PDA

View Full Version : is the imperium becoming the good guy?



Reflex
08-08-2010, 00:54
Last night at the lgc, we got to talking about the recent codecies about space marines and some of the fluff in it and just space marines in general.

we all came to the conclusion that GW are dulling down the fluff so much that the feel of 'In the grim darkness of the future there is only war' has changed to "In the not so grim darkness of the future the imperium is nice to its population and lets face it, its not so grim. if the enemies are coming the space marines will turn them away, shake their hand ans say good show ol chap"

what we are thinking is, apart from the salamanders and some what space wolves chaptesr because they have always been a bit of a humanitarian bunch, that most space marine chapters are becoming to friendly towards humans.

when i first got into this game i remember reading a short story about an inquisitor. chaos comes to a planet, the locals win, but mr inquisitor purges the population even though there are no signs of taint.

i thought, wow thats mean, but in the grim darkness of the future.

and now its within space marine chapters to be friendly towards humans and enemies? what? so the tau and ultramarines fought together to fend of the necrons ok... since when would a space marine let an enemy of the emperor leave. no they would turn around and kill kill kill... they are there for that reason! they are the warriors of the imperium! not the diplomats!

and blood angels! the necron story is bad enough, but blood angels would certainly not let anyone know about anything to do with their chapter. lets face it, if an inquisitor found out about the black rage he would label them traitors, there is no doubt they would and the chapter and sub chapters would be destroyed.

is anyone else feeling that the grim darkness setting is becoming less grim an more, in the grim darkness of the future you live happily ever after.

it seems that the ruthless, brutal, tyranical imperium are becoming the good guys.

isant that what tha tau were? or is there some conspiracy that the tau were to nice so GW has to change the fliuff? I mean the tau were die or join us... the imperium was just die then we will burn your corpses in giant dead piles...

this dosnt feel right. does anyone else feel this way? or am i ranting over nothing?

this wont stop me from playing the game, but its pretty annoying and i dunno, maybe in the long run if the fluff keeps changing i might end up leaving for other game systems......

Setesh
08-08-2010, 01:01
I completely agree with you. Lately, judging from the newer codices, videogames and black library, the imperium is becoming more and more hardline good aligned - mainly the space marines.
Space Marines are now heroes whom humanity should welcome with open arms rather than a fascist military organisation who worship a living corpse who eats souls in order to stay alive and purge entire civilisations if the mission deems it neccessary.
This, I suspect, is a business decision to cater towards the younger demographic.

gwarsh41
08-08-2010, 01:06
I think it might also be a business move to a wider demographic, not just younger. If it was younger, games would not be M rated. Many people need a "good guy" and a "bad guy".

If the games were rated T, it would be an obvious move towards younger audiences.

Grimbad
08-08-2010, 01:06
Sadly, yes.
It's also connected to the focus on space marines and special characters. And space marine special characters.
Space Marine characters exemplify the holy/knightly aspects of the Imperium. By narrowing the field of vision down to knights in shining spacesuits, the Imperium starts looking almost like a force for good.
Look in the Imperial Guard codex and you see some atrocities. Mordians wiping out every tenth man on a planet out of spite, Krieg reducing a surrendered hive to dust. The focus remains on the increasingly ridiculous special characters, though. Like Gunnery Sergeant Biceps.

Nocculum
08-08-2010, 01:17
A brain-washing, planet destroying, civilisation quashing bunch of monolithic, ignorant, single-minded automatons controlling a society of people kept deliberately in the dark?

Mass poverty on more than half it's worlds, rampant crime, black-market trading, murder, death, drugs and perpetual violence threatening most?

Barely enough marines and Guard to administer it's own dominion, and oppressed by insurmountable enemies on all sides?

No, I don't think the Imperium is becoming 'the good guys.' They've always been imperceptibly 'the good guys' because we as humans, obviously, empathise with other humans - it's a natural reaction.

If anything, I'd say the Eldar are 'the good guys,' or perhaps, just perhaps, the Tau.

In Warhammer or 40k, black and white doesn't exist - every army and force is imperceptibly grey, and very much dark and drab and tainted.

chamelion 6
08-08-2010, 01:18
Just to toss this out. But especially the newer SM book, I think much of the newere fluff is more tongue in cheek. It's clearly from the POV of the army itself and it sees itself with rightous indignation. It's actions are always for the benifit of the citizens of the Imperium.

It's like a book full of SM propoganda to get you in the right mindset to play them. It's how they see themselves, not an impartial view of their place in the universe.

All through the SM codex in between all the hoo rah rah stuff are bits and pieces and hints that things are not as good and well adjusted as they appear.

At least that's how I've taken this stuff.

IcedAnimals
08-08-2010, 01:51
"A brain-washing, planet destroying, civilisation quashing bunch of monolithic, ignorant, single-minded automatons controlling a society of people kept deliberately in the dark?" Is it sad this line made me think more of the tau than the imperium?

Lord Malorne
08-08-2010, 01:56
I disagree, the grim reality of life in 40k is as grim as ever, the only thing that has changed is the super-duper-ness of the marines to :wtf: levels.

Though I have to admit, with how things are now, Ultramarines are the paragons of 40k :(.

x-esiv-4c
08-08-2010, 01:56
After reading Redemption Corps....No not at all.

insectum7
08-08-2010, 02:14
The grimdark of 40K is still very present, but for PR reasons it has a polite facade of heroic space marines and exotic aliens. Once you start getting into the fluff though, it's just as dark as ever. Black Templars and Blood Angels are not particularly friendly, last I read.

The real test for GW of course will be the DE codex. It's not the Imperium, but I'm hoping they don't squelch the pain-causing-torture-loving-skin-you-alive-ness of that particular race.

madprophet
08-08-2010, 02:23
The Imperium has always been the "good guys" - no matter how fascist, civilization-destroying, impoverished, etc. it may be, the alternative is worse.

What are the alternatives? Let's see we have a choice of being flayed alive by necrons, tortured for kicks by dark eldar before being rendered down into combat drugs, being mutated hideously before being sacrificed to blasphemous gods from beyond space and time, being neutered and turned into slave-labor on a concentration camp world by bovine aliens with delusions of grandeur, slaughtered by orks just because they have too much time on their hands or being used as fodder/slave labor by pointed eared aliens with a superiority complex.

By comparison, the Imperium doesn't seem so bad.

