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Who wins? Cthulhu or the Emperor of Mankind from Warhammer 40K?

Charlie said you fine folk might help me resolve a family argument!

Geek parenting raises all sorts of issues not covered in the child rearing manuals. You know the kind of thing: Do you scold a child for wrecking their sibling's house in Minecraft? What if the same child swears foully, but in Mandalorian? What if your 8-year-old daughter wants to have your Necronomicon in her room? What do you do if familiarity with the Belter patois is hindering your 12-year-old son's progress in French?

Now they have this running argument over who would win the celebrity deathmatch? Cthulhu (not to be confused with the plush incarnation that usually resides in the naughty corner of my daughter's bed for trying to eat the faces of the other toys) or the Emperor of Mankind from the Warhammer 40K universe?

 What do you guys think?

M Harold Page is the sword-wielding author of books like Swords vs Tanks (Charles Stross: "Holy ****!") and is planning some more historical fiction. For his take on writing,  read Storyteller Tools: Outline from vision to finished novel without losing the magic (Ken MacLeod: "...very useful in getting from ideas etc to plot and story." Hannu Rajaniemi: "...find myself to coming back to [this] book in the early stages.")



GEoM; easily. He handled the frigging void dragon, and whole C'tan are what Great Old Ones have nightmares about at night.


I will note that a random twitter person objected: "Cthulhu wins. Almost everything written about the Emp in universe is written by biased humans talking about their god. ... People now think their fictional deity is the most powerful thing ever (contrary to reason), suspect trend continues."


Cthulhu. No contest. The Emperor of Mankind is having trouble with things that die if you shoot them enough. Ol' squidface isn't even made of matter as it is commonly understood to exist.

It all depends, of course, if the Stars Are Right and what that means in a interstellar context. I mean, what is the backstory of this battle? A huge stone city is found on Holy Terra, it is immediately declared HERESY (few things aren't) and put to the torch (plasma torch, to be specific). The huge slumbering form, however, is loaded into a ship and begins transport to some suitably unimportant world where it can be examined and the planet can be Exterminatus'd if needed.

By sheerest accident, that planet is far enough ahead in the Milky Way, spinwise, that when it gets there, the stars turn out to be Right and Cthulhu CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN's his way out of the inadequate confinement, sups heartily on some Adeptus Astartes, and gets going—Cthulhu II: The Revengening, tagline: Time To Feed The Shoggoth. Soon to be in theaters near you, whether you want it to be or not.



If he gets too much of a problem, they can waste a Vortex weapon on him, and let the him and the Chaos Gods have their pleasure of him. Great old ones are nothing terribly to write home about in this universe.


Cthulhu, hands(tentapodules)down. The Empire thinks it's All Dat for lasting 40K years.. Squiddy McSquidface thinks a 14 billion year old universe is still a shiny new toy that needs some development before even bothering.


This isn't a battle between the Imperium and Cthulhu any more than the arguments I've had about Ciaphis Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM versus Harry Dresden are a fair matchup if you say "But Cain has an army". It's Mano et Squiddo.

And Squiddy would probably eat his Royal Pimpness right off the bat. In universe he's an immensely powerful psychic, but he's also frozen in a life support module and his soul is continuously tortured so that his screams reverberate through the heavens guiding millions of ships.

Empie can be hurt and killed. Squiddy can't.


What if they *were* allowed to bring their own teams?


What counts as Cthulhu's team, though?


In this thread tonight: Cthulhu Mythos fans and WH40K fans having a fight, as if they are all seven years old.

The truth: Emperor of Mankind from WH40K is a corpse who sleeps in a giant tomb-palace and is being fed the souls of psykers daily.

He can't fight himself, you dimwits! :-) Emperor of Mankind is Cthulhu.


I'm totally unfamiliar with WH40K; I play GURPS, which doesn't have an iconic megamonster (except perhaps Steve Jackson). But Cthulhu is a wimp. You hit him with a tramp steamer and he goes back into his hole for another eon. What Cthulhu has is that he always gets back up for another try.


Yeah, I'm with Jeep-eep. The C'tan Star Gods basically make most of the Cthulhu monsters look like my little pony, and theoretically one of them is held in stasis on Mars by the Emperor. The Emperor would comfortably defeat any of the Great Old Ones should they arrive, at worst at the cost of billions of lives. No problem, He Has Reserves.


Surely the answer is whichever Games Workshop have a new model for?

To take it a little more seriously: in a Cthulhu story Cthulhu can't be defeated, although if things are too difficult then he/she/it may go back to sleep for an age. So Cthulhu win, or (possibly) a draw.

A WH40K story won't allow the Emperor to die because it is a giant multi-media franchise and Space Marines (tm) sell like hot cakes. Now he might well be defeated, but only to the point at which there will be a big epic battle. So Emperor win, or (more likely) a draw.

So meta-fictionally I give Cthulhu the edge, but the most likely result is Cthuluhu goes back to sleep and unleashes an army of cultists on the Imperium to make the grim future of the 41st Millenium more squamous, even more rugose and with a new fictional bigotry.


> In this thread tonight: Cthulhu Mythos fans and WH40K fans having a fight, as if they are all seven years old.

1. This is a traditional geek parlour game!

2. It started as a fight between a 12 and 8 yr old anyway.


If we go by canon, the answer has to be "insufficient data". "The Call of Cthulhu" is a fairly short story which doesn't give us a great deal to go on. Despite being the popular face of the Mythos, Cthulhu is a relatively minor character, and not all that well developed. We can try to extrapolate from what Lovecraft told us about other Ancient Gods/Great Old Ones, but there's no guarantee that any specific part applies to ol' squidface.

If we go by Word of Dante (stuff that other, later, writers have claimed), then we get a confused mess, because Cthulhu's powers seem to vary as the plot demands. Some versions of Cthulhu can be taken out with a few tactical nukes; other would treat that as relish, and ask for more.

If Cthulhu appeared in a Warhamster40k story, I suspect the Emp would have the edge, because continuity. (Something the WH4k universe actually sort of has, unlike the Mythos.) In a true crossover, though, I think it could go either way, but I suspect the most likely outcome would resemble a draw, with Squiddy-boy sent back to sleep somehow, but undiminished as a potential future threat.

The really tough matchup, though, would have to be against either Azathoth or Yog-Sothoth. And frankly, in that case, I wouldn't bet on the Emperor's chances. Unlike Cthulhu, neither of those guys has met anyone who can even slow them down, let alone send them to lie dreaming, imprisoned for an age.


The big question is does Cthulhu have Eric Cartman with him.


In universe he's an immensely powerful psychic, but he's also frozen in a life support module and his soul is continuously tortured so that his screams reverberate through the heavens guiding millions of ships.

Why would Cthulhu fight the Emperor when He can just cuddle up with the Emperor's cold-sleep module and feast on the screams?


Look up the Storm of the Emperor's Wrath sometime. He may be uncommunicative, but even in his current state he can say no to anything especially pissing him off.

Not to mention, there's other players that could handle him - I can't see the Eldar or Necrons being very happy about it.


The problem I find with these "who would win?" questions is that they always boil down to how you define the terms of engagement and the powers of the antagonists involved. And you usually define them in terms that suit your prior prejudices; if you're a huge fan of Big C, he always wins; if not, not.

You see this all the time on the InterWebs: "Would the Enterprise beat a Star Destroyer?" "Would Hello Kitty beat Pokemon?" "Would Donald Trump beat Hilary Clinton? And on and on and on, ad nauseam.

The only way to answer such questions is to get each party to (i) decide on a set of rules of engagement and conflict resolution, whether formally written down as in D&D or something completely ad hoc, and (ii) decide how to characterize each antagonist using those terms of engagement.

That negotiation process is far more interesting to me than the actual answer; once you've decided on your test conditions, the answer tends to be inevitable, or comes down to "who gets the initiative/first blow?"


