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Made in ca
Stormin' Stompa






Ottawa, ON

So I've read a few black library books over the years and, like most 40k literature, the authors can be all over the place on certain aspects. Knowledgeability seems to be one of them. You can characters like commissar Gaunt talk about the Men of Iron likes it's common knowledgeable. Or the Ciaphas Cain books with stories of traitors primarchs told in church, but Carrion Throne has an inquisitor that thinks the loyal primarchs were created to fight primarch-like demons. The examples are endless. None of this is a problem, I enjoy seeing various views of the authors.

But which is your favorite? Are even the highest echelons of power ignorant of the past? Are the inquisition little more than rumors or do they have a public face? How much of the Horus Heresy is taught in scripture? I'm curious to see what people's preferences are.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/06 17:34:43


Ask yourself: have you rated a gallery image today? 
   
Made in se
Dakka Veteran




Sweden

It should be varied of course, but by and large I think the Imperium is best served to be surprisingly ignorant, about setting matters which we the audience know about, even among higher local echelons, and strongly fed skewed propaganda narratives in the highest Imperial echelons. A lot is on a need-to-know basis, and there are endless interest groups willing to distort narratives in neverending internal Imperial power struggles.

The Horus Heresy happened 10'000 years ago from M41. That's as far back as from now to the Ice Age. It deserves to be garbled, large parts of it forgotten, mixed in with pure fables and heavily adorned with allegory and religious symbolism which has little to do with the actual events. At the end of the day, what the bard chooses to pick out (or even invent) from the Horus Heresy will matter more to its legacy than what actually transpired; see the Illiad for a parallell tale of heroic warfare. Censorship, destruction of records, forgetfulness and imaginary fiction inserts should all make ancient history like the Horus Heresy come across as a weird myth.

For ignorance (and increasing degrees of knowledge up the ranks) done right, see Matthew Farrer's novels. His Junktion is a stellar example of just how myopic, parochial, ignorant, hidebound and extremely local a lowly Imperial subject's worldview truly is down in the Underhive. All of Matthew Farrers' works are completely true to the spirit of the setting, to an impressive degree in the details.

Ian Watson's Space Marine (1993) also do a great job at portraying common ignorance, and how Underhivers, Midhivers and Uphivers may view the Emperor is treated in its recruitment segment.

This message was edited 10 times. Last update was at 2021/07/05 16:43:46


   
Made in us
Boosting Black Templar Biker






To me one of the appeals of 40k was it was a 1000 years after a major catastrophe in the Empire. The Empire look back on 30k as the glory days (maybe they were, maybe they weren't) but all the stories were told with an imperium slant and it was hard to tell truth from fiction.

For the most part I prefer people to be ignorant or have wildly different takes on how things used to be. I don't mind if Gaunt knows about Men of Iron, as the reader I just assumed with him being a political officer he goes through an indoctrination course of "here's all the really bad things that are not just fables you may come across." It's also just a fun author trick where the audience knows what they are so they have one character be more well read than they should be.

Thanks for the recommendation on Junktion, looks interesting.
   
Made in nl
Fixture of Dakka





Look I make balloon animal

Imho, the Horus Heresy should be myths and legends, the actual events would only be vaguely remembered by obsessive scholars who spend their entire lives gathering and interpreting fragmented records (and people like Guilliman or the Custodes who have access to either their own memories or perfectly preserved records).

10,000 years is an insanely long time. Human memory just doesn't stretch back that far. It would be virtually impossible to transfer information over such a massive stretch of time without it becoming fragmented and garbled in the process.

Error 404: Interesting signature not found

 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






People in M34 had already lost memory of the Heresy. The novel series allowed stories to be told from a really interesting time period and then the game allowed hobbyists to tell their own stories.
   
Made in au
Regular Dakkanaut




It really depends. I imagine most people would have heard the word Chaos before but not know its entire meaning, let alone know that some of those space marines in the statues they see have turned traitor, or worse that they now fight with daemonic allies.

Some worlds might not even know that certain xenos exist. Would someone on the extreme "North" of the galaxy know what a Tau is?
   
