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I genuinely WANT to like the setting


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My main problem with AoS has always been the lore. I love the gameplay! Many units/models are really cool -  not everything is perfect ofc, but in general there are many armies I really vibe with. 
But Ive never been able to shake that feeling of the lore and setting just being thrown together as an "experiment" to see if it would sell. WHFB was uninspired in many ways no doubt (I mean the world map is pretty much earth with each corresponding culture in their places) but it had a more grounded feeling and events/actions had weight and meaning. 


I stumbled on this video and the man said pretty much my every thought on the setting. 
I feel kinda depressed because I WANT to like the setting because it has so much potential, but currently it just feels thrown together with minimal effort so we have something at least to throw dice within (basically what he says in the vid). 
However, Im now looking for any information that would change my mind. Is he right about what hes saying in the video? If not, please help me see why I should care about AoS, because I really, really want to.

Cheers!

The vid:

 

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I had to check the age on that video as that's basically the view that was around when AoS 1 launched (especially as he uses the art work from the first boxset) but it's night and day compared to how it was when it launched. 

You should check out https://www.youtube.com/@2Tough, he covers AoS in a positive way, talking through the lore for all the factions and will show how it's expanded since the start.

Edited by SunStorm
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2 hours ago, SunStorm said:

 

I had to check the age on that video as that's basically the view that was around when AoS 1 launched (especially as he uses the art work from the first boxset) but it's night and day compared to how it was when it launched. 

You should check out https://www.youtube.com/@2Tough, he covers AoS in a positive way, talking through the lore for all the factions and will show how it's expanded since the start.

Seriously! I thought this video was several years old because so many of the complaints were super outdated. And because his solutions were mostly "Let's make the Mortal Realms setting more like it actually is instead of the version I built up in my head and don't like." as well as " Let's do the plot of 2nd edition again."

I'll probably write a larger post later, but this video is not a fair representation of the AoS setting, or even an up-to-date but biased one. @Kosmion, for your question, I recommend you check out the Soulbound books if you have a chance. Because they contain a lot of the info on everyday life in the Realms that is missing from the AoS rulebooks for a lot of people and is frequently brought up in relation to why The Old World was superior.

Edited by Neil Arthur Hotep
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2 hours ago, Kosmion said:

My main problem with AoS has always been the lore. I love the gameplay! Many units/models are really cool -  not everything is perfect ofc, but in general there are many armies I really vibe with. 
But Ive never been able to shake that feeling of the lore and setting just being thrown together as an "experiment" to see if it would sell. WHFB was uninspired in many ways no doubt (I mean the world map is pretty much earth with each corresponding culture in their places) but it had a more grounded feeling and events/actions had weight and meaning. 


I stumbled on this video and the man said pretty much my every thought on the setting. 
I feel kinda depressed because I WANT to like the setting because it has so much potential, but currently it just feels thrown together with minimal effort so we have something at least to throw dice within (basically what he says in the vid). 
However, Im now looking for any information that would change my mind. Is he right about what hes saying in the video? If not, please help me see why I should care about AoS, because I really, really want to.

Cheers!

The vid:

 

Honestly I feel the same way. Been trying to read new lore, old lore, books, WD excerpts codices - and just couldn't get to care for the setting (I've got a lot of things I don't like, but the main thing for me is, when everything is super magical and what not, it really feels like an endless stream of "my dad is stronger than your dad" arguments).

However.

The new Lizards revamp finally got me invested in the game (tried to buy in two times beforehand), and maybe my experience will be helpful to you.

As you mentioned, the new Lizard models (in my case) are everything I wished them to be and more (they were my first Warhammer army back in the day), and I've simply come to terms that I can just not read the fluff and enjoy painting great models and playing with friends instead.

Another main motivator is that my closest circle of hobby friends all switched from 40k to AoS recently, so I'm diving in also because I'll continue sharing the good hobby times with them.

Tldr; I think you don't have to like the lore if you feel the other pros are worth it in your case - such as the rewarding hobby projects and gaming experiences that the game offers.

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Yeah I saw that video. A lot of it is either out of date or simply wrong. The realms aren't infinite. Gods can't simply make land to control. He says GW copied the Indomitus crusade for AoS which isn't possible as AoS came out before 8th edition. AoS has had more significant character deaths than 40k or Fantasy (end times aside). The plot has moved forward in significant ways. A lot of the rules of the setting have now been laid out like Aqua Ghyranis being the universal currency. 

 

Overall the setting is heavily inspired by the nine realms of Norse Mythology. Hel is the realm of Death. Jotunheim is the realm of beasts. Muspelheim is the realm of fire etc. The center of each realm is relatively normal with magic taking control towards the realms edge, except in the case of the realm of Death where Nagash inverted it which is so far the key example of an event which happened after the launch of the game and fundamentally altered the nature of the setting. 

