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Fridge: Warhammer 40,000
Fridge Brilliance
  • This Troper has a friend who complains that Warhammer 40,000's writers have screwed themselves over with the Tyranids. He says that this is because the Tyranids have been made out to be the biggest boogeymen of them all and so unstoppable that they cannot be stopped in universe. Then it hit me. THAT'S THE WHOLE DAMN POINT! The 40K universe is MEANT to be completely screwed. The only thing that prevents the Apocalypse from sticking is the fact that everybody is trying to wipe everyone else out! And they keep getting in each other's way. Heck, the players are Late to the Tragedy for the apocalypse, because that's what the Horus Heresy was! Therefore, the Tyranids will be dealt with, but the Imperium (and everyone else) shall endure and everything will remain happily screwed. Because that's the way we like it.Hariman
    • This troper had a similar experience. My first view into the 40k 'verse was through Dawn of War, and since the Space Marines were portrayed as the protagonists, I always wondered why they seemed so utterly ignorant of everything around them. Then I learned some more about the universe. Silly me, thinking that there were good guys in this game. - Invertin
    • Isn't it possible that he meant that with the Tyranids, the apocalypse will go through permanently this time, and that anything else is going to be bad writing? This is the impression I got. Yes the whole universe is completely screwed, but now the logical conclusion WILL come and end it, instead of somehow being delayed.
    • And yet, some of the Eldar still seem to think there's a chance. The quotes that reveal this are usually presented in a manner so as to highlight how hopeless the situation is in the impossibility of what is required (hated enemies working together being the least of it), but the race that can see glimpses of the future can still see outcomes that aren't the destruction of the universe.
    • Perhaps the Tyranids and Necrons will cancel each other out to an extent. Biological versus Mechanical, both with a certain 'unstoppable tide' feel, endless production against endless ressurection, Life VS Death...
      • I've seen another theory that adds Chaos in a kind of rock-paper-scissors. The Necrons are inorganic and deny sustenance to the Tyranids, and are unaffected by their psychic disruption. The Tyranids can disrupt Chaos- they don't feel the emotions that Chaos feeds on, just a raw psychic block of hunger. And the Necrons are vulnerable to Chaos, which is all about passion, life, survival and psychic powers that can ravage even the C'Tan.
    • Speaking of 40k, having so many factions that are so different in themes, style and aesthetic, and often have tons of variety even within them, may make the setting seem inconsistent. But you may have noted that there's stereotypes about the players of each faction, as if different types of people were attracted to certain armies. Then I read (and added to) the page for Multiple Demographic Appeal, and it all makes sense.
    • The Tau turned from cavemen to having technology on par with the Imperium of Man in 6,000 years, and they are still advancing. Every other race seems to be fixed technologically, never advancing. Give them another 1,000 years and they will likely have all the tech they could ever need to take out the Tyranids.
      • Er...not quite, sure the Tau are advancing rapidly but none of the races (except perhaps the Craftworld Eldar) are static in terms of tech. The Imperium have their tech advancing extremely slowly now and in a haphazard fashion - they were able to reduce the size of their Thunderhammers from a Dreadnought only weapon to something that a Terminator or even a regular Space Marine with two-hands can use, the Necron kingdoms can be pretty individualistic at times - while many are either too hide-bound to change or too badly devastated over time to advance their tech, a number of their technomancers have been improving their technology especially in terms of researching warp phenomenon and the new races they are encountering (esp. the Space Marines), the Dark Eldar had a near total conversion of their tech after the birth of Slaanesh and continue to create new things (including one of their most famous homunculus/weapons designer create a magic mirror that can kill by capturing a person's reflection and a device that converts matter into light for travelling purposes (he got hoist by his own petard there - when he tried one light jump, he ended up getting caught in a photon prism and is currently being put to work by one cabal or another
      • The tyranids are advancing (evolving) just as if not more quickly than the Tau. Though for everyone else, you are basically right.
      • And there's the Orks, motivated by more, more, and More Dakka, until one day they achieve the impossible state of enuff dakka.
