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Fanfic / All Guardsmen Party

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"So no shit, there we were..."

There once was a gaming group with an evil GM who spent a weekend playing one of Warhammer 40,000's spin-off RPGs. They rolled up a Imperial Guard regiment, made some characters, and proceeded to suffer Total Party Kill after Total Party Kill, so much so that they were generating new characters in between rounds of combat. At the end of this brutal introductory campaign, the surviving fifty Guardsmen found their evac shuttle redirected to an unfamiliar spaceship, where some intimidating soldiers informed them that they were now working for the Inquisition.

In other words, a bunch of ragtag, trigger-happy grunts from an Only War campaign wound up playing Dark Heresy, a game ostensibly about clandestine efforts to thwart the enemies of mankind. Hilarity, and Awesome, Ensues.

This dramatized After-Action Report chronicles an All Guardsmen Party's adventures as they're loaned out to their boss' Interrogators like Pokémon to newbie Trainers, serving as Dumb Muscle and Cannon Fodder for the Inquisition's best and brightest (and worst, and dumbest). Despite all expectations, the Guardsmen keep rising to the challenge, dealing with intrigue and subterfuge the Imperial Guard way - which is to say, lots of shooting and explosives, and occasional activity of a legally-dubious nature. Whether the job is finding missing psykers, figuring out what's going on with a misbehaving Imperial Guard regiment, purchasing a new mission ship, training a new batch of agents, or acquiring a dangerous xenos specimen, the All Guardsmen Party will find a way to succeed, though not always in the way their bosses would expect or prefer.


The series can be read here on 1d4chan, or at the author's personal archive site.

Tropes experienced by the All Guardsmen Party include:

  • Accidental Truth: During The Xenotech Heresy Sarge claims that there is an entire heretek fleet chasing the archaeotech in order to keep the techpriests in line. Just after he finally admits he lied, a heretek fleet drops out of warp.
  • After-Action Report: As noted above, the majority of the entries take the form of an unidentified member of the squad recounting the events of the mission.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: While locked in a conference room aboard a space station, Sarge needs to make an escape and tries to find an air-vent he could fit through. He's told this idea is stupid as nobody would design something like that. When Sarge points out the Occurrence Border has vents like that, he's told it's because the Border is a very stupid ship.
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  • The All-Concealing "I": Shoggy narrates the stories as though he were a member of the Guardsmen. However he never reveals which character he is in-game, referring to each member of the team in third person.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • The second-hand Warp-ship known as the Occurrence Border. The first thing that the team noticed about it is that the entire bow was missing, and it only got worse from there. It does make it perfect as an Inquisition base though, since everyone assumes nobody of any importance would be caught dead in the thing.
    • The party also obtains and drives self-described "shitty vans" on three separate occasions.
    • Enforced during "The 'Stealth' Mission" when the party is given an especially crappy van. Every request to modify it, such as adding working air conditioning or actual seats, is vetoed by a tech priest on the grounds of it being heretical. Actually the tech priest just really likes fucking with the Guardsmen.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of the Chaos-worshipping interrogator in the aftermath of "Nubby's Girlfriend": To prevent her from escaping during the trip back to Professor Oak, Doc works with the transit ship's medical crew to install a shunt in her spinal cord, completely paralyzing her and leaving her only able to communicate by blinking in Morse code. After spending days like this in the company of Nubby, she is eventually shipped off to the Ordo Mallus to be interrogated.
  • Anyone Can Die: So far, at least three different Guardsmen have died, not counting other team members they've been assigned to.
    • This was especially prevalent in the prologue "Darwinian Character Creation", where the entire point of the game is that player characters die so suddenly and so often that the players spend the lull between turns quickly rolling up new characters. The main cast of TAGP is composed of the ragged handful of guardsmen who survived this process.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Rupert" is slang for a dangerously incompetent upper-class officer. The Rupert wholeheartedly adopted this term and insists everyone in the unit call him as such.
  • Arc Villain: The female interrogator in "Nubby's Girlfriend".
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: One of the side-effects of the weapons from What's In The Box?, due to their wielders being infected with Orkoid mindsets.
  • Badass Crew: The Guardsmen as a whole.
  • Bad Boss: Most of the Interrogators qualify, some more than others. Sarge is finally persuaded to accept a promotion to Interrogator to keep the Guardsmen from any more bad bosses.
  • Band of Brothers: The Guardsmen certainly view themselves as this. The rest of their teams, not so much.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Frequently. Arguably the result of Sarge's promotion - sure, their superiors are no longer insane, but they have worse assignments now.
    It was the complete opposite of all the horribly complex ops we'd suffered through since joining the Inquisition: it was the ultimate simple, straightforward plan. If it wasn't for the fact that we'd be outnumbered thousands to one, we'd have loved it. As it was though, there's no word for how much we hated that plan.
  • Big "NO!": Played for laughs when Bane learns the Guardsmen killed the Bitch and, in the middle of yelling "NO", pauses to take a breath.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The named Space Marines in Tyranid Acquisition Experts are named Rubram, Gravis, and Rebus - loosely translated from Latin into "Red", "Serious" and "Matters", or more colloquially, "Ruddy Serious Business".
    • With the expectation that the shuttle pilot would be used, he was named Tunicae - so that the Marines (Gravis and Rebus) meant "Serious Business", and the Scouts (Rubram and Tunicae) meant "Red Shirt."
