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Ok, was thinking about putting together some fluff to help me work this mad 40K bug outta my system. And thought I totally love the story and the genre I have some problems with the numbers used in alot of the existing materials. Mine was going to be about a planet defended by Imperial Fists, and it was going to involve most of the chapter.
One of my problems is that Space Marines have only 1000 members, and frankly, they die alot. Now with a ready pool of recruits that wouldn't be a problem, but each marine takes about a decade to train properly, and in the books your considered "Young" if you've only been around about 40 years or so. Considering the high attrition rate and the types of things they fight, I figure if a marine made it past 50 he's gotta be the luckiest SOB around. So where do all these 200 year old guys come from? I'd understand one or two here and there, but it does seem to imply that your average Space Marine is about 100 or something. Now, I'm not going to play with the numbers of troops in a chapter since thats pretty well entrenched in the genre, but would my Fluff be ripped apart if I included a more reasonable age for my Marines?
Second, the description of Battle Barges and the amount of men the ships transport seems a bit off. Says the biggest ship in a Space Marine flotilla, the Battle Barge, is around 1-2km in length, but can only transport 4 companies of Marines. That only 400 guys. Now I realize that Marines take up alot more room for supplies and support than your avg guardsman. But even a modern day aircraft carrier, which about 1/4 the length and probably 1/20th the volume capacity runs with 5000 folks on board, 80-100 aircraft and enough fuel and ordanance to suppport them all while engaged for years. So even assuming the crew of the Barge and the support craft you think a 1km+ long ship would easily be able to carry an entire chapter and provide them personal suites with jacuzzi and an covered carport. Frankly 1000 of even the most lavishly equipped infantry is a drop in the bucket when we are talking of ships on the grand scale of the 40K universe.
There are some other number discrepancies that bother me too, in fact when I read the books I just usually multiply any listed number of combantants by 10 to give it a real 40K feel to it, but does anyone else feel this way?
Cracking post, I've wondered about it myself to be honest and it's only added to by reading the official fluff sources like Index Astartes, where it states that the Chapters dip into their homeworld populations every 100 years or so to recruit more Marines. Even assuming they promote some Scouts to battle-brothers after a particularly bruising encounter they're still going to be in need of Scouts (and again there are only 100 or so Scouts per Chapter), so where do all the replacements come from?Originally Posted by slamfu
The only explaination I can think of is that a lot of the fluff isn't written down as "fact", but is really lore; true accounts of battles are mixed in with some dramatic hyperbole regarding the number of losses and are set down in the records by overzealous scribes eager to prove that the Imperium can take a massive blow to the jaw and still function. Also "heavy losses" are relative; to us, heavy losses are hundreds of men, to the Imperial Guard heavy losses might be thousands or tens of thousands, but to Space Marines, with their small numbers and the fact they're bloody hard to kill, "heavy losses" might mean a couple of squads or something.
Edit: The same could probably apply to the age thing as well; the Marines aren't going to remember their birthdays and I doubt the Chapter would make a note of them, so who's to say how old they are? You could argue that their ages can be guessed at by the amount of time they've spent in service since they got their last implant, but again whose to say that's not a load of hyperbole too?
Last edited by Heathen; March 6th, 2006 at 22:31.
Also keep in mind that a marine can be hit and incapacitated it is incredibly hard to kill a marine. They have enhanced regeneration, they can filter poisons and things like that.
The numbers thing. Most of the stories involving the space marines are about times during the heresy. When the space marines were in legions and number in the thousands. Also there are tons of successor chapters that fly under the same or similar colors so while there may only be 1000 actual ultramarines there are at least 23 second founding chapters and maybe even more so created later. This means there are at least 23000 space marines who are descendents of ultramarines and use Gulliman's gene stock. Also marines tend to fight alongside the imperial gaurd. Responses to threats are usually like this.
Planetary defense force
Segmentum defense/Space marines
Unless the space marines take action against a threat by themselves they are rarely alone (with certain exceptions like the Dark Angels who would probably preffer to fight alone).
As for the Battle barges you have to keep in mind that while a aircraft carrier hold more it has far less technology. The battle barges need the warp drive engines, normal space engines, the generators that power the ship it self, the generators that power the energy field that protects the ship while its in the warp, it contains thunderhawks which are larger than fighter planes, and space marines are huge men like 8 feet tall and really wide. So if they had to walk through an air craft carrier they wouldn't be able to the hallways and doors are too small.
