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Londinium
03-02-2011, 23:35
Hey guys, I'm currently having a discussion on 40k background with some guys on a history forum which means I'm dealing with people with a rather shaky grasp of the background and it's concepts. Anyways one of them is insisting that the process for creating a space marine, the insertion of the geneseed, it's incubation in the candidate, the growth of the organs etc is actually more efficient in 40k than 30k. He's been quoting a fairly propagandic piece from the Space Marine Codex that the Horus Heresy happened because of accelerated space marine development leading to flaws in the traitor geneseed and that the Codex fixed this in the loyalists. It's blatantly wrong but he doesn't seem to grasp the idea of the codexes being full of propaganda.

Anyways I know that this is wrong as the process has degraded, it's become less scientific and more of a ritual than anything, 40k marines aren't as good as 30k marines and some loyalist geneseed has degraded in various ways aswell. However I can't remember where this is sourced from and I get the feeling he's going to demand a source. I can't remember whether the Index Astartes article on the creation of a Space Marine mentions it or it just general fluff knowledge?

Cheers.

ExquisiteMonkey
03-02-2011, 23:52
From memory it is the first IA article, but you can also cite the BA process.

I would like to hear how that is an improvement on what was going on in 30K.

Londinium
03-02-2011, 23:55
From memory it is the first IA article, but you can also cite the BA process.

I would like to hear how that is an improvement on what was going on in 30K.

It's pretty much based upon:


"The Horus Heresy had revealed weaknesses in the gene-seed of several Space Marine Legions. These defects had been exacerbated by the accelerated gene-seed cultivation techniques needed to keep the huge Space Marine Legions up to strength. The Chaos Powers were able to exploit the resultant physical and mental corruption to turn Horus' troops against the Emperor. So had the Emperor's great plan contained the seeds of its own downfall. One of the key objectives of the new Codex Astartes was to recognise and expunge these genetic weaknesses." - Codex Space Marines Page 8

The problem is that he's reading it as is rather than looking at it as a propaganda piece. Most people who've been around the 40k fluff for a while can see that's propagandic and justifying the rules set forth in the Codex for small chapters while refusing to admit the traitor legions rebelled for any other reason. However a lot of these guys are Dawn of War players who have got into the background through that and thus hold shaky views of the background. They understand certain pieces but not others, which leads to weird views like this.

I thought it was in the IA article myself but I don't have access to it here at university.

TheLaughingGod
04-02-2011, 00:25
I should point out that just because they mass-produced some geneseed at the time and it didn't work out, doesn't mean that they have a better understanding in M41 than they did in M31. Keep in mind that you can no longer make Primarchs, OR new Legions. All they have is the OLD geneseed and it's descendants. Since they can't produce brand NEW geneseed or reverse engineer the process in M41 (when they could in M31) it can only be stated that they understand less now.

ExquisiteMonkey
04-02-2011, 00:34
I can see how looking at that statement alone can lead to their point of view. If they are primarily looking at the SM codex, it might be a bit hard to convince them.

Another example, and I don't recall if this is in the current SM codex or not, is the Fists' loss of the use of their Betcher's gland. While it's not something they miss, it is a loss in the overall effectiveness of the whole process.
I think the IA article on the creation of the SM's give further examples of Zygote degradation over the millennium, and also (from memory) explicitly states that the process in the current timeline is worse than original.

Another thing, based on your description of the people you are trying to convince, they are basing their opinions on one piece of fluff, whereas a lot of old dogs realize that GW fluff is very contradictory across the different sources, and it all needs to be thrown into the same kettle, cooked together and served up in a delicious broth that we call '40K fluff'

It may be worth trying to point out some contradicting fluff to prove that the codex is from a more propaganda/bias point of view, in order to loosen up their take on the issue.
Like how every primarch was 2nd only to Horus, or was the Emperor's praetorian, or was willing to go to the most extreme lengths etc etc.

TheMav80
04-02-2011, 00:54
In "Soul Hunter", the Night Lords main character (a Heresy Era survivor) considers the Blood Angels marines he is fighting to be weak and watered down versions of the originals.

The idea being that he and his brothers are direct descendants of their Primarch's genes while marines being produced currently are many generations removed and not as pure.

