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How bad must a situation be before the Astartes will step in? Must it be so bad no numbr of IG will save the day? Plus who has the authority to do such a thing aside from inquisitors.
If a Million Guardsmen die, that's a statistic. If one marine dies, that's a tragedy.
I don't think it necessarily needs to be that bad, it just needs to be done quickly.
To mobilise an entire Imperial Guard army (not just the 1500-2000 points we play with) will take months of planning, travel and deployment whereas a space marine force (probably less in number than you can squeeze into 1500 points) will get there quicker and probably have done the job with minimal fuss.
Fluff wise marines are far harder than game wise, and only something really really bad can kill a significant number of them - millions of gribblies, big virus bomb, whatever.
I see a marine chapter as being a bigger version of the deathwatch - they are specialists, they come in and do the most dangerous job then get out again leaving whoever is left to finish up.
As for who calls them - I don't really know. inquisitors don't really have that authority - they can request aid but depending on the chapter or individual involved that may not be granted. Also most Inquisition fluff sources suggest they work alone/with their retinue as far as possible, or if they do need military aid they use their own faction rather than outsiders.
The whole duty and honour thing probably means many chapters have unfinished 'debts' to a particular person/planet/race and so will help them when requested, and there are thousands of astartes related worlds for recruitment which will probably demand their attention.
But on the whole a marine chapter is entirely autonomous and cannot reasonably be commanded by anyone other than their own master - I suppose they really just react to whichever dangerous situation is happening near to wherever they are at whichever time they happen to be there...
Unless, of course, its a huge huge event - like Armageddon or a Black Crusade. Then I would imagine most chapters are contacted and a contribution made, or at least the ones in the vicinity (or the superhero ultramarines who are everywhere, in force, all at the same time because they are magic). Or if it's to deal with a renegade marine chapter more than one loyal chapter would probably represent. I don't know if you have the Eye of Terror campaign book, but that lists the chapters involved in that campaign - there be lots!
Last edited by distortiondave; December 31st, 2008 at 09:37.
I can't say I've seen it all but I live for the things that keep me hollow.
Basically Marines will turn up for one of three reasons
1) There is a mission that needs speed, skill, precision and courage that only a strike force
of marines can perform. This could be in conjuntion with an Imperial Guard army or
instead of it. Often Marines will be the first Imperial forces in and will perform such
missions as disabling planetry and orbital defences or assassinating HQ personel. In
these circumstances any high ranking Imperial commander or Master of the
Administratum might request the aid of the Adeptus Astartes.
2) The marines are acting on their own. Either they have identified an enemy as a threat or
have an agenda. For example the Dark Angels aided Imperial forces on Vrax because
they were following up a lead that would lead them to one of the Fallen.
3) There is a sensitive mission which requires trustworthy Imperial forces whp are pure in
heart. For example when dealing with Chaos or particularly loathsome Xenos such as the
Slaugh or Tyranids. These missions are often sanctioned by the Inquisition and the
Astartes asked to give their assistence.
Last edited by Visitor Q; January 1st, 2009 at 21:23.
"God is dead" Nietzsche- 1886
"Nietzsche is dead" God- 1900
Why are there scams? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q71FLDIMBc8
really, any 'i divided by zero, oh sh-' situations.
Sometimes Marines will also appear when they intercept a call for aid. Marines do have to sometimes take the initiative. If a planetary govenor is wailing about aliens invading or revolution Marines may appear to destroy the threat, crush the populace.
Genestealer cult? Call the Space Marines.
Heretic activity? Call the Space Marines.
Kitten stuck in tree? Call the Space Marines.
Lamp on fire? Call the Space Marines.
Space Marines droppodding on your house? Call the Space Marines.
Repeat ad nauseum.
The thing, as I see it, is that you do not call in the Marines.
You call for smeone else and the marines happeneds to overhear it, they kind of call in their selves and only if it fits in their plan. Heck, they might even decide to kill you and purge the living...remains?...of your entire planet.
They or some inquisitor or maybe even the shrouded ones on Terra.
But never ever you or the Imperial Guard.
The highest military rank in the Imperium is Warmaster (or Lord Solar, same rank but no Horus reference). Each Warmaster is personally appointed by the High Lords of Terra and acts with their full authority, therefore he would have authority over any Space Marines in the vicinity. I suppose the best answer to your first question is, "A situation bad enough for the High Lords to appoint a Warmaster to handle it".who has the authority to do such a thing aside from inquisitors.
"My tanks have names, my men have numbers." -Col. Edmund Grahvess, 23rd Kronecker Prison Guard
Space marines are the "Tip of the Spear" they are not made to defend or hold things.
They're battle ready at all times. If i recall correctly it takes days for a Chapter to send its response to a crisis although travel times do delay.
Regarding authority.. Marines are actually entirely independent. Noone has authority over them, ever.. The Codex Astrates was written like that specifically to prevent some Horus-Heresy style situation in which one guy siezed control of huge chunks of the Imperium's military power. The reverse is also true, the lowliest IG guardsman is not obliged to follow orders from a chapter master.
Inquisitors, it's a kind of unstoppable force/immovable object scenario because they have theoretically unlimited authority, so the situation is ambiguous, but still, no chapter master has to do what he says. If the Inquisitor takes offense he can command massive resources to make life difficult for the chapter, but he can't just order them around like a superior officer.
So yeah, it's not a case of 'calling in the marines.' More a case of individual chapter masters deciding which battles need them the most and stepping in where required.