The 40K Universe through the eyes of a historian by Wargamer
As you all know by now, or should know by now, I'm very fond of Fluff.
Fluff, for the unenlightened, refers to the various bits of 40K you can't glue together or paint, and the parts that don't provide rules or stats with which to use your miniatures on the table. The fact the Sword of Silence is a Master-Crafted Power Sword is not Fluff, but the fact it was carved from a single block of pure obsidian is.
Often, arguments break out about Fluff. This is often because of misunderstandings or lack of information, but most persistent ones boil down to two opposing camps; the people who are quoting from the latest GW publication, and the ones whose collection of old rulebooks, WD articles and Black Library publications creates its own small gravitational field.
I'm going to upset a lot of people now; anyone in the former camp is always, without exception, wrong.
The reason for this is simple; 40K is not defined purely by the latest publication. Its rules are defined by the latest publication, but its Fluff, which is just as vital as any stat-line, is a rolling mess of material that began all the way back in Rogue Trader, and has been continually expanded to, retconned, un-retconned, buried, lost, forgotten, re-released, re-span, re-told and regurgitated.
To look at 40K's Fluff in a meaningful way, you have to approach it as a historian would. 40K is not some hard-and-fast thing with facts that are irrefutable. 40K is set 39,000 years in the future, in a time when much knowledge has been lost, and what hasn't been lost is typically heavily edited, or locked away entirely. When Inquisitor: Battle for the Emperor's Soul produced the slogan "Everything you have been told is a lie", it really meant it. Inquisitor presented the Inquisition in a new light, but it also asks of us a serious question; if we could have been so wrong about the Inquisition, can we be so sure of anything else in 40K?
All things in the Warhammer 40,000 universe must be subject to scrutiny. When a new concept is voiced, it must be weighed and measured against all other available evidence. Not all gamers are willing to simply accept whatever GW said last as Word of God, and nor should we be; to blindly obey only the latest set of opinions will only harm our hobby. The outrage that came over the FAQ documents changing from 'official errata' to 'just some guy's opinion' is proof that GW will not always care enough about their gamers to do what they should. Why, then, should we assume they treat their background any different?
I present a classic example of Fluff approached as a historian should; the Sternguard and Vanguard Veterans. These chaps came right out of the blue, and their background stipulates that Veterans split themselves apart, competing to prove that either close-quarter or close-support warfare is superior.
Take it from me, no such background has ever existed prior to the 5th Edition Codex, and I've got stuff so old that it says Assault Marines are suicide squads.
So, how do we assess this newest bout of information? Well, all other background regarding the First Company, whether deployed as "Marines" or Terminators, states that they are masters of all forms of warfare. Terminators in particular should be just as at home with Lightning Claws as with an Assault Cannon. If we view every piece of evidence we have, it all points to the most recent Fluff being wrong.
That doesn't mean Sternguard and Vanguard Veterans could not exist, nor does it mean formations so equipped are never used, but it does mean that, despite what the Codex says, the majority of Space Marine Chapters do not divide their Veterans as the rules dictate; their formations are better represented by older rule-sets, or the Dark Angels Company Veterans.
Whenever you wish to consider any aspect of 40K's Fluff, I would strongly advise you to keep this in mind; we have no facts on 40K. All we can do is sift through the evidence, compare each piece to every other piece, and try to put together an accurate picture of what the Imperium of Man is truly like.
You will never be right if you blindly hold up the 5th Edition Codex, and preach as if it was gospel.
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Fluff: by Mr X
Introducing a brand new series of stories for your enjoyment by Mr X.
As he plummeted towards the ground, the events that had brought Sylus to this situation flashed before his eyes. He recalled the red tainted sky as the Tyranids had assaulted his homeworld of Alsas prime, he recalled the frantic running for the limited evacuation craft, he recalled the lictor, appearing seemingly from nowhere to tear many civilians to shreds, his family included. He recalled the guardsmen, charging at it, knowing they were doomed to do so but remaining confident in their purpose of protecting the innocents.
At this point, he was knocked to the ground by the panicking throng of people, a kick he had received to the head ensured swift delivery into unconsciousness. When he awoke, he was aboard an arvus lighter, none knew who had carried him there, leaving the planets orbit and docking with a large ship, he foolishly looked at the planet below, and Sylus would never forget the shifting dark red clouds that blocked the continents from sight. How could this nightmarish scene be the planet on which he had had such a happy upbringing?
He recalled the heroism of the guardsmen charging and resolved to join their number, from this point he knew he was destined to join the Imperial guard.
And here he was, rapidly approaching the ground on the eve of his first battle, he would do his family proud.
[To Be Continued Next Month]
Last issue, Bloodfire all answered the quiz questions correctly!
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1. Who created the Rubric Marines?
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5. Name Typhuss warship.
Guess the Mini/Blackout: by Zenai
Last month we had both Bloodfire and Shas, O answered correctly!
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