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Salamanders Appearance, Gene-Seed, and Successors

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#1
Doghouse

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On a related note how does it work with Salamander visage? Is the jet black skin and red eyes purely a result of Nocturne and limited to the Salamanders or is this something attributed to all their Successors?

 

I've never done Salamanders before and fancy a crack at one of the Successors but would like to be as accurate as possible.



#2
Dumah

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I believe it's particular to the radiation from Nocturne's sun. It's always possible their successors will be prone to similar mutations though.
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#3
Johanhgg

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The Terran salamanders also had black skin and red eyes, so that points to geneseed-mutation.
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#4
gorg_graggel

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Isn't the skin and eyes being attributed to a mutation and also at least having been on Nocturne?

Did the Terrans have it before being on Nocturne or did they develop it afterwards?

If they had it before, could it be another situation like the artist "misunderstanding" what was meant by black skin? So, maybe the lore wasn't nailed down yet or there was also a misunderstanding?

Generally speaking though. Due to the general lack of extensive Salamanders lore, nobody really knows the ins and outs of that whole thing.

And there is also the thing with 90% chance of mutation for successors with their geneseed from some older material. Is this connected? Does it mean successors will in 90% of cases get A mutation or THE mutation? There is also some information out there (iirc by ADB?) about how successors can be completely unrelated to their parent chapter's characteristics. Both behaviorally as well as phenotypically.

We should pester Nick Kyme who still seems to be the master of all things official Salamander lore, but due to his other tasks (and probably general lack of interest for the chapter in the customer base about this) hasn't been doing anything with it. Although he recently mentioned that he still plans on continuing the Circle of Fire series...

Edited by gorg_graggel, 18 March 2021 - 03:50 PM.


#5
Johanhgg

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In the 30k black book it’s explained that the original XVIII-legionaries from terra also had black skin/red eyes, long before reuniting with Vulkan. So it’s a geneseed-thing originating from the genetic material from Vulkan which geneseed was created :)

#6
gorg_graggel

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So it remains unclear I suppose, as newer lore attributes it to geneseed+Nocturne.

#7
Brother Tyler

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(Note that I’ve split this from the Confirmed Salamanders Successors topic.)

Curiously, the Salamanders didn’t have jet black skin and red eyes until after the 3rd edition Index Astartes article. Neither version of the 3rd edition Index Astartes article mentions the eyes or skin, nor do the ‘Eavy Metal miniatures at that time portray such divergences. Instead, they were portrayed as having darker skin naturally (I recall “Afro-Caribbean” being used to describe them at that time, though I don’t recall if that was a term ever used in official publications or if it was just used at the B&C). For example, here’s a page from Codex: Armageddon (3rd edition) showing a few Salamanders Space Marines without helmets:
 

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This was a significant portrayal because it was the first time that an official Chapter had been shown with something other than (or in addition to) Caucasian Space Marines.

The shift to the jet black skin and red eyes came later. While it may have come earlier (i.e., late 3rd edition or some time during 4th edition, it definitely appeared in the 5th edition Codex: Space Marines.
 

Born out of fire, the battle brothers of the Salamanders Chapter have jet-black skin and burning red eyes – a daemonic appearance brought about by a reaction between their unique genetics and the high levels of radiation on the Chapter Planet of Nocturne.


This was unfortunate in that it took the non-Caucasian Salamanders and made their dark skin the result of a genetic deviation (some might even call it a defect), removing an aspect of realistic diversity from the Space Marines. The beneficial side effect, however, was that it gave us a gene-seed defect/mutation that was acceptable (along with the opposite effect suffered by the Raven Guard, that of having skin that becomes pale over time). Regardless, the lore was worded in such a way that it made it possible for Successors of the Salamanders Legion to have similar eye and skin coloration (assuming the mutation was inherent to the genetic line and not a mutation/failure that the Salamanders Chapter suffered later).

The Horus Heresy Book II – Massacre was published in 2008 and cemented the origin of the genetic deviation to the Legion’s genetic nature, making it likely that any future Successors of the XVIIIth Legion might suffer similar effects from exposure to high levels of radiation (with the exceptions of those that might have suffered further mutations or lost that organ).
 

This variant gene-seed, however, also has some unusual outward side effects, the first of which, noticeable even in the first Terran members of the XVIIIth’s intake, was a much-remarked ‘ember-like’ bioluminescence to their eyes and a tendency for skin pigmentation to permanently darken in response to prolonged exposure to high levels of potentially harmful radiation as part of their biological defence mechanism, often adopting an unnatural granite-like or obsidian quality with sufficient exposure.


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#8
Doghouse

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Ah thanks mate, that last paragraph makes for a much more interesting explanation. That means you could do a Successor chapter and have them all at various stages or not at all. I especially like the bioluminescence in the eyes.



#9
gorg_graggel

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Ok, so even the HH book does say it is a combination. Thanks for clearing that up, as I don't have access to that.

