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A question about the viability of hive worlds


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#1 thor2006

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:34 PM

Reading Navis Primer I found out how insane difficult the warp travel even between nearby star systems is.It also seams that the general consensus that space travel is rare and extreamly difficult.The players and GMs here I believe they try to push to make warp travel as unsafe and helish as possible.

It seams that even for elite rogue trader navigators warp travel is a very dangerous undertaking, a bit touch and go.It seams that if verry good navigator PC warp travel is very dangerous for the vast majority of NPC navigator warp travel would alright impossible. The vast majority of the ships that would travel through the warp would no longer reach their destination at all. To loose so many ships it also require the IOM shipyards to build ships extreamly fast so that IOM can have ships to service the empire needs.

That is all good from RP perspective to have not even the elite navigators have a safe warp travel ,but realisticly for the IOM to exist you need to have warp travel be safe for the common navigator and ship,most of the time.

So the question is how realisticly hive worlds that are not self sufficient and agriworlds relegated to exporting luxury food for the rich,could survive and not colapse in years?  So a IOM with this level of warp travel would not have any hive worlds in a matter of of decades.

Because importing food to feed tens of billions of people(the lower limit of a hive world) from another starsystem require a certain stability and safety of traveling through the warp that the books and GM would make impossible. Also because of how small the cargo space is even for the biggest transport ships(because of ballance issues regarding ship components) even feeding an entire hive world in a timelly fashion would require a huge amount of transport ships that go against of the rarity of the ships in the universe? Not to menshion of all the mineral resources the hive world imports and all the goods that the hive world exports will need a huge amount of ships that will need to service the hive world around the clock.

You cannot biological feed a human population mostly through canibalism and not have that human population colapse in a few short generations.

Even if the hives are food independent and only the rich imports any food they would still need huge amount of ships servicing the hive world for the minerals imported and goods exported.

If the hive worlds are mostly food independent why agriworlds still exist? The luxury foods could be easily grown on civilized worlds and they would easily met the demands of the rich hive world elite.

Not to menshion of huge behemonts like Necromundia in terms of population.

Also realisticly if space and warp travel is extreamly rare ,you need to have your armed forces be extreamly good at killing the enemy not crap for the IOM to survive even 1k years with the huge threats they have to fend from day to day. Not even blind fanatism would sterm the harsh reality that if warp travel ships are rare you either equip and train your soldiers to be extreamly good at killing the enemy or your political entity would cease to exist in less of a 1000 years. So the cost of equipment and training of IG would hugelly be overshadowed by the cost of transport of the IG from the recruitinng worlds and to the front. So the IG would have to be extreamly well suited at killing the IOM enemies in the shortest amount of time. You cannot aford atritional warfare in any shape and form and you must suplement your limited numbers that you can deploy by superior tactics and equipment than the enemy can have. Most of the enemies have a easier time to get reinforcements and equipment than IOM (as the fluff tends to depict) and will always outnumber the IG in almost any battlefield in the Galaxy.

When the IG is confronted by threats like chaos,eldar, dark eldar, or alien races one more horific than the other each and every day at almost on any front, and the IG would fold like tissue paper. It seams that the above threats are the most common threats the IOM are confronted,from how the fluff depicts them. Would not the IG be efective against those threats or if they continue to be morons would not the IOM would not survive to see the second milenia after the HH?

Please help me make sense of the universe how can the IOM be depicted in one way(near imposibility of the warp travel between star systems,extreame rarity of ships, and ability to replace ship loses,extreame level of the enemies,the ease of how the IOM enemies can bring enourmous amounts of elite troops faster and easier than the IOM) and have elements that are in direct contradiction with the depiction(non food/resources independent hive worlds,hive worlds and forge worlds as central hubs of industrial production,the division of labor among of the IOM planets, the utter crap and insane strategies(based on attrition warfare ) of the IG to stop those threats,massive internal infighting) and have the IOM still surviving 10k-11k years after the HH in a believable way?

I know that the rule of cool is mostly the reason why there is the problem in the first way but I would like and answer that makes sense and not a joke answer.

Thank you for the time and consideration.



