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RevenantBob

Lore Fluff - What goes on?

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I know a great deal of Warhammer 40K lore, but not as much as most.

 

I wanted to try GMing a Dark Heresy game but one thing I worry about is the depth and fluff of the game. Having no experience running it I wondered how other groups handled this.

 

Fluff in this sense is the color of the setting to help shape RP interactions and feeling. Looking at the books it seemed like it just focused on the utterly main plot point of go from point A to B, fight this, follow this trail and it is done.

 

However, the group I'd be running with appreciates the small things. What sort of things can I color a Warhammer 40K world with? You go through a hive of poor people, how do they live? Is there television? Radio? Do people have bars they get drunk at? Do people shoot craps in the street? Do drugs? Do people have ANY entertainment? What are their jobs like? Are there things like gas stations to refuel? Restaraunts in high born areas? Rat Burger booths in slums? Does sports exist?

 

A lot of this stuff never comes up, and sometimes just having a flash or taste of the lifestyles of people beyond "The area is filled with refuse" helps make it more engaging and inspiring for the ROLEPLAY aspect of the story. Otherwise it might just feel like a tactical battle game like the tabletop.

 

Any thoughts or advice from experienced people and players?

 

 

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It can honestly vary a lot depending on world and depiction.

 

But yes, bars are pretty common in hives, to my understanding (hive workers are very likely are not well-off enough to have much else for entertainment in their free time). You can also probably see drug junkies if you're in a particularly slummy hive. Entertainment depends heavily on the author (the Cain series makes mention of popular holo-vids, but this is not something I've seen in other 40k material).

 

There'll also usually be a lot of religious imagery and people in the Imperium are usually heavily religious. Most people would likely attend some kind of service to thank the Emperor on weekends, when they're not working. You could also see the occasional demagogue of the Ecclesiarchy egging people up into a witch-hunting mob.

 

Restaurants in the more well-off areas isn't unbelievable, but the average worker will probably eat a lot of state-issue grox meat and nutrient bars (Soylens Viridians could be a nice surprise to spring on your players heh heh), since this is already something that is widely produced for both the Imperial Guard and hive worlds.

 

Televisions are probably not really a thing, but your average hive worker may well have a radio for listening to hive news or similar. Probably not a lot of other programming beyond news and praising the Emperor, though.

 

Private vehicles aren't a thing for the average hive (the architecture of your usual hive precludes it), but if anyone has a ground car or other vehicle (which they might on a more agricultural world), they probably get their fuel by the drum or something from the local merchant, though gas stations may be a thing. Like a lot of 40k things, it depends on the author.

 

You may want to look into the material surrounding Necromunda for an example of the worst kind of hive.

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You may want to look into the material surrounding Necromunda for an example of the worst kind of hive.

 

Speaking of, here is the Necromunda rulebook. There's also the Warhammer Monthly comic series "Redeemer" and "Kal Jerico" which I can greatly recommend both for the setting as well as the insane story, if you can find them.

 

But yes, like ExoSaeptus said, when it comes down to detail, the fluff is often different and conflicting depending on who is writing the book. Don't shy back from picking your preferred interpretation or coming up with your own solutions! Ideally, consult with your players to find out what sort of stuff they are used to, and adapt to it.

Edited by Lynata

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I looked up Necromunda and Redeemer, I am thoroughly entertained.

 

Thanks for the replies, I'll probably start with a modified version of an existing plot and build from there as I get more familiar with the game. Finding out some worlds are Medeival in the Imperium with Knights running about on castles was entertaining.

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Check out the silent movie Metropolis; then picture that city with Gothic architecture and a repressive theocratic government, add ancient, hellish, mutant-filled ruins underneath it,  and you have a fair image of a 'standard' Imperial hive city. Impoverished hab-prols spending nearly every waking hour in back-breaking (sometimes literally) toil while the elite in the Spires live lives of opulent luxury...

 

Since you are new to GMing WH40KRP and you say your players like detail, I would recommend limiting your campaign to just a few settings, and focus your efforts on fleshing those settings out. I wish I had done this when I started my DH1 campaign, but I thought it would be cool to engage in lots of planet hopping- which has mainly just increased the amount of prep I have to put into each mission and limited the amount of detail I can include in any one setting. If I had it to do over again, I would have set my campaign in one system with multiple inhabited planets (the Tephaine System in the Calyxis Sector would be a good choice), with the Acolytes being employed by the local understaffed Inquisitorial field office. By the end of the campaign, those few planets would feel like real places to the players, instead of the 'sketched in broad strokes' worlds my players have been visiting. Ah, hindsight...

