Alien Species
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"They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me. Like clay I shall mould them and in the furnace of war forge them. They shall be of iron will and steel sinew. In great armour I shall clad them and with the mightiest weapons they will be armed. They will be untouched by plague or disease; no sickness shall blight them. They shall have such tactics, strategies and machines 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."
―The Emperor of Mankind
Ultramarines Artificer Armour2

A Space Marine of the Ultramarines chapter, with power armour and boltgun.

The Adeptus Astartes (commonly known as Space Marines or colloquially as the Angels of Death) are bioengineered super soldiers derived from humanity. They are one of the most elite and feared fighting forces in the Imperium of Man.


Thunder Warriors and the Great Crusade[]

The original Space Marines were known as the Thunder Warriors, human soldiers genetically augmented by the Emperor of Mankind to serve as his most elite warriors during the unification of Earth, or Terra as it would become known during this time. After the birth of the Emperor's sons, the Primarchs, within the cloning facilities of Mt Everest, the next generation of Thunder Warriors were augmented by their "gene-seed" rather than that of the Emperor, and renamed Space Marines in preparation for the Great Crusade, the Emperor's campaign to reunite the human colonies across the galaxy. However, the Primarchs, in their infancy, were abducted by the Chaos Gods and scattered throughout the galaxy. By the time they were found and reunited with the Imperium, they had grown to adulthood and become the rulers or high ranking members of the societies of the planets they were raised on. Upon returning to the Imperium, the Primarchs assumed command of each Space Marine legion bearing their respective gene-seeds, which in turn adopted aspects of the culture their Primarchs grew up in.

Horus Heresy[]

The Imperium of Man eventually became divided as a result of a civil war known as the Horus Heresy. This war started as a result of Horus Lubricae, Primarch of the Sons of Horus legion and the most trusted of the Emperor's sons, became corrupted by the influence of the Chaos Gods and spread this corruption to his fellow Primarchs, turning their Space Marine legions against the Imperium. This war, accumulating countless deaths throughout the galaxy, ended with the Chaos invasion of Terra, defended by the remaining Space Marine Legions who remained loyal to the Emperor. Although the Imperium emerged victorious with the death of Horus, the Emperor was fatally wounded and permanently confined to the golden throne, a life support system powered by the daily sacrifice of 1000 human psykers. In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarine legion, proposed the codex astartes, guidelines on the tactical operations of the Space Marines and the decree to divide all loyalist legions into smaller chapters, something which Guilliman hoped would prevent another civil war on the scale of the Horus Heresy from happening. As of the Horus Heresy, all of the Primarchs who remained loyal to the Emperor had either died, become incapacitated or simply gone missing, while the traitor Space Marine legions were driven into the eye of terror, a rift between the universe and the warp, and became the Chaos Space Marines.

Primaris Space Marines[]

Near the end of the 41st millennium, Roboute Guilliman recovered from his incapacitation, thanks to the aid of Ynnari faction of Eldar, and unleashed the Primaris Space Marines, a new generation of Space Marines augmented further than the previous generation. These new Astartes have been assigned to reinforce the various chapters throughout the galaxy and were met with mixed reactions from their battle-brothers, with some chapters welcoming them with open arms, wariness or even a disgusted refusal to accept them into their ranks. Additionally, older Astartes can in fact volunteer to undergo a procedure to be upgraded into Primaris Marines. However, this procedure has been confirmed to be deadly to some, as only 60% of Astartes survive this process.


