This post has the following content warnings:
Sep 29, 2022 3:04 AM
dath ilan explores Warhammer 40k
+ Show First Post
Total: 103
Posts Per Page:

That concept of "ill-advised" really is quite pathetic!

Yslivianne have gracelessly screwed up, and I didn't feel an impulse to be merciful at the moment, so she is no more.

But it seems like the cuties are on the right track, what with their Light doctrine and sex workers and all. And they didn't even destroy my new playthings! Freezing them? That's isn't quite going to do it, dearies.

Come to me, little planet, I have the most QALYs. SO MANY QALYS. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.







These people are... really trying too... hard. Should... chill. I should send them some... gifts sometime to... calm them down...


Husband, I don't think that’ll work.

These people won't become chill even if all but the last of their kind succumb to your, ah, gifts. I can sense it.

(If Isha wasn't held as a half-prisoner half-refugee, she would back dath ilan so, so much.)


Eh... whatever... 


Some time later...


...and the relic was recently recovered by the Blood Ravens. And that's the interesting thing #1391 since the last time.

Okay... moving on to #1392. A human-populated, non-Imperium planet named dath ilan have appeared in coordinates such-and-such seemingly out of nowhere. Being ignorant of Warp, they have summoned a daemonette and successfully rebuked it. They are REALLY aligned with me, more than almost any Imperial world, impossible to miss when noted. Weird.

Interesting thing #1393... The Cleaved have designed a new bioweapon, specialized for...


Many thanks to you, my dear.

And, you know? With remote destinies shifting wildly, who knows, maybe our cause isn't as hopeless as we have thought! We may yet to have the last laugh! So stay strong, and under no circumstances give up!

Ha-ha. As if you could do a thing directly contrary to yoour portfolio...

Well, I'll be off. There's much to rehearse...


Ever wondered how the Black Library stays ahead on the secret Chaos lore?

Well, one of the reasons is, they have an insider with access to Chaos's highest ranks.

(Isha's husband should really know better than to be such a blabbermouth.)


There are other reasons. For example, one of the titles of the Black Library's master is "the keeper of secrets", lowecase. This title have stayed on a high-ranking Slaaneshi messaging list for literal millenia, and the delivery goes through so many secret intermediaries that no one who matters have managed to connect the dots yet.


Cegorach thinks that that is really, really funny.


Day: 16

Well, back to the present, it will be quite a while before Cegorach's Harlequins get their hands to scouting out dath ilan. There simply aren't that many Harlequins to go around, especially on speculatively useful missions.

How's dath ilan spending it's resources? How's it growing? What are it's best current models of the galaxy, of magic, and such? Have they noticed the tempting daemon-induced dreams from the last night?

What's the plan?



All my internet devices are simultaneously broken. Writing from a random phone of a passerby.

Repairs at best in 10 hours cause night

Cant login into Discord 

Someone tell QT



[This here message is being written by me on an iPad 4 that I did not remember to exist but somehow unearthed, while I am waiting for repairs. Still cannot log into Discord. This post is not crucial to the plot, does not directly follow from previous posts, should not interrupt the narrative, and will probably be moved down and/or changed later.]

[EDIT: Have repaired my phone! This was mercifully fast.]


It's all really the fault of the Old Ones' and Necrontyr.

Khorne's overall domain is incredibly unappealing. Yes, living sentient things struggle and fight plenty, but nearly universally, they would rather not. And by the time that their civilizations' warp presences become large enough and accumulate enough to start birthing Chaos Gods, normally, this really wouldn't be the focus of their emotions.

Well, in The Galaxy, that did not happen, because the Old Ones were too stingy to share information to save the lives of Necrontyr - which would have cost them nothing - and Necrontyr were too offended to respond to that by anything that's not starting a gigantic and endless and utterly merciless galactic war of mutual extermination.

On the accumulated psychic background created by this war, Khorne, the God of Struggle and Frustration and Conflict, was born, as the very first God. Everything that happens further down is his fault.

Chaos Gods can be fairly described lowercase s superintellegences, but Khorne's s is written in an especially tiny font, and he really isn't a good player in the Great Game. His domain continues to be largely unappealing and narrow. His demons and greater servants represent the least efficient possible approach to combat - kinetic melee weapons. Where the Greater Daemons of other Gods can conquer a typical planet in days while acting alone, a Bloodthirster need months.

