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Nurglitch
28-12-2005, 07:08
Hey there,

Another thread, about developing a steam-punk (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16551) background for the Ork army the topic was derailed by an argument about the merits of the current Ork background. The point of that thread is to develop an alternative to the current current background, as detailed in the 3rd edition codex and other sources.

I've decided to start this thread for the purpose of arguing about the merits of the existing background in an effort to keep that thread on topic. Please refer to the thread on steam-punk orks for the details of the argument so far.

To summarize, the argument is basically this:

I say that Anzion's theory of theory of psychic resonance, as well as his theory of innate ork skills, are bad theories. These theories, as explanations for Orkish behaviour, are bad theories because they are inaccurate, superfluous, incoherent, and resort to magical explanation. They do not reflect an accurate account of Orkish behaviour in the fluff, and should not if we wish to have a three-dimensional (i.e.: non-flat) background for the Ork army.

Here's a explanation of some of the jargon I've used:

A theory, fictional or otherwise, is bad when another theory may be preferred to it. This preference, however, is not governed by what we might call 'personal preference' or 'personal taste'. It is not the case of what you actually seem to prefer, but what you should prefer.

Out of, say, three theories we may say that all are bad because it is possible that a better theory may be constructed. Some so-called theories cannot be preferred to other theories, either actual or possible, because they are not theories by dint of being hopelessly incoherent or self-contradictory*, inapplicable to their subject, or incomplete. They are theories in name only, and not in the sense of being explanatory devices, and as such are typically called insufficient. Out of those candidates for sufficient theory-hood, The 'badness' of a theory is thus both relative to other available theories and absolute in terms of possible theories. The 'goodness' of a theory is thus relative to other available theories. In this sense the label 'good' can be considered any point on a continuum of better or worse that is better than all other points.

A theory may be sufficient, and not good, and it may be sufficient and good. But a theory may not be insufficient and good. All insufficient theories are bad theories, and some sufficient theories are still bad.

As such the question of whether a theory is bad is an objectively decidable matter of aesthetics. As Ludwig Wittgenstein pointed out in his "private language argument" (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/private-language/) things such as private languages or preferences are incoherent because these things are necessarily public in nature. Being public in nature means that questions of valid preference are publically decidable, and that the value of personal preferences may only be measured in terms of how they relate to a community standard.

A simple case in point: That you prefer the answer '5' to the answer '4' when answering the question "What is the sum of 2 and 2, given conventional values of numerals". The answer '4' is prefered to the answer '5' because arithmetic consists of a system by which the truth of all applicable propositions or statements may be decided and demonstrated in a public fashion. If you prefer '5' to '4' as the answer to the question, you are either not using standard values of numerals, or you are wrong and have a bad preference.

More exactly, such a preference would be inaccurate. It is inaccurate to say that 2+2=5 because the truth of such propositions as operations of addition are determined by the underlying deductive logic of mathematics. Similarly if you pointed at an elephant and said "moose" in reference to that elephant, and the terms elephant and moose are being used in their conventional english way, you would inaccurately label an elephant as a "moose".

But such answers like '2+2=5' and 'that elephant is a moose' are simply inaccurate. Answers like '2+2=5 and the colour pink' and 'that elephant is an moose and a gerbil' are superfluous as well as inaccurate. This is simply the rule of parismony, perhaps more accurately described as the value of parsimony, and was expressed by William of Ockham in his dictum known popularly as "Occam's Razor". Simplicity and parsimony are virtues because they are efficiently user-friendly. Where something cannot be described accurately using less than thirty-two elements, using thirty-four is unparismonious and the extra elements are superfluous. Perhaps surprisingly I've tried to apply that rule to this post, but the subject is very large.

Interestingly all theories are eventually incoherent when extended to a sufficient degree, according to Godel. A theory is 'hopelessly' incoherent when it contains a degree of contradiction approaching infinity, 1 -> n. Such occurs when directly two or more propositions or statements of the theory directly contradict each other in the same scope line of the theory described as a derivation. If you say: "The ork is green and the ork is not green." in the same sentence, or make a statement to that effect, then you have a direct contradiction. The term absurd is another term of logic for such situations.

Nurglitch
28-12-2005, 07:10
Finally there is the problem of magical explanation, which is an interesting thing when applied to the case of fictional explanations such as those composing the background of Warhammer 40k. You can also call magical explanations 'black boxes', 'just-so-stories', and 'hand-waving'. Magical explanations say that some things, namely those things to which magical explanation is applied, are inexplicable. In terms of science, obviously, magical explanations are right out when it comes to understanding natural phenomena. This is because magical explanations say that we cannot ever discover the mechanism by which something happens. If something happens that is apparently impossible (that cannot be predicted or described using available theories) then scientists bite the bullet and work on discovering the mechanism.

Magical explanation is frequently used in some sorts of fiction where impossible things are narratively important, and where authors need to move the story forward. Magical explanations are sometimes even used where non-magical explanations are available. This usually happens when the author doesn't understand or care about how something might actually happen - which is unfortunately often in fantasy. Science fiction authors use magical explanations to explain super-science, and some science-fiction scholars use the term 'fudge factor' to describe magical explanation. Magical explanations include: luck, fate, divine intervention, and all varieties of techno-babble.

Sometimes in fantasy fiction 'magic' is simply another label for a technology that relies on the manipulation of natural energies. Of course nature is all that there is, and despite ordinarily being a contradiction in terms the existence of the occult simply means the existence of another kind of energy or part of reality. In general magical explanations can be considered to be those explanations for events that try to gloss over something rather than explain it.

Psychic powers, in Warhammer 40k, are interesting because they are treated in a technological way even though the Warp, the source of psychic power, is inexplicable in its nature and deliberately so. There are different ways in which psychic powers are described, or explained, as working. But these explanations beg the question of what is it about the Warp that makes such powers possible. That's okay where magical explanations are restricted to actually impossible things such as faster-than-light travel*, summoning daemon, breaking the laws of reality, and so on.

Necron technology is an interesting case because it generally seems to reflect Clarke's dictum that any technology sufficiently advanced will be indistinguishable from magic by insufficiently advanced observers. On one hand Necron technology is an example of magical explanation in that their background seems impossible to explain: magical. On the other hand, Necron technology specifically appeals only to properties of the 'material universe', a fictional universe that is analogous to our own material universe. You would think that an ambitious physicist and warhammer fan could, were they so inclined, explain how various Necron artifacts could work. On the third hand, the gripping hand, that material universe is merely part of a universe that is empirically demonstrable, at least in the fictional background described in the literature, part of larger universe which includes an inexplicable part: The Warp.

Where magical explanations can be avoided, or at least kept to that minimum of instances where non-magical explanations aren't available (due to the impossibility of a given event), then the fiction so described has a grittier and more 'realistic' feeling to it. It's easier to relate it back to our own world. Magic becomes something fantastic and unusual instead of becoming hum-drum and mundane. Many fantasy authors over-use magical explanations until their fantasy becomes as mundane and fantastic as non-fiction.

Since the background of Warhammer 40k involves magic, the question is not whether to abandon magical explanations, but where and when to appropriately apply them. Anzion's theories of Orkish biology and technology are inappropriate uses of magical explanation. They should not be explained by recourse to magic. Unlike Imperial Titans, which can be explained as being possible, many tokens and even types of Orkish technology are supposed to work purely through the psychic intervention of the Orks themselves. Working because of a putatively as-yet-undiscovered-principle is one thing, and working because psychic power (aka: magic) is quite another.

The workings of both Titan and, say, traktor kannon, are both open to non-magical explanation in terms of being examples of super-science. One can appeal to magic to explain their working, and so say that we can never explain how they work. But one can also appeal to some fictional theory of physics and explain how they work. Certainly the latter gives us some greater depth of background to explore, develop, and ground the fantasy of the 41st millennium.

Hopefully by now it is obvious that the phrase "magical explanation" is itself a contradiction in terms. Explanations by appeal to magic are not explanations at all, as they close rather than open avenues for the exploration of a ficton (a 'ficton' is a fancy word for the world or universe in which a fictional story takes place). If you can explain how 'magic' works in good theoretical fashion, then you're not giving a magical explanation but a non-magical one. You're just using 'magic' as another term for technology. If you can't explain how 'technology' works in good theoretical fashion, then you're using a magical explanation. Good theoretical explanations can be simpler than grade-school science and just as vague, so long as they do not explicitly or implicitly invoke the impossible (be directly self-contradictory). Remember also that in describing a fictional world, you fill the roles of creator and observer. The laws of nature in that world need not be the same of what laws may be supposed to describe the world to an observer.

The counter-argument, such as I could make it out and hopefully an advocate of it will set me aright if I mis-state it, is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that if they like the idea of Anzion's Orks then they are entitled to that opinion.

Now, although I may be attacking a straw-man, I'd like to make a few points. The first is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. In a free and open society, such that Warseer is, no one is forced to believe anything that they don't want to. People can, I certainly believe, hold that 2+2=5 given the normal values of such numerals. That is their perogative and one that should not change.

The second point I would like to make is that being entitled to one's own opinion, whether that opinions are good or bad, is superfluous to the matter of whether or not those opinions are valid and good to hold. The value of an opinion is, thankfully, independent of who expresses it. Were that the case then ad hominem arguments would not be the logical fallacies that they obviously are. People are, as it were, are capable of having bad taste.

Given that people may have good or bad taste, opinions about the nature of other people's tastes may themselves be bad opinions unless they accurately reflect objective standards of taste. Good or bad taste in food, for example, has nothing to do with whether a person likes the taste of a particular food. To say otherwise conflates two different senses of the term 'taste'. One sense means 'quality' and another sense refers to 'flavour'. Instead good or bad taste in food has to do with being able to distinguish food that is well-made from food that is not well-made. Whether a person likes the taste of a certain dish may have bad taste if they are indifferent to the quality of that dish. Interestingly it is objectively decidable which foods someone enjoys the tastes of.

The third point I would like to make concerns logic and the uses thereof. Logic, strictly speaking, is about the manipulation of information. All arguments in this sense are logical arguments. An argument from logic is the same as an argument from fact, as a logical argument must be sound as well as valid. Soundness, the logicians tell us, depends on whether the premises of an argument are true and the truth of those premises is maintained in any conclusions drawn from them. Arguing from false premises is illogical because such falsity contaminates the logic of an argument.

Perhaps more importantly, and in a narrower sense, logic is about form. Everything has a logic or form, though we may not recognize it or misdescribe it. Logic as the manipulation of information only describes this natural logic and accurately describes that nature where true propositions may be formed about it. Theories of logic, then, are implicit in whatsoever method is used to deal with a subject. For every subject there may be at least one theory of logic to sufficiently and accurately describe the natural logic of that subject. It has been said of logic that it reduces the world to nails for which it is the hammer. That is not true, as logic lets you interpret your subject as nails, and your tools in that subject as a hammer.

So yes, when I make an argument to the effect that we should abandon Anzion’s Orks in favour of some story that does not misuse magical explanation, I do make a logical argument attempting to qualify my position, why I take that position, and why I think that this proposal best reflects what should be done about the background of Orks in the 4th edition version of their army background.

[/rant]

*Only obviously impossible if you agree with the orthodoxy that the speed of light, c, is a constant... I don't.

