The bird is the word…

Hail, and well met!

One of the things I love about this hobby is the sheer scope. Be it the grim darkness of the far future, or the many Realms of the Age of Sigmar, the setting has such immensity that it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. I’ve always loved the minutiae; the flavour-text and fleeting snap-shots of art scattered amidst rulebooks, White Dwarf, and (these days) online content like Warhammer Community.

Now I’ve heard a lot of complaints about how AoS isn’t sufficiently fleshed out, especially in comparison to the World-that-was. Hell, I used to be firmly in that camp, finding it hard to get purchase with the new setting and factions. But as time has gone by I’m enjoying AoS more than I’d ever expected. In retrospect the ‘history’ of the Old World didn’t interest me as much as the politics, the logistics and the ‘feel’ of the various factions. Games like Mordheim, which had a fixed setting, where the setting itself was a ‘character’ in the background; where the atmosphere and ambiance added something special to every fight.

When my fellow Aaronoriumites decided to start a blog to help us stay on hobby target and opted for AoS I started devouring rulebooks, audio dramas and Black Library novels, and have come to realise that I actually prefer the current state of affairs. While the volume of content for AoS will need quite a few years to catch up with the body of lore that Warhammer Fantasy Battle enjoyed, the concept of the realms is awesome, and I really like the fluid nature of the grand alliances.

What has kept my attention, however, is the microcosms – how each little feature in the miniatures or factions gets some love and attention. Seriously:

 

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…all that tucked away as a little flavour text in the Knight Venator entry in the Battletome just to explain the bird on their base.

Stuff like this is why I’ve enjoyed the hobby for over a quarter of a century. The richness of content which cyclically inspires. Miniatures inspire stories and art which inspire geeks like me to kitbash and paint projects, or draw up armylists to game with friends. And speaking of inspiration, I stumbled across this breathtaking piece while looking for a pic to inform my current project, by the very talented Catherine-OC over on Deviantart:

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Look at this and tell me AoS isn’t as good as WFB was…

 

Speaking of inspiration, the Knight Venatrix (and her Star Eagle!) continues apace, though I’m still not rushing her, as I really want to push the boat out on her paint scheme. I’m planning on inverting my previously shown Aetherwing colour scheme on my Star Eagle (light to dark from head to tail), and invert that on the Venator’s wings, trying some wetblending from Kantor blue, through Sotek green to Baharroth blue to Pallid Wych flesh. I’m hoping this will keep the Skirmish force looking coherent, and scale up to my future Palladors/Aquilor/Gryph hounds. When I add my freeguild force, I plan to make their mounts much more ‘neutral’, theming them around natural animal colours, in the hope of juxtaposing the supernatural and the natural…for those who value ‘work-in-progress’ pics, enjoy!

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I promise that weird yellow is gold in real life…

Finally, I even managed to make a little headway with my Azyr themed Baleful Realmgate. While I’ve picked up a set of the ‘standard’ gates, I wanted something more army specific, so after taking a few measurements I spent some time happily chopping foamcard to get this far:

 

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This far! No further!

It’s been a long week, and while progress has been slow, any hobby progress at the minute is surprisingly restorative. The gate still has a lonnnng way to go, but I’m happy with where it’s heading. A few folks also suggested the use of paper clips as a potential way to model lightning arcing from the gate…I’ve actually toyed with this before in an as-yet-unfinished farseer conversion, so it might just work.

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Eldar garments, while exquisitely stylish, are a nightmare for static…

Still lagging behind the hobby dynamos that are Ross and Colin, but if the tortoise and the hare taught me anything it’s that my upcoming week of annual leave may just change all that…

Thanks for stopping by, and if anyone has any inspirational links to converted realmgates feel free to pop them into the comments below!

 

Mark

12 thoughts on “The bird is the word…

  1. “Look at this and tell me AoS isn’t as good as WFB was…”
    It isn’t.
    To *me* at least, the background just isn’t something I care enough to explore in depth or invest in, but then I don’t begrudge anyone who enjoys or prefers the new background to the old. And I’ve certainly got nothing against the system, especially post-GHB which I prefer over the more recent versions of WHFB – and many of the models are fantastic.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting post! That realmgate looks good so far, it’ll be interesting to see what your colour scheme will be for the scenery.

    Now, prepare yourself for a very long comment of paragraphs on AoS/ WHFB!

