Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Warhammer 40,000

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    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 resurection, 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 malleable 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.
    • There is a small problem with the point: more potential distance ultimately means more power for the projectile. if you can throw a bolt 10,000 meters it has to have more power than one that can only go 1,000 meters. saying that they are using varying tactics or munitions that can limit range to achieve another effect is one thing, but if they limit the range of base projectiles they are saying that they are limiting the maximum force of the projectile. If it does less damage, it is less useful. I am relatively certain the primary reason is the obvious purpose of balance.
      • Warhammer 40K isn't running on a linear scale. It's completely abstracted. This troper dabbles in wargame design, and research shows that most gunfights in a war happen up to 300 metres; this happens to be the most common effective range for infantry weapons. In the Warhammer scale that's around 6 metres (not to mention that the scale itself is eyeballed and not even the same over the whole product range), or around 20 feet. Also note how a battle round is not a specified period of time: it's pretty much a meaningful chunk of time where soldiers can act, but it's not set in stone. This means that if it weren't abstracted, ranged weapons would have an even bigger advantage, as they'd easily be able to shoot at melee so much they'd die before they even got their turn. Ergo, we have oddly short ranges. In fact, an attack in Warhammer is not, a single shot like some people think. Sure, for a lascannon, maybe. But a rapid firing bolter is actually multiple bursts, rather than two shots. Basically speaking, if the ranges were to scale, rather than for a game, you'd need multiple football fields, and the Tau would just laugh at everyone else as they pop them before they can even see them. Skilled snipers can shoot at 2,000 metres or above: that's 40 metres on the tabletop, which is over 131 feet. The first Gulf War had average tank combat range between 2,800 metres and 3,200 metres. 155mm artillery hits just fine at 18,000 metres with unguided shells, while with advanced shells can bring that above 30,000 metres. Let that sink in. The ranges in Warhammer are gamey, because otherwise the game would be just plain unplayable: range would beat movement any time, and the way it is now, each range band is more like "pistol fight range" for ~12", "gunfight range" for ~24", "sniping range" for 36", "low-end tank range" for 48", and so on. Basically, the usual gaming table size would be too small to do any real tactics beyond a frantic brawl, as it would invalidate any range-related positioning.
  • 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.
    • This wouldn't make much sense since the Order of the Martyred Heart is the only ones that does that.
    • Regardless of color scheme, the Imperial forces are often affectionately referred to as Catholic Space Nazis.
    • Of course, there is also that moment while painting your unit consisting of beautiful fighting amazon warriors, that you realize they would butcher you for considering them in such a manner.
  • 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 humanity 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.
      • The next level of Fridge Brilliance comes from the notion that the Eldar and Orks are creations of the extinct Old Ones (a species with a penchant for creating and/or meddling with other species). The brilliance emerges when you realise that every confirmed creation of the Old Ones is humanoid, indicating that it's a distinct possibility every humanoid species in 40k has been meddled with in some way by the Old Ones (already hinted at for humanity).
  • 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.
    • Except they can't fly (yes they can, see below). The four castes of the Tau are named for elements, roughly reflecting the nature of the caste in question. The Fire caste are the warriors, the Water caste are the merchants and bureaucrats, the Earth caste are the farmers, factory workers, and laborers. The Air caste are the messengers and crews of the merchant marine that keep the empire together by providing lines of transit and communication between worlds and communities. They're named "Air caste" because they can go anywhere; and the physiological differences they display are caused by living in low- and micro-gravity environments for most of their lives. As to why the Tau species survived on its homeworld, that happened for pretty much the exact same reasons humans survived prehistory: intelligence and learning in an environment where that was the only advantage they had. That and the Imperium didn't wipe them out when they were discovered in .m34 only because a Warp Storm blew up and conveniently shielded that area of the Galaxy for several millennia...think about that coincidence for a minute.
      • Air Caste could totally fly in their pre-history. They had natural webbing under their arms to soar on thermal currents.
    • Whether or not any caste can fly, their real great advantage is their lack of warp presence. It means one of the greatest dangers in all of the universe is lessened, and they can have a relatively normal development as a species (barring things like elder meddling in their genetics).
  • 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.
    • No so different from the Orks and their ability to make things that should not actually work do just that simply because they BELIEVE it will. Assuming of course that wasn't retconned...
      • This similarity is something even Orks themselves can notice. In Soulstorm, if the player is playing as Orks and defeats Sisters of Battle, the narrator mentions how Gorgutz "suspected that they even had their own form of Waaagh!," only to quickly dismiss that idea because "anyone knows you can't have a Waaagh! without proper banners."