#2 TiLT

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:46 PM

You're making one simple mistake that is skewing your perspective on the issue: The Warp travel rules in the Navis Primer are about travel within the Koronus Expanse. They are not meant to be used outside of that subsector. Even heading into the Calixis Sector means Warp travel becomes much safer. 

The Koronus Expanse is dangerous to travel through because it is far enough away from the Astronomican to make him hard to locate, and it's surrounded by (and filled with) Warp storms. Hive worlds would indeed struggle to survive there. For an idea of how that would work, read Stars of Inequity's colony rules, which allow you to build a Hive from scratch. 



#3 Alasseo

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:16 PM

I'd also bear in mind the fact that it's not so much starships are rare, but that starships which are permitted to do anything except travel along their chartered routes are very rare.

It's true that the attritional warfare the Guard seems to specialise in in most portrayals would lead to the collapse of the Imperium, if it weren't for two things: the Imperium is the biggest polity in the galaxy, in terms of territory and population (ok, absolute numbers of orks, necrons and 'nids may be higher, but they aren't unified and organised). And the other races have slower warp travel than the Imperium (with the exception of the necrons, who cheat in realspace or teleport; and the eldar, who can cheat along webway routes), as no-one but humanity has Navigators, and as such are limited to 4-5 light year jumps or risk getting lost.

Likewise, the Guard is not just a blunt instrument of attritional warfare. It's often portrayed as such, but that's at least partly a result of needing to make the Astartes seem a cost-effective elite. It's also partly a result of the nodal response system used for funnelling troops and materiel into a warzone- if it's small time, the threatened system's SDF and PDF should be able to deal with it (backed up by any Arbites garrison, plus local police troops) until the IG force can be deployed. If it's really serious, then it doesn't matter if the Guard are elite, efficient troops or not: they may well be massively outmatched, or able to take the enemy, but they'd be ordered to hold until a Bigger Hammer can arrive, either in the form of the Astartes, or more Guard, or the Sororitas, or the Skitarii, the Legio Cybernetica, the Knight Houses, the Titanica, etc.


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#4 thor2006

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:40 PM

TiLT said:

 

You're making one simple mistake that is skewing your perspective on the issue: The Warp travel rules in the Navis Primer are about travel within the Koronus Expanse. They are not meant to be used outside of that subsector. Even heading into the Calixis Sector means Warp travel becomes much safer. 

The Koronus Expanse is dangerous to travel through because it is far enough away from the Astronomican to make him hard to locate, and it's surrounded by (and filled with) Warp storms. Hive worlds would indeed struggle to survive there. For an idea of how that would work, read Stars of Inequity's colony rules, which allow you to build a Hive from scratch. 

 

 

So why GM are using warp travel rules and warp travel difficulty for warp travel inside the IOM?

But that doesn't change the problem of the contradiction between the sheer rarity of the space ships and the needs of having non resource independent hive and forge world in the IOM and be relativly common as it is depicted in the fluff. Also it doesn't explain the division of labor between the IOM planets that would require big transport warp ships to be relativly common.

Also it doesn't explain why the IG is so crap overall in the shear brutallity of the IOM foes and the fact that the IOM has survived for almost 11k from the HH. Taking into consideration the shear expense of moving troops over interstelar distances anything else of troops that are good at killing the IOM enemies as the main fighting force of the IOM would see the IOM dead in a few thousand years and would not allow to survive 11k years. Also the costs of transport troops in a warp ships rare situation would be astronomic so the IOM would be incapable(in a realistic way) to ship anything but elite force to battlefields. The IG is depicted as utter crap against all the enemies that the IG would fight on a common basis(aand not the exception), When taking into consideration that the IOM common enemies can ship troops faster and/easier that IG on a common basis the situation becomes more bizare how the IOM has survived 11k with such a crap main army like the IG?

As far as I know from fluff warp ships are super rare in the IOM.

