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Made in gb
Ridin' on a Snotling Pump Wagon

I can recommend Necromunda’s “House of” source books.

To my mind, they’re the closest we’ve had to Rogue Trader era inventiveness of background in a long time.

This may be due to “new background for a long familiar setting”. But I’ve enjoyed Chains and Blades (sounds kinky) a great deal.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives? Why not join us?

H.B.M.C, 27 July 2022. Suddenly the Chaos Codex doesn't seem so bad.

Not at all quote mined. 
Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


Nice tip! I've got to check them out, then. Thanks for the recommendation!

I've liked basically all I've seen of concept art and miniatures for the peripheral parts of Necromunda. People often accuse GW of having lost 40k's grimdark way, but this is demonstably not too accurate. Instead, the entry point is heroic superhumans in big pauldrons, with the grim darkness being very much alive once you get beyond that. Not too different from 2nd edition and onward.

Dragged Screaming and Kicking

Audio Version by a Vox in the Void

"Arbites! We can tolerate no friction among His subjects. No dissent. No recidivism. Be vigilant!

These are strained times, restless and confused, yet know that His hand guides you in your sanctioned work. Thus you must trust in your instincts, and let neither hesitation nor doubt hinder you from arresting anyone who you so much as harbour a vague sense of suspicion towards. Be pious and firm in your belief in the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, and all your endeavours shall turn out well. No hesitation. No remorse. Only purge. Sweep the streets clean of malcontents and miscreants!

As our Divine Majesty's watchmen, you must be unrelenting in the pursuit of your duty. Your duty is to maintain order, to uphold the Lex Imperialis and to crack down with force on any utterances of thought of self, irrespective if they take the form of speech or deed. For along that path lurks anarchy and heresy, and you must catch all who stray. Be strong! Yield not! And always pursue!

On your patrols you will encounter those among the rabble who would look askance at men and women of authority. You will hear foul whispers behind your back. And you will come across tardy subjects who will shirk away and drag their feet in cooperating and obeying commands from you, always doing as little as they could possibly get away with.

These are cases of Obstruction of Legal Officers and Irreverence Toward Masters, and must be dealt with brutally! Set an example of one to put the fear of the God-Emperor into the hearts of a hundred. Use power-mauls, shotgun butts and fists, knees and boots to quickly bring the sloth-scum down on the ground. A headbutt will also suffice, for you wear helmets, and they usually don't. Once on the ground, set upon them with violence, and aid your patrol-colleagues in the beating. Bones must break audibly. Bruisings and blood must be visible. Any associates of the uncooperative trash must be dealt with in like manner, until no one among the mob dare challenge your Emperor-given authority!

Teach them to step up eagerly and assist His arbitrators and judges. These brutes understand little else but might, and so might will be put forward, with the emblems of your office proudly displayed and polished for all to see as you carry out your hard work.

And once the obstructionist is thoroughly mauled, you bring them back to the precinct. If all flank hooks of your vehicles are already occupied with bagged and bound prisoners, then bind their limbs and drag them screaming and kicking over the streets and roads as you resume your patrol round. Make the knot strong, and their weak-willed flesh will fail before our tools of justice do. The death of an obstructionist before interrogation is of no consequence. These deviants already sealed their fate by their own conduct. The price is theirs to pay.

You will teach the rabble to fear the thump of our armoured boots. You will teach them to jump to help us out! You will suppress any inclination to arrogance and obstruction, and you will make out of them dutiful servants of the God-Emperor. As are we all!

For we are His wrath and His judgement, and our deed is His command.

Let us go forth and cleanse this den of filth and felony, for His will is our shield.

Let us punish the evil-doer and the offender, for His light is our mace.

Let us break him who break the law, for His gaze is our badge.

And fear not the darkness, for we bring His vengeance like a torch in our hands.

Be without mercy. Be one with hatred. Be always true. Be vigilant.

Ave Imperator! Move out!"

- Provost-Commissioner Tarquinius Dzharqunius, speaking in 238.M39 to a patrol shift of the Adeptus Arbites, in the Courthouse Precinct of Hive Hemithea, Aiakos Hive Cluster, on Decebalus IV

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/09/28 07:47:29

Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


Human Bomb

Audio Version by a Vox in the Void

In a demented age of darkness and suffering, human depravity is harnessed for total war.

The sacrifice of the self is a lynchpin in Imperial modes of thinking. To throw yourself upon enemy arms is the act of a virtuous subject of the Emperor on Earth. To offer up limb and life in combat or labour is an honourable deed that makes that life worth having been lived in the first place. To give up yourself and your offspring and kin is a praiseworthy contribution to the cause of the species and its divine lord on Terra. For the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Imperium, and as long as men, women and children are prepared to cast themselves unto death for the God-Emperor, His domains will endure across the stars.

Great empires are not maintained by timidity, and so the Imperium of Man have long since ceased hesitating over plunging the worst depths of immorality in pursuit of its costly triumphs. Victory must be won at any price, and the survival of mankind as a whole is dependent on its overlords' callous disregard for human life and dignity. Man, after all, is nothing but yet another resource to expend in order to uphold Imperial power. Man on his own is nothing. Man exist to serve: He is nought but a number in a broken calculation of increased input to bolster a decrepit galactic civilization with feet of clay.

The Human Bombs of the Penal Legions are but one of countless examples of the extreme measures which the Imperium of Man employs on a regular basis. Albeit the practice was originally born out of desperation in half-forgotten millennia of the early Imperium, it has long since solidified into a standard weapon system of the Astra Militarum.

Among the convicted criminals filling the ranks of the Penal Legions are to be found sinners, whose crimes can never truly be repented in their lifetimes. Those are felons who have violated and tortured others, and are ridden by intense emotions of regret and insane repentance over what they have done. Among these doomed humans, many are psychotic and suicidal, and will often grasp any chance to earn the Emperor's forgiveness through death in battle. Once identified, such men and women of damnation are immediately recruited into the Human Bomb squads, where they can seek redemption for their sins.

Members of the Adeptus Ministorum will guide these lost souls in meditation and prayer, to make them understand what they must do to receive His full forgiveness. Before battle, lay techmen will equip the Penal Legionnaires with a bomb harness and arm the explosives, while preachers or confessors utter liturgies and blessings. The Human Bombs make the sign of the Aquila, and press triggers of igniters in a grip which only death will cease. Absolution is at hand. Only once the harness is detonated will the soul of the redeemed sinner be forgiven and welcomed to join the side of the God-Emperor in peace.

And so Imperial Guard commanders will employ suicide bombers in deadly situations on the battlefield, such as to clear the breaches of the foe's fortifications or counteract enemy infantry possessing superior size and armour to lowly Guardsmen. These living explosives are a potent tool in the Imperial arsenal, and have often won the Astra Militarum the element of surprise against hostiles for which such tactics would be unthinkable, such as long-lost human colonists or the naïve Tau upstarts on the Eastern Fringe. Human life is the true currency of the Imperium, and what great difference is there between ordering tens of millions of soldiers to advance into the jaws of certain death with a gun in their hand, and transforming them into Human Bombs? Aren't we all awaiting our chance to sacrifice ourselves for our species and lord? For is not a death that serve the Imperium usefully a benign mercy to repentant sinners?

It is better to die for the Emperor, than to live for yourself.

Aside from innumerable improvized solutions, there exist a number of Standard Template Construct (STC) patterns of bomb harnesses. All of these are of crude make and stand as testament to such far-fetched contingency armaments having been originally designed by ancient Abominable Intelligences to aid their human colonists only in the most desperate of circumstances. What once was almost only a theoretical emergency situation back in the Dark Age of Technology, has since become standard fare in the grim darkness of the far future.

And so the Age of Imperium grinds on, its rusting machinery greased by human sweat and blood. Thus on ten thousand battlefields on distant words, the voice of the damned ring out, eager to redeem their baleful sins and find forgiveness in death. As bombs are locked onto flesh, those voices ring out as one, its battlecry stark and fervent; its message that of the true fanatic; its words the very essence of the future of our species:

"For the Emperor!"

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/28 07:58:32

Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut

Tampa,FL USA

 Hellebore wrote:
 John Prins wrote:
Hellebore wrote:
The first thing anyone building one of those would do, is ensure it could build new STCs, so there would be very small chance they only had one on each World

On the contrary, the first thing you do is make sure they cannot build more of them. Because it only takes one deranged idiot to demand a planet killing weapon from the machine and kill everyone. The ideal situation is you have one to get established, and you learn from the machine and establish your own thinking, inventive civilization until you don't need the STC anymore, and could rebuild it if you did. You literally only need one, and like everything else from that era, it's built to last.

When everything goes pear shaped, however, the STCs are definitely the first targets you'd try to eliminate. So you can bet the Men of Iron deliberately targeted any STC machines they could ASAP, or worse, infected them to turn on mankind as well.

I don't think so. At the time they were made, they were colonisation tools given out to everyone. They were created to aid colonists. And anyone sending a complex piece of machinery like the STC out as the sole provider of everything would understand how precarious those colonists would be. So many problems from launch to landing. They wouldn't send it without redundancy.

And they'd need to repair it, so it would need to know how to make components of itself.

What humans and men of iron did to them after that is a separate issue. Star trekesque engineers made them as benevolent multi tools for human colonists.

I mean they're basically a cross between star trek computer systems and 3d printers.

Actually, they're Aasimovian machines. The STCs are straight lifted from Foundation where, while people knew how to operate them, the actual maintenance and operative functions were kept secret by a technology caste that hid everything behind a religious cult that eventually just plain became a religious cult as time went on, technological knowledge became rote ritual, and things were forgotten because the machines did everything themselves(sound familiar?). Even in Foundation, the machines and a group of tech caste priests were sent along with colonists to help them set everything up so that the average person didn't know how to set one of them up.

You know you're really doing something when you can make strangers hate you over the Internet. - Mauleed
Just remember folks. Panic. Panic all the time. It's the only way to survive, other than just being mindful, of course-but geez, that's so friggin' boring. - Aegis Grimm
Hallowed is the All Pie
The Before Times: A Place That Celebrates The World That Was 
Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


We could add that the tech priests in Foundation wore red robes.

I Who Am Born To Die

Audio Version by a Vox in the Void

"I who am born to die salute You, Imperator.

I declare my loyalty to Your dominion and Your glory everlasting.

I commit my soul to Your forgiveness and Your divine embrace.

O, God-Emperor on Holy Terra, receive my humble offering upon the altar of war and deem it worthy.

Deem my death worthy, as my life was not.

Redemption for my sins, that You all know of, I seek through sacrifice.

I sacrifice to You alone, for none other than Your Divine Majesty is the rightful saviour and ruler of man.

O, lord of hosts and leader of the people, have mercy.

Have mercy upon my soul. I ask of You, have mercy.

Shelter its fluttering candle light from the stormwinds of damnation.

Glory unto You, Imperator.

Carry this small light safely to Your Golden Throne on mythical Earth.

Glory unto You, Imperator.

And join this drop of flame to the bright heavenfire of all redeemed mankind, set to outshine the darkness.

Glory unto You, Imperator.

To be one with my species in death.

Power unto You, Imperator.

To preserve my eternal soul.

Power unto You, Imperator.

To save my true essence from the torment of the hells.

Power unto You, Imperator.

This I seek, and for this I lay down my life.

Reign immortal, Imperator.

