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 Q through the letter Z.

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

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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Q]]
* QuirkyMinibossSquad: HQ characters' retinues, of all stripes.
* TheQuisling: Several human worlds near the Tau Empire have been assimilated into the Empire, some more willingly than others.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:R]]
* RageHelm: [[http://images.wikia.com/warhammer40k/images/f/f8/Blood_Ravens_Battle.jpg For the Space Marines, their faith is their shield, their fury is their sword, and rage is their helmet]].
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: Imperial penal legions, entire armies of convicts sentenced to death at the hands of the enemy; [[RedemptionEqualsDeath in death they may be forgiven for their crimes.]] The best known unit is Colonel Schaeffer's "[[TheLastChancers Last Chancers]]", inspired by every war-movie RagtagBunchOfMisfits ever.
* RandomizedDamageAttack:
** This game has several weapons with random strength or random amount of hits, usually determined by D6 or D3 roll. Examples include Chaos daemon weapons (random amount of hits) and Ork zzapguns (random strength). The most extreme example is probably the Dark Eldar Casket of Flensing, which has random range, random amount of shots ''and'' random strength.
** Weapons with situational damage also exist, but are much rarer. The conversion beamer, a rare weapon available to certain Space Marine characters and Inquisitors, deals more damage the further away the target is, while the pulse submunition cannons of the Tau R'varna battlesuit increase in strength and amount of hits as the target's size increases.
* RandomNumberGod: A number of bizarre good-luck superstitions have arisen, such as never calling missile launchers by their proper name (it has the word "miss" in it), the idea that painted models are luckier than unpainted models, the usage of blue dice for important rolls and the practice of occasionally muttering prayers to the Emperor. Never taken seriously, but often endearing. It "helps" that he exists in-universe, going by the name Tzeentch.
* RandomTransportation: Warp travel (a demon-infested alternate dimension that allows FTL travel, sped up or hampered by Warp currents). While ships have a Navigator that allows them to navigate the Warp currents, all too often they end up adrift, and when (if) they do return to realspace, it's only occasionally on target, when not in deep space. And then there's the fact that sometimes you don't even come back at the right ''time'', as one ork Waaaagh found when they ran into their future selves (that one ended in considerable confusion, as the future!warboss killed past!warboss in order to have two sets of his favorite gun).
* RatedMForManly: In many fantasy games, the elves are effeminate, the humans are just like real life people, and the orcs are manly. In the grim darkness of the far future, the elves are manly, the humans are extremely manly, and the orcs make Chuck Norris look like a milk-swilling baby. Could you have ever expected anything else from a game where the {{Tagline}} is "There is ''only'' war..."? Examples:
** Baby flies through a NegativeSpaceWedgie unharmed and lands on an icy hellhole, to subsequently get RaisedByWolves, wolves the size of horses. He challenges the most powerful man in existence to a drinking contest and wins, then gets punched in the face with a PowerFist that can wreck tanks, shrugs it off, and then joins said man in leading a vast army of superhuman space Vikings in a massive intergalactic crusade.
** Ordinary men and women with nothing more than flak vests, laser guns and World War I-era tanks take on [[RobotWar nigh-invincible metal zombies]], [[HordeOfAlienLocusts all-devouring hordes of alien insects that outnumber the stars]], [[OurOrcsAreDifferent psychotic hulking monstrosities who tear men apart with their bare hands and live and die to fight]], [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien psychic ancients who train thousands of years in deadly warrior arts]], and [[EldritchAbomination mind-raping eldritch horrors from beyond space and time]]... and don't always lose.
** BadassGrandpa defeats powerful daemon in single combat and takes its axe, and then makes the daemonic entity inside the axe bitch down to him. He likes the axe so much, he takes it back to the smiths to be re-forged, so he can use the axe in battles without it {{Mind Rap|e}}ing everyone else around him.
** Commissar challenges a 7-foot-tall hulking Ork warboss to a duel. The monstrosity has a power-claw bigger than a man, and uses it to cut the commissar's right arm off. Rather than bleed out or die like a bitch, the commissar stays conscious long enough to cut the monster's head off then tear its claw off. When he recovers, he takes the Warboss' cyber-arm as a replacement and garners a reputation among Orks as an unkillable monster, causing them to flee in terror when they see him.
** Tough survivalist man from a jungle planet so nasty that living to adulthood is a major accomplishment, wields a {{BFG}} that rapid-fires .75 calibre explosive shells. On a routine patrol, a giant snake-like creature bursts out of the ground from under him, and knocks his weapon out of his hands. Lacking a knife, said man then catches the creature in a headlock and crushes its neck with his biceps.
** Scarred, bald and battle-hardened warrior women take up rapid-firing rocket launchers, flame-throwers, chainsaw swords and power armour, taking time between butchering the enemies of their GodEmperor to make boisterous boasts about said GodEmperor.
* RealityWarper: C'tan, distinct from the setting's other gods in that they are ''literal'' {{Physical God}}s, immensely powerful in the material world rather than being warp entities. The more powerful psykers can also break the setting's (already tenuous) grip on physics.
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Most wealthy and/or super-important/famous (like Ciaphas Cain) Imperials, via juvenat technology.
** Also most SpaceMarines, who have much longer lifespans.
*** Taken UpToEleven by the Blood Angels, those that don't fall to [[TheCorruption the black rage or red thirst first of course.]]
** Many of the Chaos SpaceMarines are from the original traitor legions of the HorusHeresy, likely kept alive by the warp.
* ReassignedToAntarctica: Herman von Strab, the inept Overlord of Armageddon, banished Commissar Sebastian Yarrick to Hive Hades for countermanding his orders. The reason? He sent out a distress call to get help in defending Armageddon from an Ork Waaagh! led by Warlord Ghazghkull.
** ReassignmentBackfire: Needless to say, von Strab's arrogance and incompetence proved to be his own downfall which almost lost the Second War for Armageddon to the Orks had it not been for the brilliance of Commissar Yarrick and the power of the three Space Marine Chapters that answered his distress call.
* RecycledInSpace: Began as a RecycledInSpace version of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'', which predated it by four years, but has over time diverged from it. Now contains a RecycledInSpace of nearly every fantasy and SF trope imaginable, turned DarkerAndEdgier to a ridiculous degree and armed to the teeth. And then the 6th edition literally makes the game rules-wise into Fantasy Warhammer in SPACE!
* RedEyesTakeWarning: Things like bionic eyes and Space Marine helmets can also have red lenses.
* RedOniBlueOni: Angron and Kharn, respectively. The fact that the Blue Oni is ''still'' a raving fanatical berserker should tell you something.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: One of the fundamental concepts behind the ChurchMilitant's idea of "[[FateWorseThanDeath penance]]."
* {{Redshirt}}: Though not specifically called out as such, this tended to emerge from the 5th edition gameplay mechanics. The wound allocation rules (barring special exceptions) allowed the player who controlled the unit being hit to designate which models in the unit fell in combat when the unit was attacked. Inevitably, it was the models without special options, wargear, or abilities, who took the wound instead of the more important ones. This has been slightly averted in 6th edition in that aside from characters (who can be saved using the [[TakingTheBullet Look Out Sir!]] rule) the models that die are those closest to the attacker.
* RedshirtArmy: The Imperial Guardsmen are ordinary humans in a world filled with genetically engineered {{Super Soldier}}s in both religious-fanatic and daemon-corrupted flavours, [[RobotWar unstoppable death robots]], and aliens with horribly lethal weapons and/or terrifying PsychicPowers. They are surprisingly GenreSavvy about this, meaning that infantry have crap morale because they know exactly how expendable they are. Of course, [[YouHaveFailedMe Commissars]] are there to solve that little problem.
** Typically, a world's Planetary Defense Force (PDF) has it even worse than the Guard, as their primary job in most stories is to die horribly at the hands of the invading forces until the Imperial Guard arrives, [[MemeticMutation usually killed to a man]]. That's right, they're the RedshirtArmy ''for'' the RedshirtArmy. The PDF is so infamously useless in both {{canon}} and {{fanon}} that the letters 'PDF' have been joked to stand for "Please Don't Fight (Us)," and [[http://www.servantsoftheimperium.com/comic.php?comicid=119 one webcomic]] called them "The Imperial Speedbump" for how useless they are compared to the Guard.
*** In the Literature/CiaphasCain novel "Cain's Last Stand", Cain formed a militia known as the Planetary Defense Volunteers, whose job was to slow the enemy down long enough for the PDF to arrive, making them a RedshirtArmy for the RedshirtArmy of the RedshirtArmy. Granted, it worked pretty well, Cain didn't die ([[UnreliableNarrator which may or may not have been his motivation in making them]]) and they actually succeeded in killing Warboss Korbul.
** And then are the penal legions, who are just a bunch of convicts told to charge the enemy and die as a form of execution.
* ReignOfTerror: Began with the Emperor's unification of Terra and has since settled into a permanent state of affairs.
* ReligionIsMagic: Used to its fullest by both the Imperium and Chaos, especially the Sisters of Battle, who can literally ''stop bullets'' with their faith.
* ReligionOfEvil: Chaos cults, and the Word Bearers' claim to fame. Not that the "[[CorruptChurch good]]" religions are much better.
* RememberTheNewGuy: New units and characters are typically introduced into the game's lore as though they had been there all along, with historical battles sometimes being rewritten to include their presence. Only the Tau avert this (and even then, only sometimes), given that they are pretty much the only faction in the setting routinely churning out new technology.
* ResignationsNotAccepted: Chapter Serfs (failed Space Marine candidates who somehow managed to survive regardless) live out their entire remaining lives within the Fortress-Monasteries of the Chapters.
* {{Retcon}}: As you might imagine after thirty years and [[DependingOnTheWriter dozens of writers]], quite a lot has changed. Most of the more dramatic changes are instances of EarlyInstallmentWeirdness, although there's exceptions. The Squats, Zoats and the fifth Chaos God, Malal, were removed from the game background - the Squats because they weren't sure what to do with them, Malal because they weren't quite sure who owned the copyright. Other forces changed drastically, for example, the Tyranids turning from curiosity bugs into a [[HordeOfAlienLocusts galaxy-eating horror]], and the C'tan changing from the Necrons' star gods to their ''former'' star gods who got betrayed.
** There have also been a number of {{RetCon}}s of technology, such as Terminator armour and plasma weapons being changed from utterly irreplaceable relics to simply very, very difficult to make.
** The removal of the Squats is not a {{Retcon}} so much as a DroppedABridgeOnHim, as they officially existed, but were utterly eradicated by the Tyranid Hive Fleet Kraken. The Zoats get a quarter-page mention in the Tyranid book, as they were wiped out by the Imperium.
** The general tone of the setting has shifted quite a bit over the years. In the original ''Rogue Trader'' rulebook, the Imperium had a ragtag, ScavengerWorld feel (still present but not to the same degree). In fact, the whole thing had kind of a ''MadMax'' [-[[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE]]-] feel to it. The copious amounts of black humor and irony that marked ''Rogue Trader'' have also been downplayed over time.
** Inquisitors were originally lone adventurers not unlike U.S. Marshals in Western fiction - our friend Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau would ''not'' fit in with the Inquisiton of modern ''40K''.
** Daemons and Chaos were originally not part of the setting; the Warp was instead inhabited by a variety of dangerous but non-daemonic "Warp Creatures", such as Enslavers, Psychaneuein, and ''Vampires'', though it was mentioned that some inspired legends of demons on especially superstitious planets, and they still were drawn to unprotected psykers.
