SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 56

Imperium is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks. In this 90-week series, our intrepid magazine-receiver will be reviewing each individual issue, its included models, and gaming materials. A Premium subscription was provided to Goonhammer for review purposes.

I can only write “Where does this magazine meant to teach 9th edition fit when 10th edition is right around the corner?” so many times in so many words, so let me immediately digress elsewhere.

I take umbrage with the term “headcanon”, or, as it is frequently misspelled, “headcannon”, an altogether more Warhammer-esque piece of artillerist’s headgear. “My headcanon is that my custom regiment fled Cadia a week before it exploded” or “My headcanon is that Azrael likes chicken pesto pizza” are innocuous statements on their own, but my issue is that “headcanon” has supplanted “imagination” frequently when Internet weirdos and hobbyists talk about their personal creative output. “Headcanon” only has three syllables while “imagination” has five, meaning it is somewhat shorter to say out loud, but it’s an awkward and immalleable word that is frustrating to wedge into conversation. I can imagine that Pringalia is a massive city on the planet of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV, itself another product of my imagination, but would I canonize that in my head? On whose authority? What papal body of my mindpalace decides that Captain Bonta Talenti of the Ultramarines is part of the canon of my cranium while Turgis Minoris of the Minotaurs is not? Since I just made that name up, is it part of the headcanon too, whether I like it or not? There’s an assigned significance to something being “canon” irrespective of where it comes from, and the line blurs between intentional and unintentional inclusion in said canon because people don’t think about the words they’re using. Headcanon seems to be a redundant portmanteau when there are already bountiful words and phrases to convey the same concept in the English language, and it introduces more questions than it could possibly answer while doing so. You can use this term; I’m not a cop nor do I ever wish to stoop so low as to be one, but I don’t like it.

As far as 21st century words go, it’s nothing quite so versatile and striking as yeet.

The Magazine

Credit: JD Reynolds

Our first spread here contains a series of tables representing Adepta Sororitas Miraculous Acts. In essence, these are narrative blurbs for every time you use a Miracle die. Let’s roll up some of these right quick, using names from one of the Sisters of Battle name generators included in a previous issue.

Isidora Aliana looked down her sights at the approaching Necron phalanx and uttered a prayer, at first silently with her lips then again loudly with her bolter. Almost in slow motion, she saw the round glow with a golden light and watched it weave through the intervening debris, ultimately finding its explosive home in a Necron Warrior’s cranium.
Today was the day Hortentia Rose would die, Emperor willing. As many-limbed mechanoid horrors crawled forth from the ruined walls of the Pringalian manufactorum, Hortentia’s eyes began to bleed. Despite the crimson veil over her retinas, she could see more clearly than ever, as each swing of her eviscerator cut down another blasphemous android.
Penitence Nihl used a Miracle die to roll a 4 on her armor save, but required a 6+ to save whilst in cover. N/A.

There are 9 of these tables to roll on, but I hope that these give you a taste of what lies within. It would slow a full scale game down an awful lot to use them all, but they’re fun and flavorful explanations for why your random jobber Battle Sister survived a Multi-Melta shot.

Credit: SRM

Next we explore the world of Damnos, also known as “That planet where Captain Sicarius got actual character development, and also PTSD”. This time, it’s the Indomitus Crusade, baby, and we’ve got Primaris Marines, Szarekhan Dynasty Necrons, and a bunch of obscure successor chapters to learn about. One of these is called the Libators, who are absolutely the kinds of dudes who show up to a party and call drinks “libations” but don’t bring enough beer for anybody but themselves. They’re probably all named things like “Tristan” or “Joshua” and their disappointed dads work at hedge funds. This third war for Damnos seemed to be going pretty badly for these C-list Ultramarine successors, until the White Scars and Salamanders showed up to save the day.

Assassin Execution Force
Assassin Execution Force. Credits: That Gobbo

This next article is about the Officio Assassinorum and is written by Inquisitor Greyfax, presumably after getting released from Trazyn’s hypercube Poké Ball. Officio Assassinorum members are referred to here as “State-sanctioned monsters” and I hope whoever wrote that in real life got a raise because that line goes hard. These assassins can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

Ah nuts I’m thinking of something else again aren’t I.

We get our thirteenth story so far in Imperium this week with The Blood Ritual. A group of Khornate cultists are performing an unholy rite around a couple boiling cauldrons of blood – you know, normal Chaos cult stuff. Suddenly, a personal pan drop pod with an Eversor assassin crashes through the ceiling and, well, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you’ve ever charged an Eversor assassin into a squad of Chaos Cultists in a squad of 40k you know how this goes. It’s a fun little story that shows just how deadly these assassins can be. The word “blood” appears in this story no fewer than 13 times.

