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Author Topic: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe  (Read 646 times)

Morituri

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Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« on: 02 Jul 2018, 08:06 »

So, wait, she's not even supposed to be in control of the thing?  She's doing "penance" by being in between incoming anti-tank shells and a tank?

So tell me, in the Warhammer Universe, is the code of punishment the same for men as it is for women?  Or is this just another example of blatant mysogyny?  Because using someone as armor because they're a sexy woman is just completely hateful.
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #1 on: 02 Jul 2018, 08:49 »

Woah, easy there Morituri.

Penitent Engines showed up in the Ecclesiarchy army list, specifically the Adepta Sororitas, the Sisters of Battle. Think nuns in full body power armour and armed with grenade launcher assault rifles.

The whole force ran with the whole "Catholicism is crazy", with several units running on faith, guilt and fanaticism.

So in 40K, heretics can be forgiven, traitors can't. In this instance, heretics have been found guilty of a crime and as penance, they're strapped into the penitent engine, which is one of the worst punishments in the Imperium. Dozens of implants are injected into the spine of the heretic, so that when they aren't in combat, the implants distribute chemicals that reinforce their feelings of guilt and their desire for penance, which in turn fuels the engine when they walk into combat. Usually, its a death sentence because their desire for penance is so strong it leads them into suicidal charges into the heaviest forces.

Because this was a punishment specific for members of the Ecclesiarchy, the penitent engines were piloted by those who were once seen as pious but who have committed a crime. Which means they could have been piloted by former Sisters of Battle or Priests and Preachers (the latter two were more often male due to how the Ecclesiarchy was structured, as they are forbidden to have men under arms, but got around that with having the Sisters of Battle). There is a variant model that has a male pilot, who is even more emaciated and wears little more than a hood and a strip of a loincloth.
« Last Edit: 02 Jul 2018, 08:56 by Castlerook »
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LeeC

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #2 on: 02 Jul 2018, 09:40 »


Here's the wiki (well, "a" wiki as there are multiple warhammer wikis):
http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Penitent_Engine

Pretty much what castlerook said.  Its a suicide mech to make heretics repent via a zealous death charge. It's not meant for only women but any heretic that wants to repent.  Its a hyper futuristic version of flagellants.  Again, warhammer can be weird and there are few "good guys" in the universe.  Mostly just varying degrees of bad. But its not all doom and gloom, just grim dark.  Its unfortunate if this is your first foray into the Warhammer 40k universe as it is so much more than just this.  The politics are like from the book "Dune" by Frank Herbert, the technology is medieval space combat mixed with modern militaries, and space travel is going through a literal hell and hoping you make it to the other side.  There are also space elves, space orks, deamons, super-soldiers, aliens, robots, giant bug swarms, and your average human trying to keep it all together.

Its originally from a miniature's wargame so most of the lore and games are based around the different militaries and factions.



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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #3 on: 02 Jul 2018, 11:25 »

  Again, warhammer can be weird and there are few no "good guys" in the universe.  Mostly just varying degrees of bad "Oh-dear-god-what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-everyone".

Fixed that for you. ;)

But seriously, I met one of the original developers years ago and one thing he said stuck with me. "Warhammer 40,000 is not about good guys against bad guys. Everyone thinks themselves as the hero of their story and everyone else sees them as the villain in their own. " Its levels of evil against evil. The Imperium, Eldar are only the "Heroic" factions because each is opposed to Chaos. The truth is that is one faction were to outright win, it would be hell for everyone else. If Humanity won, instead of chaos, you'd have a monolithic, unchanging, unmoving society forever locked into worshipping a half-dead corpse, stuck on life support on a dead planet. No change, no growth, no culture. Which would be the worst possible thing that could happen to Humanity and the galaxy.
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Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #4 on: 02 Jul 2018, 11:56 »

Okay though - but I still have a problem with it, because this isn't just grimdark, evil, or whatever.

It is also stupid.

It is so stupid that it would cause me to quit in disgust even if cruelty to and exploitation of some imagined "penitent" were not a thing.

It is so stupid that it would cause me to quit in disgust even if I bought the faction's ethos and believed that those "penitents" were well-served by leading suicide charges.

It is so stupid that no force which actually wants to win would ever do it, regardless of their ethos.

The thing that would cause me to rage quit, from any militarish game, is utterly stupid, counterproductive, nonsensical crap tactics that I literally can't imagine any faction ever using, because those tactics would INSTANTLY LOSE!

We are being asked to believe that somebody built this battle machine, then strapped a person to the front of it where that person can be taken out by a single small-caliber bullet rendering the entire thing useless.

NOPE.  Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope ....  There's about fifty kinds of NOPE on there. 

The same battle machine could have been built with a compartment for the person somewhere else, like, say, on the INSIDE of the damn thing, and then you might have gotten more than one minute's use out of the machine, or for that matter the pilot.  Say, maybe a half hour or so before the "suicidal charge" leads to its inevitable conclusion.  If you had the opportunity, for the same expenditure of resources, would you choose NOT to get thirty times as much effect?
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #5 on: 02 Jul 2018, 12:04 »

You're talking about sanity about a game where the opening blurb is....under this spoiler:
(click to show/hide)

That's the whole point. The entire setting is insane.

Humanity worships a corpse that is hooked onto a life support machine the size of a mountain.

The greatest enemy Humanity faces is a reflection of its own dark side.

40K isn't a setting where people wage war to expand their own realms. Its a setting that is eternal war because it is about a war of survival.

