They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me.
|~ The Emperor of Mankind|
Fanart for the Adeptus Astartes in power armor: Original Drawing: Adam Smith, Colored By: MajesticChicken (DeviantArt)
The Adeptus Astartes, better known as Space Marines, are foremost amongst the defenders of humanity, the greatest of the Emperor of Mankind's warriors. They are barely human at all, but instead superhuman; having been made superior in all respects to a normal man by a harsh regime of genetic modification, psycho-conditioning and rigorous training. Space Marines are untouched by plague or any natural disease and can suffer wounds that would kill a lesser being several times over, and live to fight again. Clad in ancient Power Armor and wielding the most potent weapons known to Man, the Space Marines are terrifying foes and their devotion to the Emperor and the Imperium of Man is unyielding. They are the God-Emperor's Angels of Death, and they know no fear.
The Astartes are physically stronger, far more resilient and often mentally far removed from the lot of most normal human beings. In the presence of the Astartes, most people feel a combination of awe and fear, and many cultures on the more primitive worlds simply worship them outright as demigods or angels of the God-Emperor made flesh. They should feel so, for many Space Marines feel little compassion for those they have sometimes termed "mortals" in comparison to themselves, seeing the very people they were created to protect as little more than obstacles to a more efficient eradication of the Imperium's enemies. This is an attitude sometimes taken by whole Chapters. They see normal humans as frail, weak creatures given to the follies of temptation, avarice, greed, lust and cowardice—all emotions they rarely feel, if ever. Yet there are some Astartes who remember why they were created by the Emperor, who avoid the trap of hubris which the Space Marines are so prone to and which has seduced so many of their number to serve the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. They are the final guardians of Mankind, the saviours and last resort. They were intended not to lead humanity, but to defend it, sometimes even from itself. At the heart of that mission lies the limitless compassion the Emperor extended to every man and woman in the galaxy when he willingly chose to condemn himself to more than 10,000 years of imprisonment within a dying prison of flesh for their sake. Some Astartes sneer at compassion, seeing it as one more human weakness that has been purged from their superior bodies and minds. But the wisest of the Space Marines know that in the end compassion is their only salvation, as it is for all men. In that, they have proven themselves to be fully human.
Potential Space Marines are usually, but not always, recruited from the worlds where a Chapter has established its Fortress-Monastery, although some Chapters are known to recruit from a collection of different worlds in an area of space that they protect or frequent. Recruiting methods vary from Chapter to Chapter. Some select their Neophytes from feral tribes roaming the surface of inhospitable worlds, while others draw upon eager volunteers who have been groomed from birth to become an Astartes. Still others watch and kidnap potential warriors, turning them into Astartes whether they will it or not. Whatever the method, all Space Marine Chapters will only accept those who successfully pass the grueling initiation trials and prove themselves worthy of becoming a Space Marine.
However a man becomes a Space Marine does not matter: once his body has been forged into that of a transhuman Astartes, he must forever stand apart from the people to whom he was once kin and who he is now sworn to protect. Once a man becomes a Space Marine, he is no longer mortal; his genetic heritage is now that of the Emperor Himself, and a spark of the same divine majesty flows in his veins.
There are approximately 1,000 Space Marine Chapters active in the Imperium of Man at any one time. A list to most of them can be found here. This number has stayed relatively constant since the Second Founding in the 31st Millennium following the Horus Heresy when the First Founding Space Marine Legions were broken up. However, this number remains far from exact and may fluctuate widely depending on the time period and the circumstances confronting the Imperium.