    I agree with what Azazel commented, AoS isn’t as good as WHFB when you compare the two. Now, I might be slightly biased, only because I’ve been investing into the hobby back in 2009 when WHFB was still alive and frozen in time. The lore was interesting and catalogued (with the usual changes here and there).

    Now WHFB isn’t the most perfect fantasy setting around, nor did it have much original ideas (Elves, Orcs, Dwarfs and etc). However, the lore was what made WHFB last for decades, it’s strongest aspect in my opinion. I mean, just reading The Sundering civil war is one of my all time favourite historical stories of Warhammer.

    Now, I will seem like a hypocrite (a big one too if I didn’t mention it) as I do a lot of AoS posts, and I like AoS too in some parts. I like AoS due to its more open canvas of creativity to explore different factions and wider geography of the mortal realms.

    I think AoS is a good tabletop game with more accessibility for new gamers to join in, as well as wider options for gaming (Firestorm campaign, Skirmish and Path to Glory). I prefer AoS over WHFB for tabletop gaming, as I found it difficult to play WHFB due to my mental processing difficult to learn the rules.

    However, AoS has in my opinion, is a sloppy construction of a background setting. When it was first released, it was barely understandable on what the realms looked like, how they work, what are realmgates made from and context on all of the factions. What made AoS even more unlikable was GW’s grand idea of scrapping two beloved factions months after the release of AoS (as well as a few units from all factions).

    The lack of communication to the community and consumers at that time burnt many bridges with gamers, veterans and nearly me too.

    What made me stay on to support AoS was the hope that GW will listen to it’s supporters and change AoS background that’s understandable. Whilst I’m glad that change has happened to the setting with more context (but not revealing too many secrets), I am however still sceptical about AoS. GW needs to get all of the established factions released, as it’ll take years for all of them to have official battletomes background lore to the faction.

    Overall, I think AoS is a fresh change to the ongoing Warhammer world that’s making great efforts to build and improve it’s setting for the better. It’s so far managed to be a successful move for GW in terms of profit (overheard my local GW manager say that AoS was selling more than WHFB) as well as improving gaming system.

    However, AoS being as good as WHFB is a long long way to go considering WHFB is a (30/ or 40) year old franchise.

    Phew! That’s it, I’ve done my monologuing now lol.

    Keep up the fantastic work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand. I sympathise. I, too, have had a hard time getting my head around what is, effectively, a reboot. But despite my enjoyment of the old WFB setting (having played it since before WFB had any expanded, unified lore; back in its original iteration onwards) it really was a terribly unwieldy and user-unfriendly system, with a finite sandbox setting, all of which led to creative stagnation. GW backed themselves into a corner, with a system that had an ever dwindling number of fans, which in turn became increasingly inaccessible.
    Now I loved WFB. And of course AoS will offend some who see it as standing on the shoulders of WFB, while disregarding the old setting in a way that can seem glib and disrespectful. But AoS has indeed maintained some of the cooler concepts from the world that was, while knocking down the walls of the old setting.
    If you yearn for that ‘WFRP’ or WFB feeling of a city like Nuln, you can visit Hammerhal. Freeguilders and battlemages are still found in such cities, effectively allowing for that Empire feel.
    Other holdover factions still exist in lore and as playable units.
    But one of the things I’ve enjoyed about this project is the ability to carve out our own sandbox. We’re no longer tied to some stretch of forest in the Empire, or jungle in Lustria…Ghur, or Ghyran are instantly more intriguing. All factions now have reasons to interact, and there’s good reason for players to use various factions in a force.

    I KNOW the lore is sparse. So far. But nostalgia has many folks dismissing AoS out of hand, rather than see it for the opportunity it is. A chance to be there from the inception of a new fantasy setting created by the company that gave us 40k and WFB.

    Will I miss the ‘Baron Von Munchausen’ vibe of the Empire? No. Freeguilders, the new settings and my own creativity let me scratch that itch if I wish. The ability for GW to introduce new factions would’ve required extensive retconning in WFB, and the addition of Stormcast, Fyreslayers and Kharadron could never have happened in the existing stagnation of WFB. Rather than dismiss out of hand the need for a company to follow the profit or risk an inauspicious end to WFB, I’m willing to give them some latitude and accept that the new direction they’ve gone in doesn’t invalidate all that went before, but opens the door for new factions, settings and gaming experiences that simply couldn’t occur in the ‘exclusive’ WFB world…AoS’s inclusivity has made a convert out of me, who REALLY struggled with the transition to this new, less established setting.

