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Warhammer 40K, Little thoughts: Civilian Armies

In the grim darkness of the distant future, there is only war...

Or at least the propaganda would tell you that. But even a cursory look at the fluff and lore will tell you that some humans out there are just doing what people do best: getting on with life. Yes... even in 40K there are regular joes, just trying to pay their taxes and keep families fed.

Anyone who's seen Les Miserable, or is a closet anarchist raging against the political machine, may be inspired to make an army to rebel and stick it to the authority. Regular men and women taking up arms and casting off the chains of their oppressors. Forward for glorious revolution! On the surface it looks like we don't have many choices of codices to follow, but there are actually quite a few.

It's not really surprising that we don't see these average dudes on tabletop. Most armies are just that: armies. But it's worth remembering that there are some non-military forces out there. Most of them have pointy ears.

Let's deal with the Imperium first. Despite being the most numerous race out there,with the widest options and diversity, they are in fact almost entirely military. Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Skitarii, Militarum Tempestus, etc. are all military organisations. At a stretch you could say conscripts in Guard armies are civvies with flashlights shoved in their hands, but still very much military.

The next one to look at are Chaos Cultists. These are just regular folks, who have made some dubious life choices. Civilian armies can be found here, at the cost of shackling your brave revolutionaries to, well, demons and spikey Space Marines.

In a somewhat similar vein, Genestealer Cults are a great proxy for a revolutionary force. You just need to explain away the third arm and glorious leader that looks like it stepped off the set of a Ridley Scott movie. And then the whole devotion to our new alien overlords, which kind of puts a damper on liberty for all.

Genestealer Cults neatly segue us onto xenos armies, and there are a surprising number of civilian fighters here.

Tau can be dismissed straight away. It's hard to see even a regular Tau Earth caste member as a civilian. Everyone in Tau society is part of a regimented and goal oriented culture. All cogs in the machine, the concept of taxes probably doesn't even exist, thanks to the concept of personal property probably not being a thing either.

Tyranids can be thrown out in a similar fashion. Being tied to synapse creatures doesn't make for independent and free minded revolutionaries.

Orks, rather interestingly, are all civilians. It's just that ork kulture involves bashing people over the head with something big and sharp. Even so, here you have an entire people devoted to tearing down structures of oppression, where power is taken through force of will. It's actually the most meritocratic race in 40K... any ork can be boss if he krumps enough other orks. Quite literally the most equal and free society in the galaxy.


Also, if you look back at some of the older specialist games, you'll find Gorkamorka. And if you look at the expansion, you'll find Rebel Grots. Have a look, I promise its worth your time.

The last I'll be talking about are the Eldar. Like the Orks, these are are civilian fighters. Aspect Warriors could be described as military units, but really they are regular Eldar obsessed with a particular aspect of war. Even if you don't agree with that statement, every normal Eldar is expected to at least go out there with a shuriken catapult and mesh armour.

These days, it looks like the majority of Elda civilians are actually out there on jetbikes armed with heavy weaponry. In a quite embarrassing state of affairs for the Imperium, the average Eldar bread maker is more heavily armed than a super-human Space Marine, and just as skilled in combat!

So, if you're finding the military industrial complex an enraging entity, or you'd like to see the average joes of the Dark Millenium stick it to the oppressive authoritarian armies... go xenos. They just do it better than us humans.

As a last honourable mention, there is a force out there you could take which can all be made from historical revolutionaries: Stormcast Eternals. Plucked from their universes at the time of the death, encased in Sigmarite, and sent out to free the peoples of the Realms from the oppressive yoke of Chaos. And they even get to be called Liberators!

Just some little thoughts. What do you think?

Thanks for reading.

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