Author Topic: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC  (Read 12265 times)

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2013, 10:35:29 PM »
The iconic Eisenhorn and Ravenor novels are set decades before "present day".
And hence "Xenos" ends up mentioning Tyranids something like two hundred years before they were first discovered on Tyran.
Similarly, I'm told that the latest codex back-dates the Necrons long before Sanctuary 101, shoehorning in any number of previous conflicts through generous retcons.

The problem with going backwards through the setting is how much stuff has only been introduced very late in the setting as a genuine threat - and somewhat by necessity. The Tyranids wouldn't make a very convincing contribution to a "two minutes to midnight" doomsday threat if they weren't progressing at a huge rate.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 10:38:15 PM by MarcoSkoll »
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Offline Dosdamt

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2013, 11:05:02 PM »
Will be posting IC over night for you guys.

Have a new character concept well in hand, and progressing nicely.

Going to be a wily one for a change, something against type. I did RP very direct characters before, but I do fancy a change of pace and something moving behind the scenes. I am sure we'll see other developments from the rest of ye's at some very near juncture. I'm just happy to be writing something while I am inspired to do so!

I am also trying to throw in a few hooks - some politicking, some Terran bound discussions perhaps, to stir things up further.
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Offline Macabre

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2013, 11:17:36 PM »
Likewise, I'll have another post ready for tomorrow (despite endless cups of tea, I doubt it'll be ready tonight).

Expect another familar, but subtle, nostaliga kick in the mivonks, and I'll finally be revealing some of my hand.
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2013, 11:23:00 PM »
The iconic Eisenhorn and Ravenor novels are set decades before "present day".
And hence "Xenos" ends up mentioning Tyranids something like two hundred years before they were first discovered on Tyran.
Hardly unsurprising. The series has numerous continuity mistakes, much like most of Dan Abnett's early stuff (his later material has been more about establishing unexplored areas of continuity, which neatly sidesteps the issue). Hell, the Eisenhorn trilogy has internal continuity issues (instances of forgetting which gender the pilot is, Eisenhorn smiling at any point after the early chapters of the first book).

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Similarly, I'm told that the latest codex back-dates the Necrons long before Sanctuary 101, shoehorning in any number of previous conflicts through generous retcons.
Sanctuary 101 is frequently and woefully mis-interpreted. Necron encounters with the Imperium pre-dating Sanctuary 101 can be found in early sources such as the Necron Fleet rules in BFG: Armada, so they're hardly a development of the new codex.

Beyond that, Sanctuary 101 does not represent first contact. It represents the point at which the Imperium as a whole officially recognises the Necrons as a singular specific threat (indeed, it's frequently pointed out as being the last of a campaign of attacks). That necessarily requires numerous examples of prior contact known by elements within the Imperium - primarily the Inquisition and the Deathwatch.

In short, Sanctuary 101 is the point at which the Imperium changes from "that was an attack by an unknown Xenos aggressor that demonstrates particular qualities" to "that was an attack by entities dubbed 'Necrons', which resembles numerous attacks both previously and subsequently".

All that aside, historical consistency is a laughable dream. Our comprehension of our own history isn't consistent, and we aren't plagued by the inefficiencies of a galaxy-spanning bureaucracy or the vagaries of warp-based interstellar communication and transportation (which inherently add uncertainty to timelines, as has been acknowledged since the original 40k rulebook - 40k dates are preceded by a check digit that denotes the accuracy of the date).

History will be inaccurate. But it's also a wellspring of potential that has too long gone untapped, and which presents arguably greater possibilities than attempts to progress the setting (which invariably close off avenues of development, particularly in settings where the future is several dozen impending apocalypses all racing to see which one ends humanity first). For both 40k and Warhammer (which receives similar treatment), the future is death... and death basically closes off opportunities to tell stories (not all of them, but a lot of them - there are fewer things you can do with a dead character or faction than with a living one).
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2013, 03:40:23 AM »
There's no points I'm specifically going to argue against there (as it's way too late), but I will say I don't think it's a solid reason why the setting is suddenly doomed by adding a few years to the clock.

A million world empire that has survived for ten thousand years, including through many major civil wars, probably isn't going to disappear in any particular hurry. (Blowing up Terra might work, but it's not that hard to find ways to not write that).