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and I have to say the movie Mutant Chronicles and the game that it came from have some good views of Hives

 

I still like to believe the movie was actually about a bunch of Guardsmen led by a crazed Ecclesiarchy Missionary fighting off hordes of Chaos mutants. They even had bolters and a drop pod!

 

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and I have to say the movie Mutant Chronicles and the game that it came from have some good views of Hives

 

I still like to believe the movie was actually about a bunch of Guardsmen led by a crazed Ecclesiarchy Missionary fighting off hordes of Chaos mutants. They even had bolters and a drop pod!

 

BINGO

oh and don't forget the Sister of Battle  operating out of armor

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Word of warning, though, there's a reason people call it the "Abnettverse" when it comes to how well his interpretation of the setting gels with what you could otherwise expect. ;)

 

The ones i read didn't seem that different from the norm.  The one thing that strikes me as odd is that Necropolis reads like a history textbook and Know no fear is basically Seconds from disaster: Calth.

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You might be well rewarded checking out some old White dwarf articles if you can find them.

 

Confrontation

 

WD 130 and 131 especially have lots of nice background, often subtly different (Brat gangs!) from the "regular" necromunda.

 

Confrontation was Necromunda, before the necromunda boxed game came out.

 

tumblr_m7mj5tpkDz1r1g40zo1_500.jpg

Edited by Robin Graves

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The ones i read didn't seem that different from the norm.  The one thing that strikes me as odd is that Necropolis reads like a history textbook and Know no fear is basically Seconds from disaster: Calth.

 

I'm sure it depends on the book and I'm possibly too nitpicky when it comes to some details, but I very much recall a servitor getting a hissy fit and cursing at its owner! Think that was one of the Ravenor books, where they were in a submarine.

 

I do like his writing style, mind you. He's not a bad author, he just has a different idea to how some things in the setting work. But then again, on some level I'm sure we all do. Maybe the "Abnettverse" meme just came into existence because he wrote so many books that people had more examples to notice it.

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LOL yeah if a servitor starts cursing at me I'd headshot it on principle. And on the assumption it was posessed. (Like the Ood In that one doctor who ep.)

 

I like the Last chancers novels. I think there are two in wich they infiltrate enemy hives.

 

Lynata, have you read any of them, and if so what do you think of them?

Edited by Robin Graves

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I'd say the "standard" hive is Metropolis + The warriors + Assault on precinct 13 + Dune + some documentary about workhouses of the Industrial revolution and Judge Dredd with some Mad Max thrown in. All that and now dialed up to 11! Oh and add Night of the living dead + C.H.U.D.S. aswell because there are plague zombies and mutant cannibals in the underhive. (And they were a playable gang to!)

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You didn't know? Get thee to a bookstore! ;)

 

There is a trilogy of them, and 2 short stories all wrapped up in a neat omnibus.

 

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheLastChancers

 

 

They are from the hand of Gav Thorpe. Who's stories I like, (altough I wish he'd write about something other than high elves and dark angels ;) )

 

 

You should definatly check out Kill Team, While being the 2nd novel, is probably the closest to the fluff from WD and the codex. It features (most) of the characters from the TT squad. (The colonel, Brains, Hero, etc...)

Edited by Robin Graves

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I'm sure it depends on the book and I'm possibly too nitpicky when it comes to some details, but I very much recall a servitor getting a hissy fit and cursing at its owner! Think that was one of the Ravenor books, where they were in a submarine.

 

I don't remeber this at all, and I read ravenor many times.

 

 

As for the last chancer, I read the one where they infiltrate armageddon to kill/capture an renegade commander that allied with orks. That was not very good in my opinion.

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I don't remeber this at all, and I read ravenor many times.

 

I actually quoted it here before, in a thread about servitors.

 

There you go.

 

Yeah, I remember that episode well. It was pretty startling when I first read it; the only explanation I can think of is that the scene was originally written with a normal human pilot, and an editor decided to change the pilot to a servitor, without altering any of the dialog for some reason (possibly intending to have Abnett rewrite some of it, but not following through)...

 

Of course, Abnett isn't above making fluff mistakes himself. In the second Gaunt's Ghosts novel, there is an episode where guardsmen are described as blowing holes in Chaos Space Marine armour with lasguns. He obviously got an earful from fans at book signings, because the next time CSMs appeared, they were depicted as being completely immune to lasgun fire- a little too far in the opposite direction...

