Welcome

Please register for Total War Access to use the forums. If you're an existing user, your forum details will be merged with Total War Access if you register with the same email or username. For more information please read our FAQ’s here.

Categories

Warhammer 40,000 and Grimdark: What's the appeal?

PraiseSigmawPraiseSigmaw Registered Users Posts: 1,906
edited April 27 in Off Topic General
Admittedly this might be due to over-exposure from friends and various youtubers who won't shut the heck up about it while completely ignoring Fantasy and AoS, but I really can't see the appeal of the lore of Warhammer 40K. (I emphasize lore because the videogames are pretty fun gameplay wise)


The entire setting seems like a big case of Darkness Induced Audience Apathy.

I read through some wiki pages and listened to my friends and have played enough of the games to know the basic premise and factions; and I couldn't give less of rats ass who wins. 95% of the characters are evil jackasses and the ones who aren't are probably gonna be dead knowing this setting, and that's not getting into how there are no actually "good" or even "meh" characters. It's also why WH Fantasy > 40k big time for me. You can at least sympathize with the Empire/Dwarves/High Elves (sometimes) and they're clearly more progressive than the forces around them.

Heck. reading the tvtropes pages alone made me feel uncomfortable, there's no hope, its overly violent and its practically childish; something an "edgy" and pretentious young adult who grew up with Pat Mills and Garth Ennis' comics would make up.


Can someone explain the appeal of this universe to me? Because to me it all seems mean spirited for the sake of it and plain stupid.



Warhammer Fantasy is less grimdark than 40k.
Ogre Kingdoms when CA?
Dogs of War need Ogres and halflings.
Post edited by BillyRuffian on

Comments

  • LunaticprinceLunaticprince Registered Users Posts: 2,949
    I like it because always this..Hm...

    Hard to say but i think people enjoy because how stubborn this universe is, the empire will end one day, they will lose, they will be ruin, one way or another.

    If it the warp storm, alien invasion, traitor crusades, itself etc.

    But they still fight, like any other race that is dying.

    I think i like the Eldars more as the fantasy He, because they be much more human like and have the same narrative.

    Also people like cosmic horror and dark theme.

    That at least for me.

  • maccabbeemaccabbee Registered Users Posts: 895
    edited April 27
    Because it's so over the top, even more so than Fantasy.
    Don't tell me you didn't play Dawn of War and laughed when every single unit was screaming on top of their lungs because of how hardcore the entire setting was.

    40k is what you get when you have an entire setting where everyone else is nicholas cage, brian blessed and john travolta at the same time.

  • WyvaxWyvax Registered Users Posts: 4,601
    It's because of how over the top it is. If it took itself 100% seriously it would be so boring, but because it's deliberately over the top it becomes fun (notice the amount of memes that it generates). The Orks help massively in this regard.

    Honestly, Warhammer Fantasy is a better example of grimdark, because while it does have it's tongue in cheek bits, it doesn't suffer from "notched to eleven syndrome" like 40K does. 40K when it takes itself too seriously or doesn't take itself seriously enough (which is admittedly a very fine line to balance) easily winds up in grimderp territory.

    That said, nobledark is the best style for fantasy and storytelling in general on the whole noble-grim and bright-dark axes.
    Tomes read: The Great Betrayal, Master of Dragons, Curse of the Phoenix Crown, Trollslayer, Skavenslayer, Daemonslayer, Dragonslayer, Beastslayer, Vampireslayer, Malekith, The Bloody Handed, Shadow King
    Bring back proper naval battles CA!!!
    Me when I see a LL character implemented as a LH.

  • maccabbeemaccabbee Registered Users Posts: 895
    Wyvax said:

    It's because of how over the top it is. If it took itself 100% seriously it would be so boring, but because it's deliberately over the top it becomes fun (notice the amount of memes that it generates). The Orks help massively in this regard.

    Honestly, Warhammer Fantasy is a better example of grimdark, because while it does have it's tongue in cheek bits, it doesn't suffer from "notched to eleven syndrome" like 40K does. 40K when it takes itself too seriously or doesn't take itself seriously enough (which is admittedly a very fine line to balance) easily winds up in grimderp territory.

    That said, nobledark is the best style for fantasy and storytelling in general on the whole noble-grim and bright-dark axes.

