View Full Version : Space Marine Initiation Ages

11-12-2005, 20:12
Well good loremasters of Warseer, I've been puzzling over this for a while, but I can't see what I've missed, so I put my question to you.

If Space marines have to be recruited at a young age (18 max according to the maximum age for the implantation of the black carapace), why do older recruits pop up in the fluff so often? For instance the Expectanten of the Black Templars and marines such as Kor Phaeron of the Word Bearers, who were recruited by by their respective Primarchs after the Emperor discovered them.

In a similar vein, assuming most chapters use all of the various organ implants, how do would-be neophytes survive some of the tests of strength that many chapters force them to endure? I seem to remember reading about a chapter (possibly the Ultramarines?) that made prostective scouts race across a desert. How would a group of 14 year olds (or younger!) be able to do such a thing, even if they were the creme-de-la-creme as it were.
Also, how would the Chaplains be able to judge a child's future faith, physical strength and general worthiness at such an age?

In short, the age ranges for organ implantation seem way off, if the above is anything to go by. Can somebody help? :confused:

General Samuel of the 101
11-12-2005, 20:24
now that i think it is true
in the Index Astartes 1 it says that marines are recruited at 11-13 age but some guys like Luther the traitor were made marines way older that that

11-12-2005, 21:09
Remember that the recruitment process is 99% tradition. Like the trill in DS9, there might not be much 'point' to the selection process, except as a way of weeding people out.

As well, like an initiation ritual (hazing), the knowledge that you've gone through brutal initiation rites makes you proud of yourself and your brothers. Even before doing anything for the chapter, recruits have gone through fire.

11-12-2005, 21:16
in Space Wolf, he was recruited at what I remember to be about 17 or 18

11-12-2005, 22:18
I am sure i read somewhere that early Marines where recruited at older ages but the process was more unstable than when the marines where recruited younger, i just cannot remember where it was i saw this. Sorry

11-12-2005, 22:48
Bear in mind that the background was written in the mid Eighties by a bunch of twenty-something gamers who had zero understanding of medicine of biological functions.:eyebrows: Basically the Initiation proccess was overlaid onto puberty and left at that without any regard to whether or not is was actually *possible*. GW writers (especially the early ones) were far more concerned with *Is it cool?* than *Is it possible?*.

11-12-2005, 22:53
Luther and the rest of that lot were not real marines, they were humans given implants and whatnot to bring them up to a similar standard.

11-12-2005, 22:57
I always thought than in true "old tech was better" fashion, the Marinification process was better understood back in the Crusade era, therefore men could become Marines even if they were already adults. Now, milennia of ritualization have made that feat impossible (and undesirable for current Imperial standards; the younger the recruit, the more pliable to indoctrination he is)

However, this Expectanten article on GW's UK & US sites (come on, a PDF Sergeant accepted as Neophyte?) has thrown a holy wrench of Antioch on my idea.

Tanith Ghost
12-12-2005, 01:44
I used to chalk it up to the same- way back when during the Emperor's crusade, the process could turn a man aged 10 to mid thirties into a marine.
Now, due to tech being lost, the best age is 10-14(not much time for the kid to do anything else).

12-12-2005, 01:58
Different chapters may have lost more or less tech.
I seem to remember that there are comments in the articles on how a marine is created about some chapters not even using certain implants. Consider how widely this means the process can vary.
I would imagine this means a few chapters can still recruit adults, while the vast majority need to stick with kids.

12-12-2005, 04:07
My impression was that it was partly forced on them by a loss of parts of the relevant knowledge, and was partly a conscious decision. The advantage of creating Marines from pubescent boys is that the changes are more firmly bedded down in their metabolism since they can piggyback on the natural changes of puberty. I'm sure I remember reading that there were growing problems with the implantation program that allowed mass-production of adult Marines that meant it was abandoned.

The other advantage of starting young is that the recruit's mind as well as their body is the Chapter's to mold from a very young age. A Marine who's been steeped in the Chapter's doctrines and traditions from an early age is less likely to make trouble for the Chapter than one who came in at a greater age, with all the baggage of a life lived into adulthood.

Jim Reaper
12-12-2005, 09:44
The Salamanders recruit apprentices at age 6 (!) who learn the craft of blacksmithing for several years before the most promising are chosen at age 11 or so and taken to Prometheus to be made into marines.

12-12-2005, 09:58
The processes are different. The space marine process needs a young initiate so they can grow with their implants.

The process that 'elevated' people liek Luther to the level of marines was different, the implants were not expected to 'grow' with them. They did not have a lot of the abilites true marines have, as they would have had no ability to consciously control some of the new organs, as they would not have grown into their systems as an integral part of their body.


Space Marine: not human, needs to be young so it can 'grow' into the none human

Luther and that lot: human + implants

There was no radical change in biochemistry for people like Luther, they were just enhanced

12-12-2005, 11:45
There is also the point that, after the Heresy, the indoctrination process became far stricter, geared to ensuring the purity and suitability of the subjects rather than just trying to churn out as many Marines for the Crusade as possible. Again, part of the Guilliman doctrine.

12-12-2005, 12:21
during the Crusade, regular men were changed into Space Marines. There is no point in questioning that, nor any "relative efficiency" at biological level.

If it survives and works while you're a kid, given proper training Which will have to be much longer because you are a child) then it will work when you are a grown man (And it will work aswell, though you will probably receive less training, but your body will adjust to it more easely).

