We are a couple of years into Age of Sigmar and see many different types of factions coming for each Grand Alliance so far. When it comes to the Grand Alliance of Order, there is a problem. The problem comes into the form of humans, more specifically the Freeguilds and their place in both fiction and on the table. At first glance, there are, for all intense of purposes, what is left of the Empire range that has not to be broken apart into different factions like the other factions that transferred over to Age of Sigmar. What the problem I present to you is what the Free Guild represents in the context of Age of Sigmar and the problem of that representation.
In the Grand Alliance Order handbook, page 134, the description of Free Peoples doesn’t mention the race of these groups, but it only talks about a few examples of what they have and where they come from. But what is shown as part of the Free People is where the problem comes in. All it shows are old Empire models before it ends and the next one faction in the books is the Ironweld Arsenal. So, I looked at the description and notice it is very Empire influenced. Essentially, the Free Peoples are just Empire in the book, which is the Freeguilds, which are humans.
Now, the book came out early in Age of Sigmar’s cycle and things are different when looking at the Core Book that came out last year. But the problem remains there. What the Core Book shows, on page 140, that the Free Peoples include other races and not just humans, but then it reaches the Freeguilds section and the problem previously mentioned before is still there, but it changed at the same time. On Page 141, it describes what makes up the Freeguilds:
“The Freeguilds recruit from every stratum of society – when the city is under attack, military aristocrats from the inner districts and lowborn officers command stalwart professional soldiers, ex-criminals and even armed militia, their common humanity uniting them against the horrors they must face. Over time, these melanges of races and creeds have intermingled, forming new alliances and factions thirsty to prove themselves or to avenge their predecessors. An army or garrison from a Sigmarite city may include a dozen different kinds of footsoldiers, knightly orders, beast riders, proven militia and city guard, all with their own uniforms, traditions and rivalries. Some go to war in resplendent plate armour, others have not even a pair of boots to call their own, but they are rich in spirit one and all. When their hardwon way of life is threatened, they put aside their differences, fighting as one under the steely gaze of a Freeguild general.”
Now where is the problem, it is right here:
“Over time, these melanges of races and creeds have intermingled, forming new alliances and factions thirsty to prove themselves or to avenge their predecessors. An army or garrison from a Sigmarite city may include a dozen different kinds of footsoldiers, knightly orders, beast riders, proven militia and city guard, all with their own uniforms, traditions and rivalries. .”
It does mention other races as to imply it is not just humans in the ranks of the Freeguilds, but the problem comes back that it is still humans that make up the ranks of the Freeguilds. It but also shows the same influences of what the other description in the Grand Alliance Order of it being Empire and nothing else. That the entirety of humanity follows the Freeguild guidelines as a military force with the same structure. In context, this does not seem like a problem, but when looking at the other factions out there it is. We have seen various factions for the Aelves and Durdian show up with their culture and society shown in both models and fiction that is different from their Azyrian counterparts, with the exception of the Daughters of Khaine. But with the Overlords, Deepkin, and the Fyreslayers they survived the Age of Chaos when Sigmar shut the gates and the people who made in Azyr before the gate close are what are the Free Peoples.
This could be a problem with the nature of Games Workshop and how they make new factions for Age of Sigmar, but the problem for the Free Guild that does not represent what it says in the Core Book when it mentions other races being a part of it on the table. The only models for the for the Freeguild are the Empire models again.
The problem that I saw is that the Free People encompass different races and factions, but so does the Freeguild. That the Freeguild is the city-state armies, but only made up of human despite what it says in the Core Book and elsewhere. That humanity and any cultures of humanity gets nicely put into the Freeguilds as if they have nothing better to do with them and have to fit with the structure of the Freeguilds. Despite what the Free People are supposed to be and the factions of the Devoted and the Ironweld Arsenal being a thing.
So, what is the solution to this problem? I have thought of a few, but overall, I would like to see other people think of to fix this problem.