This alone I crave, for my life is dust.

Reign immortal, Imperator.

This I pledge, or may my soul forever be damned.

Reign immortal, Imperator.

Bless my flesh as flames blast it to cinders. Bless my ashes as they fall upon maimed foes. Bless my spirit in its final journey to salvation.

Only in death is there solace. Only in death is there redemption. Only in death does duty end.

I die in Your name:

Ave Imperator!"

- Death oath of Human Bombs of the MCCCXLVII Penal legion, as recorded by Confessor Albrahimiq d'Iolvertus in 668.M40 prior to the Disaster at the River Moreus on Skutatoi Minoris, which saw the complete annihaltion of the 3 million men in Astra Militarum Systemata-Hostis Percennia (XIX-XXV Armies) under Lord-General Theofilius af Hötzenschlacht

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/28 07:58:45

Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


Juve Soldier

In a desperate time of suffering and insanity, age is no excuse to shirk from your duty.

The harsh rule of the Imperium of Man strive to leave none free of its grasping talons. Even though real control over society is limited on most human worlds, Imperial ambitions are nonetheless total and all-encompassing in scope. Ideally, no subject of the God-Emperor should be left outside the power of their rightful masters. In reality, vast swathes of planetary and voidborne populations alike live their entire lives while barely registering the existence of the Imperium of Man.

Many such people outside direct Imperial control are too poor, or too rich, or too many, or live in too remote locations for the reach of the Emperor-appointed powers that be. For instance, the innumerable billions, or even trillions of humans dwelling in hellish Underhives across a million worlds, will rarely (if ever) see Imperial officials or soldiers in their short, brutish and nasty lives. Oftentimes, the failure of the Imperium to impose its cruel control over the entire population of planets and voidholms comes down to its screeching inefficiency, rotten bureaucracy, rampant corruption and sheer incompetence. Another age-old limit to the effective power of Imperial organizations are their corpse-like rigidity of order, where individual initiatives, innovations and the bypassing of hierarchies for swifter or better results may result in draconic punishments ranging from death, torture, burning at the stake or lobotimization and transformation into a cyborg thrall known as a Servitor.

Crude colossus with feet of clay though it may be, the Imperium will nevertheless try to impose total control over those sectors of society that its powers may reach. To live under the heavy hand of Imperial rule is to lead an utterly regimented life of endless indoctrination into a rabidly loyal subject of the Imperium, ever eager to report on deviants and malcontents, ever willing to lynch heretics and mutants, and ever ready to sacrifice yourself for the higher cause. To come to age under Imperial purview is to grow up into a blind fanatic and ritually obsessed practicer of the Cult Imperialis, your mind filled with litanies of hate, psalms of vindiction, mantras of purging, hymns of martyrdom and prayers of penitence. Such is the saturation of Imperial dogma in these juvenile Imperial subjects' lives, that many of them end up monomaniacally incapable of doubting the Imperium for even a second, no matter what atrocities their eyes and ears may bear witness to. Thus are fine subjects to the Emperor moulded at a tender age, and thus is the future of the Imperium secured. Blessed be the children.

The Imperium of Man harbour no softness in its heart of stone, for weakness is the bane of the whole species. Only the ruthless may attain dominion, and only the cruel may uphold supremacy. The law of power is written into the stars: A hard life breeds hardy people, and all is well when the weak are culled. Thus Imperial authorities approve of the abominable hardships that plague the lives of most humanity, for misery makes people grow up fast, as it were, and desperation is the mother of ability. Many children in the Imperium of Man will learn to survive, fight and kill in their everyday lives, or else succumb to a harsh reality that brooks no pacific timidity.

Orphans in the Schola Progenium learn to handle weapons long before the age of ten, and the situation is not much different on the streets of hive cities or in the wildlands of tribes. Many Imperial subjects will have slayed someone before they reach adulthood, and almost all will have been regularly beaten bloody by grown-ups and participated in nasty kid fights, some losing eyes, fingers and other body parts in the process. A great many will also join gangs at an early age, for it is better to be in the pack of ravenous predators, than to be ravaged by it.

When rampant violence is such an inseparable part of the human condition, how could there ever be anything wrong with recruiting adolescents and children into the ranks of militias and more organized militaries? Most cultures on the worlds and voidholms of the Imperium will count its members as adults by the age of fifteen, yet few indeed will have any scruples about arming those they consider children. Many times, Imperials will choose to fill gaps in the ranks of armed forces with properly indoctrinated children, rather than turning to adults from population sections with unreliable schooling in Imperial loyalty. The phenomenon of child soldiers has been a fact of life since time immemorial, and few humans indeed will ever stop and think about it.

Thus it is that juve soldiers can be found all across the galaxy, serving alongside their elders in a myriad of Astra Militarum regiments, Planetary Defence Forces (PDF), noble House Guards, tribal warbands, authorized street gangs and local militias. Here, the children will reach adulthood and face their rites of passage among the rough warriors, or die trying. Many juves will be fired up with tales of martial exploits and dreams of glory, and will volunteer for service, often lying about their age and pass themselves off as older than they really are. Others will be forcefully inducted into military units, a custom that is particularly common in times of crisis and massive casualties. After all, even a child can fire a lasgun.

Picking up large weapons and donning boots and uniforms that leave a lot of space for growing in, these often malnourished boys and girls at arms will not seldom march into slaughterfests of dark trauma and gain scars both physical and mental in nature. A glorious death is theirs, and the chance to fulfill their dreams has been given them by the Divine Majesty. Many juve soldiers will be picked out of various Imperial, planetary and voidholms' youth organizations, who all prepare the children and adolescents for arms, combat and the rigours of a soldier's life.

An endless flora of legends about juve soldiers thrive across the Imperium of Man, telling of gallantry, self-sacrifice, duty and piety in the face of horrors and monstrous foes. Who cannot remember stories of plucky little boys and girls who destroyed great tanks and killed rampaging behemoths against all odds? Who cannot recount tales of brave children in arms throwing themselves bodily before the blasting mouths of enemy guns in order to allow their comrades to cleanse bunkers? Who have not heard of captive juves who died with the Emperor's name on their lips while being torn to shreds under sadistic torture? Rejoice, for the Imperium's youth under arms will uphold these proud traditions and fight for their species and lord! Rejoice, for glory is theirs to win in battle! Rejoice, for a childhood well spent!

Such are the lives of uncounted billions of juve soldiers serving across the vast expanse of the God-Emperor's sacred domains. Such are the deaths of those who fall fighting for the cause of Holy Terra. Such is the will of the Emperor.

Truly, mankind is blessed with a fighting spirit that burn brightly from cradle to grave. For parents will not only give up their sons and daughters, but juves will offer themselves willingly to the armies of the Imperium. Is this not a sign of the chosen status of humanity? Is this not proof of the righteousness of our cause? Is this not a banner to rally around? And so the word goes out: The Emperor of mankind want you in arms! For what force in the universe could ever stop the might of man truly united, subservient to the Emperor and flocking to sacrifice himself, no matter his age?

Thus a grand tragedy of suffering, death and stolen innocence replays itself over and over again as centuries grind on, and the decaying Age of Imperium grows older with yet another millennium, yet another year of mass graves and unheard grief, yet another day of carnage and blood. For the Imperium of Man will baulk at nothing to preserve its overlordship of power and hate, and it will not hesitate to feed the meatgrinder with an ever larger number of soldiers for increased input in a broken calculation. Aye, the survival of the human species itself is at stake, but more pressing matter for its masters is the need to preserve Imperial rule and Imperial strength for their very own sake.

Forget the shining Knights and proudly painted power armour for a moment. If you want to imagine the reality of war in the Imperium of Man, then imagine children in uniform beside adult soldiers, weapons in hand as they charge into no man's land, letting out a fervent battlecry as a firestorm engulf them: "For the Emperor!"

Such is the demented state of man, in the darkest of futures. Such is the depravity that awaits our species.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only war.

Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa


That's pretty haunting

Skinflint Games- war gaming in the age of austerity


Made in us
Stubborn Hammerer



Scorched Juice Thief

Legends tell of the Terran gods of old who cast lightning unto Earth to hunt humankind for punishment, yet a traitor demigod captured some bolts and gifted ancient man with the knowledge of how to harness that sparkling power to pull his burdens and light the darkness, and ever since that fabled day have electricity coursed through cables crafted by human hands. Most legends also tell of the renegade demigod's horrendous penalty, usually involving an eternity of being shocked through sensitive body parts, nigh unto death in everlasting fits of cramp and agony, for the gods of old are said to have been jealous of their power, and knew boundless hate for anyone wishing to steal their lightning from on high.

Thus it was that the folklore of disparate human savages during the Unification Wars and the Great Crusade made many tribes recognize the lightning bolts of the variant Imperial Aquila as indicator of the Emperor's god-ordained status as humanity's chosen subjugator, arbitrator and saviour. For truly did the Imperium carry awe-inspiring forces at its disposal, and indeed did its star-sailing arks cast lightning unto anyone who crossed the nascent Imperium of Man. Such raw power and exalted, lethal might could not be denied by anyone but the most foolhardy.

To this day, many scattered human colonies who have survived in regressed isolation and squalor since the Age of Strife, react to the arrival of Imperial missionaries, explorators and invasion forces with the same awe-struck reverence. The Imperium may not be a good force of philantropic morals to adore, but to most men and women it nevertheless stands as a fearsome edifice of bristling strength and power to which they must submit for the good of all. Indeed the Imperial symbols of the soaring but cruel predatory eagle and the the treasured but deadly lightning bolt represent the essential character of the Emperor's domains since the Imperium's very inception.

Innumerable human cultures across the Milky Way Galaxy retain some sense of the God-Emperor's connection to lightning in the heavens and electrical power alike, usually held to be a material grant from the benevolent Imperator in His guise as the Omnissiah to unworthy humanity. Thus accidental deaths from electrocution will often be taken as proof of His Divine Majesty's disapproving judgement on wayward sinners.

Human civilizations have been dependant on the forces of harnessed lightning since the early Age of Terra. Indeed electricity is as essential for higher technological cultures to persist as air to breathe is. On a million worlds and uncounted spacebound habitats, the works of superstitious man run on captive power, and without it he would be nothing but a dirt-bound barbarian left to the mercy of the night.

Many known STC systems involving the most advanced levels of electronics and electricity are too complex and refined to manufacture and maintain for the populations of most planets and voidholms to experience in everyday life. Instead, utilitarian Imperial society is often stuck with more primitive and robust means of power, preserved among the simpler systems left over from the scattered heritage of the Dark Age of Technology. More advanced electrical hardware of new production is usually only seen in the hands of higher Imperial Adepta, rich noble Houses and a low number of tech-clans with an exceptionally well-preserved grasp of some tech (e.g. Van Saar in Hive Primus on Necromunda), as well as in the hoarding Adeptus Mechanicus.

Safety is usually a minor concern among electricians and Guilds in the Imperium. By far more important is the safeguarding of one's powerlines from competitors and parasitical scum who would wish to feed off your juice. Electricity theft is a rampant problem all across the more civilized worlds of the Imperium, with an ever-renewing horde of crims and scummers willing to risk their lowly lives by hooking into your grid and harvest your bitterly begotten electricity. Such juice thieves will climb and crawl and cut to get to the sweet voltage inside cables and conduits and power stations, and they live only a knife's edge away from a scorched death at the hands of the lethal current they so lust after. Sin is indeed often its own reward, as innumerable scorched corpses attest to.