Granted, this is a pretty biased view point.

atthedrivein5654
04-02-2011, 01:29
The IA article says


Although the Chapters are careful to select only the most suitable candidates. not all neophytes survive to become initiates. This is due in part to the degeneration of knowledge amongst the individual chapters that makes screening processes less effective than they once were. Nor are operational methods entirely satisfactory in some cases. In many chapters implant surgery is highly ritualized, and is often accompanied by scarring, incantation, periods of prayer, fasting and all sorts of mystical practices which compromise medical efficiency

TheLaughingGod
04-02-2011, 01:33
The IA article says

Ding ding ding ding! We have a winner!

Sergeant Uriel Ventris
04-02-2011, 01:40
You are inferring that specific piece of information is propaganda. Yes, it's true that there are bits in every codex that are regarded as propaganda. But what is true and what is not is left up to the reader. Obviously a phrase like "army X is the toughest fighting force in the galaxy" is propaganda. What you quote is a lot less cut and dry.

I agree with you 100% that the geneseed and indoctrination processes that create Space Marines have degenerated since the Heresy. It's stated many, many times that technology has become a religion and improvements are non-existent, outside of finding old STC's and combining old technology in new ways (found STC with new weapons placed on old chassis, etc.). But simply because you're convinced that bit of background text from the Space Marine codex is propaganda does not make it so, and there are easier ways to prove your point (like atthedrivein5654's quote).

Shamana
04-02-2011, 09:41
While I think that there is loss of know-how across the board, I'd say it varies per chapter. Check if you can find the Deathwatch RPG book; overall, the book states (on page 16) states that the procedure is becoming "increasingly ritualized and misinterpreted", which should be good enough for your purpose. However, it mentions differences in the efficiency of the process, like how the heavily ritualized induction of the Black Templars and its many "arcane practices" compromise medical efficiency, while the Blood Angels have some strange archeotech that appears much more efficient physically, although perhaps it contributes to the mental issues common in the chapter.

Sai-Lauren
04-02-2011, 10:24
I should point out that just because they mass-produced some geneseed at the time and it didn't work out, doesn't mean that they have a better understanding in M41 than they did in M31. Keep in mind that you can no longer make Primarchs, OR new Legions. All they have is the OLD geneseed and it's descendants. Since they can't produce brand NEW geneseed or reverse engineer the process in M41 (when they could in M31) it can only be stated that they understand less now.

It could also be that some of the custom modifications given to the adult followers of the primarchs were suspect, but because they compromised the primarchs inner circle and thus had massive sway in the chapter, they took the more stable geneseeds with them - Luther is a case in point.



Another example, and I don't recall if this is in the current SM codex or not, is the Fists' loss of the use of their Betcher's gland. While it's not something they miss, it is a loss in the overall effectiveness of the whole process.I think the IA article on the creation of the SM's give further examples of Zygote degradation over the millennium, and also (from memory) explicitly states that the process in the current timeline is worse than original.

Betcher's Gland, Sus-an Membrane, and one other IIRC?

I think the original implants article basically stated that the only implant loss that would send the chapter to extinction are the progenoids - they could theoretically lose any of the rest, including the Black Carapace.

Harwammer
04-02-2011, 11:57
I think the original implants article basically stated that the only implant loss that would send the chapter to extinction are the progenoids - they could theoretically lose any of the rest, including the Black Carapace.

Indeed, if a chapter loses a significant amount of its gene-seed based superpowers then its members become rebranded into 'Space Meh-rines' on account of their blandness...

Sai-Lauren
04-02-2011, 12:12
Dundun, tish! :)

Although it would be an interesting turnaround on one of the oldest questions - rather than asking if you can have female space marines, asking if you could have male Sisters of Battle, because that's pretty much what implant-less Marines would be.

Xisor
04-02-2011, 12:23
A curious flipside to all of this is that the 40k era astartes also have a (seemingly) far more regimented and aloof lifestyle. Whilst they might not be as physically pure/awesome as their heresy-era counterparts, I have a sneaking suspicion that the quality of the actual Astartes themselves in 40k is presumably a fair bit better.

I'm loathe to push the Codex Astartes too hard, mainly because many folks can't see past their hatred of Guilliman to suppose that it mightn't actually have been a book of petty bureaucracy, but possibly a regimentation process for the remaining astartes which improved the performance of individual astartes.

Imagine, if you will, that the legions aren't equals. The Ultramarines might have been the purveyors of a galactic empire, but what if they were individually actually significantly worse than, say, the Death Guard as soldiers?

