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Sodomy Hussein
Oct 9, 2005

Everything is subject to the needs of intelligence, for geniuses like me. If we actually solve problems, people won't need me and people like me, and this is a travesty without end. You have to squeeze the poor so they know their place, and you fucking commies forget that.


hard counter posted:

there is definitely some weird mixed messaging where big e whispers the imperial truth into one ear and then all but disowns a primarch for trying to worship him, but then he'll shift around to the other ear and whisper see how godlike i am and intentionally use his powers to manifest halos, miracles, angelic choirs and anything he can think of to impress and create majesty

you could try and argue that big e is showing by example that miracles don't mean godhood, so people shouldn't worship chaos just because they can do miracles too, but in the end you gotta be thinking... yikes

The general story theme of the Emperor now is that he was a terrible ruler, rejected by fully half of his immediate descendants, who all became tragic figures rather than outright villains (that would be left to the "praetor" level chaos space marines). Even for the few that were obvious psychopaths (Perturabo, Angron, Kurze), the Emperor did nothing to help them. Chaos was kept secret so that when the primarchs discovered it they couldn't make it add up with the Imperial Truth.

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MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




I just realized the Metabaron would fit absurdly well in the 40k universe. Not like the whole Metabaron story, but the Metabaron himself.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


40k lore only works when you take none of it fully seriously and treat everyone as some kind of absurd unreliable narrator.

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT PEWDIEPIE

(This red text bought on behalf of the Save Lowtax From Crippling Medical Debt Fund.)



i sort of see the mechanicus as the 40k dwarves. they're an allied empire with all the technology but care more for tradition than innovation, obsessively horde knowledge and artifacts, shun magic, and live on forge worlds

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017
how about we just not have the toilet cthulhu

the whole text-to-speech videos had the right idea in that the Emperor didn't want to be a god but for all intents and purposes wanted to be treated as a god, so he was pretty much setting himself up for failure the moment he wasn't in the room

Also the joke is that the holy books for the Imperium and Chaos were both written by the same guy

Also, the AdMech are more like the Dune inspiration, along with Navigators being straight ripped from that, maybe like the Ixians, who technically break the rules but they're utterly vital so people turn a blind eye

twistedmentat
Nov 21, 2003

What's a war hero got to do to get some lubrication around here?

Dune is one of the biggest influences on 40k
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-uGQifqvgg

I think people outside the UK don't pick up on the 2000Ad stuff, but i'd say both of those are probably the most obvious things 40k is referencing.

Also Event Horizon is 100% the 40k prequel movie.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



I just want my Tau to go back to being woefully out of their depth communist otaku without a sinister secret

Barudak fucked around with this message at 11:31 on May 27, 2020

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

Barudak posted:

I just want my Tau to go back to being woefully out of their depth communist otaku without a sinister secret

It's a terrible change that has made it impossible for me to do anything with the lore other than mock it.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017
how about we just not have the toilet cthulhu

Eh, the whole thing with the Ethereals has been a thing from day one. It's not surprising that the Tau use brainwashing and don't even necessarily see anything wrong with it, because for as long as any of them can remember that's been a staple as to how they operate. Complete with a Tau who does figure out the implications being a separatist who stays far away from any Ethereals.

Brendan Rodgers
Jun 11, 2014






I've never played the tabletop but I got into it through Dawn of War, ending up reading a bunch of the books, most are trash, bland space marine combat that treats it all seriously. There are some really good books that look at the more human element, like the Eisenhorn trilogy which is in early production as a TV show. Really looking forward to that, you see a lot of the incredibly lovely daily life of ordinary citizens, and the appearance of something like a space marine is very rare.

Some of the newer games are advancing the worldbuilding which is cool, set in the 42nd millenium. Mechanicus as another poster mentioned is great, I'd like to add Gladius as another game to check out, it's a 4X which has a lot of the cultural/diplomatic stuff stripped away and replaced with war, and also Battlefleet Gothic 2 where you can essentially "win" the 42nd millenium as various factions in the campaign mode, centered around the final war over Cadia.

