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Icegoat

Stormcast should lose their immortality

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I've been listening to a lot of the audiobooks of stormcast lately having read the majority of non stormcast aos books and these guys really need some stakes. The fact they cant die begins to bear down  on the reader as you make your way through the books. Like a couple are captured or trapped and basically all the stormcast cry about it because of how sad it is.

But that's not interesting I mean space marines die. Grots die. Aelfs die. The  whole Losing their personality seems to make them better soldiers and less human. So what? surely that is absolutely ideal for waging war against innumerable hordes of madmen.  Sigmar should be delighted. They need to lose the immortality completely even fighting them on the tabletop its hollow because of this. The legions of death with their grinding inexorable undeath are a classic trope having them fighting unearthly godlike sigmarines means realistically sigmar wouldve already won. Stormcast need to be bought down. They just dont fit age of sigmar anymore as they currently are.

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Once you leave the somewhat "Mary Sue" Realmgate Wars stories things start to improve. Realmgate Wars were not the best, they were made as campaign books to go in campaign books and were released at teh very start of the game when AoS was brand new. They focused on the Stormcast (poster army of the game) and were mostly about the legions bashing back Chaos from the nearly corrupted realms. The fact that Stormcast can march for days without much need of rest, food or water; that they can eat and drink most things; that they can climb mountains and have energy at the end to fight several battles all without rest etc... These can all make them seem rather boring.

 

 

However. As things have gone on we have started to see problems with them. Sure they are immortal, but their memories are not immortal, only their bodies. A Stormcast reforged might remember all of their past or only some; they might recall everything as a stormcast in detail but not their once living self; or it might be the other way around. It's fearsome because as they forget more of themselves each time then they are in as sense a new person each and every time. This scares most Stormcast because whilst their "body" is reforged, their mind is not. Death can well be the end of a Stormcast as a personality and person. 

 

Furthermore the more they are reforged (and now that they've been fighting a while the forces agaisnt them have a better understanding of how to kill them) the more it chips away at them. Leaving less and less of a person and more of a machine driven by Sigmar's will and hatred of Chaos. Indeed they've conducted purges on the populations of the Cities; they've done evil things in the name of defeating Chaos. The more they are reforged the more zealous they become, the more they lose their sense of individuality; the more they disassociate with the people of the Realms. 

 

Stormcast are not good, they are simply the greatest force against Chaos. This takes some getting used too as readers and writers and the stories we get now are far improved. All we really need is a better sense of geography and also time in the setting and things would improve dramatically. 

Stormcast are set to fall from grace very easily. I can see points in the future where the Cities of Sigmar and the Free Peoples of the Realms might turn on the Stormcast even though they are the very agents of their god. 

 

If anything the immortality is their greatest weakness. Any faults they have are preserved; any errors kept any issues amplified. The suggestion that reforging strips away more and more of them each time a suggestion that eventually there might well come a time when Sigmar has to abandon them and not reforge them least they are too broken. Or perhaps he will keep reforging even if his Stormcast might crack and fall from grace entirely. One of the Inferno short stories already shows a Stormcast who has abandoned Sigmar and its suggested that in that act Sigmar also abandons him. 

 

 

The main issue with Stormcast is in the long term they'd overpopulate because of continual recruitment and immortality. That said I'd wager DEATH is a far bigger questionmark over that. The Realm of Death - the very place that all the dead go - is vastly more populated (there's no filter) and yet it seems that the only afterlife that might resist Nagash is the Skaven one - all others appear to cave to his will and armies. Nagash has a true everlasting and ever growing legion. This isn't like Hade's lording over souls; Nagash is weaponising the souls and the bodies and the bones into legion after legion. All other realms feed his and even if Chaos corrupts some, Nagash is still getting a lions share of souls and bodies and bones to build from. Now there is a huge ever growing legion where you can't just stem the tide of recruitment. Of course his recent Black Pyramid plan, which broke, has created an almost black hole creation at the centre - something that consumes all and takes it beyond any of the Gods reach. 