Lord Malorne
08-08-2010, 02:44
Better the evil you know ;)

The Yellow Sign
08-08-2010, 02:50
The Imperium has always been the "good guys" - no matter how fascist, civilization-destroying, impoverished, etc. it may be, the alternative is worse.

What are the alternatives? Let's see we have a choice of being flayed alive by necrons, tortured for kicks by dark eldar before being rendered down into combat drugs, being mutated hideously before being sacrificed to blasphemous gods from beyond space and time, being neutered and turned into slave-labor on a concentration camp world by bovine aliens with delusions of grandeur, slaughtered by orks just because they have too much time on their hands or being used as fodder/slave labor by pointed eared aliens with a superiority complex.

By comparison, the Imperium doesn't seem so bad.

Well said, madprophet. Few people seem to understand that no matter how GRIMDARK the Imperium becomes, it is always preferable to the xeno/chaos alternatives. And as such, Marines will always be the good guys. They are the bolter-wielding white-knights of 40K.

Iracundus
08-08-2010, 03:23
Completely disagree. What looks preferable comes from the point of view and there are numerous human points of view that may disagree.

The IG defectors to the Tau certainly are not defecting en masse back to the Imperium. While they may be not as "equal" as the Tau, and have limitations placed on what Tau technologies they may have, their overall civilian quality of life is suggested to be better.

For the worlds within the Eye of Terror and their attendant slave warrior populations, their seeming brutal way of life, with the victor takes all mentality, rewards talent and success. One could argue one has greater chance for social mobility and upward climb than as a menial on a hive world, condemned in fact if not in name, to labor a lifetime without any hope of bettering themselves. It is a Darwinian struggle on these worlds, and the losers pay the ultimate price, but the winners also gain far more than they could under the Imperium.

On the frontier worlds of the Imperium, there still is trade and contact with aliens, major and minor, despite the Imperium's official doctrines. For the local family, the choice between adhering to religious and discriminatory doctrine versus trading with the local alien that can provide the immediate material goods that may see the family through the winter or improve their lot in life, may be less straightforward than you may think.

There are worlds inhabited by humans that the Imperium has no sway over, never reclaimed in the Great Crusade or lost since then. On these worlds, for generations, people have lived and died without having to send the fruits of their labor offworld to a distant totalitarian state. For these people, the Imperium is definitely not the preferable choice either.

chromedog
08-08-2010, 04:27
That's the beauty of so many variants and retconned fluff.

Not everyone uses the same line of pablum spoonfed to them.
All is truth, depending upon your point of view.

In an infinite universe, all things are possible.

Voss
08-08-2010, 04:37
On the frontier worlds of the Imperium, there still is trade and contact with aliens, major and minor, despite the Imperium's official doctrines. For the local family, the choice between adhering to religious and discriminatory doctrine versus trading with the local alien that can provide the immediate material goods that may see the family through the winter or improve their lot in life, may be less straightforward than you may think.

There are worlds inhabited by humans that the Imperium has no sway over, never reclaimed in the Great Crusade or lost since then. On these worlds, for generations, people have lived and died without having to send the fruits of their labor offworld to a distant totalitarian state. For these people, the Imperium is definitely not the preferable choice either.

At lot of this is still probably true, but I think they've over-indulged in background writing at this stage. There isn't a lot of room left from the frontier mentality that shone through clearly in the original rogue trader book (which had nice picture of space marines off duty have drinks in a bar). All the little snippets of Rynn's World in particular, and other edge worlds like it, have sort of withered away under the churn of the standard imperium fluff package regurgitated endlessly through multiple versions of the same books.

The infinite variety of the imperium is now rather buried under a very narrow view of what normal life is in the imperium. Unfortunately 'normality' doesn't cover the actual range of experience, just whats prepackaged and sold to the masses by a media, government or corporation.

Post
08-08-2010, 04:50
The Fluff has gotten lighter over the years. The Sisters of Battle once fielded suicide bombers, Inquisitors used to described as sexually repressed madmen, the the Ultramarines reduced an entire planet to rubble while the the narrator moaned it was all unnecessary in 3rd ed. And the religious imagery has lessened, most of the quotes [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Quotes/ChurchMilitant Here]] date back to 3rd edition.

Notably, the famous guard quote - "For every hero commemorated, a thousand martyrs die unmourned and unremembered." has been changed to
"For every battle honor earned, a thousand heroes die."; nuking the word 'Martyr'.

Corporatization is the bane of all art.

Hellebore
08-08-2010, 05:05
I think the 'public face' of 40k is becoming less overtly dark, but that it's still there. If you look at Dark Heresy, released only recently, you can see the darkness and repression. Even the BL novels still show it sometimes.

But the game which is the main thrust of the business is glossing over these facts to give a more 'appropriate' face to the product in order to sell it.

It's only when you get into the game and go deeper do you find out the real horrors of 40k. I suppose they think it's a good move, however my friends and I at 12 got into 40k precisely because of the monolithic darkness that was to the fore of the game. It made it appear mysterious and mature.

Hellebore

Sir_Lunchalot
08-08-2010, 05:57
I don't think so. As has been mentioned, the codexes are mostly written from that army's pint of view, with the exceptions in the form of Tyranids, and parts of the Necron book. The SM books should portray the Space Marines as Big Shiny Heroes because that's what they think they are. And really, there is still plenty dark about Space Marines. Chaplains and "litanies of hate" anyone? Am I the only person who remembers the 5 minute hate in 1984? Also, the book does focus STRONGLY on Ultramarines, who are noted to have a very unusual relationship with Ultramar. As in, most space marine chapters are not benevolent administrators who also happen to kick loads of alien backside.

The Guard book is more recent than the marine book, and the only real difference between in the fluff between the current and previous IG books is the level of competence that is assumed. The book still details mass actions where thousands or millions of soldiers die thanks to uninspired tactics and the officers in charge are actually rewarded for it. There's still just as much reminder of how sometimes, with psykers, the kindest thing to do is shoot them in the head.

As for the Blood Angels... It kind of reinforces how dark the Imperium is. From what I've read, the black rage is only suspected outside the chapter. Other than a few unexplained disappearances when the Blood Angels are around, nobody really knows what's going on outside of the chapter. Honestly, they're not the only chapter with something to hide. Hells, half of the Dark Angels turned to chaos in the Horus Heresy and they've managed to hide that from the inquisition for what, 4 millennia. I mean, the idea that the inquisition would wipe them out over something that long ago should seem fairly dark and grim to us.

