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Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





Beaverton OR


Greetings folks!

So here is a question up for debate: In the grim darkness of the 41st millennium... is there room for any Utopian (read: "very-good-trying-towards-better" not: "Already perfect") type civilizations?

It's kind of a weird question if you think about it. The universe of 40k is vast, with lots of hidden little corners and unexplored areas. In my opinion, it seems there are places that COULD be near perfect little outposts, hidden away from the warring powers and providing their citizens with "good" lives (read: "not nightmarish"). But, on the other hand, the very ethos of 40k is "Only War" and "As Dystopian as you can POSSIBLY get"... so does that preclude any really GOOD societies/civilizations from taking root? Essentially, can there really be any GOOD GUYS in the 40k universe?

I'd love to hear the community's thoughts!
   
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^I think so, abosolutely. However if it's a human society it should probably exist with a definite tension within the larger context of the Imperium. Of course it doesn't have to have complete contact with the Imperium, but I think the threat that the Imperium represents should be present. (Possibly like Cloud City within the context of the Empire).

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Each planetary governor is free to run their world as they see fit, so it stands to reason that there are some planets in the imperium itself where life is pretty good, even some where the general populace areblissfully ignorant that they are part of the imperium.

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Ship's Officer





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Utopia: depend on who you ask, if you ask that ork that went into the khorne world fighting everyday and revived the next, he is in blissed heaven.
   
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Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Yeah, it's called the T'au Empire Gue'la scum.

On a more serious note, yeah sure. The tiny view we get of Tanith before it gets nuked into oblivion is very close to a genuinely nice place in the Imperium. It obviously still serves a despotic regime that only survives through rampant militarism but its still nice. It doesn't have heavy industry or factory farms, it supplies lumber to the Imperium. The people aren't sweating in slave conditions, starving and fearful of overseers, in fact until said nuking, they appear to have been happy and content for the most part. The cities aren't sprawling steel and concrete behemoths, rather they are outposts of stone amidst the massive forests that cover the planet.
But of course Dan Abnett loves crushing the souls of everyone who reads the Ghosts novels so of course Tanith had to die.
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut





Conceptually sure.

Buut they've designed 40k metaphysics to be inherently negative. Grimdark is etched in the fabric of the universe. No matter how good, emotions create Warp disturbances which have knock on effects.

Utopia is not possible in the universe as a practical activity. But that won't stop people trying.

Separating the warp and realspace may be the only way to create a universe capable of Utopia
   
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Gore-Soaked Lunatic Witchhunter







 Hellebore wrote:
...Separating the warp and realspace may be the only way to create a universe capable of Utopia...


Eh. Separating the Warp and realspace gets you a universe of Necrons (at least in their old thematic role as "soulless beings representing life without the Warp" rather than their new thematic role as "space Tomb Kings").

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Regular Dakkanaut





Beaverton OR

 Hellebore wrote:
Conceptually sure.

Buut they've designed 40k metaphysics to be inherently negative. Grimdark is etched in the fabric of the universe. No matter how good, emotions create Warp disturbances which have knock on effects.

Utopia is not possible in the universe as a practical activity. But that won't stop people trying.

Separating the warp and realspace may be the only way to create a universe capable of Utopia


This is a great interpretation! See, to me, that really is the nature of the 40k universe. It's not like our own universe where there seems at least a potential for "real good" (obviously this is open to a lot of philosophical interpretation and debate that we will thankfully not get into right now,) but instead a sort of "dark mirror" in which there is an inherent negative skew. Tanith, as mentioned above, is a great example of this- but there are others in the lore as well.

It WAS good, for a time, but that had to get "corrected" in a big way.

I think that any real attempts at a "utopian" world within 40k would face this exact challenge. You can be "good" for awhile, but eventually the universe itself would "correct" your goodness, and the longer/better you were before, the harder the "correction" when it finally comes.

In 40k: you LITERALLY cannot win!