A big problem with the old world was that there wasn't room for events with real stakes to take place. The game was locked into a specific year with Karl Franz on the throne. Until the end times shook things up, playing games in the old world always felt like watching an episode of the Simpsons.  At the end of a huge campaign Karl Franz was always back on the throne and the balance between the factions was always restored. 

AoS doesn't fully fill in it's maps on purpose as it gives players to create their own corners of the setting which can have whatever consequences the player wants. It's much closer to DnD than old Warhammer. Thondia which is mapped out in full is the equivalent of somewhere like Faerun in DnD. 

I understand that some people want a fully filled in and explained setting but to me that's a little boring. I like the room for imagination that AoS gives you. 

 

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I generally liked Northern Exile in the past when he was just sharing his blueshirt horror stories, but he seems to have followed Outer Circle and others in trying to turn ragebait videos into a day-job. Simultaneously despising anything and everything to do with GW but being unable to move onto a game they might actually enjoy seems to be increasingly prevalent. 

Him using almost entirely 1.0 art assets isn't helping his case, when this video seems to be more about pandering to the "yeah ****** AoS!" 40k viewers more than anything else. As somebody also disliked almost all of 1.0's lore, these days I find AoS has a far better 'metaplot' going for it than the painful predictability of 40k. The worldbuilding is improving as well, even if it's not quite 'there' yet for everybody, but we're a good distance out of the quagmire that was 1.0 and the Realmgate Wars.

 

 

Edited by Clan's Cynic
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Just want to add that AoS is still a relatively young game compared to 40k or games like dnd or pathfinder or even whfb for that matter. I think 10 years from now the mortal realms wil be full of flavour. I think that things are heading in the right direction. Soulbound helps a lot and this edition really helps paint a clear picture about Ghur. AoS lore is by no means boring, just a bit hard to find sometimes.

Edit: 40k has been stale for me for a while now. I also dont like the heavy focus on primarchs every chance they get. 

Edited by Gitzdee
Lots of typos
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You cant fall in love for a setting like when you were younger.

When I read about the new aos factions, or recently about HH's legions,s I notice that, although I find many of them cool, I can't feel the awe, the "THIS must bemy faction" feeling I experienced when I discovered warhammer fantasy. And I realized that it isn't the fault of the setting, it's just that I've changed. Maybe your issue is the same?

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Someone tried to show me that video before but I bailed after the first minutes and reading the ignorant comments.

Going by AoS off that vid is legitimately like watching a “Why Warhammer Fantasy ripped off Tolkien!” that complains about it’s early editions when it started as just an excuse for people to play with their excess DND models while completely ignoring everything that came after 4th edition and it growing into it’s own thing. 
 

I already gave you a ton of sources to watch and jump into regarding how absolutely amazing Age of Sigmar’s lore is and how far it’s come so I’m not wasting another hour-and-a-half on that.

I suggest just playing around with narratives in small games, browsing the lexicanum or reading posts on r/AoSLore. It doesn’t have to be the setting as a whole that hooks you, like very few people jump into a setting because of it’s universe but because they saw something or someone they thought was really cool, when it’s the details that can flair up your enjoyment of it.

Like this thread is a fun one that I noticed had a few people come around on AoS because it presents some cool lore bits like humans in the Death-ruled city of Ulfenkarn paying greenskins as bouncers(and even grots as door openers) as vampires hate the taste of their blood and they don’t easily go down in a fight so will usually leave those places alone.

 

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Exile gave credit to the setting as a giant sandbox: We can write the story we want and it can still be there due to the scope of the realm. He also mentioned that because of that, we don't always get the clearest defined setting.

The Quest for Ghal Maraz was a mixed start. Introducing the world and its stakes is hard enough. Add in nigh-unbeatable immortal good guys will double that. "They're not immortal, they face consequences for reforging" Yea, this isn't really the case because very few victories get turned into defeats.    

Malign Portents wasn't bad, but a bit much of a tribute to the Old World. Broken Realms was a really good escalation of the story, but probably ruined too many established locales. I've heard some good things about Thondia, but haven't read it myself, and I haven't heard there is a lot of plot movement from it. Otherwise, the story only really moves forward in the last fluff paragraph in every Battletome. 

Those are the two problems: The story doesn't usually move very fast, and when it does, there are only a few people who talk about it (aforementioned 2+Tough).

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3 hours ago, Fairbanks said:

and I haven't heard there is a lot of plot movement from it. Otherwise, the story only really moves forward in the last fluff paragraph in every Battletome. 

