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post #21 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-02-12, 12:05 AM
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According to the Night Lords series Abaddon commands forces much larger than Horus ever did.
Talos mentions that the Black Legion itself has withered to the point where it has to rely on daemons and other forces to supplement its forces in the NL trilogy.
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post #22 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-02-12, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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If the Tyranids got close to Astronomican it would be just like when the Doom of Malan'Tai got into the craftworlds infinity circuit. The Tyranids would arguably become much more potent psykers if they could reach the Astronomican.

And if the Tyranids would become a legitimate threat to Terra, there is no doubt in my mind that all space marine and imperial guard fleets would be called back for the defense of Terra well in advance. Hell, even the Eldar would produce a lot of resources for our defense, because they would know for sure that if humanity fell, it would not be long before they did.

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post #23 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-02-12, 08:42 AM
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I would assume that's a number inflated from all the human renegades and traitors; the traitor garudsmen, mutants, cultists and such. I can't imagine that there are more Chaos Space Marines now than there were in 30k. They just don't have the resources or infrastructure or organisation to have rebuilt to such a size. There have been traitor chapters since it's true, but that's described as an extremely rare occasion.
Well, if we also use the Word Bearers series which claims that the Black Legion outnumbers the Word Bearers as much as 10:1, as well as more mainstream lore such as Codex: Chaos Space Marines, which states that "with every assault Abaddon leads, the strength of his Black Legion grows", it is not unreasonable to assume that the Black Legion (as a coalition of warbands) far outstrips the Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus Legion at its peak.

Although it is unclear exactly what the claim from Soul Hunter, that Abaddon commands far more than Horus ever did, truly means. Whether it is referring to the size of Horus's Legion compared to Abaddon's, or the entire armies Horus commanded as Warmaster during the Heresy compared to Abaddon's hordes of Lost & the Damned is unknown. But I would argue that the Black Legion at the very least rivals the strength possessed by the XIII Legion at its peak.

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Talos mentions that the Black Legion itself has withered to the point where it has to rely on daemons and other forces to supplement its forces in the NL trilogy.
I can't fully remember the context of that claim, but take into account that Talos is bitter about the use of Chaos and daemons, viewing the Black Legion as weak for collaborating with Chaos. Perhaps it was a misguided claim as a result.

In fact, it seems to be assured that Talos was misguided in claiming that the Black Legion had withered, seeing as though all other established lore claims that the Black Legion has only grown in strength and numbers since Abaddon's rise as Warmaster.



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post #24 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-02-12, 06:29 PM
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Well, if we also use the Word Bearers series which claims that the Black Legion outnumbers the Word Bearers as much as 10:1, as well as more mainstream lore such as Codex: Chaos Space Marines, which states that "with every assault Abaddon leads, the strength of his Black Legion grows", it is not unreasonable to assume that the Black Legion (as a coalition of warbands) far outstrips the Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus Legion at its peak.
I don't think the BL could outnumber the WBs 10:1 in Astartes. That would be insane.

The WB's forces are made up of "hosts". We know that a host is anywhere between 1000 and 3000 men. From page 543 of the WB omnibus:

"From the number of ships we are reading, I would hazard that there are around five or six Word Bearers Hosts bearing down on Boros..."

"If that is true, we may be facing anywhere between five and fifteen thousand Word Brother zealots."

I would assume the average number per a host is 2000.

We know that 45 hosts exist as an absolute minimum. From Dark Creed:

"More than twenty hosts have joined the Brotherhood. Dozens more will join before Erebus has any idea of the danger he is in."

That's assuming "dozens" means exactly 2 dozen and "more than twenty" meaning 21. And apparently that's not the whole of the WBs either, since that's only as many would have been swayed before Erebus would have discovered the plot against him.

So the extreme low estimate would be 45,000 WBs in existence (45 hosts at 1000 Space Marines each). This assumes that every other host, including Erebus's, would be swayed before he realized it, not likely given Erebus's flair for intrigue. And that by "2 dozen" it would strictly mean only 24 more hosts would join them. And the absolute minimum for the host size would, in fact, be the average size.

