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Which chapter do you think still embodies the old school distopian grim darkness of 40K and why?

For me it’s probably the dark angels but I’m not really up on SM lore these days and there’s probably a successor chapter with some real grim fluff
   
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It depends what you count as "Grim Dark" because for me if there's only dark stuff and no glimmer of hope then it's just Dark.
For me the Salamanders embody that glimmer of hope in the encroaching darkness. They still serve a horrific regime and have a tendency to set things on fire. However, they also try to defend the people of the Imperium rather than just its institutions and buildings. You could argue that keeping these people alive to serve in said horrific regime is also very Dark but IMO indoctrinated super murder machines that actively try to prevent uneeded loss of life is that glimmer of hope that prevents 40k from being flat out depressing.
   
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Bergen

The most grim dark would probably be the first founding marines that fell to chaos.

Them aside chacharadons, mostly seen during the baddab war, are the most brutal.

Lamenters are the most tragic (also coming out of the badab war) who are now on a redemptig run where they lament. They are just doom and gloom.

If by grim dark you mean the setting then ultramarines are the icon.

Most grim dark are probably grey knights who kill any regular human witnesses. They kill so many.

Other honerable mentions are iron hands who mutilate themself. Blood angels who have that black rage. (Actualy flesh tearers might be better.) Then there are the whats their name that gets possessed and exorsisted as part of their training. (The Exorsistst?)

   
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All on board with the badab chapters here.

Minotaurs should also get an honourable mention.

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Yeah, what jumped to mind was the Space Sharks. They basically do take convicts and murderers and make them into marines, which is what the original space marines were.

   
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I'd say the Black Templars are the most 'grimdark' of the well-known canon chapters.

To me, grimdark is more than just pointless savagery and brutality, it encompasses things like hypocrisy and dark irony, the poisoning of noble ideals by ignorance and hatred, and asks questions like whether a fight that is hopeless is also necessarily pointless (and vice versa).

An order of crusading warrior-monks who worship the galaxy's biggest dead atheist as a god, persecute psykers in the name of humanity's most powerful psyker, 'defend' humanity mostly through belligerent intolerance, are fanatically convinced they are the good guys while being objectively wrong about almost everything, but still manage to have just enough admirable traits that they can pass for good guys by the rather shaky moral standards of the setting? That ticks a lot of grimdark boxes for me.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/21 11:27:08


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I'd say the Minotaurs. They were literally created to destroy rogue space marine chapters. They are to attack what the IF are to defense. They have better armories than even the Deathwatch. Mostly because they don't bother with quibbles about Heresy era tech. They even intimidated the Custodes, as much as you can intimidate a Custodian.
   
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TBF they intimidated Valerian because they brought their entire Chapter to Terra without any warning and just started killing people. Its intimidation in the "You've just been listed as a threat to the Emperor" rather than "I'm scared of you".
IMO the Mintoaurs are so badly written. They're a Chapter with loads of relic wargear, a fleet led by one of the rarest ship designs ever, their Chapter Master has a spear that's like a Custodes spear, they're really good at killing Space Marines AND they only listen to the High Lords. It's like fanfiction.
Of all the Chapters FW updated for Badab, they're the worst because they have literally no weaknesses outside of "they're a bunch of pricks that nobody likes".

That take on the BT is a good one and unexpected TBH. I saw "I like BT" then got worried because of all the Chapters they draw in the greatest number of unsavoury people who only see "angry space man kill alien for god" and not the bastions of hypocrisy the BT really are. Top marks Duskweaver

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/10/21 13:23:48


 
   
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Has anyone mentioned Crimson Fists yet?

Literally the guys on the 1st edition rulebook cover. Every one of those guys is going to die in that last stand, but they are still fighting on regardless, in a universe that doesn't care.

 Niiai wrote:

Lamenters are the most tragic (also coming out of the badab war) who are now on a redemptig run where they lament. They are just doom and gloom.


In the older fluff, did they get (practically) destroyed by the Tyranids after they were on the wrong side of the Badab war? If so that is pretty damn grimdark!

It actually helps to illustrate how a lot of the dark-future type stuff from the older editions (what I really think of as grimdark) isn't as much the case any more, with (I think) both of the 'losses' of those chapters now reduced to a footnote that they have still been able to come back and fight from, bolstered by the shiny new Marines Max Pro and reincarnated Primarchs.

