By the will of the Immortal God-Emperor, the great reliquary, or "page" as it is known, of tropes has grown to the point that it shall be broken up into three different pages. These pages are divided by the letter that starts the trope, and misplaced tropes shall be returned to their proper place. This page is for those tropes that start with the letter A through the letter H.

Venerate the God-Emperor. To deep-strike back to the main page, click [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} here]].

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[[folder:A]]
* AbsoluteXenophobe: ''Humans'', by official policy of the Imperium of Man, are not supposed to tolerate the existence of Xenos. This is possibly justified in that 9 times out of 10 any alien in the known universe will kill a human on sight, though [[SelfFulfillingProphecy this is in turn because humanity has a terrible reputation for exterminating any sentient aliens they can]]. On the other hand, it's not always strictly adhered to: being an absolute xenophobe eliminates any hope of alliance with the remaining 10%, which is why the policy of "Kill the Alien" gets tossed out when an EnemyMine situation happens.
* AbsurdlySharpBlade: Nearly every faction has an example; many races' ''basic close combat weapons'' have monomolecular edges, and it only gets sharper from there.
* AbsurdlySharpClaws: Any tyranid strain from the genestealer up has zero problem cutting through PoweredArmor, and the big ones can tear open tanks.
* AbnormalAmmo: Guns which fire razor-edged molecule-thick ninja stars, guns which fire nets of RazorFloss, guns which fire wooden stakes, flamethrowers which squirt ''holy'' napalm, biological guns which use, um, [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything muscle spasms]] to fire flesh-eating beetles/maggots or ''exploding tumors'', guns which open holes into hell, guns which fire tiny goblins ''through'' hell, grenades filled with tears collected from a thousand crying statues of the Emperor...
** Space Marine Sternguard Veterans ONLY carry abnormal ammo: rocket-propelled anti-armor rounds, rocket-propelled flaming airburst rounds, rocket-propelled ''vials of flesh-eating acid'', and rocket-propelled ''miniaturized fusion bombs''.
** Most Eldar ranged weapons use abnormal ammo (if they use ammo at all) more or less exclusively: the ninja star guns, RazorFloss guns, and guns that open holes into hell listed above are all theirs. The Dark Eldar top this with guns that shoot poisoned slivers of glass, pure distilled ''pain'', and the tortured souls of enemy psykers as ammunition.
** The Necrons have guns which literally flay your skin, flesh, organs, then ''bones'' into their molecular components with [[ShockAndAwe bolts of green lightning]].
** Melta weapon don't ''shoot'' plasma as much as they are ''nuclear meltdowns'' with little shutters on them.
* AbusivePrecursors: The C'tan definitely qualify.
** The Old Ones are responsible for a lot of the horror of this setting in the first instance. They refused to help the Necrontyr even though they easily could've, prompting the War in Heaven and making them indirectly responsible for the Necrons. They created the Eldar and said "you guys are our favourites and you'll claim the galaxy when we're gone" before throwing them at the Necrons as CannonFodder. They created a [[OurOrcsAreDifferent race of green-skinned monstrosities who reproduce at an exponential rate and have hostility ''hard-wired'' into their DNA]], decided "nah, we like our pointy-eared psychic soldiers better" and, rather than destroy them like any reasonable being would, instead ''let them loose on the galaxy''. They dabbled in humanity's creation, but again decided to scrap us, leaving us with a lot of very dangerous psykers that we can't control. And they and their creations ''created Hell''. Thanks, Old Ones.
* AchievementsInIgnorance: Ork technology as a whole, via instinctive knowledge built into the Mekboyz' genetic code and [[UnreliableNarrator possibly]] ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve.
* ActionGirl: Commander Shadowsun, [[Literature/CiaphasCain Inquisitor Amberley Vail]], and every [[AmazonBrigade Sister of Battle]] ever. Most Howling Banshees, as well; there are a few token males, but even they wear [[ChainmailBikini armor with feminine curves]] and identify as female.
* AdventureFriendlyWorld: One of the big reasons the ''40k'' world is so insane is that every faction needs to be able, in {{canon}}, to fight every other faction, including itself.
* TheAestheticsOfTechnology: Averted for the Imperium. That huge, boxy, primitive-looking Leman Russ? That tank is so damn maneuverable it can practically ''tap dance''. Played straight for Eldar and the Tau, whose tech is every bit as advanced as the inhuman sleekness suggests. Embraced by the Orks going the other way: their vehicles look like [[WhatAPieceOfJunk rickety pieces of barely functional shit]] because they are. In fact, it's suggested that Ork technology only works through the sheer willpower (and latent psychic ability) of its users.
* AfterActionReport: Battle reports, a long-standing feature in White Dwarf magazine.
* AfterTheEnd: Though there have been about five "ends" for humanity alone, each more awful than the last.
* AIIsACrapshoot: The first true human-created artificial intelligences, the Iron Men, wiped out humanity's first great interstellar civilization and plunged the human race into a galaxy-wide dark age. The Adeptus Mechanicus outlawed sentient [=AIs=] as a result, and for the most part the Imperium's modern-day "machine spirits" are pretty well-behaved(If you treat them right).
** Tau drones are also entirely well-behaved. Mind you, their AI is approximately the same as a squirrel (OK, [[CallARabbitASmeerp pterasquirrel]]), though it does increase as more of them are networked together.
* AirJousting: Eldar Shining Spears: space elf knights on flying bikes with laser lances.
* AKA47: Some vehicles were quite clearly based on certain real-life vehicles:
** The Imperial Guard's Bombard siege mortars (particularly the old Epic versions) were based on Nazi Germany's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Gerat Karl-Gerät]] super heavy mortars (one of the few cases where the real vehicle is ''more'' excessive than its 40K counterpart). Their Chimera was based on the old [pre-Desert Storm] Bradley and on the Soviet BMP 1 and 2, including having Lasguns as firing port weapons. And the Leman Russ bears an uncanny resemblance to a turreted version of the British Mark I tank from WWI, though it has a laundry list of other influences including the Panther, Tiger and T-72. Forgeworld's Hydra Chimera variant looks to be based on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontos Ontos]], and the Cyclops demolition vehicle is a barely-altered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath_tracked_mine Goliath Tracked Mine]]. The ''Epic Armageddon'' Imperial Ragnarok Tank is a Soviet KV-2 heavy tank(which was a very crappy tank).
** The Basilisk with armored crew compartment is based on the configuration of gun carriers used by the Germans during WW2, such as the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marder_III Marder III]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummel_%28artillery%29 Hummel]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grille_%28artillery%29 Grille]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wespe Wespe]]. The Basilisk gun itself is basically a long-barreled [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/203_mm_howitzer_M1931_%28B-4%29 Soviet B4 Model 1931 howitzer]]. Forgeworld's cruciform base variant is based on the infamous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.8_cm_FlaK_18/36/37/41 8.8cm [=FlaK=]]].
** The Thudd Gun was a copy of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QF_2_pounder_naval_gun QF 2 pounder naval gun]] or "Pom-Pom" gun on a wheeled carriage.
** The Space Marine Rhino is a clone of the M113 APC; the original all-plastic Predator has a T-55 turret stuck on top. The Vindicator is based on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturmtiger Sturmtiger]].
** The new-look Landraider bears an almost perfect similarity to the early tanks of the First World War. The older version had huge lozenge treads with a tiny box hull suspended between them, and was apparently based on a snow crawler of some kind.
** [[http://www.tamiya.com/english/products/35230_dragonwagon/dragonwagon.htm This thing]] with a couple of Leman Russ on the back seems an oddly common "40K Vehicle" entry at Golden Daemon events. ''White Dwarf'' once praised such an entry "even including tiny chains" which are actually a stock part of the kit in question.
** The Baneblade (barring the excessive amounts of weapons on it) is loosely based off the Abrams.
** The Centaur is a dead ringer for the British [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_carrier Universal Carrier]].
** The Ork Fighta-Bomma looks very much like a Mig-15, while the Imperial Thunderbolt has the profile (if a different powerplant) of the WWII-era Mig-1 (its role, toughness and firepower make it similar to its namesake, the P-47 Thunderbolt). The Marauder has the profile of a US WWII medium bomber such as the B-26 Marauder, except with four engines instead of two.
* AkashicRecords: The Warp. It has a tangential relationship to causality, at best, and is most often used as a medium for divination of the future in that context, although few try to read the past.
** In ''Mechanicum'', the Akashic Reader was a psychic machine meant to read past innovations from the Warp, and would enable humanity to regain the technological peak that slipped away after the Dark Age of Technology. It was an important plot element, although it's near-completion was set to the backdrop of the Horus Heresy, and it never really got off the ground [[ShaggyDogStory before it was destroyed entirely]].
* AlienBlood: Tau have blue blood and Tyranid fluids are generally described as "ichor". Eldar and Orks have red blood, although Eldar blood crystallizes instead of scabbing, and Ork blood used to be as green as their skin before Games Workshop [[RetCon retconned]] that. The Orks are now considered green due to thick amounts of algae that grow beneath their skin.
* AlienKudzu: Both the Orks and the Tyranids inflict a form of this on planets they invade. The Orks stand out more because their Kudzu is sapient.
* AliensAndMonsters: Everyone qualifies as ''both''.
* AliensAreBastards: Generally true, so long as one remembers that [[HumansThroughAlienEyes humans are alien to non-humans]].
* TheAlliance: The Tau Empire, who are the only faction with significant allies outside their own species. This being 40K, they don't always get along. And then there's the people who suspect brainwashing, and the evidence from DawnOfWar of forced sterilization and concentration camps for populations that rebel... though compared to everyone else this is a pretty good deal(as long as you don't rebel).
* AllCrimesAreEqual: citizens of the Imperium may find themselves condemned to death or forced life conscription for crimes as heinous as dumping rubbish on the streets, failing to return a book to a public library or making unauthorized use of a photocopying machine.
* AllThereInTheManual: Numerous rulebooks, novels, magazines, supplemental sourcebooks and spinoff games with their own sets.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Chaos and the Dark Eldar. Conversely the Imperium is Always Lawful [[FantasticRacism Extremist]], Craftworld Eldar are Always Lawful [[TheChessmaster Manipulative]], the Orks are Always Chaotic [[PsychopathicManchild Rambunctious]], the Necrons are Always Lawful [[OmnicidalManiac Omnicidal]], the Tyranids are Always Neutral [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Hungry]], and the Tau are Always Lawful [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans Utopian]]. All [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation subject to interpretation]], of course.
** And get this: in spite of all the atrocities they commit, the Imperials still consider ''[[KnightTemplar themselves]]'' to be LawfulGood. Or at least LawfulNeutral, for those who aren't Space Marines or Grey Knights.
*** To some extent, this feeds into the CrapsackWorld of the universe. There are plenty of instances demonstrating how horrific it is if some of those atrocities are not committed. To some extent, the Imperials generally get more opportunity to go between Good, Evil and Neutral, but rarely will not be Lawful.
*** The Imperium is always depicted as knowing they are committing a necessary evil, although the alternative would possibly be creating a second NegativeSpaceWedgie at the heart of itself (which is kind of what happened with the Eldar). Taking the lesser of two evils means that they think of themselves as good ''in comparison to the alternative''.
*** However, individuals within the Imperium may have a slightly different view of things. In ''For The Emperor'', Commissar Cain reflects on how, to him, Tau society appears extremely rigid and rulebound by comparison to the more laissez-faire attitude of the Imperium towards its citizens. Unless they're heretics of course...
* AmazonBrigade: The Sisters of Battle. ''Not'' the Dark Eldar Wyches, oddly enough, unlike their TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} counterparts. Surprisingly, the Howling Banshees don't qualify either: they ''do'' have male members according to the lore, though they are rare. It's stated in some sources that males walking the path of the Howling Banshee shed their gender identity and consider themselves female, so it's more like Amazon-Transsexual Brigade. [[GameplayAndStorySegregation This is not, however, represented in any of the models.]]
* AmbiguousRobots: Necrons look like skeletal robots, but are apparently more HauntedTechnology, or metal golems, or something.
* AncientConspiracy: All over the place.
** A key example of this is a multi-racial, super secret Illuminati-like group called the Cabal, an organization of various elder (and Eldar) aliens whose entire goal is to rid the universe of Chaos. And what, do you ask, is their genius way of doing this? Aid Horus in every single way so he kills the Emperor, hopefully relying on the fact this will trigger the last ounce of guilt in him, effectively driving him mad with remorse, and cause him to trigger a civil war that eventually rids the universe of humanity and leaves Chaos' strongest pawns destroyed. They [[spoiler:recruited the Alpha Legion to this end]] but their success is... unclear, to say the least. As for Horus, he got [[MindRape a nasty headache at the hands of the Emperor]].
* AncientTomb: Many varieties of these within the setting, including an ''entire race'' revolving around their use. Most of these places [[CaptainObvious are fatal to wander into]].
* AncientOrderOfProtectors: The Sensei in older editions were the (normally born, not lab-grown) sons of the Emperor, and the Illuminati a secret society devoted to protecting them from the Inquisition's attention.
* AncestralWeapon: Almost everyone's equipment seems to be ancient to some degree, most notably Eldar and Marine war gear and Necron ''everything''. Somewhat [[JustifiedTrope justified]] by the fact that a lot of the more advanced wargear has to consist of ancient hand-me-downs, because humanity has largely ''forgotten how the technology works and considers it magical''. More progress would be made in regaining that lost knowledge, but the Adeptus Mechanicus, the priesthood of technology, guards all their secrets zealously and takes a dim view of innovations that aren't based on pre-existing technologies.
* AndManGrewProud: Human history up until and through the war with the Iron Men that destroyed the first great era of human civilization lingers as myth and cultural superstitions.
* {{Animesque}}: The Tau and the Eldar, albeit in two diametrically-opposed fashions, the Tau having grabbed the PowerArmour, but they act like Mecha, and the Eldar being firmly espoused to CrystalSpiresAndTogas.
* AnnoyingArrows: Zigzagged - there's at least one instance of alien bows and arrows going straight through Space Marines, but failing to harm them because of their superhuman toughness.
* AnotherDimension: The Warp.
* AntiAir: Post ''Titan Legions'', aircraft and specialized AA vehicles with a rule called "Snap Fire" started to show up in ''Epic''. Not really applicable to 40K outside Forgeworld products, since most things in the sky are "skimmers" as opposed to true aircraft, and pretty much anyone can shoot at them; however, special mention does go to the Imperial Guard Hydra Flak Tank, which is better at shooting down aircraft and skimmers due to the [[MoreDakka sheer amount of lead it can put into the air]]. Now that the game has entered 6th Edition this trope has made a determined entry to 40k, in response to all the new flyer models. ''Skyfire'' and ''Interceptor'' special weapons are the new hotness.
* AntiMagic: Pariahs, Blanks and Untouchables [[PowerNullifier nullifying]] psyker abilities. Which means [[SuperpowerLottery you're immune to all the psychic and sorcerous nastiness out there]], but [[BlessedWithSuck everyone hates you because you have no soul, and the Necrons will do unpleasant things to you if they find you]]. Oh, and some Pariahs will actually harm psykers just by standing close by.
** Interestingly, blanks are a phenomenon exclusive to the human race (previously attributed to Necron genetic engineering but since [[RetCon reconned into ambiguity]]).
* ApathyKilledTheCat: Imperial domestic policy. "Only the awkward question; only the foolish ask twice."
* ApeShallNeverKillApe: Played straight by the Craftworld Eldar and the Tau. ''Thoroughly'' averted by everyone else, who gladly maim, torture, kill, and even ''eat'' members of their own race, and claim no moral superiority from avoiding such acts. The Dark Eldar sometimes force the Craftworld to violate this rule.
* ApocalypseCult: The Genestealer cults, who prepare the planet for the Tyranid invasion. Their apocalypse involves the Tyranids devouring anything that offers resistance, then turning everything alive on the planet (including the Tyranid forces and surviving Genestealers) into soup so it can be absorbed by the hive fleet.
* ApocalypseHow: Class 0-5 apocalypses happen due to rounding errors on tax forms or when an Inquisitor [[ItsTheOnlyWay has to make sure]]. This sounds pretty bad, until you consider that if they weren't so extreme, the nastier factions like the Orks, Dark Eldar, Tyranids and Chaos would soon gain more and more power until an entire sector gets destroyed.
* ApocalypticLog: A few have cropped up from doomed Imperial research expeditions.
* ApologeticAttacker: The Tau claim to always be this, at any rate. Then again, this could be [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour doublespeak...]]
* ArbitraryGunPower: Averted in most cases - a failed To Wound roll with firearms means the target ''was'' hit, but was wounded non-fatally and not incapacitated. A failed armor roll either means the firearm pierced the target's armor or hit them in a place where the armour couldn't protect. Since most infantry only have one wound, this means they can be killed by a good hit easily. On the other hand, there are infantry which have more than one wound. They may be very BadAss non-humans which served as a more reasonable justification, but may be simply very BadAss humans that play the trope straight.
** Taken to ridiculous extremes with Commissar Yarrick, who is apparently a normal human pushing 70 and can not only survive three consecutive blasts from a fusion gun, but still get back up and give the opponent a PowerFist to the face.
* ArbitraryMinimumRange:
** In earlier editions, barrage weapons had a minimum range. In the 6th edition they still have a minimum range for indirect fire, but can still fire at targets closer than that if they have line of sight to them. However since te rules forbid you from intentionally placing blast markers on your own units (barring a few specific exceptions), blast weapons (which include all barrage weapons) still have a minimum range in some cases; if the entire enemy unit can get so close that you can't place a blast marker on them without hitting the firing unit as well, you can't fire it.
** The Deathstrike Missile has a minimum range of 12 inches on the tabletop, equivalent to 60 feet in real life.
** The Basilisks despite being a cannon with plating has to be using the secondary weapons if the weapon gets close despite the fact that the enemy warlord can be in front of the cannon.
** The Tau are very poor at close ranged combat (because their reflexes are much slower than humans). As a result, most of their weapons have a great deal of trouble locking onto targets at close range.
* ArchaeologicalArmsRace: This is often the case when different factions in the [[HumansAreBastards Imperium of Man]] end up fighting each other, as they've become technologically stagnant and most of their best technology is either relics they've dug up (or stolen from each other) or created by the few xenos they haven't killed on sight.
* ArchaicWeaponForAnAdvancedAge: The franchise positively delights in this, mixing melee weapons like swords and warhammers up with FrickinLaserBeams, TankGoodness, and dueling starships among other things. Of course, the old-school weapons are almost invariably updated with current technology (it's not just a sword, it's a {{chains|awGood}}word or power sword). Depending on the army and unit, fighting in melee may actually be preferable. Note that many close-combat weapons are used because they are easy to wield weapons that can penetrate through armour with relative ease. For example, a power sword can slice through armour very easily, while ranged weapons capable of doing so are cumbersome and impractical.
* ArchEnemy: Many factions in the galaxy have ongoing grudges against each other, including the one between the Imperial Fists and the Iron Warriors, but particular mention must be made of Commissar Sebastian Yarrick and Ork Warboss Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka.
* AristocratsAreEvil: ...or just corrupt and ''really'' stupid. Various background pieces have members of the Imperial upper classes joining Chaos cults out of boredom, smuggling xeno artifacts, ''[[TooDumbToLive using Dark Eldar as mercenaries]]'' to sort out their rivals, trying to [[DealWithTheDevil cut a deal]] with ''the PhysicalGod of death''...
* ArmCannon: Chaos Obliterators are this ''[[UpToEleven all over]]'': their bodies are partially made out of weapons.
** The Grey Knights strap rocket-propelled grenade launchers to their wrists as ''standard'' armaments.
** Tau Battlesuits of all types. [[AwesomeButImpractical Bonus points if your Broadsides have their Railguns mounted on their arms.]]
** Depending on how you see it, almost all Tyranid ranged weapons are this.
* ArmourIsUseless: Generally averted - armor and [[DeflectorShields force fields]] can and do make a difference most of the time. However, there's no shortage of weapons that make a mockery of even the toughest physical armor: [=AP2=] and [=AP1=] ranged weapons, rending weapons of all sorts (on a good roll), power weapons and their variants, and literally anything used by a Monstrous Creature in melee. And then there are weapons so powerful they could not care less about ''any'' conventional protection, including vortex weapons, C'tan phase weapons, warscythes, and certain daemon weapons.
** As an example, the standard flak armour issued to [[RedShirtArmy Imperial Guardsmen]] is roughly equivalent to modern bullet-resistant armour, like those used by any modern military. In the context of the game this is considered pretty ''weak'', but that's largely due to the widespread availability of man-portable weapons capable of punching through ''tanks''. It'll still save a guardsman from shrapnel, explosions, and friendly fire though, so every little bit helps.
** Some psykers use Force Weapons which can kill any model which suffers an unsaved wound and doesn't die (like a multi-wound model for example) after a successful psychic test. This is because their attacks hit the soul and are not actually physical attacks.
** There are also weapons with the "Instant Death" special rule, which is exactly what it says on the tin.
* ArmorPiercingAttack: A specific stat in more recent editions, a somewhat more complex one in older ones with various dice rolls. Some weapons like Phase Swords and Warp Missiles skip the system entirely and just get straight on to dealing damage.
** The ''Second Edition'' Earthshaker Artillery Gun had a fun special rule that even if the impressive set of dice for its AP roll failed to beat the target's armor, you would ''still'' roll a D3 on the vehicle's location damage table; since most vehicles had at least three hit locations and the blast marker would hit all of them, it was ''statistically likely'' that any vehicle hit would be at very least crippled by the shot regardless of whether the round actually penetrated the armor.
** Taken to extremes with some weapons mounted on Titans in Apocalypse. In a game where most weapons have Strength ratings from 1 (puny) to 10 (bunker-busting), Titan weapons can have a Strength value of D: short for "'''D'''estroy everything under the blast marker automatically" (and some of these weapons use a blast marker that's a full 12" in diameter). Apocalyptic indeed.
* ArmyOfTheDead: The Legion of the Damned, a Space Marines chapter that got lost in the Warp and became a bunch of spectral beings. They occasionally emerge from the warp to turn the tide of a battle in favor of the Imperium before disappearing again.
** To lesser extent, the soul-powered Wraithlords and Wraithguard of the Eldar.
* ArmyOfThievesAndWhores: The Lost and the Damned are a villainous (well, [[BlackAndGreyMorality more villainous than usual]]) version - they make up various Chaos armies, and are composed of mutants, murderers, heretics, and assorted scum of the Imperium.
** Also, the Imperial Penal Legions follow this trope straight, being armies primarily conscripted from the inmates of Imperial prisons. When the Planetary Defense Force contributions to the Imperial Guard from [[PenalColony worlds that serve as incarceration centers]], the line between "penal legion" and "[=PDF=]" become indistinct.
*** Most Penal Legions are formed of people that are desperately trying to clear their records by volunteering for military service, rather than accepting execution. Given that the penal legions are sent to some of the theaters where the fighting is nastiest, and they are considered expendable, this has some overtones of RedemptionEqualsDeath. It's worth noting that there is no shortage of capital offences in the Imperium, so it's not uncommon for people to be eligible for induction into a Penal Legion for some really odd reasons, to our sensibilities (this is an setting where you can circumstantially wind up executed for standing on the same ''planet'' as a heretic).
** One of the worst cases for the loyalist Imperial Guard are the Salvar Chem Dogs, a regiment consisting of only drug-addicted, psychopathic thieves and murderers who are only held under control by said drug addictions, and promises of large quantities of whatever stuff they crave.
** The NightLords are a sterling example, since they had been recruited from Nostramo, a world where the people have a seemingly-neurotic disposition towards sadism and crime. Curiously enough, while one would think this would make them highly suited to worshiping Chaos, they are the most secular of the Traitor Legions.
** Many gangs in the Imperium teach many young men and women to be street-smart, callous, and how to handle basic weapons training from a very young age. Consequently, gangs from Hive Worlds that are large enough to fit this trope themselves, and the governing bodies will either sponsor and legitimize the most successful gangs, mostly as PDF divisions; or hunt them down and press gang them as recruits for the Guard, or an Astartes Chapter
*** Granted, much of the indoctrination and brain-washing involved in Space Marine training will inevitably white-wash much of the recruits' background, so few Chapters ever really come to fit the trope, even if Guard regiments do on occasion.