(Or at least: that is one interpretation for it)
   
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The Imperium does contain paradise worlds. For those that have enough wealth.
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




Technically Eldars live in a post scarcity society where they are totally free to basically explore whatever strikes their fancy, but it takes a measure of discipline for them not to go insane and there is the constant risk of war which is also problematic (that and the fact that Eldars themselves are made for war and thus often crave it). That's relatively close to a utopian living condition. For an Eldar uninterested in the Paths of the Warrior, life is basically almost perfect though the galaxy is filled with nightmarish dangers. Some humans might be lucky enough to live on a paradise world and those do exist. If you are a noble in a stable system, you basically live in your own little utopia. Orks are technically in a constant state of utopia as long as there is something to fight.
   
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Regular Dakkanaut





Beaverton OR

Yeah, there is a good argument to be made that 40k is ALREADY an ork utopia :-)
   
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Legendary Master of the Chapter





 Gert wrote:
Yeah, it's called the T'au Empire Gue'la scum.

On a more serious note, yeah sure. The tiny view we get of Tanith before it gets nuked into oblivion is very close to a genuinely nice place in the Imperium. It obviously still serves a despotic regime that only survives through rampant militarism but its still nice. It doesn't have heavy industry or factory farms, it supplies lumber to the Imperium. The people aren't sweating in slave conditions, starving and fearful of overseers, in fact until said nuking, they appear to have been happy and content for the most part. The cities aren't sprawling steel and concrete behemoths, rather they are outposts of stone amidst the massive forests that cover the planet.
But of course Dan Abnett loves crushing the souls of everyone who reads the Ghosts novels so of course Tanith had to die.


Iax was also described as a "paradise world" it died....... so Utopia's exist..... mostly to get destroyed of course but they exist!

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Longtime Dakkanaut







leerm02 wrote:

So here is a question up for debate: In the grim darkness of the 41st millennium... is there room for any Utopian (read: "very-good-trying-towards-better" not: "Already perfect") type civilizations?


If you're trying to ask "Are there any actually nice places to live in the 40k universe?" the answer is "Of course there are." Just because a planet was ravaged by war in the past doesn't mean that it can't recover and become a nice place to live later.

But if you've read enough old philosophy, you'd have read that the problem with your first question is that there are a million different competing definitions of "better". Since picking a government model based on "How Things Should Have Been Done" is probably one of the top ten hobbies of the type of folks who go off to found colonies, you should be able to find worlds where each variation has been tried. After all, outside of a few key points (stuff like planetary tithes, not worshiping Chaos, doing stuff compatible with the Imperial cult, etc.), systems can do pretty much whatever. The worlds that developed into agricultural supply centers, or the ones that developed into hive worlds, or the worlds that developed into forge worlds, didn't do so because they were told to.

For that matter, if you looked long enough, you'd be able to find a Rogue Trader ship where the ship's crew operated as a communist worker's utopia. As long as everyone continues to keep the ship working, and they're all content to live and work on the ship, everyone turning into hippies is just fine.

But it's 40k, so you're only going to hear about a paradise planet when the story is that the paradise planet's going to get wrecked.
   
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 AnomanderRake wrote:
 Hellebore wrote:
...Separating the warp and realspace may be the only way to create a universe capable of Utopia...


Eh. Separating the Warp and realspace gets you a universe of Necrons (at least in their old thematic role as "soulless beings representing life without the Warp" rather than their new thematic role as "space Tomb Kings").


Weird, though, since the necrons are even more focused on that as a goal now than before.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Gert wrote:
Yeah, it's called the T'au Empire Gue'la scum.

On a more serious note, yeah sure. The tiny view we get of Tanith before it gets nuked into oblivion is very close to a genuinely nice place in the Imperium. It obviously still serves a despotic regime that only survives through rampant militarism but its still nice. It doesn't have heavy industry or factory farms, it supplies lumber to the Imperium. The people aren't sweating in slave conditions, starving and fearful of overseers, in fact until said nuking, they appear to have been happy and content for the most part. The cities aren't sprawling steel and concrete behemoths, rather they are outposts of stone amidst the massive forests that cover the planet.
But of course Dan Abnett loves crushing the souls of everyone who reads the Ghosts novels so of course Tanith had to die.


