Warhammer 40K Lore Discussion

Eacaraxe

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Eh, I didn't mind them in 2nd ed, where they were just weird unknown raiders. The 3rd ed fluff, apart from totally rewriting the entire setting and making every other faction irrelevant wouldn't have been bad if it wasn't suddenly crowbarred in as something lots of people always knew about, but just didn't mention until now.
They just did the same as the 'nids, in that. Genestealers were something that just showed up in hulks, and cults were a weird oddity. Then all the sudden tomb worlds started waking up en masse, same as the hive fleets invading, and there was a huge galactic emergency. It really held the faction back to do it that way, especially as the stealers and stealer cults were heavily foreshadowed as more than they were whereas the necrons weren't.

The "niche" issue was far bigger, in my opinion. But, I concede that's subjective being I loved the "slow and implacable" niche, and subsequently Iyanden, Thousand Sons, and Death Guard were my favorite sub-armies. I really didn't like that, instead of fixing the glaring balance issues with those armies, they just introduced a new faction that filled the same niche, but were horrendously power crept to sell models. Giving them the equivalent to a 2+ BS, with S6, AP2, Assault 2, weapons with 24" range was laughable -- hell, Space Marines were only 3+ BS, and boltguns were only S4, AP3, RF2 (IIRC).

Ah, ok, I see what you mean. Though I'm seeing more nepotism and incompetence than anything else, I guess cause those are generic and easy, not having a go at any institution in particular.
I see it through the lens the British military remained aristocratic well into the 20th Century, being it was one of the last (if not the last) major Western power to abolish purchased and inherited commissions. The 40k Guard and Navy reflect that, and it's all but outright stated that's the root cause of most problems those militaries face.

Erm, it's not in the Imperial Guard codex for 2nded under commissars, they are just immune to psychology (p 20).

And the Codex Catachans (which said it could be used for other jungle-ish deathworlds) just had commissars having a 1 in 6 chance of not turning up to the battle. As an aside, Gav Thorpe's Annihilation Squad novel also mention Armageddon Ork Hunters (who are also jungle fighters) doing the same.
Commissars being immune to psychology was just for them. Not that it helped, any psychology effect that meant anything superseded immunity to psychology.

Check later in the book, in the army list proper; it should be a sidebar, since that was where GW used to put the variant and army-specific rules. The rule back then was if the unit failed a Fear or cohesion test, the player could sacrifice the Guard model closest to the Commissar to treat the Leadership test as if it had succeeded. It was either that, or the player could bypass the Fear or cohesion test by sacrificing the Guard model closest to the Commissar.

I remember that specifically, because it was problematic to use in-game. You either had to put the squad in jeopardy of an immediate second test because the sacrificed model would throw the unit out of cohesion, or put the whole squad at risk to template weapons and assault for the sake of preserving cohesion.

With the Catachans, I think you're probably right. The rule where the player could sacrifice the Commissar instead, I think, came out of 3rd.
 
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Thaluikhain

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They just did the same as the 'nids, in that. Genestealers were something that just showed up in hulks, and cults were a weird oddity. Then all the sudden tomb worlds started waking up en masse, same as the hive fleets invading, and there was a huge galactic emergency. It really held the faction back to do it that way, especially as the stealers and stealer cults were heavily foreshadowed as more than they were whereas the necrons weren't.
Ah, but the nids suddenly appeared without warning from beyond known space. The story of Hive Fleet Behemoth is about humanity finding out about something nobody had known about (though sorta retconned later).

The necrons had been sitting around for long before humanity had evolved, their tombs are everywhere, including on Mars. The eldar have been afraid of them for 60 million years. And nobody really mentioned them or did anything about them.

The "niche" issue was far bigger, in my opinion. But, I concede that's subjective being I loved the "slow and implacable" niche, and subsequently Iyanden, Thousand Sons, and Death Guard were my favorite sub-armies. I really didn't like that, instead of fixing the glaring balance issues with those armies, they just introduced a new faction that filled the same niche, but were horrendously power crept to sell models. Giving them the equivalent to a 2+ BS, with S6, AP2, Assault 2, weapons with 24" range was laughable -- hell, Space Marines were only 3+ BS, and boltguns were only S4, AP3, RF2 (IIRC).
There's that (the first Codex Necrons even said C'tan were intentionally scary but slow). And then there's the monolith. Didn't really care for Necrons in 3rd so I didn't pay much attention to them. OTOH, when the Necrons were first introduced in WD (with free metal necron model) for 2nd, with their entire 4 different types, two of them were fast and mobile (scarabs and destroyers).