Brendan Rodgers fucked around with this message at 19:57 on May 27, 2020

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



Barudak posted:

I just want my Tau to go back to being woefully out of their depth communist otaku without a sinister secret

They'd be completely out of place and the fanbase would rightfully revolt. Everyone is hosed up and any alliances are at best temporary is the only rule the setting has. Aside from that, you can do whatever you want and it works because of the scale and diversity. Noble bright space communists is fine and fun, go wild. The Imperium is still right to be opposed to the xenos empire founded on mind-control, the dozenth such empire they've seen. As long as you're willing to have your army be the bad guys so the other army can be the good guys it's fine.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




The shining bright optimism of the Tau about the encounter the horrors lurking in outer space was an hilarious joke.

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



You can still have that joke while having the Tau not be perfect. It's even more fun when the guy horrified by your atrocities has his own atrocities that he completely fails to acknowledge.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




Relevant Tangent posted:

You can still have that joke while having the Tau not be perfect. It's even more fun when the guy horrified by your atrocities has his own atrocities that he completely fails to acknowledge.

Not really, that's a completely different joke.

hard counter
Jan 2, 2015



MonsieurChoc posted:

The shining bright optimism of the Tau about the encounter the horrors lurking in outer space was an hilarious joke.

the joke's punchline is that, like humans, the tau will go deep into the same hard men, making hard choices in a hard galaxy rabbit hole that turned humanity into such a wretched dystopia

it'd be alright if the tau were just somehow immune to the stupidity of the galaxy and kept making rational, reasonable choices when faced with problems but this is 40k we're talking about, everyone eventually goes full reprobate

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

hard counter posted:

hard men, making hard choices in a hard galaxy

Yeah it's not actually very funny when the set up is the punchline with mechanical regularity. I feel like Bashir when people try to describe Cardassian literature to him.

"Yes, every single suspect is guilty, the mystery is finding out who is exactly guilty of which particular charge."

hard counter
Jan 2, 2015



i think this is ultimately how the satire undermines itself tho, if your need for a good guy to root for causes you to ignore the evil that they fundamentally stand for

in a setting that's so barbaric, it's easy to forget that the tau are ultimately an imperialist/expansionist species at their core that's set themselves out to carve out an empire by subsuming the entities around it, either peacefully through diplomacy or subjugation through force if necessary but it will always take what it wants all the same, and in any other sci fi setting the tau would probably be an antagonist civilization, not unlike the cardassians, who pay lip service to higher ideals in their rhetoric but will stoop to unscrupulous, warmongering methods when it suits their objectives

i suppose the farsight enclaves are an aberration, but in general the tau are definitely still a conquering civilization that shrouds their overt militarism with pleasant sounding euphemisms and much softer, saner methods compared to the savage barbarism of the rest of the galaxy

we can disagree on it, but i think it'd be weird to let the tau purely be good guys without some irony because they're already set themselves on a dark path

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.

You can't have ambiguous morality in a setting with no mysteries, and these 80s/90s tabletop settings hammer any possible mystery out with explicit, canonical detail.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



I find the joke of "there is a species not trapped in the past, who by pure chance was allowed to survive this long, and do not understand anything that is going on but are trying to negotiate a settlement that works for everyone" is very enjoyable. Making them secretly mind controlled and into slavery and whatever loses the joke for me, it makes them interchangeable with all other factions.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


I guess even before the grimdark of the Tau was started to be played up by the fluff, the Tau were still good buddies with the kig-yar Kroot, who need to regularly eat sentient creatures to maintain their intelligence.

The sterilization camps was still a bit much though.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

Barudak posted:

I find the joke of "there is a species not trapped in the past, who by pure chance was allowed to survive this long, and do not understand anything that is going on but are trying to negotiate a settlement that works for everyone" is very enjoyable. Making them secretly mind controlled and into slavery and whatever loses the joke for me, it makes them interchangeable with all other factions.

Yeah, this is the thing, humor requires texture and difference. It's not actually funny if the setup and the punchline are indistinguishable, it's just a flat statement. Even if 40k has satirical origins (e.g. the 2000AD inspirations), it has effectively subverted the satire and just wound up being statement.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Like it would have been super, super easy to keep the Tau "naive" but introduce more texture to them by making them a race made up entirely of increasingly niche splinter groups so all their advantages are getting wasted on what the proper method of redistribution of land from humans who join their collectives is. No no, we-re a post colonial 3rd wave Tau Collective, none of that 2nd wave bullshit here.

