In one of the Siege of Vraks books (Part III I believe), Hector Rex is described as having undergone genetic enhancement to make him larger and stronger then a Space Marine. Is the Imperium being capable of this mentioned anywhere else? I thought that only the Space Marines and the Custodes were genetically enhanced, and that the technology to improve upon this had been lost. Are there other characters described as having the same enhancements? Also, are these enhancements based on those of the Space Marines, and the organs implanted into them (i.e. does he have two hearts, black carapace, ability to spit acid, etc?)

To clarify: I'm looking for characters biologically enhanced by the imperium to be better all-around combatants, like space marines, while still being fairly close to human. Dreadnoughts do not count, since they are basically exoskeletons. Assassins could if they are permanently enhanced, not just drugged into a berserk state when needed. Skitarii might, though I thought they were mostly mechanically enhanced, and not nearly a match for a marine?


3 Answers 3


As far as we know, Hector is unique.

We almost never find out how/where an Inquisitor gets their enhancements and as such we don't really know the extent of Hector's. He could have Wolverine claws and Cyclops laser vision... we just don't know. Most seem to be unique to that particular Inquisitor and their preferred methods of combat.

And Like you say, the Imperium has lost the ability to create Space Marines. But as Hector is an Inquisitor Lord, It's safe to assume he has access to all sorts of life extending technology and enhancements the rest of the Imperium doesn't know about.

If someone somewhere somehow managed to replicate the Emperor's work in creating Space Marines, or enhancing someone to a point where they could surpass a Space Marine, there would really be only two possible outcomes:

  • Chaso would get their hands on it and all sorts of bad stuff would happen.
  • The Inquisition would get their hands on it and kill literally everyone who ever heard of it.

It seems very likely that the latter happened here.

And as Inquisitor Lord of the Ordo Malleus, Hector alone has access to it.


There are buckets of enhanced humans and meta-humans throughout the Imperium. To my knowledge, none have enhancements which can fully measure up to a Space Marine. If you take Chaos into account though, obviously Demon Princes and the like can far surpass a Space Marine.

  • so Daft... you are saying that an assassin isnt a match for a space marine? First off there are countless examples in the W4ok where an assassin goes up against groups of space marines and lives to tell fight another day. Those bad boys are genetically enhanced and are better one vs one any day. just take up any space marine codex and compare the stats with any assassin codex entry. cold facts.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:18
  • No ones talking about assassins. The OP is looking for beings with similar enhancements as Rex.
    – Daft
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:20
  • and what are assassins? birds or normal humans like Rex, who have been enhanced like said Rex.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:21
  • @Cherubel so any living thing fits the bill? A Dreadnought started as human.
    – Ingu Shama
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:29
  • 1
    @InguShama not to me. a drednaught started as a space marine, and it is still a space marine in a super duper exoskeleton. so no dreadnaught doesnt count. but im not the op in this case.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:31

There are a lot of examples of ordinary humans beeing enhanced in some way in the W40k books.

  • Fabius Bile likes to experiment and often makes genetically enhanced humans
  • Failed aspirants for space marines are enhanced
  • Inquisition lords are enhanced (mostly coz they have the money and the knowhow)
  • Skitarii are enhenced
  • Officio Assasinorum (Imperial Assassins) are enhanced

So yes there are many, many examples in the books.

Most of them arent enhanced to be better than a Space Marine tho. The process to have the same organs as a space marine takes years and has to be started while the subject is still a young adolescent. Otherwise the organs dont bond and there is a huge risk of the subject dieing from the prosess.

However implanting rage stimulants, pain supressants, muscle growth, anti ageing (juvenant) treatmants are all accessible to the higher tier of Imperial society so you regulary meet Planetary lords, Warmasters, Generals, nobility and the like with some combination of enhancements coz they have the money and access to the best care in the Imperium.

EDIT: The OP put a link of Rex in his question detailing his early history, acolades etc.

As Rex grew to adolescence, he was subjected to genetic enhancement by the Imperium's finest chirurgeons and gene-adepts, similar to that worked upon the superhuman bodies of the Adeptus Astartes. His physical body grew to massive proportions until Rex towered eight feet tall, with a heavily muscled frame and superhuman physical condition.

So that in itself answers if Rex's enhancements are similar to Space Marine enhancements. There are Space marines that are described as beeing 8 feet tall (Pasanius).

Another such individual is Fabius Bile. He started as human, became a space marine, then the apothecary. Then the horus heresy happened. He is obsessed with improving on his body and also obsessed with making beeings better than Space marines.

The lore is full of characters that rival or even surpass Rex and his abilities. The Imperium of men has million of worlds and uncounted subjects.

Edit 2: Just to stop this theory-crafting that Space marine is better/stronger than an assassin. Clearly the below stats from the codex Space Wolves and the assassin codex show that one on one an Assassin will eat any Space Marine for breakfast. Better at waapons, better initiative, more attacks. So they will come fast and hard and they will end you.

This is Ulrik The Slayer: an officer and highly trained Space Marine

This is an entry for "Ordinary or line troops"

This is an entry for a Vindicare Assassin. But the stats are the same for all the temples. enter image description here

  • OP isn't asking for any examples of enhanced beings, but for specific examples of someone that's been enhanced to a Space Marine's level.
    – Daft
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 15:34
  • 1
    and i have listed specific examples of enhanced humans. it can be done and it is done. An Eversor assassin is definatly going to be stronger and faster than a line space marine. Any Lord Inquisitor wort his salt isnt going to be idiotic enough and entrust his protection and wellbeeing to bodyguards. He/she will enhance his offense and defense capabilities to the ponint where he or she can go toe to toe with a single space marine and come ahead. and so on and so forth. and OP is asking for examples the way i am reading the question-
    – Cherubel
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:15
  • Are there other characters described as having the same enhancements?
    – Daft
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:16
  • 1
    @daft ..sigh.. so you want a list of all the named inquisitor lords, assassins and genetically enhanced humans? that can take a while while somebody ready every wiki page of every character, finds refferances and posts them.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:33
  • 1
    -1 The OP is clearly asking if the tech used to enhance Rex was similar to that used on Space Marines... you don't even attempt to address that in your answer. You just list augmented humans.
    – Ingu Shama
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 0:33

If we're including Squats within the Imperium, they also stand out as candidates for an answer:


The Squats' ancestors were Human colonists who reached the heavy-gravity, mineral-rich worlds around the galactic core during the time of the initial expansion of Humanity beyond Earth's own Sol System during the Dark Age of Technology. This was many Terran millennia before the emergence of the Emperor of Mankind and the dawn of the Age of the Imperium.

The colonisation came at the right time, as Old Earth's own mineral wealth had been largely depleted. The worlds at the galactic core were rich in rare and unique strategic minerals, but in terms of the existence of life they were barren and unsuited for Human colonisaton.

These worlds were dark and bleak planets. Their gravity was intense, usually two or three times that of the Earth. Their atmospheres were either thin or non-existent. Even those planets that did possess atmospheres were continuously blasted by tremendous radiation storms produced by the massive black hole located in the galaxy's core.

Once settled, these planets became rich Mining Worlds. The colonists were forced to become self-sufficient, providing their own underground, hydroponically-grown food.

Due to the hostile nature of these worlds' surfaces, the colonists formed underground societies. During the long isolation of Mankind produced by the Warp Storms of the Age of Strife, the Squat race genetically adapted to their new homes, evolving or genetically engineering themselves to better suit their environment, becoming far tougher, more resilient and physically shorter with a denser skeletomuscular system than found in the baseline Human genome.

The very high level of technological progress achieved by the Squats suggests that a lot of these alterations were deliberate products of their knowledge and would presumably lead to enhanced fighting effectiveness.

  • In new lore Squats - now the Leagues of Vottan - are definitely genetically engineered, but although originally based on humans and from earth they are not now part of the Imperium, nor were they... (the joy of retcon) The Squats on Necromunda live in the Imperium, but I don't think they are genetically engineered. Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 20:43

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