Made in us
Splattered With Acrylic Paint




Most people have only vaguely heard of the Imperium and for very high ranks the physical existence of Terra is never even referred to. The most powerful human authority they even think about is an Administratum sector lord. It literally never occurs to anyone that space or history exist beyond their sector or about 2000 years in the past.

And this is really good because for all the people who have strong opinions on newcrons, primaris marines, space marine women, Ultramarines, baby carriers, dinobots, or the chambers militant, those things can just either exist or not exist in that sector.
   
Made in us
Pulsating Possessed Chaos Marine





I think people do know about Horus, as the Church props up him as the example of the arch-heretic and the complete opposite of what a good Imperial citizen should be. However, it's a very allegorical version, with almost all of the actual events of the Heresy either forgotten or deliberately covered up.

I will say that post-Cadia, it's been stated in four separate novels that I've read that knowledge of Chaos is becoming far more widespread, and that thing that would have gotten people executed simply for seeing before now have access to more information due to the reality of the situation.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/06 04:28:06


 
   
Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





Curvaceous wrote:
Most people have only vaguely heard of the Imperium and for very high ranks the physical existence of Terra is never even referred to. The most powerful human authority they even think about is an Administratum sector lord. It literally never occurs to anyone that space or history exist beyond their sector or about 2000 years in the past.

And this is really good because for all the people who have strong opinions on newcrons, primaris marines, space marine women, Ultramarines, baby carriers, dinobots, or the chambers militant, those things can just either exist or not exist in that sector.


the idea that people have never heard of terra is a bit odd given the whole "god-emperor" thing

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Nah Terra is absolutely a thing that people know about, they just don't know anything about it. It's definitely there but thats about it for most people.
They also know they are part of the Imperium but again don't know much apart from "it's the empire of humanity". They won't know how it works, who the High Lords are, go to another planet or learn the intricacies of the Administratum but they know that the Imperium exists, the Emperor is it's ruler and they will know of a large portion of the Imperium's organisations, i.e. the Ecclesiarchy, Administratum, the Mechanicus and the Guard.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/06 04:37:21


 
   
Made in us
Splattered With Acrylic Paint




Wdym by “ people have never heard of terra?”
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Curvaceous wrote:
Most people have only vaguely heard of the Imperium and for very high ranks the physical existence of Terra is never even referred to.


I mean considering that "Holy Terra" is talked about in their religion I doubt that.
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




Terra may be talked about but for some people, it is as mythical and abstract a place as "Heaven". To some of the people on Necromunda (and presumably thus also other hive dwellers on other planets), the idea of skies, planets, and space is foreign. They believe the hive is infinite in all directions and the Emperor is just in a far off hive dome.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/06 08:42:11


 
   
Made in us
Splattered With Acrylic Paint




Iracundus gets it completely. Everyone is right, it’s the god emperor. You’re a navy captain. Your commodore is part of sector command, and they periodically report to the segmentum command. You have heard that segmentum command claims to get their orders from Terra.

But all supreme leaders claim to get order from Heaven. And its where god lives. That’s why the physical existence of terra is never referenced. It’s a totally spiritual thing to you.

What about pilgrims? One, there are thousands of sectors and pilgrims don’t have to co,e from all of them. Two, pilgrims are religious fanatics and are probably similar to real-life flying saucer cults. Even for people who are aware that there are other planets, the concept of a mortal human being able to physically reach terra sounds like a crackpot fringe belief
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




Most 40K fiction portrays characters that already know the truth, or at least mostly the truth, because we as players are in a privileged position and I think most players and readers would be frustrated reading 40K fiction that is from the POV of characters that are totally ignorant and use local or slang terms unfamiliar to the players instead of their game names. The usual POV characters are the cream of the Imperium, and usually embedded into one of the organizations that has a right to know. For example, the general population victims of a Tyranid invasion probably do not know to call them Tyranids, let alone what species of Tyranid is consuming them.

