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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-14-12, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Default Gnosis: Fine tuning the Fluff

So, here is the original concept:


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Humble Beginnings…

In the twenty-second millennium of mankind’s dominance of the galaxy, a group of humans on a dying world set out to construct a vessel the likes of which had not been attempted before. A completely self-sustaining vessel capable of supporting a crew numbering in the hundreds of thousands became the legacy for which this collective of humans put forth all their energies to create. Two hundred years after the commencement of this overwhelming undertaking, the vessel hummed to life and departed the Milky Way galaxy for the void beyond carrying the last descendants of the dying world with it.

During the long journey through the vast darkness between the myriad galaxies, the ship was bombarded by exotic radiations that had never been planned for in the ship’s design. The resultant mutations began to hyper-accelerate the evolution of those living aboard it. In a span of only five generations, the beings that had once been called human were little more than orbs of coherent thought, freed of mortal flesh and brittle bones. After their transcendence, it was decided in the first great consensus that they should adopt a more fitting name than that of their ancestors. They began to call themselves the Gnosis, and in doing so adopted an identity separate from their predecessors.

The blessing of unending life, as it was first considered to be, had come with a price. Though they would never age nor fade away into the dark void of death, they were also cut off from their world. Unable to touch or manipulate the world around them, for nearly a thousand years the Gnosis wallowed in despair. It wasn’t until one of their numbers gathered its resolve and tested a theory it had regarding its ability to interact with the long inert machines that had once aided the forbearers in their daily lives.

The experiment proved to be a success, the moment that thought merged with machine and exerted the will to move, the body glowed with new life and new purpose. Machines became an extension of what they had become, vessels that would allow the beings of thought to exist within the world they had left behind. These proxies, as time wore on, became much more elaborate. From the humble framework of utilitarian limbs and bulbous bodies grew elegant figures of metal. The more elaborate the design became, the better the machines seemed to function under their will.

As beings of thought, the pursuit of knowledge and understanding became just as much an obsession as survival had been to their ancestors. The Gnosis collectively poured through the STC archives that had been the framework of their predecessor’s society. Once they had come to understand all that the STC could teach them, the Gnosis started expanding on the knowledge. Inspiration gave way to innovation on a scale not seen in the galaxy their ancestors had left behind. Conventions of thought and the flow of ideas became commonplace, almost integral to their way of life.

Sometime in the 39th Millennium, a consensus was reached among the Gnosis that a return to their place of origins might yield far greater answers than the inky void between galactic bodies. Though the ship hadn’t made any appreciable progress toward reaching any other galaxy, the Milky Way was still a great distance behind them. Despite advances in their propulsion technology, it still took them until the beginning of the 41st Millennium to arrive at the edge of galactic space.

Arrival…

41MXXX; the year the ship returned to the Milky Way galaxy. After spending 18,000+ years in the void, the colossal space vessel enters the boundaries of habitable space. Upon gaining their bearings, through ancient star charts and logical galactic drift progression mathematics, the Gnosis find the planetary system their ancestors once called home and plot a course that takes them back to their place of origination. What awaits them is something they had not accounted for.

In the intervening 18 millennia, life had reclaimed their world, returning it to the lush and verdant jewel it had been before their colony’s demise. They even found humans had returned to the world, living under the stars that their ancestors had once gazed upon in ages long ago. This discovery was bitter sweet, as another race seemed to contest the claims of the human colonists who had settled upon the world.

Conflicts marred the otherwise pristine surface of their former home, scarring it even when viewed from above. The Gnosis gathered and conferred with one another over what could be done. War was something they had only read about, they had no reason to practice it. Even in their most heated of debates, a consensus could always be reached among them. To resort to such violence was at first abhorrent and alien to them.

The inevitable agreement reached was that proxies would need to be used to investigate the conflict personally. They would need to garner a better understanding of the events unfolding on their ancient home prior to being able to reach some agreement on how to act. Seven proxy units were activated and outfitted with weaponry, a concession to those Gnosis who had contested the civility of those who they might encounter. Once outfitted, the proxy vanguard departed in one of the ancient landing craft that had seen no use since the vessel’s initial launching.

Planet Fall…
When the landing craft touched down upon the soil, each of the seven felt a wave of familiarity was over them. Despite never having even known the world on which they now stood, the sensation of being home energized them. The Gnosis were not greeted by either of the two factions; the landing had gone unnoticed thanks to their technological superiority.

