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#1 firebomb173

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:30 PM

In Black Crusade, it is mentioned that the Imperium can be viewed as either a brutal but necessary bulwark against a hostile universe, or as a harsh, crumbling dystopia falling apart as much from it's own cruelty and ineptitude as any outside forces. Which interpretation do you think is right? Does the latter interpretation imply that Chaos is the salvation of mankind? Is it possible for a follower of chaos to have any meaning morals? Is either side better than the other to any meaningful degree? And just how biased are the sourcebooks towards the view of the side they portray? Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.



#2 Gurkhal

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:26 PM

firebomb173 said:

In Black Crusade, it is mentioned that the Imperium can be viewed as either a brutal but necessary bulwark against a hostile universe, or as a harsh, crumbling dystopia falling apart as much from it's own cruelty and ineptitude as any outside forces. Which interpretation do you think is right?

 

Does the latter interpretation imply that Chaos is the salvation of mankind?

 

Is it possible for a follower of chaos to have any meaning morals? Is either side better than the other to any meaningful degree? And just how biased are the sourcebooks towards the view of the side they portray? Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

 

1. Well I used to be a all Chaos fanboy and then the later interperation was of course the right one, but in older days I've switched around to support for the former one instead with a newfound interest in the Imperials. But then again I think the truth is a mix of the two and while the Imperium might be necessary to a degree, all the policies and aspects of it might not be necessary and its entirely possible that the Imperium is actually self-destructive in many of its endevours in the long run. Also I'm a leaning a bit more towards the collective rather than individualistic part and in real life the solipsism of Chaos would be far to much for me to accept or tolerate outside a mental institution.

2. No. I just think that it means that either the Imperium isn't the salvation or that the form which the Imperium has today isn't the salvation of mankind.

3. I think that a Chaos follower can have very meaningful morals but over time those morals will be corrupted and twisted by the influence of the warp that they might not necessarily have much meaning for anyone crossing the character's path. I would think that Chaos has a destructive tendency on the material realm that the Imperium, which at least wants to protect its own, probably has an upper hand on it - but that don't per necessity make the Imperials good or that Chaos is so simple that it can be in anyway accurately labeld with "evil".

In regards to the sourcebooks I would think that the sourcebooks are pro for the gameline they come from as they show that perspective. I'll give you an example of a Space Marine intervention against a separatistic world. Now the Imperials sees the Marines as the Emperor's holy sons and angels of death who brings their wrath on the traitors who would doom all of mankind due to their petty minded selfishness. The separatists on the other hand probably sees the Marines as psychotic mass murderes and instruments of oppression for their hated exploiters when all they ever want is for the Imperials to just let them live their lives as they want to. Different perspectives on the same thing. And I'd think that same goes for all the lines.

So to answer the question shortly, yes, I would think that each line is pro the faction that is its star, be in the Inquisition, the Rogue Traders, Space Marines, followers of Chaos or the Imperial Guard. 

That's what I think anyway.



#3 Blood Pact

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:47 AM

In the end though, anyone who really believes that Chaos isn't something wholly terrible, and wants to act as if it's the Imperium on the other side causing them trouble, is diluding themselves.

Because all the evidence we have points to the fact that as horrible as the Imperium is, there at least tends to be some pragmatic excuse for why it's acting the way it's acting. Whereas Chaos' motives tend to lean more toward the "***** n' giggles" variety. Pretty much every ritual there is involves blood sacrifice, and most of the time an animal is insufficient, so really how much does that tell you about Chaos' good intentions, that to call up the gods it requires ten people to be impaled on spears while they're still alive?

Don't get me wrong, wiping out whole planets or races is something that the Imperium seems to do every month, but the only group who seem to be as plain bloodthirsty and vile as Chaos is the Dark Eldar, and noone muses about whether they'd settle down and become a bunch of super-cool nice guys, if only the Imperium weren't around (on the contrary, they'd be drowning in the blood of the slaves they'd be able to harvest, without an 'organized' Imperium to fend them off). So I find the idea that Chaos will 'calm down' if they won a little niave, and just plain ignorant.