Also, take the Space Wolves. They're one of the 'nicest' chapters around, shy of the shiny blue heroes. They're not really any nicer than other chapters, they just seem more human because they threw asceticism out the window. Even then, they're a major force that all shows strong signs of genetic degradation and gene-seed mutation both in the growth of fangs, and the mark of the wulfen.

Alternatively, Maybe the Blood angels either can't be purged for the black rage because they're too powerful and independent, or they won't be dealt with because as bad as they are, they are fighting things that are even worse.

To go back to Guard, what about the Death Korps? Their ancestors started and then endured CENTURIES of nuclear war to SAVE their planet. Is that bright and sunny?

Gutted
08-08-2010, 06:24
At times it certainly seems like the Imperium is being made less vicious and oppressive but I think most of that comes from the Black Library, which is no suprise because almost all the authors just arn't capable of working with the dark age themes present in 40k. Hence we get nice Inquisitors, Commisars and Space Marines with their humanity in tact.

AstartesWarMachine
08-08-2010, 07:35
I too miss the dark and hopeless future that was depicted in the 4th edition rulebook. On every page there are quotes with the classic 40k grim dark outlook; classics such as "An open mind is like a fortress, with it's gates unbarred and unguarded" and "There is no such thing as innocence; only degrees of guilt." These are what attracted me to the hobby -- I loved the idea of a time where things were so war-torn and horrible (because of man's own horridness) that the only way to survive was to give in to the blind hatred we have always fought to subside, and to use it in both sword arms and trigger fingers across the galaxy was the only way to survive.

I was very excited when the 5th ed rulebook came out. Its fluff (indeed, the very first image of the Emperor's rotting corpse) painted a grim picture for the Imperium. By all accounts in the storyline, though the timeline didn't move forward, the situation certainly did -- and it was fairly certain that mankind was losing on all fronts, and that the Imperium was mere moments from crumbling.

Now we are pumped up with endless powerful Imperial codices, and it seems that all is well in hand. I imagine GW were trying to basically make it out like the Imperium is pulling out all the stops, but I much preferred it when I was fighting the heroic uphill battle than shamelessly using my Space Wolves to paste every xeno in my path.

Post
08-08-2010, 07:54
It's not about 'facts', it's about the tone of the writing. The insanity has been lessening over the years in favor of focusing on the war, in 3rd ed it seemed like the Imperium's greatest foe was itself, Xenos may invade and Chaos may plot but the Imperium was going to fall because it was too ignorant and corrupt to support itself. The Guard and Mechanicus and even the Inquisition were ignorant, bloody minded idiots who accomplished nothing but doom the human race further with their every action defending the system. The Guard was all about bloody failure and millenia out of date doctrine before Gaunt's ghosts.

In the older edition, Chaos, latter Ultimate Evil, was presented as simply an alternate form of insanity to that of the Imperium's. This was before Ciaphas Cain, before the Imperium's methods were justified by dozens of books. The Horus Heresy used to be just a rumor, filtered through millenia of hearsay rather than the multi-book epic it is now.

It short, 5e shows an Age of War where humanity's survival hangs in the balance. 3e showed an Age of Insanity where the spirit of man was long dead.

TheShadowCow
08-08-2010, 08:13
A brain-washing, planet destroying, civilisation quashing bunch of monolithic, ignorant, single-minded automatons controlling a society of people kept deliberately in the dark?

Mass poverty on more than half it's worlds, rampant crime, black-market trading, murder, death, drugs and perpetual violence threatening most?

Barely enough marines and Guard to administer it's own dominion, and oppressed by insurmountable enemies on all sides?

No, I don't think the Imperium is becoming 'the good guys.' They've always been imperceptibly 'the good guys' because we as humans, obviously, empathise with other humans - it's a natural reaction.

If anything, I'd say the Eldar are 'the good guys,' or perhaps, just perhaps, the Tau.

In Warhammer or 40k, black and white doesn't exist - every army and force is imperceptibly grey, and very much dark and drab and tainted.

Quite so, and it will take a lot more than a few instances of Space Marines abiding by skewed codes of honour or common sense to change that.

One (or two) good deeds do not negate 10,000 years of oppressive hell.

barrangas
08-08-2010, 15:34
The idea that codexes being written from the point of view of the army, which is why the fluff has taken on a lighter note seems kind of silly. Don't get me wrong, I think this is true as well, I just think GW doing this for any other army besides the Tau sort of defeats the theme. The Tau would care about PR, but SM wouldn't care one lick about it. A populace has problems with how the IG or SM acted on their planet? Well you can file your complaints with Inquisitor "Nuke the place from orbit, it's the only way to be sure" of the Ordo Hereticus.

Zweischneid
08-08-2010, 15:45
I dont see it as new.

I've been playing since 2nd edition and Space Marines always had that vibe of White Knights in Space, we valiantly defend humanity from the Horrors, help Grandmas across the street, embodiment of bravery, honour and heroic nobility, going with them.

Yes, they also had the darker versions of psychopatic killers and such. But GW's always been vague about going this way or that and different authors, particular in "non-core" stuff like BL, have had considerable leeway in putting their own spin on it.

Honestly, judging GW from the bleakest, most grittiest BL novels out there has always been somewhat misleading. That's never been the 40K sold in the Rules and Codexes in any edition.

Zweischneid
08-08-2010, 15:47
It short, 5e shows an Age of War where humanity's survival hangs in the balance. 3e showed an Age of Insanity where the spirit of man was long dead.

Maybe. But if that is the case, 2e was closer to 5e than 3e in tone and atmosphere. The emphasis comes and goes, but 3e is likely the fluke, not the norm of what 40K is and was over the years.

Hellebore
08-08-2010, 16:07
Well not entirely. RT afterall had space marines as indoctrinated felons and maniacs first and foremost. That was the space marine introduced to the world in a game called warhammer 40,000. That was the image that shaped peoples opinions from the getgo. It eased off in 2nd ed, but we got quite a lot of the crazy berserker warrior joining chapters in the IA articles. It seemed like every second chapter recruited from the most bizarre of people.

The Imperial Fists recruit from the gangers of Necromunda - criminals one and all. They become something more of course, but that image is still there.

