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passtheKhorneplease

Slogging through the Realmgate Wars

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I haven't read the Realmgate wars books, but Warbeast actually convinced me to give AoS a go when I was still pretty sour about the death of WHFB. Since then Josh Reynolds' Eight Lamentations and Hallowed Knights books have really made me love the new setting. Overlords was really fun and currently reading Silver Shard which is great - I would love to see a fleshed out Scourge Privateer faction...

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The thing that sometimes gets me with BL books, and I find the stories involving Stormcast are often the worst for this, is when they drop in unit names, and the like, from the game.

rather than immersing me more it drags me back to the reality that I live in an actual world where people like Borges, Pynchon, Cervantes exist and I’m reading fiction about toy soldiers.

its right up there with the dumb character names that I assume are randomly generated from some D100 table.

Mildly annoying as a lot of the books aren’t BAD at all but even when done well it can sometimes feel like reading a fancy battle report.

 

 

There was a low distant rumble from the edge of the city as the forces of death laid siege to Doomspite’s walls. Ursus Hammerstorm, Lord Ordinator of the Hammers of Hammertown chamber, looked down in dismay as spectral limbs began to claw through the walls, a sickly pallid light leeching through the stone and mortar.

”Fall back,” he cried as the ancient sigils defending the palisade withered under the unholy assault. It was too late for the 2nd company though as the first Nighthaunt broke through, overrunning their position. Ursus looked on with mounting horror as ethereal claws punctured the armour of the freeguild soldiers draining the life from their bodies.

Ursus composed himself, should they survive there would be time for mourning the dead after the battle, now their task was to protect the living. The Lord Ordinator turned to the nearby Stormcast who were manning the Celestar Ballista, “Send them back to Nagash,” he commanded. 

Bolts of Azyr energy pummelled the advancing horde of Glaivewraith Stalkers. Reinforced by the presence of the Lord Ordinator the Celestar Ballista wrecked havoc, as each bolt slammed into the undead a chain of aetheric lightning leapt between the advancing horde, their shrouds erupting in corposent witch-flames.

With grim satisfaction Ursus watched as the insubstantial forces of Lady Olynder, Mortarch of Grief, fell back. He knew they would regroup and try again but for now the objective was safe and the forces of Order would secure a vital victory point.

Edited by JPjr
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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, JPjr said:

The thing that sometimes gets me with BL books, and I find the stories involving Stormcast are often the worst for this, is when they drop in unit names, and the like, from the game.

rather than immersing me more it drags me back to the reality that I live in an actual world where people like Borges, Pynchon, Cervantes exist and I’m reading fiction about toy soldiers.

its right up there with the dumb character names that I assume are randomly generated from some D100 table.

Mildly annoying as a lot of the books aren’t BAD at all but even when done well it can sometimes feel like reading a fancy battle report.

 

 

There was a low distant rumble from the edge of the city as the forces of death laid siege to Doomspite’s walls. Ursus Hammerstorm, Lord Ordinator of the Hammers of Hammertown chamber, looked down in dismay as spectral limbs began to claw through the walls, a sickly pallid light leeching through the stone and mortar.

”Fall back,” he cried as the ancient sigils defending the palisade withered under the unholy assault. It was too late for the 2nd company though as the first Nighthaunt broke through, overrunning their position. Ursus looked on mounting horror as ethereal claws punctured the armour of the freeguild soldiers draining the life from their bodies.

Ursus composed himself, should they survive there would be time for mourning the dead after the battle, now their task was to protect the living. The Lord Ordinator turned to the nearby Stormcast who were manning the Celestar Ballista, “Send them back to Nagash,” he commanded. 

Bolts of Azyr energy pummelled the advancing horde of Glaivewraith Stalkers. Reinforced by the presence of the Lord Ordinator the Celestar Ballista wrecked havoc, as each bolt slammed into the undead a chain of aetheric lightning leapt between the advancing horde, their shrouds erupting in corposent witch-flames.

With grim satisfaction Ursus watched as the insubstantial forces of Lady Olynder, Mortarch of Grief, fell back. He knew they would regroup and try again but for now the objective was safe and the forces of Order would secure a vital victory point.

