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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I ask this question as I like to debate Kharn vs Vader more than a few times, and I realized something. Other than direct statements of how good he is, what real Martial Art or Weapon Mastery does he have? By that what description is there for him or any Space Marine?

Let me put it another way, Star Wars. Fleshed out universe, and in it the Jedi or special fighting arts of races are detailed, and laid out. Much like Battle Fleet Gothic or 40K ship specs, there seems to be very few references to the fighting arts of 40K factions other than Eldar. I read a few Eldar books, and they detail the Aspects fighting styles, and tactics. Even the Orks we know they have no real detailed skill, but cunning and brute force to their natural skill. However in Space Marine books we get little of that. All I read is how good they are at fighting and such, but no real significant details, and any Video Game/Comics with Space Marines show pretty much the same brutal Mid-Evil Knight style fighting.

Another example comes to mind is Lucious the Eternal. I seen and read Lucious skill with a blade, very fencing like, quick strikes, and elegant. Thats it, and all I get. Most sword arts are decribed this way, and rarely do well against brute force attack that Lucious weathers just fine. :nono:

Anyway, what references, knowledge, ect is there really on Space Marines? Do I assume Space Wolves are really no more skilled than crappy fighting vikings? That World Eaters are the same as Jason Vorheese movie slasher attacks? That Lucious, the greatest swordsmen ever is simply another French style fencer?

Anyway, any help to wrap my head around this will help.
 

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I'm not sure why GW has never expanded on the martial arts disciplines in the 40k universe.

I'm sure there ARE martial arts. Considering how "in the weeds" a lot of the background details are it's doubly surprising that they haven't been mentioned.

In the case of Lucius, he very likely is a something akin to a fencing master . . . Only he uses a sabre. ><

As for other marines and other races . . . I'm sure the Eldar have many ancient martial arts add integral parts of the warrior paths. Marines probably have a straightforward and efficient way of fighting which leverages both their prodigious strength and the weight and power of their armor. Just as a horse archer uses his speed and position in the saddle to fight marines would leverage their strength and power.

I imagine it would be a singularly brutal form of combat.
 

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Rattlehead
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The shoulder guard ripped from the corpse of a Crimson Fists veteran was a particularly pleasant recollection. They'd fought hand to hand, an uncomplicated brawl of fury against fury, gauntlets pounding cracks in each others armour until Talos had managed to crush the other warrior's windpipe. Once the loyalist Astartes was strangled into unconsciousness, Talos had broken his spine and smashed his skull open against the hull of First Claw's waiting Land Raider.
From Soul Hunter - unarmed combat between two Astartes.

Another fight scene is detailed in Void Stalker, much longer and more detailed, between initially a Company Champion with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield against four Chaos Space Marines; broken down, they rush him in a scrum to push him backwards and/or knock him down, but he resists their efforts because of his tower shield and artificer armour, after he makes broad sweeps with the hammer and quick bashes with the shield as his fighting style. The Chaos Marines have various 'styles' (generally revolving around clawing his shield out of his hands, trying to get knives into weak points of the armour, pack tactics), but as is mentioned throughout the series, most of the Night Lords (at least in this warband) are not particularly skilled or good at fighting in duels. They kill as murderers, very brutal street-fighting kinds of moves, without any real artistry. It depends on the Chapter - Blood Angels are mentioned to be pretty fast, and they are typically excellent swordsmen, as are the Emperor's Children. Salamanders are more ponderous, not often striking but making a mess when they do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
From Soul Hunter - unarmed combat between two Astartes.

