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"Such is the woe cast upon the Domains of the God-Emperor of Mankind in these times that in their wisdom and beneficence, the High Lords of Terra have this day issued this decree: Let there be a Founding of the Adeptus Astartes, and let the foes of the Emperor know that this galaxy belongs to Him, now and forever."
— High Lord Tagus, Convenor of the 349th Congress of the Imperium
Chapter

The Space Marines, though few in number, stand as the greatest defenders of the Imperium of Man

New Space Marine Chapters are not created piecemeal as required by the Imperium of Man's strategic needs, but rather in deliberate groupings called "Foundings." The process by which a new Founding's creation is approved by the Imperial government is mysterious and arcane, subject to decades or even centuries of planning before it is announced. It is only by an edict of the High Lords of Terra that such an undertaking as the creation of new Chapters can be instigated, for it requires the cooperation and mobilisation of countless divisions within the Imperium's monolithic and vast governmental organisations. Establishing new Astartes Chapters on an individual basis is nigh impossible--the mobilisation of such vast resources is beyond the ability of any single segment of the Imperium.

The Adeptus Mechanicus plays an essential role in the process of a Founding, for its highest echelons are tasked with creating, testing and developing the gene-seed samples that will provide the genetic foundation of the new Chapters. Entire Forge Worlds may be turned over to the manufacture of the mighty arsenal of weaponry, ammunition, Power Armour, vehicles and starships that any such force will require. There are a myriad other concerns as well. A suitable homeworld inhabited by humans must be identified for the new Chapter, which will likely provide not only a secure and defensible base of operations, but also a source of new recruits as well. Such worlds might have been reported by itinerant Rogue Traders and earmarked centuries before by Adeptus Mechanicus Explorators as potential Astartes homeworlds. A degree of environmental terraforming might be required and the natives of the world (if they are to become the source of the new Chapter's Aspirants) must be studied and tested by the Mechanicus' Magos Biologis and Genetors for many generations to ensure they are genetically pure and free of any strain of mutation that might later affect the Chapter itself. The construction of a Chapter's fortress-monastery may be one of the greatest undertakings of all, drawing on the genius of the Imperium's most accomplished military architects and engineers. If the Chapter is to be fleet-based, then even more work must be put into the construction of a Chapter Barque or unusually large Battle Barge to serve as the Chapter's mobile fortress-monastery and all of the related capital warships and Escorts such a highly-mobile Chapter will require.

The already extant Space Marine Chapters may also have a role in this process, though to what degree can vary greatly from Founding to Founding. Many of the First Founding Chapters maintain close links with Chapters created using their own gene-seed stocks, and the Chapter Masters might have a hand in planning future Foundings using that genetic material. It is said that the Disciples of Caliban, a Dark Angels Successor Chapter, was created following the direct appeal of the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels, an extremely rare request.

In the more than 10,000 standard years that have passed since the First Founding of the 20 original Space Marine Legions by the Emperor of Mankind, there have been 25 subsequent Foundings of new Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes; with the most recent, the 26th Founding, occurring in the year 738.M41, approximately 250 standard years ago. Even before a new Founding is announced, entire generations of Imperial servants may have toiled in preparation. Even once the process has been declared and is underway, it is likely to be at least a standard century before the new Chapters are ready to begin combat operations. In times of dire need for the Imperium, faster development has been attempted, but this has often resulted in disaster. Gene-seed cultured in haste is wont to degrade or to mutate, and a great many other factors may lead the entire process astray. And there is no foe more dangerous to the Imperium of Man than a Space Marine who has been corrupted by Chaos or gone Renegade for another reason.

The Creation of the original 20 Space Marine Legions by the Emperor of Mankind is known as the First Founding and it took place at the beginning of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium. It consisted of 20 Legions of Space Marines each made up of roughly about 50 companies divided into various other units in the ascending hierarchy of battle, including Chapters, Great Companies or some other organisation depending on the Legion's own unique naming conventions. The Second Founding, divided the remaining 9 Loyalist Astartes Legions into units known as Chapters which were each about 1,000 Astartes strong after the events of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium. The Second Founding was deemed necessary by the Primarch Roboute Guilliman in the wake of Horus' betrayal in order to prevent any one person like Horus from ever again possessing the full power of an entire Astartes Legion and the extraordinary threat it presented to the existence of the Imperium. One Chapter from each Loyalist Legion was permitted to retain the original colours, iconography, and name of their First Founding Legion, and these Astartes are known as the Chapters of the First Founding.

