WH40K: Designing female Astartes and/or Primarchs:

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1 MarqFJA24th Aug 2011 06:46:01 AM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
AKA "How to (and how NOT to) design the biological and chapter-culture/organization aspects of female Astartes/Primarchs"

Yeah, yeah, "there can only be male Space Marines", "you're looking for Sisters of Battle", "female Marines are HERESY!", yadayada. Don't like, don't read. This thread is supposed to be for discussing how to make female Marines work.

These two articles may be of interest for you.

First order of business: I had a few different ideas that use - to variable degrees - the fact that WH 40 K's "history" as of the 41st millennium is largely told from an Imperial perspective in most sources, and we all know how Imperial texts are often riddled with propaganda and blatant lies - which is the official justification for radical changes in fluff and how "all contradictory pieces of fluff are equally valid"; see here and here for detailed analyses, though I will quote the most relevant part: a Word of God quote from Marc Gascoigne, a publisher at Games Workshop's Black Library division.
Keep in mind Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 are worlds where half truths, lies, propaganda, politics, legends and myths exist. The absolute truth which is implied when you talk about "canonical background" will never be known because of this. Everything we know about these worlds is from the viewpoints of people in them which are as a result incomplete and even sometimes incorrect. The truth is mutable, debatable and lost as the victors write the history...

So it's technically possible that, among other things, the statements "gene-seed is incomptabile with female hormones/tissue/whatever" and "all Primarchs are male" are, in fact, not absolute truths - if not even outright complete falsehoods, due to 10,000 years of one of variable combinations of misinformation, male chauvanism-driven bias, and propaganda.

So! After that introduction, I present the ideas I have previously mentioned:
  1. Possible origins:
    1. The Emperor deliberately created 1 or 2 of the 20 Primarchs female.
    2. The Emperor actually created equal numbers of male and female Primarchs, but two of the former and all but two of the latter were killed outright during the Chaos Gods' attack on the Emperor's lab and their scattering of the Primarchs across the galaxy. Alternatively, only 18 male and 2 female Primarchs were ever found, and the Emperor sadly concluded that the rest had died, and they were ultimately never recorded by Imperial history.
    3. The two missing Primarchs are both male... except that at least one of them, having been sucked into the warp as an embryo (while being protected in an artificial womb w/ life support, of course), had been affected by exposure to the Warp such that had ultimately split into twins (a la Alpharius and Omegon), with resulting embryo having its Y chromosome mutated into an X chromosome (or, alternatively, the Y chromosome had been outright deleted from every cell, and replaced with a duplicate of the already existing X chromosome).
  2. Possible causes of their MIA status:
    1. One of the last direct decrees from the mortally-wounded Emperor was to strike off both Legions from Imperial records, for some purpose that only he knows of (perhaps as part of a several millennia-long Xanatos Roulette?).
    2. Imperial history and modern Chapter recollections paint the loyalist Primarchs in a much favorable light than they really were, and conventiently do not mention that the surviving male Primarchs, having long been offended by what they percieved as their two "sisters" butting in on "man business", had actually conspired to get rid of the two female Primarchs and their Legions in the wake of the Horus Heresy, hence why they were stricken from Imperial records.

edited 24th Aug '11 7:21:51 AM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
Forum Villain
This just in: The Sisters of Battle are essentially female space marines.

"Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person that doesn't get it."
3 MadassAlex24th Aug 2011 07:21:59 AM from the Middle Ages.
I am vexed!
Female beakies kinda violate the theme, too; Space Marines are meant to be like the Crusading Orders of Medieval Europe. The Black Templars are like this to the most overt extent, but all Chapters' organisation and way of life are modeled directly on the various Orders. In fact, the entire upper echelons of Imperial society are based on Medieval and Renaissance concepts.