Another fight scene is detailed in Void Stalker, much longer and more detailed, between initially a Company Champion with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield against four Chaos Space Marines; broken down, they rush him in a scrum to push him backwards and/or knock him down, but he resists their efforts because of his tower shield and artificer armour, after he makes broad sweeps with the hammer and quick bashes with the shield as his fighting style. The Chaos Marines have various 'styles' (generally revolving around clawing his shield out of his hands, trying to get knives into weak points of the armour, pack tactics), but as is mentioned throughout the series, most of the Night Lords (at least in this warband) are not particularly skilled or good at fighting in duels. They kill as murderers, very brutal street-fighting kinds of moves, without any real artistry. It depends on the Chapter - Blood Angels are mentioned to be pretty fast, and they are typically excellent swordsmen, as are the Emperor's Children. Salamanders are more ponderous, not often striking but making a mess when they do.
In the Night Lord books I remember a very detailed Hand to Hand fight as well of a Calidus Assassin, written with insane details of skill showings, facing the Space Marine Talos. Talos new enough of her skill and style that he would die in a straight up fight, so opt to use tricks like Acid Spit and blowing her ear drums out with his third lung usage in a scream. He won not by skill, but tactics.

I also remember a fight now in Soul Drinkers (first book) where Sarpedon (the Chief Librarian) fights a Inquisitor right hand man. The IQ in training used a absurdly large sword with gravity generators built in to allow a style of fighting with gravity defying high attacks and strikes. Sarpedon clearly notes this through the whole battle, and mentions he can only parry these attacks for so long, before finding the right counter.

Showed the ability to assess style and skill, as well determine a weakness in unique styles for skill. But that was just the Chapter Master/Chief Librarian Sarpedon.
 

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Rattlehead
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In the Night Lord books I remember a very detailed Hand to Hand fight as well of a Calidus Assassin, written with insane details of skill showings, facing the Space Marine Talos. Talos new enough of her skill and style that he would die in a straight up fight, so opt to use tricks like Acid Spit and blowing her ear drums out with his third lung usage in a scream. He won not by skill, but tactics.
I always thought that fight was a bit of a disappointment. Yeah, Talos was cool and all, but Bowden hyped up M'Shen so much, saying about how deadly Callidus Assassins were and how she could kill Talos in a blink with her bare hands, but then she didn't actually deal him any lasting injuries. Yes, she'd just lost a hand fighting off a bunch of Eldar, but all the way through the fight the book keeps extolling the virtues of the Callidus Temple and how superior they are to an Astartes. Still useful for determining technique, after a fashion, and I'd quite forgotten the scene so thanks for bringing it up :victory:

I also remember a fight now in Soul Drinkers (first book) where Sarpedon (the Chief Librarian) fights a Inquisitor right hand man. The IQ in training used a absurdly large sword with gravity generators built in to allow a style of fighting with gravity defying high attacks and strikes. Sarpedon clearly notes this through the whole battle, and mentions he can only parry these attacks for so long, before finding the right counter.

Showed the ability to assess style and skill, as well determine a weakness in unique styles for skill. But that was just the Chapter Master/Chief Librarian Sarpedon.
I think that's a pretty good scene in terms of how a highly trained Marine considers the fight ahead a la the bits in Sherlock Holmes films where he maps out the fight ahead, but I'd hesitate to say it's typical of Astartes in general. I think there are more of the brutal-but-efficient, reactive fights in the Black Library books now (the only one that springs to mind is in Know No Fear, when the Ultramarine pulps a Word Bearer Terminator's skull with the haft of the company standard).

Ultimately, varies on a Chapter-by-Chapter basis and an individual basis within that (going back to the Night Lords series, it's clearly stated that Xarl is the most skilled melee combatant among them, but the others are left fairly vague).
 

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If you read into the Lore of the Astartes, and Warhammer 40k in general, the writers have induced just about any form of Martial Discipline used in real life today. I have read of Space Wolves who practice in the Ring a form similar to MMA and Boxing. Guillimans Sons always strike me as the European fencer type, prefering to practice precision rather than brute force. If you read the 3 Omnibus's of the "Ghost" series many of Gaunt's men, Rawne in particular, always have fights where their martial styles are recorded in detail; down to the boot knife.