Also, to quote K: "There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet". The big named threats have always just been the latest in a long line to me; it's a bit too contrived to believe that all the biggest threats to humanity happened at the same time.
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Offline Dosdamt

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2013, 04:21:03 AM »
Hopefully there's a fair few hooks around the place in that post. J doesn't have a last name yet, but it'll come to me in time. I figured a source for her would help to fuel some things - would the Puritan Council really cover everything up? Did they have the political will and clout?

I'm suggesting perhaps. At least, there would be a version of the truth and that's what it is in the mainstream and has been widely distributed, and it has held for 200 or so years, give or take, depending on the timeline we agree.

Obviously we need to broaden out the cast a little more now. I'm going to work on demonstrating J's modus operandi, and I think Macabre should be adding another post in the next 36 hrs.

From there I feel there's a good baseline to work from. That leaves us a direction of travel to agree.
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2013, 11:18:57 AM »
There's no points I'm specifically going to argue against there (as it's way too late), but I will say I don't think it's a solid reason why the setting is suddenly doomed by adding a few years to the clock.
Because that's the way the setting is designed. The phrase "ten minutes to midnight" (or whatever unit of time you choose to employ to indicate something imminent) is indicative of this.

Countless different permutations of The Apocalypse are on the brink of happening... the only question is which one will arrive first.

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A million world empire that has survived for ten thousand years, including through many major civil wars, probably isn't going to disappear in any particular hurry. (Blowing up Terra might work, but it's not that hard to find ways to not write that).
A million-world empire that has fluctuated in size and might across those hundred centuries, and which is the only thing standing against species-wide extinction for mankind. Every passing century chips away at the foundations or the fringes, and it cannot persist forever. The closing centuries of the 41st Millennium show that it is a crumbling edifice in the face of an untold variety of different dooms. Since at least the 5th edition rulebook, the era from 750.M41 onwards has been dubbed "The Time of Ending", an era when basically everything starts going wrong. Within a quarter of a millennium, the Imperium encounters and suffers massive losses at the hands of the Tyranids, faces a major inter-Chapter conflict amongst the Adeptus Astartes, confirms that the Necrons are a major threat, encounters - but lacks the available resources to quell - the Tau Empire, experiences two major Ork onslaughts centred around a world only a stone's throw (relatively speaking) from Terra, and discovers that the Golden Throne is failing and that nobody alive knows how to fix it.

The 13th Black Crusade sits at the end of that quarter-millennium like a capstone, a giant flag saying "and you thought the last two and a half centuries were bad...".

By comparison, the background that came out of the global campaign for that event was frankly anticlimactic.

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Also, to quote K: "There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet". The big named threats have always just been the latest in a long line to me; it's a bit too contrived to believe that all the biggest threats to humanity happened at the same time.
It's a contrivance, yes. A contrivance to provide a perfect storm of strife and desolation galaxy-wide that can play host to any single battle or peril you can devise.

To the point: GW aren't, and won't be, progressing the setting. The 40k universe during the latter days of the Dark Millennium is too valuable an epoch to conclude, particularly where licenced products are concerned. The clock stops at ten minutes to midnight. The end is near enough to taste.

What that means here is that you don't have to worry about what you write being invalidated or impinged upon by GW's material - it won't be, as you're sailing into uncharted territory... and that's surely a good thing.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2013, 01:40:05 PM »
Because that's the way the setting is designed.
Intended to be designed, perhaps. But when the setting is known to have already survived apocalyptically scaled events, things like a small Xenos species without long range FTL travel don't exactly convey crushing doom to me.

I guess my overall point correlates with your summary - I'm not really arguing that GW needs to put new batteries in the WH40K clock (frankly, given a lot of their recent writing*, the results would probably stink), but that it's fully plausible to extend the setting - at least for fan purposes.

*And slightly less recently, the way they tried handling Storm of Chaos with "Oh look. They've given up and gone away". (I never felt the Eye of Terror fluff was as bad, in comparison. At least something happened).
The only good thing about that ending was that it confirmed a theory a friend and I have that Grand Theogonist Volkmar is a time lord. Who else could single handedly confront an invincible army, tell them to remember how they've been beaten before and make them run off?
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Offline Mentirius

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2013, 02:36:12 PM »
To the point: GW aren't, and won't be, progressing the setting. The 40k universe during the latter days of the Dark Millennium is too valuable an epoch to conclude, particularly where licenced products are concerned. The clock stops at ten minutes to midnight. The end is near enough to taste.