    • Which is what the Eldar wanted, a race unaffected by the warp yet under their own "Control". A mallaeble race as without psykers. The Tau refuse to believe in Eldar is using them while the Eldar manipulates the Imperium to being expendable meat shields to take care of the Warp Abominations. Although back in finding Fridge Brilliance. During Soulstorm, apart from the terrible writing, there is a Fridge Brilliance in Carron's stupidity. The Warp Storm and his worship of Khorne have driven him even more insane and drunk with power. If the storm never have had happened, there would be less insane ramblings.
    • In ''Descent of Angels'' the Lion sends a lot of his Marines away, apparently for no reason other than a sudden bout of paranoia. However, after reading Fallen Angels his decision is much more understandable: Jonson relied on Luther to tell him who was trustworthy. With Luther proving that he could not be trusted, the Lion lost faith in all the others Luther might have recommended as trustworthy.
    • There is a reason, why M41 is named Age of Ending.
  • The moment you realize that from an outsiders perspective, an Ork Waagh! and an Imperial Crusade are pretty much the same thing. On top of that 'unorky' and 'heresy' are the same basic concept.
    • And what Inquisitor Kriptman did to avert the assault of the Hive Fleet Leviathan (lure it into the Ork territory) is no different from what Eldrad did to avert the Waagh! (lure it to the Aramgeddon).
  • Consider: The ranges of weapons on the tabletop in 40k seem to be absurdly short in terms of modern weaponry, on the order of a couple of hundred feet for most small-arms. But: Modern designers are trying to outrange other modern designers. They don't have to deal with all the possible enemies in 40k whose standard mode of operation involves getting up close really, really fast and against whom making overpowered weapons matters a hell of a lot more than making long-ranged weapons.
  • The moment you realize that this dark setting of absurd war, cargo cult science, religious hatred, fascism, and brutality is written by writers are from one of the most secular, best educated, and most technologically and artistically gifted countries on earth.
    • Reality would like a word with you in regards to your assertions about secularity, education, and art...
    • All those traits (especially the bit about artistically gifted) that you mentioned are probably the very reason why Games Workshop made this setting as grimdark as possible. And we love them for it.
    • Not really contributing anything here, but GW comes from Lenton, in Nottingham. I'm from Nottingham. Not only is the GW HQ (and, by extension, Warhammer World)within walking distance, I go there all the time. It's an awesome life for me.
    • Further Fridge Brilliance: Only a nation that has gotten over religious extremism, oppressive governments and devastating war can take such a setting lightly enough to present it as escapist entertainment.
  • Regarding the Sisters of Battle: that moment when having platinum blondes screaming about racial superiority and doctrinal purity while they wear red, black, and white is supposed to remind you of something.
  • Some players actually don't realize the Space Marines are an intentional shout out to the Roman Legion. It's not just the names; their force organization in a chapter is basically identical to a Legion's.
  • Titans are Humongous Mecha and the poster child for Awesome, yet Impractical. Why would the Imperium use much more practical smaller vehicles, but for what is to be their ultimate weapons covered in wave motion guns do they use something so unstable? It's built in the image of the holy human form.. What better way to boost your troops' morale and crush your enemy's than to have the ultimate symbol of humany come in the form of a battle-breaking Walking Tank?
    • It helps that they didn't build any of them, just repaired them, much like everything big the Imperium has they can't build new ones so they won't dare mess with the ones they have.
    • Actually, Titans are one of the few things the Mechanicus can make more of. The process takes centuries, though, and they really wouldn't be able to change the designs that they have. But the Titans they can build are inferior knock-offs of the ones from the Dark Age of Technology. (Of course, those had a habit of forming pacts with Chaos in exchange for some BFGs that fired daemons)
    • Except that every major race in the 41st millennium (except for the Tyranids) have humanoid forms.
