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By the will of the Immortal God-Emperor, the great reliquary, or "page" as it is known, of tropes has grown to the point that it shall be broken up into three different pages. These pages are divided by the letter that starts the trope, and misplaced tropes shall be returned to their proper place. This page is for those tropes that start with the letter A through the letter H.

Venerate the God-Emperor. To deep-strike back to the main page, click here.

A

  • Absolute Xenophobe: Humans, by official policy of the Imperium of Man, are not supposed to tolerate the existence of Xenos. Policy is not always followed. This is possibly justified in that 9 times out of 10 pretty much any alien in the known universe will kill a human on sight. On the other hand, being an absolute xenophobe eliminates any hope of alliance with the remaining 10%, which is why policy takes a hike in some Enemy Mine situations.
    • Even Ciaphas Cain, one of the more pragmatic and tolerant individuals in the 40K universe, is at best lukewarm towards Xenos. He's willing to cooperate with the Tau in the first novel (when it'll save his bacon), but doesn't miss an opportunity to screw them later by failing to point out an Genestealer infected fire warrior.
      • Actually He might have been TRYING to warn the Tau. The Tau were just too much in a hurry to leave the crazy humans to notice.
    • In the Last Chancers novel Kill Team this is shown as something of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Humans practice xenocide because so many alien species are hostile to them, and so many alien species are hostile to them because they practice xenocide. They end up getting in a bar fight in an alien quarter on a Tau world that quickly turns nasty, and are helped out by a Kroot kindred who tell them that if they had not intervened, the other xenos would have torn the humans apart. Kage is puzzled as to what humans have done that would make the xenos hate them so.
    • In the video game Fire Warrior, a Space Marine comments to an imperial governor that the Tau will eventually be exterminated by the Imperium, but that for the time being they aren't the primary threat, as there are greater threats closer to home (truer words never spoken, since he's standing on a chaos tainted planet, unknowingly right next to the avatar of a Chaos Demon Prince). Yes, it is Imperial policy to exterminate all aliens eventually, but the Imperium realizes that they should try to eliminate the ones actively trying to eradicate humanity before worrying about the ones that are just neutral for them.
      • Given this setting, Humanity should be done fighting off the "actively" hostile aliens around the same time the Eye of Terror closes forever. ie Never. Doesn't mean Humanity won't shoot an Alien if available though.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Nearly every faction has an example; many races' basic close combat weapons have monomolecular edges, and it only gets sharper from there.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Guns which fire razor-edged molecule-thick ninja stars, guns which fire nets of Razor Floss, guns which fire wooden stakes, flamethrowers which squirt holy napalm, biological guns which use, um, muscle spasms to fire flesh-eating beetles/maggots or exploding tumors, guns which open holes into hell, guns which fire tiny goblins through hell, grenades filled with tears collected from a thousand crying statues of the Emperor.
    • Space Marine Sternguard Veterans ONLY carry abnormal ammo: rocket-propelled anti-armor rounds, rocket-propelled flaming airburst rounds, rocket-propelled vials of flesh-eating acid, and rocket-propelled miniaturized fusion bombs.
    • Aside from a very few conventional laser weapons, Eldar ranged weapons use abnormal ammo: if they use ammo at all: more or less exclusively: the ninja star guns, Razor Floss guns, and guns that open holes into hell listed above are all theirs. The Dark Eldar top this with guns that shoot poisoned slivers of glass, pure distilled pain, and the tortured souls of enemy psykers as ammunition.
    • The Necrons have guns which literally flay your skin, flesh, organs, then bones into their molecular components with bolts of green lightning.
  • Abusive Precursors: C'tan definitely qualify.
    • The Dark and Craftworld Eldar to a lesser but still notable extent.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Ork technology as a whole, via instinctive knowledge built into the Mekboyz' genetic code and possibly Clap Your Hands If You Believe.
  • Action Girl: Commander Shadowsun, Inquisitor Amberley Vail, and every Sister of Battle ever. Most Howling Banshees, as well; there are a few token males, but even they wear armor with feminine curves and identify as female.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: One of the big reasons the 40k world is so insane is that every faction needs to be able, in Canon, to fight every other faction, including itself.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: Brutally averted for the Imperium. That huge, boxy, primitive-looking Leman Russ? That tank is so damn maneuverable it can practically tap dance. Played straight for Eldar and the Tau, whose tech is every bit as advanced as the inhuman sleekness suggests. Embraced by the Orks going the other way: their vehicles look like rickety pieces of barely functional shit because they are. In fact, it's suggested that Ork technology only works through the sheer willpower (and latent psychic ability) of its users.
  • After Action Report: Battle reports, a long-standing feature in White Dwarf magazine.
  • After the End: Though there have been about five "ends" for humanity alone, each more awful than the last.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: The first true human-created artificial intelligences, the Iron Men, wiped out humanity's first great interstellar civilization and plunged the human race into a galaxy-wide dark age. The Adeptus Mechanicus outlawed sentient AIs as a result, and for the most part the Imperium's modern-day "machine spirits" are pretty well-behaved.
    • Tau drones are also entirely well-behaved. Mind you, their AI is approximately the same as a squirrel (OK, pterasquirrel), though it does increase as more of them are networked together.
  • Air Jousting: Eldar Shining Spears: space elf knights on flying bikes with laser lances.
  • AKA-47: Some vehicles were quite clearly based on certain real-life vehicles:
    • The Imperial Guard's Bombard siege mortars (particularly the old Epic versions) were based on Nazi Germany's Karl-Gerät super heavy mortars (one of the few cases where the real vehicle is more excessive than its 40K counterpart). Their Chimera was based on the old [pre-Desert Storm] Bradley and on the Soviet BMP 1 and 2, including having Lasguns as firing port weapons. And the Leman Russ bears an uncanny resemblance to a turreted version of the British Mark I tank from WWI, though it has a laundry list of other influences including the Panther, Tiger and T-72. Forgeworld's Hydra Chimera variant looks to be based on the Ontos, and the Cyclops demolition vehicle is a barely-altered Goliath Tracked Mine. The Epic Armageddon Imperial Ragnarok Tank is a Soviet KV-2 heavy tank(which was a very crappy tank).
    • The Basilisk with armored crew compartment is based on the configuration of gun carriers used by the Germans during WW 2, such as the Marder III, Hummel, Grille and Wespe. The Basilisk gun itself is basically a long-barreled Soviet B4 Model 1931 howitzer. Forgeworld's cruciform base variant is based on the infamous 8.8cm FlaK.
    • The Thudd Gun was a copy of the QF 2 pounder naval gun or "Pom-Pom" gun on a wheeled carriage.
    • The Space Marine Rhino is a clone of the M113 APC; the original all-plastic Predator has a T-55 turret stuck on top. The Vindicator is based on the Sturmtiger.
    • The new-look Landraider bears an almost perfect similarity to the early tanks of the First World War. The older version had huge lozenge treads with a tiny box hull suspended between them, and was apparently based on a snow crawler of some kind.
    • This thing with a couple of Leman Russ on the back seems an oddly common "40K Vehicle" entry at Golden Daemon events. White Dwarf once praised such an entry "even including tiny chains" which are actually a stock part of the kit in question.
  • Airstrip One
  • Akashic Records: In Mechanicum.
  • Alien Blood: Tau have blue blood and Tyranid fluids are generally described as "ichor". Eldar and Orks have red blood, although Eldar blood crystallizes instead of scabbing, and Ork blood used to be as green as their skin before Games Workshop retconned that. The Orks are now considered green due to thick amounts of algae that grow beneath their skin.
  • Alien Kudzu: Both the Orks and the Tyranids inflict a form of this on planets they invade.
    • The Orks stand out, because their Kudzu are sapient...
  • Aliens and Monsters: Everyone qualifies as both.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Thank you, Captain Obvious.
  • The Alliance: The Tau Empire, who are the only faction with significant allies outside their own species. This being 40K, they don't always get along. And then there's the people who suspect brainwashing, and the evidence from Dawn of War of forced sterilization and concentration camps for populations that rebel...
  • All There in the Manual: Numerous rulebooks, novels, magazines, supplemental sourcebooks and spinoff games with their own sets.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Chaos and the Dark Eldar. Conversely the Imperium is Always Lawful Extremist, Craftworld Eldar are Always Lawful Manipulative, the Orks are Always Chaotic Rambunctious, the Necrons are Always Lawful Omnicidal the Tyranids are Always Neutral Hungry, and the Tau are Always Lawful Utopian. All subject to interpretation, of course.
    • And get this: in spite of all the atrocities they commit, the Imperials still consider themselves to be Lawful Good. Or at least Lawful Neutral, for those who aren't Space Marines or Grey Knights.
      • To some extent, this feeds into the Crapsack World of the universe. There are plenty of instances demonstrating how horrific it is if some of those atrocities are not committed. To some extent, the Imperials generally get more opportunity to go between Good, Evil and Neutral, but rarely will not be Lawful.
      • The Imperium is always depicted as knowing they are committing a necessary evil, although the alternative would possibly be creating a second Negative Space Wedgie at the heart of itself (which is kind of what happened with the Eldar). Taking the lesser of two evils means that they think of themselves as good in comparison to the alternative.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Sisters of Battle and Eldar Howling Banshees. Not the Dark Eldar Wyches, oddly enough, unlike their Warhammer counterparts.
    • Howling Banshees do have male members according to the lore, though they are rare. This is not, however, represented in any of the models.
      • It's stated in some sources that males walking the path of the Howling Banshee shed their gender identity and consider themselves female, so it's more like Amazon-Transsexual Brigade.
  • Ambiguous Robots: Necrons look like skeletal robots, but are apparently more Haunted Technology, or metal golems, or something.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: All over the place.
    • A key example of this is a multi-race super secret Illuminati like group called the Cabal, an organization of various elder (and Eldar) aliens whose entire goal is to rid the universe of Chaos. And what, do you ask, is their genius way of doing this? Aid Horus in every single way so he kills the Emperor, hopefully relying on the fact this will trigger the last ounce of guilt in Horus, effectively driving him into emo mood, which will cause only more civil war, eventually ridding the universe of humanity and leaving Chaos' best plaything destroyed. They recruited the Alpha Legion to this end but their success is...unclear, to say the least. Horus got a nasty headache.
  • Ancient Tomb: Many varieties of these within the setting, including an entire race revolving around their use. Most of these places are fatal to wander into.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Almost everyone's equipment seems to be ancient to some degree, most notably Eldar and Marine war gear and Necron everything. Somewhat justified by the fact that a lot of the more advanced wargear has to consist of ancient hand-me-downs, because humanity has largely forgotten how the technology works and considers it magical. More progress would be made in regaining that lost knowledge, but the Adeptus Mechanicus, the priesthood of technology, guards all their secrets zealously and takes a dim view of innovations that aren't based on pre-existing technologies.
  • And I Must Scream: A four-word description of the entire 40k universe. And then there are several googolplex nadirs that really stand out.
  • And Man Grew Proud: Human history up until and through the war with the Iron Men that destroyed the first great era of human civilization lingers as myth and cultural superstitions.
  • Animesque: The Tau and the Eldar, albeit in two diametrically-opposed fashions, the Tau having grabbed the Power Armour, but they act like Mecha, and the Eldar being firmly espoused to Crystal Spires and Togas.
  • Annoying Arrows: Half averted, half played weirdly straight - there's at least one instance of alien bows and arrows going straight through Space Marines, but failing to harm them because of their superhuman toughness.
  • Another Dimension: The Warp.
  • Anti-Air: Post Titan Legions, aircraft and specialized AA vehicles with a rule called "Snap Fire" started to show up in Epic. Not really applicable to 40K outside Forgeworld products, since most things in the sky are "skimmers" as opposed to true aircraft, and pretty much anyone can shoot at them; however, special mention does go to the Imperial Guard Hydra Flak Tank, which is better at shooting down aircraft and skimmers due to the sheer amount of lead it can put into the air.
    • Aw, c'mon now, it has a special machine spirit to auto-track aircraft too. And let's not forget the amount of lead it can put against ground targets when there aren't any fliers to kill...
  • Anti-Magic: Pariahs, Blanks and Untouchables nullifying psyker abilities. Which means you're immune to all the psychic and sorcerous nastiness out there, but everyone hates you because you have no soul, and the Necrons will do unpleasant things to you if they find you. Oh, and some Pariahs will actually harm psykers just by standing close by.
  • Apathy Killed the Cat: Imperial domestic policy. "Only the awkward question; only the foolish ask twice."
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Played straight by the Craftworld Eldar and the Tau. Thoroughly averted by everyone else, who gladly maim, torture, kill, and even eat members of their own race, and claim no moral superiority from avoiding such acts.
    • The Dark Eldar sometimes forces the Craftworld to violate this. And the Tau Commander Farsight sometimes has no problem killing his own race (especially his ethereals).
    • Actually averted with the Tau, under Commander Farsight, although he mostly targets Ethereals.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0-5 happen due to rounding errors on tax forms or when an inquisitor has to make sure. This sounds pretty bad until you consider that: The Tau are going to annex your world and ethnically cleanse you if you resist; the Eldar are going to exterminate you if you touch one of their ancestral worlds, not to mention they're making a new god for the final battle with Chaos; the Orks are going to make WAAAAGH! and burn the galaxy; the Necrons are going to awaken and enslave everyone; the Tyranids are going to arrive and consume the galaxy; and Chaos cannot be denied and is going to turn the galaxy into a Freudian nightmare. And that's only if the Emperor stays alive long enough, because once he kicks it humanity will be stranded without FTL travel and die slowly anyways. Enjoy your life.
  • Apocalyptic Log: A few have cropped up from doomed Imperial research expeditions.
  • Apologetic Attacker: The Tau claim to always be this, at any rate. Then again, this could be doublespeak...
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Averted in most cases - a failed To Wound roll with firearms means the target was hit, but was wounded non-fatally and not incapacitated. A failed armor roll either means the firearm pierced the target's armor or hit them in a place where the armour couldn't protect. Since most infantry only have one wound, this means they can be killed by a good hit easily. On the other hand, there are infantry which have more than one wound. They may be very Badass non-humans which served as a more reasonable justification, but may be simply very Badass humans that play the trope straight.
    • Taken to ridiculous extremes with Commissar Yarrick, who is apparently a normal human pushing 70 and can not only survive three consecutive blasts from a fusion gun, but still get back up and give the opponent a Power Fist to the face.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: ...or just corrupt and really stupid. Various background pieces have members of the Imperial upper classes joining Chaos cults out of boredom, smuggling xeno artifacts, using Dark Eldar as mercenaries to sort out their rivals, trying to cut a deal with the Physical God of death...
  • Arm Cannon: Chaos Obliterators are this all over: their bodies are partially made out of weapons.
  • Armour Is Useless: Generally averted - armor and force fields can and do make a difference most of the time. However, there's no shortage of weapons that make a mockery of even the toughest physical armor: AP2 and AP1 ranged weapons, rending weapons of all sorts (on a good roll), power weapons and their variants, and literally anything used by a Monstrous Creature in melee. And then there are weapons so powerful they could not care less about any conventional protection, including vortex weapons, C'tan phase weapons, warscythes, and certain daemon weapons.
    • Within the background, the standard flak armour is considered to be almost useless against the weapons of pretty much every other race in the universe.
      • In-game flak armor is considered to be more useless as most factions have guns on their basic troopers that ignore it. However, they remain helpful against melee attacks from non-power weapons.
      • This is made doubly ironic because the only races to use weapons that can't pierce flak armor are the ones who wear it (or an equivalent of it).
      • And a bit infuriating as in-lore flak armor is actually extremely good, capable of dramatically increasing the survivability of the wearer against anything shy of a bolt pistol.
    • Some psykers use Force Weapons which can kill any model which suffers an unsaved wound and doesn't die (like a multi-wound model for example) after a successful psychic test.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: A specific stat in more recent editions, a somewhat more complex one in older ones with various dice rolls. Some weapons like Phase Swords and Warp Missiles skip the system entirely and just get straight on to dealing damage.
    • The Second Edition Earthshaker Artillery Gun had a fun special rule that even if the impressive set of dice for its AP roll failed to beat the target's armor, you would still roll a D3 on the vehicle's location damage table; since most vehicles had at least three hit locations and the blast marker would hit all of them, it was statistically likely that any vehicle hit would be at very least crippled by the shot regardless of whether the round actually penetrated the armor.
    • Taken to extremes with some weapons mounted on Titans in Apocalypse. In a game where most weapons have Strength ratings from 1 (puny) to 10 (bunker-busting), Titan weapons can have a Strength value of D: short for "Destroy everything under the blast marker automatically" (and some of these weapons use a blast marker that's a full 12" in diameter). Apocalyptic indeed.
  • Army of the Dead: The Legion of the Damned, a Space Marines chapter that got lost in the Warp and became spectral beings. They occasionally emerge from the warp to turn the tide of a battle in favor of the Imperium before disappearing again.
    • To lesser extent, the soul-powered Wraithlords and Wraithguard of the Eldar.
  • Artifact of Doom: By the truckload in every size and shape imaginable, from simple daemon weapons to entire planets serving as the titular cans in Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Artifact Title: In the past, Warhammer 40,000 was essentially Warhammer IN SPACE!, with many setting and system elements borrowed directly from the other game; however, as time went on, both the setting and the system moved away from their Warhammer roots, and the two games are now distinctly different beasts. The game developers have actively defied the "40,000" part of the title becoming an artifact, as they steadfastly refuse to advance the Metaplot past the end of the 41st millennium (though some Black Library authors, particularly Sandy Mitchell, have included elements from the early 42nd).
  • Artificial Limbs: May be the above Arm Cannon. Even in the higher echelons of pretty much every Imperial organisation, there is some discrepancy over just what it is possible to replace damaged parts with. Sometimes actual flesh and blood vat grown limbs are referred to, but most of the time it's large, mechanical, piston-driven coolness.
    • Iron Legion Chaos Marines love this trope, as do the Loyalist Iron Hands.
  • Art Major Biology: First the genetically-engineered supermen are designed to look cool, then they later explain how it (doesn't) work.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Emperor already has.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Ork "society". It is said that a powerful enough Ork warlord uniting all of the galaxy's Orks could curbstomp every other faction. This is also how Space Marines get promoted, and how champions of Chaos gain renown.
  • A-Team Firing: All Orks ever, who consider More Dakka far more important than such nonsense as "aiming". The one exception would be Warboss Nazdreg, who has learned that dakka + aimin' = bigga 'splosions.
  • The Atoner: Cypher and the Fallen Angels, also the Lamenters, Executioners, and Mantis Warriors chapters along with every chapter that's been on a pentient crusade ever and (most of) the Craftworld Eldar.
    • The regiments of the Death Korps of Krieg are driven by their need to atone for their planet turning against the Emperor of Terra thousands of years ago.
    • Sisters of Battle, the Sisters Repentia unit are Sisters who seek to atone for their sins by going into battle wearing practically nothing, and carrying massive two-handed chainswords.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses-- Does anything need to be said about this?
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Orks, except for the Blood Axez, who, having the most exposure to human technology of any of the clanz, have mastered the idea that "If we runs for it we don't lose either, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!"
  • Attack Drone: Widely used by the Tau. Imperial servo-skulls are also somewhat like this.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Tau and Imperial militaries follow this.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Many Chaos leaders are warp-enhanced, the original Primarchs literally were demi-gods, and Ork and Tyranid leaders are Large and In Charge. Prevalent for all races in the tabletop game, though in later editions, either justified or rectified - taking away things like the unrealistically high Toughness of human characters, justifying the amazing weapon skills of certain heroes because they've literally been doing this sort of thing for centuries.
    • Also, this trope is arguably justified in that surviving to be promoted so high in Warhammer 40000 is really unlikely to be based off your luck. And if it is, you just won't survive in that position for very long.
    • Marneus Calgar, chapter master of the Ultramarines, has a special rule titled "God of War". 'nuff said.
  • Awesome but Impractical: You could say 40k was BUILT on this trope. The basic heavy weapon for the Imperium is a hand held semi-automatic armor piercing grenade launcher, chainsaw swords abound, the Orks function purely on Clap Your Hands If You Believe and duct tape, the Eldar have slightly better protection than a cardboard box while retaining maximum style points, and the space ships get around by traveling through hell. It's all awesome, but none of it's remotely practical.
  • Awesome McCoolname: absolutely mandatory, and it should tell you how everyone here is like.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: One or more for every species: the Space Marine Rhino and Land Raider (the only APC awesome enough to contain Terminators), the Imperial Guard Chimera, Ork Trukks and Battlewagons, the Eldar Wave Serpent (which was so awesome it took them until 4th Edition to make a 40K-scale model for it) and Falcon (less personnel in exchange for more awesome), Tau Devilfish, and many more.
    • In older editions, IIRC, the Rhino could carry Terminators. It was a wonderful way to get them killed without letting them have saves for their Terminator Armour, so nobody did.
  • Axe Crazy: Two words: Khorne Berserkers. The worst of the bunch is Kharn the Betrayer, who's so bloodthirsty that any missed attacks in close combat hit anyone in the same squad as him. Known to randomly kill anyone in his way, even other Khorne Berserkers.
    • Lesser Axe Crazies include Imperial Penal Legion troopers, Blood Angel Space Marines in the throes of the Black Rage, and the entire Ork race.
    • And indeed, most Khornates use chainaxes, and an Orkish "Choppa" usually looks like an oversized axe.
    • It should be noted that while every single Ork is an Omnicidal, Axe Crazy Complete Monster by human standards, members of the Goff klan are considered Axe Crazy by other Orks.
    • There's also the Eversor Assassins; crazy and constantly pumped with hyperactive drugs and bio-engineered to reach the very limits of the human physiology. They're used to destroy the enemy's command structure by killing everybody. Eversors are insane to the point that they have to be kept in cryo-stasis between their missions.


