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View Full Version : What do you do with conflicting 40K Fluff/Rules?



void trekker
07-03-2008, 17:23
The Squats/Zoats/Slann exist. No they don't.

Robots are a major facet of life in the Imperium. Except that man fought a war with intelligent machines millennia ago, and now they are no longer produced.

Marines in Inquisitor can rip a genestealer apart barehanded. In 40k or Space Hulk, the marines are the ones who get ripped apart.

etc., etc.

Personally, I have no problem with this or the other endless contradictions which make up the various editions of 40K and the other games set in this universe. In fact, I think they are a benefit to a good rpg like Dark Heresy or (to a lesser extent) Inquisitor.

To my mind, the Imperium is paranoid, and also fragmented by bizzare views on the part of its rulers, the various "philosophies" of the different Inquisitor factions being a case in point. These people are very capable of shifting the truth, and certainly have the wherewithal to make this happen.

So, what I have done is this. I have told my players that the universe is -largely- what the 40K fluff (out of any of the rulebooks or WD articles) says it is. However, where there is a contradiction, such as between different editions of the game, anything goes, and only the GM knows the truth.

For example:

What happened to the Squats? They never existed? The 'nids wiped them out? The Imperium wiped them out? There are still a few around, maybe fighting the Imperium? What really happened?

In my Dark/Heresy universe, the Squats still exist, though this is not common knowledge, and certainly not player knowledge. They were not QUITE wiped out by the 'nids. In fact, some of them still exist behind the 'nid lines. These have put their marvellous technologically oriented brains to creating some fascinating anti-Tyranid weapons that... well... if you want to find out more about them, you'll just have to play my game. ;)

In any case, they are still there; they can eventually be discovered, and can provide some really neat "treasure" to the PC group that finds them. Meanwhile, the debate rages on in the Imperium as to what happened to them, with some Inquisitorial factions stating that they never existed at all (feearing that the Imperium did wipe them out, and that some worlds would get jumpy thinking that the Imperium was capable of destroying its allies, or letting them be destroyed in such a cold blooded fashion).

So how do you handle such contradictions?

Mechanicus
07-03-2008, 17:48
Well, most contradictions seem to stem from a misunderstanding. ;) When I do come across contradictions, I choose the one that makes most sense to me. For example:

The Squats/Zoats/Slann exist. No they don't.To be fair, Squats are the only ones who have ever been claimed by GW to have been 'written out', and they were written out with an explanation article saying that there was a Tyranid attack. Some worlds survived and were annexed by the Imperium. Some Squats became mercenaries. But the Squats seceded in M36 - why should the Imperium know where all the strongholds are?

The other two just haven't been mentioned. Or, technically, have been, but not in any big way.

Robots are a major facet of life in the Imperium. Except that man fought a war with intelligent machines millennia ago, and now they are no longer produced.The Rogue Trader robots aren't AI-arg-arg-I'll-kill-all-humans-because-I-can-think robots (thankfully, in my mind). More like today's robots - following a predetermined set of commands. As to the widespread thing - I choose to interpret robots in that case as meaning servitors. :p

Marines in Inquisitor can rip a genestealer apart barehanded. In 40K or Space Hulk, the marines are the ones who get ripped apart.Games are made to be balanced, so I just ignore it completely! :D Others, of course, may not.

Personally, I have no problem with this or the other endless contradictions which make up the various editions of 40K and the other games set in this universe. In fact, I think they are a benefit to a good rpg like Dark Heresy or (to a lesser extent) Inquisitor.

To my mind, the Imperium is paranoid, and also fragmented by bizzare views on the part of its rulers, the various "philosophies" of the different Inquisitor factions being a case in point. These people are very capable of shifting the truth, and certainly have the wherewithal to make this happen.

So, what I have done is this. I have told my players that the universe is -largely- what the 40K Fluff (out of any of the rulebooks or WD articles) says it is. However, where there is a contradiction, such as between different editions of the game, anything goes, and only the GM knows the truth.A good approach - and pretty much how I see it. :)

What happened to the Squats? They never existed? The 'nids wiped them out? The Imperium wiped them out? There are still a few around, maybe fighting the Imperium? What really happened?

