(What follows is a brief roleplay guide to various Fantasy Flight Warhammer 40k tabletop RPGs, such as Only War and Dark Heresy.)
Imperial citizens! It is time, once again, to by thine heads in reverence to our immortal God-Emperor. Drop to your knees and pray for salvation from the hordes of xenos, mutants, and demons that plague our galaxy. What other recourse have you?
What’s this? Citizens who haven’t learned to properly praise and worship the Emperor as He is due? You low-born Underhive scum are barely worth my attention, save for the amount it would take to execute you for treason and heresy. As I am a merciful Commissar, I shall instruct you in the proper ways of veneration. Listen well, as I shan’t repeat myself. Falter again, and you shall face the barrel of my holy bolt pistol.
1 . Maintain your Sacred Wargear
You are all Guardsmen now. That means you will be issued equipment created by the holy Manufactorums of Mars and other such worlds. Your wargear is worth far more than your pathetic lives, and you are to treat it as such. Your lasgun will never fail you if you treat it with respect. Apply the necessary unguents and oils prior to use, keep your charge packs at full capacity, and practice proper muzzle discipline. The Machine Spirit of your weapon abhors an untrained caretaker. It, however, delights in the slaying of Mankind’s enemies. You shall also be issued armor, typically flak vests and the like. Do not misunderstand; your existence is not sacred to the Emperor, only your service. The armor you wear serves to keep you fighting His enemies, not to keep you alive. Waste not the opportunity He has provided you, and honour the wargear that allows you to continue to praise Him.
2 . Follow the orders of your superiors
Heed your sergeants and commanders. You may have learned how to fight, but they have learned how to win. Follow them, and they shall deliver you glory in the name of our Emperor. Disobey, and you become a danger to the rest of your squad in need of elimination. The duty of these summary executions falls upon yours truly. Let me reassure that I treat my duties as further opportunities to serve my Emperor, and I feel his presence every time I kill a traitor or heretic.
What to do, then, when your commander dies valiantly in battle? Follow the chain of command, until only I remain as your superior. Should it come to this, you need not worry. I shall lead you into the thick of the fighting, that you may serve the Emperor with your strength of arms and your final breaths.
3 . Trust not the heretic, mutant, or alien
The threat of Chaos is ever-present. The Emperor Protects, but Chaos Corrupts. Should you witness anything you believe to be the influence of psykers, demons, or xenos, you are to report these concerns to your company priest or to me. Any mutation, no matter how innocuous it may seem, must be inspected and documented. It is often better to eliminate such an aberration, lest the host be contagious in some fashion. The worship of any entity save our Holy God-Emperor is forbidden. You may have had icons or idols within your piteous Hive dwellings, but they were all destroyed when you were… “recruited” into the Astra Militarum. In addition, whilst fighting xenos, you are not to touch or even stare at their alien technology. These perverse instruments have no place in our galaxy, and all will be purged along with their foul creators.
4 . Commit your tithes to the Golden Throne
Though your life will be considered your tithe to the Throne, your family and estate must still give of its acquisitions as required by the Imperial Tithe Grade as it applies to your home planet. Fail to do so, and other members of your family may be recruited into the Guard without warning. Each commitment of wealth, power, and lives helps to sustain our great Imperium and its vast military. Withholding the tithes due to our great Emperor is nothing short of heresy, and will be treated as such.
5 . Shout his praises when you charge headlong into battle
The greatest and most powerful method one may employ to venerate the Emperor is and shall always be the battle cry. Shout praises in His name as you bear down on Orks, Tyranids, and Heretics. Scream unto the heavens so that He may hear your prayer and visit his wrath upon our enemy. Sing hymns as you engage in glorious melee combat. Hum in time with the crack of your lasgun as it fires. Feel His presence around you as you deliver death. When you have His name upon your lips, nothing can stop you from destroying His foes.
Remember, guardsmen: your faith shall ever be your shield; your fury shall ever be your sword. The Emperor Protects!
David Horwitz is a gamer and freelance writer with an obsession for exploring new forms of leisure. If you’re looking for an inquisitive mind and a deft hand, or just want to chat about gaming, contact him out at www.davidhorwitzwrites.com/contact . He plays the treacherous Tau in 40k. (#Gr8erGud). He’d like to thank THQ for the line about faith and fury.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.