A middling estimate would say around 105,000 WBs (say 50 hosts in the Brotherhood, 20 not part of the Brotherhood and each Host made up of 1500 men).

A high end estimate would be around 220,000 WBs. Around 80 hosts in the Brotherhood, 30 not in it. 2000 space Marines per a Host. (Note "dozens" means 5 in this case.)

To outnumber the WBs in terms of Astartes 10:1 would probably mean the BL has 400,000 to a million Space Marines. Though a couple million would not be entirely out of the question.

That might fit with the idea that Abby has more Space Marines than Horus ever did, but it doesn't quite fit in the lore. With a million Space Marines he could steam roll through the Imperium. All the Black Crusades would be the barest skirmishes compared to the forces he could bring to bear.

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I can't fully remember the context of that claim, but take into account that Talos is bitter about the use of Chaos and daemons, viewing the Black Legion as weak for collaborating with Chaos. Perhaps it was a misguided claim as a result.

In fact, it seems to be assured that Talos was misguided in claiming that the Black Legion had withered, seeing as though all other established lore claims that the Black Legion has only grown in strength and numbers since Abaddon's rise as Warmaster.
I don't think it was a bitter claim. Abaddon was argued into a corner. It's on page 168 of the paperback.

"After centuries of defeat, after failed Black Crusades, after infighting and war has bled your Legion dry, and draped you in ognominy among the other Legions? Is it not true that your men are slaved to daemons to make up for the great losses you have sustained since the death of your primarch? You leech strength from other sources, because your own Legion's might is almost gone."

Silence answered this proclamation.

Abaddon might have laughed. It would have been the act of a great leader to laugh, to humour a lesser warrior, to bring him around to his own way of thinking through persuasion and empathy--even were it all false. But Abaddon was not such a leader. He was shrewd enough, at least, to guess Talos would never be fooled."

I reconcile the difference between Abaddon controlling more than Horus ever did and Talos's statement by saying that, yes, Abaddon's forces are greater, but not in terms of Astartes. Abaddon may have more renegades serve under him, more cultists, more traitor Guard, and other forces (like daemons). As a whole these forces eclipse what Horus had. I would like to think, Space Marine to Space Marine, that Horus had more.

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post #25 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-02-12, 07:29 PM
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The only true force that could take it down, would be a massive congragation of Chaos Dwarfs....you guys DONT EVEN KNOW what they have been up to. Just don't even know.

Oh and to Hailene, i agree my friend(On Horus originally having more ACTUAL Astartes) and thanks for those numbers there on the Word Bearers, that actually helps my understand just how large their force really is.

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post #26 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-03-12, 10:31 AM
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I don't think the BL could outnumber the WBs 10:1 in Astartes. That would be insane.

The WB's forces are made up of "hosts". We know that a host is anywhere between 1000 and 3000 men. From page 543 of the WB omnibus:

"From the number of ships we are reading, I would hazard that there are around five or six Word Bearers Hosts bearing down on Boros..."

"If that is true, we may be facing anywhere between five and fifteen thousand Word Brother zealots."

I would assume the average number per a host is 2000.

We know that 45 hosts exist as an absolute minimum. From Dark Creed:

"More than twenty hosts have joined the Brotherhood. Dozens more will join before Erebus has any idea of the danger he is in."

That's assuming "dozens" means exactly 2 dozen and "more than twenty" meaning 21. And apparently that's not the whole of the WBs either, since that's only as many would have been swayed before Erebus would have discovered the plot against him.

So the extreme low estimate would be 45,000 WBs in existence (45 hosts at 1000 Space Marines each). This assumes that every other host, including Erebus's, would be swayed before he realized it, not likely given Erebus's flair for intrigue. And that by "2 dozen" it would strictly mean only 24 more hosts would join them. And the absolute minimum for the host size would, in fact, be the average size.

