Respect mah authoritah!
8th Nov, 2008

The Imperium is made up of several powerful allied factions: The Armies of Terra (Earth), the Adeptus Mechanicus and their armies (Mars), the Inquisition (Terra), each of the Space Marine chapters (Various worlds) and the Grey Knights (Titan) to name but a few. Each a virtual self-contained autonomous empire in their own right, so how do they interact?

This musing of mine is about the protocols for cooperation between the factions. What is the process that allows one faction to become part of another's chain of command? How is the authority established for joint ventures if each is independent and actively protects and enforces its autonomy? How can it be implemented at the local level, when most humans on many a world have never seen an actual 'Space Marine'? Most only know of them as mythical angels of half-forgotten legends. Or to really push out the boat to make the point, we must consider the shadowy and obsessively secret order the 'inquisitors'. How does a secret organisation assume authority if no one knows about them, or have no idea what an Inquisitor seal is, or how to verify any Inquisitional credentials???

How does and Inquisitor gain power over another Imperial faction yet rIn practical terms, how does and Inquisitor gain power over another Imperial faction, such as the Adeptus Arbites, yet remain 'secret' and not alert those they hunt to their presence?

The idea I come up with is to assign a 'second'; a liaison officer between the The idea I come up with is to assign a 'second'; a liaison officer between the perceived interloping 'allies' and the main body they are interacting with. This allows the force to isolate the influence of the ally through the liaison officer, giving the actual orders to the force's troops.

Space Marines

How this works with Space Marines interacting with the Imperial Guard; the Marine command requests a liaison officer. The Imperial Guard command then assigns a liaison offer to the Marine force. This liaison officer, with a rank as agreed in treaties, grants the Marines the authority equal to the liaison officer's rank. The Marines then use the liaison officer's rank to give commands; the liaison officer is as a proxy. The liaison officer only has to confirm the arrangement with other Imperial Guard officers and units in the field. Once the authority is verified, and the new chain of command established, the liaison can step back. This way, the IG officer in the field knows the orders to obey the Marines is authentic as it came from their own command (and no judgement calls are needed). Even if the Imperial Guard unit has no idea what a Marine is, they know their own officers, and it's the officer that tells the rank and file.

Once set up the Space Marines can now order Imperial Guard units about the place, through the power of the liaison officer, with an effective rank of the liaison officer. This also means that a liaison officer can override Marine orders (though upsetting the marines in battle is not a good idea, and they may dismiss the liaison officer and act unilaterally!).

The great thing about this is that when the Imperial Guard see the liaison officer, they recognise them instantly and accept their authority. It's the liaison officer that vouches for the marines. Without this setup, there could be issues. The Imperial Guard troopers, without confirmation from their own command, could refuse to take an order from a Marine (in battle this may be a stretch, considering how awesome Marines are) as they do not recognise the authority of the marine - which is technically correct as the Marines are not part of the chain of command of the Imperial Guard (none of them wants to be shot by a Commissioner!).

In action, I would imagine that the liaison officer acts more as C&C in the field of battle rather than following the marines about (and if they do, they'll hang back).

I also imagine that the marines may take temporary campaign markings on leg armour and such. Markings similar to tanks (as Marines are like mini-one-man-tanks!)

More on Space Marines


This is where it gets fun as the Inquisitor does not have to proclaim they are an inquisitor merely a 'special investigator' or some other cover. The liaison officer assigned to them for official business does not have to be told who the Inquisitor really is, all that matters is that someone high up in the world's local government has cleared them for access at the highest level possible.

All the people of the world deal with the liaison officer. It is this officer that All the people of a given world will deal with the liaison officer. It is this officer that supplies the 'recognisable authority' to local populous, and provides the units for back up. The inquisitor does not have to show a badge of office; the liaison officer, and the associated unit (Arbites, PDF etc.) is their 'badge of office'.

No enemy or chaos minion is alerted to the presence of the Inquisition. The existence of the Inquisition is neither confirmed or denied. As far as the records show, the Inquisitor was never there, and the operations were all carried out by local units.

This means that all orders for assistance in the field go up through the Inquisitor's chain of command (reports going with it) to the appropriate level (highest level if needs be) and then jumps over to the appropriate level in the chain of command of the faction the Inquisition is dealing with.

