Now, I know that some of you think, possibly quite rightly, that I overthink 40K sometimes.
If this blog focussed more on my Eldar warhost, then it wouldn't contain quite so many musings on the fluff and how and why the imperium might work. But when you think about the factors involved in trying to launch an army through the warp, to fight a war somewhere else in space, things get sort of involved very quickly - more of this in another post later, perhaps.
My Eldar warhost contains a lot of killy stuff. No combat engineers, no tiers of command, no regimental bands, no divisional creche or baker; just corsairs, aspect warriors, some token guardians and fistloads of seers to hold it altogether. So there's not too much to contemplate - they're Eldar, like the fluff - like Mr Thorpe's well realised but sometimes awkwardly writted books.
But the Imperial Guard demand, by their very nature, a little more consideration, especially considering their delivery system - the Imperial Navy, the DM and ultimately, the wider imperium itself. Now, these are people (albeit made up ones). And people exhibit different behaviours, some of which we can understand, if not relate to...
Anyway. Morality popped up again - first the Laughing Ferret suggest that we be more circumspect when using certain words (whose meaning is actually derogatory or pertaining to vice) and then Col Gravis asked if we really need or want some of the female sculpts that are being offered. But some of them manage the trick of being quite demure whilst still being somewhat attractive.
I did notice that no-one commented on the Gionvudar Massacre.
In reply to Col Gravis I alluded to the idea that perhaps given the actual unpleasantness of warfare in 40K, an army of over sexualised soldiers is perhaps not such a great evil.
For those of you who have not given it much thought; the whole fluff of 40K is a war of extermination; the Eldar are out for themselves, the Necrons want to kill all living things, the Orks just want to fight everyone, the 'Nids will just eat everything and the various bits of the imperium will turn in on themselves whenever there is no external enemy to face.
The SoB, BT, OH and iggies and beakies who have seen too much (and they all have) will wipe out civilian populations without a second thought. The High Lords might care, but do not even possess the wherewithal to do anything different. There is no Geneva Convention, no Queensbury Rules. Flame-throwers, poison gas, chainswords and other things that we would think of as barbaric are workaday options in 40K.
The great enemy is just the icing on the cake. Eldar, Ork, Nid, Cron and Tau are clearly the alien. Xenoforms are an obvious rival and itching to continue with the payback for the Great Crusade. But it seems inevitable that the greatest threat is from other humans. And knowing that there is no quarter to be had from any enemy, none would ever be offered. No mercy, no remorse.
If war in 40K arrives at a planet, then worrying about refugees is not really a concern of any of 40K's usual suspects. Iggies might be disposed to offer succour, but only if they have resources to spare and no orders to the contrary. Everybody else either sees them as an inconvenience or prey.
40K is not a 'nice' game, none of the protagonists are worthy of absolution, redemption, acclaim or hero worship; they are all criminals either by act or omission. It is a dirty, pitiless time. (Don't worry, I haven't forgotten that it's fictional). We ought to be ashamed of ourselves, gaining pleasure from playing with such bloodsoaked toys.
So. What's my point ? If Admiral Drax can score a small victory by fielding an ethnically diverse army, if Col Gravis can score a small victory fielding non-sexualised female iggies, If any of us avoid using popular but technically obscene terms in conversation; then perhaps we should.
What this does not mean is that humancentric armies should suddenly start going on humanitarian relief missions. Exodite warlords will not suddenly start sparing colonists who maintain their claims in the face of the Eldar's older ones. Orks will not suddenly by-pass undefended cities just because they are not offering a fight. Changing the behaviour of 40K arhcitypes is not what I meant.
The challenge is ours as players. The action lies with us to behave with a degree of integrity; to display virtue where it might not always be the easiest way. And perhaps it doesn't stop at the gaming table, does it ?
Of course, if I just played this as a game, with pieces, in stead of buying into the background, it wouldn't matter...