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About this blog

This is going to be a general platform for me discussing all things lore, whether that be tied to an army release or some snippet of the background I want to comment on. Maybe even some pretentious analytical essays, because the road to legitimacy for any hobby/medium is deconstructive criticism. 

Hopefully, this sort of nerdy 'shouting into the void' has passing entertainment value to somebody. 

Entries in this blog

 

Stormcast Eternals and the Nietzschean 'Ubermensch'

Stormcast Eternals and the  Nietzschean 'Ubermensch'    This is a piece about Warhammer and Nietzsche, pertaining particularly to his concept of the Ubermensch. I quite enjoy Nietzsche (not the same as always agreeing with him). And while I actually do think there is a case for quite a few of his takes (Genealogy of Morals and Anti-Education are important works with a lot of merit as anti-establishment dissent), I'm uncertain about his concept of the "ubermensch", the Nietzschean superman. But it's the latter that is the topic of this post, and I think it does have some interesting relevance to Warhammer lore. Obviously, the first thing to come up when broaching this topic are Space Marines. But I would say that the SM are in fact a poor example of the ubermensch. Similarly to how Nietzsche's concept was appropriated by the most horrifying regime of the 20th century (Aryan supermen), the similarities are predominantly superficial (and, truly, it is unfortunate for such an interesting if prickly thinker like FN to be tarnished by such association). Nietzsche was not concerned foremost with brawn or aestheticism but with a stubborn will toward self-actualising. To borrow an over-used term, it's a mindset, not genetic inheritance. So, while marines literally are literal 'super-men', the eugenics and lack of self-determination do not fit with the ubermensch ideal. To move this onto the Stormcast, who I believe are more fitting embodiments of the idea, I want to touch on the idea of 'slave morality'. Cribbing from Nietzsche here: for the Greeks, the duality was was between good and bad i.e. good was synonymous with nobility and strength, while bad was the plebeian, weak and the low. This was what Christianity successfully reacted against, based on the revolutionary idea that the formerly "bad" values of passivity, weakness and "turning the other cheek" should be re-categorised as 'good', while many of the ways that 'good' nobility expressed its strength upon the low was not only not "good" but a new moral category: evil. Both 40K and AoS exist in a context different from 'modern' morality (i.e. the idea of peaceful, passive good vs invasive, malicious evil found in the Abrahamic religions). In the world of warhammer, deities are literally real, active (and not simply to be interpreted by the priestly class), and essentially deny the creation of any such morality based on the veneration of passive resistance. AoS's Stormcast eternals may at first seem to be a simplistic version of the traditional "golden goodies", but there's actually some interesting stuff to dissect there. N's concept is essentially an idea of a, a subject who rises above modern "slave" morality to forge their own, self-affirming lifestyle. Of course, the SCE serve their god Sigmar, but the military hierarchy is one which allows for the questioning and debating of individuals. It's not a collective which suppresses dissenting assertions of will, and ironically (though obviously, this is GW's authorial choice), such freedom to 'be' has meant zero defections to chaos among their ranks. Sure, they operate as part of a uniformed collective, but the point of the ubermensch is not necessarily isolated individualism but how the personal glory and strength of an individual elevates all. After all, Sigmar plucks only the greatest warriors from their moment of death and invites them into his service. More than just the "Blonde Beasts" conquering and asserting their power across the realms, SCE protect the vulnerable from Chaos, which you could interpret as a version of what N describes as a healthy creditor-debtor relationship: the stormcast gain satisfaction from saving the powerless through the expression of their own superior power (a more effective form of strength assertion than Khornate slaughter), while cultivating the safety of a mutually beneficial civilisation. Basically, their mission of humanitarian liberation is intertwined with an individualist mission for existential 'meaning'. On that subject, Nietzsche's rejection of morality initially sounds like it would apply to Chaos best of all. To a certain extent, this is true, as all of the Chaos gods but Nurgle embody a different facet of Nietzschian ideals, whether it be the physical assertion of power, the pursuit of Dionysian desire and pleasure or the cultivation of one's own skill and power. Yet part of what makes chaos is how these positive ideas are warped to the point of self-destruction, this dogmatism becoming its own form of bad consciousness. Archaon (and Abbadon in 40k) stands as the only true chaos Ubermensch, while Stormcast society finds a way for a multitude dedicated to the ideal to flourish. Despite their creepily expressionless facemasks, the Stormcast seem to be represented in the stories as partaking in drink, telling jokes and generally keeping a semblance of Dionysian virtue alive. They fight for a cause which they choose to follow, and are unimpeded in the ability to desire. And, of course, there's the fact that they come from all walks of life, classes and genders. The ranks of the SCE are a true meritocracy, allowing individuals to flourish within the context of the collective. HOWEVER, there is one massive caveat to the idea of the SE as Ubermensch: the 'eternal' aspect. This, ironically, is reminiscent of Nietzsche's 'eternal recurrence' thought experiment: the idea that, if one was to live out one's life infinitely, repetitiously, the subject would ave to struggle to overcome a 'ressentiment' about their existence. And this is LITERALLY WHAT HAPPENS to a Stormcast: with each death and rebirth, an increasing 'copy of a copy of a...' chain, they lose a portion of 'humanity'. This loss is represented the lack of emotion and mindless heed of orders; essentially the loss of personal desire and the internalisation of ressentiment. They express strength no longer as individuals but as passive conduits of Sigmar's will, and so fail to retain their ubermensch status. One could say that their eventual fate is to become... Slaves to the Sigmar's command; slaves to Sigmar's morality? So yeah, my thesis is that the Stormcast eternal is the ubermensch but with a shelf-life. They are initially a shining exemplar of the ideal but degrade into its parody. All of this is also a charitable reading of Nietzsche's ideas, but I'm inclined to say that's usually the best way to approach him. Nietzsche is often placed in the same category are Freud in terms of massively influential intellectuals whose ideas don't stand up to scrutiny, but I'll go to bat for Nietzsche. A bit. Not Freud, though, especially for influencing his nephew Edward Bernays .

Klamm

Klamm

 

