For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth.

He is the master of Mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day, so that he may never truly die. Yet in his deathless state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the Daemon-infested miasma of the warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomican, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor’s will. Vast armies give battle in his name on uncounted worlds. Greatest amongst his soldiers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered superwarriors. Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defence forces, the ever-vigilant Inquisition and the Tech-Priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, to name but a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from aliens, heretics, mutants—and worse. To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billons. It is to live in the cruellest and most bloody regime imaginable. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods. The Emperor’s Angels – The Adeptus Astartes. We are His Chosen, His Angels of Death, devout servants of the God-Emperor of Man, whose Genes flow to us, through the blood of His children, the Primarchs, from whom our own blood descends. Through His blessing, the Gene-seed, and through rigorous training, we have become His divine instruments in this world. Where the Imperial Guard is the shield, the Navy, His legs, and the Inquisition, his ears, we are His sword. “They shall be pure of heart and strong of body, untainted by doubt and unsullied by self-aggrandisement. They will be bright stars in a firmament of battle, Angels of Death whose shining wings bring swift annihilation to the enemies of Man. So shall it be for a thousand times a thousand years, unto the very end of eternity and the extinction of mortal flesh.” –Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines

Each of us has been granted weapons, and armor – The Blessed Wargear of our Chapters, whose names live within us, and upon our pauldrons. For some, our armor has lasted more centuries than we can know, and bear upon them countless scars of warfare. Some bear these scars as badges of honor; Others delight in their purity and flawlessness of form. Each has unto itself a Machine’s Spirit, against whom no Astartes would act, and with whom every Astartes must. Your weapons have been maintained for centuries by careful attention of the Chapter’s attendant servitors and savants, and have been blessed and consecrated time and time again, bearing upon them the marks and charms and honorbadges of a thousand campaigns. These mighty weapons only rarely are made new, each requiring a level of mastery and precision as rare to find as any ancient artifact of one’s Chapter. Every bolt is individually blessed and engraved with wards against the Xenos, their explosive force purging the heresy that is their very being. “They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give themselves to me. Like clay, I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them. They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed. They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them. They will have tactics, strategies, and machines such that no foe can best them in battle. They are my bulwark against the Terror. They are the Defenders of Humanity. They are my Space Marines, and they shall know no fear.” –Prelude, The Codex Astartes (Apocrypha of Skaros) Tactics and Proper Application of Force “Space Marines are men in the same way a knife is a piece of metal. Space Marines are forged, not born. They are the finest weapons of the Emperor’s will.” –Commissar Holt The Adeptus Astartes, despite – Or perhaps due to – their exceptional combat prowess, are not treated like the simple cudgels which the Imperial Guard and Planetary Defense Forces embody, instead taking on the form of the scalpel. Striking with precision, rather than overwhelming force, at a specific point calculated to do the most good for the Imperium of Man. Sometimes, this could be a task as straightforward as clearing a Space Hulk, or it could be as specific as striking into the heart of an enemy force, to eliminate a man, or a handful of men, which are important to the enemy force. Sometimes, their purpose is less for the common good, and more a matter of personal honor – The retrieval of relics or artifacts important to their Chapter’s legacy, or to repay a sleight visited upon them far in the past. In exchange for the reverence with which they are treated, the Adeptus Astartes are also expected a certain degree of discretion with their actions. Though they are often, by dint of their veterancy and specific purpose, granted influence over a vast force, they are expected to only make use of those assets which are deemed most necessary to their immediate objectives.

The primary use of a squad of Battle Brothers is sudden strikes, in and out, with objectives being achieved in a flurry of explosive bolts and flashing blades, with the squad leaving immediately afterward, to service some other emergency. In some, exceptionally rare cases, they are expected, instead, to act in a front-line capacity, holding the line alongside more expendable and numerous assets against a particularly powerful foe, such as Tyranids, Orks, or the Ruinous Powers. Service to the Ordo Xenos Chambers Militant – The Deathwatch Serving the Deathwatch, you will face untold enemies. Some you have already met in battle and defeated many times over. The barbarous Ork, the perfidious Eldar, and the ravening Tyranids all await you, in greater numbers than ever before. Other vile xenos must also be faced, creatures not yet named in the annals of the Imperium. You must take the battle for survival into the unknown regions of space and root out the vile taint of the alien, before it can spread and infect the entire galaxy. Other enemies wait too, for truly, the foes of Mankind never tire. The servants of the Ruinous Powers plot the downfall of the Imperium, and you must face perhaps the most terrible of enemies—the Traitor Legions, your own kin who turned against the Emperor at the very dawn of the Age of Imperium. To enter the Deathwatch is to take the most binding of oaths. Of what you see, what you kill, you may never tell,except to those who you fight alongside. Your victories will go unheralded, your deeds unknown, and your name unrecorded save in the sealed archives of the mysterious Ordo Xenos. But the Deathwatch crave not glory; they desire only to serve, and to keep the darkness that hungers for the soul of Man at bay, to cast it into the night, never to return. You are Deathwatch. You are the right hand of the Emperor, and none may stand before you. Upon assuming the black and silver of the Deathwatch, you briefly set aside your ties to your Chapter, instead taking up the versatile uniformity of the Deathwatch, willingly mingling your own strengths and weaknesses with those of your new Battle Brothers, all of them, like you, veteran warriors from their Chapters, and all of them greatly experienced upon the varied and numberless battlefields among the stars. You will learn the peculiarities of the other Chapters you serve alongside, and come to appreciate, through your experience amongst them, the vast array of strengths and eccentricies which comprise the Adeptus Astartes. Long service amongst the Deathwatch will often result in greater honors following, upon return to one’s Chapter, as your vastly expanded base of experiences and knowledges sets you apart from the greater masses of the Astartes. Despite this, however, no man, even the Astartes, can relinquish that which is his life’s own blood. You are not expected to cease being a bearer of your Chapter’s Gene-seed, but instead to step away from the ingrained predispositions of your training, and learn new approaches to tactical and strategic situations, as well as a greater appreciation of the Imperium as a whole.

