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Transhumansism


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#1 UncleArkie

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:06 AM

The ability to feel connected is something that we are neurologically coded to do, interact and connect, Astartes are no different. They connect to their brothers, to their squads and feel many of the same emotions that we do.

But one thing that I have become very interested in is how the Astartes connect to mortals, what motivates them to do so. Honour? Duty? But what else. The original definition of courage is to tell your story with your whole heart, courage is to dare to be imperfect.

So how do Astartes view their own imperfections when their culture is so much about perfection. So how do do they struggle with these things, with vulnerability, shame, knowing no fear. What does it mean to them?

Do you deal with these things, with belonging and family and sense of unity in your game, have you thought about exploring these things in your game? What does transhumanism mean?



#2 Fenrisnorth

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:17 AM

 

Yes, Just yes, I'll be pointing this thread out to my GM



#3 SlamDance

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:36 PM

And here he is!

I'm definitely interested in these sorts of interactions in my game, mostly because I believe that the best way to ensure everyone around the table, players and GM, is having a good time is to create characters who want things and are willing to work to get them.

I'm also very interested in what happens when you take Marines out of their Chapter and send them behind friendly lines, where shooting indiscriminately, while within their authority, is not necessarily the best move.

But yes, what I'm really interested in is how our little TV show's lead characters will change. Which will slowly, over the accretion of a hundred little choices, gain empathy with the people they protect? Which will decide to remain steadfast within the strictures of the Astartes? Which ones, try as they might, will never fully fit into the world they're tasked with protecting? Who will hurt, and what will that make them do?



#4 DJSunhammer

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:24 PM

I think you should read the new Grey Knights novel, The Emperor's Gift. It is written in the first person view of a marine and shows directly what he thinks about the humans he sees. That can pave the way to creating and showing the different interactions a Chapter [or different Chapters] of Marines will have with mortals.



#5 UncleArkie

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:32 PM

DJSunhammer said:

I think you should read the new Grey Knights novel, The Emperor's Gift. It is written in the first person view of a marine and shows directly what he thinks about the humans he sees. That can pave the way to creating and showing the different interactions a Chapter [or different Chapters] of Marines will have with mortals.

 

This was actually part of it, I read it (not super good, but ok), but it did touch on the theme and then I accidentally stumbled upon a series of TED talks about belonging and how the difference between people who are happy and the people who are miserable are that the one that are happy realise that are imperfect and that is ok.

 

So as I said, when you have a culture that is about perfection, how do they deal with imperfection?



#6 Decessor

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:29 PM

My personal view is that normal space marine behaviour would look like obsession and unnatural focus to humans. Their lives are war and preperation for war. They are hypnoindoctrinated and trained to behave in ways incredible to outsiders but expected in their own ranks.

On imperfection, it varies. Some have flaws they cannot remove and find ways to work around or use them (e.g. the Blood Angel's black rage). No chapter simply shrugs their shoulders when faced with an imperfection but not all will obsess over them to the degree of say the Iron Hands.



#7 DJSunhammer

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:37 PM

I loved it and I especially liked that it was about the marines and their motivations and trials rather than just some super human bros running around chopping up bad guys or shooting him full of holes. There was also some very well placed scenes that exhibited excessive badassery. Like the Grey Knights against Angron and basically whenever Grimnar turned up. The most interesting part of the book isn't the interaction between the main characters and the daemons but the interaction between the Knights and the other Imperial Forces.

You might also look at Wrath of Iron. It and the Iron Hands exemplify some of the things you are looking for. The Iron Hands are forever trying to rid themselves of weak flesh and its influences and the author does a pretty good job of defining the difference between normal humans and the Astartes that are commanding them.



#8 SlamDance

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 05:05 PM

Interesting posts, folks! I might have to pick The Emperor's Gift up some time.

But say it was your Deathwatch Marine PC and / or your campaign. How would you set it up so that these ideas have the best chance of "seeing action" when you and the rest of your group get together?