* ArtifactOfDoom: By the truckload in every size and shape imaginable, from simple daemon weapons to entire planets serving as the can of SealedEvilInACan.
* ArtifactTitle: In the past, ''Warhammer 40,000'' was essentially ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE!]], with many setting and system elements borrowed directly from the other game; however, as time went on, both the setting and the system moved away from their ''Warhammer'' roots, and the two games are now distinctly different beasts. The game developers have actively defied the "40,000" part of the title becoming an artifact, as they steadfastly refuse to advance the {{metaplot}} past the end of the [=41st=] millennium (though some Black Library authors, particularly SandyMitchell, have included elements from the early [=42nd=]).
** They advanced the official plot into the 42nd millennium during the Eye of Terror campaign in 2004, which focused on the 13th Black Crusade of Abaddon. Canonically, the Crusade began on December 30th, 40999 and would've lasted years if not decades. However, the 6th Edition rulebook published in 2012 seems to reverse this decision, referring to the 13th Black Crusade as something that hasn't happened yet.
* ArtificialLimbs: May be the above ArmCannon. Even in the higher echelons of pretty much every Imperial organisation, there is some discrepancy over just how damaged limbs are replaced: Sometimes there are actual flesh and blood vat-grown limbs, but most of the time it's large, mechanical, piston-driven coolness.
** Iron Legion and Iron Warriors Chaos Marines love this trope, as do the Loyalist Iron Hands and Adeptus Mechanicus.
* ArtMajorBiology: First the genetically-engineered supermen are designed to look cool, then they later explain how it (doesn't) work.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: The Emperor either already has or is about to.
* AscendedMeme: When the Blood Angels codex (written by Mat Ward) came out, a lot of people called the Stormraven a 'flying land raider'. In the Grey Knights codex, released a bit later by the same author, it is mentioned that the Stormraven in "often likened to a flying Land Raider."
** In-universe: Commissar Yarrick heard a rumor that he could kill a man with a glare; he had one of his eyes replaced with a laser so he could do just that.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: Ork "society". It is said that a powerful enough Ork warlord uniting all of the galaxy's Orks could [[CurbstompBattle curbstomp]] every other faction. This is also how Space Marines get promoted, and how champions of Chaos gain renown.
* ATeamFiring: All Orks ever, who consider MoreDakka far more important than such nonsense as "aiming". The one exception would be Warboss Nazdreg, who has learned that dakka + aimin' = bigga 'splosions.
* TheAtoner: Both Cypher and the Fallen Angels, and the Dark Angels who hunt them. Also the Lamenters, Executioners, and Mantis Warriors chapters along with every chapter that's been on a penitent crusade ever and (most of) the Craftworld Eldar.
** The regiments of the Death Korps of Krieg are driven by their need to atone for their planet turning against the Emperor of Terra thousands of years ago.
** Sisters of Battle, the Sisters Repentia unit are Sisters who seek to atone for their sins by going into battle wearing practically nothing, and carrying massive [[ChainsawGood two-handed chainswords]].
* AtopAMountainOfCorpses: Does anything need to be said about this?
* AttackAttackAttack: Orks, except for the Blood Axez, who, having the most exposure to human technology of any of the clanz, have mastered the idea that "If we runs for it we don't lose either, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!"
* AttackDrone: Widely used by the Tau. Imperial servo-skulls are also somewhat like this.
* AttackPatternAlpha: Tau and Imperial militaries follow this.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Many Chaos leaders are warp-enhanced, the original Primarchs literally were demigods, and Ork and Tyranid leaders are LargeAndInCharge. Prevalent for all races in the tabletop game, though in later editions, either justified or rectified - taking away things like the unrealistically high Toughness of human characters, justifying the amazing weapon skills of certain heroes because they've literally been doing this sort of thing for ''centuries''.
** Also, this trope is arguably justified in that surviving to be promoted so high in ''Warhammer 40000'' is ''really'' unlikely to be based off your luck. And if it is, you just won't survive in that position for very long.
** Marneus Calgar, chapter master of the Ultramarines, has a special rule titled "God of War". 'nuff said.
* AuthorsSavingThrow: Invoked. Any piece of fluff that ends up badly written or ends up painting any faction as a MarySue can be safely written off as in-universe propaganda.
* AwesomeButImpractical: You could say 40k was BUILT on this trope. The basic heavy weapon for the Imperium is a hand held semi-automatic armor piercing grenade launcher, (Note that the boltgun, the weapon in question, is based off of a real-life weapon. It really isn't impractical![[note]]Said real-life weapon was so unpopular, partly due to its stupidly expensive ammo, it was discontinued, and is now valuable solely because so few were made. So, yes, it was impractical.[[/note]]) chainsaw swords abound, the Orks partially function on ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve and duct tape, the Eldar have slightly better protection than a cardboard box while retaining maximum style points, and the space ships get around by traveling through Hell. It's all awesome, but none of it's remotely practical.
** The Tau are the only exception, who avoid the extremes of the other factions, building up units that only support each other with minimal flashiness. They are also the only faction that doesn't have any Titans, considering the giant machines a waste of resources best put elsewhere.
** The Tau analogue would be the Manta a small starship and the Tiger Shark Bomber. Even these vehicles can be multipurpose (troop transport), unlike the Titans which tend to be just killing machines designed to be cool.
* AwesomeMcCoolName: absolutely mandatory, and it should tell you [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast how everyone here is like.]]
* AwesomePersonnelCarrier: One or more for every species: the Space Marine Rhino and Land Raider (the only APC awesome enough to contain Terminators), the Imperial Guard Chimera, Ork Trukks and Battlewagons, the Eldar Wave Serpent (which was so awesome it took them until 4th Edition to make a 40K-scale model for it) and Falcon (less personnel in exchange for more awesome), Tau Devilfish, and many more.
** In older editions, IIRC, the Rhino could carry Terminators. It was a wonderful way to get them killed without letting them have saves for their Terminator Armour, so nobody did.
* AxCrazy:
** Khorne Berserkers. The worst of the bunch is Kharn the Betrayer, who's so bloodthirsty that any missed attacks in close combat hit anyone in the same squad as him. Known to randomly kill anyone in his way, even other Khorne Berserkers.
** Lesser Axe Crazies include Imperial Penal Legion troopers, Blood Angel Space Marines in the throes of [[UnstoppableRage the Black Rage]], and the entire Ork race, especially members of the Goff klan.
** Eversor Assassins are crazy and constantly pumped with hyperactive drugs and bio-engineered to reach the very limits of the human physiology. They're used to destroy the enemy's command structure by ''killing everybody.'' Eversors are insane to the point that they have to be kept in ''cryo-stasis'' between their missions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:B]]
* {{Badass}}: Oh boy, where do we begin?
** BadassArmy: Every playable army.
** BadassBeard: Scout Sergeant Torias Telion.
*** Every Long Fang and Grey Hunter worth his salt ''must'' have one - besides, when you're a nine-foot tall, genetically engineered killing machine that also happens to be a Viking Expy, there's no way your beard can't be badass.
*** The new Space Marine squad kits now include one or two bearded heads, so now your [[SergeantRock grizzled sergeant]] can be even more grizzled by boasting one of these.
** BadassBiker: How much more badass do you get than screaming green maniacs on ramshackle scrap-metal motorbikes laden with giant machine guns? Oh yeah, that would be the {{Super Soldier}}s on giant armored bikes the size of cars. Or the ''evil'' Super Soldiers on ''hell motorbikes'' covered in blades and skulls... or maybe the space-elf knights on flying bikes with laser lances... or the evil space elves that can fly their bladed flying death bikes with enough skill to ''cut specific arteries''.
*** DOOM RIDER is the Chaos equivalent of Comicbook/GhostRider.
*** The White Scars are an entire Space Marine chapter of Badass Bikers.
*** Wazdakka Gutzmek is this Trope personified. This Ork does things like ramping his monstrous bike off a cliff to ram it into the cockpit of a [[HumongousMecha Titan]] just so he can personally punch out the pilots. His bike has fully-automatic ''tank cannons'' mounted on it. His goal is to drive his bike across the entire universe without stopping.
*** Shining Spears are Space KnightInShiningArmor Elves on hover bikes with laser shooting lances.
*** Dark Eldar Reavers ride around on Jetbikes covered in blades. Their signature is flying straight through enemy squads to slice them up.
**** The Master of the Ravenwing rides into battle either on a jetbike or a Land Speeder. In either case, it has armor STRONGER THAN A LAND RAIDER.
** BadassBoast: Too many to count.
** BadassCreed: Just about everyone barring Tyranids. Generally shouted as a battle cry.
*** A literal one in the form of Ursarker E. ''[[SayMyName CRREEEEEEEEEDDDDDDD!!!]]'' - uh, I mean, Creed. Lord Castellan of Cadia, Winston Churchill[=/=]General Patton and all-round FourStarBadass.
** BadassGrandpa: Pretty much every Space Marine will see their first century, the Craftworld and Dark Eldar can live for millennia, the original Traitor Legions are going 10,000 years and still counting, while the Necrons, being older than most other things in the universe and with regenerating metal bodies, outlive most of the opposition.
*** Commander Dante, the current Chapter Master of the Blood Angels, has led the Blood Angels for ''1,100 years'', and is the oldest Space Marine in the Imperium, Dreadnoughts excepted. He is so experienced, fearless, and powerful that when the Chapter Masters of the Salamanders and Ultramarines (Tu'Shan and Marneus Calgar) were asked who should head the Armageddon intervention, they picked him unanimously. Marneus Calgar is the guy with the rule "God of War", and even he picked Dante. Badass indeed.
*** Logan Grimnar, current Great Wolf of the Space Wolves. Nicknamed "the old wolf," Grimnar has led the Space Wolves for over 700 years, rivaling Dante in longevity. Furthermore, while Dante was picked to lead the Imperial forces during the Third War for Armageddon, Grimnar was named supreme commander for the Imperials during Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade: meaning the fate of over ''two dozen star systems'' was placed directly in his hands, and never once did he falter. Again, badass indeed.
*** The oldest Dreadnought in the Imperium is Bjorn the Fell Handed of the Space Wolves chapter. He's old enough to have seen the Emperor of Mankind before he was put into the Golden Throne, and probably the sole remaining non-Chaos person to do so.
*** Ghazghkull Thraka, who must be about seventy years old now. Given that no [[BloodKnight Ork]] has ever died of old age, that's quite an impressive feat.
*** And his rival, Commissar Yarrick.
*** The C'tan take the cake from everyone, having probably existed since the start of the universe (they only made contact with beings after Necrodermis allowed them to take physical form). In terms of badassery, the reason why the Nightbringer looks like the goddamn GrimReaper is because he imprinted the fear of death on all sentient beings (minus Orks, who apparently were late to the party), and he's only the second strongest C'tan.
** BadassInANiceSuit: Some Commissars, priests of the Ecclesiarchy, and Inquisitors make a point of dressing conservatively or humbly. The rest gleefully embrace the same BlingOfWar worn by everyone else.
** BadassLongcoat: Common in the Imperial Guard. Commissars, most obviously, but Generals often wear them too. For the Krieg Death Corps and Valhallan Ice Warriors, these are pretty much the uniform. Dark Angels Space Marines, loyalist and Fallen, tend to wear them as well. And let's not forget [[MadDoctor Fabius Bile]], who has a pretty pimpin' longcoat that's made of human skin.
** BadassMustache: Basically anybody from the White Scars Chapter.
** BadassNormal: The Imperial Guard: ordinary human soldiers, taking on enemies that can kill ordinary human soldiers by looking at them funny, and winning. Admittedly more visible in the fiction than on the tabletop... [[TookALevelInBadass until the latest Codex]]...
*** Especially Catachan Jungle Fighters and other Death World regiments, and ESPECIALLY distinguished members of those regiments such as Sergeant "Stonetooth" Harker, who, in his personal CrowningMomentOfAwesome, caught a Tyranid Ravener in a headlock and crushed it's neck with his biceps.
** BadassPreacher: All over the place. Space Marine Chaplains, Imperial Guard Priests, the whole Sisters of Battle...
** EmpoweredBadassNormal: The Sisters of Battle used to be nothing more than power-armored [[ChurchMilitant nuns with guns]]; better equipment and training aside, they were just ordinary humans like the [[BadassNormal Imperial Guard]]. Recent Sisters lists have weaponized the Sisters' faith, allowing them to manifest battlefield miracles that protect them from enemy fire and further increase their combat prowess.
** RetiredBadass: More than can be counted. Commissar Sebastian Yarrick, any Space Marine Dreadnought, and Literature/CiaphasCain, '''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!''' among them. Of course, in this setting, everyone badass enough to survive that long is expected to return to arms soon. After all, "Only in death does duty end".
* BadBoss: Unsurprisingly more common in this setting than the [[BenevolentBoss other kind]].
** Imperial Guard Commissars, who are employed to keep morale up by setting a heroic example - and by shooting cowards and incompetents if necessary. Ok, maybe many Commissars have the justification of shooting fleeing men because there are a lot that can follow suit, and their infantry depend on MoreDakka via their numbers to kill stuff, but...
*** Woe betide any commissar that tries this with Catachans. [[UnfriendlyFire Commissars assigned to Catachan regiments have a disproportionately high fatality rate]], noted on the tabletop by the "Oops Sorry Sir" special rule.
*** Largely averted by the novel protagonists [[GauntsGhosts Ibram Gaunt]] and CiaphasCain, '''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!'''. Gaunt is working with a severely limited number of troops and cannot afford to be wasteful, while Cain knows that eventually his schemes to get out of trouble will fail, at which point he would prefer that his troops like him enough to watch his back rather than aim for it. He is also very aware of the ''Oops Sorry Sir'' rule mentioned above. It helps that both men are basically understanding and honorable individuals ([[HeroicSelfDeprecation much as Cain would deny it]]), attached to disciplined regiments that don't have the kind of morale problems that typically require Commissars to be {{Bad Boss}}es.
** Commander Chenkov of Valhalla routinely abuses the Imperial Guard's [[WeHaveReserves reserves]] to overwhelm the enemy with endless waves of poorly-trained, disposable conscripts. He's also been known to use his troops to clear minefields for tanks and bog enemy units down so that the artillery can shell them, and once executed a million of his own men to build a dam from their bodies. His regiment, the Tundra Wolves, has been refounded more than a dozen times in recent decades due to casualties, and it's rumored that he's killed more of his own men than he has of the enemy. And of course, since this is the Imperium, he's routinely awarded medals and commendations for quickly defeating the enemy with these brutal tactics.
** Ork Nobz also aren't above "krakkin' a few uv da ladz' 'eadz" (often fatally) in order to restore order, and Runtherdz maintain the "morale" of their Gretchin charges by having their squighounds ''devour'' a couple of them whenever they try to flee.
** The grand master of this trope (insofar as the 40k universe has a grand master of horribleness) is Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of Chaos. A fairly unpleasant person BEFORE he turned to Chaos, Abbadon is very much a believer in the Darth Vader approach of anger control, namely immediately killing those who displease him. However, this being the '''GRIMDARK''' setting it is, Abaddon takes it just one step further and will happily destroy ships of his own fleet if the captain of said vessel displeases him. And keep in mind his flagship is the aptly titled ''[[EarthShatteringKaboom Planet]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill Killer]]''.
*** Not to mention that Abadon takes offense in any mere mortal ''looking at him''.
** It's stated that the Tau are like this to their mercenaries, and are definitely Bad Bosses to aliens who join their alliance, though more in the style of ''1984''. We have yet to see much evidence though.
** Dark Eldar Archons and Dracons. Their underlings are just as bad as they are, though.
* BadVibrations: Justified - if you don't feel the tremors of an approaching Titan, you deserve what you get. Somehow, Titans are still able to sneak up on people despite this in ''Titanicus''.
** The Tyranid [[http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Mawloc Mawlocs]] do this as well. Just before they pop out of the ground and EAT YOU, in best {{Tremors}} [[SandWorm style]].
* BalancingDeathsBooks: The Legion of the Damned have a chapter artifact allowing them to use the soul of a slain foe to bring back their fallen comrade. Since their essentially [[QuantumLeap permanently phasing]] in an out of battle, this is the only reason they haven't died out.
* BaldOfAwesome: The stereotypical look for Space Marines, except for the Space Wolves and the Blood Angels. Shaved heads are also common.
* BaldOfEvil: In ''DawnOfWar'' at least, the Heretics, Cultist Squads, and Chaos Lords are shown with shaven heads.
* BarbarianLonghair: Most SpaceMarines go with BaldOfAwesome or crew cuts. The WhiteScars and SpaceWolves, being Space Mongolians and Space Vikings respectively, obviously avert it.
* BarbarianTribe: Many Space Marine chapters, such as the Space Wolves and White Scars, recruit solely from the Barbarians of their homeworld.
* BaseOnWheels: The Leviathan, a mobile command centre on treads the size of ''a small city''... which acts as an [=APC=] ''for tanks''.
** Orks have their own version - A ''krawla'' will vary in size from a tank APC to a city on wheels which may in turn contain smaller krawlaz.
** Before the setting [[DroppedABridgeOnHim got rid of them]], the Squats specialised in these, and it was said they built the Leviathans. Back in the days when Epic was still called ''Space Marine'', there was also the Cyclops [a colossal anti-Titan assault gun], Land Train, Colossus [a Leviathan variant], Hellbore [a ridiculously huge drilling machine], the Ordinatus machines, and the Capitol Imperialis [the modern Leviathan is a ret-combination of this tank-carrying monstrosity and the old Leviathan which was just a mobile command post].
** The Imperator Titan is also essentially a base on ''legs'' which carries an entire ''castle'' around on its back, particularly when the ridiculously complex ''Titan Legions'' rules are used; the same applies to the Mega-Gargant. Variant Imperators were supposed to follow the release of the ''Titan Legions'' but never did, one of which would have had an entire aircraft carrier deck on its back.
* BattleChant: There's quite a few (to the point of that they're practically the catchphrases for some factions). The most well known comes from the [[GodOfEvil Chaos]] forces, more specifically Khorne's worshippers: "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!"
* BattleTrophy: Pretty much everyone.
* BayonetYa
* BeamSpam: Imperial Guard infantrymen almost-universally tote rapid-firing laser weapons, and they field a ''lot'' of men.
* BearsAreBadNews: The Vostroyan Rough Riders are literal Bear Cavalry.
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: Often played straight by the Eldar (who have awesome medical tech), and by the Callidus Assassins (who are all shapeshifters). Generally avoided by the Sisters of Battle, who are about as ugly, scarred and broken as you might expect "realistic" battle-nuns to be, and get older, more grizzled, and meaner as you move up the chain of command.
* BecauseISaidSo: Frequently the only justification you'll ever get from the Inquisition.
** Questioning an Inquisitor for a justification will get you executed for heresy...if you're lucky.
** Repeat after me: ''The Commissar is always right.''
** Notice how the quote for ApathyKilledTheCat only goes as far as two.
* BeeBeeGun: The Tyranid fleshborer is a Beetle Beetle Gun, firing ravenous insects that chew their way into a target's insides. The Devourer does much the same thing with a horde of flesh-eating worms.
* BeePeople: Tyranids. Also the Tau's Vespid Auxilaries, though they're more like Wasp People.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: ...and keeps you alive.
* BenevolentAlienInvasion: The Tau, when compared to any of the alternatives.
* BerserkButton: Many, both in-universe and amongst the [[BrokenBase oft-rabid fanbase]].
** In-Universe Examples:
*** Suggesting harming civilians in front of the Salamanders.
*** Sending Tau-allied humans into battle against Imperial Guardsmen.
*** Destroying Eldar spiritstones.
*** Killing a Tau Ethereal.
*** A Berserker being in a state of consciousness.
*** An Ork being in a state of consciousness.
*** Mentioning anything about the Fallen to a Dark Angel.
*** Killing any member of a Black Templars squad triggers the ''Righteous Fury'' spacial move, in which they charge towards the closest enemy.
*** Inverted with the Tyranids: if you kill the commanders, they go from hostile to dumb, wild animals pretty quickly.
** Meta-Examples:
*** There was a secret rule on the official GW forums before they were closed. If you ever mentioned the Squats, for any reason whatsoever, the moderators would permanently ban you and delete the thread.
*** A similar thing happens if you bring up the idea of female Space Marines.
*** Mentioning ''Squad Broken'' in a 40k forum.
*** On a similar note, the 4chan-spawned collective fapfiction "Dranon's Delight" will do the trick if you mention it or request a new one, particularly in [[ImageBoards /tg/ - Traditional Games]]. Pretty unnecessary to say, but NSFW would be an understatement.
*** Mention [[http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Ultramarines#Quotes_to_Rage_By the fluff from the 5th edition Space Marine Codex]] to a Space Marine player that is not playing an Ultramarines-descended chapter. It gets worse if they play one of the other First Founding chapters. The 6th Edition Codex toned it down, to positive reactions.
*** You will get the same reaction by declaring that the Ultramarines are the greatest of all Space Marines, a quote that has been thrown around a lot in canon lately and is both completely random and rather insulting to anyone who likes another of the 20 founding Legions.
*** TwoWords: Matt Ward. Ward is a long time fan that was [[AscendedFanboy hired as a rulebook writer]] during the last edition. He is, however, a tad biased towards his preferred army, the Ultramarines. His first work was the above-mentioned Ultramarines codex, which is responsible for nearly all the Ultramarines hate [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment (see above)]]. Later works include the codexes of the Blood Angels and the Grey Knights, [[UnpleasableFanbase which drew cries from players of being completely ridiculous and broken]]. He also wrote the Necrons codex, which was fairly well received despite completely re-writing their backstory (which in hindsight was rather bland), and the most recent Dark Eldar codex, which is almost universally approved of. Ward-hate has reached MemeticMutation levels, with Ward being blamed on forums for codexes or stories [[CrossesTheLineTwice (or natural disasters)]] he's not responsible for.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: Considered an honourable end for disgraced Imperial Guard officers and those touched by the Warp, and much preferable to being taken alive by the Ecclesiarchy or Dark Eldar or Chaos or the Inquisition or the Necrons or the Tyranids or....
* BigBad: Divided amongst several dozen contenders throughout. Most others are better described as forces and gods than true villains, and better fit into the BiggerBad category.
** Abaddon the Despoiler is the closest to the traditional concept (or, he would be if he wasn't a [[GeneralFailure complete idiot]]).
** Ghazghkull Thraka and Asdrubael Vect are two more strong contenders.
** It's worth noting that the Tyranids are one of the most dreaded and relentless forces in the galaxy, although they don't have a "face", having instead the invisible Hive Mind, which is their collective brain. Maybe the Swarmlord?
* BigBadEnsemble: Once again, taken UpToEleven with entire ''armies'' qualifying for this 'bull. If we get into the full details, we might have to give ''40k'' its own page for it, so for now, we'll just settle with naming the biggest antagonists in order of threat level, from mildest to most extreme: [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority Ork]] [[LargeAndInCharge Warbosses]], Chaos Lords, Necron Lords, [[OneWingedAngel Daemon Primarchs]], the Tyranid HiveMind and the [[EldritchAbomination Chaos gods]].
* BigBookOfWar: The ''Tactica Imperium'' and the ''Codex Astartes''. ''The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer'' would be this - it's actually pretty useful in some places, containing useful and informative tips such as how to make a frag grenade into a booby trap, how to field-strip and clean a lasgun, and how when you are on guard duty you should '''NEVER LEAVE YOUR POST EVER''' - were it not otherwise full of outright lies-- er, uplifting Imperial propaganda.
** As a sidenote: The ''Tactica Imperium'' is regarded with near-religious reverence by the Imperial Guard, and its description as occasionally self-contradictory and best used as a rough guideline even suggests similarity to the Bible. Conversely, the ''Uplifting Primer'' is considered extra toilet paper rations.
* BigBrotherIsWatching: ...and ready to burn you at the stake.