B

  • Badass: EVERYONE
    • Badass Abnormal: The Sisters of Battle used to be nothing more than power-armored nuns with guns; better equipment and training aside, they were just ordinary humans like the Imperial Guard. Recent Sisters lists have weaponized the Sisters' faith, allowing them to manifest battlefield miracles that protect them from enemy fire and further increase their combat prowess.
    • Badass Army: EVERY PLAYABLE ARMY.
    • Badass Beard: Scout Sergeant Torias Telion.
      • Every Long Fang and Grey Hunter worth his must have one - besides, when you're a nine-foot tall genetically engineered killing machine that also happens to be a Viking Expy, there's no way your beard can't be badass.
    • Badass Biker: How much more badass do you get than screaming green maniacs on ramshackle scrap-metal motorbikes laden with giant machine guns? Oh yeah, that would be the Super Soldiers on giant armoured bikes the size of cars. Or the evil Super Soldiers on hell motorbikes covered in blades and skulls... or maybe the space-elf knights on flying bikes with laser lances... or the evil space elves that can fly their bladed flying death bikes with enough skill to cut specific arteries.
      • DOOM RIDER, who's basically the Chaos equivalent of Ghost Rider.
      • The White Scars, which is basically an entire Space Marine chapter of Badass Bikers.
      • Or Wazdakka Gutzmek, who is this Trope personified. This Ork does things like ramping his monstrous bike off a cliff to ram it into the cockpit of a Titan just so he can personally punch out the pilots. His bike has fully-automatic tank cannons mounted on it. His goal is to drive his bike across the entire universe without stopping.
      • No Love For Shining Spears? The Space Knight in Shining Armor Elves with laser shooting lances, on hover bikes?
        • Also, the Captain of the Raven Wing, who rides into battle either in a Jetbike or a Land Speeder. In either case, it has armor STRONGER THAN A LAND RAIDER.
    • Badass Boast: Too many to count.
    • Badass Creed: Just about everyone barring Tyranids. Generally shouted as a battle cry.
    • Badass Grandpa:. Pretty much every Space Marine will see their first century, the Craftworld and Dark Eldar can live for millennia, the original Traitor Legions are going ten thousand years and still counting, while the Necrons, being older than most other things in the universe and with regenerating metal bodies, outlive most of the opposition.
      • Commander Dante, the current Chapter Master of the Blood Angels, has led the Blood Angels for 1,100 years, and is the oldest Space Marine in the Imperium, Dreadnoughts excepted. He is so experienced, fearless, and powerful that when the Chapter Masters of the Salamanders and Ultramarines (Tu'Shan and Marneus Calgar) were asked who should head the Armageddon intervention, they picked him unanimously. Marneus Calgar is the guy with the rule "God of War", and even he picked Dante. Badass indeed.
      • Logan Grimnar, current Great Wolf of the Space Wolves. Nicknamed "the old wolf," Grimnar has led the Space Wolves for over 700 years, rivaling Dante in longevity. Furthermore, while Dante was picked to lead the Imperial forces during the Third War for Armageddon, Grimnar was named supreme commander for the Imperials during Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade: meaning the fate of over two dozen star systems was placed directly in his hands, and never once did he falter. Again, badass indeed.
      • The oldest Dreadnought in the Imperium is Bjorn the Fell Handed of the Space Wolves chapter. He's old enough to have seen the Emperor of Mankind before he was put into the Golden Throne, and probably the sole remaining non-Chaos person to do so.
      • Ghazghkull Thraka, who must be about seventy years old now. Given that no Ork has ever died of old age, that's quite an impressive feat.
      • And his rival, Commissar Yarrick.
      • The C'tan take the cake from everyone, having probably existed since the start of the universe (they only made contact with beings after Necrodermis allowed them to take physical form). In terms of badassery, the reason why the Nightbringer looks like the goddamn Grim Reaper is because he imprinted the fear of death on all sentient beings (minus Orks, who apparently were late to the party), and he's only the second strongest C'tan.
    • Badass in a Nice Suit: Some Commissars, priests of the Ecclesiarchy, and Inquisitors make a point of dressing conservatively or humbly. The rest gleefully embrace the same Bling of War worn by everyone else.
  • Badass Longcoat: Fear the Commissar more than you fear the enemy!
  • Badass Mustache: Basically anybody from the White Scars Chapter.
  • Badass Normal: The Imperial Guard: ordinary human soldiers, taking on enemies that can kill ordinary human soldiers by looking at them funny, and winning. Admittedly more visible in the fiction than on the tabletop...until the latest Codex.
    • Retired Badass: More than can be counted. Commissar Sebastian Yarrick, any Space Marine Dreadnought, and Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM! among them.
      • Aun'shi of the Tau got pretty close to retiring, before he was put back on duty by his bosses.
  • Bad Boss: Unsurprisingly more common in this setting than the other kind.
    • Imperial Guard Commissars, who are employed to keep morale up by setting a heroic example - and by shooting cowards and incompetents if necessary. Ok, maybe many Commissars have the justification of shooting fleeing men because there are a lot that can follow suit, and their infantry depend on More Dakka via their numbers to kill stuff, but...
      • Woe betide any commissar that tries this with Catachans. Commissars assigned to Catachan regiments have a disproportionately high fatality rate, noted on the tabletop by the "Oops Sorry Sir" special rule.
      • Largely averted by the novel protagonists Ibram Gaunt and Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!. Gaunt is working with a severely limited number of troops and cannot afford to be wasteful, while Cain knows that eventually his schemes to get out of trouble will fail, at which point he would prefer that his troops like him enough to watch his back rather than aim for it. It helps that both men are basically understanding and honorable individuals (much as Cain would deny it), attached to disciplined regiments that don't have the kind of morale problems that typically require Commissars to be Bad Bosses.
    • Commander Chenkov of Valhalla routinely abuses the Imperial Guard's reserves to overwhelm the enemy with endless waves of poorly-trained, disposable conscripts. He's also been known to use his troops to clear minefields for tanks and bog enemy units down so that the artillery can shell them, and once executed a million of his own men to build a dam from their bodies. His regiment, the Tundra Wolves, has been refounded more than a dozen times in recent decades due to casualties, and it's rumored that he's killed more of his own men than he has of the enemy. And of course, since this is the Imperium, he's routinely awarded medals and commendations for quickly defeating the enemy with these brutal tactics.
    • Ork Nobz also aren't above "krakkin' a few uv da ladz' 'eadz" (often fatally) in order to restore order, and Runtherdz maintain the "morale" of their Gretchin charges by having their squighounds devour a couple of them whenever they try to flee.
    • The grand master of this trope (insofar as the 40k universe has a grand master of horribleness) is Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of Chaos. A fairly unpleasant person BEFORE he turned to Chaos, Abbadon is very much a believer in the Darth Vader approach of anger control, namely immediately killing those who displease him. However, this being the GRIMDARK setting it is, Abaddon takes it just one step further and will happily destroy ships of his own fleet if the captain of said vessel displeases him. And keep in mind his flagship is the aptly titled Planet Killer.
    • It's stated that the Tau are like this to their mercenaries, and are definitely Bad Bosses to aliens who join their alliance, though more in the style of 1984. We have yet to see much evidence though.
  • Bad Vibrations: Justified - if you don't feel the tremors of an approaching Titan, you deserve what you get. Somehow, Titans are still able to sneak up on people despite this in Titanicus.
    • The Tyranid Mawlocs do this as well. Just before they pop out of the ground and EAT YOU, in best Tremors style.
  • Bald of Awesome: The stereotypical look for Space Marines, except for the Space Wolves and the Blood Angels.
  • Bald of Evil: In Dawn of War at least, the Heretics, Cultist Squads, and Chaos Lords are shown with shaven heads.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Many Space Marine chapters, such as the Space Wolves and White Scars, recruit solely from the Barbarians of their homeworld.
  • Base on Wheels: The Leviathan, a mobile command centre on treads the size of a small city... which acts as an APC for tanks.
    • Orks have their own version - A krawla will vary in size from a tank APC to a city on wheels which may in turn contain smaller krawlaz.
    • Before the setting got rid of them, the Squats specialised in these, and it was said they built the Leviathans. Back in the days when Epic was still called Space Marine, there was also the Cyclops [a colossal anti-Titan assault gun], Land Train, Colossus [a Leviathan variant], Hellbore [a ridiculously huge drilling machine], the Ordinatus machines, and the Capitol Imperialis [the modern Leviathan is a ret-combination of this tank-carrying monstrosity and the old Leviathan which was just a mobile command post].
    • The Imperator Titan is also essentially a base on legs which carries an entire castle around on its back, particularly when the ridiculously complex Titan Legions rules are used; the same applies to the Mega-Gargant. Variant Imperators were supposed to follow the release of the Titan Legions but never did, one of which would have had an entire aircraft carrier deck on its back.
  • Battle Trophy: Pretty much everyone.
  • Bayonet Ya
  • Beam Spam: Imperial Guard infantrymen almost-universally tote rapid-firing laser weapons, and they field a lot of men.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Often played straight by the Eldar (who have awesome medical tech), and by the Callidus Assassins (who are all shapeshifters). Generally avoided by the Sisters of Battle, who are about as ugly, scarred and broken as you might expect "realistic" battle-nuns to be, and get older, more grizzled, and meaner as you move up the chain of command.
  • Because I Said So: Frequently the only justification you'll ever get from the Inquisition.
    • Questioning an Inquisitor for a justification will get you executed for heresy...if you're lucky.
    • Repeat after me: The Commissar is always right.
    • Notice how the quote for Apathy Killed the Cat only goes as far as two...
  • Bee-Bee Gun: The Tyranid fleshborer is a Beetle Beetle Gun, firing ravenous insects that chew their way into a target's insides. The Devourer does much the same thing with a horde of flesh-eating worms.
  • Bee People: Tyranids. Also the Tau's Vespid Auxilaries, though they're more like Wasp People.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: ...and keeps you alive.
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: The Tau, when compared to any of the alternatives.
  • Berserk Button
    • There was a secret rule on the official GW forums before they were closed. If you ever mentioned the Squats, for any reason whatsoever, the moderators would permanently ban you and delete the thread.
    • A similar thing happens if you bring up the idea of female Space Marines.
    • Mentioning Squad Broken in a 40k forum.
      • Squad Broken is pretty old and tame, but 4chan spawned collective fapfiction "Dranon's Delight" will do the trick if you mention it or request a new one, particularly in /tg/ - Traditional Games. Pretty unnecessary to say, but NSFW would be understatement.
    • Suggesting harming civilians in front of the Salamanders.
    • Sending Tau-allied humans into battle against Imperial Guardsmen.
    • Destroying Eldar spiritstones.
    • Killing a Tau Ethereal.
    • A Berserker being in a state of consciousness.
    • An Ork being in a state of consciousness.
    • Mentioning anything about the Fallen to a Dark Angel.
    • Killing any member of a Black Templars squad triggers the Righteous Fury spacial move, in which they charge towards the closest enemy.
    • Ironically inverted with the Tyranids, where if you kill the commanders they go from hostile to cowards wild animals pretty quickly.
    • Mention the fluff from the 5th edition Space Marine Codex to a Space Marine player that is not playing an Ultramarines descended chapter. It gets worse if they play one of the other First Founding chapters...
      • You will get the same reaction by declaring that the Ultramarines are the greatest of all Space Marines, a quote that has been thrown around a lot in canon lately and is both completely random and rather insulting to anyone who likes another of the 20 founding Legions.
    • Two Words: Matt Ward. Ward is a long time fan that was hired as a rulebook writer not too long ago. He is, however, a tad biased towards his preferred army, the Ultramarines. His first work was the above mentioned Ultramarines codex, which in hindsight is one of his better works. Later monstrosities include the codexes of the Blood Angels and the Grey Knights, wich made both the fluff and the mechanics completely ridiculous and completely broken. Flying superheavy tanks anyone? The result is that anyone who dares to play any of his armies is generally considered a) a munchkin of the worst order without any regard for the background, or b) a moron with the common sense of an 8 year old and no regard for the background.
    • Recently he has also done work on the Necrons (fairly well received from both a fluff and gameplay perspective, believe it or not) and...Sisters of Battle, which was...less so. Basically, if you like winning you'd best not be playing Sisters.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Considered an honourable end for disgraced Imperial Guard officers and those touched by the Warp, and much preferable to being taken alive by the Ecclesiarchy or Dark Eldar.
    • Or Chaos. Or the Inquisition. Or the Necrons. Or the Tyranids. Or....
  • Beyond the Impossible: How much Dakka can the Ork Mekboys put together [Answer: never enuff]? How much more evil can we make the Dark Eldar? How loud can Kharn scream "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!"? How big of a Big Bad can Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!, defeat through a combination of dumb luck, skill and fast thinking? How much bigger can the Titans and various Planet Killing guns on Imperium ships get? Just how much worse can things get? How much more Trope Overdosed can this setting get? It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the setting pretty much runs on Beyond the Impossible.