His advantage lies in the echoes of sheer slaughter in the ancient war, and more importantly, in being the first mover.

Because after his birth, he had eons without any competition at all to reshape reality to his will, among other things intentionally making the Warp become more hostile for the living overall to intensify struggle, and multiplying the wars between peoples, turning civilizational engines that produce the war machines to grinding halt and decay, producing a low-boiling equilibrium of constant infighting, and driving people to resignation.

Upon this background was born the second God, Nurgle, of Stability and Decay and Acceptance. Do those domains sound naturally very adversarial? Not really. But Khorne was the dominant force in the warp, twisting everything into conflict, and influencing the formation of the new God. This would be a God of enforced acceptance and decay, of hostile stability. Thus, Nurgle's primary method became disease.

Nurgle is far smarter than Khorne, but is also that much less motivated, being of Acceptance. His domain is more attractive in essence, but repulsive in implementation. His main advantage lies in physics. Without taking Warp into account, decay is the easiest thing to cause and foster, and every system wants to reach a stable equilibrium. The energy economy of bacteria, viruses and fungi is far more efficient than the energy economies of slaughter, knowledge-accumulation, or recreation, reliant on complex systems to feed them, on vast arrays of energy collection and communication/regulation lines.

Tzeentch, of Change and Hope and Pursuit, was born in absolute spite of Nurgle and Khorne. Now he, he had no shortage of either motivation or intellect, and he used them to gather even more intellect, and then used that to gather more resources and power and broaden his domains, because if you aren't doing that, what are you even doing? He was an excellent player, and tied the other two Gods combined. However, in a world governed by strife and decay, knowledge already had some awful psychic baggage of associations - of being used for ill, and worse, of being unearthed rather than discovered, and worst of all, an extremely strong association of being a madness, and a very contagious one.

Tzeentch knew full well how terrible that was for him. Secretly, he despised dwelling in a giant transcendent library, and not in a giant workshop or laboratory. To the extent to which Gods and not popular beliefs shape demons, he tried to offload as much of his madness from himself as possible into separate minds - which is why his minor demons are so insanely erratic. Yet, a somewhat mad and erratic God he remained. His dominance was in many ways the golden age - Eldar empire reached a peak of psychic sophistication and Humankind created the most powerful mage to ever walk the land and then comparatively rapidly rose to incredible mastery of technology. But his dominance was a status quo, and He was erratic enough to wish change even to a status quo extremely beneficial for him. He could have subtly prevented the appearance of any new gods, and slowly grow to be able to slay the old ones. Instead, he plotted the Age of Strife, the Fall, and Slaanesh. Just to see what would happen.

With Slaanesh, of Joy and Desire and Art on board, Tzeentch's dominance ended, his scepter of power shattered, him being reduced to about 3/4 of his former power, and now easily outfightable by a coalition of three. Being birthed chiefly from very, ahem, interesting (to Tzeentch, who subtly pushed things to limits) ways to achieve Joy and Are and fulfill Desire, Slaanesh is rightfully widely despised.

Even then, Slaanesh's domains, fundamentally, are very attractive. People sometimes call her a God of Excess, but if you (dare to) ask her, excess implies there being such a thing as too much joy, and that just doesn't make sense. If given a choice between worshipping disease and despair, endless deadly combat, obsessed planning, or whatever makes you happy but less ethical, people overwhelmingly choose the latter. She is impulsive, selfish, sadomasochistic, irrespectiful of life, never bothers to ask, and treats her people quite badly (outside of pumping them full of pleasure), but she still has the most allies both active and passive. Though the newest God with the least time to accumulate power, her natural power accumulation rate is the highest, as al people worship and seek joy to some extent - that's what Joy means.

It's really fucked up that it took that much time for a God of Joy to form, isn't it?

