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Discussion Starter #1
Some speculation:

The Custodes are frequently described as a different branch of Astartes evolution. They are not descended from the primarchs, but it doesn't appear that they use the Emperor's geneseed either, as that particular branch of Astartes appears to be occupied by the Grey Knights.

In addition to the somewhat similar armour aesthetic, they are also often described or speculated to be physically stronger and superior to the regular Astarted, as were the Thunder Warriors.

Now the Thunder Warriors were killed off at the end of the Unification Wars, but I reckon it makes sense that the big E might have kept a few of them/developed a strain of supersoldier based on them. After all, they're not meant to fight the Crusade (and neither were the Thunder Warriors, which was spelled out very emphatically by Babu Taranis) as spiritual/ideological leaders of humanity's march to the stars.

An obvious counter argument to this would be that when the Outcast Dead renegades are confronted with Arx Taranis and his lieutenant, they are shocked and recognise his inherent difference, which wouldn't happen if the Custodes were unchanged Thunder Warriors (two of whom they'd just killed). However, a development of Thunder warriors into the Custodes seems like plausible scenario.
 

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The TW were genetically doomed to fail and ultimately served as a testbed for their future replacements.

The Custodes are said to be products of a more refined process than their Astartes cousins. So I wouldn't associate them together.
 

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In addition to the somewhat similar armour aesthetic, they are also often described or speculated to be physically stronger and superior to the regular Astarted, as were the Thunder Warriors.
The physical superiority of the Custodes is suspect at best. The physical superiority of the Thunder Warriors is non-existent, and I don't think I've ever heard it speculated otherwise. The two Thunder Warriors faced in The Outcast Dead are obviously exceptional individuals and so shouldn't be considered the standard for Thunder Warriors (just as it would be a mistake to consider Amon the standard for Custodes or Sigismund the standard of a Space Marine).

However, a development of Thunder warriors into the Custodes seems like plausible scenario.
If you look at the super-soldier project like a product design project then the Thunder Warriors are a working prototype which then progresses to the Astartes, who are the production ready design, and then the Custodes are a refined version of the process for a limited run (the Primarchs are harder to fit into this model). In that sense the Custodes could be thought of as a development of the Thunder Warriors, but not in any greater sense than the Astartes are.
 

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@MEQ: TW are indeed stronger (dare I say many times stronger) than their Astartes counterparts. It isn't a case of exceptional individuals. They were much larger as well.

I'll dig up an excerpt from HH Betrayal.

Edit:

 

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Discussion Starter #5
The problem with placing the Custodes in a linear progression starting with the Thunder Warriors, with Astartes and Custodes being further improvements is that the Custodes have no obvious source of geneseed, the introduction of which really spelled out the character of the Astartes in terms of genetic loyalty to the legion and primarch.

Besides, as I said earlier, it'd make sense for the Emperor to retain a cadre of martially superior warriors for his own personal bodyguard. What is the purpose and result of the supposed furthering of the Astartes into the Custodes, when the Thunder Warriors are demonstrably better at fighting than the Astartes?
 

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The problem with placing the Custodes in a linear progression starting with the Thunder Warriors, with Astartes and Custodes being further improvements is that the Custodes have no obvious source of geneseed, the introduction of which really spelled out the character of the Astartes in terms of genetic loyalty to the legion and primarch.

Besides, as I said earlier, it'd make sense for the Emperor to retain a cadre of martially superior warriors for his own personal bodyguard. What is the purpose and result of the supposed furthering of the Astartes into the Custodes, when the Thunder Warriors are demonstrably better at fighting than the Astartes?
The Thunder warriors were meant to fail. Their only use was to conquer Terra, and nothing else. They were meant to start deteriorating and to ultimately die. They were the first steps in astartes creation. The astartes were more refined than the Thunder Warriors ever could be by design, though this obviously lead to some sacrifices such as strength.

Also, The Emperor himself culled the Thunder Warriors. He betrayed them.
 

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TWs were the prototype SMs. They took normal humans and improved/modified them to create super soldiers.

Custodes were the result of a completely different process. They were bred instead of modified. Unfortunately the process was so complicated and took so long that it was deemed unsuitable to build an army to conquer first Terra and then the galaxy.

By all accounts, the Custodes were created long before even the primarchs. Some of them have earned so many names it would have taken many centuries of service to get them. It would make sense that the first thing he would create is a praetorian guard to accompany him in his conquest of Terra.

The TWs were pretty crude rip offs of the Custodes created to achieve short term goals, which they did quite successfully. However, the scale of his ultimate plan meant he had to refine and improve the process to create more long lived and durable warriors.
 

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I always wondered...why the Emperor killed them or engineered them to die?

I mean, while not as refined as astartes, they would have made an awesome addition to the Great Crusade army...
 

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I always wondered...why the Emperor killed them or engineered them to die?

I mean, while not as refined as astartes, they would have made an awesome addition to the Great Crusade army...
I seem to remember something about it being far more heroic for them all to have fallen to ensure the final battle to unify Terra ended in victory for E.
 