    Was it rolled out poorly? Oh yes. But does it improve on what went before? Time will tell…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m with you on the background, I had tried to get into the lore of WFB a good few years ago as I have always favoured Fantasy over 40k, but there was so much to take in and so much content there that I just felt lost. AoS really helped me get my teeth into it and with it being a real fresh start I felt like I could hold interest in it’s story!

    (That Realmgate looks cooool so far!)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I suspect that some clarification is in order – for my own perspective at least.
    I gave up on WHFB: The Game back when 5th edition hit and forver changed what had at one point been a Rank & File game into “Herohammer”. I didn’t play a fantasy mass battle game again until Kings of War (more on that later).
    No, by the time Age of Sigmar rolled around to take WHFB out back and put a bullet in it’s skull, my care for that game had long since departed. I felt it was a shame for all the people with armies and still a current investment (both financial and psychological) in WHFB, and I think Kirby-GW did it entirely the wrong way, but my own distaste was for the wholesale destruction of The Old World, a setting which I had a connection with since I first read through the 3rd Edition WHFB rulebook as a young teen. Loved it too strong a term, but I had a real affinity with The Old World in all it’s unoriginal, sort-of-historically-inspired, plagarised-from-a-thousand-sources glory.

    I understand the business reasons for it – because “Orruks” and “Ogors” and “Troggoths” are copywritable in a way that “Orcs” and “Ogres” and “Trolls” are not. (or is it trade-markable?) Especially as part of the post-Chapterhouse fallout. I also understand the desire to be free of 30 years of background and start afresh. In AoS anything can happen. Because there’s all these magic *planes*, see? Uh-huh.

    I’d probably have kept The Old World, and added the planes and such as an “Add-on”. They could be like Outland, floating above Azeroth. I’d also have shifted WHFB to “Caretaker” mode, and given it to Specialist Games or Forge World, or just thrown the .pdf files for the Warhammer Armies books up on the Website like they used to do with Necro and Blood Bowl. Maybe Rountree might have done that instead? But then – “coulda-woulda-shoulda”. It doesn’t matter now. But like KoW, I’ll get back to that.

    So, speaking for myself. I don’t care about the Age of Sigmar background. It doesn’t mean I hate it though – I’m not one of the many who still carry angry “bitter ex” attitudes, and rant and rave and flame. I just don’t care much about it. Either way. I’m getting old. I feel like I can see the end of the line ahead of me. Hopefully it’s not too close, but I’m more and more acutely aware that it’s there. I’m no longer an indestructible 20 year old, or even a hopeful 30 year old. There are lots and lots of games out there, with lots and lots of lore and backstory. Every time I see some new miniatures Kickstarter, I see people salivating for the lore that goes with this or that series of new models from some tiny manufacturer. I…
    I don’t care.

    I played EverQuest for a (long) time, and learned a lot of that game’s opaque lore. Until it disappeared too far up its own backside. I played World of Warcraft, and the same applies, though there it was at least far less opaque. As I went on, though, I cared less and less about the lore in each new iteration on a theme. Because 99% of them are iterations more than variations.
    Elder Scrolls? I don’t have time to learn or care about their new and, like, *totes unique* takes on Elves and Orcs. Kings of War? Yeah, I don’t care about “Mantica”. Age of Sigmar? Mortal Realms yadda yadda. Whatever.

    My own personal solution is to have my own head-canon. I’m sure that no-one else in the world gives two hoots about it, but I’ll share it with you here anyway. I play Kings of War. I play Age of Sigmar. The Setting, though? It’s a mash-up. The Old World, but with a few more Warp-storms. One that provides access to TOW for the Sigmarines. Chaos guys gonna Chaos up in those Wastes regardless. Fyreslayers? A newly-emerged cult of Slayers from the World’s Edge Mountains. Kharadron Overlords? A newly-emerged civilisation of Dwarfs from elsewhere in them Mountains. In grand Warhammer/40k Tradition, THEY WERE ALWAYS THERE ALL ALONG, YOU JUST DIDN’T NOTICE UNTIL NOW.