A middling estimate would say around 105,000 WBs (say 50 hosts in the Brotherhood, 20 not part of the Brotherhood and each Host made up of 1500 men).

A high end estimate would be around 220,000 WBs. Around 80 hosts in the Brotherhood, 30 not in it. 2000 space Marines per a Host. (Note "dozens" means 5 in this case.)

To outnumber the WBs in terms of Astartes 10:1 would probably mean the BL has 400,000 to a million Space Marines. Though a couple million would not be entirely out of the question.
The issue I would have is not with the claim that the Black Legion outnumbers the Word Bearers 10:1, but with the numbers presented in terms of the Word Bearers. At their peak immediately pre-Calth the Word Bearers numbered around the 150,000 mark (having been 100,000 at the fall of Monarchia), to claim that they now number more than that is ludicrous. After Calth, the Siege of Terra, the Scouring, Lorgar's self-imposed exile and the internal power struggles which ensued, as well as being particually anal about their recruitment process, I can't see how their numbers would have increased at all.

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That might fit with the idea that Abby has more Space Marines than Horus ever did, but it doesn't quite fit in the lore. With a million Space Marines he could steam roll through the Imperium. All the Black Crusades would be the barest skirmishes compared to the forces he could bring to bear.
The Black Legion encompasses the majority of all Chaos Space Marines, or at least the majority of all Chaos Space Marines owe some measure of allegiance to Abaddon. They may be a coalition based on the leadership of the old Sons of Horus Legion, but they are not just the XVI Legion with a new paint job. Codex: Chaos Space Marines describes the Black Legion as a "loose coalition built upon the remnants of the Sons of Horus Legion", essentially an amalgamation of warbands led by individual lords who all owe ultimate allegiance to the Despoiler.

To quote our own Phoebus:
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As to how they compare to the other Legions in terms of size? The World Eaters, the Emperor's Children, and, to a lesser extent, the Death Guard, are a mess. Their recruiting practices can't be as effective as those of a focused, disciplined Legion. The Thousand Sons are no rabble, but they go after the ultimate minority - psykers - and thus will always be tiny.

That leaves us with the Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Night Lords, and Word Bearers. The Word Bearers, if you remember, were the second biggest Legion... but as far as their post-Heresy manpower is concerned, they have two big strikes. First, they took on the Ultramarines in a huge battle - that had to cost them some. Second, they killed all of their Terran Astartes. That had to involve tens of thousands of losses. Figure in the Siege of Terra, the Scouring, the inevitable infighting shown in the WB trilogy, etc., and when an author says the Black Legion is ten times bigger... he might be aiming closer to 200,000-300,000 than 500,000. And that's assuming it's not a rounded-off number (tenfold being easier on the tongue and mind than, say, ninefold or eightfold).

The Iron Warriors are shown to fight each other. A lot. Like, to the point of really, really hurting their cause. In "Dead Sky, Black Sun" Honsou is driven to use Astartes creation techniques that basically boil down to just pumping out cloned fodder that may not even have any real upbringing or tradition within the Legion. In one pointless, rivalry-driven siege, the better part of, what, three different Grand Companies (?), are ground down and slain.

The Night Lords' problems are documented. The Alpha Legion remains, as in all things, a mystery.

All in all, the Black Legion's size seems justified to me.

Cheers,
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I don't think it was a bitter claim. Abaddon was argued into a corner. It's on page 168 of the paperback.

"...Is it not true that your men are slaved to daemons to make up for the great losses you have sustained since the death of your primarch? You leech strength from other sources, because your own Legion's might is almost gone."

Silence answered this proclamation.

