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At what point does a space marine's morale begin to erode? I know they are supposed to be fearless, superhuman beings with ever perfect morale, but they have to start to crack at some point. After all, half of them fell to chaos and lost faith in the emperor at one point. I read Eye of Terror (the BL book, not the 'dex), and it got me wondering. I want to write some survival against all odds, left behind in the midst of enemy forces type fluff for some marines from my Blood Angel army, and having a good idea of when a space marine would lose morale would be helpful. Right now, I think it seems to be about when the marine loses his faith, whether because of chaos influence or other factors. Is this about right?
Last edited by Rimciv; March 14th, 2007 at 01:11.
Personally - I like to think that Marines loose their morale only and only if the situation is completely and utterly hopeless. For instance:
Their leader gets torn to bits by a Carnifex - they're surrounded by nids, 3/4s of them are dead. And they're out of ammo aaand... umm... some guardsman yells 'The emperor has forsaken us!' in the background haha. Only then - would an SM break.
Personally I think CSMs would hold better than SMs though.
Let me describe the specific situation I'm thinking about. A tactical squad of marines is left behind in the midst of an invasion of enemy forces (prob Chaos, but I'm not sure yet). They are able to watch the transports leaving the planet but can't get to them. It is only a matter of time before the planet is bombarded into oblivion. They lose several squad members, etc....
Would the marines break at that point? I'm not even thinking break as in go find a corner and curl up and die. Maybe just thoughts like "this is hopeless", a loss of will to fight, that sort of thing.
Well - as far as I know (from playing DoW) the Blood Ravens say that there's no honour in defeat. And once they lose they order Orbital Bombardment of their own base even with let's say a Chapter's worth of Marines down there...
So I really don't know if that would make them break or not. Rules say they break right? The games have them break as well - as far as Morale is concerned, their 'strength' comes from indoctrination, drugs pumping through their veins, endorphins being secreted and the like.
I'd say that with a serious lack of indoctrination, especially at critical points, they might break.
Black Templars 3000 points
Tau Empire 1750 points
Tyranids 1500 points
Hordes of Chaos *Coming soon*
Some flaw in the chapters indoctrination/training programme (cause for Inquisitorial investigation me thinks)
Sustained exposure to the forces of Chaos especially where the forces of Chaos were specifically trying to crack the Marines morale. I'm really taling about psycic and or deamonic influence here.
I'm sure there are other reasons why a space marines morale may be broken. I don't think that facing impossible odds or certain death is one of them though. In a way thats the point of marines, to face those sorts of odds and still get the mission done even at the expense of their lives and more likely at the expense of their enemies lives (:yes: ).
Incidentally I would imagine that failing in such a fundamental way would have a profound effect oin a marines mental stability. Normal humans feel scared or nervous all the time, even at things we know can't hurt us, indeed the horror movie industry makes its money off that fact. For a Space marine however completly losing your cool is not something that happens every day. Essentially he is losing face in the worse possible way in front of what can be considered his family, not to mention the spiritual shame that would follow.
Which leads me to an even more extreme question, could anything drive a space marine to sucicide (charging headlong into the enemy doesn't count, I'm talking whisky and boltpistol in the library sucicide)
"God is dead" Nietzsche- 1886
"Nietzsche is dead" God- 1900
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History is filled with examples of ordinary human beings deliberately killing themselves for a cause, particularly under certain forms of social conditioning. They were just ordinary people, often leaving behind wives and families, who had plenty of things to live for..
Is it therefore odd that a being with no ties at all to the human world, whose entire existence is consumed by training and prayer and who has been indoctrinated (both through standard conditioning, and through hypnothereputic programming) since childhood to have an adjusted sense of fear?
Marines don't lose their morale, which is why they have a special rule to reflect the fact that they never panic. They fall back when it is tactically advisable, but it is a calculated withdrawl, not a panicky rout.What's to fear in that situation besides death.. A particularly glorious and last standey death as well..Originally Posted by Adahn
Even unarmed.. Those marines (assuming they're fluff marines not game marines) will kill a lot of Tyranids before dying.Any form of alien or parasitic infection which is progressive and doesn't instantaniously take effect (genestealer implantation for example.)Originally Posted by Visitor Q
Also, if the accomplishment of a specific goal requires suicide ("there is no honour in defeat, but someone must deliver the targetting beacon.")
Suicide is very easy when you don't fear death..
Shrike was behind enemy lines for 2 years and he and his forces kept fighting. My first ever game of 40K was in rogue trader. The 15 crimson fists were the last of their Chapter after a lucky hit took out the Fortress monastery. They still kicked my Orks around got to the Capital and organised the fight against an Ork invasion. The Raven Guard, Iron Hands and Salamanders were pinned, surrounded, outnumbered and massacred at Istvaan 3, faught their way out. The Salamanders carried on with what they had until they became one of the smallest chapters and the Raven Guard cut corners and created mutants in their eagerness to get back up to fighting strength, neither thought of surrender.
Marines seem pretty darned hardcore. A flaw in the actual Marines involved might make it more likely and indeed make a better story as it makes the characters more "human" and their attempt to live up to the ideal all the more heroic. In fact the implication that all Marines have these doubts and weaknesses may not counter the fluff, but enhanse it. Marines seem all the more heroic if you think of an injured Salamander on Istvaan dragging the broken remains of a brother back to a Thunderhawk in hopes of escape has a voice in the back of his head telling him just to side with Horus the legal Warmaster of the Empire, but carries on chanting a Chapter motto step by bloodied step all the way to the Thunderhawk as the bombs fall around him.
I'd write the Background from one soldiers point of view. Let him have his doubts but choose the right course hard though it is. Obviously he can't admit is weakness to his brothers. Maybe he is flawed or maybe all the others had to go through the same personal trial. They'll never tell and he'll never ask, he sucks it up and does his duty for the Emperor.
Bravery isn't lack of fear. Its doing something inspite of fear.
I read a short story once, where a planet had been invaded by the forces of Chaos, and most of the Marines had lifted off prior to bombardment (to sort out the Chaos scum once and for all), but a single squad was having trouble making it to the Thunderhawk for lift off. When the Thunderhawk lifteded off, it ended up leaving behind two Marines, one of them an Apothecary. All the geneseed had been retrieved, except the ones in the two marine's left on planet. After a couple of hours trying to survive, the two Marines were brought down, and Chaos called it a win, because they could then collect 4 untainted geneseeds, and when they revealed this to the Apothecary (just before he was killed and harvested), he knew despair.
It is in a situation like that, where your whole life's focus has been undermined and the very thing you had spent all of your waking hours (not that they actually sleep) striving to prevent, could not be stopped; that is when a Marine breaks.
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