Heavy Bolter / mainsite update
26th Jul, 2009

The Heavy Bolter issued to the Adeptus Astartes uses a larger caliber that their Standard Bolter, has a more powerful kicker charge gyro-jet. It is also fielded using the ‘drum box’ (see above). It has a slightly lower maximum rate of fire that the Standard Bolter, but due to the greater amounts ammo is more likely to actually be used in full auto (this leads many observers to conclude the Heavy Bolter is faster firing, but it is just the way they are used by marines). The Heavy Bolter is ideal for smashing strong points, buildings and light vehicles. Space Marines make good use of the to rapidly take out hardened positions within STC bunker complexes (Ecorium) or mow down hordes of xenos like ‘nids.

Modern Equivalents

There are no directly comparable weapons systems, but the easiest way to figure out it’s power is to think of a Mr19 automatic grenade launcher but using 60-80mm grenades with rocket motors instead of its 40mm. This gives each heavy bolt about ten times the mass of a real 40mm grenade. It can punch through most modern light armour vehicles with ease (kinda like an automatic RPG-7 but far more compact) and clear most rooms in residential buildings with one shot.


The Heavy Bolter is normally issued with modal Bolts much the same as the Standard Bolter. However there are variants that are sometimes employed is specific circumstances, such as single mode thermobaric Bolts. These variants are not common issue as Space Marines like to remain flexible, but some missions do allow for a certain level of predictability.

Thermobaric Bolts are effective against ‘nids or Orks on ‘paradise worlds’, as well as renegade humans inside STC subterranean bunkers (where is consumes massive amounts of oxygen within the confines of the bunker). There are not so effective at penetrating fully armoured targets, or atmospheres/ areas with limited oxygen. totally ineffective in a vacuum.

Plasma Bolts to cut through almost anything, though ceramite armours offer some protection.

This is an update inserted into: Bolter info page

Ecorium Terrain Concepts
21st Apr, 2009

I was chatting away over on Troll Forged forum, about WarSpike and what-nots, and I noticed Ed was interested in making some terrain. I chipped in with this thread: Modular Ecorium Blocks to see if he would be interested in making some Ecorium terrain. I always thought they would make great scenery for gaming, as the designs are kinda Space Hulk ‘compliant’, and miniature friendly. They should be easy to use with Space Hulk, 40K or WarSpike. The idea is to recreate my Ecopolis designs for Hives. I always figure it’s much easier to design if you have a developed concept of what yo wish to represent in model form. I have a ton of ideas for these modular units; ultra-modern, nature gone wild, damaged areas, re-built steam-punk as-hoc mods, all interchangeable so you can ‘degrade’ various areas. It seems to have generated a bit of interest, and IceSword has picked up the baton and ran with it, and has already started to built a ‘hydroponic garden’ with green walls with an eye to making a few rack-farm units too. IceSword et al. have a ton of ideas, and the feedback has been great – it will be very interesting to see what develops.

This is all very exceiting, and I wonder if anyone else in interested in making such terrain? If so, head over to Troll Forged Forum, and also check out the minis from their ‘sculpting collective’: Troll Forged. It a fascinating project and a great place for budding sculptors to get their creations cast up and sold (it’s a bit like Print on Demand for minis).

Rule of cool
22nd Feb, 2009

This rule is often levelled at 40K to disparage the setting, and to dismiss some of the more outlandish and non-conforming sci-fi concepts as simply ‘rule of cool‘. I understand the concept of ‘rule of cool’ and ‘grimdark‘ but I do not think they should be seen as used to defining 40K in it’s entirety. It think these expressions are ‘summaries of the superficial’, sound bites to broadly describe a feeling or ethos of a setting but not really descriptive of what that setting it.

I tend to think 40K is much deeper than the sound bites, and that often the rule of cool can be explained to be reasonable and make sense with a little imagination and logic. It’s not hard to come up with reason why the ‘rule of cool’ concept which seems air light and fluffy sweet as cotton candy could actually be the tip of the iceberg, and a great segue into a deeper background. Indeed I used this principle in my development of ‘Philverse’ version of 40K.

I would also note that GW has always encouraged fans to come up with their own background for their armies, and therefore the background is quite open and adaptable and seems to be able to handle almost any sci-fi or fantasy concept you care to throw at it. It seems to many ways to follow the British tradition of sci-fi such as Doctor Who, Sapphire and Steel, and even Red Dwarf. Often they are far less concerned with the technical side of things, and often mock technobabble, yet they may tackle complex issues of what happens in a technology actually existed and how humans would deal with it. It’s less about the tech and more about the human drama, comedy and curiosity.

