In Warhammer 40,000, a Chapter of Space Marines is led by its Chapter Master. Chapter Masters are among the most experienced Marines in the Imperium and supremely skilled in warfare. They often have many centuries under their belt, including many years of service as a Company Captain. He is a true scion of the Emperor of Mankind, heir to the strength and fortitude possessed by his genetic forebears, the Primarchs. Centuries of combat gained from time spent throughout the various ranks of the Chapter have taught him valuable lessons in the art of war, trained him in the various facets of military strategy and honed his martial instincts to the level of near pre-cognizance.
They're usually elected to the position by the other Captains or Veterans of their Chapter after the previous Chapter Master vacates the post, although, in practice, the First Captain usually ends up getting the job. If a Captain accomplishes something extremely noteworthy while his Chapter Master is still around, his name may be put forward to lead a new Chapter at the next Founding.
The Chapter Master's responsibilities do not end with his Marines; he is also in charge of the chapter's non-Marine personnel, known as Chapter Serfs, and the many organizations surrounding his Chapter, like the Planetary Defense Force and Navy fleets of his Chapter's homeworld (if they have one).
Some Chapter Masters have adopted additional responsibilities by combining their ranks with one or more of the other highest ranks of their Chapter. For instance, several Masters of the Blood Ravens (who are renowned for the obsessive search for knowledge) have combined the title and duties of Chapter Master and Chief Librarian (Which ended pretty badly once a certain sleep deprived psyker with a unusual love of Khorne came into power).
I Can't Believe It's Not Chapter Master™
Non-Codex Astartes Chapters may use other terms for their senior officer, or may not have one senior officer at all, if they are ruled by a council. Some other titles used include:
- Lord Commander (Blood Angels and Silver Skulls, as well as the most common term used in the pre-Heresy era)
- Lord High Commander (Red Scorpions)
- Great Khan (White Scars)
- Supreme Grand Master: Dark Angels. Secretly, this guy commands all chapters using the Lion El'Jonson gene-seed. Chapter Masters of Dark Angels successors presumably use "Grand Master".
- Supreme Grand Master: Grey Knights. Prior to Matt Ward this rank didn't exist, and the Knights were ruled by the council of Grand Masters.
- Great Wolf (Space Wolves)
- High Marshall (Black Templars)
- The Chapter Master can also be the First Captain (such as in the Salamanders and Crimson Fists).
- The Iron Hands, meanwhile, are ruled by a Clan Council. Kardan Stronos is listed as Chapter Master only in name as he was elected to be the only one to do shit in the council between fighting nids and Farsight.
As the big boss of an entire army of testosterone-fueled supermen, it is of common sight to see the Chapter Master be armed with a plethora of high quality and absolutely destructive weaponry. Do not be surprised to see a Chapter Master duel-wielding heavy flamers or heavy bolters, weapons that even Space Marines have trouble controlling. Additionally in terms of defense, a Chapter Master is always seen wearing a master crafted piece of armor to denote his position. In most cases, a Chapter Master typically dons Terminator armor for maximum protection, although it isn't uncommon for them to trade protection for maneuverability by wearing artificer armor instead (Just look at Dante and his fabulous packs for example). Most Chapter Masters like to be accompanied by rare and powerful vehicles with some even driving said vehicles into battle, like the Khans of the White Scars.
The skill and prowess whilst powerful, differ from chapter to chapter in the same way the fighting doctrine of each Space Marine chapters differ. You will have Chapter Masters who are extremely skilled in covert and guerilla warfare like those from the Raven Guard, you have Chapter Masters skilled in tactical warfare like the Ultramarines and Dark Angels, or you can have Chapter Masters who go face into combat, tearing the enemies of mankind a new asshole like those seen by the Space Wolves or Blood Angels. In either case, however, a Chapter Master's entire life has been one big fight after another, so he will be a daunting opponent to face against, regardless of what strategy is used against him.
Notable Chapter Masters
There is a boat load of Chapter Masters, so here are some of the most note worthy Chapter Masters that /tg/ adores.
- Gabriel Angelos: Chapter Master of the BLUD REHVENS! Known as Old Gabe, Angey or Gabe the Babe. Gabriel Angelos is known for his intense humanity and broness as well as his kickawesome voice of rusted liquor. Thanks to a certain Irish Leper and a peculiar game, he can now jump and somersault like a circus performer whilst in Terminator armour.
