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I kinda thought that, although most worlds (except some special cases concerning tithes) have to pay tithes, follow some form of the Imperial Creed, give up psykers to the Black Ships, and not rebel against the Imperium, can't they do basically anything else? I know that Terra is the administrative hub of the Imperium and all, but I've always imagined individual planets as kinda like States. They just follow some core rules and then can do whatever they want. That makes sense, right?
On Warseer: Iracundus: "So you might end up with "renegade" Chapters, but more split due to ideology rather than because the big bogeyman of Chaos suddenly makes them all cackling mustache twirling villains."
It all sort of depends on how closely an Imperial world is being watched. Some planets might not seem too far and different from a government like the United States, while others are a locked-down Orwellian society. Bits in the fluff suggest there are entire systems that have been lost from the Administratum's records, and don't even realize they're actually part of an Imperium until the black ships come to demand their tithes. So, really, it can vary wildly and a lot of it is influenced by how much its leader(s) think they'll catch hell for any shortcomings of the world itself. The world is pretty much free to govern itself, but if the tithes start coming up short, or the guardsmen provided weak and poorly trained, the Administratum will usually step in, kill off the current authority, and institute a new one.
I can explain this really well by appropriating some concepts from property law.
In the UK and other countries with legal systems derived from Roman law, a distinction is typically drawn between "imperium" and "dominion." Imperium, coming from the old Roman word for supreme military power (also the source for the word "empire"), refers to a concept somewhat like authority or sovereignty; you have a right to the thing, but you don't current own or control it. This is contrasted with dominion, which is actual ownership of something.
So if I wanted to own land in the UK, I'd go and buy an interest in property (which is, ultimately, the property of the UK government) and then build a house there. I would own and control the land, and have dominion over it, but the UK government is still the ultimate owner; they can tax me, restrict my use of the land and can even kick me out if they feel like it (with constraints). They have imperium. A lot of real countries used to be called "Dominions" of the British crown, because they were semi-autonomous governments living under an imperial rule; the right of dominion was owned by the local government and people, but the empire retained sovereignty and imperium.
To connect this to 40k, the situation is that the planetary governor has dominion over his world, which he owns and controls, but the Imperium, conveniently, has imperium over the world. He owns it, but he owns it because Terra lets him own it; they can impose restrictions on that right or take it away entirely (and they often do, if they don't like the governor or if he raises a fuss). So long as he toes the line and obeys Terran law, a planetary governor has virtually unlimited power over his dominion. But the right of imperium resides in the personal hands of the Emperor and by delegation with the High Lords.
This is actually pretty awesome when you think about it and realise that the reason it's called an Imperium is because that is all it is. It is, literally speaking, nothing less than the Emperor's personal power.
Last edited by ze_poodle; August 26th, 2010 at 09:15.
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Mr_Wayne: "Some people believe that the World Eaters do not field any ranged weaponry. Those people often die at a distance."
How much independence do Imperial worlds have? None!
If they are good Imperial citizens then everything they do will be done for the benefit of the Imperium and mankind. Such selfish ideas like independence will only hinder their ability to serve the Emperor and as such independence is the province of the traitor. The traitor is worse than the heretic and will lead his people into damnation. As such all who follow them innocent or not must be cleansed with fire and blood. The Emperor demands blood and skulls in sacrifice.
By definition any world that 'thinks' it has some independence is not Imperial because this world and it's people have strayed from the Emperor's light and now they all dwell in darkness. Therefore the world must be re-conquered and it's poor people saved from the horrors they endure without good and just Imperial rule. In the name of the Emperor they must be saved and brought back into the Emperor's light, even if they die in the process.
It is good to die for your Emperor but loathesome and grotesque to live for yourself!
Last edited by Leech; August 26th, 2010 at 23:40.
Sorta depends. If if it is a hive world then probably very little as everything is controlled. If it is a back-water world on the edge of Tau space then it would likely be allowed to do more shet. Also they should join the tau. Because the tau'va is superior to the emprah.
The Tau follow the same structure as the Imperium actually, with the exception that they will leave behind their own warriors to garrison the planet and enforce their laws.
A planet in the Imperium can make up it's own rules, so long as they still make their tithes and still follow the Creed. Now, the Creed itself is very restricting, and that's where Leech is getting a lot of his ideology about how "free" an Imperial world really is. But remember- the Imperium is HUGE, and there are few chances of a world attracting enough attention to warrant an investigation. These would be:
Failing to meet Tithes
Requiring aid in a conflict
A passing fleet notices something awry (Stopping for supplies to find mutants on the planet, or passing by and seeing a Daemon World, etc)
Planets vary widely, and each takes a different approach to making sure that Tithes are met and Creed is followed. For example- in C:IG it says that some feral worlds recruit guardsmen through ritual combat. Others, like Vostroya, recruit the Firstborns of each family to make tithe.
In the Battlefleet Gothic book, it mentions a Feral planet which was tithed to build a battleship. They had no knowledge of factories or the value/uses of the materials they gathered, but a factory was set up in orbit and the feral worlders gathered materials for "sacrifice". At the ship's completion, the tribes below could look into the heavens and see a new star flash brightly for a moment before departing into the void.
Even the nature of the Imperial Creed can vary somewhat. Think of how Christianity was spread through the world. Religious holidays like Hallows-Eve (Halloween) replaced pagan harvest festivals or traditional holidays. The "Celtic Cross" also called a triskele, came signify the Holy Trinity when the Church superimposed its belief systems on the local populace. A planet might have a different holiday, but as long as this particular feast day in glorification of the Emperor and not Gilgamesh, they're fine. Now, if they see the Emperor as a Gilgamesh character, and depict him as such in their art, that's ok. Just as long as he's human, and he's the Emperor/God of Mankind.
The average Imperial planet is almost completely on its own. They cannot expect speedy and reliable support or communication with other Imperial worlds. As such Imperial Governors have only a few basic rules to follow, pay taxes, allow the Arbites to enforce Imperial Law, protect the planet, follow the Imperial Creed. How to do pretty much everything up to and including that is in the Governor's hands. If they want to have a parliament, sure. If they want to make everyone wear orange and grey polka dots, whatever. If they want to gas a third of their population at random every twenty years, don't get angry when Inquisitors keep showing up and looking into it. Or fall short on a tithe.
Veni Vidi Variant
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The spikey ones go faster.
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Rules for grenades are on page 72 of the rulebook.