Not to mention that both Iyanden and Death Guard are pretty undead already, and Thousand Sons specifically Egyptian themed undead.


I see it through the lens the British military remained aristocratic well into the 20th Century, being it was one of the last (if not the last) major Western power to abolish purchased and inherited commissions. The 40k Guard and Navy reflect that, and it's all but outright stated that's the root cause of most problems those militaries face.
Could be, but then the people from the right classes getting important jobs they aren't qualified for isn't restricted to that, I thought it was more general "jobs for the boys" stuff. As a random note, nowdays if you are a British Army officer and just qualified from Sandhurst you basically have a job interview where you try to get into the regiment you want. Some regiments will automatically accept you if your dad was an officer in it.

Check later in the book, in the army list proper; it should be a sidebar, since that was where GW used to put the variant and army-specific rules. The rule back then was if the unit failed a Fear or cohesion test, the player could sacrifice the Guard model closest to the Commissar to treat the Leadership test as if it had succeeded. It was either that, or the player could bypass the Fear or cohesion test by sacrificing the Guard model closest to the Commissar.

I remember that specifically, because it was problematic to use in-game. You either had to put the squad in jeopardy of an immediate second test because the sacrificed model would throw the unit out of cohesion, or put the whole squad at risk to template weapons and assault for the sake of preserving cohesion.
Checked the army lists and still can't find it, and I also seem to remember in WD saying that for 3rd ed that they made a point of putting it back in after leaving it out for 2nd. Though, minor point.
 

Ag3ma

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I see it through the lens the British military remained aristocratic well into the 20th Century, being it was one of the last (if not the last) major Western power to abolish purchased and inherited commissions.
Mm, not entirely. Commissions were ended around 1870, so even by the time of WWI the vast majority of officers from commission days were basically retired and gone. The Boer war is probably the last gasp of those guys.

Obviously, the legacy remained, though - the British military remained somewhat aristocratic in large part just because of sheer snobbery. The first man to rise from the ranks to field marshal was William Robertson, who even after proving his competence as CIGS (the head of the army) faced constant undermining from people who didn't think a man of his lowly background should have that a position that high. The lower classes were mostly kept out of high rank because the officer training colleges were hard to get into without the right (i.e. expensive) educations. The middle could make it - and by the time of WW2, there's a much higher prominence of the middle classes than aristocrats in the military leadership.

I would argue that Germany had a much higher aristocratic leaning, because the Prussians had a very strong warrior ethos in its nobility - hence all the "vons" in the names of their generals even to WW2.
 

Eacaraxe

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Ah, but the nids suddenly appeared without warning from beyond known space. The story of Hive Fleet Behemoth is about humanity finding out about something nobody had known about (though sorta retconned later).

The necrons had been sitting around for long before humanity had evolved, their tombs are everywhere, including on Mars. The eldar have been afraid of them for 60 million years. And nobody really mentioned them or did anything about them.
I'm looking at the metagame and in-universe sense together. On the metagame level, GW had their whole "maybe the genestealer cults are harbingers of worse to come, tee hee hee!" bullshit on with the 'nids. So in-universe characters were "holy shit what the fuck we're all screwed", but we as players had been primed for it.

The in-universe reason for the 'crons going unnoticed is honestly pretty solid. The only race that would have known about them were the eldar -- and the eldar had way bigger problems on their plate than necrons. To the best of my knowledge, the eldar by and large believed the necrons destroyed themselves when they rebelled against the C'tan, and the eldar were able to defeat what remained -- that the necrons were merely hibernating wasn't something the elder realized until way later. In the meantime, they had a god to murderfuck into existence.

Didn't really care for Necrons in 3rd so I didn't pay much attention to them. OTOH, when the Necrons were first introduced in WD (with free metal necron model) for 2nd, with their entire 4 different types, two of them were fast and mobile (scarabs and destroyers).
I didn't either, to be honest. To me they were just a new faction designed to sell models, instead of fix the armies that already existed.

Scarabs were just a screening force, so they needed to be speedy to engage and tie up opponents until the bulk of the army was in position. Destroyers, if I remember right, had 6MV but couldn't double or assault move. Their mobility as compared to infantry was a wash, but given their intended role they were still far slower, but harder to hit and more resilient, than vehicles.

Checked the army lists and still can't find it, and I also seem to remember in WD saying that for 3rd ed that they made a point of putting it back in after leaving it out for 2nd. Though, minor point.
Might've been added in Dark Millennium, then. I just very distinctly remember it being there, because I saw squads inadvertently wiped in tabletop because of it.
 

