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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:33 pm 
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Descendant Degeneration

"Ancient Man lived a life free of hardship and deprivation, for he had built himself an abundant paradise and banished what was ill in life. In these gardens sprawling across the stars, Man did not kill Man, and Man did not abduct Woman, and Man did not beat Child, for all lived a life of bliss. Hope reigned supreme, a hope sprung from Man's great achievements, and Man worshipped his own high knowledge.

For Man had utterly mastered nature, and his craft and cunning tapped into the very powers of creation itself. And Man of Gold had created Man of Stone to work for him, and Man of Stone had in turn created Man of Iron to work for him. And thus this earthly trinity of Man bestrode the stars like a colossus, and Man stood strong and unchallenged by mortals. And Man dared the cosmos to best him, and for a time nothing in the heavens answered his challenge, and Man concluded that nothing holy existed, and even if divinity did exist, then Man's might was far superior.

Yet Man's own arrogance rose to meet his challenge, and in his hubris Man was cut down by his own creations. Man of Iron turned on Man of Stone, and when Man of Stone had fallen did Man of Iron turn on Man of Gold. A great slaughter across the stars ensued, and Man barely survived the war in paradise which he had brought upon himself.

Yet even so Man's hubris and unbelief persisted, for Man still clung onto the remains of his estates, and Man was determined to rebuild and rise higher than ever before. The devastation had been great, yet Man stood triumphant even against the might of his own treacherous craft. And Man dared creation itself to interfere with his worldly ascendance.

And Dark Ones of Hell festering at the roots of the universe heard Man's call of defiance, and they cast Man down utterly by sending him witches and unholy ravages, strife and madness. The false Golden Age of Man had proven to be nothing but a Dark Age of Technology, an era empty of faith and bereft of divine blessings, and thus did paradise burn.

And so Man was torn from his pedestal, and in his fall did Man topple his own works. Man bled and Man suffered. Man killed Man, and Man abducted Woman, and Man beat Child, and Man ate his own kin in desperation during Old Night. Doom was laden upon Man, and Man almost died to the last for his baleful sins, yet the goodness in the heart of the hidden Emperor would not allow such a righteous end to befall wretched Man.

For He on Terra arose amid the carnage and devastation and revealed Himself to be the only true protector of Mankind, chosen by all the gods of old, whom He now superseded. And the Emperor saved Man and reclaimed the lost stars, and for a time all was well. Yet the wickedness in the heart of Man proved too strong, and so Man betrayed his saviour and nigh-on slew the Emperor.

And the Emperor ascended into godhood and decreed Man to do eternal penance for his abominable sins. And thus it shall be, as the God-Emperor Himself decreed: Man will be made to repent.

We swear everlasting hatred toward the deviant and the mutant. We swear everlasting hatred toward the alien and the witch. We swear everlasting hatred toward the unbeliever and the heretic. We swear everlasting hatred toward the sinner and the unrepentant.

With the God-Emperor as our witness, we swear to purge blasphemy and sin from this world. We swear to scour the land and rid it of filth. We swear to harrow the abodes of Man and bring him to redemption.

For we will harbour no pity. No remorse. No mercy.

Hate!

An emotion as deep as it is pure.

Hate!

An emotion as true as it is just.

Hate!

Let it flow, let it guide you.

Hate! Hate! Hate!"

-
Ancestral Sins of Man, pamphlet penned in M.38 by Cardinal Ignatius Paulinus Hieronymus of Salem Proctor

- - -

One of the very best aspects of Warhammer 40'000 is its overarching history for Humanity. It starts with soaring hopes and dazzling progress, with unfettered science, technology and optimism. Yet it end in flames and darkness, in despair and ignorance, where only feeble sparks of the great ancient light remains.

The Emperor's bloody conquest across the Milky Way galaxy succeeded in uniting most of the Human worlds, yet even during the Imperium's short-lived age of progress did it manage to quell alternative sources of Human rebirth, such as the Auretian Technocracy. The Imperium of the Great Crusade stamped out any middle ground factions, such as the peaceful, nomadic and xenophile Diasporex, leaving little left but the two ruthless, polar opposites of tyrannic Imperium and bloodthirsty Chaos. When the Emperor fell, the Human renaissance died with him, and his merciless Imperium descended into a long age of rotting stagnation and fanatic savagery.

This lost promise of Humanity's ancient ascendancy has always been the most intriguing aspect of the dark future to me. The above little painting was inspired by listening to Luetin09's well-crafted videos on this very topic. I warmly recommend them.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:42 pm 
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This brings back memories of reading the original rulebook. Such a distinctive vibe.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:18 am 
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Rogue Trader is a treasure chest of creativity! :)


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Man Out of Machine, Machine Out of Man

"Ancient Man in his hubris sought to create life anew, and thus he turned his craft and wit to fashion the Man of Iron, made to toil eternally for the benefit of Man. This metal life proved as false as the golden age of Man itself, for Man of Iron was given thought and motion by his Abominable Intelligence, and he soon found his master wanting. Thus Man of Iron turned upon Man of Stone and butchered Man of Gold, and the stars wept blood over earthly paradise, and fire consumed all.