Edited by Adeptus-B

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In the second Gaunt's Ghosts novel, there is an episode where guardsmen are described as blowing holes in Chaos Space Marine armour with lasguns. He obviously got an earful from fans at book signings, because the next time CSMs appeared, they were depicted as being completely immune to lasgun fire- a little too far in the opposite direction...

 

A good example of harmful community intervention, and the rampant SM fan exaggeration. One just needs to take one glance at the tabletop stats to see that lasguns are quite capable of punching through Marine armour. They just don't do so reliably, hence the Marine at least gets to roll for the Armour Save.

 

The bit about subsequent editing of the Ravenor novel is an interesting theory, though. I was under the impression that the "Abnettverse" differs from the standards in several aspects, but I'm not accustomed enough to his works that I could confirm that for myself, rather than mostly hearing what others had to say.

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A good example of harmful community intervention, and the rampant SM fan exaggeration. One just needs to take one glance at the tabletop stats to see that lasguns are quite capable of punching through Marine armour.

 

Yep. The scene in the book was quite adequate, AFAIR: 7 World Eaters were shot in their backs by the whole regiment.

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In the second Gaunt's Ghosts novel, there is an episode where guardsmen are described as blowing holes in Chaos Space Marine armour with lasguns. He obviously got an earful from fans at book signings, because the next time CSMs appeared, they were depicted as being completely immune to lasgun fire- a little too far in the opposite direction...

 

A good example of harmful community intervention, and the rampant SM fan exaggeration. One just needs to take one glance at the tabletop stats to see that lasguns are quite capable of punching through Marine armour. They just don't do so reliably, hence the Marine at least gets to roll for the Armour Save.

 

Marine durability is something that greatly varies in depiction.

 

You have examples like the Abnettverse (where Bolters and other MEQ-tier weapons tend to cut down power armoured Marines like so much chaff). But the term "Abnettverse" exists for a reason, and he has his own ideas of things regarding 40k, to put it simply. Granted, there's not exactly a unified 40k canon anyway, and a lot of authors tend to put their own personal spin on things, but the point stands.

 

There's also Nightbringer by Graham Neill, where a Marine in power armour literally bounces autocannon fire off his pauldrons (with cracks and not much else inflicted on the pauldrons in doing so), and The Rewards of Tolerance by Gav Thorpe from the Space Marine collection, where a Space Marine's chestplate no-sells shuriken fire, off the top of my head. Additionally, Rynn's World has Pedro Kantor tanking Hydra autocannon fire with a combination of his armour and an Iron Halo. Granted, the last depiction makes it clear that he isn't capable of surviving an extended bombardment, but killing Marines with autocannon fire is still basically beating the **** out of them with huge shells until the armour gives way. Which says a lot about the armour's durability, given that autocannons are designed to and capable of killing light armoured vehicles like Chimeras.

 

Additionally, we have three different depictions of Tau pulse rifles against Marine armour. Tau pulse rifles being generally considered to be equal power-wise to Bolters, FtR.

 

From Blood Gorgons, we have 500 Tau soldiers in line formation firing repeated volleys and failing to kill Chaos Marines. They do heavy damage to their armour, granted, but still fail to inflict any serious wounds.

From Savage Scars, we have a Marine tanking a dozen pulse rifle shots at close range, and while he's injured, it's not enough to neither kill nor incapacitate him, and he proceeds to get up again and wipe the floor with a Tau tank.

From Fire Warrior, we have a pulse rifle failing to do anything but superficial damage to a Marine. As in, the pulse rifle barely scorches the paint on his armour with repeated shots.

 

And even assuming high-end lasguns (as in, lasguns easily capable of blowing off limbs at short range, which is roughly equal to a .50 caliber weapon), Marine armour is still (going by visual depictions) several inches of armour on everything that isn't a joint. This is then on a superhuman capable of ignoring damage that would have a normal human bleed out in seconds equipped with far superior weapons, reflexes, experience, and mobility compared to a Guardsman.

 

So, no, SM durability being sufficient to ignore massed lasgun fire pattering off their armour like rain is not "fan exaggeration". It's just as canon as "a platoon's worth of lasguns can kill Space Marines" and other lowball depictions.

 

Additionally, the tabletop is pretty bad as a source for such things, IMHO. It's called game balance. You can't stat weapons and armour exactly as they are depicted in the lore without shooting any pretense at balance straight to hell.

