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Warhammer 40K: The Astartes Fortress Monastery Provides Shelter From The Storm

6 Minute Read
Dec 13 2020

Today Loremasters, we gather round to discuss the bastions of trans-human power that hold back the foul threats of the galaxy – the Fortress Monasteries of the Adeptus Astartes.

Fortress-Monasteries are enormous fortresses where Space Marine Chapters have their headquarters.

Overview & Summary

Chapters are highly monastic as well as military organizations. As the Space Marines are all warrior-monks in this regard, their fortress-monasteries are devoted both to battle and worship.

Fortress-monasteries are usually based on Imperial worlds, or on deserted moons or asteroids. In the case of fleet-based chapters the chapter flagship serves as a mobile fortress-monastery. The locations of some chapter planets are hidden while others are well-known. The preferred location for a fortress monastery is an Imperial world, which the Chapter Master is sometimes also the planetary governor of. In other cases the Chapter Master will make a deal with the existing planetary governor, paying a tithe in return for the land they occupy. They are usually welcomed by governors, as the presence of Space Marines deters invasion.

Fortress Monastery of the Howling Griffons

Typical Layout

The following is a description of the Fang, the fortress-monastery of the Space Wolves on Fenris:

  • Company Chapel: The most commonly used place of worship. Every Company has its own chapel located within its Company block. This worship is part of the Marine brethren’s regime of discipline.
  • Penitorium: Marine Battle-Brothers guilty of any kind of transgression are held here as a form of remedial and penitent punishment.
  • Private Chambers: These are private offices and rooms used by the various Masters of the Order, including the Master of the Ships, Master of the Forge and Master of Ordnance.
  • Communal Dormitories: These contain the living and sleeping chambers of the Chapter’s non-combat staff, including servants, technicians and naval personnel.
  • Guest Chambers: Relatively luxurious chambers reserved for important visitors such as members of the Administratum.
  • Foundries:The foundries are where the Marines manufacture and repair their weapons and equipment. The skilled workers of the foundries are known as Brother Artisans. Equipment is evaluated at an adjacent testing and weapon ground.
  • Shuttle Silos: The bulk of the Chapters fleet is located in orbit and the only vessels located within the fortress are those required to get to the fleet, mostly including couriers and transport vessels.
  • Teleportorium: These teleporter rooms are spread throughout the base in four places and are the primary means of moving between the fortress and the fleet. Teleportorium One is used to receive guests.

  • Launcher Pads: Twenty four aircraft are housed in underground hangers beneath the launcher pads, including four large transports and eight high speed scouts.
  • Armoury: A large but crowded underground complex used to store ammunition and weaponry. The security for the whole complex falls to the Master of Ordnance and each armoury may only be entered in his presence, the doors requiring his gene-print and coded signal. In an emergency the Chapter Commander may override this with a secret spoken code.
  • Apothecarion: An advanced medical facility, used as a hospital, for research and as a bio-lab. This is where warriors are surgically transformed into superhuman Marines. The skilled medical staff have private quarters above the Apothacarion, while the servants and nurses share a dormitory on a lower level.
  • Assimularum: This is the largest room in the complex besides the Great Hall. It is a vast and high vaulted room, in which the entire chapter can be gathered. It is used for mass meetings, ceremonies, religious festivals and special feasts.
  • Reclusiam: The Reclusiam is usually partitioned from the Assimularum by a screen, and is used only for cult activities. It is looked after by a religious officer known as a Reclusiarch and the chapter’s holy relics and many of their most precious battle trophies are kept here. The Reclusiarch has an office off to one side, and there are three private chapels dedicated to Leman Russ, The Emperor Deified and The Emperor Oracular.
  • Refectory: This area is for the main dining procedures and includes kitchens, store-rooms, disposal units and purification vats. The strict and simple diet of the fighting warriors are augmented by a complex bio-chem designed to maintain their superior bodies. Meals are eaten in silence following prayers of thanks by the most senior brother present.
  • Oratorium: There are several Oratorium spread throughout the base and are used for private meetings, lectures, briefings and small assemblies.

  • Librarium: The Librarium is more than a collection of books as it also acts as the central repository of records and the main seat of communications. The chapter’s astropaths spend most of their time here, monitoring and broadcasting messages from the base. The Chief Librarian is in overall command of the written histories and communications within and without the base as well as the base defences. These defences are controlled from an armoured room in the Librarium. Based within this room are also the Communications Officers and a number of librarians, astropaths and technical assistants.
  • Cells: A cell is given to a brother to live in. They are arranged in blocks of ten, directly related to the members of a fighting squad with each of the ten blocks representing a company. Each block has a small administrative office and the private chambers of the captain.
  • Hydro-culture: This area contains a supply of local produce and exotic or seasonal vegetables collected and grown for the benefit of the chapter. Other chapters often maintain much larger facilities than the Space Wolves however.
  • Terrarium: This space is dedicated to the maintenance and propagation of plants from throughout the galaxy. It provides both a restful area and a source for some of the drugs used in the Apothacarion.
  • Scriptory: There are several Scriptories spread around the base and they provide instant access to unclassified Librarium files. These are accessed through a computer terminal and allows users to select, consult and record new entries for the main library.
  • Solitorium: The Solitorium is a remote location (outside the fortress) designed to provide brothers with a space for contemplation. It can be occupied for anything from a few days to years on end. Marines who seek promotion are expected to search their souls and go through self-deprivation for weeks on end to prove their worth.
  • Dungeon: The Dungeons lie deep beneath the Apothecarion and are home to the common prisoners, but not brothers who would be placed in the Penitorium. The walls are lined with reinforced diamantine although prisoners don’t spend long in the dungeons before being taken to the Apothacarion for interrogation.
  • Generatorum: The power source for the fortress-monastery on Lucan is a group of four huge crystal-piles which penetrate the surface of the planet and convert underground heat into energy via a phased crystal interface (presumably there are many other ways of generating energy on this scale, this is but one example of the possibilities).

  • Defence Laser: These lasers are mounted in armoured turrets and thirty two of them remain permanently switched on. The other eighty eight may be brought to bear within four days of activation.
  • Local Defences: The perimeter of the base is covered by 317 separate weapons turrets including four laser cannons and a missile launcher in each.
  • Missile Silos: Over 400 Missile Silos are spread over Lucan and are the main force of the Space Wolves’ ground to orbit weapons. They are each controlled from the armoured room within the Librarium.
  • Catacombs: The catacombs are the burial place for the Space Wolves and are home to many ancient heroes of the chapter.
  • Great Hall: The Great Hall is the first room you come to when entering the base. It is designed to awe the visiting guests and is the largest single room on the planet (Lucan). It contains many of the battle trophies of the Space Wolves and paintings of famous battles are displayed on the walls. Ancient weaponry and armour from as far back as the Horus Heresy are on display behind plexi-glass. The spacecraft Medusa, flown by Leman Russ himself, hangs from the ceiling of the room and spans its entire length.
  • Barbican: The Barbican is the massive gate house that leads into the Great Hall. This has a permanent guard to receive guests from overland, air and orbit.
  • Crypts: Sacred chambers where fallen battle-brothers are laid to rest.

Listing of Notable Fortress Monasteries


~ There are few safer places in the galaxy and only an unmoderated fool would attack one.

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