#4 borithan

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:28 AM

The IMperium, and its brutality, are necessary. Yes, some of the particular acts may not be, and some of the particular tenant may not be, but without the Imperium mankind would face extinction.

Otherwise it utterly undermines the darkness and spirit of 40k. 40k is not dark because there is a hideously oppressive and violent regime in charge. Its dark because there is a hideously oppressive and violent regime and charge, but that is best of a whole load of bad options.



#5 WittyDroog

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:14 PM

 You're asking if the Imperium is black or white.

 

I assure you it's neither. 



#6 Adeptus-B

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:19 AM

The only 'absolute' in the 40Kverse is that everyone is doomed!

 



#7 firebomb173

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 03:54 PM

I'm not asking for an absolute answer, I just want to hear some opinions on the nature of the factions in 40k



#8 Lazzuu

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:36 PM

I think the Imperium is an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind, despite how cruel and oppressive it is. I feel like most servants of Chaos either delude themselves or honestly don't care about anything else than their own glory. With that said, yes, a servant of Chaos might have a moral code of some sort. A common example would be a warrior of Khorne who will not kill unarmed or helpless opponents.



#9 Waywardpaladin

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:42 AM

According to the story the Cabal told Alpha Legion, the Empire needs to fall. Chaos would then consume itself, and the other species would all be left alone to rebuild.

 

As for people claiming that the Empire is necessary... not really. Tzeentch is omniscient. That wrecks any sort of tension in the setting. I also believe he'll never really let resistance to Chaos end. He can't let any side 'win', because that would curtail change. I imagine he helps the Empire just as much as he fights them. According to fluff, his greater demons can't even be defeated unless Tzeentch wills it and feeds them a false vision of the future. He is also the god of hope after all :P

 

Not to mention that the Necrons now have the ability to snuff out Terra instantly just by poking a dot of light on a star chart as of their latest Codex...

So, overall, yes it is possible for Chaos followers to have morals. Cipher fights Space Marines, has the favor of the Chaos Gods, but also protects Imperial Guard from Chaos. In the latest Black Crusade he went and infiltrated a bunch of planets, stirred them up against the Ecclesiarchy, but when Abbadon showed up expecting a bunch of riotous worlds ready to be plucked, he found a bunch of humanist fanatics that threw him back as well.

Now, the Gods themselves I wouldn't say can have morals. They're forces of nature spawned from limited shards of sapient thought, and they'll always be there unless we cut the Immaterium off from the universe. (Which doesn't seem to be the Necron goal anymore after their rewrite...) Doing that would have a negative effect on most psychic capable life, so not likely to happen.

So learn to live with chaos, overthrow the Empire, and join the Tau today! :)



#10 Gurkhal

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:44 PM

Waywardpaladin said:

So learn to live with chaos, overthrow the Empire, and join the Tau today! :)

BURN THE HERETIC!

 

I think you are very wrong to think that the Cabal was right. I think they were either of the three following things 

1, tricked by Tzeentched and didn't know it

2, were servants of Chaos themselves

3, just wanted a chance to cause more problems for the humans

4, a chimera created by the Alpha Legion to mislead the Imperials (yes, I really hate this plot with the Alpha Legion being suckered up by a bunch of aliens like that)



#11 Waywardpaladin

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:51 PM

The Cabal had a human as well, and shouldn't Alpha Legion been able to detect Chaos corruption if they were followers of them?


Now, the Cabal could be mistaken. Hell, they could have been right, and GW can at any point retcon it into them being wrong. It'll remain ambigious I'm sure. Point being that with Tzeentch's portfolio, if the outright destruction of the Imperium was his goal, then mankind wouldn't have a chance. They are still kicking today, which leads me to believe that the somewhat stalemate in the large scale, total chaos on the small scale, situation the universe is in suits him fine.

Now likely Tzeentch is beyond any motives we can truely understand, so "HE WANTS TO CRUSH THE IMPERIUM!" is probably unlikely from the beginning.



