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View Full Version : The Shamans might not have been psykers as we know them



Captain Stern
09-11-2007, 01:15
They could reincarnate:


For as long as anyone could remember, when a shaman died his soul had flown into the warp and bathed in its energies, awaiting renewal in another body.

Some, at least, had pretty much always been able to do so implying this wasn't down to knowledge or technique, but was natural:


They were not men to accept death easily. Many of them could remember the dawn of their race, when in other bodies they had walked under African skies. Having survived so long, for millions of years, it was not their way to die without hope or purpose.

While you may argue that the above is also true of the Eldar (There's nothing, I don't think, to suggest the Eldar could do this with the same proficiency), how about:


In their thousands they swallowed poison, and in their thousands they died, and their kind was gone from the earth.

Doesn't this imply that they were some kind of weird sub-species (Perhaps a psychic guardian sub-species who's power waxed and waned in parallel with homo-sapiens population growth and decline, as I've argued for a while (which would also explain the Emperor's fluctuating degrees of powers))? Otherwise, if they were just human psykers, more psykers would have kept on emerging after the shamans had disappeared, wouldn't they? You don't need two psyker parents to breed psyker offspring, as 40k illustrates.

Captain Stern
09-11-2007, 01:24
And


The energy of the uncorrupted warp would flow through them (the primarchs) as it flowed through the Emperor himself, invigorating them and conferring special powers such as were possessed by the shamans of old.

Still think there's no difference between an Emperor-shaman and a psyker?

I forgot to mention these quotes are from ROC: The Lost and the Damned.

DantesInferno
09-11-2007, 01:39
Some, at least, had pretty much always been able to do so implying this wasn't down to knowledge or technique, but was natural

Plenty of untrained psykers out there in M41, just using their powers under natural ability.


Doesn't this imply that they were some kind of weird sub-species (Perhaps a psychic guardian sub-species who's power waxed and waned in parallel with homo-sapiens population growth and decline, as I've argued for a while (which would also explain the Emperor's fluctuating degrees of powers))? Otherwise, if they were just human psykers, more psykers would have kept on emerging after the shamans had disappeared, wouldn't they? You don't need two psyker parents to breed psyker offspring, as 40k illustrates.

While you don't necessarily need two psyker parents to breed psyker offspring, there's definitely some extent to which psychic ability can be influenced by genetics: look at Pariahs. They could have just been normal human psykers who all died, taking most of humanity's genetic psychic potential with them (until later mutations brought it back).

Khaine's Messenger
09-11-2007, 02:08
There's nothing, I don't think, to suggest the Eldar could do this with the same proficiency

Well, if you believe the Eldar mythic cycles, this was something that all Eldar could do safely before the Plague.


You don't need two psyker parents to breed psyker offspring, as 40k illustrates.

No, but if sufficiently large populations are required to produce psykers in the quantities we see them in 40k, then the accumulation of the shamans might only occur thanks to reincarnation and spinning the roulette wheel lots of times. Once you kill them all off permanently, you've got to start all over again....

Captain Stern
09-11-2007, 02:22
Hmm. I think you're wrong. The shaman 'race' were going to die out because their souls were being devoured in the warp. Surely, if they were conventional human psykers (meaning the survival of their race could be ensured by passing along their genes by breeding) they would have spread around their genetic material in a century long bonkathon before they all commited suicide and reincarnated into one body (if this would even have been necessary to save the shamans as a whole)? Then you'd have the Emperor AND the shaman race living on. But they didn't or, more likely, couldn't do this. Why? Doesn't this prove they were limited, or even fixed, in number (i.e their souls couldn't be replaced)? Alternatively it might mean their souls were incompatible with 'normal' human bodies. Either way it must mean they weren't merely human 'psykers' as we call them, but something else.

EDITED.

Could you read it again. Thanks.

Noserenda
09-11-2007, 05:41
The passage youve selctively quoted from pretty much stated that anyone could reincarnate before the Warp started going all evil, and its pretty certain that the shamans were just ordinary psykers, albeit ones that operated risk free... :evilgrin:

[SD] Bob Plisskin
09-11-2007, 07:46
The passage youve selctively quoted from pretty much stated that anyone could reincarnate before the Warp started going all evil, and its pretty certain that the shamans were just ordinary psykers, albeit ones that operated risk free... :evilgrin:

Why would it be risk free? Chaos Gods are equally as old are they not?

The question more would be why would they want to put all of their eggs into one basket and turn themselves into one being? Maybe it was a ploy by Tzeentch to imprisen them all and increase the conflict in the universe therefore increasing his power?

I can't see for what reason they would want to create the Emporer, furthermore surely any species or race could procreate? But there seems to be no evidence of this...

[SD] Bob Plisskin
09-11-2007, 07:48
Hmm. I think you're wrong. The shaman 'race' were going to die out because their souls were being devoured in the warp. Surely, if they were conventional human psykers (meaning the survival of their race could be ensured by passing along their genes by breeding) they would have spread around their genetic material in a century long bonkathon before they all commited suicide and reincarnated into one body (if this would even have been necessary to save the shamans as a whole)? Then you'd have the Emperor AND the shaman race living on. But they didn't or, more likely, couldn't do this. Why? Doesn't this prove they were limited, or even fixed, in number (i.e their souls couldn't be replaced)? Alternatively it might mean their souls were incompatible with 'normal' human bodies. Either way it must mean they weren't merely human 'psykers' as we call them, but something else.

EDITED.

Could you read it again. Thanks.


are you suggesting the psykers we see in the current 40k universe are a crossbreed between regular humans and the shaman race from this bonkathon. sort of like a recessive gene passed along that randomly pops up?