Satirical Simulacrum, The Bullet AoS Lore Dodged

The Satirical Simulacrum, The Bullet AoS Lore Dodged    The following is a topic I've ruminated on my the precarious mechanics of 40k' as satire, but some Reddit bickering about female space marines crystalized my thoughts. While I like all of GW's IPs, 40k has always been my least favourite. Part of this is just preferring swords to guns, but I'm also put off by the fascist, racist, sexist (grimdark is wall-to-wall 'ist') Imperium of Man, the seeming 'protagonists', compared to the conflicted but humanist world of AoS.  I don't think there's anything 'wrong' with stories featuring undesirable protagonists (The Shield, Breaking Bad, even sitcoms like Peep Show and Always Sunny accomplish this). However, a common refrain when the discussion turns to, say, increasing gender representation in 40k is that this would diminish the satire.  And 40k is satire, right? Well, let's talk about that.   Early 40k art tends to embody a more absurdist tone. 
To very briefly touch upon the Female Space Marine argument, it's easy to see how the debate becomes more complicated. I'm usually unsympathetic to outrage about 'forced diversity' in mediums where verisimilitude or fostering audience identification is important, but I can grant 40k as a somewhat special case. The Imperium is a horror of Fascist eugenics and so I understand why people who argue that retconning in women SMs would diminish the oppressiveness (not gonna get into the whole genetic science argument, suffice to say that misogynist eugenics fits the theme of fascism).  On the other hand, Dan Olson would call this the 'Thermian Argument' (basically, justifying problematic things with an in-universe explanation), which ignores the purpose and meaning of artistic decisions within a text. It's a bullet AoS has deftly dodged, with GW's focus on representation yielding diverse  Stormcast, Aelves, Ghosts and Chaos worshippers.  If we're talking about the organizing idea of the tex, we're back to notions of 'satire. What is the evidence for 40k's satirical cred? 40k arrives in the late 80s. It was a product of Thatcher's Britain, part of the same counter-cultural wave as 2000 AD or Alan Moore. 40k was punk.  So, is 40k a satire of the fascism it depicts?      This is a joke, obviously. But here’s the crux of my *actual* point: 40k as a milieu is not inherently sexist or Fascist, but it is a testament to the impossibility of a ‘satire’ surviving the incentives of consumer capital. THE MODEL OF CONSUMPTION    This is not a unique problem to TT games (look at the Robocop or Starship Trooper sequels. Actually, DON’T), BUT it’s especially hard to pull off here. Indeed, the term ‘late capitalism’ can be accurately applied to GW IP. If we accept the world of AoS and 40k as an ‘art text’ (insofar as it is a composite of many different bits of narrative), we might question how the requirement to constantly sell, expand and not to ‘complete’ the story impacts its 'punk' satire. Here, consumption is the enemy of transgression. Imagine the film Network as a decades-long Soap Opera and you see my point. The 40k IP isn’t story with a narrative structure where textual ‘meaning’ can be summated, but a staggeringly huge UNIVERSE by countless authors.  This cuts both ways. We cannot go further than calling the Imperium fascist by claiming THE GAME ITSELF fascist as this would be unverifiable. The presence of a thing does not necessarily equate to the text supporting or idealising of that thing, even if it gets co-opted (and, to be clear, most satires get co-opted by someone).  But we can’t pretend that making the lore more accessible, deeper and BETTER does not compromise its ‘polemic’. Superficial elements of parody do persist somewhat (the Imperium and Orks perhaps most of all), but have mostly been supplanted for a tone of greater verisimilitude. And losing some of that satirical edge doesn’t make the lore weaker. On the contrary, adding nuance and depth (good things for a game world) is antithetical to the precise, utilitarian story structure of satire. Satire, whether it is Dr Strangelove, Oh! What a Lovely War, Catch 22 or V for Vendetta, functions through the purposeful, dialectical approach to ideology and meaning within a text.  POSTMODERNISM AND THE GRIMDARK All of this suggests that 40k is at the very least 'bad' satire (i.e. unsuccessful in deconstructing its target for criticism or parody), but bad satire is still satire. But what if it has crossed the threshold, to the extent that it can barely be called satirical at all? 40K really should be the ideal set text for a university course teaching postmodernism. And I’m not talking simply about having pop-culture references.  Fredic Jamesons' critique of the post-modern move from parody to 'Pastiche' echoes some of my earlier points, and even his criticism of Postmodern architecture summarizes a lot of what I LIKE about the 40k aesthetic, that it "cannibalizes all the architectural styles of the past and combines them in overstimulating ensembles". But it is perhaps Jean Baudrillard's idea of the 'simulacrum' which is most appropriate. I used to describe 40k's shift as akin to ‘going from Alan Moore’s Watchmen to Zach Snyder’s’, inasmuch as the satirical edge has been buried beneath non-reflective aestheticism. But, really, this is too neat a process, and it implies a kind of pure 'Ur-40k' which can be excavated. But this imposes a sort of hierarchy which does not in fact exist. As Baudrillard says: “Today, abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: A hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory - precession of simulacra - that engenders the territory.” As the elements of anarchic pastiche were slowly extracted from 40k lore to make the world feel more accessible to consumers, we are left with a monolithic simulacrum: a copy of a copy of a copy (and so on). It is hyperreal; it is Grimdark.    All of these are issues which the AoS lore has sidestepped from conception. On the one hand, it simply cannot be (and isn't) as subversive as 80s 40k (it is a financially-motivated relaunch by the now-large GW corporation), but this frees from the complexity of representation. The lore's text is one which BEGAN as perhaps a little unsatisfyingly 'weightless' (goodie golden paladins fighting bloodthirsty Khorne bros). Since then, AoS has moved into  more nuanced territory, whether  by problematizing the idea of 'Order' as 'good (Idoenth, Khaine and even recent Stormcast lore reinforce a moral ambiguity), as well as introducing relatable nuances to 'evil' factions like the servants of Nagash or Nurgle (for which Josh Reynolds deserves most props). Free of the complication of satire, AoS is freer to explore the facets of its lore without the pressure for deconstruction. Overall, I think that while 40k's lore is pleasingly iconic, its roots in satire will create problems as it ages. The truth is, while satire can exist in all artistic mediums including games (Spec Ops: The Line or Papers Please), tabletop wargames are uniquely ill-suited to follow through. There's the business model of perpetual consumption as well as a mechanical obstacle. The player is required to identify with their army insofar as they are using it to win, but to actively connect the toy-soliders to in-universe characters is optional self-work rather than anything reinforced in mechanics.  This is not to say that you couldn't make a satirical board game (not the same thing as being funny: Bloodbowl is funny but not really satirical). I don't have an extensive board game knowledge so I'm sure there are examples of games which utilize player gameplay to make some satirical point. But Warhammer ain't it. And that's fine: as I've mentioned, the polemic of satire is antithetical to personalizable and expansive scope of GW IP. Ask a diehard Kaiju fan if Toho's decade-spanning Godzilla franchise preserves the satirical intent of Godzilla (1954),  they'll admit "no". But you won't get them to say the franchise was a mistake. 40k has lost its satire but grown its appeal.    This has been a cunnin' fink-piece by Lorecritmork (yes, I was tempted to make more of that bit, but it's not like a mini-essay on postmodernism isn't alienating enough).

