Past the Edge of Darkness
The Space Marines are elite human soldiers enhanced to superhuman levels through genetic therapy, surgical modifications, and hypnotic indoctrination. The standard Space Marine is the Imperial Space Marine of the Ultramarines chapter, but several variations exist, such as corrupted Chaos Space Marines and the elite Grey Knights.
The great Crusade
During The Great Crusade (M30-M31), twenty superhuman Primarchs were made by the God-Emperor, using his own genetic material. Before the project was complete, however, the Primarchs were scattered across the galaxy. It is suggested that the Ruinous Powers of Chaos were responsible for this. Each Primarch landed on a different world. Some, such as Horus, were relatively close to Terra (Earth) whilst others ended up far across the galaxy. As the Great Crusade progressed, the Emperor discovered each of the Primarchs in turn. They had universally grown to become heroes on their native planets, and many had adopted local cultural practices. Two of the Primarchs are variously described as having had “tragic accidents” or as simply never having been found; no single official explanation has been published. Each of the eighteen rediscovered Primarchs was appointed command of the Space Marine Legion whose members matched their genetic code.
The Horus Heresy
Eventually the Primarch Horus, who had been the Emperor’s favored son and appointed Warmaster when the Emperor retired from the Great Crusade in order to consolidate the rapidly expanding Imperium, was turned to Chaos. This event sparked the Horus Heresy, wherein fully half of the Imperium’s forces (including 9 of the Space Marine Legions, described below) joined Horus in a civil war against the Emperor.
After a number of bloody battles, Horus was defeated at The Siege of the Imperial Palace/Siege of the Emperor’s Palace, and the Emperor consigned to the Golden Throne from which he rules the Imperium to this day, despite the fact that his corpse is slowly rotting away. With Horus defeated and the Emperor effectively dead, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Gulliman pushed for the adoption of his Codex Astartes as the primary document organizing the Space Marines. The remaining loyal Legions were divided into smaller “Chapters” of 1,000 Marines each, in order to prevent a single commander from having as much power as Warmaster Horus. The first Chapter of each of the old Legions retains the name of the founding Legion. All subsequent Chapters gain their own names and are referred to as Successor Chapters, of which the most well known chapter is that of the Ultramarines.]
Legend has it that the chink in the Warmasters armor that allowed the Emperor to cast Horus down, was actually created by the heavenly Primarch of the blood angels, Sangunius, just before he was killed by Horus.
|Name||Number||Primarch||Primarch’s World||Current base of Operations||In game description|
|Dark Angels||I||Lion El’Jonson||Caliban (Destroyed)||The Rock (Asteroid Base)||The First Legion to be created by the Emperor. More so than any other Legion, the Dark Angels were divided during the Horus Heresy, with all the companies that remained on their homeworld Caliban siding with Luther (Lion El’ Jonson’s right hand man and ruler of Caliban in Lion’s absence) who rebelled against El’ Jonson independently of Horus, while the rest remained loyal to the Emperor. The Dark Angels and their successors refer to themselves as “The Unforgiven”. Highly secretive, they hunt the Fallen (those Dark Angels who sided with Chaos) as an attempt to redeem themselves of the taint upon their Legion’s honor. This secret mission occasionally puts them at odds with other Imperial forces. The Dark Angels culture and background is heavily influenced by the Knights Templar and by the poem ‘The Dark Angel’ by Lion El’Jonson, although the novella Deathwing portrays their recruitment from tribes based heavily upon Tribes Like Native Americans, but their Recruitment Varies from generation to generation as Portrayed in the Novel Angels of Darkness. The Dark Angels’ combat doctrine is centered around a Tactically Versatile Force favoring the use of heavy Plasma based weapons. They also maintain specialized wings of Terminator-armored veterans labeled Deathwing, and fast-attack, vehicular raiders known as Ravenwing.The Dark Angels are separate from the Space marines and have separate units and codex also have separate Characters.|
|White Scars||V||Jaghatai Khan||Mundus Planus||Mundus Planus||The White Scars have a Mongolian-inspired culture and fast-attack combat doctrine. Following this theme, the Chapter makes extensive use of Hit and Run tactics on Space Marine bikes. They are feared for their ability to storm the battlefield with lightning speed, and are very rarely out-maneuvered on the battlefield.|