- Azrael: Leader of the Dark Angels and
currently busy hunting down the Fallen-PARTAKING IN TOTALLY NOT-HERETICAL MOTIVES WHILE WE ARE BUSY INTERROGATING THE TRAITORS WHO HAVE DEFINITELY NO CONNECTION TO CERTAIN MEMBERS OF OUR CHAPTER!!!
- Marneus Calgar: AKA Papa Smurf. Chapter Master of the Ultrasmurfs and number one Fisting Champion for 1,000 years straight. Also a quadriplegic after losing them to Space Gargamel.
- Dante: Dante is the leader of the Sexy Bishonen Vampires and the number one best rated "Sexiest Grandpa of the Imperium" for 10,000 years straight.
- Logan Grimnar: He is the Alpha Furry of the Space Yiffs and a total bro during the First War of Armageddon. Noted for pimp slapping the Inquisition and the Grey Knights for harming the civilians and soldiers of Armageddon because the Inquisitor got his panties in a bunch over some paranoia of Chaos influence.
- Helbrecht: High Marshal of the Black Templars and a total badass with a badass name.
- Pedro Kantor: Chapter Master of the Space Mexicans and one of the biggest bros and is tied with Ol'grimmy and Tu'Shan.
- Tu'Shan: He is the biggest bro in a Chapter of bros. He along with Vulkan He'stan have a bro-tier so strong it borderlines bromance. A particular piss-stained Chapter has a grudge on the Salamanders over a particular spat.
- Kayvaan Shrike: Chapter Master of the Raven Guard. Replacing some unknown git named Severax whose only known accomplishment was dying like a bitch to Shadowsun. Kayvaan On the other hand gets shit done like only Kayvaan knows how. He doesn't have a new model, but he now has the Chapter Master keyword in 8th Edition. But if you're not using Murderwings you're doing it wrong.
- Kaldor Draigo: The Supreme Grand Master and the Prime Mary Sue of a chapter of overpowered Mary Sues. He somehow got trapped in the Warp and is forever stuck trolling the homes of the Chaos Gods themselves. Despite his immense Derp and possible addiction to Warp Dust, he is still an absolute monster of a man and was able to tear a fucking Primarch with some bullshit plot device.
- Vorn Hagen: Continuing the Imperial Fist's trend of "Who the hell is this guy and why is it not Lysander yet for fucks sake?!" Is this heretofore unheard of shmuck who is described as "Dorn's ideal space marine". His sue-dom is slightly lessened when everyone knows--including himself that he's just living in Lysander's Shadow. If you wanted to make him live up to his reputation of...not measuring up. Give him the exact same gear as Lysander and hope you roll "Unwilling to Die". That way you play like a poor man's Lysander.
- Gabriel Seth: Chapter master of the Flesh Tearers and a grumpy ass dude by even the Imperium's standards. After a few bumps in the road his Chapter is back on path to regaining its honours, and has one of the best relationships with its parent chapter.
- Chapter Master: A Chapter Management Simulation is a game unfortunately no longer in development where you get to be the Chapter Master of your own Space Marine chapter and lead them to victory, or (much more likely) get wiped out hilariously.
|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 - Death Company Dreadnought |
Dreadnought - Furioso Dreadnought - Librarian Dreadnought
|Transports:||Drop Pod - 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|
|Allies:||Space Marines - Primaris Marines|
|Forces of the Dark Angels|
|Command:|| Apothecary - Company Master - Interrogator-Chaplain |
Chaplain - Librarian - Techmarine - Deathwing Knight
Dark Angels Grand Master
|Troops:|| Assault Squad - Deathwing - Company Veterans |
Devastator Squad - Scout Squad - Tactical Squad
Ravenwing Black Knight - Watcher in the Dark
|Walkers:|| Dreadnought (Venerable 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 - Drop Pod
|Vehicles:|| Bike Squad - Razorback - Predator - Vindicator - Hunter |
Stalker - Whirlwind - Land Speeder Vengeance
|Flyers:|| Dark Talon - Nephilim Jetfighter - Stormraven - Storm Eagle |
|Allies:||Space Marines - Primaris Marines|