Klamm

Klamm

Saalacious Speculaation about a Slaanesh release

SLAANESHI SPECULATION: A Fan Unit & Lore Wishlist This is a slight remix of some other posts I've written about Slaanesh, compiled as my overall 'pitch' for the direction I want the faction to take. Slaanesh is overall my fave faction in Warhammer, as I find their philosophical and existential potential immediately fascinating, more so than the other chaos gods (though I like them too). The following post will aim to explore some of those facets and, hopefully, demonstrate how they can translate into fun mechanics and iconic new units.  My key proposals are a) separate the 'aspects of pleasure' into six distinct modes in conflicting pairs ( Indulgence/Neophilia, Vanity/Artistry, Dominion/Submission) and b) focus on Slaanesh's Ulgu/Hysh contradiction. Slaanesh is interesting in that, mirroring how the god itself is trapped between the realms of light and shadow, so are the god's themes (there's one rumour engine picture which appears to depict this light/dark duality on a yet-unreleased model).  It's not simply a realm of origin but the 'manifested sentiment' of worship, how the varying followers act. There are two major 'modalities' of the Slaanesh aesthetic which have been used throughout Warhammer: the perverse saaadism (I'll be adding etra As to academic words which trigger the swear filter) of the Dark Eldar-like body-horror, and the elegantly elaborate warriors bedazzled with glistening gems (which I prefer, but I get that some people prefer the Hellraiser angle). While of course the objective should be to synthesise the two (the Hellstrider kit, with its choice between mutilating mutations or intricate helms, accomplishes this), I think that leaning into the Hysh/Ulgu duality would open the design space for exploring the spectrum.    One more brief addendum: I have no preference on whether Slaanesh's grand return involves the god being broken out of captivity or not. I mean, sure it would be nice to see Slaanesh ascendant, but the current storyline involving mortals dealing with their absent god is compelling too. More important, to me, is to nail the ideology and proclivities of the worshippers. I guess this factor is relevant to the question of whether it is possible to become a Slaaneshi Daemon Prince while their liege is in captivity, but that's a lore post for another day.  6 Aspects of the Pleasure God The aspects are not rigid categories, and indeed a follower may embody many simultaneously to varying degrees. Each aspect describes a form of hunger for pleasure; the desire that serves as an avenue through which a person comes into the Slaaneshi fold. They're also arranged in three pairs, with each representing a contrasting duality of ways in which Slaanesh may be worshipped. Invariably, these splits exhibit similarity with the Ulgu/Hysh tension, and so the aspects will usually favour the sensibility of light or shadow.    1.    Indulgence 
The Glutton, The Hedonist, The Debauchee Indulgence is perhaps the most commonly manifested aspect of Slaanesh, yet still comes in a variety of forms. It may be expressed through gluttony of food, drink, carnal activities or other sense-pleasures. The commonality of all such pursuit is excess; overstimulation of corporeal pleasure. Within this aspect, there is a thin yet profoundly meaningful line. It is the difference between the proudly hedonistic bon vivants and the compulsively overstimulated; the slaves to their own addiction. It is usually only the former category which has a chance to rise to the status of champion. The latter group is likely doomed to an eternal, unrestrained sensory excess. The Prince of Pleasure is grateful for this self-sacrifice, and he looks upon his thralls of addicts with fondness.   Indulgence is the aspect of addiction and obsession; the kind of single-mindedness that thrives in the light of Hysh. The Indulgent Champion is rarely stated by 'enough' of something, and would likely have a mechanic for multiplying attacks over prolonged combat.  2.    Neophilia 
The Thrill-Seeker, The Adventurer, The Explorer     The neophile shares with the glutton a desire for overstimulation, but seeks it through the novel discovery of the-not-experienced. The insatiable thirst for newness means they rarely over-indulge in any one thing, but quickly tire of one activity and are thus spurred to seek another. Slaaneshi neophiles are perhaps the least reliable followers,  given their penchant to abandon their masters in order to seek new adventures. They tend to favour mounts, as a good steed will allow them to cover more ground and explore more lands. They tend not to get too attached to their mount, though: there's often some strange new creature to tame just past the next hill... Neophilia has its home in Ulgu, where sensation is fleeting and the purpose is to break through the shroud of 'numbness' to find new excitement. The longer a champion who embodies this aspect lives the fewer new sources of bliss they find, which tends to drive them to erratic bouts of manic sadism. On the table, the Neophile is desperate to get stuck in with their new foe, gaining run and charge. However, after a round of fighting, they may have already become bored of their combatants, and so gain retreat and charge in order to move onto their next quarry.  Aestreth the Magpie Lord, great plunderer of Ghur, was a notoriously fickle Slaaneshi champion. His military exploits earned him the favour of his patron in the form of a Demonic sword, said to have been forged from a shard of Slaanesh’s fingernail. This formidable blade earned him yet more victories… for a time. As the novelty of the weapon began to wane, so too did Aestreth’s enthusiasm. One day, he stumbled across a particularly fluorescent warpstone blade, which he pried from the dead claws of a Clan Skryre Emissary. Any Duardin could have told him that a Skaven blade isn’t worth a Grot’s pimple. However, mesmerised by its jade glow, Aestreth dropped The Prince’s Nail into his massive hoard of trinkets and decided to use this new blade instead.  Aestreth had the misfortune to christen this warp blade in a duel with an Orruk Megaboss. Aestreth's first sweep glanced off the brute’s iron pauldron and the second shattered the Skaven-forged blade to the hilt. Aesthreth soon found himself splattered into a cautionary tale about valuing one’s gifts. It is said that, following the Orruk massacre of Aesthreth’s Chaos horde, Aesthreth’s trove of exotic treasures languishes still somewhere in the Ghur. The Prince’s Nail waits impatiently for a new wielder.  -  Tale of Aestreth, a Slaaneshi legend 
3.    Vanity
The Handsome, The Aesthete, The Paragon     Slaanesh’s vain followers are numerous, and it is rare for any disciple of the Dark Prince to truly not care about their appearance. However, the true path of vanity is not simply a superficial one. It is those who strive toward self-centred perfection in intelligence, grace and a thousand different skills who truly embody the path of the vain. While those who embody the aspect of dominion strive toward leadership, those who embody Slaaneshi perfectionism often become leaders as a product of their quest for mastery. Thus, the selfish desire for perfection creates some of the most powerful and important leaders within the faction. This aspect's desire for power invites the lure of Tzeentch, but while the changer can only offer diverting boons and obstacles to their ambition, Slaanesh lavishes the fruits of their vain ambition with admiration which is, of course, the real prize. Yet the path of vanity is an unhappy one: as the acolyte reaches heights of greatness,  much-prized admiration can only come from those 'below' (thus unworthy of respect), and so the continuum of selfish ego and contempt for others means no amount of attention satisfies their need for approval. The aspect of Vanity is oft-embodied in Hyshian sentiment, where exhibitionist displays of knowledge, skill and power act as an insidious impetus for the worship of Slaanesh. Vain champions no doubt would gain additional traits or artefacts to demonstrate their accumulation of talents.  4.    Creativity
The Artist, The Poet, The Musician      Least likely to worship Slaanesh via the blade is the artist. Painters, musicians and poets pay homage to the dark prince with their craft tools instead. The creative aspect is similar to ‘vanity’ in a preoccupation with aestheticism. However, instead of focusing on themselves, the object of the creative follower’s aestheticism is transposed into the art. The creative aspect is perhaps most reverently respected among the Slaaneshi hosts, even if this doesn’t always extend to the creator himself. Every self-respecting Lord has a chronicler, chef and musical band: one of the perks of leadership. Most common are the various types of musicians who serve in the command of units, and these individuals invariably take more pride in their craft than the crude hornblowers and drummers of the other gods' armies. Slaanesh is the patron of all aestheticism. No piece is too explicit, too strange, or even too Heretical.  The aspect of creativity is perhaps closest to a balanced synthesis of Ulgu and Hysh, manifesting both the instinctive sensuality of the former and perfectionism of the latter. However, when understood as opposed to the narcissism of Hyshian vanity, creativity can be seen as curiously non-egoist, and this 'obscuring' of the self in favour of the created object embodies the temperament of Ulgu. Creative appreciators of art would likely fixate on particularly impressive specimens on the battlefield, so a Creative Champion could gain the power to 'mark' an enemy model for study, and receive bonuses against them.  Slaaneshi artisans revere the Slaaneshi Sorcerer Lord Sylch, who currently resides in the Realm of Hysh. She is rumoured to have gazed upon a vision of Sigmar and has since dedicated himself to painting the god king’s likeness in a portrait. Though perceived by the other chaos gods as heresy, Slaanesh has blessed Sylch for her work. The Dark Prince understands that examining and re-creating beauty is a worthy task, even if such a pursuit glorifies the great enemy. For, if Sigmar's glory can be painted on canvas, perhaps his power can be understood... - Excerpt from the Liber Epecuria
5.    Dominion 
The Tyrant, The Patriarch, The Mentor This aspect is embodied both by the sadistic tyrant and the benevolent protector of his people, for the aspect does not dictate HOW the dominion is exercise, only that an individual's power/influence exerted upon others.  Indeed, many a benevolent voivode who think they know best for their subjects falls into the worship of Slaanesh, who encourages them to take pleasure in their power and control. Yet this can also entail sadism and tyranny, for how the master plays with his pets is up to them. What matters is the impulse to assert one's will onto another. Mortals who embody this aspect feel the temptation of Khorne but it is only Slaanesh who allows them to savour the experience of control, while Khorne encourages domination for its own sake.   The aspect of Dominion is tied closely to Hysh. The scrutinizing light of rationality invites a desire for order and control.  In the heat of battle, a Domineering Slaaneshi champion would be able to throw command abilities around with near-impunity. 