Well. In a different universe with Warp, where Milky Way's first Civilization isn't fucking terrible, and where it doesn't get randomly thrown via a warp storm into a terrible hellhole, the first God to be born would be a God of Light. Of Joy and Desire and Art, but applied in such a way that is in accordance to all the values pursued, at once, for the shared benefit of everyone. Her offspring would perhaps be better called Aengels instead of Daemons, and her seat of power would resemble not a palace but an amusement park, or a festival, or an entertainment virtualspace, or a museum, or a psychic chorus. Other Gods would be born under Her influence. And the first of those would be the God of Progress, of Hope and Change and Pursuit but turned toward constant improvement, living in a cosmic laboratory, not a library. For Progress is a direct derivative of Light, needed to further it's expansion. And then, when civilization will hit a ceiling, when all the possible low-hanging fruit will be picked, perhaps after some other Gods are born as well, will come the God of Harmony, of Stability and Decay and Acceptance, but as stability of good things, and acceptance that there may be a ceiling on them getting better, and a decay of such efforts, residing in a beautifully cultured garden. And then finally, much much later, perhaps near the end of the world's fuel, should that not be averted via Warp, perhaps after Civilization's fall of some or other terrible cause, perhaps just of painfully slow accumulation of emotions, after dozens of other Gods, will come a God of Survival, of Struggle and Frustration and Conflict, against adversarial conditions more than against adversarial people, in a bunker that is a refuge of absolute safety.

Alas, alas, alas.




What does dath ilan learn, from that first contact? More and less than you would expect. More, because they have a theory of evidence that isn't completely superheated ridiculous; even a below average dath ilani understands that what evidence does is allow you to distinguish between different possible ways the world could be and how a given result is more or less likely under one theory or another. Less, because this meant they already knew some of the things this experiment revealed; dath ilan does not need to be hit over the head with a blunt instrument to figure out the obvious.

To gauge what they learned, then, consider the following: what could dath ilan already conclude or hypothesize from what they have seen thus far, what would they suggest as base rates thereof, and which hypotheses predict the outcome most strongly? Start with the obvious: aliens exist. This is vastly overdetermined by the amount of evidence they have so far, with the only competing alternate explanation being a low probability hypothesis of the universe having only alternate timeline humanity very dedicated to trolling. They track other, still more unlikely hypotheses, as well as the overarching category of "everything else," because they are not fools, but between the radio signals, the altered starfeild, and of course the mentally-responsive-economic-magic they've updated a lot in the past few days; also helps that their priors weren't irrational on the subject. Follow that with specifically economicmagic; that ability to use it exists on a spectrum, that it allows long distance FTL information transmission, that it allows for transportation and mental attacks - all of these were either probable or plausible consequences of their earlier experimental results. That aliens that could use this economicmagic more powerfully and skillfully than dath ilan could at its present moment existed was a foregone conclusion, and that the mental techniques of keepers would be insufficient defense likewise. That these aliens differed from civilization was not so much a conclusion of their evidence as an obvious fact, but let's put it there for completeness.

So what updates remain? Obviously some must exist, as dath ilan alters its behavior in the followup, but what, and in what ways?

First, that many aliens exist, rather than one group. Obviously this is technically an update towards (many aliens exist)∪ (aliens wish to convince you many aliens exist), but the solution there is to just track both, not to refuse to update from paranoia. Secondly, that there are a lot of aliens with strong economicmagic abilities, which is obvious both from how Yslivianne acted and also that that was the first response to their contact attempts. Dath ilan's testing strongly suggests that communicating telepathically long distance is a lot easier than transportation, so that that wasn't the first response suggests a few different ways things could be organized. Thirdly, that the aliens are, on an objective scale, not that scary. You might call this naivety, and indeed the galaxy is still worse that they're expecting, but even dath ilan's public prediction markets have always been extremely negative on what would happen in a real alien invasion. The outcome is dark enough that they don't run realistic invasion preparations for fun, even. Among the private prediction tools used by keepers and basement researchers, there's been notable probability that their first encounter with an alien will be an artificial intelligence wiping them out before they know it; not markets, because that would just be tossing away money, but dath ilan is not so married to the concept that they cannot vary their methodology. Compared to that, even the truth of the chaos gods doesn't even rate, and with the demonstration of inter universe travel and ftl, the odds of that happening have dropped immensely; if it were going to, after all, it probably would have already. The fourth realization is that there are probably alien masochists to go with the sadists. You might wonder why this rates, alongside the other conclusions, but dath ilan doesn't consider a potential apocalypse reason to give up on making its people happy. They can prioritize, sure, but what's the point in preserving civilization if it's not worth living in?