  1. Dark Angels - Legion of Lion El'jonson. Formerly known as Angels of Death. Based on the Rock, a fragment of the broken planet Caliban. Identified by dark green armour. Specialised in the use of plasma weaponry.
  2. Unknown - All records of this legion and Primarch have been lost.
  3. Emperor's Children - Legion of Fulgrim. Corrupted by Chaos and now devoted to Slaanesh. Based in the Eye of Terror. Identified by black and pink armour. Specialised in demoralisation and the use of sonic weaponry.
  4. Iron Warriors - Legion of Perturabo. Corrupted by Chaos. Based on Medrengard. Identified by silver and gold armour. Specialised in siege warfare.
  5. White Scars - Legion of Jaghatai Khan. Formerly known as Star Hunters. Based on Chogoris. Identified by white armour. Specialised in fast attack.
  6. Space Wolves - Legion of Leman Russ. Formerly known as the Rout. Based on Fenris. Identifed by grey armour with tribal markings and occasional Wolf pelts. Specialised in CQC.
  7. Imperial Fists - Legion of Rogal Dorn. Based on Terra (Earth). Identified by yellow armour. Specialised in siege warfare and defence.
  8. Night Lords - Legion of Konrad Curze. Corrupted by Chaos. No centralised command or homeworld. Identified by dark blue armour with death-themed iconography. Specialised in infiltration and psychological warfare.
  9. Blood Angels - Legion of Sanguinius. Based on Baal. Identified by blood-red armour (blue helmets for Devastators, yellow helmets for Assault). Specialised in assault and deep-striking.
  10. Iron Hands - Legion of Ferrus Manus. Formerly known as Storm Walkers. Based on Medusa. Identified by black and silver armour. Specialised in bionic augmentation.
  11. Unknown - All records of this legion and Primarch have been lost.
  12. World Eaters - Legion of Angron. Formerly known as War Hounds. Corrupted by Chaos and now devoted to Khorne. No centralised command or homeworld. Identified by red and brass armour. Specialised as berzerkers.
  13. Ultramarines - Legion of Roboute Guilliman. Formerly known as War-born. Based on Maccrage. Identified by blue armour with white and gold embellishments. Specialised as jacks-of-all-trades under strict adherence to the Codex Astartes.
  14. Death Guard - Legion of Mortarion. Formerly known as Dusk Raiders. Corrupted by Chaos and now devoted to Nurgle. Based on the Plague Planet. Identified by green, rusted armour. Specialised in chemical weaponry and biological warfare.
  15. Thousand Sons - Legion of Magnus. Corrupted by Chaos and now devoted to Tzeentch. Based on Sortiarius. Identified by blue and gold armour with arcane embellishments. Specialised as sorcerers.
  16. Sons of Horus - Legion of Horus Lupercal. Formerly known as Luna Wolves. Corrupted by Chaos. No centralised command or homeworld. Identified by lime-green and black armour. Specialised in tactical flexibility and elimination of enemy leadership. Dissolved after Horus Heresy and reorganised as the Black Legion.
  17. Word Bearers - Legion of Lorgar Aurelian. Formerly known as Imperial Heralds. Corrupted by Chaos. Based on Sicarus. Identified by crimson armour with dark-grey trim and daemonic iconography. Specialised in summoning and manipulation of Daemons.
  18. Salamanders - Legion of Vulkan. Formerly known as Dragon Warriors. Based on Nocturne. Identified by green and black armour. Specialised in incendiary weaponry.
  19. Raven Guard - Legion of Corvus Corax. Based on Deliverance. Identified by black and white armour. Specialised in infiltration and guerilla warfare.
  20. Alpha Legion - Legion of Alpharius and Omegon. Formerly known as Ghost Legion. Corrupted by Chaos. Unknown homeworld or central command. Identified by blue and silver armour with green highlights. Specialised as covert cells independent from each other.



The most common class of Space Marine, tactical marines are typically equipped with boltguns, although they may be equipped with flamers, meltas, rocket launchers or plasma guns.


Space Marines specialising in close quarters combat, assault marines are typically equipped with jump packs for mobility and armed with chainswords and bolt pistols.


Space Marines specialised in the use of heavy weapons, devastator marines are typically armed with heavy bolters, which may be exchanged for a lascannon, plasma cannon or multi-melta.


The class typically assigned to new space marines, scout marines are equipped with light armour and bolters, shotguns or sniper rifles. Scouts are usually reserved for reconnaissance and are not given their complete augmentations or power armour until they have proven themselves to their chapter.


Space Marines who serve as medics for the chapter. In addition to providing medical services to their battle-brothers, Apothecaries are also charged with recovering the gene-seed of dead Astartes, allowing it to be used in the creation of new Space Marines. Apothecaries usually stand out within the chapter's ranks thanks to their universally white armour, regardless of the chapter's colour scheme.


Space Marines who serve as engineers, Techmarines are equipped with servo-arms similar to those of Mechanicus Tech-priests and are charged with the production and maintenance of the chapter's wargear and other mechanical assets. As Techmarines receive their training from the Mechanicus on Mars, they also tend to share the Mechanicus' religious reverence of the Omnissiah and machine-spirits.


Space Marines who serve as priests within the chapter. Chaplains function as officers who monitor their battle-brothers and maintain their faith in the Emperor, performing religious services outside the battlefield or purging heresy from within their ranks.


Space Marines may only be equipped with terminator power armour if they have proven themselves to be the greatest soldiers in their chapter. Benefitting from a major increase in durability over standard, Space marine terminators may be equipped with storm bolters, power fists, assault cannons, heavy flamers, chain fists or thunder hammers. Terminators may also be equipped with helix missile launchers.


Considered something of an alternative to the Terminator, the Centurion is effectively a Space Marine adorned in a second suit of power armour over their standard one. Centurions typically equip a pair of heavy weapons in each hand and are often employed for enemy suppression and siege warfare.


In the event a Space Marine is wounded beyond the Apothecaries' ability to heal, they may either be euthanised (a process often referred to as 'granting the Emperor's peace), or permanently sealed within a coffin-like life-support module. This module is then contained within a heavily armed and armoured walker known as a Dreadnought. Dreadnoughts carry the heaviest of the chapter's armaments and can withstand staggering amounts of damage from enemy fire. Most of the oldest and most legendary of Astartes tend to be Dreadnoughts, and so are often looked up to as mentors and advisors for younger Astartes and leaders respectively.


Under the tenets of the Codex Astartes, a standard Astartes chapter is made up of ten companies. Each company is commanded by a Captain, who tend to be the greatest warriors of the chapter, and so are equipped with the best wargear. Captains often have centuries of service behind them and are often considered the greatest war heroes of the Imperium.

Chapter Master[]

Each chapter of the Adeptus Astartes is led by a Chapter Master. Possessing complete authority over the entire chapter, a Chapter Master will often be considered the single greatest warrior and leader in the chapter. As such, they rarely lead directly outside of the most critical of battles and are fiercely protected by their retinue of Honour Guard, handpicked from the chapter's finest warriors.