Some notes:

Cthulhu was not defeated by a ship ramming it:

But Johansen had not given out yet. Knowing that the Thing could surely overtake the Alert until steam was fully up, he resolved on a desperate chance; and, setting the engine for full speed, ran lightning-like on deck and reversed the wheel. There was a mighty eddying and foaming in the noisome brine, and as the steam mounted higher and higher the brave Norwegian drove his vessel head on against the pursuing jelly which rose above the unclean froth like the stern of a daemon galleon. The awful squid-head with writhing feelers came nearly up to the bowsprit of the sturdy yacht, but johansen drove on relentlessly. There was a bursting as of an exploding bladder, a slushy nastiness as of a cloven sunfish, a stench as of a thousand opened graves, and a sound that the chronicler could not put on paper. For an instant the ship was befouled by an acrid and blinding green cloud, and then there was only a venomous seething astern; where - God in heaven! - the scattered plasticity of that nameless sky-spawn was nebulously recombining in its hateful original form, whilst its distance widened every second as the Alert gained impetus from its mounting steam.

Cthulhu was defeated by the summoning ritual failing. Oh and a small spark of human defiance just convinced it that the harvest was not ready yet. The boat isn't important. Physical manifestation is like Ghost Busters stay-puffed marshmallow man, it's not actually what Cthulhu is (which cannot be 'defeated' in the 5-11 dimensional space that is the Universe as you experience it).

W40K - you'll have to excuse me but I stopped following this mythos about 20 years ago, so anything past Genestealers / Tyranids is just non-cannon to me. (And by the sounds of it, severe non-logic Power Creep for MAXIMUM METAL hit hard if they're trying to out-powerup the Chaos Gods).

Grimdark is predicated on the fight already having been lost. Humanity has met the four Chaos Gods, the Orcs are probably (at some point) going to spawn another and the Empire is essentially Khorn incarnate due to the amount of blood it spills. Everyone knows the final score, they're just attempting to delay / go out with some semblance of "not pussying out like the Eldar".

Cthulhu has already won in this universe, since everyone's dreams are negative and Hope has died.


Since it's a battle between a 12 and 8 year old, I suggest some lighter reading. There is still good in the world, in fact it's the normative standard.


EL 8-12.

Cthulhu symbolizes the death of hope, order, co-operation and making sense of it all. It only wins if there's no humans left who believe in such things. (Which is why Lovecraft is actually a hidden Enlightenment thinker, albeitly crippled by his own Mental Cage - that he did, at the very least, attempt to escape. Failed? Maybe - but at least he tried).

40K / Emperor symbolizes what happens if you sacrifice the means to the end and codify THE LAW as an inflexible system rather than a living codex of relations.

Neither wins: one is CHAOS incarnate, the other is LAW incarnate. They diametrically oppose each other and cancel each other out.


Then you introduce them to D&D 3rd edition and discuss alignments. And yes, everyone gets True Neutral and Chaotic Neutral wrong.


Exactly. The whole point of Cthulhu is that he's an "out of context" problem. If any human, however advanced, can take Cthulhu, it's not really Cthulhu. The emperor might, at enormous cost, be able to perform a ritual and send Cthulhu away, but that's the best any human could manage. After the stars are right, even a banishing ritual isn't possible.

Also, Cthulhu is going to show up with a whole host of allies, who each represent a separate out of context problem, and he isn't going to fight fair. (Humans are not sufficiently complex for any concept of honor to be relevant. The Elder Gods will simply do vermin control.)

As I see it, in terms of magical technology, the Warhammer universe is still trying to cope with the idea that Chaos is real (and interacts with Order,) and that there is some kind of spacetime outside our universe with different rules than our own. And by the way, the Empire is doing a terrible job of coping with the whole thing, which is why the place is a gawdawful dystopian clusterfuck.

Cthulhu isn't going to destroy the Empire because he's angry. He's going to destroy the Empire (and everyone else in a 100,000 light-year radius) because they're a gigantic fucking embarrassment, and your average Deep One would do a better job of running the galaxy!

In terms of someone to play with, Cthulhu's waiting for the Emperor to notice that besides Chaos and Order, there are also primal forces of Waghbgr'k, Fhtrath-G'nk, V'r'rngwd, Cfgmrgl and Vorr't, among others, each of which is embodied by a whole new set of Gods/universes/mystical states/etc.* Cthulhu is also waiting for the Emperor to notice that the whole system is beautiful, and please stop being frightened of the whole thing. You're so... human.

In short, the Warhammer universe's knowledge-base is maybe ten-percent of the way to fully understanding the Lovecraftian idea of a gigantic multiverse full of primal forces and physical and mathematical dimensions far weirder and more complex than our own. Meanwhile Cthulhu embodies the Fully Lovecraftian concept, so there's no way he's going to lose.

Depending on how you read Lovecraft, of course, Cthulhu may not be that important, but I think this is secondary. If you like that interpretation of Lovecraft, substitute Yog Sothoth or Nyarlahotep or Azathoth... anyway, the whole Warhammer universe just isn't there yet in terms of understanding their tiny, insignificant place in the whole whole vast, uncaring multiverse.

* The humans of Warhammer 40K are primitive enough to believe that worshipping Slaanesh is a bad idea. Bad compared to what? Daoleth? Glaaki? Zoth-Ommog? You tiny three dimensional creatures are a hoot. I'm going to eat you now. ("Mom! I like this cereal. It's funny. Can we buy it again?")


Don't know much about either, but unless they are very unequal in power or one of them cheats they will both lose because conflicts between peers generally have lose-lose outcomes. Perhaps they could see that they need each other to be complete, make friends, and come to some kind of an accord before things get out of hand and minions get hurt.


"...they always boil down to how you define the terms of engagement and the powers of the antagonists involved."

Part of this is that the question is "who would win the celebrity deathmatch," which is not something that would occur except as a parody. They aren't going to hire the O2 arena for 15 rounds of boxing/greco-roman wrestling/psychic combat with a refs and a pay-per-view program. (Well Cthulhu might; they're beyond human understanding. But the Emperor - even when he was young and hip and not stuck in a life support capsule powered by thousands of dying souls - is too self-serious. He might just fight a duel for honour or sport, but not against a hideous monster from beyond understanding).

To drag myself back to the point I intended to make, they would fight for a reason which means they have intentions and objectives and their strategies would reflect that. The Emperor (probably) wants the survival of humanity through the coming phase-change in existence, which is fairly mind-blowing and makes it difficult to predict a strategy. Cthulhu's objectives are unknown and maybe unknowable, although bringing on a phase-change of existence seems likely. Therefore the answer is a mystery. It's not like a prosaic match up like who would win, The Flash or Green Arrow, which has answers, even if they change according to the story*.

Oh, alright, they would team-up and campaign for Brexit.

* It's Green Arrow because he cheats.


My (now adult) children were put off geekery by their father. Perhaps I shouldn't have read the Necronomicon to them at bedtime. And I don't follow those genres, so can't help.


I lack pretty much all references on WH40K, beyond that I once converted a box of (plastic) Space Marines into Starship Troopers in power armour (Heinlein reference)!

Having said that, the power of Cthulhu Mythos creatures tends to be relative to 1910 (or so) weaponry. Anything short of the Elder Gods themselves will definitely be going down under fire from today's weapons, and AIUI Space Marines use heavier weapons than we do. Whether or not Great Cthulhu can be destroyed by the Empire probably depends on the level of collateral damage the Empire will accept in the process.

Sidebar - I'd treat child1 trashing child2's virtual toy the same as I would them trashing a physical toy.

the level of collateral damage the Empire will accept in the process.

The W40k Empire of Man prefers not to biocide entire planets, but will do that in preference to letting someone else have them. IIRC they don't have the technology to disintegrate the actual planet, death-star-style, but an "exterminatus" bombardment renders it permanently uninhabitable by anyone. So given a reason, their tolerance for collateral damage extends to killing billions of their own citizens in a planet-wide firestorm.