Will they kind of have to drop in unit names from the game. Helps the reader to my opinion.

Edited by xking

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Sometimes I think the weakness isn't that they use the names from the models, but that they appear to make the assumption that readers are familiar with them or are going to check the website for a photo of them. Ergo they don't always describe and explain what we are seeing. In short stories that's acceptable because they've only got a short space to get the story in, but in novels I think it would be good to have more space dedicated to description of units and character as what they are not just with the assumption the reader is familiar with the army. 

 

Then again I suspect the bulk of BL sales are just to other games with only a few series (eg Horus Heresy) making it into semi-mainstream sales 

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5 minutes ago, Slayerofmen said:

Books 9 and 10 aren't bad and maybe book 3 from memory 

None of them are bad, they just aren't to everyone's taste it seems.  

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I enjoyed the Realmgate Wars series, would have liked it if theyd chronicled the whole series though. As it is, they novelise Mighty Battles, Search for Ghal Maraz and a bit of Balance of Power then just stop! Id love a trilogy about the All Gates wars, and more on Archaon like when he kills Vandus and his godbeast schemes. Everything else fleshes out the setting nicely, but i think the Realmgate Wars just missed out on being the narrative backbone of AoS.

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Had a bit of difficulty with Skaven Pestilens. I petered out about half way and gradually lost track of who was who. I might give it another go though.

City of Secrets is my favourite followed by Spear of Shadows. Reading Silver Shard at the moment and really enjoying it. Also listening to Soul Wars and am liking it too.

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On 3/7/2019 at 9:30 AM, Overread said:

Sometimes I think the weakness isn't that they use the names from the models, but that they appear to make the assumption that readers are familiar with them or are going to check the website for a photo of them. Ergo they don't always describe and explain what we are seeing. In short stories that's acceptable because they've only got a short space to get the story in, but in novels I think it would be good to have more space dedicated to description of units and character as what they are not just with the assumption the reader is familiar with the army. 

 

Then again I suspect the bulk of BL sales are just to other games with only a few series (eg Horus Heresy) making it into semi-mainstream sales 

Here's a 'how the sausage is made' moment:  A lot of this was due to us not knowing what the models looked like ourselves, at the time of writing. When that happens, it's just easier to gloss over it than to come up with a description that will inevitably get edited out due to not looking anything like the model in question. 

Black Rift was a bad one, because of that. I'd get just reams and reams of unit types with very little description and no pictures. And no one to answer my questions.  

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On 3/6/2019 at 8:41 PM, Overread said:

Aye I get the feeling that the authors are far more settled with it now than they were then. I think its easy to keep a book lock in a battle because you basically just go with the models and powers and you can leave out all the knitty-gritty bits of detail about the world and its peoples. I think with things like maps, time lines and a more formal understanding of the Realms and some limits on size and structure its starting to give the authors something more to work with that they can sink their teeth into and flesh out. 

The focus on battles was actually then-editorial fiat. The Realmgate Wars were meant to be novelisations of the campaign books, nothing more.  That's why there was a dearth of AoS fiction for a while - no one really wanted to write endless battle scenes.

When things calmed down a bit, the editorial team started to encourage more world-building, which led to City of Secrets, etc. 

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25 minutes ago, JReynolds said:

Black Rift was a bad one, because of that. I'd get just reams and reams of unit types with very little description and no pictures. And no one to answer my questions.  

That... that is crazy. Being a contrary sod who has never seen an act of professional self sabotage I haven't leapt two footed into I'd have probably done the opposite and created extravagant back stories for these units that would then cause endless wailing and gnashing of nerd teeth as they try to reconcile what is canon at terminally dull length for decades to come (or more likely just have my contract torn up, books cancelled and be black-listed forevermore).

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Just now, JPjr said:

That... that is crazy. Being a contrary sod who has never seen an act of professional self sabotage I haven't leapt two footed into I'd have probably done the opposite and created extravagant back stories for these units that would then cause endless wailing and gnashing of nerd teeth as they try to reconcile what is canon at terminally dull length for decades to come (or more likely just have my contract torn up, books cancelled and be black-listed forevermore).

