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SJE

Jackbooted Fascist Stormtrooper- the real appeal of DH?

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An intentionally provacative question-

One thing that concerns/makes me think is how much of Dark Heresy appeal lies in allowing the players to roleplay a fascist stormtrooper?

After all, in gaming, the Nazi's are usually the NPC bad guys- the eternal foe of pulp games, WW2 games, conspiracy games, you name it.  The Imperium is one of the very few settings which allow the PC's to play the Nazi jackbooted thug who can commit genocide (either Xenocide or Exterminatus) in the name of racial purity and yet have some small moral justification (if you dont, then Chaos wins)

So what do people think? Do you know players who are attracted to playing the fascist simply because normally other RPG's disallow it? Do you know gamers who play DH because they might have some sort of neo-Nazi sympathy?  Or is it all just harmless fun in a game?

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Not every Nazi is a baby eating monster.  Sure their beliefs are rediculous, destructive and just plain wrong but this game allows us to experience the life of the man hopelessly buried beneath the propaganda and power of their government, no matter how right or wrong.  I'm not a Star Wars fan but if a GM offered to let me play in a game where everyone played Storm Trooper grunts I'd jump at the chance.  Nothing wrong with seeing what's behind the helmet after all.

To put it another way, DH isn't about the players being Hitler, it's about the players being regular people like you or I who have to survive and function in a world where similar beliefs are the norm.

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I really do think its a whole lot simpler than people think.

 

The Nazis were (insert string of or expletives).  But they had cool uniforms.  Everyone looks good in black........its so slimming gran_risa.gif

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I can't say that is the appeal at all to be honest, simply because DH has so little in common with just the fascists.  Anyone who wants to play a nazi in DH is going to be sorely disappointed when they realize how little it has to do with it historically.

Historically the Nazi's weren't unique at all.  The Inquisition (historical not RPG) wasn't even the first, but you can see huge elements of it in 40k.  Same with Stalinistic Russia, 50s America (the Red Scare), Nazi Germany, Ancient Rome just to name a few.

If I had to draw a parrellel between any organizations and DH.. I'd more use Inquisitors from Spain, KGB, Gestapo, or Hoover-era FBI then I would Stormtroopers.  Strong organizations with massive backing with unlimited power who would rather quietly surgically remove certain problem areas then cause massive disruptions, but weren't afraid to do just that if the situation warrented it.  Also, Stormtroopers only had access really to what the SS had, while the above orginizations would with just a little pressure have access to everything their respective countries had to offer.

Edit:  Forgot to mention though what I think the appeal is of DH in this light.  To be controversial a bit, I do believe that historically people do see the effectiveness of strong oppressive governments and their relative safety overall.  I mean, again controversial, after 9/11 America was more then willing to give up a lot of their Liberties and Freedoms they had in order for some more safety.  Liberals and Conservatives both originally supported measures that just 4 years later we already being decried as heavy handed.  Blame game aside 40k as a whole plays upon this historical fact, that in times of chaos people will put up with a lot of things they normally wouldn't, in the name of history, and 40k is all about fighting chaos (literally in fact).

Its the same reason that Batman is so appealing.  Dark Heroes.  Characters willing to sell their soul, to sacrifice their humanity for the good of humanity is always popular as well.  In 40k, and in DH, you make the ultimate sacrifices, become the ultimate hero in order to protect the common good.  You make the tough choices, you give up common decency, you give up what often makes us human, you sacrifice sanity and your own life in order for the greater good.

All the gloves are off in 40k, there is no right or wrong no consequences for your actions, as long as its done for the greater good.  Its the ultimate in make-believe since we are so restricted in our own lives.  Very few would be willing to make these sacrifices in their real lives, but in their imaginations, they would.  And that's what RPGs are all about, seeing how far you're willing to go for the greater  good.

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Letrii said:

Filthy Xenos lover with your greater good.

 

Now where did I put that flamer? *wonders off to look for it*

 

Xenos Lover?  Xenos Lover?  How dare you sir!  Of course we do it for the Emperor, but how dare you suggest that the Emperor has nothing but the survival of humanity at heart!  Heretic!

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You BOTH are heretics! Your crimes are as follows:

1. Treason by invocation of the Emperor's name without just cause.

2. Annoying the hell out of me.

You've been found guilty and the punishment is DEATH! Sentence to carry out immediately.

*fires full auto with heavy bolters*

gran_risa.gifgui%C3%B1o.gif

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Ah, but the threat is 'real' in this case, so you aren't playing a nazi jack booted thug. You are a hero, hero.

The nazis threats were largely imaginary. Daemons and Tyrannids? Not so much, in the game.

 

 

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There's always a witch behind the confusion.  Burn the world and leave none alive.  We can't afford to let any get away.  I know orbital bombardment and virus bombs.

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Mark It Zero said:

Xathess Wolfe said:

 

Letrii said:

 

Burn them, burn them all.  The witches are confusing you all.

 

 

How do you know she's a witch?

 

 

Bring me a large scale and a duck.  We shall see.

You know what's scary is I can see my group being on some backwater world, and the populace doing just this with my GM.  Hell he's already done Rocky Horror, I'm just waiting on this one.

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wolfie said:

 You are a hero, hero.

 

Not a Hero, but a Protagonist.

Bit of a difference really.

 

Heroes stand up for what is Good & Pure, they feed the poor and tend to the sick.

A protagonist from 40k would sacrifice the sick ('Hey good medicine costs a lot of Thrones you know..') by allowing More people to get sick if there was even a chance of the people spreading the sickness being caught.

hero

noun
1. a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength; "RAF pilots were the heroes of the Battle of Britain"
2. the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem
3. someone who fights for a cause [syn: champion]
4. Greek mathematician and inventor who devised a way to determine the area of a triangle and who described various mechanical devices (first century)
5. (classical mythology) a being of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits; often the offspring of a mortal and a god
6. (Greek mythology) priestess of Aphrodite who killed herself when her lover Leander drowned while trying to swim the Hellespont to see her
7. a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments); different names are used in different sections of the United States

 

Protagonist
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The protagonist is often the main character (the central or main figure) of a story. However, the terms protagonist, main character and hero are variously (and rarely well) defined, and depending on the source, may denote different concepts. The word "protagonist" derives from the Greek πρωταγωνιστ?ς (protagonistes), "one who plays the first part, chief actor";[1][2] but in some plots, the main character is not the actual protagonist.


The story of the protagonist may be told from the perspective of a different character (who may also, but not necessarily, be the narrator). In such cases, it may be helpful to define the character through whose perspective the plot is followed as the main character, the main character having here a separate function from the protagonist. An example would be a narrator who relates the fate of several protangonists, perhaps as prominent figures recalled in a biographical perspective.

The principal opponent of the protagonist is a character known as the antagonist, who represents or creates obstacles that the protagonist(s) must overcome. As with protagonists, there may be more than one antagonist in a story.(Note that the term antagonist in this context is much more recent than the term protagonist, and rests on the same misconception as the use of protagonist to mean a proponent. See below.)

 

 

Whilst the Prtagonist may have some heroic ideals, they are more often stuck with making the Tough Choices 'Do i kill one man knowing he MAY have been a criminal who escaped the justice system or do i watch him closely, and wait for him to target some one so i can be sure?'

 

If you wait for the criminal to target some one then you're not being very heroic, though you may seem like a hero to the person you rescue..

 

Literary Heroes tend to deal in black & white, whilst Literary Protagonists tend to deal in shades of gray, that to many people look pretty dark,

 

Hero: Cyclops, He-Man, Superman

Protagonist: Wolverine, Batman, the Punisher

 

IMHO anywho.

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Also, you guys are missing something, here.  It's clear in the core rulebook, clear in the inspiration books (Eisenhorn), and clear at the end of DotDG: your acolytes are not supposed to be stormtroopers of any type.  This game is supposed to be more about undercover work, using and developing contacts, and flying under the radar.  it's not about being a stormtooper at all.  This game is supposed to be a scf-fi RPG version of film noir.  You're supposed to be investigators who occaisionally get into fire-fights, not stormtroopers who occaisionally do some investigating...

An inquisitor can be blunt and upfront, but even for a full inquisitor that's not standard operating procedure he doesn't nearly just go in flashing his rosette and doing what he likes, that's the rarity.  Much, much less so for an acolyte.

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I'm actually the type of person who plays the Imperial character in Star Wars (if in that timeline). I reckon the idea that Nazi's are all 'evil/bad/dark', is because well, history portrays it that way. Don't get me wrong, the leaders etc, = nutter/wrong etc. But when I look at the organisation (not the cause it was carrying out etc), and the fever it created...well I resect that kind of organisation.

To me the Imperial way in Warhammer 40K is what keeps them all going. True, I personally believe the Emperor was biased against most non-Humans because of his time spent on Terra even before the Dark Night. If it hadn't been for that stance, I reckon the Imperium would be a different place. Amazing how one stance can turn something 'wrong'. But I still admire and respect such an organisation...why? Because in some hands it can be a tool for great things. In other hands, well you know what happens.

