[WH 40K] Significance of the Gene Seed?

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[WH 40K] Significance of the Gene Seed?

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-07-20 08:24am

Beyond the need for new Space Marines, I remember reading that Perturabo sacrificed 400 Imperial Fists' gene seed for his ascension to Daemon Prince. Then I remember reading that Housou of the Iron Hands gave some of the captured gene seed to Abaddon as a kind of peace offering. Is there a significance beyond the use of gene seed to make new space marines? I don't get why the sacrifice of that much gene seed would warrant an ascension, unless gene seed is an incredibly nice dish to the Chaos Gods.
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Re: [WH 40K] Significance of the Gene Seed?

Post by Aaron » 2008-07-20 08:41am

Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Beyond the need for new Space Marines, I remember reading that Perturabo sacrificed 400 Imperial Fists' gene seed for his ascension to Daemon Prince.
Well besides the bit I have at the bottom, now the Fists are 400 men short permantly because they can't create new gene seed. Just recycle it.
Then I remember reading that Housou of the Iron Hands gave some of the captured gene seed to Abaddon as a kind of peace offering. Is there a significance beyond the use of gene seed to make new space marines?
Well now Abaddon can make more Chaos Marines. Chaos Legions can't make new seed anymore than the regular Chapters can. At least I haven't seen anything saying they can.
I don't get why the sacrifice of that much gene seed would warrant an ascension, unless gene seed is an incredibly nice dish to the Chaos Gods.
Besides the gene seed being made from the Primarchs and by extension the Emperor? Chaos opposes the Emperor, so they would be pretty happy about that.
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Re: [WH 40K] Significance of the Gene Seed?

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-07-20 08:46am

Cpl Kendall wrote:Besides the gene seed being made from the Primarchs and by extension the Emperor? Chaos opposes the Emperor, so they would be pretty happy about that.
Well sure, but they also corrupted some of the primarchs as well. So it makes me wonder why that gene seed is so special, beyond the gene seeds carried by the Chaos Space Marines themselves.
Well now Abaddon can make more Chaos Marines. Chaos Legions can't make new seed anymore than the regular Chapters can. At least I haven't seen anything saying they can.
Was there too much corruption of the gene seed that stopped them from making more? :?
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Post by Keevan_Colton » 2008-07-20 09:58am

You can get two progeniter glands from each marine you create....basically every marine lets you make two more if you get both bits back. You can also grow new gene seed.

The standard rules are that every chapter provides a small tithe of gene seed to the High Lords of Terra, which is inspected for mutation and which is also kept for use in selecting seed to found new chapters.

When a new founding is approved, a single specimen of gene seed is selected. It's then grown in vat grown servitors till there's enough for the inital founding of the chapter by the Adeptus Mechanicus,

This represents a lot of investment of time and effort, which is why gene seed is so valuable. The gift of it to chaos marines allows them to induct cultists into the ranks of marines, and it's also why Fabius Bile has a high standing, he's been working on his own ways of making marines. Demons value the sacrafice because it's something of particular worth.
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Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-07-20 10:07am

Keevan_Colton wrote:When a new founding is approved, a single specimen of gene seed is selected. It's then grown in vat grown servitors till there's enough for the inital founding of the chapter by the Adeptus Mechanicus,

This represents a lot of investment of time and effort, which is why gene seed is so valuable. The gift of it to chaos marines allows them to induct cultists into the ranks of marines, and it's also why Fabius Bile has a high standing, he's been working on his own ways of making marines. Demons value the sacrafice because it's something of particular worth.
Do they still grow the gene seed in the vat grown servitors if a chapter in question gets decimated? I recall at least one chapter had been almost annihilated.

Who's this Fabius Bile fellow anyhow? Is he responsible for the Demoncuabba (or whatever it was) that was in Honsou's fortress?
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Post by [R_H] » 2008-07-20 10:22am

Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:
Do they still grow the gene seed in the vat grown servitors if a chapter in question gets decimated? I recall at least one chapter had been almost annihilated.

Who's this Fabius Bile fellow anyhow? Is he responsible for the Demoncuabba (or whatever it was) that was in Honsou's fortress?
Bile was the Emperor's Children's head apothecary at the time of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. He was already (illicitly) tinkering with geneseed at the time of the virus bombing of Istvaan III.

