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Some Thoughts On The Remoulding Of Whfb As A Setting

end times whfb warhammer remoulding 9th edition fantasy setting story narrative fluff

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#1 Karak Norn Clansman

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 09:30 AM

As for the End Times narrative, it's a very nice Armageddon and Ragnarök doomsday story (this is obvious just from the tidbits I've heard, before reading the books), but personally I doubt it will make for a better setting once the heyday is over. After all, the Warhammer world's fluff have never really been an ongoing story like Warcraft. It's always been a setting, a home for many stories, and keeping it static and treading water (i.e. not destroying the world) has long been logical for three reasons:
 
1, the Warhammer world is about providing an outstanding theatre for the customers/hobbyists to wage war in. The more world there is, the more wealth of background and history and geography, the more living world there is, the more there is for the players to fight for and destroy. And large populaces equal more to kill, which makes all the battles players fight more believable. For point 1, a setting reboot may very well provide a relatively rich world, and certainly an interesting one.
 
2, that way no army has to be dropped or destroyed, as could very well happen with an upheaval, and for many years WHFB seemed to be at least somewhat succesful as a product thanks to its wealth of available armies, all drawing upon some familiar theme and archetype. Dropping armies after the End Times could possibly make business sense, however.
 
3, one of the things which made the Warhammer world such a favourite of my brother and me (and I believe many more people) is its nature of basing a fantasy world in real world-history and to some extent even geography. For one thing, it makes the gaps and unmentioned bits of the setting easy to fill in with the imagination. All that's been needed are a few available fluff snippets, knowledge of history and giving it a fantasy twist.
 
One of the strengths of the Warhammer world's background (at least for me) is how larger than mainstream it is. The very existence of peripheral and exotic places like Kislev, Ind, Cathay and the hostile Hobgoblins to its north have enriched the setting immensely, and set it head and shoulders above most other fantasy settings (even those with superior main story lines and very imaginative/bizarre environs). The lure of the exotic and quasi-historical have even made some people convert armies from places like Southlands, Araby and Nippon, despite a lack of official rules and models.
 
It is primarily this point, #3, that makes me doubt whether the post-End Times setting will be that much to have when compared to the old Warhammer world, which was 30+ years in the making. When removing characterful places like the Black Fortress, Karak Kadrin and Nuln, which have provided quite a theme for player armies based on them, there's a risk for making the armies/factions much less interesting and less heterogenous. Though the overarcing story of Warhammer becomes much more coherent and improves a lot, the world itself will have distanced itself so much from that historical fantasy foundation, it's likely to be inferior for that reason alone, no matter how fantastical the new Warhammer world turns out to be.
 
Also, there's a slight risk the survivors of the End Times are portrayed as too few in number to make the battles waged by players as plausible as they were before, though advancing the story line some centuries after the ET events to allowing for fluff rebuilding for WHFB 9th edition will offset that disadvantage.
 
Still, even if one does not like the remoulding of the Warhammer world, that very upheaval is no reason to panic.
 
For one thing, as a Skaven-playing friend of mine pointed out, the Warhammer world can always be played in different ages of time, including distant ones like War of the Beard. That's why we have "historical" and long gone characters like Gorbad Ironclaw and Grom the Paunch in the army books. The End Times and its aftermath is simply yet another age, with a mythical doomsday story to go with it and a chance to fight in fantastical environs. Even if the setting isn't as good as the previous one, it can still be most enjoyable.
 
Also, if one isn't too fond of the results of the destruction and remoulding of the setting brought about by the End Times (even if one like the story itself), it's easy to view the doomsday as a possible future yet to come, as something which happened in a parallell world within the Realm of Chaos, or a dark prophecy.
 
So, enjoy the show people. :)


#2 Gorrin

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 06:44 PM

I must be old because I havent been "getting" the whole end times panic. Ive wargamed for 25 years and most of that has been set in the past. Doesnt the warhammer world have thousands of years of history in which you can play?

Panicking because a present that doesn't even exist may not contain dwarfs is a bit like me saying I can't wargame waterloo because Wellington and Napoleon are both dead.

Or saying that you cant play 40k because it hasnt happened yet.

#3 Gorrin

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 06:48 PM

Sorry sir. Much of that you already said in your post!

#4 marky

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 07:12 AM

I heard the new world will be called mantica ;)





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: end times, whfb, warhammer, remoulding, 9th edition, fantasy, setting, story, narrative, fluff

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