Instead you have got another authoritarian government with good PR to their own populace genocides or enslaves the people it views as undesirable.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017
how about we just not have the toilet cthulhu

Again though, they've been an authoritarian government with a strict caste system and heavily implicit mind control from the ruling caste (strongly implied to be engineered by the Eldar) from day one. They're just also relatively sensible, open-minded and look for peaceful solutions when possible compared to the dogmatic and institutionally insane Imperium and other hyper-paranoid/aggressive factions. (We don't see much of the Tau interacting with regular Eldar, though)

The Tau make sense when you realise they're analogous to contemporary modern-day humanity, both in mindset and in tactics. (They make heavy use of mobile warfare, combined arms, and actual communication and tactics, and avoid melee combat at all costs)

hard counter
Jan 2, 2015



the tau's MO from like the moment of introduction was basically yes we tolerate diversity of all kinds... except ultimately you have to be converted to and fully serve the greater good, preferably by negotiation but by conquest if necessary, and if there's still no conversion then it's either outright mind control or the wall for you

on the one hand in some ways they weren't much different from the rest of the setting they seemed to contrast so much with, other than seeming more reasonable, but on the other hand it seems like more than half the fanbase still got it in their heads that the tau were these heroic boy scouts who selflessly do good deeds around the galaxy - it's like how some people never figured out the imperium was bad governance incarnate - but at least farsight figured it out and he's trying to build an enclave dedicated to realizing a true greater good

to me the fact that tau actually pass as good guys is what makes them belong in the setting, satire is essentially an instructive technique meant to highlight something and i'd say people need to learn to recognize villains of all kinds

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.

It probably doesn't help that a significant number of Tau stories present them as good guys who do what is necessary to survive in a hard universe.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


Also as the only xenophillic race, the Tau are pretty much the only straightforward opportunity to hope to see most of the more obscure races in the 40k universe. As opposed to the Imperium getting all embarrassed about their alien gorilla auxiliaries.

I don't know if that could possibly result in one of those races getting pushed up from part of the greater good to a faction in their own right, but it'd be neat.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




I like to iamgine tha Tau as the "I'M A GENIUS!" "OH NO!" meme.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Ive always imagined them as heavily armed ned flanders

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

The problem with going so hard-in on grimdark is that it starts to undermine the satire of the Imperium (whose hardline politics and choices are ultimately self-defeating and the primary reason the Imperium is slowly crumbling). The Tau as naive-but-well-meaning made a good foil to the Imperium by showing that going full-fascist wasn't a good thing, that the Imperium, if they could get away from ten thousand years of cultural momentum, would do far better against its enemies. Grim-darking them up was part of the move towards making the setting less satirical, and more "hard men making hard choices" that fed into the idea among the fanbase that the xenophobia, religious mania, and willingness to throw people's lives away were, in fact, virtues of the Imperium instead of its greatest failings.

The fact that the Tau were doomed because they were woefully unprepared for the horrors of the universe was a different, but still very good joke.

Both of these are much, much funnier than "Hey, it turns out that the people who aren't fascist are even worse monsters than the fascists!"

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017
how about we just not have the toilet cthulhu

Kinda the joke is that in Warhammer 40k the Tau look like the Federation, but if you actually dropped them in Star Trek they'd absolutely be villains. (Probably the closest counterpart is the Dominion, who were originally meant to be the Federation's dark mirror)

Later stuff is sometimes presented as the universe wearing down the Tau's idealism, and some of them at least taking the worst lessons and going down the same dark path that led humanity to where they are now. That and from the Tau's perspective, things like Chaos corruption are even more inexpliable and horrific because they're so resistant themslves- and you can see that leading to the same level of xenophobia the Imperium has.

JackMann posted:

Both of these are much, much funnier than "Hey, it turns out that the people who aren't fascist are even worse monsters than the fascists!"

Though it's also the joke that there's literally nothing the Tau are accused of that the Imperium don't do, and much of that is projection or flat out hypocrisy.

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT PEWDIEPIE

(This red text bought on behalf of the Save Lowtax From Crippling Medical Debt Fund.)



The real joke is that their optimism is the "end of history" optimism of neoliberalism. Of course they're assholes, they are enacting manifest destiny. Their aesthetic is a sleeker, nicer looking war machine that serves exactly the same purpose as all the scary looking ones. The punchline is that you bought into it, that all it took was a nice coat of paint and some diplomatic niceties for you to buy in.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.

