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View Full Version : Ships of the Imperium... now and before the Imperium!



Kage2020
21-08-2008, 03:34
Okay, pretty unspecific title, but in short I was wondering what people saw as the essential differences between "Age of Strife" starships (which is to say Golden/Dark of Technology that survived into the Age of Strife), and "Age of Imperium" vessels? Or, rather, if a single ship made this journey, what would you see at the start, what changes might be wrought over the millennia, and what might you have at the end?

I know it's pretty easy to imagine a high-tech ship gradually being wrought into something more "artistic" (go with the gargoyles), I would imagine that it is a bit more than just putting bronze on everything. I'm sure that aesthetic changes also merge with and are sometimes subsumed by function. Erm, which is to say that while the easy answer of "more gargoyles!" might be fun, I'm wondering if we can delve slightly deeper.

At the end of all this, my hope is to produce 3d models, blueprints, etc., of a 40k ship. Even with that said, it's not a discussion that I've seen on a 40k board for quite some time, if at all...

Kage

TwoByFour
21-08-2008, 04:53
Hm, I'll think about this while I'm at work, but the first thing off my mind is heavier armament. Partially because I have an image of the time of the Imperium as a more violent period, and also because I suspect that most relics from the Dark Age of Technology would surely be pressed into service as warships, due to their (presumably) more advanced design.

Koryphaus
21-08-2008, 07:58
Think the Soul Drinker novel with the Howling Griffons Chapter in it. The ship, called Brokenback maybe? Apparently using pre-imperial targeting systems and is insanely accurate with its weapons.

Satan
21-08-2008, 08:28
Well, no clue but The Termins Est hails from the Dark Age of technology, so I'd check that out. My assumption would be that they'd be much reminiscent of those ships seen in the Horus Heresy artwork background books.

In the article for Terminus Est over at Specialist Games it also states that as the Imperium was unable to perform proper maintainance (sp?) on its systems so they were in time replaced with less efficient ones. I'd imagine the targeting system to be one of these.

Hrw-Amen
21-08-2008, 12:15
Definately weapons, I'd imagine as has been said that ships from before the Imperium have better, more accurate weapons. They are probably not such prominent features of those vessels, because they are more accurate etc they do not need to be so big and show off'ish. I get the impression that a lot of battleships in the Imperium have huge guns that hurl massive projectiles that obliterate if they hit but that hitting in itself is more of a hit and miss affair.

I'd imagine them to be sleeker as well. Maybe not to the ectreme of star trek or anything, but not so 'in your face' to look at. It would seam that although they were able to defend themselves the primary role of many of those ships was not to go out and kill everything they came across, but to colonise, make contacts, open trade routes, that sort of thing. (A bit like rogue traders but nice ones for the most part.)

Also I expect that a lot of technology was smaller and more effective and less energy intensive. They probably had smaller cleaner and more efficent engines that performed at least to the same spec if not better than ships of the Imperium.

Maybe a better analogy would be with Battlestar Galactica, I imagine that the Galactica is like ships from the Imperium technologically and the Pegasus is like a ship from the DAoT. Similar comparison just the other way around in that case.

Curufew
21-08-2008, 13:46
The older ships have better, longer range and more accurate weapons compared to the ships of the Imperial Navy now.

Most of the current Imperial Navy ships are more or less decked out for close range salvos if I remember correctly.

Adra
21-08-2008, 15:11
Basicly they dont differ that much from the 40k versions but they are generaly better in most aspects. This is just due to build quality more than anything as the Imperium are basicly using the same ships but they aint as good at building them, like poor copy cats.

malika
21-08-2008, 15:48
The STC technology would also be more visible with these ships, so I assume looking at Space Marine ships and technology as an inspiration...then combine it with the Imperial Navy ship models and remove all those eagles, gargoyles and what not.

Wolflord Havoc
21-08-2008, 18:00
I have to go along with the STC theory.

Weapons manufacture in the Imperium is based on techniques and tech that was tried and tested long before the Emperor yawned and said 'lets go and beat up the galaxy'.

The Leman Russ Chassis, Rhino Chassis, Baneblade Chassis as well as fighters, guns, artillery, missiles, the basic lasgun design, Mars class battlecrusier et all were all old designs during the great crusade. And they are designs that have lasted the test of time.

So I have to go with 'Not changed very at all'

Gloom
21-08-2008, 18:21
I have to go along with the STC theory.

Weapons manufacture in the Imperium is based on techniques and tech that was tried and tested long before the Emperor yawned and said 'lets go and beat up the galaxy'.

The Leman Russ Chassis, Rhino Chassis, Baneblade Chassis as well as fighters, guns, artillery, missiles, the basic lasgun design, Mars class battlecrusier et all were all old designs during the great crusade. And they are designs that have lasted the test of time.