Now as for pilgrimages, not all pilgrimages are to Terra. Many would be to the local holy site or Cardinal world. It's generally described that pilgrimages to Terra are a multi-generational affair for all but the richest and most powerful. Even while pilgrims might theoretically acknowledge that Terra exists physically and can be reached, they are unlikely to do so in their lifetime and by their descendants' time, they might not even be fully aware of why they are going to Terra or what they are going to do if they actually get there. Most people in 40K never leave their planet. Even planetary nobility rarely leave their planet, and of those that do, many do not leave their subsector and even fewer leave their sector.

Now granted space captains and Navigators would know about the Astronomicon and would thus again theoretically acknowledge that Terra is a place and that the Emperor projects the Astronomicon that guides them through the warp. However again for most ship captains, Terra is a far off mythical place that they will never visit. It is how Jerusalem was for most medieval Europeans: A far off mythical place from Biblical tales which they will never travel to or see.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/07/06 09:58:02


 
   
Made in gb
Enginseer with a Wrench




Bath

well, i imagine that plently of pilgrims are not travelling to terra, but to some local world in the sector that the God Emperor once stood upon/was the home of a Saint/etc. plently of people.

on the topic, i imagine its rather varied, but i'd tend toward the vast majority of imperial citizens not knowing much if anything about chaos. Theirs a bit in one of the early Ragnar blackmane books, where a (pre-astartes) Ragnar is talking to a Wolf Priest, and mentions a local legend that references the God-emperor (This was pre-Allfather lore) fought and defeated "deamons", whose names are clearly corruptions of the Chaos Gods (ie "Nur-Gole" and "Slan, the Nesh", or something like that), and the Wolf Priest basically says "you don't know what those names really mean, do not speak them". its also presented that the average fenrisians had almost no concept of post industrial technology, with them not recognising a gun as a weapon until the wolf priest using it and then interpreting it as some sort of magic he casts via the boltgun. They had no conception of space, or life beyond fenris beyond folklore about the marines fighting for the emperor in a Valhalla-like afterlife.

i think its very, very likely that accurate information about Chaos is almost vanishingly rare. I don't think the majority of the Imperial guard knows anything beyond what they have personally seen, with even the vaguest information being kept at command level and above. So, Guard commissars might know a little bit (common symbols, etc), but even then just about enough to know to call the inquisition.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.
"Tommy", Rudyard Kipling
Exporitor force kappa-Tercia 500pts Coven of XVth 1000pts
Western Host 1000 pts
 
   
Made in ca
Grovelin' Grot





Edmonton, Alberta

Love the idea of them being super ignorant. Especially in older texts that the imperial citizens (including Guard) were forbidden the knowledge of chaos, and if a world or regiment were to find out it would be enough to constitute a good ol’ exterimatus
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




 StewMan Group wrote:
Love the idea of them being super ignorant. Especially in older texts that the imperial citizens (including Guard) were forbidden the knowledge of chaos, and if a world or regiment were to find out it would be enough to constitute a good ol’ exterimatus


Clearly they can no longer be exterminating everybody that has any contact with Chaos as then they would have to destroy the Imperium for seeing the Rift.

However no details of Chaos have to be known. The mutants and traitors are viewed as just part of a general cesspool of evil without specific details about the Chaos gods existing at all.
   
Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





Iracundus wrote:
 StewMan Group wrote:
Love the idea of them being super ignorant. Especially in older texts that the imperial citizens (including Guard) were forbidden the knowledge of chaos, and if a world or regiment were to find out it would be enough to constitute a good ol’ exterimatus


Clearly they can no longer be exterminating everybody that has any contact with Chaos as then they would have to destroy the Imperium for seeing the Rift.

However no details of Chaos have to be known. The mutants and traitors are viewed as just part of a general cesspool of evil without specific details about the Chaos gods existing at all.


one of the recent novels actually outright states that in the wake of the great rift the policy had to be abandoned as IT JUST WOULDN'T WORK.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/06 10:59:33


Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in gb
Wise Ethereal with Bodyguard







Again, going back to the general knowledge of the average Imperial citizen. If they can even see the sky, then information control works.

"What is that weird light in the sky?"

"Stop asking questions or you'll get shot in both lungs"

For planets even slightly away from the rift, there can be any number of explanations that can't be proven one way or another that don't involve "its chaos wot dunnit."

