View Full Version : Please forgive this thread's lowly topic...

02-08-2006, 01:06
Every time the question, "Would you want to go back in time?", is asked, my usual answer is a flat out no. My first reason for this being, since showers and other common hygiene practices weren't as readily available in most ages, I assume I would probably not be able to stand the smells of say, Medieval communities, or Revolutionary France to name a few. (I bet this topic could be debated to death, but this isn't really my point.)

The point of this post is to ask, "Wouldn't just about everyone/place in the 41st millennium reek?"

I guess there are some obvious sources of different stenches, such as the Orks, Chaos Marines/Daemons (especially Nurgle's) of course, perhaps musty old Necrons (flayed ones would probably not be too easy to be near regardless of their intention), and the Tyranids...

I imagine that the Eldar and Tau perhaps have better hygienic standards than we do now. Slaaneshi stuff might be sickeningly sweet. I'm on the fence about Dark Eldar.

Imperial Guardsmen are usually organized in massive regiments, and I'm under the impression that showers aren't so readily available - especially when they're deployed on who knows where for months or years. For that same reason, I don't expect Space Marines to smell too great either, being forced to wear their armour for prolonged periods of time. Hive worlds don't strike me as being that breathable, the air being recycled (I assume) and so on.

Is it wrong to assume that in the grim darkness of the far future there are only odours?

(I realize the uselessness of the discussion, but if you feel the desire, indulge me. ;) ) Also, if this thread is better suited to the general forum, please let me know. I just remember the threads on Eldar beards and Imperial food in this forum, so I felt like this would go here. :)

02-08-2006, 01:16
If i was a SM then the smell wouldnt bother me, as for normal Imperial citizens i think they wouldnt stink no matter what due to their technology being better then ours anyway so they would have items to produce better smell.

Forces Unknown
02-08-2006, 02:16
Hygiene in the Imperium

In Imperial Society hygiene would vary immensely, like almost everything in the Imperium, from place to place and between different classes of people. On the primitive, medieval and death worlds it would be very poor amongst all levels as the population have more important things to worry about than being clean, prehaps the rulers amongst them would be better off but not by much. Medical knowledge would be poor and lives would be lost frequently that could easily be saved by basic medicine in the more advanced areas of the Imperium.

On civilised and hive worlds I imagine they would have facilities like we do today in most homes except the poorest though with major variations in quality. Healthcare of some kind would be avaliable probabily having something to do with the Planetary Governor and regional authorities on the world. The rich have access to healthcare treatments in advance of what we have today by a considerable degree, in the Eisenhorn series the Imperium seems to be able to cure all types of cancer even in the extremely advanced stages as well as bionic replacement limbs that work in harmony with the rest of the body. The poor would probabily have to scrape and save all their money to see a doctor if they could afford one at all. There may be a health service where the authorities tax all Imperial Citizens and provides healthcare and sanitation with the revenue raised - a system probabily stretched to breaking point or plain broken on most worlds, in keeping with the dark mood of 40K. Sanitation would be excellent in the better off areas of the world and progressively worse in the poorer ones which would be breeding grounds for disease as they would not even have access to clean water. This situation would be made even worse by the many overcrowded slums with far too many people sharing far to little space. Hive cities, with the massively wealthy at the top and the utterly destitute rubbing shoulders with wanted criminals at the bottom, are representitive of this divide.

The Guard and Navy would have communal showers for the troops in their bases and while travelling in space and the officer class would have better facilities to themselves. Good hygiene would be important to stop the spread of disease that would weaken their abilities as a fighting force and they would be particulary vulnerable due to the large amount of troops all in one place making them susceptible to mass outbreaks. Any illnesses would be treated promptly by medical staff for the same reasons and provided freely to all troops, again with officers getting better treatment if possible. Imperial architects and engineers would have built waste disposal facilities into bases and ships.

In the frontlines it would be much worse of course, as the considerable resources of the Imperium would not be readily avaliable. Soldiers hygiene in cityfights and especially trenches would be downright appalling, with disease rampant and as many men and women casualities to sickness as to the enemy. Medical treatment would be restricted to battlefield medics until the wounded could be transferred and the condition of many would worsen, with many even dying before they could be evacuated back to base. Once again, priority for evacuation and medical treatment would be the highest ranking officers first and basic troopers last.

Note, the above is cobbled together mainly from Black Libary novels with a lot of guesswork.

Smoking Frog
02-08-2006, 02:18
Everyone would reek as much as we do now. It all depends on hygiene concerns. Some worlds wouldn't give a rat's **** about hygiene matters so long as production is met. Others would be very highly civilised, and with that would come concerns about scent as well.

People would sweat for the toil, in a warzone, they'd smell as bad as any of our soldiers out on maneuvers or in real combat.

So yes, I do believe that the 41st millenium is a very smelly place.

SM's I'd imagine have built in deodourisers, they do after all have a cooling system for the bearer so they wouldn't sweat.

Aliens porbably would smell funny to us.

02-08-2006, 02:30
Actually I remember reading somewhere official (maybe that making of a space marine article) that space marines actually sweat out cleansing liquid, not kidding.

02-08-2006, 02:35
Phase 16 – Mucranoid. This small organ is implanted in the lower intestine where its hormonal secretions are absorbed by the colon. These secretions initiate a modification of the sweat glands. This modification normally makes no difference to the Marine until activated by appropriate chemotherapy. As a result of this treatment, the Marine sweats an oily, naturally cleansing substance which coats the skin. This protects the Marine against extremes of temperature and even offers a slight degree of protection in vacuum. Mucranoid chemotherapy is standard procedure on long space voyages and when fighting in vacuum or near vacuum.
There ya go, Space Marines are like walking Glade Plug-Ins. :wtf:

02-08-2006, 03:59
I do recall being moaned at by mods lass time I copied a large section, but my hunt at the time informed me that an excerpt of up to a chapter may be used for some cases, and in this case less than a page and a half has been copied. If Warseer ever comes to a decision on what is permitted I will read it and stick to it. In the mean time...

