View Full Version : The Imperium Strikes Back

09-09-2009, 19:26
So I was perusing the Abaddon thread, and was going over the number of conflicts that are currently engulfing the Imperium. Ghazkull (I'm sure I left out some "h"s in there somewhere) is making war on Armageddon. Leviathan is eating its way through Imperial space. The Tau are converting worlds. The 13th Black Crusade is warring on Cadia. The Imperium is strained to its limits. And I had a thought. These wars are all temporary.

One defining rule of Ork Waaghs is that they if can't maintain their momentum, they begin to fall apart. Ghaz's war in the desert has basically become a meat grinder. Millions of bodies on each side fight constantly, dying in the sand and being replaced by more bodies. But eventually there will be greener pastures for aspiring ork warriors. There are Tyranids to fight, and the War of Dakka against the Tau to win. Both of those may end up looking more appealing than fighting the humies on one little world with little in the way of good loot or chance of victory.

At some point, the war on Armageddon will end. It might be in ten years, but the fight will end as orks lose interest and go elsewhere.

Leviathan razed planet after planet, until Inquisitor Kryptmann lured them into a giant ork empire. At that point, the bulk of the fleet became bogged down, fighting an almost-never-ending war against a very willing opponent. Tendrils of the fleet continue to worm their way through Imperial space, but none of them are big enough to threaten the Imperium as a whole.

At some point, Leviathan will be stopped. The splinter fleets will lose, and the bulk of the force will grind down against the orks.

The 13th Black Crusade is a terrifying force, bringing the full weight of villains from ages past directly onto the Imperium's front doorstep. It's like seeing the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler teamed up with Judas Iscariot and Caligula leading their armies through Europe. But Chaos has never been able to keep it together for very long. As an organized attack, eventually Abaddon will begin to lose control of his force. Different lords will decide to get out while the getting is good, or they'll be distracted by a personal vendetta or a shiny object. Some Slaanesh lord will become a demon prince, and will be more interested in playing with his new set of boobs than he is in fighting against marines.

At some point, the 13th Black Crusade will fall apart.

So my realization was simple. There's a solid chance that these will all start to fizzle at roughly the same time (always 15 minutes into the future, I don't exactly expect GW to end those wars tomorrow). When and if that happens, you're left with one thing. A big, pissed off Imperium that is fully mobilized for war. Or perhaps they'll use the opportunity to take a breather and refresh a bit. But I think the chances might be equally likely that they'll be good and mad at that point and looking to annihilate somebody. So do they focus on the Tau? The Necrons? Some alien race that we've never seen before?

My question to you is, do you think the Imperium bounces back, kicking ass and taking names for the next hundred years or so until some new threat arises? Or do they use the opportunity to sit back and get a second wind? No right or wrong answers, I just wondered what others thought.

Rat Catcher
09-09-2009, 19:34
I truly hope it's the Tau that become the target of our frustrations.. I never believed myself to be capable of the hate that I feel when I gaze upon those communist tuna.

I wouldn't mind baiting either Tyranid or Orks onto their home worlds. :evilgrin:

09-09-2009, 19:53
I think you're exactly right. The Imperium has gone through crises like this many times before in its history and has always bounced back when it's enemies have overstretched themselves. The current attack from all sides is not even all that big a deal for the Imperium. The Imperium has weathered far bigger disasters than the ones afflicting it now.

The real threat to the Imperium, now as ever, is not attack from outside enemies. So vast is the Imperium and so great it's resources that in time any attack, no matter how huge, can be ground down and defeated. It is internal disunity that is the greatest threat to the Imperium. This is why the Imperium is so obsessed with heresy, rebellion and traitors. If the Imperium is not united it will not be able to mobilize the vast resources of humanity and so will be defeated in detail.

The greatest crisis the post-Heresy Imperium ever faced was the Age of the Apostasy. This was caused by the near collapse of Imperial authority over humanity. An internal matter, not some huge alien invasion. The Horus Heresy was the same, a civil war that came closer than anything has to destroying the Imperium.