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Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-07-20 10:25am

[R_H] wrote:Bile was the Emperor's Children's head apothecary at the time of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. He was already (illicitly) tinkering with geneseed at the time of the virus bombing of Istvaan III.
Oh him. Though beyond what was mentioned in Fulgrim, I don't know much else about him.
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Post by Darth Tanner » 2008-07-20 11:17am

Do they still grow the gene seed in the vat grown servitors if a chapter in question gets decimated?
Yes. The space wolves have been reduced to a single company (the other 11 being annihilated to the man all in one battle) at least three times in their history and the surviving company restored their numbers to full.
It's then grown in vat grown servitors till there's enough for the inital founding of the chapter by the Adeptus Mechanicus,
I thought a single company of an existing chapter would break away to form the core of the new chapter and that the 5% tithe given to the Adeptus Mechanicus was solely for checking for mutation. (I'm looking at you Raven Guard)

Don't the Chapters make their own gene seed for replacement marines and not the Mechanicus. If it is the mechanicus that seems to give the cog boys an awful lot of political power over the astartes.
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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-07-20 12:40pm

Five percent of all geneseed is tithed to Mars, where the Mechanicus implant it in surgically crippled people who are used as hosts to grow more geneseed. This guarantees getting two more geneseed from every host, meaning the Mechanicus have a stockpile of geneseed with which to found new chapters or assist the recovery of decimated ones.

Yes, this gives the Mechanicus a lot of power, but they have a ton of power anyway. It also binds each chapter closer to the Imperium and gives them a reservoir of geneseed outside of their chapter holdings that can be used to rebuild the chapter in case of a catastrophe.
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Post by NecronLord » 2008-07-20 12:46pm

Eh. The Raven Guard are fine. There's freakier than them - quasi-albinism and dark hair is well within human norms. Growing bigass fangs is not - see the Wolf Puppies, and some of the other chapters IIRC.

But yes, the tithe allows the Mechanicus to create new marines.
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Post by Falkenhayn » 2008-07-20 01:37pm

Sacrificing Geneseed is the same thing as marching Conquistadores to the top of the Great Pyramid and gifting their hearts to Quetzcoatl. Not only do your soldiers suck, but your god sucks for not protecting them, and now we're going to profane his creation by butchering his servants to empower our god. Christian theology dosen't put a lot of emphasis on organs, but they do in terms of mantaining the integrity of the corpse (cf, the Church's opposition to dissection). Geneseed, however, is the physical link between the Astartes, their Primarch, and the GEoM. Chaos Gods like a bit of theatre too.

Chaos has devised other means of creating SM (ie the Daemonculaba), but the success rates are pretty awful.
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Post by DocHorror » 2008-07-20 01:38pm

Darth Tanner wrote:
Do they still grow the gene seed in the vat grown servitors if a chapter in question gets decimated?
Yes. The space wolves have been reduced to a single company (the other 11 being annihilated to the man all in one battle) at least three times in their history and the surviving company restored their numbers to full.
To be honest considering that's over a period of 10,000 years its not that extra-ordinary a feat. I'd be worried if they couldn't make some kind of comeback over that time.
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Post by [R_H] » 2008-07-20 03:05pm

Falkenhayn wrote: Chaos has devised other means of creating SM (ie the Daemonculaba), but the success rates are pretty awful.
I thought they still had to use stolen geneseed (Imperial Fist) that they "liberated" when they besieged that citadel in Iron Warriors.

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Post by Falkenhayn » 2008-07-20 03:59pm

I'll crack my copy of Dead Sky, Black Sun tonight RH.

And Kendall, sorry for spitting back what you already said but all dressed up, I'll read more carefully in future.
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Post by [R_H] » 2008-07-20 04:17pm

Pardon me, that should be in "Storm of Iron", not "Iron Warriors". It's the Citadel of Hydra Cordatus.