Ag3ma

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I've been playing the Rogue Trader RPG and encountered the annoying level in Commorragh.This is the classic problem in games where you zap a player into a whole new alien level cut off from the rest of the game which is mostly just frustratingly disconnecting, to which they added the unbelievably annoying trick of taking away all your party's equipment.

However, Commorragh feels kind of a problem. Firstly, the space dark elves "Drukhari" are fundamentally a superfluous and lazy hangover from the days when dark elves were a fantasy staple because someone decided that elves needed an evil equivalent (because Tolkein created a "dark elf"). They have no particularly useful place in 40k as Chaos provides all the evil that the galaxy needs, and could be quietly written out. Secondly, it's that we're sold this idea that the space elves Eldar are the tattered remnants of a once proud culture wandering the galaxy in a few arks the size of moons, and btw they've got some evil dudes in the webway. Except it's the other way round. The race as a whole are apparently in rude health in that chuffing massive webway megalopolis, the equivalent of many whole star systems, doing fine for themselves as a bunch of sadists. These sadists then have some sad, pathetic little offshoot of "nice" nomadic cousins floating around the galaxy in a handful of huge ships.
 

wings012

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I've been playing the Rogue Trader RPG and encountered the annoying level in Commorragh.This is the classic problem in games where you zap a player into a whole new alien level cut off from the rest of the game which is mostly just frustratingly disconnecting, to which they added the unbelievably annoying trick of taking away all your party's equipment.

However, Commorragh feels kind of a problem. Firstly, the space dark elves "Drukhari" are fundamentally a superfluous and lazy hangover from the days when dark elves were a fantasy staple because someone decided that elves needed an evil equivalent (because Tolkein created a "dark elf"). They have no particularly useful place in 40k as Chaos provides all the evil that the galaxy needs, and could be quietly written out. Secondly, it's that we're sold this idea that the space elves Eldar are the tattered remnants of a once proud culture wandering the galaxy in a few arks the size of moons, and btw they've got some evil dudes in the webway. Except it's the other way round. The race as a whole are apparently in rude health in that chuffing massive webway megalopolis, the equivalent of many whole star systems, doing fine for themselves as a bunch of sadists. These sadists then have some sad, pathetic little offshoot of "nice" nomadic cousins floating around the galaxy in a handful of huge ships.
There's one really awful part in that act where it's a storybook event - but you get a gameover if you fail the last skill check. Worst shit ever.

My Rogue Trader wasn't combat oriented so I thought I was in for a rough time, but I had my Argenta built for heavy weapons which is just about the most broken build ever with Arch Militant. I found Argenta and a Heavy Stubber and she managed to clean house until I got my gear back.

But after playing through Act 4/5 to the end, Act 3 seems good in comparison. Rogue Trader starts out good and then it's just Owlcat continuing to drop the ball further and further as the game progresses.

They did release some massive megapatch but I doubt it addresses my problems with the game.
 
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Eacaraxe

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Firstly, the space dark elves "Drukhari" are fundamentally a superfluous and lazy hangover from the days when dark elves were a fantasy staple because someone decided that elves needed an evil equivalent...
You must be new here. Yes, dark eldar are dark elves. Warhammer, and particularly 40K, is satire -- in this case, satire of basically every science fiction/fantasy trope, as taken far beyond the point of reason or sanity but with a unique touch here and there to make them interesting. Why would dark elves be any different?

Do bear in mind, that dark elves were introduced between xenomorphs Tyranids, and terminators Necrons.

They have no particularly useful place in 40k as Chaos provides all the evil that the galaxy needs, and could be quietly written out.
No, not really, as the eldar are directly responsible for the creation of one of the four Chaos gods, and that's been in 40K lore since the very beginning. Which brings us to...

Secondly, it's that we're sold this idea that the space elves Eldar are the tattered remnants of a once proud culture wandering the galaxy in a few arks the size of moons, and btw they've got some evil dudes in the webway. Except it's the other way round. The race as a whole are apparently in rude health in that chuffing massive webway megalopolis, the equivalent of many whole star systems, doing fine for themselves as a bunch of sadists. These sadists then have some sad, pathetic little offshoot of "nice" nomadic cousins floating around the galaxy in a handful of huge ships.
It should be no surprise the dark eldar are a direct answer to multiple plot holes in 40K lore (imagine that), about which players asked quite frequently right up until 3rd edition's release. Specifically, why there are no Chaos eldar as they literally murderfucked Slaanesh into existence (and Slaanesh calling dibs on their souls does nothing to protect them from other Ruinous Powers). And, what happened to eldar in the webway -- or those who sought refuge within it -- when the Eldar empire collapsed, as the Harlequins managed to survive it by way of escaping to the webway.