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Codex made use of a whole hell of a lot of tactics and processes across all of the legions; that by the time Guilliman got to Terra he thought "Damn, we've got to up the game!" and that, for example, a Heresy-era Ultramarine might be utter pants compared to a modern day Ultramarine.

It's an odd thought that as the creation process degrades, the quality might still be going up.

[lexus]
04-02-2011, 15:01
It's pretty much based upon:


The problem is that he's reading it as is rather than looking at it as a propaganda piece. Most people who've been around the 40k fluff for a while can see that's propagandic and justifying the rules set forth in the Codex for small chapters while refusing to admit the traitor legions rebelled for any other reason. However a lot of these guys are Dawn of War players who have got into the background through that and thus hold shaky views of the background. They understand certain pieces but not others, which leads to weird views like this.

I thought it was in the IA article myself but I don't have access to it here at university.
Id say your friend is partly right though. During the great crusade they didnt properly screen any marine so tainted marines were allowed into the SM armies. It says so in the background for Typhon/Typhus that he was already tainted when he got requited into the Death Guard. Coupled with genetic defects, impurities and instabilities in the whole chapter, it could make spreading the taint a lot easier.

Also, Im curious why you disregard that part as propaganda. More importantly, why do you think that propaganda is just a blatant lie?

Londinium
04-02-2011, 16:03
I disregarded it primarily due to two reasons. One having been around the background for over a decade I knew that the Space Marine creation process hadn't improved since the Heresy instead it had degraded. However Xisor brought up the very good point that while the creation process may have degraded, the tactical side of marines may very well be better now.

I have no doubt that the selection process was probably more haphazard back in the Heresy and that it let certain people into the Astartes who should never have been there. However knowing the fluff, I also know the reasons for the Legions turning traitor (well aside from the Death Guard, which has always been poorly explained). So I know it wasn't geneseed problems that caused that. Thus why that piece smacks very much of propaganda by suggesting it was just geneseed issues which caused the Heresy.

Anyways after some liberal quotations of the IA article (I had forgot about the Russian site we should not speak of) I managed to convince him that the Space Marine creation process has in fact degraded over the 10,000 years. Of course the selection process may very well be much better.

AndrewGPaul
04-02-2011, 17:42
I think the original implants article basically stated that the only implant loss that would send the chapter to extinction are the progenoids - they could theoretically lose any of the rest, including the Black Carapace.

Of course, if all the other organs were somehow lost, they wouldn't need the Progenoid glands. :)

TrooperTino
04-02-2011, 17:57
I think because 40k astartes are more generations further away from the demi-god-primarchs they are less "half-god descendants" compared to 30k astartes, and in the magical universe of 40k that has a meaning comparable to old greek myths about demigods who are weaker the further the relationship to the real god in the family is.
And not the marines themself, but the progenoids actualy do have a reproduction cycle, so 40k astartes may have this watered down "god-factor".

So 30kmarines>40kmarines

But the genetic pureness of the human initiate, the good discipline, the faith they have in their cause and purpose, the overall dogma and training will be better in 40k than in 30k just because it's given more time and is done very thorough.

But the demi-god factor is heavier in my opinion. A 30k marine has more "magic" in him.

ForgottenLore
04-02-2011, 17:58
The Index Astartes article says


Very few chapters therefore possess all nineteen implants. All possess the carapace implant (phase 19). It is this implant which marks a Space Marine for what he is, irrespective of other implants, training or psycho-surgery.

Lazy ninja
06-02-2011, 11:10
In terms of the creation process, the fact that some implants have been lost due to the loss of medical knowledge and its replacement by ritual in SOME chapters means that in a sense they are inferior, but at the same time, your friend is partly right in the fact that the accelerated zygote harevesting process and inefficient screening mean that successful aspirants could be at greater risk of genetic incompatibility, tangible taint in the form of psychic or cellular mutation etc.

In terms of blood angels being viewed as 'diluted', there is a truth in that. Their gene-seed, take from Sanguinius seems to be the most potent in that rather than taking healthy specimens for recruitment, wretched, hunched scavengers are taken, yet moulded into tall handsome specimens. Crucially the Primarchs actual blood was used pre Heresy, while now only small, degenerated samples within the Sang priests blood are used

shadowhawk2008
06-02-2011, 12:13
In terms of the creation process, the fact that some implants have been lost due to the loss of medical knowledge and its replacement by ritual in SOME chapters means that in a sense they are inferior, but at the same time, your friend is partly right in the fact that the accelerated zygote harevesting process and inefficient screening mean that successful aspirants could be at greater risk of genetic incompatibility, tangible taint in the form of psychic or cellular mutation etc.

