The Space Marines or Adeptus Astartes are foremost amongst the defenders of humanity, the greatest of the Emperor of Mankind's warriors. They are barely human at all, but superhuman; having been made superior in all respects to a normal man by a harsh regime of genetic modification, psycho-conditioning and rigorous training. Space Marines are untouched by plague or any natural disease and can suffer wounds that would kill a lesser being several times over, and live to fight again. Clad in ancient Power Armour and wielding the most potent weapons known to Man, the Space Marines are terrifying foes and their devotion to the Emperor and the Imperium of Man is unyielding. They are the God-Emperor's Angels of Death, and they know no fear.
The Astartes are physically stronger, far more resilient and often mentally far removed from normal humans. In the presence of Astartes, most people feel a combination of awe and fear, and many cultures on the more primitive worlds worship them as demigods or angels of the God-Emperor. They should feel so, for many Space Marines feel little compassion to normal people, seeing the very people they were created to protect as little more than obstacles to a more efficient eradication of the Imperium's enemies. This is an attitude sometimes taken by whole Chapters. They see normal humans as frail, weak creatures given to the follies of temptation, avarice, greed, lust and cowardice -- all emotions they rarely feel, if ever. Some Astartes wouldn't even care if people were caught in their crossfire, one Chapter, the douchebags known as the Marines Malevolent, bombed a refugee camp held hostage by Orks, a dick move. But there are many more Space Marines who would lay down their lives for mere men, the Salamanders, the Lamenters, the Space Wolves and the Blood Angels are some of those. They are the final guardians of Mankind, the saviours of last resort. They were intended not to lead humanity, but to defend it, sometimes even from itself. At the heart of that mission lies the limitless compassion the Emperor extended to every man and woman in the galaxy when he willingly chose to condemn himself to more than 10,000 years of imprisonment within a dying prison of flesh for their sake.
Potential Space Marines are usually, but not always, recruited from the worlds where a Chapter has established its Fortress-Monastery, although some Chapters are known to recruit from a collection of different worlds in an area of space that they protect or frequent. Recruiting methods vary from Chapter to Chapter. Some select their Neophytes from feral tribes roaming the surface of inhospitable worlds, while others draw upon eager volunteers who have been groomed from birth to become an Astartes. Still others watch and kidnap potential warriors, turning them into Astartes whether they will it or not. Whatever the method, all Space Marine Chapters will only accept those who successfully pass the grueling initiation trials and prove themselves worthy of becoming a Space Marine.
However a man becomes a Space Marine does not matter: once his body has been forged into that of a transhuman Astartes, he must forever stand apart from the people to whom he was once kin and who he is now sworn to protect. Once a man becomes a Space Marine, he is no longer mortal; his genetic heritage is now that of the Emperor Himself, and a spark of the same divine majesty flows in his veins.
There are approximately 1,000 Space Marine Chapters active in the Imperium of Man at any one time. A list to most of them can be found here. This number has stayed relatively constant since the Second Founding in the 31st Millennium following the Horus Heresy when the First Founding Space Marine Legions were broken up. However, this number remains far from exact and may fluctuate widely depending on the time period and the circumstances confronting the Imperium.
There are many Chapters of Space Marines across the Imperium, and they are arguably the greatest military force mankind has to offer, being genetically engineered super-soldiers modelled after the Primarchs. Space Marine infantry is a force to be reckoned with, mainly because of their great flexibility, allowing them to fight a myriad foes with a tactical response to each enemy.
Game wise, Space Marines have an answer to each threat with squads having a variety of weapons to choose from, heavy bolters, flamers, plasma guns for cutting down infantry or missile launchers, grav guns and melta guns to destroy structures or vehicles. While Space Marines can dish out lots of damage, they can also take plenty of it. Space Marines can take lots of damage before dying and have a lot of morale. There are lots of troop choices; scouts, infiltrators, tactical marines, your bread and butter unit, assault marines, close combat specialists and devastators, heavy weapons specialists.
Space Marine vehicles are just as potent, being heavily armoured and armed, capable of either holding lines or breaking through them. From the heavy hitting dreadnoughts to the powerful land raiders, the space marines have a vehicle for everything.
For these perks, space marines are expensive to train, equip and reinforce. Tactical Squads, for example, cost 220 requisition to train and 110 per marine to reinforce. This means your requisition and power can drain very quickly. It's always a good idea to establish a stable economy before you begin building your force, start off small and work your way up. Make sure you can keep your units alive, train apothecaries to squads to provide healing bonuses. Space Marine squads are also quite small in number, the maximum squad size of a tactical squad, without upgrades or leader units, is 4. This means that your army will be outnumbered but this isn't bad, Space Marines are quality over quantity.
Technology Tree Edit