6.    Submission
The Acolyte, The Servant, The Maasochist  Opposite the aspect of dominion is that of the submissive. These souls are often insecure or fearful, wishing to transcend their sad existence by dedicating themselves fully to a rapturous cause. Few who worship Slaanesh recognize their 'death drive' enough to articulate it, but the dark prince senses their existential terror and gives them what they truly want: a warm, accepting oblivion. Such despondent souls might also be tempted by the embrace of Nurgle, who will free them from their pain if they give into despair. However, Slaanesh offers them something more: if they relinquish not 'sensation' but their very 'self', they can experience the rapture of oblivion. These zealots form a foundation for any Slaaneshi revolt of civilization and they serve in the armies as loyal minions to the cause.  The aspect of Submission thrives in Uglu, where shadow magic instils a kinship with 'oblivion'. A Submissive servant of Slaanesh knows no fear but their god's disappointment, and so are untroubled by battleshock.    The Unhappy Prince - A Slaaneshi Poem In slumber did A Great Prince lie,
Fatigued from deeds, achievements high,
Yet dreamed uneasy, craving more
And drew the hungry gaze of four. The red one said: “I’ve seen you fight.
“Honour me and I’ll grant you might!”
But of his foes, The Great Prince said:
“I have no drive to see them dead”. The blue one spoke: “I offer skill.
“Being the best will joy instil!”
But The Prince knew well of the ennui 
That comes from insecurity. The green one said: “I grant relief.
“From pain or fear I’ll spare you grief.”
But no: "simply leaving pain behind,
“Will not help me escape my mind.” So The Great Prince, dissatisfied,
Heard the three and then denied.
The curse of ‘self’ was unaddressed,
Until the purple phantasm pressed: “I’ll give you more but make you less,
"Senses honed. Ego repress.
"From existence, you'll be free
"To experience, but not to ‘BE’.” And so The Prince bequeathed his soul,
Ceding mind to make him whole.
To only SENSE, forevermore,
Never again to dream of more. Azryte scholars have observed this poem recited by Slaaneshi Warriors honouring 'Oblivants', a sub-sect of Unsated Pleasurehosts who completely submit their minds to Slaanesh. In exchange for this oblivion, their senses are unimaginably intensified.     Slaaneshi Armies Okay, so having set the table in terms of faction theme, it's time for a good ol' new unit wishlist.  I think it’s realistic to go by recent factions (either brand-new or significant additions to a few older kits, NOT INCLUDING terrain or endless spells): Idoneth Deepkin (11 total: 5 unit kits, 6 hero kits), Kharadron Overlords (11 total: 6 Unit kits, 5 Hero kits), or the upcoming Gitz (10 total) set the precedent that we can expect at least 10 new boxes of stuff, not counting terrain and spells.  Okay, let’s work with 10. My assumption and hope is that, given that Slaaneshi Daemons currently have 10 units (5 units, 5 heroes), most of the new models will be Slaaneshi mortals. That said, I can see 2 ‘slots’ going to round out the Daemons. First is the inevitable centrepiece Keeper of Secrets, which will almost certainly be a dual kit for a special character. As for who the alternate build will be, well, they could very well be a Rotigus style new invention. But if they were to take someone more established (like Kairos) N’Kaari may be a perfect oldie to make a comeback, given his history with Tyrion and Teclis.    The only other addition that the Daemons need is one more generic hero. My idea would be a ‘Vice-Sribe', a Scriviner-style scribe Daemon whose responsibility is to be a database of mortal vices, which would translate to buffs for Daemonette units.  The Mortal Hosts One thing I want to get right up front. I really REALLY REALLY don’t want the army to focus on chaos-tainted Aelves. It seems like the lazy choice that doesn’t really make much sense (as Morathi demonstrated, even Aelves who work for Slaanesh just end up as food anyway, so there’s no incentive to give into the Dark Prince). And when you think about it, the reason many mortals would turn to Slaanesh is that they desire grace, perfection and beauty, all inherently Aelven traits. Wouldn’t it be more interesting and make more sense if Slaanesh’s followers were vain mortals who wished they could be LIKE Aelves? I don't mind chaos elves being a thing, but human Slaaneshi worshippers are the subject of this post.  Light and Darkness So, I wish to draw on the 6 aspects and Ulg-Hysh duality as explored by the previous lore section. I envision a Slaaneshi mortals roster being divided into three, subtly differentiated themes: Shroudrapt (Ulgu themed), Resplendants (Hysh themed) and Profligants (an unaligned synthesis of the Ulgu and Hysh). Hellstriders are the only currently available basic Slaaneshi troops, and I think their aesthetic would serve as a 'baseline' for the factions style as a whole: ornate soft-angled armour with a light Greek theme. The Hysh theme would run with the ornate, resplendent plate gilded with pristine cloaks and buckets of gemstones, to represent a vain perfectionism (the current Sigvald model would fit in this niche). In contrast, the Ulgu theme would take cues from some of the older Slaanesh champions models with a bit of Dark Eldar thrown in: pallid, sadomasochist mortals with claw-like mutations and armour painfully fused to their bodies. These two aspects represent the contrary desires within the faction, and we might consider those which manifest both in equal measure as ‘unaligned’. And it doesn’t even NEED to be codified to the extent of keywords, merely the lore enriching gameplay in an unobtrusive way. Oh, and two other prescriptions for overall aesthetic: unit musicians carry more elaborate, skill-based instruments than simply horns, and the entire army is mixed gender (which should be the case for the other three gods but applies here too).    Profligants - Ulg-Hysh Synthesis   Porfligants are the hedonistic cultists and determined seekers of Slaanesh. In their rapturous chaos, they freely embody both the light and dark aspects of their god.  Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic mount - The proud, staple general of the faction. As the current Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic mount is somewhat dated, I can see them releasing a multi-part kit with which you can build a mounted Slaaneshi Lord, Pleasuremage and named character on Daemonic Mount. Pleasuremage – As the faction lacks a mortal wizard, this would be the Slaaneshi sorcerer lord choice, with a potent augmenting spell capability. These mages deal most intimately with the Ulg-Hysh synthesis, and so I can imagine that their fine robes are emblazoned with icons of duality.  Hellstriders (Slaanesh Battleline) - we all know and love these chaps. Their current rules are strange but work, so changing the warscroll is unnecessary. However, if you were to lean into the Hysh/Ulgu divide, you could turn the box into a dual-kit: the crested helmet and whip assembly could be a Resplendant warscroll retaining the Soul-hunter rule while the mutated, bare head claw-spear version could be a Shroudrapt warscroll with different rules. Shroudrapt - Ulgu Themed Units   The Shroudrapt are morbidly perverse nihilists, flesh studded and pierced in displays of maasochistic devotion to the Dark Prince.  Blissflayer (Hero) - This would be a lightning fast assassin, a loner who takes enormous pleasure in the murder of great heroes (a Chaos inversion of the Tenebrael Shard). Both in the lore and on the table, this would be your depravity point engine, and would likely have some nifty deployment shenanigans that enable him to get to protected enemy heroes. Blissflayers are usually derived from the ranks of particularly ambitious and successful Unsated (see below).  Agonic Impressionist (Hero) – Where the Pleasuremage derives power from positive sensation, the Agonic Impressionist paints pure torment onto the world’s canvas. A jovial saadist clad in studs and blades, this character would come as part of the same behemoth kit as the foot Pleasuremage (as in unmounted, not a foot fetishist. Though maybe... Slaanesh cares not from whence the-- I'm not going to finish that sentence). Unsated (unit of 10, Battleline) - Though we already have one example of basic infantry in Daemonettes, it is absolutely essential for there to be a mortal ‘grunt’ unit. There needs to be a clear ‘entry level’ rung on the totem pole, a version of the everyday Slaaneshi acolyte (this is the most glaring absence in Maggotkin, detracting from the ‘papa Nurgle welcomes all’ lore). This marauder equivalent would be more *slightly* elite than your bloodreaver, with combat stats closer to Idoneth thralls or Witch Aelves. The Unsated are perennially unsatisfied hedonists, their search for extremes having left them numb and impatient for sensation. They also have a rather unique unit composition:  2 in every 10 are 'Oblivants'. Oblivants are those who have submitted their very BEING to Slaanesh. In return for obliterating their identity, Oblivants gain a state of blissful oblivion where there is only sensation, and rapturously intensified sensation at that. These beings of pure hedonism attract groups of Unsated, who follow them into battle. The Oblivants do not command them per se (indeed, they lack the very ability), but their instinct for excess garners trust: Oblivants can reliably find the most succulent tastes, caustic scents and sublime sights. However, should these 'mascots' die the Unsated devolve into erratic frenzies impatience, flitting from foe-to-foe and sometimes losing interest before they've even slain their enemy.  On the TT, the 2 Oblivants in every group of 10 are particularly strong unit champions. While they are alive, the Unsated have increased bravery. However, should both Oblivants die, the unit loses its bravery buff but also receives the retreat and charge ability, representing their desperation for combat and tendency to get bored of their current preoccupation (playing into the Neophilia aspect). I think this creates a fun mechanic, as while you generally want to keep your high damage unit champions alive, there may also be times where you choose to remove them as casualties in order to pull off some hit-and-run tactics (and, conversely, if the opponent has "pick a model" abilities they may want to reduce the unit's bravery).  Yaester's comrades tend to make fun of him for his "dress for the job you want, not the job you have" mantra Valourbane Brigands – This will be one half of an important dual kit for the army. It seems to me appropriate for Slaanesh to be a proud cavalry faction, and so the Valourbane are the Shroudrapt elite, riding redesigned versions of the classic 'booob-snake' mount for the Slaaneshi lord: tougher (4 wounds) and more fighty older siblings of the Slaaneshi steed. The first of these dual kits are Valourbane Brigands: Some mortal souls wish to dedicate themselves to the prince of pleasure but are hampered by one crippling obstacle: FEAR. These frightened acolytes, scorned as cowards by those around them, are put to work in a very particular way. Slaanesh augments the failings of these troubled souls and makes them Valourbane: a class of ranged cavalry armed with magical bows that feed on courage. The physical properties of the weapons shifts according to the strength of will of their target. The bolder the quarry the greater the spiritual reward reaped by both demonic bow and its wielder if they succeed in shooting them down, and so the Valourbane are spurred to seek out the most courageous foes and riddle them with daemon-blessed arrows.  I think that the premise of the Valourbane has the potential for fun stories but also interesting gameplay. They’d have a role similar to Skyfires (hyper-mobile ranged snipers with good CC attack from their mounts) but with some quirks. Their bows have an okay attack profile (perhaps 2 shots 3+/4+ R-1 D1), but its range is variable: the base is 6” plus the bravery characteristic of the target multiplied by two. This has the fun effect of having a 14” range targeting Grots but a 24” range against Scar-Veterans. Furthermore, the damage rises to 2 against models with a bravery of 7 or more. Essentially, these become ideally suited to sniping heroes or undead/daemon armies.  