DantesInferno
28-12-2005, 09:56
But where magical explanations can be avoided or at least kept to that minimum of instances where non-magical explanation isn't available (due to the obvious or narratively necessary impossibility of an event or type of event), then the fiction so described has a grittier and more 'realistic' feeling to it. Magic, as being something impossible and thus rather special, becomes something fantastic and unusual instead of becoming hum-drum and mundane. Many fantasy authors over-use magical explanations until their fantasy becomes as mundane and fantastic as non-fiction.

I wouldn't agree here with your assertion that a minimum of magical explanation necessarily leads to a 'grittier or more realistic feeling', or if it does, that this grittiness or realism is necessarily preferable. Looking for absolute realism in a universe created to consist of Daemons, the Warp, and so on is absurd, as you would recognise. I think what most people would have against your viewpoint, especially considering the earlier thread, is that if a responder is prepared to accept a fictional universe which already gives so much magical explanation for events, why should we seek to minimise the magical explanation for Ork technology in particular? Why not then try to argue for strictly non-magical versions of Chaos or Eldar technology? What makes a concept of a small amount of Ork psychic power occasionally aiding the application of Ork technology inexcusable in a fantasy world where a Daemon powering a Defiler or Daemon Weapon is a commonplace, or accepted notion?


The workings of both Titan and, say, traktor kannon, are both open to non-magical explanation in terms of being examples of super-science. One can appeal to magic to explain their working, and so say that we can never explain how they work. But one can also appeal to some fictional theory of physics and explain how they work. Certainly the latter gives us some greater depth of background to explore, develop, and ground the fantasy of the 41st millennium.

Again, I do not see how it follows that a strictly non-magical explanation gives greater depth of background to the 40k universe than a mixed magical/non-magical explanation. This is surely a matter of personal taste, and in matters of taste where neither party has committed a logical mistake in the construction of their opinion (as I would suggest here) there seems no reason to objectively prefer one view over all others. For instance, if my favourite colour is blue and yours is yellow, there is no basis to assert that one is more valid than the other (Read Hume and Kant to see the difficulties in theories trying to bring a test of objectivity into matters of artistic taste). Comparing the acceptance of the possibility of aspects of Anzion's theory to arithmetic (2+2=5) is a huge stretch.

Nurglitch
28-12-2005, 11:12
I think what most people would have against your viewpoint, especially considering the earlier thread, is that if a responder is prepared to accept a fictional universe which already gives so much magical explanation for events, why should we seek to minimise the magical explanation for Ork technology in particular? Eldar technology and pretty much all Chaos sorcery is magical. But it's magical in a way that Ork, Tau, and even Imperial technology is not. In a way it helps to remind us what it is about Chaos that's scary. The Imperium is scary because of its ignorant dogmatism, repression, and nasty violence. But Chaos is, as the 2nd edition Chaos codex reminded us of the Great Unclean ONe, "an offence to the world."

When I say magical explanation where necessary and non-magical explanation where possible, I mean exactly that Ork technology (for the most part) should have non-magical explanations for it because non-magical explanations are possible. The fact that the 41st millennium is a fictional universe with lots of magic already, It isn't an issue of suspending disbelief about the reality of the background, but rather creating a good contrast between the mundane and the fantastic.

Take the Tau, for example. I think it's just me, but I think that the Tau fit in just fine in the background. They're not ridiculously over the top as some of the other stuff is, and provides a nice dose of insidious evil to the perhaps over-large dose of obvious evil that most other factions portray. But given the over-the-top nature of these other factions, many players dislike the Tau because they strangely perceive them as being 'good guys'. In a universe where the brutal repression of humanity is necessary so that even nastier things don't happen, the Tau threaten humanity in the same fashion as Chaos cults and the like.

I mean, there's something about some right bastard trying to pull your head off for kicks/religious reasons/revenge, and then there's something about some reasonable person trying to pull your head off because it's for your own good. Evil done with good intentions scares the bejeebus out of me. I like to imagine that it scares me for a good reason.

So rather than minimizing magical explanations for the Ork background, it's probably more accurate to say that I'm proposing the reallocation of magical explanations for the Ork background. Certain I think that Ork weirdboyz and their powers should have an increased role in the game and the fluff, and that entails magical explanation. But that's because magical explanation is appropriate for Ork psyckers and psychic powers. Stuff like warp-drives, and interstellar communication, are likewise impossible and can only be explained (or glossed over if we're being less confusing about it) by magic.

Why not then try to argue for strictly non-magical versions of Chaos or Eldar technology? What makes a concept of a small amount of Ork psychic power occasionally aiding the application of Ork technology inexcusable in a fantasy world where a Daemon powering a Defiler or Daemon Weapon is a commonplace, or accepted notion? What makes psychic elbow grease for Ork weapons unacceptable, unlike Defilers and Daemon weapons, is that Ork weapons could more reasonable just work. Defilers and Daemon weapons are un-natural and should not work through any natural process. As I mentioned above, magical explanations are appropriate for these sorts of things and not the sorts of things that Ork weapons are.

DantesInferno
28-12-2005, 11:45
What makes psychic elbow grease for Ork weapons unacceptable, unlike Defilers and Daemon weapons, is that Ork weapons could more reasonable just work. Defilers and Daemon weapons are un-natural and should not work through any natural process. As I mentioned above, magical explanations are appropriate for these sorts of things and not the sorts of things that Ork weapons are.

Well, yes, a Daemon Weapon needs to be explained through magical means. They could also not exist at all, if we want to try to take the magic out of W40k. Saying that a magical excuse for these weapons working is acceptable because it is the only way it could work, then arguing that Ork weapons could be explained non-magically if we tinker with them a bit is not very convincing. If you are prepared to tinker with the 40k background, why not remove other unnecessary uses of magical explanation too? Daemon Weapons could just be powerful non-magical weapons, and so on.

The fact is that as the 40k background is written, Ork weapons are ramshackle pieces of equipment which appear by all logic to be such that they shouldn't work but do, and that the red ones actually do seem to go faster. Why should a magical explanation be inappropriate here, in a universe of Daemons, Warp drives and so on? I don't understand why you want to make non-magical explanations where possible, after already allowing so many non-essential magical explanations (Daemons, Warp drives etc). But if magical explanations like Daemons and so on are essential to the W40k universe, why can't Ork psychic power affecting technology be essential too?

And as you say, if it is about creating a balance between the mundane and the fantastic, I fail to see how it is so undeniably clear that the operation of Ork technology must fall on the mundane side. Surely it is a matter of personal taste as to how much a mix of the two (mundane and fantastic, or magical and non-magical) is to be preferred, and I fail to see how one could assert that there is a objectively determined optimal position on this scale which makes all other views less valid. Personally I don't mind the idea that a red Ork trukk could be faster through the sheer Orky will exerted, and I think this is a logically consistent viewpoint. In fact, I don't see how else you could explain the fact that the "Red Wunz Go Fasta" in a non-magical manner, while maintaining the essential character of 40k Orks. If you want to change that character then that is fine, but keep in mind that what you are then dealing with is no longer a 40k Ork. In the same way you could take out Daemons and the Warp from the 40k universe, but what you'd be left with would no longer be the 40k universe.

Nurglitch
28-12-2005, 12:34
DantesInferno: You're still missing the point, which is alright because I'm not explaining myself properly. Let me try again.

The effects of various Daemon Weapons cannot be explained at all by ordinary means. The effects of Ork Shootas can be sufficiently explained by ordinary means. The point is not to take the magic out of W40k, but to put it only where it is appropriate.

Daemon weapons cannot just be powerful non-magical weapons. They are weapons whose properties derive from the presence of an immaterial object that is somehow bound to their physical form. As Gilbert Ryle pointed out, the connection of a material object to an immaterial object makes no real sense except to very confused people. To stress the point it is impossible for such to be the case. Perhaps more exactly it is hopelessly self-contradictory that the physical behaviour some item could be coherently explained by the presence of a non-physical entity through some bizarre system of cause and effect.

If you want to call a non-magical sword a "Daemon Weapon" then sure, you don't need to resort to magical explanation for your Daemon Weapon. Similarly if you call an elephant a "Hippotamus" then sure, you don't need to explain why a hippopotamus has a trunk because then hippopotamuses are things that have trunks. But an elephant's trunk won't go away because you decide to call the elephant by the name of a trunkless animal.

So what is in a name? The term 'daemon' ordinarily refers to non-material things such as spirits and geniuses. You could, I think, preserve the meaning of the name, and its descriptive import, by renaming a 'Daemon Weapon' a 'Spirit Weapon' or something similar. The name of a Daemon Weapon is thus descriptive of the kind of weapon that it is, namely an impossible one. Magical explanations are necessary for the kind of thing that we ordinarily refer to as Daemon Weapons, as they are the only kind of explanation admittable for things of that illogical nature.

A shoota, on the other hand, is not defined by its impossible or illogical nature. It may appear as though it is impossible to observers in the same fictional universe, but that's simply an observation of an object rather than the object itself. There is, I had hoped to explain in my initial posts, a considerable difference between apparently impossible and actually impossible.

On theface of it, the fact that a Daemon Weapon works in the universe of the 41st millennium suggests that such a weapon is not impossible. After all how can something impossible actually work? In fiction there are two possibilities. The first is that the Daemon weapon actually works by magic. That is to say it works in spite of the laws of nature. It shouldn't actually work, but it does. The other possibility is that it only appears to be impossible and only appears to be magical because the perception of its behaviour cannot be explained. This is Clarke's law of magic rearing its ugly head again.

Why should a magical explanation be inappropriate here, in a universe of Daemons, Warp drives and so on? I don't understand why you want to make non-magical explanations where possible, after already allowing so many non-essential magical explanations (Daemons, Warp drives etc). A magical explanation is appropriate in a fictional universe where a non-magical explanation is impossible. Where a non-magical explanation is impossible, then a magical explanation is your only option. Magical explanations are essential for impossible things to work in a fictional universe.

Note that the use of non-essential magical explanations is in fact prohibited by my account. The magical explanations for impossible things like daemons, and psychic powers, and warp-drives are essential because non-magical explanations cannot be applied to them. It is the business of carefully restricting magical explanations to only those things that require it, and that cannot be explained otherwise. We can have daemons, etc, but not magical shootas, traktor kannons, zzap gunz, etc.

But if magical explanations like Daemons and so on are essential to the W40k universe, why can't Ork psychic power affecting technology be essential too? It is not essential that ork technology requires magic to explain its operation because we can imagine - that is to say offer an explanation - of how Ork technology actually works that isn't self-contradictory. Things like daemons and warp-drives and such are impossible because we cannot imagine these things actually working in a coherent way.

Now, I suppose you might then ask why it is that things are impossible when we can't imagine them coherently, but not impossible when agents in the fictional universe can't imagine them coherently. That's because we have what you might call "dual-access".

As players in a game of fiction, we have access to both the appearance and the reality of the universe described in the fiction. In ordinary life, we only have access to the appearance of reality, like the agents in the fictions we imagine.

Toxxys
05-01-2006, 21:06
As I have read your entire other thread... I decided to post my thoughts here. I must say, I love when fictional background to our games becomes a thought experiment on its own, great fun.

As I said there, I am a psuedo-philosopher... but I'm also pretty good at negotiating in arguments and conflics and can come up with agreeable sollutions in such situations. I for one agree with pretty much everything you've said Nurglich and rather dislike the idea that "Orky stuff works because for some reason their psychic resonance makes it work when it shouldn't."