Heck, how are you doing so with your PCs / campaigns?



#9 Baradiel

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 04:33 AM

Regarding the culture of perfection, there are parallels in history and even today.  There are plenty of cultures, like feudal Japan and ancient Rome, where shame played a more central role than sin.  Another great parallel is the beauty pagent culture, where young girls are pushed to the breaking point to be perfect little dolls on the stage by their  parents.



#10 Fenrisnorth

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:26 AM

"Commander Dante, we need to go, the Orks are attacking Armageddon again!"

"I just can't go out, My eyeliner is just RUINED" Runs off the stage sobbing.



#11 Baradiel

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 12:10 PM

Fenrisnorth said:

"Commander Dante, we need to go, the Orks are attacking Armageddon again!"

"I just can't go out, My eyeliner is just RUINED" Runs off the stage sobbing.


 


The Flesh Tearers would tell you this was accurate.



#12 UncleArkie

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 10:06 PM

 The story that we're telling is one about finding your way back to humanity (no not the boobies). How to relate to those you are bound to serve and protect, exploring "what is humanity". I've always maintained that WH40K like Tank Girl and Judge Dredd was a punk commentary on contemporary society, if Dredd is the punk/anarchists worst nightmare then 40K is the humanists and that is worth exploring.



#13 Callous

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 04:39 PM

If you read the chapter books and the fluff in the codexes some chapters disregard humans as pitiful creatures that need their protections, while others are envious of them knowing that they have sacrificed their lives to allow humans to live in relative obscurity. Then there is the gambit in between. When I fluff up a DIY chapter mine always view themselves as imperfect in the eyes of the emperor and are on an eternal quest to right some slight (perceived as it may be) to once again regain the favor of the emperor and that normal humans hold a higher place in the eyes of the Emperor.

 

The different chapters each views failure and imperfection in a different way. The Iron Hands view failure as a failure of the flesh and find reason to further augment themselves. Others, particularly chapters formed after the second founding, that follow a more mainstream version of the Imperial Cult (the Emperor is a God, not a Father as it would be for first and second founding chapters) view failure more as a crisis of faith. They were not devout enough or their faith was shaken and that is why they faltered or failed. Creating religious zealots is one of the best ways of indoctrination and coercion. You are not just disappointing your commanding officer or your friends, or you father, you are disappointing God (the Emperor) and that is one of the gravest of sins. First and second founding chapters who revere the Emperor more as a father figure see mistakes and imperfections on a more personal level like you disappointing a father. There are some with bigger chips on their shoulders that view failure more harshly. The Emperor chose them to be the defenders of humanity and failure is simply not an option. Honor and duty are driven into the minds of these marines at indoctrination and if they come from imperial held worlds and not feral worlds faith and loyalty to the Emperor is taught at birth.

There is an entire culture built around the Emperor as the pillar of faith and guidance. The Astartes being designated the defenders of Humanity have little option but to achieve their goals or watch their Emperors domain come to ruination. It is hard to find a corollary to the Marines in modern times, to find an individual so given over to a cause and an ideal that they would fight and die for that goal no matter the cost. The Emperor says take that hill so they take that hill. He says destroy that world so they destroy that world. He says stand here and soak this hail of bullets for me and they gladly give of their lives for the Emperor.

So to answer your question, failure or imperfection is viewed in a varying many ways by the spectrum of chapters, however it is never considered a good thing. The Emperor created the Marines from his own blood and to not live up to that ideal and that legacy is to forsake the Emperor.

The depth of the world that Games Workshop has created through the table top game is expansive to say the least.  That said there is also room for other interpretations, later chapters distance themselves further and further from the Emperor and may even claim that he is a propaganda tool of Adeptus Terra to keep the rest of humanity in line and swear fealty only to Adeptus Terra (such chapters may be excommunicated for such heretical views)






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