  Resplendants - Hysh Themed Units Resplendant Slaaneshi champions are walking exhibitions of gems, gold and silk; vain effigies of elegance that stalk the battlefield with heads held high.  Lord Paragon (Hero) - the old Sigvald model still looks great and would represent a vain, elegant leader perfectly. He could do with a rules boost, though, to put him in line with the Mighty Lord of Khorne or a Lord Celestant. He is a resin model, true, but GW hasn't been too studious in avoiding the carrying over of outdated kits (cries in Eshin).  Sychala The Unquenched, Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic Mount - This would be the alt-build for the lord on Daemonic mount.  Sychala was once just another Slaaneshi champion with a thirst for perfection. During the Realmgate wars, her retinue was part of a grand Everchosen army, and it was here that she first encountered the lure of Tzeentch. Sychala was unable to resist sneaking inside the Tzeentch legion’s Silver Tower in order to pilfer its arcane secrets. However, she would be unprepared for the interest that the Warspire’s captive Daemon prince Zaarich would take in her. Sychala slew the tower’s Curseling castellan and ransacked the library, but in so doing accidentally broke Zaaritch’s arcane bonds. Sychala eluded the claws of the Daemon Prince as she fled the tower. And yet, right on the threshold of the warpstone gate, Zaaritch’s talon grazed Sychala’s cheek. She may have escaped the tower, but the Daemon’s magic had forged an unbreakable bond. For the first time though certainly not the last, Sychala heard the whispers in her mind: offerings of power in exchange for fealty to Tzeentch. Thus had she become the unwilling host to a Daemon Prince.  Sychala’s power and reputation grew over the decades, but she would be forever changed after her encounter at the Silver Tower. Where once she exhibited a vain but pure desire for excellence, her ambition had been tainted. Once a hedonist, she now has difficulty re-capturing those pleasures. Sychala wishes, more than anything, to serve Slaanesh faithfully, and so her existence is a constant struggle. She must work harder than ever to find the ‘joy’ in perfection, for if she finds herself motivated by selfish ambition then Zaaritch grows in power and could perhaps take over…   Sychala would be a powerful mounted Slaaneshi lord as well as a wizard. She’d get access to a Slaanesh-themed spell but also a more powerful Tzeenthian spell, except the latter risks Zaaritch becoming dominant (perhaps a casting roll of a double means you lose command points).  Soulwring Sommelier (Hero) - a rotund lady clad in finery. She isn't quite a wizard per se, but has studied the arcane in order to master the ways of soul extraction and infuses fine wines with the captured souls of Aelves, Daemons and Mortals. These intrepid artisans are highly honoured in Slaaneshi retinues, with their infusions considered holy delicacies. This would be a versatile but short ranged support hero, with her various vintages functioning like prayers.  Slaaneshi Paragons (unit of 5, Resplendant General Battleline) - Clad in gleaming plate, these are the faction’s elite warriors. One or two in this unit are rotund gluttons, and not grotesque blightkings, rather Bon vivants who enjoy feasting almost as much as they enjoy fighting. Paragons are conceited and prideful, thus fight hardest against elite foes in order to prove their superiority. They would be the tabletop equivalent of high-tier elite infantry (such as Skullreapers or Paladins), though their superior attacks stats is tempered by having 2 wounds rather than 3. Perhaps the unit champion also has access to a limited choice of magic items, emphasizing their lofty status.  Quartzblind knights (unit of 3) - The other half of the Valourbane kit, these resemble the paragons riding Slaaneshi Daemonic mounts. They do, however, have a particular gimmick: In their arrogance, each knight has undertaken to the closest thing Slaanesh has to a vow of chastity: they don daemonic circlets which spread a layer of Slaaneshi crustal across their eyes, blinding them but for the vaguest shapes and lights. They do this for two reasons: to prove their superior fighting prowess by volunteering to a handicap, but also to force themselves constantly on the 'brink' of pleasure. The transparency of the crystal gradually clears with each foe they slay, and so they battle with a mad intensity to bear witness the glorious pay-off of their destruction. Quartz clarity does not last long, however, for Slaanesh soon withdraws the gift of vision to entice more fighting out of them.  These warriors are built for destroying hordes, with a multitude of attacks which, in the inverse of the Hellstriders, improve in QUALITY as slain enemies bestow clarity of sight. They'd probably have a similar power level and cost to the Idoneth eels.  The Behemoth Many recent armies have more than one centrepiece model, and the mortals deserve something distinct from the Keeper of Secrets. My concept rejects the obvious ‘big beastie’ in favour of a large, mobile shrine (similar in scope to the Cauldron of Blood or Arkanaut Ironclad) which manifests the Ulg-Hysh duality in two builds. Either version is a large, ornate mobile shrine. It would be cool if it was a wagon pulled by a crowd of Slaangor, so that even if they aren’t represented in the core army there would exist models to use for conversions. As for what is on top of the wagon, the platform would be modular enough to allow for the following variants: The War Banquet (Hysh) – This would be what it sounds like: a mobile feast of decadent food and drink. Honoured champions of the Slaaneshi army would be rewarded with this privilege, and the sight of them eating and drinking on the war banquet would fuel fellow warriors to the height of jealous zeal.   Agonist Orchestra (Ulgu) – Replacing the banquet table would be an orchestra platform. Taking cues from the Enrapturess, the band’s instruments would be gory perversions of the mortal form: a cacophony of painful music. This would be a damage dealer, rather than the Hyshian buff engine. The orchestra’s conductor is the Agonist Impressionist, and so her infantry model is a spare from this kit.  It’s also where we could get the infantry version of the Pleasuremage (considering that’s how the Cauldron of Blood and Magmadroth do it).   Other Terrain – Repository of Vice, an ornate structure of shelves filled with tomes and locked chests, each holding within them guilty secrets and hidden addictions. This could have some kind of fun temptation mechanic, wherein after the opponent sets up deployment their units have a chance to be drawn to this terrain piece rather than where the opponent wants them, and perhaps dazing nearby units. Or, alternatively, it could force the opponent to reveal secrets (e.g. hidden units or being forced to commit to a specific use of command abilities a turn early). Endless spells. For the predatory mortal wound machine, I'm thinking the Lash of Slaanesh, which would translate onto the table as a quicker version of the pendulum. Phantasmogoria could be a roving de-buff AoE, a host of demonic illusory temptations. For the last, I think some sort of Arcane Mirror would round things out, which inspires nearby Slaaneshi units to fight harder so they can admire themselves.  Faction Summary: Slaaneshi Mortals (7 New Kits) With matched play point ballpark approximations Heroes Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic Mount (160pts, Unalinged) Pleasuremage on Daemonic Mount (180pts, Unaligned) Pleasuremage (120pts, Unaligned) Lord Paragon (100pts, Hysh)   Sychala, Lord on Mount (220pts, named character, Hysh)  Soulwring Sommelier (100pts, Hysh) Blissflayer (80pts, Ulgu)  Agonic Impressionist (100pts, Ulgu)  Pleasuremage on Agonist Orchestra (300pts, Behemoth, Ulgu) Units Unsated (120pts for 10, Ulgu) Valourbane Brigands (160pts for 3, Ulgu) Agonist Orchestra (200pts, Behemoth, Ulgu) Hellstriders (unaligned, though could divide into the Ulgu and Hysh Variant)  Slaaneshi Paragons (160pts for 5, Hysh) Quartzblind Knights (160pts for 3, Hysh)  War Banquet (260pts, Behemoth, Hysh) Other Endless spells: Lash of Slaanesh, Phantasmogoria, Arcane Mirror Terrain: Repository of Vice So, that’s 7 new mortal kits and 2 new Daemon kits (the Keeper of Secrets and the 'Vice Scribe' Daemonette) plus the obligatory spells/terrain. I think that’s a realistic quantity to hope for, and not impossible that the Ulg-Hysh angle is what GW will focus on. Well, those are my prediction/dream-picks. Anyone have anything they want to add/disagree with? This was a slightly rambly post, I apologize, I'm super excited about the army releases. I've also hit a wall with painting at the moment, so paradoxically hope the release comes later so I can finish some current projects. I'm a compulsive wishlister. Funnily enough, I made a private wishlist last year for Beast of Chaos and while none of the new models I hoped for came to pass, my idea for Dragon Ogors as exiles from Azyr did. I think that has instilled in me a strange belief that if you wishlist hard enough, some of it comes true (Christ, I sound like The Secret AKA the chaos god of the self-help industry ). Well, I hope some of the above shots in the dark land too! Well, those are my prediction/dream-picks. Anyone have anything they want to add/disagree with?  

