Author Topic: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?  (Read 1614 times)

Offline Inquisitor Thaken

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Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« on: October 24, 2016, 01:05:38 AM »
Has anybody done Inquisitor conversions for this stuff?

Not so much the characters.  Yes, Squats are no longer canon, and as to the rest, Jaq, Meh'Lindi Vitale Googol, and Obispal are really just fairly generic versions of their types.

Rather, the unique elements that made the books interesting., such as:

The Harlequin Man: He is clearly an illuminatus, trying to subvert the Ordo Hydra from within.  He is, as Meh'Lindi describes him, a truly remarkable person, with a lot of abilities, and a level of compassion that is rare in the Imperium.  Also, having been once possessed, he has a resistance to the chaotic, psychic and daemonic beyond what most characters possess.  As a PC, he'd be something like a paladin: lots of special McGuffins, but limitations on what he is allowed to do, based on his battle against chaos.

The Ordo Hydra: Now THIS would be really interesting.  An Inquisition ordo that is not just radicalized but wholly under the power of chaos, and with a neat little biological/chaotic mind control gadget (pieces of the hydra) to boot.  Ordo Hydra Inquisitors would be charged with seeding pieces of the hydra on every planet they visited.  They would probably still fight chaos if directly confronted with it, while, all unknowingly, serving its ends.  BTW, I definitely see the Ordo Hydra as serving Undivided Chaos.

The Inquisition Wars: Of course, the trilogy starts out with Draco seeking to expose the Ordo Hydra, and devolves (it is often complained) into a quest for Officio Assassinorum booty.  There has been a lot of speculation as to why Watson went this route, to include a falling out with GW after writing the first book (taking away his creative freedom: "Okay, Ian, Inquisitor was great, but in this next one we want Slaaneshi marines, and Tyranids, and Genestealers, and...") to which Watson replies by giving them exactly what they asked for - encased within a crappy story.

I tend to see it differently, however.  The whole point of the story is that it DOES drift away from the point of the story.  Draco ends up succumbing to romantic love (or lust) and everything he does, though cloaked in the mantle of defeating the Ordo Hydra, becomes increasingly just about bringing his assassin girlfriend back from the dead, even at the cost of a living woman's life to do so.

In any case, from the ending of the first book, it becomes obvious that the Inquisition Wars do break out in full swing at some point after Draco's death/ascendance, and it would be interesting to see what form this takes.  Obviously, it would be the untainted Ordos vs.  the Ordo Hydra, but who actually ended up on which side could be amusing to find out.  I can see a lot of the Puritan Inquisitors being duped into following the Hydras, while many of the more radical but more sensible Inquisitors might grasp what they really were fairly quickly. 

Certainly, a lot of damage would result, with massive forces of the Imperial Guard, Fleet, Space Marines, Arbites, etc., being called in, and possibly given conflicting commands by various different Inquisitors, leading the the Imperium becoming evn more of a confusing, bloody mess than it generally is.

A sort of grand quest by a few dedicated inquisitors (your characters) might be tasked (probably by no one other than themselves, once they figured out what was really happening, or maybe by the Illuminati) with tracking the Hydra to its source and destroying it.

P.S. As to Squats not being canon, who cares?  They certainly were at one point, or they couldn't have been destroyed by the 'nids, so Draco and company are obviously just from this earlier period.

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 05:59:53 PM »
Squats are no longer canon
Not entirely the case. The 6th Edition 40k rulebook mentioned them (albeit briefly) as one of the abhuman variants recognised by the Imperium.

Their role in the current version of the background is of course still very limited though, given that GW has no interest in them as a faction. And I can sort of see why - of all the obviously "borrowed" fantasy races, they've always felt the least distinct from their inspiration to me, and their greater grasp on technology was least suited to the direction 40k eventually went.

I've long wondered about how seriously the Tyranid story was intended, given that the fluff of the time was rather more tongue-in-cheek than it is now:

Player: "Before, the Squats were battling Orks while riding a mighty Leviathan, yet in the very next edition, my dear, there's no sign of them! Please to explain it!"
GW: "Uh, yeah, well, whenever you notice something like that... the Tyranids ate them".

Quote
Has anybody done Inquisitor conversions for this stuff?
Here and there. As you say, the current canonicity of a lot of the older fluff the books are based on is rocky.

The standard 'Clave advice on player-written background (which also really applies to other non-canon stuff, including ex-canon material) is to keep it to a fairly limited scale, stuff that wouldn't really impact on the big picture. Mostly that advice applies to stop people writing *another* of Eisenhorn's apprentices, running a story where they blow up Cadia or whatever, but it also avoids "Why isn't something this major common knowledge?", and keeps players who might not like the older/your fluff happier than if you're expecting them to believe major stories.