|Space Wolves||VI||Leman Russ||Fenris||Fenris (The Fang)||The Space Wolves are fierce warriors with an organization that differs strongly from other Chapters. They are known for their fierce independence, and were the only loyal Legion never to adopt the Codex Astartes. The Space Wolves’ culture and background is heavily influenced by the Viking archetype and by werewolf mythology.|
|Imperial Fists||VII||Rogal Dorn||Holy Terra||Phalanx (space-borne fortress ship)||During the end of the Great Crusade, the Imperial Fists were appointed as the Emperor’s personal Praetorians. As a Legion they excelled at fortification, fortifying the Imperial Palace, whose improved defenses were tested during the Siege of Terra. They are masters of defense and relentless attackers who would rather die than retreat. Their current Gene-seed suffers from a few minor mutations. The novel Space Marine describes their culture as being based upon the German Junker system, with Honour Dueling a regular feature of daily life.|
|Blood Angels||IX||Sanguinius||Baal Secundus||Baal Prime, Secundus||The Blood Angels and their successor chapters suffer from various gene-seed flaws. Most notably the “Red Thirst” and “Black Rage”, referring to a constant drive to shed blood and a psychological state of rage when that drive consumes them. Those who begin to suffer the Black Rage strive to attain death in battle; Black Rage is caused by the terrifying thoughts of the Primarch Sanguinius being killed by Horus. The Blood Angels excel at close combat and assault tactics. The current Blood Angels leader is Dante, Lord of the Blood Angels, who has ruled the Chapter for about 1000 years of the 1100 years he has been a Blood Angel Space Marine. He is the oldest canon Space Marine.|
|Iron Hands||X||Ferrus Manus||Medusa||Medusa||The warriors of the Iron Hands display a high incidence of cybernetic modifications to their bodies. All recruits have their left hands removed and substituted with a cybernetic replacement. During the Horus Heresy, the Primarch of the Legion, Ferrus Manus, was decapitated by the traitor Primarch Fulgrim. The Iron Hands do not have a single Chapter Master or Fortress-Monastery. Instead, they are ruled by a Council made of the commanders of the ten companies, known in the Iron Hands as Clans, which remain independent and maintain their own massive land-crawler-like mobile fortresses. Their combat doctrine is conventional but extremely brutal, making extensive use of powerful war machines (with special reverence for Terminators and Dreadnoughts as machines which replace or radically augment the human body), and their Chapter philosophy emphasises the importance of unremitting trials and struggle, and the need for constant self-perfection and purification is tied into their predilection for Bionic modification.|
|Ultramarines||XIII||Roboute Guilliman||Macragge||Macragge (Fortress of Hera)||The Ultramarines are rigid adherents to the Codex Astartes, written by their Primarch to make sure his knowledge of warfare was preserved. They are the archetypal Space Marine Chapter from whose stable genetic material most new Founding chapters are formed. In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy their Primarch became the first High Lord of Terra and used the Ultramarines to restore the shattered Imperium. The Ultramarines are based loosely around ancient Rome, though they also use imagery relating to Classical Greece.|
|Salamanders||XVIII||Vulkan||Nocturne||Prometheus (moon of Nocturne)||The Salamanders are technically-adept warriors with a preference for short-ranged combat; particularly with flame and heat-based weaponry. The Salamanders have thick, coal-black skin and red eyes as a protective adaptation to the high levels of deleterious radiation on Nocturne. This chapter associates with their home planet’s people more than any other chapter. They are trading partners with the Adeptus Mechanicus, trading weapons for the natural resources on Nocturne.|
|Raven Guard||XIX||Corax||Deliverance (Moon – previously named Lycaeus)||Deliverance (Ravenspire Tower)||The Raven Guard specialize in hit-and-run attacks on vital targets to maximize their ability to cripple a larger enemy force. Guerilla warfare using jump packs and extensive use of Scout Marines are common. Due to a gene-seed defect, their skin fades to pure white while their hair and eyes turn night black. Their background contains references to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ” The Raven”.|