I wonder how the Emperor or Chthulhu would fare against Nathan Brazil? Heck, even Mavra Chang and Obie would curb-stomp them in a slow walk.


Well, sine Aaron Dembski Bowden joined the WH40K team there has been a shift in portraying Warp entities to them treated a s Christian devil types by the mass populace, but to those in the know about them, they are essentially Lovecraftian horrors from beyond spacetime.

The being known as the Emperor of Mankind is just one of them created by the gestalt of humanity that is latched on to the old Turkish shaman; akin to how the Eater of Souls is latched onto Bob.

So the real question here is "does one planetary scale nightmare beast from beyond reality beat one galactic scale nightmare beast from beyond reality"?

I'm inclined to put my money on the Emperor in that framing. But with Master of Mankind finally going to print we are going to get a book really focused on him that will reveal if he is basically mankind's personal warp god, or if he is an immortal conman.

PS everyone should read Aaron Dembski Bowden's books; if you like space opera and the Laundry then his 40k books his sit nicely at the intersection of both with the tone of Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles


>>The Emperor of Mankind is having trouble with things that die if you shoot them enough

No? The xenocide of other species is a means to an end. Kill them and their contributing to the power of the neverborn ceases. Orks and Eldar aren't the enemy he is fighting, he is killing them basically sever the supply lines for his real enemies in the immaterium.

The neverborn don't die if you shoot them enough, they go back to the warp then. They die when atrocities and emotional reverberation and faith stop feeding them, and they drift away until they are consumed by others beasts of their realm or are no longer strong enough to pass through the skein of reality.


Assuming you mean the Emperor before he got turned into a dusty broom on a golden dialysis machine by Horus, I feel like the Emperor takes this one without even breaking a sweat.

Cthulhu is a minor god at best, with psychic terror and melee powers. Psychic terror wouldn't mean much to a guy who can, and has, made deals with the literal forces of chaos, and the Emperor would bring both a sword and a gun (at least) which would negate the melee.

Granted, Cthulhu can regenerate any time he dies if you're going by the CoC rules, but given that the Emperor *obliterated* Horus' soul, I don't think that's an issue either.

And that's IF the Emperor doesn't use his legions of space marines, nigh-godlike primarchs, fleet of world obliterating space craft, or any of his other stupidly impractical arsenal against Cthulhu in the middle of the night while he's still snoozing. So yeah. The Emperor.

However, Cthulhu vs Corpse Emperor....Well, Cthulhu would still have to get to the golden throne in the first place which is no small feat considering it's a continent wide fortification surrounded by even more psykers.

I get what everyone here is saying about the extremely high level of power given the lovecraft mythos, but WH40k spend most of their time fighting mythos style demons AND four or five extremely aggressive alien species AND themselves just to keep everyone in line on a regular basis all at once and are only starting to lose ground by the end of the 41st century.

Put simply, if Cthulhu could take the Emperor out, one of the Chaos gods would have done so by now.


They can mass-scatter planets with the higher grade Exterminatus systems - the two stage Cyclonics and similar, which are the tool of choice for handling things like Necron Tomb Worlds, but they prefer not to.

Come to think of it, I wonder what Bob would have to think about the C'tan back in their day; those things got basically powered up by by the scarifice value of the the destructive uploading of a multi-billion strong polity at minimum.


True that's faith. But that's faith in a universe where strong emotion of enough sentient beings can warp reality.

When the Golden Throne fails, there's many possibilities, but several of them have him ascending to Godhood as a God of Law. (This may NOT be a good thing).


How about some enlightenment (clues) re: these bad guy's respective weaknesses for those unfamiliar with these characters. This 'war' might be more easily decided on the basis of exploiting weakness rather than betting on superior strength.

Good life lesson for kids too: both/either weaknesses and strengths can be used to advantage.


Thanks guys! I shall send Kurtzhau to read this thread!


Cthulhu. He will just wait him out. The emperor is still not eternal...


I am going off on a tangent (which of course never happens here, right?) and taking a look at GURPS Vorkosigan. Miles might have just enough charisma to recruit the Great Old One into the Dendarii, but would this actually be a good idea?

But if Cthulhu got out of hand, just send in Cordelia and Bothari...


Cthulhu. He will just wait him out. The emperor is still not eternal...

Okay, now that's a good point and one that's not been brought up. The Emperor is pretty long lived for a human but after a few dozen millennia he's showing his age. What if Cthulhu pokes a head into the universe, decides that this looks difficult to eat, and wanders off to do something else? Within a hundred thousand years the problem resolves itself.


I wonder how the Emperor or Chthulhu would fare against Nathan Brazil?

That brought a snicker out of me. At a guess:

Brazil would probably find the Emperor necessary; if he's taking the universe way off script he can be edited out in the next reboot. The Emperor would probably find Brazil worrying but easy to capture; it's fine with the Well World if Brazil spends thousands of years someplace safe and heavily guarded. There will be an unlikely accident when he's needed elsewhere.

Cthulhu's emergence into the inhabited worlds might be very messy but by complete coincidence happens very far from Nathan Brazil and they never meet. Brazil would probably be surprised to find that the universe was still running cthulhu.dll, disgusted to find how many things feature cthulhu.dll in their dependency chain, and eventually decide it was too much work to try to change the damned thing.


Both of them go down in a screaming heap when faced with the combined power of the Square Enix Final Fantasy bishounen villain and hero squads, and their combined angst.

(The other rule of Geek Celebrity Deathmatch: never forget your own fandom is always the most powerful).

Failing that, I call on the power of cute, from the Care Bears and My Little Pony, so everyone who isn't dead of the kay-oot winds up with diabetes.

So there. Nyer! *sticks out tongue at everyone*.


Or, if we're going that way:-

Prep - Give Characters 1 and 2 sufficient HP+ and MP+ to max out their hit points and magic points. (other materia listed under actions)

Character 1 - Double-summon Knights of the Round in a linked slot with MP Absorb + Bahamut Zero linked with HP Absorb.

Character 2 - Mime (and as a safety measure equip them with Final Attack in a linked slot with Phoenix).

Character 3 - Pass their attack.
Character 1 - Pass their next attack.

Character 2 - Mime again.

At this point we're now in round 2 and have hit Cthulhu and the Emperor with 3x KtoR and B0.


Practically speaking? Whichever of them can get squirrel girl to side with them.

It would of course be a 1-sided stomp in favor of squirrel girl vs either of them.

Vs the emperor I can see a horde of squirrels chewing through all the wires inside the emperors throne.

Vs Cthulhu Squirrel girl just manifests fully (along with her squirrels) into Cthulhu's home set of dimensions and the sight of it drives Cthulhu mad.

On a more boring note: whoever the author or the person setting the rules for the battle wants to win.


Sandy Peterson's Cthulhu Wars boardgame with (humungous) miniatures is in fact designed to determine exactly who would win among multiple Great Old Ones (Cthulhu itsself, The Black Goat, The King in Yellow, Nyarlathotep and others). By some oversight, possibly linked to the dread powers of Games Workshop legal dept, the Emperor of Mankind is not included, but a little adaptation should be able to fix that.


I'm not entirely certain that adding "The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" to the mix isn't cheating (but yes if we do so then she's going to win).


Or at least, by definition she won't lose


Yep, I'm calling this one for the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

Although things might be a bit dicey for Tippy-Toe.


Which brings us around to what should have been obvious all along: Squirrel Girl is a Great Old One. How else could she have beaten Galactus? She's just a little confused... probably got bonked on the head with a Star Stone during the war with the Elder Gods and never quite recovered.

Does that make Tippy-Toe her Squirrelator-Flautist?


It really comes down to the quality of the writing. The conventional approach is that Cthulhu wins in the same way a hammer wins vs. a hamster. But there's only so much fun to be had in stories that unfold in a deterministic fashion.