#12 Vandegraffe

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:44 PM

I can't see Tzeentch wanting the Imperium dead.  Mutated beyond recognition, yes.  Dead, no.  It's Nurgle who is all about the death and decay bit... and we know how well those two get along. 

Cheers,

- V.



#13 Cynical Cat

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:32 PM

The Cabal was retarded.  The only Eldar among them wasn't a farseer and the most capable eldar farseer alive warned the Emperor about Horus.  The Eldar intervened multiple times on the Imperium's side during the Heresy.  They have no reason to do that if the death of the human race defeats Chaos and gives them back their empire.  The two possible futures is also nonsense as we know from farseers that there are many possible futures.  The best explanation is that the future seeing device is better at brainwashing than predicting the future.  That at least explains why a very loyal chapter turns traitor immediately after a bunch of aliens they loath and don't trust show them a pretty picture.

 

As for the Imperium itself, it is evil, corrupt, and backwards.  The top controls vast amounts of wealth and power and much of mankind lives as essentially serfs, tied to a hungry industrial machine.  It has a state enforced religion which is has most of the worst aspects of every organized religion in human history and the Ad Mech and the rest are just as bad.  There does have to be wars and internal policing but society doesn't have to take up this particular form.  The Heresy novels show us an imperfect, but far better Imperium.  The problem is, of course, that the threats the Imperium uses to justify its existence are very real and very terrible and that the ossified and feudal nature of the Imperium resists reform. 

The bloodthirsty Khornate berserker is certainly worse than the kindly Imperial nurse, but the Administratum Clerk who condemns millions to poverty  and misery with a stroke of the pen is worse than the principled revolutionary and the corrupt cleric who starts a religious war to fill the Ecclesiarchy's coffers is a worse person than the Thousand Sons sorcerer who wants to create an age of enlightenment.  So which is worse?

Your call.

 

 



#14 Blood Pact

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 07:24 PM

I'm not sure I'd like the same kind of enlightenment that a Thousand Sons sorcerer does.

Also, not everyone is strong enough to resist the corrupting effects of Chaos, it can be too dangerous in the wrong hands.



#15 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 06:49 AM

Cynical Cat said:

The Cabal was retarded.  The only Eldar among them wasn't a farseer and the most capable eldar farseer alive warned the Emperor about Horus.  The Eldar intervened multiple times on the Imperium's side during the Heresy.  They have no reason to do that if the death of the human race defeats Chaos and gives them back their empire.  The two possible futures is also nonsense as we know from farseers that there are many possible futures.  The best explanation is that the future seeing device is better at brainwashing than predicting the future.  That at least explains why a very loyal chapter turns traitor immediately after a bunch of aliens they loath and don't trust show them a pretty picture.

It's amazing how so many people fixate on the depiction of the Alpha Legion in Legion, yet seem utterly oblivious to their depiction in Deliverance Lost, which continues their story on.

The Alpha Legion betrayed the Cabal as well, choosing to find their own path through the coming apocalyptic conflict.

As for Eldrad warning the Emperor… we don't actually know for certain that he did. We know he attempted to warn the Imperium by delivering a message to Fulgrim, but was too late as Fulgrim had already fallen under the influence of Chaos, but we don't know more beyond that. Future material involving the Eldar has been revealed, which will likely shed more light on their place in the era.

Cynical Cat said:

As for the Imperium itself, it is evil, corrupt, and backwards.  The top controls vast amounts of wealth and power and much of mankind lives as essentially serfs, tied to a hungry industrial machine.  It has a state enforced religion which is has most of the worst aspects of every organized religion in human history and the Ad Mech and the rest are just as bad.  There does have to be wars and internal policing but society doesn't have to take up this particular form.  The Heresy novels show us an imperfect, but far better Imperium.  The problem is, of course, that the threats the Imperium uses to justify its existence are very real and very terrible and that the ossified and feudal nature of the Imperium resists reform. 

The bloodthirsty Khornate berserker is certainly worse than the kindly Imperial nurse, but the Administratum Clerk who condemns millions to poverty  and misery with a stroke of the pen is worse than the principled revolutionary and the corrupt cleric who starts a religious war to fill the Ecclesiarchy's coffers is a worse person than the Thousand Sons sorcerer who wants to create an age of enlightenment.  So which is worse?

