I’d been considering what else model building and painting skills translate to in terms of the world non-gamers exist in. (Such creatures do exist. I try not to call them Mundanes. Where my Piers Anthony fans at?**Horn Noise**) Honestly it ought not to be necessary. But times are tough. Happily, to an large degree, we geeks are in the process of inheriting the earth.. We’re starting to enter a world where people can list skills on a resume to do with team-building, leadership and management skills based on their time in a roleplaying group.
That sounds silly, right? It sounds like it’s padding your resume, but I assure you, it’s not. Consider your relative or your pal who’s an excellent hobby carpenter. You know they’re not JUST a hobbyist. This is their very serious past-time 7 days a week when they can devote some time to it. You know they know more about carpentry than most bankers do about money. You’ve seen their work, and you think they ought to be designing for a furniture company. You know they work in an office / store / <insert unrelated job here>, and it half breaks your heart that they can’t do what they do professionally. But given their level of skill, you’d certainly expect them to list their carpentry skills on a resume, right?
Why should the myriad skills you learn while roleplaying or working with minis whenever you can be any different? In character, you’re juggling interactive people skills, resource management, filling out forms correctly, abstract problem solving skills and critical thinking, as well as people management if you’re leading a group or running the game. That’s stuff that companies in the wild send managers out on expensive educational retreats to learn.
The same goes for the artisan and graphic arts skills you have to master when it comes painting. You need to know your resources as far as your tools and your paint. Your eye needs to be trained as far as being able to use or mix the colors you need to get just the right effect you want on the mini you’re painting. You need to have the mechanical skills of having a steady hand. You need the exacting attention to detail necessary to applying those colors attractively and realistically. You need to have an understanding of color theory and lighting setups so all the highlighting you’re doing comes off right. There’s even photography skill involved if you’re doing setups like we do to show off the models we create. And that’s photo-finishing skills, as well as internet and social media skills.
You didn’t know you had it in you, did ya?
There’s this stigma in our society that the things you enjoy aren’t things you deserve to be compensated for. IE: “I need a creative type of some sort. I’ll just find me someone who enjoys painting anyway. They’ll work for peanuts if I give em the opportunity to do that as their job. Why should I have to pay them to have fun?” And right now, as a working creative, I’ll tell you that’s bunk and calumny right there. If you’re confronted with someone who wants your talents for a song, and tries to devalue creative work as something you don’t have to pay for, dare em to live a month without the creative content they enjoy every day. If they survive that, they might come back to you with a fairer offer.
There’s also this stigma that since you acquired your skills ‘playing games’, that they’re not as valid as the skills someone acquired with vocational training or schooling. As though you didn’t have at least 500 hours of honing your talent doing your painting. (Compare that with the hours PILOTS have to log per year to keep their license.) Animator god, Chuck Jones once said that every artist or cartoonist has roughly ten thousand bad pieces of art in them. The difference between good artists and bad ones is that the good ones did all their bad ones already with constant practice. Which is what you’ve been doing with your hobby already. You’ve already done the research necessary in perfecting your techniques in professional publications and published instructional works equivalent to masters-level college courses. How are your skills invalid exactly, when you could link someone to a portfolio worth ten of any art school graduate?
More to the point, why are those skills invalid because you had fun learning them? We’re told over and over again to do what you love. But on the other hand, they’re not going to pay you what you’re worth for it? Someone’s making out like a bandit there, and it ain’t you. Employers want motivated workers. People with a ‘passion’ for doing the things they’re hiring for. Wouldn’t you want to have someone who was genuinely passionate enough to have taught themselves the administrative, social and graphics skills it takes to be a successful gamer or game-master?