Klamm

Klamm

Please GW, can I have some Maw? Ogor Wishlist

I'm on a real wishlisting kick at the moment (avoiding coursework, you know how it is). I put together a Duardin future release speculation thread, and it made me think of a faction with similar problems: Ogors. Ogres, with their hungry boi Sumo Mongol aesthetic, were my first army; my first love in WFB. On the current webstore, there are two substantive Ogor factions: Beastclaw Raiders (with a book that is universally considered to be weak) and Gutbuster (without any). Should they be combined in one Skaven/LoN style book? While I was initially saddened by Ogors splitting in two, I’d say no. The Beastclaw raider lore is quite interesting and benefits from having this unique mixed identity of reaving nomad and downtrodden refugee. BCR and GB are, like Fyreslayers and Kharadron Overlords or Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz, seemingly too culturally divergent to mesh (though, who knows, that might be overruled). So I'll outline my hopes for both factions, starting with BCR (I think Gutbusters will be updated FIRST, but let's start with the shorter one). As with the last post, I don't wish to get far into the weeds when it comes to specifics of army rules (I'm not a crunch expert), I more want to explore aesthetic design space of these factions, and how their lore gets translated to tabletop.   Beastclaw Raiders While BCR have a post-allegiance battletome, it’s problematic state does call for an update within the next few years (after a Gutbuster release). Anyway, aside from balancing certain warscrolls and improving allegiance/artefact utility, I want to speculate about new models. I feel like a little goes a long way here. Part of this, too, is adding a wrinkle in the already promising foundation of the BCR's Everwinter story. I want to add ambiguity and conflict to its nature, as well as introduce a belief sect dedicated to breaking the curse.  Frost Sabres. I love the idea of fantasy Sabrecats, but the current model is universally derided. I’d want resculpted kitties coming in a pack of 5 (Gryph-Hound style), and to make be viable as both chaff screen AND the BCR’s cheap source of bodies (3 wounds making up for their 6+ save). New Yhetees. Feral ice creatures, Yhetees are one of the coolest aspects of the army (visually and thematically) and would really benefit from a redesign. Following from that...   Yhetee Frostcaller. Yhetees are creatures with natural magic affinity to the Everwinter, so it makes sense that the occasional individual harnesses their innate power to cast spells. A -2 rend CC character and spell-caster, the Frostcaller would create the option to theme a BCR force around Yhetees. It would add an additional dimension to the mysterious, feral beasts which live symbiotically with the Ogors. Perhap, too, it could raise an ambiguous question: were the Ogors truly cursed by Gorkamorka, or is there something more insidious going on? Are these bestial being the Ogor's allies, or are they slyly shepherding them (and the realms) into icy extinction?  Icebrow Hunter on Bull Rhinox. As I’d imagine a Gutbuster release would be sooner than a Beastclaw release, we can assume this would have already been released as a multi-kit that builds either a mounted hunter or a tyrant. For the BCR this sprue should also grant them their first special character: Fjorg Spring-Seeker, Named Hunter on Rhinox. Having transcended the scorn associated with the status of 'Icebrow Hunter', this chap has attained fame from his quest for a way to lift the Everwinter curse (which probably doesn't make Yhetees like him very much). I think having someone with a proactive goal to 'save' the BCR from their plight would be an interesting addition to their background. One more unlikely addition: an upgrade sprue. It’s a slim chance, but it should be noted that the base Ogor body sprue is one of the best older kits on sale. It’s detailed, modular and, while not the most dynamic, does a good job at conveying a lumbering gait. GW *could* combine the base sprue with a BCR ‘upgrade’: heads and gutplates adorned with winter-themed furs and salvaged bones, and a javelin weapon option (giving the faction some extra shooting potential). The Everwinter is crucial to BCR lore and mechanics, so IMO the faction’s terrain needs to be a dynamic representation of the encroaching winter. I imagine the terrain to be large protrusions of ice and frozen ground, let's say call it 'everwinter's touch'. There could be similar summoning mechanics to Sylvaneth Wildwoods, where the boards gets slowly overwhelmed by them as the battlefield freezes. I know there are some people who find wildwoods irritating for counterplay, but I think that the BCR's interaction with it would be less frustrating. For one, the low model count means having access to impassable (except to Yhetees) blocking terrain helps them defend against more manoeuvrable armies. The ice blocks needn't have a direct mortal wound bubble either: a freezing debuff aura similar to a Thundertusk would be more thematic. The only downside to this would be the requirements to purchase more terrain than most factions (same problem as the Sylvaneth), but BCR are generally one of the cheaper armies so it probably works out. I'd say this representation of the Everwinter is more visual and tactically rewarding than the current allegiance ability. As for endless spells, giving the Frostcallers a toolbox of Ice spells would be rather simple. A blizzard predatory spell, a spear of ice and frozen wall… none of this is inspiring but it does write itself. Well, those are my condensed thoughts on BCR: an interesting army with lots of potential, and could benefit from a small release to flesh out the feral side of the faction. Release size: small Updated Battletome Icy Endless Spells Frozen Terrain 3 new model kits Possibly an upgrade sprue   Gutbusters Onto the OG beefy bois. Recently, Maneaters and Firebellies have been re-absorbed into Gutbusters on the webstore. It's not certain proof of reunification, and both Keywords represent a single unit with a strong theme that could serve as a basis for an entire subfaction. The Firebelly invites a more tribal, shamanic culture of fire-worshipping voodoo (the Bonesplitterz to the Gutbuster’s Ironjawz). And Maneaters as a concept (wandering bands of mercenaries and explorers) have endless potential, allowing for Ogors that reflect the cultures of various realms and factions. Either of these could end up becoming its own thing. Or both. Or neither. For the purposes of this wishlist, I’ll assume that Maneaters ARE reabsorbed (they're older models) while Firebellies eventually get the Ironjawz treatment (a faction built around one unit). This ends up being pleasingly symmetrical. Gutbusters are the 'modern' Ogors, worshipping the Maw and also dabbling in more trade than is customary for Destruction races. Then you have two ‘wilder’ off-shoots: ice-themed nomadic beast-tamers and primal fire-worshipper tribes. In separating the BCR and Firebelly elements, several unique aspects of the Gutbusters come into starker focus: Janky tech. Gutbusters are among the more technologically inclined factions in Destruction. They aren’t artisans like Duardin or mad scientists like the Skaven, but have a cavalier approach to salvaging other cultures’ tech and bashing it together to create something new. Friendly foodies. Going hand-in-hand with that, Gutbusters are the most diplomatic race in Destruction. Where Urruks have a constant urge to fight, Ogors have a wander-lust to go with an insatiable hunger, and so many happily work with whoever provides coin and food. The Maw! They remain the most directly tied to the ‘Great Maw’ (probably just a façade of Gorkamorka, like the Bad Moon) means that food should be an oft-repeated beat. Gnoblar, Gnibblar, Ogor, Spy. A species of Grotz even more pathetic than Moonclan cave dwellers, Gnoblars form the proletariat of Gutbuster society. This aspect was best captured in the 6th edition Ogre Kingdoms book, with the 8th Edition book and kits shifting the focus to the faction’s beasts, but I feel the Ogors’ fondness for their indentured servants is fertile ground for fun stories (especially since Urruks and Grotz no longer have the same interplay as they did pre-AoS). All that considered, I think there's potential for a strongly themed, medium-sized faction. Let's start with making a few changes to the existing kits. Appropriating existing kits: Bragg the Gutsman becomes a generic Gutsman hero type. Drawing from some of the old Bragg lore, these executioners are feared and shunned enforcers in Gutbuster society, usually hired temporarily by tribes to enforce certain justice before being cast out. Any Ogor who has perfected the art of disembowelling is, after all, not to be trusted. The change I’d make to this base is that Gutsmen are sadistic Great Maw zealots, acting as enforcers to Butchers. That way, between Butchers, Gutsmen and Larder-wagons, you've got a strong contingent of the 'religious class' represented in the army. Maneaters. Oh, Maneaters. My favourite unit from WFB, they’re a little out of place now (and pretty expensive, too). The name has to go for a start – Golgfag is dead, so we need an appropriately colourful name for this class of mercenary. I’ll get to the new kit which replaces the role of Maneaters in a sec, but for now, let’s call them Realmtrotter Mercenaries. The existing Maneater models have delightful character, so they could represent a hero-level Realmtrotter Veteran (with highly varied loadout options). Gnoblars are where they have an opportunity to pull a FEC and make new warscrolls from existing 'bits'. Supply Gnoblars, or Graft Gnobz. This is a five-model unit of Gnoblar aides, the miniatures coming from the Gnoblars included in the Ogor and Leadbelcher sprues. Similarly to the Moonclan’s Sneaky Snufflers, these would have buffing utility. Graft Gnobz could buff on a nearby unit: +1 attack for Ogors/Ironguts (weapon carriers), +1 to hit for Leadbelchers (torch lighters) or heal D3 wounds for any Ogor unit (food bearers). You already get 6 free with each box of 6 Ogors. Crotchbashers. These are bravest, hardest Gnoblars around (which isn’t saying much). They get their egos inflated from being favoured by an Irongut owner, so become the de facto Gnoblar bosses. In terms of rules, they’re the equivalent of a Grot Boss: super-cheap heroes with modest CC stats and a command ability. You get two of these for every box of four Ironguts. All that considered, I think we need to say goodbye to the humble Gorger. With Skrag’s character gone, these troglodytic outcasts are an aesthetic anomaly and an ugly one at that. What is the whole 'gut-less exile' angle providing, exactly? That's probably the only thing I'd 'squat'. New Kits Tyrant on Bull Rhinox. This is the kit shared across the BCR/Gutbuster factions, with the Tyrant option being an armoured 250pt combat monster. Since Gutbusters get updated first, let's count it as their release. Realmtrotters (unit of 3). This is the unit to replace the Maneaters, and is an opportunity for GW to really knock it out of the park when it comes to customization (think Rockguts but more, MOAR!). To have some visual cohesion, I’d want them to generally embody Order factions (Free Peoples, Fyreslayers, Kharadron Overlords, perhaps some Aelven regalia there too). After all, most of the resin Maneaters look like they've served in Free People cultures. They'll have customizable warscrolls and flashy rules, perhaps the unit champion can take an artefact, representing their exotic collections. Tinker-thugs (hero). The closest thing to a ‘master engineer’ an Ogor can get, these visionaries are responsible for building Gutbuster war machines along with their dextrous Gnoblar minions. Thugs are sometimes called ‘Ear-Nibblers’ by those suspicious of their Gnoblar affinity: Ogors mark Gnoblars as their own by biting their ears, so some suspect Tinker-Thugs give not a proper chomp but a dainty nibble. Tunker-thugs chaps are support pieces for the Leadbelchers, Maneaters and Artillery shooting. Bone-gruel Canteen (hero/Behemoth). Taking Scragg the Slaughterer’s concept and raising the volume, this is a Rhinox-pulled larder wagon dor a Butcher's cauldron. Think the DoK Cauldron of Blood, but with a hungry fat boi instead. This would obviously be a buff-wagon, possibly with a Black Coach style ramp-up of power (nearby models die, go into the cauldron and the buff aura intensifies). This unit would provide a chance for named Butcher character alternative build (the option to deploy the spare hero as infantry effectively updating the old resin Butcher). Lastly, we have the Terrain + Endless spell slots. The Maw offers more creative millage than the ice theme for spells. The Great Maw is the obligatory centrepiece and along with that, I envision a Belch-fume Smog (a pendulum style projectile) and perhaps an apparition of foooood as the 'buff-piece'. In terms of faction terrain, it's actually kind of hard to decide which thematic beats to hit. I could see a ramshackle larder, a holy icon of The Great Maw or a Gnoblar salvage scrapheap. There's a lot of ways to go with this one. None of them strike me as inextricably crucial to the faction identity as the BCR Everwinter stuff, perhaps you've got better ideas? Anyway, that's a summary of the new stuff I'd bring in. I think new Gutbuster models should reinforce an aesthetic of cobbled together exoticism along with their belief in the Great Maw. The army should have the 'look' of masses of monstrous infantry, accompanied by varieties of wagons and diminutive Gnoblar servants. That way, I think AoS could eventually support three very distinct identities of Ogors: tragically cursed nomads riding giants beasts; scrap-tech, Gnoblar-powered mercenary chiefdoms dedicated to The Great Maw, and primally tribal, bonkers volcano worshippers.   Here’s a TL;DR summary of the entire faction: Heroes (9) Named Butcher on Bone-gruel Canteen (new dual kit) Butcher on Bone-gruel Canteen " " Butcher Gutsman Tyrant (Old Golgfag model. That dude is just TOO cool) Tyrant on Bull Rhinox (new model) Wandergut Veterans (Old Maneater models become heroes) Tinker-thug (new model) Crotchbasher (from Irongut kit) Units (8/9) Ogors Ironguts Leadbelchers Realmtrotter Mercs (new Maneater-style models) Ironblaster Gnoblars Graft Gnobz (from Ogor kit) Scraplauncher Rhinox Riders (Forgeworld only) Release size: fair Updated Battletome Maw-themed Endless Spells Terrain 4 new model kits I do hope that they maintain the split between BCR and Gutbuster (and in the far future add a faction of Firebellies), but I guess if they do them in one, I'll only have to paint one army. Since they'll no doubt be allies to one another, I don't see anything lost by keeping the divide. Indeed, I'm excited about the prospect of several distinct 'flavours' of Ogor, like we have with the Aelves or Duardin. 7 new kits between two factions (not counting the terrain/spell stuff): that's a conservative take, IMO. I hope that I've grossly underestimated it For you Ogor fans out there: do you agree, disagree? Heard any rumours of your own (I know there was a discredited one, but a GB release this year would make perfect sense: it's destruction's turn to shine, and both Grotz and Urruks have gotten brand-new models)? It'll be pretty funny if they do none of this and announce Battletome: Gorgers.

