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Female Custodes, what do you guys think?


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Hi.  There was a thread about re-evaluating the idea of female Space Marines on Amicus Amedes, where there was 1 idea that really leapt out to me and others: female Custodes.

 

There are in-lore reasons that the Space Marine creation process was based on Primarchs through the Emperor's own genes, incompatible with women, etc.  However, with Custodes being the best version of transhumans where it's like each one is a custom genetic engineering job, the possibility isn't ruled out in the lore.  However, there are no instances of female Custodes, either, on those same lines.

 

Edit - I was just flipping through Master of Mankind by ADB, here's the quote from The Big E, but this one quote is not that big a deal.  It does NOT even imply there would be female Custodes, just that there's a lot more variety among Custodes in general than, say, Astartes:

 

 

Each one of the Ten Thousand represents genetic lore acquired over many lifetimes. Each one of you is unique. A work of art never to be repeated.

 

What do you guys think?  I haven't formed an opinion, I expected someone else to have started a thread, I'm open either way.

 

I do not currently have a Custodes force...but now I'm fascinated by it.  I've painted some female Stormcast Celestials and I think they look really good.  This is an avenue I'm interested in exploring, but I wanted to see, through you guys, how it would be perceived by the experts in this field.

Edited by N1SB
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Follow me on this: The PDF & Guard will  recruit anyone who can point a lasgun in the general direction of the enemy; sheer physical might matters less (Though there could be situations the stories and outside spectators gloss over, such as long-distance rapid marching with really heavy kits.)

 

The Sisters of Battle are who they are required to be by Imperial law;

 

Lady inquisitors and assasins focus on special skills;

 

However once you reach into heavily augmented super-warrior territory, who go toe-to-toe with truck-size monstrosities you've gotta ask; Would a female Custodes (or Astartes for that matter) not be given the exact same physique as a male one?

 

If not, and maintains a strong yet feminine appearance, by default she doesn't have as thick bones and as large muscles as her male counterpart, nor room for all the special organs in her chest, as it was not made barrel-shaped; That means she is weaker and less resilient. And while in a modern day army, it's easy to alter the regulations so girls get a pass in the name of equality, I very much doubt that the average ork, tyranid, necron, chaos demon would be chivalrious enough to pull their punches when encountering lady custodes / astartes.

 

If we'd just say they're made special, with even denser muscles and bones, so they can be as strong and resilient as a large male warrior despite their sleeker builds, we imply the girls' superiority, and beg the question, why didn't we give the boys higher quality enhancements as well, when the Imperium needs warriors so direly? Same holds true for giving them stronger power suits.

 

If we engage in no such shenanigans, and want to make the lady custodes / astartes of exactly the same strength, resilience & sophistication, she would indeed have to look like a male one, down to the brutishly wide, heavy boned face (keep in mind how thick their skulls are), so what's the point?

 

So to cap it up, you couldn't in good conscience have them look like the fanart that portrays such lady warriors (and I'm convinced that's the main purpose here; someone's into warrior women, and nothing wrong with that until they start insisting on lore changes), and if they look like men, there's no point in having them.

 

The Custodes force however, has the Sisters of Silence attached; Yes, they're not AS mighty as the Custodes themselves, but they are formidable, and do an essential task their larger comrades are unable to. I'd say that's quite a powerful position, AND they get to stay visibly female.

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However once you reach into heavily augmented super-warrior territory, who go toe-to-toe with truck-size monstrosities you've gotta ask; Would a female Custodes (or Astartes for that matter) not be given the exact same physique as a male one?

 

If we engage in no such shenanigans, and want to make the lady custodes / astartes of exactly the same strength, resilience & sophistication, she would indeed have to look like a male one, down to the brutishly wide, heavy boned face (keep in mind how thick their skulls are), so what's the point?

It's ironically these points alone why I wouldn't mind seeing female Custodes or Marines. No need for additional models. You can literally just say they’re females and give them female names.