New ChaptersEdit

New Chapters are only created by an Imperial edict of the High Lords of Terra, and, some whisper, by the sole will of the Emperor of Mankind. The task of actually assembling these Chapters always belongs to the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Adeptus Mechanicus store the gene-seed of all the Adeptus Astartes Chapters which they receive in the form of a tithe. Using lobotomised human test-subjects (most of whom will later be converted into Servitors), the Mechanicus produces new Progenoid Glands. Zygotes of the necessary Astartes gene-seed organs are grown from the gene-seed stores on Mars and implanted into the test-subjects and the zygotes then develop into Progenoids and are surgically removed. A single test subject is used in this way to create two Progenoid Glands, which are then implanted into two more slaves, and so on. Ultimately, 1000 sets of the 19 necessary gene-seed organs to give birth to a new Astartes are created, taking over half a standard century of constant culturing.

Known FoundingsEdit

First Founding (30th Millennium)Edit

Second Founding (31st Millennium)Edit

3rd Founding (001.M32)Edit

Unstated Founding (32nd Millennium)Edit

Unstated Founding (33rd Millennium)Edit

Unrecorded Founding (34th Millennium)Edit

8th Founding (Mid-35th Millennium) (Allegedly)Edit

10th Founding (Mid-35th Millennium) (Allegedly)Edit

13th Founding (Dark Founding) (Early 36th Millennium)Edit

The 13th Founding occurred sometime between the 35th and 36th Millennia and is one of the very rare Foundings of Space Marine Chapters that was not recorded in exact detail. Since the bygone days of the Horus Heresy, the Adeptus Terra has maintained a bank of original gene-seed from every single Chapter ever created, with one notable exception: the 13th Founding, also known as the "Dark Founding". There are no reliable records that indicate how many Chapters were created during the Dark Founding or what became of them. There are only two acknowledged Chapters that were created during this mysterious Founding.

14th Founding (36th Millennium)Edit

Unstated Founding (36th Millennium)Edit

19th Founding (Mid-36th Millennium)Edit

21st Founding (Cursed Founding) (Late 36th Millennium)Edit

The Chapters created during this so-called Cursed 21st Founding have all suffered from terrible misfortune or some form of genetic corruption or rampant gene-seed mutation, largely because it is believed that the Adeptus Mechanicus sought to "improve" the gene-seed used in the Founding of these Chapters without authorisation from the High Lords of Terra.

22nd Founding (37th Millennium)Edit

Unstated Founding (37th Millennium)Edit

23rd Founding (37th Millennium)Edit

The 23rd Founding (also known as the Sentinel Founding) of Space Marine Chapters occurred sometime during the latter part of the 37th Millennium. Imperial scholars believe that the 23rd Founding to have been one of a series of linked Foundings around this tumultuous period in Imperial history, designed to repair the power and reach of the Imperium's Legion Astartes which had suffered considerable losses in the preceding millennia.

Unstated Founding (38th Millennium)Edit

Unstated Founding (40th Millennium)Edit

25th Founding (40th Millennium)Edit

26th Founding (738.M41)Edit

Unstated Founding (41st Millennium)Edit

  • Sable Swords (Founding is disputed, as there are records that this Chapter may have been Founded as early as the 32nd Millennium)

Unknown FoundingsEdit

SourcesEdit

  • Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG)
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition)
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Version)
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Version)
  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
  • Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
  • Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition)
  • Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG)
  • Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG)
  • Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG)
  • Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
  • Index Astartes I, II, III, IV
  • Deathwatch - Rites of Battle (RPG)
  • Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part I
  • Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part II
  • Warhammer 40,000: Compendium, pg. 6
  • White Dwarf 249 (UK), "Index Astartes: Emperor's Shield"
  • White Dwarf 98 (UK), "Chapter Approved: The Origins of the Legiones Astartes," by Rick Priestley

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