Oh I've done that. Mentioning the Grand Theogonist in Spear of Shadows, for instance - that got me in trouble.  But we had ridiculous deadlines on the RGW stories, so there wasn't really time to come up with stuff.  At least on my part. 

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Thank you for commenting Mr. Reynolds and now I feel a bit bad for starting this thread because writing is very hard, the internet is merciless and fanboys tend to swing between uncomfortable adoration and Nicolas Cage levels of rage.  It does sound like editorial really tied your hands, and that is shame because the Realmgate Wars had great potential.  It is a shame they didn't create an epic origin story that really showed the realms and the major players on both sides.

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25 minutes ago, passtheKhorneplease said:

Thank you for commenting Mr. Reynolds and now I feel a bit bad for starting this thread because writing is very hard, the internet is merciless and fanboys tend to swing between uncomfortable adoration and Nicolas Cage levels of rage.  It does sound like editorial really tied your hands, and that is shame because the Realmgate Wars had great potential.  It is a shame they didn't create an epic origin story that really showed the realms and the major players on both sides.

Don't feel bad! Never feel bad for commenting on a work. Your opinion is as valid as anybody's. I just like to remind people that, at least in regards to tie-in fiction, there are reasons a book is written the way its written, and it might not have anything to do with the story itself. *

And it is a shame, but it's better now.  At least I like to think so. 

 

*I will maintain to my dying day that "Gates of Dawn" should have been a short story, and that "War in the Hidden Vale" should have been a full novel.  

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Oh yes they are much better.  I really enjoyed Hammerhall and just started Plague Garden.  I love Gardus.  You pull off the trick of making honest to goodness hero interesting to read about which is hard.  Bad guys are so much more dynamic, and you can do pretty much anything you want with them (make them more complicated than they first appear, have them sink lower etc.).  Real heroes need to have that moral center remain mostly intact and that is why their stories are often the heroe's journeys which is more the story of how they get to that moral center or become that hero.  I like Gardus because he struggles with that role, but at the same time it is so much who he is.  

Edited by passtheKhorneplease

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@JReynolds thanks for that info its very interesting to hear some of the behind the scenes to how the books get made. It surprises me that GW would be so tight lipped about things, then again I get the feeling that AoS launch was a display of almost insane levels of internal secret keeping within the company. I seem to recall that the FW team didn't even really know about it from what I recall being mentioned. 

To my eye its a display of how GW's iron fist on leaks can backfire on themselves and did so in terms of the quality of what could be produced by staff, such as writers, when they had tight deadlines but also a lack of info. It at least explains a lot, to me, about why the AoS launch felt so casual in terms of lore depth. 

 

 

I will agree things feel a lot better as a reader, the novels coming out now feel tighter, more restricted within the confines of the Realms and setting and like they are building into something. 

 

Out of interest how much do you liaise with the other writers? Is it encouraged that you share ideas and pool your lore revelations with each other; or are you more stuck out alone with no idea who might be writing what or when. I always had this image of the BL writers being rather a closed unit in terms of having at least access to detailed and comprehensive lore documents and sharing ideas across to help interconnect books and the world - though I get the feeling that it might be stating to happen now, but wasn't happening as much at the start? 

 

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37 minutes ago, Overread said:

@JReynoldsOut of interest how much do you liaise with the other writers? Is it encouraged that you share ideas and pool your lore revelations with each other; or are you more stuck out alone with no idea who might be writing what or when. I always had this image of the BL writers being rather a closed unit in terms of having at least access to detailed and comprehensive lore documents and sharing ideas across to help interconnect books and the world - though I get the feeling that it might be stating to happen now, but wasn't happening as much at the start? 

I liaise more with some than others. I talk frequently with David Guymer, C L Werner,  and David Annandale.  Not so frequently with anyone else, save at stuff like Black Library Live. 