Kage2020
09-11-2007, 14:53
Personally I tend to skew away from one specific item of 'fluff' from Realms of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, i.e. that it took only one year from their sacrifice to the birth of the New Man. I personally put it back at many thousands of years, since I'm rather fond of the idea that the Shaman were Neanderthals... but there we go.

As to whether they were different? That's a personal preference gig, but I do think that they operated on a slightly higher wavelength - as it were - than standard psykers.

Of course, that's just personal preference.

Kage

RexTalon
09-11-2007, 15:25
This is new to me. I remember reading in the old fluff that there weren't that many Shamen, and that they died because they were consumed in the creation of the perfect being, the Emperor. Does anyone else remember it that way?

Kage2020
09-11-2007, 15:35
Well, ever since the Shaman Story was introduced the Shaman committed suicide to create the New Man, or the Emperor. The main thing that went into that was the ability to be "immortal," so that he wouldn't have to worry about needing to be reborn...

Kind of ironic, but there we go.

Kage

Captain Stern
09-11-2007, 17:46
The passage youve selctively quoted from pretty much stated that anyone could reincarnate before the Warp started going all evil,

Hmmm... no it doesn't.

If I've been selective it really wasn't intentional. I just didn't fancy typing it all out. Scouts honour.

Captain Stern
09-11-2007, 20:40
Personally I tend to skew away from one specific item of 'fluff' from Realms of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, i.e. that it took only one year from their sacrifice to the birth of the New Man. I personally put it back at many thousands of years, since I'm rather fond of the idea that the Shaman were Neanderthals... but there we go.
Kage

Their problem was their souls were being devoured in the warp when they were waiting for new bodies to be born into. If they hadn't all coalesced into one body PRONTO and instead stayed in the warp for thousands of years to do this... well, you can imagine.

Kage2020
09-11-2007, 21:30
Depends on which bit of the 'fluff' you want to believe, Captain Stern. Consider, for example, that the Emperor has managed to remain hidden from the Chaos Gods for ten millennia... Plus, all it requires is that the Shaman by Neanderthal-esque or something like that. Again, as I said, it's an idea that I like, but that doesn't mean that it works rigorously. :D

Then again, when it comes down to the 40k universe how much works rigorously and how much is just "cool..." :eyebrows:

Ultimately, though, there is absolutely no reason that the Shaman would have had to be "special." Let's just face it, you're talking an older interpretation of the warp, psykers and their abilities, etc. Working in parallel with Edition Drift... well, you can imagine. ;)

Kage

calicojack
09-11-2007, 21:55
I personally put it back at many thousands of years, since I'm rather fond of the idea that the Shaman were Neanderthals... but there we go.

Ha! I was about to facetiously suggest the same - which is my pet theory as well. Thanks Kage, for being the ... other person who likes that theory [grins].

DantesInferno
09-11-2007, 22:11
Personally I tend to skew away from one specific item of 'fluff' from Realms of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, i.e. that it took only one year from their sacrifice to the birth of the New Man. I personally put it back at many thousands of years, since I'm rather fond of the idea that the Shaman were Neanderthals... but there we go.

Just out of interest, is there any scientific evidence that the Neanderthals were a group of super-psykers? ;)

You'd think that the fossil record would have captured something like that...

Kegluneq
09-11-2007, 23:19
They had bigger brains than us, I believe. :p It's actually quite a nice idea, although frankly they had things other than warp gods to worry about.

RexTalon
10-11-2007, 06:58
Maybe they were highly adept, but chose to live in caves. Sort of a highly evolved minimalist existance... you know, what camera boy thought in The Roughneck Cronicles, when he saw the skinnies.

Noserenda
10-11-2007, 15:27
Bob Plisskin;2076520']Why would it be risk free? Chaos Gods are equally as old are they not?


Nope, in the original fluff the Chaos Gods came into existence after the Shamans sacrifice it was the Pre Birth of Khorne that was roughing up the warp and making it dangerous in the first place.

And i do like the Neanderthal idea, its kinda neat.

Kage2020
10-11-2007, 15:33
Borrowing, as I did, from Ben Bova's Orion, the idea with the Shaman-as-Neanderthal ties into the whole grass-roots image that seems to be central to GW's look at their universe. I call it the "Golden Age Doctrine," or the idea that things in the past were... better... somehow. It doesn't quite matter how it was better, just that it is thought of in that way or, in this case, represented in that way.

Thus in this case, it goes to the idea of a primordial time in which man - even though he wasn't quite man - is in harmony with nature. The ebb and flow of nature rather than rigid control of man over nature.

You get the same themes elsewhere. The time before the War in Heaven when Chaos wasn't there, the problems of technology-run-rampant reflected in the eyes of a Dune-esque more humanity-focused approach (which itself slips too far down the other way), etc.

While I know that it doesn't quite make sense to the 'fluff' for a number of reasons, I prefer it (especially after once again reading about the Alaloi from Zindell's Broken God) and thus tenaciously stick with it regardless of whether it fits into the chronology. After all the only real sticking point is that chronology, and we all know that isn't the most important thing to GW. Just take a look at the War in Heaven timeline that, despite the numerous problems, seems there just make everything "impossibly ancient" (i.e. it is the theme that is more important). It's only around 18,000 years before the birth of the Emperor... That's not that much!

Heck, even if you didn't want to go down that route - which is fine - it is also quite reasonable to work with the idea that some form of "purer" strain of interbred Neanderthal and modern human might provide a reasonable identity for the Shaman. Indeed, the reason that we don't trace the genes in the "modern world" is because of this extinction. ;)

That idea actually becomes more intriguing if you use the "hidden group" idea, since that is right up 40k's conspiracy laden approach to, well, practically everything. ;)

Ultimately, in the 40k universe I find science to be a guide so that you don't have to turn to black-boxing everything under "warp magic" or, worse, "Hey, it's 40k!" :D

Kage