View Full Version : Question re: Dreadnoughts and Rank

08-07-2010, 10:28
If a Space Marine officer gets blatted and is put in a dreadnought, does he retain his previous rank? If he doesn't, what is he? Where does a Dreadnought fit in the SM hierarchy?

My own theory is that they stop holding any formal position (because being a Dread makes them a little loopy), but they take on an informal/advisory "respected elder" sort of role.


Askil the Undecided
08-07-2010, 10:46
Spot on, You don't see many Dreadnought sergeants or sternguard about do you?

Then again the Iron hands are ruled by a council of elderly dreadnoughts if I recall correctly.

So Dreads can in extreme cases retain/attain rank but generally speaking they don't.

08-07-2010, 11:07
You also have the BA Librarian dreadnoughts & FW Chaplain dreads.

08-07-2010, 11:14
It seems more and more often we see dreadnoughts allowed to hold previous ranks or even promoted through a Chapter.

I think it comes down to how much 'battle psychosis' the dreadnought suffered through its violent transferral to sarcophagi, and hence how well the battle-brother has held himself together.

08-07-2010, 11:32
You also have the BA Librarian dreadnoughts & FW Chaplain dreads.

In The Chapter's Due by Graham McNiell, there is a Techmarine Dreadnought also.

Askil the Undecided
08-07-2010, 11:49
Yes but Librarian, Techmarine and chaplain those aren't "ranks" per se they are specialisations i.e. completely different offices.

Put it this way if a normal tactical marine Marine gets put into a dreadnought unit he becomes a dreadnought and ceases to be a tactical marine. However, if an infantry chaplain gets the same treatment he remains a chaplain he's just a chaplain in a dreadnought.

Lord Damocles
08-07-2010, 13:11
In Fed Fury, the Blood Swords are (now were :shifty:) led by a Chapter Master Dreadnought.

08-07-2010, 14:17
As were the Space Wolves.

08-07-2010, 15:07
Bjorn, he was a Blood Claw at the time of Russ, and i think he became a Wolf Guard before being struck down by an ork?

anyway, nowadays he gets woken every so often to test the Wolf Priests on their Knowledge, and didn't he lead the defence of Fang while the current Great Wolf had been distracted by Magnus who then got killed?

[sorry for the lack of detail- it's off the top of my head in my defence! ;)]

08-07-2010, 15:11
Actually Bjorn was the first Great Wolf after Russ disappeared. He was the only wolf guard not taken with Russ on his merry adventures.

Also in Daemon World the commander of the Violators stationed on the planet was a dreadnought. Roughly a quarter of the chapter were present.


Thorin Hubertson
08-07-2010, 17:10
I think Marines lose their rank when becoming a Dreadnought, but can be promoted to Venerable Dreadnought after some time.
From fluff it seems that most often Captains become a Dreadnought, usually after having accomplished some super-dangerous (and deadly) mission and having been killed at this oppurtunity.
For all their experience, they get some kind of advisor to the mission-/company-leader they are assigned to. Only some chapters, most famous the Space Wolves and Iron Hands, let take the Dreadnoughts take command.

08-07-2010, 20:14
I don't think you get 'promoted' to venerable dreadnought, you just get well 'ard :)

08-07-2010, 20:49
I think as has been said, Dreadnoughts fall out of the chapter structure in most cases. Only veteran brothers get interred, so they wouldn't be at the bottom of the ladder, I believe outside of specialisations (the aforementioned chaplain, librarian and tech dreadnoughts) because there are supposed to be limited numbers within the chapters, there is no real rank system.

09-07-2010, 05:57
well bjorn the fell handed actually takes up an HQ choice and has saga of majesty, allowing those within 12" to re-roll failed morale checks. so you can lead a space wolves army with adreadnought. he is however quite expensive so i think you will only see him in non-competition games. if he dies he becomes another objective, and all space wolves become fearless.

09-07-2010, 06:17
I too believe they become something outside the normal ranks - they would no longer be able to serve to the full extent of the requirements of the rank they had as a full-flesh marine, they would also no doubt be out of action for a while while their injuries are stabilised and they learn to use their new 'body' to the point of battle readiness.

The next marine in line would be promoted to fill the injured marine's rank for purpose of ensuring the chapter is always at full combat capacity, and the previous rank holder would be no longer required to fulfil those duties but would be accorded great respect and regarded as an honoured brother and advisor.

Son of Sanguinius
09-07-2010, 06:22
A dreadnought can certainly provide wisdom and counsel, as well as lead a tactical force, but I would imagine they are awoken in times when heavy support is needed and regardless of their original rank and responsibility, they fulfill that role (odd SM codex Elite choices aside).

09-07-2010, 06:23
I don't think you get 'promoted' to venerable dreadnought, you just get well 'ard :)

Perhaps its less of a promotion and more of an upgrade?

09-07-2010, 09:24
I would expect it is heavily dependent on the chapter involved

09-07-2010, 09:29
Perhaps its less of a promotion and more of an upgrade?

You just get woke up one day, and you have a fancy new powerfist? That type of thing? I like it.

09-07-2010, 10:12
Bjorn the Fellhanded, was awoke to lead the defence of the Fang against Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons.

That being said. I believe that most Chapter's deadnaughts exist outside of the standard rank system. As in they are not given direct command of forces except in special situations and for limited time.

Askil the Undecided
09-07-2010, 10:31
I imagine it's more of a matter of being about long enough for Techmarine tinkering, the Marine's exploration of their MIU link and experience at piloting their new body is great enough to make them a different thing althogether.

Imagine losing your legs, it'd take a long time to get used to a wheelchair of prosthetics wouldn't it? Now imagine dying (as far you are concerned) and waking up in a totally different body not just a new human body though, but a huge clunky metal body with many parts that aren't even analogous to human anatomy and that works in an entirely different way.

09-07-2010, 14:32
All of this is just my theory, but chances are they are first plugged into a virtual environment to simulate the full rig, which is something that titan commanders who are placed in full amniotic suspension are also required to do to prove they are ready to pilot the larger titans (ref BL novel Titanicus). Once they show proficiency in the simulator, they'd probably be placed in a training rig that is just legs and torso, to get them used to real world use. After that the weapons training would follow, after which they'd probably be put through their paces in the training range.

At that point they might be deployed immediately to a limited scale battle to give them some real field training with minimal risk, or they are put back into sleep until real need occurs - I'm not sure which option is more likely, since the dreadnought chassis is regarded as a valuable relic of the chapter, and would not be subjected to unnecessary risk with an untested occupant. I'm leaning towards a test battle deployment, with a specialist team monitoring the occupant and the dread itself for signs of anomalies (neurological breakdown, physical overstress, incomplete interface with the unit etc).

09-07-2010, 14:41
It probably depends on the dreadnaught, and the chapter. Actually, it probably depends on a lot of things. I would say that traditionally, dreads are not expected to continue serving the same role they did before. Most of the time, I would think the injuries would be severe enough that it requires months of treatments to the body before he's ready to be implanted. Occasionally you could have a guy who gets blasted, shoved into a dread, and is out fighting again the next day. I would think that would be rare though.