The seven discussed which faction they ought to approach first, and it was agreed upon that the children of humanity would be the first to be contacted. The seven set out on foot toward the nearest population center where they hoped to find the answers they sought. The arrival of the seven Gnosis generated a great deal of initial panic among the residents. Most of them were refugees from other cities around the planet that had already fallen to the alien invaders.

The leader of the Gnosis group finally found someone willing to talk, though conversations at first were difficult. The humans spoke a language similar to their own native one, but it seemed far simpler than they were used to. Once they got the basics down, however, the Gnosis discovered that the colony was being invaded by a race known as the Eldar, who claimed the world was their own. When the Gnosis asked if the Eldar could be reasoned with, the xenophobic bend that tainted the perceptions of aliens in the human mind became apparent. The colonists explained in great detail the atrocities levied upon them by the invaders, the horrors they had endured simply because they had found a world that had been suitable for life. The colonists had, at the time, been ignorant of the planet’s past and had not found any relics left behind by the ancestors of the Gnosis.

The information the group gathered pointed toward the invaders being a threat to their homecoming. This unsettling information drove the seven to agree that they could not stand by and watch as their ancestors’ kin were wiped off the face of their home world. The seven vowed to the residents of the city that they would protect them and drive the Eldar from the world. To make good on their promise, only one Gnosis returned to their ship while the other six stayed behind to bolster the defenses of the city.

The weaponry the colonists employed for their defense was, in the minds of the Gnosis, archaic at best. Thought they were intimately familiar with the STC template of the Lasgun and other similar arms, the lack of tangible improvements to the design in 18,000 years seemed almost unthinkable. The six set about upgrading the weapons as best they could, most of the improvements they made would only last them a few short days before the devices burnt out. It was hoped by both the Gnosis and the colonists that any attack launched against them would come long after reinforcements could return to them. Such was not the case…

First Conflict…

The unfortunate reality for the city was that the Eldar were already moving to destroy the city that the Gnosis had discovered. They had been only mere miles away by the time the lone emissary had departed for their ship. Before the sun set on the horizon, the Eldar had begun their siege of the city. Far outclassed by the Eldar warriors, most of the front line defenders of the city were cut down. Even with the improvements made to their weaponry, lack of training and experience proved to be fatal. Those that could not fight began to lament their fate, and even the ones who were able to take up arms began to lose their resolve to do so.

The six Gnosis reached a consensus that their kindred would not survive without their intervention. Their own inexperience aside, the proxy bodies they commanded were more than an equal match for even the most seasoned of Eldar warrior. The machines moved with blinding speed, driven by the thoughts of the Gnosis. The weapons they had affixed to their proxies laid waste to scores of attackers with little effort. Even the support tanks brought to bear could not weather the punishment levied out by the Gnosis.

Eldar air power, however, ensured that the Eldar could still take ground away from the defenders. The Gnosis had no real defense against the might of the skimmers and assault craft, even though they moved at the speed of thought itself; the fact that they could not predict when an aerial strike might occur rendered them fairly ineffective.

As the night gave way to the dawn, though the city had yet to fall, most of the population had converged in bunkers at the center of the city, most of them lamenting their fate and begging for the aid of their God-Emperor. The Gnosis had no concept of who that might be, and though they inquired, the ones who would speak to them on the subject seemed to curse the name and the Imperium he’d created for abandoning them in their time of need. One member of the makeshift militia joked that he’d rather follow the strangers that had come to their aid unbidden rather than continue to pay homage to an empire that cared nothing for their lives. Such commentary stuck in the thoughts of the Gnosis, though they said nothing on the subject initially.

The Revelation…

The Gnosis had fought with the humans, shared their knowledge of weaponry with their kin, but they had divulged little in the way of information regarding themselves. Having professed that their ancestors had once ruled the planet as a colony of Earth, the majority of people assumed they were simply humans inside suits, despite them being very different from anything they’d ever seen. None suspected that they were something altogether different even when the Gnosis began to aid them directly in combat.

In the final push of the Eldar, the Gnosis and a small group of militiamen stood defiantly against the attackers. The two groups exchanged heavy fire and lost scores to the fighting. The Gnosis, for all their battle prowess and technological superiority, were only a half a dozen strong and even their proxies had a limit. One of them took a D-Cannon blast dead center on the body, rendering the body instantly inert. The human defenders left alive after the onslaught looked on despondently as one of their allies lay in shambles against the ground.