  • In some of the fiction, psychic powers and the Warp are associated with cold, with their usage causing a sudden drop in the surrounding temperature and creating a thin layer of frost on or around the user. Now, what's the best way to deal with that sort of phenomena? Burn the Witch!
    • The Warp/Chaos as a force may also be connected to the concept of Entropy - Entropy is believed to lead to the "heat death" of the universe, where the Suns go out and everything runs out of energy and freezes to death.
  • The Skitarii have a Relic called Pater Radium. It is awarded to those who show initiative and win battles through inventive tactics. It's also the heart of a nuclear reactor that kills the holder of radiation within days. How does that make sense? The Mechanicus loathe free thinking and initiative.
    • This point doubles up as Fridge Horror and somewhat one more evidence for Crapsack World, I mean creativity is one of natural traits of humanity.
  • Tzeentch is the God of Change, yet he creates plots that intentionally intersect each other, ruining them and maintaining status quo. This seems paradoxical as status quo is literally the opposite of chance, but then you realize that the mere act of creating a paradox means that Tzeentch actually created a loop that can never be completed (two conditions that can never co-exist together logically), thus ensuring eternal change so long as he maintains status quo.
  • A lot of the Space Marine models come with an arrow on their Pauldrons. This seems like a strange design choice until you remember that many Chaos Space Marines have a Chaos Star motif. The Chaos Star come from The Elric Saga where an arrow pointed every which way was the symbol of Chaos. The books also featured a symbol of Order. A single arrow.
  • The Space Wolves are vicious, savage warriors, but they're also among the nicest and most pro-normal human Chapters out there. How does this make sense? Well, most Chapters recruit neophytes when they're children or just into their teens, whereas the Space Wolves recruit young warriors who fell in battle, meaning their neophytes are older, probably 16-22. This means they had longer and more eventful mortal lives than, say, an Ultramarine- Lukas the Trickster allegedly bedded a dozen women in one night before being recruited. By the time they became Marines they had lived just about long enough to start to understand the human experience: they knew love and hate, suffering and triumph; they are more concerned with average humans because they remember what being normal was like.
  • The three circles/skulls that Nurgle uses as one of its symbols might not make sense until you realize that it's based on the biohazard symbol.
  • After the eldar birthed their chaos god of The Bad Kind of Hedonism, their culture split into the ascetic Craftworld Eldar and the Dark Eldar who remained largely true to their ultra-hedonistic ways. The Craftworlders view the Dark Eldar suspiciously, as they view their ways to be dangerously close to what Slaanesh wants, preferring their Path system by which they control their impulses by dedicating themselves solely to a singular task/sphere of interest until it is mastered before moving on to the next. Then you realise that alongside general debauchery, Slaanesh is also God of Perfection. The Craftworld Eldar are feeding her via their Path system every bit as much as the Dark Eldar.
  • The Salamanders don't claim any successor chapters despite having several heavily implied ones (like the Black Dragons) however the Salamanders place a high value on self-reliance so any successor chapters would have to be able prove themselves without having to be tied down to it's original chapter in the Salamanders eyes.
  • Why don’t the Custodes intervene in civil wars more often? Taking a side would make enemies. Unlike the other members of the Adeptus Terra, they can do their job without stepping on any toes; as long as you stay away from the palace, they’ll leave you alone note . So if they’re powerful, prestigious warriors, why can’t they just crush the opposition and say it’s the Emperor’s will? Their fame and power are exactly the problem. Let’s say that the Custodes took a side during the Beheading.
    • If their side lost, then that means that the Emperor’s bodyguards are not the cream of the crop. Since guarding the Emperor is an important job, they’d be replaced in short order. Or they’d be muzzled and regulated for going against the victors, who obviously had the Emperor’s favor.
    • If their side won, then they proved that they are elite warriors with the Emperor’s favor, but then they just helped destroy a not insignificant branch of the Imperium. And either they leave no survivors and deprive the Imperium of valuable Assassins or Astartes, or they spare them, and the survivors will resent them forever.
    • Now let’s look at how and why they could safely interfere during the Age of Apostasy. First, the Storm of Emperor’s Wrath was a sign that the Emperor had taken Thor’s side, so they couldn’t not aid Thor. Second, they only intervened after Vandire retreated into a compound guarded only by the Brides of the Emperor; even though it was a meatgrinder of a battle, Vandire’s defeat would be inevitable anyways, and the Brides could be safely eliminated because they weren’t an established institution. Third is how they did it: rather than killing anyone themselves, they took Alicia Dominica to the Emperor, who (presumably) told her to kill Vandire. Whether this is true or not, it passes the buck neatly to the Emperor, whom nobody can defy.