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The Mantis Warriors never received Primaris due to their role in the Badab War but still received the tech to produce them, it's likely the Lamenters were treated the same way. Their latest background still has them barely surviving with around 3 Companies worth of Astartes left.
   
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Gert wrote:It depends what you count as "Grim Dark" because for me if there's only dark stuff and no glimmer of hope then it's just Dark.
For me the Salamanders embody that glimmer of hope in the encroaching darkness. They still serve a horrific regime and have a tendency to set things on fire. However, they also try to defend the people of the Imperium rather than just its institutions and buildings. You could argue that keeping these people alive to serve in said horrific regime is also very Dark but IMO indoctrinated super murder machines that actively try to prevent uneeded loss of life is that glimmer of hope that prevents 40k from being flat out depressing.

I agree,
The dichotomy can exist only due to the shades of Grey in between.
The fact that the Salamanders would try to limit civilian casualties while offering no quarter to xenos, heretic & Mutant in very brutal ways. I mean the Iron Dragon(chassis of Bray'arth Ashmantle) is basically a flame spitting murder machine. Flamestorm aggressors are smaller but just as nasty. Thunderhammer Firedrakes & Pyroclasts are brutal and destructive.
But they would use that nastiness to protect citizens of the Imperium and see their lives as dearly as possible while doing it is pretty Grim fething Dark.

But also Templars, Sharks, Executioners & Minotaurs. Just a hell of a lot more "indifferent" than the 18th.
   
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As long as a Chapter has some kind of flaw then they operate fine within what I would consider "Grim Dark".
The Templars have their hypocrisy, the Carcharadons have their exile which could result in their annihilation at any time, hell even the Ultramarines have their flaws where they have to balance being the model Codex Chapter with being effective warriors and soldiers.
At the same time, these Chapters need to have some form of good quality to them to balance it out. With the Templars, it's their honour, the Carcharadons are the thankless watchers keeping humanity safe from the threats in the dark and of course the Ultramarines operate a micro-empire where life is genuinely better than most Imperial worlds.
You need to balance the good and the bad which is something that both GW and 40k fans consistently fail to do.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/21 18:17:01


 
   
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Ultramarines are grimdark.

I mean they changed their trim from Yellow to gold...so edgy

If you're upset when someone holds you to your own self stated standards it might just be that they are indeed selective double standards. 
   
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Well they are a 3rd founding chapter.....so already maximum grimdark.
   
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Racerguy180 wrote:
Well they are a 3rd founding chapter.....so already maximum grimdark.


Obviously not since they retained the yellow in early 3rd which was the grimdarkest edition

If you're upset when someone holds you to your own self stated standards it might just be that they are indeed selective double standards. 
   
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 Gert wrote:
The Mantis Warriors never received Primaris due to their role in the Badab War but still received the tech to produce them, it's likely the Lamenters were treated the same way. Their latest background still has them barely surviving with around 3 Companies worth of Astartes left.


There is also one solitary Lamenters dreadnought in the Deathwatch that believes he is the sole survivor of his chapter. He yearns to die fighting the Tyranids, taking as many down with him so he can rejoin his brothers.

True grimdark is that no one in charge has corrected him on this matter.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/10/22 01:28:52


 
   
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The Mortifactors.

There's always been something a little unsettling about them and their customs.

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What's better is that they're an Ultramarine Successor. Creepy bone art barbarians from fancy Roman types.
   
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If you go back far enough you have that Imperial Fist captain D’Arquebus melting the flesh off his hand to carve the names of his fallen comrades on his bones… that’s pretty grim.

And yellow is such a cheery colour as well…

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/22 23:13:41


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Everything about Ian Watson's books were pretty grim, even the scene where all the Scouts fart on one another.

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For most sociopathic you aren't going to go much further than the marines malevolent, they're so callous in their actions they are grimdark inherently.

There's no marine chapter that isn't grimdark really, from recruitment, to training, to horrendous surgery to being sanctioned to administer exterminatus, sometimes for shallow reasons....

Marines have embedded into their practice everything we would consider to be the most severe ethical and/or war crimes. Even the good ones like the salamanders and space wolves.