  • Black Comedy: Many of the situations that the party faces would be outright horrifying if not born out of or further exacerbated by their extreme incompetence. Many of the victims of their collateral damage who don't get killed end up traumatized by the events. The only levity is how ridiculous these situations are.
  • Body Surf: The demon described in Interlude: Escape seems to use this method. Every time Oak kills its host, it possesses one of Oak's colleagues and starts the plan over again.
  • Boring, but Practical: After the field mission fiasco in "Good Soliders, Bad Educators", the Guardsmen give up trying to teach the trainees to be "proper inquisition goons", and settle for infantrymen instead. The skills and techniques they show them like formation fighting and squad tactics are far from spectacular or the type of stuff an elite agent might need, but prove very useful nonetheless.
  • Brown Note: Looking at the face of the insectoid statue on the Occurrence Border drives humans insane. So the Guardsmen threw a tarp over its head.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A tech priest actively harasses and sabotages the Guardsmen, causing them injuries and nearly ruining the entire mission, out of sheer pettiness. Only as they are beating him to death does the tech priest realize that this might have been a bad idea.
  • Can Only Move the Eyes: Nubby's girlfriend is paralyzed so she can only move her eyes and Doc decide to teach her how to communicate by blinking. He succeeds, but all she says is "Kill me".
  • Captured on Purpose:
    • Bane Johns orders the Guardsmen to stand down and let themselves be captured. This puts them in the perfect position to attack the heads of the local conspiracy.
    • The betrayal and capture f the Guardsmen at the end of The "Stealth" Mission is actually a plan by Inquisitor Oak to get his people into enemy-controlled territory for a vital mission.
  • Car Fu: Not even a Tau battlesuit can withstand a van full of Guardsmen ramming into it and pouring their entire arsenal into it at point-blank range.
  • Catchphrase: The page quote. Considering the situations the party gets into, starting every chapter with a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer is warranted.
    • "and then we turned X into Chunky Salsa".
    • "Truly we were the pinnacle of professionalism." Always spoken ironically.
  • Clue, Evidence, and a Smoking Gun: The party on how they knew something was odd about the woman they came across.
    "It might have been her pointy ears, it might have been the weird harmonics of her voice. Or maybe it was the words "Eldar Subject Number 4" printed on the back of her tattered straightjacket."
  • Combat Pragmatist: The party uses every dirty trick in the book and arms themselves with potentially-heretical xenotech and illegally-procured weapons - but if it keeps them alive, they'll use it.
  • Comically Inept Healing: Due to the abnormal anatomy and physiology of Space Marines and the side-effects of Tyranid venom, Doc and Tink's attempts to administer first aid to Sergeant Gravis quickly devolves into this.
  • Cool Old Guy: The feisty elderly adept from Heretic Purging, who (among other things) gets the team and their weapons through a checkpoint by trying to seduce the guards.
  • The Corruption: The weapons produced by "the Box" slowly mutate their wielders into Orks. This is because it's a heretek manufactorum that uses servitorized orks as assembly line workers, and an ork psyker as its AI. Fortunately, once the Box is destroyed, everyone goes back to normal.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Lots of them when the Occurrence Border's questionable Gellar Field network starts to fail, including with the deceased Crisp, Heavy, Cutter and Scout Marine.
  • Death World: The Stealth Mission takes place on a hive world which the party eventually realizes is even more inhospitable than standard. Not only are pools of strong acid called "lakes", there's currently a continent-spanning sandstorm which eventually escalates into a rockstorm once the "sand" becomes too large.
  • Demonic Possession: During Interlude: Escape Oak explains that he has spent most of his career fighting a demon who possesses Oak's current colleague every time he manages to kill the last host. Thanks to this, it has now worked its way deep into the Inquisition.
  • The Door Slams You: Two in rapid succession during Nubby's Girlfriend. A pair of arbites blow a door off its hinges and directly onto a stunned Sarge. They then proceed to address the rest of the team while standing directly on that door. Later, when Sarge gets the door off his back and raises it into position, a pair of bolter rounds slam into it, pitching him head-first into the wall and knocking him unconscious.
    • Sarge does it to a couple security guards during The Stealth Mission. First he hammers the door out of its frame and over a guard, then picks up the door and hurls it at another guard.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Twice during Heretic Purging. When faced with the prospect of fighting their way through an underground complex full of cultists with nothing but pistols and knives, the guardsmen decide to leave and call in an orbital bombardment on the complex instead. When the team encounters a chaos shrine that lashes out at them with Combat Tentacles, they strap explosives to the wall from outside and blow it to smithereens.
  • The Dreaded: Bane Johns, the one thing in the galaxy the party won't try and shoot. At least until Sarge is able to nullify his probability altering psychic powers, at which point he lays a beat down on him.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The Commissar the Guardsmen meet in the training camp was assigned there permanently as a punishment detail. When he's not in a drunken slumber, he's downing more alcohol while bemoaning his lot in life.
  • Dwindling Party: The initially-thousands-strong regiment the characters are part of. It lost a third of its personnel in the first engagement, and over the course of four campaigns was whittled down to fifty men. A quarter of which were purged for genestealer infestation. According to Word of God they're now down to fifteen.
  • Dying Smirk:
    • Crisp laughs as his flamer tank is detonated, killing him and his squad's current nemesis.