Now, the thing nobody has considered is this:

What if the Black Templars, as they are essencially still "Space Marines from the Age of the Emperor's Crusade" and are so bound by tradition, haven't just forgotten the way to implement and train new recruits from an adult age?

That'd certainly explain why they don't have psykers in their ranks, because Psykers only become spykers when they tend to mature and grow older. If your trainee is already a full fledged grown man, and isn't psyker, chances are he won't suddenly become one.

Also their methods of initiation do seem to tend to weed out those that aren't fanatically loyal to the Emperor, and if you already allowed your trainee to prove himself to the Emperor, you might aswell force it to go somewhere where he can continue to serve the Emperor.

My point is, the Black Templars may not believe in picking out younglings, and then training them, instead, believing in those that have proven themselves of the outmost loyalty and devotion to the Emperor, and offer them the chance to become his Holy Warriors.

Thus, they pick out adults, and since they are second founding marines (And thusly able to keep most of thek nowledge from the pre-heresy days), they could very well not have adhered to standard Codex Indoctrination.

Which would only emphasis their already wide deviation.

PS: I am glad I wasn't the only one to notice that the aspiring Black Templar wasnt' a child.

12-12-2005, 15:19
The Templars are still Marines of the second founding, and even the Space Wolves have made the changes to the recruitment policies required (after the Heresy, I doubt that many would be politically able to refute this particular point).

Most likley the Templars simply do not recruit psykers, as the ability is known from an early enough age for them to be detected by the Librarians during deep scans. That, and they don't draw in any externals from the Adeptus Astra Telepathica.

12-12-2005, 17:39
Ok, I accept that technology for creating older space marines has been lost since the heresy. The problem is the Expectanten.
According the the 'Creation of a Space Marine' (http://uk.games-workshop.com/spacemarines/initiation/1/)article or Index Astartes 1, the black carapace (the only truly vital implant) can only be implanted before the age of 18.
This also begs the question, how do power armoured inquisitor exist? If there is power armour that doesn't use the black carapace, why don't the space marines use it?

I'm full of questions, me. :D

12-12-2005, 17:46
I assume the power armor used my the Sisters and the Inquisition is less sophisticated than what the SM wear.
It offers the same protection, but forget about all the crazy sensors and gadgets (unless they can be set to a HUD).
The sisters were created after the heresy, inquisitors in power armor might even have alien power armor. (Why not? They have alien guns.)

12-12-2005, 18:04
I guess this would be a good time to summon Kage2020, as he has a VERY detailed description of "Astartes Power Armor" as he calls it, but I see it like this:

- 'Regular' Power Armor, worn by SoBs, Inquisitors and other higher-ups, works with a Starship Troopers-esque pressure detection system. One could think of it as a large number of buttons on the inside of the suit: when enough of them are pressed, the suit moves.

- Astartes Power Armor takes advantage of the Black Carapace and its direct link to the Marine's nervous system. When a Brother throws a punch, electrical signals tell his arm and fist to move in a certain manner; the Carapace link copies the signals and sends them to the armor, making it move at the same time, with an added increase on reaction times, precision, etc. compared to RPA.

Perhaps the BT are using RPA and just not telling anyone about it?

12-12-2005, 18:50

Initiation Ages: Differnet protocols existed in the Great Crusade, as mentioned previously. This also includes an accelerated process designed to take around one year, but which had 'unexpected and severe side' effects.

As to Adeptus Astartes Power Armour (AAPA) and control systems? That is in itself can generate a huge amount of discussion since the actual purpose is somewhat hazy in the 'fluff'. (Quelle surprise, as they say.) What purpose does the black carapace serve that makes it so distinct from other types of neural interface technologies (i.e. 'interface jack') mentioned in the 'fluff'? That's the question. For me it is an interface plug, but also a means of interfacing the CNS of the Marine into the armour and allowing them to bypass certain 'reactions', whatever that might mean. The autosenses are a part of that, although massively redundant/irrelevant when you come to think about it.

As to the control systems of other, non-AAPA types? Feedback would be one option...


12-12-2005, 19:04
Speak the name of Kage2020 and he shall appear...
<looks at door expectantly>
Nice that he sort of agrees with me this time too.

12-12-2005, 20:50
<grin> This is kind of also being chatted about in the "DAoT artefacts" thread.

And didn't know that I was agreeing with you IncubiLord. I didn't really check out too many of the responses. Something like this is so steeped in not only interpretation of the 'fluff' but the momentum that certain aspects of the 'fluff' have that it is sometimes pointless to discuss them! :D


12-12-2005, 21:32
I'm going to try typing his name in some random threads just to see if it always works. :D

Back to the questions...

Recruitment age depends on chapter and there are different types of power armor.

12-12-2005, 22:21
There are, indeed, different types of Power Armour. Eight versions, although most of those are only used for ceremonial purposes in the modern 'fluff' period. And while recruitment age is going vary depending on the Marine Chapter in question, the culture(s) from which they recruit, etc., if one is to go with the 'fluff' from WD98 there are going to be some pretty restricted ages of selection.

Oh, and the 'summoning' is doubtful to work. At the moment on Warseer I only tend to look at those threads that have interesting discussion potential, not the ones that tend to be a question of who can post the most book references or which Primarch uses what weapon, or whatever! ;)


12-12-2005, 23:23
I only want to see references when it will get people to stop arguing about vague trivia. :p