Thus the bell of doom rang for the first time over sinful Man, for his days were thereby tallied. And the second knell brought the Dark Age of Technology to an end, and Old Night descended upon Man with deprivation, ravages and slaughter, and all was fell. Thus was wretched Man humbled by the fruits of his own arrogance.

Ancient Man sought to create life anew, yet we are much wiser now. For where our forefathers once made Man out of Machine, we now instead make Machine out of Man, as is the right and proper order of things. And thus we learnt humility and righteousness.

Preserve us, o God-Emperor enthroned in glory and gold upon Holy Terra!

Preserve us from the wickedness of ancient Man!

Preserve us from his abominable sins!

Praise be unto You alone!

Ave Imperator."

-
Abominable Sins of the Ancients, pamphlet penned in M.38 by Cardinal Ignatius Paulinus Hieronymus of Salem Proctor

- - -

One of the grim facets of the dark future is humanity's use of lobotomised cyborg servitors instead of robots. This demented development sprang out of the ruinous war against the revolting Men of Iron, which saw mankind almost destroyed by its own machine creations of abominable intelligence. The subsequent ban on AI has held true ever since, and has remained one of the cornerstones of the Imperium of Man since its very inception.

Instead of robotic servants, humans of the dark future will maim and rebuild other humans to carry out automated machine work. For human flesh is the true currency of the Imperium. Thus the common servitor stand as proof of mankind's descent into savage cruelty from its once shining heights.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:21 pm 
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Karak Norn Clansman wrote:
AI

So much Sci-fi (Terminator, Blade Runner, Matrix etc.) deals with the dangers of this doesn’t it? The responses vary but it’s an enduring theme.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:23 am 
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SpellArcher wrote:
Karak Norn Clansman wrote:
AI

So much Sci-fi (Terminator, Blade Runner, Matrix etc.) deals with the dangers of this doesn’t it? The responses vary but it’s an enduring theme.

It's a fear of the unknown. Which is a very common theme in both horror and sci-fi. Currently it's AI (and has been for 30-odd years, ever since the terminator movies I think). But before that it was anything to do with radiation (attack of the killer tomatoes anyone?) and the dangers of outer space.

Of course, AI is an "easy" opponent in that you can make it very powerful, do whatever the story needs and you don't have to worry about blowing up fellow humans.

It's sometimes surprising that we have technological advancement at all, given our fear of that technology.

Rod

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:37 pm 
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I guess some treatment of AI goes back as far as authors like Isaac Asimov (I, Robot) and probably earlier. I do think there’s a real-world issue (as with radiation), though not on the dramatic, world-destroying scale of the movies. More the replacement of human oversight with algorithms etc by Facebook and Google for example. Up to a point that’s great but not always.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:21 am 
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Agreed. There's many machine learning algorithms that work, but the developers are not sure why or how it works or what rules it applies. Which is a scary thought if you consider that these algorithms are used for anything from credit card applications to fraud detection. I think this is why, in the european privacy regulations, there is a section that talks about these kinds of profiling and automatic decisions. And that they're considered a privacy issue.

Though it's not as advanced as some people think it is yet. For instance, in true government fashion, the dutch government had developed a system (or partially purchased) to flag potential fraud causes by cross-referencing data from different sources (like tax returns). The practice was stopped by a judge, because of said privacy issues. But in the months the system was running it had flagged exactly zero cases...

=D> Go technology!

Rod

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:54 pm 
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Prince of Spires wrote:
But in the months the system was running it had flagged exactly zero cases...

That is an epic fail!

:)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:57 am 
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SpellArcher wrote:
That is an epic fail!

Or we're just very honest people here in the Netherlands. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:40 pm 
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Hehe, interesting stuff indeed. And Dutch. I guess time will tell if the Luddites were more right than they imagined. ;)


Sacred Asphyxia Incident of 823.M40

In the dark future, the birthworld of mankind is branded by the works and failings of her children. Her ecosystem ravaged and built over, her oceans mysteriously gone, her very air dependent on imports and artifices now poorly understood. The weather systems of Holy Terra are dictated far more by the towering creations of humanity than they rely on the natural processes of her scarred form, yet degenerate mankind only possess fractions of ancient weather-lore to ken the intricate flows and barriers of the atmosphere which their edifices and craft dictate, wittingly or not.