This is really one of the area that demonstrates the diversity of the 40k universe, and also the power that a 40k writers has. It really is "He said...She Said," type stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think that's a pretty good scene in terms of how a highly trained Marine considers the fight ahead a la the bits in Sherlock Holmes films where he maps out the fight ahead, but I'd hesitate to say it's typical of Astartes in general. I think there are more of the brutal-but-efficient, reactive fights in the Black Library books now (the only one that springs to mind is in Know No Fear, when the Ultramarine pulps a Word Bearer Terminator's skull with the haft of the company standard).

Ultimately, varies on a Chapter-by-Chapter basis and an individual basis within that (going back to the Night Lords series, it's clearly stated that Xarl is the most skilled melee combatant among them, but the others are left fairly vague).
After a little reading too in The First Heretic again, its very well shown a few times that Space Marines and Custodes comparisons made by by Argel Tal (7rd Company Captain for Word Bearers) who sparred many times with a Custode (name escapes me). In the sparring Argel, who was considered a Close Combat Specialist, and a Captain at that lost every fight in short span of time every time.

I cannot remember the exact statement, but I know it was stated to something like Space Marines were more like Wolfs working together for a kill, but Custodes were Lions that did not work as well together, but can kill any lone Space Marine in skill alone easy. That Space Marine training was suited for War, and Custodes were suited for Fighting.

Im looking for the exact quote now, but it really speak volumes of Marines skills in general. While proficient fighters, its seems they are more train to be Military Warriors than supreme skill fighters. Opting for tactics, and working together over dueling 1 on 1 skill.
 

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Rattlehead
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After a little reading too in The First Heretic again, its very well shown a few times that Space Marines and Custodes comparisons made by by Argel Tal (7rd Company Captain for Word Bearers) who sparred many times with a Custode (name escapes me). In the sparring Argel, who was considered a Close Combat Specialist, and a Captain at that lost every fight in short span of time every time.

I cannot remember the exact statement, but I know it was stated to something like Space Marines were more like Wolfs working together for a kill, but Custodes were Lions that did not work as well together, but can kill any lone Space Marine in skill alone easy. That Space Marine training was suited for War, and Custodes were suited for Fighting.

Im looking for the exact quote now, but it really speak volumes of Marines skills in general. While proficient fighters, its seems they are more train to be Military Warriors than supreme skill fighters. Opting for tactics, and working together over dueling 1 on 1 skill.
I know the passage you're on about, yes - didn't one of the Custodes account for himself admirably when he decides he's had enough of Lorgar's shit at a council meeting and kills a couple of Captains before he gets taken down?

I'd say you're entirely correct in your assumption that Astartes are soldiers (and due to their sheer resilience and strength, natural brawlers), not duelists.
 

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Lorgar's shit at a council meeting and kills a couple of Captains before he gets taken down?
It was on Cadia during a ritual, pretty sure he kills only one or two Word Bearers before aiming at Lorgar and demanding he submit before being taken down.
 

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I'm not sure why GW has never expanded on the martial arts disciplines in the 40k universe.

I'm sure there ARE martial arts. Considering how "in the weeds" a lot of the background details are it's doubly surprising that they haven't been mentioned.

In the case of Lucius, he very likely is a something akin to a fencing master . . . Only he uses a sabre. ><

As for other marines and other races . . . I'm sure the Eldar have many ancient martial arts add integral parts of the warrior paths. Marines probably have a straightforward and efficient way of fighting which leverages both their prodigious strength and the weight and power of their armor. Just as a horse archer uses his speed and position in the saddle to fight marines would leverage their strength and power.

I imagine it would be a singularly brutal form of combat.
All martial arts were created to defend against oppressors.

Astartes have no oppressors so martial arts doesn't come into play with them.

The bodyguards (I forget their names, black something) of the Imperial commander in the book Legion and John Grammaticus however are good examples of martial arts in WH40k.
 

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Rattlehead
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Mkvenner from Gaunt's Ghosts is a master in the art of 'cwlwhl', an ancient Tanith martial art that revolves around the use of a spear (or lasrifle, or quarterstaff with a bayonet taped to the end, or simply a block of wood) and is very fancy, lots of spinning and turns and high kicks.
 
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