Hellebore

Gaunai
08-08-2010, 22:56
I don't think it is less dark. Read the Salamander book for instance that only recently came out. Yes there are shiny examples of GOOD in there, but every last one of them has a taint, some more noticeable then others. With the Imperium losing on all fronts, it would make sense that they would become a more strengthened cohesive force, which in turn would give the mighty victors, the Space Marines in most cases, tales of granduer. Take the fluff as accounts recalled from the ignorant masses, and it still comes across as a bleak future.

daboarder
08-08-2010, 23:03
A brain-washing, planet destroying, civilisation quashing bunch of monolithic, ignorant, single-minded automatons controlling a society of people kept deliberately in the dark?

Mass poverty on more than half it's worlds, rampant crime, black-market trading, murder, death, drugs and perpetual violence threatening most?

Barely enough marines and Guard to administer it's own dominion, and oppressed by insurmountable enemies on all sides?

No, I don't think the Imperium is becoming 'the good guys.

What he means is that the recent fluff doesnt mention all those things you've said therefore dulling down the background.

CaptainOtter
08-08-2010, 23:56
Look at the background from, say, 10 years ago, and youll notice a distinct change in tone. Everything was more miserable and the imperium was much nastier. Look at the new books and its very different. Space Marines are flat out heroes, most IG special characters actually care about their troops (look at sergeant bastonne) and the inquisition is more of an exception to the rule rather than the standard.

daboarder
09-08-2010, 00:06
even then the inquisition is now a nessecary evil and not " a bunch of egotistical maniacs how will destroy a world on a whim."

Aedes
09-08-2010, 00:44
Just got a whole bunch of old White Dwarfs for free and nearly got a shock when I read the Index Astartes article about the Blood Angels!
In the new codex they are described as misunderstood nice guys, something I was drawn to very much when I started a BA army.
But read that old Index Astartes article!
They shun the contact to other Space marine chapters, there is REAL proof that they can develop into evil blood suckers (space vampires), sleep in coffins at night, and it is very strongly hinted that Sanguinius was mutated by chaos and has given that flaw to his children...
not so much beautiful shining angels...
These ideas are still in the new codex, but now the shunning of other chapters is the Angels vermillion, and the mutations are with the Angels Sanguine.
Blood Angels definitely have gotten a nice shiny face lift.

Angelust
09-08-2010, 00:57
I think the BL novels kind of force the writer to portray the protagonists in a somewhat favorable light. Sympathy for the protagonist adds pathos to their conflicts, whereas a book written about one Chaos Lord fighting some random Daemon Prince might get old pretty fast, as you don't really care if characters are dying or villains are being thwarted.

In a Gaunt's Ghosts novel, you feel bad when a major character which you admired or liked gets blown to bits. If all of them were treated like the IG armies of lore, you wouldn't give two licks if entire squads of characters get killed each chapter.

I think it's a move overall, since it's hard to care about a universe where everyone in it is totally sociopathic and belligerent...

LonelyPath
09-08-2010, 01:01
To the every day guy (or gal) in the Imperium, the Adeptus Astartes would be great heroes of legend and to see one in the flesh, even if he was gunning down your neighbours they would still be heroes or legend far beyond any mortal man. In the reality of the M41 though, things are as bleak as ever and in fact I believe the progression of fluff is making thigs darker, but the writers are attempting to keep it lighter with a sense of humour attached. For a long time I felt the fluff was getting to dark and I'm happy to see a return to the more humorous side of things that we had in the earlier days of the game. Perhaps not as funny as RT (I pray it never gets that funny again), but without the odd bits of humour present in the current line I feel it would be to dark.

Yes, the Imperium are the heroes of the story, they're the humans, we're human and so we'd naturally be the heroes, flawed as we/they are.

Commissar Davis
09-08-2010, 01:14
I think (or at least hope) that when the BT are redone, we'll see the dark side of the SM and 40K again. There is no way to write the as other than brutal, verging on totally psychopathic, hate fuelled, merciless warriors. Killing the enemy comes before protecting civilians.

Helsreach was very good at portraying that kind of imagery, and the C:BT more so.

As to the C:IG Chenkov, Kamir and Yarric are hardly caring individuals. Do miss some of the old quotes though.

Justicar Valius
09-08-2010, 01:23
I think it is being disguised and hidden rather than totally going away, the established stuff it still there as well as the occasional new things such as Chenkov sending the conscripts over a mine field so the Leaman Russes could get through.

Marines seem to have a human side which in all seriousness s not what the established fluff is but if they didn't then it would be very boring to write about marines.

Anyone with the Daemonhunters codex with them could point out the paragraph about the Inquisitorial seal and what it allows as an example of what 3rd edition was like, there is nastier stuff out there that is more recent.

I would say some writers do better to show the grim dark than others *crosses finger that this doesn't become an author flaming thread*

Merus
09-08-2010, 01:28
Becoming?.. We always have been the good guys. :shifty:

Hellebore
09-08-2010, 01:57
Lol. I see what you did thar. :D

The Imperium is still portrayed as the bloody, unfair regime it always has been. The flavour text is still there at the beginning of the rulebook (it even uses the term bloodiest regime imaginable).

The space marines are nasty by association. They uphold imperial law and the imperium is a hate infested cesspool of naughtiness.

The imperium is just as bad if not worse to its own people than say the tau are. When a new world is discovered the tau come in and ask the humans to join. If they say no they make them join anyway. However the imperium on being told to shove off by other humans goes nuts and exterminates them only to repopulate the planet with their own people. If you're human you HAVE to be in the imperium, being by yourself isn't an option to the imperial warmachine.

Space marines forcibly brainwash children into being warriors and then uphold a brutal police state's directives.

You can gloss over all these facts and only look at the facade of mighty warriors killing orks/mutants/daemons, but the REASONS those things are happening aren't nice at all.

EDIT: That's not to say that everyone else is nice - the eldar are speciest supremecists, the tau expansionist doctrinists etc.

But the Imperium is hardly nice. With the space marine codicies all we are seeing is the glorious fighting they do, not the horrible decisions and brutal oppression that went into allowing those glorious fights. The space marines beheading the evil ork is a nicely produced propaganda tool to gloss over the attrocities the Imperium does to its own people instead of the orks. The marines are also guilty of this.