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The Custodes think individually and sometimes prepare alone unlike the Astartes who hold brotherhood in high regard i know little about the Thunder Warriors but seeing as they seemed to act alone, maybe that was placed into the mindset of the Custodes.

In Outcast Dead the Thunder Warrior they come against is a criminal overlord and hates the Emperor with all he is, seeing as the Emperor culled them at the end of the war it is hardly surprising that they felt this way about a man they had loyally served and followed without question.

I can't see the Emperor taking any survivours and turning them into Custodes, although i have to wonder it is stated that Constantin Valdor was his closest friend and longest serving warrior....was Valdor a Thunder Warrior that was the exception to the rule?
 

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They were bred instead of modified
I think they were vat-grown using the genetic material of selected bloodlines.

Saying they were "bred" kinda makes it sound like they were bred like how the Bene Gesserit bred the Kwisatz Haderach. The custodes definitely weren't born from normal male-female sexual reproduction, they were grown from scratch using the best genetic material available.

they are also often described or speculated to be physically stronger and superior to the regular Astarted, as were the Thunder Warriors
The TW were stronger and faster by a bit...but the Astartes more than made up for that with superior unit cohesion, tactical aptitude, mental stability, physical stability/longevity...I think the Astartes were even easier to mass-produce than the TW were. It seems that the TW fought much like how the WE did while buzzed on nails.

Astartes fight as an army of soldiers, whereas the TW probably fight more like a mob of berserkers (even scarier than the WE). The former would be much better at completing well-defined mission objectives while keeping collateral damage within acceptable parameters. The latter would be better at just destroying everything (like the WE).

It would be kinda cool if the WE under Angron are seen by other legions as a regression to the mindless savagery of the TW.
 

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The custodes definitely weren't born from normal male-female sexual reproduction, they were grown from scratch using the best genetic material available.
They were modified humans actually who were supporting the Emperor since the Pre-Unification days. Like how Kor Phaeron was augmented.

The TW were stronger... by a bit
By a lot. See my previous post. Probably even faster as well.

We don't know how they fought so maybe they were lone wolves like the Custodians or fought like a team.

We do know the Astartes had other advantages like longevity, belchers gland, etc.

Astartes fight as an army of soldiers, whereas the TW probably fight more like a mob of berserkers (even scarier than the WE). The former would be much better at completing well-defined mission objectives while keeping collateral damage within acceptable parameters. The latter would be better at just destroying everything (like the WE).

It would be kinda cool if the WE under Angron are seen by other legions as a regression to the mindless savagery of the TW.
In regards to the WE:

 

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I always wondered...why the Emperor killed them or engineered them to die?

I mean, while not as refined as astartes, they would have made an awesome addition to the Great Crusade army...
It comes down to what purpose you have for something.

In the military, very often you read about generals talking about what they need now versus what they will need twenty-five years from now. For instance, some generals were advocating funding comparatively primitive aircraft to provide close air support in Afghanistan - since that was the war at hand - as opposed to the next generation of jet fighters that would serve us for the next 30-40 years.

When the Emperor developed the Thunder Warriors, his priority was to consolidate his rule over Terra, which would enable him to press with really important projects like the Golden Throne and the Primarchs. Who knows why the Thunder Warriors are doomed to die. It doesn't necessarily need to be a "kill switch" like the Replicants in 'BladeRunner'. It might be something as simple as (comparatively) cheap and expedient design: the same process that makes them super-huge and super-strong also makes them psychotic and burn out within X years. Because the Emperor just needs them as a stop-gap measure for a specific job and doesn't want to focus too much attention or too many resources to them, he doesn't bother to solve the problem.

In this sense, the Thunder Warriors become a victim of the Emperor's extremely macro-level morality: the survival of the species is what matters, not individual atrocities or deceptions. Ironically, Arik Taranis seems to get this.

The Legiones Astartes were probably as close to the apogee of the "super-soldier" program that the Emperor is implied to have been carrying out since long before the Thunder Warriors (see 'The Outcast Dead'). Like the Thunder Warriors, they are a program meant to make superhuman soldiers en masse. A Chapter is not started until the right amount of Gene-seed has been cultivated. Then, you have a large number of pre-teens and teens undergoing several years of implantation, indoctrination, and training.

By contrast, the Adeptus Custodes appear to be not just a refined process... but an individualized process.
 

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Source: Blood Games
 

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The problem with placing the Custodes in a linear progression starting with the Thunder Warriors, with Astartes and Custodes being further improvements is that the Custodes have no obvious source of geneseed, the introduction of which really spelled out the character of the Astartes in terms of genetic loyalty to the legion and primarch.

