From 1d4chan
“Damn it Azrael! I’m an apothecary, not a secret keeper!”
It takes balls to go into a fight to take lives. But it takes brazen balls to go to a fight to save lives.

"Death or healing. I care not which you seek."

– An Apothecary's words to live by

An Apothecary is a Space Marine specialist in Warhammer 40,000, combining the roles of medic and geneticist. The senior Apothecary is known as the Master of the Apothecarion (the fortress-monastery's medical center) or Chief Apothecary. They are usually armed with standard Space Marine gear and a Narthecium.


Since Space Marines have undergone genetic augmentations to survive nearly anything, an Apothecary's real battlefield roles involve three jobs: stabilization, mercy killing, and extraction. While Space Marines can endure damn near anything except the most serious injuries, Apothecaries frequently need to stabilize them long enough for their gene-seed to start up and heal them. If a Marine has been too badly injured to be saved or cannot be saved in their current situation, then the Apothecary applies "the Emperor's Peace," a mercy kill by driving a Reductor (a sharpened needle) into the Marine's skull to quickly end his pain (although some Apothecaries use bolt pistols, for some reason). If a Marine has died, it is the Apothecary's duty to extract the progenoid glands from his dead brother to ensure that the Chapter will be able to train a new Space Marine in the fallen brother's place and ensure the Chapter's continued existence. Despite their support role, they often have to be highly skilled fighters in order to cut through the melee to their injured brethren. During the Heresy, a World Eaters apothecary was one of the best fighters in a Legion of chainaxe wielding psychopaths and still did all the medical stuff.

Off the battlefield, they're basically super doctors. Their duties range from implanting initiates with the gene-seed when appropriate, ensuring the purity of the Chapter's gene-seed (or at least make sure it doesn't get any worse), tending to recovering Marines, and working on any health-related issues the Chapter may task them with ranging from creating cures for diseases to genetic manipulation. Apothecaries are also required to inter Marines into Dreadnoughts along with an attending Techmarine, as attempting to get a Marine's brain to interface with the chassis has a nasty drawback of killing the recipient if not handled correctly.

That's not to suggest they don't actually know any medicine, by the way. The Black Library writers felt insecure, so they put a scene in "Purging of Kadillus" where an Apothecary does leg surgery in the middle of a firefight. A Dark Angels apothecary was able to save the unborn baby of a woman who had just been killed by orks (presumably via c-section). The RPGs also suggest that Apothecaries are versed in the specific use of poisons and toxins, preparing the Chapter's hellfire rounds. Plus Dawn of War II has Apothecary Gordian synthesizing a cure for Captain Thule after being poisoned by a Tyranid Warrior and also creating a bio-toxin potent enough to poison the entire Hive Fleet in Aurelia.

The traditional color of their armour across all chapters is white with the respective chapters iconography on one of their pauldrons, or the inverse with a white pauldron adorned with the sign of their office, a red helix resembling a DNA-string. They also usually wear white helmets, if they are wearing one.

Fun fact: back in the days of Rogue Trader, they actually were called Medics for a while, but that quickly changed.


7th Edition and before[edit]

One ordinary Command Squad Marine who trades his bolt pistol to grant their squad Feel No Pain. That was pretty much it.

8th Edition[edit]

Pts/PL M WS BS S T W A Ld Sv
55/3 6" 3+ 3+ 4 4 4 3 8 3+

Now treated as a proper character, Apothecaries trade their classic Feel No Pain for actual healing. Once per Movement phase an Apothecary can heal a model for D3 wounds. Alternatively it can roll a die to revive a fallen model, placing it back on the field with 1 wound, provided it rolls a 4+. If this fails the Apoc spends the rest of the shooting and assault phases doing absolutely nothing, to represent him harvesting gene-seed.