    Yes agreed. 40k is utterly boring imo whenever it tries to take itself seriously. It's when it bounces back to being self aware of how ridiculous it is that it becomes awesome.
  • TeNoSkillTeNoSkill Registered Users Posts: 4,132
    40k leans a lot more into the real world.

    Terra is our earth, the WHFB planet is just a random no-name
    40k takes part in our galaxy, not like star wars in a galaxy far far away.

    The struggles and the fighting the Imperium faces and how they deal with it, especially the internal one, are not that different from what we have today.
    Humans struggling against the odds and pulling it off (tho more often not) is a reoccuring theme throughout history.


    Heck, even the Primarchs and their struggles are relatable because human interaction is determined by so many things at once and not just rationale.

    The motivations of the Emperor are relatable and his methods understandable if you know what the stakes are.

    The motivations of all of the factions are understandable and mostly relatable (Tyrands beeing the exception here), heck even the Chaos gods actions are understandable (createing chaos to fuel themselves).

    And the factions adhere to these motives and if they don t it is usually explained.

  • TeNoSkillTeNoSkill Registered Users Posts: 4,132
    Wyvax said:

    It's because of how over the top it is. If it took itself 100% seriously it would be so boring, but because it's deliberately over the top it becomes fun (notice the amount of memes that it generates). The Orks help massively in this regard.

    WH 40k takes itsself serious and adheres to internal consistencies while leaving enough room for head canon and interpretation.

    That some people find the religious zeal of Space Marines over the top and ridiculous, when we have people IRL blowing themselves up/ fighting unto death/ using not entirely adequate tactics because of certain holy scriptures, I cannot understand.

    Or pretend an Imperial Inquisitor nukes a planet for the lulz, while chaos/Genestealer taint is most of the time a terminal threat.
    Imagine if people coul spread cancer via touching you or just beeing near you, how long until anybody showing the mildest sign of cancer is beeing killed and villified?


    Maybe it´s the same reaction the soldiers haave to cope with the horrors of war.
  • SharkysoulmanSharkysoulman Registered Users Posts: 33
    I like the grimdark setting because it doesn’t offer hope like ‘evil is bound to be defeated because good/love/friendship/family or whatever is supposed to be stronger’. And aside from that I really like the already stated over the top elements of sci-fi tropes: Asimov’s foundation tech-worshipping, Herbert’s prescience, starship troopers bugs, Spanish Inquisition tunnelvision, arrogant elves, space exploration horror, you name it!
    And beside from that I’m a long fan of both fantasy battles and 40K tabletop games; I’ll keep enjoying the hobby and the video games.

    And on the note of grimdark offering no good races to (k)root for: the T’au were originally good. As in D&D ‘lawful good’ good. I haven’t kept up with all the new events were the ethereals are mindfucking the nation or something like that, but still there is an inherently good nation accepting outsiders as well. So there’s that.

    In short, I’m a big time biased fanboy, feed me TWWH3, legions of nagash and dwarf with funny hats, etc. And I’ll take it
  • maccabbeemaccabbee Registered Users Posts: 895
    Since we're already here, I'd totally pay 100 bucks for TW40k as long as whenever you click on the space marine chaplain he goes "REDEEM THEM WITH BLOOD AND FIRE"


  • TeNoSkillTeNoSkill Registered Users Posts: 4,132

    I like the grimdark setting because it doesn’t offer hope like ‘evil is bound to be defeated because good/love/friendship/family or whatever is supposed to be stronger’.

    There is hope in 40k, but it´s not sold cheaply like in star wars or other settings and is not certain.
    The smallest candle shines brightest in the blackest darkness...


    Mainly because we look at 40k as a whole and not just through the eyes of dedicated characters, like in star wars.

  • SharkysoulmanSharkysoulman Registered Users Posts: 33
    TeNoSkill said:

    I like the grimdark setting because it doesn’t offer hope like ‘evil is bound to be defeated because good/love/friendship/family or whatever is supposed to be stronger’.

    There is hope in 40k, but it´s not sold cheaply like in star wars or other settings and is not certain.
    The smallest candle shines brightest in the blackest darkness...


    Mainly because we look at 40k as a whole and not just through the eyes of dedicated characters, like in star wars.

    I didn't mean to say there's no hope; just that it doesn't appear to come from a natural good trumps evil vibe. So basically, I also meant to say it isn't sold cheaply :)
  • BillyRuffianBillyRuffian Moderator UKRegistered Users, Moderators, Knights Posts: 39,629
    Not about Total War so moved.