What is the purpose and result of the supposed furthering of the Astartes into the Custodes, when the Thunder Warriors are demonstrably better at fighting than the Astartes?
In Outcast Dead the Thunder Warrior they come against is a criminal overlord and hates the Emperor with all he is, seeing as the Emperor culled them at the end of the war it is hardly surprising that they felt this way about a man they had loyally served and followed without question.
Like the Thunder Warriors, they are a program meant to make superhuman soldiers en masse. A Chapter is not started until the right amount of Gene-seed has been cultivated. Then, you have a large number of pre-teens and teens undergoing several years of implantation, indoctrination, and training.

By contrast, the Adeptus Custodes appear to be not just a refined process... but an individualized process.
In Deliverance Lost, the process for creating the Primarchs is described as starting with a pure genetic sample/template that is then customized for each Primarch based on the designs of the Emperor. In both Horus Rising and The First Heretic, we get pictures of the gene seed for the Astares Legions being developed in the labs in the Himalays as the Primarchs are growing in their incubation tanks, customized to each Primarch. At least in The First Heretic, Ingethel indicates that loyalty and the brotherhood/team spirit is one of the traits engineered into the gene seed during its creation... but since he's a demon of Chaos, it could have just been smoke.

I think, since the creation of the Custodes doesn't seem to be spelled out anywhere, that they were the original template for the Legions Astares gene seed process. It would make sense that they were created as the Primarch project was proceeding, then their method was simply applied to the cusomized Primarch genetic materials. From the timing, it also would explain why they were around before the legions and possibly in existence at the same time as the Thunder Warriors, although there's nothing indicating they were outside of the extremely long name of Constantin Valdor by the time the Heresy came around.

Gothik, in reading and reviewing The Outcast Dead, Arik Taranis is resigned to what the Emperor had to do and holds no grudges against him, in fact I think it spells that out fairly explicitly. I don't mean that he has ANY loyalty to the Emperor, disliking what he did, but understanding why.
 

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@MEQ: TW are indeed stronger (dare I say many times stronger) than their Astartes counterparts. It isn't a case of exceptional individuals. They were much larger as well.
I'm still wary of saying that they are uniformly stronger than the Astartes. I'm not sure of the context of your quote (I really do have to get me that book) but it seems as though the Thunder Warriors were defending a stronghold from the Hounds. Mentions are made of "choke-points" and "defense posts" directly in conjunction with the bodies. To me, the fact that a defender at such a position was able to take out three-four attackers isn't really indicative of greater strength.

What is the purpose and result of the supposed furthering of the Astartes into the Custodes, when the Thunder Warriors are demonstrably better at fighting than the Astartes?
I definitely don't think it's a fair assessment to say that the Thunder Warriors are better fighters than the Astartes. Despite basically fighting regular humans the Thunder Warriors took longer to conquer Terra than most Legions spent in any one system so their efficacy is questionable at best.

Others have already answered why you'd design a weapon to fail.

They were modified humans actually who were supporting the Emperor since the Pre-Unification days. Like how Kor Phaeron was augmented.
The quote you provide in support of this actually contradicts it, and I've never heard this before. If this was the case wouldn't that get mentioned when a large number of humans were post-converted into near-Astartes? Additionally the post-converted are noted several times to below (if only slightly) the level of a proper Astartes, Custodes are above that level.




Source: Blood Games
"Provided his gene-source" sounds more like "provided a genetic template" than "gave birth to and raised me" making it sound more like the Custodes are vat-grown from modified genetic templates rather than modified either before puberty (for Astartes) or afterwards (post-converted marines).
 

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I agree with MEQ and Darkblade on this one. At best the Thunder Warriors might have been the predecessors to the Astartes, who in turn were the trial genetics for inhancement to further create the Custodes. So little is known about the Custodes, as it probably should be, in order to get a full understanding of there heritage.

Then again so much is shrouded in mystery within the Imperium we as readers/gamers can only speculate what the minds of GW and Novel writers will create next.
 

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I think, since the creation of the Custodes doesn't seem to be spelled out anywhere, that they were the original template for the Legions Astares gene seed process.
With respect... I think that's kind of a reach.

I don't doubt that the same kind of knowledge as was applied to the Primarchs, and the Emperor's super-soldier programs in general, was also used to create the Custodes. I doubt, though, that the Primarch/Astartes program and the Adeptus Custodes program are related - except, again, for the loosest connections.

Cheers,
P.
 

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I think, since the creation of the Custodes doesn't seem to be spelled out anywhere, that they were the original template for the Legions Astares gene seed process. It would make sense that they were created as the Primarch project was proceeding, then their method was simply applied to the cusomized Primarch genetic materials.
No, the primarchs were the original template for the Astartes. In Deliverance Lost we see that after the primarchs were stolen the Emperor, after realizing that it would take too long to start the primarch project from scratch, came up with the idea of using all the research to develop the Astartes. It looks like they were actually an afterthought to the grand scheme that was the Primarch project.

At best the Thunder Warriors might have been the predecessors to the Astartes, who in turn were the trial genetics for inhancement to further create the Custodes.
The Custodes were around long before the Astartes, and even the primarchs, so that's not the case.
 
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