    • Cutter revels in the joy of battle and good combat-drugs as his enemy self-destructs.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first entry and the opening of the second are narrated by the player recounting the events of a tabletop gaming session. It's only after the info dump at the start of "Pilgrims and Heretics" that we are introduced to our in-universe narrator.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Due to a fundamental misunderstanding of how a Space Marine's geneseed works, the T'au think it can be planted in any old human and it'll turn them into a clone of the dead Marine. This is used in one episode of Super Deserter Gues'eva Action Heroes to bring back their Marine comrade. When Tink suggested "planting Gravis' seeds in a servitor" to fix him, Doc is gobsmacked that he's so off-base about it (and that he took "heretical cartoons" at face value).
  • Exact Words: When the Dredd-expy protests using an Arbite ship's brig to transport prisoners, his Inquisitor peer flippantly suggests just shoving the Guardsmen in a laundry room. Much to the befuddlement of the ship's crew, the expy does just that.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: During "The "Stealth" Mission" the Guardsmen are assigned to recover a set of Chaos artifacts stored in chests. The artifacts are completely unimportant, it's the chests themselves which Oak needs.
  • Fantastic Racism: Zig-Zagged. This being 40k, hating the Xeno is normal for everyone, but the exceptional circumstances of Inquisitional work lead to the party having much more interaction with aliens than they would otherwise tolerate. The entirety of The Greater Good takes place in an Imperium-Tau neutral zone and causes the party to nearly go on shooting sprees against the mixed population several times. In The Xenotech Heresy the party is forced into a fragile alliance with an Eldar and actually go out of their way to save an Earth Caste Tau who had been forced into the whole debacle. There's also a decent amount of this between the Mechanicus and the baseline crew of the Occurrence Border.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: While the canon Tau have a vague Asian-Oriental flavor, the neutral border worlds are presented as being more akin to modern day Japan, complete with anime.
  • Famed in Story: After the events of Greater Good the guardsmen become known as heroes among both the Tau and human populace. Although for them it is also the case of Your Approval Fills Me with Shame. They even become the stars of a Tau anime series called "The Super Deserter Gue'vesa Action Heroes", much to Sarge's disgust.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The fate of the Rogue Trader's ship in "The Greater Good". On Doc's suggestion the Guardsmen sabotage the warp engine and Geller field generators such that the ship becomes trapped in the warp with no shielding.
  • First-Episode Twist: The players aren't playing Only War anymore, they're playing Dark Heresy.
  • Femme Fatale: The female Interrogator in "Nubby's Girlfriend" betrays the team in the middle of a mission.
  • The Fool: Bane Johns, the squad's fifth Interrogator: despite what seems like a surfeit of confidence and a lack of strategic planning or common sense, every event in his mission seems to go his way without fail. Turns out he's a psyker with Reality Warper tendencies who can arrange probability to go in his favor - by siphoning his teammates' luck away.
  • Gambit Pileup: One of the reasons so many people died in the back story of the "The Interplanetary Man of Mystery" was because there were a half dozen factions running around trying to kill each other or obstructing each other's work.
  • General Failure:
    • The commanding officers in "Heretics and Pilgrims" all managed a shade of this. The Interrogator got himself thrown in the brig after he repeatedly insulted a ship's captain. His subordinates then took control of a lightly armed mob and sent them into a fortified kill zone, getting them slaughtered and triggering daemonic summoning rituals.
    • Bane Johns may get the job done but during the post-mission discussion with Sarge it's revealed he has gotten thirty squads of agents killed to the last man.
  • Generic Name: Played for Laughs. The characters' former regiment was the Generian 99th Medium Infantry — listed in Munitorum records as GENER IC.
  • Going Native: The adventure in Tau space features a former Inquisitor who has adapted a number of Tau customs and is heavily hinted to be the villain behind it all. He remains loyal to the Imperium.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Twitch accuses Sergeant Gravis of being an Ork in disguise and Doc has him take off his helmet to prove he is human to the panicking Trooper. We never see it, but the scars on his face freak Tink out real bad.
  • Groin Attack: Nubby's preferred method of melee combat. Especially effective after he's given augmetic legs.
    • Cutter does this too, though not always successfully as his targets sometimes have augmetics of their own.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • Nubby loses both legs to a swipe from a forcesword and has them replaced with augmetics.
    • Sergeant Gravis gets bisected through the lungs by a Hive Tyrant's bonesword. He survives.
    • A few enemies get this treatment including a Khonate mutant that gets bisected by Cutter as well as the Heretek that takes down Cutter when the latter beats him in melee.
  • Halfway Plot Switch:
    • The very premise of the series is a meta example - After several punishing Only War campaigns with a Killer Game Master, the surviving members of the players' regiment are suddenly hired by the Inquisition, and the players themselves are handed copies of Dark Heresy.
    • Nubby's Girlfriend starts as a largely-espionage job that involves breaking up an entrenched genestealer cult before the authorities are forced to enact purges, until the party's current interrogator turns out to be a Chaos cultist trying to use the purges to trigger a daemonic ritual.
    • 'Good Soldiers, Bad Educators' spends its first two-thirds following the misadventures of the Party while they try to whip a bunch of hopeless Inquisition trainees into shape, while the final third switches tone abruptly when a Necron voidship suddenly crash-lands and threatens to summon an army to the lightly-defended planet, followed by the Iron Warriors warband who had shot it down in the first place.
  • Hand Puppet: How do you explain Imperial-Tau political intrigue to a crew of idiot guardsmen? With sock puppets!