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Posted (edited)

 well I fear that's the problem there are too many of them the only solution I imaging is they shouldn't be an army of themselves but instead be an elite inside an army of Common men so that their flawed immortality could stand better. as they are now they just seems like a broken unit spammed over and over and they lose credibility. 

Edited by Daniel saxcloud
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It is always hard to discern how many there are meant to be but their numbers must be pretty vast. The mortal realms are meant to be gigantic and yet in almost every aos story there will be a stormcast somewhere in there. Everyone has heard of them they seem to be a very large force which is constantly expanding.  And the whole not dying thing means eventually they would grind death down. And would exist in empty realms Immortal ever living robots.

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Could be interesting if a major lore event leads to them losing their connection to Azyr (either temporarily or permanently). I'd like to see something like that explored if we ever get Gordrakk crushing his way into Azyr.

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50 minutes ago, Oceanic_Eyes said:

Could be interesting if a major lore event leads to them losing their connection to Azyr (either temporarily or permanently). I'd like to see something like that explored if we ever get Gordrakk crushing his way into Azyr.

This has happened even in the Realmwars - in fact Chaos mages were able to intercept the spirit energy and use it for their own ends. However the energy itself was not corrupted, simply used to be drained to provide raw power. So when the device was destroyed the souls were released to Sigmar once again. That said there are certainly more than a few ways to block their return to Sigmar. 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, the immortality is not perfect. Chaos has found many ways to lock their souls away with Nagash now also having those tools.

Edit: Heck, Lord-relictors were needed in the Age of Chaos just to stop the threat of daemons eating their souls on route to Azyr. Reforging and immortality just gives Stormcast a fighting chance vs all of Chaos' insanity.

But otherwise gigantic no on them losing it. Having characters and armies of Einherjars that can keep coming back, with a few consequences ala Dark Souls hollowing,  is a big mix of badass, unique  and a good safety net for narrative minded players who'd hate to permanently lose a character.

Plus the immortality and agelessness of Stormcast and their god-empowered allies is what allows the setting to move forward decades to centuries without iconic leaders dying of old age as major events occur in a natural fashion. It's already been a few centuries between 2016's Age of Hope and 2018's Malign Portents.

As is the Stormcast are in a good lore balance of being demigod enough to survive the ages but still vulnerable to the endless threats out there haunting the realms and claiming their very souls.

 

Quote:

"Everyone has heard of them they seem to be a very large force which is constantly expanding.  And the whole not dying thing means eventually they would grind death down. And would exist in empty realms Immortal ever living robots. "

Not everyone,  the realms are so near endless there are some cities where they're barely myths.

And the God-king only takes the strong willed into their ranks for his paladins. Worrying about everyone becoming Stormcast is like worrying a king will knight all his people and leave no working class.

Edited by Baron Klatz
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What can be confusing, because there's no dates, is that the Age of Sigmar appears to already be several hundred years old already. There are settlements well within the boarders of the freed lands where Stormcast and the Realmwars are myth. Lands that don't suffer the full influence of Chaos and for whom the Age of Chaos is a nightmare told at night to scare children. 

Vast cities have also arisen where people are born and die, even aelves, without ever having seen the Age of Chaos or hint of the dark powers. Meanwhile vast fleets of ships and carts travel back and forth in trade within the realm and between the realms. 

 

So several hundred years have already passed, enough time for generations to forget the corruption of Chaos. Yes the front line is ever moving and there is still a VERY long way to go before all is won. Indeed Chaos still rules the vast majority of the realms; the vast majority of humans are still wild-peoples either slaved to chaos or under the throws/influences of its demons posing as gods and religions. 

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I think the op must be a Stormcast as they seem to have lost their soul. The tragedy of the Stormcast is that they aren't simply losing their personalities, they are losing everything that makes them human. 