* BigDamnHeroes: Happens a lot in the fluff. Possible in game via deep strike or simply charging an enemy to save the poor bastards (on your team) they're slaughtering.
* BigDumbObject: Space Hulks.
* BigEater: Used in a most horrific way with the Tyranids. They're a species that eats every last scrap of life from entire planets, down to sucking the last trace molecules of bio-matter from the soil.
** One almost forgotten legendary figure amongst the Officio Assassinorum is the Callidus known as "Mother Gullet", who was once dispatched to slay the child of a potentially rebellious governor. She ''swallowed the sleeping baby whole'' and escaped into the darkness, her [[BalloonBelly bloated stomach]] ensuring that there was no sign of her responsibility in the child's disappearance... or of the child's remains.
* {{BFG}}: Way, way too many to list here. No, seriously. Don't try to add specific examples, it's ended in pain before, so save time and check one of the many wikis dedicated to this, such as [[http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Main_Page#.UtIkTiiQnN4 Lexicanum]]. Let's just say that the bolter, the ''standard issue'' Space Marine gun, rapid-fires .75 caliber armour piercing rocket propelled grenades. [[Memes/{{Comics}} It fires 19mm caliber grenades. That's as large as a 10-gauge shell. And]] [[strike:[[AndThatsTerrible that's terrible]]]] it goes upwards from there, especially considering that is also the same round the standard-issue Space Marine ''pistol'' uses.
* {{BFS}}: Eight-foot-long chainsaw sword with bolt-on flamethrower, anyone?
** Eviscerator, Uge choppa. Dreadnaught close combat weapon. Titan close combat weapon.
** Special mention must go to the Dawn Blade wielded by Commander Farsight, which not only has to be mounted on a battlesuit, but can hack through tank armour. And it's got crackling energies all over it. About the only thing it lacks is a [[ChainsawGood chainsaw edge]].
** Most Daemon Weapons (and most daemons' weapons, which aren't quite the same thing). Special mention also goes to the one held by the Champion Greater Daemon of Slaanesh, which is almost as long as a tank (although the daemon in question is rather huge even by daemon standards).
** Some of the artwork floating around shows the Space Marine [[LargeAndInCharge Primarchs]] using variants on the aforementioned chainsaw swords that make the ones used by regular Marines look quite ''puny'' (especially considering that the Primarchs are generally accepted as being even bigger than your "average" eight-foot tall SuperSoldier). An excellent example can be seen here with ImperialFists Primarch Rogal Dorn, holding a [[http://1d4chan.org/wiki/File:DORNBABY.jpg chainsword so wide a person could probably hide behind it]].
** Drach'nyen is probably the single biggest, baddest sword in the setting and is capable of cutting through the fabric of reality itself. It's not always a BFS, though. Drach'nyen's shape depends on what its wielder wants it to look like, it just so happens Abaddon wants it to appear as a giant sword. Why he needs such a big sword when he doesn't even have any arms is another question altogether.
* BigGood:
** Deconstructed with the God-Emperor for the Imperium of Man; while he most likely ''was'' the BigGood during the HorusHeresy, nowadays, he's basically been rendered as little more than a shriveled-up husk, only serving as little more than a symbolic figurehead, meant to keep the Imperium from fully collapsing in morale and structure, and the primary icon of religious worship by his subjects, to counter the corruptive daemonology of the Chaos gods. And even before that, he also happened to have [[WellIntentionedExtremist the biggest body count of any given human dictator in history.]] Depending on how you view it, the number has only grown, to the point that we'd save time by using exponents.
** Aun'Va, eldest and wisest of the Ethereals, serves as this for the Tau.
** Eldrad Ulthran is this for the Eldar, their greatest leader and most badass warrior. Or rather, [[KilledOffForReal was]]-- though there are signs he's NotQuiteDead.
* BiggerBad: The Chaos Gods are the best example of this in the fiction. Many of the horrendous atrocities in this setting are either done in their name or to deny them victory, yet they're on such a higher order of existence that their involvement said atrocities could be compared as a ''passing glance''.
** The C'tan are also this, but they take it even further in that '''[[AbusivePrecursors they're largely responsible for the way the Galaxy is in the first place]]'''. They killed most of (possibly all of) the Old Ones, were directly responsible for the creation of the Orks and the Eldar (and indirectly responsible for the Dark Eldar), and lead to the Warp becoming the hellhole that it is due to the War In Heaven (which would bring rise to the Chaos Gods, Chaos Demons, Chaos Space Marines, and the like). Essentially, they're the [[UpToEleven Biggest Bad]]. They still would be, if not for a {{Retcon}} in the Necron 5th Edition Codex that got them DemotedToExtra via a [[LaserGuidedKarma deserving]] HumiliationConga.
* BiggerIsBetter: The basis [[{{BFG}} for]] [[{{BFS}} many]] [[HumongousMecha things]] in this setting.
* BiggerStick: Leman Russ not enough? Baneblade. Then Leviathan. Then a Titan. Then a bigger Titan. Then [[EarthShatteringKaboom Exterminatus]].
* {{Bishonen}}: Lucius the Eternal before he started scarring his face to commemorate his victories.
** Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels, was very pretty and a fairly nice guy for this setting. Fittingly, he was called the Angel, but that was also due to his [[WingedHumanoid wings]].
** Mephiston, Lord of Death has it in spades. Also a Blood Angel, and considered by some to be Sanguinius reborn.
*** How about Fulgrim the Phoenician, Primarch of the Emperor's Children?
**** Followers of Slaanesh in general. Nuff said.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: Opinions vary between whether 40k is black and grey, black and ''black'', or black and '''''[[DarkerAndEdgier ALL-CONSUMING, LIGHT DEVOURING VOID]]'''''.
** [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/3/5/ Obligatory Penny Arcade link]].
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt5e2OX9FUk/ For the irony...]]
* BlackBox: The Adeptus Mechanicus does not understand a lot of the stuff they reproduce. It's taken to a ludicrous extreme by Creator/GrahamMcNeill's PriestsOfMars novels, in which [[spoiler: the flagship Speranza has unimaginably super-high-tech targeting systems that NOBODY knows about, systems capable of functioning with 100% precision in the middle of a space-time gravitational storm, fully capable of detecting and getting a OneHitKill on an eldar cruiser using a dorsal mounted chrono-weapon so unbelievably advanced even the necrons would have been scratching their heads trying to understand how it worked. That's right. The Ark Mechanicus ships which the Imperium already own and operate could be the answer to the missing information of the [=STCs=] and more.]]
* BlackComedy: The humor in this setting is either this or very, very dry.
* BlackEyesOfEvil: Konrad Curze and his legion of NightLords.
* BlackMagic: Everything connected to Chaos.
* BlackMarketProduce: The nobles eat the best food, imported from agral worlds. The masses... not so much (yes, SoylentGreen included)
* TheBlacksmith: Vulkan, who passed the trait on to the Salamanders. To a lesser and weirder extent, Ferrus Manus and the Iron Hands.
* BladeBelowTheShoulder -- The Black Dragons chapter have a mutation in their Ossmodula[[note]]Implant that makes their bones become stronger[[/note]] that commonly causes this. They're also (usually) retractable. What do they do with these blades? [[AbsurdlySharpBlade Sheath them in Adamantium of course]]. It can also end up making them a HornedHumanoid.
* BladeOnAStick: A number of Grey Knights' Nemesis Force Weapons come in the form of glaives; it's the default form for them in ''DawnOfWar''. Some Eldar Exarchs also use glaives, and some Eldar psykers carry Singing Spears. Dark Eldar Incubi carry a long, wicked-looking glaive called a Punisher as their default weapon.
** The Necron warscythe is one of the most feared close-combat weapons in existence - a glaive that can cut through ''energy fields'' without slowing down.
** The honor blades used by Tau Ethereals. The blades are swung fast enough to become invisible, and are used in bloodless duels to settle disputes. Aun'shi carries one on the battle field, and is skilled enough with it to ''kill enough Orks that they are to afraid to go near him.''
** The Berserker Glaive from the 3rd edition of Chaos Space Marines. Averted on occasion, though, as Daemon Weapons do not always resemble their given description.
* BlessedWithSuck: Psykers; these are also a debatable case of CursedWithAwesome, at least until a daemon eats their soul.
** Lukas Bastonne's [[PhotographicMemory eidetic memory]] causes for him to be an excellent and fluid tactician, and highly-decorated soldier as a result, [[TheChainsOfCommanding but he also remembers every single soldier who has died under his command because of it]].
* BlindSeer: The soul-binding process required to turn psykers into Astropaths - interstellar telepaths used for all long-distance communication - completely burns out their eyes, though their psychic abilities generally compensate for it. Many non-Astropath psykers are also depicted as physically blind.
* BlingOfWar:There's a reason it's called "war gear". Running on RuleOfCool, if you see something Blingtastic, both the equipment and the user are {{badass}} enough to have earned this title.
* BloodKnight: Orks and followers of Khorne, without exception. You also get a fair number of Imperial, Eldar, and Dark Eldar in this category.
** A successor Chapter of the Blood Angels, named [[MeaningfulName The Knights of Blood]], have been declared Excommunicate Traitoris for [[BloodKnight guess what]]?
* BloodyHilarious: Orks wouldn't be nearly as popular if they weren't so ''funny''.
* BlueAndOrangeMorality:
** The Gods of Chaos aren't evil ''per se'', but they are all embodiments of an ideology that they spread, and it does bring harm to others. [[MagnificentBastard Tzeentch]] screws people over for the sake of screwing people over, [[{{Plaguemaster}} Nurgle]] literally loves to inflict diseases on you and believes your misery is thanking him, [[BloodKnight Khorne]] believes in bloodshed, battle and honourable death, and [[TheHedonist Slaanesh]] is devoted to pleasure and indulgence, healthy or not.
** To an Ork, the most important thing in the universe is war- I mean [[BattleCry WAAAAAAGH]], and think nothing of rampaging across the galaxy fighting everything they find. They have no concept of good or evil, only MightMakesRight. They also have no concept of friendship, although some have [[WorthyOpponent favourite enemies]].
** As shown in the ''Literature/CiaphasCain'' novels, the Tau are so devoted to the Greater Good, that [[TheFundamentalist any thought or idea that goes against it is met with almost physical repulsion, and they literally cannot understand why anyone would actively choose to live against it]]. Tau believe that personal ambition is evil, don't feel love in the romantic sense, and have little sense of individuality.
* BoardingPod: The Astartes have a reusable version, small shuttlepods launched at spaceships they wish to board. These things attach to the other vessel's outer hull and create a breach that allows the troops to enter through it. The orks have a more traditional version that is shot out of a torpedo tube and penetrates by kinetic force.
* BodyguardingABadass: Space Marine Honor Guards are deployed to protect the Chapter Master, who did not get to his position by being a pushover.
* BodyguardBabes:The corrupt Master of the Administratum and dictator of the Imperium Goge Vandire had an all-female bodyguard known as the Brides Of The Emperor, who were conditioned to believe everything he said unquestioningly and practically worship him.
* BodyguardBetrayal: Aforementioned Brides Of The Emperor turned on Vandire and beheaded him after their leaders had an audience with their god, the Emperor. They are now known as the Sisters Of Battle.
* BodyHorror:You wouldn't believe the amount of it!
* BoisterousBruiser: Space Wolves and Orks.
* BondCreatures: Both natural, in the somewhat obscure Gyrinx, and the various creations serving psykers as Familiars.
* BondageIsBad: Taken UpToEleven with the Dark Eldar. Their ancestors were so kinky that they literally birthed an EldritchAbomination.
* BoringButPractical: Or as close to 'boring' as it gets in the setting anyhow... all armies are able to field powerful special troops, amazing heroes and crazy war machines, but you generally cannot win without a good chunk of your army being made up of some variant or another of your standard rank-and-file troops, a fact often referred to as 'Boys before toys'.
** Special mention should go to lasguns of Imperial Guard. They are mocked by fans as "flash lights", and compared to Bolt guns, Melta Guns and Plasma weaponry, they are definitely boring and weak in means of damage. But the sheer economics of this weapon makes it more awesome and practical than any of the weapons mentioned above: They are cheap and easy to produce. They don't need ammunition in common sense. Lasgun uses changable batteries that are easy to recharge, and can even recharge itself in direct sunlight or campfire. And the weapon itself is soo easy to handle that everyone can use them. The Price/Performance ratio makes this gun the most awesome weapon of 41th Millenium, and allows Imperium to have armies big and versatile enought to protect its vast territories.
** Speaking of the Imperial Guard, many of their Elite choices (that is, [[DumbMuscle Ogyrns]], [[PsychicPowers psykers]], [[OneManArmy Sly Marbo]]) are awesome, but not really that points efficient, compared to simply [[ZergRush bringing more Guardsmen and more tanks]].
* BoringInvincibleHero: Every faction tends to get this treatment in its own codex, in a manner appropriate to the race (EG the Space Marines tend to emerge triumphant against overwhelming odds, the Imperial Guard tend to win through attrition and great loss of life, the Orks tend to win by being CrazyAwesome, etc.). Conversely, if a faction appears in someone else's codex, it usually means they're getting [[TheWorfEffect Worfed]].
* {{Bowdlerization}}: The game's second edition. Much of the Imperium's nastiness was downplayed or went largely unmentioned. Inquisitors and Imperial Guard {{Commissar}}s were described as heroic individuals. Commissars even lost the ability to restore unit morale by means of [[YouHaveFailedMe summary execution]]. These issues were all ''[[DarkerAndEdgier brutally]]'' redressed in the third edition.
* BrainBleach: What you'll need after reading ''[[OldShame Space Marine]]'' (the tabletop game, not the new video game). Or some of the stuff on [[ImageBoards /tg/]].
* BrainFood: Space Marines and Tyranid Lictors can gain some of a creature's knowledge by eating its brain.
* {{Brainwashed}}: Liberally used by... well,everyone, really.
** BrainwashedAndCrazy: Much loved by Chaos. The Imperial Ecclesiarchy also likes to combine heretics with a partial lobotomy, advanced hypnosis, generic brainwashing, combat drugs and cybernetic implants to create Arcoflagellants, AxCrazy combat monsters which are often set against their former allies.
* BreastPlate: The Sisters of Battle tend to wear rather...form-fitting armour. All Eldar Howling Banshees also wear armor with noticeable bosoms: including, presumably, the male ones. Some Eldar Guardians also have these.
* BreathWeapon: Tyranid bio-plasma, certain daemons and daemonhosts.
* [[BribingYourWayToVictory Bribing Your Way]] ''[[CrackIsCheaper To Being Able To Play]]'': A starter army, with the rule book, matching codex, bitz for customization, paints and glues, and a case to put it all in? Expect to put down ''half a grand''. At least.
** Unless you get your pieces off [=eBay=]. The market's saturated.
** Depend on what army you play. If you play World Eaters, you can get two squads of Khorne Berserkers and Kharn the Betrayer for about 50 bucks and have a pretty decent 500 point army.
* BrokenAce: The Primarchs.
* BrokenMasquerade: The secular Imperium of the Great Crusade was founded on the idea that there were no gods, no daemons, nothing that could not be explained by science. That got disproved pretty comprehensively, and things got worse as a result: thus demonstrating why the Emperor established the {{Masquerade}} in the first place.
* BrownNote: Chaos iconography can drive men insane. Chaos ''daemons'' are a whole world of horror beyond that.
** Slaanesh Noise Marines carry a manner of sonic weapons that can [[MusicalAssassin amplify their daemonic screams, produce explosive bass notes, or rip a target to shreds from the harmonics.]]
** Unaugmented humans viewing primarchs for the first time tend to react. . . badly. One boy, upon meeting pre-Heresy Lorgar, suffered from vomiting and nightmares for a few weeks. The book describes the phenomena as sensory overload.
** To a psyker, a Pariah (someone who has no Warp presence) can serve as this.
** Tyranid psychic chatter is this both to psykers and to the Warp, effectively jamming any sort of communication or faster-than-light travel.
* BugWar: Whenever the Tyranids show up.
* BulletProofVest: The standard Imperial Guardsman is equipped with [[strike:a flashlight and T-shirt]] a lasgun and flak vest. Formidable stuff by modern standards, but guess how much good it does in this universe.
** In an interesting twist, the guardsman's flak armor is the best starting armor of any of the careers in ''TabletopGame/DarkHeresy''.
* BurnTheWitch: Standard government policy.
* ButtMonkey: Played for laughs with grots. Played straight with Imperial Guard as they were Games Workshop's favorite punching bag. Even extended to the players as they got two consequtive under-powered codexes with at least half the units being useless and had to (and still do) deal with [[ScrappyMechanic kill points]] making the Annihilate mission UnWinnable. GW eventually decided to [[ThrowTheDogABone give IG players a break]] by releasing a codex that was actually good and giving them the lion's share of stuff in Apocalypse.
** Case in point: meet the business end of a Baneblade. Who's the ButtMonkey now?
** Also played straight with Ka'Bandha. Keep in mind that he's a 20-foot-tall [[EldritchAbomination Greater Daemon of the Blood God]]. Yet every time he goes up against the Blood Angels, he just ends up embarrassing himself.
*** On Signus Prime, he broke the legs of Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels. Except that by doing so, he awoke a [[AxCrazy dark rage]] in the Angels, and his forces were soon overrun.
*** At the Siege of Terra, he almost defeated Sanguinius a second time, but the Primarch seized the huge honking demon by the throat and broke his spine. Over his knee.
*** Later, on Khartas. At this point, Sanguinius had been dead for 10,000 years. Ka'Bandha figures he's got it made now. He then gets bodyslammed by the mysterious figure known as the Sanguinor. To death. From orbit.
*** In fairness, it's theorized that the Sanguinor is the ghost of Sanguinius. Not that this helps Ka'Bandha's rep much.
** The Craftworld Eldar. They are notorious for suffering [[CurbStompBattle humiliating defeats and failures]] despite holding an overwhelming advantage, and any victories they do claim are mostly {{pyrrhic|victory}} in nature. Examples include Iyanden's Avatar of Khaine being trampled by Carnifexes [[note]] It killed at least 10 of them single handedly (and they were all attacking him at once to boot) before being destroyed [[/note]], Wraithlords being slain in one-on-one combat with lowly Sergeants, whole craftworlds being utterly wiped out by a single Zoanthrope, and two Imperial Guard regiments led by an inexperienced commander [[note]]Okay, admittedly they were supported by Space Wolves and a few Titans[[/note]] held off the collective forces of ''two'' major craftworlds and a large force of Eldar Corsairs. C'mon, they're supposed to be hyper-advanced aliens with psychic powers, yet when said aliens ''outnumber'' the flash-light and T-shirt brigade and ''still'' lose, it's very grating.
** The Sisters of Battle now take up the mantle left behind by the Imperial Guard. Seemingly, every time the Sisters appear, they're being horribly slaughtered by the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Faction of the Week]]... when they aren't falling to Chaos, obviously [[note]]This contradicts previous fluff which notes that in their thousands of years of service, only a ''single'' Battle Sister has fallen to Chaos[[/note]] or even being slaughtered by their ''[[http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Khornate_Knights own allies]]'' ('''NOTE''': link is {{NSFW}}).
** Deconstructed with the Iron Warriors, who are amongst the most bitter and hateful of all Chaos Space Marines after being treated as the ButtMonkey of the legions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:C]]
* CallARabbitASmeerp: And occasionally CallASmeerpARabbit.
* CanisLatinicus: Conventional rendering of High Gothic; e.g., Adeptus Astartes, Adeptus Mechanicus. "Imperium," however, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperium is an actual Roman word]], according to ThatOtherWiki.
* CanonDiscontinuity: Several older Black Library novels have since become available for reprint, but many of them were written when the setting was in a different place than it currently is. Rather than [[{{Retcon}} edit them]] in a way which might undermine the original story or authorial intent, Black Library instead decided to slap the "Heretic Tomes"[[note]](which was an older print label Games Workshop used before formally incorporating its publishing division under the label "Black Library")[[/note]] label on the reprints. This means that the reader should only consider these cannon in the most BroadStrokes.
* CantArgueWithElves: ...but you can shoot them in the face. Foul Xenos.
* CaptainErsatz: Soylent viridians are SoylentGreen, "Sly" Marbo is John Franchise/{{Rambo}}, the Black Templars possess [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail a holy hand grenade of Antioch]], and the Necrons are effectively an entire army of {{Terminator}}s, among others.
* CarFu: Tank Shock.
** The 5th Edition rules allow you to ram Tanks into other vehicles, which can potentially take out several enemies at once.
* CardGames: There's been a few actual card games released based on the 40K universe. One could also easily count ''Second Edition'' and earlier editions of ''Epic'', which came packaged with a whole dead forest worth of cards, counters, templates and assorted other bits and pieces, sometimes including entire ''decks'' for mechanics like the Winds of the Warp or things like the Imperator and Mega-Gargant templates and counters which were entire mini-games in their own right.
* CargoCult: The Imperium of Man combines this with AncientAstronauts in an interesting fashion, as the overwhelming majority of the technology they use predates the incident that put [[MessianicArchetype the Emperor]] on life-support, and maintenance has become more of a religious ceremony than anything else.\\
\\
Ironically, all of the equipment used by the Imperium is kept at optimal efficiency because of all this, since a clean and well-maintained machine is a happy machine, and a happy machine means a happy machine-god. It also means that there's never an issue with poor quality materials being used (although field repairs do happen, which is looked down upon by the Adeptus Mechanicus). The Mechanicus are often depicted as competent engineers despite/because of their mystical approach, who understand the workings of many things and for whom reverse-engineering the [[BlackBox rest]] and discovering the physics responsible is a holy quest for enlightenment.
* CasualInterstellarTravel:
** Played straight by the Eldar and Necrons with the Webway, averted by everyone else.
** Tau have a slightly easier time of it, due to their smaller warp presence, but their current warp drives only allow short "dives", so while safer it's comparatively slow (although still far faster than light).
** The Tyranids have it easy enough: point fleet at star, mess with star's gravity to create an FTL tunnel and ride on in (not to mention the natural disasters this causes often tenderize the local defences).
* CatchPhrase: The Emperor protects!/Death to the False Emperor!/For the Greater Good!/WAAAAGH!/[[HordeOfAlienLocusts OMNOMNOMNOM!]]
** It's worth noting that ''all'' the catchphrases are battlecries. And all battlecries are catchphrases (Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!/For the Emperor!/Harriers for the cup!)
* CatGirl: Would YOU expect these to show up in a setting as grimdark as Warhammer 40000? As of the 6th edition, there are cat people serving the Imperium, with fanart and custom armies portraying them, naturally, as CatGirl amazon brigades.
* TheCavalry: This is the ''only thing'' of the Legion of the Damned can do.
* CerebusSyndrome: People often forget that the first edition was a parody. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation Some]] [[StealthParody feel like it practically is, though.]]
* [[ChainsawGood Chainsaw Is God]]: Warhammer's love of chainsaws can be summed up in this quote:
--->[[http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Quotes_Space_Marines#J "Problems? Problems? There is no problem I cannot solve with this..."]]
* TheChainsOfCommanding: Sergeant Lukas Bastonne of the Cadian Shock Troops probably feels it harder than most on account of his [[PhotographicMemory eidetic memory]] [[BlessedWithSuck stopping him from ever forgetting the troops he's commanded who have died]].
* ChandlersLaw: When in doubt, have another Tyranid/Ork/Chaos/Necron invasion.
* CharClone: With his customized silver-helmed red Battlesuit and MysteriousPast, Commander Farsight is most definitely A CHAR.
* TheChessmaster: Ongoing manipulation contest between the Chaos god Tzeentch, the C'tan Deceiver, and the Eldar Seers. Chances are, ''any'' major galactic happening is going to have at least one of them cackling "just as planned".
** The Emperor is also a likely candidate for this trope, as it is hinted at in several texts that he knew the Horus Heresy would happen, and planned for it and all future events leading up to the present and probably beyond so as to (presumably) prepare the galaxy for an ultimately happy fate.