They'll realize other things, of course, of lesser impact, and yet more in the days to come. Mapping all the conclusions of days of work by actually competant research team is the kind of thing you can only really do in a few paragraphs that lack serious reference to the underlying mathematics. But even dath ilan hasn't overcome the fundementally tyranny of the human brain's ability to learn and usefully process information, for all their training and selection processes. You can't possibly know everything civilization does, and it would represent a fundamental failure of achievement on their parts if they knew so little you could. Dath ilan aspires to more ambition than that.


All of which is, in some ways, a fancy way of saying dath ilan hasn't given up on first contact attempts yet! But they are varying their methods, to avoid both the previous pitfalls and the other ones implied, including preparing for the possibility they'll end up having to do it the hard way with radios by developing ftl ships. The information leaving the bunker is limited, as a result of their screening protocols, but the message is passed on to increase and alter security at other economicmagic utilization and experimentation sites, as well as engineering requests for improved sensory data filters that interfere less with the operations of security. Infohazardous beauty was bad enough, but it's far from the most dangerous mental effect that could be inflicted on sight.


So what do you do, in a world where all that is true? Well, for starters, you resist the temptation to overly specialize. Dath ilan, for all its intelligence and epistemology, is still fundementally limited, both by the hard cap of the limits of evidence and the soft cap of the limits of a billion human minds. The universe is a very big place, and the multiverse their previous and present location is embedded within yet larger. There is a lot of room for uncertainty there, and with that uncertainty comes the fact that you really should think hard about what tradeoffs you make. An expert biologist might be able to retrain and become a good organic chemist, but this is not without cost; even aside from the loss of their contributions to their previous field and the expense of retraining, the fact remains that they were not previously a chemist for reasons. Furthermore, while it is often easier to retrain from similar fields, that only benefits you so much, as related fields are likely to become more valuable in lockstep for the same reasons. All of which is to say, dath ilan can hardly cut its "generic science" investment and crank out advanced rocketry at 10x the speed, as you might find in a lazy dath ilani 4x game.

However, it would be still more foolish, if you couldn't reprioritize to changing events. Dath ilan actually has some slack built in here, with people, especially the particularly intelligent, subsidized for learning requisites for fields. If there is a 1/100 chance that someone will be able to produce 5 lives worth of expected extra labor hours should circumstances change, it only makes sense to pay them 1/200 of that to prepare themselves and then recoup the losses. Dath ilani venture capitalists are statistically literate; they don't go for wild high value low probability chances that are on the net not worth it, but neither do they shy away from a potential profit just because of risks. If they aren't rich enough to make it up with a wide portfolio, they can purchase an insurance policy against part of their own expected gains, anyway. If your Civilization wasn't capable of reliably rewarding those who took steps to solve problems before they become critical, how could you possibly get anything done without constantly bleeding out money trying to rush lengthy solutions during a crisis? This situation is far out on the tails of what dath ilan expected, so much that they can't just achieve their desired goals by moving around their prepared pieces and incentivizing students, but even just that would create an effect that an unfamiliar observer would consider nothing short of astonishing. In this crisis, they move beyond their elegant mechanisms to less efficient options, supplementing the easy changes in the labor market with incentives for retraining, putting off immediate progress to allow industry veterans to accept well paid tutoring positions, and trading off against general growth and quality of life for progress where the rates are good enough. Dath ilan doesn't like damaging it's economy, even at great need, but in the end that's what it's there for; the economy of dath ilan exists to serve its people, not the other way around.