If the rule of cool is used as a segue to deeper veins of creative thought, the sound bite attention grabber to guide the reader to deeper riches, I have no problem with it.

Lasgun concept (peace keeping)
29th Dec, 2008

The ubiquitous Lasgun is the primary weapon of the IG. It is basically a streaming stun gun, delivering an incapacitating shock to insurgents to enable capture and later interrogation by the Inquisition. The Lasgun is designed with peace keeping in mind, but even peace keepers have to kill. The Lasgun has a secondary mode that is a lethal high energy ‘pulse’ setting that packs quite a punch. The electroshock is about 30W and good enough to stop the heart of most humans, and the ‘exotic’ laser can defeat lesser armours to deliver the shock. The extreme wavelength of the laser gives it unusual penetrative powers, and can create an ionisation tunnel thorough armour to deliver the shock. It can also super-heat the water in the body to cause an explosive expansion of stream. This can cause serious wounds (combined with the electroshock can hurl targets quite a distance).

The last mode of the Lasgun is a low power ‘laser disrupter’ mode. This is use to mess with the vision of a charging enemy protected from the stun effect (i.e. inside a car etc.). The prime use of this is to stop vehicles are road blocks.

All these modes allow the IG to be far more decisive in scenarios where civilians are involved. It has also lead to the IG view that it is better to ‘stun first and ask questions later’, the concept expanded to the ‘stun everyone and let the Emperor sort them out’ ethos of crowd control. However, the stun effect can be lethal to children and the elderly, and trigger happy Troopers have caused incidents where the vulnerable have perished to the shock effect even on the non-lethal setting. Lasguns have also be used in war crimes, torture and abuse. The most notable is the practice of ‘execute and revive’, and the use by ‘gangs’ (rogue element within the IG, or AWOL) to capture victims at long range.

The Lasgun is seen as a weapon of Imperial oppression and the preeminent weapon in psychological warfare. It causes great fear among civilians; who often see the IG as having no impediment to using it. The IG are quick to stun even over minor infractions, and some seem to enjoy it and are looking for an excuse to use the weapon.

Note: Some Lasgun have the pulse mode disabled due to excessive civilian deaths. Without the pulse setting the Lasgun can be ineffective against determined or protected enemy combatants.

Tech note: The Lasgun may use electromagnetic radiation that can penetrate and be based on a ‘graser/ gaser’, (a gamma ray laser), x-ray laser or ultraviolet laser as an ionising medium. If so, this is why it will penetrate armour, go through mirrors etc. Running with this idea, I would speculate that in strict STC designs the graser is not powerful enough to debilitate a target immediately on it’s own, it is the electroshock that stuns and stops the target dead in their tracks. It would cause ionisation damage at higher energy levels, but this could be somewhat mitigated due to the secondary shock effect and the associated lower energy level needed to pull it off. In this concept the Lasgun is a relatively low power weapon compared to regular laser weapons that used brute force photon energy to destroy targets. It only takes around 25W of electroshock to stop the human heart.

Wounds: Even peripheral strikes to limbs from a Lasgun will stun and take a person down. On the pulse setting a strike would stop the heart and render the person disabled via spasm; locked up in excruciating pain before loosing consciousness and dying. High powered Lasgun (hot shot?) may cause explosions of super heated steam to erupt from the strike zone creating large ragged holes in the flesh of the target, and induce radiation sickness. This is not a ‘humane’ weapon.

Thoughts on the IG
29th Dec, 2008

The concept of the IG as part of a futuristic fighting force may seem a little strange to our modern eyes. The IG are often portrayed as basic in comparison with current militaries, having more in common with the warfare, tactics and gear of World War I than a future combat force. However, like all things in 40K it is not always as simple as it first seems, and we can’t compare our world to the future galaxy spanning might of the Imperium or their many powerful factions such as the Adeptus Mechanicus (note to self: Enemy tech suppression and weird views of genetic management of populations, and form of ‘practical’ and ‘situational’ eugenics).

In short the IG is not the Imperium’s main fighting force when dealing with rogue planets and aliens – that is down to the Navy. This is an important distinction as the IG is not used in the same way as out modern millilitres. Primarily the IG is a peace keeping force used for Imperial nation building. They are deployed to ensure a stable environment for the Imperium to put into action various programs to fully convert the world over to the Imperial way. Eventual the IG peace keepers change roles once the world is stable and become Arbites and PDF, and after a few generations are fully integrated into the gene and meme pool.