Seconds drifted by silently, the humans gripped with shock and the Eldar forces smug in their supposed victory over the machines that had given them so much trouble. It was in that short lull that the Gnosis inhabiting the remains of the proxy left its shell and emerged before both sides in its natural form. The swirling orb of blue-white light shimmered and coalesced before the eyes of all who gazed upon it. The brilliance of the Gnosis captivated everyone, invader and defender alike. Many of the militiamen fell to their knees and began spouting prayers and paying homage to the Gnosis as it floated above the shattered frame that had once been its proxy.

The glowing orb approached one of the Eldar and bluntly asked him why their kind waged war against the kin of their ancestors. The Eldar stammered a response, explaining that his own ancestors had reclaimed the dead world several millennia ago, that they were simply taking back what they felt was rightfully theirs. The Gnosis began to explain the history of the world they had claimed was the Eldar’s, explained in great detail the human civilization that had fallen as the world died around them. It recounted the journey that had been undertaken by the predecessors, their transcendence, and their return to a home being torn apart by war.

The Eldar were at a loss for what to say, they had known nothing of the world before the reclamation, had seen no evidence of a human civilization, and had simply presumed that it was theirs by right. The Gnosis considered the subject for a moment and asked the Eldar if they would consider a consensus. Skeptical at first, the Eldar leader pressed the Gnosis for more information. It even went so far as to call it an ‘Archon’, which suited the Gnosis just fine. It cared nothing for what the alien wished to call it, merely that it was now willing to hear reason and consensus.

The Gnosis asked the Eldar if they would be willing to share the world with them, to cease their assault on their ancestor’s kin, and live on the planet together. The idea of co-existence was as alien to the Eldar as it was to the humans, and at first the Eldar meant to turn the Archon down. They had no reason to stop their advance. The humans were out manned, the Gnosis only had five of their machines left, and their victory seemed to be a foregone conclusion…

Compulsory Consensus…

Just as the Eldar leader was about to turn the Gnosis down, the sky darkened as if day had become night. Both sides looked toward the heavens and found themselves looking at the underbelly of a massive craft that dwarfed anything they’d ever seen. The monumental construct hung in the sky menacingly; angry glows could be seen dotting the entire surface of the thing. Both sides were suddenly convinced that doom had descended upon them.

The Gnosis free of its proxy explained that the ship above them was theirs, that it had come to rescue them from the Eldar should it come to that. It explained that a consensus had been reached that if the Eldar did not accept their offer, they would suffer the same fate as the humans they had already killed in their misguided invasion. Many of the Eldar gathered were already crying out for their lives, begging their leader not to sacrifice them in the name of a fool’s errand. Others berated their fellows for being so easily swayed by balls of light and some fancy floating metal.

In the end, the leader of the Eldar invasion force could not surrender to the Archon. He did, however, ask that they take those who wished to defect away, and they would take their chances in the battle to come. The Gnosis agreed to the terms, allowing those Eldar who wished to side with the consensus to enter the bunker and the safety of their protection. The rest of the Eldar were allowed to leave the city and prepare themselves for the impending battle.

True to their word, the Gnosis waited and watched the Eldar depart and regroup before launching their retaliatory strike. With the full might of their technology, the Gnosis obliterated the remaining Eldar troops. The final conflict lasted a mere hour, and the Gnosis finally returned home…

A New Order

The remaining human colonists and the Eldar who had surrendered willingly found themselves under the rule of the Gnosis. The Eldar convention for calling them Archons stuck in the minds of the humans as well, and became the local name for the liberators/merciful conquerors. The Archons quickly established themselves as mentors to the two races, enforcing the peace the two former enemies had been pressed into. It was no easy transition for either race; old grudges did not fade quickly in the minds of anyone involved. It was through the unending patience and guidance of the Archons that the two finally, after nearly a year of work, managed to finally become one people.

The Archons passed along knowledge never before witnessed in the galaxy; knowledge of science and technology, of philosophy and thought far different and far more progressive than any the humans or Eldar had ever been exposed to. The children of the colonists latched on to the concepts far more rapidly than their parents, many of them coming to view the Archons much the same way their parents had viewed the God-Emperor, with reverence and awe. The Gnosis, for their part, did nothing to dissuade such a method of thinking. The consensus had been that if their ancestor’s kin took inspiration from such things and used it to progress beyond the stagnation of mistrust and hatred for the unknown, all the better.

The combined efforts of humans and Eldar, in only two decades time, had yielded a massive transformation. Cities sprawled out over the surface, their design like nothing that had been seen since the Dark Age of Technology. The toil of the original colonists who had taken up the cause that the Gnosis had laid out before them had seen fruition on a scale that had swayed even the most stubborn on both sides. Peace on the surface was not a compulsory thing any longer; it was a fact of life that everyone enjoyed.