  • Big Bad: Divided amongst several dozen contenders throughout. Most others are better described as forces and gods than true villains, and better fit into the Bigger Bad category.
    • Abaddon the Despoiler is the closest to the traditional concept (or, he would be if he wasn't a complete idiot).
    • Ghazghkull Thraka and Asdrubael Vect are two more strong contenders.
    • It's worth noting that the Tyranids are one of the most dreaded and relentless forces in the galaxy, although they don't have a "face", having instead the invisible Hive Mind, which is their collective brain. Maybe the Swarmlord?
  • Big Badass Wolf: Fenrisian Wolves, chaos hounds.
    • Canis Wolfborn rides a wolf so big it has its own zipcode.
    • It should be noted that the Space Wolves (Space Vikings) make extensive use of: Fenrisian Wolves (around twice the size of most wolves today), Blackmaned Wolves (even bigger) and Thunderwolf Cavalry, who are entire units of supermen on wolves the size of Canis's... and then of course, they have viking werewolves in powered armour...
    • They also call themselves Space Wolves, their Primarch Leman Russ was literally Raised by Wolves (after climbing out of the volcano he landed in), and their home planet is Fenris...
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Once again, taken Up to Eleven with entire armies qualifying for this 'bull. If we get into the full details, we might have to give 40k its own page for it, so for now, we'll just settle with naming the biggest antagonists in order of threat level, from mildest to most extreme: Ork Warbosses, Chaos Lords, Necron Lords, Daemon Primarchs, the Tyranid Hive Mind and the Chaos gods.
  • Big Book of War: The Tactica Imperium and the Codex Astartes. The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer would be this - it's actually pretty useful in some places, containing useful and informative tips such as how to make a frag grenade into a booby trap, how to field-strip and clean a lasgun, and how when you are on guard duty you should NEVER LEAVE YOUR POST EVER - were it not otherwise full of outright lies,er, uplifting Imperial propaganda.
    • As a sidenote: The Tactica Imperium is regarded with near-religious reverence by the Imperial Guard, and its description as occasionally self-contradictory and best used as a rough guideline even suggests similarity to the Bible.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: ...and ready to burn you at the stake.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens a lot in the fluff. Possible in game via deep strike or simply charging an enemy to save the poor bastards (on your team) they're slaughtering.
  • Big Dumb Object: Space Hulks.
  • Big Eater: Used in a most horrific way with the Tyranids. They're a species that eats every last scrap of life from entire planets, down to sucking the last trace molecules of bio-matter from the soil.
    • One almost forgotten legendary figure amongst the Officio Assassinorum is the Callidus known as "Mother Gullet", who was once dispatched to slay the child of a potentially rebellious governor. She swallowed the sleeping baby whole and escaped into the darkness, her bloated stomach ensuring that there was no sign of her responsibility in the child's disappearance... or of the child's remains.
  • BFG: Way, way too many to list here.[1] Let's just say that the bolter, the standard issue Space Marine gun, rapid-fires .75 caliber armour piercing rocket propelled grenades. It fires 19mm caliber grenades. That's as large as a 10-gauge shell. And that's terrible it goes upwards from there.
  • BFS: Eight-foot-long chainsaw sword with bolt-on flamethrower, anyone?
    • Eviscerator, Uge choppa. Dreadnaught close combat weapon. Titan close combat weapon.
    • Special mention must go to the Dawn Blade wielded by Commander Farsight, which not only has to be mounted on a battlesuit, but can hack through tank armour. And it's got crackling energies all over it. About the only thing it lacks is a chainsaw edge.
    • Most Daemon Weapons (and most daemons' weapons, which aren't quite the same thing). Special mention also goes to the one held by the Champion Greater Daemon of Slaanesh, which is almost as long as a tank (although the daemon in question is rather huge even by daemon standards).
    • Some of the artwork floating around shows the Space Marine Primarchs using variants on the aforementioned chainsaw swords that make the ones used by regular Marines look quite puny (especially considering that the Primarchs are generally accepted as being even bigger than your "average" eight-foot tall Super Soldier). An excellent example can be seen here with Imperial Fists Primarch Rogal Dorn, holding a chainsword so wide a person could probably hide behind it.
  • Big Good: Deconstructed with the God-Emperor for the Imperium of Man; while he most likely was the Big Good during the Horus Heresy, nowadays, he's basically been rendered as little more than a shriveled-up husk, only serving as little more than a symbolic figurehead, meant to keep the Imperium from fully collapsing in morale and structure, and the primary icon of religious worship by his subjects, to counter the corruptive daemonology of the Chaos gods.
  • Bigger Is Better: The basis for many things in this setting.
  • Bigger Stick: Leman Russ not enough? Baneblade. Then Leviathan. Then a Titan. Then a bigger Titan. Then Exterminatus.
  • Bishonen: Lucius the Eternal before he started scarring his face to commemorate his victories.
    • Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels, was very pretty and a fairly nice guy for this setting. Fittingly, he was called the Angel, but that was also due to his wings.
    • Mephiston, Lord of Death has it in spades. Also a Blood Angel, and considered by some to be Sanguinius reborn.
      • How about Fulgrim the Phoenician, Primarch of the Emperor's Children?
        • Followers of Slaanesh in general. Nuff said.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Opinions vary between whether 40k is black and grey, black and black, or black and ALL-CONSUMING, LIGHT DEVOURING VOID.
  • Black Comedy: The humor in this seting is either this or very, very dry.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Konrad Curze and his legion of Night Lords.
  • Black Magic: Everything connected to Chaos.
  • Black Market Produce: The nobles eat the best food, imported from agral worlds. The masses... not so much (yes, Soylent Green included)
  • The Blacksmith: Vulkan, who passed the trait on to the Salamanders. To a lesser and weirder extent, Ferrus Manus and the Iron Hands.
  • Blade on a Stick: A number of Grey Knights' Nemesis Force Weapons come in the form of glaives; it's the default form for them in Dawn of War. Some Eldar Exarchs also use glaives, and some Eldar psykers carry Singing Spears. Dark Eldar Incubi carry a long, wicked-looking glaive called a Punisher as their default weapon.
    • The Necron warscythe is one of the most feared close-combat weapons in existence - a glaive that can cut through energy fields without slowing down.
    • The honor blades used by Tau Ethereals. The blades are swung fast enough to become invisible, and are used in bloodless duels to settle disputes. Aun'shi carries one on the battle field, and is skilled enough with it to kill enough Orks that they are to afraid to go near him.
    • The Berserker Glaive from the 3rd edition of Chaos Space Marines. Averted on occasion, though, as Daemon Weapons do not always resemble their given description.
  • Blessed with Suck: Psykers; these are also a debatable case of Cursed with Awesome, at least until a daemon eats their soul.
  • Blind Seer: The soul-binding process required to turn psykers into Astropaths - interstellar telepaths used for all long-distance communication - completely burns out their eyes, though their psychic abilities generally compensate for it. Many non-Astropath psykers are also depicted as physically blind.
  • Bling of War:There's a reason it's called "war gear". Running on Rule of Cool, if you see something Blingtastic, both the equipment and the user are Badass enough to have earned this title.
  • Blood Knight: Orks and followers of Khorne, without exception. You also get a fair number of Imperial, Eldar, and Dark Eldar in this category.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Orks wouldn't be nearly as popular if they weren't so funny.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Gods of Chaos aren't evil per se, but they are all embodiments of an ideology that they spread, and it does bring harm to others. Tzeentch screws people over for the sake of screwing people over, Nurgle literally loves to inflict diseases on you and believes your misery is thanking him, Khorne believes in bloodshed, battle and honourable death, and Slaanesh is devoted to pleasure and indulgence, healthy or not.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Space Marine Honor Guards are deployed to protect the Chapter Master, who did not get to his position by being a pushover.
  • Body Horror:You wouldn't believe the amount of it!
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Space Wolves and Orks.
  • Bond Creatures: Both natural, in the somewhat obscure Gyrinx, and the various creations serving psykers as Familiars.
  • Boring but Practical: Or as close to 'boring' as it gets in the setting anyhow... all armies are able to field powerful special troops, amazing heroes and crazy war machines, but you generally cannot win without a good chunk of your army being made up of some variant or another of your standard rank-and-file troops, a fact often referred to as 'Boys before toys'.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Every faction tends to get this treatment in its own codex, in a manner appropriate to the race (EG the Space Marines tend to emerge triumphant against overwhelming odds, the Imperial Guard tend to win through attrition and great loss of life, the Orks tend to win by being Crazy Awesome, etc.). Conversely, if a faction appears in someone else's codex, it usually means they're getting Worfed.
  • Bowdlerization: The game's second edition. Much of the Imperium's nastiness was downplayed or went largely unmentioned. Inquisitors and Imperial Guard Commissars were described as heroic individuals. Commissars even lost the ability to restore unit morale by means of summary execution. These issues were all brutally redressed in the third edition.
  • Brain Bleach: What you'll need after reading Space Marine (the tabletop game, not the new video game). Or some of the stuff on /tg/.
  • Brain Food: Space Marines and Tyranid Lictors can gain some of a creature's knowledge by eating its brain.
  • Brainwashed: Liberally used by... well,everyone, really.
    • Brainwashed and Crazy: Much loved by Chaos. The Imperial Ecclesiarchy also likes to combine heretics with a partial lobotomy, advanced hypnosis, generic brainwashing, combat drugs and cybernetic implants to create Arcoflagellants, Ax Crazy combat monsters which are often set against their former allies.
  • Breast Plate: The Sisters of Battle tend to wear rather...form-fitting armour. All Eldar Howling Banshees also wear armor with noticable bosoms: including, presumably, the male ones. Some Eldar Guardians also have these.
  • Breath Weapon: Tyranid bio-plasma, certain daemons and daemonhosts.
  • Bribing Your Way To Being Able To Play: A starter army, with the rule book, matching codex, bitz for customization, paints and glues, and a case to put it all in? Expect to put down half a grand. At least.
    • Unless you get your pieces off E-Bay. The market's saturated.
    • Depend on what army you play. If you play World Eaters, you can get two squads of Khorne Berserkers and Kharn the Betrayer for about 50 bucks and have a pretty decent 500 point army.
  • Broken Ace: The Primarchs.
  • Broken Masquerade: The secular Imperium of the Great Crusade was founded on the idea that there were no gods, no daemons, nothing that could not be explained by science. That got disproved pretty comprehensively, and things got worse as a result: thus demonstrating why the Emperor established the Masquerade in the first place.
  • Brown Note: Chaos iconography can drive men insane. Chaos daemons are a whole world of horror beyond that.
    • Slaanesh Noise Marines carry a manner of sonic weapons that can amplify their daemonic screams, produce explosive bass notes, or rip a target to shreds from the harmonics.
    • Unaugmented humans viewing primarchs for the first time tend to react. . . badly. One boy, upon meeting pre-Heresy Lorgar, suffered from vomiting and nightmares for a few weeks. The book describes the phenomena as sensory overload.
    • To a psyker, a Pariah (someone who has no Warp presence) can serve as this.
    • Tyranid psychic chatter is this both to psykers and to the Warp, effectively jamming any sort of communication or faster-than-light travel.
  • Bug War: Whenever the Tyranids show up.
  • Bulletproof Vest: The standard Imperial Guardsman is equipped with a flashlight and T-shirt a lasgun and flak vest. Formidable stuff by modern standards, but guess how much good it does in this universe.
    • In an interesting twist, the guardsman's flak armor is the best starting armor of any of the careers in Dark Heresy.
  • Burn the Witch: Standard government policy.
  • Butt Monkey: Played for laughs with grots. Played straight with Imperial Guard as they were Games Workshop's favorite punching bag. Even extended to the players as they got two consequtive under-powered codexes with at least half the units being useless and had to (and still do) deal with kill points making the Annihilate mission Unwinnable. GW eventually decided to give IG players a break by releasing a codex that was actually good and giving them the lion's share of stuff in Apocalypse.
    • Case in point: meet the business end of a Baneblade. Who's the Butt Monkey now?
    • Also played straight with Ka'Bandha. Keep in mind that he's a 20-foot-tall Greater Daemon of the Blood God. Yet every time he goes up against the Blood Angels, he just ends up embarrassing himself.
      • On Signus Prime, he broke the legs of Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels. Except that by doing so, he awoke a dark rage in the Angels, and his forces were soon overrun.
      • At the Siege of Terra, he almost defeated Sanguinius a second time, but the Primarch seized the huge honking demon by the throat and broke his spine. Over his knee.
      • Later, on Khartas. At this point, Sanguinius had been dead for 10,000 years. Ka'Bandha figures he's got it made now. He then gets bodyslammed by the mysterious figure known as the Sanguinor. To death. From orbit.
      • In fairness, it's theorized that the Sanguinor is the ghost of Sanguinius. Not that this helps Ka'Bandha's rep much.