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So, no, SM durability being sufficient to ignore massed lasgun fire pattering off their armour like rain is not "fan exaggeration". It's just as canon as "a platoon's worth of lasguns can kill Space Marines" and other lowball depictions.

 

Yes, it is "just as canon" (or just as not-canon) as anything else. But that's the point: the fandom doesn't really have a right to slam an author for using their own interpretation over what the individual fan believes is "right". That in this case the author's interpretation seemed to align with the tabletop that's at the core of it all is just icing on the irony cake.

 

Criticism is pretty much unavoidable, as we all have our own preferred vision of 40k, but it should never go as far as an author feeling obliged to change things in the next iteration, when there is no "right" way to do it.

 

Additionally, the tabletop is pretty bad as a source for such things, IMHO. It's called game balance. You can't stat weapons and armour exactly as they are depicted in the lore without shooting any pretense at balance straight to hell.

 

Ah, but the lore is based on the game. The rules were there first, and if Marine armour was truly meant to be immune to lasgun fire, then lasguns simply wouldn't exist on the tabletop. Besides, balance in the TT is achieved via points cost.

 

Not to mention that a lasgun's ability to injure a Space Marine is reflected both in codex fluff (2E Codex: Angels of Death page 8: Space Marine Power Armour) as well as GW's d100 game Inquisitor.

 

I'd even go as far as to say the tabletop is pretty much the only source we'd have to discuss these things, simply because it is the only source that (a) features all armies in an equal spotlight, (b) provides clear and solid numbers for equipment capabilities and © does not avail of "plot armour" as the novels do.

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So, no, SM durability being sufficient to ignore massed lasgun fire pattering off their armour like rain is not "fan exaggeration". It's just as canon as "a platoon's worth of lasguns can kill Space Marines" and other lowball depictions.

 

Yes, it is "just as canon" (or just as not-canon) as anything else. But that's the point: the fandom doesn't really have a right to slam an author for using their own interpretation over what the individual fan believes is "right". That in this case the author's interpretation seemed to align with the tabletop that's at the core of it all is just icing on the irony cake.

 

Criticism is pretty much unavoidable, as we all have our own preferred vision of 40k, but it should never go as far as an author feeling obliged to change things in the next iteration, when there is no "right" way to do it.

 

That's arguable, because there is, while the details may vary, a general idea or consensus on how things work, usually based on existing canon material and the official GW codices.

And what authors tend to get slammed for is deviating from this idea significantly. Like having lasguns being capable of killing Space Marines like their armour isn't a factor. Or making Eldar into Slaanesh-worshippers that loot Leman Russ tanks for being "better-armoured" than Eldar tanks. Or having Terminators toss one-ton Lictors hundreds of meters. Or having jump packs work in an entirely different way to all material published before it. Or... you get the point.

 

Ah, but the lore is based on the game. The rules were there first, and if Marine armour was truly meant to be immune to lasgun fire, then lasguns simply wouldn't exist on the tabletop. Besides, balance in the TT is achieved via points cost.

 

Not to mention that a lasgun's ability to injure a Space Marine is reflected both in codex fluff (2E Codex: Angels of Death page 8: Space Marine Power Armour) as well as GW's d100 game Inquisitor.

 

I'd even go as far as to say the tabletop is pretty much the only source we'd have to discuss these things, simply because it is the only source that (a) features all armies in an equal spotlight, (b) provides clear and solid numbers for equipment capabilities and © does not avail of "plot armour" as the novels do.

 

 

I'd disagree, because going by pure mechanics, a Bolter is inferior in killing power to two lasguns. There's no lore that really supports this. The bolter is pretty much unilaterally portrayed as being much massively superior, which makes sense given that... well, it fires 20mm armour-piercing explosive shells and the lasgun is a laser weapon that can barely blow off limbs...

 

Note I'm not denying that lasguns can penetrate Astartes power armour, I'm disputing that they're as effective as the game rules would imply. A 1/3 chance to penetrate with the most basic weapon in the galaxy makes the armour pretty much tissue paper tier.

 

The "a platoon's worth of lasguns can kill a Space Marine" is going by mechanics, btw. The chance for a lasgun shot to kill a Marine is 1/18 (1/2 to hit, 1/3 to wound, 1/3 to get past armour), which means a platoon of 20 men is pretty likely to kill a single Marine with massed lasgun fire by game rules. Fluffwise, the lasgun has pretty much always been portrayed as significantly weaker than it is in mechanics.

 

Like, for killiness, mechanically two lasguns (with BS3) are equal to one bolter (with BS4).

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