Your call.

To each their own.

As I see it:

The Imperium is built upon a lie that was told so long ago that none remain who know the truth it conceals. Generation after generation perpetuate this lie blindly and unknowingly. But, just as the Imperium controls vast resources and possesses vast power, its means are not sufficient for its ends - the unchallenged dominance of humanity across the galaxy.

The Imperium is flawed, certainly, but in a way that cannot be fixed by mortal minds, such is the scale of it. The Imperium that the Emperor built was incomplete, a nation of incomparable size forged in a war that had not yet come to its end. When the Heresy happened, it tore apart the Imperium that was and might have been, leaving ruins and scarred survivors who rebuilt as best they could with minds insufficient for the task torn between a childish reproduction of what should have been and a crippling fear of what might be. The contemporary Imperium is flawed not by deliberate malice, but by the inadequacies of its architects, who could not hope to recreate the Emperor's vision in his absence. Those who came after them literally do not know any better, and the Imperium is so vast and scattered that any attempt at change struggles against the cultural inertia of a million worlds and countless generations.

The Administratum Clerk… I would not regard him as vile. His is a thankless duty, and one with little comprehension of its place in the grand scheme of things. He is unlikely to know that the tiniest error in his labours could condemn millions to die. Worse, his labours may be inevitably err towards the lesser evil as determined by his masters - for worlds may die if the armies that guard them go unarmed and unfed, and to that end others must toil to provide. The Administratum is inefficient, certainly, but there is little malice there… merely the work of countless trillions of souls who must labour to keep mankind from becoming extinct a little longer.

By comparison, the principled revolutionary may unknowingly cause billions or trillions of deaths elsewhere in the galaxy, as his vaunted revolution sees much-needed resources tied up on internal strife rather than fighting the very real threats from outside. The world on which he leads his rebellion may prosper (for a time) because of its revolution… but what of worlds dependant upon the punishing tithe that they rebelled against? Is it right for him to make the people of those worlds suffer because of his choices?

The cleric… well, you've deliberately set up a straw man by defining him as corrupt from the outset. However, the Thousand Sons sorcerer who pursues enlightenment may have very specific ideas of what enlightenment is… but more significant than that, he may not be entirely in control of his own deeds. The Thousand Sons are, whether willingly or not, Tzeentch's playthings. Each, from the least Rubricae to Ahriman himself, are part of the grand game of the Great Conspirator, agents of change in the service of a deity that craves and embodies change for its own sake.


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#16 Black_Kestrel

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 07:29 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

As I see it:

The Imperium is built upon a lie that was told so long ago that none remain who know the truth it conceals. Generation after generation perpetuate this lie blindly and unknowingly. But, just as the Imperium controls vast resources and possesses vast power, its means are not sufficient for its ends - the unchallenged dominance of humanity across the galaxy.

The Imperium is flawed, certainly, but in a way that cannot be fixed by mortal minds, such is the scale of it. The Imperium that the Emperor built was incomplete, a nation of incomparable size forged in a war that had not yet come to its end. When the Heresy happened, it tore apart the Imperium that was and might have been, leaving ruins and scarred survivors who rebuilt as best they could with minds insufficient for the task torn between a childish reproduction of what should have been and a crippling fear of what might be. The contemporary Imperium is flawed not by deliberate malice, but by the inadequacies of its architects, who could not hope to recreate the Emperor's vision in his absence. Those who came after them literally do not know any better, and the Imperium is so vast and scattered that any attempt at change struggles against the cultural inertia of a million worlds and countless generations.

 

 

Umm…I thought that Roboute Guiliman most certainly knew what the Emperor intended and specifically modelled the the realm of Ultramar to honor the Emperor's intent. I admit that my knowledge of 40K lore is than comprehensive, so I could be wrong.