So I have to go with 'Not changed very at all'

Your forgeting something about STCs. They are not just regular blue prints, they are an intellegnt computer program. Its not so much "How do I build X" its "I have A, B, C but we're out of D, I have the skills to L and M but no N or O. How do I build X with what I have?"

The STC stays the same, but it wont always give the builders the same design specs if those builders are steadily losing the ability to make various components.

Burnthem
21-08-2008, 18:22
The STC technology would also be more visible with these ships, so I assume looking at Space Marine ships and technology as an inspiration...then combine it with the Imperial Navy ship models and remove all those eagles, gargoyles and what not.

Good idea, combine the best bits of all the 'current' Imperial ships, throw in a bit extra for good measure and Voila, you have a DAoT ship. But to be honest there can be no hard and fast answer to this, the Imperium contains many thousands of types of ships, from small interplanetary patrol ships to the largest battleships, so it's only logical to assume that at its pinnacle of acheivement mankind would have had an uncountable number of different types of ships, with different Star Systems producing thier own local variants etc etc. Remember that just because the STC system was about, didn't mean everything had to be built from an STC plan, there would have been loads and loads of variety.

][nquist0r
21-08-2008, 18:45
Hrmmm I read a book that featured a Word Bearer Chaplain who becomes disgusted with Chaos, and returns to a Crone World where he had hid a ship made during the Dark age of Technology. It was totally silver very streamlined and very powerful. The denzens of the world thought it was a star because it shone so brightly in the sky. There is a part in the novel when he is talking to the AI, and asks for his armor and sword. The CPU teleports his armor right onto his body and sword into hand.
The ships were waaay better, in every concievable way.

StarshipBOb
21-08-2008, 19:38
My vision of a DAoT ship would kinda look like a Grey Knight's Strike Cruiser. Man, those things are slick looking. You can find them in the Imperial Ships supplemental to Battlefleet Gothic.

Gropius
21-08-2008, 20:43
Pre-imperial ships wouldn't look that different. The BFG rulebook has a text about an Imperator battleship from the 26th millenium discovered in a Hulk 10000 years later. It wa repaired and used again and apparently isn't really any different to an Imperator from the 30. millenium brought into service not until the 32. millenium. The only strange thing about this is, that the typical imperial hull form, which the Imperator has, too, is supposed to be a successor of the earlyer design still found in the chaos ships. But the Inferno class for example uses the old design but wasn't developed until the 36. millenium. a bit of contradiction there. the predecessor of the Lunar class was built up to the 37. millenium, too. Seems like that in the developement of starships there is much more movement than in other parts of the Imperium.

heretics bane
21-08-2008, 20:54
I have to go along with the STC theory.

Weapons manufacture in the Imperium is based on techniques and tech that was tried and tested long before the Emperor yawned and said 'lets go and beat up the galaxy'.

The Leman Russ Chassis, Rhino Chassis, Baneblade Chassis as well as fighters, guns, artillery, missiles, the basic lasgun design, Mars class battlecrusier et all were all old designs during the great crusade. And they are designs that have lasted the test of time.

So I have to go with 'Not changed very at all'

Seconded the imperium is in a state of regression so allthe older stuff is alot better than the newer stuff.

Xisor
21-08-2008, 21:10
In terms of capabilities and things, I'd think:
- Typically as fast, not terribly faster. The Scartix Engine Coil of the Slaughter Class was a pretty radical thing, I imagine it to have been the general peak of technology (with some specific advances past it being uncommon).
- Longer ranged weapons. Perhaps not as powerful, but older ships do appear to have better range (if not power).
- Less focus on heavy-armour. (So my instinct is that the armoured prows of the 'modern' Imperial navy are but an affectation, a design choice rather than result)
- Bigger. Modern ships tend to be of the smaller variety. Big things all tend to be very old. Less light cruisers (I'd suggest, with no evidence, that they weren't prolific until the Great Crusade Era and the advent of the Astartes).

Assuming that the ships built are STC-era, then I'd suggest:
- Essentially a Retribution class with no armoured prow, a NC in it's place.
- Heavy automisation (few servitors, more actual robots or cogitator networks ergo smaller crews)

This also means I'd expect an older era fleet to consist more of individual 'big' ships and less of fleets.

By look, I'd suggest somewhere between the current Mechanicus vessels and the Grey Knights' strike cruiser. That is: A bit blocky, some degree of 'in era aesthetics' .

Of the Modern Imperium

Shorter ranges, more 'bristling' with guns. Smaller ships too. The cruiser profile is well adaptable and more prolific than the bigger ones. Not quite faster, but I'd warrant that modern Imperial vessels' are quite robust too. Unfortunately they rely on...[i]mortal fuel. (cf. Richard Williams' short story)

And I think that's the crucial difference. As time progresses the Imperium's vessels have become much more Imperium of Mankind's vessels than Vessels Loaned to the Imperium by Virtue of the Adepts of the Machine God. By this same token, and logically adbucting from the rise of the Dictator class during the Gothic War, I'd guess that ordnance-carrying vessels are also coming to the fore again. (That is: more humans, more miniaturisation...to a degree).