The Imperium is not noted for its speed, and this system can cause problems. If an Inquisitor suddenly turns up, without any groundwork and has not been assigned a liaison officer, and demands to requisition a starship from the navy; it can take time. The navy officer does not have to comply (they wouldn't comply under this system) but instead waits for order from their own chain of command to cooperate, and to what level. About all the Inquisitor can do when they show up, and if they want to keep their identity secret, is claim a form of 'diplomatic immunity'. Perhaps provide some codes (probably handled like nuke launch codes) in some form of passport (which does not identify them as an Inquisitor but a noble or some other high-ranking cover).

If a liaison officer from the navy is already in place; the Inquisitor can assume command of any ship, up to the rank of the liaison officer. If the Inquisitor needs more power; they can request it from their own command structure, which works out the details with the navy, who then issues the command.

All nice and neat, and also allows the Inquisition's command and control to keep an eye on their inquisitors!

More on The Inquisition

Best wishes,

1000 marines?
5th Oct, 2008

There has always been a lot of debate about the accuracy of the 1,000 marine limit per codex chapter. As the logic goes; If there are 10 companies of 100 marines, which is 1,000,  then how can there be a limit of 1,000 if the Companies' Captains, Apothecaries, Chaplins, Standard Bearers, or the Librarians, Techmarines, Dreadnoughts, Drivers, Senior Officers and the mighty Chapter Master have not been counted yet?

It seems to all come down the scout company not being countered towards the 1,000 marine limit. Space Wolves aside, is seems that Scouts are definitely not full space marines and are still regarded as Neophytes.

"As the Neophyte nears the end of his training, but before he can become a full battle brother, he is inducted into the Scout Company to earn the right to wear blessed power armour and demonstrate in the fires of battle that he is ready for the final stage of his transformation – the implantation of the Black Carapace"

Codex Space Marines page 11

"Once a warrior has proved his courage in the Scout Company, he is elevated to the rank of battle brother and inducted into one of the Chapter’s Battle Companies"

Codex Space Marines page 12

As to limits, it’s never specific. True, at first look, 10 companies of 100 troops make a thousand, but this does not include all the Company's Captain, Apothecary, Chaplin, Standard Bearer, or the Librarians, Techmarines, Dreadnoughts, Drivers, Chapter Master and Senior Officers. This would be far more than 1,000 Space marines per chapter.


Maybe it’s all down to some strange quirk of fate: that the 9 full battle brother companies (excluding the scouts), plus the veteran sergeants from the Scout Company (seeing as the Vets are full Space Marines), Captains, Apothecaries, Chaplins, Standard Bearers, Librarians, Techmarines, Dreadnoughts, Drivers, Chapter Master and Senior Officers also just happen to come to around 1,000. If this is the case, then there are indeed 1,000 Space Marines per Chapter, but the Scouts are not counted.

It should be noted that in all the pilots (inc. Thunderhawk) and vehicle crews may come form the 6th,7th,8th, and 9th companies providing 'support' to the other Chapters. They may not be extra marines.

All this confusion is a simple misunderstanding, at seeing the 10 companies/ 100 troops per company and taking that as the thousand without digging any deeper.

Well that my reasoning, and it seems to fit the facts 😉

780lbs Marines
15th Jun, 2008

I used Shaq as a base because he's 7'6" and this made it easy to scale the body mass up to a marine's proportions. Basically a marine is about one and half times as broad as Shaq. I did this to match the Jes Goodwin diagram of the marine (when scaled to fit 7'6" rather than 7'). Obviously just making Shaq one and half times as broad without modifying the depth would make the marine a bit flat, so I also multiplied his depth by one and half to match. This gives quite a solid body mass but without being too crazy, in many ways it's similar to a 'stocky' build only larger.

To work out the weight of this marine I multiplied 350lbs (Shaq) by 1.5 for breadth to give 525lbs, and then multiplied 525lbs by 1.5 for depth to give 787.5 which I rounded up to 780lbs. This means a marine made of muscle and bone with a density similar to Shaq is 780lbs. This is quite massive for a human, as humans never actually have a body type, with these proportions, at this scale.