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than illumination." (Andrew Lang)

    |Takeda| Yokota Takatoshi

    Forum Terms and Conditions: - https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/172193/forum-terms-and-conditions#latest

    "We wunt be druv". iot6pc7dn8qs.png
  • TeNoSkillTeNoSkill Registered Users Posts: 4,132

    TeNoSkill said:

    I like the grimdark setting because it doesn’t offer hope like ‘evil is bound to be defeated because good/love/friendship/family or whatever is supposed to be stronger’.

    There is hope in 40k, but it´s not sold cheaply like in star wars or other settings and is not certain.
    The smallest candle shines brightest in the blackest darkness...


    Mainly because we look at 40k as a whole and not just through the eyes of dedicated characters, like in star wars.

    I didn't mean to say there's no hope; just that it doesn't appear to come from a natural good trumps evil vibe. So basically, I also meant to say it isn't sold cheaply :)
    Yeah, it´s always fun when people try to apply "good vs evil" to 40k when good vs evil is absolutely subjective and no faction is cruel for cruelties sake.
    Or even capable of the thought of cruelty, like the tyranids (they a litterally just animals beeing herded by the hive mind).
  • WyvaxWyvax Registered Users Posts: 4,601
    TeNoSkill said:

    40k leans a lot more into the real world.

    Terra is our earth, the WHFB planet is just a random no-name
    40k takes part in our galaxy, not like star wars in a galaxy far far away.

    The struggles and the fighting the Imperium faces and how they deal with it, especially the internal one, are not that different from what we have today.
    Humans struggling against the odds and pulling it off (tho more often not) is a reoccuring theme throughout history.


    Heck, even the Primarchs and their struggles are relatable because human interaction is determined by so many things at once and not just rationale.

    The motivations of the Emperor are relatable and his methods understandable if you know what the stakes are.

    The motivations of all of the factions are understandable and mostly relatable (Tyrands beeing the exception here), heck even the Chaos gods actions are understandable (createing chaos to fuel themselves).

    And the factions adhere to these motives and if they don t it is usually explained.

    Every single altercation in 40K happens on a literal no-name planet so it doesn't matter how many get consumed by chaos, overrun by orks, eaten by nids or exterminatus'd by the Imperium. The status quo stays the same.

    The struggles the imperium faces it always answers by chucking enough men into the meat grinder to make Stalin blush, or a handful of over glorified Gary Stu supermen in oversized pauldrons and tanks the size of three story buildings, or just by saying **** it and blowing everything up. The Imperium itself is kept alive by feeding human sacrifices to the corpse throne on a ridiculous daily scale that easily eclipses the worst atrocities of the dark elves in fantasy. Humanity in 40K has more in common with Skavendom than humanity IRL (that's not to say that IRL humanity is incapable of sinking that low, it has many times over). In contrast humanity in fantasy has it pretty crapsacky but they still manage to hold off the tide of Chaos without going to the lengths displayed in it's sci-fi counterpart, mostly because it's simply not possible, but still, I find the guys who face off against the hordes of hell with just faith, steel and gunpowder far more relatable then the nation that corrals it's own people to ship off to the far side of the galaxy to die just to stall the enemy rather than concentrate them for a proper defensive.
    Tomes read: The Great Betrayal, Master of Dragons, Curse of the Phoenix Crown, Trollslayer, Skavenslayer, Daemonslayer, Dragonslayer, Beastslayer, Vampireslayer, Malekith, The Bloody Handed, Shadow King
    Bring back proper naval battles CA!!!
    Me when I see a LL character implemented as a LH.

  • TeNoSkillTeNoSkill Registered Users Posts: 4,132
    Wyvax said:

    TeNoSkill said:

    40k leans a lot more into the real world.

    Terra is our earth, the WHFB planet is just a random no-name
    40k takes part in our galaxy, not like star wars in a galaxy far far away.

    The struggles and the fighting the Imperium faces and how they deal with it, especially the internal one, are not that different from what we have today.
    Humans struggling against the odds and pulling it off (tho more often not) is a reoccuring theme throughout history.


    Heck, even the Primarchs and their struggles are relatable because human interaction is determined by so many things at once and not just rationale.

    The motivations of the Emperor are relatable and his methods understandable if you know what the stakes are.

