It is the 61st Millennium, and the Age of Dusk is upon us. Let us hope dawn will break on a new universe. For hope is all we have, screaming against the storm.
The Age of Dusk (updates here, parts 2-5 here) is the sequel to Lord Lucan's monumental Warhammer 40,000 fanfic The Shape of the Nightmare to Come, but covers the 51-61st millenia instead of the 42nd-51st millenia.As a sequel, please consult this article for tropes for the predecessor and as a Warhammer 40000 fanfic please check its trope page for tropes relating to its parent universe.Spoilers ahead for The Shape of the Nightmare to Come. Please read at your own risk.
This work has examples of:
The Alliance - The Eastern Fringe Alliance. It is composed of the Tau Meta-Empire, the War of the Krork, Ultramar, the Realm of the Fathers and several factions of Vulkan's Imperium Pentum.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Nex and the Draziin-maton overrun the entire Eye of Terror with the aid of Erebus and take down most of the Daemon Primarchs in weeks.
And I Must Scream: Lucius the Eternal's fate, who is dismembered and left to lie in a pit— before being raised during Fulgrim's assault on Armageddon as a horrific mutated spawn. He kills Vulkan He'Stan in a brutal battle before being thrown into Armageddon's sun.
The War of the Krork halts the advance of the Nightbringer's Necron forces, even if they enslave some of the worlds they save.
During the fight between Abaddon and Erebus, Doomrider bursts in to save the day.
When the Tau ships carrying the highest officials of the Empire head for the Warp, the Necrons of the Silent King pursue them. Just before they catch up, the Dark Eldar and their Harlequin allies distract them and lead them all the way back to Commoragh, where they are unceremoniously destroyed.
The Idealist, the first AI-run ship in the Tau Empire. Too bad Chaos Lord Mawdredd destroys it. More of them are built though.
The Imperium Pentum has several: the Antioch is a ship with the most powerful lance beam weapon ever built by the hand of man and the Devil of Catachan is a carrier which can carry Battlecruisers.
The forces of Chaos has Perturabo and his Goliath Engine.
Corrupt Church: The Ophelians, who at this point are nihilistic death worshippers.
Crapsaccharine World: Vulkan implemented a functioning, free civilization based on Armaged— wait, why did he accept a gigantic Genestealer Cult into his Empire?
Creepy Twins: The Apex Twins. Although they appear to be good guys. Tempermental, horrifying good guys.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The corrupt Ophelians start a war with Vulkan's Imperium. Despite the fact that Vulkan is fighting the invading Emperor's Children at the same time, once the Ophelians' bootleg Tau ships are destroyed, they're slaughtered.
Deader than Dead: Any system that gets close enough to the Ophilim Kiasoz is erased from reality.
Demonic Possession: Fulgrim of course, but also the Draziin-maton which appear to be Pre-Fall Eldar war constructs possessed by.... something.
Dirty Business: The Fire Beasts take care of this for Vulkan, performing a Mercy Kill on the remnants of the Black Templars and waging a terror campaign against the Ophelians.
Disney Death: The Orks as a whole. Spores from Orks simply lay dominant in planetary ecosystems, which finally grew and became Orks in the 51st Millenium.
Enemy Mine: Vulkan's Imperium is in a huge one with the Realm of Fathers, who, while gene stealer cultists or pure breeds to a man or alien, are far too industrially vital and heavily armed to destroy without crippling the Imperium. The new Space Marines, particularly the Fire Beasts, may not like them, but they will use weapons built by them and fight beside the Cultists as long as the Pure Strains are kept out of sight.
Even Evil Has Standards: Corsair Lord Zelphagor is horrified that the now-corrupted Mephiston would go so far as to desecrate and bind the Sanguinor, the avatar of the Blood Angels' memories of their fallen primarch.
