This week we wrap up our look at each of the factions of Behaviour's Eternal Crusade with the Emperor's chosen, the Space Marines. Often referred to as Loyalists, to differentiate them from their fallen brethren, the Traitor Chaos Marines, the warriors of the Space Marine Chapters are genetically-enhanced super soldiers bio-engineered by the Emperor to be his shock troops. Armed and armored in the most powerful and advanced wargear the Imperium can produce, Space Marine Chapters are generally composed of one thousand warriors, all dedicated to carrying out the will of the Emperor himself.
To begin, a little history; in the 30th Millennium, the Emperor used his own genetic code to create twenty super-humans, the Primarchs, to lead his armies. Each Primarch was to a normal Space Marine as each Marine is to a normal human. Each of the Primarchs also encapsulated one aspect of the Emperor's own personality, and had traits that predisposed them to fulfill particular roles. The Emperor then used the genetic material of each Primarch to create a legion of Space Marines in the image of their Primarch, and these Marines, together with their respective Primarchs, formed the first twenty Space Marine Legions, the First Founding.
Over time the powers of Chaos corrupted half the Primarchs and their Legions, causing Horus, Primarch of the Sons of Horus, to rebel against the Emperor and instigate the Horus Heresy. Long story short, after decades of internecine war Horus was defeated on the very cusp of victory, the Traitor Legions were driven back from Terra and retreated into the Eye of Terror, and the Space Marine Legions were broken down into much smaller Chapters, called Successor Chapters. These Chapters were spread through the Imperium to defend humanity from the myriad threats of the galaxy.
We have already covered the troop types and equipment of the Space Marine in our last article, so a quick refresher will serve here, with a little focus on the Apothecary, the counter-class to the Chaos Sorcerer.
All Space Marines wear what is largely considered to be the greatest armor in the galaxy, a mixture of plasteel and ceramite plates worn over the Black Carapace, which allows them to move with nearly as much dexterity as if they were unarmored. The most common weapons of the Marines are Bolt weapons, in various sizes. They all fire what is essentially a self-contained rocket, with a diamondine tip, that detonates upon penetration of the target. The Bolt Pistol is a single-handed pistol that is usually combined with another close combat weapon, like a chainsword, allowing the wielder a broad range of close quarter combat attacks. The Bolt Gun is a pistol-gripped carbine, with a greater range and larger clip than the pistol, and can fire in single-shot, burst mode or auto-fire modes. The Heavy Bolter fires much larger bolts, with a higher rate-of-fire and much larger clip size.
The Tactical Marine is the basic troop type of the faction, wielding Bolt Guns, and specialize in being tactically flexible, able to take on whatever role the battle calls them to. The Assault Marine fills the same role as they Chaos Raptor, a fast-attack melee-focused role, using jump packs to give them supreme battlefield mobility, and wielding Bolt Pistol and Chainsword. The Devastator Marine is the heavy support choice, and fills the same role as the Chaos Havoc, laying down a withering hail of fire with their Heavy Bolters, or spelling doom for enemy vehicles with their Lascannons.
The Apothecary is essentially the Space Marine medic, and will appear in Eternal Crusade as the support class for the Marine faction. Apothecaries are equipped with two very specialized pieces of battlefield gear, the Narthecium, a medical field kit which contains all the tools they need to treat battlefield injuries; and the Reductor, a specialized tool that assists in the retrieval of the Marines progenoid glands, which are essential to the creation of new Marines.
Eternal Crusade is bringing four of the First Founding Chapters to planet Arkhona, with a possible fifth faction to be decided upon later. Those Chapters are the Ultramarines, the prototypical Codex Chapter, the Blood Angels, close assault specialists with terrible flaws, the Space Wolves, feral warriors from a pseudo-Norse death world, and the Dark Angels, a chapter that turned traitor, saw who was going to win the Heresy, and then went back to being Loyalists. OK, that's not entirely fair or entirely true, but I am a Space Wolf player, so I have a hard time speaking well of those Gothic bike-riding emo-whiners.