 

It just fits the setting if you ask me. The Imperium doesn't care who you are, what gender you are, what race you are, you'll serve the war machine all the same. As long as you're human, and not a mutant.

Edited by jarms48
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40k plays on archaic strings. It's better worldbuilding by being more archaic by having the exclusive elite warrior orders mimic monks and nuns and be separate. Female Sisters of Silence and Sororitas on the one hand, and male Astartes and Custodes are much better worldbuilding ploys than mixed orders of Astartes and Custodes. You don't mix monks and nuns and retain an archaic impression.

This is one example where GW has stayed a lot truer to the spirit of 40k through all these decades, than one would expect. Kudos to GW for playing the right strings to build their setting, where so many others would have fallen for outside pressure and muddled the setting.

Of course, the elite monks and nuns situation does not apply to the Mechanicus/Titanicus (who cares little about fleshly matters) or the ragtag plebeian hordes of Imperial Guard (where any setup conceivable, such as mixed or separate regiments, or just male or even just female regiments will happen somewhere depending on local culture). Neither does the Inquisition need it, since it's such an excentric individually focused organization. Sororitas/Astartes and Custodes/Sisters of Silence is the relevant arena. They are the big shining warrior orders.

 

And they ought to feel archaic. This isn't the Dark Age of Technology, but the regressed, myopic and parochial Age of Imperium, where things often do not make sense and weird traditions are king. There is a good reason why Games Workshop in the 1990s abandoned the idea of female Space Marines and gave the Sisters of Battle a true remake into their own thing. And the setting is all that richer for it. :)

 

Cheers

 

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Edited by Karak Norn Clansman
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With all of the information that we have of Custodes being focused on all of them being all essentially artisanally developed in the sense that you take an individual who has the potential to become one and then the whole process is tailored for that individual I see no reason for an all-male Custodes force other than convenience when it comes to creating miniatures. I mean we already know that there are Custodes of all body shapes and sizes with a much larger variance than there exists within the ranks of the Astartes, but for obvious reasons we are not getting that realized in plastic or resin. Because all of them are essentially individually created masterpieces of genecraft and bioalchemy, they are much closer to the work of an individual craftsman rather than mass-produced.

 

As an example, with Astartes you need an individual to be compatible on a biological and a mental level or the standardized manufacturing process won't work and the individual is either killed during the process by his biology going mad or simply refused upon failing a compatibility test and spend the remainder of his life as a chapter serf. Speaking from a production design point the process has certain tolerances of deviancy, but there is a window that an individual needs to hit and the farther away an individual is from the optimum the more drastic the biochemical balancing act becomes. There are in-lore mentions of how some of the organs are focused on regulating the activities of other organs and of how the power armor also contains a ton of chemical dispensers and sensors that are focused on maintaining the balance inside the body of an individual Astartes.

 

Creation of a Custodes is more akin to a master craftsman acquiring a rare piece of wood or a master artist acquiring a slab of marble and then turning that raw material into something different. Depending on the size and shape of the piece of wood or slab of marble, the process can go in very different directions and take a different amount of time, but at the end of the day you have a masterpiece at your hands, and a completely unique creation at that, as much a realization of the potential in that original raw resource as well as an indication of the skill of the hands that shaped it. In my opinion there is no point in thinking in mass production terms when you are discussing the Custodes since they are all shaped so individually. As long as the criteria for suitability are met (and we know very little of these criteria other than that the Emperor liked to induct children of his conquered enemies on Terra), the craftsmen who create the Custodes will turn you into one. I guess that most Custodes have a few additional organs compared to a baseline human, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were huge differences between individual Custodes in how many additional ones they have and what those organs do since, again, I would assume that most of their additional organs are individually crafted for the needs of a specific individual as well rather than mass-produced from the geneseed like it is with the Astartes.

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I mean, the only reason that there WEREN'T female Custodes in Master of Mankind, per ABD's own admission, was he was told "no, because we don't have miniatures of them". Not "No, they don't exist", but "we don't have miniatures of female Custodes".

 

Which should tell you all you need to know.

