[Archive] Something i don't get

Father Grumpmas:

Remember that the 40K Human society is completely ripped off from the 2000AD ‘Nemesis the Warlock’ comic.

If you want to get an idea of the tensions and underlying currents of fear and loathing then read some of the Nemesis graphic novels.


All morals are ultimately dependent on your point of view. While today we see human sacrifice as terrible, back then it was absolutely essential to make the sun rise (in their view). Slaves to them were the same as other useful animals like a horse, or as a natural punishment for losing a battle.

“The greater good” is all dependent on what you consider to be good and on how you scale certain acts against each other. Obviously killing someone is bad, but the alternative of thousands dying makes it seem better.

Wow, this thread is getting deep into philosophy.

Thommy H:

Funny story: Christians make much of the early atrocities visited on them by the Romans, which gave them so many of their historical martyrs. What modern sensibilities don’t often understand is that the reason the Romans burned them and fed them to the lions isn’t because they were some subversive cult of nice guys, but because they didn’t perform sacrifices. Sacrifices were so endemic to the Roman religion that anyone who didn’t pay proper respect to the Gods at the appropriate times by killing the right animal was considered dangerously insane. Not sacrificing was considered such bad luck that it was felt that if enough people stopped doing it, the whole Empire would crumble, consumed by famine, plague and war. So the Romans were actually, from their point of view, just protecting themselves from these maniacs who didn’t even give a crap what the Gods thought of them and were risking everyone else’s prosperity by not honouring them.


Of course, the kicker here is that *we* objectively know that e.g. worshipping Chaos is a very very bad idea.
I dunno, Slaanesh worship seems to have its plus points...


I agree with cornixt: your morals are really what you are raised in for the vast majority. It isn’t as if a Chaos Dwarf would go ‘when I keep slaves, I am evil; when I go home to the wife, I am good’. Slaves are just a fact of life, similar to pack animals etc. Their keeping slaves might make them, from our PoV, evil: that isn’t my point. My point was that I don’t play or write them as viewing themselves as evil, or doing characteristically evil things (a lot of Chaos-oriented fluff seems to do this). Players of historical wargaming can’t (and usually don’t) make moral judgements on the armies they play, and I adopt a similar approach to Warhammer where I can.

Thommy H:

Again, just because they don’t think what they do is wrong doesn’t mean that, objectively, they aren’t unpleasant people. “That’s just your point of view” only takes you so far: serial killers don’t think murder is a bad idea, but their view point is not as valid as mine when it comes to murdering. Moral relativism is a fashionable idea, but there are some things we have to acknowledge as fundamentally destructive and evil, or it all becomes totally pointless.

I guess what I’m saying is: don’t be too quick to defend your toys. It’s tempting to identify with fictional characters that we put a lot of time and effort into developing (in this case, modelling and painting them), but the Chaos Dwarfs are meant to be bad guys in the setting. Warhammer may be about shades of grey, but there are some races (Dark Elves, Vampire Counts and, yes, Chaos Dwarfs) who are supposed to be very unpleasant indeed. Ignoring that is just fanon, because the actual background is pretty clear.


My point was that I don't play or write them as viewing themselves as evil, or doing characteristically evil things (a lot of Chaos-oriented fluff seems to do this). Players of historical wargaming can't (and usually don't) make moral judgements on the armies they play, and I adopt a similar approach to Warhammer where I can.
Well no-one who does things that the majority consider 'evil' thinks of themselves as evil or wrong; otherwise they wouldn't do it. Doesn't justify it, it just allows a little more sense to be made of it. I play CDs, but I don't approve of slavery, the obsessive pursuit of monetary gain or manufacturing weapons of mass destruction; but playing the evil, unfettered, selfish crazies is entertaining for me as I so responsible in real life. No, really. I am.


Actually the Emperor hasn't killed anyone since Horus, as far as can be determined.
Apart from all the thousands of Pyskers that have to be tortured to death every day to keep him alive, presumably...

Thommy H
I totally forgot to mention that, I was going to though. :)

The question here is that to what extent the Emperor is involved in that. I think the comparison to intravenous drops is the most apt. Presumably the Emperor had a hand in the construction of the Golden throne, though. What interest me most though is the Astronomicon which is said to be powered by the Emperor, but it was clearly active before he was put in the Golden Throne.
The whole "torture thing" is unclear we don't really know what's going on, though, the people who are "used" aren't random "innocents", it is not done from malice but necessity. They are after all the dangerous and unstable psykers who would be liable for demonic possession anyway, which most likely is just as much torture for the soul. So they are goners from the start anyway. What the imperium could be held culpable for is putting them to use instead of killing them outright.
But then we are back to the "end justifies the means" thinking, which in many ways form the theme for the setting.

Thommy H:

But then we are back to the "end justifies the means" thinking, which in many ways form the theme for the setting.
Yes. The stuff with the psykers being killed though is fairly consistently described as horrific torture. Supposedly it's "death by inches" (I can't furnish you with an exact quote, sadly) and, while they do present a risk to the Imperium if left to wander around, the implication is that these are very low level psykers, not powerful enough to become Battle Psykers, Astropaths or even join the Astronomicon. So I don't know how much risk they present per se - bottom line, it's always described as pretty awful and unfair in the fluff, albeit necessary for the survival of the Imperium.


There is a very nice bit in the Dornian alt-heresy where the Thousand Sons discuss the methods used to fuel the Golden Throne and how it is holding humanity back from evolving it’s true psychic talent. Makes you wonder how powerful human psykers would now be had the Emperor survived and Magnus not turned traitor…

Hashut’s Blessing:

Well, to answer the original question: it’s because it’s dark fantasy. It’s also being lead into a more grim setting. In White Dwarf, they have a small section talking about how the world is and it’s essentially become a case of “There is only war.” again. (P.S. Need somewhere for the skulls.)

If you think about it, a lot of architecture that survives to date has reminders of death and is gothic. All of the stuff in Warhammer and 40k (well, maybe not ALL, but you get my meaning) is based around aspects of history and society (at various points in time).

Bottom line: death is a powerful motivator and has many historical meanings, which, when combined with the setting, provides a very “skully” and “gothic-esque” area.

As to the Emperor: travel isn’t NECESSARY between the planets, so no point there, really. Also, instead of killing them, they could be harnessed. Why not train them to prevent the powers being dangerous (as opposed to being used with dangerous intentions: knives are dangerous through accident [a lack of training] or intention [the will to hurt]. NOTE - that’s an analogy. I am aware that even those trained can have accidents

Thommy H:

It’s really pointless to debate the ethics of the Imperium since, even if you agree with them for some twisted reason, the background is pretty clear about how awful it’s supposed to be. If you don’t think a fictional regime that appropriates propaganda from 1984 (“Ignorance is Strength”) is meant to be making a point about how monstrous the universe has become, it’s possible 40K is a bit too advanced for you.

40K is horrific to the point of parody. That’s the idea. This page gets it (have fun getting lost down the maze of TV Tropes for five days, btw).


My God…

good job I packed my escape rope…

Border Reiver:

But do you have the 10’ pole?