Looking at the marine he may look a bit bulky compared to many a comic book hero, as we are used to seeing a certain hero type of figure, it is easy to assume this type of marine he is slow. However, considering the cross section of bone and limb he is probably surprising quick (considering preconceptions) for such a mass. Combined with the extreme skeletal modifications they may also have increased strength due to better skeletal leverage (like a chimp or gorilla is very strong for their mass). These marine could pack quite a wallop - like charging Rhino!

At 780lbs, increased skeletal leverage and strength boosting power armour it is easy to see how a marine can lift a large adult male by the throat with one hand. It's easy to see how they can crush skulls, not because of hand waving, but through sheer power.

Space Marine Morphology


Musings on marine martial arts
30th Mar, 2008

Image if you will, a marine is in combat without weapons against a skilled unarmed opponent. The closest target area in relation to the arms is the opponent's guard. The Marine ignores the head an body and grabs the guard. In this case the opponent's arms (it could be a spear etc. or any hand weapon held in a guard that is outstretched to the front).

The marine grabs the opponent's arm (snatch, slightly circular punch with open hand), and while most skilled opponent shouldn't have any trouble getting out of a grab, this poor fellow finds the marine is too strong (plus the armoured gauntlets) and they can't twist out of it, the marine's thumb is not weak point in their grip, and the opponent is held fast. (a regular human can use the same tactic but they have to move in while their opponent is defeating their grab, as most human aren't strong enough to maintain an outstretched grab hold around the arm)

The marine crushes the arm in the grab, snapping bones and pulls the (out of range (head/ body)) opponent towards them for a finisher. The marine isn't chasing after their opponents, instead the marines snatch what comes close and drags their opponent to them.

In comparison to a striking style, and in single combat, this is no more difficult than punching at a guard (the most commonly known use I imagine is boxing). Swap the punch impact for an open hand grab. A quick snatch.

When the marine is facing  multiple combatants, the same thing applies; snatch and pull. The marine draws people to them to be destroyed. This also deals with over-commitment problem as the arm is much faster and quicker to recover than the whole body - a fast deadly opponent (Eldar/ Nid) is going to find it harder to catch the marine over-balanced. I think marines are very good at retaining their balance (for their size they know it would be a weakness) and rarely overreach or chase their opponents.

As to other techniques used to speed up the butchery, a marine could literally grab the arm, force the person down and knee them in the face or body (about the right (optimal) height considering the difference in size). A bit comical imagining them 'marching' through a crowd like this, but considering their armour it wouldn't be a problem. Using one arm means they can still hold their weapon.

This grab and pull would, as I mentioned earlier, defeat many conventional hand weapons; from two handed swords (with guards such of the plough or ox) and spears, to single handed weapons and shields. It is the marines grip that is deadly, and just like a medieval gauntlet they can grab a 'live' blade with their power gauntlets and not care. They can use one arm to deflect high one handed mace blows and the other to grab their shield and pull the bearer down (the Bolter is heavily armoured and could act as a shield of a sorts). Marines are hand grapple fighters, and this is how I imagine the Techno-Barbarians (makes me think of techno music and barbarians all freaking out at a rave!) of ancient Terra used to fight with their powered torsos - the forerunner of the Mark 1 'Thunder Armour' used by the first marines. A legacy I image would carry over to current marine close combat systems.

In general terms the snatch and grab means no second chances for the opponent to recover. I see marines as being all about the business and they wouldn't waste their strength advantage in combat. It also allows them to grab weapons and turn them on the bearer, in many ways the marines do not need to carry hand weapons into combat because the enemy will supply the levers (weapon) of their own destruction. A weapon is just a way for a marine to get to a person quicker (if the opponent is stupid enough to hang on). Kinda like combat fishing.

I think it is very interesting inventing combat arts for the marine. I believe it's a good idea to draw inspiration from many of the current arts, but not limited by them: think of the possibilities!

Marine Mind
21st Feb, 2008

I quite like the idea that the only reason marines are given, or allowed to retain, a mind that can think like a regular human is so they can beat them!

I imagine their ‘human’ side as a personality matrix, a sub-routine which is no more than an artificial implant. This implant is a mixture of Electrograft with neuropath reorganisation and restructuring, and patterning with psycho-indoctrination.