    The motivations of all of the factions are understandable and mostly relatable (Tyrands beeing the exception here), heck even the Chaos gods actions are understandable (createing chaos to fuel themselves).

    And the factions adhere to these motives and if they don t it is usually explained.

    Every single altercation in 40K happens on a literal no-name planet so it doesn't matter how many get consumed by chaos, overrun by orks, eaten by nids or exterminatus'd by the Imperium. The status quo stays the same.

    The struggles the imperium faces it always answers by chucking enough men into the meat grinder to make Stalin blush, or a handful of over glorified Gary Stu supermen in oversized pauldrons and tanks the size of three story buildings, or just by saying **** it and blowing everything up. The Imperium itself is kept alive by feeding human sacrifices to the corpse throne on a ridiculous daily scale that easily eclipses the worst atrocities of the dark elves in fantasy. Humanity in 40K has more in common with Skavendom than humanity IRL (that's not to say that IRL humanity is incapable of sinking that low, it has many times over). In contrast humanity in fantasy has it pretty crapsacky but they still manage to hold off the tide of Chaos without going to the lengths displayed in it's sci-fi counterpart, mostly because it's simply not possible, but still, I find the guys who face off against the hordes of hell with just faith, steel and gunpowder far more relatable then the nation that corrals it's own people to ship off to the far side of the galaxy to die just to stall the enemy rather than concentrate them for a proper defensive.
    Congratiulations , you have figured out how civilsations sustain themselves.
    And that it is not pretty and basically works on the principle " what is the least worst possible outcome" and the individual doesn t matter.

    Also, why are you not placing things into their adequate context?
    The Imperium doesn t sacrifice psykers for the lulz and doesn t have the administrative problems for the lulz.
    The Imperium does its best to manage itsself and the threats, considering the limits of technology and the human nature.

    You seem to think that the Imperium is a centralized Empire with clear communication lines and not the feudal realm with people thinking about communication to actually communicate with planets outside the same sector (Astropaths).
  • WyvaxWyvax Registered Users Posts: 4,601
    TeNoSkill said:


    Wyvax said:

    TeNoSkill said:

    40k leans a lot more into the real world.

    Terra is our earth, the WHFB planet is just a random no-name
    40k takes part in our galaxy, not like star wars in a galaxy far far away.

    The struggles and the fighting the Imperium faces and how they deal with it, especially the internal one, are not that different from what we have today.
    Humans struggling against the odds and pulling it off (tho more often not) is a reoccuring theme throughout history.


    Heck, even the Primarchs and their struggles are relatable because human interaction is determined by so many things at once and not just rationale.

    The motivations of the Emperor are relatable and his methods understandable if you know what the stakes are.

    The motivations of all of the factions are understandable and mostly relatable (Tyrands beeing the exception here), heck even the Chaos gods actions are understandable (createing chaos to fuel themselves).

    And the factions adhere to these motives and if they don t it is usually explained.

    Every single altercation in 40K happens on a literal no-name planet so it doesn't matter how many get consumed by chaos, overrun by orks, eaten by nids or exterminatus'd by the Imperium. The status quo stays the same.

    The struggles the imperium faces it always answers by chucking enough men into the meat grinder to make Stalin blush, or a handful of over glorified Gary Stu supermen in oversized pauldrons and tanks the size of three story buildings, or just by saying **** it and blowing everything up. The Imperium itself is kept alive by feeding human sacrifices to the corpse throne on a ridiculous daily scale that easily eclipses the worst atrocities of the dark elves in fantasy. Humanity in 40K has more in common with Skavendom than humanity IRL (that's not to say that IRL humanity is incapable of sinking that low, it has many times over). In contrast humanity in fantasy has it pretty crapsacky but they still manage to hold off the tide of Chaos without going to the lengths displayed in it's sci-fi counterpart, mostly because it's simply not possible, but still, I find the guys who face off against the hordes of hell with just faith, steel and gunpowder far more relatable then the nation that corrals it's own people to ship off to the far side of the galaxy to die just to stall the enemy rather than concentrate them for a proper defensive.
    Congratiulations , you have figured out how civilsations sustain themselves.
    And that it is not pretty and basically works on the principle " what is the least worst possible outcome" and the individual doesn t matter.

    Also, why are you not placing things into their adequate context?
    The Imperium doesn t sacrifice psykers for the lulz and doesn t have the administrative problems for the lulz.
    The Imperium does its best to manage itsself and the threats, considering the limits of technology and the human nature.