Juice thieves usually only leach off minor power lines, along which Guild personnel, hired gangers and armed techmen regularly patrol to unhook thief lines, pick down burnt power poachers and shoot any leachers on sight. Yet a few daring souls will attempt to tap their illegal lines into the massive juice trunks which feed major hive industries and Guilds directly from the geothermal heat sink at the heart of the hive. This is an exceedingly dangerous endeavour, since mere proximity to a loaded power trunk is enough to kill in an instant, yet even so a few daredevils manage to pull the stunt off. Such treasured leach lines will often feed power into entire settlements and sections in the Underhive, warming and lighting uncounted filthy inbreds down in the nightmarish city depths at the expense of honest Emperor-fearing people uphive.

One such juice thief was Sinden Kass from the Underhive quake hole settlement of Junktion in Hive Primus of Necromunda. Junktion once led a prosperous existence as a dirty boomtown, taking hefty fees to winch travellers and their wares high up into the lower hive, cutting down travelling times for Underhive expeditions by a great deal for anyone willing to pay up. The magpie known as Sinden Kass was a lamplighter of Junktion, a thief who dared to plug into a massive power trunk which fed the Mercantile Guild counting-houses in the Orlock quarter.

As a result, all the lights in these Guild chambers started to flicker, which irritated Master Vlitz Thaki, Mercantile Guild Senior Deputy Comptroller of Satrapies for the 81st Subdivision of the Hive City of our all-providing Hive Primus. The workhouses around Master Thaki's counting-houses shone bright enough without such flicker, since they took its electricity from separate lines. Master Thaki gave a brief order to his artificers and techmen to "do something about that, see to it." These techmen first cross-fed some electrical power to stop the lamps flickering, then they backtracked their lines found some Underhiver's bodged cable-tap.

In response, the adjutant of Master Thaki told one of his captains to retaliate against the filthy scum down there. The captain sent out one of his own subordinates, who took some well-equipped Guild armsmen and rappelled down the Well into Junktion. Their quick and furious raid saw dozens killed indiscriminately. Punitive explosives were planted to sabotage the local water supply (leading to bloody thirst riots and gang war), and then the boomtown fathers were publicly executed in the square of the little settlement. The only small report that made it up the chain of command through the adjutant to Vlitz Thaki, was one of the power line having been fixed without even bothering to mention the raid, and Master Thaki was happy to see his lights working as they should again.

Thus one lamplighter's juice theft fuelled an inbred boomtown in the Underhive, until the righteous armoured fist of uphive forces crushed the bastards, and restored good lights to the Mercantile Guild. Such events are numerous beyond counting in the hive cities and voidholms of the Imperium, and simply part of the violent routine of drudgery which constitutes life for a majority of Imperial subjects across the galaxy.

Thus the ancient legends of lightning theft and vicious punishment play out again and again in the everyday life of our species in the grim darkness of the far future.

Cower in fear of the lightning, and soothe the machine-spirit's wrath. Far has humanity fallen. And far into hell has it gone.

- - -

Tribute to Matthew Farrer's excellently immersive grimdark Underhive novel Junktion, whose main protagonist is an electricity thief and lamplighter.

Made in us
Stubborn Hammerer



Audio Version by A Vox in the Void

In the souls' battle of attrition between good and evil, good may gain the initative and outflank baser morals by shining examples and shaming harangues, yet evil ultimately possesses greater reserves and superior logistics. For the nature of life itself is one of consuming other life; of survival at all costs; of biting into your prey and savouring the taste of your victim while you can, for you too shall perish in this grim world.

Questions follow of their own accord: What evils are we capable of? What fell deeds may our hands perform? What ruthless plans of action may our minds concoct? And the answers lie close at hand. They are to be found here and now in everyday life, in the endless petty malice children heap upon choice victims, in the lies and deceit of adults, in the dark impulses boiling beneath the surface of humans everywhere. They are to be found in ages past, in a grand parade of cruelties and an orgy of bloodletting, plunder and inflicted misery. But most of all they are to be found in ages yet to come, for man is set to plunge the bottomless depths of his soul, and there he shall descend into hell on earth and remake the world in his diabolical image.

Behold the grim darkness. Behold the future that awaits our species. Behold the Imperium of Man, the decaying domains of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, an empire of a million worlds maintained by ceaseless sacrifice, an endless lack of mercy and everlasting hatred. Gaze into the Imperium, and you will bear witness to the baleful excesses festering in the heart of man.

For in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable, human lives have become a currency to squander in the billions. Here, sweat and blood are shed on a titanic scale in order to uphold the rigid order of the Imperium, in a neverending treadmill of human suffering and drudgery. Here, violence, hardships and starvation are ever-present companions to life. Here, draconic punishments will be arbitrarily visited upon anyone who fails in their duty or steps out of line. Sometimes such retaliation will be carried out with passionless monotony, at other times the penalties will be dealt out with righteous furor. And sometimes the punishment will be executed upon the offender with a poorly concealed sadistic glee.

To be branded a heretic, malcontent, deviant or infidel in the Imperium, is to face a host of imaginative possibilities. There are the possibilities of instant death at gunpoint, of beheading, lynching, hanging, blinding, maiming, burning,stoning, quartering, flaying and drawn-out torture, or lobomization and slavery as a cyborg thrall or guilt-ridden Arco-Flagellant. Among a myriad of possible punishments are to be found that archaic one of sawing, wherein the wrongdoer is shackled and extended helplessly from a frame, usually hanging upside-down. The executioners will then slowly work through the sinner with a crosscut saw or two-man eviscerator, the sawyers usually chanting, damning the criminal or shouting admonishments to the crowd of onlookers while the teeth of their tool tear through flesh and bone.

Oftentimes, such executions by sawing will be recorded by vox-units and captured by pict-casters, to be cabled out to public loudspeakers and pict-screens distributed throughout the more decent parts of cities and voidholms. This is done in order to benefit the betterment of the people's wetched souls, as the shrill shrieking in pain and agonized yelling of the sawed one will warn sinful humanity to take heed, resist temptation such as hunger pangs, and blindly obey their superiors without question or tardiness.

This public butchering of deviants, criminals and heretics will usually be followed by their flawed flesh being burnt upon the pyre, or carted away to be recycled into the foodstuff known as corpse starch. Wild rumours claim that if you saw an Ork in half without burning the remains, two whole Orks will regrow out of the halves. This abominable phenomenon has only been observed in mankind a rare few times with grossly mutated humans tainted by the touch of Chaos, wherefore the mutliated husks of mutants will as a rule be burnt to ashes in order to not contaminate the dull ration bars of the populace. Trust in flames to cleanse corruption and filth.

And so every day, somewhere in the Imperium of Man, thousands of bystanders view the spectacle of executioners sawing a man, woman or child to death. The crowds view it with their own eyes, listening with their own ears to the noise of suffering and slaughter, as saw teeth rip through fibres and cartilage. They see the suffering and the righteous punishment visited upon the wicked, and they ken the warning. Thus all is well in the sacred star-realm of the Emperor on Earth, for what is happiness but the feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome? Just as the saw of justice overcomes the sinner's flesh and bone.

Such is the malevolent fate of unknown numbers of deviants and heretics. Such is their fell demise.

It is the fortyfirst millenium. Humanity has banished remorse from its heart of stone. Truly, the Age of Imperium is an epoch of lives crushed under heel and naked evil at full display. And so the future of our species grinds on, its rusted prison a doomed empire, its bloodstained tormentor man himself.

Such is the fate of our species. In the darkest of futures. In cruelty unending.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/14 09:22:50

Made in us
Stubborn Hammerer



In an age of darkness, fools will grasp for any seeming hope that is offered them, like fishes will with bait.

During the Age of Terra, the bestial ancestors of man lived in packs, without which they were doomed to die alone. The forefathers of man dwelt in tribes and clans, each Human being an organic part of the communal organism to which they conformed. One of the worst fates to befall ancient man was to be exiled and cast out of the community, for what was man without his kin group? The rise of cities and technology would eventually diminish such natural ties, yet the organic bonds never disappeared even at the height of the Dark Age of Technology, when man in his error thought himself the master and remaker of all creation, including that of himself.

There have always been those who feel themselves alienated from society, those inclined to disagree with their congregation, those unwilling or unable to follow the herd. These souls, doomed to deviate, will often find themselves under intense mental pressure from the petrified order, rigour and terror experienced by leading a bleak life in the tyrannical Imperium of Man, for Imperial rule have long since developed into crushing individuality and free thought for the betterment of public order. Such misfits are as varied as they are malcontent: They may be groups barely tolerated to live for the sake of slave labour, such as mutants or the descendants of some ancient rebels. They may be people driven nigh-insane by exacting labours which they were unable to stand anymore, seeking an escape from their living hell, no matter what it may be. They may be people who have had their worldview shaken by some traumatic experience, or by thinking too deeply. They may be rich nobles bored out of their senses by rigid protocol and ennui. They may be failed students or members of aspiring classes lusting for power, influence, privileges and salaried state employment. They may be those who dream of a better tomorrow. Some may simply be weak-willed minds, easily led astray by the next person they meet. Others still may be of a more spiteful bent, unsavoury characters who feel unweclcomed by society and in turn reject society themselves.

Yet even such outcasts and deviants possess an innate need for a sense of belonging, and as such like will attract like in the seedy underbelly of cities and voidholms. Those lost to the flock by alienation will often seek radical experiences, pushing boundaries and abandoning mores and even sanity in a whirlwind of hedonistic partying and edgy experimentation among subcultures. In such a drug-poisoned morass of moral perversion, dangerous ideologies, harebrained sects and heinous thought of self thrive in that twilight zone where law and order seldom apply.

Thus it is that such deviants and malcontents tend to break with Imperial dogma and desert the Ecclesiarchal flock to which they once belonged, drifting ever more down pathways to damnation. Many may eventually find a new community in the myriad of obscure and illegal groups infesting mankind's urban centers like so many rashes and boils. Here, dropouts of society and those who refuse to fit in will be scooped up and processed by a veritable jungle of sects, dodgy clubs, forbidden movements, secret societies, orgy circles, mystery cults and weird gangs. There, they will be exposed to a whole new world of banished belief systems, exotic talk, underground presses, suppressed lore and heady ideas. Thus twisted grills will be put in the heads of new members, usually denying the Imperial Creed and spitting upon the Emperor's sacrifice.

Such are the paths that lead waywards into the clutches of such heretical cells as murderous Death Cults, crazed Chaos sects and hybridizing Genestealer Cults. A recent development out on the Eastern Fringe have also seen growing numbers of Humans won over by the insidious persuasion of stunningly eloquent Water Caste agents and their propaganda material advertising the grand benevolence of the Greater Good. Such foul apostasy have seen subjects of the God-Emperor transform into xenophile Tauists, those fifth columnist sympathizers of a hostile alien empire.

Once fully indoctrinated into the movement, the deviants and malcontents will themselves go out and attempt to recruit others for their cause. Careful conversations in the street and workplace will serve as feelers to probe potential targets, to see if they are a good fit for the underground group. Once fine prey have been identified, an invitation will be extended, and so these illegal dens of discontent and subversion perpetuate themselves.