 

Also for what it's worth: Stormcast Eternal heads are the same size as Custodes ones. And there's a lot of female Stormcast Eternal heads. Hint, hint ;)

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I think it's a modeling concept worth exploring, and given what we recently saw with the Chaos Aspiring champion model, it showed you can have visibly female details that are aesthetically pleasing, but still maintain the strong bruiser shape, I think that body type works quite well for a heavy infantry style army. It would certainly give me more of a reason to expand my custodes.

 

Lore wise, I'll leave to others to discuess, but logic wise it's certainly a smaller leap than sentient self-confident fungus or reactors that run on blood and promethium.

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I am no expert on custodes, but overall I think from a modelling/personal fluff perspective it shouldn't be a problem.

Personally I think all human factions could benefit from a wider variety of gender and race, as long as people stay away from the stereotypes like the famous boob armour (and other exaggerated ways to make female models) to demonstrate female characters and so on (also true for racial stereotypes). I know in western tradition males were warriors and females were not, but there is a lot of inspiration for agile female warriors that could serve as a base for a more varied army (if you consider women to be somewhat weaker/fragile you could give them agile roles, while males focused on strength and tanky warriors).

I am all for equal opportunities though, so I think all is fair in war :smile.:

Go out there and make your own stories, it matters little if others agree with it or not :wink:

Edited by GreenScorpion
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[...]

If we engage in no such shenanigans, and want to make the lady custodes / astartes of exactly the same strength, resilience & sophistication, she would indeed have to look like a male one, down to the brutishly wide, heavy boned face (keep in mind how thick their skulls are), so what's the point?

 

So to cap it up, you couldn't in good conscience have them look like the fanart that portrays such lady warriors (and I'm convinced that's the main purpose here; someone's into warrior women, and nothing wrong with that until they start insisting on lore changes), and if they look like men, there's no point in having them.

 

[...]

 

Agree that female Custodes should look same as male ones, except if they are portrayed without armour, and then the only difference should be the genitalia and the breast, which would not be visible unless naked; so really the only thing we'd see as different in a female Custodian would be the face, as heavier muscles and bones still would not change a woman's features into a man's, even if her body looks almost same and is able to get to the same strength levels; but her face would be heavier looking. So, to say so, think of a Gina Carano style woman, but with a body like Dwayne Johnson's, with femenine breasts and genitalia.

 

To me, a Custodes miniature with a suitable female head would be proper both in looks and (possible) background.

Here there are suitable heads, which can be seen painted here and in this blog entry put into space marine minis. And they look fine IMHO.

 

EDITED to add links.

Edited by DOGGED
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It's sheer horror, and your expectations are off.

Carano is still a reasonably normal woman; obviously she didn't get augmented to become a custodes, so her looks represent a standard human body strengthened by excercise, which can be taken much, much further still on our side of reality- and It only gets worse from there once you cross into 40K.

Believe me, with that much growth stimulants, they'd have the body AND the face of Dwayne Johnson's larger, meaner uncle that he's terrified of.

 

Why can't things just be left as they are? Get sisters, get null maidens, get a knight and model a lore-accurate female pilot inside so she can be larger and stompier than alll the boys around her if that's what you need but who in their right mind would even want to contemplate what you've just described?

A few years down the line, someone will be saying "Well, the lore doesn't specifically state women can't become Ramilles class space fortresses"

Edited by MetalMammoth
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A few years down the line, someone will be saying "Well, the lore doesn't specifically state women can't become Ramilles class space fortresses"

Except, unlike Astartes, the only justification of the absence of female Custodes from an author who was about to include them in canon was "we don't have models for that"

Edited by Gederas
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I don't know if this excludes females but there two things I think are relevant to the conversation:

 

1. Retainers as a historical position were generally the same gender as their master. I'm not saying there were not exceptions but from most historical figures I have read up on, their trusted advisors and defending forces were the same gender.

