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This should probably be in the fluff section, but before it gets punted over, I though I'd give it some exposure to the Chaos section first. So apologies to the Mods in advance for that.
How heroic are Chaos Space Marines?
What do I mean by heroic?
Making valiant last stands, defending each other's backs, sacrificing themselves for their comrades. Things like that.
This isn't really a discussion into heroics, so just bear with it OK?
So, how heroic are Chaos Space Marines?
I realise that they come in many different flavours. World Eaters probably aren't heroic at all as they're more into killing for the sake of it.
Emperor's children also, probably get more kick out of defiling the weak and each other to thing about their comrades in danger.
But how about Legions who maintain a lot of discipline within their ranks?
Death guard, Alpha Legion, Word Bearers, Black Legion.
Chaos Marines may have a reputation for deceit and evilness, I'm no Napoleon but it's not actually very constructive to a good fighting strategy to have your own men killing each other.
My point is, a majority of the Chaos Legions are serious threats to everyone because they're rock hard, well equipped and have a millenia of combat experience.
There's definite fluff references which state that the Alpha Legion recruits whole squads rather than individuals too.
Bearing all this in mind, I kinda feel that you would get Chaos marine sacrificing themselves for their comrades and defending each other as well as making heroic last stands (like an aspiring champion with his power fist attacking some termies or bullying some broadsides).
What are people's thoughts?
I think deception and evil and betrayal can work as an advantage. Those who are too weak to sieze power or whatever get quickly rooted out. In chaos, only the strong survive for any length of time and those troops who are still around are resourceful, vicious and crafty enough to stay alive.
World Eaters have pretty much become enslaved by their anger and their rage, likewise, Emperor's Children are enslaved by their basest desires. Thousand Sons are mostly mindless automations, with some power-crazed sorcerors at the helm. Death Guard, well, I don't know much about them, but the point is - The cult armies are very much in the control of the Gods of Chaos and freewill is probably very minimal, if they it exists at all, which makes them excellent troops, excellent pawns.
I think the word "Heroic" implies they are making their sacrifice, of their own free will, for a worthy cause. A slave throwing his life away to serve machinations of an evil god is hardly heroic, although it may look like he's doing something along those lines.
Other factions have other ways of leading, very powerful Lords probably lead and are served through fear, just like any tyrant. If you cross Abbadon, friend or foe, you'll probably die some horrible death or spend your life slaving away somewhere.
I could see some of the other groups, particularly the Alpha Legion, as being composed largely of delusional fanatics, who might very well believe they are serving a good cause, maybe even think they are serving the Emperor himself.
I have actually been considering making a LATD or radical Daemon Hunters army (no GK, but Daemonhosts) sister army to my Emperor's Children, who believe they are serving the Emperor, although they are merely pawns of the EC (who are, in turn, pawns of Slaanesh).
So those are my two-cents.
Cool, thanks for that.
Who particularly interest me are Iron warriors and Alpha Legion, who don't seem to be that into Chaos, and are just interested in fighting strong enemies.
I doubt very much that the Alpha Legion think that they're fighting for the emperor, considering they were one of the first legions to join Horus that they might fight some real enemies (imperial marines).
A very good point about sacrificing themselves to the Gods though.
And there is that extract about Abaddon not caring what they served him for, as long as it was fear first.
I think that they're actually are "heroic" people in chaos space marines, for example the most (dare i say it) sane and organised legions that i can think of are alpha legion, death guard, word bearers, and even iron warriors.
Because every Chaos space marine thinks that they were betrayed by the Emperor and cast out by they're own society and now they want revenge and in they're minds this is a nobal cause. IMO chaos marines (save a few) aren't particularly "evil" they seek revenge and solace for what was done to them.
take death guard for example they are one of the most organised legions and I can see they're champions and lords looking after the well-being of they're troops for the reason of self-preservation (you can't fight a galaxy-scale war and not make sure that your troops don't die off like flies in the process) and even out of comradship as these "people" have known eachother for a millenia and i think some of them would atleast develop a mutual respect for one another.
Even in the fluff it says that grandfather nurgle takes a "fatherly" approach to his minions caring about them and they're well being, maybe this is passed off to his lords and champions.
About the whole self-sacrifice thing: In the chaos marines mind they are fighting for a noble cause, so whats to stop them from sacrificing themselves for the good of the mission or they're comrades.
I think that chaos has a lot more heroes than you would think its not all back-stabbing and treachery.
Well, like others have said, I think that it depends on the legion.
For Khorne, I doubt that their warriors are coherent enough to care about someone getting ambushed, etc. I imagine that they would simply attack their ambushers until dead, missions to save other detachments would probably only occur if the troops still desired fresh blood and it was convenient for them. Slanneesh, well, they are very much into the sensations of battle, including pain, though they might warn a squad of an ambush, etc, I think that if someone was about to get hit or something, they probably would not mention it, so that said victim could enjoy a great sensation of pain or something....I imagine that of all legions, acts of heroism are most uncommon in the Thousand Sons. They will willingly sacrifice Rubric Warriors if it means they accomplish the objective. I doubt that the champions and leaders are even close enough to eachother to commit acts of heroism.
As for most of the other legions, I think they look out for eachother. Though on occasion, I would imagine that they allow a competitor to be killed or at least put in harm's way (more than usual anyway). [Will finish later, sorry!]