    • This gets repeated when the squad doesn't understand the complex and varied philosophies of the Inquisition.
  • Hate Sink: Sciscitat and his retinue. The majority of the "The Stealth Mission" consists of them doing literally everything they can to make the squad miserable or get them killed, simply because they can.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Faced with a chaos shield which won't yield to gunfire or explosives, the Guardsmen decide to use faith - a combination of barrels of promethium, wheelbarrows of assorted holy relics (volunteered by pilgrims who found "we're going to use it to blow up some heretics" a very good reason to part with them), and every explosive they could find blessed by every priest they could find. Not coincidentally, the post's image is the Trope Namer.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick:
    • The Guardsmen end up being this, due to usually being the only sane men, relatively speaking, to their Interrogators.
    • Alfred, the Rupert's batman. The Guardsmen instantly bond with him over this.
    • The Diplomacy Adept has this going for him as does an old female Adept they had for a previous mission. The former takes out a traitor that no one but him noticed and the latter could hide enough sidearms on her person for the entire team and she led a cleansing operation of the remaining members of a Nurgle cult.
  • I Call It "Vera": Tink first names his Tau stealth drone as "Hannah 2.0." Sarge makes him change the name to Spot.
  • Idiot Ball: Nubby takes firm possession of this during the Discount Spaceship chapter - it starts with buying the hunk of junk that is the Occurrence Border and escalates from there.
  • Implacable Man: The ex-Arbite traffic cop the party meets in Jack Hive is nearly impossible to shake and determined to ticket the party for the smallest infractions. He follows them between spires and into the Underhive, appears from nowhere whenever the party has a quiet moment, and papers their entire vehicle in tickets. Even when he ends up knocked out and tied up in the back of an exploding van, he comes out of it apparently no worse for the wear.
  • Inspector Javert: The ex-Arbite traffic cop will issue a ticket for every infraction committed by his target and allows nobody to interfere in his duty. Even the antagonist's goons know better than to interfere with him.
  • Insufferable Genius: Their second Interrogator is a complete ass but also incredibly skilled when it comes to information analysis. Oak himself muses it's incredible that he can be so good at his job and yet be so bad at handling people
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: In Tyranid Delivery Experts, the Occurrence Border's Navigator points out that the approaching navy vessels probably believe there is a genestealer cult on their ship. Since they de-warped on the far edge of the system, and are radiating tyranid psychic energy from the captive Zoanthrope. While no one enjoys his insults they can't deny he's right.
  • Just Between You and Me: Bane Johns, tied to a table as a death ray slowly tracks towards him, attempts to learn Gol'fingy's plan using this trope. Of course given Gol'fingy is an Ork, his only plan at the moment consists of cutting a noisy human in half with a death laser.
  • Killer Game Master: The GM has his players roll up hundreds of Player Characters during their "prologue" sessions of Only War, and kills or incapacitates nearly all of them over the course of several military campaigns - only 37 members of the regiment are still alive by the end. It gets so bad that the players have to quickly roll up new characters in-between turns. Not for nothing is he described as being "on the 'Hitler scale' of death measurement". By the time the game transitions from Only War to Dark Heresy for the rest of the series, the players (and their characters) have become paranoid, Genre Savvy and hyper-competent out of necessity.
  • Kill It with Fire: The crew of the Occurrence Border has on at least one occasion dealt with a warp-corrupted portion of the ship by selectively lowering void shields and melting the offending portion off in a sun.
  • Lethally Stupid: Bane Johns is a massive danger to his subordinates as a result of this trope, blithely wandering into extremely dangerous situations. And while his luck lets him walk away, it also means his subordinates don't.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: During "The Xenotech Heresy" Sarge flies the Necron ship into the middle of the Necron and Heretek fleets and telling them the winner could have it. The two fleets end up fighting for so long that the Imperium is able to warp in reinforcements.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Happens to the Guardsmen for most of "The Stealth Mission", courtesy of Sciscitat. It isn't until the ceasefire with the other inquisitorial team they mistakenly engaged that they finally learn whats going on.
  • Loophole Abuse: After the fiasco at the research facility in "The [REDACTED] Conspiracy", the Deathwatch Apothecary decides arresting the Guardsmen is no longer his squad's responsibility. Explaining that their orders were to assist the Inquisitor in his investigation, not to do it for him. With him dead they are under no obligation to do anything but report back to their Watch Station and let the Inquisition handle it. The obvious attempt to blow it all off as not his problem and have his superiors deal with it causes the Guardsmen to all feel a deep sense of camaraderie between themselves and him.
  • MacGuffin:
    • The titular Box of "What's In The Box?" was the driving force for all parties involved. The soldiers wanted the Box for its weapons, the techpriests thought it was holy, the Commissariat thought it needed to be destroyed, and the Inquisition wanted to know what it was.
    • "Good Soldiers, Bad Educators" featured a fight with various groups for control of a Necron spaceship and its cargo. The Guardsmen return the latter to Oak and never hear anything else about it.
    • "The Xenotech Heresy" focuses on a piece of xenotech which the Mechanicus, Dark Mechanicus, Eldar, Necrons, and human nobles are trying to control. The Guardsmen don't even know what it's the same Necron ship until near the end of the mission.
    • "The "Stealth" Mission" deals with a race between the Guardsmen and Bane and the Bitch for possession of a set of Chaos artifacts. Turns out the artifacts are just misdirection for the real MacGuffins.