And note here… in some of the columns I’ve seen from creative professionals, beware want ads that ask for people that want… ‘passion’. Many of these professionals found that passion translated into employers that wanted talent, but were under the impression they didn’t have to pay someone who was being given the ‘opportunity’ to have their job be something they genuinely enjoyed. It’s actually the other way around, really. Or at least it should be. Lowballing creatives creates a rush to the least result they can get away with paying for. And there’s no loyalty with an undercompensated employee, is there? They’ll leave you the moment something 10 cents more an hour comes along. Worse, being undervalued makes what was fun into drudgery. It can burn an artist out and sour a thing they once loved. Don’t put up with that. I know talented artists now who don’t paint professionally cos they don’t want it to turn into ‘work’.
Anyway. The point is… your skills are quite valuable and valid if you’re a gamer. Don’t let anyone devalue them. And certainly don’t be afraid to own them as the very real talents they are.
-Edward WinterRose is a 48th level geek, who in his upcoming spare time will be job hunting. A pastime he would not recommend unless forced, but ought to engage in a lot more than he does. Like many bumperstickers probably say, he’d rather be gaming.
So we were doing the podcast at White Metal Games just recently. We were talking about some of the upcoming psychic awakening stuff, particularly the one for February entitled “THE GREATER GOOD.” And the subject came up with my co-host, Hunter that the Tau are pretty neat, but people who play them tend to get more than their fair share of abuse from other players.
What? I was confused by that initially. What was wrong with Tau? I’d had some limited exposure to them. I’d even got to play with them in a skirmish with some Tyrannids and a Carnifex that a friend of mine ran once. My impression of them was of a much-needed race that wasn’t just a sci-fi’ed up version of a Warhammer Fantasy race. So instead of space elves, space drow, space orks, space demons etc… we actually had an analog of the long standing stereotype of the big eyed gray space aliens from so many conspiracy/alien abduction features. That and they had aspirations toward ‘The Greater Good‘.
They seemed pretty democratically socialist to me. And when I’m not doing this, I’m a rabble-rousing anti-fascist Gen-X’er. How refreshing! A new race that’s only about ten-thousand years old that WASN’T entirely bent into its own self-sustaining quasi-religious fascism. Of course the Games Workshop people made their own copyright-able spin on them when they made them into the Tau. I’m not entirely sure it’s not appropriating to call them the Tao- *AHEM* The Tau. But in the end, I got no beef with em for that. Game developers gotta eat too.
Moreover, they still seem to be growing and learning as a race. They haven’t lost their science or technology. They’re distance fighters, doing ranged DPS instead of in your face jockeying for proper position with a power sword melee. This is the 420th century, man! Like the character said, “You can’t just pick the buggers off one at a time anymore. Yeah it’s craftsmanship, but still…” They’re a bit like an expansionist meritocracy with a lot in common to Japanese culture. They’ve got keen robot-drones, science-fiction-y power armors and plasma weaponry. Their first impulse isn’t to immediately kill anyone they meet. (A definite plus in any sci-fi scenario for this kid.) And here’s a thing I found out… there’s actually humans who’ve defected from the Imperium to be part of the Tau Empire. Most of them willingly. These humans are even treated well enough that they’ll fight alongside the Tau when the Imperium comes to re-take their planets. Geeze! What’s not to like?
Hunter, the fan wiki for Warhammer, and 1d4chan‘s entries on them seem to be my primary source of info here. And they seem to agree that this was apparently just TOO optimistic for the player base. Really? They weren’t ‘GrimDark’ enough for you? the 1d4Chan article straight up calls them “Naive Weeaboo Space Communists”. I suppose they’d have been happier had the Tau’s relatively benevolent government, the Ethereals, secretly been mind-controlling autocrats manipulating their populace in service to their own secret malevolent aims?
Oh… that’s what GW did to appease the complainers… head-desk!
And honestly… it sounds like the bitter resentment of cynical players entirely invested in their fallen forever war society. How dare that race not be entirely jaded and without hope?! I mean they have the audacity of having a civilization that hasn’t collapsed entirely into anti-scientific superstition and mysticism. How actual dare they have an expansionist bent so well-meaning that entirely imperial indoctrinated humans were actually defecting to them? They’re obviously hiding something or corrupt! I mean look how the conversation devolves in this Reddit thread.