Another aspect of the institution of the IG is one of population control and disbursement. The excess population of super massive and loyal Hive Worlds are routinely skimmed off for service in the IG. These conscripts are shipped to a world that needs to be stabilised. World population losses through the conflicts in unstable areas are literally replaced by IG who will later settle on the peaceful world (should that come to pass) and who know how to live proper hive life. The traitors are systematically replaced by loyal IG.

It should be noted that even though the IG is a peace keeping force is does not mean that they have not been involved in epic ground battles. Though most full scale 40K ground battles are over in seconds, thanks to the Navy’s WSDMs (weapons of super massive destruction) which can lay waste to an entire worlds from orbit, there are occasions when the Navy holds its fire even when they have orbital superiority. These scenarios often revolve around large IG presence on a world and the possibility that the IG could win a good old fashioned counterinsurgency/ ground war. The Navy will help out, and any positions overrun will disappear in a flash of brilliant sunfire.

Thunderhawk Aerodynamics (not)
13th Nov, 2008

At the moment it is hard to image that the Thunderhawk could fly. Let alone be an effective aerial combat vehicle considering it’s un-aerodynamic ‘blocky’ style. It looks like it would fly about as well as a brick. And a very big, and heavy, brick at that. Yet it is put forward in the background as being superb at its role. It seems to out perform many a modern day jet fighter (and space shuttles!). This post is my take on the design concept. An attempt to explain away how the Thunderhawk works in principle, and why the STC design is the way it is.

Shields Up!
The Thunderhawk is an aerofoil-proxy design. It uses power-shields (similar in concept the power-canopy for Rogue Trader p.124) to form a proxy aerodynamic surface. This allowed the STC designers to kill two birds with one stone: not only would the shields deflect air and act as a proxy aerodynamic surface – but it would also stop bullets! (and bird strike)

In action: the shield (power-canopy) at the front cuts through the air, and because it’s a shield it can be ‘razor sharp’ and frictionless. At hypersonic speeds this fore shield would create vacuum behind it, with the air rushing in around to contact the flat sides of the Thunderhawk and straight through the engines.

Small arms bullets would also be defected, but as they are heavier than air can’t be sucked in as much as air and so wont go though the engines (which is a good thing) and if they are the nature of power-fields (as I describe them would soften the bullet)

Oh, and bird number three to kill: As it is friction less it also makes an excellent heat shield for entering planet’s atmosphere from Space. Ideal for orbital drops.

Fat Wings?
Those aren’t wings they’re anti-gav systems!

The problem with wings is that the need a decent atmosphere to function. On thin atmosphere worlds they’re a bit useless especially with a heavy tank that thinks it’s bird. Conversely on thick atmosphere worlds; friction is a big problem (not with those shields though!).

Another important point is durability. Renegades and aliens aren’t always happy to see Space Marines and have a tendency to open fire on sight. Wings are usually a good thing to shot at. So the Thunderhawk doesn’t have wings, but heavily armoured pylons housing anti-gav systems and fat guns on the end.

It’s a brick
Bricks fall pretty good; much the same as a Thunderhawk crashing through the atmosphere. Wings are we know them on planes can be a bit weedy and sheer of at hypersonic speeds, so the STC designers wouldn’t use them. Bricks hurt if they land on you, planes are a bit light and just burn up on impact with the ground. Whereas a downed Thunderhawk makes a huge hole (“For the Emperor! Even our death will count towards final victory” – some random space marine being well ‘ard 😀 )

Iron Men did it.
13th Nov, 2008

When referring to the Golden Age of Technology I put a lot of emphasis on the ‘Technology’ bit. I do not see it as  the Golden Age of Humanity! (Certainly puts the ‘Dark’ into the Dark Age of Technology when viewed in retrospect by the populous of the Imperium). It seems to me that machines with AI are quite capable of going of and colonising worlds to extract materials, build other machines, fighting wars and even act in a diplomatic capacity when dealing with sentient aliens etc. Humans are a bit redundant in this Human-Machine empire if it weren’t for Psyker powers.

With the human removed from the colonisation equation, even extremely environmentally hostile worlds are up for grabs. From a human point of view most worlds with 1G gravity found in the Milky Way are going to be hostile in some way, but these hostile worlds are relatively easy for purpose manufactured machines, and hence ‘humanity’, to colonise.