That said, here are my assertions
______________________________________


Here are controversial issues in orkoid fluff that came up:

-Psychic Abilities
-Genetic Memory
-Mass Production

(note: these were controversial at different levels and to different degrees)


I think it is safe to say that Anzion was full of garbage (at least 75%, since flesh is weak as you know). First of all, the abilities for the tech priests to reverse engineer is rather minimal (either that or they’re scared of angering machine spirits if they were to tamper with STCs), so their ability to understand orkish mekanikz would be rather rudimentary to begin with. That stated, if he doesn’t understand it, he doesn’t want to sound stupid, so he would make up something more far-fetched in order to explain it. Not only would this work as propaganda to make orks look bad (their stuff doesn’t work), but it would also work as propaganda encouraging Imperial citizens to stay away from their filthy xenos technology (tech that might not work anyways).

Not only that, but ‘rituals’ such as clearing and cleaning a firearm have actually become religious rituals to appease the machine god so that he will make sure the gun doesn’t jam… which we all know is wrong, since the cleaning and clearing of a firearm is what actually helps prevent jamming. It could just be that orks have a different way of loading some of their guns. For example: an ork might chamber the first round of a magazine by smacking the magazine in even harder to jolt up the first round, in which case you would need to be as strong as an ork and know how to perform such an operation. That aside, orkish cocking levers and gubbinz might just work differently than Imperial stuff and Anzion couldn’t figure it out on some weapons.

In the case of more advanced orky tech, like kustom mega blastaz, is that they’re more advanced and thus might work differently. Not only that, but they’re kustom designed by the mek that uses it… and meks are crazy, so they might hook it up to their brain or make a button that a grot has to push because orky hands can’t, so he yells “fire” and the grot pushes the button (that Anzion can’t see). There are countless possibilities and scenarios (meks= crazy).


On to psychic abilities, genetic memory, and mass production:

As we well know, and it’s well established, orks are psychic. Since most (not wierdboyz and not as much a warboss) are not “consciously” psychic, I would call it a ‘psychic subconscious. I for one do not believe this to be anything that actually makes things miraculously work in their hands.

Anzion asserts that some orks are actually born (genetically) knowing how to build things. I think this to be total misconception of the truth. I believe that orks can be programmed with a predisposition to be talented at something (spark), but I don’t think they’re actually born with the knowledge in them (wait for further explanation).

I think orkoid psychic abilities and physical abilities are actually intertwined in a different fundamental way. Genetic memory is something tagged on to explain it and mass production is something I see as very possible with my perception.

Here’s a scenario:

An ork is born out of the ground and has ‘the spark,’ he is destined to become a mekboy (he will not die along the way). As he makes his way to a nearby ork kamp he begins seeing machinery- and loves it. He gets strange ideas and there is a new overwhelming feeling dominating his brain- he has tuned in to the psychic resonance of the other orks- and in particular- mekboyz (their psychic ‘wavelength’ so-to-speak would be closest to his). He begins investigating weapons (and pissing off da boyz) and starts looking closely at the pumps on ‘fungus brew’ kegs- this whole time he will be learning about these things not through his own pre-programmed genetic memory, but through the psychic subconscious of other mekboyz in the kamp. He will have a ‘knack’ for it already and will quickly gain an understanding of ork mekanikz in relatively little time.

At this time, our mekboy subject will take on the name “Sprokitz” and I will use him as a further example of explaining ork teknologeez.

After learning about ork machinez, Sprokitz finds some teef (punches his own face and steals them from passed out fungus-drunk boyz) and proceeds to buy some grotz from the local slaver boy. Sprokitz and his new companions (Tinker, Fixit, and Nailz) go into the surrounding areas to gather wood and other supplies as well as visiting trash heaps to buy scrap metal and other gear from the skrap prospekta boy. They then get to work on their very own mek hut. Since Sprokitz came from a new generation of orks, there will definitely be demand for his services, so he starts with building sluggaz and shootaz. Although he puts his own spin on the look of his weapons, the basic design remains normal, and any changes would quickly be learned by da boyz through psychic subconscious. It could also be inferred that within a tribe of orks (and maybe an entire planet), the caliber bullets for any shootaz and sluggaz will remain close enough that they can be chambered by another mek’s guns. This is also explained by the psychic subconscious.

As time progresses, Sprokitz will have taken in vast amounts of teef for his services (he’s actually quite a talented mek, best in the kamp) and has expanded his number of subordinate grotz and even has mekboyz working under him. Several battles have made Sprokitz quite big, given him a bigger name with his good vehicles, and his mekanikal aptitude is looked up to by other mekz. Indeed, Sprokitz is well on his way to becoming a big mek. With so much mekboy psychic resonance in one area, the amount of creativity and innovation goes up exponentially, and he and his workers begin to explore more advances forms of orkoid teknologee (they will be better able to pick up far away mek resonance).

As even more time progresses, Sprokitz has become a Big Mek, he is favored by his Warboss. As millions of orks begin to Waaagh! They join right in. When this many orks amass with the total psychic will to fight, this combines with the resonance of the mekboyz’ urge to build, and hundreds/thousands of mekz and their grotz will all make a pilgrimage to different building-ground ‘Mekkaz’ and begin building the biggest of orkish tek, the stompaz and gargantz.

____________________________________


I believe this is a good explanation of orkoid psychics as well as “pre-programmed” aptitude for certain aspects of their society. As far as mass production goes, I think everything out of one mek’s shop will be pretty much the same (other than kustom gubbinz) and I already mentioned bullet calibers.

As far as steampunk goes… could steam power a gargant? Steamboy tech could… but I think it’s safe to say that enough mekboyz could engineer a nuclear reactor (and orkoid resistance to radiation would take care of handling uranium/whatever) that could easily heat tons of steam to push HUGE pistons and power a gargant. Thus I think orkish tech is a bit of steam-power, internal combustion, and nuclear power rolled into one.

Also, while orks would learn exactly how to use/clear/cock/load/shoot any guns that meks make (through psychic subconscious resonance), tech priests wouldn’t.

Flame Boy
05-01-2006, 23:06
Interesting idea, Toxxys, but I'm not sure it explains everything. In the setting for Gorkamorka, on the planet Angelis, there was already a large Ork population around mektown and skid row. However, the technology base was comparably low to your typical Orkoid technology. Would you dismiss this as an exception to your rule, or would you be more likely to suggest the population is currently too small to raise higher technology like Ork Dreadnaughts and similar?

There was little sign of the higher-end technology in Gorkamorka with the exception of the construction of the hulk itself, and possibly the Cybork special character.

I recognise that the limitation of the setting may have been due to the scope of the game as a small skirmish-based game, but when the contemporary 40k army list Orks still had Shokk attack gunz and Tracktor Kannonz and Plasma weaponry in their inventory, it seems odd that the Angelis Orks were so comparably backward. I suppose in retrospect it might have been the first phase of the Orks being redesigned, but with that restriction, I am curious how the Gorkamorka background fits or deviates from your theory.

Toxxys
06-01-2006, 02:41
Seeing as how GW is always changing their fluff (Rouge trader orks went into the wilderness and actually gave birth-- many of the traitor legions didn't exist in rougue trader-- pretty much everything in RT) I would have to say that gorkamorka was a transitional piece between 2nd ed orks and 3rd ed orks. I haven't gotten my hands on the 2nd ed Ork codex (while I do have a copy of the Rouge Trader book) so I don't know the specifics of their reproduction and other fluff.

Plus Gorkamorka doesn't even exists as a specialist games range anymore, so I'm guessing that GW figured it didn't fit in all the way with the new orks.

Bessides that I haven't read or played gorkamorka so I'm not fully read up. I'm just theorizing based only on 3rd ed Codex Orks (which is the most current and thus most official).

Getz
06-01-2006, 19:50
On the difference between Chaos, Eldar and Ork tech...

Ultimately, the defining issue on how much "magic" should be included in a army comes down to theme. Chaos are quite explictly the Lost and the Damned who have dabbled in things which man are not mean to know and are now enthralled with it. As such, "magic" and Demons is what they are all about.

In such a thematic environment then of course their hth weapons have demons in them instead of monfilament edges, and of course they would choose to power/pilot a warmachine with a caged Demon instead of a trusty engine and crew. It's thematically appropriate. It's what Chaos does...

Same goes for Eldar, they're thematic hook is that they are the most psychic of all races, so naturally their technology reflects that fact.

However much it's part of the fluff, Ork psychic power is not the overiding theme of the army - it's not even close - and instead of having deliberately inexplicable technologies, most orky tech is simple to concieve and describe. In fact of all the "Titan" designs the various races use, the Ork Gargant is the only one that is possible (and eminently possible at that) with modern technology. As such, a psychic explanation for Ork technology is redundant. Why resort to "Psychic Elbow Grease" to explain Gargants when you could just say "they move like Walking Dragline Diggers, only they've been covered in armour and guns." Similarly, why explain Ork Heavy Shoota's with Anzion's theory when you could just describe it as being "A bit like a Maxim gun, but man portable because Orks can take the recoil..."

Anyway, good old Occams Razor states that when a Theory contains a redundant term, you should discard that term. Psychic Resonance is redundant, and futhermore doesn't fit the Army background either thematically or aesthetically. It is even contradicted in numerous pieces of Fluff (IG Ork Hunters being able to use Ork weapons for example...).

Finally, two equally genuine and IMHO even more compelling reasons to discard Anxions therory.

Firstly, the Vast majority ofOrk Players that I know or have spoken to (about three quarters at a guess) hate it.

Second, in my experience the only reason Anzion's theory ever gets wheeled out in conversation is when someone wants to run down Orks by saying that "their stuff only works because of fairy dust."

A piece Ork fluff (in fact, pretty much the only piece of ork fluff in the current codex) that portrays Orks in such a negative light that it is regularly being used to disparage them in the meanest of terms really shouldn't exist.

Lockjaw
07-01-2006, 20:14
ork tech working because ork's think it does is just stupid anyway

Gorbad Ironclaw
07-01-2006, 21:24
Nurglitch, sometimes reading your threads can make ones head hurt! :p

I agree with you though, there is no good reason at all to suddenly invent some 'magical' explanation as to why ork tech works. Especially as that explanation is worse than the old one(although that was semi-magical in nature too, but at least fitted together and was relatively plausible given the setting).

I prefer to think of the offending piece of fluff as being more about the backward ways of the Imperium anyway. As I remember it, it's someone from Adeptus Mechanicus theorising about Orks, isn't it?(but any human would be raised in the same tech tradition, so it shouldn't matter to much) He is indoctrinated into a specific technological tradition, and since orks approach tech in a radical different way(if it doesn't work, whack it, don't spend 2 hours praying to it!), I suppose it might make sense that he can't imagine it would work in anyway except as sort of psychic symbiosis with the ork operator. In a way it's transplanting the idea of a machine spirit to ork tech.

Krusk
07-01-2006, 23:15
Ork tech and weapons being like cheap third world stuff makes sense anyway.
I mean a shoota is obviously a crude, big machine gun, one that will jam, or occasionally explode for no reason or such.

Nurglitch
09-01-2006, 07:42
He getz it.

Toxxys: The problem with your suggestion about squaring Ork technology, engineering aptitude, and psychic aptitude is that it relies on the same kind of explanation that I'm accusing Anzion of using. Instead of Orks being telekinetic, by your suggestion we make orks telepathic.