C

  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: And occasionally Call a Smeerp a Rabbit.
  • Canis Latinicus: Conventional rendering of High Gothic; e.g., Adeptus Astartes, Adeptus Mechanicus. "Imperium," however, is an actual Roman word, according to That Other Wiki.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: ...but you can shoot them in the face. Foul Xenos.
  • Captain Ersatz: Soylent viridians are Soylent Green, "Sly" Marbo is John Rambo, the Black Templars possess a holy hand grenade of Antioch, and the Necrons are effectively an entire army of Terminators, among others.
  • Car Fu: Tank Shock.
    • The 5th Edition rules allow you to ram Tanks into other vehicles, which can potentially take out several enemies at once.
  • Card Games: There's been a few actual card games released based on the 40K universe. One could also easily count Second Edition and earlier editions of Epic, which came packaged with a whole dead forest worth of cards, counters, templates and assorted other bits and pieces, sometimes including entire decks for mechanics like the Winds of the Warp or things like the Imperator and Mega-Gargant templates and counters which were entire mini-games in their own right.
  • Cargo Cult: The Imperium of Man combines this with Ancient Astronauts in an interesting fashion, as the overwhelming majority of the technology they use predates the incident that put the Emperor on life-support, and maintenance has become more of a religious ceremony than anything else.
    • A little more complicated, Depending on the Writer. The Mechanicus are often depicted as competent engineers despite/because of their mystical approach, who understand the workings of many things and for whom reverse-engineering the rest and discovering the physics responsible is a holy quest for enlightenment.
    • Ironically, all of the equipment used by the Imperium is kept at optimal efficiency due to all this, since a clean and well-maintained machine is a happy machine, and a happy machine means a happy machine-god. It also means that there's never an issue with poor quality materials being used (although field repairs do happen, which is looked down upon by the Adeptus Mechanicus).
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Played straight by the Eldar and Necrons with the Webway, brutally, horribly averted by everyone else.
    • Tau have a slightly easier time of it, due to their smaller warp presence, but their current warp drives only allow short "dives", so while safer it's comparatively slow (although still far faster than light).
    • The tyranids have it easy enough: point fleet at star, mess with star's gravity to create an FTL tunnel and ride on in (not to mention the natural disasters this causes often tenderize the local defences).
  • Catch Phrase: The Emperor protects!/Death to the False Emperor!/For the Greater Good!/WAAAAGH!/OMNOMNOMNOM!
    • It's worth noting that all the catchphrases are battlecries.
      • And all battlecries are catchphrases (Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!/For the Emperor!/Harriers for the cup!)
  • Cerebus Syndrome: People often forget that the first edition was a parody. Some feel like it practically is, though.
  • Chainsaw Is God: Warhammer's love of chainsaws can be summed up in this quote:
  • Chandler's Law: When in doubt, have another Tyranid/Ork/Chaos/Necron invasion.
  • Char Clone: With his customized silver-helmed red Battlesuit and Mysterious Past, Commander Farsight is most definitely A CHAR.
  • The Chessmaster: Ongoing manipulation contest between the Chaos god Tzeentch, the C'tan Deceiver, and the Eldar Seers. Chances are, any major galactic happening is going to have at least one of them cackling "just as planned".
    • The Emperor is also a likely candidate for this trope, as it is hinted at in several texts that he knew the Horus Heresy would happen, and planned for it and all future events leading up to the present and probably beyond so as to (presumably) prepare the galaxy for an ultimately happy fate.
    • Asdrubael Vect fits this trope in spades. An archon said he was better than Vect, three days later, a warp rift appears above said archon's house releasing an Imperial ship, which has its warp drive detonate. The only other person in Commmoragh that can match Vect is Lady Malys.
  • Chicken Walker: Imperial Sentinels and Warhound Titans, and Eldar War Walkers.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Game mechanic: Instant Death.
    • Quote from the 5th ed. Codex: "It can be imagined that the creature is vaporized, burned to a pile of ash, blasted limb from limb, or otherwise mortally slain in a suitably graphic fashion."
  • Character Exaggeration: The Imperial Guard's leaders are generally considered General Rippers who care very little about their troops because We Have Reserves by fans, as well as Commissars being complete sadists who will kill Guardsmen at the drop of a hat. Naturally, the Imperium doesn't encourage death - the 3rd edition 2nd Imperial Guard Codex says itself "A good general does not lead an army to destruction just because he knows it will follow." The Imperium just has lower standards of 'pointless' compared to us. However, that is usually done for Gallows Humor, and helps them say Warhammer 40000 is a World Half Empty very well. Which it still is.
    • It's understandable that Guardsmen lives are treated like that, considering most worlds where guardsmen are recruited from they're actually considered an exportable product rather than living human beings.
  • Child Soldiers: Yet another way the factions in 40k violate the Geneva Convention.
    • Space Marines are inducted at 10-14 and become Scouts by 15 at the latest.
    • Cadian education and military training are the same thing, and they're typically full soldiers (which requires earning a medal) by some time in their teens: assuming they live that long.
    • Orks incubate in their underground wombs until adolescence, and are ready to fight and kill the moment they break the soil.
    • Tyranids are also ready to rip your face off the moment they leave the womb, a fact the Tyranids often take advantage of by firing the wombs at a planet.
  • Church Militant: The Imperium's Cult of The Emperor asks of you: KILL THE MUTANT! BURN THE HERETIC! PURGE THE UNCLEAN!
    • ... and it has more. So many that we couldn't chose which ones were best and had to give Warhammer40000 its own section in the page.
  • City in a Bottle: Some hive cities get like this.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Ork technology and Ad Mech rituals appear like this to the casual in-universe observer. Ork Mekboy knowledge is instinctive, so they build without conscious thought. An ambiguous amount of Ork psychic power may also be involved, which might make it a literal application of the trope. Tech-priests on the other hand are taught genuine mechanical skills, just in an odd and highly-ritualised way, so maintenence operations often include unnecessary praying and application of Holy Lubricant.
  • Clingy Costume: Chaos Obliterators. Also Eldar Exarchs once they've bonded enough with the spirits of their armour's previous wearers.
    • Thousand Sons Chaos Marines. Their souls are trapped inside their power armor.
    • The orks, only caring about war, will often pay the tribe's mek to have themselves sealed in a suit of mega armour. If that's not far enough, they can also be sealed inside a Deff Dread, a crude mini mecha.
    • Dark Eldar Wyches; what little they do bother to wear is pretty much painted on.
    • In times past, it was said that Khorne Berserkers' armour fused with their flesh, to the point that it would bleed when struck.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: Chaos-corrupted suits of armour. Granted, in most cases this is more a case of Clothes Make The Maniac Worse.
    • Eldar Phoenix Lords as well, for certain definitions of "maniac."
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Ork Madboyz at their most harmless. At their least harmless, however...
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Commissars, although most don't wear masks. Gas masks on the other hand...
    • Similarly, the Armageddon Steel Legion and the Death Korps of Krieg are Coat Helmet (Gas) Mask.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Most typical of the Inquisition - the torturers of other races usually have far too much fun to be called cold-blooded.
    • Interrogator-Chaplains. There's a reason they're named that. Especially be careful of the ones with many black pearls.
    • The Night Lords legion has a special fondness for this.
  • Cold Sniper: Vindicare Temple Assassins.
  • The Collector of the Strange: Chaos, the Orks, and the Dark Eldar collect the skulls (and occasionally other body parts) of their enemies as trophies. The Imperium collects the skulls of particularly pious servants for use as relics and Attack Drones.
  • Colony Drop: Deconstructed, if you can believe it, but also used straight on occasion. "In close consultation with his advisors, Orkimedes determined that the best solution to the tactical flexibility of Imperial forces was to drop big rocks on them." A surprisingly common Ork technique to both deploy close to the enemy [in fact on top of a portion of them] and weaken aforementioned enemy.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Space Marine chapters, Chaos Space Marine legions, Eldar craftworlds, Ork klanz, Tyranid hive fleets, Necron tomb worlds, Tau septs: practically every major army has a set of color-coded subdivisions, and many of these have associated composition themes and stereotypes. Only the Imperial Guard defy color-based pigeonholing, and even they have certain color schemes they tend to favor.
    • Space Marines especially; many chapters feel that adding camouflage patterns to their armor would be "dishonoring the colors of the chapter," and intentionally dress in bright and highly-visible colors so that their enemy can see them and quake in terror at their approach.
    • Eldar are colour coded to the extreme- not only does each army have their own colour schemes, but each DIFFERENT KIND of soldier has their own colours- orange for Fire Dragons, green for Striking Scorpions, blue for Dire Avengers, and so on...
    • Within most space marine chapters, Librarians traditional wear blue armor, Tech-marines wear deep red, Chaplains were black, and Apothecaries wear white. Most chapters' specialists will wear their chapter's color on their shoulder pad.
  • Combat Medic: Space Marine Apothecaries, Ork Painboyz, and pretty much anyone else with a medkit or the equivalent.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Worshippers of Slaanesh and most Dark Eldar.
  • Combat Tentacles: Tyranids mount these on everything from mooks to spaceships.
    • The Slaaneshi weapon aptly named "Lash of Torment".
  • Comes Great Insanity: A rich tradition among leadership figures within the Imperium, from Horus to High Lord Vandire. Generally, reforms follow in their wake to stop similar incidents happening. For example, after the Horus Heresy, the Space Marine Legions were divided into smaller Chapters. In the case of Vandire, no-one was ever allowed to become both the head of the Administratum and the Ecclesiarchy again. And the Ecclesiarchy couldn't keep men-at-arms. Which they got around.
  • Commissars: Fielded by the Imperial Guard in all their CommieNazi Bling of War (including the black and silver Commissar Cap). Their job is to shoot the undisciplined, the heretics and the cowardly to keep morale high. In Dawn of War, this is not only a valid tactic but an essential one, as using Execute temporarily increases the firing rate of all nearby infantry. In fifth edition they will summary execute the squad's leader if the squad fail's a leadership test, when assigned to command squads this can cause much more harm than good.
  • Commissar Cap: Trope Namer, and not entirely restricted to Commissars - a few regular regular officers and the odd Inquisitor wear similar hats, and some Orks love looting them.
    • In fact, Nork Deddog, a (comparatively) super intelligent Ogryn bodyguard was rewarded a Commissar Cap.
  • Communications Officer: The Imperial Guard has "vox operators" with radio backpacks.
  • Companion Cube: The Adeptus Mechanicus and their treatment of any machine.
  • Concepts Are Cheap: "The Greater Good" of the Tau is never explained, leaving the reader to fill in the details about what it is. When you think about it, the Tau get called the good guys because they keep saying "We're the good guys!", not because of anything they do.
    • Actually, it is explained; it's basically Utilitarianism...in space!
      • I was always under the impression that the Tau's xeno policy of "Join or die!" was a lot nicer than the "Die!" or "Die or become some sort of slave, but we'll choose for you!" that the other races give.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Operates in full force.
  • Confusion Fu: Chaos has this as there hat. There is only a 66% for any given piece to actually start the game on the board. This, and may other factors makes the Chaos faction the bane of any laid down plan from EITHER player.
    • Could be a possible deconstruction, as Chaos Daemons (the army that does this) is fucking awful. If you want to win, don't play Daemons.
    • Ork Pchysics have a dice roll to determine what ability they have every turn, making a highly unpredictable unit.
  • Continuity Nod: Forge World, Games Workshop's daughter company that specializes in producing resin miniatures for collectors and hardcore fans, has released a number of Space Marine miniature conversion packs designed to evoke the feel of old 1st and 2nd Edition models using the modern kits. Examples include the Land Raider Proteus (designed to evoke the old Land Raider model from Rogue Trader), the MkIc Deimos-Pattern Rhino (designed to resemble the 1st and 2nd Edition Space Marine Rhino, with its round smokestacks and dual bolters), and various special and heavy weapon packs crammed full of old-school guns.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: The Bad Moon clan is full of Orks who like to bling out their guns to show off their wealth.
  • Cool Bike: Examples include the enormous combat motorcycles ridden by Space Marines (particularly the White Scars); the enormous spiky combat motorcycles ridden by Chaos Marines (particularly Doom Rider); the enormous, ramshackle, and very loud combat motorcycles ridden by Orks (particularly Wazdakka Gutzmek); the flying combat motorcyles ridden by Eldar (particularly the Shining Spears); and the ridiculously fast flying combat motorcycles ridden by Dark Eldar (particularly... err, only the Reavers).
  • Cool Starship: Millennia-old kilometres-long battle cathedrals in space.
    • Eldar Craftworlds are massive spaceships the size of dwarf planets.
  • Cool but Inefficient: Imperial Navy spaceships are hypertech vessels decorated with gargoyles and other morbid sculptures on the outside (which are completely functional, they usually hide weapons or other projectors, as well as that they keep out the Warp, if you believe in their capability to do so...), and crewed mostly by throngs of press-ganged deck-hands that must do most everything by muscle power.
    • Many elite options for the Imperial Guard on the tabletop are statistically considered to be not worth the cost of just getting even more basic guardsmen.
  • Corralled Cosmos: Beyond the light of the Astronomican warp travel becomes effectively impossible for the Imperium. That would be good enough for any other setting but with 40k being what it is the light of the Astronomican is fading, meaning humanity's corral is shrinking.
  • Corrupt Church: The Ecclesiarchy. Chaos cults go rather beyond "corrupt".
  • The Corruption: Chaos, if not the ur-example, is one of the most developed in any setting.
    • An even closer example is the Legion of the Damned, warp lost space marines who are slowly being driven mad by their contagion while simultaneously growing more and more powerful. They appear out of the warp and steamroll over whatever army is hopelessly outmatching the Imperium today before dropping some trinket of their chapter and vanishing again.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: It's a universe where even death won't save you from an eternity of torture.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Humanity: we're something of a favorite species to mess with for the Chaos gods, and pretty much everything wants to kill us for some reason, or no reason. The Eldar might also qualify, nearly getting wiped by Slaanesh, and always facing threats from everything else including the Imperium. Probably most everyone might fit into this except for the Tau, if only because they haven't been around long enough to.
    • Although it is suspicious how they were able to evolve far faster than seems possible while their planet was isolated by a warp storm, hmmmm.
  • CRAPSACK UNIVERSE: Every sentient race, including the gods, is doomed.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Everything the Orks do, ever.
  • Creepy Child: The Apex Twins, a minor but memorable background note. Think the girls from The Shining, except omnipotent and deadly.
  • Creepy Monotone: Necron Lords, and techpriests of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Servitors are independently creepy and monotonous.
  • Creepy Souvenir--Many warriors keep skulls of their slain enemies, some in shrines, some carried around with them.
  • Crew of One: Played straight by the Space Marines, averted by the Imperial Guard.
  • Crippling Overspecialisation: The Eldar's Hat.
    • Averted with the Space Marine Sternguard and the Deathwatch, who carry different types of ammunition for all different threats, and modifications for their standard issue boltgun to make it a powerful, long range sniper rifle.
  • Critical Failure: Hope you don't roll a 1 while carting that plasma gun around.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Every way to die.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Eldar and Tau only.
  • Cult: Plenty serving Chaos, and plenty of others devoted to the Emperor. At least one devoted to Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!
  • Culture Police: The Inquisition and Adeptus Arbites are pretty laid-back about culture, so long as planets revere the Emperor and pay tribute to the Imperium. However, if they see anything that could possibly be interpreted as a sign of Chaos, the purge will be swift and without mercy - and not all Inquisitors agree on what constitutes a sign of Chaos.
    • The Tau are all about this trope, even before their grimdark revision. All Tau (and their allies) must work, fight, and live for the Greater Good. Deviation lands you in a concentration camp.
  • Custom Uniform: Many examples for minor characters and squad leaders, such as Imperial Guard commissars and techpriests, and Eldar warlocks.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The differences in power between beings are drastically diminished in the actual tabletop game compared to the fluff - don't expect those greater daemons to kill whole worlds or the space marines to be a One-Man Army... or those lasguns to punch through concrete.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Servitors, and most Adeptus Mechanicus magi. Possibly literal in the case of certain Necrons.
    • Also Chaos Marines interred inside Dreadnaughts tend to go...a little mad.
    • Possibly literally in the case of the Adeptus Mechanicus. If the Void Dragon is beneath Mars, then it slowly eats the souls of those who replace their bodies with cybernetics. More cybernetics means more of the soul eaten.
  • Cyberpunk: Many hive worlds tend towards this. The Gaiden Game Necromunda is a good example of the aesthetic.
  • Cyborg: While there are "realistic" bionics, senior Mechanicus adepts often approach full-body conversion in their attempts to remove every trace of "weak flesh". Also Cyborks, Orks who suffered from particularly grievous injury or a particularly enthusiastic Painboy, and acquired lots of bionik bitz as a result.