  • Much is made of the Blood Axes' supposed inability to understand camouflage, but it turns out their wacky colourful camouflage schemes are often Truth in Television. Camouflage does more than hiding an object; it also serves to make it difficult for the enemy to recognize (a) what that object is, (b) how far away it is, and (c) what it's doing. If an entire Ork army is painted in neon-green and orange camouflage, even though they're highly visible, it's more difficult for their opponents to tell whether they're looking through their gunsights at an artillery piece, or a heavily-armoured battlewagon, or a walker, or (in extreme cases) an ork kommando who has just jumped out from behind a corner within spitting distance. (Or a decoy, for that matter.) See also this article from The Other Wiki on dazzle camouflage.

    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:

  • 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...
    • It spent most of it's development as an Ultramarines codex, only being expanded into a generic Space Marines codex at the last minute. Suddenly the self-aggrandizing dismissal of other factions most codexes have applied to its own contents.
    • Ironically, in the 8th Edition, the Ultramarines themselves are noncompliant, as their Primarch realised how counterproductive strict adherence to the Space Book was. Not only did he make significant changes, it appears his own chapter is now quite eager to think outside the box.
  • 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!
      • Also doubles as Fridge Brilliance.
  • 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.
      • WEEELLLLL...are we forgetting the Black Plague? The constant wars of the middle ages? Perhaps something did happen...they just haven't mentioned it yet.
      • IIRC they formed over a longer period of time and became active after certain events (Khorne when Genghis Khan led his hordes around, Nurgle during the Black Plague killing a good portion of Europe) and the warp was far more stable then. Slaanesh meanwhile was formed over a shorter period of time when the warp was losing the little stability it had left.
    • While Slaanesh had a definitive birth date, once he was formed he always was, and retroactively existed even in times before (and also in other universes apparently). This (along with the older canon stating when the other gods were born being slowly phased out of canon) may mean that whatever birthed the other gods may have not yet happened. This is especially horrifying with Tzeentch, as whatever created him was so powerful and devastating it made him the most powerful of the four gods at his creation, being able to wield the metaphysical manifestation of magic itself.
      • Well, we do know that Warp became corrupted after War in the Heaven between Necrontyr/C'tan and Old Ones/Eldar/Orks/possibly others, and then came Enslavers... The scope and actions there were possibly indeed horrific.
  • 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 stated somewhere Commoragh has the most Eldar-Human hybrids. Do note the only humans there are Dark Eldar slaves.
    • The Eldar call humans Mon'keigh. The Tau call humans Gue'la. Does every OTHER species besides humans, Orks, and Tyranids call humans some version of "monkey" too?
  • 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 Warhammer 40,000 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 Warhammer 40,000?!
    • The Tyranids aren't affected by Chaos. That at least gives us a vague idea. If they are fleeing something, then somehow, some way, it's worse than Chaos.
    • What if whatever it is decided to follow them?
      • I once thought well Leman Russ left the galaxy in order to stop an outside force he had a dream was going to be the greatest threat to all of man, so he left to go fight it before it got to the Imperium. What if the Tyranids are fleeing from the Primarch Leman Russ, the wolf king??
      • So with that theory, Leman Russ may be a savior to mankind, becoming something powerful enough to scare even the Tyranids... or he has turned into something even the Chaos Gods couldn't dream up. That is horror both from the obvious (something so bad it's worse than all the crap we've seen), and especially from the perspective of Space Wolf players (their beloved Primarch is... Emperor knows what).
  • The Imperium's 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 mutation can lead to damnation of Chaos... I'll prefer death to Chaos Gods.
      • Yes, but are they susceptible to damnation because it's an intrinsic property of mutation... or because the Imperium treats them like shit and Chaos is willing to actually accept them?
      • Both, of course. But the cost is too high.
  • 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.
    • Another viable theory: it may also mean that gods are actually Games Workshop and us. WE make, buy, play, read, increasing and continuing horrors of this setting.
  • 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 implied 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.
    • The Horus Heresy novel Master of Mankind explicitly confirms that the Horus Heresy was neither foreseen nor desired by the Emperor. Which may or may not make things better...
