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Crusading forces of the Adeptus Astartes
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Old 17 Nov 2005, 19:17   #1 (permalink)
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Default Crusading forces of the Adeptus Astartes

There are roughly one thousand Space Marine Chapters in the Imperium, each with approximately one thousand Battle Brothers; a million warriors ready to fight for mankind.

The doctrines by which these forces wage war is compiled in a tome known as the Codex Astartes, written by Robute Guilliman ten millenia ago.

However, not all forces adhere to this Codex. Some like the Space Wolves ignore it completely, whilst others use it as a starting point for their own organisation.

One of the most common non-Codex formations is the Crusade. Favoured by the Black Templars, and a few other Crusade Chapters, these forces are formed around cores of Initiates, adhering to tenets and dogma as old as the Imperium itself.

Many Chapters will declare themselves Crusade Chapters for a limited time. Examples include the Blood Hawks, who began a Crusade of Founding upon their creation in order to earn a homeworld, and the Grey Ravens, whose Crusade of Penitence led to the Chapter's redemption, and its demise.

When a Crusade is formed, a Captain will declare himself Marshal of the Crusade. The Marshal then appoints one or more Castellains, who act as lieutenants. If the Chapter has an Emperor's Champion, he will almost always join in the Crusade. If not, or if the Champion is unavailable, his role will be symbolically filled by a Company Champion, referred to as a Custodian.

Although the Crusade may bear many similarities to a Codex force initially, time and conflict will weather the force, and it is only a matter of time before fresh recruits are needed. These Neophytes will usually be recruited and trained as the Crusade presses on, and learn the arts of war on the battlefield from their fellow Marines, as the Neophytes of old did.

It is also worth noting that even amongst Codex Chapters, Librarians rarely fight within a Crusade. This is widely believed to be due to the natural distrust of Psykers, or perhaps because they had little position within the Legio Astartes. Whatever the reason, it is a trait that is found throughout many Cruasade Armies.

Most forces will eventually return to their Codex doctrine. However, for some, the Crusade is their chosen method of war, and all they will ever aspire to. As stated, the Black Templars are on a permanent Crusade, and the Marines of The Emperor's Vengeance launch continual Crusades, almost always led by the Third Company (sometimes called the Company of Faith).
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