We’re not done yet, dear reader, as it’s time for Wars of Faith. These are Ecclesiarchal military campaigns, crusading forces of Sororitas and other Ministorum weirdos who go out and burn heretics, xenos, or whoever else for years at a time. These can be zealous masses of Frateris Militia (RIP to several pewter real ones), lobotomized criminals turned into Arco-Flagellants, other, less lobotomized criminals wired into Penitent Engines, and more besides. I hope these get expanded models at some point, as the beautifully illustrated gaggles of weirdos on these pages are so 40k it hurts.

Lastly, we have boxouts on a bunch of the Orders Minoris of the Adepta Sororitas. These are smaller Orders Militant, akin to successor chapters of the Space Marines. Each has some quirk or gimmick that makes them unique, plus their own color scheme. The Order of the Glowing Chalice always attack at Terran dawn, even when far from Terra. They’re somewhat silly. The Order of the Thorn go to battle in white armor specifically because they want all the gore they spill to be visible on them, and they predictably focus on close combat. They also don’t clean the viscera off their armor when they get buried in it. Gross. The Order of the Iron Veil was thought lost, but they’re fine, actually. They’re more self reliant than most on account of being stuck on the Planet of Misfit Toys for a while. The Order of the Ashen Shrine believe in the sacred cleansing power of fire, which at first manifests in their numerous flamers and is then reinforced when volcanic fissures and flaming meteorites accompany them into battle. This too, is silly and I enjoy it. The Order of the Wounded Heart taught me the vocab word “deglove”, which does not mean removing your gloves after coming in from doing the gardening, but is the act of flensing your own hand and stripping it to the flesh. They do this so they feel the pain of St. Lucia every time they pull the trigger of their boltguns. This is metal as hell and highly unsanitary. Lastly, the Order of the Golden Light might be Stormcast Eternals. There’s no record of these gold-armored Sisters recruiting new members, the entire order has been thought destroyed multiple times, and they keep reappearing anyway. They’re believed to be resurrected martyrs, which is an extremely Sisters sort of thing.

The Hobby Materials

Phobos Librarian. Credit: SRM

This issue contains two paints – Administratum Grey and Balor Brown. Administratum Grey is a light grey, sitting somewhere between Dawnstone and Grey Seer or Celestra Grey. Balor Brown, on the other hand, is a sort of mustard brown akin to the old Citadel Vomit Brown. It’s a few shades lighter than Mournfang Brown or XV88, and is a somewhat offputting color that may find home in old school T’au schemes. This issue’s painting tutorials mostly point  towards highlighting white and grey details across our Imperial collection, with some extreme edge highlighting on some of the black weapons of the Necrons. Building up highlights like this is a great way to add more pop and contrast to your models, and I’m happy to see the painting tutorials level up for their intended audience. Balor Brown is mostly used to highlight leather details, of which we have collected quite a few over the past year. There is also a brief tutorial for painting the camouflage pattern on the Phobos Librarian, which is a neat little touch I didn’t think they’d do.

The Gaming Materials

Ultramarines Primaris Lieutenant. Credit: SRM

In a first for Imperium, we actually get a taste of army building! This week’s mission, Chain of Command, nominally is about the Necron and Space Marine forces hunting down each others’ command structures as the war for Alectia-Prime rages on. There’s a page each for the Marine and Necron lists, detailing what the particular army assembled is good at, and how their HQ options will change how that army could play. The Necrons have a choice of Royal Warden or Technomancer, along with 10 Warriors, 5 Immortals, 3 Scarab Swarms, 1 Canoptek Spyder, and 3 Flayed Ones. The Marines have a choice of Lieutenant or Phobos Librarian, 3 5 man units of Assault Intercessors, and 3 Aggressors. I genuinely love this article, as while the lists are extremely simple, it introduces the thought that goes into army building. This is one of, if not the most important aspects to playing 40k, and one that I’m still pretty lousy at, nearly 20 years in.  The mission itself is nothing special – 3 objectives across the middle with a Slay the Warlord secondary – but it fits the narrative and provides a simple backdrop for this new aspect of the game.

Final Verdict 56/90:

Vindicare Assassin. Credit: Kevin Genson

This issue has a Denny’s Grand Slam worth of fluff and fiction available, which is going to go further for some than others. The two paints this issue contains total up to $9.10 at $4.55 a piece, which on this issue’s typical $12.95 cover price makes this installment a somewhat poor deal. However, in a first for this series, the cover only has the price in Great British Pounds, at £8.99. While markets fluctuate and exchange rates change from day to day, right about now that’s sitting at like 11 bucks. I know y’all have had better times over there on Normal Island, but my head is permanently locked in the understanding that 1 GBP = 2 USD for more than half of my life at this point. The army building aspect is great and the scenario is okay, while the painting tutorial is genuinely good. Honestly, the weakest aspect of this issue is the included physical materials for once, as the magazine itself is a particularly strong one this week.

See you next issue, warhams.

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