In the Warhammer setting itself, the Chaos Gods aren't primal entities. They are byproducts of conscious thought made manifest on the spiritual plane. Sort of like oxygen on this planet is a byproduct of early life and we wouldn't be here without it. And the earliest life was choked out in the oxygen catastrophe. The Eldar were naughty and their excesses gave rise to monstrous space gods.

In the Call of Cthulhu there's the following passage:

Then, whispered Castro, those first men formed the cult around small idols which the Great Ones shewed them; idols brought in dim aeras from dark stars. That cult would never die till the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom. Meanwhile the cult, by appropriate rites, must keep alive the memory of those ancient ways and shadow forth the prophecy of their return.

Now one way of taking this is that we're looking at an alien cargo cult and the Great Old Ones most certainly don't care to take on followers and they're deluding themselves. But we could also take it at face value. The Old Ones are more than willing to extend a helping paw/tentacle/ovipositor to help young races explore the further dimensions of pleasure. And to read the line, "become as the Old Ones," it may not just mean moral equivalents but equivalents in power. When I was in Sunday School and the story of the Fall was told I wondered what would have truly happened if man ate the fruit of both trees. Would it have actually led to apotheosis? And if such a thing were possible, then it circumscribes greatly the power of God if a mortal could become just as he. And God didn't seem to be speaking in the royal plural, the gods of other peoples were taken seriously and God seems to speak to a multitude.

So, here's my answer. Humanity is on the way to becoming a fifth Chaos God. It's soul and messenger is the God Emperor who is not dead since he can eternal lie. He's not pining for the fjords, he's resting in a chrysalis. Ever wonder why so many worlds were populated with humans all over the galaxy? Over a million of 'em? He's gonna be hungry when he's up and we're all going to become one with the godhead. It's the rapture, baby.


PS addendum to my comment: Fully Powered Up God of Man vs. Cthulhu means they're fighting toe to toe as equals so the outcome goes whichever what makes the story more interesting. It's like Hulk vs. the Thing rather than Hulk vs. Average Man. (That one ends with a hose and squeegee.)


For the most part, it's entirely unsatisfying to compare Enterprise vs. Star Destroyer for precisely the reasons you state. The very tech bases are incompatible and so it makes as much sense as saying would a Spitfire win vs. a Fulcrum, assuming we can come up with a way weight their performance so they're equivalent. It's nonsensical.


eh, in that case it is more unsatisfying because we can compare the tech bases on things like raw power generation and the star destroyer outclasses the enterprise in terms of power generation and firepower by about 7-9 orders of magnitude, depending on which episode you take the dialogue from.

Interesting side effect of the storybuilding and format there. Lucas went with explicit magic in his universe as an arcane and rare thing, so the technology is all explicitly brute force as a result - no cheats, no technobabble, the Death Star just annihilates enough matter to generate mass scattering blast from their BFG. And much of the EU went even further, because when Timothy Zahn staked out the model for it, he explicitly split the "magic user threat" and "military power threat" into two separate characters, a pattern more or less followed since that further reinforced that set up - the force users are the ones who do magic, everyone else relies on easily repeatable physics that always work. And as the source for star wars is movies and text, there isn't much material for it to break away from that pattern.

Meanwhile in Star Trek they went with a lot of "Clarke's Law" (and Campbell's love of psionic/magic stuff) so that a lot of the technology is magic - and whether it works or not is extremely conditional as a result. So you get transporters being blocked by damn near everything (also lets you create narrative tension) and mass strengthening fields that don't work in different cases (so the set piece that was invulnerable last week is broken beyond repair tonight) and gods are literal beings or conmen depending what the writers room came up with. And since it is episodic tv, what is fixed remains small and relatable, while most everything else is conditional on circumstances to the point of being irrelevant.


Gregory, as you noted, the comparison is probably nonsensical. Among other things, the Cthulhu mythos is canonically an edge case for the laws of physics: they can interact with our physics, but they don't seem to be bound by it. If you want to take that observation literally and to the extreme, it means that pretty much nothing from our physics can defeat them; at best, it can only inconvenience them via their footprint in our cosmos.

Taking a big step back, however, and looking at the original question, kudos to Martin (M. Harold) for raising kids who even think of such things. Teaching one's kids to argue well (i.e., respectfully but with passion) both with each other and with their parents is something in short supply in this world and something that would make the world a far better place. There's apparently a line in the Talmud about how the Jewish God loves it when his children argue with him. I don't even want to ponder what the Lovecraftian Talmud says about this subject... *G*


I would point out that the Care bears, at least, can be simply defeated by the power of Viz...



This is as nothing to the Battle of the Holidaying Siblings involving a single TV, a single remote control, and the choice between Nickelodeon and Disney XD. With channel-flicking during the (entirely too frequent) commercial breaks.

Anyway, firstborn is Space Marines / Chaos Space Marines, youngest is building up his Tau, and I get to build Eldar and Harlequins in pretty colours...


No real opinion on who would win; in the long run, Cthulhu is immortal so probably it, but in the short term it can be stopped by putting it under the ocean which means that it can be delayed almost indefinitely. That said, a few things to take into consideration:

1. The stars are already right. The Great Old Ones cannot live while the stars are wrong; since Cthulhu woke up in the 20th century, the stars were right at that point. Presumably 38,000 years is not enough for them to be wrong, since we're talking about astronomical time here. So the stars are right at any point when Cthulhu could fight the Emperor. The only reason the Great Old Ones haven't destroyed everything yet is because they're all asleep, waiting for Cthulhu to wake them up, and R'lyeh sank before there was time for that to happen.

2. The C'Tan Star Gods are not actually absurdly powerful compared to the Great Old Ones. They are absurdly powerful compared to the 40k Old Ones, but those are closer to the Antarctican star-shaped vegetable creatures (which, to be fair, were referred to by Lovecraft as the Old Ones) than Cthulhu. The C'Tan are, if nothing else, from this universe, while Cthulhu and its ilk are not, which is the whole reason that they're scary (if Cthulhu were just a giant squid-dragon-person-thing, it would be frankly underwhelming as The Ultimate Negation Of All Human Knowledge And Reason). Defeating one of the C'Tan says nothing about being able to defeat Cthulhu.


Cthulhu gets beaten by firstborn's lovingly-painted Rhino, because of a convincing insistence on a conveniently-remembered interpretation of a special rule on page 75 that somehow means that Elder Ones are neutralised by a veteran stormguard terminator, and then killed in the same turn on the next two rolls. Cheating? Never.

...Yes, I'm bitter, decent passes at Staff College and Combined-Arms School, and the little sod has still always beaten me...


40K Chaos God/Goddesses make deals with mortals to birth Daemons. [Hint: might know the guy who wrote the 'Travel to the North Wastes' cannon with that knight, about 20 years ago].

This is the entire point of the Mythos - grab soul + meat shell, corrupt it until you birth another daemon.

As such, it's very parochial - Chaos feeds on Conscious Minds (lol, more shitty Christianity plx) and Free Will exists but everyone is open to temptation.

It's like, shitty American politics 1988 version.

Cthulhu doesn't need to do this.

There are physical realm creations that belong to it, but it doesn't generate its power through this.


40K - Grimdark but batteries.

Cthulhu - your local bubble of 4/5D space is an anomaly and it's inevitable.


would a Spitfire win vs. a Fulcrum?

The correct answer to that is that any of a Grippen, Tornado (ADV) or Typhoon armed with Meteor would win against either or both by out-ranging them and destroying them before the Fulcrum can achieve a missile shot, never mind reach the merge.


eh, in that case it is more unsatisfying because we can compare the tech bases on things like raw power generation and the star destroyer outclasses the enterprise in terms of power generation and firepower by about 7-9 orders of magnitude, depending on which episode you take the dialogue from.