** Asdrubael Vect fits this trope in spades. An archon said he was better than Vect, three days later, a warp rift appears above said archon's house releasing an Imperial ship, which has its warp drive detonate. The only other person in Commmoragh that can match Vect is Lady Malys.
* ChickenWalker: Imperial [[MiniMecha Sentinels]] and [[HumongousMecha Warhound Titans]], Eldar War Walkers and Sisters of Battle Penitent Engines..
* ChunkySalsaRule: One of the two ways to invoke the game mechanic Instant Death.
** Quote from the 5th ed. Codex: "It can be imagined that the creature is vaporized, burned to a pile of ash, blasted limb from limb, or otherwise mortally slain in a suitably graphic fashion."
* CharacterExaggeration: The Imperial Guard's leaders are generally considered {{General Ripper}}s who care very little about their troops because WeHaveReserves by fans, as well as Commissars being complete sadists who will kill Guardsmen at the drop of a hat. Naturally, the Imperium doesn't encourage death - the 3rd edition 2nd Imperial Guard Codex says itself "A good general does not lead an army to destruction just because he knows it will follow." The Imperium just has lower standards of 'pointless' compared to us. However, that is usually done for GallowsHumor, and helps them say ''Warhammer 40000'' is a WorldHalfEmpty very well. Which it still is.
** It's understandable that Guardsmen lives are treated like that, considering most worlds where guardsmen are recruited from they're actually considered an exportable product rather than living human beings.
** You could say this about many factions. Eldrad Ulthran screws over Armaggeddon and suddenly ''every single Eldar ever'' is a clairvoyant human-hating MagnificentBastard, heck, Idranel from ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'' is basically a gender-flipped version of him. Likewise, mention how Ork technology runs on belief and suddenly all Orks are CrazyAwesome man children who can pick up bits of piping and immediately shoot bolter rounds out of them.
* ChildSoldiers: Yet another way the factions in 40k violate the Geneva Conventions.
** Space Marines are inducted at 10-14 and become Scouts by 15 at the latest. They don't have a choice in this; once the initiate has finished puberty, their bodies will reject the implants.
*** The initiates themselves, however, ''do'' have a choice, and their families will usually be compensated generously.
** Cadian education and military training are the same thing, and they're typically full soldiers (which requires earning a medal) by some time in their teens: assuming they live that long.
** Orks incubate in their underground wombs until adolescence, and are ready to fight and kill the moment they break the soil.
** Tyranids are also ready to rip your face off the moment they leave the womb, a fact the Tyranids often take advantage of by ''[[DeathFromAbove firing the wombs at a planet]]''.
* ChurchMilitant: The Imperium's Cult of TheEmperor asks of you: KILL THE MUTANT! BURN THE HERETIC! PURGE THE UNCLEAN!
** ... [[Quotes/ChurchMilitant and it has more.]] So many that we couldn't chose which ones were best and had to give ''Warhammer40000'' its own section in the page.
* [[CitadelCity Citadel Planet]]: Cadia, with three-quarters of its population in the military. Children are taught to use a weapon before being able to read, and protected by warships.
* CityInABottle: Some hive cities get like this.
* CivilWarcraft: Absolutely everywhere.
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve:
** All Ork knowledge is instinctive; a Mekboy just naturally knows how stuff goes together. Even so, stuff would still only barely function, if at all, were it not for a low-level psychic ability inherent to the race. If enough Orks believe a scrap-metal-and-duct-tape warbuggy will hold together and move really fast, it will; which even applied to the effects of specific ''colours'' on Ork equipment. That's why "da red ones go fasta', da yellow ones is stronga', and da blue ones is lucky".
** Adeptus Mechhanicus rituals appear like this to the casual in-universe observer. Tech-priests on the other hand ''are'' taught genuine mechanical skills, just in an odd and [[MachineWorship highly-ritualised way]]. Maintenence operations often include what appears to be unnecessary prayers, which [[WildMassGuessing may actually be]] machine control codes, timing routines, or mnemonic devices.
* ClingyCostume:
** Chaos Obliterators.
** Eldar Exarchs once they've bonded enough with the spirits of their armour's previous wearers.
** Thousand Sons Chaos Marines. Their souls are trapped inside their power armor.
** Some Orks, only caring about war, will often pay the tribe's mek to have ''themselves'' sealed in a suit of mega armour. If that's not far enough, they can also be sealed inside a Deff Dread, a crude mini mecha.
** Dark Eldar Wyches; what little they do bother to wear is pretty much painted on.
** In [[RetCon times past]], it was said that Khorne Berserkers' armour fused with their flesh, to the point that it would bleed when struck.
* CloneArmy:
** The Dark Eldar do a lot of cloning to make up for their high mortality rate. "Trueborn" Dark Eldar are rare enough to merit their own elite stats.
** Many of the Adeptus Mechanicus's Skitarrii are grown in vats, or at least their organic components are.
** DependingOnTheWriter, the Death Korps of Krieg may all be clones of the exact same guy, a fact they hide from outsiders [[GasMaskMooks by wearing gas masks everywhere]].
* ClothesMakeTheManiac:
** Chaos-corrupted suits of armour. Granted, in most cases this is more a case of Clothes Make The Maniac ''Worse''.
** Eldar Phoenix Lords as well, for certain definitions of "maniac."
* CloudCuckooLander: Ork Madboyz at their most harmless. At their ''[[PowerBornOfMadness least]]'' harmless, however...
* CoatHatMask: Commissars, although most don't wear masks. Gas masks on the other hand...
** Similarly, the Armageddon Steel Legion and the Death Korps of Krieg are Coat Helmet (Gas) Mask.
* ColdBloodedTorture:
** Most typical of the Inquisition - the torturers of other races usually have far too much fun to be called cold-blooded.
** Interrogator-Chaplains. There's a reason they're named that. Especially be careful of the ones with many black pearls.
** The NightLords legion has a special fondness for this.
* ColdSniper: Vindicare Temple Assassins pack rifles and ammunition that let them take out ''tanks'' from absurd distances.
* TheCollectorOfTheStrange: Chaos, the Orks, and the Dark Eldar collect the skulls (and occasionally other body parts) of their enemies as trophies. The Imperium collects the skulls of particularly pious servants for use as relics and {{Attack Drone}}s.
* ColonyDrop: ''[[http://warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33310 Deconstructed]]'', if you can believe it, but also used straight on occasion. "In close consultation with his advisors, Orkimedes determined that the best solution to the tactical flexibility of Imperial forces was to drop big rocks on them." A surprisingly common Ork technique to both deploy close to the enemy [in fact on top of a portion of them] and weaken aforementioned enemy.
* ColourCodedArmies: Space Marine chapters, Chaos Space Marine legions, Eldar craftworlds, Ork klanz, Tyranid hive fleets, Necron tomb worlds, Tau septs: practically every major army has a set of color-coded subdivisions, and many of these have associated composition themes and stereotypes. Only the Imperial Guard defy color-based pigeonholing, and even they have certain color schemes they tend to favor.
** Space Marines especially; many chapters feel that adding camouflage patterns to their armor would be "[[HonorBeforeReason dishonoring the colors of the chapter]]," and intentionally dress in bright and highly-visible colors so that their enemy can see them and quake in terror at their approach.
** Eldar are colour coded to the extreme- not only does each army have their own colour schemes, but each DIFFERENT KIND of soldier has their own colours- orange for Fire Dragons, green for Striking Scorpions, blue for Dire Avengers, and so on...
** Within most space marine chapters, Librarians traditional wear blue armor, Tech-marines wear deep red, Chaplains were black, and Apothecaries wear white. Most chapters' specialists will wear their chapter's color on their shoulder pad.
* CombatAestheticist:
** The Thyrrus, a minor insectoid alien species, view war as a performance. They'll always seek heavy casualties on both sides, with lots of flash and spectacle. Their extremely advanced plasma-based weapons reflect this.
** The Eldar, both varieties. Both races employ exotic weapons, fighting styles and strategies. However, the Dark Eldar probably embody this trope more, with warriors receiving kudos for particularly spectacular/hilarious/daring kills.
** Lucius the Eternal is known to get extremely excited (and much better at fighting) on meeting a WorthyOpponent, but against {{Mooks}}, he enters a state akin to lethargic boredom.
* CombatMedic: Space Marine Apothecaries, Ork Painboyz, and pretty much anyone else with a medkit or the equivalent.
* CombatPragmatist:
** Lukas the Trickster is the dirtiest fighter of the Space Wolves chapter, making him the dirtiest fighter of the dirtiest-fighting Space Marines and hence the dirtiest fighter in the Imperium. He had one of his hearts replaced by a stasis bomb: if anyone kills him, it detonates and traps them both in a stasis field where they cannot escape and can only hear Lukas' mocking laughter for the rest of eternity.
** Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers has a special rule where he gains an attack if the enemy rolls a 1 in close combat. This represents him headbutting, throat-biting and [[GroinAttack groin-smashing]]. Because of this, he is a OneManArmy without equal, munching through whole squads with relative ease.
** The Raven Guard in general. Most Space Marines believe the best way to take out the enemy is in a glorious frontal assault wearing the chapter's proud colours. Being [[LightningBruiser Space]] [[BadassArmy Marines]], this works surprisingly often, but the Raven Guard prefer black/camouflage armour, guerilla warfare and domestic terrorism.
** The Craftworld Eldar. They can't afford to waste lives and they know it, so they're masters of asymmetrical warfare. Most of their army is made up of fast units with lots of firepower, and their melee units, the Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions, are more about stealth, flanking and hit-n-run rather than slogging across fields for a scrap. But then, [[TheChessmaster why bother fighting a war when you can manipulate events to produce a favourable outcome before it even starts]]? For every Eldar victory in the field of battle, another ten wars were won by a lone Ranger/Pathfinder pulling a BoomHeadshot on the enemy general.
** The Blood Axez Orks favour things like camouflage, sneaking about, and retreating if the fight is going badly. Most Orks view them as cowardly and un-Orky for this, but the Blood Axez stick with what works.
** Tau provide a {{Subver|ted Trope}}sion. True, they may not believe in meatgrinder assaults and pointless {{Last Stand}}s, but they avoid defending ground or melee combat. [[note]]OK, that may sound silly, but remember: the whole point of CombatPragmatist is to be willing to do ''anything'' if it means victory. Even in real life modern armies, soldiers are taught basic hand-to-hand fighting techniques so they can hold their own if they're ever caught in a situation like that, but the Tau view melee as "barbaric" and refuse outright to do it. This bites them in the ass often seeing as how their primary enemies are [[ZergRush the Orks and the Tyranids]]. The only Tau who does not think like this is [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch Commander Farsight]], go figure.[[/note]]
* CombatSadomasochist: Worshippers of Slaanesh and most Dark Eldar.
* CombatStilettos: [[http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hy-y7H2bzsM/ToMswqOt2PI/AAAAAAAACiE/HKaP1A1UErY/s1600/Sisters+of+Battle++Lady+Gaga+insperation.jpg See for yourself]].
* CombatTentacles:
** Tyranids mount these on everything from {{mook}}s to ''[[AwesomeButImpractical spaceships]]''.
** The Slaaneshi weapon aptly named "Lash of Torment".
* ComesGreatInsanity: A rich tradition among leadership figures within the Imperium, from Horus to High Lord Vandire. Generally, reforms follow in their wake to stop similar incidents happening. For example, after the Horus Heresy, the Space Marine Legions were divided into smaller Chapters. In the case of Vandire, no-one was ever allowed to become both the head of the [[ObstructiveBureaucrat Administratum]] and the [[ChurchMilitant Ecclesiarchy]] again. And the Ecclesiarchy couldn't keep men-at-arms. [[AmazonBrigade Which they got around]].
* {{Commissar}}s: Fielded by the Imperial Guard in all their [=CommieNazi=] BlingOfWar (including the [[PuttingOnTheReich black and silver]] CommissarCap). Their job is to inspire the Guardsmen under them with propoganda, riveting speeches, and battlefield bravado, but they also mete out harsh discipline, shooting the sloppy, the heretical, and the cowardly without mercy. In ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'', this is not only a valid tactic but an essential one, as using [[YouHaveFailedMe Execute]] temporarily increases the firing rate of all nearby infantry. In fifth edition they will summary execute the squad's leader if the squad fails a leadership test; when assigned to command squads this can cause much more harm than good.
* CommissarCap: TropeNamer, and not entirely restricted to Commissars - a few regular regular officers and the odd Inquisitor wear similar hats, and some Orks love looting them.
** In fact, Nork Deddog, a (comparatively) super intelligent Ogryn bodyguard was rewarded a CommissarCap.
* CommunicationsOfficer: The Imperial Guard has "vox operators" with radio backpacks.
* CompanionCube: The Adeptus Mechanicus and their treatment of ''any'' machine.
* ConceptsAreCheap: "The Greater Good" of the Tau is never explained, leaving the reader to fill in the details about what it is. When you think about it, the Tau get called the good guys because they keep saying "We're the good guys!", not because of anything they do.
** Actually, it ''is'' explained; it's basically Utilitarianism...[[RecycledInSpace in space!]]
** The Tau's xeno policy of "Join or die!" could be considered a lot nicer than the choices "Die!" or "Die or become some sort of slave, but we'll choose for you!" that the other races give.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: Operates in full force.
* ConfusionFu: Chaos has this as their hat. There is only a 66% for any given piece to actually start the game on the board. This, and may other factors makes the Chaos faction the bane of any laid down plan from EITHER player.
** Could be a possible deconstruction, as Chaos Daemons (the army that does this) is fucking awful. If you want to win, don't play Daemons.
** Ork Psychics have a dice roll to determine what ability they have every turn, making a highly unpredictable unit.
* ContinuityNod: Forge World, Games Workshop's daughter company that specializes in producing resin miniatures for collectors and hardcore fans, has released a number of Space Marine miniature conversion packs designed to evoke the feel of old 1st and 2nd Edition models using the modern kits. Examples include the Land Raider Proteus (designed to evoke the old Land Raider model from Rogue Trader), the [=MkIc=] Deimos-Pattern Rhino (designed to resemble the 1st and 2nd Edition Space Marine Rhino, with its round smokestacks and dual bolters), and various special and heavy weapon packs crammed full of old-school guns.
* ConspicuousConsumption: The Bad Moon clan is full of Orks who like to bling out their guns to show off their wealth.
* CoolBike: Examples include the enormous combat motorcycles ridden by Space Marines (particularly the [[FantasyCounterpartCulture White]] [[GenghisKhan Scars]]); the enormous ''[[SpikesOfVillainy spiky]]'' combat motorcycles ridden by Chaos Marines (particularly [[{{Expy}} Doom]] [[Comicbook/GhostRider Rider]]); the enormous, ramshackle, and very ''loud'' combat motorcycles ridden by Orks (particularly [[CrazyAwesome Wazdakka]] [[MadScientist Gutzmek]]); the flying combat motorcyles ridden by Eldar (particularly the [[AirJousting Shining Spears]]); and the ''ridiculously fast'' flying combat motorcycles ridden by Dark Eldar (particularly... err, ''only'' the [[BloodSport Reavers]]).
* CoolStarship: Millennia-old kilometres-long ''battle cathedrals'' in space.
** Eldar Craftworlds are massive GenerationShips the size of ''dwarf planets'', and hundreds of thousands of Eldar live comfortably on them. Also, Prince Yriel's personal ship, the ''Flame of Asuryan'', is an AceCustom Eldar Dragonship that serves him well as a pirate vessel. In fact, Eldar ships in general.
** Necron vessels are just as badass. A few of their cruisers managed to sneak through Imperium space and threaten ''Terra itself''. One even landed on Mars, which is probably the second most heavily defended planet in the Imperium. Notably, the Cairn-class Tombship, which is bigger and tougher than any human space cathedral, and carries a weapon which can MindRape the crews of said space cathedrals from thousands of miles away.
** In stark contrast to the rusty, ancient space-borne cathedrals of the Imperium, the spaceships of the Tau Kor'vattra are sleek, shiny and every bit as advanced as they look. A notable example is the Custodian-class carrier, which is bristling with railgun and ion cannon batteries and contains launch bays for Manta dropships and Barracuda bombers.
** Ork Rokz are asteroids of all sizes that are hollowed out, the crew straps every gun possible to the surface, and fill the hollowed interior with as many soldiers and war machines as possible.
** The ''Phalanx'' is as large as a moon, and is the battle barge of the Imperial Fists.
** Warmaster Abbadon's flagship is named "Planet Killer". [[WaveMotionGun Guess]] [[ApocalypseHow why]].
* CoolButInefficient: Imperial Navy spaceships are hypertech vessels decorated with gargoyles and other morbid sculptures on the outside (which are completely functional, they usually hide weapons or other projectors, as well as that they keep out the Warp, if you believe in their capability to do so...), and crewed mostly by throngs of press-ganged deck-hands that must do most everything by muscle power.
** Many elite options for the Imperial Guard on the tabletop are statistically considered to be not worth the cost of just getting [[ZergRush even more basic guardsmen]].
* CorralledCosmos: Beyond the light of the Astronomican warp travel becomes effectively impossible for the Imperium. That would be good enough for any other setting but with 40k [[CrapsackWorld being what it is]] the light of the Astronomican is fading, meaning humanity's corral is ''shrinking''.
* CorruptChurch: The Ecclesiarchy. Chaos cults go [[ReligionOfEvil rather beyond "corrupt"]].
* TheCorruption: Chaos, if not the ur-example, is one of the most developed in any setting.
** An even closer example is the Legion of the Damned, warp lost space marines who are slowly being driven mad by their contagion while simultaneously growing more and more powerful. They appear out of the warp and steamroll over whatever army is hopelessly outmatching the Imperium today before dropping some trinket of their chapter and vanishing again.
* '''CosmicHorrorStory''': It's a universe where even death won't save you from an eternity of torture.
* CosmicPlaything: Humanity: we're something of a favorite species to mess with for the Chaos gods, and pretty much everything wants to kill us for some reason, or no reason. The Eldar might also qualify, nearly getting wiped by Slaanesh, and always facing threats from everything else including the Imperium. Probably most everyone might fit into this except for the Tau, if only because they haven't been around long enough to. (It is suspicious, though, how they were able to evolve faster than possible while their planet was isolated by a warp storm.)
* '''[[CrapsackWorld/TabletopGames Crapsack Universe]]''': Every sentient race, including the gods, is made up of terrible people and is doomed. The 40K universe is so much of a crapsack that [[BrokeTheRatingScale a new word]], "Grimdark", was needed to explain how bleak the setting is.
* CrazyEnoughToWork: Everything the Orks do, ever.
* CreepyChild: The Apex Twins, a minor but memorable background note. Think the girls from ''Film/TheShining'', except ''[[PersonOfMassDestruction omnipotent and deadly]]''.
** CreepyTwins: "[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 These two girls, they make quite a pair. They both come from your worst nightmare. They will haunt your soul forever, and now when you see pink you're gonna think, 'we're doomed'. They are agents of Satan...]]"
* CreepyMonotone: Necron Lords, and techpriests of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Servitors are independently creepy and monotonous.
* CreepySouvenir--Many warriors keep skulls of their slain enemies, some in shrines, some carried around with them.
* CrewOfOne: Played straight by the Space Marines, averted by the Imperial Guard.
* CripplingOverspecialisation: The Eldar's [[PlanetOfHats Hat]], or it's at least the hat of their Aspect Warriors. Each one dedicates themselves to a highly specialist weapon and method of warfare. For example, Howling Banshees use agility and super-sharp energy blades to cut down squads of elite, heavily armoured infantry like Space Marines and Necrons, while Swooping Hawks use a fast-firing but weak lasblaster to cut down hordes of light infantry like Ork Boyz and Imperial Guardsmen. If you're smart and use the right Aspect Warrior against their intended foe type, Aspect Warriors more often than not don't just beat but utterly {{Curb Stomp|Battle}} their opponents. However, switch the enemies around and things change; the Howling Banshees can't pump out enough attacks per round to deal with Boyz adequately, while the Swooping Hawks' lasblaster would pitifully bounce off Space Marine armour.
** Averted with the Space Marine Sternguard and the Deathwatch, who carry different types of ammunition for all different threats, and modifications for their standard issue boltgun to make it a powerful, long range sniper rifle.
** Meta-example: The Tyranids always had a gimmick of large, powerful Monstrous Creatures with high Toughness scores and multiple wounds. In come the Dark Eldar with their new codex full of mass poisoned (Toughness-ignoring) shots and weapons with the [[ChunkySalsaRule Instant Death]] rule, and...
* CriticalFailure: Hope you don't roll a 1 while carting that plasma gun around.
* CrownOfHorns: Orks often wear the very large horns of various creatures, usually to show that they've killed something bigger and meaner than themselves.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: ''Every'' way to die.
* CrystalDragonJesus: The Ecclesiarchy is a Torquemada-era Roman Catholic Church in space, with the Emperor as its god. Oddly enough, ''the Inquisitors'' are not a religious institution.
* CrystalSpiresAndTogas: Eldar and Tau only.
* {{Cthulhumanoid}}: Tyranid Lictors come with feeder tendrils by default, and they're an option for many other Tyranid units.
* {{Cult}}: Plenty serving Chaos, and plenty of others devoted to the Emperor. At least one devoted to CiaphasCain, '''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!'''
* CulturePolice: The Inquisition and Adeptus Arbites are pretty laid-back about culture, so long as planets revere the Emperor and pay tribute to the Imperium. However, if they see anything that could possibly be interpreted as a sign of Chaos, the purge will be swift and without mercy - and not all Inquisitors agree on what constitutes a sign of Chaos.
** The Tau are all about this trope, even before their grimdark revision. All Tau (and their allies) must work, fight, and live for the [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans Greater Good.]] Deviation lands you in a concentration camp. The Tau do not see it this way, though. According to the {{novelization}} of ''VideoGame/FireWarrior'', they see imprisonment-as-punishment as an (ironically) alien concept. Those who deviate from the right and just path are poor misguided people worthy of sympathy and help. If said sympathy and help involves some [[CultureClash "tough love" in a re-education facility]] then so be it.
* CurseThatCures: The whole point of worshipping Nurgle, if you are already covered in diseases and rotting flesh, you can't get old, and you won't feel pain. You also have a the patronage of the only kind [[GodIsEvil god]] in the entire [[CrapsackWorld galaxy]].
* CustomUniform: Many examples for minor characters and squad leaders, such as Imperial Guard commissars and techpriests, and Eldar warlocks.
* CutscenePowerToTheMax: The differences in power between beings are drastically diminished in the actual tabletop game compared to the fluff - don't expect those greater daemons to kill whole worlds or the space marines to be a OneManArmy... or those lasguns to punch through concrete.
** Lampshaded by a White Dwarf article that supplied rules for "Movie Marines", depictions of Space Marines based on the how they might appear in an in-universe war film. Basically turns every Marine into a Hive Tyrant and every Bolter into an Assault Cannon, and they're about 100 points each.
** In the ''SpaceWolf'' novels, Ragnar and co. fight off what we can estimate to be 40 odd genestealers [[TooDumbToLive in close combat]]. In-game, that many Genestealers spell a one way ticket to rending claw ''buttrape'' for anything short of a super heavy tank.
** Among many 40K fans who are used to discussions of a big fight involving everyone in the universe, their response to the discussions [[DependingOnTheWriter is that the inconsistent portrayal of the factions, aside from usually favouring the protagonists, makes it impossible to really guess.]]
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: Servitors, and most Adeptus Mechanicus magi. Possibly literal in the case of certain Necrons.
** Also Chaos Marines interred inside Dreadnaughts tend to go...a little mad.
** Possibly literally in the case of the Adeptus Mechanicus. If the Void Dragon is beneath Mars, then it slowly eats the souls of those who replace their bodies with cybernetics. More cybernetics means more of the soul eaten.
** The ''Obliterator Virus'' transforms Chaos Marines into a horrific amalgamation of metal and guns fused together with flesh and bone. Insanity is just the cherry on top.
** If you're a vehicle pilot and you become a traitor, you'll suffer the horrific fate of being absorbed and permanently bound to your ride ''for all eternity''. A pretty good example of this is to look at what happened to the Traitor Titan Pilots.
