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The Might of the Custodes (fluff discussion)

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Brother Chaplain Kage

Brother Chaplain Kage


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A perfect analogy is the German invasion of Russia in WWII (with a bit of abstraction). The German force had advantages in the technological engineering of their war machines and weapons, better training, and years of recent combat experience. The Russians had numbers, really, and that was about it. Numbers to fill factories and crank out guns, tanks, and planes; numbers to fill those tanks, planes, and the ranks of their infantry that individually were rarely the equal of anything the Germans had.


For a more specific example, the Russians produced more T-34 tanks than any other AFV in WWII, cranking out around sixty-four thousand of them from 1941 to 1945. At the height of production, they were rolling out around 1300 T-34s a month. Known design flaws and crew inconveniences were ignored because changing the production to accommodate such things would only cost more money and take more time. The only allowed changes were things that would make them faster and/or cheaper to produce. Systems were engineered to contain as few parts as possible and were streamlined later to reduce the number of parts even further. A new turret was introduced at a later point that was considerably more comfortable for the crew, but that was secondary concern - it was done because it was almost entirely cast in giant sand molds instead of the whole thing needing to be welded together which was both faster and cheaper.


Know what the German tank with the highest production numbers was? The StuG III, somewhere around ten-thousand. By all accounts, the StuG III was one of, if not the most successful tanks in the war given how many enemy vehicles were destroyed vs their own casualties, but in the end, the slower production times and smaller production numbers could not win out against a horde of inferior enemy forces.

  • Hrolf the Cunning likes this



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There's something called over-engineering...and German vs. Soviet tanks is another great analogy. Better than the Katana one I'd say.

Each Custodes is like a work of art personally overseen by the Emperor. Only a primarch would be lavished with greater care, truly made from scratch.

I also wonder...Sigismund is trashing Traitor champions left and right on Terra, but what about Valdor?

The Black Knight would pale (excuse the pun) in comparison to the Captain General. No one short of a primarch could take him...




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I think alot of the combat scenarios are open to interpretation. 


For example, there are in some instances when alien species (even if they were rare and few between) must of fielded some kind of warrior =to or greater than a custode. And I am pretty sure a space marine (whether it was one or a few) have taken them out via whatever means. Sure, in a cage match where pure skill is vs pure skill I am also confident a custode would come out on top, but how about a young custode versus a space marine veteran like sigismund or Loken? 


In wider theatres of war where custodes were not able to fight in the way they were accustomed I am pretty sure they would get pounded on by an equally professional military force. Sadly being the best warriors doesn't guarantee survival. 

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Brother Sefiel

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Er, yes, custodes>marines.

I know it's only tangentially relevant, but in terms of rules - and background - consider assassins. They are supremely more effective in many ways than marines, and that's certainly not purely down to their equipment. They are much, much faster and much more skilled, and that shows there are means at humanity's disposal to improve themselves beyond the genetic and organic enhancement. If you consider that assassins are plausible within the universe, it seems that a custodes, being, perhaps, something between the two extremes of marine and assassin (albeit with some unique upgrades of their own) is eminently likely to be better than either at certain aspects of their function...

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This is such an awesome topic and the discussion thus far has been very interesting, everyone's perspectives are great.

A note before I respond would be that of books containing custodes I believe I've only read First Heretic and Master of Mankind, which ironically, are my two favorite BL titles written by my favorite BL author. Unfortunately I'm still awaiting to get my hands on Inferno and am very excited to read what's contained therein.

That excerpt from Blood Games that b1soul shared was amazing. I find the custodes didn't care whether they *could* defeat Dorn and his retinue, only that it was their duty to do so and that they *would* go about their business. Winning or losing didn't matter, only their duty did-love that.

So to answer the initial question, I guess I'd be biased to say Aaron's interpretation is the one I like most.
That they're physically superior to an astartes but with a completely different mindset being utterly loyal to only the Emperor himself. I also think the emperor created them to be more than just bodyguards, but also to be his peers and companionship on Terra-at least if his interactions with Ra (although plot driven) are any example.

Edit: if you guys follow the link to my WIP in my signature to page 7 and help name my custodes force I'd really appreciate it.

Edited by Black_out, 21 March 2017 - 01:25 PM.

Check out my Pre-Istvaan Night Lords WIP! http://www.bolterand...ight-lords-wip/




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There's no answer there - but the readership latched onto 50% of the text as The Answer, and largely ignored the other half, which is a significant loss of context.

I can't speak for other readers...but personally, I didn't ignore the later exchange. I tried to place the later exchange in the context of the earlier description.


I was doing that often-foolish thing where I bang on about the wider fandom rather than you (or, indeed, the thread) at 4am and it comes across poorly. But this time I'm going to make a much shorter post saying "I agree, B1."


I agree, B1.

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So everyone is ok with the Tiger to T-34 style approach. Ok groovy, so if we follow that analogy. So peoples sticking point is that 500 custodes and 2000 sisters, in possibly a defensible position, managed to take on a madly charging amount of 6000 1k Sons. We aren't looking into logisitics here, we aren't looking into the ability to actually bring force to bear either. We are talking about a straight up fight betwixt the 2 yes? 

So to go back to the WW2 anaology. We have 500 Tiger tanks with very skilled crews (custodes), that keep super calm under pressure and really will keep firing out of their tank until destroyed. We have them backed up by another 2000 Stugs (sisters), who have essentially the same hitting powers as most of the T-34s (astartes), but not the resilience of them. One also needs to factor in the ground has been laced with a variety of anti-personnel mines (anti psker shizz), while not an overt threat to the t-34 advance, it would still play upon their nerves (dick a bit with all the psykers).

We now have 5900 T-34s charging over open(?) ground at a prepared fire base with 100 T-34-85 in support also.

Depending on how far the t-34s are charging from, I'd be tempted to put money on the germans at this point.

Now we also know that the imperium had air superiority at this point, so I'm not sure if that factors into the account also... 

Any way, to me it seems people don't have as much of an issue with Custodes being individually more powerful than marines, which logically they really should be, but are more upset about their issues in making war. Which really, is kind a moot point, as they where supported by a variety of lesser troops etc in both MoM and Inferno. 




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Herohammer is dumb, and every time it becomes a central focus point, the game suffers.

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