Also remember that there are also a couple thousand crewmen on the battlebarge in addition to the 400 or so space marines, and then there's still things like tanks, dreds, the non-company units like techmarines, servitors, librarians, chaplains, and then the barge would also have to have a fairly large sized chaple, too, as it would have to be able to have over 400 marines, likely in power armor. So taking into account the engines (which are likely around a quarter of the ship size), the maintenence bays (another quarter), and then the living quarters for several thousand men including 400 marines and the chaple, hospitol, psyker chambers, astropath rooms, etc, then it starts to seem a lot more cramped.
As for marines, remember that fluff-wise 100 marines is capable of taking an entire planet on their own with little loss. Out of those hundred, they might lose maybe 5, of which are replaced by members of the reserve company of which are fed by the scout company of which is fed by a few thousand recruits. Marines don't die as often as they do in the game. Have you seen the movie marines in WD 300 US? Those are more like how marines would be in comparison to a guardsman in 40K.
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Thing is, that as has been said above, the fluff and the game don't quite match. The only way I can reconcile this is that a casualty doesn't mean a death, merely an out of action for the time scale of that game (which according to some people, is about 2 minutes or so). You get stunned and knocked to the floor, in that amount of time the seconds it takes you to recover and get your bearings could cost you any action you could have contributed to the battle.
The fluff and the game are VERY different. In the fluff, a space marine could take down hundreds of guardsman. Space marines would proably be even better than the movie marines rule published in WD a while back.
With regards to the battle barges, I don't think there's a lot of them. Each chapter would have a handful of them, and would proably deploy them individually.
A couple of points.
1) Battle Barges are bigger than two kilometres. Strike Cruisers, the Space Marine's smaller capital ship, is at least three kilometres long, as the classification for "Imperial cruiser" is three to six. Battle Barges are more like ten, and a lot rarer than is portrayed in most BL novels. There's rarely more than one to a chapter.
2) There's a line from King Lear. It says, roughly; "When you call for a hundred knights, you don't call for a hundred servants. You call for a hundred knights and their servants." That sort of sums it up. Chapters have one thousand Space Marines, and about forty thousand "chapter serfs," which consist of all the Aspirants that didn't quite measure up but didn't die in the process. It's the equivalent of four IG regiments, basically, and that's without "their genetically engineered lords."
3) Not every Space Marine who is a casualty dies. Space Marines can recover from virtually any wound not severe enough to put them in a Dreadnought, so being shot three times in the spine isn't a big deal as long as they get an airlift to their ship after the battle. The thing heals up in a few years.
4) Black Library authors and battle reports often exaggerate the body count greatly. In "reality", only a handful of Space Marines are even taken as casualties every battle, and they mostly recover. See, Space Marines rarely fight on their opponent's terms. In the game, they are always outnumbered. In the fluff, the Space Marines usually outnumber their opponents because they aren't silly enough to tackle an IG regiment head-on.
So, more often than not it's a case of a contradiction between The Guys Who Wrote The Fluff and Black Library Author #1138. It's explainable.
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The word casualty iteslf refers to someone wounded, not necessarily killed. Military wise someone KIA is a Fatality.The only way I can reconcile this is that a casualty doesn't mean a death, merely an out of action for the time scale of that game.
Also keep in mind that lets say you play a game an lose 50 marines over the battle, those marines wre casualties, chances are only 1-3 of them actually died.
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Plus I always argue that table top battles even small battles represent the most important part of a much larger conflict where the space marines are pitted against the best enemy troops. In my view 99% IG/traitor guardsmen should have -1 to all their stats compared to SM but players only collect the "best" troops.
This also accounts for why special characters always turn up.
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Ok, well some good points have been made, but I flat out refuse to believe 1000 of any type of Infantry can take over a planet with hundreds of millions or even billions of people, much less 100. Especially not when even local PDF can be equipped with Plasma or Melta type things that essentially carve thru marine armor. I'll grant they can rapid deploy and take out key targets, but there's simply too much ground to cover for such a small amount of troops no matter how much firepower and skill they have individually. Just don't work.Originally Posted by Phalanx
And a ship thats kilometers in length should be able to carry just about any troop load unless the engines do indeed take up 90% of the hull or something. I'm just saying we have much smaller craft in today's world that carries much more. The Navy has a type of ship that can put a whole division with armor support somewhere and while its pretty big by our standards, its not even not even a fraction as big as a battle barge would be. Just saying.
I planned on having the bulk of the chapter deploy from their main Battle Barge, as the fleet will be deployed outside the system fighting 'Nid fleets. Part of the story but guess it wont be too bad either way.
Last edited by slamfu; March 7th, 2006 at 17:52.