Specialties – The Form Of Our Service Scouts: Through the length and breadth of your training as an Astartes, you have taken on most of the paths available to you; However, within every Chapter, whether or not it follows the blessed Codex, you begin your service, as an initiate, amongst the Scouts. Scouts are trained to use a variety of weapons, and understand the time and place in which to use them. You are trained in demolitions, stealth, secret operations, infiltration, basic combat, and the hand-ciphers individual to each chapter for silent communication. After your time served amongst these lowly ranks, you are raised to become a full Battle-Brother of an Adeptus Astartes Chapter. Tactical: A Tactical marine is the mainstay of a Codex-compliant Chapter, comprising the greatest percentage of its’ fighting Battle Brothers. Versatile, with the ability to specialize for various situations without losing general effectiveness, the Tactical Marine is the iron spine of combat operations, offering the greatest tactical flexibility, combined with general strength, to form a robust and adaptive core to any squad. Devastator: Devastator Marines are those who specialize in Heavy Weapons, lumbering into battle carrying the most powerful and destructive weapons available to a standard squad. Heavy Bolters, Flamers, Lascannons, and Missile launchers are amongst the most basic of their destructive potential, capable of servicing a wide variety of specific circumstances, and causing more total destruction than any other type of Marine. Despite this, however, their heavier weapons are also a drawback – Most require the Astartes to remain still, for optimum accuracy, and often draw the most attention; The biggest guns are usually the first to be silenced. Their presence in a well-balanced Codex-compliant squad, however, allows the squad an additional element of tactical flexibility, with the Devastator capable of handling larger and more heavily armored opponents, allowing his Battle Brothers to focus on the more numerous, weaker forces of their enemy. Assault: Assault Marines are the Emperor’s striking Angels of Death, ascending on plumes of Righteous flame, to fall into the heart of the enemy ranks, laying waste all about them with skill and expertise, and consecrated chain and power weapons. Assault marines are also especially trained in Demolitions, allowing them to utilize their great maneuverability to close with enemy fortified positions, and plant melta bombs and other explosive devices, to rapidly disable and destroy emplacements and vehicles. Also amongst the specialties a Battle Brother may take, are those most are less familiar with, as they are not included in the general rotation of training and familiarization. Librarians: A few of our Battle Brothers have been gifted with the powers of the Psyker, allowing them to safely manipulate the Warp in His service, and use its’ powers to blast away those creatures and foes who are born or tainted of it. Despite their communion with the Immaterium, they remain our brothers, wielding their potent psykic force as a versatile tool in service of the Imperium, smiting their foes, and providing useful support against the many and varied tools of the Enemy.

Techmarines: Techmarines are those of our brothers who have been gifted with the knowledge of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and who put their prodigious technical aptitude to use along the front lines, repairing and maintaining weapons, armor, and vehicles in service of the Chapter. Despite this training, they are still Astartes first and foremost, and their knowledge of the Mechanicus Cult’s teachings does not detract from their faith and strength in the Emperor’s service. Apothecaries: The Apothecarium trains medically-gifted Astartes in the proper use of such items as the Narthecium and Reductor, and a greater appreciation of the internal structure and processes of an Astartes’ many and varied implants and alterations, as well as the basic human structure underlying. In addition to this, they are gifted with knowledge of the bodies and processes of many Xenos, allowing them to create field-tailored toxins which grant a vast degree of advantage against the soldiers of the enemy, upon the battlefield. Their holiest duty, however, is the recovery of the Gene-seed from fallen Battle-Brothers, returning this most precious resource to the fallen Brother’s Chapter Apothecarium, where it may be used in the ascension of new Battle Brothers to take the place of the fallen, and to keep these gene-seed from the Archenemy, who would twist and corrupt its’ most noble purpose into a tool of Chaos and Destruction.
This primer published by Adrien Solvire, Scribe Secundus, Archivist, Ultramarines Chapter, 42,206

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