Traditionally, going back to 2nd edition in terms of tradition here, Ork weirdboyz channeled the gestalt telepathically realized power of the local Ork community in displays of telekinesis. So there's certainly tradition to recommend it. After all, such a use of magical explanation plays on the Ork theme of brute force, quantity, and crudeness. Lacking the ability for refined reflective thought, Ork psychic powers would be expressed by the community.

Weirdboyz would be the equivalent of Ork philosophers, whose attempts at something resembling intellectual inquiry lets them ground latent psychic turbulence after the fashion of more refined rituals and knowledge. Without that fine control, that capacity for imagination, Ork psyckers have only tenuous control over their powers. Whereas a more sophisticated creature might succumb to the common sort of subtle daemonic possession, Ork psyckers would be prone to violently explode from channeling warp energy.

But this is how human , eldar, and all other psyckers work although no Ork psycker would meet the Scholastica Psykana's requirements for sanction. Ordinary humans can be affected by psychic powers, including broadcast telepathy, and so on. Unless we suppose that in the W40k ficton humanity experiences a similar kind of psychic broadcasting, we have no reason to apply it to Orks or any other psychic creatures. There's the Hive Mind, but I don't think we want Orkinids.

Also,

Theologically speaking, we might then say that Tzeentch was awakened by the Slann's initial investigations of the Warp. Tzeentch is known to the Orks as Mork, the sneaky git. It is the patron of the kultures known as the Blood Axes, the Evil Sunz, and the Bad Moonz, societies with a tradition of promoting the use of cunning.

Khorne, however, required the hatred of the ancient Krork to awaken him into time and the material universe. He is known to the Orks as Gork, the grim git. Khorne is the patron of the Goff kulture.

The Snake Bitez, oddly, are a relatively new kulture in Orkish history. The emergence of Gork amid what the Eldar remember as the War in Heaven signaled an unparalleled daemonic incursion into real space. Worlds that survived extermination by the C'tan would be corrupted and defiled by these daemonic incursions. Lacking the psychic mastery of the Eldar, the Orks were devastated.

When the C'tan and their Necron servants retired from the Sea of Heaven, they essentially ceded the galaxy to the Eldar. The Eldar quickly moved to assure their dominance, expanding rapidly. At the apex of its power, when even the stars themselves died at their command, the ancient Eldar Sea of Heaven.

Those were dark times for the Orks. To the ancient Eldar, they were a pest that could be either put to use for sport and labour, or exterminated. The Orks came to know despair in those times. And like a vast behemoth rising from the deep, Nurgle stirred from his sleep to wakefulness with the weariness that only Sisyphus might share.

Like the Eldar in their turn, some Orks turned away from the decadence of their society and rejected the pointless squalor and misery that had made Nurgle manifest. It was the Snakebite kulture that took Nurgle as its patron and abandoned the hope of progress and the promise of technology. The Orks give no name to Nurgle, as they hold that which makes life itself meaningless has no meaning. It cannot be spoken of, and so the Orks do not.

The Deathskullz simply take the entire patheon of Gods as their patrons, reasoning that they might as well. This practical streak in the Deathskull kulture reflects their extremely spiritual nature. The Deathskullz hold that success in this life shows the will of the Gods.

One inference that may be generated by such a view of Orks, and indeed of the history of the W40k universe, is that there is a new and terrible Dark Power awakening on Terra, a carrion-god to rival the Eldest Four.

Nurglitch
02-02-2006, 04:35
It just struck me, in a more recent thread, that the Emperor has an odd relationship with Humanity. It struck me that the Emperor is to Humanity as Slaanesh is to the Eldar: A terrible lurking danger in the heart of Humanity.

Slaanesh was raised to wakefulness, birthed into consciousness as it were, having been subjected to the darkest impulses. Its birth coincided with the opening of the Occular Terriblis, the Eye of Terror.

Let's suppose that the Emperor's Ascension would have been perfect, had he not been fatally wounded by Horus and placed in the Golden Throne. The Chaos Gods had conspired against He that would raise Himself above them, and won a victory of sorts. Where there should have bloomed a Golden Age, there came the Age of the Imperium, where the Emperor's Great Plan went unfinished.

Caught in between life and death, tied to the last vestiges of corporeal existence stowed in the Golden Throne, the Emperor's Spirit has not fully ascended to the status of Power. What light he gives can only be detected by sensitive psychics and navigators, the Astronomicon. The Emperor is being slowly poisoned through his deadly diet of suffering and despair.

Fed only by the Black Ships, rather than the whole of Humanity, the Emperor's Cup is a sour one to drink. He is becoming a Carrion God, that when Ascended will eclipse the Eldar Four. As His Light wanes, his hunger grows and demands to be fed. The Imperium must tighten its already tight grip on Humanity.

Perhaps the Emperor could have been released in the past, but only recently has Humanity had access to the Black Library. The Inquisition knows the terrible truth, that the Emperor will eventually become a Chaos God. Either the Emperor is released and Hell is visited upon Humanity, or the Emperor will break free and open a warp storm to dwarf the Eye of Terror and devour the Segmentum Solar.

Humanity must buy its time in drops of blood, as the Blackships continue to ply the stars. By easing its transition to consciousness, the Inquisition lessens the Carrion God's desire for a violent birth. This buys time for survival and for research. Research into the arcane technologies of stasis and phase-shifters that keeps the Emperor alive in his corpse. Perhaps this waiting game can be played forever, or perhaps just until Humanity has grown psychically strong enough to resist Chaos.

The traitor Ahriman, of the Thousand Sons, also desires to become Dark Power in his own right. Ahriman seeks the psychic spoor of Inquisitor Czevak, who will lead him to the Black Library, and undreamt of power. The Pawn seeks to become a Player, and who knows what will happen when the Darkness sees the Light.

Sikkukkut
02-02-2006, 06:02
It just struck me, in a more recent thread, that the Emperor has an odd relationship with Humanity... --snippage--

This is a good theory, Nurglitch. I like this a lot, much better than the Star Child stuff. The idea that it's all humanity can do to stave off their saviour's slide into the Carrion God is, to me, much more of a 40Kish idea than the idea that at some point the bright and happy Star Child will pop up and zap all the bad guys and everything will be sunbeams and Devonshire tea from then on.

Drifting a little away from orkery, though - maybe kick off a new thread with it?.

Nurglitch
04-02-2006, 00:58
Sikkukkut: Thanks for the nod. It does tie into the Orks, in a way, as by this reimagining the Orks have an intimate spiritual connection with the Dark Powers. The brooding presence of the Carrion God may be felt by the Orks even though it has not yet awakened.

Besides, it gives people one less thread of mine to ignore. ;)

HeraldoftheGods
04-02-2006, 01:11
It just struck me, in a more recent thread,
...and que my next inquisitor campaign.
While I find a lot of your posts hard going (read - impossible!), I love this idea. That some memebers of the Inquisiton might think that the Emperor may become a chaos god if he ascends. It makes a perfect counterbalance to that god-awful star child story that everyone near me seems to love so much.
I can see it now, two factions of the Inquisiton, one willing the Emperor to ascend into the saviour of humantiy, the other attempting to destroy the corpse god before he becomes an unspeakable horror of the warp.

Love it - thanks.

DaGork
04-02-2006, 04:26
The way I understand the relationship between Ork weaponry and Ork psychic ability is that weapon that an Ork uses isn't dependant on the Ork's psychic ability. To me, the Ork psychic ability only smooths out some kinks in the weapon's long-term effectiveness.

For example, this is how a shoota fires bullets that aren't normaly mass-produced but are instead crafted by hand. Orks and Grots aren't reknowned for their precision and the ammunition that they craft will most likely vary by a considerable enough length or width. The psychic ability of the Orks would slightly expand/contract either the bullet, firing mechanism, or barrel of the weapon. If this weapon were to be used by someone without the Ork's ability, it would work to a degree but would be much more likely to jam or something.

But there is one major reason why you can't change the fluff about the Orky psychic "aura" is that it is now tied into Orky reproduction.

Accourding to the book Xenology, the psychic aura that the Orks produce (the same one that is linked to their machinery to a degree) determines what kind of Orkoid is produced and where it is allowed to be spawned.

Due to their genetic makeup, Orks will tend to evenly distribute over a planet. Orkoid spores that land near areas of high Ork concentration are most likely not going to grow. This is because of the overlapping psychic auras basicly will send the message to the spores "Do not grow here, there are already enough orkoids in the area"

Ork spores that are carried by winds to other parts of the planet are far more likely to grow because their is no psychic message telling them not to.

Also, each individual specis of Orkoid produces a distinct aura. This is what determines what type of Orkoid develops in the ground.

Well its all a bit complicate for me to explain without the book in front of me, so to get a better understanding of it get Xenology.

Nurglitch
04-02-2006, 05:19
DaGork: It's interesting that you should mention that. Now, I haven't read the book, but from what I've heard its another perspective piece written by some magus biologis. Given that, it gets a little tricky sorting fact from fiction when you read the article about Anzion. The trick is to look at his comments on what is observed, and compare them to his comments on what he infers from that evidence. Anzion's speculations are not supported by the cited evidence.

That suggests that the article was either written purely as a flavour piece, and the author didn't bother to go the extra mile for that hard sci-fi chrome, or that the article was deliberately written to remind the reader that the practice of science has faded to meaningless ritual in the 41st millennium. I suspect a bit of both as the ficton is supposed to be a distopia (The Grim Future and all that), and the tone of the background articles is hyperbole rather than richness of text.

I would certainly like to read it for myself though, in order to see what style it is written in. Until then though I'll provisionally regard it as more mechanicus claptrap and ignore it. I certainly don't see a problem explaining how Ork spores work in terms of a purely fungoid form of life. There's a great novel called "Omnivore" by Piers Anthony (yes, that Piers Anthony) where he does an amazing job of sketching out an ecosystem where the fungus kingdom is dominant and often highly motile.

Certainly the idea that Orks are the motile phase of some alien fungus appeals to me. There's the connotation that good mushrooms grow in ****, which recalls the birth of the uruk-hai from The Fellowship of the Ring. There's the explanation for their hardiness, as fungal tissues tend to be incredibly redundant. There's also all the amazing ways in which fungus spores in real life. Ever seen a slime mold?

Maybe I'm in the wrong place for hard-scifi, but I just find the natural world far more interesting than the magical explanations of Anzion and his fellow tech-priests. I mean, film noire plays best in black and white because you can see the grit more easily. If W40k is about the mood, then I want the authentic mood.

Getz
04-02-2006, 13:29
For example, this is how a shoota fires bullets that aren't normaly mass-produced but are instead crafted by hand. Orks and Grots aren't reknowned for their precision and the ammunition that they craft will most likely vary by a considerable enough length or width. The psychic ability of the Orks would slightly expand/contract either the bullet, firing mechanism, or barrel of the weapon. If this weapon were to be used by someone without the Ork's ability, it would work to a degree but would be much more likely to jam or something.


I'd like to quickly address the "Bullet Issue." It is generally asumed that bullets need to be mass produced to high tolerances for guns to work, and therefore orks must be using "psychic elbow grease" in order to make their guns shoot their non-mass produced ammo. However, this simply isn't the case. When guns first appeared in the Rennaissance, right up to the end of Musket usage in the mid to late 1800's, soldiers would frequently manufacture their own bullets using simple moulds and Lead. Obviously standardisation was not great but because lead is relatively soft and the muskets not intended to require carefully manufactured ammo, the muskets would fire home made musket balls just fine.