  • Medium Awareness: After the first chapter and a half, the origin of the series as a Dark Heresy campaign is generally ignored. But an occasional line is thrown in. For example, the narrator points out that fighting in vacuum and zero-G felt like the party had lost exactly 10% of their ballistic skills, and capitalizes the word "Obsession" (also a gaming term) while describing Aimy and Twitch.
  • Missing Steps Plan: During one particularly intense hilltop battle on a world being fought over by Orks and Tyranids, Sarge's plan to deal with a Hive Tyrant amounts to ordering the squad to "HANDLE IT!". The squad does not appear to be willing to permit him to live that down, and have in fact used the line verbatim on each other.
  • More Dakka: The Guardsmen are firm believers in solving problems by shooting them with extreme prejudice, and the more firepower they can bring to bear, the better. Heavy, Tink and Twitch are the usual suspects.
    Our 'experiments' had established that las fire and grenades didn't do much to the shield, but since we were guardsmen we felt sure that enough faith and firepower could solve anything. We set up positions around the shield and started continuously plinking las fire into it, because when you have a fusion reactor to recharge your cells from you might as well lay down some indiscriminate suppressive fire.
  • Morton's Fork: After getting her Skunk Stripe, Aimy proceeded to ask every techacolyte she met if he hair looked funny and then did "mean things" if they answered wrong. As the narrator notes there was no right answer.
  • Mundane Utility: The Occurrence Border at some point acquired an ancient statue of an insectoid god that drives anyone who looks at it insane. The crew used its various arms to prop up some energy conduits.
  • Mushroom Samba: One of the Occurrence Border's docking bays is covered in caustic, psychically-active warp fungus. Hallucinations ensue when a shuttle of Space Marines accidentally docks in it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Doc runs away from a Flyrant, letting Sergeant Gravis get bisected (two thirds of the Inquisitorial Council ruled in his favor saying that his continuous shooting was an attempt to distract the Flyrant), the DM makes a roll and decides that Doc got an obsession with keeping the Marine alive. This manifests in the story as Doc becoming utterly determined in keeping the Marine alive until he got full medical treatment. (Though he does eventually lose the Marine's legs.) Gravis lives long enough to get put into a Dreadnaught.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In Good Soldiers, Bad Educators, the Party acquires some assorted reading material for their trainees, and Doc gets hooked on The Spheres of Longing:
    He tried to get us to read this book about longing for balls by some famous old crippled inquisitor, but it was way too long and sounded like the diary of a perverted shut-in; so none of us could be bothered.
  • The Neidermeyer: Interrogator, later Inquisitor, Sciscitat is a self-aggrandizing hardass who despises the Guardsmen and they hate him right back. He and his sycophants go out of their way to make the Guardsmen miserable and Sciscitat is gleeful when he betrays the Guardsmen. Even Oak finds the man to be unbearable in spite of this skill as an investigator.
  • Never My Fault: Interrogator Sciscitat blames every problem in his operations on the Guardsmen and treats himself and his favorite bootlickers as completely blameless. This becomes especially galling in his second appearance when one of his subordinates actively sabotages the Guardsmen and the Interrogator chews the Guardsmen out for messing things up. In the same mission he also deliberately refused to share any details with the Guardsmen beyond their immediate objective and then gets angry when they don't act based on critical information he didn't give them.
  • New Technology is Evil: Averted, against the standard beliefs of the Imperium, as of The Greater Good. The party has started gathering and using Tau xenotech disguised with Imperial adornments. They've also tried and failed to steal from both the Eldar and the Necrons, both times being thwarted by an inability to understand the controls.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • The result of sending a Knarloc to fight a Chaos servitor-Titan-techpriest. What's left of both fuses together, remains Chaos-possessed, and is significantly angrier at the Guardsmen.
    • Trading a Necron flyer to a Rogue Trader. Several worlds are cleansed of life by the Necrons chasing after the flyer, and a schism in the Mechanicus is threatened. And that's before the Hereteks get in on the madness.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Discount Spaceship saw the Guardsmen trapped between a demonically-possessed Knarloc and the servitor-Titan-Cogtain. After leaving the two to duke it out, Nubby joked they could combine into a "daemoni-servi-knarlo-titan". Not long after the Guardsmen end up fighting exactly that.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Given the MacGuffins tend to be heretical and dangerous, the Guardsmen prefer blowing them up when possible. In their mind it not only denies their enemy a win, it also means there's one less thing trying to corrupt and/or kill honest Guardsmen.
  • Not Proven: The party is cleared of criminal incompetence in allowing their two Astartes handlers to be crushed by a Tyranid flyer and bisected by a Hive Tyrant, respectively by a Ordo Xenos tribunal. Two-thirds of it, anyway.
  • Not So Stoic: The two Iron Warriors (going by their silver-and-gold paint scheme) in the climax of Good Soldiers, Bad Educators audiably groan and visibly get annoyed when their Heretek charge gets excited over the MacGuffin. Iron Warriors are 10,000 year-old siege engineers who won't bat an eye over the worst battlefield conditions and used to brutal, grinding sieges, but a nerd who won't shut up about a magic box is too much to deal with.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: Invoked in-universe. The Guardsmen need Bane to attack them in a warehouse so they declare "Not Even Bane Johns Could Stop Us Now". He immediately bursts in through a window.