Spoilers follow

page 24 wrote:Even though they dared not look at each other in his pres¬ence, the Warsmith could feel the hatred between Kroeger and the half-breed Honsou. The blood of Olympia flowed in his veins, but he had also been implanted with gene-seed ripped from the bodies of their ancient foes, the Imperial Fists. His blood was tainted with the seed of the corpse-emperor's lapdog, Rogal Dorn, and for that Kroeger would never forgive him. No matter that he had proven himself time and time again, some hatreds were carved on the heart. No matter that his dark deeds were at least the equal of Kroeger's.
page 128 wrote:'Answer me this then, Kelmaur. Why are we here? Why does the War-smith bid us attack this place? What drives us towards this
citadel with such haste and, more importantly, what is hap¬pening to the Warsmith?'
The sorcerer did not answer immediately and Forrix reac¬tivated his power fist. Kelmaur squirmed away, but not quickly enough. The Iron Warrior gripped his robes and dragged him to his feet.
'Speak!'
'I dare not!'
'You will tell me or you will die. Decide now/ snarled For¬rix, drawing back his fist.
'Gene-seed!' wailed Kelmaur, the words tumbling from his lips in a desperate rush. 'This citadel is a secret bastion of the Adeptus Mechanicus. They store and monitor the purity of the Adeptus Astartes' gene-seed here. There is a laborato-rium hidden beneath the citadel with enough genetic material to create legions of Space Marines! The Despoiler had given the task of its capture to the Warsmith in return for his ascension. If we are successful, the Warsmith ascends to daemonhood! If we fail, he will be destroyed, reduced to the mindless horror of spawndom, cursed to live forever as a writhing, mutated monstrosity/
Forrix lowered Kelmaur as the implications of such a prize sank in.
Gene-seed. The most precious resource in the galaxy. With such a prize, there would be no limit to the Despoiler's power and his Black Crusades would carve a new empire from the ashes of the Imperium. The scale of such a vision astounded even Forrix's jaded senses.
Daemonhood! To become a creature of almost limitless potential, with the power of the warp to call your own; to be able to mould reality to your own ends and become master of a million souls. Such a prize was worth any cost and For¬rix now understood the Warsmith's all-consuming need to break into the citadel. And if that meant sacrificing every warrior here to achieve those ends, then that was a small price to pay for immortality.
I believe the gene-seed that the Iron Warriors took from the Citadel is mentioned at the beginning of Dead Sky, Black Sun. I'll try to find my copy and find that bit

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Post by Darth Nostril » 2008-07-20 05:12pm

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Post by Cykeisme » 2008-07-20 07:16pm

The Adeptus Mechanicus does indeed perform the task of increasing gene seed stores, for the purpose of founding new Adeptus Astartes Chapters.

Note that in Storm of Iron, already discussed on this thread, the citadel at Hydra Cordatus is an Adeptus Mechanicus facility.

I do find some of the presented facts a bit odd, though.
Hydra Cordatus is stated to be one of only two AdMech geneseed repositories in the entire Imperium of Man, with the other being somewhere in the Segementum Solar (on Mars itself within the same solar system as Holy Terra, I believe).
If this is the case, why the hell is it defended only by a single regiment of Imperial Guard (no Astartes), and furthermore, why is it located so damn close to the Eye of Terror?!

Is it possible that the AdMech bigwigs on that world believe they are the only geneseed facility aside from Mars, while there are in fact a few others?
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-07-20 08:01pm

Hydra Cordatus: I believe the point of that was secrecy. When all is said and done, though, it was only througha combination of circumstances (including a high-up traitor, slow response of Imperial forces, etc.) that they failed.

I believe the other is on Terra in the direct control of the High Lords (its one of the few ways they exert control or loyalty over the Astartes, both by controlling the gene seed as well as by creating new Chapters. There's a reason why so many successor Chapters stem from the Ultramarines.)

Of course, the Chapters themselves have their own stockpiles of Gene seed (And I'd be surprised if they didn't make efforts to replicate their own) - I even recall vaguely in some sources that in wartime some Chapters (likely ones like the Black Templars) actually INCREASE their numbers beyond Codex Standard, so this probably means they need control of Gene Seed on their own.

Of course it doesn't really matter how many facilities they may or may not have. As noted before, the actual process to create gene seed isn't that hard, the only requirements being a suitable host and time (around 5 decades or so to create an entire Chapter's worth from a single gene seed, IIRC.) The actual speed will depend on how many hosts you have and how much gene seed you have. You can really set up anything like that wherever you want. In Angels of Darkness the Dark Assholes had some of theirs stolen by the Fallen (and Cypher), and they were protected by a bigass vault (A virus bomb) the planet's PDF forces, and six Space Marines.

I suspect the same is true of the CSM, although the efficiency of this could very well be hampered by the conditions of the warp (spontaneous mutation must be more common, and that could affect the purity/efficiency of the gene seed. Whether this matters to Chaos or not, I don't know.)

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Re: [WH 40K] Significance of the Gene Seed?