In my Dark/Heresy universe, the Squats still exist, though this is not common knowledge, and certainly not player knowledge. They were not QUITE wiped out by the 'nids. In fact, some of them still exist behind the 'nid lines. These have put their marvellous technologically oriented brains to creating some fascinating anti-Tyranid weapons that... well... if you want to find out more about them, you'll just have to play my game.

In any case, they are still there; they can eventually be discovered, and can provide some really neat "treasure" to the PC group that finds them. Meanwhile, the debate rages on in the Imperium as to what happened to them, with some Inquisitorial factions stating that they never existed at all (feearing that the Imperium did wipe them out, and that some worlds would get jumpy thinking that the Imperium was capable of destroying its allies, or letting them be destroyed in such a cold blooded fashion).See above, but I also agree that some independent Squat settlements do exist. I just see it as logical.

Anyway, that's my rambling reply done with.

Imperialis_Dominatus
07-03-2008, 21:52
I don't do anything about it. The way of mixing fluff and rules is the path of madness.

Johnnyfrej
07-03-2008, 23:15
I don't do anything about it. The way of mixing fluff and rules is the path of madness.
For true.
In fluff terms it takes dozens of Guardsmen to kill just one Space Marine. In game it takes about 3-5.

-Private Jon

Lastie
07-03-2008, 23:57
I generally read everything, accumulate all the data available (both official and fan-made), then from that pool pull out what I consider both logical and fitting for the 40K 'theme'.

For example, to consider your first three examples:

1) Squats exist. While the Homeworlds may have been hit hard by the Tyranids the galaxy is large enough that plenty of Squats were elsewhere at the time, and continue to fight to the day against this new threat (their hatred for the Orks having found a new foe). Zoats still exist, somewhere. As for the Slaan? Who knows. The galaxy is a very large place, after all.

2) Robots can indeed be common throughout the more technologically advanced worlds of the Imperium, but true AI is generally forbidden. Only the most powerful of the AdMech are vaguely aware of this fear's origin in the darkest days of the Age of Technology, when the Iron Men rebelled against Humanity.

3) Genestealers and Marines are generally an even match, and it depends on the circumstances who wins.

Lord Cook
08-03-2008, 00:14
I generally view the fluff has having been written within the 40k universe. So if there are contradictions, that's because the inhabitants of 40k do not have omniscient knowledge of their own galaxy. In the same way that there are huge contradictions in our own (real life) history, such as the location of Troy, the life of Jesus, etc.

If some old book from rogue trader were to say orks were blue, and now we know orks are green, I would just assume that the Inquisitor who wrote the old RT fluff was insane, or was using a dialect of High Gothic that was mistranslated, or I don't know, maybe even colour blind ;).

At the end of the day, I'm playing a game set 40,000 years into the future. My suspension of belief is already set to 'overdrive', before we even reach the contradictions.

Zzarchov
08-03-2008, 00:15
The Zoats are in the Tyranid Codex, they were presumabley whiped out, but the Imperium is starting to investigate.

Lord Cook
08-03-2008, 00:18
The Zoats are in the Tyranid Codex, they were presumabley whiped out, but the Imperium is starting to investigate.

They are? What part? The zoats were before my time, but looking at the codex, I assume it must be the part on p.25?

EDIT: Yes the bit on p.25, thank you Grimbad. Nice of GW to put that in.

Grimbad
08-03-2008, 00:54
They're referred to as 'collossi' in the 'dex.

scratchbuilt
08-03-2008, 08:23
Slightly different but I say, ignore the races own codex, as that is too partial. Take as true what is written in the main rulebook fluff only (as that is most imparital). Though essentially I'm just being bitter about chaos not winning the 'biggest threat to the imperium' belt.

If the player is a marine, he can tool stealers. If the player is a stealer, he can tool marines

Kage2020
08-03-2008, 15:22
My personal approach is to use "Revisionism" (or "new is true") on the game rules, feeling that it has no real place for interpretation of the 'fluff.' For 'fluff' I try and integrate the various editions as much as possible (normally this isn't that hard) and where it is glitchy or difficult I make a choice based upon personal preference. Ultimately, just because it is new doesn't mean it's great, nor because it is older material does it mean that it is out-dated. :D

The Inquisition and its structure is a prime example of this process...

Kage