In time the Imperium will destroy the main forces of it's enemies. It will then be in a position to strike back and reclaim the lost territories. This has happened before as well, many times. Solar Macharius crusade into the western borders of the Segmentum Pacificus is the most well known, but plenty of others have been mentioned. The reconquests after the Age of the Apostasy were likely far vaster in scale than even his exploits, but being so long ago are not as well known in the Imperium (which also likely suppresses full knowledge of how close the Imperium came to dissolution).

The best time to strike your enemy is in many ways just after their great offensive has run out of steam. While it may seem better to wait until your own forces regain their strength, often it is best to catch the enemy when he is vulnerable rather than allow him to dig in and consolidate. I can give many, many examples from history of great offensives that have been crushing all before them suddenly finding that their attacking troops are reduced to an exhausted handful while the enemy is counterattacking with fresh reserves. This happens because an attacker is advancing, getting further away from his bases and sources of supply and reinforcement, all the while losing troops and using up supplies. Meanwhile the defender who has been losing is falling back closer to his supply bases and the new forces he is raising.

The richest and most densely settled part of the Imperium is the Segmentum Solar. As the Imperium's enemies come closer to it the Imperium will find it far easier to move up forces. Bear in mind that a major constraint on Imperial force projection is the need for interstellar shipping. A short turnaround for troopships allow huge numbers of Imperial Guardsmen to be sent into action, compared to the years long voyages needed to send them out to fight for example the Tyranids around Ultramar. It is notable that the Imperium was unable to send an Imperial Guard army to aid the Ultramarines against Hive Fleet Behemoth. Only a fast fleet of warships was able to make it there in time (just).

Pvt. Ratt
09-09-2009, 19:59
Well when and if the 13th Black Crusade stops, which is going to take a looooong time, I figure 1. The Imperium will sit back nurse it's wounds for several years and then go stomp the crap out of someone. or 2. Move all military forces to the next battle and just bounce from one conflict to the next.

But I am with RatCatcher. I think we should lure Da Boyz and those ever-irritating buggy bastards into tau Space. Then I say we make some popcorn, position the Emperor's throne so that he can watch too, and sit back and watch 'em kill each other off.

Game wise the Imperium will bounce back. (it always does)

09-09-2009, 21:00
No. It is only going to get worse. It always does.
Welcome to the suck!

10-09-2009, 01:52
Lol, I think the biggest threat to the imperium right now is the Emperor kicking the bucket. Once the beacon goes down, warp travel for the human race comes to a crawl, and all it's systems suddenly become isolated and easy prey to everything else in the galaxy. It's already started to flicker and wane, so it just a matter of time.

Penitent Engine
10-09-2009, 03:51
Yeah, the Astronomicon fading? And the Golden Throne failing? This is a problem which equals Chaos victory-in the 5th Ed. rulebook it implies that Humanity is accelerating towards its psychic potential incredibly quickly. And because you only need one unprotected psyker on a planet to make a Daemon gate, and the main form of protection is the Emperor....see?
Also, x amount of Tyranids waiting on the edge of the galaxy and Necrons on Mars could be a problem.

As I recall, the number of Orks on Armageddon is growing BECAUSE it's a never-ending war of attrition!!! These are Orks-they may only be fighting humies, but dey ain't leavin' till it's over!
So yeah, the Imperium had better have one hell of a comeback (and a spare demigod) up its sleeve.

10-09-2009, 04:09
I always thought the astronomicon was simply the result of killing all those psykers. Yeah, it's "the light of the Emperor", as well as the light of ten thousand dying psykers a day.

Penitent Engine
10-09-2009, 04:15
The idea is that the psykers give the energy, but the Emperor focusses it into a beacon. Bit like the difference between a lighthouse light with lenses and a light bulb. If the Emperor weakens, dies or gets distracted by a shiny object it flickers/dies.
Or at least, that's my interpretation :)

10-09-2009, 04:33
i thin the imperium will bounce back.. but i have a feeling it will be the marine chapters.. if the DA get off their asses and help instead of looking for a single renegade aka the fallen..

but when you look at the fluff (NOT THE GAMING VERSION) of things, a load of marines can overcome huge odds! so the more marines that gang up on stuff = the more stuff dies!