D

  • Dance Battler: Eldar Harlequins.
  • Dark Action Girl: Lelith Hesperax and Kruellagh the Vile.
  • Darker and Edgier with respect to the regular Warhammer, which was fairly grim to begin with.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Dark Eldar and The Black Legion.
  • Dark Messiah: Horus. A lot of Word Bearers seem to have delusions of this, too. The Emperor of Mankind was either this or a straight Messianic Archetype whose plans were brutally subverted by the power-seekers and paranoids who took them up after he was forced to become one with the furniture.
  • The Dark Side: Somewhat predictably, the setting takes this trope and hurls it off the deep end in the form of Chaos. The result? There's no Light Side - only a sort of Gray Side, and the actual Dark Side is sentient, extremely intelligent, masterfully manipulative, very powerful, and occasionally takes matters into its own hands when mortal pawns aren't getting the job done.
  • Days of Future Past: Feudal or Oligarchal planetary government is the order of the day in most of the Imperium.
  • Deadly Doctor: Mad Doks and Apothecaries are fully qualified and lethal combatants with their medical equipment.
    • Taken to extremes with the Terminator and Ravenwing Apothecaries of the Dark Angels. The former can take a missile launcher, Lightning Claws, or a Thunder Hammer. The latter is mounted on a bike with Flamethrower or Plasma Gun options.
  • Dead-Man Switch: The facilities imprisoning a planet's psykers before they can be carted off to Terra usually have one. In case of any trouble, all held psykers are instantly gassed. Considering how much trouble "any trouble" can evolve to when you deal with several hundreds of untrained and unsanctioned psykers, this can be considered a wise precaution...
  • Death From Above: Jump infantry of every shape and size (half a ton of armoured super soldier approaching your face at terminal velocity, anyone?), Space Marine Drop Pods, Tyranid mycetic spores, Tau Mantas, and Ork roks.
    • Also, Exterminatus!
  • Death Glare: Common in the artwork.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: General Imperial Guard tactics - point enough "flashlights" at something and it should go down. Eldar shuriken and splinter weapons are a more literal example.
  • Death or Glory Attack: The Trope Namer.
  • Death Ray: Rays which cause death, rays which fire death, rays which eat death, and rays which are fired by Death.
  • Death World: One of the more common Single Biome Planets.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Happens a lot.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The Emperor and some of his Primarchs.
    • Horribly subverted, of course, when about half of them decide that they're not so friendly after all.
  • Defector From Decadence: The Craftworld Eldar and Exodites, before the Fall of the Eldar. Turned out they were right...
  • Defictionalization: Look! A Rhino. A RHINO. Our game developers are building METAL BOXES, the cowards. The FOOLS!
  • Deflector Shields: Starting with personal infantry shields or shield drones and reaching up to Void Shields that defend Titans and starships.
  • Dem Bones: Servo-skulls and Necrons.
  • Demonic Possession: Even the tanks can get possessed.
  • Depending on the Writer: In a fictional universe this big, it can't really be helped, but there are tonnes and tonnes of factors that vary wildly depending on who's writing them.
    • This is a frequent response to internet discussions of the "who will win" within 40K. The winner will be the protagonists of the story, regardless of the connotations of their faction.
    • Official GW policy is that beyond the broad strokes each author gets to choose what counts as canon. "All of it is real, and none of it is real."
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Holy hammers, holy bullets, holy stakes, holy artillery rounds, holy flamethrowers, holy [[strike:hand grenades orbs of Antioch....
  • Derelict Graveyard: Space Hulks.
  • Derivative Differentiation: It used to just be Warhammer with space ships before adding its own mythos and creatures.
  • Determinator: The Necrons and Tyranids are entire races of Implacable Determinators, but insanely determined people crop up everywhere in this universe.
    • Non-race-specific example is any unit that has the "Rage" special rule, which force them to go after the closest visible enemy when they move, run, or charge, or the "Feel No Pain" special rule, which lets them keep going despite horrific injury.
    • One of the more extreme examples is Black Templars, who are the only army that move towards the enemy when their men die. On top of this, they are literally fearless in close combat - a lone Neophyte (a warrior novice) who has just seen the rest of his squad die will stay in the fight against a monster three times his size, which just happens to have huge claws, acidic blood, head-bursting psychic powers and Emperor knows what else.
    • This is also true of Sisters Repentia in a Sisters of Battle army. Their zeal and will to repent is represented in their special rules, which attempt to ensure that they will always rush towards the enemy during their movement phase, and will always charge the enemy if they ever fail a Morale check in combat. Adding in a Priest only exacerbates the situation improves their chances of doing so.
    • On the Chaos side, the Khorne berserkers voluntarily undergo a partial lobotomisation that make them singlemindedly bloodthirsty and removes their inclination towards self-preservation. This means that they rush into melee brandishing chainsaw axes and are completely immune to morale effects.
    • Another notable example would be Commissar Sebastian Yarrick. Despite losing his left eye and his right arm, as well as being an old, old man by the time of his main exploits, Yarrick managed to inspire terror and respect in the Orks by his uncanny ability to fight in the thick of it no matter the odds (and the pain). When his right arm got chopped off he simply beheaded the offending Ork Warboss and kept on fighting, only "allowing himself the luxury of passing out" after the long battle was won. This has granted him the dubious honour of being WH40K fandom's answer to Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer and meme-makers know who else.
    • Played with by the Tau, who are physically unable to disobey their Ethereal caste leaders. If an Ethereal tells another Tau to do something, they automatically become the Determinator. If all nearby Ethereals are killed in battle, they tend to react... poorly.
    • Not only are the Orks determinators individually, they're determinators as a race. They reproduce by giving off spores that grow into orkoids (orks, gretchin, snotlings or squigs) in the ground. Orks come out of their pods fully formed and ready to fight anything they can find; since the more an Ork fights, the more spores he gives off, once you have Orks on a planet you will always have Orks on that planet.
    • The Blood Angels Space Marines suffer from the Flaw, which turns them from noble warriors into blood-crazed, vampiric madmen. To date, only Mephiston, their Chief Librarian, has succumbed to the Black Rage, the final stage of the Flaw, and been able to return to sanity. He does it by sheer willpower.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Units can rout, such as from failing a 'morale check' from casualties.
  • Detect Evil: Psykers can sense the presence of Chaos. Chaos itself is supposed to have a smell somewhere between rotten flesh and sugar.
  • Deus Est Machina: Taken literally by the Omnissiah, and almost literally by the Void Dragon. Then there's the part where they might be the same being...
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Daemons, C'tan, and other Eldritch Abominations can be defeated, if only by throwing absolutely everything at them - but destroying the physical form of a daemon only banishes it back to the warp for a while, and the C'tan merely need to fashion new necrodermis bodies.
    • Hey, they're not always that hard to kill. An ordinary human took down one armed with nothing but a melta and a chainsword, while backed up by a squad of marines. Admittedly this was out of the ordinary, in a firmly tongue-in-cheek take on the universe, by a character who was both Born Lucky and a Badass Normal.
  • Diesel Punk: Everything runs on magic gasoline caled "promethium". Admit it, 40k is just diesel punk with spaceships and Eldritch Abominations.
    • Well, nearly everything. It's been said in fluff that the Leman Russ uses a multifuel combustion engine which can be adapted to run on almost anything that burns, so you could potentially have a coal-powered Leman Russ.
  • Disney Owns This Trope: Games Workshop released an expansion called Space Marine to the original Adeptus Titanicus game (the scale now called Epic). Come the re-release, the entire game system ended up being released under the Space Marine name, with Games Workshop picking up a Registered Trademark for "Space Marine." Figures for Aliens will acknowledge this trademark on their packaging if you look, despite that Aliens came out the year before the original Rogue Trader book.
    • Similarly, the manual for Dungeon Keeper 2 lists "Dark Angel" as being registered under GW.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Eldar, mostly, though some of the more beatific Living Saints of the Imperium can manage to pull this off.
  • The Ditz: Ogryn. Nork Deddog is considered to be a genius by Ogryn standards, in that he can sign his own name and count to four; even after receiving neural enhancement surgery, the very brightest of Ogryn only have the mental capacity of an eight year-old. Even the Orks look clever by comparison.
  • Divided We Fall: Common among the Imperial armed forces, governments, the Inquisition, etc., much to the Imperium's detriment.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Several Dark Eldar as of the new codex, including Lelith Hesperax, Urien Rakarth, the Mandrakes, and a few of the Hellions and Scourges.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tyranid wargear. Do not examine the biology behind it too closely.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The Eldar and Imperium are entire races in the middle of this.
  • Doomsday Device: Lots, in every form imaginable, from sucking planets into Hell to simply breaking them apart from the inside out.
  • Downer Ending: There is no way it can end any other way, no matter who wins.
  • Dream Land: The Warp.
  • Drop the Hammer: Partly named after this trope. Thunder hammers, a gigantic hammer with a tank-splitting energy release, are a favourite of Space Marine Terminators and the Ordo Malleus...which translates to "Order of the Hammer."
  • Dropped a Swarm of Alien Locusts on Them: The Squats.
  • Drop Pod: The most common way for Space Marines to enter combat.
  • Drop Ship: Many, the best known being Space Marine Thunderhawk Gunships.
  • Dual-Wielding: Done with swords, axes, chainsaw swords, chainsaw axes, giant hammers and enormous bladed claws that shoot lightning; a combination of this and Guns Akimbo, with a pistol in one hand and a blade in the other, is used by virtually all close combat troops in the setting.
    • Taken to the next step by Eldar Striking Scorpions, who have a chainsword in one hand, pistol in the other, and mind-activated gun mounted on their helmet. Half a step to the left are the classic Dark Eldar Incubi, who trade the chainsword and pistol for a double-handed glaive, but keep the head-gun. (Modern Incubi do away with all forms of dual wielding whatsoever in favor of a single, massive two-handed sword.)
  • Duel to the Death: Common in the Imperium and Dark Eldar; extremely common, if informal, among the Orks.
  • Due to the Dead: Orks and Chaos forces regularly mutilate the bodies of dead foes, possibly to stick some heads on something pointy. Not that respect for the dead is exactly common...
  • Dug Too Deep: How one usually finds out that they're on a Necron Tomb World.
  • Dumb Is Good: The Imperium LIVES by this.
  • During the War: Though sometimes it feels more like After the End.
  • Dying as Yourself
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Really, the best you can hope for.
  • Dying Race: The Craftworld Eldar.
  • Dystopia: It really, really doesn't get any worse.


