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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Prompted by Initiate's thread on developing stories for individual marines, posted here, I thought I'd post with some musings on 'promotion' in the Chapter.

I realise it's very long, and I won't be at all offended if people don't want to read it, but if you do stick with it, please tell me if you think this more or less right, way off, right in parts or whatever, and most crucially where you think I'm goin wrong.

I make a few pretty crucial assumptions from the start which are: no-one is ever demoted - if you make sergeant in the scout company, you don't become a 'normal' SM at any later stage; everyone starts the same - each scout begins their combat experience at the same point, with the same training and weapons - this I've assumed to be bolter, though there's definately a case for pistol and ccw instead; it is during early combat experience in the scouts that the recruits are differentiated by 3 qualities I'll call ferocity, accuracy and leadership. (I've also completely avoided the question of bikes, speeders and other vehicles, because I wanted to finish typing today.)

So if a scout shows particular ferocity, they'll switch to pistol and ccw (or possibly shotgun, tho' I've never seen any marine player ever use them).

If they show particular accuracy (which also includes steadiness under fire), they'll be given a sniper rifle and/or missile launcher (all you need for a heavy bolter i feel is a bit more strength than average, I don't really count this as a specialisation).

If they show particular leadership, they may make sergeant.

Right, now there are four kinds of marine (and we're still only on scouts); 'normal'/bolter/H bolter scouts; 'ferocious'/pistol/ccw scouts; 'accurate'/sniper/ML scouts; and 'leaders' ie sergeants.

My hunch is then promotion to the reserve companies. Ferocious marines to 8th, accurate marines to 9th, normal marines to 6th and 7th; sergeants go where their talents are best fitted; if they are 'slightly more accurate' they'll become a dev company sergeant etc. On the other hand, scouts destined for the dev company, who show 'slightly more leadership', may become dev-squad sergeants (though my feeling is that sergeants are transferred from the scout company, but dev scouts become dev marines, and then become dev sergeants afterwards). It is at this stage where 'accurate' marines get to try out lascannons, 'ferocious' marines get to try out flamers and plasma pistols etc. Following some time (years?) in the reserve company, the marine is then promoted to a battle company. Their squad will of course be determined by their specialisation.

After the battle company the Veteran company. Of course, veteran sergeants can become so while still serving in a battle company - or maybe, posted 'back down the line' into the reserve companies? Even whole squads in the battle companies may be veteran squads - say, the first squad in each battle company could be a veteran squad, a 'holding area' for company veterans waiting for a space to become available in the First Company- not at all an inconceivable notion I don't think. I certainly reckon this makes more sense for command squads with company champions etc than the current way GW is organising this.

One point about this is tat sergeants start to 'float' after the reserve companies. They may reach veteran status in the reserve company; they may be posted on to a battle company; they may then be posted back to a reserve company; they may not even make sergeant until they have reached the battle company, then made veteran, then been posted to the reserve, then the First. It's all quite hard to map by now.

So that seems a good time to stop.


1,636 Posts
The way I've always thought of it is as thus:

Everyone starts off as a scout/ neophyte/ initiate, etc.

Specialists are identified during this period:
Heavy Weapons guys.
Those with psychic potential.
Close Combat.
Vehicular Combat (Bikes, Tanks, etc)

Those guys will get farmed out to Dev Squads, librarian training, Assault Squads, Bike/ Tank Squads.

Everyone else becomes a Brother Trooper in a Tactical Squad or fills an open slot where it is needed. Everyone is a Brother at this point.

Later, over time leadership under fire is identified. After a Full Brother has earned his bones as a basic Trooper. The best of these may become a Sergeant when a slot opens, in his own specialty (close combat, tactical squad, dev squad, bike squad).

The very best of the Sergeants may be selected to fill slots in the Veteran squads or train in the use of Terminator Armor. They might also get selected to train novices, initiates, or lead Scout squads.

At some point Captains die, and their positions are filled from the best of the Sergeants, often the ones with Terminator Honors already. I believe most of these come from the Tactical Squads, up through the ranks. I figure Close Combat Guys stick with Close Combat Guys, Dev guys with Dev Guys, vehix with vehix.

Seniority is based on company number, 1st Co is the best of the best, most senior captain. The only exception I think is tenth company, which is supposed to have a very senior captain. Otherwise 1st Co is senior 2nd, 3rd, etc. Think in terms of how Centurions raised in rank in the Roman army during the Imperial Period.

Chaplains are unique; chosen from the most pious. Taken as apprentices after being identified as a great warrior and pious brother, becoming junior then senior chaplains. They are generally studs.

Librarians are unique too. Often identified and sent through the black ships, they are also sometimes identified during novice selection. They are watched closely and upon becoming troopers they are crosstrained in the use of their abilities until they can become a codicier. Again, these guys are studs too.

Some sergeants get incapacitated and become Dreadnoughts, others are fitted with bionics and returned to duty as they can, some become cadre in the 10th company.

Some Brothers are seconded to the Deathwatch, some even come back.
By the time they come back they are considered veteran sergeants. Sometimes Librarians go too.

1st company is filled with the best of the best, sir...with honors!
Terminators and Vet Squads. Any of these guys can become a Sergeant in any company, Sergeants can become Captains, this I guess is the Fast-Track because any of these guys, if they survive can be captains, dreads, champions, whatever.

That's about all I've got.

I figure the fleet is largely run by mortals, helots, thralls and slaves with a small number of actual astartes in charge (maybe guys who have shown spatial competance, or not fit for front line combat anymore. who knows).

I think one of the key parts of this whole mess is that every astartes is trained to believe that every single astartes fulfills an important duty for the god-emperor, and all are valuable, even the cadre and fleet guys. Nobody looks down on fleet guys or tank drivers as being any less than an honored brother astartes doing their duty. There IS no shit -jobs for an astartes, they all do their duty with equal vigor (hooray for regular psychotheraputic training!)

All of this is drawn from my memory, from dozens of novels, and every chapter is going to be different. Your mileage may vary.

811 Posts
Neophytes =! Scouts

all chapters have neophytes, They have not had enough of the implants or training to be scouts, The Black Templars just Put their neophytes to Battle and train them 1-on-1 in actual combat situations, thus their WS and BS are not as good as scouts.
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