Abaddon might have laughed. It would have been the act of a great leader to laugh, to humour a lesser warrior, to bring him around to his own way of thinking through persuasion and empathy--even were it all false. But Abaddon was not such a leader. He was shrewd enough, at least, to guess Talos would never be fooled."
The Black Legion's IA article states several times that warriors under the Despoiler's banner actively seek out daemonic possession as a sign of favour from the gods, no where does it claim that they regularly seek such things to cover their own losses. As I said earlier, every source on the Black Legion (apparently apart from Talos' claims in Soul Hunter) state that they have only grown in power since Abaddon claimed the title of Warmaster. They have gone from possessing a single battle-barge (during the inter-legionary wars of the Eye) to having "champions of many Legions and gods [vying] to fight for Abaddon in the colours of the Black Legion", and to leading conflicts the scope of the 13th Black Crusade which saw the largest mobilisation of Imperial forces since the Heresy itself.

Talos may take a negative view on their methods of collaborating with daemons, but I don't see how it can be denied that the Black Legion have swelled to incredibly vast proportions, even by ancient Legion standards.

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I reconcile the difference between Abaddon controlling more than Horus ever did and Talos's statement by saying that, yes, Abaddon's forces are greater, but not in terms of Astartes. Abaddon may have more renegades serve under him, more cultists, more traitor Guard, and other forces (like daemons). As a whole these forces eclipse what Horus had. I would like to think, Space Marine to Space Marine, that Horus had more.
Going off averages, Horus directly commanded 100,000 Astartes during the crusade-era. Based on the lore, I would say with certainty that the Black Legion (being a coalition of warbands) exceeds that number.



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post #27 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-03-12, 12:54 PM
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Yes he does exceed that number having a very large grouping of Warbands who will fly to his banner at the drop of a hat. There is almost no argument that could possibly allow Horus to have commanded a larger amount of Astartes. The difference is Horus controlled his 100,000 directly. Where as Abaddon has certain 'allies' that would jump ship as soon as they realized they were personally in danger. Take The Night Lords. Talos and company went to assist him, then booked out when they realized the Blood Angels would throw a wrench in things. Horus had a better ability to make those under him ACTUALLY obey to the death.
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Yes he does exceed that number having a very large grouping of Warbands who will fly to his banner at the drop of a hat. There is almost no argument that could possibly allow Horus to have commanded a larger amount of Astartes. The difference is Horus controlled his 100,000 directly.
Does it matter whether he controls them directly or not? After all they still flock to his banner, and he is capable of patching together armies the scale of which was seen during the 13th Black Crusade.

The Black Legion is not one of the Legions of old, it is a coalition of warbands based upon the leadership of the remnants of the Sons of Horus. Those Astartes that fight in the colours of the Black Legion and who owe ultimate allegience to Abaddon, I argue, outnumber the 100,000 that Horus' Legion consisted of. The armies he leads in his Black Crusades are not just the Black Legion though, but forces forged from all of the traitor Legions.

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Where as Abaddon has certain 'allies' that would jump ship as soon as they realized they were personally in danger. Take The Night Lords. Talos and company went to assist him, then booked out when they realized the Blood Angels would throw a wrench in things.
Im not claiming that Chaos Space Marines are dutiful or honourable, as the Legions of old were.

In regards to Talos and the Warband of the Exalted, whilst they have aided Abaddon, they were just as likely to fight against him as they were for him. But considering they were Night Lords, and not of the Black Legion, I don't think that example is much relevant.

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Horus had a better ability to make those under him ACTUALLY obey to the death.
Not really.

Abaddon had to stake his claim to command the remnants of his own Legion, and then slowly gain the grudging respect, and eventually, the support of the other Legions. Horus was due the support, even direct command, of the other Legions because of his position as Warmaster and instigator of the rebellion. That, and during the Heresy the structures of command still prevailed in the Legions; the Primarchs still reigned.



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post #29 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-03-12, 03:39 PM
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That does make sense. I'm just thinking as Night Lords were the only example off the top of my head. I am not sure if there was an original legion under Horus. After they had sided with him, who would run off at the battle for Terra before he died. I think they would fear him entirely too much to stop their assault.