      • While they may all be humanoid, the human shape is fairly distinctive in the setting. Orks are tall and thick, with bulky limbs and broad forms. Eldar are long and lean, tall but slender enough to appear almost emaciated. Tau have hooves and digitigrade legs. Most of the non-player Xenos races are even wackier in shape. So I guess one could say that of all the various shapes in the Universe, the human form is the one closest to the Titan's own by and large.
  • So much hate has been spewed over the Necrons going from "scary but bland mindless automatons" to "generic Egyptian style invading army" in their Fifth Edition update. It finally hit me; they're both. The mindless hordes are the lower-ranked entities that were released first, and are down to base programming which includes holdovers from the C'Tan originally; yes, this includes Tomb Lords, which are still lower than the ones that retain true intelligence and personality. Since the Fifth Edition canonically is taking place later than the average point in time of the Fourth, this means that even more advanced constructs are being activated, and the various high-ranking individuals that take centuries to reanimate without error are now rising up and regaining control and direction over the teeming masses of warriors.
  • I had a moment of brilliance after reading the Lighterand Softer entry under the Ciaphas Cain novels page. It struck me as odd that on many of the planets Cain finds himself on, life is described as being, well, NOT grimdark. Based on my thorough reading of the Warhammer 40k setting, I assumed every planet, right down to its individuals, to be a paranoid, delusional, heretic-hunting, fatalistic lot. So why are these people living relatively normal lives and dealing with issues that we can relate to, 38000 years previous? The same reason why our current world (on the whole) isn't a hopeless, violent age, despite the negativity of stories in the media. For every planet under attack by Orks, Tyranids, or whatever, there's a thousand more that's just minding its own business, just like how for every murderer one hears about, there's tens of thousands of well-adjusted people. The only reason that we're suddenly concerned with a particular planet is because it's right now under threat, otherwise we'd have never gotten to know its name.g It's a documented psychological phenomenon where people will assume that an event is more widespread than it really is based on the magnitude it has in their minds. Brilliant! -wms366
  • The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer exhorts you to recite the Litany of Stealth to decrease your chances of being heard. At first you think this is an example of the "With Catlike Tread" trope, but if you take the time to flip through the prayers you'll notice there is no Litany of Stealth. In other words, shut up.
  • People wonder why the Emperor would be so stupid as to include psychopaths and deranged scum from maximum security prisons as his Space Marine recruits. When you think of how the 40k world works, this is actually brilliant. Space Marine conditioning includes radical psychic surgery and behaviour modification, not to mention rebuilding the person's neural pathways for implants such as the Black Carapace. So in essence, becoming a Space Marine can mean developing a real conscience for many of the recruits. Considering how it was violence that helped the Chaos Gods develop into the gods of the evil that they are now, brainwashing criminals can help starve the Chaos Gods of potential worshippers. And it did work for some too, including Azrael the Chapter Master of the Dark Angels who used to be a head-hunting cannibal.
  • More on the Tau: it always struck me as odd that the Tau, who are even physically weaker than humans, were able to survive natural selection in a Cosmic Horror Story... until I remembered THEY COULD FLY. Or some of them could; they didn't pick the name "Air Caste" out of a hat. They're only "weaker" than humans in the context of a fist fight, where weaker bones and nearsightedness is a relevant problem. But lighter, bird-like bones are needed to stay airborne, and nearsightedness isn't a problem from a mile up in the clouds.
  • The Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane nature of the Sister of Battle and their "Faith Powers" in the various mediums (40k, Dawn of War, Dark Heresy) actually has an In-Universe justification - it's not only a case of Depending on the Writer. Official fluff for the game is that all humans are actually psychic to some degree — the exceptions are the shunned Blanks and Untouchables — but it's only some who can consciously activate spectacular psychic displays. Psychic powers are fuelled by tapping into the Warp, a parallel dimension based on the metaphysical law of Your Mind Makes It Real; in the Warp, reality is literally defined by the beliefs and willpower of sapient minds. Faith is an excellent way to focus and hone a mind towards a singular goal. End result? When Sister of Battle go to war, what you have is hundreds (at the very least) of extremely strong-willed, faith-fuelled minds gathered in one place. The sheer psychic weight of a Sisters army on the march frays at the borders between realities, resulting in them unconsciously bending reality. Thusly, they literally achieve their stunning feats through faith; their faith is so strong that, without even knowing it, they're psychically manifesting their beliefs on the physical plane.