Tbf, in tabletop hobby terms a “page turn” of moving story per every few months is actually pretty fast.

Look at how many people still think the Soul Wars & Wrath of the Everchosen with Death threatening chaos was cut way too short, Ulfenkarn being swallowed up and lost to the Nadir in about a year or big events from the Tomes like Tempest’s Eye city being nuked by the Skaven without a big campaign slowing everything else down to focus on events like that happening across the Realms?

To say nothing of the complaint against how fast the Seasons of War feel in pushing both the meta & location focus.

It’s a hard thing to balance in both keeping the story at a pace to keep interests up while also taking account of players needing usually over a year to fully play out and appreciate a story arc after they collected, painted and played the forces in them. All in all I think AoS is doing alright there(a lot of blink-and-you-miss-it events get recounted later and used to build up the important narratives then so you usually don’t miss out)

3 hours ago, Fairbanks said:

there are only a few people who talk about it (aforementioned 2+Tough).

I’ve seen a lot of people petition YouTuber like Majorkill, Great book of grudges, Sotek and others to start covering AoS more but they usually decline because they need traffic which the popular videogames bring in more than anything.

AoS’ fortunes will change there once the aetheric winds blow in our favor with more games coming out like the upcoming RTS & MMO to grab people’s attention outside the hobby.

Edited by Baron Klatz
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On 3/20/2023 at 11:01 PM, Baron Klatz said:

Ulfenkarn being swallowed up and lost to the Nadir in about a year

Really? Ulfenkarn doens't exist anymore? Wtf
Imo, AoS has a big problem with their own story. At this moment, each battletome has a back-up of all the pre-edition events (a bit of Realmgate wars, Malign Portents and Broken Realms), but ignore everything else that is not completely tied to their own miniatures or worst, events that nobody knew before. Why?

If a Black Library book talks about a fallen sky-port, put that event in the book. If you make a Warhammer Quest game about Ulfenkarn, put that city in all books ( no mention of Dagnai or Ulfenkarn in KO battletome? Why?). I don't need 12 pages for each event, I just want to know that this events happened, that the story is "real" in this setting.

That's the point of reading a battletome, you want to believe in it.

Edited by Beliman
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On 3/20/2023 at 11:31 PM, Beliman said:

Really? Ulfenkarn doens't exist anymore? Wtf

Yeah, the Death tomes & white dwarf updates  reveal it’s final fate that despite ousting Radukar from the city it’s still claimed by the black hole. However the heroes are successful in evacuating all the innocents before then making their work a success even with losing the city itself.

Edit:(oh spoiler but I should probably mention the last expansion has the heroes reviving a certain death god that Nagash ate back in Malign Portents. So that was a nice rescue to a friendly deity)

That’s why the upcoming Ulfenkarn Soulbound supplement is a prequel to events before Cursed City.

On 3/20/2023 at 11:31 PM, Beliman said:

but ignore everything else that is not completely tied to their own miniatures or worst, events that nobody knew before. Why?

That’s not AoS but GW books in general. Ulfenkarn would only matter to Death & CoS lore but tomes like Chaos and Destruction won’t give a toss about it just like the Stormcast tome doesn’t care about Gordrakk’s huge raid on the Eightpoints nor the Soulblight tome care about Archaon and Belakor going to a civil war with eachother.

Warhammer books as a whole always give a limited view of events to give you a sense what’s important to the faction and why they can have misunderstandings with others since they don’t know the whole story.

On 3/20/2023 at 11:31 PM, Beliman said:

I don't need 12 pages for each event, I just want to know that this events happened, that the story is "real" in this setting.

I mean there’s already a ton of events that do happen between different tomes and build up what’s going on like in the 2.0 Kharadron tome we learn that Barak-Mhornar teleported itself to Ulgu and in the new Fyreslayer tome we see the consequence that this has lead to full on war with the Lodges already there with resource claims in place which has risen tensions between the two factions and then back in the new Kharadron tome we continue with Mhornar’s teleportion event both putting a portal on the map where to follow them through and that with Misthavn saving their air fleet in Ulgu they’ve repaid them in kind by building their floating Stormkeep ark that’s helped make Misthavn a major power in Ulgu.

Now would other tomes not Kharadron, Fyreslayer, CoS or DoK care about those events? No. They have plenty of their own stories going on.

It’ll have to be a wider source that ends up recalling these events like a campaign book, magazine event or Soulbound supplement rather than the tomes which are the individual building blocks of the setting.

On 3/20/2023 at 11:31 PM, Beliman said:

(Half of the battletome read, but no mention of Dagnai or Ulfenkarn?)