You essentially don't have female Space Marines because female Space Marines imply a level of social advancement that runs contrary to the zealous, extremist ideals of that sect of the Imperium.
4 MarqFJA24th Aug 2011 07:29:37 AM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
The topic is not to discuss whether female Astartes can/should exist. That much should have been clear if you actually bothered to read the first few lines of the OP.

edited 24th Aug '11 7:29:52 AM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
5 MadassAlex24th Aug 2011 07:36:20 AM from the Middle Ages.
I am vexed!
Except you spent almost the entire opening post discussing just that, quite zealously. Not that it makes any difference, because I doubt a female Marine or Primarch would be any different to a male one. There's essentially nothing to discuss under your ruling because there's nothing to design.

Marines are essentially made asexual or completely neutered at some stage of development, if my memory serves, so we're not even talking about differences resulting from sexuality. We're talking about pure aesthetics.

And in any case, this is a literary section of the fora and I've given a literary reason why female Space Marines do not exist.
6 RalphCrown24th Aug 2011 07:52:07 AM from Next Door to Nowhere
Short Hair
The OP's point seems to be, Let's create another fictional universe, very similar to the WH40K canon, in which female Space Marines are possible. What would have to change, and what would stay the same?

For starters, it would almost be easier to make all marines female. Now you have to explain why society believes the sexes are equal rather than why one is favored. At what point in history did that belief change?

edited 24th Aug '11 7:54:10 AM by RalphCrown

Under World. It rocks!
7 Augustine24th Aug 2011 10:21:49 AM from the Church on the hill , Relationship Status: 700 wives and 300 concubines
My King
Its like I'm really on /tg/!
8 MarqFJA24th Aug 2011 10:36:18 AM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
[up] Should I take that as a compliment, an insult, or... what, exactly?

@the others: Still completely missing the point.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
9 Augustine24th Aug 2011 10:39:51 AM from the Church on the hill , Relationship Status: 700 wives and 300 concubines
My King
Its just an assessment of the situation. /tg/ doesn't like female space marines, and /tg/ also can have a habit of getting off topic.
10 RalphCrown24th Aug 2011 10:46:07 AM from Next Door to Nowhere
Short Hair
Okay, try again. You quote Gascoigne, who says the WH40K universe is open-ended. Well, you can create your own Space Marine chapter with its own history, heraldry, tactics, etc. and use it in official tournaments, as long as you don't change the basic Marine stats (or approved variant stats, don't nitpick).

So there's no reason you can't create a chapter of female Marines. The OP is proposing same and wants suggestions on how to go about it.


edited 24th Aug '11 10:56:08 AM by RalphCrown

Under World. It rocks!
11 MarqFJA24th Aug 2011 10:49:39 AM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
[up] More or less spot on. I'd like to note that it also includes the Bio-Augmentation aspects - i.e. what new Gene-Seed based on female biology we can think of that could have value to a Space Marine.

[up][up] Then it's good that I only ever visited it for "Tales of the Emprasque".

edited 24th Aug '11 10:50:04 AM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
12 Night24th Aug 2011 12:20:27 PM from Jaburo , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
The future of warfare in UC.
As a practical matter, most of the Space Marine implants discussed in various sources (FFG's Deathwatch is the most recent and easily obtained collection on the subject) are unisex in purpose. They do however screw with the hormonal system heavily, and so would require tweaking.

There's also the question of whether in the end analysis a female Marine, with all the various hormones dumped into their system to build muscle and bone mass, would still be recognizably female. The process wreaks havoc on the body to a point where pre-implantation and post-implantation may be unrecognizable from each other. Index Astartes says as much when discussing the Blood Angels and the Salamanders.