Aesthetically...more variation. We've already got a (small) bucketload of patterns we recognise (Voss, Mars [x2], Kar Duniash, Astartes, Titan-Astartes, GC, Errant/Ancient [Chaos-style]). I'd be keen to think that that is the modern styling...that the Imperium is decentralised and even the different regions now exhibit internal inhomogeneity!

Thus I'd be perfectly happy with a fleet claiming to be Imperial but using 'converted' Chaos ships (i.e. added prow armour, slight detail changes but otherwise being a Chaos 'profile' cruiser). The merits themselves seem at once detached from the look of the ship and yet inextricably linked (almost all of certain patterns go to Chaos whilst almost all of another remain entirely loyal!)

Kage2020
21-08-2008, 23:35
Well, thanks for the comments. For the moment, I think that I'll bow out of this discussion and let it sink to the depths or change into whatever is wanted. :D

Kage

MvS
22-08-2008, 09:20
If I may, I would also imagine that although STC technology would be in the preponderance across the pre-Age of Strife human occupied galaxy, there would probably be some variation between worlds. What was to stop one human world breaking new boundaries in science and technology? In fact, what was to stop human civilisations trading with and learning from other races in the galaxy?

Also, between the Golden/Dark Age of Technology and the Age of the Imperium we have several thousand years of the Age of Strife. In that time much of the human galaxy became culturally and scietifically 'stunted', if not directly controlled or at least battered about by aliens and daemons. But are we to believe every human planet and settlement was ravaged this way, going feudal, superstitious and crazy?

In the HH books we have examples of human worlds with working STCs and with technology that makes their soldiers invisible, and we also have a planet of humans we have apparently enjoyed close links with the Eldar and have learned from them culturally and perhaps in terms of science (technomancy?) as well.

So perhaps there were even more advanced ships developed here and there throughout the Golden Dark Age and on into the Age of Strife? This doesn't mean those civilisations survived, because the Horus Heresy, Ork Waaghs, Eldar and Imperial paranoia, the awakening of the Necrons and the coming of the Tyranids are all reasons enough to assume that many super-advanced human civilisations regressed or sputtered out altogether, just leaving the odd amazing artefact here and there for newcomers to wonder at.

So the pre-Imperial human-built vessel mentioned in the Word Bearer story a few posts back may not have been STC at all, but 'better'. I see no reason why we couldn't have some Star-Trek type vessels lost in the Warp or slowly corroding away in long hidden space docks, as well as more progenitor STC Space Marine and Imperial Navy vessels from the Dark Age of Technology, and Babylon 5 Space Stations, Event Horizon 22nd Century haunted vessels and, well, whatever really.

The imagery provides enough time and so many different cultural epochs and civilised planerts across a whole galaxy that I would imagine there is room for almost anything. That said, more consistently functional, less 'decorative' and more precise versions of Imperial vessels would probably be a norm for most Dark Age STC stuff.

Emperor's Grace
25-08-2008, 18:13
I would agree on variations (different needs at different planets/cultures, if nothing else) but I'd also think that any "significant" advancement would have been communicated back to other STC's.

I'd like to think that, even if the shape was roughly the same (minus prow), you'd see more interior given to cargo, open spaces, and crew quarters. No armoured prow but wider use of shields. Guns/drives/etc... more compact and possibly more efficient. More automation, less crew. Droid (er, Iron Men) armies packed away in the hold for support if needed?

Maybe "Flight of the Navigator" level in DAoT? (for a small ship)


There's another question:
If the spacious ships of today are the same "airframe" with larger replacement parts, then what we the DAoT folks doing with all that extra room?

IIRC, the Termie armor started as a recovered STC for a plasma reactor maintenance suit.

The STC materials produced today may not be the same thing that the STC could have produced in DAoT.

Who knows, maybe the pattern used now started as a cargo vessel...

Aeolian
26-08-2008, 02:48
I seriously doubt that they would merely be using 'better' Imperial ships.

We're talking 20,000 years of technological degradation here. 20,000 years ago we barely had stone tools.

heretics bane
26-08-2008, 11:57
Think the Soul Drinker novel with the Howling Griffons Chapter in it. The ship, called Brokenback maybe? Apparently using pre-imperial targeting systems and is insanely accurate with its weapons.

Well thats a collection of afew if not dozens of ships mashed togeather with some pre-imperial and alien devices about it.

Eetion
26-08-2008, 13:07
Isnt the Phalanx Golden Era?
Is so were talking about a battleship the size of a small moon.

heretics bane
26-08-2008, 14:13
Suppossedly but i dont think anybodys seen it in a while or there are any pictures of it.