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I know the Codex Astartes states that each chapter is to have approximately 1000 Space Marines. I also know that not all chapters follow the codex perfectly on various things, like unit organization and the like.
My question is, is the 1000 Marine rule set in stone, or can this be varied and theoretically expanded? I know the 1000 marine rule was set in order to keep a single commander like Horus from ever rising again, but an especially pragmatic commander not submerged in the Astartes dogma might view it as a limitation. I know there would certainly be questions into his loyalty, but assuming he could prove his loyalty, would he ever be allowed to exceed 1000 troops?
Furthermore, could all ten companies be fully capable, as opposed to the 5 that usually are (with the 5 reserve companies) or if they exceed 10 companies, could the full chapter be fully capable with few reserve companies? Basically in the fluff I'm developing, these companies would, if they are underpowered, combine into super companies in order to compensate until they can return to the homeworld and get resupplied troops wise.
And lastly, what is the Imperium's policy on creating new chapters? If a chapter was about to exceed 1000 troops, I imagine the Imperium would force a new chapter to be created, but that may be breaking the 1000 chapters rule set down by Astartes.
These are all kind of important for the fluff of my chapter that I'm developing. Any information anyone has would be greatly appreciated.
I know there's a few Chapters who don't follow the 1000 marine bit to the letter (or number), I think Space Wolves are one example although don't quote me on that. I imagine Blood Angels and their successor chapters would have problems keeping a steady number when they keep dropping to the thirst.
First off: this article. It's good stuff.
Their are allot of exceptions to the rules.
Black templar often exceed the 1000 man rule as they are always on crusades.
Space wolves have 12 great companies, and a 13th lost company rather than the 10 standard companies.
I don’t know of a chapter that has 10 battle companies, but the Dark angels have altered their 1st company to be the death wing, and they also have a raven wing company.
I don’t see any major problem in altering the chapter organization to add some character to your chapter.
The Codex Astartes isn't set in stone for all chapters....the Space Wolves ignore some significant parts of it, mostly for reasons that exist out of historical spite, and they go over the 1,000 brother recommendation.
However the largest single 'chapter' is easily the Black Templar's, their training system of a sort of squire-ship where a fully honored brother marine takes a neophyte as a squire into battle until they prove themselves has swelled their total numbers immensely. However the extent of their large population isn't readily apparent due to their nomadic and sporadic nature of flying around the imperium in multiple crusade fleets. All in all I think there are about 7 separate Black Templar crusade fleets and about 6,000 Black Templars overall, this would make them larger then the original Space Marine Legions.
Only the High Marshall of the Templar's and a few members of the Inquisition know the exact number of Templars and the locations of their crusade fleets.
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The Black Templars, even at the most liberal estimates, aren't even near what the Legions were. Most of those had tens of thousands (at the very least- it would only make sense for them to have more and the Collected Visions even implies as much), and some (Ultras) had hundreds of thousands.
But they are definitely the largest Chapter out there.
Space Wolves are definately a chapter that comprises more than 1,000 Marines.
Since it had 13 Companies, which as you know is now 12 Full Battle Companies, (and a 13th in the Eye of Terror)
So we are looking at around 1200 Marines (on the assumption of approx 100/comp), though possibly due to Space Wolves' initiates as Blood Claws, and thus their Squad (Pack) size of up to 15 Marines (in C: SW) and up to 20 (as expressed in the Prologue of the Novel "Ragnars Claw" written by William King), the number of marines is estimated at minimum of 1440+ .
*Lexicanum: Space Wolves - Lexicanum
On a different note, the Grey Knights Chapter maintains 3000 Marines, and this is well known to the Inquisition who openly disregard this numerous chapter because of their close ties and allegience to it.
*Lexicanum: Grey Knights - Lexicanum
Black Templars are another Chapter who consist of more than 1000 marines. According to Lexicanum, the have 5000 - 6000 marines spread throughout the galaxy in various fleets on numerous crusades.
*Lexicanum: Black Templars - Lexicanum
On a slightly different note, the Soul Drinkers Chapter consists of approx 300 marines.
*Lexicanum: Soul Drinkers - Lexicanum
Hope this helps.
NOTE: Due to my absence from the forums for the past 6+ months, i cannot recall if i have broken any forum-rules, if so i apologise, trust the mods to moderate and would appreciate the link to the rules as i may refresh my memory, Thanks.
Last edited by AzzA; April 14th, 2009 at 12:34. Reason: Minor Discrepancy
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Thanks for your help everyone. This helps me develop the fluff for my chapter quite a bit (my Chapter would probably run around 1500 at 999 M41) but I wanted to make sure I wasn't breaking any of the major fluff rules.
I have a question here though, to oppose your own questions. - Why do you need more? I mean... what can you do with 1500 that you can't do with 1000? Seriously. They're friggin' Space Marines.
It has to do with two facets of the Chapter fluff, namely that they maintain 10 full companies while having these sort of semi-independant leaders who parade around as basically elite on-site drill sgts training talented recruits, who control about 250 or so troops among the seven leaders. Since they operate independantly, they aren't counted in the ten companies, but are in the full chapter numbers. Secondly they maintain more companies of scouts, in order to have quicker relacement as they lose troops (furthermore about a couple scout companies operate among the PDF and do not actually operate off planet, but drill as elite PDF forces). In the end, they want 10 full Space Marine companies, not counting the independant seven leaders, and the scouts who are PDF. However, if you counted them all, you'd probably have somewhere between 1500-1700.
Furthermore, depending on whether or not I have my Chapter Master get the report on the incoming huge Tyranid fleet, I might have him expand the chapter further in order to compensate and prepare for them.