In a more mdern context, the US M3 "Grease Gun" was crude in the extreme, but would happily fire ammunition encrusted with dirt and grime because it's manufacturing tolerances were so low. Incidentally, this gun fired the same .45 bullet as the Thompson gun so it had no shortage of hitting power, even if it wasn't terribly accurate.

On the whole, we (that is, people in the real world) design guns with very high tolerances whch require specific ammunition, because the improvement in performance justifies the extra logistical support. However, they way we design guns now is not the only way in which guns can be designed. An Ork Mek in M41 may prefer to build weapons with low tolerances, capable of accepting crudely manufactured ammo, because it is more suitable for Orky logistics.

DaGork
04-02-2006, 17:34
To Nurglich- I would normally agree that it could have been some Mechanicus BS exept for one thing.

Anzion was observing Orks as they would be naturaly with little interference, but Darvus of Xenology had a live Ork whom he experimented on. Darvus was a heretic to Inquisition and wasn't as blindly ignorant as most of the Ad Mech. Sure, Darvus goes pretty much insane, but he had been observing and experimenting on that Ork for years and was in the right state of mind when he got the Ork specimen.

To Getz- Hmm, I did not know that. Very interesting and I would love to see that to be the way Orky guns worked.

Qustion, do you know how long your average US M3 "lifespan" was? Or how great its rate of fire is.

SAMAS
04-02-2006, 19:17
DaGork: It's interesting that you should mention that. Now, I haven't read the book, but from what I've heard its another perspective piece written by some magus biologis. Given that, it gets a little tricky sorting fact from fiction when you read the article about Anzion. The trick is to look at his comments on what is observed, and compare them to his comments on what he infers from that evidence. Anzion's speculations are not supported by the cited evidence.

That suggests that the article was either written purely as a flavour piece, and the author didn't bother to go the extra mile for that hard sci-fi chrome, or that the article was deliberately written to remind the reader that the practice of science has faded to meaningless ritual in the 41st millennium. I suspect a bit of both as the ficton is supposed to be a distopia (The Grim Future and all that), and the tone of the background articles is hyperbole rather than richness of text.

I would certainly like to read it for myself though, in order to see what style it is written in. Until then though I'll provisionally regard it as more mechanicus claptrap and ignore it. I certainly don't see a problem explaining how Ork spores work in terms of a purely fungoid form of life. There's a great novel called "Omnivore" by Piers Anthony (yes, that Piers Anthony) where he does an amazing job of sketching out an ecosystem where the fungus kingdom is dominant and often highly motile.

Certainly the idea that Orks are the motile phase of some alien fungus appeals to me. There's the connotation that good mushrooms grow in ****, which recalls the birth of the uruk-hai from The Fellowship of the Ring. There's the explanation for their hardiness, as fungal tissues tend to be incredibly redundant. There's also all the amazing ways in which fungus spores in real life. Ever seen a slime mold?

Maybe I'm in the wrong place for hard-scifi, but I just find the natural world far more interesting than the magical explanations of Anzion and his fellow tech-priests. I mean, film noire plays best in black and white because you can see the grit more easily. If W40k is about the mood, then I want the authentic mood.

The thing is, Orks are generally on the outside that mood.

Things are only Dark 'n Gritty for the Imperium. The Orks are lovin' it like a bad McDonalds commerical. Wether you play up the Savage side of the Orks, or the Mad Scientists with a dash of Techno-Wizardry for flavor side, the Orks are really the only people in the 40K universe, as a whole, who are having any fun.

Nurglitch
04-02-2006, 21:42
The thing is, Orks are generally on the outside that mood. Yes, which is why I'm proposing an alternate vision of Orks that blends better with the authentic W40k mood.

W40k is gritty gothic science fantasy, and dickensian steam-punk fits with that mood. If we were to use imagery to convey that mood in film, I think we would do better to show something very realistic to properly portray the W40k themes of ignorance, brute force, and faith.

Things are only Dark 'n Gritty for the Imperium. The Orks are lovin' it like a bad McDonalds commerical. Wether you play up the Savage side of the Orks, or the Mad Scientists with a dash of Techno-Wizardry for flavor side, the Orks are really the only people in the 40K universe, as a whole, who are having any fun. And that's what I find horrifying about Orks. They have this vibrant and upbeat outlook about things while terrorizing the galaxy; they are maniacal adrenaline junkies.

Ork meks love making killing machines. Ork docs love torturing people and engaging in un-necessary medical experimentation on unwilling subjects. Ork slavers have perfected the art of pummeling people into submission and subservience. That's because they make extensive use of slave labour.

They're a race that is so callous that the regular troopers can't be left alone with prisoners because they might accidentally kill them while beating them for the hell of it. The fact that they enjoy it suggests a fair bit of sadism and hatred in the Orkish character. In the Rogue Trader book, the text on Orks mentioned that they tend to have a scowl on their faces from being constantly angry.

Orks are certainly enthusiastic, but then who isn't when you get to smash something that you hate?

I mean seriously, if there was a W40k movie, would you like it if the Orks were airbrushed?

Warden
05-02-2006, 01:04
It just struck me, in a more recent thread, that the Emperor has an odd relationship with Humanity. It struck me that the Emperor is to Humanity as Slaanesh is to the Eldar: A terrible lurking danger in the heart of Humanity.

No the Lurking Terror is humanity itslef IMHO

SAMAS
05-02-2006, 19:28
Yes, which is why I'm proposing an alternate vision of Orks that blends better with the authentic W40k mood.

W40k is gritty gothic science fantasy, and dickensian steam-punk fits with that mood. If we were to use imagery to convey that mood in film, I think we would do better to show something very realistic to properly portray the W40k themes of ignorance, brute force, and faith.

Imperium != Warhammer 40,000 as a whole.

Only the Imperium(and even then, not as a whole) is Gothic and Gritty. Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tau, Orks, and Tyranids don't fit that stereotype. Chaos, only some of the time.

Nurglitch
05-02-2006, 19:57
SAMAS: Oh, certainly the Imperium is not Space Marine 40k. But the whole theme is gritty gothic science fantasy, and each army plays some variation on that theme.

Which raises the question: Are you just going to assert that the Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tau, Anzion-style Orks, and Tyranids do not follow the theme, or will you also give us good reasons for agreeing with your counter-proposal?

SAMAS
05-02-2006, 21:45
Imperium: Generally Gothic architecture stereotypically. High vaulted celings and spires, Flying butresses... well, just look at their ships.

There are variants and different themes. The base structures of the Imperial Guard, however, tend to be more pragmatic in their field use, and the realms of Ultramar are probably more Greco-Roman in places.

Eldar: More rounded, almost romanesque, but with a few high spires, but always rounded than the pointed spires of Imperial archetextrure. Elongated domes and ovals seem to be the dominant theme, punctuated by smooth gemstones. Semi-organic/Ceramic in appearance, as opposed to the Imperium's iron and stone.

Orks: A cross between Steampunk, Dieselpunk, and Post-apocalyptic(thank Gorkamorka for that, I would think). Tends to look scavenged, hapazard, or both, but is deceptively effective(As in: works better than it has any right to).

Tau: Domes figure heavily, but rounder and less organic than the Eldar. Very clean(Think Xenosaga), high-tech look. At least, before the fighting starts...

Tyranids: Rediculoulsly organic, looks like the final stage in Contra. Curved claws and segmented plates for all.

Necrons: Ultra-tech with an egyptian styling.

HeraldoftheGods
06-02-2006, 01:43
I agree with SAMAS, while I love the overall 40K theme of grim, gritty and gothic, it's only the Imperium and the perspective of it's denizens that truely show this (and chaos too of course). Once you look at things from the point of view of the aliens it becomes less so, but emphasises other points.

Tau for example. They're expanding their empire, getting involved with diplomacy, being all cute and fluffy blue, but at the same time there's something very sinister in nature about the whole thing that still keeps it 40K.

Orks can never truely be described as grim, hopless, desperate individuals struggling for survival. They're the most populous race in 40K, and if it weren't for them half the fighting wouldn't be taking place to start with. They're having the time of their (rather short) lives. But still, their naturaly aggresive, quite brutal tendancies keeps them within the general 40K theme - even if they don't have the capacity to do gothic.

Nurglitch
06-02-2006, 04:10
SAMAS: You're taking the label I gave to W40k's themes rather literally. I wouldn't even call Imperial architectural design properly "gothic"; but I would consider the mood that the pseudo-gothic architecture depicted in canonical works as gothic in the more modern (more ancient?) sense of barbarity and crudity.

I see this same theme of barbarity and crudity replayed through-out the background. The Eldar, supposedly so civilized and sophisticated, are a beast in velvet. The Craftworlds, the Exodites, and especially the Dark Kin have all regressed to various sorts of barbarity. The Craftworlds have turned to necromancy and the glorification of war in order to preserve their race. For all that they look down on the other races as savage, it is the Eldar who are willing to slaughter entire worlds face to face to further some goal.

Whilst the Dark Eldar committ atrocities that Orks wouldn't, albeit due to a lack of imagination, the Craftworlders practice an extreme version of real-politic of searching for and destroying not only present threats, but future threats to their continuation. The Exodites themselves have retreated to the savagery of pre-Empire Eldar.

Even a beautiful knife, when turned to butchery and murder, is a crude instrument. And that is simply the Eldar.

The Tau, being a young race rapidly expanding on the Eastern fringe, are barbarians on the level with Mongols of Terra. Their optimism, collectivism, and savagery (co-opting or destroying their enemies just like the Mongols) are all classic properties of the barbarian archetype.

Similarly their architecture is barbaric by comparison to the pseudo-goth architecture of the Imperium. Originally gothic-styled architecture was considered "gothic" or "barbaric and crude" because it was unlike existing Roman and Greek styles of architecture. It catered to the tastes of the German tribes, those peoples known as "Goths". Just as the ornate tastes of the Goths were called "gothic" by comparison to the more elegant designs of the Roman Empire, the elegance of the Tau is "gothic" to the baroque architecture of the Imperium.

I don't think I need to go into the Tyranids to much, and their influences like H.R. Giger's Alien. The Tyranids are certainly savage, and their use of biotechnology is crude harnessed as it is to the purpose of feeding rather than to less visceral pursuits such as culture and science. The crudity of the gut, the viscera, and its savage impulses is a strong theme in the Tyranids from the beginning. In Rogue Trader it was claimed that long-term exposure to Tyranids tended to cause insanity in other species - David Cronenburg's film "eXistenZ" uses such tropes for similar thematic effect.

The Necron's and their horrific Harvest are again barbaric and crude, using power where subtlety could be used. Their weaponry and equipment is vastly over-powered for the tasks that it is put to, and that is feeding the C'tan and culling the younger races. The C'tan themselves were explicitly developed from the vampire archetype, which is one that is emblematic of the gothic style - the savage lust of the vampire, an expression of crude sexual hunger and decadence. The Egyptian theme really hammers the gothic nature of the Necron's home, as the dusty remains of a lost civilization come back to haunt the living. GW even uses a pseudo-egyptian civilization as the originator of the vampire in the Warhammer background.

As for the Orks, they are the Beast itself...