Now, with due respect to jonileth, the concept is solid but there are several points where the fluff needs further consideration.

Some points to consider:

Are the Gnosis really as benevolent as they appear?

Are the Gnosis really human in their origins?

Is their influence truly a boon to those under them?

Are they powerful enough to really represent Hope?


I will allow the heretics to throw forth their own ideas, and we will see what we can come up with.


Nonsense is our Salvation

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-14-12, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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Reserved for revised fluff.

Beginning of WIP, more to come.



Nonsense is our Salvation


Last edited by Serpion5; 07-29-12 at 10:49 AM.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-15-12, 12:29 AM
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Default -Forced- Consensus

My two cents on the topic at hand.

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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Are the Gnosis really as benevolent as they appear?
I say no. Certainly we can do whatever we want with this project, but the idea of real "good guys" in the 40K universe doesn't sit well with me. Like the Tau, I think the Gnosis should have a darker side, perhaps stressing the "forced" half of "forced consensus." Maybe they really have created a Utopian world, but maybe that's only because anyone who didn't go along with the plan is dead.

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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Are the Gnosis really human in their origins?
This, I think, can go either way. The current idea for their origin is pretty cool, and if it got through basically unchanged I'd be pretty pleased. There are definitely other possibilities worth exploring, though.

For one, the idea of the Gnosis as machine spirits as brought forward and expanded my Pandora and I here:

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Originally Posted by Pandora View Post
This may hurt the faction I truly want, but it's losing anyway.

For the Gnosis, I had a thought. Perhaps they could be a non-human entity that still works well with humans. Has anybody considered they could be the Machine Spirits? It's something that already exists in the fluff but because the war is growing so severe they have revealed themselves for what they really are to better aid the Imperium and fight better. They could even be the driving force behind an alliance as Machine Spirits are respected by most of the Imperium and worshiped by the Mechanicum.
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Originally Posted by Col. Schafer View Post
I'd like to see this idea in action. The general impression I got about machine spirits was that they were just AI/Autopilots that the Mechanicum mistook for sentience. I think it would be HILARIOUS and incredibly epic for the most incompetent mechanics of all time to be proven right.

It could even be said that other factions technology housed similar spirits, and the driving force for an alliance between different factions could be the spirits relating to each-other and wanting to work together, and encouraging the most tech-involved branch of their faction (eg, the AdMech) to push for the alliance. If we ever did later "editions" of our codex, we could even add the kinds of bodies machine spirits from other factions would build for themselves. (Eldar, Orks... now I'm imagining an Ork machine spirit and I want this to happen even more)

If we went down this rout, it could be said the Machine spirits have no form at all, rather than being balls of light, and simply exist inside of machines. They could inhabit a variety, and move from machine to machine as long as they were connected somehow, wither by Vox or some other means. This would mean that while they retained their ethereal and difficult to ultimately kill nature, it would be more reasonable in the Grimdark that they could be wiped out.

We could also draw a distinction between these machine spirits and the vast majority. Only a small number have gained sentience, and the rest really are just AI and Autopilots the AdMech worship because they're silly. This would help to explain why they aren't already a huge faction; there are only a few, and they gained sentience recently.

If this were on the board as a separate option from the Gnosis, I would vote for it. As it is, I quite want to see the Gnosis implemented as this.
And rebutted here by jonileth:

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Originally Posted by jonileth View Post
The issue I have with the Gnosis as a machine spirit is the stigma attached to sentient machines. If one were to look at the already existing model of the Iron Men spoken of in 40K fluff already, sentient machines are apparently extremely susceptible to the taint of Chaos. This brings up the issue of their ability to resist said taint and exist outside of the influence of the Ruinous powers as well as other corrupting influences.

Also, looking at the Imperium, the idea that their machines have been sentient the entire time would likely drive them further into the technological dark ages. Superstition and fear are powerful things, and being that the Imperial Cult and the Cult of the Machine are already at odds with one another ideologically, this concept would only serve to further expand the rift between those that venerate the God-Emperor and those that serve the Omnissiah.

Other cultures, such as the Eldar and Orks, are no less suspicious of things they don't readily accept as fact already. I doubt seriously that the Eldar would accept that machines other than those empowered by their fallen warriors. The Orks, as well, don't tend to put much stock or faith in machines in anything beyond the most utilitarian applications. The addition of a sentience an Ork can't readily dominate and use as a tool for killing is probably not going to be met with anything but hatred and violence.