  • Occidental Otaku: Weebu, the representative to the modern Japan-themed neutral Tau/human colonies, displays all the characteristics of this: Dresses in traditional Tau clothing, constantly praises their culture, etc.
  • Oh, Crap!: At the end of Tyranid Delivery Experts, the team finally delivers their deadly cargo to it's destination. They are then promptly arrested by the Inquisition as renegades.
  • Only a Lighter: Bane had his Inquisitorial rosette modified to contain a lighter.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • The Guardsmen are all known only by their nicknames - Sarge, Doc, Heavy, Cutter, Nubby, Twitch, Tink. Eventually Sarge's name is revealed - it's Greg Sargent.
    • There's also one unnamed Interrogator, later an Inquisitor, who's only known as "the Rupert", and his batman, who is christened "Alfred" by the party.
    • And then the Inquisitor who's their boss, who's only referred to as Professor Oak. His real name is eventually revealed by the diplomacy adept to be Quercus, which means... Oak.
    • Averted by Aimy, whose name is eventually revealed to be a contraction of her Overly Long Name, Amelia Delorisista Amanita Trigestrata Zeldana Malifee von Humpeding.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Sarge is basically this for the Guardsmen.
    • The Guardsmen collectively are this for whatever random Interrogator they're assigned to.
  • Out-Gambitted: The party manages this against an Eldar Warlock when they stick a detpack to his spirit stone.
  • Overt Operative:
    • Having trained extensively as soldiers and practically never as spies, the Guardsmen are incredibly obvious whenever they try to blend in with civilians. The team they "educate" ends up much the same.
    • Bane Johns, as a James Bond expy, is even worse, being a party animal who periodically goes on murder sprees that are sometimes vaguely connected to his actual mission.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • Bane Johns disguises himself as a deserting Guardsmen by throwing on a greatcoat and impressive false mustache. He still fails to hide his obviously Inquisition-issue armor, pistols, and Inquisitorial rosette. When Sarge straightens him out, Bane pulls the rosette out and leaves it in plain view.
    • Tink sticks a bunch of grox skins and other assorted skulls on his tau drone to disguise it as a servoskull. The illustration near the end of "Xenotech Heresy" depicts it as having a human skull duct-taped on top, a human jaw hanging on wires below, and two scrolls; one saying "PLEASE IGNORE" and another saying "COMPLETELY NORMAL SERVITOR SKULL".
    • Later, after Sarge's lasgun is destroyed, Tink tries to disguise a Tau pulse carbine as a lasgun for Sarge.
    • Whenever the guardsmen try to wear disguises it's described as making them look exactly like guardsmen trying to wear disguises.
      The rest of us infiltrated the bank. That is to say we put on suits, which succeeded in making us look exactly like Guardsmen in suits, and marched behind Face and the Assassin into one of the world's largest banks.
  • Plasma Cannon: Tink's weapon of choice. Also; some party members get Tau pulse rifles disguised as lasguns.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A Space Marine Scout informs the Guardsmen that a Tyranid Assault Flier is headed their way, expecting them to stand their ground and shoot it down like Space Marines would. Unfortunately, because he didn't say what to do, the Guardsmen naturally take cover and the Scout is taken out shortly after by said Flier.
  • Properly Paranoid: The guardsmen's paranoia has saved them a great many times. It's shown to great effect in The Xenotech Heresy: the Guardsmen's paranoia allows them to counter the machinations of the Eldar and Mechanicus.
    • After the events of Discount Spaceship, the party has a unanimous paranoid hatred of servitors, declaring them daemon-possessed spies at the drop of a bolter shell and commissioning Twitch to make overkill anti-servitor traps for their barracks. It turns out that the Mechanicus was indeed attempting to spy on the group with cleaning servitors during The Xenotech Heresy, only failing because the party killed them all with extreme prejudice.
    • Twitch, the explosives expert, is a full-on paranoid, especially when Orks are involved (as they triggered his paranoia in the first place). This gets to the point of having short-fuse grenades taped to the inside of a top-of-the-line security door, setting up redundant detonators, keeping shaped charges on his back-plate to keep people from sneaking up on him, and booby-trapping his own weapons (when Twitch says not to touch his stuff, it's for your safety). This would normally make him a bit too paranoid, but each time this comes up it saves the rest of the team.
      • According to Shoggy, the DM allows Twitch's player to roll for paranoia and leaks him spoilers based on how well he does, which the other players are only privy to through Twitch's in-character interpretation. Consequently, the revelations that the mystery box was "full of Orks" and the Tyrannid "ghosts" were caused by the comatose Zoanthrope becoming possessed by a Daemon resulted in "I told you so" moments.
  • Punny Name:
    • Ivana Krushyu, which is more or less obligatory given she plays the role of a Bond Girl.
    • Weebu is a fanatic for Tau culture, which in turn is depicted as being very similar to modern Japanese culture. That's right, Weebu is a weeaboo.
    • Space Marines Rubram, Gravis, and Rebus don't seem punny until one considers Latin: Ruddy, serious, and business.