Where as yes Abaddon causes that same 'crap The Black Legion won't be happy with us' feeling...we have The Red Corsairs and other Renegade War Bands who simply could give a crap. During the time of Horus, not many would risk the wrath.

Though it is a sort of unrealistic comparison, since Horus was undisputed as Warmaster by the seige of Terra, and Abaddon has always had to deal with convincing others. Like you basically said (sorry no direct quote). Abaddon wasn't just named WarMaster, he had to work his ancient a** off to do so. I mean it's not as if The Word Bearers believed he should lead them. (some still don't)
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post #30 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-03-12, 05:57 PM
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The issue I would have is not with the claim that the Black Legion outnumbers the Word Bearers 10:1, but with the numbers presented in terms of the Word Bearers. At their peak immediately pre-Calth the Word Bearers numbered around the 150,000 mark (having been 100,000 at the fall of Monarchia), to claim that they now number more than that is ludicrous. After Calth, the Siege of Terra, the Scouring, Lorgar's self-imposed exile and the internal power struggles which ensued, as well as being particually anal about their recruitment process, I can't see how their numbers would have increased at all.
A couple of points I would like to make.

My "low end" and "middling" estimate puts the WBs at significantly less than their peak GC strength of 150,000. The high end number is there only to give you an idea what they COULD have given the lore.

Even if it weren't so, what stops them from exceeding their original strength? Later on in your post you mention the BL exceeding their numbers, why not the WBs? After all, they've had 10,000 years (give or take the vagaries of the warp) to rebuild their numbers.

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The Black Legion encompasses the majority of all Chaos Space Marines, or at least the majority of all Chaos Space Marines owe some measure of allegiance to Abaddon. .
Could you cite the source that the majority of CSM follow Abaddon? Not just during the Black Crusades (where he has to scheme, bribe, or otherwise maneuver warbands to his cause) but nominally command them?

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First, they took on the Ultramarines in a huge battle - that had to cost them some. Second, they killed all of their Terran Astartes. That had to involve tens of thousands of losses. Figure in the Siege of Terra, the Scouring, the inevitable infighting shown in the WB trilogy, etc., and when an author says the Black Legion is ten times bigger... he might be aiming closer to 200,000-300,000 than 500,000. And that's assuming it's not a rounded-off number (tenfold being easier on the tongue and mind than, say, ninefold or eightfold).
P.
The WBs numbered 50,000 at the battle of Calth. Even then, I do not believe they fought to annihilation.

The number of Terran Space Marines was probably low. The onset of the GC each Legion probably had around 10,000 Space Marines. I have no idea if Terra continued supplying Space Marines until the Primarch was found, but I imagine that the total number of Terrans in the WBs during their purgings not to be more than 10,000. Not when you consider 200 years of attrition.

After all, we see Long Fang in Prospero Burns. He's one of the rare few Terrans left in his Legion.

With their penchant for Chaos worship, I would imagine the WBs fled to the eye as soon as things started heading south. I would imagine they would have remained relatively unscathed during the Scouring. I'd probably pitch their numbers around 50-80,000 men, post Scouring.

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The Black Legion's IA article states several times that warriors under the Despoiler's banner actively seek out daemonic possession as a sign of favour from the gods, no where does it claim that they regularly seek such things to cover their own losses. As I said earlier, every source on the Black Legion (apparently apart from Talos' claims in Soul Hunter) state that they have only grown in power since Abaddon claimed the title of Warmaster. They have gone from possessing a single battle-barge (during the inter-legionary wars of the Eye) to having "champions of many Legions and gods [vying] to fight for Abaddon in the colours of the Black Legion", and to leading conflicts the scope of the 13th Black Crusade which saw the largest mobilisation of Imperial forces since the Heresy itself.
And in no way does Talos contradict that the Black Legion has swelled in strength. Their strength just lies outside their Space Marine numbers.

I see no contradiction in the canon. Both ideas can be melded into a single, coherent picture.

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