Killing mutants is ethnic cleansing and genetic extermination.

Hellebore

Merus
09-08-2010, 02:13
Lol. I see what you did thar. :D

:D


The Imperium is still portrayed as the bloody, unfair regime it always has been. The flavour text is still there at the beginning of the rulebook (it even uses the term bloodiest regime imaginable).

The space marines are nasty by association. They uphold imperial law and the imperium is a hate infested cesspool of naughtiness.

The Imperium has to be this way though. It's required for survival.


The imperium is just as bad if not worse to its own people than say the tau are. When a new world is discovered the tau come in and ask the humans to join. If they say no they make them join anyway. However the imperium on being told to shove off by other humans goes nuts and exterminates them only to repopulate the planet with their own people. If you're human you HAVE to be in the imperium, being by yourself isn't an option to the imperial warmachine.

Woah, woah, woah, slow your roll.

The Tau "politely" ask you to be part of the greater good at gun-point. You can refuse and be snuffed out, or join them and be made sterile and used as fodder against your own species. The Tau are much darker than people give them credit for -- I suggest you read the Last Chancers omnibus and find out just how dark they can get.


Space marines forcibly brainwash children into being warriors and then uphold a brutal police state's directives.

Recruiting worlds are guarded even more closely than an average Imperial world because of the importance to the chapter recruiting from there.

Children literally kill for the "honor" and "privilege" to become a "Sky warrior". Unfortunately the brain-washing is required to free them of weakness and other crutches of being a human.


You can gloss over all these facts and only look at the facade of mighty warriors killing orks/mutants/daemons, but the REASONS those things are happening aren't nice at all.

It's better than death, isn't it? Survival comes before all else; the Imperium does not have the liberty to be a casual and friendly empire.


That's not to say that everyone else is nice - the eldar are speciest supremecists, the tau expansionist doctrinists etc.

Here we agree.


But the Imperium is hardly nice. With the space marine codicies all we are seeing is the glorious fighting they do, not the horrible decisions and brutal oppression that went into allowing those glorious fights. The space marines beheading the evil ork is a nicely produced propaganda tool to gloss over the attrocities the Imperium does to its own people instead of the orks. The marines are also guilty of this.

Killing mutants is ethnic cleansing and genetic extermination.

I don't think anyone believes the Imperium is nice. That's why this game is "GRIMDARK"; everyone is a bad guy, we're just the most pleasant option. ;)

As for mutants, you have to understand peoples fear. It's not like our world; somebody who is "born different" in-game can have his head turn into a portal for a Daemon invasion.

Hellebore
09-08-2010, 02:33
:D
The Imperium has to be this way though. It's required for survival.


I don't know. It's portrayed that way, but there are other options. The imperium purposefully keeps its people in a state of ignorant superstition. They could educate them if they wanted but they don't. Humanity thrived long before the age of the Imperium. Had the eldar not orgied the warp into such a state we may not have even had the uncontrolled explosion of psykers we did.

The Emperor didn't want the Imperium in the state it is and during the crusade humanity was far less superstitious and far more intelligent.



Woah, woah, woah, slow your roll.

The Tau "politely" ask you to be part of the greater good at gun-point. You can refuse and be snuffed out, or join them and be made sterile and used as fodder against your own species. The Tau are much darker than people give them credit for -- I suggest you read the Last Chancers omnibus and find out just how dark they can get.


I'm not disagreeing and I have read the last chancers (it's often the source I use to show that the tau aren't as nice as people think). If the tau want your planet, they will have it. However they are willing to let you live on that planet if you surrender.

The Imperium will never accept the surrender of aliens. EVER. Let alone allow them to live within their empire. Whilst the have indeed sterilised human populations in some sources (the DoW storyline being one - although it was only rumoured even then) it doesn't appear to be the norm. Certainly the sterilisation in DoW was mainly down to the insurrectionist nature of the population - they ostensibly joined the tau empire and then turned into urban terrorists once the Imperium showed up.



Recruiting worlds are guarded even more closely than an average Imperial world because of the importance to the chapter recruiting from there.

Children literally kill for the "honor" and "privilege" to become a "Sky warrior". Unfortunately the brain-washing is required to free them of weakness and other crutches of being a human.


That's the brainwashing too. These planets could be civilised. The populations could be given medicines and education so they don't die at 30 (as happens on Fenris). But they don't. These planets, without being asked are kept in a constant state of primitive terror and violence in order to act as a breeding ground for soldiers in an army they have no part of.

These children are forcibly brought up in this environment too kill for the honour of being a space marine.



It's better than death, isn't it? Survival comes before all else; the Imperium does not have the liberty to be a casual and friendly empire.

Here we agree.

I don't think anyone believes the Imperium of being nice. That's why this game is "GRIMDARK"; everyone is a bad guy, we're just the most pleasant option. ;)

As for mutants, you have to understand peoples fear. It's not like our world; somebody who is "born different" in-game can have his head turn into a portal for a Daemon invasion.

Well most mutants are just genetic deviations from the norm. The Inquisition maintains a 'purity' standard for the human genome. If you don't meet it you're killed.

Certainly there is precedent for psykers to become daemonic gateways, but a mutant with an extra ear poses no such threat.

The Ministorum teaches that mutation is a sign of an impure soul; it literally marks those who aren't pure by corrupting their body. Thus the Imperium uses religious indoctrination to keep its population in fear of humans that don't conform to the subjective norm and terrorises these different people.

They are most often used as a slave work force. Don't forget these were children once too. So the imperium murders babies because they don't have the right number of fingers, skin colouration or whathaveyou.

EDIT: To go back to the idea of survival, this is an interesting area IMO. Basically it seems the authors started from the question - begging the question fallacy - 'assuming the human world was a horrible horrible place, what parameters could be come up with JUSTIFY said place'. Thus the 40k universe is deliberately stacked in favour of requiring such horrible conditions so that what we see as morally repugnant is, relatively, necessary for Imperial survival.

Still, the Emperor himself didn't want a superstitious dictatorship(or at least that's how the HH series portrays his stance) so it makes me think that there IS another way, but due to dramatic story effect it was the road tragically not taken, delivering us into the nightmare that was not meant to be.