Powers and Stats
Tier: 8-C physically. Varies from 8-C to High 6-C with weaponry | At least 8-C, likely higher physically. Up to High 6-C with weaponry | Unknown physically. High 6-C with weaponry | High 6-C
Name: Space Marine (Adeptus Astartes), Angel of Death (common nickname)
Origin: Warhammer 40,000
Gender: All Male (The process of transformation from human to Space Marine does not work on women, as it is coded from the Emperor's genes)
Age: 60–80 years (the youngest Tactical Marines), hundreds of years old (veterans and high-ranking members), Some Dreadnoughts are thousands of years old
Height: 7'0" to 8'0" (Average around 7'6") | A head or so taller | Significantly taller | Around 5.4 to 6 meters (An average Dreadnought is around three times the size of a man)
Classification: Genetically Enhanced Warrior (They are no longer classified as humans), Warrior Monk, Elite Super Soldier of the Imperium
Powers and Abilities: Superhuman Physical Characteristics, Enhanced Senses, Information Analysis (Can accurately analyze any chemical he eats/tastes and break them down if required), Immortality (Types 1 and 3), Regeneration (High-Low), Limited Memory Manipulation (Can eat creatures/people and absorb part of their memories from their DNA/RNA), Acid Manipulation (Can spit blinding and extremely corrosive acid that can melt away all organic and some metallic material), Technology Manipulation (Their Black Carapace allows them to directly connect their nerves to specialized machines, chief among them their Power Armor), Self-Sustenance (Type 1), Resistance to Poison Manipulation, Motion Sickness, White Noise, Sudden Flashes, Sonic Attacks, Extreme Radiation Manipulation, Heat Manipulation, Telepathy, Soul Manipulation and Possession, Forcefield Creation, Weapon Mastery (Even the weakest and most inexperienced Tactical Marine has been honed for years in a brutal training regime to be able to use a vast multitude of different weapons), Energy Projection (Via various weapons), Martial Arts (Trained in a vast majority of ways of hand-to-hand combat, and presumably vastly more masterful over them than any regular human) | Previous abilities augmented by Terminator Armor | All previous abilities vastly augmented by Centurion Armor | All previous abilities drastically improved by the Dreadnought walker, Large Size (Type 0)
Attack Potency: Building level physically (A standard Space Marine can rip open tanks, crack ceramite with his fists, and break every bone in a normal human's body with an incredibly casual blow. They can also harm other Space Marines with their physical blows). Varies from Building level to Large Island level with weaponry (Bolters are capable of reducing other large humanoids to a bloody mist. Concussion missiles can easily tear through barricades made to withstand concentrated fire from numerous tanks. Plasma weaponry fires superheated matter with heat akin to a solar flare. Lascannons are even more powerful than most plasma weaponry and are capable of vaporizing tanks) | At least Building level naturally (Terminator Armor enhances the marine's already impressive strength). Up to Large Island level with weaponry (Capable of carrying all the most deadly weapons which normal Marines can wield with even more ease) | Unknown naturally (Vastly superior to most other Space Marines physically, though the exact extent is unknown). Large Island level with weaponry (Assault Centurions have Siege Drills on each arm capable of tearing through powerful barricades and even Land Raiders. Devestator Centurions are armed with some of the most powerful long range weapons available to ground forces) | Large Island level (Dreadnoughts are mounted with some of the most powerful weapons available to ground troops, capable of punching straight through foes of similar durability with its power fist)
Speed: Subsonic. At least Hypersonic+ combat speed and reactions (Can easily swat hypersonic projectiles out of the air at close range, such as a Dark Eldar Splinter projectile, which fire similarly to Railguns). Likely much higher for older, more skilled veterans (Skilled marines have been capable of processing information and reacting within nanoseconds along with avoiding lightning strikes) | Superhuman (While still fast, Terminators are not as mobile as regular marines). At least Hypersonic+ combat speed and reactions. Likely much higher for older, more skilled veterans | Subsonic movement speed. At least Hypersonic+ combat speed and reactions. Likely much higher for older, more skilled veterans | Unknown movement speed. At least Hypersonic+, likely much higher combat speed and reactions (Dreadnoughts are almost all incredibly old, granting them improved reactions and immeasurable battle experience)