** The Tyranids at first were less bestial in appearance, and the Hive Mind concept wasn't as thoroughly fleshed out. The Genestealers were originally unconnected to them.
*** Genestealers were also described in the ''Rogue Trader'' book as intelligent creatures which weren't necessarily hostile, as opposed to the ''Alien''-influenced monsters they became in the expansion that first introduced Genestealer cults.
** There was a lot less romanticization/fetishization of the Space Marines in ''Rogue Trader'' - they were clearly {{Badass}} mofos, and the most dangerous fighting force in the setting, but they were also played as the most brutal and insane individuals in a brutal, insane universe. In fact, most were recruited from psychotic murderers on feral planets. Most of their transhuman elements (such as all those extra organs) were also added in later.
*** The Soul Drinkers novel ''Crimson Tears'' has a Guard general describing them pretty much exactly like that.
** Ollanius Pious, in first edition, was an [[BadassNormal ordinary]] [[RedshirtArmy Guardsman]] who pulled a YouShallNotPass on a DEMIGOD. Later editions retconned him out of existence. [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks The fandom most definitely did NOT rejoice.]]
*** As of Know No Fear he's back, although the revelation as to his identity may leave distaste with some.
** New models and characters are routinely retconned into previously discussed events. The Tyrannid Swarmlord character was recently retconned into leading most of their major battles back to first contact, and the new vehicles in the most recent IG Codex were now mixed into their armies all along.
** The C'Tan were retconned again with the fifth edition Necron book, radically so. Instead of completely dominating the Necrons and using them to harvest the galaxy for life-energy, they were betrayed by the Necrons and shattered into shards that the Necrons use in the campaign to conquer the galaxy. How the rest of the canon will be altered to deal with this change remains to be seen.
** The Imperial Guard used to field the same vehicles as Space Marines -down to dreadnoughts and land speeders- before the IG vehicle range was introduced in the mid-90s.
** Primarchs were absent from the Rogue Trader rulebook. The Horus Heresy was initially introduced -in the background for the original Space Marine game- as just a huge civil war, and Warmaster Horus as a mere corrupted general. In this early version of the background, the Emperor had simply grown old and weak over the millenia until he had to be placed on life support.
** Sixth Edition retconned the Squats back into existence in a list of sanctioned abhumans.
* TheRightHandOfDoom: All those {{Power Fist}}s give this effect, often occurs in the mutations of daemon princes but special mention must go to the Crimson Fists who all paint just one of their hands so that it at least looks a little bit more prominent.
** One member of the Soul Drinkers has an extremely large mutant hand, which he either uses to wield his power axe to great effect, or uses to splat people dead while using his normal hand to use the axe.
* RightHandVersusLeftHand: Common in the Imperium, ''standard operating procedure'' in the Inquisition.
** This is also common among the forces of Chaos, who routinely act at cross-purposes to one another even when they're ostensibly working towards the same goal: to say nothing of when they [[EnemyCivilWar aren't]].
*** It's often argued that the only reason that Chaos hasn't overrun the galaxy yet is because the forces of Chaos are all so [[AxCrazy insane]], [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder backstabbing]] and StupidEvil, the full power of their force can't be consolidated and focused to any real degree. Take note of [[HorusHeresy what happened]] the last time someone was able to fully unite Chaos.
* RobeAndWizardHat: Eldar Farseers, some Chaos sorcerers.
* RoboCam: The standard depiction of space marine battle helm readouts. [[UnusualUserInterface Bonus points for directly scrolling across the retina.]]
* RobotWar: One of them was partly the reason for the end of the Dark Age of Technology. Nowadays, they happen wherever the Necrons show up.
* {{Roboteching}}: Tau Smart Missile systems.
* RockBeatsLaser: A setting of world-splitting superweapons, ludicrously powerful weaponry and interstellar empires, and the standard tactic of most factions is to charge screaming at their foes waving a sharp thing. And it ''works''.
** To be fair, if you're 8ft tall, largely immune to firepower and can flip tanks over, it is a lot more logical.
* RodentsOfUnusualSize: They live in the underhives.
* {{Room 101}}: Commorragh, the home of the Dark Eldar, is implied to be a ''City 101''. 40k is this in general.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: Psykers are prone to this.
** Apparently Pariahs, people who are literally born without a soul and thus have no presence in the warp, can turn other people into this, as their innate lack of a soul drives normal people mad, or at least REALLY irritates other people for no apparent reason.
* RoyalInbreeding: The Navigator Houses, or Navis Nobilite, have become so inbred over the millennia that most if not all of them have mutations other than their genetically engineered third eye (which is recessive, hence the inbreeding).
* RubberForeheadAliens: Eldar resemble tall, thin humans with pointy ears. Also, Tau are just stocky grey humans with funny feet and faces. {{Justified|Trope}} and {{Lampshaded}} in Xenology.
* RuleThirtyFour: Sexy Tyranids, loli Daemonettes, Cultist-chan, the Ronery Wych, Faptau... among others. ''Beware'' some of the stuff that comes out of [[ImageBoards /tg/]].
** In some ways Slaanesh is the in-universe personification of this.
* RuleOfCool: Warhammer 40K was not carefully put together like Middle-Earth, but was cobbled by a whole bunch of authors adding elements from the favorite science fiction and horror movies. Lots of things make little sense, but it was meant to be Cool, not sensible.
* RuleOfPerception: According to [=40k=]'s What You See Is What You Get rules, if a particular upgrade or piece of wargear isn't somehow visible on a model, the model can't claim to have it. This encourages players to come up with interesting conversions[[note]](pronounced "spend more money on toys")[[/note]] to represent these upgrades, particularly in the case of things like veteran skills and other non-physical traits.
** Okay that's a LITTLE unfair. While What You See is What You Get (Pronounced Wissiwig) is encouraged, there is a logical limit to it, even in tournament settings. Most people will accept that your Eldar Farseer has a Singing Spear, even if his model only has a Witchblade, so long as you put it down in the list. And trying to model for some things, such as Melta Bombs or Icons of Chaos (much less Marks or PSYCHIC ABILITIES) could get silly after a while. There are limits in the other direction to, especially in units, but usually people are forgiving enough to not make you model TOO heavily.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:S]]
* SacredScripture: The ''Lectitio Divinatatus'' penned by Lorgar, which later formed the basis of the Imperial faith, the ''Codex Astartes'' by Guilliman, and many more.
* SameCharacterButDifferent: The ''White Dwarf'' cut-out boardgame based on the fight on Horus' Battlebarge featured two Greater Daemons on Horus' side, named Doombreed and "Kraxnar." ''Years'' later when Codex: Chaos came out, this was referenced, but poor never-described-at-all Kraxnar had been ousted by the rather less goofily-named N'Kari.
** The third edition Space Marine codex featured a minor character named "Sergeant Lysander", a tactical sergeant with little character background beyond his talent at drilling his squad in bolter accuracy. The fourth edition codex brought him back, but greatly fleshed him out and turned him into the captain of the Fists' first company.
** Ollanius Pius was originally an Imperial Guard foot-soldier, unremarkable save for the fact he had the chutzpah to try and take on Horus after the latter struck down the Emperor on his battle-barge. It didn't go well for him - his weapons were incapable of harming a Primarch and Horus immolated him with a glance - but the courage he displayed and his subsequent violent death was enough to steel the Emperor's will and convince him his son was truly lost. In later depictions, Pius was removed and replaced (first by an Imperial Fists terminator, then by a member of the Emperor's bodyguard, the Legio Custodes). The ''Horus Heresy'' novels have brought him back as a Perpetual, a being with ResurrectiveImmortality.
* SandWorm: Raveners, the Red Terror, Trygons and Mawlocs, in that order from least to most matching.
* SapientTank: Some armored vehicles are known to be capable of acting on their own. Whether the "machine spirit" is an ArtificialIntelligence or an actual spirit is another question entirely.
** Chaos Space Marines simply use demon-possessed vehicles.
* SatanicArchetype: Horus was the favorite son of the God Emperor who rebelled against him and took somewhere between one third and one half of the space marines with him. Sound Familiar?
* ScaleOfScientificSins: Unsurprisingly, pings on all 7 sins.
* ScaryBlackMan: The Salamanders are an entire chapter of this, and they're one of the nicer chapters of Space Marines.
* ScaryDogmaticAliens: ''All'' the factions, even the Imperium. Yep, we are [[GodEmperor Scary]] [[ChurchMilitant Dogmatic]] ''[[HumansAreBastards Humans]]'':
** The Imperium of Man and its subfactions: all xenocidal and imperialist, [[WeHaveReserves as happy to wipe out billions of its own people]] as it is to exterminate entire alien races.
** Chaos: Extra-dimensional malevolent gods and daemons that are capable of crossing into the physical realm and [[TheCorruption corrupting the minds and bodies of sentient species]]. Four principal Chaos Gods and countless lesser deities and daemon princes, served by billions of cultists and thousands of ancient daemon-corrupted {{Super Soldier}}s who rebelled against the Imperium during a galaxy-splitting civil war ten thousand years before the setting. [[CardCarryingVillain Unquestionably evil]], delighting in murder and depravity. The four main gods are born from the emotions of hope, love, bravery and acceptance; this should tell you most of what you need to know about 40k's place on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism.
** [[OurElvesAreBetter The Eldar]]:
*** Craftworld Eldar: Dying elder race with massive superiority complex. Through their past depravity, they are responsible for creating the Chaos god Slaanesh. Not quite xenocidal, but consider the deaths of [[strike:millions]] hundreds of billions of humans to safeguard a few hundred Eldar lives more than a fair trade, and have the [[PsychicPowers psychic]] future-prediction and [[TheChessmaster manipulative skills]] to make that sort of thing a reality rather than a dream. As an example, they tricked the Ork warlord Ghazghkull Thraka into attacking the human planet of Armageddon, setting off the Second and Third Wars for Armageddon, killing ''billions'' of humans, to prevent Ghazghkull from attacking one of their Craftworlds (world-ships that harbour the refugees of their lost empire).
*** Dark Eldar: The Dark Elf-esque EvilCounterpart to the Craftworld Eldar. They ''still'' practice the same depravity that led to their race's fall. Sadistic in the extreme, need to [[YourSoulIsMine feed on others' souls]] to avoid their own being devoured by the Chaos God Slaanesh. Worth noting that unlike the Craftworld Eldar, who could be considered {{Jerkass Woobie}}s, the Dark Eldar have ''no'' excuse for their depravity. They actually '''choose''' to be evil.
*** Harlequins: A meta-faction with members drawn more or less equally from the other three factions, who form troupes of wandering [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot bards, historians, performers, and high-speed close-combat specialists]] who are [[MonsterClown feared and respected]] by the elite troops of all sentient races, including their own. All of this is, of course, secondary to their "Great Work", which is the re-uniting of the other Eldar factions and hastening the [[HaveYouSeenMyGod creation of Ynnead]], the Eldar god of death, who will destroy the Chaos gods and cause the Eldar race to be reborn as near-invicible demigods. They also have many weapons that can kill in [[CruelAndUnusualDeath extremely gory and unpleasant ways]], including a monofilament wire that inserts into a man's body and flails about, tearing his insides apart. Why use these horrible weapons? [[CantArgueWithElves For reasons your puny human mind cannot possibly comprehend]].