They are all suffering from something akin to Alzheimers. Read what Terry Pratchett said about it. He made a documentary about people choosing death rather face the slow erosion of humanity that the disease brings. 

There really can't be any bigger stakes than this. 

As for the size of the Stormcast army. There is one anvil of apotheosis. The reforging is not a fast process. The malign portents story "the price of apotheosis" hints at this. The six Smiths are essentially conducting surgery on the soul of the Stormcast. It is not unreasonable to assume that the process can take hours. 

In the world a human dies about every two seconds. If we assume each realm is about earth size, than about 100,000 souls are sent to Nagash for every Stormcast that is reforged. 

This reforging time puts a hard cap on the possibile size of the Stormcast armies. If we assume that one Stormcast is reforged per hour that's 720 Stormcast a month. So if more than that are killed and sent for reforging then the army will not be able to be replenished. In the soul wars novel this exact problem is described. In fact a lightning gheist causes the whole process to be stopped for a time. 

All this goes to show that the idea of everyone in the mortal realms becoming a Stormcast is nonsense given the established framework of the lore. 

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Posted (edited)

Plus the fact that it's somewhat rare for an average Stormcast to be reforged more than 3-4 times. The more they get reforged the more strain it has on the soul. Most souls break after so many times and have to be put to rest. That is why the God-king seeks out willpower above all else for his celestial champions, be they farmer or king, so the few can be reforged more and become either paladins of pure order* or lightning golems of wrath.

A regular person's soul lacking conviction or determination wouldn't make it through the horrifying pain of reforging in the first place. So not everyone could be immortal anyway.

Might as well ask Chaos to just dump all their blessings on every follower and make everything immortal chaos knights. Most would just pop into spawn due to their own weak wills.

*There are cases of Stormcast leaders gone through uncountable reforgings but still charismatic and just. They lose their memories and origins instead so all they know is they've always been a Azyrian paladin.

Edited by Baron Klatz

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Posted (edited)

I personally feel the existential dread of loosing your humanity for eternity is much more terrifying than death.  On the one hand it seems heroic to sacrifice so much in the face of Chaos, but on the other hand I feel like I would rather follow the gods that let me retain some aspect of myself... before turning into a spawn... 

Never mind I am just going to follow Gorkamorka! 

Edited by Neverchosen
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Ooo, good thread @Icegoat! I think this is a very fair question and this could indeed happen, certainly if Nagash gets his way. 

3 hours ago, Chikout said:

I think the op must be a Stormcast as they seem to have lost their soul. The tragedy of the Stormcast is that they aren't simply losing their personalities, they are losing everything that makes them human. 

Yes, the reforging is not without great cost. The death of a Stormcast is to an extent narratively equivalent to the hero who is gravely injured then recovers but is irrevocably changed. The strongest argument for the status quo for me is that it feels like the Soul Wars is just scratching the dramatic surface of the interesting idea of reforging. 

There are also a weapons out there that can permanently put down a Stormcast, if that needs to happen then it can already.

 

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Strongly disagree, immortality is part of what makes the faction, the faction. As someone who loved stormcast faction and lore from the very beginning. I don't want any more GrimDerp in my faction.

The reforging flaw is reducing stormcast to being mindless automatons. Soon the hammers of sigmar will  not be acting like they should. Ironic, I remember when people thought they were just suits of armor.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, xking said:

Strongly disagree, immortality is part of what makes the faction, the faction. As someone who loved stormcast faction and lore from the very beginning. I don't want any more GrimDerp in my faction.

The reforging flaw is reducing stormcast to being mindless automatons. Soon the hammers of sigmar will  not be acting like they should. Ironic, I remember when people thought they were just suits of armor.

As long as the Immortality stuff doesn’t end with we can not die and we win every time, I’m fine with it.