#17 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:56 AM

Black_Kestrel said:

Umm…I thought that Roboute Guiliman most certainly knew what the Emperor intended and specifically modelled the the realm of Ultramar to honor the Emperor's intent. I admit that my knowledge of 40K lore is than comprehensive, so I could be wrong.

It doesn't seem like any of the Primarchs knew the full extent of the Emperor's plans or vision, though some knew more than others. Even then, the Imperium was still incomplete by the time the Heresy began - it was still a civilisation formed by wars of conquest and the only infrastructure that existed, really, was the one intended to support the ongoing Great Crusade.

With the end of the Heresy, the Imperium is a shattered ruin of its former albeit incomplete glory, and those who rebuilt it - Guilliman at their head, as the most practised statesman of his remaining brothers, and the one with the greatest forces remaining - could only rebuild what they knew of the Imperium before, but with a watchful eye towards the many enemies that humanity still had and which had not been conquered or rendered extinct during the Crusade.


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#18 Cynical Cat

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 12:47 AM

 

Apologies, but I'm having a terrible time with the quote function.  I'm going to just bold N0-1_H3r3's words for easy recognition.

It's amazing how so many people fixate on the depiction of the Alpha Legion in Legion, yet seem utterly oblivious to their depiction in Deliverance Lost, which continues their story on.

In my case it's because the ending in Legion is that bad and I haven't finished Deliverance Lost. Caine's Law by Matthew Stover and Perdido Street Station by China Mieville took positions on the top of my reading pile.  Abnett's normally very good, by the "fall" of the Alpha Legion is simply unconvincing. 

 

As for Eldrad warning the Emperor… we don't actually know for certain that he did. We know he attempted to warn the Imperium by delivering a message to Fulgrim, but was too late as Fulgrim had already fallen under the influence of Chaos, but we don't know more beyond that. Future material involving the Eldar has been revealed, which will likely shed more light on their place in the era.

That doesn't change the fact that Eldar forces attacked Horus's forces during the Heresy.  Clearly the future is not as black and white as the vision at the end of Legion suggested, because the Eldar would certainly throw our entire species under the bus to end the threat of Chaos.

 

 

 

As I see it:

The Imperium is built upon a lie that was told so long ago that none remain who know the truth it conceals. Generation after generation perpetuate this lie blindly and unknowingly. But, just as the Imperium controls vast resources and possesses vast power, its means are not sufficient for its ends - the unchallenged dominance of humanity across the galaxy.

The Imperium is flawed, certainly, but in a way that cannot be fixed by mortal minds, such is the scale of it. The Imperium that the Emperor built was incomplete, a nation of incomparable size forged in a war that had not yet come to its end. When the Heresy happened, it tore apart the Imperium that was and might have been, leaving ruins and scarred survivors who rebuilt as best they could with minds insufficient for the task torn between a childish reproduction of what should have been and a crippling fear of what might be. The contemporary Imperium is flawed not by deliberate malice, but by the inadequacies of its architects, who could not hope to recreate the Emperor's vision in his absence. Those who came after them literally do not know any better, and the Imperium is so vast and scattered that any attempt at change struggles against the cultural inertia of a million worlds and countless generations.

This is also true but does not change that throughout the Imperium wealthy elites enjoy lives of luxuries supported by the miserable toil of billions.  It does not remove the ignorance, the prejudice, or the inhuman brutality of the system.  Part of the strength of the Heresy novels is their portryal of the Imperium that could have been, a far better and nobler place where entrenched elites are connected to each other by webs of wealth and influence, freezing a system in place that perpetuates their elevation at the expense of others while an unfeeling bureaucracy demands massive tithes in lives and suffering.

The Administratum Clerk… I would not regard him as vile. His is a thankless duty, and one with little comprehension of its place in the grand scheme of things. He is unlikely to know that the tiniest error in his labours could condemn millions to die. Worse, his labours may be inevitably err towards the lesser evil as determined by his masters - for worlds may die if the armies that guard them go unarmed and unfed, and to that end others must toil to provide. The Administratum is inefficient, certainly, but there is little malice there… merely the work of countless trillions of souls who must labour to keep mankind from becoming extinct a little longer.