    You seem to think that the Imperium is a centralized Empire with clear communication lines and not the feudal realm with people thinking about communication to actually communicate with planets outside the same sector (Astropaths).
    Show me exactly where I claimed that the Imperium is a centralized state with half-decent communication or that I believe it to be so and I'll concede your last sentence. I'll accept a brain scan of my neuron activity that proves I was of that opinion at the time of posting; good luck getting one though. Assumptions make an ass out of you and me as the saying goes.

    The whole point of my post was that claiming 40k is more relatable than Warhammer fantasy because planet earth is part of the setting is a ludicrously arbitrary measure. Ignoring the modern ideas of the writers that inevitably find their way into the stories, their is far more in common culturally between real world humanity and the men of the Empire than there is between IRL humanity and the Imperium of Man, unless of course your reference point for IRL humanity is something like 1950s east Germany or today's PRC, but even then there's a huge stretch between the two. All 40K shows is just how bad and desperate people get when **** hits the fan. The same could be true in the fantasy setting, arguably should be true do to the nature of Chaos, but somehow it isn't and individuals can still lead (relatively) normal lives even with the threat of apocalypse. The same themes and fates if evil wins exist in both settings, I fail to see how humanity in fantasy is somehow less relatable than humanity in 40K just because the central world isn't called Earth.
    Tomes read: The Great Betrayal, Master of Dragons, Curse of the Phoenix Crown, Trollslayer, Skavenslayer, Daemonslayer, Dragonslayer, Beastslayer, Vampireslayer, Malekith, The Bloody Handed, Shadow King
    Bring back proper naval battles CA!!!
    Me when I see a LL character implemented as a LH.

  • MaedrethnirMaedrethnir Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,592
    I like grim. And I like dark. Oppressive settings are like a well whipped cream.
    animacja-sygn-3.gif


  • PraiseSigmawPraiseSigmaw Registered Users Posts: 1,906

    I like grim. And I like dark. Oppressive settings are like a well whipped cream.

    Oppressive settings are obnoxious if they are too oppressive.
    Warhammer Fantasy is less grimdark than 40k.
    Ogre Kingdoms when CA?
    Dogs of War need Ogres and halflings.
  • PraiseSigmawPraiseSigmaw Registered Users Posts: 1,906
    maccabbee said:

    Because it's so over the top, even more so than Fantasy.
    Don't tell me you didn't play Dawn of War and laughed when every single unit was screaming on top of their lungs because of how hardcore the entire setting was.

    40k is what you get when you have an entire setting where everyone else is nicholas cage, brian blessed and john travolta at the same time.

    I thought 40k was the least self-aware of the Warhammer ips since Spess Mehreens always speaks dramatically and take everything seriously, even when fighting against goofballs like the Orks.
    Warhammer Fantasy is less grimdark than 40k.
    Ogre Kingdoms when CA?
    Dogs of War need Ogres and halflings.
  • MaedrethnirMaedrethnir Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,592

    I like grim. And I like dark. Oppressive settings are like a well whipped cream.

    Oppressive settings are obnoxious if they are too oppressive.
    That's precisely what I like about them!
    animacja-sygn-3.gif


  • ShiroAmakusa75ShiroAmakusa75 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 31,777
    Wyvax said:

    It's because of how over the top it is. If it took itself 100% seriously it would be so boring, but because it's deliberately over the top it becomes fun (notice the amount of memes that it generates). The Orks help massively in this regard.

    Honestly, Warhammer Fantasy is a better example of grimdark, because while it does have it's tongue in cheek bits, it doesn't suffer from "notched to eleven syndrome" like 40K does. 40K when it takes itself too seriously or doesn't take itself seriously enough (which is admittedly a very fine line to balance) easily winds up in grimderp territory.

    That said, nobledark is the best style for fantasy and storytelling in general on the whole noble-grim and bright-dark axes.

    It DOES take itself seriously and that's what makes it funny. It wouldn't be so laughable if you had constant winking and nudging from the sidelines, then it would be just tryhardy.

  • ItharusItharus Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 12,365
    Honestly man, if you cannot see the appeal, no amount of explaining it will make you understand the glory of WH40K.

    Though ngl, the "recent" lore changes were pretty damned stupid.

    Not AoS levels of stupid though, they at least did it mostly respectfully and didn't flip the entire fanbase the bird this time.
Sign In or Register to comment.