Light Falls Backwards From Another Place.


Next month, I'll be returning to Warhammer World to continue the on-going series of linked games aboard the Arkke/Yggdrassilium. The photographs of those games are the most viewed article on this blog, and as I get myself back into the setting whilst I prepare my forces again, I thought I'd write a little more as to just what that setting is, and my take on some topics that relate to it. 



The space hulk is one of the most enigmatic and tragic concepts of 40k lore: a series of horrendously fused space-ships, long-dead craft and interstellar flotsam, amalgamated by accident and fate, like a Frankenstein's monster of calcified metallic shit cursed to drift hopelessly alone. Some hulks are so vast they command their own atmosphere and gravitational pull, frequently drawing yet more appendages into their vast, pathetic bulk, like a Siren calling a sea-faring vessel to it's doom. Larger than planets, and defying all the architectural logic or aesthetic consideration of man or xenos, they are as a great cancerous cell, adrift in space. 

More treacherous still than it's physical composition, though, is the hulk's tenuous grip on reality: shifting in and out of the warp, these vast forms appear and disappear at random into the immaterium, often spilling into reality with devastating effect on those celestial bodies, or space-faring craft, that the hulk emerges adjacent to, or worse, in the very same physical space as. Planets are ripped off axes by the sudden emergence of an enormous gravitational pull; worlds are torn asunder by, and fused with, hulks materialising into their very being; ships find their course suddenly blocked by an impassable and un-navigable mass. The hulks themselves drift unknown or forgotten in the impossibility of the warp, enormous ghost vessels adrift beyond space, time or comprehension - disappearing from reality to re-emerge in a space long since dead, or yet to be born. 

Smaller hulks will have a different effect on celestial bodies as the two move through the immaterium: all planets cast a shadow in the warp, a dark mirror of their own physicality. Unguided by navigators or seers, the hulks pass through these shadows, causing ripples in the actuality of the lived planet. Similarly, these planet-shadows spill through the corridors, rooms and caverns of the hulks, printing themselves on the floors, walls and surfaces like chiaroscuro patterns from invisible structures, long since passed. As light takes minutes to arrive from one star to another body, these shadows are cast long after the two forms slip through one another, either side of a thin veil of reality. Sometimes these shadows fuse, and darkened passages become black pits in which this veil of reality is disrupted - a tunnel in a cavern, a forgotten cupboard on an Imperial ship, a darkened wood, the depths of an ocean - leading into vast, impossible, ruins on a hulk adrift countless millions of miles away. 

And what of those unfortunates cast adrift on these vast craft? What of the crew of the ships fused into one another, or those souls on a planet cut into the same physical space as a hulk, only to be dragged away into the warp? What of those fools that board these haunted phantoms, either to purge, to hide, to flee, through naivete or through misadventure? 

This is the tiny corner of 40k lore that the Yggdrassilium campaign grows from and develops within: the wretched, the forgotten and the hopeless aboard such a vast craft, adrift in time and space. A space so huge and so fractured, many of it's inhabitants will have no recollection of who their ancestors are, their forefathers, their original destiny, the Imperium at large, or even that they are adrift in space at all. The last survivors of generations of inbreeding, fratricide and gang warfare. These are our forgotten few. These are the gangs of the Yggdrassilum. 

26 comments:

  1. Someone please give fulgrim a job writing for gw/fw. I hope someone high up at gw is reading this blog. They should take note on how to enrich, rather than diminish the 40k universe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are living an era where fans are creating written/illustrative/mini-art that really competes the original ones! This story above is fine example of that indeed!

      Delete
    2. What a recommendation! Thanks, Phil and Mikko.

      After a very annoying day today I would have been more than happy emptying my head for GW for a living.

      Delete
  2. Fulgrim I really like your writings.

    The lasting image for me is the world in shadows/the cross over. The shadow that should not exist until you realise the light source is not in this realm. The world in a corridor.