Earth like worlds in our reality are a rarity, and finding another Earth is like looking for a needle in a hay stack. It could be that there are no Earth like planets for thousands of light years (in reality), our nearest star may not have any habitable planets, or the next nearest, or the one after that. However that ignored the interference of the Old Ones…

In my version it is the Iron Men who first leave our solar system and conquer the stars in the beginning and throughout the D/GAoT. Humans only start moving about once warp drives are invented and machines find that humans have psionic powers and are the only way to navigate the warp. Otherwise we human would not have gotten an invite to this party.

Once humans start to travel, they travel to worlds already claimed by the Iron Men. They move into complexes already built by the Iron Men which simulate standard earth environments. In many ways this is a machine ‘breeding’ program, playing a numbers game, to find the interesting mutations and manifestations of Psykers. I image that basic human tribal society is what brings he greatest frequency of manifestations of psionics, and hence the machines try to model a tribal society and enforce such a system. This leads to the Ecorium and Ecopolis designs of Project Eden.

The Machine-Human Empire is a four level system;

  1. The Artilects. Great mountains of photonic based artificial intelligence.
  2. The Corporations: run by humans for humans they make the decisions.
  3. The Machines: the replacement for middle and working classes They make everything happen.
  4. Humanity: Living a simple ‘village’ existence within Ecorium. A sort of real life virtual reality made possible by the technology, were they are responsible for themselves and their families and live protected by that technology.

In my mind everything outside the Ecorium would be automated, and Iron Men count as part of that automation. This allows humans to live within idealised tribal societies and retain their strongest card in regard to the Machine-Human alliance: latent psyker powers are a rich resource for the machines to ‘exploit’ for the benefit of all. Hence the navigator program, but also many more.

The machines may have eventually figured it all out, the generic harmonics and the warp image, but it was all brought down by a sudden explosion in psyker manifestations, plunging the Machine-Human empire into disarray and for the Machines to level the charge on humans as ‘traitors’ and withdraw from any and all agreements. Machines disappear, and humans are left with billions of Psykers and demonic manifestations to fight.

Respect mah authoritah!
8th Nov, 2008

The Imperium is made up of several powerful allied factions: The Armies of Terra (Earth), the Adeptus Mechanicus and their armies (Mars), the Inquisition (Terra), each of the Space Marine chapters (Various worlds) and the Grey Knights (Titan) to name but a few. Each a virtual self-contained autonomous empire in their own right, so how do they interact?

This musing of mine is about the authority of each faction has over another, and how this is determined for join ventures if each is independent and actively protects and enforces it’s autonomy? How is it implement at the local level when the humans on many worlds have never seen an actual ‘Space Marine’ and only know of them as angels of half forgotten legends, or to really push out the boat: shadowy and obsessively secret order the ‘inquisitors’?

How does and Inquisitor gain power over another Imperial faction yet remain ‘secret’?

The idea I come up with is to assign a second; a liaison officer between the perceived interloping ‘allies’ and the main body they are interacting with. This allows the force to isolate the influence of the ally through the liaison officer giving the actual orders to the force’s troops.

Space Marines
In order to work, for example, with Space Marines working with Imperial Guard: the Imperial Guard in the battle zone assigns an officer to the Space Marines to act as a liaison with a rank as agreed in treaties between all the various factions of the Imperium. This allows marines to request a liaison officer through their own command structure who then tell the Imperial Guard, and it is the high command of the Imperial Guard that issues the orders to officers in the field to assign an liaison. This way the IG officer knows the orders are authentic (and no judgement calls are needed) when the Marines turn up.

I suspect that when the Imperial Guard ask the Marines for help, the petition comes with a liaison officer already set up.

The Space Marine can now order Imperial Guard units about through the liaison officer, with an effective rank of the liaison officer. This also means that a liaison officer can refuse to give an order (though upsetting the marines in battle is not a good idea, and they may dismiss the liaison officer and act unilaterally).

The great thing about this is that when the Imperial Guard see the liaison officer they recognise them instantly and accept their authority and it is the liaison officer that vouches for the marines. The Imperial Guard troopers can refuse to take an order from a marine (in battle this may be stretched) as they do not recognise the authority of the marine (which is technically correct as the marines are not part of the chain of command of the Imperial Guard).