Also given the size of the galaxy, and the fact the rift largely goes down the middle, there are many places that won't even see the rift for tens of thousands of years... Or is there some kind of space magic that means the light of the rift has already reached the whole galaxy at the point of its formation? I haven't really been keeping track recently.




Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

Terranwing - w3;d1;l1
51st Dunedinw2;d0;l0
Cadre Coronal Afterglow w1;d0;l0 
   
Made in gb
Enginseer with a Wrench





Northumberland

40k is meant to be about that post-cataclysm loss of knowledge and history. Even in the far future with all this amazing technology, humans are still ignorant and blinded by faith etc.

Consider the current day and how little people know about even a couple of hundred years ago. People will take things as rote because they saw it online or read a few wikipedia articles and think they know everything. Gathering knowledge and understanding it takes time and expertise.

I think BL authors should play up that ignorance, it's a good way of allowing the setting to be explained so that people understand bigger events. It also allows for people who have a better knowledge of the 40k lore to figure out what's going on behind the scenes.

Stephen Maturin in Patrick O' Brien's master and commander series serves as the eternal novice in order to explain a lot of the technical naval terms in each book of a 20 novel series. It serves to allow newer readers to jump in but also allows those who have better understanding a sense of quiet superiority.


One and a half feet in the hobby


My Adeptus Mechanicus Painting Log:
# The Explorator Fleet of Labrunnia IX #

 
   
Made in us
Revving Ravenwing Biker




New York City

I'm generally of the opinion that intelligence between both protagonists and antagonists elevate a story. Writing characters who are willfully flawed/ignorant seems to me a cop out, and a lazy way for a story to develop/progress.

So I like my IoM to be very capable and have good reasoning and understanding; and vice versa for all its enemies.

Fight for our dead! Death to their living! And claim them in the name of the Emperor!
Lego Warhammer 40,000. Someone make it happen. 
   
Made in us
Shadowy Grot Kommittee Memba






Major historical events of our own time from less than 2000 years ago are essentially just entertaining narratives.

Look at the reality of the '300 spartans' for a perfect example. Many, many details of what people consider 'historical fact' about the battle at thermopylae are almost undeniably invented by the greek historian who most famously catalogued the events. His estimation of the numbers of the Persian forces was off by multiple orders of magnitude compared to available Persian historical records. The famous quotable 'last words of King Leonidas of Sparta' that we all remember from the film are entirely invented - Leonidas stayed behind with all the remaining Spartan soldiers as a rearguard, and he was killed. We have no idea how long that rearguard lasted, what dope gak Leonidas said before the battle started, how badass those 300 spartans (or however many were left) were during the fighting...because the primary source for the historical record was the Greek commanders who left Leonidas behind to do his rearguard thing.

All we know for sure is...those guys made it back home, and the Persians were not able to pursue and destroy the survivors of the other 3/4 of the greek fighting force that were not Spartan.

All we actually really know about Thermopylae was that Persia attempted an invasion of Greece and a battle took place at Thermopylae where a numerically inferior Greek force successfully used terrain to hold out longer than they otherwise would have been able to, and we know the names of the Greek commanders that fought and what city-states they came from.

So yeah. 10,000 years, under a totalitarian regime that punishes thoughtcrime with instant death?

the imperium should be 100000% ignorant of the actual events of the heresy, let alone before that.

"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games

-the_scotsman"

-ERJAK 
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






All that any generic Imperial citizen will know is the Primarchs since they are important Saints but even then it might just be "praise the Holy Primarchs" rather than specific names.
   
Made in gb
Mighty Vampire Count






UK

 Mr Nobody wrote:
So I've read a few black library books over the years and, like most 40k literature, the authors can be all over the place on certain aspects. Knowledgeability seems to be one of them. You can characters like commissar Gaunt talk about the Men of Iron likes it's common knowledgeable. Or the Ciaphas Cain books with stories of traitors primarchs told in church, but Carrion Throne has an inquisitor that thinks the loyal primarchs were created to fight primarch-like demons. The examples are endless. None of this is a problem, I enjoy seeing various views of the authors.

But which is your favorite? Are even the highest echelons of power ignorant of the past? Are the inquisition little more than rumors or do they have a public face? How much of the Horus Heresy is taught in scripture? I'm curious to see what people's preferences are.


It depends on the world and the people - look at the disparity in knowledge of people on earth - then mutiply that by a few thousand and you have some idea of the Imperium.

People will grow being told various versions of the truth, disorted through lenses of time, belief, disbelief, politics, ignorance, mistranslations and hearsay along with chinese whispers.

It can def be fun to play with in 40k fiction or rpgs.

I AM A MARINE PLAYER

"Unimaginably ancient xenos artefact somewhere on the planet, hive fleet poised above our heads, hidden 'stealer broods making an early start....and now a bloody Chaos cult crawling out of the woodwork just in case we were bored. Welcome to my world, Ciaphas."
Inquisitor Amberley Vail, Ordo Xenos

"I will admit that some Primachs like Russ or Horus could have a chance against an unarmed 12 year old novice but, a full Battle Sister??!! One to one? In close combat? Perhaps three Primarchs fighting together... but just one Primarch?" da001

www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/528517.page

A Bloody Road - my Warhammer Fantasy Fiction 
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




 Flinty wrote:
Again, going back to the general knowledge of the average Imperial citizen. If they can even see the sky, then information control works.

"What is that weird light in the sky?"

"Stop asking questions or you'll get shot in both lungs"

For planets even slightly away from the rift, there can be any number of explanations that can't be proven one way or another that don't involve "its chaos wot dunnit."

Also given the size of the galaxy, and the fact the rift largely goes down the middle, there are many places that won't even see the rift for tens of thousands of years... Or is there some kind of space magic that means the light of the rift has already reached the whole galaxy at the point of its formation? I haven't really been keeping track recently.



The problem is that nightmares, madness, and other problems seem to be associated from staring too long at the Rift, and this seems to occur at a frequency that even common citizens notice the link.

The light of the Rift seems to have reached all areas due to warp magic. Probably also because the authors either did not notice this detail or did not want such time lag to otherwise rob the opening of the rift of its dramatic impact.
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Yeah, the Rift has a malevolent nature that means it is everywhere at once.
   
Made in us
Terminator with Assault Cannon




San Jose, CA

I like my Imperium as ignorant as an Appalachian inbred albino.

(Que banjo from Deliverance)
   
Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





 LumenPraebeo wrote:
I'm generally of the opinion that intelligence between both protagonists and antagonists elevate a story. Writing characters who are willfully flawed/ignorant seems to me a cop out, and a lazy way for a story to develop/progress.

So I like my IoM to be very capable and have good reasoning and understanding; and vice versa for all its enemies.



you're confusing iontelligence with knowledge/education. one can be very intelligent yet completely ignorant of a subject.

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in us
Hacking Interventor





 LumenPraebeo wrote:
I'm generally of the opinion that intelligence between both protagonists and antagonists elevate a story. Writing characters who are willfully flawed/ignorant seems to me a cop out, and a lazy way for a story to develop/progress.

So I like my IoM to be very capable and have good reasoning and understanding; and vice versa for all its enemies.


See, the problem is that this is a different story you're looking for.

Intelligent (or at least, in some books, Kunnin') individuals can exist in 40K and make for good heroes in 40K stories, pitted against intelligent adversaries for interesting conflicts - but the IoM as a whole? Noooooo. The IoM is a toweringly incompetent theocratic fascist monolith far too gargantuan and unwieldy to govern with archaic technology and even more archaic ideas of what constitutes governance, using brutality and overwhelming force to accomplish what it cannot achieve in better ways. The Imperium of Man strips people of their humanity - either slowly through drudgery, or quickly by turning them into lobotomized meat robots. It has sacrifice ships because it has not figured out FTL travel better than burning thousands of psychic individuals every day. It has Inquisitors who can - and occasionally do - order planetary genocides.

Imperium heroes should succeed in spite of the Imperium, not because of it. To do otherwise is to court the unsavory suggestion that what the Imperium does is "Necessary." If you want two intelligent empires going at it, you want a Star Trek: DS9, or similar.

"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 
   
 
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