SAMAS
07-02-2006, 05:31
SAMAS: You're taking the label I gave to W40k's themes rather literally.

Hey, I gotta start somewhere, right? Besides, Art and Architecture tends to have a way of expressing the feelings and values of the society it comes from.


I wouldn't even call Imperial architectural design properly "gothic"; but I would consider the mood that the pseudo-gothic architecture depicted in canonical works as gothic in the more modern (more ancient?) sense of barbarity and crudity.

I see this same theme of barbarity and crudity replayed through-out the background. The Eldar, supposedly so civilized and sophisticated, are a beast in velvet. The Craftworlds, the Exodites, and especially the Dark Kin have all regressed to various sorts of barbarity. The Craftworlds have turned to necromancy and the glorification of war in order to preserve their race.

The Eldar throw themselves into everything they do, not just war. Eldar bring the same intensity to Art as they do to War. Passion is pretty much the basis of their society.


For all that they look down on the other races as savage, it is the Eldar who are willing to slaughter entire worlds face to face to further some goal.

As does the Imperium and Chaos.


Whilst the Dark Eldar committ atrocities that Orks wouldn't, albeit due to a lack of imagination, the Craftworlders practice an extreme version of real-politic of searching for and destroying not only present threats, but future threats to their continuation. The Exodites themselves have retreated to the savagery of pre-Empire Eldar.

Even a beautiful knife, when turned to butchery and murder, is a crude instrument. And that is simply the Eldar.

A great many people, Real and imagined, would disagree with that statement. Both your assessment, and the assigning of that assessment to the Eldar.

Grace and Savagery are not found in what you do, but how you do it. It's the difference between a sworsman's duel and a shootout.

The Exodites can only be called "Savage" in the old Colonial "Anyone with lesser technology than us must be Savage" way. They left the Eldar society because they felt it was degenerating.

The Dark Eldar are a little(read: lot) more complex. They manage to pull off both grace and savagery with equal measure, and unlike others who do the same, they're entirely capable of doing both to each other, not just to those they feel inferior.


The Tau, being a young race rapidly expanding on the Eastern fringe, are barbarians on the level with Mongols of Terra.

I think you're confusing them with the White Scars, just a little.


Their optimism, collectivism, and savagery (co-opting or destroying their enemies just like the Mongols) are all classic properties of the barbarian archetype.

First time I heard of optimism as a hallmark of Barbarism.

Seriously, the Tau don't fit any description of the word(Websters, Wiktionary, take your pick).


Similarly their architecture is barbaric by comparison to the pseudo-goth architecture of the Imperium. Originally gothic-styled architecture was considered "gothic" or "barbaric and crude" because it was unlike existing Roman and Greek styles of architecture. It catered to the tastes of the German tribes, those peoples known as "Goths". Just as the ornate tastes of the Goths were called "gothic" by comparison to the more elegant designs of the Roman Empire, the elegance of the Tau is "gothic" to the baroque architecture of the Imperium.

You know, anything can be made to fit the definition of any term, if you change the definition so it fits. Or in this case, mixing and matching various definitions as if they were interchangable. But that doesn't make it objectively so. Similarity doesn't mean corralation, as you can draw similarities from the Tau(and most other 40K armies) to many other sources. I can put a much stronger link between the Tau and Colonial Britain than to the Mongols.


I don't think I need to go into the Tyranids to much, and their influences like H.R. Giger's Alien. The Tyranids are certainly savage, and their use of biotechnology is crude harnessed as it is to the purpose of feeding rather than to less visceral pursuits such as culture and science. The crudity of the gut, the viscera, and its savage impulses is a strong theme in the Tyranids from the beginning. In Rogue Trader it was claimed that long-term exposure to Tyranids tended to cause insanity in other species - David Cronenburg's film "eXistenZ" uses such tropes for similar thematic effect.

[quote]The Necron's and their horrific Harvest are again barbaric and crude, using power where subtlety could be used.

The Necrons use both, to varying amounts, depending on the C'tan they're attached to. The Nightbringer is far more straightforward that the Deciever.

As for their Harvest being barbaric: Do you consider yourself barbaric when you eat a hamburger? The C'tan see humans in much the same way.


Their weaponry and equipment is vastly over-powered for the tasks that it is put to,

For the simple reason that the targets they were created for were far more powerful than the targets they are used on now.


and that is feeding the C'tan and culling the younger races. The C'tan themselves were explicitly developed from the vampire archetype, which is one that is emblematic of the gothic style - the savage lust of the vampire, an expression of crude sexual hunger and decadence. The Egyptian theme really hammers the gothic nature of the Necron's home, as the dusty remains of a lost civilization come back to haunt the living. GW even uses a pseudo-egyptian civilization as the originator of the vampire in the Warhammer background.

Except that:

A). They weren't the first to do so. Anne Rice did it in The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned, which leads to:

B). The explicit linking of Vampires with the word Gothic is a more recent invention, not related to the defintitions of the word used to draw the Imperium's imagery from(12th-century Architecture rather than 18th-century Horror literature).

Anyways, moving on. From appearance to attitude.

As you yourself admitted, the Tau, Eldar, and others have different attitudes than the Imperium, many of which are counterpoints(and/or causes) to the grimness of the Imperium.

As said before, the Orks are the ones having fun. A cross between ravening barbarians and a frat-house kegger(Barbarians on Spring Break?) powered by mad scientists and a gestalt psychic field(Your problem is that you see it as either-or, when neither sufficiently explain it alone). Yes, Anzion's theory is incomplete. Most scientific theories are, when they're first formulated.

The Tau, unlike most other races in the game, actually express hopefullness. The Eldar have lost Hope(Except maybe Biel-Tan), and the Imperium for the most part has rejected it. Maybe or maybe not in actuallity, but at least in terms of attitude, the Tau are on their way up, while the Imperium is on their way down.

The Tyranids have no attitude. Despite their intelligence, the Tyranids are still animals, and as such are still driven by the basic animal needs of Food and Reproduction.

The Necrons are more in line with anticipation than hope, and are definitely not hopeless. They're like a man just waking up on Thanksgiving morning. Still groggy, but looking forward to the feast to come.

Nurglitch
08-02-2006, 03:41
SAMAS: Yes, you do have to start somewhere. The right place to start is with conceptual analysis so that you don't end up talking about one thing when you're discussing another. I had thought that the sense of the term 'gothic' was obvious, but apparently not.

I'm talking about #5 and #6 of gothic (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=gothic). If the whole of W40k can be considered gothic in both style and subject, #5 and #6 respectively, then the constituent antagonists of the background each display a gothic subject done in the gothic theme as I have described.

Now, if you were to suppose that "anything can be made to fit the definition of any term, if you change the definition so it fits." you would be wrong. You would be wrong because the labels affixed to subjects are not the subjects themselves. In a definition you have several senses according to which a term may be used. The term "is", for example, may be used to make an identity claim, and existence claim, or predicative claim among other things.
Or in this case, mixing and matching various definitions as if they were interchangable" No, what I'm doing is sketching out the subject that these terms and their definitions are used to describe. In particular, I'm being careful to observe how these terms interact to describe the subject of the gothic literary theme. After all, the background of W40k is described foremost through the printed word.

The visual medium is also gothic in the #5 and #6 sense, though what it depicts may be gothic in the #4 sense or not. More properly we'd call the architecture "pseudo-gothic" as it uses baroque tropes more than gothic tropes, and isn't actually an instance of nothern european art from the 12th to 15th century but simply a stylistic imitation.

Note well that the actual pseudo-historical culture of W40k's antagonists may not be gothic. Goth-ness, in its historical sense, is a relational identity. It doesn't matter if the Tau are not innately gothic. They are made so by their existence in a gothic ficton. They are gothic in relation to the Imperium. Each of the antagonists in W40k behaves in some gothic fashion towards all other antagonists, playing variations on the gothic theme.

That is why an instrument is only crude when it is put to crude use, because crudity (sp?) is a relational predicate. Crudeness is a contingent property of knives, and not a necessary property else all knives would necessarily be crude. A crudely-made knife is crude only in its manufacture, rather than in any essential property of being. If we cannot identify a knife as being crude, then it must be its use or operation that is crude. Killing is a crude method of dealing with someone, and possibly the crudest.

You are quite correct though, when you mention that the link between vampires and ancient Egypt began earlier than GW. Indeed, I think that we can safetly assume GW has no original ideas, either about characters or the themes that those characters are designed to carry. GW does take existing tropes and combine them for thematic effect rather than for pseudo-historical depth of ficton. That is, I believe, know as "the rule of cool".

Also I don't feel the slightest twinge of barbarism about slaughtering animals for food. But it doesn't matter as to whether I feel barbaric eating hamburgers because I wouldn't do it if I thought it was barbaric. What does matter is how that behaviour adds to the theme of any story in which it is depicted. In a romance it might be romantic for a hunter to give his love a fresh haunch of meat. In a gothic story, it might be symbolic of my character's latent barbaric urges.

Which is why I feel that the personal feelings of Orks are immaterial to their depiction of a gothic theme, the Beast. Whether Orks anthropomorphically enjoy what they do, or whether Orks simply display bloody-minded alien enthusiasm for certain activities, they are savage and barbaric to the other antagonists of the W40k ficton, and thus to the readers/players. If Orks enjoy that savagery, then they're horrifically sadistic. If they just draw some alien satisfaction from violence, then they're horrifyingly holier-than-thou (like the Daleks of Doctor Who). Either way, they're used as a twisted counter-point to the other gothic themes in W40k.

Note carefully what I'm saying here: that the gothic theme is the medium in which the ficton of W40k is couched. It is not a question of whether the culture(s) of any army is gothic, but how well that culture works to elucidate the gothic theme of the whole fictional universe.

We are discussing science fantasy fiction, after all, and thus we must be very careful not to put the carriage before the horse in doing so. How an army's culture(s) relates to the gothic themes of W40k is a question of how that army's culture(s) relates to the culture(s) of other armies.

AventineCrusader
08-02-2006, 09:21
Sikkukkut: Thanks for the nod. It does tie into the Orks, in a way, as by this reimagining the Orks have an intimate spiritual connection with the Dark Powers. The brooding presence of the Carrion God may be felt by the Orks even though it has not yet awakened.

Besides, it gives people one less thread of mine to ignore. ;)

I love this theory about the Emperor very much. Consider it swiped and incorperated into my army's fluff. I agree, much more dark and brooding than the whole Starchild nonsense...

Crusader:D

Lexington
09-02-2006, 22:08
I've got to say, seeing all this high-minded theory and philosophy put to work searching for the "truth" in the 40K universe to be fairly weird. One really needs to keep in mind here that 40K came about because some of the GW lads thought it'd be cool to have all their Fantasy races running around in space with laser guns. What's been added since then is hopelessly incoherent and contradictory, both factually and thematically, and attempting to try and figure out if a piece of fiction is "false" or not in the larger context of 40K is an exercise in just thinking too damn hard. GW's not writing on the graduate level.. If a bit of fiction is meant to convey someone's misapprehension about a certain subject, they aren't subtle about it.