These days, if someone writes an Illuminati character, the Illuminati tends to be less of a grand organisation and instead more of a number of very rare and usually semi-isolated individuals, their "illuminated abilities" tend to be much more restricted... that kind of thing.

There's potential in these ideas, but they're best in moderation.
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Offline Inquisitor Thaken

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2016, 07:52:29 PM »
My take on GW and its endless retcons of retcons, is that they add to the fun.

Look at it this way.  There were Squats.  Then the Tyranids ate them.  Then they came back (maybe, sort of).

So which of these is true?

Who cares?  In the words of Jack Nicholson, "You can't handle the truth!", which is really what the Inquisition is all about.

I say that each area of fluff that conflicts with another is really just representative of the writings of different Inquisitors, and their various opinions/dogmas/lies about what is really going on in the Imperium.  The Empire of Man is vast, and only loosely held together.  The rulers of it are divided, to say the least.  Why couldn't all of these things be versions of the truth?

Another example is the way canon conflicts with rules, and rules conflict with each other.  There is GW fluff that has the space marines as 10' tall monsters capable of taking out ten or twenty times their number of ordinary humans, but anybody who has played any version of 40k knows this isn't accurate.  Obviously, it is Imperial propaganda.  Yes, the SMs are tough, but nowhere near that tough.  In fact, if I recall correctly, there was an old WD article that gave rules for SMs that had them as the invincible killing machines that canon repeatedly states they are.

Even here, the rules of different games collide with each other.  Inquisitor SMs are far tougher than 40K SMs.  Why?  Perhaps they represent a different viewpoint, or only high-powered character types that the 40K rules represent as heroes of various levels.

In short, maybe there is an illuminati, maybe there isn't.  If they do exist, maybe they are few and far between, or maybe they are the network beneath all networks that truly rules the Imperium.  Who knows?  I'm sure there are Inquisitors who would subscribe to any of the above viewpoints.

However, like any rpg (which Inquisitor kinda is, though of course, that's only MY heretical opinion ;-)  ) there is a lot more fun to be had if the GM is given free reign to develop his universe (which it became the second he bought the rule book), rather than having to answer to canon for each small alteration.

Just my opinion, and it will not be missed, soon being eclipsed by new and brighter lights  ;-)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 07:57:13 PM by Inquisitor Thaken »

Offline TheNephew

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2016, 08:09:33 PM »
The "all fluff is a viewpoint" stance is GW's official one, as well as most other peoples' since before GW declared it official.

With the Squats, I'd always assumed, as with every other flavour of alien or mutant, that there was a good handful of them scattered around the galaxy - they were supposed to be fairly well integrated into the Imperium at the time of eating, if memory serves. It's more than a little unbelievable that every last member would even have been physically able to travel home in time to get eaten, transit times beign what they are in-universe.

As for Marines in 40k versus Inquisitor - the Inquisitor ones are supposed to be reasonably accurate, while the ones in 40k are supposed to be game pieces.
GW would make no money from a fluff-accurate army of 28mm Space Marines, because it would be a quarter of the size of the current ones.
That would apply equally to Eldar, Chaos Marines, Necrons and virtually every other 'elite' faction.

As for the Illuminati...
That one really was dropped by GW, last time I was involved in the fluff, so that's totally up to your interpretation for use without conflicting with anything 'canon'.
But maybe it's been picked up again.

Offline Inquisitor Thaken

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2016, 08:26:49 PM »
The "all fluff is a viewpoint" stance is GW's official one, as well as most other peoples' since before GW declared it official.


So they finally saw the wisdom of my position.  Good lads.

With the Squats, I'd always assumed, as with every other flavour of alien or mutant, that there was a good handful of them scattered around the galaxy - they were supposed to be fairly well integrated into the Imperium at the time of eating, if memory serves. It's more than a little unbelievable that every last member would even have been physically able to travel home in time to get eaten, transit times beign what they are in-universe.


I think I've seen it bandied about that "the Tyranids ate the Squats" makes far less sense than that this was a cover story for the paranoid Imperium to strike in and wipe them out.


As for the Illuminati...
That one really was dropped...