It's also unsatisfying because although the Star Destroyer is a machine for destroying things, the Enterprise is a platform for hosting and/or transporting the crew to interesting problems for them to solve. So if a Star Destroyer turns up on Star Trek, Kirk* will defeat it, probably by cunning or deceit, while Picard will most likely defuse the situation by removing whatever the source of conflict is. That's what the Enterprise does; the phasers and photon torpedoes are means to an end, not the reason for the ship existing.

Which is as it should be. I apologise for continuing to request that violence has a purpose rather than just be used for gladitorial entertainment.

* The same result on modern Trek, but with more spectacular battle sequences and mass casualties on the way.


I'd agree, not least because Kirk has a track record for "doing whatever it takes", including on one occasion blowing up a damaged Constitution class starship inside a space-going device more powerful than a Death Star (the ST device was a system killer rather than "just" a planet killer).


I do not have a Warhammer endorsement on my geek card. What and how much do I need to read to get one?


Kirk would seduce the female (of course!) captain of the Star Destroyer to distract her while Scotty beamed into the Star Destroyer's engine room and disabled their matter/antimatter reactors. Of course, Kirk would take credit for the whole thing.


While a Typhoon could carry a pair of Meteor missiles, I doubt it has the targeting systems. And anyway, if you're allowed to put those missiles on one WWII single seater, why not on the other?


Not that Typhoon?

I'll get my coat.


I'd say start - like I did, so I'm a bit biased - with Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain books. Get the anthologies - of which there are currently two - and see if you can work out whether he's a self-effacing hero of the Imperium or a cowardly commissar. Or Blackadder the 40,017th. Either way (and I'm undecided) they're a lot of fun.

There's Dan Abnett. His Gaunt's Ghosts series is essentially Sharpe, or The Black Company in (Grimdark) space, and a couple or three books from completion, I think.

Those are quite a bit more accessible than some of the other fluff. It's certainly easier to keep the names straight.


Mea culpa; no way could a Hawker Typhoon target anything beyond BVR. (and as for getting coats, I should too because I didn't need the link to get your point).


Re:people talking about things from outside 4/5D space.

I've had some interesting debate on the subject of flatland on this score.

To a flatlander you are basically like Cthulhu. You look down at their world in it's 2D plane and you can see everything about them. You can poke your finger into them and scramble their insides or poke a pin into something and turn it into a mysteriously immovable object (from their point of view) or a turn it into soemthing which levitates without explanation.

If you poke your hand into their plane and wiggle your fingers about you're a tentacled monster from beyond spacetime. Sections of you appear out of nowhere and disappear without explanation along with thick ropes of flesh. It could drive a good circle mad.

But as Arthur C Clark pointed out in the story Firstborn... that doesn't mean that those beings in lower order dimensions can't harm you in any way.

You can limit how much potential harm they can do but if you stick your finger into their plane they can effectively lasso it and to prevent you from withdrawing your finger and thus prevent you from moving away to effect other parts of their realm.

They could even amputate parts of you which pass trough their realm. You stick your hand though, they catch your wrists and they can then take their time sawing all the way through them.

If you view Cthulhu as a being in some higher set of dimensions outside our universe (to us as flatland would be to us) then it implies quite a bit.


Our Gracious Host has explored a similar scenario in The Nightmare Stacks, with two RAF Typhoon jets vs two firewyrms. Both sides experienced serious shortcomings in guidance and targetting with their primary weapon systems. Probably, the firewyrms would be vulnerable to radar guided brutal nd visual range missiles, as their countermeasures did not cover the complete electromagnetic spectrum, but rules of engagement in crowded skies over Urukheim do not allow BVR shootdowns.
Ultimately, failure of logistic support is likely to be the decisive factor.

On the one hand,


Gack. No edit function!


This "N-dimensional beings in N+/-1 dimensional space" thing is also discussed in one of the volumes of EE Smith's Skylark of Space series.


Er, you don't have to engage at extreme BVR just because you have a 100+km range (source Wikipedia).


It's also unsatisfying because although the Star Destroyer is a machine for destroying things, the Enterprise is a platform for hosting and/or transporting the crew to interesting problems for them to solve.

Indeed. The objects role in the story is the key. (Unless you are of the Ringo variety, in which case the point of military hardware is to describe in a manner akin to how erotic stories authors describe women, with both works bringing the writer to orgasm)

On the topic of "versus" battles and metaphor/story role, I'm reminded of that old essay about if a modern military force popped up in Middle Earth during the War of the Ring. Kill every orc, arrest Saruman, destroy the ring, spread technology and modern life across the world... and Sauron will rule.

The allegory at play in the books is that Sauron is the forces of modernization (hence the idealized yeoman in the form of the Shire and the restoration of the monarchy being the 3rd book). So a modern force coming in an lifting up the denziens of Middle Earth means that ultimately, even if they wipe out everything associated with him, the technologies deployed by the modern forces means that in some shape or form it will be Sauron ruling over all.


Eh, I'd say the tech in star wars is equally magic. But that cuts two different ways.

One way of saying it's magic means that there's no plausible explanation for it, it just happens. Tech is magic. I can dig it. The second way is that there's not much internal consistency, keeps coming back to a writer/wizard did it. Good fantasy can have consistent magic with limitations you can grasp. The Death Star is out of scale with the rest of the star wars setting. If you can have a single superlaser blow up planets, why not scale something bigger than a turbolaser and smaller than a superlaser as a capital ship primary armament? The second death star could one-shot starships. Star Wars is terrible about thinking through second order effects, just like Star Trek. I'd say Trek is worse only because they invoke more babble. It would be just as bad in LOTR if Gandalf spouted a bunch of mythnobabble to explain how he was gonna shoot a fireball.

Try this on for size. Why can't R2 talk? We know why, he's a mute character and that's the trope. Plucky, can't speak English but can communicate through noises and body language. But in-universe, it makes no sense. He can render text output on a screen, he can clearly parse English and can communicate in a verbose fashion in a robot language and it seems like the other characters understand more than we do, same as Han understanding what the Wookie is saying. Speakers in our world cost $10. Why doesn't R2 have speakers? Saying it would cost too much is fairly ridiculous. But, as I said, we know why he's a mute character so the answer is "it doesn't pay to put more thought into the story than the writers did."


Admin question: is there any particular rule as to what gets flagged for moderation? I can understand certain links flagging things or if there's banned words but I'm not aware of particular off-limits words. Is there a quota for too many posts? Length? Frequency?


On the topic of "versus" battles and metaphor/story role, I'm reminded of that old essay about if a modern military force popped up in Middle Earth during the War of the Ring. Kill every orc, arrest Saruman, destroy the ring, spread technology and modern life across the world... and Sauron will rule.

That's the basic plot of a recent Japanese manga and anime series, "Gate". A cod-Roman/medieval military force with orcs, wyrms and magic weilders pops through a gate into the middle of Shinjiku in Tokyo intending a short sharp war of conquest. After they discover what belt-fed weapons and light artillery can do to them, the JSDF counter-invades through the gate which conveniently stays open after the invaders have been stopped.

The biggest disruption the Japanese bring to the standard fantasy world they find on the other side of the gate is something called a "PX" (Post Exchange i.e. shops selling, among other things, porn or as the locals call it, "fine art").


Here's a French take (in English translation) on the same idea of the fantasy world meeting ours:


The Eisenhorn Trilogy by Abnett. Then, if you're still interested, everything tenebris listed and adding the Night Lords books by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. That should cover it.


There used to be quite draconian ones about product names, URL shorteners, YouTube, etc. The cancellations were automated, and posts were then resurrected when a moderator noticed the ham languishing in the pending folder. Some other posts would be cancelled by hand when they were seen to be spam.

In the recent absence of spammer (spammers hate logins) most of those automated rules have now been relaxed (hence Ms Cat managing to post at all). However, the adaptive Bayesian rules do occasionally still see ham as spam. Since so little does trip them, we moderators don't always notice this as quickly as we could.