** Tau: Technologically advanced humanoids with a rigidly caste-based society. The Ethereal caste rule over the [[ElementalRockPaperScissors Earth, Air, Fire and Water]] castes, who are all utterly loyal and devoted (one theory has it the control is based on pheromones). They see themselves as [[BenevolentAlienInvasion benevolent imperialists]] fighting religiously for the 'Greater Good,' and are singled out for being the only faction that seriously engages in diplomacy or offers anything other than genocidal total war. Despite a thing for [[UnreliableNarrator (allegedly)]] [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans mass sterilisation, warmongering and concentration camps]], they really are the nicest people you'll find in this galaxy. Imperialist, expansionist, slightly fanatical, ("slightly" in this setting meaning that only one mech per army can be upgraded to [[TakingYouWithMe a suicide bomber]]), nothing will get in the way of their manifest destiny to conquer the galaxy in the name of the Greater Good.
** Tyranids: Extra-galactic locusts in apparently limitless numbers. If they take over a planet, they [[PlanetEater devour all organic material, eat the soil, drain the geothermal heat from the planet's core, drink the oceans and suck up the atmosphere]], leaving a cold airless rock. ''[[HordeOfAlienLocusts Hungry]]''. Extremely [[PsychicPowers psychic]], with the [[PsychicStatic psychic chatter]] that forms their HiveMind being so powerful that their mere presence drives psychics insane and interferes with technology that uses psychics - including interstellar travel and communications. [[BugWar Bug Wars]] crop up wherever they go, with the suggestion that the three galaxy-eatingly-enormous, near-unstoppable Hive Fleets are just ''scouts'' for [[TheWarHasJustBegun the real invasion]].
** Necrons: Ancient undead metal constructs powered by the souls of long-dead aliens that hate all living things. Ridiculously advanced technology, [[ImplacableMan almost impossible to kill]], and very ill-disposed toward these nasty little upstarts walking around and being alive all over their old stomping grounds. They just want to conquer the galaxy again...except for [[CloudCuckoolander Trazyn]], who doesn't like the whole "conquering and exterminating" business and just wants to build a museum.
* ScaryImpracticalArmor: Very much so.
** The [[SpaceElf Dark Eldar]] warriors have armour suits are covered in blades and attach by hooking into their skin. Subverted, since the hooks are meant to produce a little bit of pain which enhances the senses. And [[CombatSadomasochist given their proclivities]], armour that can cut whilst in use is approved of. Parodied in a ''[=Turnsignals on a Land Raider=]'' strip [[http://tsoalr.com/?p=111 here]].
** Surprisingly [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] by the standard [[PowerArmor Power Armour]] for the [[SpaceMarine Space Marines]]. It looks kinda sinister, but that's just a design quirk of the helmets mostly. Apart from the [[ShoulderPadsOfDoom massive pauldrons]], which seem to also vary in size DependingOnTheArtist, it is actually quite practical in design. It is flexible enough to allow you a decent range of movement and covers you pretty much literally from head to toe, with none of the glaring issues of the other more impractical armours of the setting.
** [[EvilCounterpart Chaos Space Marines]] Power Armour. Each suit is individually customized to be downright menacing, and invariably include an excess of horns, spikes, skulls, and [[Creator/MichaelMoorcock arrows]]. Most of them are decorative or devotional, but more than a few of those horns coming out of their armor [[EvilMakesYouMonstrous are actually parts of their bodies]].
** Again, [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] by the Tau. Their armours are very practical, if a bit lightly armoured.
* SceneryGorn: About half of the art. A fair proportion of the other half is just regular {{Gorn}}.
* SchizoTech: Planets in the Imperium of Man range from Stone Age-level Feral Worlds to hyper-tech Forge Worlds, and pretty much all technology levels in between. Even within a given world, examples of SchizoTech often abound: it's not uncommon for an adept to ride a flying bus into work and then spend the day copying numbers onto rolls of parchment with a quill. And of course, "[[MemeticMutation DRIVE ME CLOSER! I WANT TO HIT THEM WITH MY SWORD!!]]"
* ScienceFantasy: Well, technically, there's [[DoingInTheWizard (pseudo)scientific explanations for all the magic found in the setting]], but the fact remains that ''Warhammer 40,000'' incorporates a ''lot'' of fantasy tropes. Unsurprising, considering that it started out as Warhammer IN SPACE!
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: Has a love-hate relationship with this one. At times, distances, timescales and the number of soldiers needed to launch a sector-spanning crusade are handled "realistically", but just as often a few hundred Space Marines defend - or ''purge'' - an ''entire world''. But then again, they are [[SuperSoldier Space]] [[BadassArmy Marines]]...
** The models also have some scale issues; for example, the Leman Russ tank, compared to a Guardsman figure, has a 16-inch main gun and two 3-inch repeating cannons.
** ''Epic'' had this going on with weapon-related rules; all weapons of a given class had the same stats no matter what the model looked like. This got odd with "bolters" (any bolter, sometimes two only counting for one attack dice) and "battle cannon" (the Battle Cannon in a Stormblade's sponson is a quarter of the size of the one in a Baneblade's turret, yet both had the exact same stats). This results in some weirdness when trying to scale up a Superheavy tank to 40K; a Stormhammer, for example, might have anything from 12 bolt pistols in firing ports to 24 heavy bolters.
*** In addition, ''Epic'' models have a tendency to be too small directly proportional to the actual size of the model; a Leman Russ is ''slightly'' smaller in comparison to an infantry figure than the 40K equivalent, while vehicles supposedly as big as city blocks tend to only have a few times the footprint of a regular tank. Perhaps the biggest case is the Imperator Titan; the Imperator model is around four inches tall, and the head has just about enough room to contain one ''Epic''-scale Terminator figure, despite being described in fluff as containing a whole battle bridge for the Princeps and Moderati. Most likely this is because a true-to-scale ''Epic'' Imperator would be two or three feet tall.
*** Then again, ''nobody'' seems able to decide how tall Titans are, with official figures for the Imperator varying from Graham [=McNeill's=] books (43m) to Dan Abnett (>140m). The cover of the graphic novel ''Titan'' showing a smaller Warlord Titan features access ladders and details on the gun implying the barrels are ''each'' the size of a house, making the whole Titan over half a kilometre tall.
** Another time-related example: A fair amount of the Imperium's equipment, such as some of the older Marks of power armour that are still in use by the Space Marines, is still around and functional after ''at least ten thousand years of regular use''. Even with maintenance, that's a bit of a stretch in most cases.
** Weapon ranges suffer from this trope, particularly where artillery is concerned. Even the game's longest-ranged artillery pieces, which can fire over 100" (8+ feet, which can easily hit anything anywhere on a standard-sized table) is laughably short-ranged even compared to WW2-era artillery. Justified in that if it was scaled realistically, the artillery range would be measured in real-life city blocks (perfect for those games of Apocalypse you're playing by telephone).
* TheScottishTrope: Two of the original founding Space Marine Legions have had their names and their Primarchs stricken off of all Imperial records completely. Quite the feat in a society where ''putting the GodEmperor himself in a ten thousand year coma'' doesn't even earn you that treatment.
* ScreamingWarrior: Eldar Howling Banshees, who - thanks to a psychosonic amplifier in their masks - can actually ''shut down someone's nervous system'' by screaming at him.
** Likewise certain Noise Marines, who use a similar piece of technology known as "The Doom Siren".
** One word: WWWAAAAAAAGGGHHH!!!
** So common that the Necrons are notably intimidating for NOT doing this.
* [[ScrewYouElves Screw You, Eldar]]
* ScryVsScry: Primarily between Eldar farseers and Tzeentchian sorcerers; human and even Ork soothsayers sometimes try this as well, but are generally far less successful at it.
* SealedArmyInACan: Subverted with the Necrons, in that they can't be controlled. Overlaps with SealedEvilInACan.
* SealedEvilInACan: Many, many examples.
** Just about everything can have a daemon sealed in it, turning an ordinary weapon - or monument, or tank, or ''planet'' - into an ArtifactOfDoom.
** It's heavily implied that the Forge World of Mars imprisons the Void Dragon, a sleeping C'tan star-god. The Outsider, another C'tan, is currently trapped in a ''Dyson sphere'' (also batshit insane.)
** Done both metaphorically and literally by the Necrontyr, a short-lived, life-hating race who had themselves sealed in undying living-metal battle shells, becoming the Necrons. "In a can" indeed.
* SenseFreak: Followers of Slaanesh. Dark Eldar as well.
* SenselessSacrifice: There are many {{Heroic Sacrifice}}s in [=40K=], "But the universe is a big place and, whatever happens, you will not be missed..."
** On the other hand, there is another saying which goes "No man who died in His service died in vain", so make what you will of it. Imperial dogma is occasionally contradictory. Pointing this out is heresy.
* SentientCosmicForce: The Warp is this.
* SeparateButIdentical: All races suffer really badly from this, although it's being gradually fixed with different Craftworlds, bio-augmentation, regimental doctrines, etc.
* SerialEscalation: How much [[MoreDakka Dakka]] can the Ork Mekboys put together [Answer: never enuff]? How much [[MoralEventHorizon more evil]] can we make the [[AbusivePrecursors Dark Eldar]]? How loud can Kharn scream "'''BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!'''"? How big of a BigBad can Literature/CiaphasCain, '''[[FakeUltimateHero HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!]]''', defeat through a combination of dumb luck, skill and [[IndyPloy fast thinking]]? How much bigger can the [[HumongousMecha Titans]] and various Planet Killing guns on Imperium ships get? Just how much worse can things get? How much more TropeOverdosed can this setting get? It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the setting pretty much ''runs'' on SerialEscalation.
* SeriousBusiness: [[CrackIsCheaper Considering what this game costs]], you can kinda see why.
* ShadowDictator: The God-Emperor of Mankind. The ''official'' story is that he was mortally wounded in a duel with Horus and has been hooked up to the Golden Throne and [[NotQuiteDead preserved in a state between life and death]] ever since, but sometimes it's alluded that he might be, in fact, long dead. Of course, those making said statements generally happen to be enemies of the Imperium, so it's impossible to know whether or not they're true. The Eldar believe that if the Emperor died, he would ascend to full-on Godhood upon fully transitioning to the Warp, which they're convinced would make another Eye of Terror. Also, it's heavily implied that if this happened, he'd utterly curbstomp the [[BiggerBad Chaos Gods]], who were so terrified of the Emperor that they actually ''worked together'' to eliminate him.
* ShapeshifterWeapon: Obliterators again, and their new close-combat flavoured counterparts, Mutilators.
* SharedUniverse: Particularly in the novels; most fans regard anything written by some authors, especially C.S. Goto, as automatically non-canon.
* SharpenedToASingleAtom: Most combat blades have an edge one molecule thick. This includes combat knives, swords, some types of ammunition, etc.
* ShinyLookingSpaceships: Eldar and Tau, mostly.
* ShockAndAwe: Necron ranged weapons typically fire bolts of green lightning that [[DisintegratorRay strip away the target's flesh one molecular layer at a time]]. A great many psychic powers also involve using bolts of lightning to fry people.
* ShootTheDog: Happens very, very often in the Imperium. One of a commissar's duties is to maintain unit cohesion and discipline-- by execution, if necessary. Discovered psykers are usually killed to stop them getting daemon-possessed and destroying worlds, fed to the Astronomicon to preserve it and the Emperor, or put through brutal conditioning to serve the Imperium as "sanctioned" psykers. And, if that weren't bad enough, in extreme catastrophes ''planets'' are subjected to Exterminatus in order to prevent the taint from spreading and put the inhabitants out of their misery. To highlight how monumentally fucked up this galaxy is, people are actually ''awarded medals'' for such acts.