    I am very much looking forward to the next visit to the Yggdrassillium. I promise to f*** you all up in the best possible way
    :-p

    I also hope that you show off your gang and their concept more because I really liked the idea and execution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Peter.
      Yes, definitely: this is part of a series, and the beginnings of some rumblings that will eventually go into the booklet.

      Delete
    2. Just wanted to say, first I'm loving the blog the conversions and background are a delight (my complements especially to whoever did the navigators) and look forward to seeing more soon.
      Also what role do astropaths have on the Yggdrassillium? I imagine they would be a (mostly) neutral party as their role is to communicate, to send messages I could see them acting as messengers between factions, akin to their role in the underrated Desert Raiders by Lucien Soulban using their status as soulbound messengers of the Emperor to intervene and mediate disputes.
      But enough of that might I suggest if you haven't already seen them, Pandorum and Event Horizon would make perfect viewing as they both fit in very well with what you are trying to create also I can't help but feel that the soundtrack from Aliens would be perfect for your games I can't help but hear it when I'm reading your excellent posts.
      Keep up the great work and my regards to Mr. Blanche!

      Delete
    3. Thanks very much for your post, and your compliments - the navigators (such as they are) are mine.

      Well, there are five if us involved in the Yggdrassillium campaign so my opinions aren't canon, but rather than necessarily looking for compromise and a cohesive background each of us instead forwards our own view in various different ways - either through email, image or miniature. I enjoy this method of doing things as it allows for ambiguity and a fluid narrative space, which seems appropriate given the nature of the stage setting we're using.

      Actually, I'll talk a little more about this in a separate post when I define the Navigator gang a little further later this week.

      Thanks for the recommendations, too. I'll definitely check those out.

      Delete
  3. I always loved the imagery of Space Hulks, the game was my first intro to GW etc. It was also my first intro to genestealers :)

    It almost seems like a whole realm of lore and fluff that never really gets delved into within 40K, which is a shame to be honest.

    a stand alone skirmish game crossing SpaceHulk, Necromunda and Gorka Morka would be rather good - and not too dissimilar to what you get up to on the ocassional weekend in Nottingham

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Mr.Phiq. Sorry, I owe you a reply to your email.

      Delete
  5. Goosebumps...... I can't wait for the battle report!

    ReplyDelete
  6. class tim - and one of mi favourite paintings bi PD as well - so dark and haunting .....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh wow , I read this last night but I couldn't really sum up the feelings you captured with your prose.. This is new territory writing... Truly original ..rich Evocative mind warping , beautiful , and really very clever indeed !

    So many ideas ... Now how to capture the above as terrain :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But Neil you already have captured it as terrain.

      Delete
    2. Uh, Neil - you already have, I was just trying to do your terrain justice.

      Delete
  8. Wow, this is much more popular than I could have imagined. I'm slightly overwhelmed by your comments and support - thanks, guys.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mate, that was a great description of a setting I've eagerly sat and waited to be updated on.

    Like others before me have said - get yerself a job writing and fixing 40K properly!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Fantastic imagery as expected. I really enjoy seeing new bits for the Hulk from all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 40k is many different things to many different people - for me it is in the emperor's will and the models i create - this prose will make an excellent frontis to the yggd pamphlet which ill return to as things settle down ......

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the idea of the space hulk slowly acquiring shadows of planets as it drifts through space. A sci-fi incarnation of the archetypal Labyrinth, with perils and wonders hidden beyond each turn.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your writing and choice of imagery never fails to inspire!

    This is hauntingly good (which I knew it would be just by reading the title). Darkness and light!

    Thanks for always being a great source of inspiration :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I just found your blog today and wanted to share some ideas I've been playing with using the Warhammer 1st editon RPG and Mutant Future.
    I think you'll like it.
    http://mutantsmagic.blogspot.com/2013/01/weirdhammer-science-fantasy-roleplay.html

    http://mutantsmagic.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-shadow-of-yggdrasil-campaign-ideas.html

    ReplyDelete