In the worst case a pending comment may be too old to be worth resurrecting. This is usually more a case of how many comments back it would now be popping up rather than an actual chronological age.

Why do some like yours get dropped? Ah, that's the fun of black box Bayesian rules — we never find out.


One way of saying it's magic means that there's no plausible explanation for it, it just happens. Tech is magic. I can dig it. The second way is that there's not much internal consistency, keeps coming back to a writer/wizard did it. Good fantasy can have consistent magic with limitations you can grasp. The Death Star is out of scale with the rest of the star wars setting. If you can have a single superlaser blow up planets, why not scale something bigger than a turbolaser and smaller than a superlaser as a capital ship primary armament? The second death star could one-shot starships.

They do have that though. There was the artillery in Attack of the Clones, the frigates in Revenge of the Sith, and a few of the mega ships in the books have such a thing. The in universe explanation is that fuel constraints and utility (eg you want to bombard the planet with tac nukes, not a yellowstone caldera kicking off) mean most don't have them. But One of the things Lucas put a lot into the prequels was showing that the tech for the Death Star was already present and scales up over the 3 movies. Shame he didn't put the same effort into the plot.

Star Wars is terrible about thinking through second order effects, just like Star Trek. I'd say Trek is worse only because they invoke more babble. It would be just as bad in LOTR if Gandalf spouted a bunch of mythnobabble to explain how he was gonna shoot a fireball.

eh, that's a whole different kettle of fish. About 16 years ago after The Phantom Menace was wrapping up Lucas did bring in a crew of folks to work out the second order effects and write background for them. It started ok and some stuff got published, tweaks made to some of the films (eg they resized the ships in Attack of the Clones so things could fit inside). But then one of the authors (Karen Traviss) pulled a Benjanun Sriduangkaew style stunt and got her fans to start sending a bunch of death threats and doxxing other authors and fans. It turned into this really nasty proto-Gamer Gate thing that got a lot of contracts canceled.

These days I think all that got wiped out by the Disney sale, but they are slowly reintroducing parts of it back in so long as they don't trigger another noxious shitpile like the first go round.

Try this on for size. Why can't R2 talk? We know why, he's a mute character and that's the trope. Plucky, can't speak English but can communicate through noises and body language. But in-universe, it makes no sense. He can render text output on a screen, he can clearly parse English and can communicate in a verbose fashion in a robot language and it seems like the other characters understand more than we do, same as Han understanding what the Wookie is saying. Speakers in our world cost $10. Why doesn't R2 have speakers? Saying it would cost too much is fairly ridiculous. But, as I said, we know why he's a mute character so the answer is "it doesn't pay to put more thought into the story than the writers did."

There was plenty of thought put into that point. It is explicitly that "slaveowners don't want slaves that talk back". If you watch through the films, the sign that a character is good is how they treat droids - as people rather than objects - and those that treat them like objects meet a nasty fate. In particular it is those that stand with R2 - the oppressed on who is literally voiceless (not heavy handed at all George) that are the paragons of light, and treating him badly is the real "this person is bad" symbol. Like Han and Leia are nasty to C-3PO (eg switching him off when he is annoying), and ignoring him means he doesn't notice when he goes missing, and thus Han isn't warned about Vader and gets frozen as a result, and Leia has her love stolen from her. But it is poor treatment of the literally voiceless R2 is when a character is fully bad. Once Anakin turns to the dark side he doesn't treat R2 as anything but an appliance again.

Lucas isn't very subtle with his imagery.


Martin (or others),

out of curiosity, are there games that teach/require similar thinking to whatever military folks do when out militarying?
The only wargame I've put some time in is Go.

Regarding the actual topic, I'm kinda bothered by franchise loyalty. Which this discussion did not boil down to so far, but someone upthread pointed out the danger. Aren't there better ways to be childish, than showing ones loyalty to SW/ST/Cthulhu mythos/Gunm/WH40K.


p.s.: Of course when I moan about the childishness of franchise loyalty, I'm talking about suppoed adults! Kids stil have to try out all the different ways of being childish.


I question how much thought Lucas actually put into it. Star Wars was my first scifi love and learning more about it is both disappointing in how it deflates Lucas as a creator and amazes me with how the team he put together came up with something greater than the sum of the parts. I won't go into all the details but the short and dirty of it is reading the preliminary drafts for Journal of the Whills where he's taking names and plots and throwing them in a blender to come up with something, looking at how he stole shamelessly from his favorite films to essentially create a pastiche and how major plot points were made up from movie to movie so Vader goes from henchman to father by the second film and Leia from potential love interest to sister in the third. Also, emperor was a figurehead in the original with little real power to a sith lord in the second and finalized as palpy in the third.

Historically, most slaves didn't have their tongues cut out. They could talk. Yes, droids are slaves but R2 is a non-human sidekick and wise/cute mute. That's why he can't talk.

I think Lucas retconned a lot of his explanations after palling around with Joseph Campbell.


Ciaphas Cain - aka "Flashman and the Eldar" ;)

I've got a huge soft spot for George Macdonald Fraser; among much else, he wrote IMHO the ultimate guide to peacetime life as a infantry junior officer (available cheaply as a 3-volume omnibus ebook, "The Complete McAuslan"), and a truly memorable prequel description of wartime life as an infantry private soldier ("Quartered Safe Out Here").


Considering that the Necrons are very good at monkeying with Dimensional stuff that doesn't include the Immaterium (they use pocket universes as sniping nests, FFS), they could really mangle ol Big C's hand if he stuck it in and they considered it enough an issue to delegate resources and Crypteks to the problem.


out of curiosity, are there games that teach/require similar thinking to whatever military folks do when out militarying?

Hide and Seek is a good one. "If you can be seen you will be killed."

Pass the Parcel with live hand grenades, improves hand/eye coordination no end (until someone loses a hand and an eye).

Musical chairs, for officer promotion boards.

Snap, the noise an AP mine makes just before it blows your leg off.


Mrs Smegma, will you stand up, please.


"It would be just as bad in LOTR if Gandalf spouted a bunch of mythnobabble to explain how he was gonna shoot a fireball."

He does at one point. In Moria, when he goes on about the technical details of how to do spells to hold doors closed and why it blew up on him. Always seemed incongruously mechanistic to me.


R2 speaks perfectly clearly. He just doesn't speak English, in the same way Chewbacca speaks in a comprehensible manner, ditto for Jabba the Hut.

It's actually a tribute to the scriptwriters that they can make it clear what the intent of their verbalisations are by the way people they are addressing react to them and the English side of the continuing conversation. Saying that I *think* Jabba the Hut got subtitled in much the same way the BBC used to subtitle Glaswegians in documentaries.


It's still kind of daft that he doesn't speak English, though. He can understand it, and that's the hard problem. The "Speech" ROM for the BBC Micro (not the official semi-hardware Kenneth Kendall add-on, this was pure software from a third party) demonstrated that you can produce intelligible speech from hardware that beeps in 8k of code. That an artificially intelligent robot can't program himself to do the same thing makes no sense to me.


In my defense, I do try to accurately pre-label all Spam Tins (links) with Branding so the innocent don't click accidentally, as well as not use url shortners [evil things: Twitter is bad bad bad for normalizing them, do not use], state if it's an auto-download / PDF / NSFW or YT = Youtube: media type: length etc. Along with the disclaimer to never read anything I type.

So it's not like I don't actively include wards against Unwanted Mimetic Intrusion.

And yet: still they click.


And given by definition of my nature I'm not supposed to do any of these warnings, it's very paradoxical for us....

[On a serious note: posts of mine vanish occasionally. In certain cases I get put in the naughty kennel for weeks / months. It happens, even when trying to behave like a normal human being]

On the topic: the antithesis goes deeper than just Chaos / Law. Cthulhu is predicated on barely noticing and certainly not caring about its' worshippers. The Emperor is all about 'noble self-sacrifice to the greater good' (aka, humanity surviving). It's why the whole Horus (*cough* Brutus *cough) riff works. (And yes: 40k is entirely ripped off from Sumerian / Greek / Roman mythology).