What that means here is that you don't have to worry about what you write being invalidated or impinged upon by GW's material - it won't be, as you're sailing into uncharted territory... and that's surely a good thing.

When you put it like that, aye, it certainly is.  I'm a lot more comfortable with the idea that GW will never move beyond that point than I would be if they intended to but not for a while. 

Personally I never had a problem with the timeline stopping where it does; I just object to their having said it was going to progress, encouraged Inquisitor players/writers to involve our characters in the 13th Black Crusade and then changed their minds about it afterwards.  If they were happy with the eleventh hour setting, they should have stuck with it, rather than roping so many people into an experiment that ultimately seems to have failed.  My involvement in Inquisitor peaked around the time of the Secrets & Lies campaign, and at the time most of the Conclave were using that as "present day", so as a result pretty much all of my characters are tied to the very end of the timeline.  That does bring greater freedom for stuff written later, but it also puts the onus on us to explain how the Imperium still exists hundreds of years post-apocalypse...after all, if there really is no hope for mankind at the turn of the millennium, then any fiction set much later but presenting the galactic situation in a vein we're familiar could itself be considered a contradiction of the canon. 

Part of the problem for me is that a few years ago, someone told me GW already had moved the timeline forward a few centuries beyond the end of M41, when they introduced the background about the Golden Throne failing.  Having been out of the loop for ages, I (rather naively) took them at their word and have since been imagining an Imperium that fragmented into isolated star systems, an Emperor truly on the brink of expiring, a drastically shrinking Astronimican, alien races colonising the galaxy, whole sectors losing contact with Terra...an "If you thought it was bad before..." situation, as you said about the 13th Crusade (which I remembered as something of an anti-climax, but assumed they would stand by, since it was all deemed canon at the time).  To me, an apocalypse whose culmination could be pinpointed to the minute, or even the year, always did seem rather fast for an entire galaxy...I had no problem believing that even when the Imperium's back was broken once and for all, it could take another millennium or so for the dust to really settle. 

In fact, I was quite inspired by the idea of a dwindling, post-Imperial humanity struggling to survive as isolated pockets of resistance in a galaxy now dominated by their enemies.  I had all sorts of "where are they now" concepts for any characters of mine who might feasibly still be living through this.  To me, the end of the Imperium shouldn't have to mean the death of every single member of the human species...look how long the Eldar survived after the birth of Slaanesh.  Foremost in my mind was the question of how long the Inquisition would be willing to flog the dead horse, before giving up on their role as enforcers of the status quo and looking for alternative ways to preserve some small fragment of humanity.  You can't be the Secret Police without a state, but any Inquisitors who outlived the interstellar infrastructure would have a lot more knowledge than most of the Imperial nobility/military/etc and some would surely be in a position to act. 

For example, there are other galaxies.  Million upon million of them.  The existence of the Tyranids proves that at least one of those galaxies can support life, since there must have been something to eat wherever it was they came from, and if there are two places where life arose independently then it seems probable there would be more.  If the warp is another dimension then it must be Universe-wide, and if warp travel doesn't have any consistent velocity then sailing to other galaxies shouldn't necessarily take the untold aeons it would in physical space.  Failing that, the Imperium has stasis technology.  If the long way worked for the Tyranids, why not Inquisitor Cracked with an ark populated by would-be colonists?

This is all just speculation really; I'm not suggesting GW should move into such murky territory.  They've spent a long time adding detail to their established backdrop and it works for them.  Apart from anything else, the wargaming potential would plummet when the armies started running out.  The only thing I really take issue with is the retconning of the 13th Crusade, and then only because they made such a big thing of it at the time and until now no one ever told me they'd changed their minds.  I would have been fine with setting Amon Dull way back in the past, if "no canon beyond eleventh hour, ever" had been their official stance when we started writing it.  But I hate retconning my own material, and having set it in the theoretical "present" so as to chime with those events, I feel an obligation to stand by those dates.  Which is all a long-winded way of saying I agree with Ben - jumping a few centuries ourselves has to be the way forward, at least for this particular story.  But for me, that means giving a fair bit of thought to how things must have changed.