In so much as anything "true" in the 40K universe, Anzion's theories on Orks and their life cycle, genetics, and pseudo-psychic technological base is, in fact, the truth, no matter how little actual scientific sense it makes. It's been reflected in the rules (Red Wunz DO go fasta!), and in various bits of fluff. More importantly, it would be flat out silly for GW to put this lengthy and fairly sensible (in so much as anything in 40K makes sense) explanation into the only two recent books on Orks, but just mean it as a red herring. Like it or not, it's the law of the land in 40K. Personally, I'm all for the Anzion fluff - it's a cute way of explaining the bizzare nature of Ork biology. If you’re not happy with it, you’re in no way obligated to let GW tell you any more about the 40K universe than you’d like. As far as I’m concerned, Ork blood’s still green, no matter what Andy Chambers may say. :p


Note carefully what I'm saying here: that the gothic theme is the medium in which the ficton of W40k is couched. It is not a question of whether the culture(s) of any army is gothic, but how well that culture works to elucidate the gothic theme of the whole fictional universe.
I think that what you're advocating here, Nurglitch, is actually the largest contributing factor to the "flatness" of Ork background, and the background of 40K in general. Since the surprising popularity of the "darker and more gothic" meme that started out in 3rd Edition took hold, GW's gone whole-hog into making every single element of the 40K universe darker, grittier, and despairing.

It was an interesting twist to add to the Imperium, especially with the Imperial/Chaos conflict, but since then, it's gotten completely out of hand. Now every Imperial citizen is either a dogmatic zealot, or a twisted heretic marked for their doom. The Eldar lost their nobility and sense of duty in favor of becoming angsty emo-Elves with hyper-inflated egos. There's not even anything remotely like a good-guy Space Marine anymore, just a bunch of psychotic armored monks with a penchant for bookwear and one of three or four 2-D explanations for their fanaticism. Orks got it worst of all - robbed of their character for the sake of keeping the universe “grim”, the Ladz are just a pale midway between ‘Nids and Chaos these days.

One of the most attractive features of the 40K universe used to be its openness. Being a conglomeration of fantasy, sci-fi and modern genres, most any sort of story could be plausibly told, and had a wide range of appropriate themes to choose from and develop. Nowadays, it's wall-to-wall grimness, darkness and savagery, with nothing to add any dimension or depth to that. Moving Orks even farther in that direction do anything but flatten the background even farther, until 40K is nothing but a black hole of interesting material.

Nurglitch
09-02-2006, 23:47
Lexington: Perhaps you should go back and reread the proposal. Anzion's theory, as theories go, is a bad one. You're free to accept it, but that doesn't change the fact that not all theories/explanations/fictions are equally plausible.

Moreover the Anzion's theory doesn't actually reflect what the article about Anzion's theory says about Orks. It is materially incorrect, and indeed is not actually reflected in the game rules. As I've already pointed out, the fact that red-painted Ork vehicles are actually (in the fictional universe) observed to go faster than non-red vehicles does nothing to verify or corroborate the thesis that the increase in speed is caused by any kind of psychic interference.

Now, as to what I'm trying to do is create an alternate conception of Orks that coheres well with the facts alluded to in the background materials and the theme of those materials. The reason is that I want a deep and interesting background for the Ork army, contrary to the shallow one provided in the background materials and the even shallower one popularly accepted by the average W40k fan (Anzion's theory).

I am asking: If Orks are to play up the gothic theme of W40k, then how would they best do that? And I am putting forward the suggestion that Orks would best play up that gothic theme using a coherent steam-punk style of technology, culture, and magic.

This project is about developing the Ork archetype, and producing a wealth of detail rather than closing down discussion with stupid remarks like:

"Everyone's entitled to believe what they want!" Of course everyone's entitled to believe what they want. You can believe what you want quite well in the comfort of your own skull. In a public forum we discuss beliefs and their merits. It is the mark of a reasonable person that they can discuss the merits of beliefs without personally accepting them.

"Orks just believe it works, and it does!" Well skippy dee da. Why should we care? What makes that worth my time to believe?

The fact is that making Orks as 'realistic' (in terms of the ficton) as possible lets us explore and develop the Ork character far better than if we simply indulged in sound-bytes and news-clip explanations.

This is a market of ideas. Start trading.

justFIGHT
13-02-2006, 15:11
Orks are simple creatures and are not very complex. They are not stupid, but simple. They have one purpose and joy in life and it is to fight. They fight in many ways and learn and try different things. Orks can mass produce, they enslave forgeworlds or make their own factories. Orks are not pigs in a pigsty.
They think and reason. Their reasoning might not be the same as yours however. They are not human and therefore think differently.

Ork's telekinetic/telepathic phenomena isn't as shallow as Anzion stated but i believe it plays a big part in ork kulture. Orks figthing side by side would fight better than alone and isolated even if outnumbered or against incredible odds. This is becuase the psychic energy created by their aggression makes them confident. They were the race that were spared the fear of death afterall and this links to their psychology.

To the point about weapons and vehicles, Ork vehicles are contructed to fit with the image in the Mek's head and he will strive to make it was 'perfect' as that picture. However, there might be leaks or errors that the Mek is not aware of, however hios subconious believes that it will.
The orks were created by the Old Ones to fight the C'tan and are therefore highly psychic. This ability may have been created by them to compensate for their lack of perfection.
Orks' psychic abilities might just make the weapon run smoother. The psychic wave created by orks fighting would be powerful enough to do what they please in their subconsious. Orks cannot however channle this wave to use ut in a practical way.

Weirdboyz however can ot an extent. But still cannont master this and are therefore prone to exploding!:D

Orks are Orks! their current fluff is fine, even if it is not deep as some ppl might like. They are raw barbaric power! If it werent for the war they might have been completed and become the super race of the galaxy. They are still the race that dominates most of the galaxy and in the long run they will win. There is nothing able to stop them for they are the green tide!!:evilgrin:

WAAAGH!!!!:skull:

Nurglitch
13-02-2006, 15:40
Ork's telekinetic/telepathic phenomena isn't as shallow as Anzion stated but i believe it plays a big part in ork kulture. Really? Because when you put it that way it sounds even shallower. The depth of any fiction is reflected by its attention to detail, roundness of characters, and diversity of background. You seem to think a few pat catch-phrases constitutes depth. Good for you. You must be very proud.

justFIGHT
13-02-2006, 16:16
reading my post again i realized i didnt state my intended point of view well.
Players can create depth to the characters through imagination. Fluff doenst have to be written by GW to be fluff. My perception of orks might not be as deep as yours, but i enjoy it and i likk their character. You can create your own fluff and theories.

the orks are still cool and show all the features in gameplay and fluff that got me playin.

Rafi
13-02-2006, 18:49
I've decided to start this thread for the purpose of arguing about the merits of the existing background in an effort to keep that thread on topic. Please refer to the thread on steam-punk orks for the details of the argument so far.

I'm a bit confused about this thread. Why are folks focusing so intently on a couple of pages of background when GW has published over 500pgs of rules and background on Orks?

Nurglitch
13-02-2006, 21:05
justFIGHT: You're right, I can create my own background and theories. But if I'm creating my own background and theories about the background of W40k, then I face certain restrictions in theme and content. These restrictions mean that we have something to talk about, rather than anything. Their existence does not restrict creativity. Creativity is working with some set of restrictions, rather than against them, or without them.

Rafi: Because those couple of pages contain what you might call "lynchpin" concepts. Depending on how the information is construed you'll end up with radically different concepts of the Ork. Well, as radical as you can have when you're still talking about the kind of Orks in W40k.

Rafi
13-02-2006, 22:19
Rafi: Because those couple of pages contain what you might call "lynchpin" concepts. Depending on how the information is construed you'll end up with radically different concepts of the Ork. Well, as radical as you can have when you're still talking about the kind of Orks in W40k.

Well, folks who are interested in ork background should read the old books or pressure GW to reprint them (heck, Waaargh: Orks! doesn't even have any rules in it, a quick polish and some new binding and they could reprint it practically verbatim). Saying that orks are a highly psychic race is not exactly news. It's been central to the ork background since 16-odd years ago. ;)

Nurglitch
13-02-2006, 23:20
Really? So it's absolutely necessary that Orks be psychic? I don't think it is. Where they are psychic, I think that it would be best if those psychic powers were restricted to impossible applictions like providing warp-travel and navigation, and the occasional oracle and battlefield smashing by wierdboyz, those special orks that can express the psychic power generated by the rest of the Orks.

For everything that's possible, there's technology.

I mean, if you want Orks whose technology is crude but effective only insofar as pychic powers (magic) are concerned, go nuts. Maybe that can be used as a thematic device, relating to the archetype of the Beast.

I'd rather just write a gothic story about psychically active aliens to get the point across that the dark side of human nature is bestial. At least it could be appreciated by people unfamiliar with GW's W40k universe.

But if you want something a little less pat, and which can be described as 'apparently crude, but undeniably effective', then imagining what sort of technologies that Orks might use may be more your thing.

HeraldoftheGods
13-02-2006, 23:38
Really? So it's absolutely necessary that Orks be psychic? I don't think it is. Where they are psychic, I think that it would be best if those psychic powers were restricted to impossible applictions like providing warp-travel and navigation......For everything that's possible, there's technology.
What? You're saying that Orks, a race of individuals who's collecitve psychic phenomina allows them to overcome their natural stupidy and infighting, to create WAAAGHS, a force so destructive that whenever a great one forms it leaves its victims reeling in shock, you're saying that they shouldn't be psychic?

Ok, so we aren't talking Farseer, or Ezekiel levels of psychic competence here, but the basic principle of the WAAAGH (weather it be 40K or fantasy) is that the collective psychic/magic presence of lots of Orks has a physical, astounding effect.

That can not be attributed to technology or physics, that's the warp, or the realm of chaos. Magics or psychokenises - whatever you want to call it. By 40K fluff, a large bunch of Orks gathered together will produce a massive psychic influence that results in a WAAAGH.
And that's without going into Wierboyz or Madboyz, the Orks that are "realy" affected by psychic abbility.


I'd rather just write a gothic story about psychically active aliens to get the point across that the dark side of human nature is bestial. At least it could be appreciated by people unfamiliar with GW's W40k universe.
Then you are mssing out on the big thing. The overriding influence that makes 40K different from those other futuristic settings.
Sure back in the Rouge Trader days, the warp was nothing more than a place for renegades to hide in, to give humanity somebody realy nasty to battle. But the story has evolved from that. The warp influences everything. Take the Tau as an example, a race that is barely touched by the warp - and they are considered an exception in the 40K universe because of this.

Basicaly (being a Warhammer convert as well), the whole principle of the Ork subconscious being a link to the psychic/magic realm is core to their being.


edit: I just re-read this post, and maybe it was a bit harsh, I'm sorry. What I was trying to say was that if you like the idea of steam-punk Orks, then that's great. Orks obviously take a large number of hints from that genre, and most of us would agree with that. However, a lot of us follow the idea of the psychic Ork subconscious, and it's going to take a lot more than your preferences for one theme over the official 40K line to get us to change our minds.

Nurglitch
13-02-2006, 23:51
...you're saying that they shouldn't be psychic? No. I'm saying that their psychic powers should be simply restricted to those things that are impossible.

For all other comments please refer to post #1.

Rafi
14-02-2006, 01:49
No. I'm saying that their psychic powers should be simply restricted to those things that are impossible.