* ShortRangeLongRangeWeapon: Shamelessly prevalent in the tabletop game, even the artillery (though keep in mind [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality they don't exactly have a choice]]). The worst offender is the Imperial Guard Basilisk, whose range is both unnecessarily long for the tabletop game - twenty ''feet'', several times the length of the average game table - while also far, far too short for an artillery piece of that size.
** As of the 5th edition Imperial Guard codex, the Basilisk has passed its crown to the Deathstrike Missile, an ''intercontinental ballistic missile'' with a range of 12" - 960". In other words, an ICBM with a maximum range of less than a mile, that can also be used to shoot at people standing ''sixty feet'' from the launch site. ShortRangeLongRangeWeapon indeed. (As of the latest errata, the Deathstrike's maximum range is now officially unlimited, but it can still shoot people standing just off the launch pad.)
** Apparently when asked why they changed this, the designers said "If you are playing on a table where this actually makes a difference, then good for you."
* '''ShouldersOfDoom''': If you look at the Creator/GamesWorkshop site, "Shoulder Pads" is an entire category of modeling bits, along with scenery and weapons.
* ShoutOut: Tons. Enough to get a [[ShoutOut/{{Warhammer 40000}} separate page]].
* ShroudedInMyth: Space Marines are seen as legends by most of the Imperium. An average Imperial citizen will occasionally get to see how much of the legends are true; unfortunately, this is generally in a Marine-worthy combat situation, meaning the citizen's life expectancy can probably be measured in minutes at most.
** One comic story describes an Ork invasion of a medieval-level Imperial world and a Black Templar counterattack, from the perspective of one of the world's peasants. At the end, after the Orks are driven off, the peasant hopes that they never come back again: not because he's scared of the Orks, but because he's scared of the ''Space Marines''.
* SicklyGreenGlow: Necrons in general and gauss weapons in particular.
* SightedGunsAreLowTech: One of the few science fiction works to avert this trope.
* SigilSpam: Every faction does this. The Imperium and Chaos are particularly prone to showing their sigils because they have multiple subfactions which have their own. And looking at the Chaos ones [[BrownNote drive you insane]].
* SingleBiomePlanet: Used and averted equally often.
* SinisterScythe: Trademark of Nurgle followers and the [[GrimReaper Nightbringer]].
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Take a wild guess. This is a universe where extreme prejudice and xenophobia against anyone ''remotely'' different: psykers, mutants, etc.: is truly the best option, since anything else will, in a best case secenario, get you possessed by demons. It's generally '''extremely''' cynical, to the point of being nihilistic, although every once in a full moon, you do get the odd sliver of idealism.
** And this is only from the outside looking in. For example, an Imperial citizen's life could be anywhere on the sliding scale; a peasant on some agri-world could spend his entire life without being smashed by an Ork, slaughtered by a Chaos Space Marine, disintegrated by a Necron, or dragged kicking and screaming back to Commorragh, and in fact a citizen on a more developed, out-of-the-way world might live a rather cushy life not too different from some in the developed world, but that hardly makes good storytelling material, does it? Of course, the High Lords of Terra, the Inquisition and some of the Space Marines ([[SpaceWolves but]] [[Literature/{{Salamanders}} not]] [[Literature/{{Ultramarines}} all]] [[Literature/BloodAngels of]] [[Literature/SoulDrinkers them]]) have a more depressing and cynical outlook on life in the 41st Millenium. The Craftworld Eldar are generally a bit more cynical given the situation their species is in, and this extends to their willingness to sacrifice any number of the "lesser races" to preserve their own kind, but quite a few Eldar characters are self-sacrificing and dedicated to their goals and philosophies. The Tau are idealistic about their ideology and uniting the galaxy under it, but of course, they may be ''too'' idealistic for their own good, and several Tau characters who have experienced the full horror of the galaxy are [[KnightInSourArmor much less optimistic but still believe that following the ideal is worth more than achieving it]]. Even Chaos followers vary; some turn to the Dark Gods for more obvious things like power and personal gain, others have turned to the Chaos gods because they really believe in them, and some are just poor schmucks who are denounced by the Imperium and figured that [[ThenLetMeBeEvil if they are always going to be seen as heretics, mutants and scum, they may as well just dive in and accept it]].
*** And to quote Games Workshop writer Dan Abnett:
-->''"In the grim darkness of the far future, there is'' more ''than war; [[Heartwarming/{{Warhammer 40000}} there are real people there too]]."''
* SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness: Looked at from an out-of-universe perspective 40K has the tongue so firmly planted in cheek it's punching through: in-universe, it is so serious and depressing, it's rather surprising you have productive people at all, considering how depressing it must be to be in charge of anything in 40k.
** This is often based on whichever perspective it's coming from. Read something written from the point of view of an Ork, and the descriptions and dialogue will take on an amusing and humorous tone. [[MoodWhiplash Take the point of view of a Guardsman seeing an Ork]], and all he's going to see is a terrifying green monstrosity howling barbarically, waving either a monstrous cleaver or improbably sized gun around. Definitely ''not'' something to be taken lightly.
* SlidingScaleOfTurnRealism: Turn by Turn.
* TheSlowWalk: Necrons are masters of this, as is any unit with the Slow and Purposeful rule (e.g. Obliterators, Meganobz, Thousand Sons). There is also a drawing in the 5th edition rule-book of several Imperial heroes performing a Slow Walk.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: A dearth of female special characters usable in the game proper, although the fluff doesn't suffer from this so badly.
** Turned on its head with ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar II: Retribution'', which has half of the playable Eldar characters being women and the Imperial Guard under the command of a female Inquisitor.
* SomeCallMeTim:
** Some call me Commander Farsight (Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr or O'Shovah for short) . Standard practice with Tau.
** Somewhat averted by Ork ''players'': most of them remember simple manageable names like [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Wazdakka Gutzmek]] or [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka]].
* SoulCuttingBlade: Force weapons.
* SoulsavingCrusader: The forces of the Imperium of Man are examples of this and also the other races that appears to be fighting for what seems right in this setting.
* {{Sourcebook}}: [[AllThereInTheManual By the bucketload]].
* SoundOff: Imperial battle hymns, Ork war chants.
* SortingAlgorithmOfEvil: It begins with the Tau (for whom peace talks are - [[GunboatDiplomacy usually]] - the first resort), then the Eldar (who will not normally screw you over [[CombatPragmatist unless the lives of their own species are at stake]]), then the Imperium (which has to be that brutal so that mankind as a whole can survive), Orks ([[BloodKnight WAAAGH!]]), then Tyranids (driven by hunger rather than any genuine malice), then Necrons (who want to bring back their ancient empire and are willing to unleash the wrath of evil star-gods who want to farm every sentient species in the galaxy on their enemies), Chaos (let's convert the materium into more warp and fuck everyone else!), and Dark Eldar (pure, unrepentant evil, even by this setting's standards).
** The Imperium also sends its forces to a planet based off this - the worse the situation there gets, the more Mooks, EliteMooks, TankGoodness and HumongousMecha it sends. If that all fails, they call down [[EarthShatteringKaboom Exterminatus on the planet]].
* SoulsavingCrusader: Incorporated as official policy in the Imperium, where unrepentant and brutal policy often takes sway over more conventional practices. Specifically, while there are some worlds that are okay, even great to live on, the Imperium as a whole indoctrinates its people to accept hardship and stay loyal to a psychotic dystopia--no matter how hard their lives, how misplaced their loyalty, or how misused they are. All because failure to do so and to stay a coherent force in the galaxy will eventually lead to the extinction of the human species.
** Used more specifically by the Ecclesiarchy, and by extension their Adeptus Sororitas, and by the somewhat more close-working Ordo Hereticus. They take anybody spiritually impure, or otherwise suspect, and use a wide range of punishment for their redemption, from [[BurnTheWitch burning them at the stake]] to [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment being mounted onto a]] [[SuicideAttack penitent engine]].
* SpaceAgeStasis: Most of the races in the 41st millennium have been in a state of technological stagnation for thousands of years. Many worlds are even Medieval.
** The Imperium bans any technologically advancement, partly as part of their reverence for old tech in their religion, with beliefs of StatusQuoIsGod.
** The Eldar are in a decline, with all their efforts focused on keeping their immortal race alive.
** The Necrons are a machine race that are basically mindless outside of their Lords, and have been asleep for the past 65 million years.
** Averted by the Tyranids and the Tau.
* SpaceAmish: The Imperium actually has "medieval worlds" and "feral worlds." The Eldar have exodites, and the Orks have feral tribes and the deeply traditional Snakebite clan.
* SpaceFighter: Naturally.
* SpaceIsAnOcean: Complete with starship-sized kraken and moon-sized leviathans. Also see the ''BattlefleetGothic'' page.
* SpaceMarine: Imperial Guard Stormtroopers, Tau Fire Warriors, Eldar Aspect Warriors, just about any Necron, but especially...
** SuperSoldier: ... The guys ''called'' Space Marines.
* SpaceNavy: The Imperial Navy.
* SpaceOpera: Emphasis on the epic heroes, villains, and battles - not so much on the love stories.
* SpacePlane: Notably, Thunderhawks and Valkyries are described in novels as behaving this way.
* SpacePirates: Eldar, Dark Eldar and sometimes Orks, Chaos and Humans.
** The Red Corsairs, yarr! Their leader even has only one eye (the other is bionic) and a [[PirateParrot sentient pet]] that allows him to ''[[TimeStandsStill slow down time]]''.
* SpaceRomans: The Imperium. Especially the Ultramarines.
* SparseListOfRules: Some storylines and fluff use the ''[[BigBookOfWar Codex Astartes]]'' like this, for example in an early mission of ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar's'' single-player campaign where Captain Gabriel Angelos notes what the ''Codex's'' recommended course of action in response to the Orks' tactics is.
* TheSpartanWay: Taken to utterly ridiculous extremes by the Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines. Just ''look'' at the page quote.
* SphereOfDestruction: Eldar wraithcannons and D-cannons and Imperial vortex weapons work this way, neatly removing perfect spheres of matter and sending them ''straight to hell''.
* SpiderTank: Chaos, specifically Defilers and Brass Scorpions. Necron Tomb Stalkers may also qualify.
* SpikesOfVillainy: Chaos all the way. Dark Eldar go for more of a bladed look, while Orks will mix spikes with blades and add anything else brutal you can think of.
* SpotlightStealingSquad: The Space Marines in the game as a whole, and the Ultramarines amongst the Space Marines themselves.
* SpyCatsuit: Several Eldar have one, but it's pretty much standard issue for the Officio Assassinorum agents of the Imperium. Some employ chameleon-like mimicry abilities, others have no special reason for this apart from being FetishFuel. In one of the ''TabletopGame/DarkHeresy'' novels, this tendency is repeatedly {{lampshaded}} when several characters can't keep their eyes from the girl-assassin brought up by a [[ChainsawGood rather]] [[KillItWithFire puritanical]] [[SexIsEvil sect]] who would most likely kill them if she had any idea ''why'' they looked at her like that.
** A non-spy variant called a bodyglove is a fairly common type of clothing worn by high-ranking civilians or hired guns. It's typically worn under armor or with other clothes, like jackets or utility harnesses.
* SquishyWizard: Played straight by most races' psykers, but subverted by some being real hardcases, such as Tyranid Hive Tyrants (but not Zoanthropes), Space Marine Librarians, Grey Knights and Chaos Daemons. Eldar Farseers are actually ''tougher'' than most other Eldar, due to slowly turning into crystal.
* StabTheSky: Common pose of characters in artwork; not so much in actual tabletop models these days, unless you pose them that way yourself. Older models ''did'' tend to have their swords held high over their heads, due to pewter- and plastic-casting limitations of the time.