Humanity is so far past the point of compassion and understanding that its actually considered a crime to offer a hand to the enemy. This is a setting where Humanity will throw millions of soldiers to capture a point and consider it a victory if they capture it.

This is a setting that runs on insanity. Everything is the machination of some diseased mind. You can't bring rationality or logic into the equation.
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Thrillho

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #6 on: 02 Jul 2018, 12:16 »

Being heavily critical of the game for misogyny is one thing, but we're inching closer to just pouring scorn on people for enjoying a game, regardless of whether it's one that disregards logic. Also inching close to a thread split.
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LeeC

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #7 on: 02 Jul 2018, 12:27 »

  Again, warhammer can be weird and there are few no "good guys" in the universe.  Mostly just varying degrees of bad "Oh-dear-god-what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-everyone".

Fixed that for you. ;)

But seriously, I met one of the original developers years ago and one thing he said stuck with me. "Warhammer 40,000 is not about good guys against bad guys. Everyone thinks themselves as the hero of their story and everyone else sees them as the villain in their own. " Its levels of evil against evil. The Imperium, Eldar are only the "Heroic" factions because each is opposed to Chaos. The truth is that is one faction were to outright win, it would be hell for everyone else. If Humanity won, instead of chaos, you'd have a monolithic, unchanging, unmoving society forever locked into worshipping a half-dead corpse, stuck on life support on a dead planet. No change, no growth, no culture. Which would be the worst possible thing that could happen to Humanity and the galaxy.


That sounds like heresy to me.   :-D

The background is very compelling though.  The Emperor unites mankind to create a secular empire build on logic and reason. After the civil war , which is essentially a retelling of Paradise Lost or King Arthur except Lucifer/Mordred explodes and God/Arthur is left a vegetable at the end, the empire degrades into hokey religious backward space empire where whole planets are destroyed or culled over misunderstandings deemed "heretical." So with millennia of power struggles and fragmenting of humanity's bulwark against demon and alien invaders, its a terrible place to live unless you are one of the few (minute?) people to be born in a position of wealth or power...and even then its dangerous in its own way (see "Dune" by Frank Herbert).

I just deleted half my post as it may cause confusion after Castlerook's new post, so here's a funny video about the WH40K universe

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LeeC

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #8 on: 02 Jul 2018, 12:48 »

Sorry to double post but I felt this would be better if seperate from my original post:

You're talking about sanity about a game where the opening blurb is....under this spoiler:
(click to show/hide)

That's the whole point. The entire setting is insane.

Humanity worships a corpse that is hooked onto a life support machine the size of a mountain.

The greatest enemy Humanity faces is a reflection of its own dark side.

40K isn't a setting where people wage war to expand their own realms. Its a setting that is eternal war because it is about a war of survival.

Humanity is so far past the point of compassion and understanding that its actually considered a crime to offer a hand to the enemy. This is a setting where Humanity will throw millions of soldiers to capture a point and consider it a victory if they capture it.

This is a setting that runs on insanity. Everything is the machination of some diseased mind. You can't bring rationality or logic into the equation.

Which is also why there is an amazing Warhammer 40K youtube series where the corpse like emperor is finally given a text to speech device so he can communicate with his subjects.  He agrees that everything and everyone is being stupid and is trying to enact decrees to fix things and get everything back in shape. Its an amazing comedy series that is still ongoing and a wonderful lore dump for both fans and new comers alike.

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Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #9 on: 02 Jul 2018, 13:19 »

Eh.  Whatever.  I'll let it drop. But if they really wanna wipe out heresy, or whatever, it's hard to imagine them passing up an opportunity to make this system thirty times as effective.  At minimum.

We can say that in their context the unprotected status of the penitent and incoming doom makes perfect sense.  We can say that they value pain and cruelty as a positive good.  We can say that they are all insane.  That's all context, right?  All of that is just the difference in values system between theirs and ours. 

But them not caring whether they succeed in their mission, like not really trying to wipe out heresy or whatever, just croggles my suspension of disbelief irrepairably.  That's like a borderline between "compelling and over the top" to "doesn't make any goddamn sense EVEN IN ITS OWN CONTEXT."
« Last Edit: 02 Jul 2018, 13:31 by Morituri »
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Neko_Ali

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #10 on: 02 Jul 2018, 13:36 »

Dang... What a day for me to not have access to the forums for most of it. Hi, I'm a Warhammer 40k player and I love the Sisters of Battle, even with the legitimate complaints about how they are treated in lore and the inherent sexism behind their designs. The first thing to know about the 40K setting is it makes no god damn logical sense. It was never meant to. Especially in the Imperium of Man where they will purge entire planets if they find heresy has taken root there and the worship of chaos is going on, or a Tyranid (think giant space locusts crossed with Alien's xenomorphs) hive is found. Not only is the idea of killing an entire planet of billions of people considered a reasonable response... *it's the only logical response in those cases*. The setting is so messed up that sacrificing a planet to save dozens or hundreds is the only way they can stave off their inevitable death a little longer.

