparsely populated/low tech worlds. Hive worlds and advanced worlds would be practically unassailable.

For example Rhynn's World is supposed to be sparsely populated and mostly agricultural. Crimson Fist chapter was supposed to be enough to defeat any Ork invasion. The Orks were stupid and suicidal to attack the world, but got lucky because the Crimson Fist chapter got nearly annihilated in an accident.

It was certainly nothing comparable to Waaagh! of later editions.

So, I think that generally in "big" wars, a raiding force numbering 1000s of enemies would attack some world and then a chapter of Space Marines would respond and destroy/rout it.

Attacks could also be preceded with a devastating space bombardment.
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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

Think more in terms of how many figures they had on each side in a game. The fluff, what there is fits round that, with bigger battles not excluded just not very possible with the average 14 year olds figure budget, painting schedule and willingness to apply the rules. Game first, highly mallable fluff second.
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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:12 pm

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

Erny wrote:Think more in terms of how many figures they had on each side in a game. The fluff, what there is fits round that, with bigger battles not excluded just not very possible with the average 14 year olds figure budget, painting schedule and willingness to apply the rules. Game first, highly mallable fluff second.

28mm in general is pretty bad above skirmish level. And bigger battles can be made affordable with a separate 6mm game.
Though even big Space Marine/Epic battles are pretty small.

The thing in Rogue Trader is that large gothic space ships aren't visible in the manual at all. All space ships look like pretty standard medium-sized Sci-Fi ships, not giant ships capable of transporting full-sized armies.
They are radically different from the ships depicted two years later in the Battlefleet Gothic advertisement.

I think we can safely assume that initially, Rogue Trader starships were more of the size of those in Star Trek rather than what they became later.

Looking at Star Wars and Battletech, I don't think inter-stellar war on scale present in later Wh40k was present in pop culture.
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Post Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:12 pm

Re: Custodes; when did they become Super-Marines?

Marines have better profiles than baseline humans, they are elite troops. But they aren't Ogryns in power armour they're still human, although more like Sardaukar or Mutoids than Stormtroopers. They aren't underpowered by their description at all, that's just backporting later expectations of teh awesum. They ain't teh awesum, they're "feral world" warriors and "city scum" who've undergone hideous surgery and mind control implants to make them better.

And yeah, Space Marines are 40ks version of a minimal, elite fighting force, most of the fighting by humans throughout the cosmos is done by the Army or equivalent. The Empire isn't a great galaxy conquesting force . For goodness sake their elite transport is an upturned skip with a tractor stuck under it, and their weapon of choice is a modified rivet gun, none of which they understand how to fix properly. Space Marines don't go around saving worlds from hostile aliens, they go around harassing punks for doing graffiti. A gretchin with a bow and arrow can kill a space marine at 40 paces. The whole Imperium is complete and utter rubbish, not a bunch of star-travelling crypto-fascist religio-military Übermensch for munchkins. It's a joke, or at least it used to be.

Why does RT even have Custodes? Because they needed to shoe-horn in the Terminators from Nemesis the Warlock. And where did that lead to? Terminator Marines and endless power creep.

Erny wrote: It's all Saturday morning action cartoon standard bollocks. But it doesn't matter.


Maybe 2000AD, Dune and Blakes 7 bollocks. Still doesn't matter.

AranaszarSzuur wrote:Just imagine Battle of the Farm with fluff marines. How many orks there would have to be for 16 heroic marines? 50? 75?


They are already 'fluff' marines and completely walk over the orks whilst being outnumbered, Battle at the Farm isn't balanced. Just as they are the orks would need 40 troops to even out the odds.
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