Mephiston gestured to an archway that loomed high above his own throne like a terrible banner. As he did, lumen globes ignited around the grotesque spectacle. Bound with bonds of serrated iron and runic wards that burned eternally, Zelphagor saw a figure. A winged figure. A winged figure that seemed to phase in and out of reality. Only its immortal expression of sheer agony and horror remained a constant.
It was the Sanguinor, humbled and broken by profane sorcery and mutagenic viruses.
Even the vile Zelphagor was taken aback at this sight.
Evil Versus Evil: Kaldor Draigo, favored Angyl Prince of the Star Father, versus the corrupt rulers of Grand Sicarium.
Very often the case due to the lack of even remotely good factions.
Final Battle: Appears to be heading up to this; from the hints dropped so far, it will probably be EPIC.
Five-Man Band: The more prominent of Vulkan's Mk 2 Astartes Commanderies.
The Hero: The Salamanders, anti-insurgency specialists named after and partly made up of the original Salamanders Chapter.
The Lancer: The Iron Hands/Dorn Revenants, specializing in boarding actions or siegecraft.
Goes with the territory, but the Tau Empire and the Nightbringer's Necrons have been in one for MILLENIA, with the Tau creating more and more advanced weaponry and AI to fight against the ancient and obscenely powerful Necrons. And then the war ends with a final decisive assault by the Necrons on T'au itself... only for the Necron forces on it to teleport away at the hour of their victory, called away by something else.
The Grey Knights and Custodes have been fighting against the Void Dragon's Necrons and the endless tides of daemons on Titan for over sixteen thousand years. Of course, this took place in a warp storm as bad if not worse than the Eye of Terror, and we all know how such regions of space scoff at our universe's notion of linear time.
From Bad to Worse: Repeatedly. First the Ophilim Kiasoz starts tearing its way through space, unmaking reality as it passes. Then Ahriman releases the Void Dragon, who besieges half the galaxy at once. Then, the Nex and the Draziin-maton rise from the deep warp and overrun the Eye of Terror, conquering the Chaos Primarchs and overthrowing the Chaos Imperiums of Abaddon and Huron Blackheart with ease.
Future Imperfect: Probably done intentionally with Grand Sicarium's myth about the creation of the Space Marines:
He was supposedly the Father of all Astartes, tasked by his own father, Guilliman, to create a race of warrior giants to watch over humanity. According to his propaganda, he cut the flesh from his left hand, and used powerful magicks to summon the Astartes into being, born of his own flesh. First he created his council of Elders, then they in turn brought forth their own Astartes, who then flourished and drove back the darkness that had fallen over creation.
Lampshaded in the narrator's own notes:
We can see that this is at least partially a corruption of the concept of geneseed transference, and the process of Astartes creation, but to the ignorant inhabitants of Grand Sicarium, they believed this tale wholeheartedly.
Galactic Conqueror: Abbadon the Despoiler owns the entire Segmentum Tempestus, which is a pretty big step-up from his 40K incarnation as General Failure— right up until Erebus betrays him for the Draziin-maton and wrecks the whole Western Chaos Imperium.
Gondor Calls for Aid - Subverted; Biel-Tan craftworld does not call for help from other Eldar - but they come nontheless.
Gone Horribly Right: The resurrection of Khaine. The Dark Eldar seem to have ignored how close his ties to Khorne really were...
Or this was their plan all along...
Gone Mad From The Revelation: Occurs to Menantus after he lands on the Angyl world of Ophelia VII. He's later seen on Valhalla (somehow), "calmly carving his tale into the irradiated bedrock with a broken femur."
Oh Crap: A possible cause of his breakdown, since the last thing he sees before going more insane is the forging of a Necron-Angyl alliance.
The Heartless: The Star-Father and his Angyls embody this. The Draziin-maton, servants of the Nex may be even worse.
Heroes Unlimited: After liberating Armageddon, Vulkan rebuilds the Adeptus Astartes using his own blood and some MK I Astartes who survived the Second Age of Strife.