* CyberPunk: Many hive worlds tend towards this. The GaidenGame ''TabletopGame/{{Necromunda}}'' is a good example of the aesthetic.
* {{Cyborg}}: While there are "realistic" bionics, senior Mechanicus adepts often approach full-body conversion in their attempts to remove every trace of "weak flesh". Also Cyborks, Orks who suffered from particularly grievous injury or a particularly enthusiastic Painboy, and acquired lots of bionik bitz as a result.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:D]]
* DanceBattler: Eldar Harlequins. The Masque.
* DarkActionGirl: Lelith Hesperax and [[ShoutOut Kruellagh]] [[Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians the Vile]].
* DarkerAndEdgier with respect to the regular TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}, which was fairly grim to begin with.
** It uses this {{egregious}}ly, one might say.
* DarkIsEvil: The Dark Eldar and The Black Legion.
* DarkMessiah: Horus. A lot of Word Bearers seem to have delusions of this, too. The Emperor of Mankind was [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation either]] this or a straight MessianicArchetype whose plans were subverted by the power-seekers and paranoids who took them up after he was forced to become one with the furniture.
* TheDarkSide: Somewhat predictably, the setting takes this trope and hurls it off the deep end in the form of Chaos. The result? There's no Light Side - only a sort of Gray Side, and the actual Dark Side is sentient, extremely intelligent, masterfully manipulative, very powerful, and occasionally takes matters into its own hands when mortal pawns aren't getting the job done.
* DataPad: Whether Guard officers use "dataslates" or quills and parchment seems to depend on the writer.
** Given the faded and forgotten supertech that underpins much of the Imperium, it's entirely possible that the (items that look like) quills and parchment are the ''more'' advanced option, again depending on the writer.
* DaysOfFuturePast: Feudal or Oligarchal planetary government is the order of the day in most of the Imperium.
* DeadlyDoctor: Mad Doks and Apothecaries are fully qualified and lethal combatants with their medical equipment.
** Taken to extremes with the Terminator and Ravenwing Apothecaries of the Dark Angels. The former can take a missile launcher, Lightning Claws, or a Thunder Hammer. The latter is mounted on a bike with Flamethrower or Plasma Gun options.
*** Most Apothecaries do not display their role prominently, and thus they rather represent CombatMedic trope brought to its logical conclusion.
** The most iconic example would be Fabius Bile, a Chaos Space Marine Apothecary.
* DeadManSwitch: The facilities imprisoning a planet's psykers before they can be carted off to Terra usually have one. In case of any trouble, all held psykers are instantly gassed. Considering how much trouble "any trouble" can evolve to when you deal with several hundreds of untrained and unsanctioned psykers, this can be considered a wise precaution...
* DealWithTheDevil: Many people seek the patronage of the Chaos Gods willingly, as the Gods are known to empower their followers. Khorne gives you immense strength and insurmountable martial prowess, Tzeentch gives you sorcery and heightened intellect, Slaanesh can make your charisma and senses better, and Nurgle can improve your lifespan and make you much tougher. Most usually, the person making the deal with the deity is the one who gets screwed over: Khorne's followers become [[TheBerserker mindless killers]]; Tzeentch's followers become power-mad, paranoid, and trapped in their own scheming, or they are betrayed by their own patron as part of His own GambitRoulette, or they get [[BodyHorror too many mutations]]; Nurgle's followers often become either mindless zombies or festering, putrid husks of men; Slaanesh's followers usually become addicted to sensation, and frequently descend into rape, torture and self-mutilation. Rarely though, someone ''can'' benefit greatly from these deals, but being Gods of ''Chaos'', they are incredibly fickle; they are just as likely to notice and reward a bored nobleman dabbling in the worship secretly as they are to reward a mighty and reputable warrior who has spent decades fighting in their patron's name.
* DeathFromAbove: Jump infantry of every shape and size (half a ton of armoured super soldier approaching your face at terminal velocity, anyone?), Space Marine [[DropPod Drop Pods]], Tyranid mycetic spores, Tau Mantas, and Ork roks.
** Also, Exterminatus!
* DeathGlare: Common in the artwork.
** Some people can do this literally. Ollanius Pius, a guardsman during the Horus Heresy, came upon the duel between Horus and the Emperor and [[YouShallNotPass stood in front of Horus in an attempt to save the Emperor]]. When Horus looked at him, he was turned ''inside out''.
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: General Imperial Guard tactics - point enough "flashlights" at something and it should go down. Eldar shuriken and splinter weapons are a more literal example.
* DeathOrGloryAttack: The TropeNamer.
* DeathRay: Rays which ''cause'' death, rays which ''fire'' death, rays which ''eat'' death, and rays which are fired ''[[GrimReaper by Death]]''.
* DeathSeeker: The Dreadnoughts of the Imperium are mortally wounded Space Marines kept on life support inside giant walkers. Referred to as "dead," they are typically honored to keep serving the Emperor. Chaos Dreadnoughts, on the other hand, feel trapped inside their walking tombs--the majority of them are incurably insane (even by Chaos standards), and prone to tearing friend and foe alike to pieces. The Defiler tank was actually created to fill the role that Dreadnoughts become too unstable to hold down once tainted.
** Another example would be the Sisters of Battle's Penitent Engines, used only on people who have committed awful crimes. You're strapped in and forced to look at images of your crimes 24/7. When the battle comes, you're told that death in battle will absolve you. Of course, they're also given 2 Heavy Flamers and a pair of Dreadnought Close Combat weapons, so they can also repent by killing everything in their paths.
** In a horrifyingly perverted sense, Lucius the Eternal. Being a worshipper of Slaanesh, Lucius sees death as just another experience, especially when he's bested by a greater swordsman. What's different from other death seekers is that Lucius's death is not permanent, ''and he knows this''. Whoever kills him ends up horribly mutating into him, a fact to which he takes great delight in.
* DeathWorld: This is the official term used by the Imperium to designate {{Single Biome Planet}}s of this description. They're [[CrapsackWorld depressingly common]], but any native populations are automatically prime recruiting stock for the Imperial Guard or Space Marines - indeed, several such planets were colonized specifically to provide badass soldiers for the Imperium's armies. ''RogueTrader'' characters who hail from a Death World get some serious stat bonuses, because even the biggest wimp from that planet still survived to adulthood on a world seemingly crafted to kill them. Some examples are:
** Catachan, a [[HungryJungle jungle world]] where nearly every animal there is said to be a carnivore, [[ManEatingPlant and so are the plants]], the majority of the microbes, fungi, and viruses. Wildlife includes the Catachan Barking Toad, a "jumpy" critter that detonates into a cloud of toxins that kills everything within a kilometer radius if you startle it, and the Catachan Devil, a cross between a scorpion and centipede the size of a train, and is thought to be related to the [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Tyranids]]. Also note the needle-shooting plants that [[BodyHorror turn any of their victims into more such plants]]. Every settlement fights a daily battle to keep its structures from being reclaimed by the vegetation, feral [[OurOrcsAreDifferent orks]] breed in the deepest parts of the jungle, and on top of everything else the planet's gravity is slightly higher than normal. Living past the age of ten on such a planet is considered an achievement akin to graduating from boot camp, making the Catachan Jungle Fighters legendary among the regiments of the Imperial Guard.
** Fenris, a world that is exclusively GrimUpNorth. Its elliptical orbit takes twice as long as Terran standard and means that its long winters freeze almost the entire planet, while its summers bring lava flows and tidal waves as the world passes close to its sun. The land is constantly changing, making permanent settlement impossible, and its resources are so meager that its population must war amongst itself to survive. Other claims to fame include kraken, dragons, and wolves the size of tanks. The [[SpaceWolf Space Wolves]] wouldn't have their homeworld any other way.
** The Blood Angels hail from Baal, an irradiated, mutant-infested, post-apocalyptic hellhole. They seek out similar worlds for training and recruitment purposes, such as an asteroid field orbiting a black hole where quakes can send mountains falling into the void, all sorts of evil nightmares lurk about, and it's a thousand miles to the nearest neighboring asteroid. This make the recruits' transformations into [[{{Bishonen}} the most angelic]] of Space Marines all the more miraculous, and may help explain the chapter's preference for shock assaults.
** The Salamanders' homeworld is the binary planet of Nocturne, a rugged place of volcanoes, ash deserts and earthquakes, as well as fire-breathing reptiles the Space Marines take their name from. Every fifteen years the Time of Trials begins as Nocturne's moon Prometheus swings close, putting the already high seismic activity on overdrive, threatening every settlement save for the seven Sanctuary Cities. Afterward the planet is gripped by a long and bitter winter that covers the world in a frozen tundra, the only solace being the fresh veins of mineral wealth exposed by the cataclysmic upheaval. There is a reason the Salamanders fight more to preserve life than kill enemies: they know how precious it is.
** [[Literature/HorusHeresy The world of Urisarach]] was a storm-wracked planet covered in dense, hair-like forests, home to a nigh-extinct race of [[GiantSpider huge, armored arachnids]] dumped there because the monsters were just that unpleasant. It earned its nickname after a failed incursion that nearly wiped out an entire expeditionary fleet of Space Marines: "[[PunctuatedForEmphasis This. World. Is. ]]''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis Murder]]''."
* DecapitationPresentation: Happens a lot.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: The Emperor and some of his Primarchs.
** Horribly subverted, of course, when about half of them decide that they're not so friendly after all.
* DefectorFromDecadence:
** The Craftworld Eldar and Exodites, before the Fall of the Eldar. Turned out they were right...
** Also, [[Literature/SoulDrinkers in their novels]], the Soul Drinkers Space Marine chapter. Except the Decadence is the [[DesignatedHero Imperium]]. After a GambitPileup gone badly wrong, they decided that the {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s, CorruptChurch, and ignorant, terrified populace couldn't possibly be what the Emperor wanted.
* DeflectorShields: Starting with personal infantry shields or shield drones and reaching up to Void Shields that defend Titans and starships.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: For the record, no, Games Workshop is not trying to condone the extreme dystopian CrapsackWorld of the 41st millennium as a desirable place to live.
* DemBones: Servo-skulls and Necrons.
* DemonSlaying: The Ordo Malleus specializes in hunting Daemons. In fact, their army used to be called the Daemonhunters.
* DemonicPossession: Even the ''tanks'' can get possessed.
** Note, however, of the main sentient races, only humans are frequently possessed. Necrons have no souls to possess, what ever little souls Tau have is to little for demons to attach to, Tyranid hive fleets have such huge psychic signature that anything lower than a Demon prince would be destroyed just going near them, Orks are too stupid, the Eldar can avert it through strict disipline, and Dark Eldar torture a person a day to keep the demons away.
* DependingOnTheWriter: In a fictional universe this big, it can't really be helped, but there are tonnes and tonnes of factors that vary wildly depending on who's writing them.
** The most notable is the Orks' ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve AchievementsInIgnorance - some writers have this being an irresistible force of nature, to the point where the Orks can fly spaceships with no fuel if they don't realize there is no fuel, whilst others go for the more moderate interpretation that Orks can fashion functioning technologies because they think they and thus their Gods work through them, and only take this factor as far as Red Wunz Goin' Fasta. Another notable one is the Imperium's stance on technological innovation - some writers say that any and all innovation is a burnable offence whilst others say that mixing and matching existing parts is acceptable provided one doesn't create new components from scratch.
** This is a frequent response to internet discussions of the "who will win" within 40K. The winner will be the protagonists of the story, regardless of the connotations of their faction.
** Official GW policy is that beyond the broad strokes each author gets to choose what counts as canon. "All of it is real, and none of it is real."
* DepletedPhlebotinumShells: Holy hammers, holy bullets, holy stakes, holy artillery rounds, holy flamethrowers, [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail holy hand grenades of Antioch]]....
* DerelictGraveyard: Space Hulks.
* DerivativeDifferentiation: It used to just be ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' [[RecycledInSpace with space ships]] before adding its own mythos and creatures.
* {{Determinator}}: The Necrons and Tyranids are entire races of [[ImplacableMan Implacable]] Determinators, but insanely determined people crop up everywhere in this universe.
** Non-race-specific example is any unit that has the "Rage" special rule, which force them to go after the closest visible enemy when they move, run, or charge, or the "Feel No Pain" special rule, which lets them keep going despite horrific injury.
** One of the more extreme examples is Black Templars, who are the only army that [[AttackAttackAttack move ''towards'' the enemy when their men die.]] On top of this, they are literally fearless in close combat - a lone Neophyte (a warrior ''novice'') who has just seen the rest of his squad die will stay in the fight against a monster three times his size, which just happens to have huge claws, acidic blood, head-bursting psychic powers and Emperor knows what else.
** This is also true of Sisters Repentia in a Sisters of Battle army. Their zeal and will to repent is represented in their special rules, which attempt to ensure that they will always rush towards the enemy during their movement phase, and will always charge the enemy ''if they ever fail a Morale check in combat''. Adding in a Priest only [[strike:exacerbates the situation]] improves their chances of doing so.
** On the Chaos side, the Khorne berserkers voluntarily undergo a partial lobotomisation that make them singlemindedly bloodthirsty and removes their inclination towards self-preservation. This means that they rush into melee brandishing chainsaw axes and are completely immune to morale effects.
** Another notable example would be Commissar Sebastian Yarrick. Despite losing his left eye and his right arm, as well as being an old, old man by the time of his main exploits, Yarrick managed to inspire terror and respect in the Orks by his uncanny ability to fight in the thick of it no matter the odds (and the pain). When his right arm got chopped off he simply beheaded the offending Ork Warboss and kept on fighting, only "allowing himself the luxury of passing out" after the long battle was won. This has granted him the dubious honour of being [=WH40K=] fandom's answer to Chuck Norris, [[Series/TwentyFour Jack Bauer]] and meme-makers know who else.
** Played with by the Tau, who are physically unable to disobey their Ethereal caste leaders. If an Ethereal tells another Tau to do something, they automatically become the Determinator. If all nearby Ethereals are killed in battle, they tend to react... [[HeroicBSOD poorly]].
** Not only are the Orks determinators individually, they're determinators as a race. They reproduce by giving off spores that grow into orkoids (orks, gretchin, snotlings or squigs) in the ground. Orks come out of their pods fully formed and ready to [[AxCrazy fight anything they can find]]; since the more an Ork fights, the more spores he gives off, once you have Orks on a planet you will '''always''' have Orks on that planet.
** The Blood Angels Space Marines suffer from [[CursedWithAwesome the Flaw]], which turns them from noble warriors into [[AxCrazy blood-crazed, vampiric madmen]]. To date, only Mephiston, their Chief Librarian, has succumbed to the Black Rage, the final stage of the Flaw, and been able to return to sanity. He does it by sheer willpower.
* DespairEventHorizon: Units can rout, such as from failing a 'morale check' from casualties.
* DetectEvil: Psykers can sense the presence of Chaos. Chaos itself is supposed to have a smell somewhere between rotten flesh and sugar.
* DeusEstMachina: Taken literally by the Omnissiah, and almost literally by the Void Dragon. Then there's the part where they might be the same being...
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Daemons, C'tan, and other {{Eldritch Abomination}}s ''can'' be defeated, if only by [[DeathInAllDirections throwing absolutely everything at them]] - but destroying the physical form of a daemon only banishes it back to the warp for a while, and the C'tan merely need to fashion new necrodermis bodies.
** They're not always that hard to kill. An [[BadassNormal ordinary human]] took down one armed with nothing but a melta and a chainsword, while backed up by a squad of marines. Admittedly this was out of the ordinary, in a firmly tongue-in-cheek take on the universe, by a character who was both BornLucky and a BadassNormal. Said ordinary human's aide also just so happened to be a blank, whose very presence is harmful to daemons.
** In another amusing take on the rules, it is well possible that an entire retinue of an Inquisitor, whose job is banishing daemons, is unsuccessful, but a little girl with a kitchen knife can defeat a Daemon Prince(ss) without so much as a scratch (remember a Daemon Prince(ss) is a Chaos Warrior who proved so awesome and beneficial to her/his patron deity (s)he was granted demi-godhood).
* DieselPunk: Everything runs on magic gasoline called "promethium". Admit it, 40k is just diesel punk with spaceships and [[EldritchAbomination Eldritch Abominations]].
** Well, ''nearly'' everything. It's been said in fluff that the Leman Russ uses a multifuel combustion engine which can be adapted to run on almost anything that burns, so you could potentially have a [[SteamPunk coal-powered Leman Russ]].
* DisneyOwnsThisTrope: Games Workshop released an expansion called ''Space Marine'' to the original ''Adeptus Titanicus'' game (the scale now called ''Epic''). Come the re-release, the ''entire game system'' ended up being released under the ''Space Marine'' name, with Games Workshop picking up a Registered Trademark for "Space Marine." Figures for ''Aliens'' will acknowledge this trademark on their packaging if you look, despite that ''Aliens'' came out the year before the original ''Rogue Trader'' book.
** Similarly, the manual for VideoGame/DungeonKeeper 2 lists "Dark Angel" as being registered under GW.
* DissonantSerenity: Eldar, mostly, though some of the more beatific Living Saints of the Imperium can manage to pull this off.
* TheDitz: Ogryn. Nork Deddog is considered to be a genius by Ogryn standards, in that he can sign his own name and count to four; even after receiving neural enhancement surgery, the very brightest of Ogryn only have the mental capacity of an eight year-old. Even the Orks look clever by comparison.
* DividedWeFall: Common among the Imperial armed forces, governments, the Inquisition, etc., much to the Imperium's detriment.
* DivineConflict: The GodEmperor of Mankind is locked in endless warfare with the four Chaos Gods. The Chaos Gods are also at war with each other, and in Tzeentch's case [[MindScrew with himself]]. The same conflict takes place in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'', minus the GodEmperor part.
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Several Dark Eldar as of the new codex, including Lelith Hesperax, Urien Rakarth, the Mandrakes, and a few of the Hellions and Scourges.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Tyranid wargear. Do ''not'' examine [[{{Squick}} the biology behind it]] too closely.
** A non-sexual example of this trope: The Imperium, encouraged by the official state religion, the Ministorum, hates, fears, and persecutes psykers, even though the Imperium could not function at all without them, and even though the entire Imperium, under that same state religion, worships a psyker.
** The Tactica Imperium is the most widespread manual of the Imperial Guard, with various compilations distributed all around the Imperium. Having started as a standardized work for the Emperor's vast forces raised in the Great Crusade, innumerable officers added their own thoughts to create countless more and more different versions including the mindsets and experiences of many different writers; making the entirety of the Tactica Imperium texts vast, potentially contradictory and variably interpreted. Basically, the Tactica Imperium is what religious canon would be like if the religion was a ChurchMilitant ruling an empire across the galaxy.
* TheDogBitesBack: According to the new codex, the Necrons have gotten sick of the Ctan's bull and [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu have successfully rebelled against them]].
* DoNotGoGentle: The Eldar and Imperium are entire ''races'' in the middle of this.
* DoomsdayDevice: Lots, in every form imaginable, from sucking planets into Hell to simply breaking them apart from the inside out.
* DownerEnding: There is no way it can end any other way, no matter who wins.
* DreamLand: The Warp.
* TheDreaded: The Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition are the epitome of this trope, even outside the Imperium. One does not want to be on their bad side. In ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', one especially irritating Imperial aristocrat, who has belittled and actually physically assaulted ''Space Marines'' when they attempt a FlashBadgeHijack of her skycar, breaks down in terror and runs away when a servo-skull shows her even the Inquisition's sigil.
* DropTheHammer: Partly ''named'' after this trope. Thunder hammers, a gigantic hammer with a tank-splitting energy release, are a favourite of Space Marine Terminators and the Ordo Malleus...which translates to "Order of the Hammer."
* [[DroppedABridgeOnHim Dropped a Swarm of Alien Locusts on Them]]: The [[OldShame Squats]].
* DropPod: The most common way for Space Marines to enter combat.
* DropShip: Many, the best known being Space Marine Thunderhawk Gunships.
* DualWielding: Done with swords, axes, chainsaw swords, chainsaw axes, giant hammers and enormous bladed claws that shoot lightning; a combination of this and GunsAkimbo, [[SwordAndGun with a pistol in one hand and a blade in the other]], is used by virtually all close combat troops in the setting.
** Taken to the next step by Eldar Striking Scorpions, who have a [[ChainsawGood chainsword]] in one hand, pistol in the other, and mind-activated gun mounted on their helmet. Half a step to the left are the classic Dark Eldar Incubi, who trade the chainsword and pistol for a double-handed glaive, but keep the head-gun. (Modern Incubi do away with all forms of dual wielding whatsoever in favor of [[{{BFS}} a single, massive two-handed sword]].)
* DuelToTheDeath: Common in the Imperium and Dark Eldar; ''extremely'' common, if informal, among the Orks.
* DueToTheDead: Orks and Chaos forces regularly mutilate the bodies of dead foes, possibly to stick some heads on something pointy. Not that respect for the dead is exactly common...
** The Orks actually consider being turned into a trophy a DueToTheDead for foes worthy of it. Very ValuesDissonance.
** As Orks reproduce via spores and constantly release them, and release a bunch when they die, Imperium forces regularly use flamers to burn their corpses, [[KillItWithFire if not directly employ them in battle against them]].
* DugTooDeep: How one usually finds out that they're on a Necron Tomb World.
* DumbIsGood: The Imperium '''LIVES''' by this.
** More IgnoranceIsBliss. People who enforce this trope in-universe (High Lords of Terra, Inquisition etc.) are all but dumb.
* DungeonPunk: The Eldar have sometimes been described as a PostCyberPunk styled take on DungeonPunk. For an outsider their technology is inherently magical (and contains no metal sans very very minor exceptions) and is highly linked to their PsychicPowers. At the same time they are in a heavily cynical setting and always on the verge of destruction but can prevail due to their technology and magic. Plus they are majorly racist and supremacist.
* DuringTheWar: Though sometimes it feels more like AfterTheEnd.
* DyingAsYourself
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: Really, the best you can hope for.
* DyingRace: The Craftworld Eldar.
* {{Dystopia}}: It really, really doesn't get any worse.
** Although, according to the progression of the canon in the rulebooks, it is getting worse. MUCH worse.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:E]]
* EasyLogistics: Averted in the novel ''Helsreach'', which takes place during the Third War of Armageddon. It takes three whole pages for the POV character, Grimaldus the Black Templar, to go over everything that's talked about for the nine days before the war starts. He even abridges it; going over the Imperial Guard numbers for the city alone takes ''two whole days.''
* [[EarthIsTheCentreOfTheUniverse Earth Is The Centre Of The Imperium]]: Played with. Earth (aka "Holy Terra") is the undisputed capital of the Imperium of Mankind and site of both the all-powerful government that runs it and the psychic beacon known as the Astronomican, which is absolutely necessary for humanity's faster-than-light travel to work reliably. It is however always displayed on the left side of any galactic-scale map, so the majority of the galaxy is counted as "east" of the solar system.
** Averted for most of the non-human races, for whom Earth is just the place those PunyEarthlings call "home", but played oddly straight for the Tyranids. That Astronomican we mentioned? That humans use as their faster-than-light beacon? The Tyranids can see it too. And they want to ''eat'' it.
* EarthShatteringKaboom: Just about every large Imperial vessel is equipped for Exterminatus, the cleansing of an entire planet, which is often employed at the mere ''suspicion'' of heresy. Then there are the Eldar [[ForgottenSuperweapon Akliamor]], the Planet Killer, the [[ArtifactOfDoom Blackstone Fortresses]]...
* [[EarthThatUsedToBeBetter Earth That Used To Be Much, Much Better]]
* EasyRoadToHell: For the Eldar, simply ''existing'' is enough to get Slaanesh to consume their souls.
* EldritchAbomination: The four Chaos Gods.
* EliteArmy: The SuperSoldier SpaceMarines.