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-07-20 08:05pm

Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Beyond the need for new Space Marines, I remember reading that Perturabo sacrificed 400 Imperial Fists' gene seed for his ascension to Daemon Prince. Then I remember reading that Housou of the Iron Hands gave some of the captured gene seed to Abaddon as a kind of peace offering. Is there a significance beyond the use of gene seed to make new space marines? I don't get why the sacrifice of that much gene seed would warrant an ascension, unless gene seed is an incredibly nice dish to the Chaos Gods.
There are perhaps some other reasons for the significance of Gene Seed, and that largely stems from continuity. I believe that each Marine's Gene Seed incorporates elements of his own DNA, so that in essence part of the Space Marine himself survives in the Gene Seed (presumably the good qualities.) and these (I think) get passed on to successive generations. So geneseed taken from a fallen Space Marine is prboably considered more "experiencecd" or better "quality" than something grown from scratch (as it were.)

The other aspect stems from the above - recall that many people (including the Astartes themseles) tend to view that "continuity" with near-religious significance - much the same way they view their equipment such as power armour in fact (veteran power armour suits, even if rebuilt, are conisdered sacred or important.) The same is probably true of Gene Seed. Thus, the gene seed of someone important (Say, Commander Dante if he falls) would probably be considered very important, and its recovery especially significant (or its loss particularily telling.)

]The second part is probably the far liklier of the two, as it can be true even if the gene seed does not confer any "experienced based" benefits from absorbing the host's genetics.

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Post by Keevan_Colton » 2008-07-20 08:43pm

One of the modifications is access to a sort of genetic memory facility, there's some fluff where marines are able to learn by eating animals and people.
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Post by Cykeisme » 2008-07-20 09:28pm

The very fact that the Omophagea functions at all indicates that the concept of "genetic memory" exists in some shape of form in 40k.
Since no such thing in reality, I posit that "the Warp did it"; considering that souls are known to exist in the Warp, it all comes together in a manner not inelegant.

Thus, I would further hypothesize that, if the geneseed of a Space Marine does indeed contain the instincts and experience of its entire lineage, it may have something to do with a Warpy imprint.


So, aside from the simple fact that geneseed is valuable and its destruction or capture hinders the Imperial Fists and the Emperor's Imperium, and benefits the Iron Warriors and the powers of Chaos, it was also a sacrifice of a little piece of the soul of many of the Emperor's loyal warriors.


Sometimes "the Warp did it" is the best explanation.
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Post by Swindle1984 » 2008-07-20 09:53pm

What, exactly, does this geneseed entail and why is it so important?
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Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-07-20 09:58pm

Is there a chance for the Mechanicus to go rogue and set up their own armies of Space Marines? Seems like the perfect recipe for rebellion.
Connor Macleod wrote:The other aspect stems from the above - recall that many people (including the Astartes themseles) tend to view that "continuity" with near-religious significance - much the same way they view their equipment such as power armour in fact (veteran power armour suits, even if rebuilt, are conisdered sacred or important.) The same is probably true of Gene Seed. Thus, the gene seed of someone important (Say, Commander Dante if he falls) would probably be considered very important, and its recovery especially significant (or its loss particularily telling.)
I sometimes wonder if the Space Marines treat the gene seed the same way the Roman Legions treated their Eagles, especially given how much they venerate their Primarchs.

Did the book on the Iron Hands attack on the AdMech facility give reasons for why the fortress holding the Gene Seed was placed so close to the Eye of Terror?
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Post by darthbob88 » 2008-07-20 10:30pm

Swindle1984 wrote:What, exactly, does this geneseed entail and why is it so important?
Geneseed are zygotes necessary for some of the modifications involved in making a Space Marine, the elite troopers of the Imperium. While geneseed can be harvested from fallen Marines, its main source, apparently, is from the Adeptus Mechanicus, especially for founding new chapters. Now, I might be crazy, but technology necessary for creating a 7 foot tall, two-hearted, three-lunged superman in power armor would be extremely valuable. Especially considering that Chaos has no quick and easy method of getting more of it.
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Post by Falkenhayn » 2008-07-20 10:35pm

Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Is there a chance for the Mechanicus to go rogue and set up their own armies of Space Marines? Seems like the perfect recipe for rebellion.
The Skitarii and Tech-Guard are just as loyal and more numerous. Ordinatii and Titan Legions are...formidable to say the least. There's no reason for them to assume the risk of damaged goods like the SM, who if anything are an example of "the fickle corruptibility of Flesh 10100111bzzzt". The Magi simply lobotomize their troops of the portions of their brains dealing with fear, mercy or ambition. Makes more room for gunsights, cogitator implants or auspexes.
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