He's Back: The God-Emperor in the form of the Star Father, the nightmarish god of order. However, the 'compassion' he threw away in order to kill Horus back during the original Heresy has apparently coalesced in the Webway.
If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: In a weird way, Abaddon is this to the Imperium. He conquered most of Segmentum Obscuras and Solar, but he's also one of the biggest forces for order, or at least structured chaos. This comes back to bite him.
I Will Find You: Vulkan promises this to Fulgrim, even as he bashes in his brain with his helmet.
Last Stand: The Tau Empire attempts to fight off the Necrons of the Silent King, with the final battle taking place on T'au itself. Just as they are about to be annihilated, the Silent King's Necrons are called away by another fleet of Necrons belonging to the Void Dragon.
Legion of Lost Souls: A new one consisting of non-essential soldiers (read: thugs and mercenaries who wanted to prove themselves and people from penal colonies and criminal worlds) and equipment (obsolete hulls of old Imperial vessels) was created to recover one woman from a necron Tombworld. It is lead by Colonel Schaeffer.
Lighter and Softer: Not the setting as a whole, but Vulkan's Imperium is a much better place to live in than the original Imperium— never mind the rest of the hell the galaxy has become.
A Lighter Shade of Grey / Only Sane Man: Compared to the rest of the galaxy, Vulkan and his restored Imperium as well as the other Loyalist Primarchs have the best claim to being the good guys...relatively speaking.
The now-organic Szarekh the Silent King and the rest of the Necron Triarchs deliver one to the rogue Necrons of the Sarkoni Emperor and almost all of the Necron race.
Mexican Standoff: Corax, Leman Russ and Maugan Ra end up pulling one off during the fight on Altansar. Turns out Maugan Ra managed to disable Corax's pistol earlier in their fight.
Mini-Mecha: The Confederation of Justice's Individual Engagement Units.
The Mole: Huron Blackheart's daemonic servant, the Hamadrya, turns out to be on the side of the Draziin-maton and enslaves him.
Mood Whiplash: Chapter 40, a long string of glorious battles— Huron's siege of Biel-Tan, the liberation of Macharia, Khaine ambushing the Eastern Fringe Alliance— ends with the somber account of the "Last Rites of Gheden", where Szarekh realizes that most of the Necron race is far too gone to be saved and Mercy Kills them all.
The Solar System is this trope on an interplanetary scale, warped by Chaos and periodically struck by the Dragon Tides which sweep away everything on the planets it hits. And then the Void Dragon moves out and the demon Doombreed sets up court.
The Imperium of Travesties is one on a galactic scale.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ahriman releases the Void Dragon from Terra in his quest to get at the Emperor's abandoned labratories. Although given what he does with that technology he's not quite heroic...
The Narrator upon realizing that the sacred numbers of the chaos gods are counting down as their numbers grow. There are currently 3 more to go before what is implied to be The End Of The Galaxy As We Know It.
Old Soldier: 'Old Imperials' are Astartes Mark I who survived the wars during and after the fall of the original Imperium and later joined the Vulkan Imperium.
One-Man Army: Vulkan and the other Primarchs, but especially the Phoenix Lords who are capable of taking out entire planets single handedly.
Our Werewolves Are Different: The Wulfen, a mix of the Space Wolves 13th Grand Company, cloned Raven Guard from the Horus Heresy and the remnants of Fabius Bile's experiments who've banded together under the leadership of Russ and Corax to rip Chaos a new one.
Proud Warrior Race: The reborn Ork race, who are much more disciplined and organised than before.
This new ork race, renamed "the War of Krork" is more or less stated to be Orks in their original state.
Psycho Serum: The basis for Lussorian Narc-warriors, or “Space Marines”.
Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Sicarius tells Draigo: “I am master and king of all Space marines. Though you have cast aside your humanity, you are still Astartes, and you! Will! Kneel!" Unfortunately, telling the Star Father's favorite Daemon Prince to kneel is a bad idea.