E

  • Earth Is the Centre of The Universe: Played literally, and justified. Earth is the site of the psychic beacon known as the Astronomican, necessary for humanity's faster-than-light travel.
    • Not to mention that at some point during the Dark Age of Technology, humanity moved the entire terran solar system to the centre of the galaxy
  • Earthshattering Kaboom: Just about every large Imperial vessel is equipped for Exterminatus, the cleansing of an entire planet, which is often employed at the mere suspicion of heresy. Then there are the Eldar Akliamor, the Planet Killer, the Blackstone Fortresses...
  • Earth That Used To Be Much, Much Better
  • Eldritch Abomination: Crawling with them.
  • Elite Army: The Super Soldier Space Marines.
  • Elite Mooks: Elites choices, of course. Also, Space Marines in general, compared to the rest of the Imperium's armed forces.
    • Eldar Aspect Warriors are this trope personified. Better than normal Guardian mooks, but not good enough to be non-expendable either through their own intrinsic value (like Eldar pyskers) or being hard to kill (like Autarchs).
  • Emotion Eater: C'tan, Dark Eldar, a lot of Chaos things.
  • Empathic Weapon: Imperial Titans, Eldar witchblades. Chaos daemon weapons are more Artifact of Doom. Imperial troops treat all weapons as empathic, respecting the "machine spirits."
  • Emperor Scientist: The Emperor, appropriately enough.
  • The Empire: The "good" guys.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: The Tau Empire has a few skeletons in its closet. The Imperium of Mankind has entire mausoleums. To go further, since they inadvertently created an entire Chaos god, one of the most terrifying forces in the Galaxy (and in this case, the Squickiest of the four), you could say the Eldar have an entire necropolis. The other sides also have dark histories; they're just more honest about them.
    • Incidentally the same with the Necrons. Considering they gave birth to nearly a whole legion of god-like beings that are nothing but pure narcissistic malice, and lost their free will and souls to said beings, it could be said they have entire Tomb Worlds of skeletons (Pun intended). Probably only kept a secret due to the fact that they can't talk.
      • Games Workshop just retconned quite a bit of Necron history with the new Codex; now, instead of being puppets of the C'tan, the Necrons ended up blowing said beings into thousands of itty-bitty shards... AFTER using their help to defeat another, even more powerful foe, and attain immortality. With the C'tans no longer being the driving force, Necrons now only want their universe-spanning empire back. Or in one case, only want artefacts for a museum.
    • Almost each of the Space Marine chapters have at least enough secrets to fill a tomb or two. Special mention goes to the Dark Angels, who are more than willing to kill members of the Inquisition to hide their secret (which is similar to killing a judge at your own trial) and are so secretive about it within their own Chapter that it would make Happyology seem like an open book.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: This age of mankind has been dubbed The Time Of Ending, since it is believed that humanity will either be extinguished, or it will evolve into a brand new species.
  • Enemy Civil War: Ongoing between various factions of Chaos, the Imperium, Tyranids, and Dark Eldar since the beginning, and still no end in sight. Literally a way of life for the Orks.
    • Possibly subverted by the Tyranids, as they waste no ammo (they eat it back up), and the winning swarm acquires any useful genes the losing swarm picked up, thereby strenghtening the race as a whole.
  • Enemy Mine: Very, very occasionally, two factions will work together to destroy a common enemy, and may even give each other a few minutes to run when it's all over. Again, a way of life for the Orks; the only thing that can put a stop to Orkish infighting is another, more enjoyable enemy to stomp.
    • Eldar Harlequins will frequently aid anyone who is fighting against Chaos; regardless of whatever other conflicts exist.
  • Energy Weapon: From the humble lasgun to the odd Wave Motion Gun, 40k has energy weapons of every size.
  • Enthusiasm Versus Stoicism
  • Equal Opportunity Evil: Chaos accepts/corrupts everyone, regardless of species, though the main races are, in general, conveniently resistant or immune - Eldar know how to resist, Tau have next to no warp presence, and Orks and Tyranids have huge psychic strength and are too devoted to a single purpose (WAAAGH/OM NOM NOM, respectively) to be easily corrupted. The Necrons appear to have contractual immunity, considering Chaos comes from the Warp and the Warp is anathema to them.
    • Although Chaos Orks do appear, particularly stormboy kultz.
      • The difficulty with corrupted Orks (and, to a lesser extent, Tyranids) is that it's very difficult to tell the corrupted from the non-corrupted. They'll both try to kill you with abandon.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The stories and legends about the Primarchs, semi-mythical figureheads of the Space Marine legions, and the Emperor nearly all involve some establishing moment from the Primarchs first actions after being born (normally slaughtering hordes of aliens) to the first meetings between the Emperor and the Primarchs which will say something important about how they saw him or why they betrayed him.
  • The Eternal Churchill: The Imperium lives by this trope. Though individual worlds may enjoy centuries of peace, the Imperium as a whole has been fighting a war for survival on a hundred thousand fronts for ten millennia.
  • Eternal Engine: Adeptus Mechanicus Forge Worlds are described as being planets covered in these. Or as planets that are these.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everyone calls him...the Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind.
  • Everything Is Better With Monkeys: The Jokaero.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: The Vostroyan Rough Riders are literal Bear Cavalry.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Non-video game example: the setting in general, life on a Death World in particular.
  • The Evil Army: The forces of Chaos, the Dark Eldar, and the armies of the Imperium on a bad day (or under a bad leader).
  • Evil Counterpart: Chaos Space Marines to Space Marines, Lost And The Damned to Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar to Craftworld Eldar, although the latter only appears that way from the outside. Some Craftworld Eldar see their Dark brethren as not so much "evil twin", as just a Jerkass sibling. The "Great Work" of the Harlequins is to reunite the two factions; not necessarily through any major change either factions' lifestyles.
    • The Chaos Gods could be seen this way too; Slaanesh as a corruption of Love or Happiness, Khorne as a corruption of Bravery or Glory, Tzeentch as a corruption of Hope or Wisdom, and Nurgle as a corruption of Acceptance or Friendship.
    • The Imperium of Man who wants to destroy all Xenos and the Tau Empire who wish to convert everyone to "The Greater Good" whether they like to or not.
  • Evil Feels Good: Renegade Marines.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Chaos, the C'tan.
  • Evil Is Visceral
    • Chaos — Many creatures of chaos have long prehensile tongues and various other features covered by subtropes.
      • Nurgle — The Great Unclean Ones have exposed organs, use their intestines as weapons, use vomit and pus as ranged weapons, etc.
      • Slaanesh — Daemonettes have big crab claws in place of one of their hands, and are rumored to have a nasty surprise instead of normal genitals. Keepers of Secrets are a mix of many different body parts, including breasts.
    • Tyranids — Everything.
  • Evil Overlord: Every Chaos Lord, Dark Eldar Archon and Ork warboss, and about half of the Imperium's governors.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The tower on the Thousand Sons' adopted homeworld, Adeptus Arbites citadels, Space Marine Fortress-Monasteries, Inquisition strongholds etc.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Try and find any other conflict in this universe.
    • Maybe if we went further back in time, we could find some genuine objectively good guys. Probably before Horus's treachery, though.
  • Eviler Than Thou: An ongoing contest between all the factions.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Referenced as humanity evolving into a new, psychic species. Which makes very little sense, since 1: Daemons eat psykers, and 2: the Imperium kills psykers. Evolutionarily speaking, the "psyker species" should die out before it is even born. Possibly justified by the will of the Emperor.
    • It probably means that humanity is evolving into a new breed of psyker that starts kicking Daemon ass for point 1. Point 2 is for the shitty prototypes, so to speak, and they don't kill the loyal chaos resistant ones.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Most prominent example being the Planet Killer.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy
  • Expansion Pack World: Suddenly, the Tau Empire!
  • Explosive Leash: Used on Imperial Penal Legion troopers to keep them killing the enemies of the Emperor and not their fellow Imperials or each other.
  • Expy: Lord Solar Macharius, of Alexander the Great.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Tyranids eat everything up to and including entire planets, right down to the bedrock, including the atmosphere.)
    • Orks count, too, due to their incredibly robust physiology. Point in case, Ork Fighta-Bommas run their fuel lines through their cockpits, in case the pilot gets thirsty.
    • Space Marines, due to their various enhancements, are also able to survive by eating things most people wouldn't consider food.
    • The Kroot eat anything they can so near future generations will take on certain aspects. They also digest EVERYTHING they eat, to make up for the few things they don't.
  • Eye Beams: Played straight with Eldar Striking Scorpions and Dark Eldar Incubi, who have lasers mounted on their helmets. Commissar Sebastian Yarrick, having had his eye shot out of his skull, had it replaced with a bionic laser eye implant.
    • "If the Orks believed he had the Evil Eye, then by the Emperor, an Evil Eye he would have!"
  • Eyepatch of Power: Yarrick's aforementioned bionic laser eye. Prince Yriel of the Eldar also sports one.


F

  • The Face: A group of Tau will often have a member of their diplomat caste around that can do all the talking when they have to meet with members of another species.
  • Face Full of Alien Wingwong: Genestealers.
  • Faceless Goons: Most troops are either alien monsters or wear full-face helmets, but most squad leaders and superior officers don't, to make them stand out more. While the idea that men in suits of Powered Armour the size of tanks are running around with their heads completely exposed leads to some serious Fridge Logic, Word of God is generally that the characters do wear their helmets, but the models representing them don't to make them more distinctive.
    • It should probably be noted that, in the case of the aforementioned Powered Armour wearing tank-sized men, being shot in the exposed skull is generally seen as a fairly minor inconvenience, both in-game and in fluff terms.
  • The Faceless: Eloeholth the Faceless, possible main villain of Dark Heresy.
  • Fainting Seer: Imperial Psykers with prophetic abilities tend to go a bit...quibbly when particularly world-shattering events, like Black Crusades, Tyranid invasions, or Ork WAAAGH!s are about to happen. Naturally, since this is 40k, the side effects are sometimes more messy and permanent than simple fainting.
  • The Fair Folk: All varieties of Eldar are, when you get down to it, bastards. Though at least the Craftworld Eldar justify it by putting the survival of their own kind above that of the other races. The writers and designers of the 2010 Dark Eldar Codex explicitly wanted a "fairytale" feel for the Dark Eldar's sinister night raids and bizarre weaponry (they have a mirror that can be shattered to kill the person it is reflecting), drawing on this trope.
  • Fallen Hero: Every Chaos Space Marine. Some (the original Traitor Legions) in a vast Chaos-inspired collective rebellion known as the Horus Heresy, ten millennia before the setting; some (Renegades) later, for various reasons. Even most of the Chaos Primarchs were once noble heroes with genuinely sympathetic backstory, and some, such as Magnus and Fulgrim, have particularly tragic reasons for their descent into damnation.
    • A particularly tragic example is the Fallen Angels, a group of Dark Angel Space Marines who were tricked into siding with Chaos during the Heresy, and are mercilessly hunted and tortured by their loyalist brothers.
    • Horus himself is the most prominent example at hand. An incredibly talented, charismatic and powerful leader, Horus was, essentially, tricked into rebelling by being shown a future where (so he thought) he had been forgotten (along with all the other traitor primarchs) and the Emperor was worshipped as a God. Ironically / tragically, this was in fact that future that his very rebellion would create.
    • The first Eldar Striking Scorpion Phoenix Lord, Ahra, left his aspect shrine to journey through the Dark Eldar-inhabited Webway, and is HEAVILY implied to be the Dark Eldar special character Drazhar, Master of Blades. The Dark Eldar have a unit called Incubi, which are supposedly composed entirely of fallen Striking Scorpions and their descendents.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Really, the only way to die in this galaxy.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Averted with the Space Wolves and the Blood Angels. Played horrifically straight with Chaos Space Marines and the Tyranids.
  • Fantastic Racism: "Beware the alien, the mutant, the heretic." The Imperium of Man is rabidly and xenocidally human-centric, but considering that the Eldar view every other species as mindless pawns to be manipulated, the Tau are divided into genetically "pure" castes based on their physical specialisations, the Orks tend to "crump any o' 'dose gits what ain't Orky enuff!" - including other Orks - and everything else is trying to kill everything else, it's fairly understandable.
    • More than understandable: due to the nature of the Imperial religion and the fact that the God Emporer is the only god that Chaos can't touch, becoming a close-minded, xenophobic bigot is pretty much the only way your soul can be saved.
  • Fantastic Rank System: The Imperial Guard have several additional ranks, such as "Lord General Militant" and "Colonel-Commissar". Non-human factions have entirely invented rank systems; see the trope page for details.
  • Fantastic Slurs: XENO!
    • In the Imperium, "twist" is often used for mutants, though the mutants have largely reclaimed the term.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture
    • Space Marines in general are based off of the famous Greek Spartans. More specifically, we have the Viking Space Wolves, the Mongol White Scars, the Roman Ultramarines as the most obvious examples. Blood Angels have some Christian iconography, particularly from the Renaissance period (in the form of immaculate angels). Dark Angels have a particularly monastic feel to them, reinforced by their Old Testament-style angelic names. The Dark Angel's Death Wing Company also has a sort of tribal feel to it, due to the history of their armor. Black Templars are likewise based off of The Knights Templar and The Teutonic Knights, which also affects their gameplay.
      • The Iron Warriors are based on the Spartans (their homeworld Olympia is described as impossibly mountainous) except they show what happens when a Proud Warrior Race goes mad.
    • The Inquisition shares a lot of imagery with (surprise, surprise) the Spanish Inquisition. The Witch Hunters are also very obviously based off of the witch hunters from movies, and possibly the Salem Witch Trials.
    • Imperial Guard regiments include the World War I German-inspired Steel Legion and the rather more Grimdark World War II German-inspired Death Korps of Krieg, the fur-hatted Russian Valhallans and Cossack-based Vostroyan Firstborn, the Arabic Tallarn Desert Raiders, the Vietnam War-themed Catachan Jungle Fighters, the Prussian-esque Mordians, the pith-helmeted, red-coated Praetorians, the tribal Attilan Rough Riders (just guess), and the Welsh/Scottish Tanith First-and-Only.
      • The Cadians are intended to be your standard modern/futuristic soldiers but their name is supposedly a reference to Canada's underappreciated army; their accents in Dawn of War seem to back up that theory. They are also influenced by Blitz-era Britain - Lord Castellan Ursarkar Creed is basically Winston Churchill in Space.
    • The Orks started life as a caricature of British football hooligans.
    • In the Dawn of War series, the Tau are characterised by distinctly Asian accents, which rather coincides with their Taoist philosophy and rather Animesque designs. They're also commonly seen as Space Communists for their "Greater Good" philosophy.
    • The Eldar are a grab-bag of different cultures, combining Greek, Japanese, medieval European, and Commedia Dell'Arte influences with good old-fashioned Tolkienesque elvishness.
    • Both the Necrons and the Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines show ancient Egyptian influence in their design.
    • The Kroot have a very Aboriginal Tribal feel to them, using relatively primitive weapons and warbeasts rather than the high-tech weaponry of every other race (and it's not like it's hard for them to get the equipment either, they just simply don't want it because it's too flimsy).
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Tau Fire Warriors wear an over-large, reinforced shoulder pad on their left shoulder to provide additional protection when they open fire on the enemy. Some older patterns of Space Marine power armor have a studded, reinforced shoulder pad on one side for the same reason.
  • Fast Roping: A tactic that was introduced in the Cities of Death expansion that allows troops to drop directly onto buildings from their skimmers. Later adopted as a standard - if dangerous - technique for exiting a Valkyrie at speed in Codex: Imperial Guard.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: through Hell.
    • Unless you're the Tau. They just "skim the surface" of hell.
  • Fatal Flaw: Everyone.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: "Pray they don't take you alive."
  • A Father to His Men: Literal in the case of the Emperor to the Primarchs and the Primarchs to their respective legions during the Great Crusade. Also see the image on that page for much lulz.
    • Surprisingly, Nurgle's Great Unclean Ones are described as Fathers to their Daemons. The Lord of Decay Nurgle himself even engenders a twisted affection in his followers, who refer to him as "Grandfather Nurgle".
  • Fear Is the Appropriate Response: Any unit with "fearless" will fight to the death, however, if they lose a combat, they take extra wounds.
  • The Federation: The Tau Empire, who ironically would be the bad guys in most settings. In 40k, they're the idealistic ones.
  • Feel No Pain: Necrons, Orks, Space Marines, Nurgle, Thousand Sons, the Dark Eldar if they kill enough people. Don't even ask about followers of Slaanesh...
  • Fetish Fuel: You have seen the illustrations haven't you? Female warriors in anatomically correct power armor, other female warriors in nothing much wielding huge chainswords... Let's just say it's fairly obvious this game was designed for adolescent males.
  • Fetus Terrible: The offspring of the Genestealer-subverted.
  • Feudal Future: The Imperium, Ork empires, and Saim-Hann Craftworld being the most prominent, though most interstellar organizations eventually exhibit shades of this. Justified in all cases by slow and unreliable interstellar communications and travel.
  • Finagle's Law: Applies to everything and everyone, everywhere.
    • To the point that the rogue chaos god Zuvassin is, for the most part, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Murphy's Law; he doesn't so much as give his worshippers orders as much as just let them loose, because if he actually were to give orders, they would find some way of messing them up.
  • Final Solution: Exterminatus is a disturbingly popular problem-solving tool.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: In background material, trying to take down warp-spawned horrors with conventional weapons usually achieves nothing, and alternative methods must be employed. Generally averted in the tabletop game; even greater daemons and star-gods can be hurt, but can take a hell of a lot of punishment.
    • On the tabletop, Five Rounds Rapid is ineffective. Five Hundred Rounds Rapid, on the other hand...
    • Star-gods and a few nasty T8+ creatures are utterly immune to most small-arms fire in-game, due to the rule that if a weapon's strength is 4 or more less than the toughness of the target, it can't hurt them (and the standard firearm is usually Strength 4, if not less). They also have a helluva lotta wounds to withstand anything that can hurt them.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: The Tau, whose lack of warp sensitivity and general inexperience and naivety makes them doubt stories of daemons and other warp-spawned horrors.
    • The Horus Heresy novels have shades of this in places too - the Emperor has promoted a society besed on atheistic secularism, so people lend absolutely no credit to stories of Chaos Gods being behind the various Bad Things that happen for the first few books. It doesn't help...
  • Flechette Storm: Eldar shuriken weapons, Dark Eldar splinter weapons, and at least one type of bolter shell all work like this.
    • The Tau have an upgrade for their tanks that shoot flechette storms while using tank shock rules.
    • Similarly with the Land Raider variant patterns (Crusaders and Redeemers): They have Frag Assault Launchers, which shoot a cloud of shrapnel outward from the front assault ramp, allowing those within (usually Terminators) time to close with the enemy.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Bell of Lost Souls is located atop one of the highest towers of the Imperial Palace, and tolls once whenever a truly great hero of the Imperium dies. It is said to be audible on the other side of the planet.
    • It is hinted at in the fluff that the bell tolls for every Space Marine that died in service to the Emperor. It must be ringing nearly all day and night if that is true.
  • For Science!: Guiding star of the Adeptus Mechanicus, though their definition of "scientific progress" is tracking down and recovering ancient relics. That's the only difference; the Mechanicus will go to any ends to recover even a fragment of a STC device, no matter the cost. The Logician cult from Dark Heresy takes this creed even further, often with horrifying results.
  • For the Evulz: Dark Eldar, and Orks pretty much have this as their main motivation. A number of the Chaos worshippers, too.
    • The whole franchise strives to be as mindbogglingly terrifying as it can for no f**king reason!
  • Foregone Conclusion: For the story, no matter what new threat shows up and no matter how much its power is hyped it will never mean the end of the Imperium. In real life, whenever an army gets a new codex they will definitely win the battle report in the White Dwarf magazine or at least a second chance if they lose the first battle.
  • Forever War: That should be obvious by now.