* EliteMooks: Elite choices for armies. Some elite choices are powerful warriors with specialized equipment, and others are basically better versions of Troop choices, and they consequently fit the spirit of this trope better. Space Marines have Veterans, Imperial Guard have Stormtroopers, Orks have Nobz, Eldar have Dire Avengers [[note]]Okay, okay, they're a Troop choice, but they're functionally standard Guardians with better shuriken catapults and tougher armour[[/note]], Dark Eldar have Trueborn, all Chaos Daemons all have elite variants, the list can go on. Fits lore, too: Space Marines are viewed as this compared to the other Imperial forces, the Imperial Guard and PDF, who do the bulk of the fighting... [[RedshirtArmy and dying]].
* EmbarrassingTattoo: Oddly enough, by Lukas Bastonne. A very-decorated sergeant of the Cadian Shock Troops with [[PhotographicMemory eidetic memory]], [[BlessedWithSuck who is incapable of forgetting the soldiers who have died under his command]]. The narration of his background describes him as having tattooed his body with the names of all the said soldiers as a momument to them even if his impressive memory ever fails him, and descibes it greatly in a way that implies it true, but prior to that states it's a rumor and mentions his high-collared and tightly-pressed uniform, which would certainly be hiding it well if it were true.
* EmotionEater: C'tan, Dark Eldar, a lot of Chaos things.
* EmpathicWeapon: Imperial Titans, Eldar witchblades. Chaos daemon weapons are more ArtifactOfDoom. Imperial troops treat ''all'' weapons as empathic, respecting the "machine spirits."
* EmperorScientist: The Emperor, appropriately enough.
* TheEmpire: ''The "good" guys.''
* EmpireWithADarkSecret: The Tau Empire has a few skeletons in its closet. The Imperium of Mankind has entire ''mausoleums''. To go further, since they inadvertently created ''an entire Chaos god'', one of the most terrifying forces in the Galaxy (and in this case, the {{Squick}}iest of the four), you could say the Eldar have an entire ''necropolis''. The other sides also have dark histories; they're just more honest about them.
** Incidentally the same with the Necrons. Considering they gave birth to nearly a whole legion of god-like beings that are nothing but pure narcissistic malice, and lost their free will and souls to said beings, it could be said they have entire Tomb Worlds of skeletons (Pun intended). Probably only kept a secret due to the fact that they can't talk.
*** Games Workshop have {{retcon}}ned quite a bit of Necron history with the fifth edition Codex; now, instead of being puppets of the C'tan, the Necrons ended up [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu blowing said beings into thousands of itty-bitty shards]]... AFTER using their help to defeat another, even more powerful foe, and attain immortality. With the C'tans no longer being the driving force, Necrons now only want their universe-spanning empire back. Or in one case, only want artefacts for a museum.
** Almost each of the Space Marine chapters have at least enough secrets to fill a tomb or two. Special mention goes to the Dark Angels, who are more than willing to kill members of the Inquisition to hide their secret (which is similar to killing a judge at your own trial) and are so secretive about it within their own Chapter that it would make [[ChurchOfHappyology Happyology]] seem like an open book.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: This age of mankind has been dubbed ''The Time Of Ending'', since it is believed that humanity will either be extinguished, or it will evolve into a brand new species.
* EnemyCivilWar: Ongoing between various factions of Chaos, the Imperium, Tyranids, and Dark Eldar since the beginning, and still no end in sight. Literally a way of life for the Orks.
** Possibly subverted by the Tyranids, as they waste no ammo (they eat it back up), and the winning swarm acquires any useful genes the losing swarm picked up, thereby strenghtening the race as a whole.
* EnemyMine: Very, very occasionally, two factions will work together to destroy a common enemy, and may even give each other a few minutes to run when it's all over. Again, a way of life for the Orks; the only thing that can put a stop to Orkish infighting is another, more enjoyable enemy to stomp.
** Eldar Harlequins will frequently aid anyone who is fighting against Chaos; regardless of whatever other conflicts exist.
** In 6th Edition, the basis of the Allies rule is this; while certain factions (such as the various space marines) are on good terms with eachother, there are allies that you can take, but are noted to only occur under really teeth-clenching situations, usually because whoever they're fighting is even a bigger threat. [[ArchEnemy Then there are ones which ]][[EvenEvilHasStandards can never be allies]].
* EnergyWeapon: From the humble lasgun to the odd WaveMotionGun, 40k has energy weapons of every size.
* EnthusiasmVersusStoicism
* EqualOpportunityEvil: Chaos accepts/corrupts everyone, regardless of species, though the main races are, in general, conveniently resistant or immune - Eldar know how to resist, Tau have next to no warp presence, and Orks and Tyranids have huge psychic strength and are too devoted to a single purpose (WAAAGH/OM NOM NOM, respectively) to be easily corrupted. The Necrons appear to have contractual immunity, considering Chaos comes from the Warp and the Warp is anathema to them.
** Although Chaos Orks do appear, particularly stormboy kultz.
*** The difficulty with corrupted Orks (and, to a lesser extent, Tyranids) is that it's very difficult to tell the corrupted from the non-corrupted. They'll both try to kill you with abandon.
** Ironically, one of the few positives of the grim darkness of the far future is that traditional forms of discrimination, such as racism of the [[FantasticRacism non-fantastic kind]] and sexism, are almost non-existent. As long as you are human, or at least ''[[HumanSubspecies human enough]]'', you will be treated equally. [[{{Dystopia}} Equally poorly]].
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: The stories and legends about the Primarchs, semi-mythical figureheads of the SpaceMarine legions, and the Emperor nearly all involve some establishing moment from the Primarchs first actions after being ''born'' (normally slaughtering hordes of aliens) to the first meetings between the Emperor and the Primarchs which will say something important about how they saw him or why they betrayed him.
* EternalEngine: Adeptus Mechanicus Forge Worlds are described as being planets covered in these. Or as planets that ''are'' these.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Everyone calls him...the Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind.
* EverythingIsBetterWithMonkeys: The Jokaero.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: Non-video game example: the setting in general, life on a Death World in particular.
* TheEvilArmy: The forces of Chaos, the Dark Eldar, and the armies of the Imperium on a bad day (or under a bad leader).
* EvilCounterpart: Chaos Space Marines to Space Marines, Lost And The Damned to Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar to Craftworld Eldar, although the latter only appears that way from the outside. Some Craftworld Eldar see their Dark brethren as not so much "evil twin", as just a {{Jerkass}} sibling. The "Great Work" of the Harlequins is to reunite the two factions; not necessarily through any major change either factions' lifestyles.
** The Chaos Gods could be seen this way too; Slaanesh as a corruption of Love or Happiness, Khorne as a corruption of Bravery or Glory, Tzeentch as a corruption of Hope or Wisdom, and Nurgle as a corruption of Acceptance or Friendship.
** The Imperium of Man who wants to destroy all Xenos and the Tau Empire who wish to convert everyone to "The Greater Good" whether they like to or not.
* EvilFeelsGood: Renegade Marines.
** This is pretty much Slaanesh's thing.
* EvilIsNotAToy: Chaos, the C'tan.
* EvilIsVisceral
** Chaos — Many creatures of chaos have long prehensile tongues and various other features covered by subtropes.
*** Nurgle — The Great Unclean Ones have exposed organs, use their intestines as weapons, use vomit and pus as ranged weapons, etc.
*** Slaanesh — Daemonettes have big crab claws in place of one of their hands, and are rumored to have a nasty surprise instead of normal genitals. Keepers of Secrets are a mix of many different body parts, including breasts.
** Tyranids — ''Everything''.
* EvilOverlord: Every Chaos Lord, Dark Eldar Archon and Ork warboss, and about half of the Imperium's governors.
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: The tower on the Thousand Sons' adopted homeworld, Adeptus Arbites citadels, Space Marine Fortress-Monasteries, Inquisition strongholds etc.
* EvilVersusEvil: Try and find any ''other'' conflict in [[BlackAndGrayMorality this universe]].
** Maybe if we went further back in time, we could find some genuine objectively good guys. Probably before Horus's treachery, though.
* EvilerThanThou: An ongoing contest between all the factions.
* EvolutionaryLevels: Referenced as humanity evolving into a new, psychic species. Which makes ''very'' [[YouFailBiologyForever little sense]], since 1: Daemons eat psykers, and 2: the Imperium kills psykers. Evolutionarily speaking, the "psyker species" should die out before it is even born. Possibly justified by the [[AWizardDidIt will of the Emperor]].
** It probably means that humanity is evolving into a new breed of psyker that starts kicking Daemon ass for point 1. Point 2 is for the shitty prototypes, so to speak, and they don't kill the loyal chaos resistant ones.
*** Except that they don't really breed them either. The majority of psykers either die or are killed before the Inquisition ever gets to them. Then the Inquisition kills most of the remainder. Then the good ones get to breed and the great ones (the ones who theoretically would be the chaos resistant breed stock), are killed to keep the beacon up and running or sent off to one of the Assassin Cults or Space Marines (both options involve forced sterilization). The ones that live long enough to potentially breed are either ones that go over to Chaos, or the mediocre loyal ones.
** 40k also has an aversion which is completely ignored in the fluff. Humans have, by the 40th century, evolved around several divergent paths. Astropaths (at least originally), Ogryns, Ratlings, Beastmen and Squats are (or were for the latter two) distinct species that were offshoots of Homo Sapiens adapted to different environments and specializations. Mutants were (along with all the other examples) listed as a sub-species, but the concept of a species entirely made of mutants [[YouFailBiologyForever doesn't really work scientifically.]]
* ExcessiveSteamSyndrome: Stanley Steamer Spaceships and Stanley Steamer ''tanks''.
** It should be noted that the primary STC tank of the Imperium is of extremely basic design, so much so that the things can be adapted to run on ''wood'' with minimal adjustments. Steam is a ''relatively'' popular form of power in many tanks, especially considering the availabilities of particular fuel types can vary wildly in an empire that's lost count of how many planets it contains.
* ExoticWeaponSupremacy
* ExpansionPackWorld: Suddenly, the Tau Empire!
* ExplosiveLeash: Used on Imperial Penal Legion troopers to keep them killing the enemies of the Emperor and not their fellow Imperials or each other.
* {{Expy}}: Lord Solar Macharius is absolutely AlexanderTheGreat in space.
** "[[Franchise/{{Rambo}} Sly Marbo]]".
** The [[AltumVidetur Navis Nobilite]] is the pretentious Latin version of the [[Literature/{{Dune}} Navigators' Guild]].
** The majority of the Imperial Guard is designed around this trope.
*** "[[RussianReversal In the Valhallan Army, it takes more courage to retreat than to advance.]]"
*** "[[TheBritishEmpire Praetorians! First rank FIRE! Second rank FIRE! Independent fire at will!]]" (The 24th Praetorian is very much an expy of the 24th Foot at Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana.)
*** Catachans are a cross between US stereotypes in Vietnam and Australians in WWII New Guinea.
** ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' for ''Sharpe'' in the beginning, though they've moved away from that and become more original. Similarly, CiaphasCain ('''HERO''' etc. etc.) for ''Flashman'', and his sidekick Jurgen for McAuslan.
*** Saint Sabbat from ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' is shown to be one for Joan of Arc.
** Necrons seem to be an army made up entirely of Franchise&{{Terminator}}s, complete with a special rule entitled [[CatchPhrase "We'll Be Back".]]
** The Arbitrators [[ComicBook/JudgeDredd are the Law!]]
*** Amusingly, this went full circle, with the ''Film/JudgeDredd'' movie featuring Judge Hunters who brazenly ripped off the Adeptus Arbites uniforms, which themselves were ripoffs of the original Judge uniforms.
** The Imperium of Man is a fairly convincing {{expy}} of the Roman Empire taken UpToEleven: the Imperial government is known as the Administratum, the Space Marines were formerly divided in to Legions, and the order to destroy a planet is known as Exterminatus.
*** It's also an expy of ''Dune'''s Galactic Empire. The Imperium even has a God-Emperor and a class of mutated transhuman hyperspace navigators.
** The [[Franchise/{{Alien}} Xenomor]]- er- Tyranids.
*** Who were then Expy'd into [[Franchise/StarCraft the Zerg]] by Blizzard Entertainment.
*** And where then expied ''back'' to ''Warhammer''. Tyranids before release of ''Franchise/StarCraft'' look very little like Zerg, while Tyranids released after ''Franchise/StarCraft''...
** Commander Farsight was a prominent leader of an Empire's military forces. He eventually led some of his brethren in a rebellion against the powerful ruling cast, whose whims most Tau serve their entire lives. [[Series/StargateSG1 He is also known as O'Shovah.]]
** Ghazghkull Thraka's early history is based on Adolf Hitler's: he was a lowly Goff (the Ork clanknown as being militaristic and serious) boy who got severely wounded and then had visions of Orks conquering the Galaxy, just as Hitler was just a German (stereotypically known as militaristic and serious) corporal in ww1, got severely wounded and... well you know the rest.
** The Second War for Armageddon shares many similarities with the German invasion of the USSR in WW2. E.g. 3 Ork clans instead of 3 German army groups; the locations of the Imperial Hives correspond to Moscow (Acheron), Leningrad (Hades - it was also the site of a brutal siege, just like its real life counterpart), Stalingrad (Tartarus), Kursk (Infernus) and Sevastopol (Helsreach); a paranoid dictator (Von Strab/Stalin) exiles his best leader (Yarrick/Zhukov) because he fears his popularity may come to rival his own etc.
* ExtremeOmnivore: Tyranids eat everything up to and including ''entire planets'', right down to the bedrock, ''including the atmosphere''.)
** Orks count, too, due to their incredibly robust physiology. Point in case, Ork Fighta-Bommas run their fuel lines through their cockpits, in case the pilot gets thirsty.
** Space Marines, due to their various enhancements, are also able to survive by eating things most people wouldn't consider food.
** The Kroot eat anything they can so near future generations will take on certain aspects. They also digest EVERYTHING they eat, to make up for the few things they don't.
* EyeBeams: Played straight with Eldar Striking Scorpions and Dark Eldar Incubi, who have lasers mounted on their helmets. Commissar Sebastian Yarrick, having had his ''eye shot out of his skull'', had it replaced with a bionic laser eye implant.
** "If the Orks believed he had the Evil Eye, then by the Emperor, an Evil Eye he would have!"
* EyepatchOfPower: Yarrick's aforementioned bionic laser eye. Prince Yriel of the Eldar also sports one.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:F]]

* TheFace: A group of Tau will often have [[FantasticCasteSystem a member of their diplomat caste]] around that can do all the talking when they have to meet with members of another species.
* FaceFullOfAlienWingWong: Genestealers.
* FacelessGoons: Most troops are either alien monsters or wear full-face helmets, but most squad leaders and superior officers ''don't'', to make them stand out more. While the idea that men in suits of PoweredArmour the size of ''tanks'' are running around with their heads completely exposed leads to some serious FridgeLogic, WordOfGod is generally that the characters ''do'' wear their helmets, but the models representing them don't to make them [[RuleOfCool more distinctive]].
** It should probably be noted that, in the case of the aforementioned PoweredArmour wearing tank-sized men, being shot in the exposed skull is generally seen as a [[MadeOfIron fairly minor inconvenience]], both in-game and in fluff terms.
** SpaceWolves will deliberately defy this trope, as in their Space Viking culture it's not enough to single-handedly take down a giant monster with nothing but your bare hands, ''someone needs to see you do it''. That, and they feel deafened while wearing the helmets, due to their heightened senses.
* TheFaceless: Eloeholth the Faceless, possible main villain of ''TabletopGame/DarkHeresy''.
* FaintingSeer: Imperial Psykers with prophetic abilities tend to go a bit...quibbly when particularly world-shattering events, like Black Crusades, Tyranid invasions, or Ork [=WAAAGH!s=] are about to happen. Naturally, since this is [=40k=], the side effects are [[YourHeadASplode sometimes more messy and permanent]] than simple fainting.
* TheFairFolk: All varieties of Eldar are, when you get down to it, ''bastards''. Though at least the Craftworld Eldar justify it by putting the survival of their own kind above that of the other races. The writers and designers of the 2010 Dark Eldar Codex explicitly wanted a "fairytale" feel for the Dark Eldar's sinister night raids and bizarre weaponry (they have a mirror that can be shattered to kill the person it is reflecting), drawing on this trope.
* FallenHero: Every Chaos Space Marine. Some (the original Traitor Legions) in a vast Chaos-inspired collective rebellion known as the Horus Heresy, ten millennia before the setting; some (Renegades) later, for various reasons. Even most of the Chaos Primarchs were once noble heroes with genuinely sympathetic backstory, and some, such as Magnus and Fulgrim, have particularly tragic reasons for their descent into damnation.
** A particularly tragic example is the Fallen Angels, a group of Dark Angel Space Marines who were tricked into siding with Chaos during the Heresy, and are mercilessly hunted and tortured by their loyalist brothers.
** Horus himself is the most prominent example at hand. An incredibly talented, charismatic and powerful leader, Horus was, essentially, tricked into rebelling by being shown a future where (so he thought) he had been forgotten (along with all the other traitor primarchs) and the Emperor was worshipped as a God. Ironically / tragically, this was in fact that future that his very rebellion would create.
** The first Eldar Striking Scorpion Phoenix Lord, Ahra, left his aspect shrine to journey through the Dark Eldar-inhabited Webway, and is HEAVILY implied to be the Dark Eldar special character Drazhar, Master of Blades. The Dark Eldar have a unit called Incubi, which are supposedly composed entirely of fallen Striking Scorpions and their descendents.
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: Really, the ''only'' way to die in this galaxy.
* FangsAreEvil: Averted with the Space Wolves and the Blood Angels. Played horrifically straight with Chaos Space Marines and the Tyranids.
* FantasticNamingConvention: The Tau Empire as a whole have a very peculiar naming convention for their citizens, using [Caste]'[Rank] [Sept they were born in] [Defining traits]. For example, ''[[VideoGame/FireWarrior Shas'la T'au Kais]]'' means "Brave Fire Caste Initiate from T'au".
* FantasticRacism: "Beware the alien, the mutant, the heretic." The Imperium of Man is rabidly and xenocidally human-centric, but considering that the Eldar view every other species as mindless pawns to be manipulated, the Tau are divided into genetically "pure" castes based on their physical specialisations, the Orks tend to "crump any o' 'dose gits what ain't Orky enuff!" - including ''other Orks'' - and everything else is trying to kill everything else, it's fairly understandable.
** More than understandable: due to the nature of the Imperial religion and the fact that the God Emporer is the only god that Chaos can't touch, becoming a close-minded, xenophobic bigot is pretty much ''the only way your soul can be saved.''
* FantasticRankSystem: The Imperial Guard have several additional ranks, such as "Lord General Militant" and "Colonel-Commissar". Non-human factions have entirely invented rank systems; see the trope page for details.
* FantasticSlurs: XENO!
** In the Imperium, "twist" is often used for mutants, though the mutants have largely reclaimed the term.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture
** Space Marines in general are based off of the famous Greek Spartans. More specifically, we have the Viking Space Wolves, the Mongol White Scars, the Roman Ultramarines as the most obvious examples. Blood Angels have some Christian iconography, particularly from the Renaissance period (in the form of immaculate angels). Dark Angels have a particularly monastic feel to them, reinforced by their Old Testament-style angelic names. The Dark Angel's Death Wing Company also has a sort of tribal feel to it, due to the history of their armor. Black Templars are likewise based off of TheKnightsTemplar and UsefulNotes/TheTeutonicKnights, which also affects their gameplay.
*** The Iron Warriors are based on the Spartans (their homeworld Olympia is described as impossibly mountainous) except they show what happens when a ProudWarriorRace goes mad.
** The Inquisition shares a lot of imagery with (surprise, surprise) the Spanish Inquisition. The Witch Hunters are also very obviously based off of the witch hunters from movies, and possibly the Salem Witch Trials.
** Imperial Guard regiments include the World War II German-inspired Steel Legion and the rather more {{Grimdark}} World War I German-inspired Death Korps of Krieg, the fur-hatted Russian Valhallans and Cossack-based Vostroyan Firstborn, the Arabic Tallarn Desert Raiders, the Vietnam War-themed Catachan Jungle Fighters, the Prussian-esque Mordians, the pith-helmeted, red-coated Praetorians, the tribal Attilan Rough Riders (just guess), and the Welsh/Scottish Tanith First-and-Only.
*** The Cadians are intended to be your standard modern/futuristic soldiers but their name is supposedly a reference to Canada's underappreciated army; their [[Creator/ScottMcNeil accents]] in ''Dawn of War'' seem to back up that theory. They are also influenced by Blitz-era Britain - Lord Castellan Ursarkar Creed is basically UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill in Space, [[CigarChomper cigar included]].
** The Orks started life as a caricature of British football hooligans.
** In the ''Dawn of War'' series, the Tau are characterised by distinctly Asian accents, which rather coincides with their Taoist philosophy and rather {{Animesque}} designs. They're also commonly seen as Space Communists for their "Greater Good" philosophy.
** The Eldar are a grab-bag of different cultures, combining Greek, Japanese, medieval European, and CommediaDellArte influences with good old-fashioned Tolkienesque elvishness. Various non-visual aspects of Eldar culture such as names and mythological themes seem reminiscent of CelticMythology.
** The Dark Eldar come across as very Greco-Roman, especially the whole "highly civilised culture filled with hedonistic degenerates" thing. Raiders that look like ancient Triremes, [[GladiatorGames Colosseum battles]], several names and terminologies reminiscent of antiquity ("Talos", "Cronos", "Incubus", "Hekatrix", "Haemonculus"), the lot. Also, they stave off an evil god that will destroy them by raiding for captives and sacrificing them in bloody rituals, in order to sate the god and drive it away, which sounds a lot like AztecMythology.
** Both the Necrons and the Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines show ancient Egyptian influence in their design.
** The Kroot have a very Aboriginal Tribal feel to them, using relatively primitive weapons and warbeasts rather than the high-tech weaponry of every other race (and it's not like it's hard for them to get the equipment either, they just simply don't want it because it's too flimsy).
* FashionableAsymmetry: Tau Fire Warriors wear an over-large, reinforced shoulder pad on their left shoulder to provide additional protection when they open fire on the enemy. Some older patterns of Space Marine power armor have a studded, reinforced shoulder pad on one side for the same reason.
* FastRoping: A tactic that was introduced in the ''Cities of Death'' expansion that allows troops to drop directly onto buildings from their skimmers. Later adopted as a standard - if dangerous - technique for exiting a Valkyrie at speed in Codex: Imperial Guard.
* FasterThanLightTravel: ''[[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace through Hell]]''.
** Unless you're the Tau. They just "''skim the surface''" of hell.
* FatalFlaw: Everyone.
* FateWorseThanDeath: "Pray they don't take you alive."
* AFatherToHisMen: Literal in the case of the Emperor to the Primarchs and the Primarchs to their respective legions during the Great Crusade. Also see the image on that page for much lulz.
** Surprisingly, Nurgle's Great Unclean Ones are described as Fathers to their Daemons. The Lord of Decay Nurgle himself even engenders a twisted affection in his followers, who refer to him as "Grandfather Nurgle".
* FearIsTheAppropriateResponse: Any unit with "fearless" will fight to the death, however, if they lose a combat, they take extra wounds.
** Recently changed in the 6th edition rules so they no longer take extra wounds, making such units excellent tar-pits for assault armies.
* TheFederation: The Tau Empire, who ironically would be the ''bad guys'' in most settings. In 40k, they're the ''idealistic'' ones.
* FeedItABomb: As of the Sixth Edition, greanades now have a seperate strength-stat that is used when fighting Monstrous Creatures; that's right, even the Mighty Carnifex, practically impervious to Strength 4 Bolters, can be taken down by a unit of humble Tactical Space Marines, all tossing a once-humble (Strength 6) Krak Grenade down it's Toughness 6 throat.....
* FeelNoPain: Necrons, Orks, Space Marines, Nurgle, Thousand Sons, the Dark Eldar if they kill enough people. Don't even ''ask'' about [[TooKinkyToTorture followers of Slaanesh]]...
** This is a special rule in the game, described as an ability to shrug off injuries and keep fighting. Models that have the rule can make an additional dice roll to attempt to negate an unsaved wound.
* FetusTerrible: The offspring of the Genestealer-subverted.