Bolder still will be those sect members who act the part of the rabblerouser, braving gruesome retaliation by approaching passers-by openly, holding speeches, handing out heretical leaflets in the street and practicing the art of demagougery at constant risk of spontaneous lynching or arrest. Such underground propaganda will be accompanied by treacherous graffiti and posters sufficient to land the vandals in dungeons of unspeakable torture and torment. By all manner of manipulation will these salesmen of fevered ideas try to spread the disease of their minds, and oftentimes will they clash violently with rival sects in the streets of cities and corridors of voidholms. Indeed, it is common practice for hostile subverts to inform on each other to the authorities, using their much-bewailed planetary oppressors and Imperial bloodsuckers as a means to wreck the competition.

Controlling what people read, hear and see is a powerful tool, and this is why independent mass media is such a limited and often nonexistent phenomenon in the million worlds and uncounted void habitats of the Imperium of Man. Most printsheets, vox-shows and pict-firms that do exist, do so in meticulusly circumscribed form, working under the heavy hand of censorship, never far from summary execution or far, far worse should they ever publish anything contrary to the wish of Holy Terra. After all, the existence of influential propaganda organs outside state control could pose a challenge to Imperial rule, through a daily grind of slanted reports, choosing to highlight particular happenings over others, lies, or outright omission of events and information which runs counter to the image which the chattering lot would wish to project. There would also be endless needling and gnawing critique of the powers that be, as well as the crying foul about supposed injustices and the subtle spreading of ideas counter to Imperial interests. Indeed such propaganda methods are usually reserved for the Adeptus Terra and loyal elites only. The Imperium know well the power of propaganda and obscurantism, for it utilize it as a tool of control all the time, and it will tolerate no rival centers of brainwashing.

Yet such a war of words nevertheless rage under the surface on most Imperial worlds and voidholms, for in shady corridors and grimy streets will be found men and women brave, foolhardy, fanatical, desperate or insane enough to speak up for their cause. A cause altogether independent from the concerns of the greater Imperium, and which often runs counter to the Holy Terran cause. Maverick sects befoul Imperial settlements everywhere, but the same is also true for the all too common separatist groupings that want to cast off the heavy burden of Imperial yoke from their homeworld or voidholm. Imperial territories are likewise rife with innumerable angry movements which spring up because of particular grievances (such as an outrageously greedy and ruthless tax farmer, or certain dictates hampering the livelihood of people), and these particularists are concerned with addressing and righting those issues alone, often loudly professing loyalty and devotion to the Emperor for the uncaring ears of Imperial Adepta and warriors. Obviously, any and all challenges to rightful Imperial rule must be crushed without mercy.

For the most part, the constant efforts of subverts and perverts to sway public opinion away from supporting the fearsome monolith that is Imperial governance, are doomed to fail. Stray recruits can always be gained among deviants, but true mass following is always difficult to obtain in a theocratic police state, even in one as marred by inefficiency, corruption and incompetence as the Imperium is. Repression and propaganda remain great strengths of the draconic Imperium of Man, even after ten millennia of bloated decay and rotten bureaucracy. For all the petty sloganeering and streetcorner rabblerousing which roach-like heretics and malcontents can muster, Imperial authorities, preachers and propagandists can answer with a colossal barrage of twisted messages, desinformation and rallying of support of their own, firmly rooted in the masses' upbringing having occurred under the all-pervasive Cult Imperialis with its zealotry and fiery oratory.

Nevertheless, heretics and enemies of the Emperor everywhere know that they can count on one thing above all others in order to gain converts like a ravaging pandemic: Imperial failings. Grand mistakes and shocking mismanagement by the Imperium of Man remain the surest source of new cult members, for nothing readies man to switch saddles and loyalties so readily as when he bears the full brunt of fresh hardships and misery. When a new great famine reduces millions or even billions of Humans to skin and bone, and puts their children into mass graves or cannibal pots, some embittered survivors turn. When the tithe grows crushing like never before, and sees thousands upon thousands of innocent, hardworking people dragged off into debt slavery and lobotomization for cyborg-transformation into Servitors, some will turn. When faults and negligence higher up result in dozens of districts finding themselves in the dark without electricity or drinking water for months on end, leading to a nightmare of desperate looting, panic, predation and harsh suppression by arms, people turn. When the Arbites torture and kill entire families, the lone survivors turn. When lives are shattered, those who have nothing left to lose will take the plunge and give their valediction to mainstream society, or at least its rulers.

Imperial cruelties and dysfunctionality is far more often the result of corruption, bureaucratic inertia and incompetence than it is the child of necessary evil and the overruling demands of defending the Human species in a hostile galaxy of total war and cosmic horrors. The evil that men do is eternal and inescapable, yet this abominable malevolence is unnecessarily multiplied and amplified a thousandfold under the harsh overlordship of the Imperium. And so it is that perverted manipulators will grasp any fertile opportunities to spread dissent by questioning Imperial legitimacy and haranguing the leadership of planetary elites or voidholm oligarchs. When the time is right, these hidden heretics will step forth and disrupt the cohesion of their culture and break down social control by venomous tongues and frantic action. They will infiltrate organizations and spread defeatism and doubt, and they will gnaw at the foundations of Imperial might.

Rarely are there as prime opportunities for subverts as arise in the worst times of crisis. Especially so in the midst of the most draining wars of attrition that are also accompanied by rampant and visible incompetence, military disasters, massive shortages and baleful starvation on the home front. Moulding minds are usually best done during childhood and youth, yet the views of people may be reshaped like clay when they are at their most desperate and thirsting for some kind of solution to their woes. When they are begging for someone willing to promise your desires, someone able to inspire and make you dream big, yes, someone able to electrify the masses. Someone able to step forth and take the lead.

And so the subvertive movements will manifest their will to power by passive resistance, boycotts, terrorism, assassinations and sabotage. Despite the lethal reply of Imperial authorities, there will be riots and the defacing of Imperial monuments, mob attacks on Imperial personnel in the street and the burning of Imperial scrolls and tomes such as debt registers and books of faith. Coups may be attempted, if infiltration and backroom deals have gone far enough. The surging tide of malcontents will rise into full insurrection, and the rebels will raise the banners of the their heinous revolution, simultaneously waging a gruesome civil war in the streets with loyalist neighbours and pious family members who refused to shirk from the righteous Imperium. Strife will play out, as it always has. Brother will slay brother, and sister will strangle sister in a madness of carnage and hatred.

Such insurgencies are usually put down with overmighty force of arms, followed by bloodthirsty eradication campaigns and massive purges. Yet some revolts do succeed, at least for a while, and manage to topple Imperial rule. Then it will usualy be shown that the alternative to Imperial oppression is just another nuance of violent tyranny and rampant corruption under different flags, as one set of rulers is exchanged for another one during the exhilaration of a brand new revolution. The new men and women at the helm will pursue selfish interests, or worse yet pursue utopian pipedreams with fanatical zeal and lakes of blood staining the hands of the idealists in power.

And so the worst flaws of mankind play out again and again, set to a choir of broken promises and stillborn hopes. Enemies are to be crushed, after all. And to gain support, it is advantageous to sell a false option. Hand the firebrands some grand words and an empty idea that they can believe in, and use those revolutionary zealots to suppress dissent and cement your power. Of course, to have power is when you are able to do something, and no one is able to stop you. Furthermore, power is intoxicating and addictive, and yesterday's dogged rebel that became today's leading liberator will often be tomorrow's toppled tyrant. As a learned man in the distant Age of Terra once opined: It is safer to be feared than loved, for the bonds of love are fragile and dependent on obligation which is broken at every opportunity for someone's advantage due to the baseness of man. Thus the arts of power are ones of cunning and cruelty.

And all this is to say nothing of the otherworldly hell-orgy or certain doom at the hands of the Great Devourer that await those planets and voidholms who fall victim to revolts of Chaos or Genestealer Cults...

Treachery, heresy and rebellion remain an everlasting scourge of His Divine Majesty's sacred domains across the stars, as the Horus Heresy and Age of Apostasy well attest to. Disunity and strife may yet prove the undoing of humanity, and so the Holy Inquisition will never rest in its mission to root out this disease in the body politic. It will find the taint and purge any suspected deviants with extreme prejudice. Inquisitors will scour entire star systems and leave billions dead in their wake in order to hunt down sects and eradicate the inner circles of heretical cults and movements. It is better that a hundred thousand innocents burn at the stake than one guilty man escapes the claws of Imperial justice.

Retribution against rebels may not always be swift or efficient, but it will eventually occur with overwhelming force and a titanic input of resources. For the Imperium of Man will eradicate any threat to its security and power, and it will seek to enforce absolute obedience and blind devotion to the Emperor on Earth in its galaxy-spanning dominions.

Thus decrepit human civilization in the grim darkness of the far future is ever plagued by those deviants and malcontents who would become subverts and heretics, and ultimately betray their species and lord. While all such traitors to the Golden Throne shall be exterminated in due time, the fact remains that ordinary subjects of the Imperator risk being entangled in lies and deceit of subversive manipulators. Honeyed words and harrowing revelations may be whispered in alleys, hooked bait waiting to snatch the unwary away from the God-Emperor's light. Who can you trust?

Hope is the first step to disappointment.

And so the Imperium undergoes an endless cycle of subversion, oppression, rebellion and retribution, for the enemy within must be obliterated without pity. Without remorse. Without mercy.

As despairing souls look for alternatives to the grinding nightmare of drudgery and callous violence that constitute life in the Imperium of Man, they see the paths presented by the cults. All dead ends.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is no escape from the hellish horror that await our species.

Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


Under the Yoke

In a distant time of darkness and decay, man once again toils like a beast of burden.

Humanity reached its pinnacle of achievement during the Dark Age of Technology, for legends claim that mankind had banished drudgery and misery from its life, tasking machines with all burdensome labour and letting automation carry out all mind-numbing work. Man is said to have lived a life of paradisal bliss and scientific study, spreading his seed across the stars and bestriding the galaxy like a colossus. His knowledge was unsurpassed, his comfort unrivalled, his optimism unbound. It was a time of hope and plenty. Yet we are much wiser now.

Man was toppled from his high pedestal by his own arrogance and his own creations, and his lush gardens and crystal palaces fell to fire and ruin across twain million worlds. Thus the Age of Strife humbled man and taught him to despair once again, for none of his artifice could save his realm from collapse and horror. And haggard bands of starved survivors huddled close around campfires, fearing the night and praying to higher powers for salvation. Their lot was one of baleful suffering and cannibal acts of self-preservation, as brother killed brother and feral tribes rampaged over the fallen wonders of a once all-powerful civilization.

What is the great works and ingenuity of brilliant mortals to the mute void? What is the violence and hardships of depraved mortals to an uncaring cosmos? On a million worlds and more, men, women and children begged from the depths of their hearts for someone to end the raging chaos and gnawing misery. Their star-sailing ancestors would have scoffed at such ignorant superstition, but their forefathers' hubris had been laid low by their sins, and only shattered remnants of primal humanity lingered on worlds and voidholms spinning around uncounted alien suns. Unknown generations of humans asked for deliverance during Old Night, sacrificing to silent skies.

