I'm not advocating fan lore, I'm talking about a setting. The scene is set by GW and then each battle we play is ours.
The alternative, which GW is finding to it's creative cost (but financially they're doing great) is to keep jumping forward with their own plot every few months, leaving things behind and causing problems like hundreds of years old characters who should be dead, battles where no one dies and threat is nonexistent, weak reasoning why things tie in together.
The lore worked perfectly well as a setting. As an organic and constantly moving entity it will be problematic and holes will get bigger and bigger.
Exactly this. I've always preferred 40K as a setting to as a story. Stories exist within 40K but 40K in and of itself is not a story. It's just too vast to work as a story, and that's before we even get to the problems of the "Anticlimatic nonlethal final duel" syndrome and the like. GW can't kill off any characters with this approach because they've backed themselves into a corner of "If we kill this character nobody will want to buy them!" forgetting that people are attached to these characters as characters rather than mere playing pieces. It's rather a lot like the attitudes of executives with 80s toy-driven cartoons (remember the Transformers movie killing Optimus Prime because they figured kids would just buy the new toys?). And with the rules and miniatures being geared around the "present" of 40K rather than providing rules that allow for scenarios from any era in the Imperium's long and bloody history, this problem is exacerbated even further.
As it stands, there are three potential solutions to the "characters can never die" problem.
>1: Carry on as things are and just don't kill characters. This is obviously not working from a narrative quality perspective, and personally I feel the fluff is suffering for it. The only character actually killed off is Aun'Va, and interestingly enough the fluff around the Ethereals trying to make the rest of the T'au think he's still around is actually pretty good.
>2: Kill off characters and cease supporting them. This doesn't work either, as whilst the fluff might be much better if Marneus actually bites the dust, people are going to be mad if they can't play their favourite character anymore.
>3: IMO the best solution- return to a "setting"/"fictional history" approach, also known as the WHFB approach. Characters can die and indeed do die, but they are still playable, still get model/rules updates, and are still utterly valid to take in an army list. I call it the WHFB approach because a lot of characters from that setting continued to get models and rules long after their canonical deaths; indeed, many were killed off in the stories that introduced them. See Azhag the Slaughterer, who got a very impressive model many years after his demise.
To expand on this WHFB approach, one possible solution would be a "40K timeline" supplement book which provides additional rules/guidelines for playing games in particular eras. So for example, "Primaris cannot be used in this era as they hadn't been invented yet" or "Commissar Yarrick is long dead by this point, so should not be used in this era". Again, returning to the "fictional historical" mindset where games don't have to be set in the exact present of 40K.
As for pick-up games...well, they're pick-up games. Meticulously crafted scenarios, special rules and adherence to the fluff are unlikely to be major concerns for those games anyway, so ultimately such an approach would have no real impact on them. Plus, if said games had to adhere to current fluff, named characters would have to be invincible, or else Tor Garadon taking one too many brainleech worms would be a massive paradox and would "invalidate" the whole game.
I come here to discuss and find out about Warhammer 40,000 with people of every ethnicity, sexuality, country and yes, as sickening as it is, even Eldar players.
"Guns don't kill people, people kill people, but monkeys do too, if they've got a gun." -Inquisitor Edmund Izzardos, on Jokaero.
(Formerly known as Squigsquasher)