And isn't that exactly what the Illuminati would want you to think...   3:)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 08:37:54 PM by Inquisitor Thaken »

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2016, 11:04:35 PM »
there is a lot more fun to be had if the GM is given free reign to develop his universe (which it became the second he bought the rule book), rather than having to answer to canon for each small alteration.
It's not canon you have to answer to - it's the players. :P

Rule Zero ("The GM is always right") is beaten by Rule Minus-One ("Players can leave").

Inquisitor players tend to know the setting backwards - that's why they play the game. With that in mind, I'd never stray that far from the boundaries of the currently accepted setting, particularly with larger groups or ones you're looking to expand. But I don't see that as a problem - the boundaries of the WH40k setting are gargantuan (possibly the largest of any fictional universe I can think of. The only possible contender I can currently think of is Star Wars - also a science-fantasy setting on a galactic scale, with millennia of history).

Having to tone it down a bit when using ex-canon hardly hamstrings what a creative GM can do.

Quote
Obviously, it is Imperial propaganda.  Yes, the SMs are tough, but nowhere near that tough.
Personally, I think the best depiction of Space Marines is from the Space Marine video game. It's a game that makes you feel like you're a super soldier, but without making you completely invincible.

A lot of it is down to the award-worthy animation. Seeing a Space Marine slam into an Ork at full sprint looks and feels exactly like it should. (Possibly the best animation though has got to be pummelling an Ork to death with his own shield).

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Offline Inquisitor Thaken

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2016, 01:02:12 AM »


It's not canon you have to answer to - it's the players. :P

Rule Zero ("The GM is always right") is beaten by Rule Minus-One ("Players can leave").

Inquisitor players tend to know the setting backwards - that's why they play the game. With that in mind, I'd never stray that far from the boundaries of the currently accepted setting, particularly with larger groups or ones you're looking to expand. But I don't see that as a problem - the boundaries of the WH40k setting are gargantuan (possibly the largest of any fictional universe I can think of. The only possible contender I can currently think of is Star Wars - also a science-fantasy setting on a galactic scale, with millennia of history).

Having to tone it down a bit when using ex-canon hardly hamstrings what a creative GM can do.



Well, all I can say is, your experience is different than mine.  I'll give you an example.

My first 40k rpg campaign was called Afterman.  It was run with 1st ed 40k and a tack-on set of rules from Dragon magazine called Orcs In Space, which made for a role playing system about equivalent to original D&D in complexity.  I was running it in the mid 1990s.

Inquisitor Hezekiah Masters had discovered an ancient Squat device called the Time Funnel.  It had, as it turned out, not been invented by the Squats, but by a far older alien race.  The device had the effect of massively increasing the effects of time on anything.  Essentially, you could shove a sword, radio, or hamster into it, and age it a century in a couple of seconds.  The Squats used it to test the effects of aging on various alloys and engineering prototypes, but other than that, pretty much left it alone.

Masters saw a very different use for it.  Would it be possible to use such a device to speed up evolution?

After something like seventy years of work with the Squat engineers and some kidnapped tech-priests, Masters managed to evolve human cells several million years into the future, and, ultimately, to clone such super-evolved humans as babies.  From that point on, he undertook to raise and train them in normal space-time.

He had created the first fully evolved humans, who would, given the proper training, be capable of overcoming the Powers of Chaos.


Now, this campaign was run several times, twice in the system given above, once in Inquisitor, and once, abortively, in Dark Heresy, before work considerations forced me to stop.

In only one of those incarnations did I ever have anyone complain about it being out of canon. 

In each case, I explained to the players ahead of time that the plot was eventually going to diverge from the standard 40k line.  Only the one guy had any complaints, and he ended up leaving.  For the rest, they all agreed that the fun would be in the unknown, though against the familiar backdrop of the 40k universe.  All had a good time, and nobody ever stormed out, despite such a major break from the established canon.

In the end, I think, any rpg has to be about exploring the unknown, at least to some extent.  Where is the fun of the infinity and strangeness of the 40k universe, if you know that the strangeness only goes so far?

Sure, I can see running one-offs, or Inquisitor style narative campaigns, where the whole purpose is for the Istvaanian Inquisitor Shaboobowitz to track down and destoy the Horusian Inquisitor Finkelstein before he summons the demon prince Uhp'chuk-loogy to devour the local nebula, but I think your fears of rigidity are a bit unfounded.  My experience is that, as long as you don't pull a bait-and-switch, most players will enjoy a good plot twist.

