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The Codex Astartes is a set of rules

They guide us, and shape us as Ultramarines, teach us to hold duty and honor sacred above all But how we live by those rules is the true test of a Space Marine..

-Captain Titus (Warhammer 40k: Space Marine)

So despite Captain Titus' canonicity being very much doubted, there is some relevance to his saying. The codex astartes has been strictly adhered to by some chapters (Primarily the Ultramarines) but kept to a lesser degree by others.

From the number of recruits/full fledged battle brothers to weapons and vehicles to fighting styles and strategies, many Chapters have their own way of doing things.

It seems as long as the Chapter is proven loyal to the emperor and able to produce results, adherence to the Codex is not that strict.

But then again, in the paranoid Imperium of Man, slight deviations could be easily translated into Heresy; although few have little say over how a Space Marine chapter operates, none (besides the Emperor) is above the Inquisiton. Does the Ordo Hereticus concern themselves with this matter, do they see to it the Rules are at least kept to an acceptable degree? and now that Roboute Guilliman has returned, having come up with the codex himself and being Regent to the Emperor, is strict adherence to it now compulsory?

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    The short answer is "It depends on the Chapter", from Ultra Marines and its successors that follow the rules to the letter to Chapters that can't be bothered by rules other than the ones they impose to themselves: Space Wolves, Black Templars,... – Taladris Feb 22 at 4:05
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Does the Ordo Hereticus concern themselves with this matter, do they see to it the Rules are at least kept to an acceptable degree?
Yes the inquisition normally keeps an eye on chapters to see that they comply at least with certain aspects of the codex, for example chapter size. This is one of the reasons why the space wolves and black templars almost never gather their entire force, because that would clearly show that they don't listen.

and now that Roboute Guilliman has returned, having come up with the codex himself and being Regent to the Emperor, is strict adherence to it now compulsory?
No, Roboute has even said that some things within the codex were a mistake and that it is more of a guideline. He himself also did not punish the Dark Angels when he found out that they were essentially still a legion and their deviations from the codex with the deathwing and ravenwing.

Overall i would say that how strictly chapters follow the codex hasn't changed overly much with Guillimans return. He also is working on a new and improved version so we'l see how that goes down when it releases.

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    Guilliman's new vision will be released once Games workshop has worked out how best to use it to get more money off space marine players. I can see it now, hmmmm, the new Codex Astartes insists that this particular unit is a core, required unit, oh and it costs £500 a model (you need a squad of 10) but look how pretty it is :). I also agree but will add Roboute has also accepted reality, he can't police every one of the thousands of chapters and has enough to be getting on with fighting Chaos, Orks, Tyranids etc to risk taking on another chapter and risk setting off another heresy. – Richard C Feb 22 at 8:57
  • Don't forget that every Space marine model is going to be replaced with their new versions. they already started that with the ultrasmurfs. Also not to mention what it would mean taking on the dark angels and all of their "successor" chapters. – TerranGaming Feb 22 at 9:02
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    Roboute tours the chapters day 1 Dark Angels "no its ok, really, I accept your not all traitors, just half of you and yes feel free to go round decimating whole armies just because they saw you kidnapping some chaos marine wearing Dark Angel Armour really carry on its fine just a bit of space marine fun, no, It's ok I can see myself out, oh sorry wrong door that's not the way out, wait, what is that, a whole company of land speeders and bikes, and, and a company of Terminators wait that's not in my Codex BURN THE HERETICS EXTERMINATUS :). Ok space wolves next that should go a lot smoother. – Richard C Feb 22 at 9:15
  • thanks for this, just the kind of explanation I was looking for I also needed this research for ideas on making a fan made chapter – mr.eaver Feb 22 at 11:32

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