Fridge Horror While most of the horror in Warhammer 40,000 is brutally obvious from first glance, there are some horrors that do not appear until you give the setting a second look:
  • Warhammer 40K casually mentions that after the many years of early FTL research, the Warp was considered the best! So one must ask, how much worse were the other forms?
    • It was considered best in that it was possible through human science.
    • Plus, when warp travel was first invented, the warp was relatively calm compared to the insanity of the warp in 40k; that was before Slaanesh and before 10,000 years of Grim Dark war. Since using the webway would involve fighting the Eldar over it, if humans even had the technology to access it. Additionally it's implied, though not outright stated that early human ships used FTL similar to the Tau's; rather than fully entering the warp, they "stayed near the shallows", to use the Space Is an Ocean analogy.
    • Arguably, it is the best. And it is Fridge Horror. Look at the webway, and what it is now. Your soul, in the warp, can be protected by advanced shielding, and a million other unreliable things. In the webway? You can only hope to god that an indescribably vast horde won't find you. And the Warp Spiders basically dance through that.
      • As long as you have protection from the Harlequins or the regular Eldar you're safe. The Emperor was trying to give humanity access to the Webway because while it was dangerous it was also reliably dangerous thus letting you safeguard yourself and actually being able to have a set in stone arrival date rather than I might get there in a week or I might get there 10000 thousand years 'ago'.
      • It is also shielded from Daemons.
    • Or maybe its the only one that's allowed, considering the Adeptus Mechanicus have outlawed any new form of technology that's not permitted or built by them. The Tau were able to have their own means of FTL travel which is similar to the the Imperiums ability to warp jump except they can only go at short distances.
    • It may have been the best in the sense that it was the fastest available to humanity. It may very well be that, by the time of the Dark Age of Technology, for example, humanity had developed Alcubierre drives, but discarded them in favor of Warp drive because Warp drive is faster. Remember, as fast as light is, it still takes years for light to get from one star even to a very close one. Faster-than-light is, in and of itself, insufficient for a galaxy-spanning civilization; you need to be able to go much faster than light.
  • Longtime Space Marine players disliked the 5th Edition Codex because it glorified the Ultramarines and the Codex, and basically flipped off any other first founding Chapters and thier descendants, especially if they aren't codex-compliant. That's because this is the Codex Astartes, just outside of the 40k universe, of course it's gonna make the Ultramarines seem so overpowered, it was written by their Primarch!
    • Not exactly. The Codex Space Marine is meant to be an overview into all Space Marine chapters that don't have their own codex, i.e. the codex astartes adherent ones. While that makes it reasonable that the Ultramarines would get the limelight in the codex, being the most adherent, it still doesn't explain why they're apparently better than everyone at everything, even the things that other chapters specialise in...
  • Abaddon the Despoiler has engaged in thirteen Black Crusades, all of which have been repelled. Despite these apparent failures, and despite having the gaze of Chaos Undivided upon him, Abaddon has somehow not been punished, suggesting that these crusades, their apparent failure notwithstanding, have served some greater purpose. Then again, Chaos can afford to play the long game...
    • Most of his later Crusades actually had more or less clear target which was achieved. Yes, the Imperium repelled the invasion, but Abaddon grabbed whatever artifact he was aiming for, a LOT of loot and slaves and half of his personal forces were unscratched.
    • Abaddon's personal goal may be to storm the Imperial Palace and rip the Emperor's corpse off the Golden Throne, but the Chaos Gods don't really care about that. They're more concerned with gaining power and fighting among themselves. They stopped caring about the Emperor after he was mortally wounded and unable to lead the Imperium directly. As far as they're concerned, the Black Crusades have been succesful as each of them has resulted in untold carnage and billions of people sacrificed in the name of the Dark Gods, thus increasing their power.