Lifting Strength: At least Class 5 (Even the weakest Marines can carry 1,350 kg, lift 2,700 kg, and push 5,400 kg) to Class 10 (Stronger Marines can rip apart tank hatches and push armoured vehicles with their strength) | At least Class 25, likely higher (Above both baseline Marines and Tech Marines, which can lift 14 Ton Drop Pods from the ground) | Higher | At least Class 50 (At least comparable to noticeably strong Marine characters)
Striking Strength: Building Class (Can rip off the top of certain Imperial vehicles. Can hurt each other with physical blows) | At least Building Class (Can punch a nearly half-ton Astartes over the horizon) | Unknown, but likely higher (Stronger than Terminators to an unknown extent) | Large Island Class (Capable of punching through reinforced barricades and killing beings that can tank plasma attacks with physical blows)
Durability: Building level (Grenades far more powerful than ones from the modern day can't even scratch them. Able to survive entry into a planet's atmosphere with only minor injury. A Marine covered in thousands of tons of rubble managed to dig his way out without injury), likely Large Island level with shield and/or forcefield (Iron Halos are capable of withstanding Lascannon fire and plasma shots for brief periods of time) | Likely Large Island level (While plasma weaponry still melts through the armor, the marine inside often survives. Able to survive being stomped on by a Warlord-class Battle Titan) | Large Island level (More durable than Terminators) | Large Island level (Superior to the protection granted by Terminator Armor. Capable of shrugging off shots from plasma weaponry)
Stamina: Superhuman (A Space Marine can remain active in combat for at least 2 weeks, can live without food even longer, can also run for days on end without a break and generally ignores non-lethal wounds. They are rarely tired or bored) | Superhuman | Superhuman | Likely limitless
Range: Extended melee range due to them having larger limbs, few kilometers with the Bolters, varies with their other weapons | Extended melee range, few kilometers with Storm Bolters, varies with their other weapons | Several meters due to size, varies with their other weapons | Several meters due to its size, varies with other weapons
Standard Equipment: Power Armor, Auspex, Bolter & Combat Knife or Chainsword & Bolt Pistol, Grenades and other equipment | Terminator Armor, Storm Bolter, Power Fist, Power Sword (Sergeant only), Lightning Claws (Assault Terminators only) | Centurion Armor, Twin-linked Flamer (Assault Centurions only), Ironclad Assault Launcher (Assault Centurions only, Two Siege Drills (Assault Centurions only), Twin-linked Heavy Bolter (Devestator Centurions only), Hurricane Bolter (Devestator Centurions only) | Super dense ceramite shell, Multi-Melta, Power Fist with built-in Storm Bolter, Searchlight, Smoke Launcher, Extra Armor (Ironclad only), Seismic Hammer with built-in Meltagun (Ironclad only)
Optional Equipment: Artificer Armor, Iron Halo, Jump Pack, Hand Flamer, Inferno Pistol, Plasma Pistol, Grav-Pistol, Storm Bolter, Power Sword, Gladius, Power Fist, Lightning Claw, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Combat Shield, Combi-weapons (fixed onto the Bolter), Shotgun, Flamer, Plasma Gun, Melta Gun, Grav-Gun, Stalker Bolter, Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher, Heavy Flamer, Plasma Cannon, Multi-Melta, Lascannon, Grav-Cannon (Devastator Centurions only), Omniscope (Centurion Sergeants only)
Intelligence: Gifted. Space Marines have enhanced intelligence, great deal of implanted knowledge combined with decades to centuries of fighting experience on worst battlefields of the galaxy. They are one of the best combatants known in the verse with a single company capable of conquering an entire planet.
Weaknesses: None notable | Slightly lower speed and maneuverability due to the extreme bulk of the armor | Same as before | Vulnerable to anti-vehicle weaponry, such as Haywire weapons and EMP grenades
Key: Power Armor | Terminator Armor | Centurion Armor | Dreadnought
Note: This profile describes the average/baseline Space Marine from the Warhammer 40,000 franchise. Special characters tend to have better feats and power-scaling that makes them even stronger.
Note 2: For further information on the Adeptus Astartes and their capabilities, check this blog.