In the books and novels produced by BL, I image that the side you hear is this ‘implant’, not the actual mind of the marine. The personality matrix is a stand in, a charismatic ‘father figure’ generated by the implant’s control of facial features and body gesture. All orchestrated to engender a feeling authority and trust.

The marine’s mind in ‘reality’ is totally alien to a regular human and thinks in very strange ways (like Confucius on steroids). It is constantly working behind the mask, musing on strategy and simulations in conjunction with the machine spirit of the implant. While in communication with a human it’s mind is silent (apart from the personality matrix twittering on). The marine, even in conversation is not distracted, instead it is watching your every move, it (he) anticipates the sudden attack, it is constantly scanning it’s surroundings, it is using it suit’s enhanced sensor to scan, to check for concealed bombs. It is uploading imagines of those about it for logs and recognition matrices in the ether of the machine spirit, it is always watching, it never stops, it wants to kill you, and it will as soon as you give it an excuse.

To emphasize the point, a marine could be friendly and civil to you for 20 years, you could even consider the marine a friend, but if you were to say something heretical or say a word on its watch list you would be dead before you finished the sentence.

These marines have more in common with the terminator than a human, that’s why I refer to them as ‘it’ not ‘he’. There are no more than machines of flesh. All very Rogue Trader era in flavour.


Noise Marines
19th Feb, 2008

Noise Marine obviously use ‘sonic weapons’ so you probably think they require air (atmosphere) to propagate the sound wave right?

Wrong! Noise Marines use ‘soul scream’ technology, a bastardised version of Eldar technologies derived from ancient Slann devices, tweaked by the power of chaos and amped up with the raw energies of the warp!

Soul Scream technology uses border-space to propagate the ‘reality waves’, think of them a concussive wave form of power-field energy riding the ether. They are tuned to disrupt the link between a human and their warp image, to directly interfere with the psyker umbilical link to our dreams, to rend our very soul. Being overwhelmed by these waves can induce madness, and in so doing the link can become stronger and the person consumed with base desired and over emotion. Such a person who falls, become craven and demonic, adoring fans of the noise marines. They are know as the fallen, the groupie of the Noise Marines.

When a Noise Marine strums out stairway to heaven on their sonic guitars, the high notes shed your sanity with volume that should by all rights burst your eardrums, the middle notes distort your soul, and their bass plunking really hit home to the bone, and may even shatter and inflict injuries.

Many think they can resist the power of a Noise Marine, but burst eardrums will not save you, neither will armour or psyker powers. All who hear shall fall, and cavort and writhe to the music of the warp. Such is the art of the Noise Marines, first Adorations of Slaanesh, idolic champions of pain and pleasure.


The Dragons
6th Feb, 2008

I was checking my site traffic, which unfortunately is one of those many nerdy things I do on a disturbingly regular basis, and I have been continually surprised at the truly global nature of my readership. I was getting a lot of hits from Russia and China these last few months; it seems the Russian like my Bolter Page, and the Chinese are curious about my home brew chapter: The Dragons.

While everyone loves Bolters (what's not to like?), I am very pleased that the Dragons are getting around China, as they are based on Chinese Dragon mythos (and a bit of History). I wanted to include other cultures from around the world and it seems to have paid off in a small way. I immediately went off Googling to see what I could find, and I struck gold and found a few forum pages - translated them - and it seems pretty positive.

The Dragons are a bit of an experiment, as I wanted to showthe Alpha Legion's MO (a Chaos Legion) on the one hand and how they could usurp a loyalist chapter, but on the other I didn't want it to be certain that the Dragons really were Alpha Legion.

I like the idea that chaos is not always blatant, and by leaving it vague I hoped to provoke the emotion within us (our chaos), to let uncertainty flourish and allow the reader to jump to conclusions based on what they see. It is purposely debatable either way. Though I must say that I do like the idea that each 'Dragon House' is a head of a Hydra, I also like the idea that the Inquisition were up to no good (as they often are!). In truth, when writing it I image the Dragons to be loyal, and both chaos and/ or the inquisition are attempting to undermine them from both the chaos and law extremes, yet the Dragons enforce their autonomy and stand tall.


The Dragons