The Ultramarines were created from the gene-seed of Roboute Guilliman, perhaps the most well-rounded of the Primarchs, and a very ordered thinker. It was Guilliman who created the Codex Astartes, which is essentially the Policy and Procedures Handbook for the Space Marines. The Codex defines every aspect of Space Marine life, from proper troop and unit markings, to the proper response to every tactical situation, to how a base should be laid out organized, to the correct way to stage a planetary assault, everything. Naturally, it follows that the Ultramarines themselves are also very structured thinkers, and as such are perhaps the best example of a multidimensional Chapter. The worlds that the Ultramarines administer to are among the most prosperous and successful in the Imperium, where each citizen is valued for his contribution and the Ultramarines are revered by the populace.
The Blood Angels are a much more focused Chapter, and their focus is on close combat and fast attack. They use a plethora of assault troops, either in transports or with jump packs, to put pressure on the enemy from many vectors. They like to bring as many troops to bear against light opposition, in order to overwhelm them quickly, then move on to a new target. The Blood Angels love jump packs, and have more varieties of jump pack troops than any other chapter, save possibly the Raven Guard. This could be due to the fact that the Blood Angel Primarch was Sanguinius, the Winged Primarch, who had a pair of snowy-white wings sprouting from his back, much like an angel.
The Red Thirst and the Black Rage are the two flaws of the Chapter. The Red Thirst is an innate flaw in the gene-seed of the Blood Angels, and causes them to crave blood. When this bloodthirst overcomes their resistance the Blood Angel is driven into a frenzy, forsaking ordered combat for ferociuos berserk assault. The Black Rage is the result of the passing of Sanguinius, whose despair and anguish upon death has been psychically burned into the minds of his sons. When a Blood Angel is assailed by these visions he paints his armor black and joins the Death Company, a squad driven to even more superhuman feats of endurance and ferocity, and seeks a clean death in battle, rather than the steady decline into insanity that the onset of the Black Rage signifies.
The Space Wolves hail from Fenris, a death-world of ice and cold, where the environment itself shapes them into hardened survivors. Their Primarch, Leman Russ, the ultimate noble savage, taught his sons to maintain their own dignity and honor, to question authority and not to blindly follow orders. He also taught them to enjoy life, and all it's pleasures, and so many think the Wolves to be no more than barbarians to be unleashed upon an enemy where they will run rampant. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth; like their namesakes, the Space Wolves use combined-arms and closely coordinated attacks to harry their enemies from many directions, exhausting him until the Wolves are ready to strike the final death-blow. The Space Wolves are one of the most popular Chapters as well, both in the 41st millennium, where their current Master, Logan Grimnar, has positioned them as the champions of humanity, even to the point of defying Imperial orders; and here, in the 21st Century, where the image of Space Vikings has proven to have a strong and undeniable appeal, as they currently lead the popular vote on the Eternal Crusade forums for favorite in-game Chapter.
The Dark Angels are the epitome of Warhammer 40K's grimdarkness. With their Gothic styling, their medieval knightly structure, and their sober, taciturn demeanor, they are the perfect foils for the boisterous, barbaric Space Wolves. The Dark Angels Primarch was Lion El'Jonson, one of the greatest weapon-masters of the Primarchs, and a person who took his personal honor deathly serious. The Dark Angels do not share their records with the rest of the Imperium, and are very reclusive and secretive. This distrust stems from the great secret and shame of the Chapter, that at the end of the Horus Heresy, when El'Jonson led his Legion home to Caliban, they discovered that Luthor, once a trusted Brother and leader, had turned Traitor and taken control of Caliban, entrenching it against the returning Dark Angels. Lion El'Jonson was so enraged by this he ordered the returning Legion to assault the planet with all of their considerable strength. The final result of this was that Luthor killed El'Jonson in a duel, and was himself captured and imprisoned by the Dark Angels. The damage done to Caliban eventually destroyed it, and the Dark Angels now use their former fortress-monastery as their home. The Fallen Dark Angles were scattered throughout time and space by the Ruinous Powers, and the Dark Angels consider the recapture of these Fallen brethren as their primary mission.
We hope you enjoyed this very basic introduction to the Space Marines of Eternal Crusade, and remind you to visit the website and join the forums, if you would like to be a part of the creation of this very exciting new game.