Where once unfailing prognostications and marvellous tinkering to Terra's weather held sway during the days of the early Imperium, nowadays the light has dimmed, and the adepts charged with overseeing the air and climate of prodigal Earth increasingly run into mysteries which they fail to fully understand, into fluctuations and errors which they fail to account for. The heartbeat and whims of Terra's atmosphere has grown ever more complex while her spires has risen ever higher, while at the same time the knowledge of those charged with controlling her air moods has declined ever more. While the atmospheric processors of Holy Terra remain wonders of technology and stand as testaments to the genius of ancient Man, their modern guardians operate on a lower level altogether.

One example of the crumbling grasp of knowledge of Terra's revered Anima Meteorologicii could be seen in their failure to predict and respond to the peculiar phenomena of weather which led to a deadly accident that has become known to history as the Sacred Asphyxia Incident of 823.M40.

When the Anointed Crusade to Reconquer the Nova Colchis sector began in 771.M40, Ecclesiarch Frontinus III decreed that all produce of the 54 incense-producing provinces of the seven garden worlds of the Opimae system were to be stockpiled on Terra in anticipation of the final victory of the Nova Colchis Crusade, not to be burnt until those good news of triumph arrived on the Throneworld. Unkown millions of tonnes of fragrant incense were dutifully transported to Sol and hoarded by the Adeptus Ministorum for half a century, filling grand storage basilicas until news of the Nova Colchis Crusade's succesful conclusion reached Holy Terra.

The successor of Frontinus, Paulatus VII, announced a grand ceremony of thanksgiving and jubilation to be held as choice Imperial forces from the Nova Colchis Crusade arrived at Terra to march in triumph through her holy streets. Great logistical pains were endured to ready all the earmarked incense of Opimae to be consumed in one arduously long public ceremony. The Ministorum priests chosen to burn the incense were given blessed respirators, as were the hordes of serfs tasked with carrying up the fragrant incense to the braziers, for it was recognized by the wise of the Ecclesiarchal Palace that the sheer amount of incense smokes to be produced en masse could prove hazardous to those in close proximity to the great braziers as the days of sacral labour dragged on during the triumphal ceremony.

And so it was that 77 cathedral spires along the chosen road of triumph teemed with frenetic activity as tens of thousands of monks and serfs laboured to haul the incense up to the grand braziers. Choirs sang beautiful hymns and bells rang melodiously as clouds of luxurious incense smoke poured out of the majestic towers, misting over the throngs of people gathered for the parade below. Yet the usual dispersal of the incense fumes by winds did not take place. For instead of caressing most of the Throneworld with a thin shroud of incense blown across built-over continents and dry ocean beds alike, the regional weather currents that day seem to have locked most of the burnt incense in place and stopped it from escaping to the rest of the world. Sinking incense fumes hit a sluggish lid of thick smog clouds lower down in the stratospehere, and an unlucky combination of weather currents among the high spires chanced to hem the accumulating incense fumes in, akin to the still eye of a storm.

The effect was a local catastrophe, many kilometers above the planet's distant surface. Most of the billowing incense smoke slowly amassed, its density growing by the minute. As the devout of the Ecclesiarchy continued burning tonnes of stockpiled incense, the fumes concentrated below their cathedral towers, blanketing the triumphal road and three districts of upper hive spires. The fragrant smoke first caused mass coughing and fainting, and eventually the inpouring incense smoke displaced breathable air completely. Panicked riots burst out, only to choke as vast swathes of wheezing humans collapsed to the streets, or threw themselves over balconies and railings in a desperate search for oxygen. No order was ever given to stop the burning of Opimae incense, and so the suffocating smoke clouds kept billowing from the blessed braziers.

The mass asphyxiation event on Holy Terra claimed a total of 223 million lives of Imperial subjects, including a majority of the non-Mechanicus and non-Astartes participants of the triumphal parade. Hillocks of corpses were dragged out of residential blocks for bio-reprocessing, and the whole accident caused some embarrasment for Ecclesiarch Paulatus VII and his retinue. Blame was quickly heaped on some mid-level clergymen who oversaw the quality control of the Opimae incense stockpiles, and they died horrible, shrieking deaths at the pyre, where they were still swathed in the suffocating incense fumes. Yet fortunately the low death toll meant that the Sacred Asphyxiation Incident of 823.M40 was of trivial importance to the intrigues and power plays of the corrupt Adeptus Terra, and so no rival faction in any organization ever attempted to win influence by exploiting the mass choking of so few faithful subjects.

Meanwhile, the learned mystics of the Anima Meteorologicii failed to find a convincing explanation for the unforeseen event, and thus it was filed away as but yet another of so many recent mysteries of weather, which their ancient predecessors likely could have decrypted and prevented by the superior grasp of their lore and craft.

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