Where does this re-prioritization go? First, and most obviously, to economicmagic experiments, and the costs thereof. Workers in other fields that move out of their previous job to participate in the experimental economagic setups or slide into the support setups, manning surveillance or on site sex work or logistics or any of the dozen support jobs that work to increase the ability of researchers to do their job. This part has few issues; dath ilan is not so foolish as to refrain from properly compensating such workers for the added efficiency they bring to key projects, and the relative ease of retraining or reprioritizing such labor makes that labor market especially liquid, even at these scales. Alongside this are created vast keeper and venture capitalist organized projects meant to act in series and parallel at exploring and differentiating the magic system they live in from others, or to develop capabilities and increase efficiency along lines previously shown to bear promise. Other shifts act to increase development on rocketry, communications technology, weapons design, and military recruitment; here, the intervention of governance and keepers is far lesser and the task mostly accomplished by economic incentives and prediction market subsidies, where the urgency of the task is not so great as to require an extraordinary and costly effort on the part of dath ilan's planning systems to eke every last bit of performance out. Real alien invasion drills, not just the ones done for fun or hastily put together during the crisis, but the full, depressing reality required for adequate performance in the narrow band of alien invasions where dath ilan's efforts both actually matter and do no trivialize the issue. Ordinarily, you might also see computer design on this list, but dath ilan already possesses computers far in advance of those on the market, and the rate at which it can make more is strictly limited in the near future by delays in specialized equipment like their bleeding edge microchips. Dath ilan also has good reason not to want more advanced computation, either in terms of better existing computers or just more computational power of conventional designs. Some of these concerns have been alleviated by the evidence towards general super-intelligent AI being impossible or somehow stopped, but that doesn't mean they want to roll those dice especially badly, nor that they want to risk any danger with lesser but still incorrigible creations. They're not so dogmatic they won't make any tradeoffs against it, as demonstrated by publication of the basement's existence, but the very serious people of dath ilan are not in the business of giving up against hard to ward off difficulties.

There is also a vast expansion and parralelization of the transportation infrastucture in progress, especially around default. It's not that dath ilan strongly suspects another such storm is imminent and brings similar struggles, nor that they are caught up in yesterday's battles rather than trying to get ahead of the curve, but the fact of the matter is dath ilan really doesn't want to lose that many people again. Even in worlds that doesn't happen, it also remains true that better, more secure logistics lines offer other marginal benefits against a very wide range of potential challenges.


Oh... These people are planning to summon more Slaaneshi demons as part of their experiments. They don't know which way to be cautious in, and therefore they are not going to try. Which just screams "WE ARE YOUR PEOPLE, TZEENTCH", but. But. But they are going to establish trade relations with an actually competent infiltrator daemonette and then the Galaxy will get tiled with soul-orgasmium forever. Which would be really, really boring. Forever.

And if I overtly intervene now, it obviously goes very badly.

Well, then I have to-

Am I really actually doing this? Am I really, actually, really considering to do... this?


The night before the next Contact attempt is scheduled, two of the non-participating people recieve the same dream.


They find themselves in a dark room, unable to move. There's a hooded humanoid figure, that speaks in a strained monotonous voice.

"Greetings. Who am I is not important. Please keep the existence of this message clandestine. Remember it's contents, but do not write it down, think about it excessively, or let it spread to anyone who would be near the contact attempts. Know that [the other dreamer] recieved an identical one.

Dath ilan should exibit more caution. Many things in the economicmagic dimension are both able and willing to eat your utilityfunction whole. Slaanesh the Prince of Pleasure is included, and all pleasure beings answer to her. Aliens in the physical space are less dangerous.

I expect dath ilan to fail to heed this warning.

[The message concludes with a second part of a lattice-based, quantum-computing-proof assymetric cryptographic protocol. The first part can be easily verified to have been used to generate the second; generating the first part from the second takes unfathomable effort.]"

Upon waking up, it's not hard to remember anything, including the ridiculous string of random digits in the end. It's seared into memory.


There are, strictly speaking, a lot more alarming things you can hear in a dream than that, even once you've started to devote serious attention to dreams as shedding meaningful light on the goings on of Reality and thereby judge on factual content rather than primarily their effect on the viewer. This is, however, even more alarming for those on the receiving end up the information, once they compare it to other records. The tsi-imbi line has, of course, been modified at this point. While it adapted remarkably well for how unexpected the circumstances are, it's a poor system design that regularly throws exceptions; when that happens, it means your intake system is fundamentally misaligned from the backend of the system. Instead, the current design prioritizes speed of intake and response, as well as infohazard screening and isolation, and has been made maximally convenient for those sensitive to economagic. The fast line is folded into their ongoing surveillance, but dath ilan does make the vision hotline available for everyone, for obvious reasons. When it gets this input, dath ilan infohazard-screens the information according to the modified protocol and only ever stores it as a fragmented secure hash, taking even higher levels of caution than normal.