Chaos Apothecaries[edit]

Chaos being what it is, their apothecaries range from nonexistent to derp to mad scientist. Between the lack of institutionalization and the high priority placed on Rip and Tear, Chaos apothecaries are rare to nonexistent within a single warband. That's not to say they don't exist, but Chaos apothecaries are too rare to be represented on the tabletop, often being relegated to working on new recruits and playing fluffer to the Chaos Lord instead of the battlefield. Some warbands abandon the apothecary idea completely, using their Dark Mechanicum Biologis allies to harvest and process gene-seed from the dead Marines (often including the corpses of loyalists and members of rival bands, if the Lord of the band isn't picky), or even inventing new, more... creative ways to breed new Marines.

Few Chaos apothecaries really make a name for themselves. There's that Fabulous Bill guy who has fucked things up for the Imperium with his rampant megalomania and successful genetic experiments (which, by the way, has a huge untapped potential in the fluff). There are also mention of a Nurglite, quasizombified apothecary or two floating around somewhere, and the Red Corsairs having right and proper apothecarion, which might have something to do with Huron Blackheart being the only sensible man in charge on the Chaos side. Also, there is Talos of the Night Lords, who is an ex-apothecarius, as mentioned in the book Death in the Void.

8th Edition is here and Mortarion is officially making use of "Chaos Apothecaries" in the form of Plague Surgeons. They're plague doctors, as in literal plague doctors because their roles are less about healing and more on cultivating various viral pathogens to use in battle, and also salvaging usable gene-seed from dead Marines (in most cases, they aren't picky if they were friend or foe).

Its unknown if Chaos Apothecaries will get any further spotlight, seeing as the Thousand Sons doesn't need them due to sorcery (or rather, any biomancer probably learns the biology/genetic engineering part to better work their powers, just like technomancers would learn their machines) and the World Eaters will probably be offended at someone needing a doctor when they could just be sucking it up and continue to rip and tear as they die, not to mention most World Eaters lack the traits needed for a scientist/doctor (attention to detail, a charming bedside manner, and NOT getting excited at the sight of blood). The Emperor's Children is the biggest candidate for one, as someone has to be in charge of synthesizing their combat/recreational drugs, along with saner Undivided Legions. Additionally, the World Eaters do make heavy use of Apothecaries in the Horus Heresy ruleset, mostly to overclock the nails and give them combat drugs.

That Fabulous Bill guy got a spinoff series of novels of his own, and reveals that not only do Chaos apothecaries still exist (albeit rare), they flock to Bile to learn, and eventually pursue their own experiments. Bile is not only the premier man of medicine amongst the Chaos Legions, but he has enough envious enemies to want to enslave him for his skill or kill him for his blasphemy and/or threat.

See Also[edit]