      • It gets worse. Gods feeds on emotions. Dead Emperor means no FTL travel for Imperium, a lot of dead hummies and much, much less delicious emotions for the Gods. The Emperor will live forever! Whether he likes it or not.
  • Consider the following:
    • Orks have incredible latent psychic abilities, so much so that it warps limited amounts of reality to their whim (see: Da red onez go fasta).
    • Orks love nothing more than a good fight.
    • In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.
      • I think I love you. That was such a great theory!
  • Slaanesh's birth nearly wiped out an entire race and tore a hole into a Hell dimension. I shudder to think what happened when the other 3 Gods of Chaos were spawned into the universe.
    • By canon: nothing. The appeared somewhat in middle ages.
  • Think about Catachan society for a moment. Half the kids die before they're three, another quarter die before they're ten. Just to maintain the population, this means that every Catachan mother must have (at least) eight kids to ensure that two survive to replace their parents (and a proportion of the men join the Guard and leave). Talk about barefoot and pregnant!
  • According to Phil Kelly, Eldar/human hybrids are very much possible. However, think about how such a union would come about: the average Imperial official would very likely execute you on the spot for even thinking about it, and given how they call us "Mon'keigh" (subtle, by the way) the average Eldar would probably rather die than lie with a human. But these unions still happen, which means that it's very likely that when it does happen, one of the participants is not doing it willingly. Yikes.
  • It's hinted that the Tyranids are fleeing from something in their galaxy. Keep in mind that the Tyranids aren't frightened off with the Milky Way of Warhammer40000 aka one of the biggest(if not the biggest) Crapsack Worlds in all fiction. Does this mean that whatever they're running from is worse than everything present in Warhammer40000?!
  • The Imperium tolerance for mutation varies from world to world, from letting them live as second class citizens, to shooting them on sight. Some worlds may be so extreme/ignorant, that they see ANY physical deformity as mutation. A child is either separated from his/her parents to live in a slum, or is just executed. For having a physical deformity we see today. Kind of drive home how brutal The Imperium can be.
    • The worst part that it is absolutely necessary...
      • No. No, it is not absolutely necessary. The setting fluff makes it very clear that Chaos-touched mutants actually make up a tiny fraction of the mutant population as a whole. However, because the Imperium treats all mutants with the same hostility and contempt, that far greater number of innocent mutants deliberately turns to Chaos because, simply, it's not possible for their existences to get any worse. Chaos preaches their transformed bodies are beautiful, that they are beings chosen and favored by the gods and who can potentially attain immortal glory. The Imperium treats them as anathema, telling them that they are damned, forsaken, soulless abominations just for the crime of being born. Is it any wonder they are so willing to go renegade? Can they really be blamed for letting the Imperium reap what it has sown?
      • No, but even tiny mutaion can lead to damnation of Chaos... I'll prefer death to Chaos Gods.
  • Read the introduction to any Imperium centric story carefully and you will suddenly be strike with a sense of terrible realization: It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor of Mankind has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods ... Now just what gods do they mean in that? It can simply be a figure of speech, or it might be a meta confirmation on the 'The Emperor being nothing but a pawn of Chaos from the very start' theory.
  • The priest from the Last Temple story accuses the Emperor of not being relate to humanity. Outcast Dead proves this to be false with his treatment of Kai Zulane. It is impled in this book that Emperor possibly knew about his death before and deliberately instigated the Horus Heresy... And knowing his precognitive powers, he possibly led the future to 40000. When you know the enemies of the Imperium, another option may be suicide, despite his nasty ways.

Fridge Logic
  • It's only a matter of time before any given player tries to work out how Space Marines can lift their arms while wearing 90-degree shoulder pads. Fluff has put forth a variety of answers over the years.