Yet their prayers for salvation were heard, for a man unlike any other arose on Earth, raising the banner of thunder and lightning akin to the gods of old and conquering all that stood before Him. This man was known only as the Emperor, and His legions and labourers reshaped the galaxy in the Great Crusade, slaying old warlords and destroying old allegiances with the weapon, while repairing and building shining cities anew with the tool. A new golden age had dawned for mankind, and for the first time in five millennia there was burgeoning hope and plenty once again.

Yet resurgent man swiftly proved the falsehood of his heart, for in his limitless ingratitude did he rebel against the saviour of his species, and the galaxy burned again in the Horus Heresy. And as the Emperor was mortally wounded by His favourite son for whose treachery He was the bane, a rightful punishment was inflicted upon sinful mankind, and the grand promises of the brief golden age of the Emperor in bodily splendour were withdrawn. For his disloyalty, man would die by the sword. For his arrogance, man would know pain and despair. For his selfishness, man would toil under the yoke. For his greed, man would see his offspring succumb to disease. For his blasphemy, man would be cleansed in flames. For his crime, man would be ruled by cruelty. For his heresy, man would never know peace.

Thus the Age of Imperium is one of order and misery, in which all must bow to the will of supreme authority and praise the lashes of the whip as it tears flesh bloody. It is an era of endless darkness and cruelty, a hymn of servitude to overlords sung by fanatics and savages, its tune the evil that men do.

Gone is the wonderland of the Dark Age of Technology. Gone is the bliss and the hope. Gone is the certitude of machine thralls easing the lives of humans. The Imperium of Man still maintain and produce a great many machines, most of which are robustly primitive in design or poorly understood, and usually in need of large numbers of human hands to plug the gaps where machine components or STC reproductions fail. Slowly but surely, the rotting Imperium has seen an arduous demechanization of technological systems, with frail or auxiliary systems giving up to never receive a replacement of like quality. Instead, teeming masses of human labourers heave at ropes and chains where once engines pulled weights. And so stopgap measures turn permanent in an ever downward spiral.

The Imperium of Man supplements its slowly failing industrial machinery with hordes of men, women and children doing manual labour, throwing ever more bodies at problems with indifference, where once their ancestors would have invented machines in a long-lost hunt for efficiency and improvement. One such example of descendant degeneration is the simple porter, a humble subject of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra who carry heavy burdens on his back, in his arms, on his head, or hanging from a yoke on his shoulders. A porter can transport far less weigth than a draft animal such as a horse or cart-grox can do, not to mention vehicles and other machinery. Yet manpower is abundant on the worlds and voidholms of the Imperium, and this cheap solution to logistics will always be utilized along with beasts of burden and machinery, or even be used to replace precious machine power altogether in a great many instances.

Most Imperial mining and building projects (including such landscape architecture as the digging of irrigation canals, mass graves and the erection of skull pyramids following purges) will be accompanied by a horde of ragged humans hauling loads like ants in backbreaking helotry. Indeed, many military and exploratory expeditions into ancient ruins, wild nature or wilder Underhives will usually sport a considerable baggage train of human transportation beside draft animals and vehicles. These toiling bodies can be pressed into arms in an emergency, used as bait or even be eaten if all foodstuffs run out.

This peonage is the destiny of uncounted men, women and children, many walking barefoot and bent double as they carry out their Emperor-ordained duty as archaic human beasts of burden and live out their short lives in wretched squalor.

Such is the lot of unknown billions of human souls across a million worlds, their drudgery and sacrifice nothing but numbers in a broken calculation of increased input, their very existence a testament to the faltering patchwork industry of a decrepit empire.

For the Imperium of Man will shy away from nothing in order to prolong its tortured reign. Where machines fail, human flesh will pick up the slack. Where a million soldiers perish on the battlefield, three million labourers in mines, factories, starships and ground transport have already died in order to support that army with its arms and equipment, their remains ground up and recycled into corpse starch to feed the living. Where Imperial subjects end up maimed in endless workplace accidents, most have to either limp along and carry out chores that do not require those body parts, or receive crude bionics in the same way a broken tool would be repaired. Another common fate for those too injured to be productive can be glimpsed among the foundries of Shexia, where the unfit and old are chased out by Urban Purity Patrols into the sewage marshes to die.

Thus is life under the Imperial yoke, and thus is death. To be a man in such times is to live a rat race of thankless toil, your stomach riven by hunger, your back at risk of breaking any day, your flesh tormented by parasites and disease. No matter how hard you labour, the overseer's bark and lash will ever find you wanting. High quotas must be met, and always the survival and mastery of your species and lord depend upon your efforts, piety and sacrifice.

To be a man in such times is to wake up to a nightmare every shift, every morning, every lights-on. Your offering of sweat and blood will be taken for granted, your tenacity go unrewarded, your death only noted for district manpower replacement needs or because of the resultant cleaning and repair duty when your mangled corpse interfere with the workings of the machine spirit.

Such is the grim darkness of the far future.

Such is the fall of mankind from ancient heights.

Such is the despair and misery that awaits our species.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/10/02 15:39:47

Made in nl
Jovial Plaguebearer of Nurgle

Great work as always Karak, I've come to enjoy this thread as a throwback to older times when the fluff was (imo) better. When there was a thinner line between Chaos bad, Empire good.
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut

This is all functionally no longer true. Cawl can churn out loads of new machinery, the Imperium is unironically heroic, and so on.
Made in gb
Quick-fingered Warlord Moderatus


 Castozor wrote:
Great work as always Karak, I've come to enjoy this thread as a throwback to older times when the fluff was (imo) better. When there was a thinner line between Chaos bad, Empire good.

Absolutely 100%, the art here represents what the misery of being under the imperium would be like and how I still think of the 40k universe. Despite its current trend.

One and a half feet in the hobby

My Painting Log of various minis:
# Olthannon's Oscillating Orchard of Opportunity #

Made in hr
Been Around the Block


Great thread. This kind of stories is why 40k was good
Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


Thank you most kindly, folks!

On the one hand, I am by principle skeptical to go for carrying the narrative forward over static setting and to risk diluting a fantastic grimdark fictional universe. But on the other hand I've always had a soft spot for mad scientists in hidden laboratories (hidden armies less so) and would always have liked to see Julius Caesar and his legions show up to save the late Roman empire both in the west and east.

Therefore I'll stick with pre-Indomitus 40k and wait and see how this new approach by Games Workshop turn out in the long run. It was surprisingly well-handled in the novel Dark Imperium (I really liked the deep history parts and Guilliman's doubts), so if nothing else the Indomitus stuff and onward could prove some alternative history fun with grimdark Dexter's laboratory and lighthearted wish fulfilment, even if one doesn't end up embracing it as worthy of brilliant Warhammer 40'000 worldbuilding.


Pipe Lurker

Audio Version by A Vox in the Void

In the grim darkness of the far future, some who go to the lavatory do not return.

Claims were once made that civilization can be measured by how far human waste is transported away from the people that produce it. While such a crude yardstick is of little value to cultures with starships and interstellar empires, sewers and running water nevertheless remain some of the best (and oldest) inventions of humanity. Clean running water and efficient sewage systems could be taken for granted during the Dark Age of Technology, during those forgotten millennia when mankind reshaped worlds at will and erected paradisal arcologies in soaring hubris.

Yet such simple luxuries born from humble pumps, pipes and filters are far from obvious and omnipresent parts of everyday life in the rotting astral realms of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, for creature comforts and public health have come to be of minor concern to the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man. Vital infrastructure such as plumbing and power will usually be installed as a matter of course during Imperial construction, but its maintenance is an entire matter altogether.

It is not uncommon for water and sewage systems to decay, plug up and be infected with unclean elements. It is likewise common for such faulty plumbing and sewers to stay neglected for many years on end before plumbers and purgation crews can be found to rectify the problem. Cholera is as a consequence a natural occurence on most Imperial planets and void installations, its festering existence noted with indifference by the Officio Medicae.

A majority of civilized Imperial worlds and voidholms who can boast of some antiquity tend to sport labyrinthine tangles of pipes, cisterns, sewage works and water towers that have accreted haphazardly over unknown epochs. Oftentimes in lower hive cities, entire sections of such water and sewage systems will have been forgotten by whatever clans, corporations or authorities that were originally tasked with maintaining and repairing them. In which case the tunnels will often have been colonized by mutants and scavengers, and occassionally a rudimentary form of maintenance will be provided by some local scraptown settlements, or worse yet by enterprising and armed pipe-scamps who will tinker and re-route piping ruthlessly in an extortive hunt for pecuniary gain and local influence.

In times of mass starvation it is usual practice for corpse guilds to hire gangs or armsmen and send out expeditions to search for forgotten nooks and abandoned sewage systems in the depths of Imperial hive cities, where depots of accumulating human waste and corpses may be found and harvested for their bio-matter. Indeed many legends across the Imperium give praise to adventurous heroes who braved life and limb to save their hungry kin by slaying fell guardians of hoarded manure and dead bodies.

Another widespread phenomenon found in somewhat functional parts of Imperial cities and voidholms, is that of the undermanned plumbers, who have realized that they can use the screaming demand for their services as leverage in order to only show up to lowly households willing to pay exorbitant fees or bribes. Normally the denizens of a household also have to serve up an expensive feast dinner if they want the plumber to even cross the threshold into their home.

Some writings by scholars in the Age of Imperium claim that ancient man during the Dark Age of Technology did not exterminate dangerous wildlife and harmful parasites since it was no threat at all to him. And indeed ancient man would terraform uncounted worlds and introduce species from other planets, or even genetically transformed flora and fauna, tailored for the new worlds, complete with predators to round out the ecosystem. Such xenobiological induglence allowed all manner of noxious and lethal creatures to survive and expand on uncounted human colonies, only to infest Underhives and even sewage systems in the Imperial era, spreading between worlds via resupplying starships.

And so a myriad of fiends roam the depths of hive cities, while the smaller, agile and more flexible ones may occassionally find their way into piping, losing themselves in claustrophobic plumbing to prey upon humans and each other. On hundreds of thousands of worlds and voidholms, a wide array of bestial xenological lifeforms have been known to slither and crawl their way through sewers and tubes. These monsters and pipe lurkers will force their way into homes or lie waiting in toilets, ready to infect men, women and children with their eggs, or lie prepared to sting those enthroned upon loos with toxins, sucking their innards out of their paralyzed husks or devouring them from below in a feeding frenzy. As a result, some families of means will often seek to invest in facilities that dispose of waste by scorching it to ash or annihilating it in alchemical compounds. Such alternative systems are rarely something for the masses, however, since vast waterpumped plumbing systems better allow for the gathering and recycling of biological matter into synthetic foodstuffs.

The infiltrating horror of such pipe lurkers have necessitated plumbers on many Imperial worlds to arm themselves with various weapons to dispose of potential monstrosities plugging the tubes. Some such tools of the trade include toxbombs, chemguns and clawed beaters, as well as poisoned xylospongia, acid pumps and hooked line and bait in order to lure out difficult sewage fauna. Of course, all such equipment is of little use against otherworldly sabotage in the form of Daemonic mites, slugs and maggots unleashed through pipe networks by cults of Nurgle operating from unspeakable corners of hive cities and voidholms...