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 endlesswaltz123 wrote:
For most sociopathic you aren't going to go much further than the marines malevolent, they're so callous in their actions they are grimdark inherently.

There's no marine chapter that isn't grimdark really, from recruitment, to training, to horrendous surgery to being sanctioned to administer exterminatus, sometimes for shallow reasons....

Marines have embedded into their practice everything we would consider to be the most severe ethical and/or war crimes. Even the good ones like the salamanders and space wolves.


I see the Marines Malevolent as what the default SM view should be. They may defend the Imperium but that is due to their own sense of duty to the Emperor, not because they actually have any empathy for the normal humans they defend, and they are downright contemptuous of those that will not even do the bare minimum of fighting (i.e. civilians that don't pick up arms). That would explain why they can fall, because if they lose that sense of obligation to the Emperor they have little to no link to the rest of humanity and can easily end up as warlords of their own or turn to Chaos.

Ian Watson's novel was grimdark. The main characters go through a blur of fighting, praying, training, etc... for decades that eventually the whole idea and concept of femininity and women seemed alien to them as they were living all this time in a hyper masculine brotherhood. One character also had a vision, which he took to be a religious revelation, in which he saw himself as a fine wine or spirit distilled from the vast seething mass of humanity, likened to yeast, for the Emperor to sip. Again the whole imagery was one of elitism and implied contempt for the rest of humanity. There is also the more subtle masochistic warping of their mind with their exaltation of pain and overcoming pain through willpower. There was also the scene of them doing live firing practice and massacring a village of feral humans including unarmed women and children. For a brief moment a main character wonders whether they are really corrupted, mind wiped, or real feral humans being used in the training scenario. In the end, he dismisses it as irrelevant as "To slay is to pray" and that the only morality was what the Emperor willed. It was a good scene to show that SM are not good and are meant to be monsters.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/10/23 14:05:51


 
   
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@pacific

I was also going to say Crimson Fists, 'cos the OP states 'old school grim dark'.

In the 9th ed core rulebook they recreated that famous cover as an internal illustration, but updated to feature primaris marines, who don't seem to be breaking a sweat... it tickled me, v funneh

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Iron Hands for me

They are incredably brutal in their use of not only the other imperial organisations but even others in their own Chapter - in some cases even preying on other companies within it- also the whole "flesh is weak" is not what their prmarch intended.




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 H.B.M.C. wrote:
The Mortifactors.

There's always been something a little unsettling about them and their customs.


Nice choice. They eat their enemies! Also this:
If they should die, they are taken to the Halls of Victors and sit at the feast table of the Ultimate Warrior


Spoiler:

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 Gert wrote:
The Mantis Warriors never received Primaris due to their role in the Badab War but still received the tech to produce them, it's likely the Lamenters were treated the same way. Their latest background still has them barely surviving with around 3 Companies worth of Astartes left.


Lamenters got primaris reinforcements.
   
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All the Blood Angels supplement says is that they are still alive and we can assume that the Chapter received the Primaris tech but only because all the Stock Image Marines are Primaris now.
   
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 PaddyMick wrote:
 H.B.M.C. wrote:
The Mortifactors.

There's always been something a little unsettling about them and their customs.


Nice choice. They eat their enemies! Also this:
If they should die, they are taken to the Halls of Victors and sit at the feast table of the Ultimate Warrior


Spoiler:


Eat their enemies and the ultimate warrior, are they from parts unkown? Feel like these guys are a contender for most grim dark
   
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PaddyMick wrote:@pacific

I was also going to say Crimson Fists, 'cos the OP states 'old school grim dark'.

In the 9th ed core rulebook they recreated that famous cover as an internal illustration, but updated to feature primaris marines, who don't seem to be breaking a sweat... it tickled me, v funneh


Ah that's interesting!

Although you generally see a lot less of marines dying in the more modern artwork. Originally they were dying in almost all of it, really tied in with the kind of heroic fatalism thing.

H.B.M.C. wrote:Everything about Ian Watson's books were pretty grim, even the scene where all the Scouts fart on one another.


Also the butt-stamp tattoo! I read an account of that where they requested Ian remove that scene from the book, but then somehow it still ended up in the final print.

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*cough* Angels Penitent *cough*

None of the above examples comes even close to Peter Fehervari when it comes to grimdark, IMO :<
   
 
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