What is possible and impossible in a sci-fi universe is kind of hard to determine at times. ;) For example, the background says that Orks use Weirdboyz as psychic warp drives, would you prefer that they use 'real' warp drives? Ork background says that Gargants are possessed by the spirit of Gork or Mork, would you prefer that the 'gants systems are controlled by positronic brains instead? ;)

Nurglitch
14-02-2006, 03:23
What is possible and impossible in a sci-fi universe is kind of hard to determine at times. It's easier than you might imagine. It's mostly just the application of modal logic (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-modal/) to any set of assumptions about the universe in question. It doesn't make much of a difference whether that universe is the real one or not.

For example, the background says that Orks use Weirdboyz as psychic warp drives, would you prefer that they use 'real' warp drives? I have said that I wanted Ork psychic powers restricted to impossibilities. Warp drives are impossible, so admit the application of Ork psychic power. I like to imagine that at the heart of an Orkish warp-drive is a room where they shove the weirdboyz. The weirdboyz pick up the psychic power generated by the ladz, and channel that energy into the real world warp engines of the Orkish ship. Naturally the more Orks available the more accurate the trip through warp-space will be, as conflict will act like a beacon for navigation. Where Human navigators would sense the Astronomicon, Ork navigators would sense War. In a sense the weirdboyz would perform the function of both warp-power and navigation - tumbling Ork space craft through the Immaterium like spores released from fruiting bodies.

Ork background says that Gargants are possessed by the spirit of Gork or Mork, would you prefer that the 'gants systems are controlled by positronic brains instead? I want them controlled by elaborate systems of gears and levers, shouting, and brute labour. I want a Gargant's crew to be essential to its operation, directed by the shouting of the boss Orks down speaking tubes. How they were described as working in Space Marine 2nd edition, really.

Rafi
14-02-2006, 15:50
Okay, I think I get where you're coming from. It seems to me that you don't want orks to be weedy and that the Anzion stuff encourages weediness. Orks should build fantastic machines to crush their enemies and not kill them with mystic bolts shooting out of their heads (since orks shooting psychic bolters is weedy).

I mean, look at the background. Orks don't have any formalized education system. They don't have written history. So they don't pass knowledge from one generation to the next (except through limited apprenticeships). Constant, perpetual warfare (but limited in it's own way; orks don't tend to use weapons of mass destruction unless they're trying to make a point, they would much rather fight it out close in). Yet Orks maintain a level of technology that rivals that of all the other races in the galaxy. Mega-armour is nearly as good as terminator armour... but MA is built by slaves and meks who basically make it up as they go while terminator armour is, whatever, forged over the course of decades by castrated techno-weirdos. So yeah, I think that Orks get a helping hand somewhere along the line, it could be that all the mekboyz in the universe are somehow psychically wired together, all the boyz are wired together to some degree so they all know how stuff works, mekboyz somehow stick in a bit of the warp when they build something, or Orks give off a psychic field that makes stuff they handle work when it really shouldn't. Maybe all of the above.

So someone can figure, hey, if Orks can build anything and have psychic power that allows anything they build to work, kind of like super-psychic-Mythbusters/Macgyver hybrids... can't they make a super-weapon that just destroys anything? Make whatever they want to do whatever they want? The limiting factor is... weediness. Orks want to fight everything and anything. They want to prove that they're the greatest and the toughest and if something is tougher, well, it should win. Sure, Orks could build a giant wooden gargant that shoots flowers and psychic atomic bombs but that's weedy.

So I wouldn't worry about it too much. Orks will remain steampunky and ramshackle 'cause anything else is weedy. ;)

Lexington
15-02-2006, 05:33
Anzion's theory, as theories go, is a bad one.

I think you really need to explain yourself better on this one, Nurglitch. We know that you don't like the 'magical explaination' side of Anzion's theories (I'll get to that in a bit), and you've gone into some fairly excruciating detail as to why, but this objection is one of taste. You don't like a psychically-based explaination for things that you think are easily explained by plain old real-world mechanics, as is your right.

However...


Moreover the Anzion's theory doesn't actually reflect what the article about Anzion's theory says about Orks.

This is an accusation you've made a number of times in this and other threads, but you've not actually gone on to back it up with examples, at least from what I've seen. This inconsistency in the articles is certainly not something I've ever noted, but I'm open to the idea I'm just not being observant here - give us something besides hand-waving and overwrought lectures, and maybe we can have this discussion that you're so eager to have.


"Orks just believe it works, and it does!" Well skippy dee da. Why should we care? What makes that worth my time to believe?

Well, I think the easy answer is "because it's fun, dangit, and Orks ought be fun," but if you need a more thorough answer, I'll try to give it a spin...

Despite your objections and the seemingly basic nature of Orks, their psychic abilities are central not only to their background, but to their character and thematic content as well. Orks don't function as a bestial mirror of human nature (really, don't we have the Imperium to do that for us?), but as an ironic counterpoint to the rest of the 40K universe, and their psychic abilities are integral to that.

Orks, on first glance, ought not be a threat to anything in the 40K universe. They're simple, barbaric creatures that can barely put aside fighting for three minutes at a time, and their ramshackle technology is usually directed more towards "bigga, wiv more dakka" than towards effectiveness. A race like this shouldn't have gotten off its home world, much less led incursions that set entire systems to the torch.

They have, though. Orks are a constant enemy to every race in the 40K universe. Barring humanity (possibly?), they're the most widespread race in the galaxy, and when a really fearsome Warlord gets the gumption up to lead a WAAAGH!, worlds tremble before their onslaught.

All this is because the Orks are engineered (by super-smart Snotlings, a dying race of psyker-frogs, or whichever contradictory piece of background you'd like to believe) to be so fearsome, without understanding a whit of how they do it. How do Orks build vehicles and other tech, even some which are beyond the understanding of the Imperium? Ingrained genetic knowledge. How do Orks find common cause to fight under one banner? The unconscious effect of their background psychic field. How do Orks set up shop so quickly after making planetfall? A mobile, squig-based ecology, yet another legacy of the Orks' creators, the existence of which the Orks simply take for granted. The elements added by Anzion's articles - the fungal Orkoid lifecycle, the ability for Orks to determine each others' status by 'spore-sniffing', and that oh-so-controversial psychokinetics theory - all reinforce that existing theme.

Because of all this tinkering, Orks are the most potentially devastating race in the universe. The only thing stopping them, though, is their own mentality (another long-running theme of Orkdom). If Orks actually had an inkling of their own potential and could consciously harness the immense amount of psychic power that they naturally generate, they could easily overwhelm the galaxy. There's not a race in 40K that wouldn't love to have anything near the power contained with the Ladz, but, humorously, no Ork would have the patience or know-how to utilize this sort of knowledge. They'd much rather just bash something's head in.

Orks are the perfect weapon to be unleashed by more logistically-minded overlords, but those overlords long ago stopped controlling their weapon, leaving Orks to run amok throughout the galaxy, a plague of violence and poor grammar. Sure, you can boggle at the mind-numbing horror of the idea, but that's never how the Orks have been written. They're a funny race, the perfect foil for a galaxy that's (increasingly) self-serious and sullen, and Anzion's theories advance those themes marvellously, sez I.

Hopefully, Nurglitch, I've done a satisfactory job of "trading ideas" here, rather than attempting to shut down discussion. Though, really Nurg, I do wonder who in their right mind would claim to be able to shut you up. :p

Nurglitch
15-02-2006, 16:28
I think you really need to explain yourself better on this one, Nurglitch. We know that you don't like the 'magical explaination' side of Anzion's theories (I'll get to that in a bit), and you've gone into some fairly excruciating detail as to why, but this objection is one of taste. You don't like a psychically-based explaination for things that you think are easily explained by plain old real-world mechanics, as is your right. See post #1.

This is an accusation you've made a number of times in this and other threads, but you've not actually gone on to back it up with examples, at least from what I've seen. This inconsistency in the articles is certainly not something I've ever noted, but I'm open to the idea I'm just not being observant here - give us something besides hand-waving and overwrought lectures, and maybe we can have this discussion that you're so eager to have. Please see post #3 of this thread (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16551)

Hopefully, Nurglitch, I've done a satisfactory job of "trading ideas" here, rather than attempting to shut down discussion. Though, really Nurg, I do wonder who in their right mind would claim to be able to shut you up. Well **** you too.

Lexington
15-02-2006, 17:53
See post #1. Well, obviously I'm already familliar with them material. See "fairly excruciating detail" in post #48. :p

Please see post #3 of this thread (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16551) That's...not particularly helpful. That post is about your objection to Anzion's theories on Orks' genetically-encoded knowledge (odd, as the whole Ork 'techno-gene' thing has been established 40K fluff since at least the 2nd Ed. Codex Imperialis), not on why you object, on the grounds of internal and external (to the 40K universe, I mean) inconsistency, to Anzion's Orky Psycho-Kinetic theory. You say that it's 'full of interesting epistemological errors,' but I've yet to see you particularly identify them there or elsewhere. Like I said, I'm open to being simply ignorant or lazy in my reading of these articles, but I need something that proves me so.

Well **** you too. I'm absolutely squashed by your show of affection, Nurglitch. The marketplace of ideas has never been so warm and fuzzy. ;)

Rafi
15-02-2006, 18:07
(odd, as the whole Ork 'techno-gene' thing has been established 40K fluff since at least the 2nd Ed. Codex Imperialis)

The whole 'genetically engineered highly psychic warrior race run amok'-thing has been a key concept since they brought in the Klans around 1990. Hehe, when they introduced these concepts space marines were still T3. ;)

Lexington
15-02-2006, 18:18
The whole 'genetically engineered highly psychic warrior race run amok'-thing has been a key concept since they brought in the Klans around 1990. Hehe, when they introduced these concepts space marines were still T3. ;) Lordy, how I wish I could lay my greasy paws on those old RT-era Ork books. Imagine, a book dedicated to nothing - nothing! - but Orky fluff. The fact that the Black Library's apparent task is to publish bargain-basement sci-fi masquerading as 40K fiction rather than simply republishing these old gems and the occasional Bill King and/or Dan Abbnett book is an affront to reality.

Nurglitch
15-02-2006, 18:35
Well, obviously I'm already familliar with them material. See "fairly excruciating detail" in post #48. And yet you continue to think that I'm simply discussing my own preference when that post explains why Anzion's theory is a bad. If you don't act like you're familiar with the material, and cannot engage with the material, then you aren't familiar with the material.

That's...not particularly helpful. My objection to Anzion's theory of genetically encoded knowledge is the same as my objection to "the Anzion Theorum of Orkoid Mechamorphic Resonant Kinetics [sic]", that both are nonsensical explanations of Orkish behaviour.

In Steam Punk Orks? (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16551) I proposed an alternative to the commonly accepted theory described on pp. 46-48 of the 3rd edition Ork Codex (Anzion's theory). In this thread I showed why such a proposal is objectively preferable to Anzion's theory, and why Anzion's theory (applied to both biology and mechanics) is bad.

Having laid out the criteria by which I made the judgment that Anzion's theory is bad, I then pointed out the epistemological error that Anzion makes in supposing that Orks have innate knowledge, to whit that innate knowledge is impossible. And I point out that a similar error is by Anzion in supposing that Orks have psychic influence over their machines, to whit that magic is impossible. The epistemological errors are, of course, mistaking impossible things for possible things. Finally, I discussed the restrictions on impossible things in fiction and how they applied to Orks in W40k.

Given the prohibition against posting GW materials online, I imagined that people would be able to connect the dots themselves.