Move with the times

Posted by  | Tuesday, May 19, 2015  at 2:31 AM  

War in the north has been raging on and off since before 2004 when the Storm of Chaos played out globally. The massive narrative campaign for Warhammer marked a golden age of releases that began with the Mordheim game published in 1999.

An unhealthy trend is developing in the world of tie-in fiction. The term 'retcon' was born within the comics industry. Now every major movie franchise is rewriting lore or reinventing personalities to fit a commercial template for a corporate release. Whether it is an adaptation or a continuation, there must be some logic behind the pretence that past events never occurred. Time travel unmakes historical happenings. Crossing into parallel dimensions reshapes universes. When imagination fails to deliver then for convenience let's say it was a dream. All solutions continue to be popular trends in fantasy story telling.

Anyone who takes an interest in the historical nature of things can hopefully appreciate this sentiment; What happened, happened! Get over it.

Most enthusiasts drift in and out of the hobby at stages of their lives. Playing mostly 3rd and 4th edition Warhammer battles my interest in military scale engagements had dwindled by the time 5th edition was released. The lore has been my anchor since the beginning! Reconnecting me with tabletop combat through story telling, in skirmishes (using Mordheim system) later inspired by refined sourcebooks and better quality novels published across the years that would follow. Contemporary authors like C L Werner, Josh Reynolds, David Guymer, Darius Hinks and Chris Wraight in particular have done a fine job building upon Oldhammer stories quilled by Bill King and Jack Yeovil. Exemplary work by Green Ronin in Warhammer RPG never ceases to amaze.

Of the End Times apocalypse itself I have feelings of indifference. The levelling of every major city and repository of lore contained therein is a terrible waste. Okay so Marienburg has been sacked four times previously! Cities rise and fall. Resurrection is a big theme in the series. Recovering from decapitation is a big ask. My favourite character Brunner snuffed it in volume 5. He did blow Archaon off his daemon steed with a wyrdstone bullet before being run through on the Slayer of Kings. Damn shame the bounty hunter's second pistol misfired otherwise he could've claimed an unprecedented reward. These are the moments on the battlefield I will remember. Gotrek finally finds his doom. The dwarf slayer has earned it... Unless there is another rewrite of the history books in seven years times, because Karl Franz wakes up covered in sweat to discover it was all a bad dream, his night terrors possibly induced by chewing weirdroot or more likely taking a Lahmian vampire to his bed.

Lots of hard graft that has gone into maintaining continuity over the past 15 years suddenly seems to have gone out the window. That is the element of this grand campaign which has me puzzled. There have been severe compromises made by bringing this story to press. It contains the same brand of irritating contradictions that fans of comic books have resigned themselves to living with. Forgive or forget, the epic scale of this new military orientated lore is magnificently presented. It's an ambitious series of stories where the traditions of showcasing biased accounts have not been entirely discarded. e.g. What you might have experienced in a Council of Thirteen meeting can easily discredit accounts found in a tale of Dwarf Lords.

While ambivalence surrounds the evolution of the game story for hobbyists battling in the modern day, it is amusing to find plenty of Oldhammer players quit the hobby before personalities like Nagash, Thorgrim and Malekith ever came into existence. Meaning they couldn't give a fuck if the characters or the world lives or dies.

Like the gods, perhaps some players are tired. Others are mortified by developments.

It has been worth waiting to see the thing out. The story arc itself is mammoth. A shame to upturn a rich history by hinting at the lore from Storm of Chaos being retrod. That uncertain aspect of it has been poorly handled, lending the affair to inconsistency. Dwarfs have long memories for bearing grudges. There are enough dates and excerpts to be scrounged out of source material to catalogue the second coming of Archaon (formerly Diederick Kastner, bastard son of a Norse champion of the Vargs). Anyone who was in the north when Archaon failed to conquer the Fauschlag in 2522 saw the Chaos warlord forced into retreat. Whether the Everchosen took sanctuary in Brass Keep before fleeing the Middle Mountains across the Sea of Claws to regroup, it is unsurprising the barbarian hordes were driven back. Their lack of discipline not to mention personal hygiene failings is evidence enough.

Warhammer world being brought to the brink of self-destruction might aptly mirror the marketplace position of a corporation once thought to lord over the industry from its ivory tower on the high street. Moving with the times means that all fantasy gaming could be set historically in a time of legends. Not just for Mordheim players then.

Survivors grieve and move on.

"Gotrek's passing will be the doom of this world. But it may be enough to save the next."
— Morzanna, Mutant-Prophetess

No comments:

Post a Comment