It is entirely possible, in other words, that the current system will work on females...but since the end result is reshaped so heavily by the process nobody knows it, because everyone looks male in the end and eventually it was assumed that everyone was always male.
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13 MarqFJA24th Aug 2011 02:52:24 PM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
[up]Of course, one has to remember that 1) the above relies on real-life, modern science; 2) the Gene-Seed and Space Marine creation process was devised around 3 millennia after the 20th/21st century, so scientific breakthroughs are bound to have occurred; 3) WH40K makes a point of not strictly obeying real-life science (e.g. antigrav tech, plasma weapons, meltaguns); and 4) WH40K uses several scientific terms in ways that don't make sense, e.g. "promethium" as flamethrower fuel and "deuterium" as a core for bolt shells, so we can safely assume that the creators are just throwing those terms and others in for a pseudoscientific feel, i.e. "hormone treatment" and "gene-therapy" do not necessarily mean - exactly or at all - what they would in real-life modern science.

tl;dr WH40K runs on enough of the Rule of Cool to justify female Astartes turning out as very-muscular Amazonian Beauties.

edited 24th Aug '11 2:55:15 PM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
14 Night24th Aug 2011 03:09:48 PM from Jaburo , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
The future of warfare in UC.
Perhaps, but on the other hand the possibility that there are actually whole chapters of female Marines out there and nobody can tell them apart from normal Marines amuses me.

Plus the whole thing about losing your gender identity to better serve the Emperor fits in the with crapsacky nature of 40k and the sort of faith and devotion expected of a Space Marine.
Nous restons ici.
15 darkclaw26th Aug 2011 04:14:43 AM from Right behind you.
Legs of Justice
[up] I'm going to go with the poster above you and his idea about the Amazonian Beauties. Yeah, no reason why...

@ Ralph Crown

I'm confused. If the Marines were all female, how would that be equal? It's just an inversion of what we currently have.

Also, about the science bit...Here comes a bunch of scientific stuff! Yeah, as in Wall of Text, but it should help pseudo-science.

Okay, so doping women with genes for muscle mass and bone mass is basically steroids in our current state of science. So they would look a lot more masculine. In addition, building muscle mass and density tends to give both men and women more "masculine" features in real life due to adding more testosterone to their bodies. Also, since fat has estrogen in it, combining mass fat loss and muscle growth, will make men look more masculine and women slightly more so (except for the whole muscle thing, because that is highly stereotyped with masculinity). As for "masculine" features in women due to addding testosterone, think slightly more chiseled facial features and slightly more square jaws. Also can deepen their voices slightly. This is if we're talking natural muscle growth, add steroids and it's a whole 'nother ball game.

Also, as for science coming up in the field, scientists are looking into ways to make a person's body create more "natural" testosterone. The problem with this is currently, it can make so much insanely dense muscle mass that it crushes the test subject's bones...yeah, not fun. Maybe in 40K times it is perfected?

Also, it is probably helpful to note that if you are going to go the whole gene-doping makes Amazonian Beauties route...every one puts on muscle mass, density and definition differently. Look up endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph terms for a bit more on that. Also, height and length of limbs plays a role. For example, shorter people have limbs that are shorter, right? That's why if they work out a ton, they look beefier at first. The people with the longer limbs won't look as impressive at first, because the muscle has to stretch out on longer limbs...but usually their bodies will look as big or bigger later on. For example, I'm an endomesomorph with 14 inch arms. That may sound somewhat impressive, but if you saw my arms, you'd probably just think they're somewhat thicker than most people's but not buff...until I flex anyways. However, I'm 6 foot. If I were say, 5'4", they'd be huge looking.

And on top of that, there are muscle and bone differences in men and women. Men due to having adapted to having tons of testosterone in their bodies, often have heavier bodies when naturally buff. Women would also be heavier than the average female, but less so than say a male bodybuilder who has worked out for the same amount of time. However, due to female muscle being denser (on average) than male muscle, they can still be very strong (though it should be noted since men have a lot more mass, the reason they are stronger are average is that the muscle is exponential). Also, men and women are about equal in the lower bodies in terms of strength, but men tend to edge out women slightly on average there. Men have much stronger upper bodies on average due to breasts pumping estrogen like crazy into women there and estrogen breaks down muscle (hence many female bodybuilders having implants). Again, this is all on average, though.

Also, bone mass is not as important to muscle as density is. The whole bigger bones always equals bigger and stronger muscles is most likely not true. For example, I know a guy who has huge arms at a gym I go to...but his wrists are smaller than mine (I have small wrists). If you make your bones dense with things like calcium, they can support a lot more muscle.