Hellebore

Merus
09-08-2010, 03:25
I don't know. It's portrayed that way, but there are other options. The imperium purposefully keeps its people in a state of ignorant superstition. They could educate them if they wanted but they don't. Humanity thrived long before the age of the Imperium. Had the eldar not orgied the warp into such a state we may not have even had the uncontrolled explosion of psykers we did.

The Emperor didn't want the Imperium in the state it is and during the crusade humanity was far less superstitious and far more intelligent.

I stand by my statement that it is vital for the survival of humanity.

Humanity was open-minded and where did that get us? We had alliances with xenos; traded with them; everything you can imagine. The second we weren't united though; the moment the chips were down, our "allies" turned on us. They enslaved, devoured and murdered humans. That's why I always laugh when people talk about the Imperium being xenophobic like it's bad. The second we weren't in a position of power the aliens closed in on all sides.. well, now we've got the biggest gun again and we won't make the same mistake twice. If that's ignorance, so be it!

Or perhaps you mean in relevance to religion. The Imperium needed a god. They needed religion. The Heresy has happened and now everyone knows that there are Dark Gods that will actively reward their servants. Do you think anyone would stay an atheist if they knew about their options? The Imperium needed a symbol, something to rally behind.. something of equal power to oppose the darkness of the Ruinous Powers, as well as the xeno filth. An ideal all of humanity could rally behind.. raise the Emperor up as a god, yahtzee.

Educating the masses means giving them power. The power to decide for themselves; which is a frightening prospect when humanity is already beset on all sides by every nightmare imaginable. You need unity to survive. The Imperium reflects what humans had to do to thrive in this brutal game.


I'm not disagreeing and I have read the last chancers (it's often the source I use to show that the tau aren't as nice as people think). If the tau want your planet, they will have it. However they are willing to let you live on that planet if you surrender.

You seem to prefer one form of bondage to another.


The Imperium will never accept the surrender of aliens. EVER. Let alone allow them to live within their empire. Whilst the have indeed sterilised human populations in some sources (the DoW storyline being one - although it was only rumoured even then) it doesn't appear to be the norm. Certainly the sterilisation in DoW was mainly down to the insurrectionist nature of the population - they ostensibly joined the tau empire and then turned into urban terrorists once the Imperium showed up.

I make note of my earlier comment. Why do aliens deserve mercy?


That's the brainwashing too. These planets could be civilised. The populations could be given medicines and education so they don't die at 30 (as happens on Fenris). But they don't. These planets, without being asked are kept in a constant state of primitive terror and violence in order to act as a breeding ground for soldiers in an army they have no part of.

These children are forcibly brought up in this environment too kill for the honour of being a space marine.

That keeps the population strong though. Sanguinius never elevated his world up after being found by his father. Do you know why? It's because he realized to do so would make them weak. Making their lives comfortable is pointless and does nothing but weaken possible recruits. You're taking these people to fight the deadliest threats in the known 'verse. Do you really want kids from a suburb for that? Space Marines need warriors, not normal children.


Well most mutants are just genetic deviations from the norm. The Inquisition maintains a 'purity' standard for the human genome. If you don't meet it you're killed.

Certainly there is precedent for psykers to become daemonic gateways, but a mutant with an extra ear poses no such threat.

The Ministorum teaches that mutation is a sign of an impure soul; it literally marks those who aren't pure by corrupting their body. Thus the Imperium uses religious indoctrination to keep its population in fear of humans that don't conform to the subjective norm and terrorises these different people.

They are most often used as a slave work force. Don't forget these were children once too. So the imperium murders babies because they don't have the right number of fingers, skin colouration or whathaveyou.

It's terrible but it's really not that shocking. People in our real world fear what they don't understand, or anything that is different than they are.

Chaos rewards it servants with blessings. They call it being "warp touched". Mutation is almost always (in 40K) a sign of evil. There are some Marines who refuse to fight alongside Ogryn and Raltings, because they're "unclean". It's ignorance and hate-mongering, but it's all about survival. Why take chances when you can ill afford them?

daboarder
09-08-2010, 03:35
just wanted to say...Merus and Hellebore, you guys ROCK. you've both managed to rekindle my wanning love of the 40K background in just a ffew short paragraphs, thank you very much.

Hellebore
09-08-2010, 03:41
I stand by my statement that it is vital for the survival of humanity.

Humanity was open-minded and where did that get us? We had alliances with xenos; traded with them; everything you can imagine. The second we weren't united though; the moment the chips were down, our "allies" turned on us. They enslaved, devoured and murdered humans. That's why I always laugh when people talk about the Imperium being xenophobic like it's bad. The second we weren't in a position of power the aliens closed in on all sides.. well, now we've got the biggest gun again and we won't make the same mistake twice. If that's ignorance, so be it!

Or perhaps you mean in relevance to religion. The Imperium needed a god. They needed religion. The Heresy has happened and now everyone knows that there are Dark Gods that will actively reward their servants. Do you think anyone would stay an atheist if they knew about their options? The Imperium needed a symbol, something to rally behind.. something of equal power to oppose the darkness of the Ruinous Powers, as well as the xeno filth. An ideal all of humanity could rally behind.. raise the Emperor up as a god, yahtzee.

Educating the masses means giving them power. The power to decide for themselves; which is a frightening prospect when humanity is already beset on all sides by every nightmare imaginable. You need unity to survive. The Imperium reflects what humans had to do to thrive in this brutal game.


Well that's all fine and good, but it does mean you disagree with the emperor. Because it is quite blatant that this is not what he wanted. Personally I don't think the Emperor was perfect, so his opinion doesn't have to be right.



You seem to prefer one form of bondage to another.


Well the tau treat aliens better than the imperium treats its own people. Let's just say Jews living under Stalin are better off than living under Hitler, but that neither are particularly good.



I make note of my earlier comment. Why do aliens deserve mercy?


Because it's fallacious reasoning? The only thing that can be said is that non human species X, Y and Z were traitorous. But they aren't related. You cannot use the actions of one as a metric for the actions of another. They all have different psychologies. They aren't from the same tree.

Being alien is not a useful measure, there are groups of humans far worse than many alien species. That division is not a useful one for determining whether a group of sentient creatures is trustworthy or not. Only their actions are.

Also, those alien races only turned on humanity during the age of strife when humanity was tearing itself apart and psykers were popping up everywhere delivering daemons to their doors.

There isn't enough information about the time to make any real definitive statements, but you could equally argue that the aliens of the time were being attacked by humanity during its degeneration and thus turned away from them.