The Sisters of Battle are both cool because they are the only mostly female army in the game, in opposition to about half the armies which are by lore exclusively male. But that's another story. They were created as a military force in response to a rule that the Church was no long to have 'men at arms' after a whole failed coup thing. So they made an army of fanatical warrior nuns. Most of them wear basically corset power armor complete with boobplate chest armor that still has one of the best armor ratings you can find in the game. But some fanatical members are so convinced that they need to repent whatever sins they have committed that they throw themselves into battle practically naked, hoping to die in the Emperor's service because they are taught that's the only way they can be redeemed. Most of those fall into the Sisters Repentia who basically wrap themselves in cloths strips covered in scripture and use combat chainsaws as weapons as they charge enemy tank lines. For those who think their sins are to great even for that, they get wired onto the front of Penitent Engines, where they remain strung up until they die. And they all do this willingly because of extreme religious indoctrination. So you see, it's not meant to be logical, sensible or safe. They're crazed fanatics who are trying to die in battle.

The Space Crusade one that was shown before is from a 3rd party manufacture who makes a line of legally different enough miniatures to use as replacement for various Sisters and Chaos Warrior units. With the alteration that they have two versions of most units... One that actually is mostly wearing sensible armor. And the other that ditches the top and pants and has them going into battle half naked, just wearing the armored sleeves and legs. So.. yeah. The Artemis model only comes like that though, no alternate options.
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LeeC

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #11 on: 02 Jul 2018, 13:47 »

Considering the whole book the Ecclsiarchy base their beliefs on was written by one of the Emperor's evil sons that became a literal deamon says just how contradictory their entire world is built on (especially when you consider that the Emperor was anti-religious and now there's a religion devoted to him).  Its so crazy that its actually believable. Its heretical that they even exist! Let alone the inquisitorial branch ( not associated with the Ecclisiarchy) of the actual government that go out of their way to hunt down mutants, deamons, heretics and aliens living in the empire with near limitless authority. The real question comes down to what is really heretical?  That youtube series I mentioned had an episode where the Emperor let out a decree to disband the inquisition and the ecclisiarchy.  The inquisition took up arms believing it to be some sort of heresy while the ecclisiarchy was just merely confused and just tried to protect the imperial citizens and palace from the inquisitors.  The Emperor ended up punishing the Inquisitors and reinstating the Ecclisiarchy but gave them a new purpose un-deifying the Emperor and instead deifying all of humanity.

Here's how it went when the "pope" brought the news to the cardinals:


@Neko_Ali:
Great stuff!

I also wished there was more female models for the imperial guard model line as its just what ever humans sign up and is canonically not all male but you wouldn't know considering the miniatures.  At least the Eldar guardian pack has a couple of "female" torsos (which makes no sense considering they are suppose to be androgynous to humans) but its still largely "male."
« Last Edit: 02 Jul 2018, 13:52 by LeeC »
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #12 on: 02 Jul 2018, 14:07 »

For years, if people wanted female Imperial Guard troopers, they looked to the Escher models from Necromunda.

Now, granted because they were a pain in the arse to convert because they were white metal, but with the new version and the new plastic gangs, there could be significantly more additions to Guard armies now.
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Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #13 on: 02 Jul 2018, 14:23 »

I'm guessing then that the "Sisters Repentia" are entirely self-funded and supported?  Because how else would a force unable or unwilling to use their weapons effectively be allowed to have them, when some brainwashed trooper wearing his armor on the OUTSIDE would be many times more effective at fighting heresy?

Even if they're kinky enough to be into getting killed, the sisters are getting their freak on in a way that wastes valuable war machines!  Suicide troops have never been well armed, in all history, except when they arm themselves (case in point: dude holed up in a hotel room with dozens of automatic rifles and suitcases full of ammunition spraying bullets into a crowd in order to get killed by the police....) , because it's dumb to spend resources on arming them.  Whatever they're armed with is going to be lost.  Even animals that have a suicide-charge as part of their pack defense instincts minimize expenses by having the instinct strongest in the old, the sick, the hungry, and the weak. 

I mean, I know you said that making no goddamn sense is part of the objectives in the game design here, but this DEGREE of "no goddamn sense" knocks me straight out of the game.  I know that other people have a different tolerance for nonsense than I do, and that it's completely normal to have a different ability to entertain nonsense than I do.  But personally, something like this just  causes me to assume the designers are incompetent or that there is no point in attempting to use strategy of any kind in the game, and I go play something that I personally find more compelling, like checkers or monopoly. 
« Last Edit: 02 Jul 2018, 14:30 by Morituri »
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #14 on: 02 Jul 2018, 14:42 »

You're missing the point.

But if that doesn't make sense, consider the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force during the Second World War. Did it make sense for them to throw away their few veteran pilots in literal kamekaze missions? Especially considering that at the same time, the US Air Force was taking its veteran pilots and getting them to train the next group of pilots.

The Imperium might throw lives away with rappers with a bundle of cash in a rap video. But it don't waste anything. The Sisters Repentia are those warriors who still have a chance at redemption. Because even in death, they can serve. Its a whole false equivalency thing. Take their armour, give them a weapon that puts them at a disadvantage, send them into the worst combat and if one Repentia is standing at the end, well glory be, the Emperor must have been personally smiling on her and protected her. Boom, she's earned repentance. Does that make sense? Hell no. Does anyone care? Hell no.

Its a dystopian universe, run by madness and haunted and twisted by the worst parts of sapience. Survival is the order of the day and compassion is a four lettered word. All that matters is victory.
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Neko_Ali

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #15 on: 02 Jul 2018, 15:07 »

Well the Imperial War machine has entire worlds, built up over generations into overgrown hive worlds filled with toxic slug and great archaeology cities who's only existence is cranking out war machines and weapons. And people in the trillions willing to sign up for the Imperial Guard because even if means they're probably going to die horribly in a couple of years, at least they'll be fed better and die honorably instead of stabbed in some arco tunnel. So chucking some metal boots and chainsaws at a squad of Repentia isn't a big investment. And when the pilot of a Penitent Engine finally dies they just hose it off, repair the damage and strap someone else onto it.