This is why we can’t have nice things, I thought to myself. Or at least, nice player races.
I want you to look at the vitriol on the 1D4Chan entry for this race. Tell us how you really feel, fellas. Where did the Tau hurt you exactly? The description of events there seems to imply the Tau hurt them in their precious continuity. (Please. Point to the place on the game miniature where the bad Tau touched you.) This is some butthurt, disenfranchised toxic Star Wars fan-level anger here.
It’s implied in the post that the Tau were a blatant attempt to woo a Japanese audience with more of a Taoist philosophy-based race and Gundam-esque combat style back in 1999. Cos those folk over in Japan, they love their socialism and giant robots, right? (sigh) And gee, when Games Workshop have normally been such a subtle and nuanced game developer over the last 30 years too… how gauche of them. Or ya know… not. Games Workshop is a bit blatant like the sun’s a bit warm on the best of days. And even if it was courting Japanese anime, manga and genre culture… again. Game developers gotta eat too. How better than to do a thing that might appeal? Oh noes! We can’t make them too appealing. People might accuse us of pandering to a demographic we want to sell stuff to. What’s next? Creating a game setting with perpetual galactic war with hyper-zealot superheroes with guns fighting actual demons while wiping out anything alien or not like themselves? Who might that be over-pandering to?
Who indeed? I don’t think it was personal, folks. Un-clench.
So in later materials, GW turns around and tries to make the Tau ‘acceptably grimdark‘ for the die-hard Warhammerers. Now the Tau’s leaders are pushing ‘the dark side of science‘ untempered with wisdom. Which I don’t much like the sound of. First, a race who sacrifices wisdom for scientific advancement is theorized to extinguish itself before it even becomes a type 1 society on the Kardeshev Scale. (Ya know. Like humanity is trying to do.) So that doesn’t really carry. Secondly, There is no dark side of science. Just morally compromised people using what science has to teach in service to their own flawed or damaged agendas. So what? Now the Tau are sci-fi Taoist-Gray amalgam crossed with mad scientists?
I thought you were trying to make them UN-appealing, GW. *Adopts Midwestern Accent* Oh you’re doin’ a bang-up job, there-yet. We can tell your noobness here has a thing for mad scientists. They’re a heckin’ lot more appealing to me than vampires and werewolves.
So then comes the seeming-fallback argument that it’s their style of combat that offends. Or in the Tau’s case, that they’re all ranged fighters. It’s too different! Well they’re ALIEN. That’s part and parcel of the ALIEN package. They’re gonna do things a little differently. If they’ve twigged to the fact that if you can get one hell of a long gun, and take out that guy WAY OVER THERE instead of letting him close on you with a claw/chainsword/kitbashed-orruc-thingamabobber/ancient elven blade passed down over 300 generations… Well, dude. Take the shot. I admit, in most videogame situations where I get the opportunity, I play snipers. So of course I have personal bias. To me, if combat has devolved into a melee situation cos your foe has closed with you, something has already gone drastically wrong. (Ha! Just like a human. Brings a chainsword to a gunfight.)