* StandardSciFiArmy: Considering its focus on war, every single type of unit conceivable has been used in the games.
* StandardSciFiFleet
* StandardSciFiHistory: The Imperium and Eldar follow the trope closely. They explored, found aliens, built great empires, and are now falling.
* StandardSciFiSetting: Only painted black and covered in skulls.
* StandardTimeUnits: The Imperium officially runs on Terran years, and presumably Terran days onboard starships.
** Sort of: the Imperial calendar is explicitly based on the Gregorian, but rather than having 365 days, it has 1000 "Days"/"Year Fractions"/"[[CallARabbitASmeerp Chronosegments]]" of roughly 8hrs 45min apiece. If you think of each Chronosegment as a work shift, it makes it easier, especially if a "week" is 20 Chronosegments, and a "month" 100, as you wind up with roughly the same breakdown as the 7/30 you have now. The fluff explicitly has the "Year Fraction" part of the system used only by those who have to deal with ''lots'' of different local calendars.
* StarKilling: The C'tan.
* TheStarscream: Look in any Chaos warband, Ork mob, or Dark Eldar Kabal, and you'll likely find one of these.
** The Dark Eldar faction is almost made up entirely of these guys. They may work together to ensure the success of a raid, but Kabal members are all constantly trying to claw their way to the top of the pile, and if the guy above them gets killed in a raid, then that just saves them the trouble. There's only one exception: Asdrubael Vect himself, and that's only because [[BigBad he doesn't have a superior to backstab]]. Of course, many Dark Eldar try to backstab ''him'', but this is [[TheChessmaster Vect]] we're talking about, so they all fail horribly.
** And this isn't just from the "evil" factions. This happens shockingly often on Imperial worlds, too.
* StateSec: The Imperium's secret police are called the ''Inquisition''. It suits them.
* StatusQuoIsGod: The huge fate-of-the-galaxy-depends-on-the-outcome-of-this summer global campaigns never seem to change anything. However, 5th Edition advances the plot a couple of hundred years, and the Imperium, though it hasn't collapsed yet, is apparently more screwed than ever before.
* StealthPun There are demonic beasts of the Chaos God of Bloodlust that resemble large canids. So that would make them... wait for it... Khorne dogs.
** The Ultramarines are a chapter widely regarded as the paragon of devotion other Space Marines should live up to. They wear blue armor and originate from the Ultramar empire, and are NOT named for being objectively more skilled or competent than any other chapter.
* StepfordSmiler: Nurgle is suspiciously too nice for a god of disease...You should probably turn down any gifts he offers you.
* StopWorshippingMe: The God Emperor of Mankind when he was alive.
* StoutStrength: Generally anything associated with Nurgle gets this treatment. Especially the daemonic servants who the fatter they are, the more powerful they are.
* StraightForTheCommander: Tyranids use synapse creatures as commanders, who relay the HiveMind's orders to each individual 'nid in range. Taking out a synapse creature (which can best be summed up as "shoot the big ones") causes momentary confusion amid the 'nids, until a synapse creature gets back in range.
** Tau armies suffer severe morale penalties if their Ethereal leader is slain. A blurb in an Imperial Guard codex credits a Ratling sniper named Magogg with assuring one Imperial victory when he blew an Ethereal's head off.
* StrawHypocrite: The Ultramarines, most outspoken supporters of the Codex Astartes, rule over an entire sector despite the Codex explicitly prohibiting Space Marines from ruling more than one homeworld (barring short periods of emergency government). Mind you, they have a HundredPercentAdorationRating and their realm is unprecedentedly well organised, so they must be doing something right.
** The whole mini-empire was a united alliance, ruled from Ultramar by Guilliman, before the Empire even got there. They only directly rule one world, it just happens to be the capitol.
*** And as Guilliman actually wrote the Codex, it probably is not against it.
* StrippedToTheBone: Necrons make wide use of gauss-flayer weapons, which strip the target away layer by molecule-thick layer - although most have so much power that even a single shot usually ends up vaporising the victim whole.
* StrongAsTheyNeedToBe: Depending on the writer, the Guard can be filled with competent men and women able to pull their weight against the superhuman enemies of the Imperium or full of redshirts only good for cannon fodder and buying time for the tanks or Space Marines.
** Note that Imperial regiments probably vary like this, due to varied enrollment/conscription and training methods over the big galaxy.
* StupidEvil: Too many examples to list, typically from the Imperium and the Chaos Space Marines. Much of how the Imperium survives seems to come down to the fact that Chaos Space Marines are even dumber, or at least crazier than they are. The Orkz ''would'' qualify here as well, if not for the fact that their [[RealityWarper latent psychic powers]] actually make being too dumb to realize how stupid and/or insane most of the things they do are [[AchievementsInIgnorance an asset]].
* SubspaceAnsible: Sending telepathic messages... through ''hell''...
* SufficientlyAdvancedAlien: C'tan/Necrons, and to a lesser extent the Eldar.
* SufficientlyAdvancedBambooTechnology: High-ranking Eldar may be seen with decorative spears and ribbed body armour, and carry little runes that look like they're made of carved bone in a little pouch - the uselessly impractical looking spear actually projects a force-field that lets it cut through PoweredArmor like butter, the mail-looking bodysuits rapidly harden when struck and repair any damage all by themselves, and the little runes are made from a form of reactive living plastic that also acts as a conduit for their immense psychic prowess. Necrons have access to thing like Resurrection Orbs (little glowing crystals that enhance the self-repair protocols of the robotic warriors), Sempiternal Weave (which is a force-field that looks like a scale-mail suit of armour) and various staves. Quite a few of the more esoteric Imperial pieces look deceptively primitive as well, retaining a sort of Renaissance or Victorian aesthetic but leaving modern technology well behind - the boxy Leman Russ looks like something that belongs in [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI the muddy trenches of Northern France]], but it handles like a European sports car and would thrash a top-of-the-line Abrams with little trouble.
* SummonMagic: Summoning daemons.
** The Eldar and Sisters of Battle get in on the act as well with their Avatars and Living Saints, respectively, though because of the way magic works in ''40K'' the distinction is mostly semantic.
* SuperpowerMeltdown: Happens to psykers. A lot.
* SuperpowerfulGenetics: The Primarchs and the Space Marines. Also Orks.
* SuperRegistrationAct: An ''extremely'' euphemistic way of describing the treatment of psykers who aren't sacrificed to the Astronomican or Golden Throne.
* SuperpoweredMooks: Psykers and those "blessed" by the Chaos gods.
* SuperweaponSurprise: Eldar Maiden worlds and Imperial medieval worlds - Do not touch without a force big enough to repel the reinforcements.
* SurvivalMantra: The many, ''many'' little prayers and litanies recited on a regular basis by the Imperials. Often have [[MadnessMantra Chaotic counterparts]].
* SwallowedWhole: Stay away from Mawlocs, because you'll still be alive when you get digested.
* SwordAndGun: Generally favoured by every somewhat-sentient race in the game for close-quarters combat troops.
* {{Synchronisation}}: Titans and their Princeps, some ships and their captains.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:T]]
* TactfulTranslation: This happened to ''White Dwarf's'' battle reports. At one point they were blow-by-blow accounts, until a farcical ''Titan Legions'' battle report where one side with a Mega-Gargant suffered a ridiculously one-sided defeat against a Space Marine army with no Imperator Titan. Presumably the worry was that they'd made the supplement look bad, so battle reports were changed to a story-like format, presumably for easier "equalising."
* {{Tagline}}: "There is no time for peace. No respite. No forgiveness. There is only WAR!" "In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war!"
** Most of the armies have one as well, like Chaos' "Death to the False Emperor!"
* TakeCover: Terrain on the table is not just for decoration, as hiding behind a bush can protect you from even anti-tank weaponry (though not flamethrowers).
** This is because in practical terms cover also represents the firer missing the target due to obscuring, or simply not seeing the target and not firing at all.
* [[TakeOverTheWorld Take Over the Freaking Galaxy:]] the Monodominant faction seriously believes that the Imperium should strive for this. Ironically, their inspiration is an ancient work which expounded this theory [[IWasJustJoking in order to highlight its impossibility.]]
* TakingYouWithMe: Once again, taken to extremes; a good example would be the Eversor Assassin. When you kill him, his ''blood explodes'' with tank-destroying force. All vehicles in the game have a chance of exploding, to the misfortune of everyone around, when destroyed.
** Lukas of the Space Wolves, in keeping with being an analog for the Norse god of trickery, has this as an actual battle plan. He has a specialized stasis bomb in place of his second heart, rigged to detonate if he dies. As a result, who ever finally slays him will be frozen forever in undying stasis with Lukas's laughing face to look at for eternity.
* TalkToTheFist: Standard Imperium policy with talkative xenos filth.
* TannhauserGate
* TankGoodness: Naturally, taken UpToEleven. Every race has its armoured death machines, but honestly the Imperial Guard Armoured Companies are the ''kings'' of this trope. '''TANKS FOR THE TANK GOD, TREADS FOR THE TREAD THRONE!'''
** Before the 5e codex, the Iron Warriors were this. Is being able to play with an extra tank not enough for you? How about borrowing Basilisks from the Imperial Guard and Vindicators from the Space Marines?? (At least, now all the Chaos Space Marines can use Vindicators)
* TarotMotifs: The Emperor's Tarot. Used seriously for divinition: and it works: and as playing cards.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: While SchizoTech has a lot to do with it, it's painfully obvious that none of the factions have equivalents to military tech and strategic advances since the 80s when the game was first made, and most the Vietnam War. Even Tau drones are limited to the same kind of ranges as remote-control planes. Artillery especially seems to be at a WW2 level at best.
* {{Technopath}}: Eldar are and know it, Ork Meks are but don't, and the Adeptus Mechanicus ''think'' they are.
** They may even be - certainly they are in the tabletop spinoff ''TabletopGame/DarkHeresy''. The amount of ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve going on here is [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane deliberately ambiguous]].
* TechnoWizard: The Adeptus Mechanicus takes the "wizard" part seriously, to boot.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork:
** Imperial forces working together with xenos, which has happened in a variety of ways from WorthyOpponent to painfully bad. Indeed, several Imperial forces working with ''other'' Imperial forces, such as Space Wolves and Dark Angels, qualify.\\
This is sometimes codified: the races are broken up into two super-factions, Order and Disorder (since the punchier antonym for "order" is already taken.) Disorder are everybody's enemies, all the time, ''especially'' each other; Order will team up in the face of an overwhelming threat from Disorder, and fight to the death any other time. This is officially codified by the Allies chart introduced in the sixth edition rules, which has four settings (ranging from "battle-brothers" to "[[GodzillaThreshold come the apocalypse, but not before]]"), with the middle two representing this trope. The main difference is that in the first the factions dislike each other a great deal but are willing to mostly cooperate, while the second is for those who are relentlessly paranoid and keeping an eye on each other in order to spot the coming betrayal so they can fire first.
** Deathwatch kill teams often feature this, as they can throw together Space Marines whose natures naturally cause friction (pairing the silent, dour Raven Guard with the boisterous, HotBlooded White Scars, for instance) and/or who have mutual grudges (such as the Dark Angels and Space Wolves).
** Teeth Clenched Teamwork is the only way the [[BiggerBad Chaos Gods]] know how to work together.
* TeleFrag: Inverted with units that teleport into the battlefield; due to the Deep Strike rules, accidentally teleporting onto an enemy has a chance of killing ''you'' and does nothing to him.
* TelepathicSpacemen: Imperial Astropaths.