I created the Gnosis as a formerly biological race to give them the ability to empathize with the races they interact with. A sentient machine doesn't have empathy. Empathy is an emotion, something that only living things know anything about. A machine cares nothing of pain, has no frame of reference when it comes to suffering, and really has no ability to rally and motivate people.

While I'm sure the base concept of the Gnosis can be refined, I'm not sure stripping them of their humanity is the best route to go.
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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Is their influence truly a boon to those under them?
Going back to the first question, I think this needs to lean towards no. I definitely think it can be grey, rather than black, though.

Certainly their tech and knowledge makes living underneath them beneficial, but I don't think the Gnosis should be the kind to ask if you want to live under them or not. I think this is another angle of "forced consensus" we should explore.

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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Are they powerful enough to really represent Hope?
I think yes. I think they really do intend to build a Utopian society, and if everyone goes along with it, I think it might actually be Utopian. I envision the Gnosis as Well-Intentioned Extremists that think they know better than everyone else, and judging by the state of the 41st millennium, they probably do. If they have to subjugate some masses, they are ok with that, as long as everyone settles down and shares their consensus in the end.

"A true king is never alone, his will is equal to the will of all of his followers."
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-15-12, 03:08 AM
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Given that the Gnosis is something that I created, I figured I should weigh in on this with my feelings and thoughts. Hope you don't mind.

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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Are the Gnosis really as benevolent as they appear?
I'm not entirely sure I ever wanted the Gnosis to seem entirely benevolent in the first place. The concept of forced consensus was one of those items that came to me when I was considering the dynamic a being with their level of technological and philosophical sophistication would have with the rest of the galaxy they were getting involved in. On the surface, I will grant that they appear to be rather 'good' in the sense that they came charging in on their high horse and started trying to make the galaxy a better place. It's an ideal, but that's all it is when you boil it down to the bare bones.

Like any ideal, there are a million different ways in which one could interpret the exact same ideal. The ideal the Gnosis believe in is one of uniting people and encouraging growth of the myriad trillions in the galaxy along the same lines as their own evolution. But this doesn't mean they're always going to do it with kid gloves. Not every choice and every path the Gnosis decide to embark upon will be greeted with fanfare and adoration.

I suppose what it amounts to is, I intended them to outwardly look like benevolent creatures, but deep down their detachment to concepts like separation of races through hatred, bigotry, and other like things make them rather callous when faced with those who refuse to embrace their consensus on this basis. Destroying whole planets who won't submit is no less out of the question for the Gnosis as it would be for any other faction in 40K, they just try to paint a happier picture about it.

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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Are the Gnosis really human in their origins?
Their origins as humans would, I believe, better serve them than the idea of them being machine spirits made manifest. I say this for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gives them the ability to understand some of the concepts that organic beings take for granted, like love and compassion and such. Cold, calculating logic can be, at times, tempered with empathy and the like if they were to have their roots in a living thing. If we take away that origin, that drive to return 'home', then there's really no point in the Gnosis returning to the galaxy from the great beyond.

I would also argue that a human origin from the era of the Dark Age of Technology would grant them the kind of technological edge required for them to make that journey and give them the drive to improve upon their technology and expand upon their philosophical ideals long after their bodies had become nothing but energy.

I will grant that the timeline I first suggested seems a tad on the fanciful side looking back on it, but that is one of many little details that can be sorted out, given that we'd have some twenty thousand odd years to play with, or some two hundred generations or more that we could manipulate.

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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Is their influence truly a boon to those under them?
Maybe on the surface it is. Access to advanced weaponry, the ability to actually manufacture, maintain, and deploy such technology without the constraints of the machine cult's lack of actual understanding and ritualistic and militaristic attitudes toward technology. That would indeed be a huge boon if looked at from the vantage point of face value. But I suppose the sacrifice of one's former ideals, cultural identity, and even a bit of individuality in a way would be fairly high prices to pay for a sort of Utopian society the Gnosis strive for.

In a way, the Gnosis are trading one form of totalitarian rule for another. Consensus by choice, force, or death is no less a sort of mandatory submission as dictatorship might be. The only difference is it gives people the illusion that their voice matters, even if it doesn't. I suppose that's what would be the most appealing for a lot of people, the thought that they have a part in the Great Consensus. That their voice will be heard, their thoughts considered, even their prayers answered. Even if it is only partially true, occasionally considered, or indirectly achieved, it is still far more than many in the current setting have ever gotten, and many would give up a great deal to have that 'peace of mind', even if it's all smoke and mirrors.

