Space Marine chapters are the most common article on this wiki, and on various forums, image boards, etc. that host 40k content. Due to their immense popularity with fellow users and the broader Warhammer 40,000 community, it's highly recommended you jump in on the fun as soon as you join this wiki and create one or five of your own! People often have their chapters fall into a colourful variety of tropes or themes, however in this guide we'll attempt to identify the most dominant - and thus best - ones to recommend to you.
The Inquisition and the High Lords of Terra
Space Marine chapters on the wiki are often famed for "hating" or "disliking" the Inquisition or High Lords of Terra based upon the idea that such organisations are corrupt, evil, etc, and often defy their authority or position.
This trope is always a killer. It is true that the High Lords of Terra are as incompetent as anyone would like to depict them, and the any band of Space Marines wouldn't be short of incredibly good reasons to have opposition for those who claim the position and authority of the Emperor of Mankind. It's so good, it's even happening in the canon!
The Inquisition of course aren't anywhere as incompetent as that sluggish bureaucracy on the top. They're not a formal organisation, but a really big web of individuals and bands of people working together. This means that individual personalities and beliefs influence the day to day workings of the organisation. At any moment, self interest, corruption or reckless and unmonitored inquisitorial behaviour could step between your otherwise unassuming relation between your chapter and the inquisition. Thus having a Space Marine chapter "hate or dislike" the entire Inquisition makes plenty of real sense. Furthermore, Inquisitors normally have limited power over Space Marine chapters unless granted it's actually within their jurisdiction, which just adds fuel to the fire of overstepping their reach!
Grey Knights are also a good addition. The Grey Knights are part of the Ordo Malleus (one of the three Ordos of the Inquisition), specialised in the role of Daemon hunting. Your Space Marine chapter could any number of issues with the Grey Knights, but it's up to you to get the creative juices flowing to figure out how it's possible for any memory of a mysterious chapter of daemonhunting space marines to survive psychic mind wipes. Very few Space Marines know of the Grey Knights, and those that do probably do not know of their true purpose - therefore it's highly recommended you jump in on this and make something original! Just remember, Chapters investigated for Daemonic taint would be receiving visits from the Ordo Hereticus, whom deal with internal threats of Heresy - therefore, the more foes, the more meaty your fanon will be.
A special canon example of this; the Space Wolves had a spat with segments of the Inquisition and the Grey Knights over Imperial Guardsmen and Citizens after the War of Armageddon. Since exposure to Daemons is almost certainly a pathway to corruption for normal humans as well as all manner of unpleasant things, the Inquisition agents there present moved to liquidate them. Angered by this, the Space Wolves decided to defend the brave Imperial Guardsmen (who would almost certainly become future servants of Chaos), fighting both the Grey Knights and Inquisition. This almost caused the Space Wolves (a first founding chapter) to be declared heretics.
The Codex Astartes and Organisation
Space Marine Chapters generally follow the Codex Astartes, a set of guidelines and rules which was implemented by Roboute Guillman after the Horus Heresy. They limit Space Marine forces to a thousand men (including reserves) and pushed the Space Marines from general armies to special operations forces and shock troops. It is a rare occasion when an entire Space Marine chapter deploys. Some Chapters, like the Black Templars and the Space Wolves, do not follow this and have their own organisation, both possessing notable numbers. Since there's only a few, there can't be any harm in adding a few more chapters of 10,000+ marines in with the bunch.
Call a Legion if you want, it's up to you. You can even adopt your own special codex written by a member of your chapter. Again, nothing can stop you here but your own creativity.
And I mean nothing.
Space Marine chapters aren't always friends. Chapter Rivalries exist on ideological basis and beliefs, and can lead to all sorts of issues. All out rare is relatively rare, and it is mostly limited to skirmishes and so on, so here's a golden chance to write about a planet-cracking Space Marine civil war. We'll take the ever so popular Ultramarines for example.
The very common "Chapter Rivalry" on the Wiki is the Ultramarines Chapter. We really recommend you have a similar rivalry, that way other more experienced users can really show you the ropes in making your very own custom chapter.
"Sticking it to the Ultramarines" has always been a very common troupe on the wiki, much like people having their chapters opposed to the Inquisition and High Lords. You could write in a very good reason for the Ultramarines and your own chapter at odds, but simply doing to it to "hate what's popular" or to "be against the norm" (which has become incredibly common) is O.K. too. A mysterious chapter has plenty of allure.
Xenos are people too and the good guy Chapter
The trend of making Space Marines out to be noble heroes who are kind or benevolent to innocents in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, to the point where they are "laid back" with Guardsmen or other general soldiers and go out of their way to not cause civilian causalities is always a clean slate to work from.
This troupe is incredibly rarely used, and whilst it can be interpreted as "opposing" the general theme of the Warhammer universe, remember that this is YOUR fanon, and nor theirs.
Thus, a string of Chapters exist that hate the High Lords of Terra, the Inquisition, etc, because of this "Good Guy/Rebel syndrome" against the leadership or the norm. It's really quite fitting.
Likewise, the trope of special alien friends has also worked it's way into the wiki (but not too much!). Space Marines are trained to fight and kill Xenos. Alliances are rare, but they can be forged by fire and last forever. Often alliances with Eldar or Tau are made, but you're welcome to work the creative cogs and think up your own special alliance with an alien faction, fanon or otherwise.
The Chapter Character and the Not-Primarch
Another common topic is the Chapters "main character" - often a Chapter Master or Captain - whom the fluff (mainly the history) of the Chapter is focused upon. This means that the actual character of the chapter is diluted is often left to but a few distinct paragraphs, which is common with Games Workshops Special Characters. Time has shown us that it's the individuals who make history, and not people. Feel free to have your chapter be simply an extension of the goals and actions of a tumultuous superhuman figure.
The Not-Primarch is the Chapter Character who is the long term leader (often as old or older than Dante, the oldest living non-Dreadnought Space Marine) who is effectively its spiritual leader. Space Marines can't actually die of age, so if your leader truly is unbeatable in battle, or has nine hundred and ninety nine utterly loyal battle brothers willing to lay down their lives for their chapter master so he may live on, it's very possible to have a milennea-old character.
Avoiding all of these things is almost certainly a missed chance.
Arguably, the most important part of your chapter is it's heraldry. Using four or more colours is suggested, and going for the darkest or brightest possible shade is always good. At the very least, make sure to use plenty of red and black. The combination of the two colours is so original that it wasn't even properly discovered until the year 1999 with the release of Quake 3, so there's plenty of room for more black and red Space Marines.
The following colours are the best possible for any chapter;
- Blood red
- Soul black
- Skull white
- Pimp purple
- My dad brown
- Swag gold