The other 3.0 tomes don’t really mention them either like Qulathis basically doesn’t exist anymore for the Sylvaneth nor the Vyrkos that raided their sub-Realm.

This might just be because Cursed City happened before Broken Realms so it’s old news of a fallen city decades ago compared to the much bigger recent events that eclipsed it right after like the fall of Anvilgard that has bigger repercussions among several major factions.

 

Edited by Baron Klatz
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8 hours ago, Baron Klatz said:

The other 3.0 tomes don’t really mention them either like Qulathis basically doesn’t exist anymore for the Sylvaneth nor the Vyrkos that raided their sub-Realm.

This might just be because Cursed City happened before Broken Realms so it’s old news of a fallen city decades ago compared to the much bigger recent events that eclipsed it right after like the fall of Anvilgard that has bigger repercussions among several major factions.

I think that's my main problem with AoS. I'm trying to read them as if they were an history book.

Edited by Beliman
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am happy to say that you guys swayed my opinion on this. 
Currently biting into some audio dramas and general lore, and what I found is interesting: this is NOT WHFB. 
As obvious as that might sound, it actually clicked for me just recently. This is a new setting that is supposed to be and feel different than WHFB. And I honestly just learned to appreciate that, just like a enjoy settings like LOTR or warcraft. 

As soon as i stopped comparing it to something its not even designed to be - it kinda just clicks!

Thanks guys! Im excited now!

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I found that getting to grips with the different realms helped me get invested in the setting.  (The maps of important continents in each of the realms helped a lot) I also think it is actually a really cool sequel setting to the ToW (The fact that ToW is returning was such a big turning point for me, I actually think the End Times is a great concept and love the ballsy GrimDark concept of fighting to the literal death of the world before rebirth) Having echos of the Old world throughout Age of Sigmar is cool, but as you said, it's important to approach it as it's own setting. After a rocky few years (which let's face it, was always going to be the case with such drastic action) AoS is hitting its stride. 

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4 hours ago, Kosmion said:

I am happy to say that you guys swayed my opinion on this. 
Currently biting into some audio dramas and general lore, and what I found is interesting: this is NOT WHFB. 
As obvious as that might sound, it actually clicked for me just recently. This is a new setting that is supposed to be and feel different than WHFB. And I honestly just learned to appreciate that, just like a enjoy settings like LOTR or warcraft. 

As soon as i stopped comparing it to something its not even designed to be - it kinda just clicks!

Thanks guys! Im excited now!

You may also be interested in this thread from last year. It really helped me think through and put my gripes with AoS into perspective (and made me stick around on this forum!).

FWIW, I still think there is a bunch of unclear things about AoS. But by now there's also enough stuff that is crazy awesome to keep my attention. It is probably unfair to judge it - as I was originally doing - on its weirdness regarding issues where we don't have very good answers about this world either (e.g. the nature of the soul, how the soul relates to the physical realm, the nature of the fundamental substance of reality, etc...). Though I really hope GW will address those types of issues in more depth in future releases.

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On 3/21/2023 at 9:16 AM, Baron Klatz said:

 

Edit:(oh spoiler but I should probably mention the last expansion has the heroes reviving a certain death god that Nagash ate back in Malign Portents. So that was a nice rescue to a friendly deity)

 

I probably won't have a chance to play the expansions - would you mind telling which god it was?

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I think AoS just needs time in that regard. I'm not a huge fan of the basic concept either but they keep defining the world(s... realms) of AoS steadily and I think that helps a lot. Personally, and I know it might sound a bit stupid, I find it much easier to envision a distinct universe when there's a whole galaxy(!) involved but find ever-changing(oh, the irony), volatile, endless realms (connected by portals) difficult for a setting as small battles feel automatically less important and only the biggest clashes of titans are in any way significant. But a planet needing help (or a good purging) isn't much different to some city needing the same. I think it's a mental thing. Anyways, it's a work in progress and I think it will feel much "tighter" in time. But for narrative reasons I think they've made a poor choice for the overall start of it as it feels like jelly.

Note: I didn't read a single AoS book - some are apparently very well written and give you a much better understanding of it all. Personally I also think it might be good to focus on specific regions in your group - that way, it might be a vast realms but a single vast realms is still better than lots of vast realms...

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I simply don’t care about the lore anymore. When they blew up the Old World, it was a futile attempt to recreate something that simply can’t be reproduced. In my opinion, they blew up the Old World because they lacked the creativity to save it. You could have easily switched to AoS rules and kept the Old World alive and well. There was so much more to explore and that opportunity was taken from us due to laziness and a lack of creative vision. Ultimately, I just bounce my squigs and have a few laughs. Getting into the lore is no longer of any interest to me. 