Eh. That's just Dan borrowing the Bucolic Ideal from old British fiction (like Tolkien) more than paradise or utopia.
That's where good soldiers come from and go to die in classic British Empire propaganda pieces, where the old ways are best.

Its not particularly soul-crushing since its introduced to readers as destroyed- there isn't any real emotional investment in it.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/31 03:38:52


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Regular Dakkanaut




By 11th edition it might be entirely posible that the IOM will be portrayed as a broken utopia in the midst of a renaissance... With the Big E and his Primarch Kids leading humanity back into the right path.
   
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Vatsetis wrote:
By 11th edition it might be entirely posible that the IOM will be portrayed as a broken utopia in the midst of a renaissance... With the Big E and his Primarch Kids leading humanity back into the right path.


I doubt it, not unless GW changes course radically.

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Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

There's loads of fairly idyllic planets in 40k. Even the Imperium has various classifications for the worlds such as "paradise world" and "garden world".
   
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Regular Dakkanaut




Not a radical change... They just need to double down on the "path of the primaris".

The moment we get an official poster art of a Primaris building a hospital with some grateful kids arround (sell probably as some sort of diversity washing) you know that the turning point has been reached... And that is not a huge strech of the imagination from the point we are now.

Its probably not going to happend because GW is so lazy/undecided that they are unable even to make chaos primaris (which seem like a no brainer from a lore and modelling perspective)... But the possibility certainly exist.
   
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Les Etats Unis

 kirotheavenger wrote:
There's loads of fairly idyllic planets in 40k. Even the Imperium has various classifications for the worlds such as "paradise world" and "garden world".


Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't paradise worlds just "Goldilocks planets" like Earth which have hospitable climates and negotiable weather and wildlife? I don't think it necessarily means that life on those planets is actually any good, to put it bluntly.

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 Eldarain wrote:
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Bristol (UK)

Paradise Worlds start as "goldilocks planets" but they're then kept in that way as a retreat for the privileged.

Maybe that's still a tinge of dystopia, depending on how you look at it.
   
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An Utopia for microbiotic live indeed... It only depends on your point if reference after all.
   
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The key thing about 40k is that perhaps there once was a utopia, but it's now forever been lost, and any opportunity for it to be restored is gone on the slow slide towards collapse.

Think that's a key part of the setting; as much as the impact of Primarchs returning from the dead and Super Marines being developed it's still very much part of the fabric.

Tying in with more modern background, I guess you could say it was the end-goal of the Great Crusade, but humanity stumbled and fell.

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Well some people would have certainly issues with the so called "imperial utopia"... But if it really dosent matter how many fell in the proccess and how many are excluded from the end goal... Yeap I suppose you could call the Great Crusade plan an "Utopia".
   
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Nuremberg

I'd say, since 40K is a setting designed for you as a gamer to play with, a utopia is definitely possible within your personal 40K.

I think though that I prefer the idea of a society aiming for utopia and trying it's best. A utopia is not very interesting for a game about conflict and war, except as something to be protected or lost.

The Imperium I would say is not a utopia and no world that is part of it can be a utopia. It's too inherently evil for that. But there could be other human civilisations that are utopian, and I prefer the model of Tau where they are struggling toward utopia than the interpretations where the Ethereals are mind controlling everyone and are super evil.

I like the contrast between the huge, powerful, dystopian Imperium and various isolated, weaker utopian societies trying to exist in it's shadow, without drawing it's ire.

But I think 40K should be open to however you want to interpret it.

   
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Regular Dakkanaut




Well Tau progressiveness needs to be flanderised into the grim dark through "mind controlling" ethereals or else the "are we the baddies? " element of the IOM would be too evident for a part of the SM costumer base tastes.
   
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Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






Pretty much Ultramar and the 500 worlds.