Either the IOM has plentifull warp ships(that is not the case in the fluff) to allow the division of labor between planets to exist, for non resource independent forge worlds and hive worlds,to be able to ship most of the time non elite military forces to warzones in great quantity to allow for attrition warfare or other insane strategies, and still be a viable strategy;, or the IOM has few warp ships most worlds are independent both from imports as from exports, there are only a few hundred hive worlds and forge worlds in the IOM that are always on the brink of colapse the IOM IG is quite  capable of wining through good strategy and tactics,equipment to deal with almost always being outnumbered by common enemies like chaos/de/e/orks are, that tresure every soldier life(the IOM can only deploy extreme small level of troops to be able to win a certain war); or we are not 11k after HH but a few hundred of years from the HH in an empire that will probably would see at most a few hundred years.



#5 thor2006

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:44 PM

Alasseo said:

 

I'd also bear in mind the fact that it's not so much starships are rare, but that starships which are permitted to do anything except travel along their chartered routes are very rare.

It's true that the attritional warfare the Guard seems to specialise in in most portrayals would lead to the collapse of the Imperium, if it weren't for two things: the Imperium is the biggest polity in the galaxy, in terms of territory and population (ok, absolute numbers of orks, necrons and 'nids may be higher, but they aren't unified and organised). And the other races have slower warp travel than the Imperium (with the exception of the necrons, who cheat in realspace or teleport; and the eldar, who can cheat along webway routes), as no-one but humanity has Navigators, and as such are limited to 4-5 light year jumps or risk getting lost.

Likewise, the Guard is not just a blunt instrument of attritional warfare. It's often portrayed as such, but that's at least partly a result of needing to make the Astartes seem a cost-effective elite. It's also partly a result of the nodal response system used for funnelling troops and materiel into a warzone- if it's small time, the threatened system's SDF and PDF should be able to deal with it (backed up by any Arbites garrison, plus local police troops) until the IG force can be deployed. If it's really serious, then it doesn't matter if the Guard are elite, efficient troops or not: they may well be massively outmatched, or able to take the enemy, but they'd be ordered to hold until a Bigger Hammer can arrive, either in the form of the Astartes, or more Guard, or the Sororitas, or the Skitarii, the Legio Cybernetica, the Knight Houses, the Titanica, etc.

 

 

Ok thx for the reply but when I look at Only War and the enemies of the IG even the most common enemy bog standard soldier would have cost the IG ,plenty of dead just to put down. And if you look at the fact that the IG is almost always outnumbered by said enemy it is more of a glaring problem.



#6 TiLT

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:39 AM

thor2006 said:

So why GM are using warp travel rules and warp travel difficulty for warp travel inside the IOM?

Huh? I don't understand what you're trying to say, even after spending a few minutes trying to figure out what IOM was supposed to mean (you might want to explain abbreviations before relying completely on them. Yes, I know now it means Imperium of Man). What GM are you talking about? You do mean GM as in Game Master, right? I can't defend what other GMs are doing with their campaigns, but Rogue Trader is set in The Koronus Expanse. If you run a campaign outside of that area, you're on your own. FFG has no intention of helping you out there, and they are probably not allowed to by Games Workshop anyway. If you try to apply the Rogue Trader rules directly to other parts of the galaxy, you're bound to run into issues with them. That's honestly your own problem, and doesn't necessarily represent a problem with the rules as written and designed. 

You seem to have missed what is one of the most central aspects of WH40k, btw: Life is cheap, technology is not. There's such a mindblowingly, impossibly large amount of "worthless" people out there that the Imperial Guard could sacrifice millions every day and still come out on top. They don't have any ships to lose, since that's the Imperial Navy's forte. The Adeptus Mechanics keeps them on top of that, and any ship losses are typically salvaged. The Rogue Trader Core Rulebook points out that only rarely does space combat result in the total destruction of the enemy ships, typically leaving enough that the ship can be fixed up to a certain degree. 

There is also an absolutely enormous amount of ships running shuttle traffic between developed words in the Imperium, maintaining the hive worlds. These are Free Traders, Imperial Navy, or similar. There's a LOT of ships left over from the earlier times of the Imperium, and even the models that are now considered "outdated" are often picked up by enterprising rogue traders who can find inventive uses for them. 

