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CELS
08-04-2008, 13:52
In my opinion, Blackships are now a rather confusing area of the 40k background, because they started out as psyker harvesters, shipping psykers to Terra, then the focus shifted on them being the warships of the Inquisition, and now they're somehow both. I'm not sure how that works, since the League of Blackships would need quite a lot of these ships in order to visit all the one million Imperial worlds often enough (apparently, a world is visited once every century or more often). Granted, Blackships are supposedly the fastest ships in the Imperium (something that is not represented in their BFG stats), but it's still a pretty big fleet of very powerful capital ships.

With that rant over, could someone tell me where I can find some background on blackships and nullships? I'm primarily looking for the old material, not the stuff in BFG publications and Dark Heresy. More like 2nd edition and perhaps even Rogue Trader era material.

I understand that nullships are psychically shielded, perhaps also being very fast ships, but that's all I can remember. I'd like to know more about them.

Thanks.

RCgothic
08-04-2008, 14:10
I think it's possible that their being fast is a refference to their warp ability rather than their sublight capabilities.

It's easy to suppose that because of their inquisition connection and work with psychers that Black ships have better Gellar Fields and Navigators, which allows them to plot a route through and survive more turbulent warp routes.

malika
08-04-2008, 14:16
I think that the League of Blackships is part of the Inquisition whose job it is to track down psychers. Inquisitors sometimes board Blackships to use them as their own warships. But personally I don't think that a Blackship is immediately the Inquisition's standard warship. It's just that BFG has bluntly ignored certain bits of the 40k background to justify the creation of new pretty models to be released. Just look at the Adeptus Mechanicus ships for example, now all of a sudden they have their own warships while they were forbidden to have their own military ships in order to prevent a single organisation from having too much power. :rolleyes:

biggreengribbly
08-04-2008, 14:19
I think that the League of Blackships is part of the Inquisition whose job it is to track down psychers. Inquisitors sometimes board Blackships to use them as their own warships. But personally I don't think that a Blackship is immediately the Inquisition's standard warship. It's just that BFG has bluntly ignored certain bits of the 40k background to justify the creation of new pretty models to be released. Just look at the Adeptus Mechanicus ships for example, now all of a sudden they have their own warships while they were forbidden to have their own military ships in order to prevent a single organisation from having too much power. :rolleyes:

I think that's the Ecclesiarchy you're thinking of there. ;)

RampagingRavener
08-04-2008, 14:24
I don't see why they can't be both, really. The Black Ships are mostly used as Psyker-harvesters, as you said, doing laps of the galaxy and rounding up the latest batches of Psykers for feeding to the Emperor or training as Librarians/Sanctioned Psykers or whatever. While Inquisitors will mostly use their own smaller, private ships or hitch a lift on the ships of whatever military group he's ordering about. But, when an Inquisitor really wants to make a point, he'll commandeer a Black Ship and use it to lead his armies in that way.

malika
08-04-2008, 14:24
It is both. The Adeptus Mechanicus weren't allowed to have warships after the Horus Heresy when everything got split up in the Imperium. The Ecclessiarchy was prohibited from having men under arms and their own warships after the Age of Apostasy.

malika
08-04-2008, 14:26
I don't see why they can't be both, really. The Black Ships are mostly used as Psyker-harvesters, as you said, doing laps of the galaxy and rounding up the latest batches of Psykers for feeding to the Emperor or training as Librarians/Sanctioned Psykers or whatever. While Inquisitors will mostly use their own smaller, private ships or hitch a lift on the ships of whatever military group he's ordering about. But, when an Inquisitor really wants to make a point, he'll commandeer a Black Ship and use it to lead his armies in that way.

I think what CELS is trying to say is, is that the BFG background is suggesting that the Blackship nowadays also seems to be the standard warship of the Inquisition. Not just a ship (s)he temporarily takes under his command like every other ship in the Imperium.