  • The ending of Warhammer Fantasy indirectly gives a huge fridge horror to 40k. The Chaos Gods managed to destroy not only the Old World, but also the universe with it with absolutely no consequences. This was previously thought impossible as it was believed the gods need worshippers to become powerful. Turns out they view different universes all at once, and as long as one of them has emotions to support them in any of these universes, they will survive. This means that they can indeed wipe out all life within the Imperium, and suffer no ills from it.
  • It's common knowledge that each of the Primarchs were made using a part of the Emperor's, but what exactly that part is tends to be not outright stated. Some argue Horus was his ambition, which is what led to him being a great Warmaster before the heresy. Sanguinius was his nobility, which is what led to all of the Primarchs being so impressed by him. But what makes this fridge horror is Angron who is not the Emperor's anger like his name would suggest, because he is constantly angry whereas it actually takes quite a bit for the Emperor to be angry in the few scenes we see of him. More like Rogal Dorn in fact, and when he does it often is because of betrayal. But then we see Angron against Gulliman and for the first time we see him utterly wreck a person, his brother primarch, with just words because he is in fact the Emperor's philosophy. He wants to unite people (his gladiator brothers/humanity) but the universe seems to be constantly tearing down his dreams (the Emperor/ the Chaos gods) and when in doubt he seems to default to destroying everything (Rage/Purge the xenos/heretic/mutant/etc.).
    • Do note Angron had the Butcher's Nail in his head thanks to the planet he landed on. For all we know if he didn't have a device that caused him pain all the time outside of battle he might not have been so perpetually angry.
    • And this is the good God.
  • Medieval or Feral worlds. They have only the faintest idea that they're part of the most brutally totalitarian regime in human history. The average inhabitant of, say, Fenris, only knows about alien life through legends of the "sky warriors" living on the Fang. Presumably a more advanced world could be in the same state of total ignorance, if Imperial relations weren't a matter of public knowledge... a planet like modern day Earth, for instance.
  • The simple fact that this troper added an edit (regarding the Sisters of Battle) without even realizing he hadn't actually reached the fridge horror section yet says something about the entire universe.
  • There's this one story in the Chaos Space Marine codex which talks about the Alpha Legion hypono-indoctrinating the natives of a Space Marine recruitment world and then turning the would-be scouts on their brothers when the Alpha Legion attacked their fortress-monastery and ransacked their gene-seed vault. This opens up the really disturbing possibility that a frighteningly significant number of loyalist Astartes are in fact Alpha Legion sleeper operatives just waiting for the right moment to strike.
  • The Tyranids' subconscious buzzing (or psychic presence) is so loud that it drowns out the Warp around their fleets. Warp storms are stated to have gone out because of their presence. Does that mean the Tyranids are the greatest hope for finally destroying chaos?
  • Remember Tuska the Daemon-Killa? The one played for fun? The one who sailed into the Eye of Terror to find daemons to bash and quickly became Khorne's favorite plaything? Think about this. He fought endless waves of daemons, and when he died Khorne revived him and his friends to fight some more. And when Orks fight and kill enemies, they become bigger. So, after a few thousand years in the Eye of Terror, Tuska and his buddies would become the BIGGEST, most ferocious Orks. And since they released spores, they made a constant stream of NEW ORKS who would also become GIANT. Now I wonder if Khorne had any plans for these dudes... perhaps created a giant army of giant Ork size of the Beast or greater with the experience of a Daemonic Prince (and perhaps blessed with a whole lot of power and mutations from the Immaterium), then put them on a space hulk and smashed them on some random planets.... Yeah we are fucked.note 
  • This video on the Tyranids brings up a truly horrifying one. Take a look at this map of the galaxy showing all of the Tyranid incursions, with special attention paid to the directions that they're coming in. With emphasis on the plural. They're attacking the Milky Way from several directions. This raises the implication that they have already conquered many galaxies, and have the Milky Way at least partially surrounded. In other words, all of the Hive Fleets only scratch the surface of the Tyranids' power.
  • Credit to The Age of Dusk for pointing this one out: The four chaos gods each have an Arc Number associated with them. 9 for Tzeentch, 8 for Khorne, 7 for Nurgle and 6 for Slaanesh. Notice how they're in descending order, with Slaanesh, the "youngest" god(dess), having the lowest number? What are they counting down toward?
  • As If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device shows, it would be ridiculously easy for the Adeptus Custodes to have a silent coup (this doesn't happen in TTS, but the Inquisition mistakes the Emperor's new orders as a Custodes conspiracy against the Emperor). Nobody can see the Emperor without their permission, the Emperor can't speak for himself, and the Heralds are already known for conveying his word. All they need to do is block pilgrims from seeing him, claim that their orders come straight from the Emperor, and then the whole Imperium would be dancing on their strings. And if the Emperor managed to contact someone, whose word has greater weight than the Custodians?