Thus the lives of most subjects of His Divine Majesty are not just hardy ones of darkness, pain and oppression, but also of filth, stench and lacklustre hygiene, harrowed by disease and parasites. Imperial hive cities sport a wide array of latrines, outhouses, water closets and more technologically advanced waste disposal facilities for the great and the good among propertied and privileged orders. No matter the precautions undertaken, complete security rarely exist for most people who lower themselves onto bathroom seats, for life has a wonderful yet nasty habit of enduring hardships and spreading everywhere possible. Life finds a way. And any predator worth its salt would agree with the old military maxim that it is best to strike your prey when it is exposed at its most vulnerable and unable to fight back or escape.

And so hundreds of billions of humans will include a line in their daily prayers, for the Imperator to preserve them, their kin and their offspring from the terror below, from the hidden spider, from the sudden snatcher, from that which lurks in the pipes. Thus they pray to their deity, the Emperor of Mankind, He who is seated in deathless radiance upon the Golden Throne of hallowed myth.

Such is the degradation of man in the darkest of futures.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/09/28 08:23:14

Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


Warhammer 40'000 Experimental Ambient Soundscape by Secularis

I was humbled and excited to receive an astonishing message from Secularis on Deviantart. He wrote that my Warhammer 40'000 doodles and writings had reawakened his dormant love for Warhammer and 40k, and said that he was inspired to cobble together this experimental ambient soundscape after a night of being enthralled by my work.

It was fantastic and wholly unexpected to receive such a message, and hear such a gift. Thank you, thank you most kindly Secularis. Check it out on Soundcloud!

Secularis wrote:You are a scribe of the Adeptus Administratum. One of the untold billions of lowly scriveners in service to Holy Terra and the governance of the Imperium. As you toil mindlessly away in a scriptorium, you can hear the tortured screams of one of your clerical brothers in the next room. A mistranslation of a document has made him a target for the accusation of heresy, and now he is being interrogated and tortured by a group of inquisitors. His life is already over. He has already been replaced. Now you must hear his final cries for mercy before being put to flame for his crimes. The Emperor Protects.

This track was composed with various other ambient tracks layered and mixed to form a composite soundscape. I am not the owner of these assets, and this track is an experiment in sound design and theory. I am not making any profit from this track.

- - -

No Railings

In a decrepit age of darkness, man must watch his every step.

Every day across a million worlds and uncounted voidholms, the feet of men, women and children must tread with care, lest they be swallowed up by the abysm. A clumsy motion may throw you off balance and send you tumbling down a precipice. A slippery patch may slide you over the edge. A drunken stumble, a moment's distraction or a playful hop may greet you with a shrieking fall. A sudden push, a nasty elbow or a treacherous leg is all it takes to trip you up one last time. Sometimes, a strong wind or the heavy rumble of nearby machinery, explosions or hivequakes may catch you off guard and cast you unto death far below.

To walk among the creations of mankind in the grim darkness of the far future is oft to expose your side to a gaping pit, hungry for your fall. Indeed, bodily exhaustion, poor lumination or an absentminded moment may be all it takes to doom you in the cities and void installations of the Imperium of Man, for almost everywhere there is a widespread lack of railings and fences on gangways, rooftops and bridges among the star-spanning domains of the Emperor of Earth.

Around heights, the difference between life and death is the blink of an eye. A sudden drop may occur in an instant, unforeseen and unwarned a mere second ago. Crippling accidents and deadly crashes are the matter of a single unsure step, of but one more narrow passageway, or of just yet another section oframshackle catwalk sagging at a bad angle.

Day in and day out across an uncaring galaxy, trillions of humans set foot on walkways without railings. Many work their entire shift but inches away from a horrific fall, or live and sleep at the edge of manmade precipices. Habit is a strong force in the minds of men, for few ever pay the constant danger much heed. They have long since become aware of it without thinking, and have learnt to move about so as to avoid the sheer drop, their instincts serving them well hour after hour, year after year as they live out their harsh and thankless lives. How many steps have not their feet taken at the very edges of pits like these, without ever faltering? How many dangerous climbs haven't they undertaken without harm?

Yet accidents may catch the best wrong-footed, and even the sharpest and most alert people are not immune to falling. Among plebeians in the Imperium, it seems that everyone knows of someone who didn't mean to step over the edge, but still crashed fatally one day. It has always been that way, an inevitable part of life for generations beyond counting. That's just how things are.

There are many reasons behind the lack and even removal of safety railings across the vast Imperium of Man. Oftentimes, the ravenous demands of total war will see labourers and lay techmen at the homefront scavenge railings and fences for their precious metal. It is likewise common for calculating planners to reduce construction costs by doing without superfluous railings. Sometimes, the inclusion of fences for utilitarian and commoner structures did not even occur to the architects in the first place, the very concept simply being alien to them and their schooling and traditions.

Yet some of the most abundant reasons for the usual scarcity of railings among human cities and voidholms revolve around beliefs and ideas, for is it not right and proper for pious subjects of the Imperator of Holy Terra to trust in their deity to protect them? Is it not up to the Emperor to judge you safe from falling, instead of an unclean railing? Is it not virtuous to encourage alertness among the masses, especially so among the dubious lower orders? Is it not healthy eugenics for the whole species if lesser members of mankind disappear from the gene pool by their own weak failings?

For man was not meant to cower in fear of danger, but to stride boldly into volatile chance and dare the risks to bring him low. Man was not meant for cowardice, but for daring and self-sacrifice. Man was meant to rely on himself, and ever be ready to cast himself into the jaws of death for the higher cause. Would not the installation of unnecessary fences send contrary signals to the people? Would it not foster wretched poltroons and shirkers who everywhere imagined that they needed safety measures to dare venture forth? Would it not be better to condition men, women and children to constant danger and hardship, and breed a strong humanity?

A parable of Old Earth told of salt improving the taste of meat, while too much salt ruins the meat. Thus it is with humans, for suffering improves character, yet too much suffering ruins character, claimed the ancient allegory. The Imperium of Man utterly rejects that notion, for it operates instead on principles of overwhelming cruelty, increased input of resources, indifference to casualties, inviting hardship and of pushing mankind to the breaking point and beyond. Let those who break, break. The most ardent and true servants of His Divine Majesty will endure by the strength of their faith and by His saving grace, for the survival of deviants and weaklings is not desirable in any case. Those found lacking will anyhow make for passable Servitors or corpse starch.

Thus it is that the Imperium will not suffer cravens who are afraid of heights. Man shall fear the God-Emperor alone and nothing more. And so billions upon billions of humble Imperial subjects across the Milky Way galaxy will include a line in their daily prayers, asking for their saviour and lord to preserve them, their kin and their offspring from the fall, the sudden drop, the yawning pit. They would never gather the bravery to ask their superiors for material safety structures, for they know well the abominable fate of those who dare advice their betters and masters without having been ordered to do so.

Forget the promises of material improvement, for they were nought but the heresies of sinful ancestors who wallowed in rotten luxury and hubris. Forget their lies of science and progress, for we are much wiser now. Forget their raising of lowly man onto a pedestal, for man's true purpose in life has always been to toil, pray and die, and nothing more.

No mercy. No remorse. No railings.

And so mankind in the Age of Imperium trust in the Emperor to keep them safe instead of base, worldly fences. Every step may challenge death. And all is well in the Imperium.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is nothing in sight to stop the fall of man.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/10/12 20:51:37

Made in us
Hacking Interventor

...I just found this, and... words fail me in ways they clearly have not failed you, Karak. This is brilliant.

I'm getting nostalgic shades of Paranoia in the image of janitor preparing to unclog a toilet with a flamethrower and what I have to imagine is a rotary Power Snake. I also love π-Braine, and very much appreciate the twisted elegance in making his 'wacky murderhobo antics' utterly grimdark with just a slight shift in context.

Keep going. I will relish every word.

"All you 40k people out there have managed to more or less do something that I did some time ago, and some of my friends did before me, and some of their friends did before them: When you saw the water getting gakky, you decided to, well, get out of the pool, rather than say 'I guess this is water now.'"

-Tex Talks Battletech on GW 
Made in us
Morphing Obliterator

Everything in this thread justifies this quote:

"What is Chaos? Suffering, you might say. Oppression. Deceit. But could not all these things be said of your Imperium?

You hunt down the talented and the strong-willed. You break them or sacrifice them. You lie to your citizens and wage war on those who dare speak out.

The inquisitors you call masters assume guilt and execute millions on a whim.

And why? Why do you do this?

Because you know Chaos is there but you do not know how to fight it, so you crush your own citizens for fear that they might aid the Enemy. The Imperium suffers because of Chaos. No matter how hard you fight, that will never change. Chaos exists in a state of permanent victory over you - you dance to our tune, mortal one, you butcher and torture and repress one another because the gods of the warp require you to.

The Imperium is founded on Chaos. My lord Tzeentch won your war a long, long time ago."

- Ghargatuloth, Daemon Prince of Tzeentch
Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


@CEO Kasen: Thank you most kindly! That is very encouraging, most appreciated. I'll try to keep it up. Cheers!

@ArcaneHorror: Spot on! Games Workshop has always been careful to construct fictional worlds that invite to interpretation and argument.


In a dysfunctional age of darkness and decay, a careless word is enough to land you in hell.

Most Low Gothic dialects across the Imperium of Man sport a double meaning attached to the word for 'whisper', and indeed a great many dialects sport two different words for the act of whispering: One denoting whispering in order to avoid detection, and one denoting whispering to inform on others.

It has been thus for millennia upon millennia, for rulers who live in fear are the most dangerous of all. In the Age of Imperium there is no shortage of insidious horrors to keep the Adeptus Terra and its host of Planetary Governors on edge, dreading what lurks in hiding. A myriad of ambitious plots are everyday pursued by Imperial nobles and bureaucrats, some aiming at coups and assassinations in the bewildering world of human games of power. Shady nests of insurgents and cultist cells feed off widespread discontent to further their plans of sabotage and uprising, ever threatening Imperial rule with the heretical scourges of separatism, revolt, apostasy and abominable blasphemy. To speak nothing of the ever-present threat of invasion from beyond the dark void, some attacks of which do not unite beleaguered worlds against an external foe, but on the contrary lay bare internal divisions as rival sides seek to turn the uncertain new situation to their advantage in a confused frenzy of broken alliances and civil war.

With so many deadly perils hanging over the head of the masters of mankind like the sword of Damocles, how could Imperial Adepta and local rulers do aught else than clamp down with harshness on the populace, for their own good? With the preservation of Imperial law and power under danger, how could the servants of the God-Emperor dare to do anything less than uphold a rigid order of terror which tolerates no one speaking out of line? With the survival of the human species itself at stake, how could virtuous subjects of Him on Terra fail to report suspicious talk and deviant behaviour to the righteous authorities?

After all, those who fail to police their community with vigilance and cunning, will damn it to oblivion. To not report, is to partake in the treachery. There could be no worse crime than allowing the slightest hint of hidden heresy and thought of self to escape detection by the guardians of humanity. Aid our watchmen: Keep watch! Those loyal to their species and lord will know to listen well to all people around them, and discreetly inform on any suspects to the Adeptus Arbites, Inquisitorial agents or local law enforcement and counter-espionage networks.