I believe the problem you're having with the setting is that you maybe don't comprehend the sheer scale of it. The Imperium is so large that it survives by momentum alone, despite the enormity of the things happening in it every day. 



#7 thor2006

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:28 AM

TiLT said:

thor2006 said:

So why GM are using warp travel rules and warp travel difficulty for warp travel inside the IOM?

 

Huh? I don't understand what you're trying to say, even after spending a few minutes trying to figure out what IOM was supposed to mean (you might want to explain abbreviations before relying completely on them. Yes, I know now it means Imperium of Man). What GM are you talking about? You do mean GM as in Game Master, right? I can't defend what other GMs are doing with their campaigns, but Rogue Trader is set in The Koronus Expanse. If you run a campaign outside of that area, you're on your own. FFG has no intention of helping you out there, and they are probably not allowed to by Games Workshop anyway. If you try to apply the Rogue Trader rules directly to other parts of the galaxy, you're bound to run into issues with them. That's honestly your own problem, and doesn't necessarily represent a problem with the rules as written and designed. 

You seem to have missed what is one of the most central aspects of WH40k, btw: Life is cheap, technology is not. There's such a mindblowingly, impossibly large amount of "worthless" people out there that the Imperial Guard could sacrifice millions every day and still come out on top. They don't have any ships to lose, since that's the Imperial Navy's forte. The Adeptus Mechanics keeps them on top of that, and any ship losses are typically salvaged. The Rogue Trader Core Rulebook points out that only rarely does space combat result in the total destruction of the enemy ships, typically leaving enough that the ship can be fixed up to a certain degree. 

There is also an absolutely enormous amount of ships running shuttle traffic between developed words in the Imperium, maintaining the hive worlds. These are Free Traders, Imperial Navy, or similar. There's a LOT of ships left over from the earlier times of the Imperium, and even the models that are now considered "outdated" are often picked up by enterprising rogue traders who can find inventive uses for them. 

I believe the problem you're having with the setting is that you maybe don't comprehend the sheer scale of it. The Imperium is so large that it survives by momentum alone, despite the enormity of the things happening in it every day. 

The point is warp ships and transport time are enourmous bottlenecks that prevent the transport of anything but effective forces that can deal with the enemy in anything but attrition warfare so that IOM realisticly could survive for 11k years.

This bottleneck prevents to transport the enourmours amount of cannon fodder in an effective manner. So almost every time the IOM would fight an enemy they would loose if they follow the fluff description of IG. In loosing most of the battles the IOM would have collapsed a few thousand years from the heresy and not being able to survive for 11k years,

So either the IG is not as incompetent as the fluff tries to present or the IOM has an overabundance of easily replacable warp ships that they can afford to have a ground base strategy based on attrition warfare.

 

So why GM are using warp travel rules and warp travel difficulty for warp travel inside the IOM?

 

Sorry i found out most people try to equate warp travel in a newly discovered warp storms filled portion of space,where there is tremendous difficulty in locating the Astronomican with the day to day warp travel inside the IOM.



#8 Alasseo

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 04:09 AM

It's a bottleneck, yes, but far less of one than you might think. The typical Segmentum shipping registry has literally tens of thousands of ships listed at any one time, the vast majority are either owned by or on indefinite lease to the Administratum as part of the Civil Fleet (ok, a vast plurality are part of the Civil Fleet, as the Imperial Navy is technically also owned by the Administratum, via their Departmento Munitorum), with the Mechanicum being the next largest ship owner, followed by the League of Black Ships, the Astartes, the Ecclesiarchy and then private owners like Free Traders and the rare Rogue Traders.

The smallest economically viable ship is over a kilometer in length, with the majority of them far larger (the Universe is on the larger end of the scale, yes, but stuff like the Jericho and Wanderer are pretty close to the bottom end of it. They're fairly typical of the sort of cheap tramp freighter commonly disposed of from the Civil Fleet to private hands.
Any member of the Civil Fleet can be ordered to transport troops if need be, not to mention the transports and auxilia permanently attached to the Departmento Munitorum as part of the Navy's fleet train. For that matter, privately owned ships, or ships owned by other Imperial institutions can be chartered or commandeered by treaty or eminent domain.