Hodgepodge posted:

The real joke is that their optimism is the "end of history" optimism of neoliberalism. Of course they're assholes, they are enacting manifest destiny. Their aesthetic is a sleeker, nicer looking war machine that serves exactly the same purpose as all the scary looking ones. The punchline is that you bought into it, that all it took was a nice coat of paint and some diplomatic niceties for you to buy in.

Which again falls into the neoliberal trap of "the alternative is literally monstrous" because the alternatives are literally monsters. There's no satire; it's just another brand of self-satisfied cynicism.

40K supposed social commentary always ends up at this dead end.

Sodomy Hussein
Oct 9, 2005

Everything is subject to the needs of intelligence, for geniuses like me. If we actually solve problems, people won't need me and people like me, and this is a travesty without end. You have to squeeze the poor so they know their place, and you fucking commies forget that.


Tulip posted:

Yeah, this is the thing, humor requires texture and difference. It's not actually funny if the setup and the punchline are indistinguishable, it's just a flat statement. Even if 40k has satirical origins (e.g. the 2000AD inspirations), it has effectively subverted the satire and just wound up being statement.

Orks and stuff like the The Regimental Standard are what keeps the setting honest with itself.

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006


SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT PEWDIEPIE

(This red text bought on behalf of the Save Lowtax From Crippling Medical Debt Fund.)



Cease to Hope posted:

Which again falls into the neoliberal trap of "the alternative is literally monstrous" because the alternatives are literally monsters. There's no satire; it's just another brand of self-satisfied cynicism.

40K supposed social commentary always ends up at this dead end.

the tagline is literally "in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war."

but what you aren't getting is that the tau are far far worse than poo poo like the dark eldar. the mind control and poo poo is just making it explicit for people too slow to get it: what makes them worse is the delusion that there can be good guys of imperialism. their ignorance of the horrors of the universe is a proxy for the willful ignorance which sustains that illusion.

these are all great themes and probably more relevant as satire at the moment than most factions

in my reading, original 40k leans heavily anarcho-prim, with the exodites as the good guys who followed the old ones into a sustainable techno-eco-tribalism

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

Ghost Leviathan posted:

Again though, they've been an authoritarian government with a strict caste system and heavily implicit mind control from the ruling caste (strongly implied to be engineered by the Eldar) from day one.

Sounds like the setting didn't change for the worse, it was actually just purely bad forever and the good parts were fanon.

Hodgepodge posted:

in my reading, original 40k leans heavily anarcho-prim, with the exodites as the good guys who followed the old ones into a sustainable techno-eco-tribalism

TBH if they made this a prominent part of the fiction i.e. made the exodites an IG-tier faction, then we might have satire.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


The later lore on the Tau is also literally the same as some real-world anti-globalist conspiracy theories, and introduced for about the same reason, through all the supposed satire; to make diplomacy and forging international relationships somehow the moral equivalent of or worse than actual genocidal nationalist campaigns. So basically I'm used to entirely dismissing the concepts involved just on reflex.

Although really since their whole bit was not having been around for long time and still changing and making progress quickly, it would've made a lot of sense to have them radically change when the lore hit the 42nd millennium, since they're not locked into the same stagnancy as humanity or the Eldar.

Lovely Joe Stalin
Jun 12, 2007
GW BRAINWORMS CREW OFFICIAL HYPE MAN

College Slice

I've never understood how someone could look at a race motivated by Manifest Destiny and say "yeah, those were good guys before they got the mind control stuff stuff added."

hard counter
Jan 2, 2015



i think it speaks volumes that this thread went from debating whether the dystopia of the imperium was all that clear anymore, that maybe all the original irony was lost and that humans had become these flawed heroic protagonists, to realizing if we can see that the tau have their own reprehensible tendencies that make them villains in their own right, then there is literally no case whatsoever for a good guy imperium - that's contrast in action

you can have some additional texture sure, the nice guy imperialism of the tau still serves as a fine contrast to the barbaric imperialism of mankind - if you had to choose your brand of imperialism why not a more humane version of it over an obviously insane one, humanity must truly be far gone to not at least be reasonable anymore - but i think it's important to see the inherent mistake of still being imperialist in the first place

you can't hide behind the decency of diplomacy if you're just using it to expand your empire, put yourself first and privilege your ideology over all others - you're just a 1800s america claiming it loves diversity but still leverages treaties that rope natives into assimilation under your rule, especially when if negotiation doesn't work you'll war all the same

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Internet Kraken
Apr 24, 2010

slightly amused


Distinct lack of 40k art in this thread

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