To the pious and staunch subjects go the spoils, for the Imperium know well to reward its informants. Indeed, for many slaving people trapped in squalor and grinding poverty, the rewards for ratting out on a neighbour or colleague may be the only way to alleviate their misery by some extra company scrips, coupons, ration bars, tech-trinkets or meager luxuries unusual to your rank, and any number of other perks and bonuses which many downtrodden humans would be willing to kill over. Yet pecuniary gain is not the only material incentive at work. When your crowded family live in each others' laps and shares an apartment, shack or holestead with several other families, the best way to earn some breathing space and bunk room is to denounce members of the other families, and watch as security police makes them disappear, never to be heard of again. As the
Lectitio Divinitatus states, the righteous will oft be rewarded in this life as well as in the next.

And so humanity under the heavy rule of the Imperium watch each other and whisper on each other. The Imperial culture of imputation has ensnared society in a web of distrust and deceit, and sown suspicion everywhere. Strong ties to your clan or tribe is no guarantee of safety, for greedy, spiteful or loyalist informers can be found everywhere. Who have not heard the glorious tales of good children who reported their own mischievous parents to the authorities, and died the glorious martyr's death as their vengeful extended family murdered and tore them apart? Who have not listened to the uplifting songs praising such youthful duty? Who have not seen the posters, statues, pict-casts, theatrical performances and holo-dramas hailing such young virtue and loyalty to His Divine Majesty?

Thus the spider's web of informants every day, somewhere across the Emperor's vast domains in the Milky Way Galaxy, repeat that baleful tragedy over and over: That of sons and daughters denouncing their fathers and mothers, or their sisters and brothers or other kinsfolk. That of children betraying their own parents to the authorities for the sake of grumbling words against cruel overseers after a taxing shift, or for the sake of more guilty scheming. That tragedy of people who died in the torturer's chambers, labour camps or on executioner's squares because their own offspring or siblings informed on them. That of Imperial loyalty trumping filial piety. That of families torn apart.

For no tyrant ever had trouble finding willing henchmen to carry out their heinous bidding, and no despot ever found a dearth of humans willing to sell out their friends and loved ones.

Much of our species in the far future ekes out a miserable living to a constant background din of paranoia and squealing, an everyday mistrust of fellow man that is frequently drummed up to a crescendo of arrests, torture and a domino effect of panicked denunciations as yet another wave of terror and purges roll out across hundreds of thousands of Imperial worlds and uncounted voidholms. The rhythm of such campaigns of repression varies wildly, often being dependant on the commonly depraved character of rulers and their moodswings, or on crisis events and disasters leading to angered calls for culling the disloyal among the populace.

And why should such waves of terror ever be uncalled for? Clearly, each one catches many infidels and traitors in its claws, and each purge manages to force most of these foul heretics and recidivists to confess and name yet more sinners participating in their undermining schemes, for how could their craven souls resist the noble art and purifying tools of torture? The bountiful harvests of uncovered snakes, who name yet more backstabbers, plotters and terrorists in a vain attempt to save their worthless skin, is a healthy sign of Imperial justice at work. The mass graves and pyramids of skulls generated by the Imperial terror waves are monuments to the cleansing redemption of mankind itself. Witness the forces of order lead off the wretched deviants and malcontents to their rightful doom. Listen to the jingling of their chains. Show no compassion or mercy to these wrongdoers and filth. Nay, let them know what you think: Howl at these heretics! Let your hate fill your lungs! Hate!

Thus the Age of Imperium trudges on, as a star-spanning colossus on feet of clay crush both the innocent and guilty with little distinction and no remorse in its heart of stone. For the rotting Imperium of Man will purge any hint of threats from within to its tyrannical rule with fierce bloodthirst and lack of mercy. Its symphony of loud proclamations and staccato of violence is set to a background murmur of distrustful whispers. And so brother reports brother, and sister denounces sister in a neverending cycle of terror.

Such is the depravity that awaits our species. Such are the depths to which humanity will sink.

In the grim darkness of the far future, man must watch his tongue.

And all is well in the astral domains of the ascended Emperor of Holy Terra.

All is as it should be.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/10/24 14:38:48

Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa


These are haunting.

Keep 'em up.

Skinflint Games- war gaming in the age of austerity


Made in ch
Warped Arch Heretic of Chaos

so much old school vibes..

Such skill.

A Mostly Renegades and Heretics blog.

 Daedalus81 wrote:

In the 41st millennium there is only overpriced hamberders.

Made in se
Stubborn Hammerer


Thank you most kindly, folks! Much appreciated. I'll try to keep it up for you.


"No, my friend. Do not protest.
You fell at the Emperor's behest.
Comrade in arms, lie now at rest.
There's no more use to plug your chest.
That flak armour came short on its test.
Stemming flow no bandage could wrest.
Your wound is foul an' ill distressed.
You're already dead, it's for the best.
Let my frigid hands be your final guest.
For you are blessed.

I'm a stiff soldier too, locked in chill.
With shaking hands to oath fulfill.
My black teeth rattled in charge uphill.
Frost marrow bit to blunt all thrill.
We both have faced the same cold drill.
Cast freezing into hell's white mill.
With deadened feet to snow dunes till.
O'er cracking ice that fear instill.
Clip off blue toes for winter's bill.
Brought here to kill.

Shush! Be still my friend, you are not hale.
Your time is nigh, you're growing pale.
Afrozen hands your leaking lifeblood hail.
Its steam so warm, its vapours frail.
Rise hot off guts blast out of jail.
Begrudge not comrade, do not quail.
This your last service ease my trail.
Fingers warmed 'midst howling gale.
Pray Lord on Terra weigh your scale.
Your kin may wail."

Warmblood, crude trench poem written in 327.M38 by corporal Ladina Terchenkov of the Astra Militarum 8164th Decebalian infantry regiment (XLII Army), two months prior to the Army's last stand and complete destruction at Androniki Ridge during the Lamed offensive of the Hrud invaders on Athanatikoi Secunda

Made in us
Stubborn Hammerer


Blast Doors

In a demented age of ignorance and cruelty, the gates of death stand ready to shut close on man.

Wind, rain, snow, sandstorms and beasts have ever afflicted man, and so to escape the forces of nature he built for himself a sanctuary and called it home. The very earliest means of covering the entrance to tents and huts was to hang the hide of an animal over the opening. Later on during the Age of Terra, man invented doors from reed and wood, and as his ingenuity grew, so too did the various forms of gates and doors increase by ever more clever means, including the fabled energy seals, living gates of Vigemusque and voidposterns of the Dark Age of Technology. And no matter the epoch and techno-sorcery at hand, man would not think twice about opening a door to enter or exit a room or a building, and would not count the times he crossed the threshold on his way to and fro other matters. It was just a door. And man ascended in worldly matters.

As punishment for his hubris, Man of Gold was toppled from his paradisal pedestal after Man of Stone and Man of Iron had disappeared amid havoc, and almost all the creations of humanity burned during the subsequent Old Night. Thus most works were lost forever, and but scraps of ancient glory remained to be rediscovered by primitive survivors in the charred ruins. Among the salvaged technical systems (hailing from wildly different levels of tech-advancement) were crude but effective variants of humble doors, easily replicated from among the very simplest of Standard Template Construct (STC) hard-copy blueprints. These included sturdy blast doors and vault portals, as well as simple domestic constructs, bulkhead entrances and more flamboyant silent weighed gates favoured by many Ecclesiarchal cathedral builders.

Many variants of high-speed doors were originally designed for industries in order to speed up production logistics and aid in temperature and pressure control, not to mention their widespread duty for pharmaceutical clean rooms during lost ages of human science and progress. In the rotting Age of Imperium, however, such high-speed doors have become commonplace almost everywhere across the star-spanning domains of the Emperor on Earth, known as autodoors among those who bother with the correct technical term.

Something as simple as an automatic door stand as a mute testament to the debt mankind of the regressed Imperium owes to those who came before. Most STC autodoor blueprints included split-second safety systems in order to avoid harm and injury. Yet all across the galactic dominion of the God-Emperor, the machine spirits of doors kill, maim and crush tens of thousands of people every day across hundreds of thousands of worlds and uncounted voidholms. STC progeny though most of these autodoors may be, the safety measures originally designed for such gateway devices in ancient times are nowadays often broken down or lacking altogether.

There are a multitude of reasons behind this rotting state of affairs. For one, incremental loss of technological knowledge over many thousands of years have been accompanied by a decay of production processes, leading to a great many finer and non-essential electronic and automotive systems not functioning as they should, or at all. Oftentimes, reductionist logistical calculations will result in Manufactoria masters and Administratum bureaucrats ordering the removal of fully functioning but unnecessary safety features in order to save on material consumption or increase the rate of production by simplifying and making designs more rudimentary. At other times, faulty maintenance is to blame for the common phenomenon in the Imperium of Man that is death by doors.

Imperial modes of thinking run at best along lines of callous indifference to human suffering and demise. Yet the hunger for cruelty and hardships inflicted upon others may often extend far enough so as to become outright murderous as a result of deliberate planning.

After all, is it not virtuous to construct an environment that will punish the weak and unworthy, and leave those strong and worthy in the eyes of His Divine Majesty to prosper and populate the star-spanning realms of mankind? Is it not pious to build hazards and dangers into buildings and starships, in order to encourage swift wits, sharp eyes and alert senses akin to those of our eagle-eyed Imperator Himself? Is it not healthy eugenics to cull the slow and the weak among us in order to breed a fitter human species for the greater glory of the Emperor of Holy Terra? Is it not for our own good that so many autodoors shut close with sudden rapidity, with such lethal force and disregard for human health and safety? Is it not praiseworthy to develop wits and fine habits of avoiding such everyday dangers as sliding doors and portcullises? Is it not righteous to let the idiots, fumblefoots and deviants get caught in gateway traps due to their own faults, instead of indecently sparing them the clamping test?

Spare the rod and spoil the child. It is better that a thousand accidents choke humans to death between twain doors or crush them under gates, than a single careless sloth of a wastrel soul walks alive among us, naïvely heedless of the caprice and rhythm of dangerous doors while he puts his trust in installed sensors and failsafes without thinking and caring for himself among the corridors and mazes of hive cities, starships and voidholms. The fact that the hearts of uncounted millions upon millions of Imperial subjects are gnawed by entamaphobia, a fear of doors, is only proof of the sound survival instincts cultivated by living and working in Imperial installations.

Furthermore, it happens to be that the common existence of lethal door devices every day aid righteous servants of the Imperator by providing convenient implements of improvised torture and summary execution, all spectacularly visible as warnings to the masses of bystanders and passers-by. If a lowly debt-slave, scrivener or indentured labourer happens to display thoughts of self, heretical insubordination or sinful aspirations above his station, then a just master is at liberty to display his or her power by deed on the spot, through swiftly arresting and excruciating the malcontent, degenerate or apostate by having their underlings heave the damned felon into the jaws of a nearby blast door or portcullis. Naturally, the same handy availability of rapid sliding doors without safety mechanisms have also stood innumerable gangers, bullies and criminals in good stead, to the detriment of hordes of victims across the centuries. No matter, for they too foster a hardier spirit in the subjects of the exalted Terran Emperor.

A logical consequence of this devious Imperial mindset can be seen in certain installations' entrances to areas off-limit yet not of high importance. At such locations, some doors may be rigged to seemingly allow entry, only to instantly slam shut as a deadly biting trap upon those who fail to enter the correct passcode.