When you combine that with the fact that ships are rarely wholly destroyed, or damaged beyond repair, they don't need a massive supply of replaceable ships- there's plenty of transport lift available.

 

And yup. The Guard are not all as incompetent as some parts of the fluff portray them. Some of them are, and use the mass attrition you refer to. If you'll notice though… most of the time you see them in fluff, they die horribly, just as you posit. They aren't the whole of the Guard though, not by a long shot. It's just that that is the image of the Guard that people have latched onto as being suitably iconic and GRIMDARK.


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#9 Asajev

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:37 AM

Hi Thor, its been a while I do not know what your GMs have been doing rules wise but in simple terms I will try to explain what the other guys have said and bring it into context for you.

NP (Navis Primer) gives us guide lines for Warp Routes and travel times. This rules are specific to the Koronus Expanse but this same rules could be used to view warp travel over all in the IOM (Imperium of Man). If you notice in NP we have different stages for the warp routes and I figure that the closer you are to Holy Terra the easier in general it becomes and the more stable the warp becomes. On the note of ships we can see some information I think in BFK (Battle Fleet Koronus) were they list a warp engine that just dips into the warp, yes it takes twice as long but it is a safer transit through the warp. Add tot hat the help of a navigator with avreage experiance and the ship can make it even in moderate conditions in the warp. As I understand SoI (Stars of Inequity) gives us guidlines for in system transit times. This from what I am reading can be weeks of travel to a colony. You ask how can a Hive World survive with all of this well I would suggest small chain of transports most likely something like Universal Mass Convers ful of main cargo holds that are filled with needed supplies. at a rough estimate by rules. I would say that 25 AP (Achivement Points) worth of Trade equals 1 month of food supplies being produced then we are talking that a base Universal Mass Convayer with 4 Main Cargo Holds defult will handle 20 months of food and addtional supplies and the ship still might be able to carry 10 or so main cargo holds giving you about 50 more months. Lets estimate 1 Mass Convayer provides 70 months of supplies that is 10 years and 10 months in total per trip per ship. As a general thought i would think this is relatively enough for 1 hive per planet.

I think the following would be reasonable 1 Universal Mass Convayer per Hive per 2 year interval in a world. Sorry if this made it a bit more complicated Thor but this is how I wa visualizing it when I was typing it for you been a while since we had a game.



#10 susanbrindle

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:14 AM

It's also worth noting that for "short jumps" you don't need a navigator, or even to enter the warp. In addition, warp routes that are well travelled become faster and safer.

 

 

Plus, many Hive Worlds are in the same system as their Agri-Worlds, meaning warp travel isn't needed at all.



#11 Lynata

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:44 AM

Personally, I would say that (a) hive worlds are not actually "common", and that likewise spaceships are not "rare" (on the grand scale). Yes, many Imperial worlds may only see a ship come by every few years or decades, but hive worlds will be visited much more frequently and should see regular traffic in their system, ranging from Navy monitors and picket ships to chartist trade vessels to troop transports for levied Guard regiments. Added to this come irregular "visitors" such as passenger/pilgrim liners, Black Ships, Naval warships either stationed in the vicinity or just visiting to take on supplies and crew replacement, …

Also, I would assume that many if not most hive worlds would cultivate some level of food production locally rather than being 100% dependent on off-world supply. Yes, the planet must still rely on regular visits from cargo transports filled with food products, but at least a portion of local demand will be met with stuff like biotank-cultivated fungus (Valhalla-style) or other things that you can still grow on a hive world. Soylent Green, anyone? What do you think happens to the corpses of deceased people? ;)

As for the Imperial Guard - I would not call it "incompetent", although tactics and training are certainly less than adequate for a number of regiments, especially those raised on less civilised worlds or those planets whose PDF is lacking in experience. The grisly truth is that individual skill matters little; the Imperium simply tends to throw so many troopers at a threat until it is choked in bodies. On this level of warfare, sheer attrition will ensure victory, and quantity becomes far more important than quality.