Also a universal special rule of the Sisters of Battle gives them a Shield of Faith. In game terms it's an invulnerable saving through on a roll of 6+ on six sided dice. So every time they are attacked, there is a 1 in six chance at worst that any hit they take is ignored, no matter how powerful. With the Penitent Engines, they are treated as vehicles anyway... Even though the pilot is exposed it's treated as a single model, you can't stop it just by shooting the pilot. Speaking in "realistic" lore terms you'd pretty much have to destroy their heads to stop them anyway. In battle they are pumped full of rage inducing combat drugs so they don't feel pain. So long as the brain is still functioning the engine will run. In fact, that's how Space Marine dreadnaughts work. Which are similar to the Engine, except they are for the honored dead of a marine chapter. They will implant part of the corpse of a fallen marine hero into the dreadnaught who will then operate it as a walking tank, possibly for hundred or thousands of years. But that's a position of honor among the Marines, unlike the Engines of the Sisters, which are a tool of punishment and redemption.
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #16 on: 02 Jul 2018, 15:13 »

Ironically, the Chaos versions of dreadnoughts are seen to be the worst fate than death. Even mutated into a mass of flesh, muscle and bone, made insane by the process would be preferable to being entombed in a Dreadnought.
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Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart but I am street smart.", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I am imaginary smart."

Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #17 on: 02 Jul 2018, 15:29 »

Well, I guess we're in complete agreement then.

I am in fact missing the point.  I think I didn't even notice one whizzing past.

And, you know?  I'm okay with that, in this instance.  If it's fun for you, have fun playing it.
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jwhouk

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #18 on: 02 Jul 2018, 15:38 »

I vote for a thread breakoff to a "Warhammer 40K" Thread - probably in the "ENJOY" Sub Forum?
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #19 on: 02 Jul 2018, 17:47 »

Well, I guess we're in complete agreement then.

I am in fact missing the point.  I think I didn't even notice one whizzing past.

And, you know?  I'm okay with that, in this instance.  If it's fun for you, have fun playing it.

I'm intrigued by the Warhammer 'verse, but I don't know enough to know whether or not I'd like it. but it sounds like it really needs Captain Sheridan to yell "Now get the hell out of OUR galaxy".
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Neko_Ali

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #20 on: 02 Jul 2018, 20:18 »

Well, the key thing about the 40K universe is that it takes the descriptor 'grimdark' very, very seriously. It is pretty much the Edgelord of campaign settings. There is nothing good, everything and everyone is horrible in their own way and endless war is all everyone knows. There are really two broad archtypes, races and groups who want nothing less than the destruction or subjugation of everyone, everything, everywhere. Whether it's the powers of Chaos who want to see the galaxy burn, the rampaging Orks that just want to fight, kill, eat and then repeat the process. Not necessarily in that order. Or the Tyranids who want to consume everything and add it to their geneseed before moving to a new galaxy. Or one of the races like Mankind, the Eldar or the Tau which are in a desperate struggle fighting on all sides and against each other just so they can survive one more year, or month, or day. And always at the risk of failing. There is no happy ending to be found. Nobody wins. They just delay losing a little longer.

But hey, it's a lot of fun playing, if not living in the universe. :)
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Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #21 on: 02 Jul 2018, 20:24 »

Nope.  Still doesn't work.  They can't possibly be in a desperate struggle for survival. If they gave a crap about winning (or, as you say, gave a crap about surviving) then they'd attempt to use effective tactics.
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LeeC

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #22 on: 02 Jul 2018, 20:40 »

Well, I guess we're in complete agreement then.

I am in fact missing the point.  I think I didn't even notice one whizzing past.

And, you know?  I'm okay with that, in this instance.  If it's fun for you, have fun playing it.

I'm intrigued by the Warhammer 'verse, but I don't know enough to know whether or not I'd like it. but it sounds like it really needs Captain Sheridan to yell "Now get the hell out of OUR galaxy".

Honestly I think there is something for everyone to like in the universe.  The Imperium may not be Morituri's cup of tea.  Morituri may like the Tau faction better as everyone has their place in society and nothing is wasted.  They try to work toward a greater good for all and include many other races in their empire.  They are like the Federation from Star Trek but with mechs. The Tau race went from stone age tech to advanced space fairing race in 2000 years and are very progressive.  They have a bit of a dark side though as anyone who joins is apart of society but will never rule the way the Ethereal Caste do, and there has been rumors that they may sterilize humans to control their numbers in the Tau Empire (since Humans are the most populous race in the galaxy).  Their Utopian like society and use of diplomacy instead of "kill everything" attitude is a nice change of pace and is the closest thing to light in the grim dark. They can even hold their own against the Imperium of Man due to their advanced technology, flexible tactics, and unique (in warhammer at least) battle doctrine.  Its tough to find good fan art of them since most fans like to depict them like samurai, armed with swords fighting off legions of enemies, even though they think close combat is stupid when you can just retreat to a better firing position and blow away the enemy with their hand held rail guns.



edit:
Also, its just a game, so it follows rule of cool, like so many other franchises out there. Chainsaw swords may not be practical, but they do sound awesome. I'm sure you can make the same argument about any other sci-fi/fantasy/alt-history story or game. Its just fun. I'm sure if you put anything fun under the microscope it wouldn't make much sense.  Like Rogal Dorn said: "Do you know how us humans express praise by clapping our hands? That is hilarious. Because smacking the floppy end-parts of your arms together to make a noise is a strange way or expressing praise. That is funny"
« Last Edit: 02 Jul 2018, 21:28 by LeeC »
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Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #23 on: 02 Jul 2018, 22:34 »

I have heard the words "Warhammer 40K" before this.  I guess I got as far as "Game about futuristic soldiers with a  military organization vaguely structured around toxic religion.  Huh.    I thought religious content was unpopular in the videogamer crowd." 

And I never looked into it further.  I went to a site looking for boardgame pieces today, and while I was there went over to idly look at their wargaming miniatures.  And found ... this ... whatever-it-is.  And it's ... words fail me.  It's a complete non sequitur.  It has nothing to do with anything.  It can't be seen as anything that belongs to or makes sense in any setting at all.   It doesn't even invoke rule-of-cool, because it's too bizarre and nonsensical.  There's literally no reaction at all beyond "What the hell? Why would anyone make a mini that looks like that, and how can they possibly expect that people will care about it?"   

It's stupefyingly gratuitous, like an oil painting I once saw of a nude woman riding a wild horse with her hands tied behind her back - apparently controlling it via reins which were looped through rings in her pierced nipples.  And, I thought, "someone actually spent their time painting this.....  and I have no idea why."

And I thought immediately of this thread, because this is where people share examples of what-the-hell-were-they-smoking and this-makes-no-sense-at-all. 

If I were playing a game and saw something like that, I'd be on notice that this is a setting in which something like this is  somehow considered to be an effective use of engineering, materials, and people.  Which means more than just everybody in the setting being insane and not valuing any life including their own.  It means physical law, production economics, supply lines, tactics, strategy, etc...  even meaningful mission objectives, because without any of those things what the hell are you trying to accomplish anyway ...  is out the window.

And without any of those things, there'd be nothing left that is part of what I personally find fun about wargames.

 I just wouldn't be able to have fun attempting to actually play the game.  There would be nothing to do, beyond grinding forces against each other in endless frontline engagements that, lacking any kind of strategic targets, won't affect the future course of that setting at all. 

Imagery like this though - where the visual apparently has absolutely nothing to do with the combat characteristics of the unit it represents and everything to do with someone trying to come up with the most fucked-up (scuse my language) and contrived-to-be-deliberately-titillating-and-horrifying chunk of story they can muster - means  I'd be laughing too hard to even try to play.

EDIT:  I think the thing I find most ridiculous about it is that it's so overwrought as to be hokey.  I expect to find Dick Dastardly around the corner tying someone to a railroad track for no reason whatsoever, like in an old penny-dreadful.
« Last Edit: 03 Jul 2018, 10:38 by Morituri »
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Neko_Ali

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #24 on: 03 Jul 2018, 06:25 »

Imagery like this though - where the visual apparently has absolutely nothing to do with the combat characteristics of the unit it represents and everything to do with someone trying to come up with the most fucked-up (scuse my language) and contrived-to-be-deliberately-titillating-and-horrifying chunk of story they can muster - means  I'd be laughing too hard to even try to play.

Aha, you do understand 40k then. :) It's as much or more an absurdist commentary towards these sorts of sci fi and military tropes. You've got strapping many guys shooting big guns? Ours are genetically engineered to be bigger, strappier and shootier! We've got ancient egyptian undead robots, like The Mummy crossed with The Terminator! Alien space fish communists! The biggest bug aliens you've ever seen! Sexy space nuns in absurdly impractical armor! They worship a man as a god despite the fact that he told you not to worship gods when he was alive, but now he's a corpse on a life support throne but his brain is still alive and it's how they travel between planets! Violent green soccer hooligans with bad Cockney accents that are actually evolved from fungus! And skulls! Skulls everywhere! Skulls on top of skulls to make a throne of skulls!

When you say you can't get into it because it makes no sense it's understandable. But that's also the point of it. 40k is not meant to make sense. There are plenty of sensible military war games out there. 40k is about taking all the wargamming, military, fantasy settings and everything else they can grab, throw it into a blender and turn it up to 13. It's intended to not make a damn bit of sense but be incredibly over the top and extra that it makes people laugh at how absurd and stupid it is. That's why they say 'Hmmm.. strap a mostly naked woman on the hull of a battle suit. It's stupid, sexy, pointless and makes no sense. But it could use some more skulls. Sounds perfect!'

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LeeC

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #25 on: 03 Jul 2018, 06:55 »

There is a joke people have for the imperial guard: "incoming tanks? Fix bayonets!" Over the top is the point of it all.
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #26 on: 03 Jul 2018, 07:01 »

Of course, if you're looking for an entry point to the universe, albeit from a "normal" eye, I would suggest the Gaunt's Ghosts novels by Dan Abnett. Think of it as the Sharpe novels, but with space ships instead of sail ships.
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #27 on: 03 Jul 2018, 07:12 »

If we're doing novel introductions, I'd suggest "Space Wolf" as you follow a literal viking as he learns about and is indoctrinated into the empire and universe.
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #28 on: 04 Jul 2018, 17:22 »

So I just watched the latest episode of TTS...
(click to show/hide)
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #29 on: 04 Jul 2018, 23:47 »

Nope.  Still doesn't work.  They can't possibly be in a desperate struggle for survival. If they gave a crap about winning (or, as you say, gave a crap about surviving) then they'd attempt to use effective tactics.