We try to pool stuff when we can, when there's time to do so, but we (I) rarely have any idea what anyone else is writing at any given moment. Regarding the lore, some authors have better - or more regular access - to that stuff, because they used to work for the company, and know who to ask. For someone like me, who's never worked for GW save as a freelancer, it is (or was) often difficult to get more than the bare minimum. That is improving - for instance, I actually have access to all the battletomes that have been released now, which I did not before. So that's handy. 

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Seems kind of crazy to me that GW's writers would have to hunt and fight to find the information they'd need - esp considering how seriously they take their own setting and importance of Lore. One would think there'd just be one person who'd collate and compile the info and hand it out making sure authors were all on the same table in terms of what they knew - even for basics like the Battletome access and other important resources. Heck just getting authors to write a short summary of their stories (key characters - major events - land its set in - characters/races involved - time period*)

Esp since good books and lore and a story doesn't just sell books but armies too *says the person building a skaven army because of someone's book about rats attacking a giant walking city.....)

 

*this seems to be a real grey area with AoS at present. There's a rough order to the main story, but many of the support novels dont' really have a time period to slot into. I'd wager we'll get a few hundred years after the Realmgate wars though before GW might let the setting settle down and then establish some dates.

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21 minutes ago, JReynolds said:

liaise more with some than others. I talk frequently with David Guymer, C L Werner,  and David Annandale.  Not so frequently with anyone else, save at stuff like Black Library Live. 

We try to pool stuff when we can, when there's time to do so, but we (I) rarely have any idea what anyone else is writing at any given moment. Regarding the lore, some authors have better - or more regular access - to that stuff, because they used to work for the company, and know who to ask. For someone like me, who's never worked for GW save as a freelancer, it is (or was) often difficult to get more than the bare minimum. That is improving - for instance, I actually have access to all the battletomes that have been released now, which I did not before. So that's handy. 

Hm, I would have thought, that Nick Horth would be part of that namelist too. I mean, both of you used Excelsis as a location (you at least in Spear of Shadows, and Nick in City of Secrets and Silvershard). Or does this count to the part of "to pool stuff".

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10 minutes ago, EMMachine said:

Hm, I would have thought, that Nick Horth would be part of that namelist too. I mean, both of you used Excelsis as a location (you at least in Spear of Shadows, and Nick in City of Secrets and Silvershard). Or does this count to the part of "to pool stuff".

I don't actually know Nick Horth. I used Excelsis because I was asked to use it by the editors. Though I did follow on from City of Secrets when describing it. 

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@JReynolds out of interest how's it been working on the AOS RPG? has that helped with fleshing out the world in your head and inspiring your fiction?

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6 minutes ago, JReynolds said:

I don't actually know Nick Horth. I used Excelsis because I was asked to use it by the editors. Though I did follow on from City of Secrets when describing it. 

Okay, I actually had the intention to ask on Twitter which story is first in the timeline (Spear of Shadows or City of Secrets), but actually never did it. So "the great Exodus" (or how it is called in the english version, because I only have the german translation of these stories) is your mentioning of what happend in City of Secrets?

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51 minutes ago, EMMachine said:

Okay, I actually had the intention to ask on Twitter which story is first in the timeline (Spear of Shadows or City of Secrets), but actually never did it. So "the great Exodus" (or how it is called in the english version, because I only have the german translation of these stories) is your mentioning of what happend in City of Secrets?

The Great Exodus refers to the retreat into Azyr, before Sigmar sealed his realm off.  I do refer to the events from City of Secrets, but only obliquely. 

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Thanks for popping into the thread @JReynolds. It does feel like the Black Library management have learnt from their mistakes. Soul wars and Dark Imperium are the kinds of tie ins I like to read. It feels like you and Guy Haley were given a lot more freedom than in the realmgate wars. 

 

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1 hour ago, JPjr said:

@JReynolds out of interest how's it been working on the AOS RPG? has that helped with fleshing out the world in your head and inspiring your fiction?

It's been a lot of fun! And it has, actually. I've gotten to think more about the connections between the realms and the societies in them, which is no bad thing.  I'm hoping they let me do more, in the future. 

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