Lastly, keep in mind that due to the nature of how the IP in this franchise is handled, not all fluff needs to tie into each other. Much like us gamers, each author who worked on official products has his or her own idea on how something works, so that on some level you may notice contradictions or simply things that may not seem to work well together. Perhaps this here is one such case - if so, the only advise I could give would be to keep reading things, and then form your own interpretation on what sounds best to you, basically selecting those sources that succeed in crafting a "living world" that, in your mind, would function in the 41st millennium.


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previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#12 thor2006

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:02 AM

Thank you for your answers. You have been of real help and Im glad that you have answered my questions.



#13 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

Lynata said:

Personally, I would say that (a) hive worlds are not actually "common", and that likewise spaceships are not "rare" (on the grand scale). Yes, many Imperial worlds may only see a ship come by every few years or decades, but hive worlds will be visited much more frequently and should see regular traffic in their system, ranging from Navy monitors and picket ships to chartist trade vessels to troop transports for levied Guard regiments. Added to this come irregular "visitors" such as passenger/pilgrim liners, Black Ships, Naval warships either stationed in the vicinity or just visiting to take on supplies and crew replacement, …

Also, I would assume that many if not most hive worlds would cultivate some level of food production locally rather than being 100% dependent on off-world supply. Yes, the planet must still rely on regular visits from cargo transports filled with food products, but at least a portion of local demand will be met with stuff like biotank-cultivated fungus (Valhalla-style) or other things that you can still grow on a hive world. Soylent Green, anyone? What do you think happens to the corpses of deceased people? ;)

Agreed on both points, and to expand:

Hive Worlds are often major political or mercantile hubs, meaning that they're the centre of all local interstellar travel. They're hugely dependent upon outside resources, certainly - food aside, a Hive World's manufactories would stop running without a constant supply of raw materials - but they also use those ships to carry the produced items away again…

In essence, Hive Worlds get to be Hive Worlds through being centres of politics or trade - the kinds of worlds that already see large numbers of starships arriving and departing each day. Indeed, the most iconic Hive City (Hive Primus on Necromunda) actually has orbital docks in the very top of the spire, above the upper atmosphere. Starships may not be abundant, but they're also not evenly distributed across the Imperium, and Hive Worlds (due to their very nature) tend to attract more than most worlds.

Lynata said:

As for the Imperial Guard - I would not call it "incompetent", although tactics and training are certainly less than adequate for a number of regiments, especially those raised on less civilised worlds or those planets whose PDF is lacking in experience. The grisly truth is that individual skill matters little; the Imperium simply tends to throw so many troopers at a threat until it is choked in bodies. On this level of warfare, sheer attrition will ensure victory, and quantity becomes far more important than quality.

To an extent. This is something that very much depends on context. While Orks and Tyranids may seem like common enough foes, remember that the Imperium's enemies are numerous and diverse, with those that receive miniatures ranges and wargame rules representing the biggest threats - the ones that pose a real threat to the Imperium in some way, whether due to numbers, capabilities or some other factor. Beyond that, all-out war across sectors is extremely rare (on a galactic scale), with individual planetary conflicts being relatively insignificant in the grand scale of things.

On the grand scale, attrition is the only thing that matters - military strategy across a million worlds is a matter of statistics more than anything else, putting the right amount of force in the right place as quickly as possible (which isn't necessarily that quick). On the smaller scale - when you're dealing with the day-to-day operation of a warzone, the capabilities of individual regiments becomes increasingly relevant. Even then, warfare is always a matter of attrition - the ability to achieve your goals before you run out of resources to pursue them. Every soldier is expendable, their lives simply one more resource for the Imperium to use, but the most effective Generals are those who can expend the minimum resources for the maximum gains.


Writing Credits for Fantasy Flight Games: Into the Storm, Edge of the Abyss, Battlefleet Koronus, Hostile Acquisitions, Black Crusade Core Rulebook, First Founding, The Jericho Reach, The Soul Reaver, Only War, The Navis Primer,Ark of Lost Souls, and Hammer of the Emperor

I no longer write for, or am employed by, Fantasy Flight Games in any fashion. All of my comments are my own, and do not reflect the opinions of any employer, past, present, or future.




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