* FeudalFuture: The Imperium, Ork empires, and Saim-Hann Craftworld being the most prominent, though most interstellar organizations eventually exhibit shades of this. Justified in all cases by slow and unreliable interstellar communications and travel.
* {{Fiction 500}}: Anyone who has a "Warrant of Trade" in the Imperium is this. The poorest of these trades has to do with a single space cathedral attached to a battle ship, while the richest owns entire fleets and controls the trade of hundreds of planets.
* FinaglesLaw: Applies to everything and everyone, everywhere.
** To the point that the rogue chaos god Zuvassin is, for the most part, the AnthropomorphicPersonification of Murphy's Law; he doesn't so much as give his worshippers orders as much as just let them loose, because if he actually were to give orders, they would find some way of messing them up.
* FinalSolution: Exterminatus is a disturbingly popular problem-solving tool.
* FiveBadBand: While not working together, the five evil factions fill all of the archetypes.
** BigBad: Chaos.
** TheDragon: Tyranids.
** TheEvilGenius: Necrons.
** TheBrute: Orks.
** TheDarkChick: Dark Eldar.
* FiveRoundsRapid: In background material, trying to take down warp-spawned horrors with conventional weapons usually achieves nothing, and [[DepletedPhlebotinumShells alternative]] [[KillItWithFire methods]] must be [[WhoYouGonnaCall employed]]. Generally averted in the tabletop game; even greater daemons and star-gods ''can'' be hurt, but can take a hell of a lot of punishment.
** On the tabletop, FiveRoundsRapid is ineffective. Five ''Hundred'' Rounds Rapid, on the other hand...
** Star-gods and a few nasty T8+ creatures are utterly immune to most small-arms fire in-game, due to the rule that if a weapon's strength is 4 or more less than the toughness of the target, it can't hurt them (and the standard firearm is usually Strength 4, if not less). They also have a helluva lotta wounds to withstand anything that can hurt them.
* FlamethrowerBackfire: Ork weapons are designed with no safety features in mind, so shooting the AmmunitionBackpack is usually a good tactic.
** Crossing this trope with EveryCarIsAPinto, the Hellhound Flame Tank can suffer a catastrophic explosion even to a mild hit as a result of its flamer tanks going up.
* FlatEarthAtheist: The Tau, whose lack of warp sensitivity and general inexperience and naivety makes them doubt stories of daemons and other warp-spawned horrors.
** The HorusHeresy novels have shades of this in places too - the Emperor has promoted a society besed on atheistic secularism, so people lend absolutely no credit to stories of Chaos Gods being behind the various Bad Things that happen for the first few books. It doesn't help...
* FlayingAlive: The basic method of ColdBloodedTorture employed by various factions in the setting. They just get worse from there.
* FlechetteStorm: Eldar shuriken weapons, Dark Eldar splinter weapons, and at least one type of bolter shell all work like this.
** The Tau have an upgrade for their tanks that shoot flechette storms while using tank shock rules.
** Similarly with the Land Raider variant patterns (Crusaders and Redeemers): They have Frag Assault Launchers, which shoot a cloud of shrapnel outward from the front assault ramp, allowing those within (usually Terminators) time to close with the enemy.
* FlingALightIntoTheFuture: Make no mistake, 40k taken at face value is a horrible, depressing setting in which all of the various factions, good and bad, are going to annihilate each other leaving a dead, ruined galaxy in their wake. However, some of the most powerful and human moments in the series are when a small group of Astartes, guardsmen, or even civilians decide they absolutely ''will not give up'', and fight to the last for duty, honor, to live one more day, or even for the very survival of their species. The so called ''hero'' races of 40k often lose... and many times their hard won victories cost thousands or even billions of lives, but their refusal to give up in the face of such ludicrous odds is ''awesome''.
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: The Bell of Lost Souls is located atop one of the highest towers of the Imperial Palace, and tolls once whenever a truly great hero of the Imperium dies. It is said to be audible on the other side of the planet.
** It is hinted at in the fluff that the bell tolls for every Space Marine that died in service to the Emperor. It must be ringing nearly all day and night if that is true.
* ForScience: Guiding star of the Adeptus Mechanicus, though their definition of "scientific progress" is tracking down and recovering ancient relics. That's the only difference; the Mechanicus will go to ''any'' ends to recover even a fragment of a [=STC=] device, no matter the cost. The Logician cult from ''TabletopGame/DarkHeresy'' takes this creed even further, often with horrifying results.
* ForTheEvulz: Dark Eldar, and Orks pretty much have this as their main motivation. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation A number of the Chaos worshippers, too.]]
** The whole franchise strives to be as mindbogglingly terrifying as it can '''for no [[PrecisionFStrike f**king]] reason!'''
* ForegoneConclusion: For the story, no matter what new threat shows up and no matter how much its power is hyped it will ''never'' mean the end of the Imperium. In real life, whenever an army gets a new codex they will definitely win the battle report in the White Dwarf magazine or at least a second chance if they lose the first battle.
* ForeverWar: That should be obvious by now.
--> ''In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war!''
* ForgedByTheGods: The Chaos Gods sometimes grant their mortal or daemonic servants powerful weapons, though usually their forging is done by daemons, not the gods themselves.
** Vaul, the forge god of the forged ninety-eight swords and a variety of other Eldar gadgets.
* FourIsDeath: The four chief [[GodIsEvil Chaos Gods]], TheCorruption distilled. Massively powerful warp entities, each a reflection of one survivalist emotion as present in the collective subconscious of all sentient beings. Each has their own set of daemonic creatures and corrupted followers. Similarly, the surviving C'tan number four: [[TheChessmaster The Deceiver]], [[TheGrimReaper The Nightbringer]], [[AndIMustScream The Outsider]] and the [[DeusEstMachina Void Dragon]].)
** The Eldar are working on it. Only three of their gods Isha, the Goddess of Healing, Cegorach, the Laughing God and Khaine, the God of Murder survived the fall in any way. The Eldar's endgame is to create a fourth god, Ynnead, the god of death from their fallen. So in this case, their fourth god is quite literally death.
* FragileSpeedster: Taken to extremes by the Eldar; taken to ''ridiculous'' extremes by Dark Eldar.
* FrickinLaserBeams: Starting with lasguns.
* FriendlyEnemy: Ghazghkull Thraka, to Commissar Yarrick. The feeling is ''not'' mutual.
** Orks have a word to describe this: "Skumgrod" roughly translates to "Favourite Enemy." Or "Best Friend." This is the Ork psyche in a nutshell.
* FriendlyFireproof: AvertedTrope - weapons of the Blast variety can hit allies, and single-target ranged attacks are not allowed to target enemies engaged in a melee with allies due to the possibility of hitting their own troops.
* FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire: The Blood Angels are pretty decent people. However, don't get near them when the Black Rage takes effect as they start getting AxCrazy and literately blood thirsty when it takes effect.
* FrontlineGeneral: An actual game mechanic, as the minimum to play is two units of troops and a general / HQ unit. Depending on their stats, you either keep them the hell away from attack (see [[KeystoneArmy Tau Ethereals]]) or are horrifying death machines to be rushed into melee as soon as possible (orks, some Chaos leaders). In the fluff, however, the less insane armies keep their high command well out of harm's way.
* FullCircleRevolution: All of the Imperium's reforms and resolved civil wars since the Horus Heresy.
* FullFrontalAssault: [[{{Stripperiffic}} Sisters Repentia]], [[AxCrazy Arco-flagellants]], [[HornyDevils Slaaneshi daemons]] and [[SealedEvilInACan daemonhosts]].
* FunetikAksent: Ork language is rendered in a pidgin English that really doesn't like the "th" sound or ending words in "-er".
* FunPersonified: Orks. They're the only non-Chaos-corrupted race that really enjoys war, and see the galaxy as a big playground full of wacky hijinks. Plus, their Codexes are hilarious. Pretty much the only race TheLoonie can play and not get a DopeSlap.
* FutureImperfect: Given that the setting takes place 10,000 years AfterTheEnd, this is pretty much a given.
* FutureSpandex: Imperial Assassins wear uniforms that are quite literally sprayed on: the substance (called [=SynSkin=]) comes in large aerosol cans and provides whole-body protection from various airborne toxins and temperature variation whilst allowing the skin to breathe properly, but only if applied directly to naked flesh.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:G]]
* GaidenGame: The various {{Spinoff}}s listed in the introduction.
* GalacticConqueror: Too many to count. Some evil, some ''really'' evil.
* GalacticSuperpower: Supposedly the Imperium.
* GambitRoulette: Everything in the galaxy, as played by: Tzeentch (who rigs the game); the Deceiver (who rigs the players); the Emperor (who knows when to call in the cops); Cegorach, the Eldar Laughing God ([[{{Metaphorgotten}} who keeps wandering off the floor to visit the buffet and watch the stage show]]); Eldrad Ulthran ([[OverlyLongGag who's counting]] [[{{Metaphorgotten}} cards]]); and Castellan Creed, [[MemeticMutation who has a Warhound Titan hidden under the table]].
* GameplayAndStoryIntegration: One of the appeals of the tabletop game is that ''any'' army can be pitted against ''any'' army and still be faithful to the story and setting. [[note]]Yes, even Tyranids versus Tyranids if you try hard enough, though admittedly this is the biggest stretch[[/note]]. After all, in the [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack Universe]] the 41st millennium is, a given battle could feasibly be happening somewhere.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: No matter how absurdly powerful each faction is made out to be in the fluff, they are all brought down to some level of balance on the tabletop. Even the Space Marines, the biggest Badasses in the universe, become the JackOfAllStats infantry units.
** The Imperial Guard have an odd case of this. The novels based around the IG state that >90% of the time, they are fighting other humans (rebels, cultists, mutants, etc.) and actually have a reasonable chance of success doing so. However, when the more powerful armies are disproportionately represented on the tabletop, with Space Marines (both types) being the most popular, it's not hard to see how the Imperial Guard gets its reputation as a RedShirtArmy that loses horribly almost every time.
** The stats of the Humble Bolter and Chainsword would surprise anyone who was familiar with them, but not the game. The Bolter is described as basically a rapid firing RPG launcher, but in-game is little more than a powerful slug thrower and not all that intimidating. The Chainsword is a [[ChainsawGood a Chainsaw in sword form]], you'd expect it to have some effect on enemy armor right? Not so much. It literally has the same stats as the "[[SharpenedToASingleAtom butter knives]]" the Imperial Guard uses.
** Also ties into PowerCreepPowerSeep as, in the earlier editions, the Imperial Guard were suppose to be ''baseline'', with other races compared to them for what was "elite". This is a holdover at the time from Warhammer Fantasy, where stuff like toughness 3 and 5+ armor on a rank and file soldier would be a godsend. This is most notable with the Eldar, who are suppose to have "elite" infantry in heavy armor that can run about unhindered (represented by having 5+ armor and the fleet rule). This, of course, was completely screwed up with Space Marines being the most popular and populous army, so ''they'' became the baseline, resulting in everything in the fluff being rather skewed when compared to the tabletop.
* GangInitiationFight: Becoming a full member of the SpaceMarines includes a fight against current members, although applicants are not expected to win, they are judged on how well they do.
* GarrisonableStructures: Tabletop [=40K=] was doing this long before {{Video Game}}s did. In the case of more "open" buildings such as ruins, typically the general [[GeoEffects terrain]] and [[TakeCover cover]] rules are used, but in the case of more "closed" (as in it is hard or impossible to place models inside of them) structures, more abstract rules exist for determining how many models can fit inside, where the fire points are and how many of them there are, where the entrances and exits are, etc.
* GatlingGood: Consider the Assault Cannon, a gatling gun which can cut through light vehicles. Next, consider the Punisher Gatling Cannon, a gatling gun the size of a main tank cannon that can slaughter entire squads of light infantry at a time. Then the Vulcan Mega-Bolter, a gatling gun the size of a ''whole tank'' that can mow down armies. Now look at the Hellstorm cannon, a gatling gun the size of a ''skyscraper''. And that's just in the Imperium. Yep, 40k ''likes'' this one.
* GeneralFailure: A good number of Imperial Guard officers fit the bill.
** Abbadon the Despoiler was this until recent codices retconned the goals of his thirteen Black Crusades from "invade the Imperium" to "spill as much blood as possible".
* GeneralRipper: Imperial officers are generally this, or ColonelBadass. Sometimes both.
* GenericDoomsdayVillain: The Tyranids are the original for the this, with no established backstory, and aren't likely to get one since they've been around since the early days and still haven't gotten one, no characters with personalities, there' just HordeOfAlienLocusts that devours everything they see with no goal given. GW then decided to have another with Necrons, who while having a scary backstory, they were ultimately just another faction bent on killing everything in a game that already had one, led by JerkassGods that were kinda rehash of the Chaos Gods as far personalities went. Since their recton they've become more interesting, but the tyranids are unlikely to ever change.
* GeneticMemory: Space Marines and Tyranid Lictors have the ability to absorb the memories of the dead by eating their flesh, particularly the brain. In addition, each Space Marine Chapter is based on the genetic templates of one of the [[AGodAmI Primarchs]], and occasionally display traits and memories of that Primarch. Blood Angels, for example have a random chance of triggering the genetic memory of their Primarch's bloody death, which can drive them into an UnstoppableRage. Ork Mekboyz and Painboyz have their (respectively) technological and medical talents genetically encoded, and Kroot are said in designers' notes to have gained Ork technology through their ability to absorb the DNA of prey.
** In fact, according to one version of their backstory, the Kroot started out as fairly ordinary birds, aside from their ability to absorb DNA and evolved into intelligent, humanoid lifeforms by scavenging dead Orks.
* GeniusBruiser: A wide variety, although who, why and to what extent vary wildly depending on the setting. Of particular note, perhaps, is TheEmperor, who is/was clever enough to construct his own Webway Gate, design Space Marines, and command the Great Crusade, and was badass enough to kick the crap out of pretty much anyone in the setting. His [[PraetorianGuard Adeptus Custodes]] and Space Marines are a close second - in particular, the Tech Marines, and anyone Space Marine who survives long enough to gain some experience (notably, Dante of the Blood Angels, Logan Grimnar and Bjorn the Fell-Handed of the Space Wolves). Each faction has their own representatives, as well - Fabius Bile, various Mekboyz (though they have more of the bruiser than the genius about them, they are a damn sight smarter than the rest of da boyz), most Inquisitors, various Eldar...the list goes on.
* GenreBusting: It doesn't matter if the tropes the series uses are from Scifi, Fantasy, Horror, or whatever, as long as they make the setting DarkerAndEdgier.
* GenreSavvy: According to 1d4chan, the [[Literature/SpaceWolf Space]] [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Wolves]], along with the Black Templars, World Eaters and Khornate Worshipers are some of the most genre savvy people in the entire Imperium. Not that there isn't plenty of it to go around, with the Imperium's ''official policy'' of ShootEverythingThatMoves being a product of them realizing they live in a universe with EverythingTryingToKillYou. However, among them all, it's the three Space Marine chapters (and ReligionOfEvil) that really take it to an extreme, actually realizing that they all live in a fantasy universe with spaceships.
** Ork madboyz have been known to [[MediumAwareness mutter about "Rolls" and "The meta game"]]...
** The Imperial Guard are so aware of their RedshirtArmy status that the commissar unit was developed specifically to address their [[YouHaveFailedMe morale problems]].
* GeoEffects: Placing units in or behind pieces of terrain can greatly increase their chances of survival thanks to various rules for movement, shooting, and close combat.
* GetAHoldOfYourselfMan: Common among the Imperial Guard. Occasionally delivered via bullet.
* GhostShip: Space Hulks. Also some Eldar vessels, albeit more as "ships crewed by ghosts" than the traditional sense.
* GiantFlyer: Winged strains of the larger Tyranids.
* GiantMook: Squad leaders: Veteran Sergeants, Sybarites, Warlocks etcetera. Literally in the case of Ork squad leaders (aka Nobz), who are actually [[LargeAndInCharge physically larger]] than the Boyz under their command.
* GiantSpider: Giant ''robot'' spiders, no less, in the form of Necron Tomb Spyders, and a HumongousMecha-scale variant called the Tomb Stalker, which is more of a Giant Centipede.
** The Tyranid Hierophant biotitan has elements of this as well, combined, of course, with reptilian features.
* GirlWithPsychoWeapon: Sisters of Battle "Sisters Repentia", entire squads of young women wearing scraps of parchment and carrying ''[[{{BFS}} eight-foot-long]] [[ChainsawGood chainsaw swords]]'', driven on by an armoured woman with a [[WhipItGood barbed cat-o-nine-tails]] [[DualWielding in each hand]], who are apparently assigned to these squads to "repent" for perceived acts of immorality. FetishFuel much?
* GlassCannon: Eldar put emphasis on the "cannon", Dark Eldar on the "glass".
** The [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys Jokaero]] combine this with LethalJokeCharacter. They wear technomagic rings on their fingers that fire beams that can do ''three different types of ranged damage'', but they die just about as easily as you'd expect unarmored space monkeys to.
*** Taken to extremes by the joke army build known as the "Barrel of Monkeys"[[note]]Take Inquisitor Coteaz, who can take Jokaero as troops. Spend ''all'' the rest of your points on Jokaero[[/note]]. You will murder your way across the tabletop, provided you keep up the pace and not give the other guy an opening because the second you do he'll turn you into Swiss cheese.
** Most rank and file units that cost more than 25 points tend to be this. You wouldn't think a Grey Knight or an Assault Marine, being clad in what is essentially ''tank armor'' to be glass cannons, but their relative cost means that while they have decent survivability, you're going to feel every one of those losses as the opponent can simply outnumber you in bodies (which in turn may bring more attacks to the field).
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: ''Everyone'' seems to have these.
* AGodIAmNot: The Emperor, despite what his worshippers say.
* {{Golem}}: Eldar wraith-constructs.
* GodEmperor: Read through the page and if you can't guess who it is by the end, we'll give you a cookie. We'll even give you a clue: his name begins God- and ends -peror, and despite ascending to literal godhood after his reign ended due to the worship of the masses [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial he is so totally not a]] ''Literature/{{Dune}}'' rip-off.
** Ironically, the guy tried to make sure that he wouldn't ascend to godhood. It didn't work. Far worse than he would [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation publically admit]] to liking.
* GodIsEvil: Taken to an extreme.
** Tzeentch: {{Chessmaster}} god of change, mutation, manipulation, sorcery, {{Magnificent Bastard}}s and the long game. Daemons take the form of mutated horrible things which squirt hellfire from every orifice; followers are usually mutated-beyond-all-recognition sorcerers, or automatons reduced to dust sealed inside armour. Odds are high that everything going on in the entire ''galaxy'' is part of his GambitRoulette. Reflection of the emotion of ''hope''.
** Nurgle: God of decay, disease, corruption, entropy, maggots and BodyHorror. Daemons take the form of potbellied maggotridden monsters of barely-held-together rotten flesh, mortal followers aren't much better. Apparently has a sense of humour, and is called ''Grandfather Nurgle'' by his followers, who see him as a kind and loving god. Born from the emotion of ''despair''.
** Khorne: God of rage, violence, war, [[{{BFS}} oversized weapons]] and the AxeCrazy. Daemons take the form of spiky muscular freaks covered with blood and brass, usually holding really big axes. Followers are uniformly psychotic axe-waving {{Blood Knight}}s, although this may be something of a {{Flanderisation}} - earlier background material described Khorne as the god of martial prowess, not just blind, screaming bloodlust. Khorne embodies the emotion of ''rage''.
** Slaanesh: God of pleasure, excess, indulgence, {{Sense Freak}}s, FetishFuel and DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything. Daemons are [[{{Stripperiffic}} bizarrely sensual]] things ranging from [[HornyDevils seductive siren-creatures]] absolutely ''covered'' in breasts to enormous worms with prehensile tongues which are...also covered in breasts. Accidentally {{squick}}ed from the decadance of the Eldar, its birth destroying most of their civilisation in a galaxy-wide MindRape. Slaanesh embodies the emotion of ''desire''.
** Gork and Mork: the ork gods of Cunning Brutality and Brutal Cunning (The subtle distinction being: one hits you when you're not looking, the other hits you really hard when you are. Orks have fought wars over which god is which). Reflection of... er... everything AxeCrazy in existence? By the way, those two kinda qualify as nice ones, or at least PluckyComicRelief ones.
** Then we have the C'tan, who are almost as good as the Chaos gods themselves on the soul eating and reality warping front.
** Khaine, the most powerful of the surviving Eldar gods, is as much a psychotic murderer as a warrior and protector.
** The God Emperor of Mankind, a fascist overlord who reunited humanity by [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomping]] everyone not agreeing with him being in charge, who qualifies as ''less evil''.
** Subverted (finally) with Isha, the Eldar Mother Goddess. She's been Nurgle's prisoner for centuries, and he tests his plagues on her, learning something when she cures herself. When Nurgle isn't looking, Isha whispers the cures for these diseases to mortals.
* GodzillaThreshold: Despite getting [[{{Flanderization}} Flanderized]] to being a solution for any problem, [[EarthShatteringKaboom exterminatus]] is actually treated this way within the canon.
* GoMadFromTheRevelation: Roll up! Gaze unprotected into the Warp! Lose your mind!
* GoneHorriblyRight: The book ''Farseer'' ([[FanonDiscontinuity if you count it]]) has an Eldar character admitting that some of the Eldar, shortly before the fall, were actually deliberately trying to engineer the necessary psychic-resonance to create a new god of pleasure that would allow the Eldar to transcend mortality and live in eternal bliss, leaving behind the concerns of the mortal realm. It did not work out quite as they intended.
* GoodIsBoring: Fortunately, there's very little of it around.
* GoodIsNotNice:
** The Salamanders fight not for glory, but for the people. Hurting civilians is a BerserkButton for them, which a chapter master found out the hard way. Outside of that, they're ruthless in battle and are an entire chapter of [[ScaryBlackMan scary black men]] who like to burn things.
** The Space Wolves, an entire chapter of Chaotic Good {{Boisterous Bruiser}}s who are scary enough to convince the ''[[StateSec Inquisition]]'' to change its operating policy.
** Tau rule can seem restrictive to people not accustomed to it, but the Tau inhabitants like it quite a lot. Even the humans are probably better off than they would be in most other places.
** The Eldar. A race of psychic SpaceElves with hyper-advanced weapons who have dedicated themselves to fighting the genocidal Necrons and the forces of Chaos. Unfortunately, they're also douchebags. Not ''total'' douchebags, though.
* GoodLuckGesture: For some Imperial troops, "thumbing one's palm," or planting the thumb of one hand in the palm of the other to produce an eagle's wing of sorts. This represents the ''aquila'', the two-headed eagle used as the Imperium's insignia.
* GoodShepherd: A CorruptChurch the Ecclesiarchy may be, but there are a few Imperial preachers who legitimately care about the common folk of the Imperium. You're more likely to run into [[SinisterMinister the other variety, though]]
* {{Gotterdammerung}}: Both literal and metaphorical.
* GothicPunk: The ''nicer'' Imperial worlds are like this.
* GreatBigBookOfEverything: Various tomes kept by the Inquisition.
** The ''Codex Astartes'', written by Primarch Robute Gulliman as a foundational document for the training and doctrine of the Space Marines after the terror of the Horus Heresy. Comprehensive in scope and application, the Codex is used by the vast majority of Space Marine Chapters as their primary manual. Just how ''closely'' you should follow the ''Codex'' remains a bone of contention [[BaseBreaker both in-universe and among the fans]].
* GrimReaper: The Nightbringer ''is'' the Grim Reaper of 40k, a hooded, scythe-wielding omnicidal star-god who gave all creatures (except the Orks) the fear of death. A lot of others in the universe like to style themselves after the ideal of the hooded reaper, including Eldar Dark Reapers and their Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra, various Dark Angels, the Death Guard primarch Mortarion and a few of his champions.
** In the case of the Dark Reapers and Maugan Ra, this is directly from the Nightbringer. The Eldar Aspect Warriors are all embodying a single aspect of Khaine, the Eldar War God; the aspect of the Reaper is a direct result of Khaine getting a bit of the Nightbringer stuck in him.