Offline jediknight129

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2016, 03:39:14 PM »
Plot twists are cool and fine but when a gm utterly breaks the bounds of logic as it pertains to the game system it causes a divide in the group. Those who want to play a game set within a certain background and set of established lore and play characters and events which fit with that setting and those who have no great love for the setting and are quite happy to pee in someone else's pool and justify it Because fun'

A spare marine techpriest a sistsr of batfle and an arbites rapid reaction commander conspiring to have the emperor torn from the golden thrown and replaced with aforementioned battle sister being a fairly ridiculous example I was involved in and pressured to play and allow to happen because  of 'fun' and 'a great story' that was also the first campaign where the metafeat 'fancied by the GM' and the later talent '[EXCOMMUNICATE]ing the GM' appeared and had a meaningful impact on my gaming experience when taken by a member of the group.



I'm happy to accept and see quirky bits of old canon and fanon appear in games and backgrounds but I do think there's a line and a good gm/player undsrstands that and will respect the players they work with to create a tense engaging story with.

I love the concept of a coterie of beings with a common experience tying them together eorking in and around the imperial ethos and cult to further the aims of humanity but breaking every rule in the book to do that because 'we illuminated know best' and really want to see how this can be used for good or Ill in my own games.

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2016, 03:46:03 PM »
Well, all I can say is, your experience is different than mine.  I'll give you an example.
Given that the possibility of time distortion is very well established within the WH40k universe (warp travel, stasis fields and the like), all that would really need to be done is replace the squats with something like a heretek - after that, your game could be run with no real conflicts with modern WH40K canon.

Alternatively, the overall aim isn't actually wildly different from one of my own plot lines - a Radical Thorian project attempting to genetically engineer/evolve a suitable new host for the Emperor; This mostly involves using huge quantities of prisoners for some very nasty experiments, identifying the best of their genetic material, and then recombining and refining it through generations of vat grown prototypes - in the end, the result is another means of canon-friendly rapid evolution.

With a little compromise, there's a lot you can do. Take, for example, the distinctly non-canon subject of female Space Marines.
If you're prepared for them to be some other kind of power-armoured super-soldiers rather than specifically Astartes, then there are a lot of canonical non-geneseed based boosts. Characters like Officio Assassins are massively superhuman through a mix of chemical conditioning and augmentation - and while these are probably less cost-efficient or less ideal methods, that actually fits with the relative rarity of female super-soldiers.
If you wanted to take it further, you could even use the fact that Space Marine chapters can only be created with the express permission of the High Lords (and to do otherwise would be high treason, even for an Inquisitor) to explain their creation - they were formed by some lesser authority, and made female in order to make them distinct.

With the WH40K universe being a massive science-fantasy setting, I've always found the canon to be expansive and versatile enough that most stories can be made to fit - and I personally find it far more interesting and satisfying to answer the question of how things could legitimately work, rather than just going "I'm the GM".

That said, it is ultimately your game. I prefer to play by the rules of the setting (at least in part because The Conclave is as much a player group as it is a forum, and dozens of us have been running a continuous story together for seven years now - so it's generally best if everyone's playing from broadly the same music), but if you find them genuinely too restricting, then go with whatever.

(Although I don't really know if/how I can help with a "whatever" approach, given that's inherently got to be unique to how you want to play).
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 04:18:39 PM by MarcoSkoll »
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Offline Inquisitor Thaken

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2016, 10:17:37 PM »

(Although I don't really know if/how I can help with a "whatever" approach, given that's inherently got to be unique to how you want to play).

Not looking for help, as I'm happy with the way I do things, and its always worked for my players.  Just musing and offering a different point of view.

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2016, 03:05:46 AM »
Fair enough. Normally "Has anyone done X in Inquisitor?" threads tend to be players looking for advice.

As an aside, you should always feel free to ignore me if I seem too preachy. I don't (normally :P) intend to be meandering, verbose or obsessive, but that's how my train of thought works - and sometimes it leaks through the keyboard.
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

GW's =I= articles

Offline Inquisitor Thaken

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2016, 03:30:53 AM »
Fair enough. Normally "Has anyone done X in Inquisitor?" threads tend to be players looking for advice.

As an aside, you should always feel free to ignore me if I seem too preachy. I don't (normally :P) intend to be meandering, verbose or obsessive, but that's how my train of thought works - and sometimes it leaks through the keyboard.

All's well.  Incidentally, and I don't mean to be snarky about this, but there are certain rpg genres that do seem to foster a "One True Way" approach.  Off the top of my head, the 40k family of games and Call of Cthulhu seem to be the most rigid in this regard.  Go to any CoC website, and, just for laughs, suggest running a campaign that is geared toward hunting down and killing Cthulhu.  I guarantee that the response will be... spirited.  Other systems, such as post-Gygax D&D seem to take a much more "do your own thing" approach. 

