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Warhammer 40,000 (a.k.a. Warhammer 40K, WH40K or simply 40K) is a tabletop miniature wargame produced by Games Workshop, set in a dystopian science fantasy universe of the 41st millennium.
The game was created by Rick Priestley and Andy Chambers in 1987 as the futuristic companion to Warhammer Fantasy Battle, sharing many game mechanics. Expansions for Warhammer 40K are released from time to time which give rules for urban skirmishes, planetary siege, and large-scale combat. As of 2013, the game is at its sixth edition, which was published in 2012. The background and playing rules of the game’s factions are covered in the game’s rule books and supplemental army ‘Codexes’, along with articles in the Games Workshop magazines, White Dwarf and Imperial Armour.
In Popular culture
The game has become widespread due to the fatalistic and bloody nature of the game, being the prime example of grimdark. It is common for such things as entire solar systems being eaten by evil gods, or daemons to consume the minds of psychic humans. The game is sometimes made fun of it’s nature, due to being so over the top.
The game has an expansive universe, prompting hundreds of books based on the universe, most notably by a company named Black Library, and a fair share of video games, mostly made by Relic Entertainment.
The franchise has a large presence on the Internet. There are many forums devoted to it including 40KForums, DakkaDakka, Warseer, and 4chan’s /tg/ board. Over the years, tons of fanon have been created, from fan-created characters, to the entire chapters of Space Marines. There is a Wiki specifically dedicated to it. Much of the fanon can be found at 1d4chan, which also details the lore behind the many factions of the series and discusses several strategies that players can employ. Fans of the franchise are traditionally very devoted, and huge amounts of fan fiction and fan art can be found in various sites, such as DeviantArt.
“METAL BAWKSES!” a catchphrase spawned from the video game “Dawn of War: Soulstorm”. It is said during an assault on the stronghold of the Blood Ravens chapter of Space Marines when playing the Chaos Space Marines. In a cutscene describing the Blood Raven’s use of “Rhino” Armored Transports, the Chaos Lord refers to them as “metal boxes”. However, due to the nature of Dawn of War voice acting, it is often spelled as it sounds: METAL BAWKSES.
Another voice acting joke from Dawn of War: Soulstorm, “SPESS MEHRENS” refers to the leader of the Blood Ravens chapter of Space Marines. When the stronghold of the team is attacked, a cutscene occurs in which the Force Commander, Indrick Boreale, delivers a “rousing” speech. However, because of the odd accent Boreale was given, his words come off oddly pronounced with unusual emphasis.
“Blood For The Blood God!”
“BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!” is an extremely common battlecry amongst the Chaos Space Marines faction. The phrase roots itself at one of the Four Gods of Chaos, Khorne. Khorne is the God of War, Murder, Anger, Hate, and general Bloodshed, hence blood for the blood god. His private realm in the Warp is said to be filled with rivers of blood and that he sits upon a throne of skulls, made from all who die in battle, hence, Skulls For The Skull Throne.
In the game, Humanity has come to worship The Emperor of Mankind, who led the Great Crusade to restore humanity to the stars, as a one true god. The violent nature of the universe, coupled with blind faith, has led to a church rule of mankind. As a result, Heresy and blasphemy are the worst crimes a person can commit. It is common for “Heretics” to be used as living fuel, burned alive, have their soul shredded, or as the case is on the battlefield, summarily executed.
Ursarkar E. Creed
Ursarkar E. Creed (more commonly known as Creed) is the leader of the Imperial forces of Cadia. He is known for having a unique rule called “Tactical Genius”. The rule allows him to infiltrate nearly any unit under the Scout-Special Rule. However, many of the things he can infiltrate make no logical sense, such as divisions of vehicles, Titans, and many other things. The cry “It must have taken some sort of tactical genius-CREEEEED!” comes from a combination of the name of the rule, along with a piece of fan fiction.
The Angry Marines are a popular custom army created by 4chan’s /tg/ (Traditional Games) board. The chapter members are known their red trimmed, bright yellow armor, unorthodox fighting style, and being constantly angry. Their battlecry is “ALWAYS ANGRY! ALL THE TIME!”. Lots of fanon have been created around this chapter.
- Just as Planned / Not as Planned – a phrase associated with everything being a plot by Tzeentch, which involves lots of dickery and nasty trolling.
- Drive Me Closer! I Want To Hit Them With My Sword! – originates from a picture of a Commissar in a Leman Russ Battle Tank holding his sword high, mocking the fact that in a setting with tanks and machine guns, people still try to charge the enemy to hit them with a sword
- The Emperor Protects – a popular quote, showing The Emperor’s godlike authority in the Imperium.
- More Dakka – “Dakka” is an Ork term for high rate of fire. Often used in pictures with gigantic rapid-fire weapons.
- WAAAGH! – the Ork word for war. Its a word that in order to say properly must be shouted. The word gains more power the more orks shout it.
- Red Ones Go Fasta! – Orks have a strong belief that a red vehicle moves faster than one that isn’t. This being Orks, this is true for them. It is considered comedic because it doesn’t make logical sense.
- Thin Your Paints – an advice to novice painters to avoid obscuring model details with globs of paint. A formulation of 60-66% paint 40-33% water is optimal.
- Extra Heretical – often aimed at an example of extreme heresy.
- “Ere we go, ’ere we go, ’ere we go!” – can often be heard at Warhammer 40,000 tournaments, particularly when an Ork player is doing well, but also as a sort of general rallying cry for the entire hobby.
- Matt Ward – One of the codex writers for 40K. His codexes are infamously known to be broken in the metagame due to ludicrously overpowered rulesets and bastardization of lore.
- Bloody Magpies – a fan nickname for Blood Ravens, who have a reputation of stealing (getting “gifted”) various wargear, relics and anything that isn’t bolted down.
- Abaddon the Armless Failure / Failbaddon – started from a picture of Abaddon’s miniature with its arm parts missing and the fact that he started 13 black crusades and still hasn’t managed to destroy the Imperium.
- Exterminatus – Similar to “HERESY!” or “Orbital bombardment: It’s the only way to be sure.”. It’s a reaction image/phrase to signify one’s extreme hate or dislike to something that you want it destroyed and obliterated from the face of the planet.