  In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war!

  • Forged by the Gods: The Chaos Gods sometimes grant their mortal or daemonic servants powerful weapons, though usually their forging is done by daemons, not the gods themselves.
    • Vaul, the forge god of the forged ninety-eight swords and a variety of other Eldar gadgets.
  • Four Is Death: The four chief Chaos Gods, The Corruption distilled. Massively powerful warp entities, each a reflection of one survivalist emotion as present in the collective subconscious of all sentient beings. Each has their own set of daemonic creatures and corrupted followers. Similarly, the surviving C'tan number four: The Deceiver, The Nightbringer, The Outsider and the Void Dragon.)
  • Fragile Speedster: Taken to extremes by the Eldar; taken to ridiculous extremes by Dark Eldar.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Starting with lasguns.
  • Friendly Enemy: Ghazghkull Thraka, to Commissar Yarrick. The feeling is not mutual.
    • Orks have a word to describe this: "Skumgrod" roughly translates to "Favourite Enemy." Or "Best Friend." This is the Ork psyche in a nutshell.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: All of the Imperium's reforms and resolved civil wars since the Horus Heresy.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Sisters Repentia, Arco-flagellants, and daemonhosts.
  • Funetik Aksent: Orks.
  • Fun Personified: Orks. They're the only non-Chaos-corrupted race that really enjoys war, and see the galaxy as a big playground full of wacky hijinks. Plus, their Codexes are hilarious. Pretty much the only race The Loonie can play and not get a Dope Slap.
  • Future Imperfect: Given that the setting takes place 10,000 years After the End, this is pretty much a given.
  • Future Spandex: Imperial Assassins wear uniforms that are quite literally sprayed on: the substance (called SynSkin) comes in large aerosol cans and provides whole-body protection from various airborne toxins and temperature variation whilst allowing the skin to breathe properly, but only if applied directly to naked flesh.


G

  • Gaiden Game: The various Spinoffs listed in the introduction.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Too many to count. Some evil, some really evil.
  • Garrisonable Structures: Tabletop 40K was doing this long before Video Games did. In the case of more "open" buildings such as ruins, typically the general terrain and cover rules are used, but in the case of more "closed" (as in it is hard or impossible to place models inside of them) structures, more abstract rules exist for determining how many models can fit inside, where the fire points are and how many of them there are, where the entrances and exits are, etc.
  • Gatling Good: Consider the Assault Cannon, a gatling gun which can cut through light vehicles. Next, consider the Punisher Gatling Cannon, a gatling gun the size of a main tank cannon that can slaughter entire squads of light infantry at a time. Then the Vulcan Mega-Bolter, a gatling gun the size of a whole tank that can mow down armies. Now look at the Hellstorm cannon, a gatling gun the size of a skyscraper. And that's just in the Imperium. Yep, 40k likes this one.
  • General Ripper: Imperial officers are generally this, or Colonel Badass. Sometimes both.
  • Genetic Memory: Space Marines and Tyranid Lictors have the ability to absorb the memories of the dead by eating their flesh, particularly the brain. In addition, each Space Marine Chapter is based on the genetic templates of one of the Primarchs, and occasionally display traits and memories of that Primarch. Blood Angels, for example have a random chance of triggering the genetic memory of their Primarch's bloody death, which can drive them into an Unstoppable Rage. Ork Mekboyz and Painboyz have their (respectively) technological and medical talents genetically encoded, and Kroot are said in designers' notes to have gained Ork technology through their ability to absorb the DNA of prey.
    • In fact, according to one version of their backstory, the Kroot started out as fairly ordinary birds, aside from their ability to absorb DNA and evolved into intelligent, humanoid lifeforms by scavenging dead Orks.
  • Genius Bruiser: A wide variety, although who, why and to what extent vary wildly depending on the setting. Of particular note, perhaps, is The Emperor, who is/was clever enough to construct his own Webway Gate, design Space Marines, and command the Great Crusade, and was badass enough to kick the crap out of pretty much anyone in the setting. His Adeptus Custodes and Space Marines are a close second - in particular, the Tech Marines, and anyone Space Marine who survives long enough to gain some experience (notably, Dante of the Blood Angels, Logan Grimnar and Bjorn the Fell-Handed of the Space Wolves). Each faction has their own representatives, as well - Fabius Bile, various Mekboyz (though they have more of the bruiser than the genius about them, they are a damn sight smarter than the rest of da boyz), most Inquisitors, various Eldar...the list goes on.
  • Genre Busting: It doesn't matter if the tropes the series uses are from Scifi, Fantasy, Horror, or whatever, as long as they make the setting Darker and Edgier.
  • Genre Savvy: Ork madboyz have been known to mutter about "Rolls" and "The meta game"...
    • The Imperial Guard are so aware of their Redshirt Army status that the commissar unit was developed specifically to address their morale problems.
  • Geo Effects: Placing units in or behind pieces of terrain can greatly increase their chances of survival thanks to various rules for movement, shooting, and close combat.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Common among the Imperial Guard. Occasionally delivered via bullet.
  • Ghost Ship: Space Hulks. Also some Eldar vessels, albeit more as "ships crewed by ghosts" than the traditional sense.
  • Giant Flyer: Winged strains of the larger Tyranids.
  • Giant Mook: Squad leaders: Veteran Sergeants, Sybarites, Warlocks etcetera. Literally in the case of Ork squad leaders (aka Nobz), who are actually physically larger than the Boyz under their command.
  • Giant Spider: Giant robot spiders, no less, in the form of Necron Tomb Spyders, and a Humongous Mecha-scale variant called the Tomb Stalker, which is more of a Giant Centipede.
    • The Tyranid Hierophant biotitan has elements of this as well, combined, of course, with reptilian features.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: Sisters of Battle "Sisters Repentia", entire squads of young women wearing scraps of parchment and carrying eight-foot-long chainsaw swords, driven on by an armoured woman with a barbed cat-o-nine-tails in each hand, who are apparently assigned to these squads to "repent" for perceived acts of immorality. Fetish Fuel much?
  • Glass Cannon: Eldar put emphasis on the "cannon", Dark Eldar on the "glass".
    • The Jokaero combine this with Lethal Joke Character. They wear technomagic rings on their fingers that fire beams that can do three different types of ranged damage, but they die just about as easily as you'd expect unarmored space monkeys to.
      • Taken to extremes by the joke army build known as the "Barrel of Monkeys"[2]. You will murder your way across the tabletop, provided you keep up the pace and not give the other guy an opening because the second you do he'll turn you into Swiss cheese.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Everyone seems to have these.
  • A God I Am Not: The Emperor, despite what his worshippers say.
  • Golem: Eldar wraith-constructs.
  • God-Emperor: Read through the page and if you can't guess who it is by the end, we'll give you a cookie. We'll even give you a clue, his name begins God- and ends -peror and despite ascending to literal godhood after his reign ended due to the worship of the masses he is so totally not a Dune rip-off.
    • Ironically, the guy tried to make sure that he wouldn't. It didn't work. Far worse than he would publically admit to liking.
  • God Is Evil: Taken to an extreme.
    • Tzeentch: Chessmaster god of change, mutation, manipulation, sorcery, Magnificent Bastards and the long game. Daemons take the form of mutated horrible things which squirt hellfire from every orifice; followers are usually mutated-beyond-all-recognition sorcerers, or automatons reduced to dust sealed inside armour. Odds are high that everything going on in the entire galaxy is part of his Xanatos Roulette. Reflection of the emotion of hope.
    • Nurgle: God of decay, disease, corruption, entropy, maggots and Body Horror. Daemons take the form of potbellied maggotridden monsters of barely-held-together rotten flesh, mortal followers aren't much better. Apparently has a sense of humour, and is called Grandfather Nurgle by his followers, who see him as a kind and loving god. Born from the emotion of despair.
    • Khorne: God of rage, violence, war, oversized weapons and the Axe Crazy. Daemons take the form of spiky muscular freaks covered with blood and brass, usually holding really big axes. Followers are uniformly psychotic axe-waving Blood Knights, although this may be something of a Flanderisation - earlier background material described Khorne as the god of martial prowess, not just blind, screaming bloodlust. Khorne embodies the emotion of rage.
    • Slaanesh: God of pleasure, excess, indulgence, Sense Freaks, Fetish Fuel and Does This Remind You of Anything?. Daemons are bizarrely sensual things ranging from seductive siren-creatures absolutely covered in breasts to enormous worms with prehensile tongues which are...also covered in breasts. Accidentally squicked from the decadance of the Eldar, its birth destroying most of their civilisation in a galaxy-wide Mind Rape. Slaanesh embodies the emotion of desire.
    • Gork and Mork: the ork gods of Cunning Brutality and Brutal Cunning (The subtle distinction being: one hits you when you're not looking at it, the other hits you really hard when you are. Orks have fought wars over which god is which). Reflection of...er...everything Axe Crazy in existence? By the way, those two kinda qualify as nice ones, or at least Comic Relief ones.
    • Then we have the C'tan, who are almost as good as the Chaos gods themselves on the soul eating and reality warping front.
    • Khaine, the most powerful of the surviving Eldar gods, is as much a psychotic murderer as a warrior and protector.
    • The God Emperor of Mankind, a fascist overlord who reunited humanity by Curb Stomping everyone not agreeing with him being in charge, who qualifies as less evil.
    • Subverted (finally) with Isha, the Eldar Mother Goddess. She's been Nurgle's prisoner for centuries, and he tests his plagues on her, learning something when she cures herself. When Nurgle isn't looking, Isha whispers the cures for these diseases to mortals.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Despite getting Flanderized to being a solution for any problem, exterminatus is actually treated this way within the canon.
  • Go Mad From the Revelation: Roll up! Gaze unprotected into the Warp! Lose your mind!
  • Gone Horribly Right: The book Farseer (if you count it) has an Eldar character admitting that some of the Eldar, shortly before the fall, were actually deliberately trying to engineer the necessary psychic-resonance to create a new god of pleasure that would allow the Eldar to transcend mortality and live in eternal bliss, leaving behind the concerns of the mortal realm. It did not work out quite as they intended.
  • Good Is Boring: Fortunately, there's very little of it around.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Salamanders fight not for glory, but for the people. Hurting civilians is a Berserk Button for them, which a chapter master found out the hard way. Outside of that, they're ruthless in battle and are an entire chapter of scary black men who like to burn things.
    • Also the Space Wolves, an entire chapter of Chaotic Good Boisterous Bruisers who are scary enough to convince the Inquisition to change its operating policy.
    • Tau rule can seem restrictive to people not accustomed to it, but the Tau inhabitants like it quite a lot. Even the humans are probably better off than they would be in most other places.
  • Good Shepherd: A Corrupt Church the Ecclesiarchy may be, but there are a few Imperial preachers who legitimately care about the common folk of the Imperium. You're more likely to run into the other variety, though
  • Gotterdammerung: Both literal and metaphorical.
  • Gothic Punk: The nicer Imperial worlds are like this.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Various tomes kept by the Inquisition.
  • Grim Reaper: The Nightbringer is the Grim Reaper of 40k, a hooded, scythe-wielding omnicidal star-god who gave all creatures (except the Orks) the fear of death. A lot of others in the universe like to style themselves after the ideal of the hooded reaper, including Eldar Dark Reapers and their Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra, various Dark Angels, the Death Guard primarch Mortarion and a few of his champions.
    • In the case of the Dark Reapers and Maugan Ra, this is directly from the Nightbringer. The Eldar Aspect Warriors are all embodying a single aspect of Khaine, the Eldar War God; the aspect of the Reaper is a direct result of Khaine getting a bit of the Nightbringer stuck in him.
  • Grimmification: First-edition Rogue Trader started off as a spectacularly grim and horrible place where the good guys were insane thugs and war and horror dominated everything. It got much, much, much,much worse.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: pretty much every single race has a reason to exterminate every other race and has plans to do so.
  • Guns Akimbo: Cypher and Sisters of Battle Seraphim, mostly. Dire Avenger Exarchs can have this too.
  • Gun in My Pocket: Plenty of examples of models holding their guns in, shall we say, suggestive ways, but kings of this trope are the old Ork Gargant and Imperator Titan models, both of which featured rather unfortunately placed trouser cannons.