Klamm

Klamm

Wazzock Wishlist: A Future Duardin Release

Hey all. In my first blog post, I want to concentrate on 'faction release' ideas, so I'll be talking about lore as it pertains to new models and story direction for the faction. Ruminating on how to fix the mess that is the state of the Duardin disunion, I came up with an idea for two releases to bring them into line. Based on Skaven and FEC, it seems future AoS releases will comprise of at least a book, terrain and endless spells. Below are my ideas for revitalizing the factions with as little new things as possible (trying to keep my hopes grounded). It’s primarily a lore-focused post though coming up with new models means discussing mechanics too, but I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of allegiance abilities. I'll be discussing two separate releases: KO and a combined Dispossessed/Fyreslayers one. I'll start with KO, not because I think it'll happen sooner (Fyreslaters/Dispossessed are more due), but because it's the shorter pitch.  Kharadron Overlords Of the three Duardin subfactions, the Kharadron seem to be the most popular and are also the most aesthetically distinct and most separated from the others in the lore (literally ascending the holds and no longer venerating the ancestor gods). An updated Kharadron Battletome should keep them separate; fix the imbalances of the skyports and their underpowered Thunderers and Gunhaulers. To go along with this release, it would be great to see more aerial vehicles (perhaps a specialized mining tugboat?), but they don’t necessarily NEED new units. Then there’s the fact of Endless Spells and Terrain, which is usually a slam dunk but in the case of KO we have a problem: they live in the sky and they don’t cast magic. However, I do think they could utilize the cheaper resources of the terrain/spell development team… First, there’s the obvious ‘floating vein of ethergold’ terrain piece, which would obviously function as a buff piece, perhaps also as cover for nearby skyships and one other function that we’ll get to shortly. The only issue is that, if I remember correctly, ethergold is often invisible and hidden in the clouds, so a bit of creative license is in order. The other less likely but (IMO) more exciting option is to use the slot normally reserved for endless spells as a ‘sky bestiary’. There are many evocative passages describing beasts that are drawn toward ethergold, so the presence of an ethergold terrain piece could presumably lure them to the battlefield. The fact that they’re feral beasts from the open sky means they could have similar mechanics to endless spells. They’d be point-costed units (though not counting to your behemoth limit) which ‘descend’ (similar to Stormcast 'zapping' down) within range of the ethergold terrain. The controlling player then gets to move them, and from that moment their movement follows the rules of predatory endless spells. They have a normal 'wounds and attack profile' (they have to killed, not unbound). They only move normally and can’t charge, but if they’re within 3 inches of a unit in the combat phase the players roll off and the winner must pile in with the beast and attack a unit of their choice (they can’t choose not to attack, so if the only thing in range is theirs, tough). I think all of that would make for a fun variation on the risky predatory spells mechanic, and with clever positioning by the KO player it could really pay off. In terms of WHAT the beasties could be, I defer to the format of an endless spells box (let’s say 1 centrepiece, 1 medium sized model and unit of 3 small things): A baby Megalofin. Much smaller than an adult leviathan, this shark-whale would still be on a 120mm oval and is of comparable bulk to a Frigate. This would be your 100pt monster. A Sky Serpent, as depicted in the above picture. On a 90mm oval, this is a fast, brittle, budget alternative to the Megalofin. The cheapest beastie. Three Lovecraftian jellyfish (inspired by the look of the Harkraken). They float together on 32mm rounds, and, while lacking raw CC power, could spew poisonous debuffs which paralyse their victims. The fact that all of these creatures lack riders or intricate adornment means that the lower quality plastic of endless spells could nonetheless do the model justice. The mass of these creatures means it would probably £5 – 10 more expensive than a normal Endless Spell box, but that’s a small sacrifice to get some truly impressive creatures (which I’m sure would be popular with non-Kharadon hobbyists too). TL;DR Release Size: Minimal New Battletome (with improved rules, better tacticians than me have suggested stuff) Ethergold Stratus (cloud terrain piece) Sky Bestiary (instead of the endless spells) Now, onto the rest of the Duardin… Battletome: Ancestral Holds I think there’s a case to be made for combining Fyreslayers and the Dispossessed as, unlike the KO, they share an allegiance to the ancestor gods. Please don’t put me in *the book* for this comparison, but I see parallels with how the Gloomspite Gitz tied in three distinct factions (Moonclan, Spiderfang and Troggoths) under the Bad Moon, but worship it in distinct permutations. Likewise, a proper Duardin release could incorporate the three ancestor gods: the Fyreslayers follow their shattered god Grimnir, the Dispossessed could be tied into Grungi’s domain by consolidating their Ironweld Arsenal contraptions and, to round it out, I advocate the return of presumed dead goddess Valaya as a third mini-faction. Let’s start with Fyreslayers. On their own, they lack a little in terms of unit diversity, but there’s plenty enough to them as the ‘Grimnir third’ of a mega-faction. Their current lore is interesting, and can only get more so if their independence is encroached upon by Grungni’s offer of alliance. Duardin pride and devotion to see the return of Grimnir would have them accept, but it invites an interesting angle of resentment between the followers of the two brothers, each more readily accepting the return of Valaya (once their wife, but in rebirth she becomes a more sovereign figure). So, anyway, Fyreslayers don’t need extra models, just rerelease the hero from Silver Tower and you’re golden. But if you were to release one new model, I hear that Ol' Gotrek is snocking around the lodge these days... Next up are the Dispossessed or, as I think they should be reimagined, Grungni's Folk. These traditionalist Duardin who have been driven from their ancestral lands embrace the grand return of their smith god, and venerate his old customs. their pre-AoS models are some of the best out around. To complement the regiments of heavily armoured Duardin warriors and war machines, I would suggest two additions: Grungi, The Smith (as seen on this novel cover). This is the flagship model, a literal god of craft. He’s made frequent appearances in the fiction, and he clearly feels conflicted about retreating from Duardin life to work with Sigmar so his return creates an interesting ‘redemption’ dyamic. Perhaps the sons of Grimnir are less forgiving of his absence. He has established size-changing powers, and so he could be a troll-sized figure atop a mobile foundry throwing mystical augmentations to his allies like it ain’t no thang. Runic Golems. The long-rumoured mechanical automatons would certainly fit with Grungi’s return. I’m thinking hard-as-nails machines the size of Kurnoth Hunters, fulfilling an elite bruiser role which the otherwise Duardin lack. This could very easily fit with the steam-punkaestheticc of the Gyrocopters or the Cogsmith.  Finally, we have The Cult of Valaya. Valaya was implied to have been devoured by Nagash during the End Times, but if you can’t think of a story excuse for her essence to escape Shyish and return to her people then you aren’t trying :P. Valaya is the god of healing and home, and she would be embraced by despondent Duardin searching to reclaim their ancestral sense of home and safety. Valaya’s devotees would wear religious garments instead of the Gromril of Grungni’s folk or the, erm, loincloths of Fyreslayers. Also, it’s an underrated fact that she was the god of alcohol, a rare angle for a female-coded god and something worth exploring. The slightest of the three factions, these are your ‘gap-fillers’: focused on buffs, healing abilities and providing attacks with rend. Oh, and we finally get female Duardin (not exclusively, but we follow the trend of mixed-gender units set by Deepkin or new Stormcast). Priestess of Valaya. She’s a powerful practitioner of Valaya’s prayers, the closest thing to magic Duardin get alongside Fyreslayer runes. Battle Surgeon. A more hands-on healer, this model is close-combat/support hybrid. Shrine of Valaya. This mobile platform pulls double duty: part holy clinic, part repository for fine alcohol. This could be a Magmadroth-like kit, where you get options for heroes that you can also assemble as infantry. Otherwise, you could make it a Cauldron of Blood style multi-kit, providing Grungni/Grimnir themed builds. Hearth Pilgrims. A mixed gender unit of pious monks, these are your alternative battleline slot. Faster than Grungni’s armoured folk, they provide valuable rend in their blessed maces, as well as the obligatory healing abilities. Though we don’t need ANOTHER infantry unit, there’s the option to have the pilgrims a dual kit for Ancestral Masons. These function in society as construction workers, but on the battlefield have a more direct combat role and perhaps the situational utility of being able to ‘demolish’ board terrain. Like the Gitz, I think the key is to imbue the three subfactions with a distinct identity (in aesthetics, theme and playstyle) while giving them a reason to be fielded together. Currently, the Fyreslayers excel at CC punch, and a new book would do well to give them movement abilities so that they are the 'fastest' of the Duardin armies. Grungni's Folk (the Dispossessed) should be the shooting mainstays, with high armour values to go along with it. The Cult of Shallaya, meanwhile, should dominate the field in terms of buffing auras and healing, exhibiting an 'anti-death army' playstyle which befits a god who has spent millennia enslaved by Nagash.  Lastly, you have the same problem as the KO: they don’t mess with magic. Perhaps, then, the best way of making use of that development team is by releasing not one but three terrain pieces, thus reinforcing the tripartite theming of the factions: a ruined cache of Ur-Gold for Fyreslayers, an ancient forge for Grungi’s Folk and a Duardin tomb for the Cult of Valaya (each bestowing their faction with particular buffs). It’s also an opportunity to emphasise slight tension between the Grimnir and Grungni: perhaps you cannot give Fyreslayer characters artefacts if you’ve deployed an Ancestral Forge. TL;DR Release size: Medium Battletome Ancestral Holds (combining Fyreslayers, Dispossessed/Grungi’s Folk and adding The Cult of Valaya) 2 new kits for Grungi’s Folk (Grungni, Golems) 4 kits for the new faction The Cult of Valaya ( Priestess, Surgeon, Shrine and Pilgrims) 3 bits of Terrain themed around the factions, possibly in one pack If you’ve read all that I’m flattered. Anyway, that’s how I’d approach ‘fixing’ the Duardin in AoS. I believe that, providing the quality of the release is good, Duardin fans would generally prefer a fix sooner than later and I think this wishlist/prediction is realistic in terms of scope and not an unreasonable direction for GW to take in terms of lore. Agree? Disagree?

Klamm

Klamm

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