Mechanicus
08-04-2008, 14:36
I hadn't heard that the Adeptus Mechanicus weren't allowed warships post Heresy, though that's somewhat made redundant by the Mechanicus fleet list for BFG, but oh well. These things happen.

Anyway: The Inquisition (a book which has little value besides this and a few other points of interest) has said that whilst a Black Ship traditionally belongs to the League of Blackships, the term has also come to be used for specialised ships owned by Inquisitors.

As to the nullships, they're psychically shielded ships designed to go into the Eye of Terror for recon. Very few return, leading me to suspect the psychic shielding generally isn't that great when confronted with creatures of the warp. Most of the stuff I've read about nullships is in the novel Eye of Terror, but I remember a mention elsewhere. Can't think where though.

Elcampbello
08-04-2008, 14:55
The Black Ships are run by the "psyker" Schola (can't remeber the official name) in cooperation with the Ordo Hereticus. The Black Ships of the Inquisition are ships command by Inquisitors and, as far as I can recall, an Ordo resource.

malika
08-04-2008, 14:57
So one type of ship that is used by two different organisations?

Mechanicus
08-04-2008, 15:29
Sorry; wasn't clear enough. A League-owned Black Ship is the normal psyker-hunting one, but the term is also used for a specialist ship an Inquisitor uses - they're not the same ship type. :)

Chaplain of Chaos
08-04-2008, 15:33
I always saw it as a joint partnership, the Schola prepares, blesses and trains the captured Psykers over the year to decade long voyage. The Ordo Hereticus polices the worlds where they harvest the psykers and the psykers themselves for any possible chaos taint. It is also the Inquisitions job to secure and hold the Psykers who are too dangerous or put down the psykers that are uncontrollable.

Even in BFG you don't see Black Ships just thrown about, you see them represented as single or two ships that are traveling with another fleet for proection or whatnot.

It's not confusing at all. Black Ships harvest psykers and root out the taint of uncontrolled and corrupted psykers in the worlds they vist. The Fluff never changed.

malika
08-04-2008, 15:33
Ah so it's two different ships with the same name? :) Jajaja it's getting confusing man! :p

ArtificerArmour
08-04-2008, 15:36
I think that the League of Blackships is part of the Inquisition whose job it is to track down psychers. Inquisitors sometimes board Blackships to use them as their own warships. But personally I don't think that a Blackship is immediately the Inquisition's standard warship. It's just that BFG has bluntly ignored certain bits of the 40k background to justify the creation of new pretty models to be released.

There was never a blackship model released, it was a conversion project.


Just look at the Adeptus Mechanicus ships for example, now all of a sudden they have their own warships while they were forbidden to have their own military ships in order to prevent a single organisation from having too much power. :rolleyes:

Well that's the thing. Given the choice, the Imperium would be rid of the mechanicus in a heart beat. But they need them. Alot. That's why they put up with them and their herectical worship of the omnissiah. And they need their fleet. Yes, the Navy is the main fighting force in space, and that is the limitation imposed by the post heresy imperium and roboute etc. But the AM do have their own ships for their own exploration, and the exploration is necessary for the imperium to carry on. They just happen to be better because the AM are hoarding bastards who keep the best lance weaponry to themselves :p.

But anyway, as I see it, Nullships are basically anything from light transports to cruisers that transport psykers to earth. Blackships, and attendant escorts, are their escorts and protectors. Inquisitors commendeer whatever ships they want, but everyone knows they can commendeer whatever they want indefinately, and may turn a ship they like into a blackship.

Chaplain of Chaos
08-04-2008, 15:37
Not two diffrent ships. It's very simple. Black Ships are Black Ships, their primary purpose is the harvesting of Psykers and vigilance against Chaos Taint. The Schola is their for purposes of training and preparation, they choose those who will go the Emperor, those who will be Sanctioned and those who will become Astropaths etc and so forth.

The Inquisition determines those Psykers who are to dangerous to control, and picks out those rare ideal candits for Inquisition training.

