The Imperial Creed

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Dragon Lord's picture
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The Imperial Creed

The Imperial Creed is the touchstone that unifies the often quite disparate branches of the Ecclesiarchy.  It is recognised throughout the Imperium and though there might be some slight nuanced variations (partly down to translation into local dialects) it is something that all citizens of the Imperium are expected to adhere to.

The question then is what is the Imperial Creed?!

As a unifying statement intended to be a catchall for a relatively diverse grouping of sects it should be short and not too detailed while catching some of the essence of Imperial faith.  The Christian analogue would be the Nicene or Apostles Creeds.

A possibility written by Eusebius over at Dark Reign, based on the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds is:

We believe in one Lord and God, Our Divine Emperor, the Almighty, creator and sustainer of all, through whom all that is good came to be.
Who for us men and for all humanity's salvation became truely incarnate and was born on Holy Terra before all reckoning of Man.
For our sake he strove and suffered, he descended unto the brink of death but rose victorious, he has ascended to his holy Throne from whence he shall come again with all his glory and might and of his Imperium there shall be no end now or in the ages to come.
His eye is upon all humanity to judge the living and the dead and we are not worthy in his sight.
He has spoken through his servants.
We believe in his One, Holy and Universal Ministry, through which we find repentence and remission of our sins. 
We believe in the Communion of his Saints and we look for the punishment of all our offences now or in the life to come.
Amen

And a version of my own based on the above and the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds:

We believe in the Divine Emperor, almighty and eternal.
Who was incarnate on Holy Terra for the salvation of Humanity.
He suffered for us and descended unto the brink of death but rose victorious,
he has ascended to the Golden Throne from whence he shall come again in glory and power.
The Imperium of Mankind is his legacy and no sacrifice is too great to protect it.
He passes judgement on living and dead, all are under his gaze.
He speaks to us through his servants, his Will be done.
We believe in the One, Holy and Universal Church through which we may find repentance and remission of sin.
We believe in the Communion of Saints and look for no reward other than to serve him.

This has a few changes from Eusebius' version, I stop short of explicitly calling the Emperor a God since that might not sit well with the Adeptus Astartes (and possibly not the Mechanicus), but Divine implies God if one wishes to read it so.  Likewise I avoid using 'born' since the slightly more nebulous 'was incarnate' should satisfy both those who believe he was born in the same manner as a mortal and those who believe he has always existed.  I also adjusted the statement regarding the Imperium to a wording I think blends into the 40k ethos rather well.  I maintained the nebulousness around 'servants', although added the implication that they should be obeyed, again I think fitting with the Imperium.  'One, Holy and Universal' is I think useful for its unifying aspect, though I maintain using universal rather than catholic to set it apart from Christianity.  I also decided to adjust looking for punishment of sins, though admittedly appropriate to the 40k ethos, to a more simple statement of humility.

Anyway, thoughts anyone?

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Kage2020's picture
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One thing that I always wanted to do was to model the "average" citizen of the Imperium of Man.  You know, the kind of person that is constantly referred to in discussions about that place.  In GURPS terms, what advantages would they have?  Disadvantages?  Required skills?

I recall trying to open a discussion on Dark Reign about this, but I think that it was taken as sarcastic/mocking when I suggested that they all might have "Incurious" or "Hidebound."

Anyway, talking about the citizen might also give some crunch to the Imperial Creed itself--you would have a model to work from. :D

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Dragon Lord's picture
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Incurious and Hidebound would certainly be possibilities, and one gets the impression that in the 40k universe they are not necessarily disadvantages as they might also imply a resilience of character.

I agree that some insight into the psychology of a 'typical' Imperial citizen would also be of benefit to formulating an appropriate Imperial Creed.  Another part of the issue is that it is always going to be coloured by the knowledge/experiences of myself or other writers, hence in this case the usage of the Nicene and Apostles Creeds as a template despite the fact that as a non-conformist Christian I don't entirely agree with them.

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Kage2020's picture
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Indeed.  "Disasdvantages" are culturally relative terms so, as you say, being Incurious is not necessarily a bad thing (even if in game terms it is commonly represented as such since it takes you away from the adventure).  Incurious people aren't tempted to open that box by the girl with that familiar sounding name beginning with "P," for example.  They're less likely to break the prescriptions against experimenting with technology by the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Modelling how things work is not necessarily the same as listening to what people say about how things work.  Thus, the statement of faith is what people say they believe and not necessarily the same as what they believe.

Of course, the two are not incompatible.