 

 

2. From lore...the Word Bearers refer to custodes as "soul bound" of the emperor. I'm not saying emps couldn't soul bond or whatever the implication is there with a female, but custodes are a lot more than just "genetically modified humans". There is some spiritual connection that might be literally easier to achieve with men between the custodes and emperor.

 

 

I would think given what we see of marines and custodes...female space marines make more sense than Custodes.

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I could care less- the Custodes are so far beyond normal humans due to the gene-sculpting that they aren't human any more.  They are no longer homo sapiens, they are homo custodes- a meticulous genetically crafted super-warrior that is programmed for absolute loyalty and fidelity. They are even more removed from humanity by the removal/suppression of extraneous emotions and biological responses, in a greater depth, than Astartes. I view Custodes as more akin to very well crafted, intelligent Mechanicus servitor than a human; there is a base of human somewhere there, but they are fundamentally something different. At that point, sexual characteristics are moot. Model them how you wish, call them what you want, doesn't matter to me.

Edited by Lord_Ikka
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I think they could easily make them look more feminine to be honest. There is no real detail of how the process to create them works unlike the rather brutal approach that is taken with the Astartes. I personally would liken the difference between the two being the difference between a craftsman hand carving an ornate wooden throne over a factory mass vacuum forming plastic chairs.

 

I think it would be far better to further set them apart from the brutish Astartes and just make them visually bigger humans. They don't have to suffer from gigantism or lose their humanity as much. I'd make them like Xerxes from 300.

 

You could make them more feminine looking in the same way they have with Stormcast, nothing over the top and would highlight the fine construction of their armour over the regular mass produced Astartes armour.

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Let's stear clear of the real world analogies, shall we. They don't really have a place here and NEVER lead anywhere good.

 

At the end of the day, you can justify anything with fluff. And there's no real reason why women wouldn't be recruited, it's not like people in the Imperium have much choice about where they end up most of the time. The Custodes take only the best to be modified and trained up, limiting yourself to only recruiting half the population for that means leaving half of the best untapped. Which is a waste and Custodes don't really go in for that as far as I understand.

 

I reckon the reason we have few females models is because back in the day it was easier and cheaper to just go with one mold for your mass produced models like Marines or Guardsmen. The fluff followed to justify those real world restrictions. Nowadays this isn't really a constraint anymore, so there's no practical reason why you wouldn't at least get female heads. If it works for Stormcast why not for Custodes.

Edited by sairence
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[...]

I reckon the reason we have few females models is because back in the day it was easier and cheaper to just go with one mold for your mass produced models like Marines or Guardsmen. The fluff followed to justify those real world restrictions. Nowadays this isn't really a constraint anymore, so there's no practical reason why you wouldn't at least get female heads. If it works for Stormcast why not for Custodes.

This is true, as Gederas pointed out:

 

 

Except, unlike Astartes, the only justification of the absence of female Custodes from an author who was about to include them in canon was "we don't have models for that"

 

 

It's sheer horror, and your expectations are off.

Carano is still a reasonably normal woman; obviously she didn't get augmented to become a custodes, so her looks represent a standard human body strengthened by excercise, which can be taken much, much further still on our side of reality- and It only gets worse from there once you cross into 40K.

Believe me, with that much growth stimulants, they'd have the body AND the face of Dwayne Johnson's larger, meaner uncle that he's terrified of.

 

[...]

 

I'm afraid you did not get my point. As I said:

 

 

[...] the only difference would not be visible unless naked; so really the only thing we'd see as different in a female Custodian would be the face, [...] even if her body looks [...] same and [...] same strength levels [...]. So, to say so, think of a Gina Carano style woman, but with a body like Dwayne Johnson's, with femenine breasts and genitalia.

 

To me, a Custodes miniature with a suitable female head would be proper both in looks and (possible) background. [...]

 

I meant kind of Dwayne Johnson's body with Gina Carano's face, just to put an example. Not necessarily canon attractive but functionally the same.