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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Are they powerful enough to really represent Hope?
I think they are powerful enough to represent a kind of hope. The hope for a brighter future without war. A better life for everyone, not simply the privileged few. A life without boundaries or barriers or stigmas because of trivial things like race or place of birth. A golden age where progress isn't spurned or shunned, but rather it is embraced and cultivated.

I believe they have the strength of will to pursue their grand ideal, the technological background to put their money where their mouths are, and the desire required to inspire the same fervent passion in others.



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Good thoughts so far.

Also consider weakness. Though the Gnosis are not warp based creatures, could daemons and other incorporeal entities attack them directly? C'tan shards and certain necron entities as well for instance.

The level of resilience their proxies possess should also be thought out. Having indestructible bodies is all well and good, but keep in mind terminator armour is also described as such and I'm sure we've all seen termies drop like flies at one point or another.

I would place them on par with tau battlesuits at best, perhaps even lower as the case may be. Heavier variants should be limited to a more specialist role. Great knowledge should not automatically place the Gnosis above the limitations of available resources after all.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
Also consider weakness. Though the Gnosis are not warp based creatures, could daemons and other incorporeal entities attack them directly? C'tan shards and certain necron entities as well for instance.
Beings of energy have the inherent weakness of being completely vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. Any weapon or weapon system capable of interrupting the interface between the Gnosis and their Proxy bodies would be effective weapons against them. It may not actually cause appreciable damage to the Gnosis but it would render a Proxy inert for a given period of time. There are ways you could probably 'harden' the Proxy to remove this threat, but I seriously doubt the Gnosis had any inclination that they would need it, so it would probably come later in their dealings with other races rather than right away.

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Originally Posted by Serpion5 View Post
The level of resilience their proxies possess should also be thought out. Having indestructible bodies is all well and good, but keep in mind terminator armour is also described as such and I'm sure we've all seen termies drop like flies at one point or another.

I would place them on par with tau battlesuits at best, perhaps even lower as the case may be. Heavier variants should be limited to a more specialist role. Great knowledge should not automatically place the Gnosis above the limitations of available resources after all.
I would place the average, everyday model of Proxies as being on par with the average power armor. Tough, but not anywhere close to indestructible. I'm sure there other models of Proxies rated specifically for battle, which would be on par with your Terminator armors. But like Terminator armor, until the Gnosis take over a Forge world or establish one of their own, they won't be mass producing them like they would likely be able to do with your average Proxy, since they are the least 'involved' body they can make.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonileth View Post
Given that the Gnosis is something that I created, I figured I should weigh in on this with my feelings and thoughts. Hope you don't mind.
I doubt anyone is going to mind discussion in a dedicated discussion thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonileth View Post
I'm not entirely sure I ever wanted the Gnosis to seem entirely benevolent in the first place. The concept of forced consensus was one of those items that came to me when I was considering the dynamic a being with their level of technological and philosophical sophistication would have with the rest of the galaxy they were getting involved in. On the surface, I will grant that they appear to be rather 'good' in the sense that they came charging in on their high horse and started trying to make the galaxy a better place. It's an ideal, but that's all it is when you boil it down to the bare bones.

Like any ideal, there are a million different ways in which one could interpret the exact same ideal. The ideal the Gnosis believe in is one of uniting people and encouraging growth of the myriad trillions in the galaxy along the same lines as their own evolution. But this doesn't mean they're always going to do it with kid gloves. Not every choice and every path the Gnosis decide to embark upon will be greeted with fanfare and adoration.

I suppose what it amounts to is, I intended them to outwardly look like benevolent creatures, but deep down their detachment to concepts like separation of races through hatred, bigotry, and other like things make them rather callous when faced with those who refuse to embrace their consensus on this basis. Destroying whole planets who won't submit is no less out of the question for the Gnosis as it would be for any other faction in 40K, they just try to paint a happier picture about it.
Excellent stuff.



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Originally Posted by jonileth View Post
Their origins as humans would, I believe, better serve them than the idea of them being machine spirits made manifest. I say this for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gives them the ability to understand some of the concepts that organic beings take for granted, like love and compassion and such. Cold, calculating logic can be, at times, tempered with empathy and the like if they were to have their roots in a living thing. If we take away that origin, that drive to return 'home', then there's really no point in the Gnosis returning to the galaxy from the great beyond.
Fair enough. I like the darker implications of totally unsympathetic beings, but we've got enough of that in 40K to begin with. The drive to return home is a big point I think I've been overlooking, if they did come back from outside the galaxy, machines would make considerably less sense because of exactly that point.