    • The most common reason being they same reason they can move any body part in the armor, they are both already super soldiers. Plus, the armor itself is also like a second skin to them—designed specifically to increase their strength further while allowing them to stay just as mobile as if they where wearing less heavy armour.
      • The strength involved is actually fine. The mystery is why doesn't the edge of the shoulder pad hit them in the face when they lift their arm.
    • The pads are hinged, and the neural interface allows them to move synchronized with the wearer turning his head.
  • For all their vaunted armor and power, Imperial armored vehicles compare oddly to present day ones. The Basilisk artillery, for example, has a stated range of about 15 km. The British present day AS 90 has a range of 25 km. The Baneblade's canonical armor thickness is 200 mm. The first production run of the M1 Abrams had the equivalent of 350 mm of armor against specifically armor piercing projectiles, and that number has nearly doubled today.
    • It should be noted that, although the Baneblade is the heaviest Imperial Tank, it has been implied that documents suggest that its design was for a LIGHT TANK. Yep out there there's an even BIGGER tank design waiting to be discovered that serves as the main battle tank/heavy support tank. So really you should compare the Baneblade with the British Scimitar or US Stryker for a more accurate comparison (which it comes out on top of both by a considerable margin).
      • It is also implied that the STC of the Leman Russ tank people know and love is classified as a Tractor. The iconic tank of the Imperial Guard is a piece of farm equipment they stuck weaponry on. They are using jerry rigged farm implements to wage war. Which means the real tanks they would use should be downright scary with the above mentioning of the Baneblade.
    • While I'm not entirely sure, I believe the thinner armour would be cancelled out by the use of stronger / more resistant (and perhaps lighter) materials.
      • The M1 Abrams had 350mm effective armor versus armor penetrating munitions. This means that its armor has as effective as 350mm of solid steel armor, not that its armor is actually 350mm thick. It's easy to imagine that a Baneblade actually has 200mm armor (7.87 inches, or 20 centimeters), but that its actual effective thickness would be much greater. For reference, the M1 Abrams actual armor thickness (Though variable depending on location) is about 120mm thick. So a Baneblade with the same type of armor (Not actually the case) would potentially have an effective armor thickness of 583mm.
    • Perhaps as stated above they use more advanced materials. Compare her with the real-world German superheavy tank Maus (which, by the way, is -much- smaller in volume, or at least seems so).
    • As well, the Baneblade is orders of magntude larger than the Abrams, and appears to run headlong into the same problem as the multiturrets of the 1920s and 1930s - namely, that you could have a freakishly huge tank with lots of firepower or lots of armor if you forewent mobility, but you could never have both. A Baneblade-sized tank that stripped off all but the turret in terms of firepower and maybe a heavy bolter on the front hull could have significantly more armor. However, given how frequently the Baneblade gets thrown against things that outnumber them, it's possible that the armor was deemed "good enough" and multiple weapon turrets a requirement.
      • Not that size is a limitng factor to the same extent here, since the Baneblade has been stated to be the size of a house.
      • Another possibility is that the sponsons are to counter one of the major problems for some of the larger german tank designs of ww2, being outmaneuvered by smaller and faster vechiles. Given the size of the Baneblade, its makes sense to give it extra weapons to avoid being flanked by enemy armour or being attacked by infantry.
  • Consider for a moment the portrayal of the Ultramarines as useless if the Codex Astartes does not specify a solution to a scenario. Under that portrayal, what happens if they face the Tau, who hadn't been encountered yet when Guilliman wrote the Codex?
    • Pretty sure "Shoot enemy xenos until they die" is standard operating procedure.
      • You're no fun. :)
    • Fun fact: The Tau actually gave the Ultramarines a fair amount of problems in the Damocles Crusade. The Tau were actually driving them back until the less Codex adhering Black Templars joined in.
    • Absolutely the same goes for Tyranids. In the initial encounters they got their butts kicked, hard. They managed to adapt their tactics later by changing Codex Astartes. Obviously, it was before Matt Ward made them insufferable Lawful Stupid Knight Templar wannabes.

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