EDIT: The Interex in the heresy were living quite contentedly with aliens, despite the age of strife. The imperium actually destroyed them for it, despite there being no hint of nastiness or anything. The Interex could have survived to this day as a reasonably peaceful coexistence had they not been steamrollered by the imperium.



That keeps the population strong though. Sanguinius never elevated his world up after being found by his father. Do you know why? It's because he realized to do so would make them weak. Making their lives comfortable is pointless and does nothing but weaken possible recruits. You're taking these people to fight the deadliest threats in the known 'verse. Do you really want kids from a suburb for that? Space Marines need warriors, not normal children.


Sure, but we aren't talking about why, we're talking about it being bad. The needs of the space marines are placed above the needs of those people, for no other reason than because their primarch happened to land on their planet. That's a pretty arbitrary reason to put a population through so much hell.



Chaos rewards it servants with blessings. They call it being "warp touched". Mutation is almost always (in 40K) a sign of evil. There are some Marines who refuse to fight alongside Ogryn and Raltings, because they're "unclean". It's ignorance and hate-mongering, but it's all about survival. Why take chances when you can ill afford them?

No it's not. In the wargame perhaps, but mutation in 40k in general is not a sign of evil, in many cases at all. Abhumans aren't evil but are considered mutations (within the genome purity guidelines). The Ministorum might SAY they're evil, but objectively they aren't.

EDIT: The wargame uses mutations as a shorthand for abilities so it's easy to understand. But in the setting mutations are quite common. Navigators get more mutated the longer they serve, becoming meaty blobs as they get older with all sorts of weird degenerations. I think it's a mistake to conflate the two.

You don't need to take chances, you can use psykers or detection equipment to determine 'warp taint' in creatures. The Imperium takes the shortcut of just blanket stating that everything not within the arbitrary guidelines is bad.

You do realise there are probably more 'normal' looking humans worshipping chaos than mutants? Making the arbitrary eugenics line just that, arbitrary.

Hellebore

Merus
09-08-2010, 03:57
Well that's all fine and good, but it does mean you disagree with the emperor. Because it is quite blatant that this is not what he wanted. Personally I don't think the Emperor was perfect, so his opinion doesn't have to be right.

I believe he handled some things badly, yes. I also don't know where he would stand on the issue. He wanted the survival of humanity before all else, if they needed him as an ideal - as a focus for said survival. Who knows how he would feel.


Well the tau treat aliens better than the imperium treats its own people. Let's just say Jews living under Stalin are better off than living under Hitler, but that neither are particularly good.

A man can have a family as an Imperial citizen; he couldn't do so as a sterile, Tau bullet-shield. You can't make the blanket statement that they have a "better life" when that depends on what the person wants out of it. Most live in fear of the Imperial retribution they'll face for their traitorous ways, so their life must be pretty stressful anyways.. :D


Because it's fallacious reasoning? The only thing that can be said is that non human species X, Y and Z were traitorous. But they aren't related. You cannot use the actions of one as a metric for the actions of another. They all have different psychologies. They aren't from the same tree.

Being alien is not a useful measure, there are groups of humans far worse than many alien species. That division is not a useful one for determining whether a group of sentient creatures is trustworthy or not. Only their actions are.

It is actually. The problem is you've never had to give up emotion for the sake of survival Hellebore.

As an example, if your best friend is bitten by a zombie during a zombie apocalypse, do you just "wait it out" and take the chance that he turns and kills you all?

You cannot afford the risk. You have to put living before your feelings.

Likewise, the Imperium cannot afford the risk of being betrayed again.



Sure, but we aren't talking about why, we're talking about it being bad. The needs of the space marines are placed above the needs of those people, for no other reason than because their primarch happened to land on their planet. That's a pretty arbitrary reason to put a population through so much hell.

The needs of the Imperium are placed above everyone.


No it's not. In the wargame perhaps, but mutation in 40k in general is not a sign of evil, in many cases at all. Abhumans aren't evil but are considered mutations (within the genome purity guidelines). The Ministorum might SAY they're evil, but objectively they aren't.

You don't need to take chances, you can use psykers or detection equipment to determine 'warp taint' in creatures. The Imperium takes the shortcut of just blanket stating that everything not within the arbitrary guidelines is bad.

You do realise there are probably more 'normal' looking humans worshipping chaos than mutants? Making the arbitrary eugenics line just that, arbitrary.

Worlds closer to the eye have a higher population of psykers and mutants.

There are plenty of random, harmless mutations, sure. The Imperium can't take the risk. Why would you waste the resources and man-power to scan people living in the under-hive for signs of warp taint when you cleanse them all and be done with it?

It's about survival, Hellebore. You don't seem to be getting it.

The Imperium doesn't have casual Fridays. It's kill or be killed. They're brutal, but they get the job done.

Hellebore
09-08-2010, 04:09
I know it's all about survival, I'm simply saying that the evidence suggests that there are other ways to survive in the galaxy than how the Imperium currently runs.

Humanity was doing fine before the age of strife. We aren't led to believe they were as oppressed or ignorant as they are now. The age of strife itself wasn't entirely humanity's fault, the eldar screwed the warp up big time which had a large knock on effect.

Little has changed in the last 30,000 years. I don't think the Imperium is the only way for humanity to survive and I think the interex and pre strife humanity prove that to be the case.

The Imperium can only survive the way it currently is, but the Imperium ≠ humanity. It's only been around for 10,000 years and its earilest years weren't like its later ones. Thus, if humanity existed just fine without the religious indoctrination and horrible conditions found in the Imperium, it does not follow that the Imperium is the only way for humanity to survive.

Hellebore

Merus
09-08-2010, 04:18
just wanted to say...Merus and Hellebore, you guys ROCK. you've both managed to rekindle my wanning love of the 40K background in just a ffew short paragraphs, thank you very much.

Hellebore and I are apparently destined to argue about every aspect of 40K. I'm glad some good comes of it. ;)


I know it's all about survival, I'm simply saying that the evidence suggests that there are other ways to survive in the galaxy than how the Imperium currently runs.

I think the evidence says otherwise. With the Emperor actively guiding and watching out for us we were still prayed upon. What chance do we have with him in a vegetative state?

Being open-minded and naive is dangerous, just look at the Tau. They welcomed Necrons as guests.