And I'm tired of typing for now. I've typed a lot, but if anyone has any questions about this, ask me please. I feel like I know too much about this anyways...and that probably isn't a good thing always :P

edited 26th Aug '11 4:47:09 AM by darkclaw

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16 MarqFJA26th Aug 2011 10:10:25 AM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
[up] That's very informative. Of course, part of the problems you speak of is addressed by one of the Gene-Seed organs being dedicated to enhancing skeletal development, in tandem with the one augmenting muscular growth.

edited 26th Aug '11 10:10:42 AM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
17 darkclaw26th Aug 2011 03:59:13 PM from Right behind you.
Legs of Justice
So, the gene-seed would make the bones bigger/more solid/denser I'm guessing?

Wait...they do already do that. Damn, I'm tired. :P

edited 26th Aug '11 4:50:57 PM by darkclaw

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18 MarqFJA26th Aug 2011 06:57:34 PM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Don't strain yourself; take a break, let your mind recharge its juices, and then come back.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
19 darkclaw27th Aug 2011 09:04:38 PM from Right behind you.
Legs of Justice
Is there anything else I can help with? If you have questions about muscles, bones, etc. I can probably help.

Oh, and when there's a fanfic and/or fanart about female Astartes and Primarchs, let me know. For no apparent reason other than that I'm interested in the story.
I totally hate my avatar. Just saying.
20 MarqFJA27th Aug 2011 09:23:43 PM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Well, I was contemplating what new Gene-Seed organ possibilities could be enabled by female biology. What does the word "Galacsome" bring to your mind?

edited 27th Aug '11 9:24:55 PM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
21 darkclaw27th Aug 2011 10:14:58 PM from Right behind you.
Legs of Justice
Honestly, genetically, there aren't as many differences between men and women as people sometimes think. For example, if you pumped a woman full of testosterone from a young age, sure she'd have some feminine features, but it's a safe bet as she develops, she'd be pretty bulky and look a lot more masculine. Honestly, any real physical strength differences between (on average) men and women boil down to two things in my opinion: Differences between amount of testosterone (since more of it equals slightly less dense but a lot more mass) and bone density (men on average have harder and denser bones, which allow them on average, a higher pain threshold due to that and other factors...and the capacity for more muscle; for example, note that men and women are about equal in strength on average in the legs, but the upper body is where the sexes mostly differ...breasts are made of fat, fat promotes estrogen in the body, coincidence?).

Also, it probably should be noted that female Astartes are probably not going to have kids naturally. When women have low body fat, they eventually stop getting their period and can't have kids...but their sex drive is drastically increased (I'm not sure if that's nature having a sense of irony or not). They could get back their ability to be pregnant if they're young enough and gain fat, though.

Galacsome? I guess, Galactus...but some more of him?

edited 27th Aug '11 10:15:52 PM by darkclaw

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22 Night27th Aug 2011 10:18:35 PM from Jaburo , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
The future of warfare in UC.
Milk production, but...yeah.
Nous restons ici.
23 darkclaw27th Aug 2011 10:25:27 PM from Right behind you.
Legs of Justice
Wait, what? "Milk production...but yeah." Is that what Galacsome reminds you of?

I honestly am confused due to tiredness.
I totally hate my avatar. Just saying.
24 Night27th Aug 2011 10:31:35 PM from Jaburo , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
The future of warfare in UC.
Galacto- and variations on it are latin for milk. You see it in some medical terms.
Nous restons ici.
25 darkclaw27th Aug 2011 10:36:19 PM from Right behind you.
Legs of Justice
Oh true, I should've remembered that...I'm too tired right now :P

Anyways, does anyone else have any suggestions or questions or anything before I go to bed for a bit?

BTW, @ OP...are you actually writing a fanfic or something about this?

edited 27th Aug '11 10:39:19 PM by darkclaw

I totally hate my avatar. Just saying.

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