Last edited by hotspike18; February 15th, 2007 at 14:52.
"If you can wait til I get home, then I swear we can make this last."
Good thread BTW.
It's already been pointed out that there are a number of chaos legions that could have certain heroic tendencies per say. Now, to expound upon W.B. for the moment, if I recall in 40K history, this legion originally started as a loyalist chapter that desired to form somewhat of a religious cult around the Emperor; but the Emperor would have it, maintaining that he wanted warriors, not priests. Therefore, when this chapter would not accomodate the Emperor's wishes, he expelled them. I can imagine the utter despondancy experienced by this legion, namely, being abandoned (literally) by their god-figure. Similiarly, I could imagine this chapter forming a cultic following around another figure-head in the Eye of Terror that requird not only loyalty, but also self-sacrifice (not the killing kind of sacrifice, but the devotional). Of course, self-sacrifice is not synonymous with heroism, but rather, a particular aspect of heroism. That said, those stoutly devoted chaos marines may very well be willing to sacrifice themselves 'heroically' in the name of their new gods.
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Out of the 4 cult armies I would say that Death guard is probably the most "heroic". Berserkers are insane, Thousand Sons are mostly automata and Noise Marines are something I'd rather not touch.
"They say the Darkness consumes you. They don't say what happens after It's done."
I'm going to point out a trend that most people are agreeing on.
As a general trend, the undivided legions seem to have the consensus that they are serving for what could be almost considered devotion to the legion and some other cause, which in turn makes them "heroic".
My spin is, that even the DG, which some people mention are "heroic" aren't. They are all devotees of papa nurgle. All have his mark and his "blessings" and all that are left in the legion only act upon the will of the patron.
I think all that have accepted a mark no longer fall under the "heroic" side of things, as they are being directly influenced by a "greater" force.
Now, DG are by fluff very disciplined and well trained, still, not a trait of heroism.
All of the Chaos legions are self-serving first, even the Alpha. But internally, there most likely still remains a commorodery and brotherhood that is passed on through the milennia.
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I think you have to differentiate between 'heroic' and 'antiheroic' (and of course, 'antiheroic' is a very different thing from 'villainous.')
I don't think there's much room for traditional heroism in chaos. Chaos is fundamentally inhuman and opposed to the laws of human society. Virtues like compassion are meaningless in the eyes of chaos, the strong are rewarded, the weak fall by the wayside on the path to power. That's the way the universe works on the base instinctual level chaos draws its power from.
However, with a few derranged exceptions, most chaos marines are still relatively human in terms of mindset. Indeed, they're actually given far more liberty to develop their own thoughts and personalities than loyalist marines. They serve chaos for the same reasons they originally serve chaos.. because they believe it's the right choice. It may not be kind and nice and human, but it brings untold potential which could never be otherwise unlocked..
So why are they antiheroic.. Well, just because every chaos marine out there is fighting for himself and has no compassion or concern for weakness doesn't mean he's not a powerful champion with incredible abilities bravely fighting for a cause which he believes abseloutely is right.
Besides, it's not like loyalist marines cry when their battle brothers fall for a righteous cause.
i guess it realy depends on what you define as 'heroic' if you're thinking about the architype of a knight in shining armor, sacrificing theymself to save the innocent... CSM deffently dont count as this...
but if the definicion is "very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale)" then they deffently would qualify. Chaos space marines are some huge imposing and incredibly strong and powerful.
but for the other peoples defficion that they are heoic because they are fighting for a cause they belive in, take intrest in their comrads, and would sacrifice themself i think that there are some legions that would fall into this catagory.
bering a follower of alpha legion i think that there are times that they would deffently be consitered 'heroic'. they were taught and trained in squads, they get to know their comrads and care about their well being. and like Alpharius taught, the legion is more important then the individual, self sacrifice may be consitered necessary for the good of the legion.
word bearers are a different type altogeather. they have total devotion to the chaos gods, they see chaos undivided as being the most important thing. they would sacrifice themself to further the cause of the chaos gods. the individual is seen with a limited importantance.
Iron warriors is a very bitter group. they see themselfs as being wronged by the emperior and that is the cause of their fight. theirs is a war of revenge and vengence more then a war for any cause, for power, or for devotion to a group. i belive they would sacrifice themself if it would cost the imperium. they work with their comrads to destory and undermine the fortresses of mankind.
do any of these realy count as 'heoric'? it realy depends on your perspective... personally i like the picture of alpha legion fighting and sacrificing themself for their comrads and for the alpha legion. a tight group... almost 'band of brothers' type of orgizination. so yes, they could count.
word bearers? deffently a matter of perspective... to fight and die in the name of the chaos gods may not be seen as heroic to most people. but to sacrifice themselfs for the glory of the chaos gods may be heroic. any sacrifice for a cause is always sketchy depending on how you'de see the cause.
iron warriors could even be heroic. fighting a war of atrition againt the imperium. sacrificing themself to slowly destory mankind. they are a bitter and hatefull (i think that says something for a chaos marine) group. but still have a sence of loyality and unity with their brothers.
i think there are aspects of CSM and the different legions that are heroic. it realy depends more on the individual marine more then anything. but to talk about legions as a whole i belive that there are aspects of heroism that they have even if they arnt necessarly 'heroic'
"Moral Victory! the enemy ran away at the sight of my roting, spikey, diseased, awesomeness... wait.. what?" ~ Theyak