I think that you're missing a strong aspect of human ideology-driven factions. Winning doesn't matter; what matters is winning in a way that proves your ideology is right. That's why, IRL, you have things like kamikaze and the Soviet 'no retreat, no surrender' policy in World War II (where a soldier who takes one step backwards is shot as a coward). The more totalitarian and ossified with pseudo-religious ideology a faction is, the less it cares about its soldiers' survival even if they don't have the numbers and infrastructure to make up for losses. The ideology is more important than anything else; even survival.

The Imperium is a fascinating society because the whole point of it was that, if it weren't for its existential external foes (some of which are amongst the nastiest and most endemic xeno-plague foes in popular culture), it would almost certainly implode within a few generations. Yet, despite this, there remains the hope in some of its fans that, at some point, someone will emerge, despite an educational system and culture fine-tuned to prevent it happening, who fill finally turn things around.

Personally, I suspect that it will take the GEoM to jump off of His eternal throne and shout: "You know, I've had enough of this shit!" to fix the Imperium at this point and I would strongly suspect that He would have to fight the governing structures that have emplaced themselves in His absence to do so.
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #30 on: 08 Jul 2018, 01:50 »

I think it says a lot about the setting that an angry green fungus evolved from a genetically engineered bioweapon is the closest there really is to good guys. 

The Imperium is a bunch of literal fascist zealots who think blowing up their own planets is a good idea.  The tyranids want to eat you and use your calories to make more tyranids to eat more people.  Dark Eldar want to murder-fuck the universe, and spent so much time murder-fucking and snorting space-drugs that they accidentally created a god of murder-fucking and space-drugs.  Necrons want to exterminate all life down to and including single-celled organisms.  Tau basically enslave people because everyone is too stupid to take care of themselves (which is kind of a fair assessment of the setting) without the help of the tau (who are just as stupid as everyone else).  Chaos wants to kill, murder-fuck, infect, and manipulate everyone, and are nonspecific as to the order in which that all occurs.  No one knows what the deal is with Eldar, but the track record of the setting would suggest that whatever they're doing, it's weird, gross, and not nice. 

Orks just wanna punch people, and would prefer that people punch back. 

As far as how ridiculous the setting is, consider this:  There was a discussion on an ork forum about whether or not orks have nipples.  It was a serious, civil discussion that went on for something like 20 pages.  The only thing that was decided was that they could possibly have belly buttons, but if they do, they probably have lots of them all over. 
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Neko_Ali

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #31 on: 08 Jul 2018, 16:15 »

I would hardly call a race that only wants to fight, kill and steal to be a good guy. There is a purity in their simplicity, but they are still vicious brutes that will fight and destroy anything they can get their hands on and have left entire systems wrecked in their wake.

If you were to try to pick a 'good guy', then Tau and Craftworld Eldar have the least problematic cultures. The Tau are simply military expansionist and are relatively good to those they conquer, even if they are treated as second class citizens. Craftworld Eldar are not like their Dark kin, they know their race is dying and they are trying to put off the inevitable end as long as they can. And maybe if possible correct the mistake of the ancient Aeldari and destroy the chaos god they gave birth to. They do not war against each other and have no interest in conquering. But they also have no interest in any other race and consider most of them beneath them. They would gladly destroy an entire planet and kill billions if their Farseers told them it could save a dozen Eldar lives. But at least they are not actively evil and killing just for the joy of it.
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #32 on: 08 Jul 2018, 16:46 »

Although the Tau were nearly removed after their introduction due to their unambiguous "goodness" and positivity.

Hence why in later editions GW gave them a more ambiguous stance. Yes, they still follow the belief of the Greater Good, but then the first alien race that embraced the idea soon died of a very suspicious plague that only affected their race, right after the Tau learned all they could. Then there's the Vespid. The Tau encounter an alien species so alien that they can't communicate. Communion helms are crafted and gifted to the leaders of the Vespid and low and behold, suddenly the leaders understand the Greater Good and want to join. GW avoided the pitfall of making them actually good and set them a little closer to the moral ambiguity of the Craftworld Eldar and the Imperium.

In the case of the Eldar, its all about survival, and like Neko_Ali said, a Farseer would happily engineer events where billions of Humans are dead if it mean that a handful of Eldar lives are saved somewhere down the line. In their eyes, the end more than justifies the means.

And oddly enough, despite everything, the Tyranids, along with Orks, are perhaps the only true neutral races in the setting. Yes, they've been presented as a galactic horde of locusts devouring everything in their way. However recent materials indicates that the Tyranids aren't invading, they're fleeing something worse. Its not an invasion, its a stampede.
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Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #33 on: 08 Jul 2018, 20:06 »

Angry fungus that punch people, eh?  Sure, why not.   :roll:
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #34 on: 08 Jul 2018, 23:49 »

Not angry; the Orkz are almost never angry in the strictest definition of the word. They like their racial lifestyle, communicate this clearly and act appropriately. :laugh:
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #35 on: 09 Jul 2018, 02:29 »

Angry fungus that punch people, eh?  Sure, why not.   :roll:

You know, its rather easy to be dismissive of something when you are ignorant of it.

In the 40K setting, Orks were bred for war. Their entire existence is dedicated to fighting, they live for war. So much so that their bodies can withstand the most brutal surgeries and recovery is near instantaneous because it means they can get back to fighting sooner. Not only that, but the more an Ork fights, the larger they become, which serves as a clarion call for challengers, because only the largest and strongest Orks lead.

