Good and Evil

Here’s a slightly updated version of the cover I was sent a couple of weeks ago. Darius has been tweaking it a bit, and it still looks just as fantastic. Any excuse to post it again ;-). By the way, I should have credited the artist in my original post. He’s called Cheol joo Lee, and has been responsible for some cracking covers for BL already. It’s a real honour to have his artwork adorning my book.

Sword of Justice

Anyway, there’s been a great response to my last post, and they’ve got me thinking. WHFB (and 40K) has this great tradition of moral ambiguity. This raises the question of what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ actually mean in the Warhammer world. After all, as some posters pointed out, characters like Malus and Horus basically think they’re doing the right thing. There are no ‘cut-out’ evil baddies in Warhammer. Even the most depraved Chaos sorcerer thinks he’s on the side of the angels (so to speak). Does this mean that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ lose their meanings? Is it just one moral system up against another?

Well, no. Not in my conception of it. I love the ambiguity of Warhammer. It’s even more pronounced in 40K – the Imperium can be a terrifying place. But there is – just – a real distinction between the forces of Order and Disorder. The Empire and the Imperium are brutal because they have to be, because the alternatives are ultimately worse. The forces of the archenemy, even though they may have a moral system of their own, have given in to baser, more non-human urges. The reason we care about the survival of the forces of Order is that we recognise that they’re basically part of a moral system we can see as our own (however flawed it may be).

So moral relativity only goes so far, at least as far as I see it. Cue passionate denunciations from Chaos players!