Penitent Engine
10-09-2009, 04:44
I see your point, but:
There are approx. 1 000 000 Marines.
TRILLIONS of Orks,Eldar, Tau, etc
The Chaos Gods-Unlimited legions of beings even better at killing than they are.
x-number of Tyranids

It could work :eyebrows:
You'd need to have the AdMech with you though, or no one'd know how to use the microwave.

10-09-2009, 05:32
Or Strength D goodness.....mmmhmmm.:)

10-09-2009, 06:28
5th edition has the most negative interpretation of the future of the imperium i've ever read. In 3rd and 4th it seemed that the galaxy was doomed to an eternity of war; In 5th edition it reads more like the Imperium and all humanity is doomed to extinction.

If one takes the current background fluff at face value, then i guess the situation is untenable and we are all doomed.

Personally, however i take a more hopelessly optimistic view of the situation, and i agree with hs5ias that the imperium has seen far worse than the 13th crusade and its just a matter of time before they can throw enough soldiers and artillery shells at the problem.

Penitent Engine
10-09-2009, 08:17
Not to be unduly pessimistic, but does the Imperium have the capability to face up to all of these threats on every front, while dealing with the normal sort of insurrection? I know it's big, but there're a hell of a lot of conflicts going on right now.

10-09-2009, 08:31
The Imperium is finding itself strained as its resources in manpower and war material are not infinite. The fact the Imperium stripped the Eastern Fringe to reinforce the Cadian Gate (mentioned in 4th ed. SM Codex and 4th ed. Tau Empire Codex) resulting in erosion of its border with the Tau shows the Imperium is having to "rob Peter to pay Paul" by sacrificing less critical fronts.

In the 4th ed. Tyranid Codex, it also says that Kryptmann embarked on his diversion plan for Hive Fleet Leviathan after realizing that the segmentum's fleets were not capable of stopping its advance.

When the Imperium finds itself having to resort to diversionary tactics and stripping whole fronts with detrimental results, instead of its usual brute force sledgehammer tactics, then it is implicit acknowledgement that its resources are not up to the task.

10-09-2009, 08:51
It's 470AD in Rome ladies and gents, and we all know what happened there.

10-09-2009, 11:35
The Imperium could be like a dinosaur, who just died but the rest of the body doesn't know about it yet and continues as before.

Crazy Ivan
10-09-2009, 11:51
The Imperium could be like a dinosaur, who just died but the rest of the body doesn't know about it yet and continues as before.
That seems a given to me. To continue with the (Western) Roman Empire analogy made by Nicha11, it took the Roman Empire centuries to fall (more than a millennium, if we're talking about the Eastern part too). So I wouldn't expect a galaxy-spanning Empire of a million worlds to fall overnight; not even when Abaddon takes Cadia, the Tyranids eat Ultramar, the Orks crush Armageddon, the Void Dragon eats Mars, Daemons eat Terra, and the Tau occupy the entire Eastern Fringe all at the same time, there still will many, many worlds who will not be directly affected. Many won't even know for centuries, if the rumours of failing communications are true...

10-09-2009, 11:57
Someone created a thread about 50K - it might be retitled Shattered Imperium.

10-09-2009, 12:51
.......communist tuna.

utter utter hilarity. i salute you sirrah!

i like your theories on a suddenly threat free imperium being overnight very powerful but there is one little problem.... isnt the Golden Iron Lung about to pack up? thats gonna seriously impact the imperium... civil war, dogs and cats living together etc..

10-09-2009, 13:04
Things are pretty GrimDark at the moment.

Only way things could get any worse is if GW advances the storyline, the shattered separated remnants of the Imperium have already lost and been eaten/enslaved/corrupted/exterminated/joined a collectivist empire and then steralized and we're just fighting the reconstructed losing battles up to that point.