Not that I can think of, at first guess ("America's Army" was a DoD-funded FPS), the Modern Pentathlon was originally designed as a military skills test for despatch riders, so there's one. I even know a 40K player with a very sporty military job...

For low-level skills, orienteering is one - with fitness, decision making, and navigation being prized. Granted, doing it in the dark while carrying 40kg of kit makes it more fun when you're on a course ;) Biathlon also has military value (hence why most of the GB team certainly used to be On Her Majesty's Service). Seemingly daft things also happen - Cavalry Regiments would sometimes get all enthusiastic about four-man bobsleigh. It takes coordination, teamwork, fitness, and a willingness to overcome fear (watch some crashes if you don't believe me), with the advantage that the Harz and Tirol were only eight hours drive away. Throwing some lad from an urban background down a Black run on skis is a very cost-effective way to teach them how to overcome fear...

Assuming you're thinking about leadership skills rather than basic soldiering skills, the actual training leans heavily towards soft skills and analysis / passage of information. Add severe sleep deprivation and physical fatigue, and turn-based games just don't work that well. There is no God's -eye view, the other side can and will use deceit and deception, and your own side will occasionally cock it up to the detriment of "the plan".

I'm not saying it couldn't be done better, however...


Batman. Batman would win. Batman always wins.


Rubbish. Batman loses all the time and then figures out the plot and saves the day at the last minute, squeaking a draw or pyrrhic victory. Although:

Batman vs Cthulhu: Batman wins by running a tramp steamer into his head/ actually by disrupting the summoning ritual and showing that there's still a spark of human defiance in his bat-heart etc etc

Batman vs The Emperor: Well this is a puzzle. I don't really see a place for the bat-vigilante in the WH40K universe. What would winning look like? Locking the Emperor up in a life support capsule? If he turned up in Gotham City then I guess Batman wins by banishing him back to the 41st Millenium.

Batman vs Star Destroyer: Batman. He sneaks aboard, beats people up and then sabotages it. Might lose if Darth Vader is aboard.

Batman vs Enterprise: The away team beam down into Gotham City where Batman mistakes them for criminals... but basically this is a classic meet, fight, team-up scenario in which the villain is the one who brought the Enterprise into the DC Comics universe (See also Star Trek meets Legion of Superheroes comic)

Batman vs Spitfire: Spitfire is a Marvel Comics super-vampire so the comparison to the guy who dresses as Dracula is a bit on the nose... Oh, right. Well, Batman loses to the Supermarine Spitfire initially, being strafed a couple of times, then he figures out something ridiculous from his utility belt to bring it down (safely).


Having done some research, it appears that a Spitfire did meet a Typhoon. The latter won.


Batman vs. Judge Dredd was a draw, mostly. He did get arrested -- "Vigilante. 20 years in the isocubes." but it worked out in the end. Battle of the Chins doesn't begin to describe it...


I think you're missing my point. R2-D2 might well have been able to speak English or Yuuman or whatever human language(s) the sapients of the film's milieu ("A long time ago...") spoke, but why should he? Chewbacca didn't, Jabba the Hut didn't, Greebo didn't, the Sand People, Jawas, Ewoks etc. didn't. C-3P0 is a protocol droid and speaks Yuuman because he was built to do precisely that so that's what was shown on screen.

It's one of the small things the Star Wars movies did was to make it clear this was a universe with multiple alien races who weren't Uncle Harry in prosthetics.

As an aside, language is one of those things that appears in fiction as a minor hurdle to overcome to keep the plot moving. I don't know how many hours Bob has spent learning Old Enochian to the point of being verbally fluent but given his hectic schedule I can't see it actually happening without him spending at least six months at school in an immersive full-time course. It could be worse, a manga I'm reading at the moment has the main character learn to speak English to a good conversational level during the plane trip to Britain from Japan.


You're correct about language being portrayed as a minor hurdle when it's usually much more, but here's my brother's commentary on learning a language while on the move :

A top tip is that you only need to learn half the adjectives and the word not, and the cautionary tale of the time he spent 30 hours on the coach from Istanbul to Tabriz learning Farsi, only to discover on arrival that the local language is Azeri.


I'm commenting from the perspective of what does and doesn't make sense to me in world-building terms, rather than specific points of the films, because I haven't seen them - well, I've seen about 10 minutes of one of them, and that's it. But in the 40 odd years since they first happened I've managed to pick up from other people's general chit-chat that R2-D2 is a robot who can understand the speech of those around him, but always replies in a fusillade of beeps.

It seems to me that a robot that can understand and reply to speech, and that has any sound output capabilities at all, should also be able to utter speech - not just in English, but in all those other languages you mention (if the robot understands them). Such a robot is already capable of handling the difficult parts of the problem, and it makes no sense that it should then fail utterly on the most trivial aspect, ie. generating the appropriate type of sound. (TI's allophone synthesis chip came out about the same time as the first film, give or take a year or two; there were probably kids in the audience who had toys with more advanced speech output capability than R2-D2, but none of his other capabilities.)

For biological characters it's a different matter - it's entirely possible that their vocal organs and/or the nature of their control of them would be such as to make it infeasible for them to pronounce alien languages, even if they can understand them. Even among languages of the same species it could be that not learning a differently-pronounced language at a sufficiently early age results in never being able to pronounce it properly, as we know from human experience. But to imitate any kind of pronunciation, if not well at least intelligibly, is a trivial task for even primitive computers, let alone ones capable enough to be sapient.

If I'd been making the films I'd have had the biological characters able to speak only their own language plus maybe one or two others that used the same kind of sounds, and able to understand languages that used a rather wider range of kinds of sounds but still in a distribution centred on their own, but the robots would be able to speak any language they could understand.


It seems to me that a robot that can understand and reply to speech, and that has any sound output capabilities at all, should also be able to utter speech - not just in English, but in all those other languages you mention (if the robot understands them).

"If the robot understands them" is the key. I was listening to a conversation between a couple of Japanese natives and an American who knows a lot more Japanese that I do at the London Worldcon. I could understand the gist of what was being said some of the time but I was very limited to what I could say in reply. At best like Yoda come out it would (Japanese sentence structure is not the same as English), at worst the translations in my head couldn't keep up with the speech going on around me. R2 gets the general idea some of the time when people speak to him -- usually they're telling him to do something, direct commands and all he needs to say is "Yes Sir!" or the equivalent. *Understanding* speech in any language is an AI-hard task and an R2 unit doesn't really need to have a complete comprehension capability to do its job.

The only robot fluent in Yuuman in the Star Wars movies is C-3PO and he is specifically a specialist in languages. The others communicate with other robots and hardware like the Death Star in something that is totally incomprehensible by humans, assuming it is in the audible sound spectrum to start with.

Why didn't Chewbacca speak Han Solo's language, whatever it was? He obviously understood it well, and Solo clearly understood Chewbacca's utterances including nuance. It would have been easier for the audience to understand what was going on but the fact he and other aliens didn't speak Yuuman made them, well, "alien" which suited the director's purposes, aided by the scriptwriters who wrote the human side of the dialogues in such a way the audience could comprehend what the conversations was about.


my pet theory is arrogance, r2 refused to speak a meat-language.
he was plotting a Skynet incident the whole time..
and Yoda was the head Sith, 'always 2 there are' , yeah right..


Really? I thought the Taifun either never entered service, or was unarmed...

Not to mention that Spitfire variants (namely, the Seafire of the British Pacific Fleet) went up against the Divine Wind...



Why didn't Chewbacca speak Han Solo's language, whatever it was? He obviously understood it well, and Solo clearly understood Chewbacca's utterances including nuance.

A couple of years ago, we were on one of the Manchester trams, exploring. A mother and her daughter were sat close by, chatting away.

The mother was speaking Russian.

