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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Default The Arms Race that is Killing 40k

I don't know if I am alone, but the fighting in 40k, and the Heresy novels, is turning into an episode of DBZ

The significant beings in 40k are seemingly invincible and to make the story interesting we need other beings seemingly invincible to kill them, and to do this they now have abilities that are starting to be borderline Goku levels.

Not even the battles are starting to make sense. To defeat the enemy army, you have to have the best soldiers with the best strategist all wielding the best equipment. If you know anything about military, sometimes a victory can be just as simple as having the right unit at the right time who exploited a situation the best.

I like to reference LotR because of how subtle seems to be just as epic. Look at the most treacherous foe, the Witch King. An undead man who rode on the back of a snake bird thing. He didn't shoot fireballs from his ass, his fell beast didn't have laser beams erupting from a unicorn horn. If he had these things, you would need a being who is somehow resistant to laser beams and fireballs or able to dodge them, or you can be cheesy and say LUCKILY the hero got by the lasers and fireballs.

Instead all it takes is someone with a bit of fire (or a woman) and you can kill/drive them away. It doesn't seem stupid, you don't need the best of the best to do it, it is simple and yet at the same time it is still a daunting task to the reader. You have to have some balls to go up against an undead man on a giant lizard bird, yet technically with a sharp pointy stick it can be done.

That is what I think 40k is getting away from. No more can a simple soldier with the determination and the right tools defeat a treacherous foe. We will never see a lone space marine armed with a holy sword fight off a greater daemon. He would have to be blessed by the emperor himself, wearing terminator armor and at the moment of the battle be gifted with extra pixy dust, and then he can defeat him.

What do you all think? Am I wrong in thinking this?

Last edited by CJay; 10-29-13 at 06:26 AM.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 06:37 AM
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Not at all, I think you're right.

It also seems to be very inconsistent. Fall of Damnos for example, Sicarius is able to withstand the deathly grip of a friggin c'tan shard, yet he gets bested in a duel with a simple necron lord...


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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CJay View Post
That is what I think 40k is getting away from. No more can a simple soldier with the determination and the right tools defeat a treacherous foe. We will never see a lone space marine armed with a holy sword fight off a greater daemon. He would have to be blessed by the emperor himself, wearing terminator armor and at the moment of the battle be gifted with extra pixy dust, and then he can defeat him.
One runs the risk of stretching the willing suspension of disbelief otherwise.

My counterargument is that 40k has seldom, if ever, been about the "little man", as it were. Certainly there is much individual bravery to be found from ordinary men and women, but in the grand galactic scheme of things, no ordinary individual in 40k has ever had strength or influence enough to change his fate - usually death in some form or another - or otherwise shape events in the galaxy, or even his own sector. That's why so much attention is paid to "extraordinary" individuals - Space Marines, Inquisitors, high-ranking and inveterate officers, etc. - since they have been gifted with enormous strength and influence enough to shape events and lives around them.

At first glance, the focus on such powerful and nigh-invincible individuals runs counter to the theme of the lack of importance of the individual, but it's also important to remember that most of these individuals were chosen, rather than chose, to possess such strength and influence. Space Marine Chapters choose their initiates and aspirants from children found to be especially adept in combat, and Inquisitors choose acolytes according to whatever need they have at the time, and choose Interrogators and their successors from among their most skilled and trusted acolytes. None of them got an option to say "no", or at least to say "no" and remain alive. It is ironic that, despite possessing such magnificent influence, such powerful individuals were never masters of their fate to begin with.

Taking the focus off of "ordinary" men and women and instead choosing to focus on these super-powerful individuals actually reinforces two key themes commonplace in 40k: the insignificance of the individual and individual choice in comparison to the survival of the group as a whole and the powerlessness of all men and women to control their own fates. It's this deterministic and nihilistic philosophy that guides much of 40k lore.

Hopefully I wasn't too off the mark there.

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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 08:14 AM
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I hate the rules arms race, its possibly pushed me out of competive play, not sure yet, and ruins any games against someone who wants to win
I faced a deamon list the other day, his flying horned disk things had a 2+ rerollable invun save, and could vector strike entire units of of the board!
That wasn't even fun, I just sat back the whole game, wasting time trying to shoot these things else I'll look like a dick conceding, which I wanted to do, cos I was wasting my time and it was kind of depressing. Here I think they have this as gw thinks 'well greyknights will rape this, it's fine!' but they forget about every other army who can't even fight it
The riptide was the same, tau have crisis suits, their fine, they don't need to be able to kill entire squads in one turn
Flyers are just stupid, when in tournaments people's armies are basically those, espeacially he'll drakes, you've fucked something gw
The wraith knight, eldar had the wraith lord, which did the things job just fine, but NO, they have to have an even bigger thing which can kill even more stuff
And centurions, we need to kill this thing somehow, and nobody else can, so we'll have this one squad rape anything and everything so it's all cool(it's not!)
And they got the storm raven, they had the storm talon and those dumb new tanks with the unmissable missile or the air rapling guns, AND the storm raven! They had plenty of stuff in the air department then but no, they had to steal the blood angels toy didn't they?!?!
Is thier anything else ive missed? I wish they could just balance armies, not have the newest army being able to win with both hands tied behind his back, then have the next on be able to beat that, it's just not cool gw !