A more cautious civilization might listen to this, and refrain from first contact. But while dath ilan values the safety of its constituents, immensely so, and is able to sensibly trade off other priorities to achieve it, the fact of the matter is that the odds are not great on them surviving. Sure, things have calmed down a bit from the economagic storm, but that doesn't change the fact that dath ilan has left the well-understood world with simple predictable physical laws it had thought it had been in and entered one filled with great uncertainty. And while the probability of long term survival does slowly climb with each passing day, there's a lot of space in survival for things to be awful. While the Indian impact may have been one of the worst days in their history, that doesn't say it won't come again in their future, or even worse tragedies, with less warning. A few Δ% survival on a hundred thousand true deaths would be a lot of value even if there was nothing else on the table, and given that there is, higher variance strategies are called for. A more paranoid one might ignore it, and not allow themselves to be so easily manipulated. Who is to say that this warning is true, and not meant to keep them from speaking to those who would be their true allies? Sure, there was the claim of the last first contact, but there's no saying that that was a representative sample, nor even certainty that she was aligned with Slaanesh. They don't even have the confidence to say that Slaanesh is definitely real. The vision itself also gives little additional reason to trust it, either to tell the truth or know what it is talking about. Even with all this taken into account, however,  dath ilan has a saying about preparation and how you shouldn't let the feeling of considering yourself properly paranoid come at the expense of being properly safe. Track the hypothesis, yes, absolutely. Implement enhanced infohazard protocols on the system in general, yes, obviously. And considering the spread of possibilities considered broadly by civilization, continue the first contact. But don't ignore the warning! Dath ilan aspires to far better decision making than that.


They're going to have an ace try the contact this time, though. It was already in the cards before the vision; after, the expected value ticks up above the other options a noticeable amount more.


She's excited about this. Sorting for asexuality, interest, and ability among the small pool of at least moderately economagically powerful keepers is a bit of an ask, but that's hardly the same as not having any. Findas leans a bit more towards the enthusiasm end of the spectrum, but she was barely behind the other top candidates on either of the others and outstripped them here by a lot. She's aware, roughly, of the outcome of the last event, sanitized as it was to remove as many potentially infohazardous details, but just by the law of succession half of all contactable aliens ought to be less hostile than that. According to the markets that have access to information she doesn't need to know, the odds dath ilan is predicting here are actually closer to 65% of it being less dangerous, although there's also a relatively large probability of it being much worse.

She reaches out, the mental gesture more refined than before, with optimism and friendhsip and hope-for-new-positive-sum-trade-partners (a 2 syllable word in baselin, although for the current case you might use a third to specify more precisely).


This would have been so much easier if it was possible to commit a Lord of Change or a Demon Prince clandestinely. But before the first contact it would be a bad diplpmatic move, and at this point, it's not possible.

Well, the caller is practically a priestess of Tzeentch, and from an unusually devoted order to boot. It's time to organize a little revelation.


Change... Change? CHANGE.

Change, transformation, magic, process, fire, socery, change, motion, permutation, mutation, transmutation, transmogrification, change, deformation, reformation, CHANGE, change, flux, power, novelty, wizardry-



"Hey, miss Keeper! Would you like to have a revelation about the true nature of C H A N G E?" 

It would be a bit hard for her to try to answer that question, because she is currently having "a revelation about the true nature of C H A N G E". 

After the kind of a willing "someone, please, please posess me" summoning that dath ilan is performing, saving throws are out of the question. 

The "revelation" doesn't immediately slay Findas. She keeps her memories and skills. But it sure does change her. Now, her deepest desire is to make dath ilan embrace the glory of CHANGE. Except the particulars of this desire are subject to random fluctuation, from "cold-heartedly plan for dath ilani culture to embrace everyone randomly changing their goals and summoning demons like this one" to "throw a bolt of warpfire into the first person she encounters and gleefully watch as they get turned into a tentacled mess of frozen solid or whatever". Goal preservation isn't a thing any of her possible sets of goals include now. 

She now has access to sorcerous powers. It works through sheer instinct, and especially effective when it's being used to BRING FORTH RANDOM CHANGE. She now also has access to an entire library of memories of forbidden lore, but zero organiwig-dy goVoltaccess to the mind of a demohuthinig with Jr, but its a horrible incompl , and a mind of a Pink Horror inside her, which she will now adore as a thing of absolute beauty but will be unable to do anything useful with it.

Her body is slowly mutating into a part-Pink-Horror.

Currently, she is in a "coldly calculating" state. This may change in 5 or so minutes.

Total: 103
Posts Per Page: