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Bane of Empires
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Id say, out of all the legions and primarchs, the modus operandi of the white scars best fits that of executioner and hunter.
If i was the Emperor and wanted to sanction Russ, i would send the Khan.
In terms of combat ability, I would generally agree.

However, the Khagan and his White Scars were an unknown quantity. It would have been a significant risk to trust them with such a monumental task. The Khagan (at least to his own Legion) quite openly railed against the shackles imposed on him by the Imperium and thought of the Emperor as a tyrant. In my opinion, the primary trait required for an executioner would have been utmost dedication and loyalty to the Emperor (something which the Khagan lacked).
 

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Konrad Curze
On a more serious note I think the Night Haunter with his NightLords would have been the perfect executioner, and the one called upon to sanction Russ. Keep in mind this is under the premise that Konrad Curze did not rebel, and that the Emperor/Malcador did not leave Konrad out to dry after authorizing his actions but not wanting to take responsibility for them when public favor did not approve.

If the Emperor would have openly backed Curze, I am confident Curze would have been one of the most loyal primarchs and do whatever the Emperor asked of him. Curze was already doing what ever the Emperor asked of him, he became the Emperor's public "bad guy" to draw the mass disapproval towards him and away from the Imperial government. Curze was already willing to do whatever his father asked of him, the Emperor just needed to show Curze the same loyalty that Curze showed him.

On another note for Curze to keep his legion "pure" and close to his ideals, he should have garrisoned a night lord council on each conquered planet. This council would be the "Night Haunter" of that planet and keep it in line, thus ensuring stable, loyal, and psychologically "pure" recruits.

Khan the Warhawk
Khan was willing to do whatever was necessary to ensure his, and his legions survival. However the Khan was openly free spirited, he did not approve of being commanded by a superior power. These psychological traits of being extremely self centered, survival based, and defiant to authority would make him a very poor choice as the Imperial executioner.
 

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In terms of combat ability, I would generally agree.

However, the Khagan and his White Scars were an unknown quantity. It would have been a significant risk to trust them with such a monumental task. The Khagan (at least to his own Legion) quite openly railed against the shackles imposed on him by the Imperium and thought of the Emperor as a tyrant. In my opinion, the primary trait required for an executioner would have been utmost dedication and loyalty to the Emperor (something which the Khagan lacked).
The psychological basis for which i determined that the Khan would be the best decision, is because he actually had little to no quarrel with either waging war against the Alpha legion, or the wolves, he was perfectly open to attacking and finishing any one of them off.

As for loyalty, While it may seem tenuous, i believe despite their differences (the Khan and the Emperor), the Khan stays true to his name as the war hawk, he will return to the hand that released him.
So long as there was a casus belli, i think he would have no problem killing Russ, that said, i doubt he would sanction for instance Magnus, unless Magnus did something truly horrific of which he had no doubts was done.

But yes, their general ethos of war seems to be the archetype of hunter and executioner.
 

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The Night of the Wolf is an attempt by the wolves to end the mindless killing by the World Eaters. They were trying to help the World Eaters realise that their way of fighting was flawed,that the legion was broken and worthless but it wasn't too late to turn things around. Angron was too stupid to listen. Even Lorgar agrees with Russ.
I've argued against this view earlier in the thread. Basically, there's no evidence that Russ' plan going in was to teach a lesson and lots of evidence that it wasn't. Further the lesson taught isn't really accurate and has negligible import to Angron.

Killing everyone will end a war. But the World Eaters wouldn't stop there. They'd find other people who weren't in the war to kill once their blood was up. Innocent people who had nothing to do with it became fair game.
When I said "killing everyone" I meant "every living soul on the planet", not simply soldiers. You are correct in saying that the World Eaters killed innocent people but you seem to be extrapolating an eagerness for war that didn't actually exist. In between war-zones the World Eaters were not constantly threatening the lives of innocents. They have repeatedly shown themselves to be able to co-operate with other Legions and humans, even inside a war-zone. On the other hand, the Wolves have also shown a disregard for innocent people, and have repeatedly condemned entire planets to death for unnecessary reasons.

Russ's reluctance to kill a brother makes him a better choice than Angron. A man who doesn't want to kill and does so because it's his duty will stop when the mission is completed.
A man who doesn't want to kill will hesitate in preforming his duties. A man who doesn't want to kill will seek to avoid killing, even when ordered to do so. Russ hesitates, he attempts to circumvent his orders. How is this model behaviour for an executioner.

You're missing my point.

There wasn't some physically quantifiable difference between the Spartans and other Greeks. Well, between the Spartans and some bush-league Polis whose hoplites only got together a couple of times a year to drill, sure. But against their primary enemies before the League - the Argives, the Arcadians, the Tegeans? Or their latter enemies in the Athenians and the Thebans? The only meaningful difference was psychology.
I understand your point. I know there was a meaningful difference in the psychology of the Spartans and that this is one of the things that helped contribute to their success. My point is that there isn't a meaningful difference in the psychology of the Astartes Legions. If you want to use historical examples, rather than comparing it to a Spartan vs. Arcadian fight compare it to a Spartan vs. Roman fight. Both Spartan and Roman soldiers are of roughly equal physical ability and they are both of roughly equal psychological motivation. The Romans won, not because they were physically superior or because they were psychologically superior but because they were better equipped to win (both in terms of tactics and equipment).

To further look at the Romans. As the legions expanded into new frontiers and faced new foes, and suffered new defeats, they improved themselves by adapting their technology, not improving their psychology.

Where that trait is concerned, we have verifiable evidence that the Legions are not the same. Neither the Iron Warriors nor the Night Lords possess the same esprit de corps and comraderie as, say, the Ultramarines. The Word Bearers were more loyal down to their DNA. Those are just a couple of examples, off the top of my head.
We have evidence that they are different but we don't have evidence that one or another is superior. The Night Lords are not less motivated because they aren't as friendly. The Word Bearers aren't more motivated because they are engineered to obey. I'm not saying that the psychology of the Wolves is identical to every other Legion, that's obviously not the case. I'm disputing the idea that their psychology is somehow vastly superior to the others. There is a difference between different and better, the Legions are different, I haven't seen anything to suggest that some are better (as in universally, baring obvious specializations).

It's hardly impossible. We have proof that this was possible just on the basis of a Primarch's training programs. We also have proof that the Emperor could tamper them to make this happen.
We do? Where?

For instance, we know full well that Horus was able to sway the supple process to ensure that his Legions were the best equipped (e.g., Mk IV Power Armour) prior to the Heresy kicking off. Is there even a hint of this being done for the Executioners? Even if there was, I'd be curious if it adds up to even a fraction of the heavy emphasis on the Wolves.
There definitely isn't any indication that special equipment was given to the Wolves. That's basically my point. If the Emperor had intended the Wolves to be the executioners then he would've given them special equipment, as the benefits of doing so should be obvious. No attempt is ever made (logically it would've been done well before the Heresy developed anyway).

To begin with, it assumes that the characters who express incredulity at the idea of Astartes fighting Astartes had knowledge of the Sanctions and how they were carried out.
We know that the Primarchs at least knew what happened. Those same Primarchs are (some of) the ones expressing doubt.

Beyond that, it depends on the idea that this storyline was completely mapped out from the very get go. You're assuming that Abnett or McNeil (or whoever it was) foresaw the extent of the "Executioners" plot angle when they wrote about how unfeasible Legion versus Legion warfare was. I could just as easily argue that, at the time, it was more important for the authors to play up the shock factor of Legion fighting Legion than to be completely honest about the events that preceded the Heresy. :wink:
I'm not assuming that authors would have known about the Executioners before they became a thing. I would assume that Abnett knew what others had already written when he created the Executioners angle, that seems pretty logical to me. But even that doesn't matter. My argument is based entirely on the fluff as presented. In universe it has been established that the idea of inter-Astartes violence is shocking. Why they decided that inter-Astartes violence is shocking is irrelevant.
 

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MEQinc;1502729I understand your point. I know there was a meaningful difference in the psychology of the Spartans and that this is one of the things that helped contribute to their success. My point is that there isn't a meaningful difference in the psychology of the Astartes Legions. If you want to use historical examples said:
This is neither here nor there, but the Romans never fought the Spartans. The Romans fought a number of battles against the Epirotes, the Macedonians, and various other Hellenistic-era monarchs. By the time they began to involve themselves in the politics of the various Greeks, though, the Spartans were already a spent force.

To further look at the Romans. As the legions expanded into new frontiers and faced new foes, and suffered new defeats, they improved themselves by adapting their technology, not improving their psychology.
Again, neither here nor there. I don't want to get terribly off-topic, but while Roman tactics and technology greatly improved over the course of several centuries, the waning of their warrior cult and their sense of civic duty directly led to their empire's downfall.

We have evidence that they are different but we don't have evidence that one or another is superior.
Sure we do. That is, unless you think that a propensity to abandon your comrades rather than fight as a cohesive force is a positive.

The Word Bearers aren't more motivated because they are engineered to obey.
Actually, that's precisely the implication of The First Heretic.

We do? Where?
See above. Further evidence of the Emperor's tampering to "customize" his Legions for specific duties is in Deliverance Lost. Where the Primarchs are concerned, you need only see the effects their leadership had.

I'm not saying that the psychology of the Wolves is identical to every other Legion, that's obviously not the case. I'm disputing the idea that their psychology is somehow vastly superior to the others. There is a difference between different and better, the Legions are different, I haven't seen anything to suggest that some are better (as in universally, baring obvious specializations).
I'm not saying that their psychology is always better, nor am I trying to qualify by how much it is. What I'm positing is that there are obvious differences in the psychology and motivations of various Legions, and that this is qualified to be the case for the Space Wolves. I love a debate as much as the next guy, but there's no denying that the Space Wolves express pragmatism at worst and eagerness at best regarding a topic (intra-Legionary violence and sanctions). By contrast, Space Marines from other Legions express incredulity and disbelief over the same thing.

There definitely isn't any indication that special equipment was given to the Wolves. That's basically my point. If the Emperor had intended the Wolves to be the executioners then he would've given them special equipment, as the benefits of doing so should be obvious. No attempt is ever made (logically it would've been done well before the Heresy developed anyway).
That's up for debate. Carrying out a sanction on a Primarch and his Legion was never going to be something the Emperor expected to happen. Complicating matters more, equipping a Legion for intra-Legionary conflict was always going to be tricky with the Legiones Astartes being on constant deployment in ever-growing distances from the Imperium's centers of power.

We know that the Primarchs at least knew what happened. Those same Primarchs are (some of) the ones expressing doubt.
I'm specifically referring to Space Marines, not Primarchs. With the exception of the Word Bearers in The First Heretic and the Space Wolves, the very mention of intra-Legionary conflict provokes shock. Even the Alpha Legion thought it was preposterous.

My argument is based entirely on the fluff as presented. In universe it has been established that the idea of inter-Astartes violence is shocking. Why they decided that inter-Astartes violence is shocking is irrelevant.
Shocking for practically every Legion except the two I mentioned above.
 

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This is neither here nor there, but the Romans never fought the Spartans.
Wow, that was an epic brain fart. My bad.

Again, neither here nor there. I don't want to get terribly off-topic, but while Roman tactics and technology greatly improved over the course of several centuries, the waning of their warrior cult and their sense of civic duty directly led to their empire's downfall.
Right and the creation of that warrior cult had a huge part in their early success. But once they'd established it they didn't improve it to face new threats. Likely because they realized it'd be near impossible to do so.

Sure we do. That is, unless you think that a propensity to abandon your comrades rather than fight as a cohesive force is a positive.
Is that a Night Lords 'cowardice' or a World Eaters 'recklessness' point?

The Night Lords don't really show 'cowardice' except in patently unwinnable scenarios, in which case it is more survival instinct than disunity.

The World Eaters recklessness on the other hand allows them to arguably defeat to the Space Wolves, precisely because they are willing to 'abandon' their comrades.

Actually, that's precisely the implication of The First Heretic.
Really? I never got the impression that the Word Bearers were more highly motivated than other Legions, at least pre-sanction.

Also, wouldn't that suggest that the Word Bearers should be the executioners?

See above. Further evidence of the Emperor's tampering to "customize" his Legions for specific duties is in Deliverance Lost. Where the Primarchs are concerned, you need only see the effects their leadership had.
Again, I'm not questioning that the Legions were customized, just whether those customizations made one force better than another. Surely the Emperor would not have intentionally handicapped some of his warriors?

I'm not saying that their psychology is always better, nor am I trying to qualify by how much it is. What I'm positing is that there are obvious differences in the psychology and motivations of various Legions, and that this is qualified to be the case for the Space Wolves. I love a debate as much as the next guy, but there's no denying that the Space Wolves express pragmatism at worst and eagerness at best regarding a topic (intra-Legionary violence and sanctions). By contrast, Space Marines from other Legions express incredulity and disbelief over the same thing.
World Eaters, Night Lords and various other Legions express pragmatism and/or eagerness at the thought of intra-Legion violence as well. I'm not denying that the Wolves also express it. I'm questioning whether this makes them better at fighting Marines in the long term.

That's up for debate. Carrying out a sanction on a Primarch and his Legion was never going to be something the Emperor expected to happen.
If the Emperor designed Executioners then surely he would only have done so because he believed an executioner would be handy to have around.

Complicating matters more, equipping a Legion for intra-Legionary conflict was always going to be tricky with the Legiones Astartes being on constant deployment in ever-growing distances from the Imperium's centers of power.
One of many problems with using your executioner as a regular soldier. So why did the Emperor do it?

I'm specifically referring to Space Marines, not Primarchs. With the exception of the Word Bearers in The First Heretic and the Space Wolves, the very mention of intra-Legionary conflict provokes shock. Even the Alpha Legion thought it was preposterous.
So? My point was that, thanks to the disbelief of the Primarchs, we can be quite sure that intra-Astartes violence had not been part of the fates that befell the lost Legions.
 

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MEQinc;1502865 Right and the creation of that warrior cult had a huge part in their early success. But once they'd established it they didn't improve it to face new threats. Likely because they realized it'd be near impossible to do so.[/quote said:
... That's simply not true, man.

Is that a Night Lords 'cowardice' or a World Eaters 'recklessness' point?

The Night Lords don't really show 'cowardice' except in patently unwinnable scenarios, in which case it is more survival instinct than disunity.
Call it whatever you want. The point is, they showed a lack of discipline, cohesion, and loyalty that was substandard to that of other Legions.

The World Eaters recklessness on the other hand allows them to arguably defeat to the Space Wolves, precisely because they are willing to 'abandon' their comrades.
Even the author of that particular story specifically disagrees with this assertion, though.

Really? I never got the impression that the Word Bearers were more highly motivated than other Legions, at least pre-sanction.
Down to their DNA, man.

Also, wouldn't that suggest that the Word Bearers should be the executioners?
No, not the least of which reasons is that the Word Bearers themselves don't even suggest it. At best, there is a hint that they may have been involved in some way in one of the sanctions. It's nothing compared to what we see for the Wolves.

Again, I'm not questioning that the Legions were customized, just whether those customizations made one force better than another. Surely the Emperor would not have intentionally handicapped some of his warriors?
A couple of things on this:

1. Based on Deliverance Lost, it would appear that this was the case. See how the genetic code of the Iron Warriors was manipulated, for instance.

2. Different Legions were recruited from different pools of the Terran population. The Night Lords, for instance, were drawn from the worst prisons available. By contrast, the Emperor's Children drew from the scions of educated warrior aristocracy.

I think it's quite clear that the Emperor at a minimum wanted different results from those two different Legions. Depending on the means and controls one uses to attain certain results, handicaps may be inevitable.

World Eaters, Night Lords and various other Legions express pragmatism and/or eagerness at the thought of intra-Legion violence as well. I'm not denying that the Wolves also express it. I'm questioning whether this makes them better at fighting Marines in the long term.
It can, and history shows that this is the case. What qualifies the Space Wolves as better candidates for that role than the World Eaters and Night Lords is their discipline and loyalty. The World Eaters lack the former; the Night Lords lack the latter.

If the Emperor designed Executioners then surely he would only have done so because he believed an executioner would be handy to have around.
I wasn't denying that. I was indicating factors that would make specialist equipment issue not a priority. At least, not as high a priority as maintaining full combat readiness for the Great Crusade.

One of many problems with using your executioner as a regular soldier. So why did the Emperor do it?
A very good question! My guess is that it was a decision he made based on his not-perfect precognition. As in, he foresaw the need for one, if not the actual events that would drive the need.

Beyond that, there might be a more literary explanation for this. The idea that there is a sort of "honour" in "taking care of our own" is somewhat prevalent in different types of fiction - military, police, etc. The Emperor might have understood that the Legiones Astartes would accept a sanction from one of their own as opposed to outsiders doing the deed. That's purely conjecture on my part, though! :)

So? My point was that, thanks to the disbelief of the Primarchs, we can be quite sure that intra-Astartes violence had not been part of the fates that befell the lost Legions.
Space Marines expressed disbelief, and then not universally. Primarchs merely acknowledge the tragic fate of their brothers and/or remind each other not to go into detail. The closest Primarchs come to expressing similar disbelief is when they are first told that Horus has rebelled.
 

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Call it whatever you want. The point is, they showed a lack of discipline, cohesion, and loyalty that was substandard to that of other Legions.
I don't think we can say that with certainty. The Night Lords show disunity in the face of something no other Legion really experiences. We simply don't know how other Legions would react.

Even the author of that particular story specifically disagrees with this assertion, though.
He calls it a draw as well. I was also more going with a 'what if they didn't stop' scenario, in which case I think the World Eaters would have wonwon

Down to their DNA, man.
They are more loyal down to their DNA, that doesn't mean they are more motivated. Indeed they seem less motivated than other Legions in that they move slower, and are specifically punished for this failure.

No, not the least of which reasons is that the Word Bearers themselves don't even suggest it.
That really doesn't matter. This isn't about who thinks they are the best executioners it about who is.

1. Based on Deliverance Lost, it would appear that this was the case. See how the genetic code of the Iron Warriors was manipulated, for instance.
I don't remember what was suggested about the Iron Warriors, can you provide a quote?

I think it's quite clear that the Emperor at a minimum wanted different results from those two different Legions. Depending on the means and controls one uses to attain certain results, handicaps may be inevitable.
It seems clear that the Emperor wanted the Legions to function in different manners. Surely he would want those Legions to function to the highest possible standards in those manners. Surely he would not want a Legion to operate in a manner that was unnecessary or probably worse than the way another Legion operated. Therefore it seems only logical that the Emperor would not handicap (ie. Design an overall weakness in) any of the Legions.

It can, and history shows that this is the case.
No it doesn't. The Wolves record in intra-Legion conflict is mediocre at best. They show no obvious superiority over even those Legions that most strongly express shock.

What qualifies the Space Wolves as better candidates for that role than the World Eaters and Night Lords is their discipline and loyalty. The World Eaters lack the former; the Night Lords lack the latter.
1) I would question the superiority of the Wolves discipline over that of the World Eaters. The Wolves discipline cracks first in the Night of the Wolf and they also show a lack of discipline in attacking the Sons on Shrike.
2) I would question the supposed lack of loyalty of the Night Lords. Until they are betrayed the Night Lords never do anything that suggests disobedience to the Emperor. Unlike the Wolves, who take it upon themselves to sanction Angron.

A very good question! My guess is that it was a decision he made based on his not-perfect precognition. As in, he foresaw the need for one, if not the actual events that would drive the need.
But surely in such a situation the best bet would be to hold the Executioners in reserve. Thus allowing them to be deployed where ever they where needed quickly and eliminating the possibility of casualties rendering them unusable.

Beyond that, there might be a more literary explanation for this. The idea that there is a sort of "honour" in "taking care of our own" is somewhat prevalent in different types of fiction - military, police, etc. The Emperor might have understood that the Legiones Astartes would accept a sanction from one of their own as opposed to outsiders doing the deed. That's purely conjecture on my part, though! :)
We have been shown that every single time a Legion was sanctioned they didn't accept it.
 

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I don't think we can say that with certainty. The Night Lords show disunity in the face of something no other Legion really experiences. We simply don't know how other Legions would react.
Yes, we do. We've seen the Ultramarines react far better in a far worse situation: see Know No Fear and Prince of Crows. The former is far worse than the latter.

He calls it a draw as well. I was also more going with a 'what if they didn't stop' scenario, in which case I think the World Eaters would have wonwon
Based on what? They were about to lose their Primarch, and Betrayer points out, more than once, that the mode of war the World Eaters have chosen is inefficient. It costs them unnecessary casualties. That's all well and good if you have Titans and armour backing your assault on outnumbered Astartes and normal humans... not so much when you're fighting another Legion on even ground!

They are more loyal down to their DNA, that doesn't mean they are more motivated. Indeed they seem less motivated than other Legions in that they move slower, and are specifically punished for this failure.
They don't "move slower" on account of being less motivated; they move slower precisely because of that sense of loyalty. Their master's priority is to make worlds super-compliant in a religious fashion, and his men obey.

And I'm sorry, but I have to say this. We're getting to the point where you're twisting words and literary themes in order to make a point. To do so while ignoring the flat-out stated fact that genetic manipulation achieved those results in a Legion - and others, in other Legions as well - is somewhat irritating. If we're going to agree to disagree, so be it.

That really doesn't matter. This isn't about who thinks they are the best executioners it about who is.
How does it not matter that they themselves don't mention being Executioners? Especially when another Legion flat-out claims it?

I don't remember what was suggested about the Iron Warriors, can you provide a quote?
Sure.

“Take this one, sample four, as an indicator,’ said the genetor majoris. ‘We have managed to identify at least six unique sub-complexes and protein strands geared towards physical durability, above and beyond that found in the others. In the same sample, there is a dearth of certain enhanced genes that, in our estimation, boost the cytoarchetectonic structure responsible for the development of nociceptors and proprioceptory function. The deficiency seems to be deliberate. In subject six there is a whole suite of genetic encoding derived from a non-human source, possibly canine. In subject twenty, a whole suite of growth boosting augmentations is absent. In all, we have catalogued seven hundred and eighty-three variations between the samples. This leaves the common, core material, the primarch essence for want of a better term, exceptionally small compared to what I expected.”

Excerpt From: Gav Thorpe. “Deliverance Lost.” iBooks.
It seems clear that the Emperor wanted the Legions to function in different manners. Surely he would want those Legions to function to the highest possible standards in those manners. Surely he would not want a Legion to operate in a manner that was unnecessary or probably worse than the way another Legion operated. Therefore it seems only logical that the Emperor would not handicap (ie. Design an overall weakness in) any of the Legions.
That's a valid premise, but intent doesn't always translate to results. And you're not going to get the same results recruiting from a hell-hole of a prison as you will from aristocratic courts.

No it doesn't. The Wolves record in intra-Legion conflict is mediocre at best. They show no obvious superiority over even those Legions that most strongly express shock.
I'm talking about our real world history. Where the Great Crusade is concerned, it's strongly implied that you're wrong. The Space Wolves are the implied executioners, which means they achieved at least some success against other Legions and their Primarchs. Their portrayal in the Night of the Wolves is also positive.

1) I would question the superiority of the Wolves discipline over that of the World Eaters. The Wolves discipline cracks first in the Night of the Wolf and they also show a lack of discipline in attacking the Sons on Shrike.
By all means, cite what you feel is relevant.

2) I would question the supposed lack of loyalty of the Night Lords. Until they are betrayed the Night Lords never do anything that suggests disobedience to the Emperor. Unlike the Wolves, who take it upon themselves to sanction Angron.
I'm talking about the lack of loyalty they show to themselves.

But surely in such a situation the best bet would be to hold the Executioners in reserve. Thus allowing them to be deployed where ever they where needed quickly and eliminating the possibility of casualties rendering them unusable.
This makes no sense. Sanction is a contingency. The Great Crusade is the status quo.

We have been shown that every single time a Legion was sanctioned they didn't accept it.
I'm not talking about the sanctioned Legions accepting it. I'm talking about the reaction of the rest of the Legions to a sanction. I'm proposing that they would not feel as outraged by another Legion "taking care of their cousins" (or what have you) as opposed to, say, the Custodes or some other organization doing so. But again, that's conjecture on my part.
 

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Yes, we do. We've seen the Ultramarines react far better in a far worse situation: see Know No Fear and Prince of Crows. The former is far worse than the latter.
Not really. On Tsagalua an entire Legion appears out of nowhere to ambush a grounded and unprepared one. On Calth part of a Legion suddenly betrays part of another. The Night Lords face a threat to the very existance, the Ultramarines 'merely' face one to their strength. The Ultramarines are on their home turf and well prepared to defend it, the Night Lords aren't either. Indeed defending Tsalgua goes against their battle doctrine.


Based on what?
That Angron had beaten and would kill Russ. That Angron death is not certain. That Russ' death would devistate the Wolves moral. That Angron's death would have no effect on the World Eaters. And that the World Eaters were causing more casualties then they were receiving.

They don't "move slower" on account of being less motivated; they move slower precisely because of that sense of loyalty. Their master's priority is to make worlds super-compliant in a religious fashion, and his men obey.
So, the Word Bearers are motivated to behave differently than the other Legions. Is that motivation greater? Are they more motivated to make worlds super-compliant through religion than the Ultramarines are to make the super-compliant through other means? Their loyalty makes them more likely to do things they don't necessarily agree with, but it doesn't mean they will be more driven to do those things.

And I'm sorry, but I have to say this. We're getting to the point where you're twisting words and literary themes in order to make a point. To do so while ignoring the flat-out stated fact that genetic manipulation achieved those results in a Legion - and others, in other Legions as well - is somewhat irritating.
1) You're twisting words and themes just as much as I am.
2)Its not flat-out stated that the Wolves are superior to the other Legions. That goes against the themes of all the Legions, as well as many of the other themes of the Great Crusade.

If we're going to agree to disagree, so be it.
If that's how you want to leave it, that's fine with me.

I won't agree to let various Legions be slandered though.

How does it not matter that they themselves don't mention being Executioners? Especially when another Legion flat-out claims it?
Because the fact that the Wolves say they're the Executioners a) doesn't actually make it so and b) doesn't make them good at it.


Thanks.

That's what I thought I remembered. The Iron Warriors are specualted to feel less pain then other Legions. I'm unclear on why you think that's a bad thing, or otherwise represents an intentional weakening of the Legion.

That's a valid premise, but intent doesn't always translate to results.
No but intent gives a baseline for what the intended results are. The intended result was for the Legions to be differnet but equal, it then becomes your responsibility to show that some Legions are superior to others across the board. I don't feel you've done that.

I'm talking about our real world history.
Where in real world history do you see evidence that expressing less shock at the nature of a foe leads to future long-term success against that foe?

Where the Great Crusade is concerned, it's strongly implied that you're wrong. The Space Wolves are the implied executioners, which means they achieved at least some success against other Legions and their Primarchs.
I'm not going off implication, I'm going off what we are directly shown. We are directly shown that the Wolves are not superior to the World Eaters. While they enjoy some success against the Sons the deck is stacked heavily in their favour and removing just some of those benefits (several of which were brought about by circumstances the Wolves had no control over) makes their victory far from certain. Further, they fail to eliminate the Sons, kill Magnus or bring him in for judgment.

By all means, cite what you feel is relevant.
Don't have my books so this is all from memory.
1) Russ and Angron are talking. Russ looses control and strikes Angron, violence (predictably) ensues.
2) The Wolves, unnecessarily and unprovoked, open fire on members of a brother Legion.
Both these events show a lack of discipline amongst the Wolves, they fall to emotion far to easily,

I'm talking about the lack of loyalty they show to themselves.
Oh. So you mean cohesion then?