Not a rant, just a ramble.  If I didn't like the 40k canon as it stands, I wouldn't have spent so many years playing games and writing stories set there.  And as for Secret's Hold, if no one else remembers the planet being nuked then fair enough - I still think Mac's post is awesome, so forget I said anything. :)


Offline Koval

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2013, 06:10:23 PM »
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To the point: GW aren't, and won't be, progressing the setting.
As I've already pointed out, though, they've extended feelers well past the Ten Minutes To Midnight point throughout the entire Cain series. There's even one point where the Golden Throne Is Failing stuff is explained away as something trivial or nonessential giving up the ghost, and as a result the Throne and the Emperor are still fine.

That all sorts of horrible things happen in the back end of the Dark Millennium is actually a bit of an "oh, is that it?" moment when you consider that humanity is still alive and well at least a couple of centuries later. That's the vision of the 40Kverse that I personally prefer -- yes, it's a horrible place to live, but there's also no point taking it too seriously, because there's a real danger that the entire setting swallows itself up with constant reiterations that the grim darkness of the far future is grim and dark.

Putting the Cain series aside for a second, we also have Cadian Blood which is set either during or after the 13th Black Crusade, and features Cadians talking about the sorry state that Home (ie, Cadia) is in. There are probably a couple of other things as well, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.

Officially, the timeline may well "stop" at ten minutes to midnight, but it's not like GW haven't already explored what happens next.

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2013, 06:46:03 PM »
There's even one point where the Golden Throne Is Failing stuff is explained away as something trivial or nonessential giving up the ghost, and as a result the Throne and the Emperor are still fine.
Quite. Given the Golden Throne is ill understood enough that it can't be fixed, it's difficult to say that any flaw in it is terminal... or even necessarily a flaw.

For the sake of argument, that's the line I took with my (long forgotten) M44 story. Whatever happened to the Throne, the Emperor still appears to be alive. Or, at least, that's what they're telling people - and as the Astronomicon hasn't gone out, it's believed.

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Offline Dosdamt

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2013, 07:06:19 PM »
Without the might and the logistics of the Imperium, though, Inquisitors simply become men / women willing to act. They would struggle resource wise, save those who have perhaps accumulated some wealth, contacts, or other resources for themselves. So having a thoroughly crumbled Imperium would be counter productive to the ability for us to operate an effective RP

I think also having the Golden Throne and Astronomicon breaking down would also be counter productive. Having it become intermittent might be interesting, but it would feth with communications and warp travel.

Now, I would argue that pretty much anything else could go. Having Necrons rising out of many tomb worlds, having Space Marine versus Space Marine conflict, having the 13th Black Crusade going on all around, Tau Empire rising up with their new Broadsides and whatnot - I see there being plenty to go at in that sense.

But I would fear any significant disruption to the mechanisms of travel, communication, and resource would hinder an Inquisitor too badly.

Onto other business, though. How's everyone coming along post wise?
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #27 on: July 05, 2013, 09:34:23 PM »
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To the point: GW aren't, and won't be, progressing the setting.
As I've already pointed out, though, they've extended feelers well past the Ten Minutes To Midnight point throughout the entire Cain series. There's even one point where the Golden Throne Is Failing stuff is explained away as something trivial or nonessential giving up the ghost, and as a result the Throne and the Emperor are still fine.
The first thing I learned when I got my first peek behind the curtain working for FFG... the things you can do with the source material varies by time and place.

Time was, every Black Library novel had to be from a human perspective and set in a fairly broad contemporary era. Now there are novels and short stories from alien perspectives, and ones set in other eras.

The first Ciaphas Cain novel was a decade ago - around the same time as the Eye of Terror campaign. The series began already delving into M42. The subsequent change to the general approach ("don't advance the setting") wasn't going to be applied to novels that are selling well, particularly as the universal approach to all published material is to assume that some or all of it is inaccurate or misleading ("everything is canon, nothing is true").

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That all sorts of horrible things happen in the back end of the Dark Millennium is actually a bit of an "oh, is that it?" moment when you consider that humanity is still alive and well at least a couple of centuries later. That's the vision of the 40Kverse that I personally prefer -- yes, it's a horrible place to live, but there's also no point taking it too seriously, because there's a real danger that the entire setting swallows itself up with constant reiterations that the grim darkness of the far future is grim and dark.
On the other hand, I regard the Ciaphas Cain series as having as much bearing on the actual 40k universe as Blackadder has on history. It's entertaining, but it isn't an accurate image.