 

Beyond it being possible in fluff (as the aforementioned author quote confirms), and not getting into scientifical discussions broadly beyond our capabilities (unless there's a genetist with great anatomy knowledge here with the disposition to lend his/her opinion be known), my guess is that there can be female Custodes and representing such one with a female head on a Custodes mini should suffice (as for the armour, we can think of it as gender neuter).

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I don't know if this excludes females but there two things I think are relevant to the conversation:

 

1. Retainers as a historical position were generally the same gender as their master. I'm not saying there were not exceptions but from most historical figures I have read up on, their trusted advisors and defending forces were the same gender.

 

 

2. From lore...the Word Bearers refer to custodes as "soul bound" of the emperor. I'm not saying emps couldn't soul bond or whatever the implication is there with a female, but custodes are a lot more than just "genetically modified humans". There is some spiritual connection that might be literally easier to achieve with men between the custodes and emperor.

 

 

I would think given what we see of marines and custodes...female space marines make more sense than Custodes.

 

Far be it from me to take away from the Emperor drawing inspiration from historical figures (I mean odds are he was some / most of them), but I think the fact that a lot of historical figures tended to have male retainers and squires can be ascribed to historical norms rather than being the absolute best way to run things and even there you have notable exceptions like, for example, the shieldmaidens in Scandinavia.

 

Concerning your second point, we have in lore examples of women being soul bound to the Emperor in the case of astropaths, both when he was walking around and now that he is stuck in the Golden Throne. That could very well be a different type of soul binding compared to what is done to the Custodes, but at least that process doesn't seem to care about your gender.

 

Funnily enough I think female space marines are a bigger stretch given what we have been given as in lore explanations of how a space marine is created. I personally don't really care, it's a big galaxy so you do you, but since the making of an Astartes is basically taking a human and then adding implants that force his body and mind to stretch far beyond what a human is, it makes sense from a production process point of view that whatever is the input into that process is defined extremely well and with rather extreme tolerances.

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I mean there are two reasons to be against mixed Custodes, misogyny and internalised misogyny and this thread has only reinforced that again :P  Its made up magic science, anything is possible. Id just do a head swap personally though because most efforts at "feminine" armour are cringe at best.   

I have no idea why that would have any effects on the Sisters of Silence either (Who have indeed been done dirty by GW/FW)  whose gender is like one of the least interesting things about them :D Tbh in general id prefer to move away from segregated units, especially the transhumans where it makes the least sense.

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I mean there are two reasons to be against mixed Custodes, misogyny and internalised misogyny and this thread has only reinforced that again :tongue.:  Its made up magic science, anything is possible. Id just do a head swap personally though because most efforts at "feminine" armour are cringe at best.   

 

I have no idea why that would have any effects on the Sisters of Silence either (Who have indeed been done dirty by GW/FW)  whose gender is like one of the least interesting things about them :biggrin.: Tbh in general id prefer to move away from segregated units, especially the transhumans where it makes the least sense.

 

I get you're tongue is firmly in cheek, but I think there's a fair assumption that making Big E's Boys into Big E's Boys'n'Girls would make the quiet chicks in the back of the class fall further into obscurity. Gotta keep in mind tho, we all know it's "made up magic science", it's just that the rules of that magic science have been in play for a while, and changing that internal logic due to outside influences (even if well-intentioned) can be worrying. Hell, I'm still not over the introduction of Primaris and probably won't be until they're just Space Marines and the whole conceit is moved on from, despite liking pretty much every release, just because it undermines that aforementioned internal logic. 

 

Custodes should just be a Talon's of the Emperor army that focus on both Custodes and Sisters of Silence - make Sisters a "cheaper" (i.e. the classic Marine profile) set of specialized splashable units to offset the inherent deficits of the Custodes (namely their points costs). Maybe a bit outwith the scope of this thread, but it's a bit like the issue with FeMarines - there's already a female counterpart, they just don't get as much attention - although I don't have nearly the same objection to it that I do with FeMarines due to the established bespoke nature of Custodes. I'd just rather more Sisters of Silence than Boobstodes. 

Edited by Jings
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