    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.
    • Side note: The modern M1 has 600mm VS Armor-Piercing. Given that the Baneblade can deflect Tau Railguns on the hammerhead, which means it has an armor of at least 1200MM effective thickness. Given the armor is at a 70 degree angle plus and its made of a composite Plasteel-Ceramite mixture. And since the Baneblade has 200mm at the front, and 220mm on the turret. This means that thing's armour is insane when angled like that. It can bounce a railgun from The tau. It has to have something around 1kmm effective thickness.
    • 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.
      • Even funnier fact: Farsight Enclaves sourcebook describes Magnum Opus of their greatest commander, Farsight, big book of stratagems. He wrote it after confronting Astartes, and it's very heavily implied it consists mostly of tactics he observed. That's right, greatest Tau treatise on war is a few incomplete and potentially badly implemented (by both sides) fragments from Codex Astartes!
      • Specifically, it was Astartes tactics he observed and how to counter them. This was why the Ultramarines were doing so badly, their standardized tactics were far too predictable.
    • 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.
  • Isn't it strange that the birth of Slaanesh required the combined hedonism of a galactic-wide empire, and yet the other Chaos gods were spawned by events only on this Earth (i.e. Nurgle by the Black Death). You'd think there would need to be similar galactic-wide events for each.
    • It's revealed that their are actually millions of gods out there, just that the Chaos Gods are more powerful. It's possible that the Chaos Gods were originally just small-time spirits of Earth. But as humanity expanded to become a powerful galactic empire, the Chaos gods become the superpowerful beings they are today.
    • The Chaos Gods were retconned into being born during the War in Heaven (as you would expect them to) quite a while ago. The more human-centric origin story is probably a result of the galaxy and its races being much less fleshed out back in the Rogue Trader days.
  • One thing that's always slightly irritated me about the artistic depictions of Space Marines is how sometimes they aren't wearing helmets. Considering all the things that could easily kill them with one slap to the skull, it would seem logical to keep it on. While it would normally be a demonstration of Helmets Are Hardly Heroic, I realized something: It's supposed to be art! The artist removes the Space Marine's helmets for the image so the viewers can tell who's supposed to be the centerpiece Space Marine.
    • There's also the fact that Space Marines are ludicrously tough. One novel had a space marine suffer a shot to the head from a bolter which blew off the left side of his head and kept fighting and only realized it happened when he realized he couldn't see out of his left eye. Combine the fact that they can survive in atmospheres that would kill normal humans quickly, and in some cases (Space Wolves) their helmet's sensors are less effective than the Astartes' natural senses, it's justified. Plus, you know. They can spit a corrosive acid that is blinding.
  • Considering that most of the major factions are somewhere between Type I and Type II on the Kardashev scale (with local variations in cases like the Imperium), you'd think that infantry combat would be largely obsolete in 40K. It's justified for Orks, Daemons, and Tyranids, who are either at low Technology Levels with a few advanced pieces of equipment here and there, use no technology apart from daemonically possessed war machines and the occasional piece of Magitek, or are just a straight-up Horde of Alien Locusts, but surely the other major factions would have switched over to full-blown armour and air-based combat? It's especially strange that the Eldar (who are not only a Dying Race, but also a solid Type II on the Kardashev scale) and Necrons (a race of super-advanced Transhuman Aliens, who were specifically said to have advanced their science as far as possible) still rely on footsoldiers to handle a lot of their combat, when the lore has shown that they clearly have the tech to turn any fight against an enemy infantry force into a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • May be partially justified for Imperial factions though, considering both the Imperium's Schizo Tech situation, and the fact that the Imperial Cult enforces an extreme Martyrdom Culture.
    • The Imperium, at least, usually only sends in the ground forces when they need something defended or captured mostly intact. If they don't then plan A is usually "nuke it from space". In lore at least most battles are in close quarters with lots of cover (much like the average game table), where infantry is much more powerful.
    • No matter how advanced technology and weaponry get, the only way to take and hold ground is to put boots on it (or maybe purely mechanical feet). Even weapons that only destroy organic matter will destroy crops and livestock, which most (not all) factions require. If there's a location that has to be defended, taken mostly intact, or retaken mostly intact, at some point, that job falls to a guy with a gun.
    • This is also a great way to sell miniatures. You wouldn't need nearly as many vehicle models as you need individual units. In the grim future, there is only war... and merch.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: