13th Jul, 2009

It is not always clear to many why someone would worship Nurgle as it is the god of 'despair' and that hardly sounds like the basis of a chaos champion. However this is perhaps too narrow a take on 'Father Nurgle', and when we consider all 'his' characteristics it becomes clear why someone would worship 'him'. It is almost all the same reasons people turn to current religions in our world - peace, acceptance, forgiveness, caring, love, endurance etc. While hope is more the realm of Tzeentch, Nurgle seems to be about acceptance of one's situation and working with what you have rather than wishing on 'vein hope'. Nurlge seems to be eminently practical, a god of the people, the poor, the dispossessed, all those who want to survive without big dreams and ambitions, to bring up a family, to 'fit in', to be a part of a greater the community and accept restrictions to achieve that. To endure hard times, that is Nurgle, and even a slave would pray to Nurgle for salvation. For in doing so they are asking for help not empowerment (rather than the other chaos gods which seems to all be the go-getters and party animals).

Nurlge also seems to be quite complex, not merely despair, but also covers 'rebirth' and transformation after grief and loss, of changing (very chaos). Anyone that hate their life and undergoes a transformation after suffering is exhibiting emotions that feed Nurgle. There is more - it also seems to cover 'glee' (carnival of Nurgle) and entertainers (many who suffer from depression) and a sense of humour, and self depreciating humour at that (who doesn't think a Clown is an agent of Nurgle? An alcoholic Clown reeking of booze stumbling about the place?).

And while Slaanesh maybe a total crack head, and love stimulants, Nurgle seems to get all the depressants like alcohol, and all the drugs that aid in 'forgetting' and 'enduring' like pain killers (something I imagine Slaanesh would not like, or Khorne).

Nurlge is perhaps the greatest of all the chaos gods, and looking at this broader image of Nurgle it's clear to see why - we, the common man, already worship him; and we didn't even know it (but Nurlge is caring and does not demand recognition, it sustains us in our darkest hours...). Nurgle can be found at the bottom of a pint glass, it can be heard in the laughter down the pub, in the giggles of loose women, felt in the embrace of prostitutes, seen in the eyes of staving children, and smelt in the infections and STDs that plague humanity. It could even be said to be the driving force in reproduction, in the pain and madness of love, right down to the self sacrificing love and care a parent has for their child.

Nurgle is with us. Always. It is the default chaos god....

Well it would if we were in 40K!

As a last thought, St. Nicholas used to have a green costume before coca~cola got a hold of him. A portly gentlemen, full of glee, with gifts, and bring forth a time of drinking, and over indulgence, but also strife, debt and feelings guilt - all marking the winter solstice - Father Christmas is probably an aspect of Nurgle. A Greater Daemon? Sometimes chaos is tempting 😀


Is the Emperor a Vampire?
8th Jul, 2009

This is another one of my crazy thoughts. I posted it on Warseer, but it didn't get much response, so I thought I would post it here.

Could the Emperor be a 40K (Rogue Trader '87) vampire?

The 40K version drains 'Psi points' instead of blood. Along with that it has polymorphic ability (can change its metabolism to match), they assume/ seek positions of power, have psychic power like humans, their stat lines (in game terms) is far superior to that of a human, and they are immortal.

The Emperor could be a very powerful Vampire. An Alpha class human is pretty strong, but an equivalent Vampire may be even more powerful.

It would also explain some other quirks of the Emperor, such as the need to consume 1,000 Psykers to survive. Something a vampire would relish, and the golden throne may have been a fortunate happenstance of the Emperor's confrontation with Horus.

It may also explain some other legacy aspects, like the the Blood Angels' need to drink blood, the World Eaters, and perhaps all chapter's marine creation process seeming to involve blood (Space Wolves and Blood Angels being the most obvious).

The Primarchs may be vampire/ human hybrids. It may explain some of the mutations instead of 'chaos did it', Sanguinius' wings (a variant of bat wings) and the Space Wolves fangs (Vampires and wolves have a long association). The wulfen may be a type of marine that has gone to far over to the Vampire (Werewolf) side.

Taking all this into account when thinking about who the Emperor is on Earth - 'Dracula' springs to mind, but I think the historical base is probably a better 'grim dark' version. Dracula needs a 40K makeover to match.

As to where the Emperor is now?

If he is a 'Vampire' and not human, 'his' motivations and aims may be very different to what we assume them to be. Instead of a beacon of humanity as he claims, he may be exploiting humanity instead. The credit he took for guiding humanity may be complete hogwash, he could've rewritten history from his position of power.

Clues to his whereabouts could be found in our 'modern day', or rather the modern day of the 40K alternate universe, left by his need to feed. Zombies. I suspect Zombies would be here and now as humans have not become proper Psykers yet, and do not have enough psi energy for the Emperor to feed and leave little effect.

I suspect that anywhere in the world where people can disappear en masse, the Emperor will be there - feeding. This would put him in very different places to where one might expect. Instead of being at the forefront of human endeavour, leading humanity to the stars, he is probably embedded in positions of power within concentration camps (Nazi, Khmer Rouge, etc.), max security prisons, or countries that are totalitarian and isolated. An alternate reality of North Korea? Kim Jong-il? After all being the only vampire on the planet is probably quite lonely... 😛

Actually he would probably be heading up one of (alternate reality) North Korea's concentration camps.


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).

Dan Browned
19th Apr, 2009

I was looking at my sites logs to see where all the traffic is coming from, I do this from time to time out of curiosity, and I noticed that was a bit of traffic from 'TV Tropes'. The link in my log files lead me to the 'Dan Browned' entry. Tentatively I followed, and after reading the Trope my fears were confirmed and I must confess I was a little concerned. I scanned through the entry, and I finally found the link to my site under Tabletop Games;

Source: TV Tropes: Dan Browned This troper has yet to meet a 40k fan who even tried taking the science seriously as to how it actually worked. Ironically enou... C the tactics employed by the various races in fluff have met a degree of grudging acknowledgement of having been researched and at least being plausible by the jarheads who played it most of the time.

  • This guy gives it his best shot to try and justify the 40K universe. It's not perfect, but he tries.

That's not bad, in fact it's quite good! Hence this post 😀 It seems I've come up as the lone voice of trying to make sense of 40K 'as is' (I think that is some kind of definition of madness...). Anyway, it made me smile, and a took a certain twisted pride in it.

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 protocols for cooperation between the factions. What is the process that allows one faction to become part of another's chain of command? How is the authority established for joint ventures if each is independent and actively protects and enforces its autonomy? How can it be implemented at the local level, when most humans on many a world have never seen an actual 'Space Marine'? Most only know of them as mythical angels of half-forgotten legends. Or to really push out the boat to make the point, we must consider the shadowy and obsessively secret order the 'inquisitors'. How does a secret organisation assume authority if no one knows about them, or have no idea what an Inquisitor seal is, or how to verify any Inquisitional credentials???

How does and Inquisitor gain power over another Imperial faction yet rIn practical terms, how does and Inquisitor gain power over another Imperial faction, such as the Adeptus Arbites, yet remain 'secret' and not alert those they hunt to their presence?

The idea I come up with is to assign a 'second'; a liaison officer between the 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

How this works with Space Marines interacting with the Imperial Guard; the Marine command requests a liaison officer. The Imperial Guard command then assigns a liaison offer to the Marine force. This liaison officer, with a rank as agreed in treaties, grants the Marines the authority equal to the liaison officer's rank. The Marines then use the liaison officer's rank to give commands; the liaison officer is as a proxy. The liaison officer only has to confirm the arrangement with other Imperial Guard officers and units in the field. Once the authority is verified, and the new chain of command established, the liaison can step back. This way, the IG officer in the field knows the orders to obey the Marines is authentic as it came from their own command (and no judgement calls are needed). Even if the Imperial Guard unit has no idea what a Marine is, they know their own officers, and it's the officer that tells the rank and file.

Once set up the Space Marines can now order Imperial Guard units about the place, through the power of the liaison officer, with an effective rank of the liaison officer. This also means that a liaison officer can override Marine orders (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. It's the liaison officer that vouches for the marines. Without this setup, there could be issues. The Imperial Guard troopers, without confirmation from their own command, could refuse to take an order from a Marine (in battle this may be a stretch, considering how awesome Marines are) 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 (none of them wants to be shot by a Commissioner!).

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

I also imagine that the marines may take temporary campaign markings on leg armour and such. Markings similar to tanks (as Marines are like mini-one-man-tanks!)

More on Space Marines


This is where it gets fun as the Inquisitor does not have to proclaim they are an inquisitor merely a 'special investigator' or some other cover. 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 All the people of a given world will deal with the liaison officer. It is this officer that supplies the 'recognisable authority' to local populous, and provides the units for back 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. The existence of the Inquisition is neither confirmed or denied. As far as the records show, the Inquisitor was never there, and the operations were all carried out by local units.

This means that all orders for assistance in the field go up through the Inquisitor's 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 its speed, and this system can cause problems. If an Inquisitor suddenly turns up, without any groundwork and has not been assigned a liaison officer, and demands to requisition a starship from the navy; it can take time. The navy officer does not have to comply (they wouldn't comply 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, and if they want to keep their identity secret, is claim a form of 'diplomatic immunity'. Perhaps provide some codes (probably handled like nuke launch codes) in some form of passport (which does not identify them as an Inquisitor but a noble or some other high-ranking cover).

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

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

More on The Inquisition

Best wishes,