I made a post in the forum thread recently, that I felt really articulated my own fascination with the fluff side of the Age of Sigmar and the Mortal Realms in which it is set. So I thought I'd rework it a bit, and put it up on my blog as well. Let's be honest, I'm in a bit of hobby slump at the moment (I've been playing too much WoW), so at the moment, my thoughts are all I have to offer the community at large.
What follows is an edited version of my original post. So, if you've read that post already, I apologize if it is slightly redundant.
As Age of Sigmar grows and progresses, what I'd really like to see if for it to remain a fluid setting. One of the major issues I had with WHFB was how stagnant the world was... Don't get me wrong, I like 40k, and until recently, it's been pretty stagnant too. I had other issues with The Old World as well, but I'm not going to go into that now. I know it has it's adherents, and I have no interest in stepping on their fun. Anyway, In AoS I'd like to see major characters rise and fall, factions shift over time, and maybe even changes to the Grand Alliances. A living setting would benefit the game greatly, and so far, that seems to me that this is what GW is doing anyway. I mean we've already seen a Nurgle general go over to the Stormcast, and we can only begin to hypothesize what the end result of multiple reforging will be on the Stormcast. It seems each reforging also purifies the soul of the Stormcast who goes through it. By that I mean, that their core trait, whatever that may be, begins to dominate their personality. The things that may have moderated that, their previous memories, become harder and harder to access, and what's remains is their core, or perhaps their soul. Be it for good or bad.
I feel like one of the defining characteristics of the setting is the feeling of potential and vastness. There is no indication of how big individual realms are. It appears in the fluff, that each realm may even contain multiple planets (or maybe even entire star systems), and they certainly contain any number of pocket realms. In any case, what we do know is that the realms are vast, and even an individual realm can encompass a multitude of different takes on the realms theme.
Ultimately, that makes me feel like there can be any number of factions/races/organizations/etc. that could exist in the realms, and that even though a specific faction, such as Sylvaneth seem to have a 'home' Realm, Ghyran, there could be any number of versions of Sylvaneth living in all of the realms, and taking on the aspects of that realm. Personally, If i did Sylvaneth, they would come from Shysh, and lean toward the end of the life cycle in appearance. I've already considered modeling an undead Treelord, though I'm uncertain what warscroll I'd apply to it or how to create a balanced custom warscroll for use in friendly play. I feel like all of the factions that are a part of AoS add to the feeling of vastness in the realms. They could be from anywhere, each could be used to create many different sub-sub factions. This makes modeling and painting possibilities endless. You want your Sylvaneth to have blue, orange, or plaid bark... Ok! (Any plaid Sylvaneth inspired by this line must include bagpipes in some way.) Go for it! It's possible. Zombie Gargants! Why the hell not!
To me, the themes and feel of AoS comes from conflict. The Grand Alliances, realms, factions, races, etc. just provide the framework in which the conflicts take place. GA's representing various 'truths or forces' within existence/or mortal life, that are all present in our own lives, with the moral values removed. Order, Chaos, Death, Destruction. Each could be good or evil, depending on how they are moderated, but none of them are good or evil in their purest forms. Although, personally, if I were to have formed the Grand Alliances myself, I may have only gone with Order and Chaos. To me Death and Destruction, though they are my two favorite GA's, would fit better as aspects of both Order and Chaos. As they are now, I feel that Death could really be Order carried out to it's ultimate failing, but it also fits well with Chaos as death most certainly can be random in it's application. Killing those who should not die, and allowing to live those whose time should have been up many years (centuries, millenia...) ago. Destruction is the same imo. Destruction on behalf of Order would be the razing of incongruous growth or natural formations, to make way for the pure. For Chaos, it's just a part of the cycle. Chaos is so many things. Good and bad. Without chaos, there is no change, nothing new. Things are built, and as a part of Chaos, destroyed. No reason needed. So much like concepts of Good and Evil, Death and Destruction fit neatly into Order and Chaos.
This in fact, has been at the root of one of my pet theories regarding the Tomb Kings. That they will return, but rather than as a part of GA Death, which is ruled by Settra's Arch Enemy, they will return as a part of Order. What are the Tomb Kings, if not orderly? Everything and everyone has their place in the Tomb Kings world.
At the end of the day, I think we all (if somewhat pridefully) are here because we hope to participate and have an impact on this community. For my part, I would love it if this post becomes a bit the philosophy behind the game and how we all (especially GW) approach it, but I also don't want to fool myself into believing that I am some genius who knows exactly what AoS should be, or how everyone should play it. So, if you find yourself reading this, let me know what you think... What do you like? Have I said anything that would ruin the game for you? Does any of this resonate with the way you see our game?
In them meantime, this is all Head Cannon.
Here is the thread where the original post appeared, in case you are interested.