The Imperium became this way to survive and nobody would dare risk changing anything considering it works for the moment. It's risk versus reward.

"Living conditions could become better!"
"We could also end up being enslaved, devoured or pets of xenos and daemons."
"Oh, uh.. well.."

Lexington
09-08-2010, 04:47
it seems that the ruthless, brutal, tyranical imperium are becoming the good guys.
Eh. I've been playing this game since the mid-90's, and can't remember a time in which someone on the internet was making this claim.

There's certainly some truth to it, in so much as we're not mired in the 3rd Edition mentality in which every single book must reinforce how much of an authoritarian religious empire the Imperium is, but I tend to think this is a good thing. The 3rd Ed rulebook may be the finest single thing GW's ever published, but the constant reminders of how paranoid everyone and everything in the 40K universe was got old and tired fast.

Now, is the new background getting stupider? Clearly. Every single 5th Edition Codex has been mind-bendingly wretched, seemingly penned by some Studio employee's toddler. The dark, though, remains.

Griffindale
09-08-2010, 05:14
We had our chance at living in a semi-peaceful educated state with freedom and cupcakes for all. The Great Crusade was a Garden of Eden sort of thing. Like God, the Emperor prepared the garden for humanity and said, "Stay away from that one tree in the middle(the warp)." The serpent of chaos came and whispered to us in the garden and turned us on each other. Now we are cast out of that near-heaven to make our own place in the universe.

daboarder
09-08-2010, 06:30
and we're doing it one bloody corpse at a time

Lord Malorne
09-08-2010, 12:49
I don't think humanity was doing all that well before the age of strife, they did make AI afterall, look how that turned out.

Commissar Davis
09-08-2010, 14:05
Isn't it a directive from the Emperor that none "shall suffer the alien to live" Great guy the the Emperor, destroying any trace of previous religions, as many were to Warp entities.

As to learning, well ''Wisdom is the beginning of fear'' and who wants to live in fear? "Thought begets Heresy" and there is no place for that as "Heresy begets retribution" and so it should!

At to how the Imperium treats its populations "Ruthlessness is the kindness of the wise" and who are the ignorant to argue with that? I mean "doubt is a sign of weakness" and we all know that the warp prays on the weak right?

''The galaxy is the Emperor's, and anyone or anything who challenges that claim is an enemy who must be destroyed.'' And thus it is that most humans get to live their lives in relative safety, in a human way.

barrangas
09-08-2010, 19:25
A man can have a family as an Imperial citizen; he couldn't do so as a sterile, Tau bullet-shield. You can't make the blanket statement that they have a "better life" when that depends on what the person wants out of it. Most live in fear of the Imperial retribution they'll face for their traitorous ways, so their life must be pretty stressful anyways.. :D

It is actually. The problem is you've never had to give up emotion for the sake of survival Hellebore.

As an example, if your best friend is bitten by a zombie during a zombie apocalypse, do you just "wait it out" and take the chance that he turns and kills you all?

Sterile Tau Bullet-shields? First off, the Tau hate wasting resources (even drones) and don't use their auxilleries as cannon fodder. It says this pretty clearly in the Codex. As for Sterile, this comes from a video game with a narrator giving the standard 40k Imperial bias. Do you think they'd be telling people that the Tau were handing Barry White CDs and tax credits to those that boinked like bunnies to make babies for the Greater Good? I don't claim that the Tau are good, they're Imperialists after all, they're pragmatic about it.

Have you been in a situation that has forced you to choose between emotion and survival? If not then its not a good question, Merus. Often times those who have have had to struggle the rest of their lives because of it. Do some research on Captain George Pollard Jr, who was shipwrecked twice and had to survive by cannibalism, eating his own cousin at one point who drew the bad lot, if you don't believe this. All accounts I've seen say that his life after this was as a broken man.

Honestly I don't think you should be looking for a good guy in 40k, people should look at it and go "Hey all these factions are @#$holes, glad it's just fiction".

sroblin
09-08-2010, 20:54
I think adequate background exists (and IMO, should exist) to serve more than one interpretation about the darkness of the Warhammer universe. It's still a very dark setting in which many of the protagonists seem ethically indefensible, even as they fight against foes of far greater villainy.

Within the Imperium itself, it's clear that there is a vasty diversity of worlds with different political orders, different degrees of wealth or poverty, freedom or servitude, trapping of civilization or barbarity. So even though there are many nightmarish human societies depicted within the Imperium, it is clear that there are also many where people can eek out an adequate, decent living as well.

If every leader is a cynical tyrant, every world a dystopian nightmare to the nth degree, than that removes an element of moral struggle which makes the setting compelling in my opinion. Stories which portray the moral struggle of heroes trying to deal with defending (or even trying to change) an unjust universe threatened by even worse horrors are more compelling, IMO, than a simple accounting of the battles fought between Captain Despot McKillDeath and Arch General Murder-Everybody. When everything is too awful to defend, who cares about the outcome of the struggle? Better that the horrors of the Imperium have some justified basis in defending things that are good as well.

Note that, while the setting demonstrates that some of the paranoia and human sacrifice involved in the Imperium is to some degree necessary (the need to feed souls to the Astronomicon, the dangers of Daemon summoning, etc.), it is still madness to think that this justifies every sort of injustice and dysfunctionality the Imperium exhibits and rationalize it as being the 'only way'. The inability to correct itself, implement needed reforms, and introduce new ideas is one of the terminal causes and symptoms of the Imperium's decline, not a sign of its greatness.

Khorney Joke
09-08-2010, 21:24
I couldn't NOT put that sentence into picture.

Hunger
10-08-2010, 01:12
A brain-washing, planet destroying, civilisation quashing bunch of monolithic, ignorant, single-minded automatons controlling a society of people kept deliberately in the dark?

Mass poverty on more than half it's worlds, rampant crime, black-market trading, murder, death, drugs and perpetual violence threatening most?

This is how us older players know the Imperium, but it has certainly been played down in recent fluff. I remember reading stories in the older codices that were so bleak and chilling they sent shivers down my spine - how many new players today would read a codex and feel a geniune, creeping fear...?

daboarder
10-08-2010, 02:08
almost none of them, I was talking to a new kid the other day about the cloning vats of the tech magos of mars and how they are slowly gowing insane and he was completely confused by why such a cool peice of background wasn't there anymore.