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Nykster
03-02-2008, 21:27
I'm writing up a short story for my Death guard army and came across a small problem.

How human are space marines. Can they fall in love? Can they procreate? Can they find contentment?

The story goes:
Pre-heresy, a unit of Death Guard are sent to a lightly populated planet to aid in the defense of some cities from the natives of the planet.
However, as the heresy grows closer, a warp storm surrounds the planet and completly cuts it off from the outside. No messages, no ships, no cargo.
Whlie stranded there the Death Guard defend the cities and become humble heroes in the eyes of the imperial citisens. Once the fighting is done, the Death Guard make them useful in other ways becoming content in being "regular citisens". Even falling in love with some local women.
The heresy happens, the planet completly unaware
Many years after the heresy, the warp storm abates, and the imperium discovers the army of Death Guard on the planet, and have only one course of action in mind...Death to the Death Guard.
The imperium attacks the planet bombing it with virus bombs. As the citizens writhe in agony at what the virus does to thier body, the gods of chaos come to the leader of the Death Guard(Grath, My Chaos lord) and offers the gift they can give. But Grath will not damn the peopl to chaos. Once the virus starts to take over the stron constitution of the marines, Grath is met by an old man. The onld man tells Grath he can release them from their pain, and asks nothing in return. Seeing no other choice, Grath agrees, and every living being on the planet stops their death throes and dies. Every one but the marines that is.
After the virus has taken it toll, the imperium send the inquisition to deal with any survivors. As the inquisition began to lay seige to the castle the Death Guard had chosen to defend, Grath sees the old man again. He tells Grath that noone needs die, except the inquisition. Once Grath agrees to the old mans help, all the former residents of the planet rise up and the living dead tear apart the inquisition forces.
Grath loses the remainder of his sanity, cursing both Chaos and the Imperium, he sets fire to the entire planet and flees.
Months later the marines are infected with a sickness that reduces them all to bloated corpses. In Grath's last dying seconds, the old man returns agian, and once again Grath accepts his help. His host of Death Guard arise Plague Marines.
But Grath refuses to fight for Chaos, as he refuses to fight for the Imperium, so they wander, forever. Attacking random places and spreading plague and disease everywhere, and every body that falls from the virus they spread, raises to tear down the person next to it.

Thats about all i have so far. I use daemons as the undead, and will use the living dead rules for apocalypse(very excited to give it a try).

So, what does everyone think? Does this sound like a reasonable story? Particularly the beginning.
Any and all input is welcome.

Khaine's Messenger
03-02-2008, 22:03
How human are space marines. Can they fall in love? Can they procreate? Can they find contentment?

By and large, Space Marines are heavily indoctrinated into their way of life, so while they may experience the physiological reactions related to falling into love or feeling contentment, they may not associate them with the same feelings that normal people do. Procreation is another subject, and one I suggest you just search for...and I pray the discussion ends there. However, I'm not sure what bearing that has on your story, per se. Space Marines can grow clingy or possessive of those they protect and draw strength from, and not without reason...Space Marines were originally created to be the shock troops at the forefront of the Imperial Truth, and many of them had a sense of entitlement to that which they "acquired." Those that like to believe they're reasonable or uphold some bizarre chivalric ideal feel horribly betrayed when the Imperium deems those beneath their care to be impure and worthy only of death....

Frankly, it's more implausible that the Inquisition would virus-bomb the world so nonchalantly. But still, that's what you get in the Grim Darkness.

Freak Ona Leash
04-02-2008, 00:14
I suppose space Marines, if stranded and without the constant indoctrination and prayer and strict discipline their lives entail, could fall in love. Essentially, becoming "too human" was what led to the Horus Heresy though. Marines are, under all the psycho-indoctrination and brain-washing, basically children still. Some may be less of a child, those recruited in the 14-16 range, but the 10-13 year olds might not even know what a naked woman looks like. Indeed, I imagine most Marines remember very little of what it is like to be normal. Chapters such as the Salamanders or Space Wolves or the pre-heresy Legions would know quite a bit more about normality.

So, while abnormal in the extreme and liable to lead to heresy and betrayal, Astartes could revert back to human emotions, given time and willingness on their behalf.

Gutlord Grom
04-02-2008, 00:47
Space Marines can find contentment, but what the contentment in depends on the Chapter. A stranded Salamander might like to make armor weapons. A Space Wolf might hunt big beasts. An Ultramarine might make fishing lures and go fly fishing.