Another product of simple Imperial engineering are slice-gates and cutdoors, which act akin to guillotines by sporting sharpened ends in order to make short work of any foolish deadbeat or sneaking street urchin that disrespect the machine spirit. The resultant local cleaning duty is offset by the higher value of cleansing the populace of unwanted elements by allowing them to sort themselves out by impious incompetence. After all, the bio-recycling corpse grinders ever hunger for the dismembered remains of despicable unworthies, and so lesser men end up feeding their betters in the form of corpse starch, true to the eternal food chain of beasts and men alike.

Indeed, a common Imperial proverb instruct us that a good subject is like a good door: He shall be alert to commands, fast in executing orders, ruthlessly powerful and unyielding in his single-minded work purpose in life. And he shall halt for no one, once assigned his task by his superiors.

As a door is but a component of a facility, so too is a humble human nought but a replacable part in a vast, faceless machine operating on a broken equation of increased input. For all those modes of invention and sharpening of efficiency (once pursued by sinful forefathers out of foolish dreams of becoming like living gods) have long since been forgotten in fevered ages of darkness and blood, as mankind spiral ever downwards into depravity.

And so trillions of men, women and children across the Imperium of Man will include a line in their daily prayers, for the God-Emperor to preserve them from the crush of gates, the clipping doors, the fast exit, the hydraulic death. For habit is a strong force in the heart of man, and he is capable of living under any conditions as though they could be no different. As his distant ancestors once endured predators, travails and savagery, so too will their descendant of the far future endure the deadly environs which man has crafted for himself across the stars, among glittering spires and baleful hive-sinks.

For man's lot is suffering and death, and all that is given man is a chance to serve the lord of his species during his miserably short life. Serve, toil and die.

And everywhere, doors close shut on fragile hope as decay slowly worsens, ever more.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is no way out of the horror and despair.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/10/29 11:24:41

Made in ca
Longtime Dakkanaut

123ply wrote:
 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
STC’s carry a lot of the weight of explanation.

See, each and every STC was the sum total of mankind’s scientific and engineering knowledge to date.

All of it. Every last iota.

Now, the first three, perhaps four generations likely held onto and shared some of that knowledge. But over time (and I’m taking this from Rogue Traded), colonists simply relied on the STC database to take care of things. Convenience became complacency. Complacency became reliance.

Then it all went to poop. Emergent Psykers, Men of Iron and what have you. And one way or another, STC’s were lost. Because when all your design, engineering and scientific needs have been provided by a single machine? When that single machine goes belly up, you’re pretty much screwed.

Now this of course was not universal. Some cultures retained far more than others. Some got stuck at our level, some at Victorian levels, and some got slapped straight back to the stone age. And everything in between.

And that’s how culture decay occurred, and mankind fell from his pinnacle, and landed in his nadir.

Indeed, one could argue that The Emperor being immortal, and a font of knowledge in his own right was how some form of reclamation occurred. He had knowledge the Mechanicum had long since turned to mysticism.

My own personal theory? Complete, functioning STC’s May no longer exist, because they were directly responsible for the Men of Iron. And like good Luddites, the survivors chose to wreck whatever examples of that machine existed, to ensure it could never happen again.

Why would people destroy every STC file when only a few had anything to do with AI or Men of Iron?

Ever read Canticle for Leibowitz? Human fanaticism defies logic. Proof?

Turn on the news.
Made in us
Ancient Venerable Dreadnought

San Jose, CA

canticles of Leibowitz is hilariously emblematic of how people can rationalize something counterintuitive.

no gray just black/white. no room for nuance or other such unessecary concessions.

it's just one of the books early 40k was distilled from that gave it its sense of "don't give a f____".

by the way Karak norn clansman, keep up the good work! I take this stuff for granted cuz I got started in RT and it was obvious where they drew inspiration. but the more I talk about it with more recent players they like it and wonder why the new stuff is, how should I say...more feth giving, than less.
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa


Killer doors.

Dude, i love it

Skinflint Games- war gaming in the age of austerity


Made in us
Stubborn Hammerer


@Racerguy180: Thank you very much! 40k runs indeed on hilariously stark modes of thinking, drawing inspiration from the most depraved aspects of human history and literature.

I will try to keep it up, and I am glad to hear that newer players appreciate the original true vision of 40k as bonkers and dark to the hilt when you describe it to them. Keep telling them about it! Cheers!

@Skinflint Games: Thanks a lot!

Burning Pict-Screen

In the grim darkness of the far future, some who fall asleep before the screen do not awake.

Abstract thinking, crafting and arts were among the traits which distinguished humanity's primitive forefathers from the rest of the animal kingdom. The Men of Gold are known to have depicted hunting scenes on cave walls and adorned their temples with images that related mythical stories during our distant past on Old Earth. Later on during the Age of Terra, man learnt how to capture still images and moving pictures, projecting them for the eye to view on fabrics and screens via a mastery of light. The fabled Dark Age of Technology is said to have brought with it breakthroughs in hololithics, caelumena and even more spectacular forms of visual media which the benighted descendants of this lost epoch of science and discovery can no longer possibly fathom. For both secret knowledge and working relics of the most advanced visual technologies have long since turned to dust and ash, as the world of mortals shrank in on itself and grew dull and fearful in the wake of terrible cataclysms.

While the most advanced and consequently least endurable pict tech have long since been lost to the sands of time, various other technologies for transmitting and projecting images survive into the Age of Imperium, thanks to scattered findings of Standard Template Construct schematics for the making of everything from vacuum tubes, redpoint and prismatic crystal components, to liquid light cells and hololithic projectors. As with everything in the Imperium of Man, the hardware it possess hail from wildly different stages of historical development of science and technology, yet the most common utilitarian tech (outside the jealously hoarded treasures of the insular Adeptus Mechanicus) tend to hail from the lowlier and more rudimentary forms of technology.

This primitivization of human technology did not end with the Age of Strife as the brief renaissance of the Great Crusade swept the Milky Way Galaxy, but has instead continued with but few interruptions, as humanity's grasp of knowledge slowly erodes away, and as its better industrial machines from ancient times eventually fail, with no one capable of repairing or replicating them left standing among the living for untold light years around.

Of course, those in possession of wealth, power and contacts offworld or among more technologically capable clans and organizations tend to enjoy the dimming light of sophisticated human tech for far longer than the vast majority of Imperial society across a million worlds and uncounted voidholms. A great deal of prestige and veneration is attached to owning intricate things which ordinary Imperial subjects could barely dream of, with machine spirits far in advance of anything which most human beings will ever encounter in their daily lives. Indeed an entire boutique economy of rarefied artisans and master artificers exist to cater to the technological needs of upper classes and Imperial Adepta alike, all parochial tech clans where precious crafting knowledge is inherited from parents to children, characterized by time-consuming handicraft of immense skill and exclusively low production numbers for the finest of clients.

As for the filthy majority of human populations, shoddy mass production is king as regard both market enterprise and state-owned manufacturing: Indeed the very idea of entrepreneurial freedom from both planetary and voidholm rulers, as well as branches of the Adeptus Terra, is a ludicrous notion across most of His Divine Majesty's astral domains, for Imperial overlords maintain all manner of controls and oversight over industries which they do not themselves possess, in a nightmarishly complex web of privileges, traditional pledges, religious edicts, local customs, martial law, Adeptus Mechanicus licensing, strongman rule through force, decrees issued by the High Lords of Terra, rampant corruption, underhand tricks and mercantile charters; all of which amounts to nothing short of a juridical basket case that keeps vast legions of legal experts on the Lex Imperialis occupied in lengthy court cases that can span many centuries and generations. Ancient Terran philosophers from very different cultures all remarked that the more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state. This notion is punishable by horrific means of torture, execution and servitorization in the Imperium of Man, should anyone ever be foolish enough to voice it aloud or write it down, for the very concept is heretical and antithetical to Imperial rule with its endless accretion of fossilized laws and contradictions.

Naturally, most worlds and voidholms across the vast Imperium of Man are plagued by abysmal levels of quality for most of their consumer goods, and the mass manufacture of pict-screens is no exception. The ever-worsening rot of technotheological knowledge and etiolation of the machines of techno-sorcery has resulted in unsafe electronics being a common fact of life. For instance, a substantial number of all fuses and circuit breakers installed in mass-produced ware are of atrocious makes, often being installed as a token gesture of respect toward machine spirits and toward manufacturing traditions built on decaying STC hard copy blueprints. As a result of general ineptitude, indifference and ignorance, cheap pict-screens (some of which even sport a magnifying glass in front of a tiny screen) have a widespread tendency toward spontaneous combustion, being especially prone to sparking flames and short-circuiting when operators switch channels or adjust properties such as vox-volume or brightness.

Such is the state of something as simple as the humble pict-screen in the dark future, which is in truth a primitive and simple technology that mankind in the decrepit Age of Imperium increasingly fails to produce safely and reliably. Indeed sclerotic Imperial industry everywhere primarily values superstitious rituals and going through the motions handed down by forgotten ancestors. The striving to truly understand and master the technicalities of production processes and finished goods alike has waned considerably over the last ten thousand years as human grasp of tech steadily retreats into a darkening night of dysfunctionality and scavenging ruin. Likewise, genuine quality control and concerns over such malcontent concepts as health and safety are far removed from those who manage and operate the numberless manufactoria which churn out mass-produced civilian goods for the plebeian hordes of consumers.

And so every day, thousands of pict-screens across uncounted planets, starships and voidholms suddenly catch fire, as their temperamental machine spirits give hot protest to their human users' lack of reverence and failure to pronounce litanies and mantras without error. The sinful men, women and children thus judged, must flee, raise the alarm or themselves extinguish the flames, or else be devoured by them. Across tens of millions of hive cities and hundreds of millions of void installations, everyone seems to know of some friend, neighbour or family member who was wounded or killed by a fire started by some burning pict-screen. Such fatalities are especially common among slothful indolents who would doze off and catch a nap, and as just punishment for their moral failings the wrathful machine spirit will often choke them with smoke in their sleep, to never again wake up as cleansing tongues of flame consume their sinful flesh.

Thus man is no longer the wise master of his own tools and crafts, and increasingly the fruits of his labours fail despite increased input of work and resources. Where once curious ancestors remodelled the matter of creation like clay, their degenerate descendants stoop amidst squalor, having lost almost everything while not even remembering what it was they lost, teeming like vermin among the battered and broken remnants of a once glorious stellar civlization while they live in terror of the great unknown. And so fearful man may often be heard to recite a line in his daily prayers, asking the God-Emperor on Holy Terra to spare himself and his kith and kin from the sudden flame, the smoke devils, the burning animus, the lit machine.

Such is the misery that await our species.

Such is the degradation of man, in the darkest of futures.

It is the fortyfirst millenium, and there is no escape from the horror and suffering.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/11/14 04:04:54

Made in us
Stone Bonkers Fabricator General

A garden grove on Citadel Station

I like this thread a lot.

ph34r's Forgeworld Phobos blog, current WIP: Iron Warriors and Skaven Tau
+From Iron Cometh Strength+ +From Strength Cometh Will+ +From Will Cometh Faith+ +From Faith Cometh Honor+ +From Honor Cometh Iron+
The Polito form is dead, insect. Are you afraid? What is it you fear? The end of your trivial existence?
When the history of my glory is written, your species shall only be a footnote to my magnificence.
Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa


I keep coming back to the Carl Sagan quote -"we live in a society dependent on science and technology, where no one is interested in learning about science and technology"

You've turned that up to 111, my friend

Skinflint Games- war gaming in the age of austerity


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