In action I would imagine that the liaison officer act more as C&C in the field of battle rather than following the marines about (and if they do they will hang back).

I also image that the marines may take temporary campaign markings on leg armour and such.

This is where it gets fun as the Inquisitor does not have to proclaim they are an inquisitor merely a ‘special investigator’. The liaison officer assigned to them for official business does not have to be told who the inquisitor really is, all that matters is that someone high up in the world’s local government has cleared them for access at the highest level possible.

All the people of the world deal with the liaison officer. It is this officer that supplies the ‘recognisable authority’ to local populous, and provides a units to back them up. The inquisitor does not have to show a badge of office the liaison officer and the associated unit (Arbites, PDF etc.) is their ‘badge of office’.

No enemy or chaos minion is alerted to the presence of the Inquisition and the existence of the inquisition is neither confirmed or denied.

This means that all orders for assistance in the field go up through the Inquisitors chain of command (reports going with it) to the appropriate level (highest level if needs be) and then jumps over to the appropriate level in the chain of command of the faction the Inquisition is dealing with.

The Imperium is not noted for it’s speed and this system can cause problems – t can take time if an Inquisitor suddenly turns up, without any groundwork and has not been assigned a liaison officer, and demand to requisition a star ship from the navy. The navy officer does not have to comply (they wouldn’t under this system) but instead waits for order from their own chain of command to cooperate and to what level. About all the Inquisitor can do when they show up is claim a form of ‘diplomatic immunity’ and provide some codes (probably handled like nuke launch codes).

If a liaison officer from the navy is already in place in the Inquisitor can assume command of any ship up to the rank of the liaison officer. If they Inquisitor needs more power the can request it from their own command structure which works out the details with the navy who issue the command.

All nice and neat, and also allows the Inquisition’s command and control to keep an eye on their inquisitors!


Ad-Mec food intake…
6th Nov, 2008

How do the Tech-Priests of the Adeptus-Mechanicus eat? Ever seen one feed? Do they feed like regular humans?

I was musing on this and figured something similar to my ideas of the Space Marines back-pack may prove to be a good place to start. Perhaps a little radical but how about mixing a re-breather with a backpack bio-waste recycling system to produce an integrated life-support system powered by a micro plasma engine?

The system would reprocess all waste using the energy of the plasma-engine to drive the reprocessing, before feeding it back into the bio-system. As a bonus bionics can also be powered by this system.

This would mean the a Tech-Priest does not each food as such and instead is powered buy a plasma-engine and ‘feeds’ on tritium (H3). This feeding could be via implant flasks with a back up (for times when fuel supply not assured) could be a face mounted hydrogen extractor to process regular air and- or water.

It may be a bit extreme but it gives the Tech-Priest a nice ‘otherworldly’ feel to them. Plus is they process water they would have an excess of Oxygen and could vent it with puff of fire via a stovepipe (stovepipe is a type of top hat, and that’s not weird at all… ) or some snazzy palm mount hand flamers.

This life-support system may also work wonders for Space Marines.


Wizards vs Psykers
6th Nov, 2008

This is a concept of cross-linking Warhammer 40K Psykers with Warhammer Fantasy Wizards by having them share the same meta framework.

The ‘winds of magic’ as chaos energy drawn into reality and stabilised via Slann Tech. In the fantasy setting this is a residual effect of the polar gates, processing the warp energy and spewing it into the world.

Light (white) magic is a collection of all the colours. The Elves in fantasy can use light magic and it is very powerful. Humans in fantasy can only use a single colour. Dark Magic is not a ‘wind of magic’ but instead a direct tapping of the warp (circumventing the Slann Tech processing).

Using this concept in 40K, the Eldar use white magic which is processed via their technology. This isolated them from the full temptation and corruption of chaos.

Human Psyker tap the warp directly and therefore use the fantasy equivalent of ‘Dark Magic’. This leave them prone to corruption and temptation by chaos (hence most human psykers are soul bound).

The wind of magic in the fantasy setting sense are rare in 40K, but they do turn up near warp rifts and the Eye of Terror. When a human in 40K is exposed so the winds of magic some find they can channel it and effective become magic-users (hedge).

Some machines in 40K, like warp drives, leak winds of magic and therefore need special counter measures.

At high concentrations the winds of magic can be inhabited by ‘spirits’, these are similar in concept to the daemons of the warp except they are in the winds. This opens the option of having the undead in 40K, zombies and ghosts. Therefore a warp engine that is leaking can be haunted…

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