As part of my research I have been looking at how on-line communities cater for the individual and the use of Web 2.0 in the creation of these forums.
My target research concerns itself with an on-line forum that deals with the subject matter of Warhammer 40,000 or 40K for short. I hope to explain the background and the reasoning behind the forum for those who are not yet versed in the weighty lore that 40K has to offer. I have also written an entry on the basic 40K rules here.
40K is a table-top wargame created by Games Workshop’s designer Rick Priestly in 1987. There have been several iterations of the game, as new rules were written, new races included and more lore developed. The most recent game is in its 6th Edition, with this rulebook published in June of 2012.
The game concerns itself with a dystopian potential future, set in the year 40,000. Mankind has reached for the stars and has largely conquered its surroundings. There are hundreds of thousands of known worlds populated by Humanity along with many other systems and planets that are under the control of alien xenos. Such is our dependency on technology that very few are able to create new technologies but rather attempt to keep what we have in working order.
Humanity is under the control of the Emperor of Mankind, a God like supreme being who embodies the fulfilment of humanity. The Emperor decides to create twenty genetically enhanced sons, each of whom will embody a specific part of his magnificence with the intention of using these soldiers to reunite humanity across the stars. The Gods of Chaos disrupt his plans and cast these twenty beings around the Galaxy. Thus begins the Great Reunification whereby the Emperor leads an expedition across the Galaxy from planet to planet reuniting with his sons, who, due to their immense power, wisdom and martial understanding, have all become rulers of the worlds upon which they found themselves.
Having found his children and giving them each an army of super soldiers, called Chapters, all based on their individual genetic make-up, the Emperor decides to return to Terra where he can rule from his throne, leaving his favourite son Horus in charge of the fleet. Horus, the strongest and most powerful of his brothers is tempted by the Chaos Gods, and told of how his father the Emperor has intentions to become a God in his own right.
Using his intimate knowledge of his brothers and their weaknesses he slowly coerced half of the Imperial Forces to dissent and so begins the Horus Heresy, a battle that wages brother against brother and rips apart the Galaxy with its ferocity. Horus gathers his forces and makes a play for Terra, knowing that it must be destroyed in order for him to rule. In this battle he faces off against his father in close battle and nearly succeeds before the Emperor finally kills his favoured son.
With Horus defeated the rest of the dissenters retreat into the Eye of Terror, a region of space controlled by the Dark Chaos Gods. the Emperor himself survives the battle, but only just and he is placed in a stasis container upon his Golden Throne, there to be kept alive by the blood of thousands given in sacrifice each day.
The remaining Imperial Forces create a new system of administration to make sure that such an atrocity can never be repeated. The Space Marines are mankind’s greatest weapon, genetically enhanced super soldiers capable of any feat. they know only war and visit it with extreme prejudice on any that get in their way.
The Imperial Guard are the rank and file soldier of the Imperium. Trusting in weight of numbers and that of their great tanks, life in the Imperial Guard is usually short-lived and brutal.
The rest of the Galaxy used this period of history to slowly take back some of their planets or take new ones for their own. These forces each have their own history.
The Eldar are a once great race who were the favoured children of the Old Ones, a race now forgotten who controlled the Galaxy before the Earth was born. These long-lived beings were scattered after the Old Ones died and settled on different moons and planets around the Galaxy. Their psychic potential gave rise to a new Chaos God who coerced them into shrill excess and many were lost to this potent evil. Others managed to resist the urge and keep to the old ways. These beings used their arcane arts to turn their planet into a functioning space vessel and began to drift around the galaxy, desperately fleeing their Dark Eldar brethren.
The Dark Eldar embraced these hedonistic ways and live their lives as piratical raiders using their ancient Web-Way Portals to move from planet to planet striking hard and fast only to leave with captured prisoners upon whose souls they feast.
The Necron were a slave race to the Old Ones who were tricked into a pact with an ancient foe to the Old Ones, the C’Tan. On the promise of immortality and endurance, the entire race were entombed into Metal Armour that was capable of regeneration. In their battles with the Old Ones, in which they were eventually successful, they sustained heavy casualties and decided to use their immortality to sleep through the ages while they repaired. Some awoke to discover that they had forgotten who they were or what they were doing. The rank and file trooper was now no more that a mindless automaton, with the Necron Hierarchy the only ones with any left over memory of their history.
The Orks are a band of cut-throat beings who wish only to take over the Galaxy. They begin as spores that slowly mature into small fungus shapes. The more densely populated the fungal area the bigger they become, with competition to grow being the most important part of their own development, the bigger they are; the higher up the chain of command they will be. Their belief system is tribal with them holding to the notion of two great gods of power Gork and Mork who brought about their creation. Teeth are the most valuable commodity and they like shiny things, red things and anything that makes a lot of noise. A world that has any Orks on it can quickly become overwhelmed as they grow and grow and unite under the banner of the biggest Ork around who will lead them on a great crusade, or Waaaaaggh. Once a planet has been stripped of its resources, they will leave and do the same to any other planet within reach.
The Tau are a very young species in the Galaxy. Imperial records showed that there was a tribal race of scrawny aliens living beyond an expanse of the Warp who then disappeared from sight for a little over a six thousand years. When they emerged they were no longer feudal, having resolved issues between their castes into an understanding of discipline for the Greater Good. Their technology is unparalleled with their rank and file troops being issued with amazing wargear and their battle tanks using rail and pulse technology not known anywhere else in the Galaxy. They come in peace with the intention of unification between all species and already have made contracts with species who have embraced their philosophies.
Chaos still control the Warp and within this region of space live the lost Chapters of the Space Marines, now tainted by the Gods they serve. Daemons also exist within the Warp and these occasionally will come forth and do battle with any who get near in an attempt to appease their Gods.