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@Kosmion I agree, I really agree. I’ve tried heart and soul to like AoS. Hell, I’m even curious to see what happens with Malerion and Morghur. But my interests are entrenched in what Old World characters come back, and hopefully with little change. I suppose why Kroak filled me with unparalleled joy. Be’Lakor too, and Kragnos, well, not so much.
 

I know I sound like a grumpy Old Man, but that Change was so drastic, and the setting just so wacky that I couldn’t, and still haven’t bought into it.  Don’t get me wrong, there are aspects which I think oh wow, thats pretty cool, like the concept of Stormcasts, the Creation Myths of Gargants and many other races. But the rest feels like some strange Online Dungeon Crawler which is trying to copy Warhammer in a weird adjacent format. But Thats me, thats not me thinking how terrible and throwing my miniatures away, and never buying from GW. None of that, I just choose to not invest in anything lore related anymore and just see what miniatures come out that I can use for Old Warhammer. Again, lots of good creative aspects, concepts and designs, but it feels like a really strange patchwork as opposed to narrative.

 

Admittedly It’s been about 4 years now since I gave up trying to like the setting. But I like many of the models, and I like talking Warhammer with you guys 😬 

 

To me using the context of this video Warhammer is the Hobbit, Whereas AoS is Toranda. 

 

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I can understand the difficulty people have with liking the setting, or at least liking the deeper lore of the setting. I like the Mortal Realms as a setting for a wargame, but I find that as soon as I zoom in a bit on the details of the setting I find it a bit flat. It feels made up, which I realise is a strange criticism of fantasy setting given, you know, fantasy is always at least partly made up, but what I mean by that is when names of places or things are introduced I just get a feeling "well that was made up in ten minutes around a meeting room table".

Now, to be clear, I think the Old World* had this issue too. What shall we call our main human faction guys? Well I've been reading about the Holy Roman Empire and it seems cool, so how about we call it the Empire and have it have an electoral Emperor and regular internal conflict. The starting point of most of the Old World was pretty much taken whole cloth from real world history: Marienburg and the Wasteland was basically the Netherlands (but rather than break from the Spanish portion of the Hapsburg Empire, they broke from the German portion), Bretonnia was France, Sylvania was Transylvania, Norsca was Scandinavia etc. The more fantasy elements which had no real world equivalent were taken largely from Tolkien and, to a lesser extent, other fantasy sources. What this meant was that there was a depth already inherited by the setting, both in that the creators could plumb real world history for lore and fans could read real world history for pseudo-setting background. I'd say that most of my history knowledge gained during school was a result of reading around Warhammer, and not what I was taught in history classes (even the obligatory multiple lessons on World War 2 were generally superseded by watching documentaries about it on TV). Essentially the Old World took a short cut to having depth.

Now, over time the Old World diverged from its original source material (though The Empire notable stayed pretty close to its inspiration). If you go back to the late 80s and look at Bretonnian minis in White Dwarf you'll find cannons, handguns etc. (I should note these may have been third party historical figures rather than GW Bretonnian minis: GW was a lot less resistant to such things back then). Then along comes fifth edition and suddenly Bretonnia has its identity changed: it's still France, but it's more like 13th century France, and it is full on Arthurian Legends 13th century France at that. Similarly, at some point Orcs stop being quite so Tolkien inspired, and become a slightly comedic, football hooligan inspired race; dwarfs take on a full "mustn't grumble" northerner idea and so on.

So I'm hopeful that the Mortal Realms will develop its own, stronger identity over tie (and to be clear, I already think it's going that way). I also recognise it'll struggle to ever have the same place in my heart at the Old World, because I am in my late 30s now, whereas I got into Warhammer Fantasy when I was about 7 (older brother needed someone to play with when his friends weren't available 😄). I don't think you can recreate that sort of affection for a setting as an adult. My biggest worry is the size of the setting leading to things not really feeling like they fit into a context. When I read Gotrek and Felix books I could look at the A2 map of the Old World that I'd got from an old issue of White Dwarf and get a sense of where Nuln, Altdorf, Sylvania, the Border Princes, all were, how far it was between them etc., but the Mortal Realms is just so big.

All that said, I'll continue to read (or rather listen to) AoS books with the hope the setting itself grows on me. And regardless, I think it's a great setting for wargaming in so even if it doesn't I'm happy to push my plastic** dudes around in it.

*For reference, when I use the term the Old World I am referring to the entirety of the old Warhammer Fantasy setting, not just the part of it referred to in universe as the old world.

**I refuse to buy anything finecast!

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