This makes no sense. Sanction is a contingency. The Great Crusade is the status quo.
Sanction is an inevitable contingency, it makes sense to plan for that contingency. Deploying the Wolves to the Crusade is the exact opposite of preparing for that contingency. Deploying the Executioners to front-line duty is not a nessecity for the Crusade, after all the Custodes are not a front-line force.


I'm not talking about the sanctioned Legions accepting it. I'm talking about the reaction of the rest of the Legions to a sanction. I'm proposing that they would not feel as outraged by another Legion "taking care of their cousins" (or what have you) as opposed to, say, the Custodes or some other organization doing so. But again, that's conjecture on my part.
Ah, fair enough. Sounds like a good idea.
 

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Not really. On Tsagalua an entire Legion appears out of nowhere to ambush a grounded and unprepared one. On Calth part of a Legion suddenly betrays part of another. The Night Lords face a threat to the very existance, the Ultramarines 'merely' face one to their strength. The Ultramarines are on their home turf and well prepared to defend it, the Night Lords aren't either. Indeed defending Tsalgua goes against their battle doctrine.
In all honesty, I don't see how this is a valid comparison, or how it aids your position.

The Night Lords were ambushed by a known enemy in a war that they had turned into a giant game of cat-and-mouse. While ambushes by rule preclude one from knowing when they will be ambushed, the Night Lords had no reason to be lax in their readiness. Their conduct over the previous two years confirms this. The battle against the Dark Angels led to them losing of a fourth of their Legion. Their reaction to this was to scatter to the four winds. That Sevatar wanted them to do so - due to his own lack of interest in mutual loyalty and similar ethics - doesn't diminish the fact that the majority of the Night Lords were prepared to abandon him to begin with.

By contrast, the Ultramarines had no way of knowing they were about to be attacked. By the time they were even able to fire back in any meaningful fashion, they had lost fully three quarters of their force. Their morale and cohesion was never affected, though. There was never a question of their fleet running for it, for instance.

That there is a fundamental difference in the way those two Legions reacted to the adversity of seemingly imminent defeat cannot be denied. I honestly struggle to see why you're denying this very obvious fact, or another, equally obvious one: that the difference in their mentality is due to the different factors that shaped their respective Legions. The Night Lords were recruited from the worst scum of Terra and Nostramo. They are callous, unconcerned about the well-being of their "battle-brothers", and at the very least appreciate the "value" of treachery and sadism. By contrast, the majority of the Ultramarines (we don't know about the Terrans) were recruited from a regimented, disciplined, militaristic meritocracy that valued loyalty, honour, and personal valour. Huge surprise: the Ultramarines performed more dependably under duress!

That Angron had beaten and would kill Russ. That Angron death is not certain. That Russ' death would devistate the Wolves moral. That Angron's death would have no effect on the World Eaters. And that the World Eaters were causing more casualties then they were receiving.
I... can't fathom how you arrived to this conclusion from reading Betrayer.

“And when he rose, he had you surrounded. He could have killed you.’
‘He tried and failed.’
‘His men, Angron. His Legion could have killed you. Whether the Emperor ordered it or not, Russ spared your life. He didn’t retreat in shame, you arrogant…’ Lorgar sighed. ‘He was probably lamenting your thick skull all the way back to Terra, hoping you’d heed a rather consummate lesson in brotherhood and loyalty. Look what happened. Yes, you beat him in a duel. Yes, your men took down more of his than his of yours. And yet, who won the battle?’
‘The World Eaters,’ Angron said without hesitation.
Lorgar just stared at him for several seconds. ‘I appreciate that every living being must, by the nature of perception, understand and process life in a different way. But even for you, brother, this is achingly obtuse.”

Excerpt From: Aaron Dembski-Bowden. “Betrayer.” iBooks.
Emphasis mine. Mind you, in the preceding paragraphs, Lorgar inwardly doubts that the World Eaters killed more than they lost.

So, the Word Bearers are motivated to behave differently than the other Legions. Is that motivation greater? Are they more motivated to make worlds super-compliant through religion than the Ultramarines are to make the super-compliant through other means? Their loyalty makes them more likely to do things they don't necessarily agree with, but it doesn't mean they will be more driven to do those things.
That's pretty much what the story says, MEQinc:

“No Astartes is as loyal to their primarch as the XVII are to Lorgar. No Imperial warrior believes in their father’s righteousness with as much faith and ardent devotion.
Argel Tal swallowed. It felt cold, and tasted sour. ‘Our loyalty is bred into our blood?’
No. You are sentient creatures with free will. This is no more than a minor divergence in an otherwise flawless code. Your gene-seed enhances the chemicals in your brain tissue. It gives you focus. It grants you unbreakable loyalty to your cause, and to Lorgar Aurelian.”

Excerpt From: Aaron Dembski-Bowden. “The First Heretic.” iBooks.
You might feel that because this information comes from a daemon, it could all be lies. I'll simply remind you that the daemons have thus far been guilty of twisting the truth when revealing things to Astartes - not of telling lies. I'll also remind you that this concept of gene-bred loyalty directly follows the pre-existing concept from Deliverance Lost.

Also, see directly below.

1) You're twisting words and themes just as much as I am.
No, MEQinc, I'm not. What I'm doing is citing specific parts of specific novels and novellas that spell out the patently obvious. Not all the Legions were the same. There isn't even room for hypothetical arguments like whether or not the Emperor wanted them to be the same to begin with: we know that's not the case. We know for a fact that, because of the different factors that shaped them, certain Legions are more loyal, more cohesive, and more disciplined. We know that these traits don't just achieve better results in the real world, but that these traits enabled certain Legions to achieve better results than others in this series.

Your counter-points have more often than not focused on personal interpretation of various general topics, like whether "superior motivation and loyalty will make someone more driven to do their master's bidding" - as if that was ever in question.

2)Its not flat-out stated that the Wolves are superior to the other Legions. That goes against the themes of all the Legions, as well as many of the other themes of the Great Crusade.
...
I won't agree to let various Legions be slandered though.
What slander? Are you kidding me now? At best, we're talking about the comparative merits and flaws of fictional organizations. Relax, take a breath, and realize that the twenty Legions were never carbon-copy clones created in the exact same environment and operating under the exact same conditions. Given this very basic fact, it was impossible for them to be the same, and it would thus be impossible for them to achieve the same results.

Because the fact that the Wolves say they're the Executioners a) doesn't actually make it so and b) doesn't make them good at it.
So what is your proposed alternative? That they're just lying and playing make-believe and that the other Legions tolerate them? That when Angron himself references Russ as an executioner he's just doing so randomly? That when other Primarchs anticipate Russ being unleashed for another sanction that this is another random selection? And, meanwhile, it's just happenstance that the actual executioners are never, ever referenced?

Thanks.

That's what I thought I remembered. The Iron Warriors are specualted to feel less pain then other Legions. I'm unclear on why you think that's a bad thing, or otherwise represents an intentional weakening of the Legion.
Please read the citation more carefully, then. It provides you with (more) evidence that the Emperor did not intend for his Legions to be the same, and that in at least some cases he did provide built-in advantages. Loyalty, resistance to pain, and superior senses are three examples. You will also note that the same citation proves that the Emperor also built-in certain deficiencies.

No but intent gives a baseline for what the intended results are. The intended result was for the Legions to be differnet but equal, it then becomes your responsibility to show that some Legions are superior to others across the board. I don't feel you've done that.
You don't? Please re-read the citation from Deliverance Lost, then.

Where in real world history do you see evidence that expressing less shock at the nature of a foe leads to future long-term success against that foe?
To begin with, are we seriously arguing whether a force conditioned to fight a certain foe will get better results than if they were not?

Assuming this was the case, right off the top of my head, Hellenistic-era historians on both the Roman and Greek side commented on the phenomenon of an inferior side eventually achieving victory by virtue of having to fight superior opponents. If you really want me to provide a specific citation, it will take me some time. I can't remember if it's Livy, Polybius, or someone else, or whether they're talking about the Spartans fighting other Greeks or not.

I'm not going off implication, I'm going off what we are directly shown. We are directly shown that the Wolves are not superior to the World Eaters.
No, we're not. For the sake of both our times, I suggest you wait until you get your books back and have the opportunity to re-read through the pertinent chapters. The inefficiency of the World Eaters' assault tactics is qualified. Their lack of cohesion and discipline is qualified as the reason why the World Eaters would have lost their Primarch.

While they enjoy some success against the Sons the deck is stacked heavily in their favour and removing just some of those benefits (several of which were brought about by circumstances the Wolves had no control over) makes their victory far from certain. Further, they fail to eliminate the Sons, kill Magnus or bring him in for judgment.
You're still just arguing against points that you - not me - are inventing. For some reason, you keep projecting on my points the idea that "the Space Wolves are the best Legion". I didn't say that. Ever. What I said is that, of all the Legions, they appear to have possessed the right temperament/psychology/motivation/whatever for the job.

Don't have my books so this is all from memory.
I'm not trying to be rude, but trust me when I say that you need to wait until you get your books back.

Oh. So you mean cohesion then?
Unit cohesion is a byproduct of loyalty.

Sanction is an inevitable contingency, ...
No, not necessarily. That's conjecture - even I admitted as much. Either way, though, the Great Crusade was a full-time campaign. Sanctions were only going to be anomalies. It makes zero sense to focus on the anomaly rather than the status quo. That's not to say that you shouldn't prepare for the anomaly, and the Emperor appears to have done so: he appears to have designed a Legion that combined predatory ruthlessness with superior loyalty. It's kind of an apples-and-oranges comparison, but he basically made himself some Minotaurs.
 

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Phoebus the nightlords were arguably winning a war against the dark angels, they were fulfilling their objective of keeping the dark angels from leaving the sector. Furthermore it goes on to say that johnson was losing his composure against konrad curze, johnson was so unnerved of being unable to defeat curze of anticipate his moves that he was doing such things as punching his marines heads off for talking back.

The nightlords were victory for victory with the dark angels in their multi year war, it clearly states that for every world taken the dark angels lost a world, for every victory they gained they were delt an equally crushing loss.

The only reason the dark angels took down a quarter of the night lords legion is because johnson was given a warp based plot device by a demon. This plot device allowed johnson and his entire legion to warp anywhere they wanted to instantly in mass, this was unprecedented in imperium history.

The nightlords were extremely disciplined, and this was demonstrated in their equal if not superior performance against the dark angels in their war.
 

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Lux, the issue at hand isn't whether the Night Lords were good at fighting their style of war. That's demonstrably proven in "Prince of Crows". The question was whether they react with the same cohesiveness and sense of loyalty as other Legions when facing adversity. That's clearly not the case. The twenty Legions have different mentalities, the result of being recruited from different environments and gaining experience in different theatres of operation and under different leaders. :)
 

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You are using the example of them being ambushed and the result of it as a sign of their lack od cohesiveness, they were not ambushed. The nightlords were subjected to the entire dark angels fleet i stantly coming out of the warp on top of them, any legion would have ran in that scenario.
 

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That is an ambush, simply on a grander scale than normal. Furthermore, I provided a contrasting example for the Ultramarines. Obviously no two situations will be identical (though, if anything, the situation the latter were thrust in was far more catastrophic), but the reactions shown by the two Legions are very telling.
 

