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Black_Kestrel

Non-Imperial Humanity questions (campaign brainstorming)

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I've noticed several non-Imperial, non-Chaos tainted human worlds are located in the Koronus Expanse. Clearly they aren't Heretics or Renegades since they were never part of the Imperium to begin with and knowing that Imperium has been finding worlds like these for ten millenina the Administratum must have came up with a label for them. Unfortunately my 40K lore-fu and my search-fu are weak and I haven't been able to find said label.

Secondly, how does the Imperium treat with advanced non-Imperial human worlds. Most references I have found detail with Imperial absorption of sub-Imperial technology worlds and not equivalent (or better) technology worlds. I'm toying around with some ideas for campaign involving the Imperium discovering several equivalent technology (or better technology) worlds called the Altan Confederacy (working title) that have not been in contact with the rest of humanity since the Age of Strife. How would the Imperium approach absorbing the Confederacy? Outright conquest/destruction is of course an option as happened to Adrantis Five in during the Macharian Crusade (about the only reference I could on the subject), but probably not the Imperium's first resort. I can't see the Imperium offering the Confederacy very many technological or security benefits (as it has successfully existed in one form or another for ten thousand years), they don't share the same religion or values either. The only thing they probably have in common is their humanity. I'm looking for ideas on approaches the Imperium might take to bring the into the fold

Some notes on the Altan Confederacy to help with any replies:

  • Imperial equivalent or better technology including knowledge the Imperium considers lost or archeotech (not in all areas)
  • Heavy computer automation, not necessarily AI (as this would make them clear targets for Exterminatus plus they remember the Men of Iron), servitors not generally employed, replaced by drones
  • Fair amount of space habitats, this is definitely an area where they have better technology than the Imperium
  • Stance on aliens and trade with aliens currently undecided by me
  • One or two possibly integrated Abhuman strains (zero-g adapted humans)
  • Heavy use of cybernetics and bionics, better aethestics (designed to minimize machine appearance)
  • Culls most psykers, does have small stable core of highly regulated psykers. Think Sanctioned Psykers but with a technological twist. Navigators are available to the Confederacy
  • Post-religious, most are deist
  • Have clashed with Chaos-tainted humans, realize dangers of Chaos and the Warp, also has better understanding of the Empyrian than the Imperium
  • Political system(s) currently undecided by me

 

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 Non-Imperial human nations in the Expanse are currently the domain of the Rogue Traders. They could work to convert the nation to the Imperial Creed with the use of Missionaries or direct force. Or they could simply open up lines of trade with them.

Otherwise, any expedition by the Imperium would be the result of a full blown Crusade that would work to absorb the entire Expanse. Depending on the kind of resources that this Confederacy has, there might be temptation to do just that. Otherwise, one or more Rogue Traders would be interested in either trading or taking by gun point.

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I'll stick with 'how does the Imperium treat non-Imperium human worlds they find':

Get the book Deathwing and read the short-story Monastery of Death by Charles Stross

If the world is not determined to be ripe for exterminatus or wholesale slaughter and re-colonization - it must be controlled.  The Imperium doesn't survive by making friends.  It survives by making sure a warp poopstorm doesn't crop up in a place controlled by mealy mouth peacnicks that want to understand the xeno, cure the mutant and reform the heretic.

If they determine that the world is properly controlled and subject to strictures that fit or can be made to fit the IoM it will be integrated into the IoM.

 

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bobh said:

I'll stick with 'how does the Imperium treat non-Imperium human worlds they find':

Get the book Deathwing and read the short-story Monastery of Death by Charles Stross

If the world is not determined to be ripe for exterminatus or wholesale slaughter and re-colonization - it must be controlled.  The Imperium doesn't survive by making friends.  It survives by making sure a warp poopstorm doesn't crop up in a place controlled by mealy mouth peacnicks that want to understand the xeno, cure the mutant and reform the heretic.

If they determine that the world is properly controlled and subject to strictures that fit or can be made to fit the IoM it will be integrated into the IoM.

 

Don't worry this isn't a Mary Sue, utopian, the universe is full of sugar and rainbows, aliens are just funny looking people group of human worlds. Survival in 40K requires a level of ruthlessness that doesn't allow for a naive view of the cosmos. For example, the Confederacy ensures that thier psykers don't become gateways to the Warp by implanting a cybernetic Warp monitor in the psyker that activates an implanted explosive charge if it detects the psyker channeling more of the Empyrian than is safe (in game terms no pushing allowed and a 75+ on the Psychic Phenomena table results in the psyker going boom terminating the nascent Warp incursion.) I want a clash of cultures and states that gives me great stories. From a campaign perspective the Confederacy can't be pushover, it has to be something the Imperium has to treat with at least a modicum of diplomacy and respect. A viable threat that could seriously weaken whatever sector its located closest to if the Imperium opted for a Crusade. The point is to try and bring it into the Imperium peacefully or at least without damaging/destroying the majority of the Confederacy. A Pyhrric victory would be a failure.

I'll look into getting a copy of Deathwing. I had no idea Charles Stross had written for 40K.

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For all its parochialism, I think its important to remember just how idiosyncratic the Imperium is. Interstellar travel and communication can be unreliable and can take quite a long time to travel significant distances. If an officer of the Imperial Navy were to request instruction regarding the discovery of this Confederacy from their superiors, the reply might take months or years, if it came at all. In addition, the chances of that information being intercepted makes such a query a risky proposition. In the Imperium, the senior officer on the scene is the one who makes the policy decisions, waiting for instruction or approval takes far too long.

So, it all depends on who's the senior officer in regards to "treating" with this civilization. I think a lot of officers would prefer to call upon the vast resources the Imperium has at its disposal and really throw their weight around, giving the comparatively puny civilization the choice of voluntary absorption or being conquered. Some more temperate or pragmatic officers might negotiate instead, after all the Imperium does have vast resources, and the Confederacy might not realize exactly how dangerous the galaxy can be. Sure, they've lasted quite a while on their own, but are they really prepared to break a major Ork Waagh? How about a Tyranid Hive Fleet? Or a Black Crusade? The Imperium has a lot of power to throw at that kind of stuff, the Confederacy might not. The Imperium also has a reliable and useful way to deal with psykers, and experience dealing with all sorts of nasties like daemons and aliens. Really, they'd say, wouldn't you be safer if you were part of the Empire? The fact that the Empire could easily crush this Confederacy if it chose to amass its power would be the politely unstated but artfully implied threat at that point. Magnificent Bastard tropish officers might even 'cause a few daemon incursions or alien invasions themselves, and either use them as examples of the Confederacy being a little fish in an ultra-deadly ocean, or swoop in just in time to play Big **** Heroes.

It really depends on who's the guy "on the ground" with these people. Whoever he or she is, they'll have their own philosophy and their own morality, and they'll apply it to their decisions just like anyone else would. So rather than asking "How would the Imperium treat with this civilization?" you might ask "Who from the Imperium is treating with this civilization?"

To echo vastrix, it'll probably be a Rogue Trader. For all the Imperium's vast resources, the whole purpose of Rogue Traders is to venture into wilderness space and make contact with whoever they find out there. Rogue Traders are even more idiosyncratic than most of the Imperium, and they might choose to simply exploit the Confederacy for themselves, rather than acting on behalf of the greater Imperium. Or they might not. It depends on the individual.

If this Confederacy is in the Koronus Expanse, the person is probably a Rogue Trader. The Imperium doesn't go that far out of its way to meet other civilizations unless its a crusade, that kind of thing is what Rogue Traders are for. On the other hand, if the Confederacy is on the Imperium's doorstep, then it might be a senior Navy or Departmento Munitorum officer who's deciding how to deal with these folks, or a sector govenor.

In any case, my advice: Decide who's at the top of the local chain of command, and figure out how that character would want to go about "treating" with the Confederacy.

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Basically there's a number of options:

1. they get overrun, in other words: conquered manu militari

2. they become integrated through diplomatic means: the leaders agree to become part of the Imperium, perhaps because the imperium'll agree that those leaders can govern the entire Expanse once it's conquered in return.  In that case you'll get cultural cross-polinising but with a heavy emphasis on the Imperium imposing it's culture rather then vice versa.

3. they could become a protectorate.  Especially if the RT who discovered them can make himself a usefull ally/trade partner to the Confederacy by helping it to achieve that status.

 

Honestly: i believe option 2/3 are most likely as atm the Imperium has more then enough troubles to contend with.  They off course might change their mind later on when they've more forces that could be contributed to the conquering of the Confederacy.  But if i were the RT discovering this confederacy i'd make it darned clear that without my help: odds are that they'll be declared a priority target for being wiped out.  And hey, if i profit from helping them ... by a huge amount, then who can blame me?  A good RT can find a profit in any endeavour after all.

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 There's another option for the Imperium here. They could go the Torchbearer route and covertly sneak in Missionaries to try and slowly bring the area under the Imperial Creed. This is sometimes done by dropping them in from high altitude with grav-chutes. Then, hopefully the Missionaries will be successful in spreading the creed and the area will willingly join the Imperium at some point in the future. This approach is mentioned in some other sources. I seem to recall an otherwise terrible short story in Let the Galaxy Burn about giant animals that can face titans and the primitives that use them. This option is mentioned there as well (and turned down in favor of Exterminatus, but oh well).

Still, it seems unlikely that the Imperium would ever consent to treating it as an equal in negotiations. Although some Imperial agents might try that approach, most would prefer to demand their surrender. You can't go around acting like there are legitimate alternatives to the Imperium, after all.

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 I think it was mentioned in Lure of the Expanse that the usual way for IoM to engage in diplomacy is to simply destroy the second largest settlement to show their strength.

Taking the Conquor option away, i would imagine a RT taking it the easiest way possible. This would include integrating the people with Imperial beliefs, this could be by using missionaries and slowly converting the population. Another way to do it would be to contact the nations leaders and convince them to join the IoM, possibly promising them positions of power (becoming Nobles, high grade Adepta, Governor etc.). 

One could also take a more difficult aproach by finding and contacting smaller groups of people more in tune with the IoM (or with chances of actually overthrowing the current leaders) and then support them with weapons, tech, survaillence, bombing runs, orbital bombardment and so on. Of course you will make sure they will join the empire after you help them (again promising positions of power are always wonderful). Afterwards help the group maintain their power and move in the Imperial values.

You can try to undermine the current leaders by covertly attacking needed things, fx power supply or food supplies. When some places run out of whatever you try to starve them of, you move in to help them out becoming a savior figure. Ask what have happened and try to make them feel forsakened by their own nation.

Then try to present an alternative, The Imperium of Man, who have held enormous amounts of the galaxy for longer than their own planet have existed.  

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Bassemandrh said:

 I think it was mentioned in Lure of the Expanse that the usual way for IoM to engage in diplomacy is to simply destroy the second largest settlement to show their strength.

Apparently that's standard Navy doctrine when confronted with a new civilization. It's remarkably crude, so it seems obvious to me that the Navy generally doesn't handle the negotiations alone. After all, in the situation where it's used the people on the planet don't even have the means to contact a ship in orbit even if they did want to surrender. I imagine that lack of that communication tech would be a regular problem for that strategy. 

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numb3rc said:

Bassemandrh said:

 

 I think it was mentioned in Lure of the Expanse that the usual way for IoM to engage in diplomacy is to simply destroy the second largest settlement to show their strength.

 

Apparently that's standard Navy doctrine when confronted with a new civilization. It's remarkably crude, so it seems obvious to me that the Navy generally doesn't handle the negotiations alone. After all, in the situation where it's used the people on the planet don't even have the means to contact a ship in orbit even if they did want to surrender. I imagine that lack of that communication tech would be a regular problem for that strategy. 

Well that'd part of the strategy, to underline their helplessness in doing anything until the Navy deigns to send down a landing party to accept their surrender. But this strategy is stated as being intended for primitive cultures, on the grounds that "It's the only language they understand." Against an advanced civ, such wouldn't be used without necessity, such as imminent warp incursion from their psyker practices or the like, as it would be too costly in terms of resources destroyed.

Infiltration by the Imperial Cult does seem the most likely approach, and the IoM seems generally prepared to take the long term view.

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 I always imagined the IoM would send an emissary down to the planet for negotiations (more like demands) when using their diplomacy of choice. I am aware that there are many problems with this choice but i thought i should be mentioned anyway as an option for very IoM pro Characters.

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IoM:  "Give us a tithe and we'll protect you from Tyrannids and Orks, and even let you govern yourselves."

Altan Confederacy:  "No".

IoM:  "Okay then,  how about you give us a tithe and we let you live".

Altan Confederacy:  "No, your gear isn't as good as ours, you're bluffing".

IoM:  DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA!*

Altan Confederacy:  "Okay".

 

*Is entry in next line 'okay' or 'affirmative'?

Y:  Make arrangements to collect tithe,

N:  Reiterate 'DAKKA' until 'okay' or 'affirmative' result achieved.

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Gunboat diplomacy works much better when your gunboat is 5km long and carrying megaton warheads.

 

Generally a non-violent show of force (i.e. turn up in orbit with a small fleet of huge vessels) followed by a full pomp and glory diplomatic mission should do for lesser worlds. For greater worlds, maybe a bit of orbital bombardment or full scale bombardment and invasion does the trick nicely,

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