Not here to get political (meh commisars), but to me the Imperium is led by mostly dimwitted and narrow thinking people. But in it's whole it's the system for unity and maintaining what little is left in such a war torn galaxy. And in WH40K there is no right or wrong as you know it. Only what your actions will have to affeect the next events to come. The Heresy could have been avoided after all, but such is this game that it shows that nothing is perfect or always bright.

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Nazis.....well, the Imperium may be repressive and all, and have some similarities on the surface, but, then again, it bears similarities to nearly everything on the surface. Many religious themes, of course, if it compares to the Third Reich, then it compares to nearly every dictatorship, ever....so....

 

I'm going to have to say that you are completely off mark, OP. Your game is what you make it.

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Well, thanks and all, velvetears, but my comment wasn't meant to be deep or anything like that. Best taken with a grain of salt. In this case please consider hero and protagonist to be synomous more or less. No need to split hairs. I just don't think the idea from the OP is valid. To put it in plain straightforward English.

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SJE said:

One thing that concerns/makes me think is how much of Dark Heresy appeal lies in allowing the players to roleplay a fascist stormtrooper?

 

The Inquisition doesnt really need bullyboys running around stomping ***** for the cause in its acolytes, they have a much larger resource base to draw on in the form of the IG/PDF forces, SoB, Marines and so on, which do the job much better than acolytes, ask less questions and dont think about it.

Sure the Acolytes need a bit of firepower to protect themselves and surgically remove threats, but the difference between an Acolyte and the Imperiums main line forces is that the Acolyte need to think to do their jobs, they may very well have to sit on the fence or even dabble in the heretical and operate in that 'grey' area where the law is a bit fuzzier around the edges. About the only thing holding them to account is their Inquisitor, as long as they get the job done, he/she probably doesnt care too much about 'how' they got it done and they do have to think about the whys it is being done to get a grasp of the bigger picture. They wont last long if their Inquisitor sends them in to check for heresy on some dump planet, they cap some poor arsehole in the head whos a bit naughty, take pictures and go home without and further work.... because they didnt think, they didnt investigate and certainly wouldnt have done very much.

 

If theyre just a stormtrooper, they go over the trench and start shooting

That typically ends badly when Acolytes try it, while the Inquisitor, one of the most powerful individuals in the Imperium might consider them ultimately disposable, he/she went to the effort to pick them out for a reason, otherwise he would have just requisitioned the nearest large Imp force with guns and sent them over the top with a lot less bother than hand picking out someone to carry out their wishes. The other reason why Acolytes need to be careful is that their 'power' of the inquisition only really extends from the barrel of a gun, typically they will be outgunned and somewhere people dont give a **** about the inquisition in the first place. Walk in all shiny and bold, you'll get disappeared and the Inquisitor will have to go to the bother of finding someone else who isnt a complete jack booted retard to find out whats going on.

Sure the Inquisitor will want them to follow Imperial Creed, but mostly they just want them to be loyal (to them) and secondly, to be an effective resource. For that they are afforded the luxury of being able to live when they come into contact with something that the general population at large wouldnt be permitted to live after encountering it (daemons, heresy, dirty xenos) and afforded a very priceless luxury in Imperial society- being able to think about it after.

 

Those threats they face are real to them for the most part. They simply cant afford the witch to live in peace, the daemon to just go home after eating a few souls and the xenos to run about frolicking in the livestock of humanity... because they will get them and the rest of humanity in a great deal of trouble if allowed to run their course in some kind of fun house of acceptance and love. Sure, the emperor ceased to be on the material plane about 40,000 years ago and anything he said or did is probably complete conjecture as detailed records disintergrate and people in power twist things over time to suit their needs. But humanity does need to be a force of order as extreme as the forces that oppose it, if humanity wishes to continue its current dominance over large swathes of space in its current form. And that's what 40K is, a universe of extremes with a very small fuzzy grey bit where acolytes live.

 

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 I feel part of the fun of Dark Heresy and the 40K setting in general is that you get to play in a fictional society where virtually every trait that a reasonable person would find objectionable is lauded as a virtue.  Ignorance, hate, xenophobia, fanaticism, stagnation, blind obedience to unquestioned authority, etc.  Within the Imperium these are desirable traits and a mark of character.  It let's us play heroes who, in modern times, would be villains.  It helps us get into the backwards and topsy-turvy worlds of the 41st Millennium.  Yes, it lets us play out some sadistic fantasies.  It also lets us get away with characters that have uncomplicated moral codes, and conversely let's us play characters who develop more reasoned moralities shaped by the harsh realities they have experienced.

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