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It's late, I'm only up to watch Liverpool, and this is getting frustrating as it's clear that by now that a significant enough number of posters are less worries about what I'm trying to say and more about what they're trying to argue.

Seriously, read my original post in this argument. This titanic exercise in futility started with me disagreeing with MEQinc on the simple matter of whether psychology and motivation mattering in a fight - as if that was ever a serious question - and whether the Space Wolves could have an advantage in this department over other Legions.

Along the way, I've been accused of slandering fictional entities. :biggrin:

That having been said:

Karthak,

Do take in Dembski-Bowden's message as whole, rather than the bit that you think gives an end-all, be-all answer:

I've had it argued at me that I'm doing "everything I can to stop the Wolves being Executioners", when I'm the one doing the most to reinforce it, with Betrayer's opening quote, and the events of the Night of the Wolf. I just can't pretend they killed the Lost Legions, because... they didn't. It's an in-universe possibility, but as readers, we know they didn't, both because it doesn't really make much sense (why the Wolves? Really?) and because if the fate of the Lost Legions is never going to be revealed, no one would've said "The Wolves killed them"... as that's revealing it.
So, things that can be taken from this:
1. The Wolves doing so could have been the case:
"It's an in-universe possibility ..."
2. Aaron Dembski-Bowden doesn't think that is the case:
"... as readers, we know they didn't, both because it doesn't really make much sense (why the Wolves? Really?) ...
3. He nonetheless has tried to reinforce that theme, though not with the intent of telling you that that it how it happened:
"I'm the one doing the most to reinforce it, ..."
4. The reason why they don't want to tell you how it happened and by whom is that this would give away the fate of the Missing Legions, which they don't want to do:
"... because if the fate of the Lost Legions is never going to be revealed, no one would've said "The Wolves killed them"... as that's revealing it."
Thus, other than "The Wolves didn't do it because no one has done it because that would be revealing the fate of the Missing Legions", there really isn't a direct answer given by the two posts you linked.
 

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So basically no one can actually claim that they did and no one can claim that they didn't, because there will never be enough revealed to provide solid proof to support either case. Either way, going around in pointless, circular arguments isn't getting anyone anywhere, because we will never have an answer, as that would defeat the purpose of leaving the fate of the 2 lost legions a mystery. At least that's what I got out of Aaron's post.

Though I do have to point out that

their favourite Legion are really just as good and just as flawed as all the others
and

because it doesn't really make much sense (why the Wolves? Really?)
suggests that he also doesn't believe that the Wolves were any better suited for being Executioners, as opposed to any of the other legions. Or at least that there is nothing to suggest that they are any better, and don't have their own flaws, compared to any of the other legions.


Purely from a practical standpoint I still believe the Ultramarines would have served better as executioners quite frankly. The reason Guilliman, along with many other primarchs, react in the way they do is because the idea of fighting their brothers is alien to them. Prepare them for the idea and I think their reactions would be very diffferent. After the initial shock of the attack wore off, Guilliman never showed any hesitation against the traitor marines and their primarchs. He is also undoubtably loyal to the Emperor's ideals and the concept of the Imperium. His sense of practical/theoretical would also arguably make him a good choice; a legion goes off the reservation to such a degree that the Emperor feels nothing short of a sanction is in fact necessary, what do you think the practical solution would be in his eyes? Not to mention the fact that Guilliman has a 500 world empire, so the Ultramarines, above any other legion, would have the easiest time replenishing their numbers to replace the obvious losses an inter-legion war would cause. They'd arguably also have the most personal resources to bring to bear. And they showed at Monarchia that they were willing to get their hands dirty if they believed that the reason for it was valid, and stood by the Emperor when he censured Lorgar.
 

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That is an ambush, simply on a grander scale than normal. Furthermore, I provided a contrasting example for the Ultramarines. Obviously no two situations will be identical (though, if anything, the situation the latter were thrust in was far more catastrophic), but the reactions shown by the two Legions are very telling.
That is not an "ambush" on a greater scale, it was a military maneuver that was never seen and or precedent prior to that battle. No legion had ever been able to navigate the warp instantly, and to do so while keeping their entire legion together during transit. Furthermore they were also able to pinpoint exactly where the entire legion exited from the warp simultaneously, this was a power unheard of prior to this sector war.

No Legion had any idea to expect such a thing for it was "impossible" to do so, the Dark Angels were only able to do so because Johnson accepted a warp gift from a Daemon. So no the Nightlords had no reason to expect that the Dark Angels could instantly transit their entire legion in a singular mass, and exit the warp simultaneously together in the middle of the Nightlords legion.

The nightlords tactics only go to demonstrate how effective they are at war, they chose to separate immediately which was the most effective choice at hand. The entire Dark Angels legion had just instantly existed the warp in a singular mass in the middle of their legion, they were in a bad position to wage naval warfare due to their forces being spread while the dark angels were concentrated in the middle of their camp. The choice to quickly disengage and in multiple directions ensured that the maximum number of Nightlord vessels would survive, due to that they were fleeing the center of mass of the dark angels legion. If the Dark Angels choose to pursue they would have had to quickly split their forces into smaller numbers to chase after the Nightlords fleeing in every direction away from their center mass of ships, which then would have given the nightlords a distinct advantage of fighting them piecemeal.

The Ultramarines scenario was entirely different in parameters, and nature of war entirely. The Ultramarines were entrenched on one of their most heavily fortified worlds, the Word Bearers had entrenched soldiers on the world, and positioned battleships in orbit. What resulted post of the treachery was bitter urban warfare, city by city to block by block.

So I will continue to argue your statement that the nightlords versus the Dark Angels war has any merit in being compared to, and or bolstering your argument with and or against the concept of a "Ambush".
 
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