In terms of blood angels being viewed as 'diluted', there is a truth in that. Their gene-seed, take from Sanguinius seems to be the most potent in that rather than taking healthy specimens for recruitment, wretched, hunched scavengers are taken, yet moulded into tall handsome specimens. Crucially the Primarchs actual blood was used pre Heresy, while now only small, degenerated samples within the Sang priests blood are used

Where do you get that modern BA recruits are "wretched, hunched scavengers"??? The first BA novel mentions how aspirants who want to be chosen must first undergo the usual "Blood Trial" process where they fight to death against other aspirants and I remember reading in other fluff that they also must construct some sort of feathery glider harness to cross the mountains to where the "Blood Trial" process is held.

The blood used is that of the Sanguinary Priests yes but don't forget that the Primarch's blood was regularly mixed with that of the apothecaries during the Great Crusade and that the Red Grail is the repository of the most potent mixture of the said blood. New apothecaries are transfused with the same blood and their blood is mixed with the Red Grail in turn. While there is no doubt dilution over time the mix is still incredibly potent as evidenced in the third BA novel.

ExquisiteMonkey
07-02-2011, 02:58
@ Shadowhawk2008 - that's from the BA codex. don't have it to hand, but it basically states that the transformation from aspirant to marine is never more pronounced then when they first travel through the BA fortress monastery as wretched, radiation affected, hunched people. etc.
They are put in the golden sarcophagi, which are described as dwarfing them, and emerge the perfect specimen of a marine (except in the cases where the gene curse gets them, or they wake up).

shadowhawk2008
07-02-2011, 07:40
Do you have a page number?

Aliarzathanil
07-02-2011, 08:13
It's in there, believe me. Baal is a radioactive wasteland. Its populace probably aren't lookers.

Just wanted to add fuel to the fire and say that the Imperial Fist implant failures are most likely 30k failures as the Templars share them and they split shortly after the Heresy.

shadowhawk2008
07-02-2011, 08:27
It doesn't matter there is an inference about Baal being radioactive and thus its populace 'aren't lookers'. The reason I am asking for a page number is so I can check it myself as I am rather sceptic of the notion.

@Aliarzathanil
Well considering they all share the same original genetic lineage it is more likely that they have degraded in the same way over the last 10,000 years rather than that the Imperial Fists Legion was missing a bunch of implants from the get go.

Aliarzathanil
07-02-2011, 08:39
Well it's not exactly a weighty tome...

Page 19, Angels of Death (2nd Ed. Blood Angels Codex)

I'm skeptical that your theory is more likely as it's a more complex explanation. Index Astartes II states that the Imperial Fist geneseed is very stable and has not mutated, which makes my statement more likely.

shadowhawk2008
07-02-2011, 09:32
there is a difference between gene seed mutation and gene seed degradation

FabricatorGeneralMike
07-02-2011, 09:50
A curious flipside to all of this is that the 40k era astartes also have a (seemingly) far more regimented and aloof lifestyle. Whilst they might not be as physically pure/awesome as their heresy-era counterparts, I have a sneaking suspicion that the quality of the actual Astartes themselves in 40k is presumably a fair bit better.

I'm loathe to push the Codex Astartes too hard, mainly because many folks can't see past their hatred of Guilliman to suppose that it mightn't actually have been a book of petty bureaucracy, but possibly a regimentation process for the remaining astartes which improved the performance of individual astartes.

Imagine, if you will, that the legions aren't equals. The Ultramarines might have been the purveyors of a galactic empire, but what if they were individually actually significantly worse than, say, the Death Guard as soldiers?

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Codex made use of a whole hell of a lot of tactics and processes across all of the legions; that by the time Guilliman got to Terra he thought "Damn, we've got to up the game!" and that, for example, a Heresy-era Ultramarine might be utter pants compared to a modern day Ultramarine.

It's an odd thought that as the creation process degrades, the quality might still be going up.

Hummm, so I guess he let Matt Ward re-write so that 'spushh marinzz!!1!!' where even better then the pre-heresy Astartes? ;) :rolleyes: (I jest I jest)

Honestly tho I think that Space Marines overall are more adept at what they do now. I think over 10,000 years that the Marines themselves being aloof and independent of petty concerns have evolved into the Apex predator. What do they hunt? Sedition, Heresy, The Alien, the big stuff that has a overall effect on the Imperium, as the Space Marines see it.