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Putting the Cain series aside for a second, we also have Cadian Blood which is set either during or after the 13th Black Crusade, and features Cadians talking about the sorry state that Home (ie, Cadia) is in. There are probably a couple of other things as well, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone leap to prove me wrong. A day can't pass without someone arguing on the internet.

Thing is, Black Library have one mandate - to produce fiction that sells. And, whatever you think of its output, it certainly achieves that mandate. If a concept serves a story and doesn't veer too far from the accepted conventions of the background, it'll be allowed. But that's Black Library. They're run independently of GW (both, along with Forge World, exist under the same corporate umbrella, and there are shared resources, but they work on their own projects and approach them from their own perspectives). Black Library choosing to publish a novel that presents certain concepts does not mean that GW will follow suit or is otherwise required to even acknowledge them. Forge World are much the same in this regard.

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Officially, the timeline may well "stop" at ten minutes to midnight, but it's not like GW haven't already explored what happens next.
GW haven't. Two freelance novellists have been permitted to explore their own particular visions of it in a limited manner. That's actually a huge difference. Similar has been done for Warhammer Fantasy. Doesn't mean that - in the broadest sense - the Storm of Chaos isn't presented as an impending doom rather than an anticlimax.

The thing is, the Conclave of old spent an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to fit within the gaps between discrete lumps of canon... yet somehow also developed into something that couldn't quite fit. Many of the stories being told presented themselves as having a scale and scope that rivalled that of major canon conflicts... while somehow existing only on the fringes of the setting.

What we have now is a situation where the restrictions of the canon no longer apply... but there is no consensus as to how the setting would proceed during and after the 13th Black Crusade (a conflict where, like the 3rd Armageddon War, the canon produced during the campaign suffered from the necessary inclusion of all the factions in the war and a need to still have a setting left afterwards - it's very difficult to have a showdown between two factions if you want to include everyone, and you can't continue to sell products if you allow the apocalypse to happen in your setting).

To me - having invested a signficant amount of time invested in the setting - the idea of the beginning of the end (what the 13th Black Crusade, with it's super-ominous sounding name) being a wet blanket of a conflict because of the ill-conceived idea to let fiction be directed by wargame results doesn't sit right. The setting should be in a noticeably worse state after the war than before it... because anything less means the Imperium as a concept is a colossal overreaction.

That is, at least, my stance on the matter.
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Offline Koval

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2013, 10:44:29 PM »
particularly as the universal approach to all published material is to assume that some or all of it is inaccurate or misleading ("everything is canon, nothing is true").
As soon as we get to Games Workshop's stance on canon, though, we end up in a situation where we're both (indeed, all) right as well as wrong, and as such the statement "this is as far as the timeline goes" is essentially just as valid as "we have a glimpse of sorts beyond the end of the timeline" and "we just don't know".

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Two freelance novellists have been permitted to explore their own particular visions of it in a limited manner.
But ultimately these visions have been allowed to go through rather than shot down or tweaked/redacted, so with "everything is canon" (to use your paraphrasing), my personal reaction is "therefore one can refer to these things" (and with "nothing is true", I interpret that as a giant "YMMV").



As regards the interaction between the Conclave and GW canon, I personally like to think of the Conclave (and related projects) as AU fanon, where everything that's happened has happened, and then we have a few extra bits of our own tacked on as well -- keep in mind though that I don't intend that in a bad way (and bearing "nothing is true" in mind, surely everyone that writes fluff of any type does it to some extent).

I'm sure everyone has a completely different approach, though.

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The setting should be in a noticeably worse state after the war than before it
To my mind at least, it probably is. I don't recall the Imperium coming out of the Eye of Terror campaign especially well.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 11:01:40 PM by Koval »

Offline Van Helser

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Re: Welcome to the Truth (or the Conclave Archive) OOC
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2013, 05:42:41 PM »
Well, with some unexpected free time this afternoon I've managed to come up with something.

Once the rustiness goes, I hope I will find it easier to get things written down - as short as that was it took me a couple of hours to get it to what I hope is an acceptable level.

Anyhow, enter Inquisitor Maritsau: a man whom worries what the truth will mean for the Inquisition.

Real life holidays will keep my input limited over the next couple of weeks, but I will be reading eagerly.

Ruaridh