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I would also argue that a human origin from the era of the Dark Age of Technology would grant them the kind of technological edge required for them to make that journey and give them the drive to improve upon their technology and expand upon their philosophical ideals long after their bodies had become nothing but energy.

I will grant that the timeline I first suggested seems a tad on the fanciful side looking back on it, but that is one of many little details that can be sorted out, given that we'd have some twenty thousand odd years to play with, or some two hundred generations or more that we could manipulate.
Excelent all around. I've always wanted to explore the Dark Age of the 40K 'verse.

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Maybe on the surface it is. Access to advanced weaponry, the ability to actually manufacture, maintain, and deploy such technology without the constraints of the machine cult's lack of actual understanding and ritualistic and militaristic attitudes toward technology. That would indeed be a huge boon if looked at from the vantage point of face value. But I suppose the sacrifice of one's former ideals, cultural identity, and even a bit of individuality in a way would be fairly high prices to pay for a sort of Utopian society the Gnosis strive for.
I'm liking it more all the time. I could see the arrival of the Gnosis shaking the Mechanicum, let alone the Imperium, to it's foundations and causing some jagged ideological splits. This is going to be exciting.

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In a way, the Gnosis are trading one form of totalitarian rule for another. Consensus by choice, force, or death is no less a sort of mandatory submission as dictatorship might be. The only difference is it gives people the illusion that their voice matters, even if it doesn't. I suppose that's what would be the most appealing for a lot of people, the thought that they have a part in the Great Consensus. That their voice will be heard, their thoughts considered, even their prayers answered. Even if it is only partially true, occasionally considered, or indirectly achieved, it is still far more than many in the current setting have ever gotten, and many would give up a great deal to have that 'peace of mind', even if it's all smoke and mirrors.

I think they are powerful enough to represent a kind of hope. The hope for a brighter future without war. A better life for everyone, not simply the privileged few. A life without boundaries or barriers or stigmas because of trivial things like race or place of birth. A golden age where progress isn't spurned or shunned, but rather it is embraced and cultivated.

I believe they have the strength of will to pursue their grand ideal, the technological background to put their money where their mouths are, and the desire required to inspire the same fervent passion in others.
I quite like this. The idea that in a world where every faction is oppressive and controlling, the only choice you have is which faction to join is interesting once there is a faction anyone can join. Imperial citizens can't exactly take up with the Eldar (I guess that can defect to the Tau, but that isn't actually viable in the long run what with the Tau being punny) but now with the option to join the Gnosis there is a real choice to be made. I think that is exactly the flavor of "hope" that fits the Grimdark best.

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Beings of energy have the inherent weakness of being completely vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. Any weapon or weapon system capable of interrupting the interface between the Gnosis and their Proxy bodies would be effective weapons against them. It may not actually cause appreciable damage to the Gnosis but it would render a Proxy inert for a given period of time. There are ways you could probably 'harden' the Proxy to remove this threat, but I seriously doubt the Gnosis had any inclination that they would need it, so it would probably come later in their dealings with other races rather than right away.
This is definitely an interesting direction to take things. I don't know how far we want to take our special rules, but maybe even drawing a distinction between kinetic and energy weapons not drawn by the cannon rules, and giving energy weapons an advantage against the Gnosis would be interesting. I'm not sure how you could balance that kind of thing, though.

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I would place the average, everyday model of Proxies as being on par with the average power armor. Tough, but not anywhere close to indestructible. I'm sure there other models of Proxies rated specifically for battle, which would be on par with your Terminator armors. But like Terminator armor, until the Gnosis take over a Forge world or establish one of their own, they won't be mass producing them like they would likely be able to do with your average Proxy, since they are the least 'involved' body they can make.
Awesome stuff. MEQ army it is, then.

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MEQ army it is, then.
Not necessarily.

While the Gnosis are able to turn up and win with vast technology is it not more "benevolent" if they let their allies do the heavy lifting so that thier allies experience the drive to improve. So I see the army as some MeQ with many IG/Guardian/&c. equivalent units.
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Some points to consider:

Are the Gnosis really as benevolent as they appear?