By comparison, the principled revolutionary may unknowingly cause billions or trillions of deaths elsewhere in the galaxy, as his vaunted revolution sees much-needed resources tied up on internal strife rather than fighting the very real threats from outside. The world on which he leads his rebellion may prosper (for a time) because of its revolution… but what of worlds dependant upon the punishing tithe that they rebelled against? Is it right for him to make the people of those worlds suffer because of his choices?

The cleric… well, you've deliberately set up a straw man by defining him as corrupt from the outset. However, the Thousand Sons sorcerer who pursues enlightenment may have very specific ideas of what enlightenment is… but more significant than that, he may not be entirely in control of his own deeds. The Thousand Sons are, whether willingly or not, Tzeentch's playthings. Each, from the least Rubricae to Ahriman himself, are part of the grand game of the Great Conspirator, agents of change in the service of a deity that craves and embodies change for its own sake.

All of that is true and that's part of my point.  A one sentence description isn't enough to judge.  Matters aren't simple.  Interrupt one world's tithe and you might cause another world to starve or prevent a genocidal Imperial crusade.  One can be a principled revolutionary and a mass murderer, a corrupt official and a compassionate man, a ruthless sorcerer and a committed humanist, and a pious priest and sadistic butcher.  To paraphrase the blurb in the front of every 40K novel, the Imperium is the most terrible regime imaginable that faces challenges and threats in every direction.  Its sheer size and power of the vested interests make change almost impossible.  The horrors that it faces breeds passionate defenders and the horrors that it commits breeds men and women who want to burn it to ash.  Black Crusade is about playing the later.  Good and evil, like the devil, are found in the details.  That is, after all, one of the reasons to play this game. 

 

As for Tzeentch, the reach of the Architect of Fate extends far beyond those who serve him knowingly or unknowingly, to nudge events and shift decisions so that those who are ignorant of his existence and those who are his enemies perform actions that serve his will. 

 Also I hate this forum software.



#19 Shock34

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:52 PM

Cynical Cat said:

As for Tzeentch, the reach of the Architect of Fate extends far beyond those who serve him knowingly or unknowingly, to nudge events and shift decisions so that those who are ignorant of his existence and those who are his enemies perform actions that serve his will. 

 Also I hate this forum software.

 

That may be true. However, Tzeentch isn't All Knowing. even his plans have their limits. It's been stated that he can't see into the future and the daemon that can was made insane so Tzeentch can be given information that he has mistranslated and errored on.

 

That and you have other elements who like to play with fate (the Emperor, the Laughing God, a Necron Crkyptek who likes to time travel…) who he has to constantly contend with and that's not even starting on the elephant in the room that is the Nids (nothing affects fate more than noming everyone to death) so he's not doing this with impunity..

 

As for the Imperium. Simply put, it's a confusing thing because the Imperium isn't a thing but a collection of things. from the Space Marines who fight to the Admechs who siften techological progress. it has it's pros and cons like every thing else. the real question in my mind is if the Emperor is killed, will he become the new Starchild? become something akin to a Chaos God? or simply die? if he simply dies then, the Imperium is needed because of the Imperium falls, there will be nothing stopping the Nids from over running the galaxy and the only ones who would live would be the beings on daemon worlds and the Necrons.

if the Emperor does have a rebirth, he can start on where he left off and create mankind 2.0 and the Imperium in it's current form would be made obslote  and be cast away but it requires the emperor to die (something the High Lords would never do).



#20 Darzinth

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:37 PM

 I'd like to just chime in and say that, although Tzeentch has the most foresight of any being in existence, his vision is still clouded as Chaos in itself is complete madness. Also, consider the fact that Tzeentch can know of his own death, since even the Chaos Gods are a form of life, he might just want to limit his own sight to forget such an annoying and painful fact. The death of a Chaos God wouldn't be quick either, it would be a slow burnout as all physical life with psychic potential in the Milky Way galaxy slowly die out.

My point is that Chaos is contradictory in nature, and Tzeentch is the most contradictory of all.






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