To wit, Chaos eldar were a popular kitbash, conversion, and even table army (using Craftworld eldar rules) in the community. They even showed up in 'Eavy Metal and fan submissions to White Dwarf here and there. Khornate eldar were by far the most popular, with Tzeentchi eldar second, on account of those two gods' issues with Slaanesh, eldars' association with the Warp and sorcery, and last but not least rampant fan speculation Kaela Mensha Khaine was another aspect of Khorne. Fans reasoned eldar worshiping other Chaos gods would offer them some form of protection against Slaanesh, and not for poor reason by lore of the day.
 

Thaluikhain

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Do bear in mind, that dark elves were introduced between xenomorphs Tyranids, and terminators Necrons.
Strictly speaking, Necrons came out before DE, in WD (which came with a free metal model), their codex was after Tau, though. And nids owed a lot to Jurassic Park, and Necrons couldn't decide if they were terminators or space egyptians (but not like Thousand Sons).

They have no particularly useful place in 40k as Chaos provides all the evil that the galaxy needs, and could be quietly written out.
They didn't get a new codex from 3rd to 8th edition, IIRC, though they did slightly update the 3rd ed one to let you take wych archons (or archites as they were called).

Though, I do like the DE for being unimportant. Next we got the Tau, we completely rewrites the nature of 40k (progress and being nice could work), and despite being in a tiny area in the middle of nowhere, they get mentioned all the time. Then then C'tan turn up and completely rewrite the history of the universe.

The DE being minor so you can ignore them, but they could pop up anywhere due to the webway worked, IMHO.

Secondly, it's that we're sold this idea that the space elves Eldar are the tattered remnants of a once proud culture wandering the galaxy in a few arks the size of moons, and btw they've got some evil dudes in the webway. Except it's the other way round. The race as a whole are apparently in rude health in that chuffing massive webway megalopolis, the equivalent of many whole star systems, doing fine for themselves as a bunch of sadists. These sadists then have some sad, pathetic little offshoot of "nice" nomadic cousins floating around the galaxy in a handful of huge ships.
When was it said that the DE outnumbered craftworld eldar? I don't remember that, though not up to date on more recent lore.
 

Satinavian

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However, Commorragh feels kind of a problem. Firstly, the space dark elves "Drukhari" are fundamentally a superfluous and lazy hangover from the days when dark elves were a fantasy staple because someone decided that elves needed an evil equivalent (because Tolkein created a "dark elf"). They have no particularly useful place in 40k as Chaos provides all the evil that the galaxy needs, and could be quietly written out.
Well, they are space darf elves, but they come directly from the Warhammer fantasy dark elves, the Druchii, same as Orks and Ogryn are just orcs and ogers in space. Whether WH fantasy had need of dark elfs is another question.

Also they totally are being slowly written out for quite some time now hardly ever getting any coverage, rules or models . Garish, violent, drug-riddled, sex-obsessed space elf punks are so eighties.
The fantasy equivalent had a similar fate but got some popularity push through a novel series in the 00s.

Secondly, it's that we're sold this idea that the space elves Eldar are the tattered remnants of a once proud culture wandering the galaxy in a few arks the size of moons, and btw they've got some evil dudes in the webway. Except it's the other way round. The race as a whole are apparently in rude health in that chuffing massive webway megalopolis, the equivalent of many whole star systems, doing fine for themselves as a bunch of sadists. These sadists then have some sad, pathetic little offshoot of "nice" nomadic cousins floating around the galaxy in a handful of huge ships.
Nah, they are both just some remnants. Nearly all the old Eldar died in the catastrophe, some escaping on the world sized ships others by seeking refuge in the webway and building a city there. But both are just small remnants where once the Eldar were roughly as common as humans are now. Never forget how ridiculous 30k can get with numbers and dimensions. Of course a city the size of Commoraugh is nothing compared to what the old Eldar Empire could build. Nor is it particularly consistent with its numbers use, elsewhere only the population of the city is greater than that of whole star systems, which is quite a different statement to the city being bigger than systems.

And this whole "they need those sadist practices to keep alive and not be consumed by chaos and that is why their whole culture is built around it"... well, i won't excuse it as quality writing.