 

Edited by Skreech Verminking

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14 minutes ago, Skreech Verminking said:

As long as the Immortality stuff doesn’t end with we can not die and we win every time, I’m fine with it.

 

They don't win all the time, especially when chaos controls like 95% of the realms. And all of order being so heavily outnumbered. And I'm not including death or destruction in that.

 

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3 minutes ago, xking said:

They don't win all the time, especially when chaos controls like 95% of the realms. And all of order being so heavily outnumbered. And I'm not including death or destruction in that.

 

You must have mist the beginning of aos.

that time was pretty much like yeah nothing beats the stormcast.

thankfully those horribles times are over

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It was pretty back and forth once the initial surprise was over(which they had banked on to make their storm strikes so effective to prevent chaos overwhelming them) halfway through the Realmgate Wars.

Heck even before that the Stormcasts had it rough by the second book "Warstorm" and then "Hammers of Sigmar" are full of grim situations that see the Stormcasts new to battle get ambushed several times and either panic fire into their own troops or a lord-celestant get his eye gouged out by a Khornite while his soldiers got pulled into orbit by a Aqshy moon. Nevermind how many Khul's soul destroying sword sent screaming into the chaos realm or how many committed suicide by closing chaos gates on the bad side where they were cut off from Azyr.

That was a big reason they needed reforging. The huge casualty rates the brutal baptism by fire trying to retake the Realmgates caused.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Skreech Verminking said:

You must have mist the beginning of aos.

that time was pretty much like yeah nothing beats the stormcast.

thankfully those horribles times are over

Are you telling me that an army created  specifically to counteract chaos and had the advantage of rapid surprise attacks was doing well.

I have read all of the beginning AoS stuff, and stormcast even then were not invincible. I mean in the very first book a stormcast gets permanently killed.

Edited by xking
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One aspect we've yet to really see explored is the idea of an ever expanding front line; the mostly circular nature of the realms and the fact that most invasions started around the central regions means that for every foot they take; they expand their front line outward. This means they could reach a point where stormcast don't have enough numbers to continue expansion. There's also the issue that, right now, they can advance really fast. They are designed to operate without support trains slowing them down.

However this also means that they can advance far into chaos corrupted land. We've seen that cleansing corruption takes time and a serious investment - up to blood magics (dancers on bloody feet dancing during rites so cleans the soil). This creates a situation where the stormcast might well retake vast swathes of land that the religious orders can't cleans fast enough - creating either a situation where stormcast are chomping at the bit angry that they have to hold the line waiting for generations to catch up; or where they are retaking land so fast that chaos corruption spreads in their wake as forces behind them have to contend with corrupted land that infects them. 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Overread said:

One aspect we've yet to really see explored is the idea of an ever expanding front line; the mostly circular nature of the realms and the fact that most invasions started around the central regions means that for every foot they take; they expand their front line outward. This means they could reach a point where stormcast don't have enough numbers to continue expansion. There's also the issue that, right now, they can advance really fast. They are designed to operate without support trains slowing them down.

However this also means that they can advance far into chaos corrupted land. We've seen that cleansing corruption takes time and a serious investment - up to blood magics (dancers on bloody feet dancing during rites so cleans the soil). This creates a situation where the stormcast might well retake vast swathes of land that the religious orders can't cleans fast enough - creating either a situation where stormcast are chomping at the bit angry that they have to hold the line waiting for generations to catch up; or where they are retaking land so fast that chaos corruption spreads in their wake as forces behind them have to contend with corrupted land that infects them. 

Stormcast are not the only order forces that contributed to the expansion of order.  Also sigmar isn't trying to expand that fast, he seems content to expand slowly through the use of fortified settlements. 

Also remember it's just not the devoted of sigmar that contribute to the cleansing of land, the sylvaneth, the collegiate arcane, the Eldridge council, and The wanderers. All contribute to the cleansing of lands in their own ways.