Section 18

(i) General Information
On entering service into the Imperial Guard you were given a thorough physical and mental examination to ensure that you carried no disease or impurity of the mind. It is your duty to keep yourself healthy and ready for immediate action. Following these rules, in conjunction with the daily exercise of your military training, will keep you in excellent physical condition.

(ii) Sanitation in Billets
a) If at any time you do not feel perfectly well, in mind or in body, or you believe that you have a disease go at once to your squad leader, who will send you to a medical officer for examination. Never try to treat yourself. You will do more harm than good and may become a danger to your comrades. The danger of giving a malaise to another man is during the early stages of its development. I f you have a cold, headache, sore eyes, visions, diarrhoea, rashes on your body, or feel feverish you must subject yourself to examination without delay.
b) Stay away from the diseased unless it is your duty to care for them.
c) An unclean body or mind can be the cause of disease. To ensure your mind is clean, keep your thoughts pure and recite prayers and litanies of cleanliness and sanitation at least twice a day. Bathe as often as possible, at least once a week. Pay particular attention to the armpits, genitals and feet. If bathing facilities are unavailable rub your body with a damp cloth.
d) Change your undergarments at least once a week and your socks every day. If water is unavailable crumple up your uniform, shake well and hang out in the sun. Look out for body lice, pore-flies and skin worms. If you experience harsh itching on your scalp and pus-filled pustules on your skin report to your medical officer at once.
e) Keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth with tooth powder at least once a day. If your teeth ache or become loose, or your gums bleed, report to the medical officer.
f) Get into the habit of having your bowels moving regularly at least once at as near the same time as possible. Always go to the latrines to urinate or when your bowels move. Using the ground for this purpose is a great danger to everyone. Flies or other unhygienic insects will mass where you have relieved yourself, pick up filth and later deposit them on food. Also, the germs may get washed into streams or into the camp water supply.
g) Drink plenty of water, but not quickly, especially when overheated from exhaustion. Never use someone else’s cup to drink from, as he may be of the sort who relives himself in the woods, thus being dirty and foul and brimming with diseases. For the same reason do not exchange pipes, iho-sticks, musical instruments played by the mouth, towels or razors.
h) Destroy insects when they encroach on the camp. They carry diseases and can bite and sting. Keep ration packs stowed and dispose of food in sealed containers.

(iii)Sanitation in the Field
a) Do not drink from any stream, river or well until it is passed as pure by a medical officer. If fresh water is unavailable, boil it for at least 20 minutes. Use purifying tablets. These will give the water a slightly acrid taste and passing urine may be painful, but this is harmless and a sign that it is untainted.
b) Be sure mess kit is washed in hot, soapy water.
c) Wash whenever possible, and watch out for lice and other vermin on your body. Report your findings (if any) to the medical officer.
d) Try to remain as dry as possible. Sleep on your great coat at night to help keep out the damp.
e) Take good care of your feet. If you can’t march, you may be left behind.

So, what does this tell us? Firstly, Guardsmen in the field will indeed stink, as would be expected. Secondly, the average Imperial citizen has at lest some understanding of the idea of how diseases are transmitted, through germs and so-forth, rather than relying on the medieval approaches of bad air and such.

02-08-2006, 10:32
If it is of any interest... Issac Asmov's Foundation series of books delt with inter steller stravel and stinky places/people... He argued that whenever you landed on a new planet, the unique conbination of flora and fauna would make that planet smell unique (good or bad) for the first couple of days until you aclimatised to it and stopped noticing...

02-08-2006, 10:49
the unique conbination of flora and fauna would make that planet smell unique (good or bad) for the first couple of days until you aclimatised to it and stopped noticing

I think that this is the best answer to the subject so far. The question of being smelly is one of perspective. I know that when we have come back from exercise that none of us noticed any really particular bad smells, but u go back and smell those AusCams the next day then u appreciate having a shower. Sure u would notice new smells and what not, but after living there these smells would probably not worry you.

One of the main things that i have learnt is that even particular food sources give people differnet body odours. you go to countries where there primary food source is say rice in Asia, then u notice the difference then you come back home and into red meat again and u can really pick it.

Hope this helps.

Cheers Romanus

02-08-2006, 10:59
You want a race that smells bad.

The Kroot, its how they communicate, along with clicks and whistles.

When they want to communicate outside of their own race they use "parrot speak" and imitate what they have heard before.

The Venerable Archmage
02-08-2006, 15:18
Hygiene in the Imperium
The rich have access to healthcare treatments in advance of what we have today by a considerable degree, in the Eisenhorn series the Imperium seems to be able to cure all types of cancer even in the extremely advanced stages as well as bionic replacement limbs that work in harmony with the rest of the body.

On the subject of cancer, (Ravenor Returned spoilers): isn't Karas Swole revealed to have an incurable cancer in Ravenor Returned due to radiation exposure during her escapades with the space suit in the first novel?

Forces Unknown
02-08-2006, 15:32
I am unsure Archmage, I haven't read either of the Ravenor novels. I just remember reading that Uber Aemos in one book of the Eisenhorn trilogy says that he once had several advanced cancers removed from his body. You could well be correct, in that the Imperium can treat some but not all forms of cancer.

Twisted Ferret
02-08-2006, 20:42
On the subject of cancer, (Ravenor Returned spoilers): isn't Karas Swole revealed to have an incurable cancer in Ravenor Returned due to radiation exposure during her escapades with the space suit in the first novel?
Yes, I remember that.

it was cured... but not by Imperial forces. :P