Not that i ever actually played 40 tabletop and others might have a better grasp on its lore. I only played fantasy (and might try again with Old World).
 
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Ag3ma

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Well, they are space dark elves,
Of course they are. The whole of 40k is basically a load of fantasy tropes transposed to the far future, that's the point. I'm trying to emphasise just how lazy and unnecessary they are, especially given that GW is attempting to separate 40k from this background at little (if for no reason other than copyright).

Nah, they are both just some remnants.
Sure, yes, they're remnants. Obviously, they're much reduced from a once galaxy-spanning empire.

When asking how numerous the Aeldari are, I like the GW answer, to paraphrase, "as many as the plot needs". But the Aeldari are generally portrayed as dying out, dicing with extinction. In the context of a galactic scale of course: there are still a huge number of them (I would guess billions to hundreds of billions in the absence of meaningful numbers), but compared to quadrillions of humans, very few. So the idea there's a massive webway city of them thriving away, albeit culturally very distinct from the others, undermines this.

Though, I do like the DE for being unimportant. Next we got the Tau, we completely rewrites the nature of 40k (progress and being nice could work), and despite being in a tiny area in the middle of nowhere, they get mentioned all the time.
Yes. I like the idea of very unimportant for them. Unimportant to the point of quietly removed, even.

When was it said that the DE outnumbered craftworld eldar? I don't remember that, though not up to date on more recent lore.
As above, there are no meaningful numbers.

In terms of Asuryani, as I recall there are about a dozen major craftworlds. These are maybe the size of a continent - but presumably if we're talking three dimensions, a moon. Your guess is as good as mine as to how many that could pack in (several seem to be partially or heavily depopulated anyway), but I figure billions to tens of billions reasonable. There are then minor craftworlds, and a handful of maiden worlds which seem to be idyllic paradises with low populations. Hence why I would suggest a total population under 1 trillion total, potentially well under.

Commorragh is described as being so vast that it is a mountain compared to a termite mound of any city in real space, with a population equivalent to numerous whole star systems, lit by myriad stolen suns. So, very, very big. A hive city is said to be enough to house potentially billions to tens of billions and a middling hive world 100 billion or more.

With this sort of speculation it seems very plausible that there are a lot more Drukhari than there are Asuryani. To me, this doesn't really feel fit comfortably with the way a lot of the bigger picture is otherwise presented.
 

Thaluikhain

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Commorragh is described as being so vast that it is a mountain compared to a termite mound of any city in real space, with a population equivalent to numerous whole star systems, lit by myriad stolen suns.
Ah, ok, I must have missed that description, I thought it was a normal sized city.
 

Eacaraxe

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Strictly speaking, Necrons came out before DE, in WD (which came with a free metal model), their codex was after Tau, though. And nids owed a lot to Jurassic Park, and Necrons couldn't decide if they were terminators or space egyptians (but not like Thousand Sons).
I'm not going so much off of publication dates, as I'm approximating when they were announced versus realized as a full, playable faction, and when they got their lore. Otherwise, we'd end up with incomprehensible jank like tyranids actually being one of the oldest factions in the game on account of their published/WD supplemental content, by way of stealers and cults.

A blame a lot of the lore jank surrounding oldcrons around GW not wanting to fully commit to making them 40k Tomb Kings. That's why I like newcrons a lot better -- they finally committed to it, gave the faction an actual place in the lore beside orks and eldar, and opened a lot of space for some of the most interesting lore characters in the entire game.

Though, I do like the DE for being unimportant.
Unimportant on the galactic scale, anyhow. I'm personally happy with minor factions in the game doing their own thing, posing a serious threat on the system or sector scale. Not every faction needs to be an existential galactic threat.
 

Zykon TheLich

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Otherwise, we'd end up with incomprehensible jank like tyranids actually being one of the oldest factions in the game on account of their published/WD supplemental content, by way of stealers and cults.
They were in Rogue Trader, mate!
 
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wings012

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Next we got the Tau, we completely rewrites the nature of 40k (progress and being nice could work), and despite being in a tiny area in the middle of nowhere, they get mentioned all the time.
I kinda like that there is a noble faction out there, it provides contrast. Also the noble faction is absolutely tiny and inconsequential and has no hopes of challenging the real galactic main players! What better way to highlight just how grim the galaxy is?

Though recent Tau lore has shifted to them mostly having good PR, but essentially be just as willing to dirty their hands like everybody else. And their overall empire strength is still only at the level at which if any of the major galactic players bothered to consolidate - they would be easily snuffed out.