Even in the decay of the modern setting, it’s still an example of what The Imperium could be. And in the Crusade era, it was basically an example of what The Emperor wanted once the wars were done.

At least, as far as Utopia can exist when you’re talking about a population of untold billions, dependant on an off world supply chain.

You would still have your downtrodden. You would still have your fair slice of human misery.

But even Star Trek can’t create a true Utopia, despite The Federation’s lofty ideals.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
As for a given world? Still not really possible because the Galaxy is so incredibly hostile.

Consider that Ork invasions can come from any quarter. And when they do, you’re talking hundreds of thousands of Orks.

Certainly if a Space Hulk delivered even a small scale Waaaagh! to Earth, right now? Our militaries would be overwhelmed.

In 40K, they know that’s always a possibility - hence PDFs, defence flotillas etc. And so even a paradise world is going to have some kind of needfully oppressive military presence.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/31 10:51:11


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"Utopian" within what context?

Within the Imperium, it would be hard. Yes there may be resort planets, but those are for the rich and powerful. The inhabitants are like the hired help you might see in resorts in some 3rd world areas. Pockets of luxury amidst either subsistence level poverty or undeveloped land.

If any Imperial world started to for example have some form of economic growth or consistent surplus, then I am sure tithes would be raised accordingly. Though in theory the governor is free to run the world in any way, the necessity to pay crushing tithes may effectively select for more oppressive goverments, as anything less so ends up being unable to consistently meet the tithe requirements.

Now I can certainly see the Recongregator faction of the Inquisition attempting reform. In particular my pet headcanon campaign would be a sector where the Recongregators pool their efforts and manage to set up a de facto pocket empire within a sector of Imperium Nihilus (though claiming to hold the sector in safekeeping until contact can be re-established with Terra). Imperium Nihilus would offer many story opportunities for human vs human conflict, as various factions both corrupt or well intentioned jockey for power or take necessary measures for their own safety in the aftermath of the Rift opening.

Utopia among the Eldar? The Exodites sort of have it in their back to nature ways if that is your idea of Utopia. The Craftworlders sort of have it in their society with its extremely high standard of living that removes the need for actual work to survive, and where they are free to pursue whatever Paths interest them. However it is hinted in the Gav Thorpe novels that the Craftworlds may have a gestalt that nudges them towards Paths that end up meeting Craftworld needs, so there could be the issue of free will.

The Tau might have it, with their sense of progress and manifest destiny, though there is the issue of the caste system with Ethereals as an unquestioned ruling class (Farsight being the exception) and of non-Tau being lesser in the grand scheme of the Greater Good.

The Orks certainly have their own idea of Utopia which is basically living in the moment for wars and thrills from other things like speed.
   
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 kirotheavenger wrote:
Paradise Worlds start as "goldilocks planets" but they're then kept in that way as a retreat for the privileged.

Maybe that's still a tinge of dystopia, depending on how you look at it.

Unless those nobles cook, clean and farm food themselves on those planets, there is undoubtedly the same dystopian opression (maybe toned down since the wealthy prefer their servants pretty and un-lobotomized) as everywhere in the Imperium. If anything, it adds to the dystopian nature of the failed system emperor created.
   
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Regular Dakkanaut




In the Marneus Calgar comics it is stated that indeed the Ultramar sector has indeed a high standard of living for the IOM... Therefore its life expectancy is hardly over 30.

So this Utopian realm is at level (or slightly better than) the European Dark Ages... Go figure!

Also, Imagine a huge Waagh of 4 millions orks (the size of the Armaggeddon ork force according to Lexicanum) attack the Modern day earth... Our 50+ million military personnel will be inmediatly overwhelmed... Perhaps it will be needed for the 50+ million reservist to be called to serve... Or if the orks use their handwavium tech perhaps new recruits will need to trained and the general population will actually notice there is an invasion.

People dont realise that if the 40k numbers are to be taken with a straight face... Then Modern day Earth would be a Great Power in the 40K galaxy (if only we could project our firepower beyond earths orbit).

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/08/31 12:19:29


 
   
 
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