Each will see the problem a Different way, and use a different course of action according to his own unique battle experience, conditions of his up-brigging, what factors made him this way says as much about him as his actions.

Well, I hope I made myself clear. This is just my view on it, and thats the great thing about 40k its big enough where just about anything can happen. Thats why I fell in love with this setting.

Xisor
07-02-2011, 15:16
@F-G Mike, who knows? Maybe Guilliman's pen-name was Ward? I do rather like the place too; it's such a wide and varied setting, plenty of room for many tastes and desires!

Revelation of the Geneseed

I noticed a few points on the significance of geneseed and then had a ... revelation moment. Work with me.

These mutations and instabilities in the geneseed are precisely that: instabilities and mutations.

Consider, though, the most significant thing in evolutionary processes: the action of selective pressure.

Look at the Black Rage/Red Thirst. We think of it as a curse, yet it drives marines to become fiercer *and* for their progenoid to be collected/iterated faster. I won't say it's designed that way, but it could be a very favourable and cultivated mutation. In ten-thousand years, I wonder if anyone's checked how recurring the Black Rage/Red Thirst is? I mean: if one donor succumbed in the end, did his two progenies? Is there a likely hood trace through it?

In that manner, I can see the Blood Angels and successors not be dying of it but ... evolving. Sure, they might die, depending on its course and how its used, but it might also lead them to a roughly stable plateau where they're able to contribute geneseed faster and faster. It's an intriguing little thought.

The Problems Elsewhere: Wolves, Ravens & Dragons

The Wolves have some sort of obscure reliance on Fenrisian population to prevent them from going bonkers (cref: Wolf Brothers), but they also have the terrible 'endpoint' in the Wulfen. Except: is it an endpoint. The Wolves already cultivate their heightened senses, but it's limited by exposure via their helmets. Their strength also opens up a weakness, it might aid them in victory, but will it aid them in reproducing?

Well, provided that they actually contribute their geneseed rapidly enough then it might not actually be too much of a problem for them. Or at least it shouldn't be. They're a small chapter though, so there's a curious trouble inherent there.

And the Raven Guard. Well, they managed alright. Except that they've got a couple of more serious problems too. Even a Primarch's tinkering wasn't sufficient, they seem to exist in a plateau (having their albino problem, but generally stable) surrounded by lots of difficult if they entertain deviation or changes (Weregeld).

Then we can examine the Salamanders and their notable progenies: the Black Dragons. The Salamanders have a surprisingly stable geneseed with the main trouble being a discolouration; hardly a significant problem! But something close to their geneseed legacy allows the occurrence of the 'monstrous' black dragons. The Black Dragons certainly cultivate much of their deviancy, so they have a handle on it to an extent.

The trouble with the Salamanders is they're slow reproducers without any particular benefits to it. Genetically, or geneseedly rather, they're giant pandas. Helluva cool, and can still be trained into armoured bears/bear cavalary, but not the most enduring of species when it comes to survival and proliferation.

The Lesson

I could be getting my genetics all wrong, even on the grounds that this is very soft SF speculation, but it seems to me that the progress/degradation of the Astartes from 30k to 40k, and the divvying up into Chapters, gives the Astartes a far better shot at filling evolutionary niches than they did as, post-heresy, the best part of six legions.

If they've been selected more carefully, with more specific pressures and choices involved, I find it a surprising and endearing 'offset' to compare against the idea that the 'Space Marine Creation Process' has got worse.

I like my new idea.

The Imperial Fists' Legacy in view of all this

Their mutations are just defective. Unless their skills, training or innate talents are better than the loss of specific functions, I'd say the Imperial Fists marines are almost certainly weaker/worse than the Ultramarines, Dark Angels or White Scars (stable, nonconfounded First Founding chapters), even if only by a small amount.

Aliarzathanil
07-02-2011, 17:39
there is a difference between gene seed mutation and gene seed degradation

Actually, no. A mutation is a change in the genetic structure. Degradation is just a harmful change. Again, it's simply more likely that since the Black Templars, Imperial Fists, and the Crimson Fists share the same exact geneseed failures the change happened before the split, otherwise we have to assume that it happened in multiple locations at the same time under the watch of multiple apothecaries. I'm not saying it couldn't happen; it's just not as likely.

Additionally, if the geneseed was doomed to mutate in this way from the start that's really more of a 30k problem than a 40k one.