The daughter was speaking English (with the local accent).

Both obviously understood the other, and both were speaking in what to them was the easiest mode to put their thoughts together. I suspect Han and Chewie are the same.

(Well, and a normal human speaking voice coming out would have broken the suspension of disbelief something rotten.)


Is it worth noting that ChewbaCCa is a WooKie from KashyyK (sorry, can't be bothered to look up the correct spelling), yet makes no sound that is even close to a hard K noise?

(In the game Knights of the Old Republic, which I believe is no longer canon, there's a Wookie slave trade subplot which, ignoring the stupidity, would perhaps explain this; the planet, people and even individuals were being named by the evil Czerka (sic?) corporation. On the other hand I'm pretty sure you ave to bring it down and that's set 4000 years in the past.)


Ah, failed ...
I was trying to insert this ( which might easily be the wrong code-string anyway ) :
To get my avatar back.
Never mind.

[[ I've updated the account to use that userpic - mod ]]


Speaking if Cthulu, a travel article about Lovecraft and Providence Rhode Island from the NYew York Tines.

Today or Yesterday?®i_id=0

Great, hope I pasted the link correctly. Will go back and copy again....


... soft skills and analysis / passage of information.

Interesting. I frequently mull over ideas for game mechanics that deal with bandwidth/information passage. E.g. you play a leader of a small band and each turn you get one sentence statements and full reports from your subordinates, but you can only read about half the full reports. Then you must write a one sentence statement and a report for your leader, but the report can't have everything you learned that round but maybe half of it. And so on.
Similar for orders that pass the chain down.
The dieda is that players lower in the hierarchy need to think a lot about what is important for their bosses.
The game would likely provide a set of phrases and/pr map snippets for the statements and reports.
Cheating would be ridiculously easy of course.

(I think I spend more time mulling over game ideas than playing any, and I don't even code)


The other thing is, what would human empire and the culture make of each other if they ever encountered?
(Maybe set the culture in Andromeda, at 100kc which I think the sleeper service did in excession that's just a few deades apart, no prob for a GSV)).

I'm not to firm on the 40k lore, but from their perspecitce culture minds would surely be warp demons, probably slaneesh? I mean the minds exist mostly in hyperspace.
From the cultures perspective, all fractions would be ridiculously inefficient hegemonising swarm entities, no?

But can you tell a story where both perspectives are kinda true?


This may not be what you were thinking of, but ?

It's a resource management (aka logistics) game, with multiple potential winning strategies, including "having no idea what you're doing".


Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a game all about communicating the right information under pressure, if you're looking for one.


I was trying to insert this ... To get my avatar back.

Moderators: is there user-accessible support for this function, such that we can do it without some moderator having to do it manually for each user? I wouldn't mind getting my lemur back.


Hello Mr. Stross (and community of course)!

I have been trying to contact by other means, but since no reply came I will just post here.

Hope it gets through. Dear moderators please let this message through and/or notify Mr. Stross.

Please pardon me for off-topic post.
I'm the proper actual owner of an email, that, as it turns out, was compromised some (unknown) time ago (I've got it back and now have better password)

This email is the one in this post

Apparently, the Chris person mentioned at that post registered here using my compromised email and used it for unwholesome stuff.

I'm very sorry and will try to use better passwords in the future (will put more asterisks in there, ha ha :) )

Would you be so kind as to remove that email from public view and please ask the kind community members not to send any more, how to put it, distaste-towards-Chris related messages to that email?

Thank you very much, and sorry for this mess I've made with my poor password habits.


KT&NE is a one trick pony though:

#1 The instructions matter, there's no puzzles

#2 If you get 4-6 people it's a doddle

#3 No serious military unit would fail it (one would hope)

It's more a toy just to teach you how centralized leadership hierarchy works.

"I am hardcore" 1:32 remaining (Keep talking and nobody explodes) YT: Game: 3:51

That's the Russians. There are all kinds of teams playing it [the meta-meta is that Intel types have started playing against each other, thus the silly fast scores being posted]

Oh, Stephanie.

Big mistake.


If you're a serious business, you burn n churn. Claiming you're using the same addresses is just a huge red flag.


Come on Catina (It's you who wrote me as "Catina Diamond" accusing me of being involved with some company or something like that, right?), emails get hacked.

I mean yeah, looking back, my password was poor.

Do I need to loose the email forever or be forever associated with some creepy forum/comment section rabble-rousing hacker malcontents over it?


Oh, okay. You're not banned (under the Stephanie login).


I've never written to any email outlining such things - doxxing or threats aren't really my style (apart from in theatrical NIGHTMARE GREEN jokes in public, where the "YOU" is either humanity, the Elder God or whatever is annoying me at the time).

I'd be interested if you received such emails though, given that "Catina Diamond"'s email and account appears to have been deleted before that post date in any case.

In any case, "Catina Diamond" is only mentioned once in that thread, and it looks like a "Nyx Ninoy" made some non-specific nonsense up about a company who used that email. I wouldn't take vague nonsense about "porn and 10 million pound bribes" seriously.

There doesn't appear to be any email link between the two.


Time Traveling Tampering Tricksters.

Watch out for those gremlins.

And if you ever receive an email from someone purporting to be a wiped online identity, be careful you're not being gas-lighted by Others who would care enough to do so.

I certainly wouldn't, and don't.


By WH40K Standards Great Green One isn't actually a god. He as a physical manifestation whereas the chaos gods are idea-forms residing in the Warp. He is closer to the Void Dragon or C'tun in concept.

Also, which version of the Emphrah! Are we talking about, the frozen god or the pre-Heresy walking nightmare of all things that go bump in the night?

Pre-HH Empy would probably kick green butt and then entomb him and use his power to fule some plot to ascend to godhood (which is basically what empy is doing at that point).


Cthulhu, so far, has faced a long, long nap brought on by astrographical issues that he can not survive, has built a lot of weird architecture, and has shown himself impervious to lasting damage through ramming by steam schooner. He's a short story character, and thus is not exactly well developed. The secondary material tends to give him whatever inconsistency is necessary for the story at hand, a planetary scale number of mini-cthulhu and Deep One minions, an inability to defeat the Elder Things at their peak and a great gift for long-term planning.

The Emprah has so far faced at least one immateral soul-eating star-god, which he seems to have be able to bind, a rebellious genetically engineered construct backed by Space Gods that cannot actually enter the material universe but can channel their seemingly almost immense power into it through said construct and a bunch of mortal and immortal physical enemies. He isn't as old as Ctulhu, but seems to have a gift for seeing into the future and some pretty impressive magical powers drawn from Space God Land. His eventual minions include so many humans of different qualities and power levels that Cthulhu could not possibly eat them all even if the stars were righter than rain. He has been gifted with lazy writing and inconsistencies hiding beyond the idea that the 40k universe isn't so good at accurate record-keeping. He is also (when he is out and about) pretty small and mobile compared to great Cthulhu, which is likely an advantage when we're talking cosmic powers duking it out.

Both are currently (in their respective timelines) either sleeping or immobile and possibly braindead, so a conflict in 2016 would be impractical. We have no real idea of what either can do when at the peak of their powers. I would stake my bets on Cthulhu deciding to sleep this one out rather than risk himself, which he seemingly can, since he is more Immortal than the Immortal Emprah. After all, he sees the long view. The only issue is that the Emprah has turned most of Earth into his personal parking lot, so Ctulhu is likely buried in mountains of concrete and sci-fi building materials in the year 40,000. But hey, when the big E finally goes that is just a temporary setback.


If would have been practical for comparative purposes if the Emprah had ever faced Elder Thing civilizations or steam schooners, or if Great Cthulhu had tried to go blobbo-o-blobbo with a C'tan (at least their old versions, who were considerably more impressive than the current neutered variant). But they didn't. The woes of living in different fictional universes...



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This page contains a single entry by M Harold Page published on August 7, 2016 2:31 PM.

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