  • Ramp Jump: During "The 'Stealth' Mission" the Guardsmen jump their vehicle across a gap in a Hive bridge. The moment is made decidedly less awesome by the fact they're driving a shitty van which barely makes the distance.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: The squad gets one from the ghost of the Emperor's Scythes scout marine when he shows up in the haunted poker room. Calling them a bunch of cowards and heretics who left his battle brothers stranded on a tyranid ship, mortally injured Gravis, then made off with his wargear, and finally got the scout killed. Leaving him to spend eternity in the poker room with the souls of their dead squadmates.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After an entire army deserted, the Commissars attached to said army were reassigned to a penal legion training camp. Not to the legion, but to the camp where they would spend the rest of their lives with no chance of redeeming themselves.
  • Recurring Boss: The daemon the Guardsmen first encounter in "Discount Spaceship" is incredibly persistent. Over the course of their adventures it has manifested as a daemonhost through a psyker child, a knarloc, a daemoni-servi-knarlo-titan, a techpriest, a zoanthrope, and Bane Johns.
  • Red Shirt: The guardsmen are typically grouped with several less combat-focused teammates. Most of them don't survive.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • During "Dude, Where's My Psyker?" the Guardsmen, an assassin, and some unstable psykers need to infiltrate the governor's palace when his forces are on alert to the Inquisition's presence. The party proceeds to enter "disguised" as a group of Guardsmen, an assassin, and some unstable psykers sent as reinforcements to defend against the Inquisition.
    • While escaping the scene of a recent massacre which police are swarming to, Sarge just has his men walk back in full view with their full weapons loadout. No sane cop is going to question armed Guardsmen on leave, especially when there's somewhere more important to be.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Reread "What's In The Box?" after finding out what's in the box and all the clues will be obvious in retrospect.
    • Reread "Heretic Purging" after finding out Crisp had joined a death cult and all of his behavior suddenly makes a lot more sense.
    • The entire series makes a lot more sense of the "Escape" interlude when Oak explains he founded the school specifically to handle the worst Interrogators.
  • Right Behind Me: Tink goes on a rant about Sarge and the Inquisition; he is interrupted by Sarge's hand on his shoulder.
  • Sarcasm Mode: "The 'Stealth' Mission" has the extra quote marks to indicate just how stealthy the mission ends up being.
  • Security Cling: Aimy (part terrified of her team leader and part really happy to see the other Guardsmen) jumps into Sarge's arms when they meet again, and it takes some work to get her disentangled.
  • Shoot the Hostage: The Bitch is trapped by the Guardsmen and tries to use a chaos artifact as a hostage for negotiations, pointing out it will be destroyed if they kill her. Unfortunately for her the Guardsmen are more than happy to destroy said artifact.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Two characters are shout-outs to the Discworld:
      • Nubby, the Guardsman who doesn't quite look human and steals everything not nailed down, is a blatant Expy of Nobby Nobbs.
      • Aimy, whose full name and nobility are borrowed from another Discworld character.
    • The warp-tainted, ramshackle free trader, the Occurrence Border, is one to Event Horizon. In fact, given that the film is all but stated to be a distant prequel to 40k, it may very well be the Event Horizon.
    • The way the Interrogator's adepts die in "Nubby's Girlfriend" is a shoutout to Mission: Impossible.
    • Bane Johns, the suave, hard-partying and improbably-lucky superspy, is a Spoonerism for "James Bond". He's even strapped into a laser death trap by an Ork named Gol'fingy, and the dialogue from that scene is used mostly verbatim.
      • Or more likely a reference to "Archer" with his flippant nonchalance.
    • From the same episode as Bane Johns, we're given a stealth Firefly shout out from Sarge, who sprang Tink from confinement by "explaining the chain of command." The fact Sarge is covered in blood and holding a chain seems to imply he did so in Jayne's preferred manner.
    • Heavy and his heavy stubber are basically Team Fortress 2's Heavy Weapons Guy.
    • Tyranid Acquisition Experts has the Guardsmen team up with a squad of Space Marines to capture a Zoanthrope (a psychic Tyranid). It's Starship Troopers all over again...
    • Twitch's insane accusation that the Emperor's Scythes are all Orks in disguise references the premise of another /tg/ classic, Deffwotch.
    • The narrator references Red vs. Blue at multiple points, and Shoggy uses images from the show on some of the posts.
    • The "Stealth" Mission includes an ex-Arbite traffic cop on a hive world with an extreme adherence to "the law". If his later promotion to a "judge" didn't make it clear, Shoggy included a Judge Dredd reference pic with the related posts.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": It's always The Rupert, not just "Rupert".
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The usual stock in trade of Twitch, the squad's demo specialist. The Guardsmen are very fond of this as a means of solving problems, including up to the occasional orbital strike.
    While the nerds babbled about how this was the greatest scientific advancement in centuries Twitch and Nubby went to find a place to plant the Nuke and blow it all up. There's probably something deep and philosophical you could say about that, but we were guardsmen. We had a really big bomb, and damned if we weren't going to use it.
  • Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: Ol' Bill's reaction when Sarge confirms he plans to transport a live Tyranid zoanthrope in the Occurrence Border'''s entirely inadequate holding area.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: At one point, the Guardsmen end up luring a Chaos-possessed servitor-Titan into combat with a hungry and pissed off Knarloc. Doesn't quite work as planned, see Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! above.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: Bane Johns suffers one as a result of the squads relentless attack. Forcing him to use more and more of his psychic energy to fend them off before he finally loses control.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Inquisitor Oak admits that his direct subordinates consist mainly of psychopaths, incompetents, and glory seekers whose previous bosses never set them straight.
  • Taking You with Me
    • Crisp kills a chaos marine by having Twitch strap all his remaining explosives to his back and detonating them once he's too close for the marine to get away in time.