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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 10:23 AM
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@kiro the avenger! it's the old same story. I feel bad that now it seems this trend is passing down to black library aswell. I've come to accept that any army has to be "shinier" the the last but regarding fluff novels...what the heck!
I guess its easier to write about a goku style fight than a "machiavelli" style battle of intelligence.
We should also consider the sheer amount of pages black library churns out! They need cash flow. this means lots of stuff, on a regular basis. A good plot is not going to happen once in a month. maybe once in a year. So the writers are obviously lacking good ways to keep our interest on. A good fight is the best investment. (but it stinks if EVERYBODY is goku)

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by kiro the avenger! View Post
I hate the rules arms race, its possibly pushed me out of competive play, not sure yet, and ruins any games against someone who wants to win
I faced a deamon list the other day, his flying horned disk things had a 2+ rerollable invun save, and could vector strike entire units of of the board!
That wasn't even fun, I just sat back the whole game, wasting time trying to shoot these things else I'll look like a dick conceding, which I wanted to do, cos I was wasting my time and it was kind of depressing. Here I think they have this as gw thinks 'well greyknights will rape this, it's fine!' but they forget about every other army who can't even fight it
The riptide was the same, tau have crisis suits, their fine, they don't need to be able to kill entire squads in one turn
Flyers are just stupid, when in tournaments people's armies are basically those, espeacially he'll drakes, you've fucked something gw
The wraith knight, eldar had the wraith lord, which did the things job just fine, but NO, they have to have an even bigger thing which can kill even more stuff
And centurions, we need to kill this thing somehow, and nobody else can, so we'll have this one squad rape anything and everything so it's all cool(it's not!)
And they got the storm raven, they had the storm talon and those dumb new tanks with the unmissable missile or the air rapling guns, AND the storm raven! They had plenty of stuff in the air department then but no, they had to steal the blood angels toy didn't they?!?!
Is thier anything else ive missed? I wish they could just balance armies, not have the newest army being able to win with both hands tied behind his back, then have the next on be able to beat that, it's just not cool gw !
Kiro I think this thread was aimed mostly at the fluff as opposed to tabletop :-P

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by CJay View Post
I don't know if I am alone, but the fighting in 40k, and the Heresy novels, is turning into an episode of DBZ

The significant beings in 40k are seemingly invincible and to make the story interesting we need other beings seemingly invincible to kill them, and to do this they now have abilities that are starting to be borderline Goku levels.

Not even the battles are starting to make sense. To defeat the enemy army, you have to have the best soldiers with the best strategist all wielding the best equipment. If you know anything about military, sometimes a victory can be just as simple as having the right unit at the right time who exploited a situation the best.

I like to reference LotR because of how subtle seems to be just as epic. Look at the most treacherous foe, the Witch King. An undead man who rode on the back of a snake bird thing. He didn't shoot fireballs from his ass, his fell beast didn't have laser beams erupting from a unicorn horn. If he had these things, you would need a being who is somehow resistant to laser beams and fireballs or able to dodge them, or you can be cheesy and say LUCKILY the hero got by the lasers and fireballs.

Instead all it takes is someone with a bit of fire (or a woman) and you can kill/drive them away. It doesn't seem stupid, you don't need the best of the best to do it, it is simple and yet at the same time it is still a daunting task to the reader. You have to have some balls to go up against an undead man on a giant lizard bird, yet technically with a sharp pointy stick it can be done.

That is what I think 40k is getting away from. No more can a simple soldier with the determination and the right tools defeat a treacherous foe. We will never see a lone space marine armed with a holy sword fight off a greater daemon. He would have to be blessed by the emperor himself, wearing terminator armor and at the moment of the battle be gifted with extra pixy dust, and then he can defeat him.

What do you all think? Am I wrong in thinking this?
A dynamic I've appreciated in the Inquisitor novels is the focus on the personal experience, with a small team working with a leader who may have a lot of power backing them up, or not. I do think there are still plenty of epic fights with individual characters defeating the odds, but then the opponent has his 50,000,000 buddies behind him. After that, the heroic deed becomes fodder for the meatgrinder.

As a LOTR fan, I will say there was only one person who could stand up to the Witch King of Angmar, and everyone else who tried, died. This includes the 40K version of Chapter Masters, Chief Librarians, and entire Astares squads. The defining moment of the Witch King's death is a Silent Sister, so to speak, stood over her fallen Chapter Master and defied the odds... I do think it was a cheap shot in that she was the ONLY one ever destined to defeat him and was in the family of a king, yadda, yadda. I certinaly think that Tolkien was focused too much on destiny and if you were in the great unwashed then you were no more than cannon fodder.

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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 03:55 PM
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I know this is fluff orientated but I thought I would make that point, then got carried away I guess
But yeah, 40K defiantly not the single soldiers game, it's about titanic armies fighting on some backwater world somewhere just for the point it makes...
And on huge duals from masters of war, as that chapter master fights the bloodthirster solo as his brothers fights the hordes all around.

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-29-13, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Not at all, I think you're right.

It also seems to be very inconsistent. Fall of Damnos for example, Sicarius is able to withstand the deathly grip of a friggin c'tan shard, yet he gets bested in a duel with a simple necron lord...
I wouldn't call a chaos lord simple, they have at least the clone war cartoon strength of grievous.

Things can get lucky.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-30-13, 12:39 AM
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No more can a simple soldier with the determination and the right tools defeat a treacherous foe.
Ciaphus Cain, anyone?
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