And yeah, they are fungoid. In fact, thats the reason why they are the most numerous race in the galaxy and why they are so dangerous. When an Ork dies, their body releases hundreds, if not thousands, of spores, which float off and settle. These spores can end up being Orks, or their slave race or their attack beasts/meals or even just ordinary fungus that failed to mature. Now, you never just see one Ork, you see thousands or millions of them. Now imagine that even if you killed all of the invading Orks on a planet, you think you're safe, you won. Only, a few years later, even more of the Greenskins come charging at you!

Now, the thing is, Orks don't hate anyone, not in the way any other faction hates anyone. If they can get a good fight, the Orks love it! So much so that there is a word in their language that translates to "favoured enemy/hated friend".
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BenRG

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #36 on: 09 Jul 2018, 04:06 »

IIRC, it was the endemic nature of Orks and Tyranids that led to the Imperium to develop their doctrine of Exterminatus, the use of orbital bombardment to completely sterilise the surface of an inhabited world. Burning the entire land surface down to the bedrock is essentially the only way to be sure that you've removed an infestation.

The fact that the Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition have also found it a useful tool (although not commonly used) for planets where far too many people question the political and religious orthodoxies of the Imperium is a typical bit of 'local colour' and just reminds us that the WH40k universe isn't 'black against white' or even 'grey against grey' but 'black against maybe a touch greyer-than-black'. :wink: Seriously though, given that large-scale heresy usually strongly implies mass psionic subversion of the populace by the Dark Gods of the Warp (basically intangible ultra-demons), the Inquisition may be forgiven for occasionally resorting to extreme measures).
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LeeC

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #37 on: 09 Jul 2018, 06:21 »

The fact that the Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition have also found it a useful tool (although not commonly used) for planets where far too many people question the political and religious orthodoxies of the Imperium is a typical bit of 'local colour' and just reminds us that the WH40k universe isn't 'black against white' or even 'grey against grey' but 'black against maybe a touch greyer-than-black'. :wink: Seriously though, given that large-scale heresy usually strongly implies mass psionic subversion of the populace by the Dark Gods of the Warp (basically intangible ultra-demons), the Inquisition may be forgiven for occasionally resorting to extreme measures).

Then again exterminatus isnt always fire and cinder.  In many cases its virus bombs that just wipe out humanity. I wonder how Nurgle feels about all this.

Angry fungus that punch people, eh?  Sure, why not.   :roll:
Hehe not angry.  They are essentially English soccer (football) hooligans just looking to fight rivals for fun. Nothing hateful about them, its just fun to fight and the best thing to do.  There are some cases where a particular ork leader may hate a particular person (Thraka hating Yarrick for example) but all in all they just want a good fight, win or lose. Just like how a soccer (football) fan wants a good game win or lose rather than a shut out ever game.  Where would the fun be in that? They are aggressive but they're not angry. They provide the universe with a ton of comedy and are just over all fun. They even yell gun sounds while shooting their guns! Its all very silly, but its all very fun.
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Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #38 on: 09 Jul 2018, 18:13 »

Don't get me wrong; at this point I'm not 'belittling' so much as 'bemused.'   Actually I was having a giggle as I imagine the game designers sitting around working on the concepts that became this game.  (Probably smoking weed, a few years before it became legal).

"How about... Homicidal Fungus!" 

"Huh... that's bizarre, but not twisted.  Weren't we going for twisted here?"

"Uh, they look like orcs!  You know, from Thatothergame....  And they were bred for war, yeah!"

"Breeding fungus?"

"Breeding, genetic engineering, whatever.  Just go with it, right?  'Just go with it' is...  well, it's been an essential philosophy here! For the twisted part though, you know how hard it is to get rid of something that sporulates?  It justifies that whole-planet sterilization thing we were talking about!  Or anyway, it justifies them turning those against entire planets full of their own people!"

"Hey, I got one...  People under assault by these...  You know, we gotta at least spell that differently .... Anyway, they call for help, right?  And then their navy gets there, and they're all like, 'Thank God,' right?  And then their own ships carpet-bomb them into oblivion."

"Yeah, that's getting twisted!" 

"Think it's twisted enough?"

"Nah, let's make these ... Ork with a 'k'?  Make 'em jolly and happy to be slaughtering everything."

"I guess that would add a little bit more twisted, let's do it!"

"Fungus don't have sexes.  How do we wanna play that?"

"Uh, maybe ...  Nope, no way you can justify boobs on fungus." 

"Could we...  I dunno, can we make that twisted somehow?"

"Not without pissing off all the female gamers."

"But they're gonna be okay with the 'Penitence Engine' thing you were talking about?"

"Sure.  What problem could they possibly have with that?"
« Last Edit: 09 Jul 2018, 18:31 by Morituri »
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Tova

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #39 on: 09 Jul 2018, 23:16 »

Posting so I can follow this thread which, as someone who knew even less than Morituri before I started reading (nothing more beyond the involvement of war and figurine painting), is fascinating to me.
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #40 on: 10 Jul 2018, 01:15 »

@Mori, you're kinda being a dickhead now. Just saying.
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Neko_Ali

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #41 on: 10 Jul 2018, 06:00 »

it's attributing something just shy of stupid maliciousness when it comes to the design of the game. While I could say a lot of negatives about Games Workshop over the years, that's not something I would attribute  to them.

To give a sense of history to the Games Workshop games they started off in the 70s mostly selling board games and as the UK distributor for Dungeons and Dragons. In the 80s they diversified into creating and selling gaming miniatures through their Citadel Miniatures brand. In the early 90s there was a bit of a buy out/management shift and the new people wanted to get into producing and selling a war game to go along with their miniatures. First they made Warhammer Fantasy, a rank and file war game with very Tolkienesque fantasy routes. Humans, elves, dwarves, undead all that standard stuff. It was successful and they decided to do a futuristic spinoff called Warhammer 40K.

And this is the big thing... 40K has never been a science fiction war game. It's a fantasy game set in space. That's why you've got the space marines as armored battle monks, orcs in space and even the Eldar race were originally called Space Elves. Logical warfare choices were never part of the game. And the you add in the people who were the art design for their team of the day which were a bunch of hard core 80s/90s metal heads. So everything is gothic and skulls and outrageously dark and the edge was so real you cut yourself laying your hand on the cover of the book. And that design stuck. It became what differentiates the game from any other science fiction setting. The fact that it's really Science Fantasy and the Grimdark nature of it all. It's absurd, makes no sense and that's what fans adore about the setting.

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #42 on: 10 Jul 2018, 07:01 »

Yeah, there's a lot I could say about the company, but the actual backgrounds for the settings? No, because there are some things I will gripe about, the fact is that I adore the setting. It was the first setting I came across where humanity was not the paragon of light and goodness. It was the first time I came across a setting where there were no good guys, and there could be no happy ending to the story. If you're someone in that universe, you're either going to not amount to much or you're going to die horribly at something much larger than yourself.

And you know what, at 13 years old, that's actually a wonderful thing to learn. Not that you're not going to amount to much, but that there are some settings where you are always going to be horribly outclassed in somewhere. There's no heroic charge to save the day, the cavalry just gets shot to pieces. And that's okay to realise. There are wins and there are losses, get over it and move on. And that's actually a healthy thing to teach people, because before that, every story you're told is that the hero slays the dragon and saves the day...every single time. And 40K (and by extension, Fantasy), told you in that uniquely British way that more often than not, the dragon kills the hero.
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Morituri

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #43 on: 10 Jul 2018, 09:09 »

Okay, sorry.  I'll stop now.

I really wasn't thinking 'stupid malicious', though.  I was thinking about the process of making an over-the-top twisted parody.  And how much fun it would be, really, once you had decided that, and nothing else, was exactly what you were setting out to do.  I imagine it's sort of like writing lines for "Conservatives" for the Colbert show, where they're deliberately making something ridiculous by exaggerating everything about it.

I'll fully agree that a setting with "no good guys" is something that is needed every once in a while, especially in eras when nobody's doing it.  I guess I had the same experience realizing that there were no good guys anywhere in "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo.  Everybody there was either scum, or in the process of getting run over by scum. And yeah, getting your head around that possibility, is valuable.

From everything I've heard, this really is a brilliant parody.  If I approached it with utter disbelief, it's because I wasn't even considering deliberate parody as an explanation.
« Last Edit: 10 Jul 2018, 09:19 by Morituri »
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #44 on: 10 Jul 2018, 09:19 »

This thread has lead me to find that there is a clear lack of good info graphics of all the different factions and their relations to others. I mean I found some but they are very terrible to show the un-initiated.
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Castlerook

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #45 on: 10 Jul 2018, 09:19 »

The thing is, as crazy as the Orks might be, they have been one of the most popular and fan-beloved elements of the setting, precisely because they are so over the top and ridiculous. For all the GRIMDARK that pervades 40K, the Orks have always been a refreshing breath of air. They're ridiculous, they're meant to be. They're the last creation of a race that has long since become extinct. They should be melancholy, they should be depressing. They're not. They're have crusades called "Waaaaghs" that are part religious event and part massive pub crawl. They have weapons and vehicles that should not work, but they're psychically powerful enough to work miracles. In at least one edition of their list, they're vehicles could get an upgrade called "Red Paint Job", that made their vehicles move faster. Simply because they believe that "the red wunz run faster".

They're the comedic faction, but vicious enough to not be a joke.
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #46 on: 10 Jul 2018, 09:26 »

I've long suspected that the Orks were actually created by a human from an alternate time-line and dumped in the WK40k universe in an absent-minded moment. It would explain a lot if it turned out that they were the result of a London-based genetics student's drunken antics that have just gone beyond any control!
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Neko_Ali

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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #47 on: 10 Jul 2018, 09:39 »

This thread has lead me to find that there is a clear lack of good info graphics of all the different factions and their relations to others. I mean I found some but they are very terrible to show the un-initiated.

There use to be an ally chart that kind of dealt with how the factions felt about each other, but it's been highly simplified now. All of the Imperium forces are nominally allied and will work with each other, though in truth they're pretty cold to outright distrusting of other factions. But common enemy and all. All of the Eldar factions are the same. They hate each other, but they have a common cause now as their prophecies end time is fast approaching. Either they work together to defeat Slaneesh, or their race is going to be lost entirely and their souls damned to Slaneesh's care. Followers of the chaos gods are willing to work together against external enemies, but they also hate each other and will just as happily fight and kill. Hell, followers of Khorne are happy to kill other followers of Khorne because Khorne cares not from who the blood flows. Everyone else hates and despises each other.
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Re: Thoughts about the Warhammer 40,000 universe
« Reply #48 on: 10 Jul 2018, 10:37 »

If I had more time on my hands I think I would put on together.  Something that was more like a flow chart than an excel spreadsheet.
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