Imogen's Brotherhood of the Willing, a pseudo-Inquisition that is much more effective than its Imperial predecessor. The reborn Emperor is apparently putting one of these together in the webway, gathering the remnants of the Grey Knights and Custodes as well as Astartes, heroes and scientists from all of human history to his side in preperation for... something.
Temestor Braiva's force is another example, created from various minor factions of Imperium Pentum gathered for a push into the Eastern Fringes. They're more than enough to wage war against Ahriman's empire.
Against a Witch Hunter class cruiser or its progenitor the Tau Idealist, it doesn't. Unless of course, you blow off its engines first or ram one from inside a sun.
The half-completed Gheist rams the Kraken at 0.7c, making it an oversized kinetic kill vehicle.
Rasputinian Death: Chenkov Jr. died in his sleep. Not too special, until you realize took several dozen disgruntled soldiers, fourteen rounds of a heavy stubber, an overdose of tranq, a vial of neurotoxin, a hatchet and three bayonets to make sure he died in his sleep. The legend of Chenkov’s death subsequently did get amplified in the telling, but his remains suggest at least the stubber shots were accurate. Also Lucius.
Cherubael has a single mortal, frozen, that he has displayed for all to see. He treats it as a work of art, and calls the piece 'the presumption of mortals'.
Super Soldier: Comes with the territory, but among numerous examples the Kai Bane Host stands out as super soldiers when compared to "normal" super soldiers.
There are also Vulkan's Nava Astartes AKA the Astartes Mark II. They are stronger in combat than the originals but give up some of the abilities that improved the longitivity of the originals such as the ability to go into hibernation to heal.
Tank Goodness: The Sons of Thunder Commandery specialize in this. Honorable mention to the Thunder Lizard Tank Legion, all of whose super heavy tanks are named after dinosaurs.
Took a Level in Badass: Remember Valchocht the Maker? That Daemon who assaulted Titan and was defeated by the Grey Knights? Well, he's became a brand new Chaos God.
Recent Word of God implies that the Chaos Gods are not so much independent Eldritch Abominations in their own right so much as 'aspects' of the Nex. That's right. FourFiveSIX of the biggest Big Bads in the galaxy are just parts of an even bigger one.
Villainous BSOD: Abbadon of all people had one of these after fighting some time displaced Luna Wolves and unintentionally seeing memories of himself before he fell to Chaos. After that, he demanded to be known only as "Destroyer", and it is stated that he's aligned to Malal.
Wham Line: “Help me free my children,” Szarekh wheezed. “And the War in Heaven ends.”
Word of God: After reviewing the story, LordLucan has said that the nameless Word Eater that rescues Crolmere, the Grey Sensei, from the Necron Flayers is the Son of a Woodsman.
A World Half Full: The empire based on Armageddon, which actually provides a prosperous, functioning society in the post-40k universe.
Overall, the setting as a whole seems to be moving towards this. Things are getting worse, but they're also getting better. For one, the number of characters that could be called genuinely good (and not 40k's brand of good, OUR brand of good) can no longer be counted on one hand.
An Imperator Titan blocks the way against a reborn Khaine, allowing the Vulkanite army on the planet to pull off the planet before it is destroyed. Karandras and Arhra end up fighting inside the Titan as the Bloody-Handed God rises.
The Son Of A Woodsman does this with the Lord of the Flayed Ones, fighting him to a standstill so that Kage and Crolomere can escape.
Zombie Apocalypse: Several forms: Nurgle releases a plague that keeps the souls of the dead inside their bodies, in order to prevent human souls from fueling the Star-Father. Ahriman is currently building up his force of mindless Rubric Marines by casting the Rubric on other Astartes, instantly turning them into slaves to his will.
Typhus causes one to bolster his forces before the assault on Biel-Tan