Of course, it's a little more difficult to take GW's "One True Wayism" seriously, as, unlike Chaosium, GW is always happy to retcon the "One True Way."  A bit like 1984, where Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia, until the Ministry of Truth tells us we've always been at war with Eastasia.  Still, in a game that's about an all-powerful and yet constantly in-fighting Inquisition, maybe that's part of the ironic fun.

I've simply always been of the opinion that I'm as intelligent and imaginative as any professional game designer out there, and, since I always seem to be able to get a group together to play, I've never seen a reason to change this opinion.

Of course, this DOES NOT MEAN that I don't want to seek out other's ideas, and so I'm happy to do so here.

Offline jediknight129

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2016, 01:54:37 PM »
Would you say there are still certain off limits things though things that completely break the idea of what the system is about in it's bg

Offline Inquisitor Thaken

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2016, 03:13:29 PM »
Would you say there are still certain off limits things though things that completely break the idea of what the system is about in it's bg

For me the limits are bad taste (a game, say, where the GM insisted on having us role play a Slaaneshi orgy, and described everything in loving detail), or maybe super-silliness (an Inquisitor decides to found a new Ordo based on conquering the galaxy through opening a chain of fast food restaurants, or whatever) or bathroom humor.

Other than that, the only limits would be, is it well done?  For examples:

-A campaign where the Emperor is actually a warp entity.

-A campaign where the Squats were wiped out by the Imperium, but a few survived in secret, built ultra-powerful weapons, and are now back for revenge.

-A campaign where the Tyranids turned out to be a weapon constructed by another long dead race, that got out of control.  The Tyranids could possibly be destroyed by a properly implemented self-destruct subroutine, or maybe even controlled by another race.

-A campaign where the Eldar are trying to contruct a new god to destroy Slaanesh, and need aid from the PCs in doing so, or protecting it while it is still under construction.  This has one of two catastrophic ends: the Eldar succeed, and Chaos is dealt a near-death blow, as one of the four great powers is gone, and the rest are crippled, or the Eldar fail, and the new god's fall destroys what is left of them, removing one of man's strongest allies (though man didn't know it) and freeing up Chaos to redouble its war against the Imperium.

The only issue I would have with any of the above, would be whether the GM was skilled enough and the players mature enough to handle it.

Now, I would throw out one proviso.  Since, as you guys have pointed out a lot of people enjoy their 40K "untainted", the players should be informed at the beginning of the campaign that this was the direction in which it was headed, so they have an opportunity to bow out.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2016, 03:10:17 PM by Inquisitor Thaken »

Online mcjomar

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Re: Ian Watson's Jaq Draco Trilogy in Inquisitor?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2016, 03:47:13 PM »
-A campaign where the Emperor is actually a warp entity.

Starchild prophecy?

-A campaign where the Squats were wiped out by the Imperium, but a few survived in secret, built ultra-powerful weapons, and are now back for revenge.

There are so many ways to run things like this, with or without squats - I think a variation on this theme is buried in the back of the official Inquisitor rulebook

-A campaign where the Tyranids turned out to be a weapon constructed by another long dead race, that got out of control.  The Tyranids could possibly be destroyed by a properly implemented self-destruct subroutine, or maybe even controlled by another race.

Given that tyranids are biological, I guess this would only work either on a psychic level, or a biological level, in regards "programming" the correct poison/injection to correctly alter one of the nodes of the hive mind to send out the signal to all the others?

-A campaign where the Eldar are trying to contruct a new god to destroy Slaanesh, and need aid from the PCs in doing so, or protecting it while it is still under construction.  This has one of two catastrophic ends: the Eldar succeed, and Chaos is dealt a near-death blow, as one of the four great powers is gone, and the rest are crippled, or the Eldar fail, and the new god's fall destroys what is left of them, removing one of man's strongest allies (though man didn't know it) and freeing up Chaos to redouble its war against the Imperium.

This is an actual thing as part of the Eldar Rhanda Dandra (sp?) or End Times stuff. Specifically the god Ynnead (I think?) who as more and more Eldar die, gets more and more "possible" within the warp. The Eldar God of the Dead. When all (I think) of the Eldar are dead, one way or another, Ynnead will awaken, and fight Chaos. So this is actual "official" fluff.
How this interacts with the Starchild prophecy from Inquisition War Omnibus, and other materials I'm not sure.
Perhaps Empy and Ynnead team up to flatten Chaos forever?
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