* GuiltFreeExterminationWar: pretty much every single race has a reason to exterminate every other race and has {{plan}}s to do so.
* GunsAkimbo: Cypher and Sisters of Battle Seraphim, mostly. Dire Avenger Exarchs can have this too.
* GunsDoNotWorkThatWay: Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken's model's shotgun has both box and tube magazines.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:H]]
* HalfHumanHybrid: Genestealer hybrids, though in an unusual take the original Genestealer itself is never a parent - it [[FaceFullOfAlienWingWong infects another creature with its genetic material]], and when that creature reproduces normally with another of its kind, [[FetusTerrible the offspring will be part Genestealer]]. Necron Pariahs are horrifying hybrids of Untouchable humans and Necron technology.
** In a less {{Squick}}y example, there's the idea of Eldar/human hybrids. The exact {{canon}}ity of Eldar/human hybrids has long been up for debate due to the fluff supporting this being absolutely ancient ([[{{Narm}} we're talking Rogue Trader/2nd Edition years here]]) and also supporting such [[YouFailBiologyForever horrendous biological impossibilities]] as Eldar having ''zero'' body fat and ''triple helix DNA'', but seeing [[WordOfGod Phil Kelly]]'s recent comments on the subject, the idea seems to be making a comeback. Unfortunately, according to Phil, most of the offspring of these unions are found in [[WretchedHive Commorragh]], [[RapeAsDrama which has some highly disturbing implications]]. There are also quite a few Corsairs (Eldar space pirates) who have human blood in them.
* HamToHamCombat: In a WorldOfHam where EverythingIsTryingToKillYou, members of the various factions will spend as much time trying to [[ChewingTheScenery out chew]] each other as they will trying to kill each other.
* HandCannon:
** Imperial bolt pistols, a few human stub pistols, plasma pistols, and inferno/infernus (melta) pistols, particularly the versions wielded by Space Marines. Ork sluggas also qualify. Other races tend to be a bit more... restrained when it comes to their sidearms.
** Laspistols ''technically'' count; while las weapons in general are some of the weakest weapons in the 40K setting, by real world standards they are incredibly powerful, capable of severing limbs and causing massive explosive tissue damage.
* HanlonsRazor: Almost always inverted - never attribute to stupidity what can be explained by malice or conspiracy.
* HappinessInSlavery: Aversions abound, but there is one straight example: The Chapter Serfs of the Space Marine Chapters. They fill all positions in a chapter not involving leadership or infantry combat, and are better trained and equipped than any non-Astartes. The Space Marine Chapters, in turn, recognize the skill and dedication of their serfs, and chapter serfs are full members of the chapter cult, and enjoy a better lifestyle than all except the richest citizens of the Imperium.
* HardCodedHostility:
** The tyranids are ravenous insect-like aliens whose only purpose is to break everything into biomass and devouring it. As such, nobody really wants them around, so much so that in the new edition's ally rules, which measure each faction's willingness to cooperate with each other, the Tyranids have absolutely no allies.
** Pre-5th edition {{retcon}}, the necrons (undead robots) existed only to scour the galaxy of every single living thing down to the last bacterium. Nowadays they can be negotiated with.
** Orks. WAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!
* HarmonyVersusDiscipline
** ElvesVsDwarves: Everyone with a motive more complicated than "must eat" or "must kill" has some ideological (or genetically-engineered) disdain of everyone else or some futile set of grudges. Within the traditional context of the trope, the best fit would be the [[CantArgueWithElves snooty, highly cultured]] Eldar and their shiny weapons and hyper-advanced {{Hover Tank}}s vs. the [[BoisterousBruiser boisterous]], crude Orks and their gritty guns and smoke-belching trucks and looted tanks.
** EmotionsVsStoicism: There are the Chaos gods, hellish demons that embody (and are actually created by) the emotions of the sentient beings in the galaxy. All manner of cults and religions do unspeakable acts fueled by zealous fervor because it's part of their dogmas and faiths. The Messiah, which practically all of humanity worship with the same zeal, on the other hand, was a proponent of science, logic, and atheism. The greatest irony is that if there is any hope for humanity at all, said Messiah will ultimately end up literally becoming God (Belief is literally power. And there are countless trillions worshipping the Emperor.)
** FleshVersusSteel: The Imperium relies on mass-produced vehicles and weapons, non-disfiguring biological implants, and sheer stubbornness to face mutated Chaos monstrosities and the Tyranid swarm. The Eldar use some psychic powers and a lot of hyper-advanced technology for everything, while the Dark Eldar are vat-grown and have a fondness for growing strange monsters and grafting bits onto themselves. The Necrons and the Daemons of Chaos wage war on each other regularly, intending to destroy each other. This is good, and bad, because if Chaos is destroyed, our universe and the Warp will not become one, but the Necrons will exterminate everything in the galaxy that isn't them. If Chaos wins, the Necrons are no longer a threat but the Chaos Gods' plans continue.
** MagicVersusScience: The battle against the Warp and Chaos (which is for all intents and purposes the "magic" of the setting) is one of the most central plot points. Faith is also used, but ridiculously large calibur guns and energy weapons also help. Of course Chaos can and does corrupt technology by stuffing demons into it. There's all sorts of scientists fallen to Chaos too since new ideas generally open someone up to the influence of the Warp and who wouldn't be slightly curious to see how it all works. The most known faction of those is the Dark Mechanicus who use more forbidden technologies like AIs and bio-tech to make very powerful potent weapons. The idea also comes to light when one considers the Tau, who stick entirely to technology and do their best to ignore the presence of sorcery and faith as active forces in the galaxy. The result, among other things, is that their ships move at a snail's pace compared to everyone else, since powerful sorcery is necessary to travel the Warp. On the other hand, the Necrons also eschew the Warp, and in fact have troops specifically to shut down psykers. Their technology involves using the Eldar Webway.
** OrderVersusChaos: There is no real Good vs Evil. Although there are some individuals who could be considered good, as a whole the sides are basically Bad vs Worse. However, Order does come off as a slightly lighter shade of black most of the time.
* HauntedTechnology: Several examples:
** Eldar Wraithguards and Wraithlords. They are both robots that are controlled via souls of dead Eldar.
** Many Chaos vehicles (and other technology) can be subject to DemonicPossession in lieu of an actual pilot.
** The [[CargoCult Adeptus Mechanicus]] believes that every piece of technology has a "Machine Spirit" that needs to be appeased in order for it to work. Appeasement consists of complex religious rituals. Whether the Machine Spirits are real and the rituals actually work, or are simply ancient A.I.'s and maintenance procedures, respectively, is kept rather ambiguous.
* HaveYouSeenMyGod: All but three of the old Eldar pantheon were killed before or during the Fall of the Eldar. The survivors are Cegorach, the Laughing God of the Harlequins, who hides out in the Webway and foils the plans of Chaos from the sidelines; Khaine, the god of war, who was shattered into pieces which sleep in each craftworld as [[PhysicalGod Avatars]]; and Isha, the mother goddess, imprisoned by the Chaos God Nurgle to test his plagues on, who nevertheless secretly whispers out the cure to every said plague to try and help her children in the material universe. The Eldar are also attempting to create Ynnead, a new god of death, from the souls of dead Eldar stored in the Craftworlds' Infinity Circuits, the idea being that when the very last Eldar dies, Ynnead will be strong enough to rise and defeat Slaanesh. They hope.
* TheHeartless: Daemons of Chaos; Dark Eldar, especially mandrakes.
* HealingFactor: The entire gimmick of the Necrons and their "We'll Be Back" special rule, C'tan with their Necrodermis "skin", and certain Tyranid monstrous creatures. To a lesser degree Orks, who routinely survive anything [[strike:short of]] including decapitation.
* HeKnowsTooMuch: The very existence of the Grey Knights chapter is kept secret from the rest of the Imperium. If circumstances dictate that they must fight alongside other Imperial forces, then the secret is maintained after the fighting is over with [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness executions]] or when the soldiers in question are valuable enough to be allowed to live (such as in the case of other Space Marines) with LaserGuidedAmnesia.
* {{Hellfire}}: Naturally, Chaos can produce this. Only it's called ''warp''fire.
* {{Hellgate}}: The Eye of Terror, the Maelstrom, Van Groethe's Rapidity...
* {{Hellhound}}: Khornate Flesh Hounds. Also, to a lesser extent, Dark Eldar Warp Beasts. The Imperial Guard also have a tank ''called'' the Hellhound, which is armed with a [[KillItWithFire flamethrower]].
* TheHeretic: The Ecclesiarchy, the Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Space Marines all have different ideas of what constitutes heresy, but all three agree that worshiping Chaos fits the bill.
* HeroicSafeMode: A core tenet of Eldar Aspect Warrior training.
* HeroicWillpower: Both played straight, and inverted - ''Villainous'' Willpower determines which of the two possible OneWingedAngel routes a follower of Chaos goes down, mutating into either a mindless Chaos Spawn, or a PhysicalGod.
* HeroicSacrifice: Generally how the nice people in [=40K=] die if it's on their own terms.
** To quote von Remus from ''Fanfic/{{Damnatus}}'': In this universe, one is either sacrificed, or sacrifices themself.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Happens shockingly often. One example of this: there are two kinds of Inquisitors in the Imperium; Puritans, and Radicals (no, [[TotallyRadical not that kind of radical]]) and they both have different beliefs on how to fight Chaos. Puritans believe that daemons must only be destroyed, never consorted with or used, in fact they're willing to destroy a bolter touched by a daemon because it is considered corrupted, but by contrast, Radicals believe that the best way to fight daemons is to basically use daemons against them, and this is fine as long as the purpose is pure. The Inquisition is split down the middle, but there's only one truth; Inquisitors usually begin as Puritans and die as Radicals. This is because they start out as {{Wide Eyed Idealist}}s, but after years of calling [[EarthShatteringKaboom Exterminatus]], [[WeHaveReserves expending thousands or even millions of lives]] and [[ShootTheShaggyDog fighting losing battles]] with the ruinous powers, they eventually see no hope in the tactics they use and begin using tainted powers and weapons against their monstrous foes in the faint, desperate hope of finally beating them, only to be executed themselves for heresy by a Puritan, who will eventually go on and do the same thing years down the line. [[CrapsackWorld Grimdark]].
** How do you get rid of crime on a planet? Why, become [[Manga/DeathNote a terrifying serial killer who kills all the other criminals, down to jaywalkers]]. At least, that's how the [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Night Haunter]], Primarch of the Night Lords, chose to go about it. Is it really surprising he fell to Chaos?
** Really, you can apply this to the whole of the Imperium. It helps that in some cases, they are fighting ''actual monsters''.
* HiddenElfVillage: Eldar craftworlds, Exodite worlds, and Maiden Worlds. The Eldar aren't a very social bunch.
** Epitomized by the Dark Eldar city of Commorragh, which doesn't even exist in the material world; but is hidden in the "Webway", a sort of interdimensional labyrinth that exists between the Warp and the material world.
** They can be very sociable...to other Eldar. Everyone else, not so much.
* HighlyConspicuousUniform: Almost everyone save certain Imperial Guard outfits. Space Marines in particular have the saying "camouflage is the color of cowardice." Then again, being an obvious target is not particularly problematic for a human tank...
** Inspired by the Imperial Guard, Blood Axe Orks typically wear camouflage patterns, rather than the vibrant clan colors favored by other Orks. The problem is that what most Blood Axes consider to be "camouflage" is still brightly-colored and garish by human standards; only the Kommandoes have really figured out how to do it properly.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Doombreed is among the oldest of Khorne's Champions, having been elevated to Daemon Princehood even before the Emperor first manifested himself as the Master of Mankind, and is heavily implied to have been Genghis Khan in life. His exploits in 40K include wiping out two entire chapters of SpaceMarines.
* HiveMind: The Tyranids.
* HiveQueen: Tyranid Synapse Creatures.
** The Norn-Queens especially, which fill the role of the classic, [[MookMaker Mook-spawning]] [[AdiposeRex bee queen]] analogue in the Tyranid hive fleets for the most part.
* {{Hobbits}}: Seldom seen, but present as specialist snipers in the Imperial Guard. In keeping with the grimdark theme, they're called Ratlings, care only about food, boozing, stealing and fornicating.
* HollywoodAtheist:
** The Tau take this one so far it turns back on itself and they become ScaryDogmaticAliens.
** The Emperor is portrayed as one as well; in one story he goes to the last church on Terra with the express purpose of destroying it, but not before he's broken the faith of the [[GoodShepherd priest]] living inside and offered him a chance to join the new Imperium, which ends up with the Priest at the last moment realizing [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans how hypocritical the Emperor's argument was]] and telling him to his face how he'll just end up becoming the very thing he hates, before going back inside the burning church.
* HollywoodTactics: Generally averted by most races, barring the odd Imperial Guard regiment. Both thoroughly embraced and thoroughly subverted by the Orks, who actually ''make it work''. Played straight in some comics and game cutscenes, though.
** Second Edition Lord Commander Solar Macharius had the rather unique ability as your army's leader and [[InformedAbility a tactical genius]] to ''totally screw up your battle plan'' on the basis of a dice roll; just having him in your army might potentially lead to all your reserve units being committed immediately and skipping the devastating Preliminary Barrage step that was one of the IG army gimmicks (every artillery weapon in your army could fire before the battle actually started). Um, thanks there, [[MaryTzu mister tactical genius]].
** While Hollywood Tactics are typically averted both in written fluff and in the game itself (again barring Orks,) it is quite commonly depicted in artwork made for the game. A very common theme is to show two opposing armies of huge size standing in lines and firing at each other from practically point blank range with no cover and no room to move laterally. [[RuleOfCool It looks very dramatic]], but such battlefield situations almost never occur in a narrative, and will only occasionally happen on the tabletop.
* HolyHandGrenade: The Grey Knights have an array of weapons specifically for battling the daemonic spawn of Chaos. The Black Templars have the actual Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
** HolyBurnsEvil
* {{Homage}}: Tons and tons of 'em: some are minor, like planets named after games developers or deodorants, while some much more prominent. The best example of a major homage would be the Necrons, who started as an homage to the ''Terminator'' films: mysterious robotic skeletons who carried on trying to kill you even if reduced to crawling torsos with no legs, and a special rule called "I'll Be Back". Later changes [[RetCon departed from this]], focusing more on their image as impossibly ancient servants of even more impossibly ancient monsters. Essentially now a bunch of [[AncientConspiracy Ancient Evil]] {{Determinator}}s with rather too much scalpel imagery, they maintain the robo-skeleton and "We'll Be Back" rule. Eventually, "We'll Be Back" was re-dubbed "resurrection protocols" and their fluff moved them further away from the simple Terminator [[{{Expy}} Expies]] they once were.
** In what may be a twisted homage to the original Terminator's flesh gradually getting messed up to reveal the robotic endoskeleton (as well as a reference to the Aztec deity Xipe Totec), Necron Flayed Ones invert this: they start as machines that then ''drape themselves in the flayed corpses of their victims''.
** Horus' betrayal began while recovering from injury, like [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution Benedict Arnold]].
* HolyGround: Holy Terra, Shrine Worlds, and some Space Marine recruitment worlds are entire planets devoted to this trope.
* HomeGuard: The Planetary Defense Forces, considered as under equipped and far less competent by the Imperial Guard. Repeat, the Imperial Guard, ButtMonkey CannonFodder extraordinaire, believes the PDF to be beneath them.
** Which, given their status as "imperial speedbump" (the ones who slow down the enemy until the Guard is there), might have a grain of truth. If anything, they lack a quality the Guard has: Quantity.
* HopelessWar: For ''everyone''.
* HopeSpot: Why the Imperium discourages the foolish notion of hope.
* TheHorde: The Orks, and some of the less disciplined Chaos factions.
* HordeOfAlienLocusts: Tyranids are possibly the ur-example.
* HornyDevils: Slaaneshi Daemons and Dark Eldar. The latter even have elite troops called Incubi and Succubi.
* HornyVikings: Space Wolves are Vikings IN SPACE, though they don't wear horned helmets - those are reserved for Chaos Marines (and members of the Wolves' 13th Company, who have been in the Warp for 10,000 years and occasionally had to scavenge gear from dead Chaos Marines).
* HorseOfADifferentColor: Mutant horses, cyber-horses, cyber-boars, giant lizards, daemons that look like slugs, daemons that look like ''metal rhinos''...
* HostileTerraforming: "Tyrantforming" is the first stage of devouring a planet by the Tyranids - the spores dropped onto the surface merge with local plantlife, turning it into HungryJungle - rapidly draining the ground of all nutrients. The Tyranids then devour the plants.
** Orks are described as "an invasive ecosystem by themselves", and shed spores to generate new creatures, which will grow to be squigs, grots, gretchen or full orks depending on the conditions. With enough orks, they create their own flora and fauna, and the whole ecosystem is "orkoformed".
* HotBlade: The GodEmperor sported one back in his heydays.
* HotBlooded: [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking Shas'O]] [[HotBlooded Vior'la]] [[{{Badass}} Shovah]] [[AceCustom Kais]] [[OverlyLongName Mont'yr]] aka [[TheStrategist Commander Farsight]] has this ''right in his name''. He is also [[MemeticMutation A CHAR]].
* HouseRules: If you and your opponent agree to them.
** The rulebook actually takes a very congenial stance towards them. Some things basically HAVE to be decided by the players (especially when dealing with terrain).
* HoverTank: The Tau's Hammerhead, and the Eldar's Falcon and its offshoots.
* HumanityIsSuperior: [[UnreliableNarrator Or so they claim]], using this trope as an excuse to [[KillItWithFire kill the other races with fire]].
* HumanoidAliens: Pretty much every main race except for the Tyranids. Lampshaded in ''Xenology''.
* HumanOutsideAlienInside: Ork DNA and body tissue bears a striking resemblance to ''fungi'', to the point where they reproduce through spores.
** Eldar look just like tall humans with pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes. Their internal structure, however, is mind-bogglingly different to ours. Their skeleton is made of flexible plastic-like bone, their muscles are set up differently (and more efficient, [[MusclesAreMeaningless which means that despite being very slender by our standards, they're just as strong as we are]]), they have serrated protrusions of their jawbones in place of conventional teeth not unlike some species of birds, their blood and excrement is crystalline, and [[FantasticArousal their ears may be erogenous zones]].
* HumanResources: The one resource the Imperium has in unlimited amounts, which tends to lead to... [[WeHaveReserves wastefulness]].
** This is hilariously lampshaded by some Hive Worlds claiming Imperial Guard troopers as their prime (and sometimes sole) export. This is also the case with Cadia, which apparently does nothing else other than pumping out battle-ready babies (although their effectiveness is no better than any other world in-game).
** Don't forget, Cadia also helps guard against [[RealityIsOutToLunch The Eye of Terror]]. And [[RuleOfCool they're awesome, so that's that.]]
* HumanSacrifice: The Golden Throne is fed, ''daily'', the souls of one thousand psykers who weren't selected for use by the Inquisition. Chaos rituals frequently make use of this also.
* HumansAreBastards: Although, to be fair, ''so is everyone else.'' In addition, it has been established that the Imperium ''[[InherentInTheSystem has]]'' [[InherentInTheSystem to be terrible in order to survive.]] So Humans Are Bastards out of necessity rather than choice. Think of it as IDidWhatIHadToDo on a larger scale.
* HumansAreDivided: Humanity is ostensibly united under the Imperium, but it is constantly plagued by rebellions, both Chaos and otherwise. Still the Orks are even worse.
* HumansAreMorons: The Imperium of Man has hardly advanced their technology in the 10,000 years since anyone has last seen The Emperor Of Mankind. Human culture throughout their vast empire is extremely paranoid and superstitious, and the government is such a vast, inept bureaucracy that a simple ''filing error'' can lead to entire populations of people being immediately forgotten about and/or destroyed.
* HumansAreWhite: In the future there is only war... and white people.
** Though [[RetCon all]] of the Space Marines of the Salamanders chapter are black in official art, and the White Scars are distinctly Asian. [[AllThereInTheManual The fluff]] states the Tau have different skin colours, although all are variants on blue/grey. We have the distinctly shh-we're-not-Arabs Tallarns too.)
** Also, one of Inquisitor Vail's footnotes in ''Caves of Ice'' indicates that while black people are decidedly rare on Valhalla, there are several nearby planets where pretty damn near ''everyone'' is black. Of course, there are still about 100 billion times more white people in the Imperium.
** Also a good few modern Imperial Guard armies have black soldiers, especially the Catachans. It's how the gamer paints his stuff really.
** And Inquisitor Toth from ''Dawn of War'' is black.
** The Emperor himself is said to have been born in central Anatolia and is usually depicted as quite tan.
** There is some theoretical justification for this trope: Imperial policy holds that people with disfiguring mutations are heretical scum just for ''existing''. Thus, it's likely that wild variations in stuff like skin tone isn't exactly seen as desirable for some particularly [[KnightTemplar zealous]] places.
* HumansByAnyOtherName: We're [[IncrediblyLamePun mon'keigh]] to the Eldar, gue'la to the Tau, [[strike:humies]] 'umies to the Orks, playthings to the Dark Eldar, and lunch to the Tyranids. We don't know what the Necrons call us, because they don't bother to say much before killing us. Plus, most of them are mindless.
* HumansThroughAlienEyes:
** Eldar think that we're bumbling, hairy savages with no appreciation for the dangers of our galaxy.
** Orks think we're fun to fight against, but get confused by how we can pick out who's in charge because we're all the same size.
** Tau think we're promising as a species to be inducted into their empire, but they think we're superstitious and primitive.
** Tyranids think we're delicious.
** Necrons think we're abominations and need to be cleansed, like everything else that lives.
** Dark Eldar... You know what, it's probably best you don't know.
* HumanSubspecies: The Space Marines fall under this trope, being so modified that they're practically a different species. Also, the various Abhumans.
* HumongousMecha: Titans, and to a lesser extent, Space Marine Dreadnoughts; Ork Dreads, Killa Kans, and Gargants; Eldar Wraithlords and War Walkers; Chaos Defilers; Tau Battlesuits; Witch Hunter Penitent Engines...
** In-game, [[http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Warhammer-40000/Titans/ELDAR-PHANTOM-TITAN-BODY.html Eldar Phantoms]] currently take the cake, ''being over 4 foot tall''. Miniature? Hardly.
* HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace: The Warp, or Immaterium, is a reflection of the emotions of all sentient beings, the collective DreamLand of the galaxy and home to all the nightmares there have ever been, given form. Part SpiritWorld, part PhantomZone, a sea of emotion and the source of all psychic power, it's also the daemon-infested home of the Chaos Gods and is, for all intents and purposes, ''hell''. And going through it is the only faster-than-light travel available to most races. A ''significant'' issue with travel through the Warp is the fact that unless your ship has a functional Gellar Field isolating a bubble of reality around the ship, you and the rest of the crew WILL be consumed by every nasty thing that's out there, in suitably non-euclidean ways. THEN there's the issue of [[TimeyWimeyBall time not moving consistently or in the right direction]], so even if you reach your destination you might not get there ''when'' you wanted.
* HyperspaceLanes:
** There are a few routes through the Warp that are both well known and well traveled enough that fleets using them have a reasonably accurate expectation of both reaching their destination and even when they'll arrive. Trying to go somewhere off the beaten path is both more difficult, slower, and more prone to the [[TimeyWimeyBall temporal vagarities]] associated with long-distance travel.
** The Webway is this mixed with PortalNetwork. is a labyrinthine set of wormhole highways that bypass the warp entirely, accessed via webway gates. It used to cover most, if not all of the galaxy, but has since shrunken by a few thousand years of disrepair and the whole Fall of the Eldar thing. Webway gates range in size from a typical garage door to monumental structures large enough to drive a spaceship through. Originally only the Eldar and the Dark Eldar had access to the Webway, having inherited it from the Old Ones, but the Necrons managed to hijack sections for their own use. Rumor has it that the Emperor of Mankind was working on getting access and bypassing the whole "needing to fly a ship through hell to get anywhere" but the HorusHeresy put the kibosh on that project.
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