Edited by xking
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, xking said:

Are you telling me that an army created  specifically to counteract chaos and had the advantage of rapid surprise attacks was doing well.

I have read all of the beginning AoS stuff, and stormcast even then were not invincible. I mean in the very first book a stormcast gets permanently killed.

Not really at the beginning, when sigmar made the stormcast the stories more then often started with them taking back most things, With most plan working as written

I really disliked the way how stormcast were described back then.

Edut: but then again I wasn’t much of a fan of the lore back than either, since it was mostly just describing stormcast, doing this and that, and chaos loosing more and more.

I kinda mist the part of how the world worked, how other faction fight and die.

how some plans just failed inexplicably badly, or how a cunning warlord just outsmarted everybody.

thankfully we seem to be getting lots of books that have more then just stormcast stories in it these days

Edited by Skreech Verminking

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The more new factions released the larger the world becomes but also the amount of area chaos actually claims must surely get smaller. How much of the teclis nations is claimed by chaos cos that's half of hysh they dont have at least.  Chaos is competing with grots, orruks, ogors, giant order cities, advanced aelves, the entirety of the undead which would never stop expanding, sky dwarves, fire dwarves, sea aelves, forest spirits and each other and an army of golden giant warriors designed and used specifically to kill them who are immortal. This idea they still rule 95% of the realms is starting to sound pretty foolish to me. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Skreech Verminking said:

You must have mist the beginning of aos.

that time was pretty much like yeah nothing beats the stormcast.

thankfully those horribles times are over

They certainly did not win all of their battles.  If anything, the authors in the Realmgate Wars made Stormcast far more human (and, I think, more interesting) than Space Marines.  Don't forget:

1. Tarsus Bullheart and the Hallowed Knights failed in their quest to bring Nagash into Sigmar's new alliance.  He failed so badly his soul was consumed by Nagash and lost forever.

2. Upon arriving in Ghyran, the Hallowed knights are so mentally assaulted by the Beastmen's Dirgehorn that some of  them literally walk out into the swamp and commit suicide by drowning rather than complete their quest.  (This is one of my favorite parts of the Realmgate Wars and one of the main reasons why Stormcast are more interesting than Space Marine, in my opinion).

3. Lord Celestant Jactos Goldenmane was seemingly killed by Korghus Khul's Reality Splitting Axe during the initial assault on the Brimstone Pennisula, the opening battle of the Realmgate Wars. I say "seemingly" because Khul killed him but Jactos' head did not return to Azyr after he died.  Instead Khul intended to place his skull on top of his skull pyramid in order to ascend to daemonhood.

4. Thostos Bladestorm's fight against Archaon at the Mercurial Gate ended with the Stormcast's soul devoured and destroyed by Dorghar.

5. Archaon's first appearance in the Realmgate Wars was at the Battle of Mount Kronus where he faced Vandus Hammerhead and the Hammers of Sigmar and summarily whooped all their butts in short order.  No contest. 

And those are just examples from the Realmgate Wars!  There are plenty of ways to permanently kill Stormcast in the lore.  Combined with the fact that people with the will power to become Stormcast are very rare, I wouldn't worry about Stormcast overpopulation just yet, Malthus.

Edited by Kamose
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Its also good to remember that Sigmar's goal was the recapture the main realmgates in each realm.  Here's a summary of how that went:

Azyr: Homebase.  WOOT! 🎉

Fire: Captured by Sigmar! WOOT! 🎉

Life: Captured by Alarielle; eh, close enough. 🎉

Metal: Held by Chaos 😭

Death: Held by Chaos 😭

Light: Unknown 🤷‍♂️

Shadow: Unknown 🤷‍♀️

Beasts: Retaken by Shai Hulud, the mighty sandworm of Ghur (who builds a realmgate in a giant worm's belly?) 🐛

So, all in all, Sigmar is currently winning???  Kinda...  If you squint hard and turn your head... 🤷‍♂️

 

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