* TeleportersAndTransporters: The Imperium has a few of these, though they have the kind of reliability you'd expect when maintenance consists of a lot of chanting and application of sacred oil (and when the actual function involves ''firing people through hell'').
** A lot of factions, for instance Space Wolves, refuse to use teleporters because they don't trust them; they can't put units down accurately, if the unit even arrives at all.
* TeleportInterdiction: There are teleport jammers that can disrupt, stop or relocate things that are teleporting down into combat.
* TempleOfDoom:
** Necron tombs form the majority, although there are (probably) other cases.
** Chaos and Dark Eldar leaders have been known to consecrate temples to themselves...where "consecrate" means "decorate with skins and spikes".
* TemptingApple: Leman Russ is looking for apples from the Tree of Life to get the Emperor back on his feet. He's been looking for ten damn millenia.
* TenThousandYears: The more recent catastrophic events in Warhammer 40K happened around the thirtieth millenia, 10,000 years earlier (the Fall of the Eldar and the rise of Chaos). The people who were alive back then (Asdrubael Vect, Ezekyle Abaddon) are noted to be among the most dangerous people in the galaxy.
* TerrorHero:
** Several characters rely on this. Like Konrad Kurze, who as the Night Haunter was 40K's amalgamation of Franchise/{{Batman}} and ThePunisher.
** Tyranid Lictors are infiltrators, turning invisible and leaving bloody dismembered corpses to demoralize enemies.
** [[SylvesterStallone Sly Marbo]] is the Imperial Guard's version, a Catachan with ''major'' PTSD who fights in the jungle as well as {{Rambo}}.
* ThatsNoMoon: Necron tomb-complexes tend to look relatively small and innocuous at first...then they're revealed to be much, ''much'' bigger, and often occupied by their builders.
* TheoryOfNarrativeCausality: Why do things keep getting worse and the factions less sympathetic? Inertia and because the writers say so.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Because those who need them are ''weak'', and thereby not worth the resources and time to fix it. [[WeHaveReserves There are many to take their place, anyway.]]
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill:
** Standard operating procedure for the Imperium. Justified in that there are some things you'll want to kill ''really quickly'' in this universe, and some things you want to stay ''very'' dead.
** Generally the only way to permently kill a Necron. As Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) found out, [[spoiler:the best way to stop a Necron Army is to pour 8 MILLION GALLONS OF PROMETHIUM on them and light the match.]]
* TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow: This is a mindset heavily encouraged by those in the Imperial power structure that actually ''do'' know those things--keeping the population ignorant of what's really out there is the safest bet. Also, deep knowledge of Chaos will corrupt and/or drive insane all but the most strong-willed of humans, and could even lead to daemonic incursions, so such knowledge is brutally repressed and censured.
* ThisIsADrill: Corvus assault pods for Titans, the bizarre-yet-cool mole mortar.
* ThisIsYourBrainOnEvil: Chaos tends to have this effect on the mind - goes double for psykers. SANITY IS FOR THE WEAK!
* [[ThrowawayCountry Throwaway Galaxy]]: The Tyranids have literally eaten empty three entire galaxies and they apparently think the Milky Way will make an interesting dessert.
** Everyday a planet is destroyed either by exterminatus, devoured by Tyranids, culled by Necrons...
* ThrowTheDogABone: The 5th edition Imperial Guard codex does this for Imperial Guard players.
** I will see your Imperial Guard and raise you a Dark Eldar. After TWELVE. FUCKING. YEARS. They FINALLY got an update. And while it won't be outdoing Grey Knights any time soon, what an update it was.
** Inverted for Chaos Space Marines. They spent most of third edition as an incredibly dangerous force, then got the fourth edition codex, which removed the legions as anything other than a paint job, removed most of their customisation and nerfed most of what remained.
** And of course, played straight and inverted for Chaos Space Marines in the thirteenth Black Crusade. After thirteen tries, Chaos wins the campaign and takes Cadia. Then Games Workshop retcons it so they only have a foothold on the planet.
* TieredByName: Tyranid units that are stronger than usual are usually referred to as "Unit's Name" Prime.
* TimeAbyss: Most Eldar, but a few ancient Marines and Chaos Marines cross into this trope as well. The Dreadnoughts are prominent even among the Marines: the oldest one of them has seen the Emperor and fought by his side in life, which is almost 11 000 years from current in-universe time. Truth be told, though, Necrons own this. The C'tan are outright stated to be the oldest living things in the universe, and the actual Necron race is ancient on par with the Old Ones themselves. The Necrons and C'Tan are actually old enough that they have to periodically wake up and move their tomb worlds when the stars they orbit die.
* TinTyrant: Pretty much every commander wears a high tech suit of armor. Artwork of Khorne and the Emperor also has them fall under this.
* TinyHeadedBehemoth: DependingOnTheArtist, this will happen to the SpaceMarines (who are never seen outside their PowerArmor), especially if they go overboard with the ShouldersOfDoom.
** Also, the biggest [[MiniMecha tau battlesuits]] like the Riptide have the same heads as battlesuits half their size. It's not the pilot's actual head anyway.
* TookALevelInBadass: The Imperial Guard went from the whipping boys of the entire setting to the utterly terrifying gods of mechanised combat in the space of one codex.
* TomeOfEldritchLore: The Black Library is an entire extradimensional stronghold full of these. See also the Book of Lorgar.
* TooDumbToLive: The Emperor finds one of his sons, Angron, on Nuceria and offers him command of a Space Marine Legion and an invitation to participate in humanity's great quest to conquer the galaxy. Angron tells him off by saying he would rather die fighting alongside his slave-gladiator brothers. But just before the battle is about to begin, Angron is teleported against his will from Nuceria and into The Emperor's fleet. Angron helplessly watches his comrades get Curb Stomped and harbors a new feeling of absolute hatred and betrayal towards The Emperor. Tell us, Emperor, how you thought that giving command of a Space Marine Legion to a primarch who had every reason to hate you would turn out to be a good idea?
* TouchedByVorlons: Not always a good thing...in fact, almost ''never'' a good thing. Partly because you're liable to get nailed to a stick and purged with flame if you get touched by ''any'' alien...or listen to them...or look at them...or live in the same general area as someone who looked at them...and Emperor help you if someone on your planet was engaged in a Chaos Cult.
* TouchOfDeath: Mainly used by C'tan and daemons, but the odd high-power psyker has been known to do this.
* TournamentPlay: The kind of competition at a 40k Grand Tournament is enough to give the casual player horrible nightmares. Quite appropriate for the setting.
* TrainingFromHell: Pretty much the only training there is. The only way they can top it is by having people trained ''[[UpToEleven inside'' the universe's hell]].
* TrainingTheGiftOfMagic: The powers possessed by psykers aren't called "magic", but they might as well be. Psykers are randomly born, but they have a very strong tendency to get possessed by demons if not found and trained by the Imperium, a process that takes years and is extremely detrimental to the psyker's mental health (and since being a psyker involves hearing voices pretty much all the time, they aren't all that great to begin with).
* TranquilFury: Usually this or an UnstoppableRage.
** Given what they know about Chaos (especially Khorne), Space Marines and Eldar try to fight in this state.
* TranslationConvention: "Low Gothic", the common language of the Imperium, is presented as English, while "High Gothic" is rendered in [[CanisLatinicus Pseudo-Latin]]. Ork language is generally shown as English with a FunetikAksent, and is sometimes explicitly said to be pidgin Low Gothic. Depending on the context, nonhuman languages are either translated as English, or shown to need interpreters.
* TreacheryCoverUp: Most of the Imperium's citizenry don't know anything about the Horus Heresy, including the fact that fully half of the Space Marine Legions rebelled against the Emperor.
* TrivialTitle: ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' was originally just ''Warhammer'' RecycledInSpace, but now the franchises are noticeably different. Warhammers are still used, but just by certain characters of a faction or two, and the current present is the very beginning of the 42nd millennium (much as they retcon things back).
* {{Troll}}: Tzeentch along with many of his high level servants mortal and daemon alike.
** The Necron Lord Trazyn the Infinite once crushed an Imperial Guard invasion force and sent a letter to the Inquisitor who sent the force, thanking him for "[[CollectorOfTheStrange gifting]]" the regiments to him.
* TronLines: Necron technology.
* {{Trope 2000}}: ...wait, why settle for two when you can have 40?
* {{Troperrific}}: Ya '''''think?'''''
* {{Tsundere}}: 1d4 chan's interpretation of Commander Shadowsun(dere), a female Tau general. Pretty much completely unsupported by canon, but funny nonetheless.
** [[HilariousInHindsight As of the latest codex, it's now possible to field her with, and even in the same unit as, Commander Farsight, even though she still hates him in the fluff]].
** A large number of Eldar females (especially the ones who get shipped with Space Marines) are a bit closer to canonical.
* TunnelKing: The Tyranids have tunneling creatures with the size and power of tanks.
* TurnBasedStrategy: The chaotic and frantic battles of the 40th millennium still need to be represented on the tabletop by one side using movement, shooting, then assault phase, followed by the other player's movement, shooting, then assault phase, and so on.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:U]]
* {{Ubermensch}}: The Emperor himself.
* UglyGuyHotWife: Nurgle and Isha.
* UltimateEvil: The Emperor and the Chaos Gods all get this treatment to varying degrees.
* UngovernableGalaxy: The Imperium has minimal control over planets. Only the Tau really manage it with restricted range and powerful controls.
* UnholyNuke: The game is full of these. Any time Chaos is involved, expect Unholy Nukes to be flying thick and fast.
* TheUnmasquedWorld: The realisation that daemons actually existed was the death knell for Imperial Truth, and helped kick-start the Horus Heresy.
* UnnecessarilyLargeInterior: All Imperial ships. Also covered in religious iconography and kilometres-high skulls-and-eagles gold bling.
* {{Unobtainium}}: Plenty of it; Wraithbone, Necrodermis and Adamantine are the widest used examples.
* UnpredictableResults: Anything connected to the Warp or Ork technology. Represented ingame by psykers suffering "perils of the warp" attacks and more esoteric Orky wargear having its own tables of random effects. Ork ''psykers'' are beyond random, rolling just to see what completely-unpredictable power they ''get''...every turn.
** Weapons and effects that use scatter rules (typically big artillery pieces, and troops that deep strike to enter the battlefield) can impact well away from the intended targets, even on to their own troops or in dangerous terrain.
** Plasma guns are powerful weapons that are able to fry even Space Marine Terminators. The problem is, they also tend to fry their operators rather a lot...
* TheUnpronounceable: Tau names can get hard to pronounce - but ask any BattlefleetGothic player about Tau ''ship'' names...
* UnreliableCanon: Both InUniverse and out, misinformation and plain lack of information is visible at all levels of classification. For example, in order to avoid lowering morale anymore [[RedshirtArmy than it already is]], the Imperial Guardsman's Uplifting Primer states that Orks are cowards who will flee at the first opportunity (Orks are eight-foot-tall killing machines who embody AttackAttackAttack) and whose teeth can be yanked out (while they do shed teeth like sharks, clubbing them out is just as hard as knocking out human teeth). Or that the Tau -- the army dedicated to ranged firepower -- have bad eyesight and can't see things that don't move (this is sort of true, but only within arm's reach). And as most of the information on other races comes from a xenophobic human point of view, what information is canon may not necessarily be true. Out of universe, you can create your own highly specific army with its own backstory and design (most popularly, SpaceMarines) precisely because of this UnreliableCanon.
* UnusualUserInterface: A lot of Eldar and Imperial gear.
