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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mostly I'm curious at this stage as to whether there is a real difference, or whether these two are just different terms for the same thing.

Not referring to Patriarch Ghosar, as that is a title referring to a specific individual, I'm referring to the term genestealer patriarch in general. The 2e tyranid codex refers to Genestealer Patriarchs. The 3e codex fails to mention them at all. Then the 4e, 5e and 6e codexes all refer to them as broodlords but little specific fluff is actually given on genestealer cults in these sources. So I don't know if Broodlord and Patriarch refer to the same thing, or if there is subtle difference between them.

I do know that when broodlords appeared in the 4e codex, they were restricted to one per army. That made sense, as there was only ever supposed to be one per planet.

However the two codexes since then allow you to field a broodlord as a squad character with any unit of genestealers. Suddenly their uniqueness is gone, and then we have the new genestealer cult which suddenly uses the term patriarch again. So I am a little confused. Anyone got any further info? Or even a theory about this?
 

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My theory is (not based on anything as such) Genestealer Patriarch is the first evolution of broodlord. Patriarch's original purpose was to lead a genestealer cult to destroy a planet in secret to be ready for a hive fleet to consume without resistance.

As the hive fleet evolves all the time they must have thought that genestealers would be a good addition to a normal hive fleet as they are effictive in close combat and stealth.

I'd presume that hive fleet further evolved to realise that they need psychic presence with the genestealers to get the most out of them. Then they looked what they had in the genepool and crafted a broodlord, based on the Patriarch.

Or it could be vice versa. Broodlord + genestealers were first - then they thought we need a vanguard to easily invade planets and came up with using genestealers and then one of them evolving to a new type of broodlord: the Patriarch.
@Serpion5, what do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Only real distinction I can come up with, if there is any, is that a broodlord will mutate from a purestrain genestealer once the cult spreads far enough and the broods become more numerous. If the cult remains under one authority however I imagine these broodlords will still be subservient to the patriarch at its core.

Other theory I had is that a cult is always lead by a patriarch, a broodlord essentially, but functioning independently of the tyranid hive fleets. When a tyranid fleet makes planetfall, it will drop newly bred genestealers and these will have a broodlord or broodlords already spawned among them to fight directly for the tyranids in addition to the advance brood and its cult.

I was just wondering if there was any fluff I've missed that confirms a distinction.
 

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I always thought of Patriarchs as being more of an incursion leader while the Broodlords were more of a squad sergeant. Patriarchs would oversee the infiltration of a planet, and then once that job was done and a single leader was no longer needed, the Broodlords would takeover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I thought Patriarchs were the first generation infected?
A patriarch is the first genestealer to pass on its infection. It mutates as a result and becomes the Patriarch. But this description is also given to the broodlord in the current codex, so it seems there is no difference at all other than the name.
 

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I always thought of Patriarchs as being more of an incursion leader while the Broodlords were more of a squad sergeant. Patriarchs would oversee the infiltration of a planet, and then once that job was done and a single leader was no longer needed, the Broodlords would takeover.
I was thinking something similar. The patriarch is the dominant creature in a planetary cult possibly hundreds of years in advance of the coming of a hive fleet, so it possibly has a higher level of independent thought and psychic powers, while a broodlord leads 'stealers operating within the hive mind of a tyranid fleet.
 

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I'd think that a patriarch is an alpha broodlord, especially since the pair seem almost identical.

Rule wise it would add up, the patriarch having slightly better weapons and a stronger psyker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry to resurrect this, but for any interested the codex Genestealer Cults actually does provide an answer.

C:GS P32 said:
Where a Genestealer is part of a larger Hive Fleet army, it will instead bear the same colouration as the rest of the Tyranids in its fleet. Such bioforms communicate via telepathy, enabling their broods to operate independently. Hive Fleet broods are often centred around an alpha predator sometimes mistaken for a patriarch, though this beast is more accurately termed a Broodlord. This beast is not empowered by the psychic energies of a cult, but by a single brood of Genestealers. If divorced from the greater swarm of a Tyranid invasion, hive fleet Genestealers can evolve into a purestrain form, their life cycle optimized to infect new hosts once new feeding grounds are viable.
So based on this information, not only is there a notable difference between a patriarch and a broodlord, but there is actually a difference between Hive Fleet Genestealers and the Purestrain form.

In the GC codex, Purestrain Genestealers boast 3 attacks on their profile as well as a 5++ invulnerable save. They also pick up the Stealth, cult ambush and return to the shadows special rules, a notable improvement over their tyranid codex counter parts for the same points cost. They do lose a few options, but I'm curious to see if these traits will be inherited in the next tyranid codex versions or whether the differences will be left intact.
 
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