Forces of the Codex Compliant Astartes
Command: Apothecary - Brother-Captain - Brother-Sergeant - Chaplain - Chapter Master
Command Squad - Honour Guard - Librarian - Techmarine
Troops: Assault Squad - Centurion Squad - Chapter Serf - CATs - Devastator Squad
Scout Squad - Tactical Squad - Terminator Squad - Veteran Squad
Structures: Castellum Stronghold
Transports: Land Raider - Mastodon Heavy Assault Transport
Razorback Transport - Rhino Transport - Spartan Assault Tank - Termite
Vehicles: Bike Squad - Dreadnought - Javelin Attack Speeder - Jetbike
Kratos Heavy Assault Tank - Land Speeder - Predator Tank
Sabre Tank Hunter - Sicaran Battle Tank - Vindicator
Ordnance: Hunter - Legion Arquitor Bombard - Rapier Armoured Carrier - Stalker
Thunderfire Cannon - Whirlwind
Flyers: Caestus Assault Ram - Fire Raptor - Orgus Flyer - Storm Eagle - Stormbird
Stormhawk - Stormraven - Stormtalon - Thunderhawk - Xiphon Interceptor
Superheavy Tanks: Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer - Fellblade Super-Heavy Tank
Typhon Heavy Siege Tank
Spacecraft: Boarding Torpedo - Drop Pod - Space Marine Landing Craft
Allied Space Marines: Fallen Angel - Primaris Marine - Blood Angels - Dark Angels
Deathwatch - Grey Knights - Space Wolves - Black Templars
Forces of the Blood Angels
Command: Apothecary - Brother-Captain - Brother-Sergeant - Chaplain
Chapter Master - Librarian - Sanguinary Priest - Techmarine
Troops: Assault Squad - Devastator Squad - Sanguinary Guard - Scout Squad
Tactical Squad - Terminator Squad - Veteran Squad
Death Company: Death Company - Death Company Chaplain - Death Company Terminator
Walkers: Contemptor-Furioso Dreadnought - Contemptor-Incaendius Dreadnought
Death Company Dreadnought - Dreadnought - Furioso Dreadnought
Librarian Dreadnought
Transports: Razorback - Rhino
Vehicles: Baal Predator - Land Raider (Land Raider Crusader - Land Raider Phobos
Land Raider Redeemer - Land Raider Angel Infernus
Predator Tank - Vindicator - Hunter - Stalker - Whirlwind
Flyers: Stormhawk - Stormraven - Stormtalon - Storm Eagle - Thunderhawk
Spacecraft: Boarding Torpedo - Drop Pod - Space Marine Landing Craft
Allies: Space Marines - Primaris Marines
Forces of the Dark Angels
Command: Apothecary - Company Master - Interrogator-Chaplain
Chaplain - Knights Cenobium - Librarian - Techmarine
Deathwing Knight - Dark Angels Grand Master
Deathwing Companion
Troops: Assault Squad - Deathwing - Company Veterans
Devastator Squad - Interemptors - Scout Squad
Tactical Squad - Ravenwing Black Knight
Watcher in the Dark
Structures: Fortress of Redemption
Walkers: Dreadnought (Deathwing Dreadnought - Contemptor Dreadnought)
Contemptor-Mortis Dreadnought - Mortis Dreadnought
Transports: Land Raider (Land Raider Phobos - Land Raider Crusader
Land Raider Redeemer - Land Raider Ares
Land Raider Solemnus Aggressor) - Rhino
Vehicles: Bike Squad - Razorback - Predator - Vindicator - Hunter
Stalker - Whirlwind - Land Speeder Vengeance
Ravenwing Darkshroud
Flyers: Dark Talon - Nephilim Jetfighter - Stormraven - Storm Eagle
Spacecraft: Boarding Torpedo - Drop Pod - Space Marine Landing Craft
Hexagrammaton Deathwing - Dreadwing - Firewing - Ironwing - Ravenwing - Stormwing
Allies: Space Marines - Primaris Marines
Forces of the Black Templars
Command: High Marshal - Marshal - Castellan - Emperor's Champion
Brother-Captain - Chaplain - Techmarine - Apothecary
Troops: Sword Brethren - Terminator Squad
Black Templar Neophyte - Initiate
Crusader Squad
Walkers: Castraferrum Dreadnought
Vehicles: Bike Squad - Rhino - Razorback - Land Speeder
Predator - Vindicator - Whirlwind - Stalker - Hunter
Land Raider (Land Raider Redeemer - Land Raider Crusader)
Flyers: Thunderhawk - Stormraven - Stormtalon
Stormhawk - Storm Eagle
Spacecraft: Drop Pod - Boarding Torpedo
Space Marine Landing Craft
Allies: Sisters of Battle - Space Marines - Primaris Marines
Forces of the Grey Knights
Command: Brotherhood Champion - Grand Master - Librarian
Techmarine - Chaplain - Apothecary
Troops: Grey Knight Paladin - Interceptor Squad - Justicar
Purgation Squad - Purifier - Strike Squad - Terminator Squad
Walkers: Dreadknight - Doomglaive Dreadnought - Venerable Dreadnought
Vehicles: Land Raider (Land Raider Crusader - Land Raider Vortimer)
Rhino - Razorback
Flyers: Stormraven - Stormtalon - Stormhawk - Thunderhawk
Spacecraft: Aquila Lander - Boarding Torpedo
Drop Pod - Space Marine Landing Craft
Allies: Inquisition - Sisters of Battle