Benevolent from who's perspective? The Gnosis view themselves as benevolent, I'm sure. They are raising up and advancing the primitives, rather than subjugating and enslaving them. But at what cost to those primitives? Their culture and way of life is forever changed, just for the encounter. The detection of their ship entering Imperium space would cause an uproar on it's own. Say it came from the Galactic Northeast and was mistaken for a Hive Fleet(it is described as massive) at first. The level of panic on Terra would be catastrophic. Those oppossed to the beliefs of the Gnosis certainly do not see them as benevolent. They're raising an army to crush all opposition and force their beliefs on the galaxy. The Necrons would probably mistake them for the Old Ones returned.

Are the Gnosis really human in their origins?

Despite ideas suggested otherwise, this is probably best left alone. But something to remember is that despite the noble desire to reunite with their unevolved kin, Gnosis would be emotionally detached. They may want to raise humans up but that drive would likely stem from some curiosity or god complex. Emotion would likely be an outmoded concept, so anger, happiness and copassion would be out.

Look at how humans treat gorillas and chimpanzees. We want to protect them, perhaps educate some but to what purpose? To perform for our amusement or because we genuinely are concerned? Bit of a grey area and we would certainly NEVER extend the rights and privaledges of a human to them. So the Gnosis may care for humanity and advance their technology but humanity will be part of the lower caste in this new order. Perhaps for our kinship, we'll be above Eldar and the others but we would have no say in how things are governed. In fact, beings as advanced as the Gnosis would likely view humans as we view children. Unable to care for or govern themselves and war is a game we play.


Is their influence truly a boon to those under them?

I got carried away under the last question and answered this. Humanity would become subservient, given whatever rights the Gnosis see fit to bestow upon them. They may be more priviledged than aliens but with no say in how they are treated. Are the other beings of the galaxy "toys" for the Gnosis? If they have a strong enough god complex, then yes.

Are they powerful enough to really represent Hope?

Power and Hope. That's a disastrous combination. A High Chancelor promised Hope once, in a galaxy far far away. When he had finally seized enough power to deliver on his promises, he instead delivered that galaxy unto despair. He committed genocides, enslaved entire populations and ruled through an iron fist of fear and brutal "justice." Every ounce of power he gained sent him further on a dark path.

In the words of Aristotle: "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." The stronger we make the Gnosis, the more dangerous they become, not just to the denizens of the galaxy but to their own idealism. If they are strong enough to create their vision, they are strong enough to destroy it. Utopia is only that for those in charge. The slaves and servants striving to keep the perfection don't get the same experience. Look at the staff of a luxury cruise line some time.


I will allow the heretics to throw forth their own ideas, and we will see what we can come up with.
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Good thoughts so far.

Also consider weakness. Though the Gnosis are not warp based creatures, could daemons and other incorporeal entities attack them directly? C'tan shards and certain necron entities as well for instance.

The problem is that in a game based on a D6 probability, quantity matters more than quality. To make a Gnosis model representative to invulnerability as close as possible, it would need to have a 2++ and be T 10. So it would take massed S 7 or higher weaponry to bring one down. Not bad in theory until you consider how many points one Gnosis could cost, without even considering it's own weapons and ability in combat. Of course, as was suggested, Haywire weapons could "stun/destabilise" them. I did offer another suggestion in the other thread, though. And remember that the Proxies are not invulnerable.

The level of resilience their proxies possess should also be thought out. Having indestructible bodies is all well and good, but keep in mind terminator armour is also described as such and I'm sure we've all seen termies drop like flies at one point or another.

I think that destroying their Proxies should be the best way of dealing with a Gnosis. They could be vehicles or treated like Tau Battlesuits. But any machine can only take so much damage before collapsing. If a vehicle it should have a way to replace Hull Points and/or ignore Shaken results(maybe Stunned, but sounding like Living Metal then). If a "battlesuit" it should be able to regenerate wounds, though not reanimate if it loses the last wound.

I would place them on par with tau battlesuits at best, perhaps even lower as the case may be. Heavier variants should be limited to a more specialist role. Great knowledge should not automatically place the Gnosis above the limitations of available resources after all.

I agree that the standard model should be similar to a Tau Battlesuit in terms of survivability. But not in terms of movement, fighting or defensive abilities. Higher end or heavy weapon models should have limitations as well. Perhaps firing that massive gun generates an electro-magnetic field strong enough to potentially wound the model.
I hope I've been of help.

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Now we have some more insight onto the Gnosis themselves to consider, let's devote some discussion to their allies.

How would the human element of this faction be most accurately represented? Consider things from a fluff perspective at this stage and we'll consider rules and gameplay later.

I would like to see suggestions for Gnosis influence in their weaponry and armour, whether they would be enhanced Imperial designs, unique or scavenged from elsewhere. Vehicles as well.


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