However, Space Marines are too bit removed ,I think, to actually fall in love. However, they probably can form bonds that get close to love.

Halcyon504
04-02-2008, 00:52
I feel that Space Marines are way too indoctrinated to really acknowledge their other emotions, such as love. It seems from the fluff that all Space Marines are born and bred to be warriors, so their entire day is filled with training or fighting.

Whether or not that leaves room for a Marine to even ponder such things as love, is debatable, but I feel they don't. I see Marines as being VERY attached to what they do best...fighting.

sabre4190
04-02-2008, 01:00
I think that the idea of love is just too alien to space marines. Their entire existence is based on war. Every second is devoted to conflict. Space Marines do spend long times without actually figthing: going from system to system takes a while. What do they do during those long voyages? They train. Alot. I dont they need any human relationships, seeing as the brotherly bond with other marines truly sustains them.

The Horus Heresy books go into the mental state of the marines very well. They are seen as something seperate, something truly different from everything else. While I think they could fall in love, it would take a very unique marine to do so.

godhanger
04-02-2008, 01:20
my two credits;

although space marines are indoctrinated to serve the imperium without distractions such as love or sexual desires, if stranded long enough, they might develop a sort of "defender of the weak" superhero relationship with their adopted home-planet. some might still hold enough semblance of "human" emotional capacity, but i dont think most could bond very strongly with those outside their brotherhood. who knows... almost anything is possible, given enough time.

swordwind
04-02-2008, 01:33
Brainwashed psychos about sums Space Marines up.

LoneSniperSG
04-02-2008, 01:33
How human are space marines. Can they fall in love? Can they procreate? Can they find contentment?


Can a Space Wolf drink?

Honestly. If you need any answers, look to the Wolves. We don't work like the other marines. We retain our individuality as a chapter and as marines. Each man has his own trophies, markings and battle honors. Each tank and Thunderhawk have their own honor-names. Each Wolf spends his down time living the true life of a marine, training, meditating, drinking and feasting.

Marines are certainly capable of such things, but given that many keep their rigid adherence to the Imperial Truth, well.. who really knows?

Joewrightgm
04-02-2008, 01:44
I was reading Fulgrim and it kind of opened up what space marines do to show love: WARNING SPOILERS

When the orchestra starting playing their slaanesh inspired piece, the humans in the audience started having an orgy in the theater; The space marines started to express their wild passion in the only way the knew how, by slaughtering everyone within arms reach.

Nykster
04-02-2008, 03:36
Ok, so every one seems to agree that a strong bond can be built, a sort of protector of the weak. But that it is unlikely that a marine will fall in love.

The idea that i'm trying to portray is that the marines who have been stranded for years bond close with the citizens, only to have them all killed because of them. The inquisition would see a Death Guard army as an enemy as they all defected to the "dark side", and as far as the citizens on the planet, they have been in contact with a "heretic" band of traitor space marines for years.

another question i wanted to ask was how long did the heresy last? How long is a reasonable time to have the army stranded while war raged around them?

P.S. Thanks for all the posts, it's helped bring thoughts together nicely.

intellectawe
04-02-2008, 03:36
Imagine Kurt Russel from the movie Soldier.

Times that by 100.

I don't think Marines can fall in love in the way normal humans can.

Gorbad Ironclaw
04-02-2008, 06:52
Essentailly marines are not humans. They might be humanities ultimate warriors, but they are more like a seperate species than anything else. That also extends to thre minds and the way they think, feel and act.
They are not just big humans in armour with a noisy gun. They wouldn't think or react the way a normal human would, simply because there brain doesn't work the same way. There whole life is devoted to just one thing, and there minds are constantly being bent to work the same way.

They are closer to the extremes of the human psychic than to anything you would call normal; hardcore fanatics willing and expecting to die for there cause, preferably while dealing voilent death to as many others as possible. That seems to be the goal and desire of the marine mind. It's not really a good starting point for taking that pretty lass over there for a walk down by the lake and make small talk.

imperial_communist
04-02-2008, 09:14
they are human but only just and no they cant pro create because their armour is fused to them and they are made from the flesh of a 1000 year old imputant man(emperor)

junglesnake
04-02-2008, 09:54
I suppose space Marines, if stranded and without the constant indoctrination and prayer and strict discipline their lives entail, could fall in love. Essentially, becoming "too human" was what led to the Horus Heresy though. Marines are, under all the psycho-indoctrination and brain-washing, basically children still. Some may be less of a child, those recruited in the 14-16 range, but the 10-13 year olds might not even know what a naked woman looks like. Indeed, I imagine most Marines remember very little of what it is like to be normal. Chapters such as the Salamanders or Space Wolves or the pre-heresy Legions would know quite a bit more about normality.

So, while abnormal in the extreme and liable to lead to heresy and betrayal, Astartes could revert back to human emotions, given time and willingness on their behalf.

Problem is with Space Wolves especially the Wolfen - if they could fall in love etc, they might find taking on a world full of Wolves a bit of an issue when there is a full moon!

junglesnake
04-02-2008, 10:02
Hmm.

I think that Space Marines know what love is - but they can not experience it in the way you or I would be able to.

To say that 10-13 year olds don't know what love is is a generalisation that doesn't work in my mind. They may not fully understand romance and the passion that goes with it but they do understand love even if they can not fully explain it.

Those of you who are parents should be able to understand that.

The reason I say that Space Marines will know what love is? Because they are sent into or based upon planets with humans that haven't been enhanced. They serve next to the Imperial Guard where locker "pin-ups" are probably numerous. They witness it and as a matter of romantic licence they probably witness families, couples etc on planets where they are situated.

I would argue that they are able to love - just that it would take an incredible moment of calm - maybe a marine with a serious wound that shuts down into stasis and then finds themselves alone with human survivors tending his wounds. I say this because all of the fluff suggests that Marines hormones are hightened but are then filtered by the implants that help the marine focus on the task at hand.

Edit: And that they are the defenders of man-kind. The one thing that makes us human is the way in which love is expressed and displayed. This is one of the things they defend - not to mention to ensure the survival of the human race which would require procreation! If you look at Chaos - there is no love, there is evil lust and greed, 'Nids act as one not as individuals and don't love in any human sense. Orks - don't know but I should imagine that it would not be like human love.

As for procreation - probably not as we know it at least!!!!

Gen.Steiner
04-02-2008, 10:03
Space Marines are eunuchs. They are indoctrinated and chemically dosed and treated and trained and hardened through battle ... and at the end of it, they love their Chapter, the Imperium, and the Emperor in that order.

To defend humanity, they lose their own humanity. That's the tragedy of the Space Marine, that they are something more and less than human, and will sacrifice themselves to save the Imperium of Humanity.

So, to answer your questions:

Can they procreate? No.
Can they fall in love? No, not in the classical sense, and no, not even Space Wolves do this.
Can they find contentment? Yes - in duty, and in success, and (for the Wolves) in ale and sagas.

bosstroll
04-02-2008, 11:23
Space Marines are eunuchs. They are indoctrinated and chemically dosed and treated and trained and hardened through battle ... and at the end of it, they love their Chapter, the Imperium, and the Emperor in that order.

To defend humanity, they lose their own humanity. That's the tragedy of the Space Marine, that they are something more and less than human, and will sacrifice themselves to save the Imperium of Humanity.

So, to answer your questions:

Can they procreate? No.
Can they fall in love? No, not in the classical sense, and no, not even Space Wolves do this.
Can they find contentment? Yes - in duty, and in success, and (for the Wolves) in ale and sagas.

Space marines are eunuchs ?
I find that a bit hard to beleive, seeing as how testosteron is produced mainly in the testes. Eunuchs have those removed. It would make marines a lot less violent if they have been "fixed"
Now i'm not saying marines can procreate, the amount of chemicals in their bloodstream could very well make them impotent, but theyre not eunuchs.

Helm
04-02-2008, 11:37
Marines could not possibly fall in love in the regular sense. Just look at the example from "Fulgrim". Also, they may not be eunuchs, but they are certainly impotent. In the conversion to being a Marine, anything that is not required is removed, physically or through psycho-indoctrination. Love for humans would certainly not exist in a Marine. Affection, maybe, and certainly protectiveness-but not full-on love.

Gen.Steiner
04-02-2008, 12:13
Space marines are eunuchs ?
I find that a bit hard to beleive, seeing as how testosteron is produced mainly in the testes. Eunuchs have those removed. It would make marines a lot less violent if they have been "fixed"

Not heard of testosterone booster drugs? ;) They're rendered seriously impotent and have their ******** removed (probably chemically). It's all to channel all their energies into fighting for the Emperor and his Imperium.

javgoro
04-02-2008, 14:29
they are human but only just and no they cant pro create because their armour is fused to them and they are made from the flesh of a 1000 year old imputant man(emperor)

Um... No. Their armor is not fused to them. They can (and do) take it off. I´ll simply name two sources as an example: One is the various space wolf novels (precisely in Blood Claw, ragnar´s armor is taken off by his comrades after he is badly injured fighting Orks), another is the bloodquest black library comic, where we see the blood angels remove their armor while in the sanctuary they get to in their travels.


Space Marines are eunuchs. They are indoctrinated and chemically dosed and treated and trained and hardened through battle ... and at the end of it, they love their Chapter, the Imperium, and the Emperor in that order.

To defend humanity, they lose their own humanity. That's the tragedy of the Space Marine, that they are something more and less than human, and will sacrifice themselves to save the Imperium of Humanity.

So, to answer your questions:

Can they procreate? No.
Can they fall in love? No, not in the classical sense, and no, not even Space Wolves do this.
Can they find contentment? Yes - in duty, and in success, and (for the Wolves) in ale and sagas.

I can´t recall of any source that mentions that they are eunuchs or impotent, to be honest. I do believe they cannot procreate (they have been genetically altered, among other things, which would not make them compatible with normal humans, and probably other implants render them sterile).
Falling in love... It´s dubious. Due to their conditioning, I think they have no interest whatsoever in romantic relationships. Comraderie, protectiveness... All those are feelings they definitely develop, but love? Not in the usual sense, no.
Can they find contentment? Most definitely. In a glorious, worthy death in service to the Emperor and humanity, in the revel of battle, and in doing their duty (and for us Wolves, in ale and sagas, as you said ;) ).

bosstroll
04-02-2008, 14:44
Not heard of testosterone booster drugs? ;) They're rendered seriously impotent and have their ******** removed (probably chemically). It's all to channel all their energies into fighting for the Emperor and his Imperium.

Ofcourse theres drugs, but why would you first remove natures testosterone factory and then give the guy testosterone in a pill ?

Chemical sterilization is a possibility, but not castration (that is: removing their "little marneus"), they need their cohones you know, how else can they possibly be considered tough ? :P

imperial_scholar
04-02-2008, 16:22
How human are space marines. Can they fall in love?
Depends how strongly you believe in love. :P **SAPPY**
I think they could. However the draw of their holy mission might make love really low on the priority list. Plus if you saw the thing on the GW site that describes a Marines day.... that should so there is no 'cuddle time' on there.


Can they procreate?
I think that maybe they can't. Don't get me wrong, I think I've read somewhere that the marines squishy bits work... but not enough to have children. You think if SM's (Super Human Warriors) could have children, they'd make Super Human Babies. This would be the easiest way to make space marines. But they haven't... its probably because:
a) A super baby tears through a womb when it kicks (ala chuck norris).
b) Marines don't have function sperms.

I think the latter makes sense or they'd have super human space marine women instead of men.


Can they find contentment?
Yes... Read the space wolf novels.
The Ultramarine Novel implies a job well done and not too many marines lost a good day.


The story goes:<snip>
Doesn't ring true to me. The unit would have just been 'forgotten'. Read the Horus Heresy Books... the planet murder tells of marines being left behind.

Sent to a planet during the crusade smack down a insurgency/rebellion. Maybe their ship was shot down unexpectedly as rebels took the space laser batteries. Probably be better if they were believed to be dead (Death Guard were extremely tough) but lived through (maybe a huge explosion?).

Death Guard was taken in by Loyalist Force to recover from their injuries. Eventually recover. Heresy Breaks Out. Death Guard Takes back forgotten planet etc etc. The warp storms happened during that time but only after the Istvaan III incident. You time line just needed sorting out ;).

Emperor's Avenger
04-02-2008, 17:36
The Inquisition was created after the Heresy, by the way.

AdmiralDick
04-02-2008, 18:59
whilst SM are relatively speaking not so far removed from humans (you would recognise their appearence as human) once you actually tried talking to one and just being around one you would realise they are certainly not human anymore. they are practically automota to us.

i'm not convinced that SM have any desires (sexually speaking). partly because they are so heavily augmented and tanked up on hormones that i suspect their lebido is practically nil anyway. but mostly because these guys are confined worse than prisoners. any failure in an attempt to keep 'urges' capped to the absolute minimun would end in very sticky circumtances (if only them killing each other out of frustration).

which means that any sensation of affection they have must be entirely platonic, but even this gets in the way of combat effectiveness. why go back for a man when its better to leave him for dead? so i imagine that even those kinds of relationships are practically non-existant between battle brothers or civillians.

the truth is that SM are a well oiled machine, and like any well oiled machine they have people to maintain them. (SM don't make new foundings and they certainly played no part in the cursed founding). SM are engineered not by other SM, they are not a self susstaining society, but by countless faceless servitors and serfs. the whole process has become so mixed up that no one know's which side really holds the power any more and no one can stop the process.

nevertheless, most BL novels paint quite a different (less realistic, but more dramatic) picture.

Nykster
04-02-2008, 21:43
If you read the story admiraldick, you'd have noticed they are stranded on a planet they were not meant to be stranded on. They no longer have anyone to maintain them.

The main reason i thought this story could be plausible is that in the story of "the Fallen" Dark Angels, it says that many of the fallen have integrated themselves into human societies.
So i figured after a couple hundred years or so, why couldn't a group of marines?

Captain Micha
04-02-2008, 21:48
I suppose space Marines, if stranded and without the constant indoctrination and prayer and strict discipline their lives entail, could fall in love. Essentially, becoming "too human" was what led to the Horus Heresy though. Marines are, under all the psycho-indoctrination and brain-washing, basically children still. Some may be less of a child, those recruited in the 14-16 range, but the 10-13 year olds might not even know what a naked woman looks like. Indeed, I imagine most Marines remember very little of what it is like to be normal. Chapters such as the Salamanders or Space Wolves or the pre-heresy Legions would know quite a bit more about normality.

So, while abnormal in the extreme and liable to lead to heresy and betrayal, Astartes could revert back to human emotions, given time and willingness on their behalf.


Actually I would argue it was them forgetting their humanity that led to the heresy rather than them becoming more so. They forgot what it was to be human, that they were 'mortal' and the loyalties that come along with it. Loken was commented on being the most human, by Dorn in the HH novels. and he was one of the loyalists.

As for them procreating, I don't see why not really. Given isolation from the Imperium and it's indoctrinations I could see them becoming 'more' human.

Also in the HH novels when Garrow is being interviewed by the Sigilite (sp stupid Imperium words) they more or less imply the beginning of the Inquisition then and there. But the -I- did not exist in anything resembling it's current, dogmatic and backwards anti knowledge views until much later.

javgoro
04-02-2008, 21:48
If you read the story admiraldick, you'd have noticed they are stranded on a planet they were not meant to be stranded on. They no longer have anyone to maintain them.

The main reason i thought this story could be plausible is that in the story of "the Fallen" Dark Angels, it says that many of the fallen have integrated themselves into human societies.
So i figured after a couple hundred years or so, why couldn't a group of marines?

I suppose that by "integrated", they mean that they´ve managed to hide well enough to not be detected from the get go, but not necessarily that they´ve founded a family, got a proper job, etc. They would, after all, still be 8-foot-tall killing machines, you know ;)

Captain Micha
04-02-2008, 22:14
Space marine going postal at the office....

Goruax
05-02-2008, 02:00
Just a point about the Inquisition and Death Guard:

It's hinted, very heavily, that Nathaniel Garro (Captain of the Death Guard 7th Company, I think) actually became one of the first Grey Knights.
So whilst the Inquisition is ridiculously quick to judge, I think there'd be some kind of investigation before they virus-bombed the place.
And if they found the DG to be clean, it wouldn't necessarily lead to a mini-Tallarn...

But then that'd mess up your story :p

Victomorga
05-02-2008, 03:11
I agree with the previous posts regarding virus bombing. According to the fluff (specifically the Horus heresy books) even Horus using the virus bombs when he was warmaster was seen as a massive overreation. I don't think the Imperium would use them even against alleged traitors.

as far as love and indoctrination goes: i don't think that stuff wears off. they are molded into something entirely different from a human being. they wouldn't gradually forget it. also, just being around other marines would allow them to reinforce their beliefs and continue physical training. love is a biochemical phenomenon, and i don't think they can experience it.

and lastly, i don't see why they would be physically castrated, but i would have to imagine that all the numerous processes involved in transforming them would render them sterile as a side-effect.

eventually though, i think they could find a place in a local community if stranded. even if they are seven foot tall killing machines.

Gen.Steiner
05-02-2008, 07:27
eventually though, i think they could find a place in a local community if stranded. even if they are seven foot tall killing machines.

Yeh, in the criminal underclass as enforcers or crime lords.