Lore in the 40k Universe

First off, apologies for the delay in posting the narrative for Part 2 of our “Battle for Tarandros” series. Work has been insane these past three weeks and all of my limited free time has been consumed by other pursuits. But I will definitely get to it before our next narrative event.

In the meantime, I thought I would share my thoughts about the Lore of Warhammer 40,000, or “fluff” as it is more commonly referred to (a term that still makes me cringe, though I too have begun using it).

One of the first things that drew me into the hobby (both Fantasy and 40k), was the concept that each army has a personality. Much like any role playing game, you pick the army that resonates with you. Either because they match your character, have an interesting backstory, or the internet told you it would make you win (by far the least inspired choice).

All of the factions in the game are fictional, to be sure, but they all come from the human imagination, which means that they are each infused with qualities that we can relate to, an “essence” if you will.

For example, I love Eldar. If I was forced to choose 10 armies to play (and given the proverbial infinite monies), I would have one from each Craftworld, a corsair force and Dark Eldar army, before even considering an alien race to play. In actuality, I play only Ulthwé, because it embodies everything that I would expect a great civilization to possess; elegance, intelligence, wisdom, tenacity, and the courage to fight even against impossible odds. Every other race in the 40k universe seems crude by comparison.

That is not to say that I have strong negative feelings against every other race. Being Italian, anything inspired on the Roman Empire makes me happy, but the rampant ignorance and dogmatic superstition of the Imperium prevent it from being my faction of choice. Also, as you may have noticed from my narratives, I am quite capable of “getting in character,” no matter what models I am moving about. Eldar is simply my preference…by leaps and bounds…

However, 40k is extremely Imperium centric. Unlike Fantasy, where the lore is fairly balanced, easily 80% of the media (outside of codexi) produced by Games Workshop is by the Imperium, for the Imperium. To be fair, this is probably as much a function of the fact that it is the dominant force in the galaxy, as that of being the origin of most armies in the game.

So the disparity makes sense, but it definitely does make the rest of us feel a little left out. I was ecstatic when the Path of the Eldar trilogy came out, in addition to the lore contained within the Iyanden supplement. But that is pretty much it, aside from some cameo appearances in other stories (I am purposefully ignoring the existence of the Carnac Campaign short stories).

To be sure, the Horus Heresy is a massive undertaking, that is consuming much, if not most, of the Black Library’s resources. Hopefully when it ends, there will be an opportunity for some attention to the other non-human (or human adjacent) races of the galaxy. For my part, having an amazing codex definitely makes up for the lack of lore…though I still pray to Isha for an Ulthwé Supplement…

Ultimately though, the stories are what allow me to immerse myself into the “essence” of my favorite armies, and where most of my enjoyment of the game comes from. I know that many players could care less about the “fluff, ” which is fine. I suggest only that it might be worth exploring this dimension of the game, as it might enhance your experience of it.

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