* UnstoppableRage: Black Templars. Blood Angels. Khorne Berserkers. Even Eldar, when the Avatar is nearby.
* UnwantedFalseFaith: The GodEmperor didn't wish to be worshiped and banned any practice of it in the earlier days of the Imperium. There is also a small sect that worships Literature/CiaphasCain as the embodied will of the Emperor although Cain has never heard of it.
* UpToEleven: '''''Everything.''''' And often to twelve, thirteen and [[strike:several]] [[strike:over nine]] forty thousand.
* UrbanSegregation: Taken to utter extremes with hive cities.
* UsedFuture: Again, taken to extremes. Almost all of the current technology and equipment being used by the Imperium is ''thousands of years old'', and much of it they can't even make any more.
** Human tech is so old and outdated that Orks can copy them. They can't do that with the Eldar or the Tau.
* UselessUsefulSpell: Blast weapons can sometimes fall into this. Many are extremely powerful (particularly the massive vehicle-mounted Ordnance weapons), but their tendency to scatter off-target makes them unreliable, particularly if your troops have low Ballistic Skill (which makes the blast scatter farther) or you just tend to roll poorly.
* TheUsualAdversaries: Orks (usually). But also... Chaos Space Marines, Dark Eldar, Necrons, Tyranids...
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: For the Greater Good!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:V]]
* VaderBreath: Because of the wildly differing techlevel of the setting, cybernetic lungs can work perfectly well and even better than the natural ones - or they may let the recipient do an unwilling Vader-impersonation, which is not practical when you're trying to be stealthy.
* VancianMagic: While [[GameplayAndStorySegregation it's far from the case in the fluff]], the use of psychic powers in-game fits:
** Psychic powers themselves fit the first rule[[note]]spells are distinct, with a fixed purpose[[/note]] and the first part of the third rule[[note]]spellcasters have a finite spell capacity[[/note]], as each power has a specific function and effect and a psyker can't use more powers than his/her psychic mastery level allows unless some specific circumstance changes that.
** Generating psychic powers fits the second rule[[note]]spells prepared in advance[[/note]], as a psyker's powers are determined by die roll prior to the game starting. The exception is those few models whose powers are rolled for each turn.
** The psychic phase covers the latter part of the third rule[[note]]spellcasters can use up their spells[[/note]]. Warp Charge pools are generated for each player by the offensive player rolling 1D6 and adding that to the sum of each player's psykers' mastery levels. The offensive player then has his pool's worth of die rolls to cast his psykers' powers, with the defensive player similarly using his pool to attempt to negate those rolls, or "deny the witch". Once either player exhausts his Warp Charge pool, he can't make any more such rolls until the next psychic phase when the process starts over.
* VestigialEmpire: According to the Canon, two races previously held dominion over the galaxy but are now no longer what they used to be.
** The Necrons, soon after defeating the Old Ones, turned against their C'tan gods and defeated them which left them too weak to consolidate their vast territorial gains.
** The Eldar, despite having an empire that only spanned 9 sectors, could go anywhere and do anything they wanted thanks to their advanced technology. Unfortunately, they went down a path of excess and pleasures which created Slaanesh who brought about the destruction of the Eldar Empire. All that's left of them now are a few craftworlds and exodite colonies.
** The Imperium of Man is the current faction that controls most of the known galaxy. They're sadly on a downwards trend due to many factors.
* VillainByDefault: Upon close inspection, ''everyone''.
* ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption: No comment necessary.
** Sometimes ''Subverted'' when a more complex narrative, such as a campaign background or a novel, plays out and explores the relationships between the factions. More often than not becoming a Double Subversion, as politics and alliances usually break down, changing the question from "violence or not" to "how much violence" or "when the violence starts".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:W]]
* WalkingTheEarth:
** Played straight by the Eldar. Sometimes the rigid Craftworld society gets too much for a young Eldar, and they choose the Path of the Outcast, seeking excitement and adventure out in the open galaxy. Not all of them come back: some simply [[DyingAlone die]], and some get utterly consumed by their urges and go insane, becoming ruthless pirates, mercenaries or even worse, seeking out the Dark City of Commorragh, where cruelty and madness reign supreme. However, many Eldar simply get bored of wandering eventually and return to the civilised Craftworld society, and even the ones that don't are happy to lend their skills (and their {{sniper rifle}}s) to their home in times of war.
** Amusingly {{Inverted|Trope}} by the Orks. Ork society is all about going wherever the zog you want and doing whatever the zog you feel like, as long as it doesn't get you crumped by Da Boss. Young, rebellious Orks find it all a bit much and so join da Stormboyz, where they can do un-Orky things like wear uniforms, march around in synchronisation, and participate in regimented training drills.
* WalkingTank: Dreadnoughts, in all flavors except the [[HauntedTechnology Wraithlord]] (a.k.a. the Eldar Dreadnought), as well as Defilers. [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Soul Grinders]], considering [[EldritchAbomination their]] [[HauntedTechnology esoteric]] [[OrganicTechnology nature]], sit in a more gray area.
* WarfareRegression: Melee comes back to dominance, though no single explanation is given. One is that Power Armor provides enhanced protection, allowing such close ranged combat. Another is that combat is often in cover rich or urban environments, in order to avoid naval bombardment.
* WarGod: Khorne for Chaos and Khaine for the Eldar.
** The GodEmperor of Mankind probably counts as well.
** And of course Gork and Mork.
* TheWarHasJustBegun: Countering the Gotterdammerung of the Eldar and Imperium, increasingly heavy hints have been dropped that the Necrons are just beginning to wake up for their galaxy-wide omnicidal spree and the Tyranid Hive Fleets have barely started to turn their attention on our galaxy.
* WarIsHell: For most races, most of the time. Occasionally, however...
** WarIsGlorious: Comes up as well.
* WarriorMonk: Sisters of Battle are the most blatant example. Numerous but a relative few Ecclesiarchs may fit into this trope. Space Marines, including the more devout Chaos Marines, have shades of this; many Loyalist chapters are a militant ''and'' monastic order, but the Warrior part has far greater emphasis for obvious reasons.
* WaveMotionGun: Bombardment Guns, Nova Cannons, the appropriately-named Planet Killer, etc...
* WeAreAsMayflies: Eldar are immortal; so, biologically, are Space Marines and Orks, though their entire lives being devoted to war somewhat gets in the way of that. Nobody's found ''anything'' that can stop the Necrons getting back up.
** It is worth mentioning that in at least one case in the novels the Necrons in question had been partially vaporized and the remainder was a little puddle of liquid metal on the ground. They ''still'' managed to teleport back to their base for repairs. It's also hinted at that, up until this point, not a single Necron has been truly "destroyed" (with the possible exception of ''DawnOfWar: Dark Crusade''). This is in contrast to everyone else, who usually suffer casualties in the 7 figures on an hourly basis.
** Thie trope was the Necrontyr's motivation for becoming the Necrons in the first place. They would die very young due to the intense radiation from their sun.
** Averted by the Tau. They're pretty short-lived, with fifty years being considered ancient to them. They're painfully aware of this.
** Averted more so by the lesser Tyranid creatures, being grown during a 100-day invasion and digested back into biological gruel at the end of it. Most aren't even born with a digestive tract, as they weren't expected to live long enough to starve.
* WeAreEverywhere: The Inquisition.
* WeAreTeamCannonFodder: Kroot for the Tau, Imperial Guard anytime they aren't the protagonists, Gretchin for the Orks, ''everyone else'' for the Eldar.
* WeHaveReserves: Basically the CatchPhrase of the Orks and Imperial Guard. Tyranids take this to such an extreme that their {{Mooks}} don't even ''have digestive systems'' - they are created, sent into battle for a few hours of frenzied combat, and then recycled.
** [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] with the Craftworld Eldar. They're a DyingRace, so they do everything they can to avoid this. Although, then again, that doesn't mean they can't [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]] ''[[UnwittingPawn someone else]]'' into being their reserves.
* WeWillAllFlyInTheFuture: Numerous units have flight capabilities, usually either via a JetPack or by flying wings.
* WeWillHavePerfectHealthInTheFuture: Health care for military veterans and Imperial nobles is so good that just about anything short of having one's brain destroyed is survivable. Spectacular advances in surgery and [[{{Cyborg}} augmetic enhancements]] allow just about anyone to live for two hundred years or more, and that's assuming you don't splurge on a mechanical coffin that can preserve you for millennia. Of course, if you're ''not'' a veteran or noble, this trope is averted.
* WeWillUseLasersInTheFuture:
** The Imperial Guard uses lasguns primarily because they're cheap to manufacture, easy to maintain (having no moving parts), and the power packs are rechargeable virtually anywhere.[[note]]''The Imperial Guardsman's Uplifting Primer'' notes they can be charged by sticking them in a campfire or leaving them out in the sun, among other things.[[/note]] They're also the weakest infantry weapon in the setting [[TheWorfEffect despite being more potent than a modern-day assault rifle]]. The more powerful hellguns are harder to come by and primarily issued to stormtrooper units. On the other end of the scale, lascannons are extremely powerful weapons typically mounted on main battle tanks and the like, used for destroying opposing armored vehicles.
** The tau also arm their infantry with energy weapons, but thanks to the tau advantages in tech these are some of the deadliest man-portable weapons in the setting. Tau infantry weapons fire droplets of superheated plasma that expand as they travel, and are capable of destroying light vehicles.
** The Eldar and Dark Eldar also use laser weapons, ranging from the Lasblaster (basically a Lasgun with a better firing rate) to the Void Lance or the Prism Cannon (basically Lascannons that make vehicles with AV higher than 12 counts as 12) and everything in between.
* WeWillUseManualLaborInTheFuture: As an example, gigantic anti-ship missiles with onboard reactors and homing [=AIs=] are loaded with the back-breaking labour of thousands of deckhands. Using ropes. While being whipped.
** That's nothing. Orks use Gretchin as guidance systems in their giant missiles.
*** That's nothing. The imperials (and Chaos) use '''slaves''' to power their ships, by walking on giant stepped axles.
* WeaponizedOffspring: The Tyranid's Tervigon unit spawns Termagants.
* WeaponOfChoice
** The Imperial Guard almost universally tote [[FrickinLaserBeams laser weapons]] and [[TankGoodness tanks. Lots and lots of tanks]].
** The Space Marines favour [[{{BFG}} bolt weapons]] and [[ChainsawGood chainsaws]].
** The Chaos Space Marines prefer ''[[SpikesOfVillainy spiky]]'' bolt weapons and chainsaws. Various specific cults have sonic weapons, chainsaw axes, and boiling-hot ''pus'' as their Weapons of Choice.
** The Daemonhunters (Ordo Malleus) have a bit of a thing for [[DropTheHammer hammers]]. (As a side note, "Ordo Malleus" means "[[MeaningfulName Order of the Hammer]]")
** The Eldar mainly use [[AbsurdlySharpBlade absurdly sharp]] [[FlechetteStorm shuriken weapons]], though individual [[CripplingOverspecialisation Aspect temples]] have their own ritualized Weapons of Choice.
** [[ChurchMilitant The Witch Hunters]] KillItWithFIRE.
** No Ork is happy without his choppa and his [[MoreDakka dakka]]. Some pass up one for more of the other, and every now and then you get the glorious Ork who maxes out both at once.
** The Necrons kill you with green lightning that literally flays you layer by layer. Except for their leper colonies; they tear you apart with claws and wear sheets of your flesh for a hat.