CELS
08-04-2008, 16:00
Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it as a bit weird. It does seem like GW is actually suggesting that there is only one kind of Black Ship, whose primary purpose is the harvesting of Psykers and monitoring the Imperial population for signs of taint. That makes perfect sense, and that's the way it has been for ages. However, the thing that I don't get is why these vessels have to be super-deadly capital ships with enough guns to obliterate a C'tan and his dog. In the BFG article by Bob Henderson (apparently one of the people in charge of BFG since GW abandoned it like a redheaded stepchild), the Black Ships are described as "warships", capable of deploying company-sized formations and serving as the core of formidable battle groups.
It doesn't make sense to me.

But anyway, does anyone have more info on nullships? Also, is there any concrete info on the characteristics of Black Ships, other than the BFG material? I'm specifically looking for information about their speed, special properties of their hull, and so forth.

Mechanicus
08-04-2008, 16:06
I'm looking for the other source on the nullships, but I'm not having much success - where did you read of them? Maybe that would kick-start my memory.

CELS
08-04-2008, 16:13
Sorry, Mechanicus, if I knew that, I wouldn't be bothering you guys. The only thing my not-so-helpful brain can come up with is the image of a black and white John Blanche drawing of a hive with silhouettes of starships next to a description of them being the fastest ships in the Imperium. Must be a 2nd edition publication, but it's not Codex Imperialis. Who knows, maybe my brain is playing tricks on me. It wouldn't be the first time! :)

If people besides myself can remember that there's something called nullships though, it seems likely that they've been mentioned places other than the Eye of Terror novel. Maybe the Jaq Draco trilogy or something?

Chaplain of Chaos
08-04-2008, 16:18
I could understand Black Ships having large military capability too though.. even crewed by a dedicated regiment of Inquisitorial Stormtroopers.

The Black Ships need to be prepared to deal with very powerful Psykers, perhaps even planet wide taint in some cases if those same powerful psykers get out of control.

Wolfblade670
08-04-2008, 20:55
Actually to me it makes sense that Black Ships would be heavily armed. When you suddenly show up to abduct and murder thousands of people's family and friends, the population in question might be a little touchy. Naturally the =I= would want to be capable of frying large population centers in case the planetery government felt "disinclined to aquiess"...

Sikkukkut
09-04-2008, 07:21
Sorry; wasn't clear enough. A League-owned Black Ship is the normal psyker-hunting one, but the term is also used for a specialist ship an Inquisitor uses - they're not the same ship type. :)

As I understand it the title of Black Ship officially belongs to the former type, and has come to encompass the latter type in common use, since a lot of Imperial citizens aren't really aware of the finer points of Adeptus Astra Telepathica/Ordo Hereticus jurisdiction. Sort of like the way that "Xerox" is the name of a specific brand of photocopier, but for ages people used it to mean any copying machine of any brand.

malika
09-04-2008, 13:01
Actually to me it makes sense that Black Ships would be heavily armed. When you suddenly show up to abduct and murder thousands of people's family and friends, the population in question might be a little touchy. Naturally the =I= would want to be capable of frying large population centers in case the planetery government felt "disinclined to aquiess"...

You wouldn't need that. You simply have a bunch of Sisters of Silence/Battle armed to the teeth who will kill bystanders who are in the way. Orbital bombardment wouldn't be needed to solve that. ;)

CELS
09-04-2008, 14:22
I have no problem with Black Ship as a ship type (like how stealth aircraft is a type of aircraft, rather than a specific fighter or bomber), but the "ignorant citizens" angle doesn't quite work, unless you either ignore the background describing the Black Ships as warships or assume that it is written from an ignorant perspective.

Emperor's Grace
09-04-2008, 18:40
Sorry; wasn't clear enough. A League-owned Black Ship is the normal psyker-hunting one, but the term is also used for a specialist ship an Inquisitor uses - they're not the same ship type. :)

I'll second. I thought that "Black Ship" was a type of vessel and was used by both groups.

Kind of like saying we both drive Chevy's, even if you have a compact Aveo and I drive a fullsize Suburban.