    • Cutter is killed when a dying Heretek activates several explosive charges within his body which engulf him in flames.
  • Taught by Television: When a desperate Doc asks Tink for advice on how to treat a dying Astartes, Tink starts talking about how they need to retrieve his gene-seed to foster the next generation of Space Marines. It turns out he learned that watching Tau cartoons.
  • The Cloud Cuckoo Lander Was Right:
    • In "What's In The Box", Twitch was convinced that the titular box was full of Orks and the non-PC Guard Regiment were all Orks in disguise. He was right on both counts.
    • In "Tyranid Delivery Experts" Twitch becomes convinced the Tyranid zoanthrope has allied with the daemons and will unleash a horde of daemonthropes on the Guardsmen. Turns out the zoanthrope is a daemonhost.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Guardsmen's go-to solution for dealing with hostiles.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: After Sarge becomes an Interrogator, we see Twitch's point of view as he goes through one of his episodes. He hears orks through the walls of a septic pipe and occasionally shoots the wall in a vain attempt to kill them. Of course, the audience knows that there are no orks.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The daemon the party repeatedly encounters on the Occurrence Border is apparently named Frank.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Inverted in The Xenotech Heresy when the team is given a small nuclear bomb to complete their mission, and decide its so awesome that they must use it, even if a better solution appears.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: The party intentionally plays this part when negotiating with an Eldar Warlock by acting not only stupid, but completely insane. After a while they wear him down into skipping the manipulative doublespeak and Exact Words tricks so that he'll just talk to them in plain Gothic. It also makes him underestimate them so much that his inevitable attempt to betray them is half-assed by Eldar standards.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The first chapter has the Party's "Nerd" charges accidentally rile up a shipload of pilgrims by trying to apprehend a heretic by chasing one into them. The mob promptly tears the heretic to shreds and tries to do the same to the Nerds to be safe. Later, the Guardsmen recruit a mob of their own to help them fight heretics, something the zealots do all too eagerly.
  • Traffic Wardens: An Arbites the Guardsmen encounter during the "Stealth" Mission is initially mistaken for a possible enemy spy given his laser-sharp focus on the party. He ends up issuing them several thousand crowns in traffic tickets and sends them to their Inquisitorial trial.
  • Training from Hell: The party's backstory, played through in a marathon session as a series of bloody Only War campaigns before they switched to Dark Heresy. Also applies to what they eventually put their Inquisitorial trainees through.
  • Truce Zone: It turns out one of these actually manages to exist between the Imperium and the Tau. This hazy region of space contains such heresies as humans and aliens living together peacefully, religious freedom, and functioning government.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The Conspiracy doesn't consider the Guardsmen Important. The two members to realize they were a potential threat either died before they could warn their superiors or insisted it was all blind luck.
  • The Unfought: Shoggy indicates their GM had planned for the Guardsmen to fight Bane Johns as the final boss of "The Interplanetary Man of Mystery". The players managed to talk their way out of a fight, much to the GM's annoyance. So he brought Bane back during "The "Stealth" Mission".
  • Unfriendly Fire:
    • During Good Soldiers, Bad Educators a Commissar cadet guns down a fleeing trainee and tries to kill another. He's instead killed by a round by an unknown shooter and his corpse is repeatedly stabbed by an Imperium knife. The shooter is unidentified and the Guardsmen are sure the stabber was a Gretchin.
    • The Penal Legion reveal the students from their training days learned it may be necessary to kill superior officers if they're actively endangering the squad. They did not learn how to cover up said killing, hence their reassignment to a penal legion.
  • Unholy Matrimony: The paired big bads of "The "Stealth" Mission" are the Bitch and Bane Johns who are in a relationship of sorts.
  • Veteran Instructor: The Guardsmen become this in Good Soldiers, Bad Educators, where they have to turn a bunch of randoms (and a squad of PDF) into Inquisitorial adepts. Things only work out after they all go Drill Sergeant Nasty (led by Sarge) on the recruits.
  • Wham Line:
    • In "Tyranid Delivery Experts" there's Fio's comment with regards to a distortion in the zoanthrope's stasis field:
      There's actually two focal points, both positioned right behind the Zoanthrope. They're sort of black and smoky, and shaped like little... wings?
    • The final sentence of "Tyranid Delivery Experts" is a doozy:
      But the charge at the top of the list will almost certainly be aiding and abetting the Rogue Inquisitor colloquially known as "Oak".
  • Why Did It Have To Be Orks?!: The entire party, and especially Twitch, hate the Orks with a fiery and massively explosive passion. And, when and where they expect the greenskins least, they show up. It's even mentioned in "Tyranid Acquisitions Experts", almost word-for-word.
  • Widget Series: Most of the group has this opinion of the not-Anime the Tau make about them. The first storyline was a politically-sanitized version of their real adventures with the Tau, but according to a brief recap by the members who actually enjoy it and watch it regularly it brought in Dark Eldar witches and Gender Bender plots pretty quickly.
  • Wrench Wench: In addition to a few female Tech Priests such as Hannah, Tink has a brief relationship with a Tau weapons tech that he seems convinced is a woman.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The team is NOT happy when the Tau praise their efforts for taking down their corrupt politician. It is left ambiguous whether or not the politician was acting on behalf of the government and was sold out when his plans were revealed or if he was a real traitor.


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