** The Tau stick to [[MagneticWeapons railguns and pulse rifles]]. Extremely powerful ones at that.
** The Tyranids prefer the tactic of jumping on you and ''eating your face.'' When they're not doing that, they're shooting at you with the usual array of toxic, electrified, high-velocity crystals; angry, life-seeking beetles and brain-eating flesh-borer worms; biologically generated plasma; and, occasionally, dragging you screaming to your doom with lengths of ''[[HooksAndCrooks flesh hooks]]''.
* WeirdScience
* WeirdSun: Given the liberal amounts of [[EldritchAbomination Eldritch Abominations]] that inhabit the galaxy, it's pretty much a given that some of them will mess with a planet's sun. Or sometimes ''be'' the sun. The [[http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Tyrant_Star Tyrant Star]] is a notable example.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: The Tau. The "well intentioned" bit is what sets them apart.
** The Imperium, and the Emperor who created it, could be seen as this. They have committed many, many crimes and exist in several grey areas, but by their efforts, they have created an empire whose subjects can live a life free of Chaos, and even achieve a paradise in death. That's right: an Empire so big it loses entire worlds due to clerical errors, which practices genocide, torture, and murder on a daily basis, whose religion emphasizes hate for aliens and fanatical devotion for its figurehead and puts people to the stake for the slightest bit of doubt... is the best place to live in this galaxy. Think about that.
** The Craftworld Eldar are trying to save their dwindling people from extinction. That's fine. What's not fine is they don't care how many of ''your'' people they have to kill or sacrifice to save theirs.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Several primarchs. Giving up on that was one motive to join the HorusHeresy.
* WetwareCPU: Servitors, in all their various flavors.
* WeWillWearArmourInTheFuture: Every army. Space Marines have the aforementioned PowerArmor, Tau and Eldar have full body covering plate armour, and the Imperial Guard have flak jackets (though unfortunately for the Guard, nearly every faction in the game has basic weaponry that can punch straight through their personal armor, which earns Guard flak such unkind nicknames as "t-shirts" and "cardboard vests").
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Although, to be fair, pretty much every other race sees those not of its kind as worthless too.
* WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer: The Imperial Guard. When all you have is men and tanks... a ''lot'' of men and tanks... The Imperial Guard has been even referred to as 'The Hammer of the Emperor'.
* WhipItGood:
** FetishFuel examples: Dark Eldar Agonisers and Sisters of Battle "Mistresses"
** ''Very'' non-fetishy: Arco-Flagellants.
** Chaos has a psychic power called Lash of Submission. Guess which god it's associated with.
** Ork runtherdz often carry grot prods and whips.
* WhiteHairBlackHeart:
** Pre-Heresy Fulgrim.
** Lucius.
* TheWhiteHouse: The Imperial Palace, which is said to cover most of Europe and to be visible ''from Mars''.
* WhiteMagic: Sisters of Battle Acts of Faith...maybe.
* WhiteMaskOfDoom: Chaplains and their skull helms.
* WhosLaughingNow: Everyone else's thoughts about Guard players when the Guard finally got a good codex.
* WhoYouGonnaCall: The Sisters of Battle or the Inquisition, generally, including the Grey Knights and the Deathwatch. Calling might [[ShootTheDog get you killed]], but not calling will often have worse results.
* WithCatlikeTread: "Recite the Litany of Stealth to reduce your chances of being heard."
* WithMyHandsTied: Just about everyone, hence why more...exotic...measures are commonly employed.
* WingedHumanoid: As well as troops in the Eldar, Dark Eldar and Chaos who use "jump packs" with mechanical wings, there are examples of humanoids with actual wings. The Primarch Sanguinius, known as "the Angel", had perfect white wings, and the [[AmazonBrigade Battle Sisters]]' Living Saint manifests them as part of being a saint. Of course, this being 40k, the Angel was a vampiric demigod who fought giant blood daemons.
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: And with that insanity comes even more power!
** [[InvokedTrope "Sanity is for the]] '''[[LampshadeHanging WEAK]]'''[[InvokedTrope !!!"]]
* WithUsOrAgainstUs: The Imperium, the Tau. The rest [[KillEmAll generally don't even bother to ask]], and even the Imperium [[FantasticRacism generally only bothers to ask if you're human]].
* AWizardDidIt: The Warp did it. Or the Eldar. Or the C'tan Deceiver. Or Tzeentch.
* WolverineClaws: Lightning Claws are this combined with PowerFist. Generally they are only distributed to Terminator Marines.
* WombLevel: The interior of Tyranid hiveships.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds:
** The Thousand Sons.
** The Night Haunter.
* WoodenShipsAndIronMen: Life on board Imperial Fleet ships is this trope RecycledInSpace.
* TheWorfEffect: New races or factions are commonly introduced in the background completely dominating Space Marines. One particularly memorable example has a Necron destroyer firing straight through a near-invulnerable Land Raider tank, accompanied by an AfterActionReport of tech-priests talking about the obscene amount of power required to do such a thing.
** TheWorfBarrage: Often used as part of the above.
** The Imperial Guard (or at least the infantry not driving their [[TankGoodness glorious tanks]]) are this incarnate. The ''standard'' Guardsman is equipped with a Flak Jacket/Helmet that are as close to impervious against civilian/low-level-military firearms as you can get without carrying a six foot tall steel plate around in front of you; they are also armed with [[FrickinLaserBeams lasguns]] which are every bit as accurate as you would expect a laser to be, and (realistically) function by superheating the air at the target point with microsecond oscillations that cause a small ''explosion'', good enough to remove limbs or [[BoomHeadshot a head]] with one shot. And again, those are the STANDARD Guardsman, of whom there are ''billions''. No "standard" army could hope to stand against them, really... But compared to the rest of the PLAYABLE armies in the game, these astounding bits of weaponry and armor are derided as [[FanNickname flashlights and t-shirts]].
** I'll take your Imperial Guard and raise you the Eldar. Want to introduce a new character and present them as super-duper awesome? No problem! Make them beat up an Avatar of Khaine, lead forces against an Eldar warhost and {{CurbStomp|Battle}} them, or wipe out an entire Craftworld single-handedly! Games Workshop approved!
** Practically every story involving the [[AmazonBrigade Sisters of Battle]] results in them getting slaughtered by something. It happens so often that some fans have ''accused Games Workshop of misogyny''.
* WorldGoneMad: Creeps into this territory at times - the universe is a CrapsackWorld taken to such a ludicrous extent that one sometimes wonders if the setting hasn't well and truly lost its marbles.
* WorldHalfEmpty: Played straight with the Imperium, which struggles to maintain its slowly slipping grasp on galactic supremacy and survival, and the Craftworld Eldar, who are struggling to survive the galaxy. The Tau appear to avert this trope, but there are hints that things aren't going so smoothly. Averted by everyone else, where the sky is the limit.
* TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed: "World" meaning ''the entire galaxy''. Or just any world chosen at random.
* WorldOfHam: [[DawnOfWar INDEED!]]
** It is a shame the TagLine isn't as exclamatory as it is on the Laconic page. It'd be even more self-explanatory.
* WorldOfBadass: If there is indeed only war, it would make only the {{Badass}} survive. [[EverythingIsTryingToKillYou Well, it's generally 'survive for a bit longer...']]
* WreathedInFlames: The [[ArmyOfTheDead Legion of the Damned]] Space Marines, who are like this in all depictions. How much is up to the artist ranging from just their greaves and shoulder-pads (as is on the models and some official artwork) to being ''completely wreathed in flames'' in many artworks.
* WretchedHive:
** The [[{{Necromunda}} "Underhive"]] in hive cities ''always'' qualifies - sometimes the entire arcology, with its population of billions.
** Commorragh of the Dark Eldar would make [[TropeNamer Mos Eisley]] shudder in fear.
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[[folder:X]]
* XtremeKoolLetterz: The Orks' FunetikAksent is written with these. Other examples, such as Dark Eldar Wyches, feature occasionally.
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[[folder:Y]]
* YouAreNotReady: Common Eldar sentiment to humans. The most common reply is a bolt shell to the face.
* YouCantGoHomeAgain: Standard for Imperial Guard, sent across the galaxy to various war zones and almost certainly die fighting. The few that survive to retire and be discharged tend to be allowed to settle on the planet they happened to be on (likely having fought for it) while finishing. With no trip home guaranteed as part of finishing their service, even the rare survivors are unlikely to ever manage to return to where they were raised.
* YouHaveFailedMe: Regularly used by Chaos, Orks and Imperial Commissars.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness:
** Gleefully employed by followers of Chaos and the Dark Eldar.
** Also employed by the Grey Knights chapter with most other Imperial troops [[HeKnowsTooMuch in order to preserve the secret of their existence]]. Usually they go with the cleaner memory-wiping method, but that isn't always possible.
* YourHeadASplode: When a psychic MindRape is a bit too subtle. Ork Weirdboyz even used to have a power called "'Eadbang", which is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin exactly what it sounds like]]. An 'Eadbang is also how the Orks refer to what happens when a Weirdboy suffers Perils of the Warp. Just guess what happens...
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: A lot of people, and even media for the game itself, refers to the {{Space Marine}}s as being "genetically enhanced". Actual game-fluff makes it clear that this is inaccurate; "bio-augmented" would fit better. A SpaceMarine is created by surgically implanting artificially engineered organs into their body; though some of these do play havoc with the Marine's body-chemistry (the Ossmodula, for example, which causes the skeleton's dramatic mutation), no actual tinkering with the DNA occurs. This is intentional, since it allows the Space Marines to skirt around that religiously mandated "no tinkering with Man's Holy Genetic Code" law -- from a genetic viewpoint, a SpaceMarine ''is'' still perfectly human.
** The confusion is probably the result of the term "geneseed" being thrown around; this is apparently the clone cells needed to grow new copies of the various bio-implants needed to make new Marines, but it still implies an actual genetic modification.
* YouKillItYouBoughtIt: The hierarchies of the Orks, Dark Eldar, and Chaos tend to work this way: if you succeed in killing the previous Warboss/Archon/Chaos Lord, the former officeholder clearly didn't deserve the job.
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* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: The Squats had ironclad airships.
* ZergRush: Tyranids - unsurprisingly, as the ''Zerg themselves'' were based on them. A lot of "horde" armies, such as Orks and Imperial Guard, employ this one as well. The Imperial Guard is probably the single most emblematic example; as the largest fighting force around, numbering in the ''billions'', you get ''so many'' of them.
** Previously Tyranids were given a rule that allowed them to recycle their basic troopers, the Termagaunts, whenever the squad is wiped out. This has since been toned down and a less broken version was introduced in the form of the Tervigon, a mobile birthing sac (which can sometimes run out of eggs after the first turn, sadly). It is again reintroduced in the Imperial Guard in the form of Special Character Commander Chenkov, where the rule is literally named "Send in the next wave!".
* ZombieApocalypse:
** After occasionally menacing the depths of {{Necromunda}}, plague zombies cropped up in force during the 13th Black Crusade, courtesy of Nurgle. ''DarkHeresy'' introduces many more new and exciting ways for characters to find themselves up to their eyeballs in shambling dead.
** And there's ''another'' kind in ''The Bleeding Chalice'', where it's all the fault of a super-mutant produced by a Techpriest experiment on cleansing mutations, and who can psychically create viruses ''through ship hulls and hard vacuum'' that have this effect. His main battlecruiser is essentially intended as a massive [[ItsRainingMen drop assault]] ship that breaks apart and spews down a ridiculous number of zombies, making the first ''air drop'' ZombieApocalypse.
** In addition, under the new Chaos Space Marine Codex, you can turn Chaos Cultists into zombies if you take a certain special character, allowing you to turn the game into this.
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