H

  • Half-Human Hybrid: Genestealer hybrids, though in an unusual take the original Genestealer itself is never a parent - it infects another creature with its genetic material, and when that creature reproduces normally with another of its kind, the offspring will be part Genestealer. Necron Pariahs are horrifying hybrids of Untouchable humans and Necron technology.
  • Hand Cannon: Imperial bolt pistols, plasma pistols, and inferno/infernus (melta) pistols, particularly the versions wielded by Space Marines. Ork sluggas also qualify. Other races tend to be a bit more... restrained when it comes to their sidearms.
    • Laspistols, or flashlights technically count by a great abuse of technicality that will surely land this in the YMMV tab, because, while the weakest weapon in the setting, a laspistol can easily liquefy/explode any organic matter the beam hits. Why weren't they mentioned before? Well, firstly they're the weakest weapon in the setting and everyone calls them flashlights. And it has as big a case of Overshadowed by Awesome as the rest of the Imperial Guard, because... well, look at the above pistols. And the BFG versions which weren't mentioned because they could deserve their own page. And the artillery pieces. And so on.
    • Notably, 40k is one of the only settings where the energy weapons can be considered Hand Cannons.
    • Notable as well is that these energy weapons don't go pew, but krak! as the beam vaporizes the air in its path, also causing the weapon to actually have kick as well.
  • Hanlon's Razor: Almost always inverted - never attribute to stupidity what can be explained by malice or conspiracy.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Brutal aversions abound, but there is one straight example: The Chapter Serfs of the Space Marine Chapters. They fill all positions in a chapter not involving leadership or infantry combat, and are better trained and equipped than any non-Astartes. The Space Marine Chapters, in turn, recognize the skill and dedication of their serfs, and chapter serfs are full members of the chapter cult, and enjoy a better lifestyle than all except the richest citizens of the Imperium.
  • Harmony Versus Discipline
    • Elves vs. Dwarves: Everyone with a motive more complicated than "must eat" or "must kill" has some ideological (or genetically-engineered) disdain of everyone else or some futile set of grudges.
    • Emotions vs. Stoicism: There are the Chaos gods, hellish demons that embody (and are actually created by) the emotions of the sentient beings in the galaxy. All manner of cults and religions do unspeakable acts fueled by zealous fervor because it's part of their dogmas and faiths. The Messiah, which practically all of humanity worship with the same zeal, on the other hand, was a proponent of science, logic, and atheism. The greatest irony is that if there is any hope for humanity at all, said Messiah will ultimately end up literally becoming God (Belief is literally power. And there are countless trillions worshipping the Emperor.)
    • Flesh Versus Steel: The Imperium relies on mass-produced vehicles and weapons, non-disfiguring biological implants, and sheer stubbornness to face mutated Chaos monstrosities and the Tyranid swarm. The Eldar use some psychic powers and a lot of hyper-advanced technology for everything, while the Dark Eldar are vat-grown and have a fondness for growing strange monsters and grafting bits onto themselves. The Necrons and the Daemons of Chaos wage war on each other regularly, intending to destroy each other. This is good, and bad, because if Chaos is destroyed, our universe and the Warp will not become one, but the Necrons will exterminate everything in the galaxy that isn't them. If Chaos wins, the Necrons are no longer a threat but the Chaos Gods' plans continue.
    • Magic Versus Science: The battle against the Warp and Chaos (which is for all intents and purposes the "magic" of the setting) is one of the most central plot points. Faith is also used, but ridiculously large calibur guns and energy weapons also help. Of course Chaos can and does corrupt technology by stuffing demons into it. There's all sorts of scientists fallen to Chaos too since new ideas generally open someone up to the influence of the Warp and who wouldn't be slightly curious to see how it all works. The most known faction of those is the Dark Mechanicus who use more forbidden technologies like A Is and bio-tech to make very powerful potent weapons. The idea also comes to light when one considers the Tau, who stick entirely to technology and do their best to ignore the presence of sorcery and faith as active forces in the galaxy. The result, among other things, is that their ships move at a snail's pace compared to everyone else, since powerful sorcery is necessary to travel the Warp. On the other hand, the Necrons also eschew the Warp, and in fact have troops specifically to shut down psykers. Their technology involves using the Eldar Webway.
    • Order Versus Chaos: There is no real Good vs Evil. Although there are some individuals who could be considered good, as a whole the sides are basically Bad vs Worse. However, Order does come off as a slightly lighter shade of black most of the time.
  • Have You Seen My God?: All but three of the old Eldar pantheon were killed before or during the Fall of the Eldar. The survivors are Cegorach, the Laughing God of the Harlequins, who hides out in the Webway and foils the plans of Chaos from the sidelines; Khaine, the god of war, who was shattered into pieces which sleep in each craftworld as Avatars; and Isha, the mother goddess, imprisoned by the Chaos God Nurgle to test his plagues on, who nevertheless secretly whispers out the cure to every said plague to try and help her children in the material universe. The Eldar are also attempting to create Ynnead, a new god of death, from the souls of dead Eldar stored in the Craftworlds' Infinity Circuits, the idea being that when the very last Eldar dies, Ynnead will be strong enough to rise and defeat Slaanesh. They hope.
  • The Heartless: Daemons of Chaos; Dark Eldar, especially mandrakes.
  • Healing Factor: The entire gimmick of the Necrons and their "We'll Be Back" special rule, C'tan with their Necrodermis "skin", and certain Tyranid monstrous creatures. To a lesser degree Orks, who routinely survive anything short of including decapitation.
  • He Knows Too Much: The very existence of the Grey Knights chapter is kept secret from the rest of the Imperium. If circumstances dictate that they must fight alongside other Imperial forces, then the secret is maintained after the fighting is over with executions or when the soldiers in question are valuable enough to be allowed to live (such as in the case of other Space Marines) with Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Hell Gate: The Eye of Terror, the Maelstrom, Van Groethe's Rapidity...
  • Hell Hound: Khornate Flesh Hounds. Also, to a lesser extent, Dark Eldar Warp Beasts. The Imperial Guard also have a tank called the Hellhound, which is armed with a flamethrower.
  • The Heretic: The Ecclesiarchy, the Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Space Marines all have different ideas of what constitutes heresy, but all three agree that worshiping Chaos fits the bill.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: A core tenet of Eldar Aspect Warrior training.
  • Heroic Willpower: Both played straight, and inverted - Villainous Willpower determines which of the two possible One-Winged Angel routes a follower of Chaos goes down, mutating into either a mindless Chaos Spawn, or a Physical God.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Generally how the nice people in 40K die if it's on their own terms.
    • To quote von Remus from Damnatus: In this universe, one is either sacrificed, or sacrifices themself.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Older Inquisitors tend to have radical (no, not that kind of radical) ideas about protecting the Imperium, such as using alien technology to battle aliens or daemon-possessed weapons and artifacts to battle Chaos. This tends to cause friction with younger, more puritanical Inquisitors. Some postulate that this is the inevitable fate of every Inquisitor, and given their job description, it's not very surprising.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!:
  • Hidden Elf Village: Eldar craftworlds, Exodite worlds, and Maiden Worlds. The Eldar aren't a very social bunch.
    • Epitomized by the Dark Eldar city of Commorragh, which doesn't even exist in the material world; but is hidden in the "Webway", a sort of interdimensional labyrinth that exists between the Warp and the material world.
    • They can be very sociable...to other Eldar. Everyone else, not so much.
  • Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: Almost everyone save certain Imperial Guard outfits. Space Marines in particular have the saying "camouflage is the color of cowardice." Then again, being an obvious target is not particularly problematic for a human tank...
    • Inspired by the Imperial Guard, Blood Axe Orks typically wear camouflage patterns, rather than the vibrant clan colors favored by other Orks. The problem is that what most Blood Axes consider to be "camouflage" is still brightly-colored and garish by human standards; only the Kommandoes have really figured out how to do it properly.
  • Hive Mind: The Tyranids.
  • Hive Queen: Tyranid Synapse Creatures.
  • Hobbits: Seldom seen, but present as specialist snipers in the Imperial Guard.
  • Hollywood Atheist: The Tau take this one so far it turns back on itself and they become Scary Dogmatic Aliens. The Emperor is portrayed as one as well; in one story he goes to the last church on Terra with the express purpose of destroying it, but not before he's broken the faith of the priest living inside and offered him a chance to join the new Imperium.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Generally averted by most races, barring the odd Imperial Guard regiment. Both thoroughly embraced and thoroughly subverted by the Orks, who actually make it work. Played straight in some comics and game cutscenes, though.
    • Second Edition Lord Commander Solar Macharius had the rather unique ability as your army's leader and a tactical genius to totally screw up your battleplan on the basis of a dice roll; just having him in your army might potentially lead to all your reserve units being committed immediately and skipping the devastating Preliminary Barrage step that was one of the IG army gimmicks (every artillery weapon in your army could fire before the battle actually started). Um, thanks there, mister tactical genius.
    • While Hollywood Tactics are typically averted both in written fluff and in the game itself (again barring Orks,) it is quite commonly depicted in artwork made for the game. A very common theme is to show two opposing armies of huge size standing in lines and firing at each other from practically point blank range with no cover and no room to move laterally. It looks very dramatic, but such battlefield situations almost never occur on the tabletop or in a narritive.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Grey Knights have an array of weapons specifically for battling the daemonic spawn of Chaos. The Black Templars have the actual Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
  • Homage: Tonnes and tonnes of 'em, some minor, like planets named after Games Developers or deodorants, some much more major. The best example of a major homage would be the Necrons, started as a clear and blatant homage to the Terminator films: mysterious robotic skeletons, who carried on trying to kill you even if reduced to crawling torsos with no legs, and a special rule called "I'll Be Back". Later changes departed from this, focusing more on their image as impossibly ancient servants of even more impossibly ancient monsters. Essentially now a bunch of Ancient Evil Determinators with rather too much scalpel imagery, they maintain the robo-skeleton and "I'll Be Back". "I'll be back" has since been redubbed resurrection protocols and their fluff has moved them further than a simple Terminator Expy.
    • In what may be a twisted homage to the original Terminator's flesh gradually getting messed up to reveal the robotic endoskeleton (as well as a reference to the Aztec deity Xipe Totec), Necron Flayed Ones invert this: they start as machines that then drape themselves in the flayed corpses of their victims.
    • Horus' betrayal began while recovering from injury like Benedict Arnold.
  • Home Guard: The Planetary Defense Forces, considered as under equipped and far less competent by the Imperial Guard. Repeat, the Imperial Guard, Butt Monkey Cannon Fodder extraordinaire, believes the PDF to be beneath them.
    • Which, given their status as "imperial speedbump" (the ones who slow down the enemy until the Guard is there), might have a grain of truth. If anything, they lack a quality the Guard has: Quantity.
  • Hopeless War: For everyone.
  • Hope Spot: Why the Imperium discourages the foolish notion of hope.
  • The Horde: The Orks, and some of the less disciplined Chaos factions.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: Tyranids are possibly the ur-example.
  • Horny Devils: Slaaneshi Daemons and Dark Eldar. The latter even have elite troops called Incubi and Succubi.
  • Horny Vikings: Space Wolves are Vikings IN SPACE, though they don't wear horned helmets - those are reserved for Chaos Marines (and members of the Wolves' 13th Company, who have been in the Warp for 10,000 years and occasionally had to scavenge gear from dead Chaos Marines).
  • Horse of a Different Color: Mutant horses, cyber-horses, cyber-boars, giant lizards, daemons that look like slugs, daemons that look like metal rhinos...
  • Hot Blade: The God-Emperor sported one back in his heydays.
  • Hot-Blooded: Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr aka Commander Farsight has this right in his name. He is also A CHAR.
  • House Rules: If you and your opponent agree to them.
    • The rulebook actually takes a very congenial stance towards them. Some things basically HAVE to be decided by the players (especially when dealing with terrain).
  • Hover Tank: The Tau's Hammerhead, and the Eldar's Falcon and its offshoots.
  • Humanity Is Superior: Which is why everything else should be killed with fire.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Pretty much every main race except for the Tyranids. Lampshaded in Xenology.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: The Orks are actually fungi!
  • Human Resources: The one resource the Imperium has in unlimited amounts, which tends to lead to... wastefulness.
    • This is hilariously lampshaded by some Hive Worlds claiming Imperial Guard troopers as their prime (and sometimes sole) export. This is also the case with Cadia, which apparently does nothing else other than pumping out battle-ready babies (although their effectiveness is no better than any other world in-game).
    • Don't forget, Cadia also helps guard against The Eye of Terror. And they're awesome, so that's that.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Golden Throne is fed, daily, the souls of one thousand psykers who weren't selected for use by the Inquisition. Chaos rituals frequently make use of this also.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Although, to be fair, so is everyone else. In addition, it has been established that the Imperium has to be terrible in order to survive. So Humans Are Bastards out of necessity rather than choice. Think of it as I Did What I Had to Do on a larger scale.
  • Humans Are Morons: The Imperium of Man has hardly advanced their technology in the 10,000 years since anyone has last seen The Emperor Of Mankind. Human culture throughout their vast empire is extremely paranoid and superstitious, and the government is such a vast, inept bureaucracy that a simple filing error can lead to entire populations of people being immediately forgotten about and/or destroyed.
  • Humans Are White: In the future there is only war... and white people.
    • Though most all of the Space Marines of the Salamanders chapter are black in official art, and the White Scars are distinctly Asian. The fluff states the Tau have different skin colours, although all are variants on blue/grey. We have the distinctly shh-we're-not-Arabs Tallarns too.)
    • Also, one of Inquisitor Vail's footnotes in Caves of Ice indicates that while black people are decidedly rare on Valhalla, there are several nearby planets where pretty damn near everyone is black. Of course, there are still about 100 billion times more white people in the Imperium.
    • Also a good few modern Imperial Guard armies have black soldiers, especially the Catachans. It's how the gamer paints his stuff really.
    • And Inquisitor Toth from Dawn of War is black.
    • The Emperor himself is said to have been born in central Anatolia and is usually depicted as quite tan.
    • I blame the lack of sunlight on hive worlds.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: We're mon'keigh to the Eldar, gue'la to the Tau, humies 'umies to the Orks, playthings to the Dark Eldar, and lunch to the Tyranids.
  • Human Subspecies: The Space Marines fall under this trope, being so modified that they're practically a different species. Also, the various Abhumans.
  • Humongous Mecha: Titans, and to a lesser extent, Space Marine Dreadnoughts; Ork Dreads, Killa Kans, and Gargants; Eldar Wraithlords and War Walkers; Chaos Defilers; Tau Battlesuits; Witch Hunter Penitent Engines...
    • In-game, Eldar Phantoms currently take the cake, being over 4 foot tall. Miniature? Hardly.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Warp, or Immaterium, is a reflection of the emotions of all sentient beings, the collective Dream Land of the galaxy and home to all the nightmares there have ever been, given form. Part Spirit World, part Phantom Zone, a sea of emotion and the source of all psychic power, it's also the daemon-infested home of the Chaos Gods and is, for all intents and purposes, hell. And going through it is the only faster-than-light travel available to most races.

Notes

  1. No, seriously. Don't try to add specific examples, it's ended in pain before.
  2. Take Inquisitor Coteaz, who can take Jokaero as troops. Spend all the rest of your points on Jokaero
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