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tundra2

...sensei, grey sensei, illuminate and the star child... have they really been retconned?

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ok... the issue of the sensei and their collective siblings and support network have been an issue since the Jaq Draco stories and the "Lost and the Damned" "Realm of Chaos" book... my question is "have they really be retconned?"... i ask this as i see numerous posts and comments about the sensei etc but have yet to see a clear line of thought to show that this has actually happened... what i have seen is that the sensei have been left alone and not commented upon rather than being retconned... i am happy to be proved wrong but i still think that in the 40k universe there is scope for such beings...

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There's been very little on them since Lost and the Damned and the Inquisition War trilogy. They were mentioned in passing in an aside in a bit of flavour text in the mid '90s. I think it was an Inquisitorial document talking about Thousand Son involvement in something called "the cult of the star child." This need not necessarily have been a reference to the Sensei though...but it does sound like one. 

Personally I always liked the Sensei, but I suspect writers are wary of directly addressing such a potentially setting-shattering concept. In as much as the section in Lost and the Damned seemed designed to create skirmish-style conflict involving small, randomly generated groups of miniatures, the need for the Sensei in the setting has sort of been overtaken by games like Inquisitor and the Kill-team rules in more recent 40k editions.

Their "anti warp" concept arguably has been used as the basis for the Nulls/untouchables/pariahs, though the root cause of this effect is different, of course. Untouchables don't have a warp presence because they're soulless, Sensei don't have a warp presence because they're so noble that they simply don't have the negative emotions like fear, hatred, anger etc, meaning they can manipulate the warp safely. Apart from the Grey Sensei. Whose abilities aren't really explained.  

It's stated that the Illuminati, a secret cabal of highly placed conspirators, track down the Sensei to use them as an Avatar of the Emperor in the event of his death, or to sacrifice him to ressurect him. This motive resembles (but is slightly different from) the views of the Thorians. The Illuminati are said to consist of formerly possessed individuals, who now have a tremendous insight into the warp. In DH, (Radical's Handbook) the recently possessed, while distinctive, have no such stellar insight into the wiles of Daemons.

I always thought that the Inquisition aren't actually the right Imperial organisation to be hunting these guys: it always seemed to me that the Adeptus Custodes would be a better fit. The Custodes presumably would be privy to many of the Emperor's pre-Heresy secrets, including the existence of his family and descendants. They've recently been portrayed as a tremendously subtle and politically devious organisation, not just dumb bodyguards, so this kind of 10,000 year secret campaign would be well within their abilities. Though the idea of high level intrigue between the Custodes (seeking to protect the Emperor's family) and Illuminati (formerly possessed Inquisitors looking to save the Emperor by sacrificing his descendants) would make for a compelling campaign...

 I suspect GW might attempt to deal with the Sensei at some stage, but I can't imagine there's any urgency to do so. 

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@ sister cat - absolutely!

@ lightbringer - i agree completely...

i have always been interested in the idea that there were "demons" (forgive the analogy) for the emperor who were able to counter the seething mass of the chaos demonic legions... that said... i am very interested in the grey sensei... i like to think that above all of the schemes and plots that are undertaken by whomever, the inquisition, cults, adeptus organisation or otherwise there are a groups of sensei and grey sensei pulling on the strings... that is not to say that the entire 40k universe is shackled to their machinations but rather they are plucking strings that bring about "the end"... obviously this is probably not in the best interest of 40k as a whole but rather a potential for a new era... if i remember right luddite (he who should be honoured) once suggested that the imperium is heading to a renaissance... i have to agree... it would be very interesting to see whether this happens and if in only my mind the sensei are doing their bit to bring the imperium closer to a unified regime...

i agree that it is unlikely that sensei plus support staff will become part of DH, RT and A at the moment but perhaps a suggestion that the 40k universe is not only war but a place where humanity is to strive for more...

the great crusade has ended... perhaps there should be another with the sensei at its head??? discuss...

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@ ZillaPrime - but that is the point... i am sure that "squats" appear in DH and RT games on a daily basis... again... i can't think of a time that they were specifically retconned but rather never mentioned... i can easily see colonised worlds cut off from humanity who are subject to additional gravitational forces that have led to the creation of squats by proxy... that said... zoats... well... they were once part of the genestealer fluff... i still think of them occassionally in realtion to WHFRP 1st Ed... ahhh... druid spells and elvish speaking... a-n-y-way...

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While I am all for the return of Squats (as a mercenary race who now hates the Imperium for not helping with the tyranid issue and now are present as a squad choice for the Tau) and the Zoats, the Sensei and everything Jaq Draco needs to be wiped free of the earth.

Im sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but I tried reading the Inquisition War trilogy and got a book and a half into it when I realized that all Ian Watson had done was take a decent sci-fi setting and fill with with crap and bad writing. While there were some fun things in the story and books, overall nothing was grand enough to keep 100% in fluff.

Especially the Emperor's long lost super ninja sons.

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I'd avoid most of the 'fluff' in terms of WH40K novels and instead run the concept around more of a Kwisatz Haderach type of prophecy instead. Lets face it, most of the good stuff from the Dune novels is already yoinked and stuck in 40k at some level, may as well just take another proverbial leaf thats better written and expanded upon.

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@ Peacekeeper_b - i appreciate that there is a tendancy for "the emperor's ninja sons (or daughters)" to become something comic but i wonder whether this is the tendnacy for the tabletop to encroach into the rpg... the tabletop game represents the elite of the races and seeks to make them cinematic in their actions... the problem with this is that what are excellent character concepts bandied around by the GW model hawkers is a receipe for disaster... the space marines for one are turned into 2d versions of what could be excellent characters... the same i suggest falls with the sensei... don't get me wrong the name "sensei" conjures up mental imagry that is not conducive to the 40k universe and "space faring time travelling ninja pirates" are not what i suggest should be referenced... however to say that these individuals do not exist is well enough but to suggest so because of the Jaq Draco stories is something altogether different...for example... what of cypher??? does he not seem such a person??? if we accept that we cannot be sure that he is a space marine what else could he conceivably be???

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tundra said:

 what of cypher??? does he not seem such a person??? if we accept that we cannot be sure that he is a space marine what else could he conceivably be???

Ugh. I hate Cypher. The whole Dark Angels backstory doesn't so much leave me cold as freeze me up completely! I personally don't regard Cypher as a Sensei, partly because the miniature alone looks so Dark Angel-y.

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@ lightbringer - cypher is a classic example of the tabletop encroaching on the rpg and fluff... as a character he is genius... problem is that the nerfs get hold of the idea and make it into something awful...

@ peacekeeper_b - the primarchs are the emperor's sons... but there is the chance that there are others... 

i definately think that as these ideas having been around for an extended period of time... that is the realms of chaos books and before... we are in a position that the sensei etc are apocryphal in their existence... lets say that the sensei do not exist who's to say that the illuminate do not consider that they do... imagine an enterprise that really believes that they exist and are still going for the same end??? i appreciate the frustration in ideas being resurrected but i don't think that this has actually been killed off...

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tundra said:

@ lightbringer - cypher is a classic example of the tabletop encroaching on the rpg and fluff... as a character he is genius... problem is that the nerfs get hold of the idea and make it into something awful...

@ peacekeeper_b - the primarchs are the emperor's sons... but there is the chance that there are others... 

i definately think that as these ideas having been around for an extended period of time... that is the realms of chaos books and before... we are in a position that the sensei etc are apocryphal in their existence... lets say that the sensei do not exist who's to say that the illuminate do not consider that they do... imagine an enterprise that really believes that they exist and are still going for the same end??? i appreciate the frustration in ideas being resurrected but i don't think that this has actually been killed off...

Maybe if they would change their name I would have less issue with it.

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Lightbringer said:

ZillaPrime said:

 

Dead and burried IMO.  These concepts can be found in the same grave as Squats and Zoats.

 

 

Except that Squats were referenced in the last Ork Codex and Zoats in the last-but-one Tyranid Codex.

Can you give me the pages so I can look this up?

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Peacekeeper_b said:

 

Can you give me the pages so I can look this up?

 

 

Squats:

Most recent Ork Codex (2007? The Phil Kelly one, anyway) Page 24, The Battle of Golgotha:- "...Ghazghkull quickly overcame the war engines and battle collossi of the planet's abhuman defenders..." Recounts the defeat, capture, torture and release of Commissar Yarrick by Ghazghkull. Cross reference with White Dwarf 154, a battle report "The battle for Golgotha" detailing a battle between...Ghazghkull vs Yarrick and Squat allies from the Squat stronghold of Golgotha Prime. 

I've been saying for years the Squats haven't been retconned out...it would appear there's actually a stealth campaign to retcon them back IN...

EDIT: Although thinking about it, it might just be a Phil Kelly stealth campaign....happy.gif

Zoats:

2004 Tyranid Codex, by Phil Kelly and His Holiness Andy Chambers (my favourite 40k writer by a long stretch). Page 25 contains an account of "Centauroid creatures" aboard "curious, conch-like spacecraft apparently grown from stone" that made contact with the Imperium in M38. These creatures "communicated telepathically with other races - unlike any other Tyranid organism before or since." These creatures claimed to be slaves escaping their oppressors. However the Imperium somewhat unsportingly declared them xenos horrificus, and the devastating "Zorastra-Attilla" wars followed. ZOrastra-ATtilla wars...geddit? happy.gif Naming a species after a war isn't too far a stretch, given the Tyranids were named after a moon. Plus cross  reference the description of this Tyranid slave race with the original 40k description of Zoats and note the similarities. No mention of Zoatibix in the 2004 Codex though, disappointingly. gui%C3%B1o.gif Of course, the Codex describes the extermination of the "Zoats," but in ambiguous enough terms to suggest a potential comeback: the last surviving Zoat ship was left orbiting above Zorastra after a battle in 226.M39, and wasn't explored again until late in the 41st Millenia. What mysteries await in the shattered remains of this ancient craft?!??! preocupado.gif

EDIT: Andy Chambers section here on the Zorastra-Attilla wars is actually a complete masterclass in how to write 40k material properly. He takes an alien race from the ancient days of 40k and retcons them back into the present 40k setting in such a way that if you blink you'll miss it (unless you're a total anorak like me), while also leaving the door open to multiple interpretations. "Oooh, the Zoats are back" "No, they're not described as Zoats, the Zoats are DEAD!" "Ah, but centauroid, ZO-AT, running from something..." "Doesn't say they were running from the Tyranids." "No, but it's in the TYRANID Codex." "Doesn't mean a thing. Besides these aliens were all wiped out." "Ah, but their ship's only just being explored again..." Genius.   

 

 

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Some good info HERE from this forum on the Sensei etc.

 

As for Squats, GW themselves did say that for now the Squats are (sadly) no longer in the 40k game as they could not do justice to them.

They were then promptly gobbled up by the 'nids.

 

Though why Every Single Squat decided to up sticks and get eaten is rather unbelieveable.

But that was from Gervis (afaik) himself some years ago, and some good Google-Fu will bring it forth for those who really want to read it themselves.

 

Squats remain in my game, many working for the Imp-G as engineseers or with the Adeptus Mechanicus.

A few have formed Slayer Squads, hunting out 'nids and stealers and either dying in glorious battle or failing and having to face the shame of fighting again to avenge their kin.

 

 

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 The impression I got was that Unwerth was *possibly* descended from mixed Squat/human ancestry. He talks at one point about how his father or grandfather claimed they were descended from a race of diminutive abhumans, but that most modern Imperial scientists dismiss the very existence of the Squats.  So, it's never out right stated that he is a Squat, he just might be descended from them. 

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Velvetears said:

As for Squats, GW themselves did say that for now the Squats are (sadly) no longer in the 40k game as they could not do justice to them.

They were then promptly gobbled up by the 'nids.

Though why Every Single Squat decided to up sticks and get eaten is rather unbelieveable.

But that was from Gervis (afaik) himself some years ago, and some good Google-Fu will bring it forth for those who really want to read it themselves.

Squats remain in my game, many working for the Imp-G as engineseers or with the Adeptus Mechanicus.

A few have formed Slayer Squads, hunting out 'nids and stealers and either dying in glorious battle or failing and having to face the shame of fighting again to avenge their kin.

I actually do not mind the squats at all. A renaming and a way of working them back in is fine with me. I still think it would be a nice twist to have them show back up in the game (TT or RPG or whatever) but one the other side. Perhaps after the nid apocalypse they felt betrayed by the humans and now survive as mercenaries working for the Tau or as worshippers of some dark power to revenge themselves upon the nids and the humans.

But slayer squads? Thats just too much Warhammer Fantasy which is what Jervis wanted to avoid and why he erased them.

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Peacekeeper_b said:

I actually do not mind the squats at all. A renaming and a way of working them back in is fine with me. I still think it would be a nice twist to have them show back up in the game (TT or RPG or whatever) but one the other side. Perhaps after the nid apocalypse they felt betrayed by the humans and now survive as mercenaries working for the Tau or as worshippers of some dark power to revenge themselves upon the nids and the humans.

But slayer squads? Thats just too much Warhammer Fantasy which is what Jervis wanted to avoid and why he erased them.

I'd agree with all of this. There was nothing really wrong with the Squats at all, in my opinion. They were a perfectly solid concept, and were nicely executed, especially in Epic scale. High-Grav humans WOULD look like Squats, and the original background for them was perfectly cohesive and nicely thought out...far better thought out than the clumsy retconning that sought to erase them from history.

In fact, I can't really think of a precedent for a major games company taking a perfectly good entire race/army and wiping them out in such a way that players (like me, Grrrrr!) who had Squat armies had no ostensible basis for continuing to battle using them. Quite an insulting slap in the face to people who'd spent good money on GW products. Imagine the howls if GW just decided now to wipe out the Tau because a designer really didn't like them.

[grumble grumble, whinge whinge etc etc ad infinitum]

But yes, it would be nice to see GW try an interesting new take on the Squats. From the look of the Ork Codex, I'm not the only one who thinks having the Squats as a presence in 40k is a good idea... 

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Lightbringer said:

But yes, it would be nice to see GW try an interesting new take on the Squats. From the look of the Ork Codex, I'm not the only one who thinks having the Squats as a presence in 40k is a good idea... 

I think as new writers and designers move into the 40K family you will see some "outside" changes coming into the game. Afterall some of these authors and designers have been with the game since day one.

I think some core basic things need to be set in stone (Im looking at you female space marines) but some things can be woven in and out of the game. Truth be told, if the nids did each most of the squats and bio-mass the hell out of their planets, what does it really change of the setting/fluff to have 10 man strong squads of Squats show up in the Tau Empire army list as an elite choice. Just means that Tau could have a WS 4 BS 2 T 4 I 2 LD 8 Save 4+ slow and purposeful unit with Bolters.

I would love to see a Tau Mercenaries supplement (Mini-Dex) that has Squats, Terrelians and other Tau Empire Mercs in it.

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but this is my point.... there are references to bygone thoughts that have never been truly retconned... some of the ideas which were once thought to be burdensome... such as the squats with their handlebar moustaches and trikes... could be revived but with panache and grace that would add yet further dimensions to the 40k universe... the setting is so vast that there must be such things... as for the sensei that is a different matter but say they do exist... what is wrong with the idea that they do??? Surely there is an argument to suggest that there must be some form of mechanism that will take humanity past the 41st millennium... or has the emperor truly forsaken the human race??? If as he thought humanity’s saviour was that of the psyker surely he would have placed “things” (apologies for the poor wording) in place to drive such a renaissance forward....

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"Canon" is such an inelegant term to describe the multi-authored 40k universe. It's a black/white paradigm that doesn't really allow for the shades of grey that make for an entertaining and nuanced background. I don't personally subscribe to the idea that at some point in the early to mid 90's everything that went before in 40k was suddenly invalid. 

I prefer a more layered approach whereby all the many, many inconsistancies in the background can be gently massaged into one coherent whole without losing any of the strength of flavour of individual aspects. Peacekeeper_B is right, what's more elegant:-

(A) Squats don't exist, they never really existed, er...or they were all eaten by tyranids anyway, don't talk about the squats whatever you do!

or

(B) The Squat Homeworlds were devastated by Tyranid Hive Fleet [iNSERT NAME HERE] over a few scant months on [iNSERT DATE HERE]. Despite vicious tunnel fights amongst some of the greatest fortresses in the galaxy, resistance was swept aside and the centres of Squat culture were wiped out forever. A diaspora of a few billion Squat refugees fled across the galaxy in their own unique vessels. Some fled to the bosom of the Imperium, others, embittered by the scorched earth policy of Inquisitor Kryptmann, fled to the extreme edges of civilised space, acting as mercenaries on behalf of regional xenos empires sympathetic to their plight.

B is neater, internally consistent with all of the background, and renders Squats a perfectly valid option for both Imperial and Tau armies. There would be no harm at all in making B part of the (shudder) Canon. But instead the current "Canon" approach appears to be A.

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