But in regards to them first being brownish vs. jet black has been explained to be meant as jet black from the beginning, but the concept artist supposedly misunderstood it as 'black' like people of color IRL and for some reason they went with it at first and changed it later. No idea about the truthfulness of that and I have no concrete source right now.

#10
Spinsanity

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Ok, so even the HH book does say it is a combination. Thanks for clearing that up, as I don't have access to that.

But in regards to them first being brownish vs. jet black has been explained to be meant as jet black from the beginning, but the concept artist supposedly misunderstood it as 'black' like people of color IRL and for some reason they went with it at first and changed it later. No idea about the truthfulness of that and I have no concrete source right now.

Considering the page shown above where we see said marine of African origins also shows a caucasian one, I doubt that is the case, they both would have been black if that was the idea...

#11
Doghouse

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If that story is true, which I have no idea if it is, it's possible that they meant the Rogue Trader era painting guide which is where the concept first came about.

 

paint

 


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#12
Brother Tyler

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...But in regards to them first being brownish vs. jet black has been explained to be meant as jet black from the beginning, but the concept artist supposedly misunderstood it as 'black' like people of color IRL and for some reason they went with it at first and changed it later. No idea about the truthfulness of that and I have no concrete source right now.

This sounds like an Internet myth to me. Neither of the 3rd edition Index Astartes articles mentioned anything about skin or eye color. As has been pointed out, the 'Eavy Metal team didn't paint the Salamanders with anything other than normal skin tones in both the 1st edition painting guide and the 3rd edition articles/Codex: Armageddon. The inclusion of a Salamanders captain with a dark skin tone was significant, but there was also the battle-brother (or maybe sergeant) with light skin tone. In fact, Battle Force Vulkan was shown in the first Index Astartes article and that included eleven members without helmets. Of those, eight are clearly Caucasian. If there had been a brief about black skin and the artist(s) had misunderstood, all of the bareheaded Space Marines would have been given dark skin. None of those models appears to have red (or even orange) eyes. Put simply, the distinct coloration of the skin and eyes was something that was retconned subsequent to the 3rd edition publications.

Here are the images of Battle Force Vulkan from the first of the 3rd edition Index Astartes articles about the Salamanders (click the images for larger versions):
 

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#13
Beta galactosidase

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they were portrayed as having darker skin naturally (I recall “Afro-Caribbean” being used to describe them at that time, though I don’t recall if that was a term ever used in official publications or if it was just used at the B&C).


Tyler do you remember a fan webpage from the ‘90s and early aughts that gave huge text blocks of background for Salamanders? It claimed the Promethean Cult was that the Emperor would reincarnate as an inferno that could purge the galaxy, and that with no mention of Istvaan, Vulkan put all his legion on a single long warp jump to relieve the siege of terra, and that casualties from lost ships during this jump severely depleted the legion, and that he subsequently declared them a crusading chapter so they could make up for failing to save the Emperor. It would have been in dark text or lime green text on a dark background and probably center-aligned.

I think that’s where we saw the claim that Nocturne was settled by Afro-Caribbean people traveling under cryo stasis from earth.

#14
Brother Tyler

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Brother Argos created a great Salamanders web page that had all of the known lore at that time. Pyriel later plagiarized Argos's site, though I forget if he did that for his own site or for a now defunct discussion forum dedicated to the Salamanders (Pyriel wasn't the owner/creator of the site, but he ingratiated himself to the owner/creator and basically caused the death of that site through his poor leadership). Nick Kyme found the information that Pyriel plagiarized from Brother Argos, leading to the immortalization of both as characters in the Salamanders novels.

I don't know which of the sites, if either, was the source of the Afro-Caribbean heritage ascribed to the Salamanders. Much of that information also appeared here at roughly the same time because it was a popular way of describing the Salamanders in 3rd edition based on their appearance and naming conventions, prior to the coal black skin and crimson eyes lore superseding it later in 5th edition (unless it happened in 4th edition - I don't have that codex conveniently at hand at the moment).


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#15
Gamiel

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In the latest WD, #467, we have a short story where a Dark Kraken take of his helmet, he is described as being pale, "like one who spent their entire existance in darkness", with no mention of glowing eyes, but there is also no mention of him not having glowing eyes.



#16
Brother Tyler

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Keep in mind, though, that the peculiar coloration of the Salamanders is due to a combination of their gene-seed and the high radiation levels of their homeworld.

Even if we assume that Successors will have similar defects in their gene-seed, unless they are exposed to similarly high levels of radiation, there's a chance that they won't necessarily exhibit the same skin and eye colors as the Salamanders. In addition, every Chapter suffers from the possibility of mutations and/or loss of organs. From that, it's entirely possible that a Successor might vary from their predecessor.
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#17
Charlo

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In the latest WD, #467, we have a short story where a Dark Kraken take of his helmet, he is described as being pale, "like one who spent their entire existance in darkness", with no mention of glowing eyes, but there is also no mention of him not having glowing eyes.


That's great and nicely ties into the undersea vibe




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