    Tilea is actually Rome. And that’s where Roman Figures in a KoW game versus Orcs come from. Greeks come from next door, along with all of their Panthenon of gods and heroes and their Mythological beasts – as with the Romans’ photocopied versions. Vikings come from the Nordic lands up near the Chaos Wastes just like they did back in 3rd edition before Retcon-hammer decided that they were all Chaos Marauders now. Greece and Macedonia is next door, and Celts live in their own lands through much of The Eurold World. Middle-Earth (yes, LotR) armies are able to interact because why not? Dimensional gates maybe? Gondor versus Warhammer-style Undead played with the Kings of War rules. Dwarf Slayers versus Ogres in skirmish battle through a ruined Old World Village using the AoS rules and profiles. Vikings versus Warhammer greenskins using the SAGA ruleset.

    So, in the nicest and kindest way possible, I don’t care if you or anyone else loves the AoS setting. That’s totally cool and fine and good for you, and if you enjoy being in on the ground floor of a new universe, then more power to you in the most genuine way. I’ll just be playing in my (even more) bastardised version of an already bastardised setting. If we ever played (and we’ll never meet, because we’re on opposite sides of this globe I’d happily give you a game of AoS. In my head we’d be fighting in The Chaos Wastes or the streets of Nuln or the forest of Loren, while to you we’d be in Ghur, or Hammerhal, or Gyyran. No harm, no foul, no spite. (And yes, I had to look those up!) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. After re-reading my first comment, I see that I was being too harsh on comparing AoS to WHFB. I still stand on what I’ve mentioned on the pros and cons on AoS, however, after thinking about it, it’s actually done more good in terms of continuation of the narrative and lore. Seeing as WHFB was limiting, AoS did free a lot of creativity for lore, rules and sculpting.

    As I’ve mentioned in a previous post of yours, Hammerhal by Josh Reynolds was a fine example of a story that made the most sense. It’s had a mixture of the World-That-Was of the Empire, adding some eldritch horror of Tzeentch and seeing how Duardin, Elves, humans and Stormcast Eternals interact in the story. Whilst the story wasn’t epic scale warfare, it did however cover loads of information and character driven story that, to me, was what AoS needed (as well as confirmation that female Duardin exist! 😁).

    If I were to guess why AoS is going from strength to strength, it’s because of community contributions that make their own lore, stories, amazing painting, kitbashing and positivity. Whilst there’s not many AoS bloggers (I follow many for inspiration), the work that they produce inspires many to start their own collection. It’s because of the communities efforts to make AoS reach it’s potential is why I think it’s still around today.

    If I could recommended some AoS positive content, I’d totally recommend Heelanhammer Podcast. At first they had their doubts on AoS, but very quickly they were really into the change. They’re a very positive podcast that’s very entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. These guardians are the sort of juicy little detail that really added spice to the Old World for me. I’d tend to echo some of the sentiments here (that is, that there was much lost with the reboot), but I really adore how much freedom we now have to create our own frameworks with Age of Sigmar. You can make these mini-storylines for yourself very easily, and the modelling opportunities are fantastic.

    Thematically, you could retain almost all of the low fantasy, gritty feel of the Old World or you can just as easily model things around Godbeasts, the magical attributes of the realms and other epic fantasy-style ideas. That level of freedom is very nice to have in a franchise sandbox the size of the Warhammer universes. In many ways, it mirrors the 40k timeline ambiguity/warp shenanigans/sheer scope of the setting making almost anything possible – and that’s one of my favourite aspects of 40k as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Sindre – it took time for me to get past the obvious commercial reason for the reboot, and actually look at what the new setting offers – effectively all that WFB had, but room to expand…

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      1. Yeah, it took time. I had the totally weird experience of talking to a guy in my FLGS who thinks Kharadron Overlords aren’t dwarves, because they aren’t “fantasy enough”. Guy likes AoS, but couldn’t stand the inclusion of steampunk elements.

        That’s just how it goes, though: you invest 100s or 1000s of hours in a hobby and it all changes. No reason why that should feel easy and comfortable. But there’s so much to explore, now. I don’t even know if I’ll do more than 1000 points of Kharadron Overlords. I’m pretty sure by the time I’m done with that, they’ll have released multiple instances of new awesomeness.

        In fact, I did consider the Death battleforce when it came out, but, not trusting GW to actually release a servicable battletome in the immediate fortune, I passed on it. I’m already keen to start a Death army as a reboot of my deprecated Vampire Counts project from WFB, and I know there are more Dark (A)elf models around the corner, which would be my other big attempted army from back in the day.

        And they’ve only just gotten started!

        Liked by 1 person

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