Yeah. Blame the guy smart enough to ‘cheaply‘ shoot the armor and skin off you from way over there instead of getting in a power-sword fight with you in melee range. Especially when you’re genetically engineered for exactly that. I’m guessing these particular haters would have been the ones complaining in the middle ages when the longbow was taken up in British and European societies. “I used to be a renowned warrior… but then I took an arrow to the knee… It’s getting so you can’t have a decent war anymore…“
Hunter mentioned to me that the Tau aren’t exactly vaunted for their melee combat prowess. Neither were most middle-ages peasantry. But they were nicely valued on the battlefield in appropriate numbers with an English longbow in their hands. To the degree that in the 12th century, you were absolved of guilt if you accidentally killed someone while practicing with one. They effectively ended the idea of knights and fully-armored cavalry. Especially when combined with the use of pikemen in a squared deployment to get your archers in range. (Your classic dex & speed beats strength & toughness argument.) You don’t take up ranged weapons to somehow cheat in ‘honorable‘ combat. You do it to get the advantage of not closing with that 300 lb. guy with the bastard sword way over there who wants to skewer you with it. And gosh… if the melee and cavalry types didn’t like longbows, they REALLY hated cannons and flintlocks. THAT ended the pike square pretty effectively later on; turning them into ranks of muskets and bayonets instead.
Hunter mentioned to me that some folks have problems with Tau tactics where they kind of show up, shoot and pull a quick fade. That such tactics are usually considered a bit cowardly by the other races. Cowardly? I feel the American revolutionaries in the 1700’s that practiced those very same tactics on the Redcoats might give you a glove across the face for insulting them like that. Especially since it was those same revolutionaries that embraced technological advancement, and started using standardized interchange-able rifle parts with rifled barrels to make their weapons more deadly and accurate. Guerilla tactics with superior distance weapons? Sound like anyone we know?
And finally we come around to the fact that… Well, they’re just… new. They weren’t part of the original continuity. They’ve got no analogues to Warhammer Fantasy like all the other races have. They’re the ‘new kid’. The one with all the technological breaks to them. The ones you can’t immediately pummel into submission cos they’ve a few non-standard tricks up their sleeves. Ones so like-able and positive, their empire turns into Mr. Steal Your Planets and Colonists.
They’re almost what you’d call an outlier among outsiders. The nerds who are fighting smarter, not harder. The ones who despite their melee weaknesses might frotz you from across the table and school your carefully balanced and crafted set of Ultramarines. And as more recent years have shown, even stereo-typically persecuted demographics like fans of genre fiction, gamers and the like can still be toxic and exclusive. Simplifying even further, we tend to fear and mistrust ‘the other‘ or what’s different from ourselves by virtue of our just being human. And honestly, you’d think my X-Men-reading geek tribe, who might know what the inside of a locker looks like, or be intimately familiar with the double-jock-lock would be a bit more understanding or tolerant.
And this might just be your noobness spitting into the wind. And sometimes perceived abuse can just be harmless shit-talk. Yer gamer pals giving you grief about it cos you’re flash-griefing them with a long-barrelled plasma rifle that DOESN’T have a chance of exploding in their faces. And yeah. That’s some powerful weaponry right there. And the grief is funny… until it’s not. And when I read or hear about people deciding to wash their hands of the hobby completely… sell off the minis and the armies that they spent all that time and resource on… then it’s very much NOT okay. That’s literally toxic fandom gatekeeping others out of the community and the pastime. And without new people and new ideas, the pastime and the hobby is a doomed one. “Oh yeah. I heard of that game. Unless you play a certain faction, you get a bunch of crap. No thanks.”
And I think no one REALLY wants it to be like that.
I’m not saying that you gotta ramp back the shit-talk. That’s part of the fun in any competitive endeavor. But if something different like the Tau comes along, which it did, you don’t have to beat it into a mold that makes it the same as every other thing in the game. If someone with different tactics comes along and challenges you with their mode of battle, how do you make that work for you instead of against you? How do you change your strategy and come out victorious? How do you solve that puzzle? Do you engage with that player in good faith, or do you tear down the opponent who’s giving you the challenge on the tabletop? If the different race or faction offends you so badly, do you ask yourself why it does offend you to the degree that it does? Do you observe what that might speak to in yourself? A lot of the factions in the grimdark future of Warhammer 40K are xenophobic fascist theocratic governments fueled on human/race-supremacist rhetoric. Are you playing because you want to experience fighting a hopeless war with the more positive aspects of valor, duty and sacrifice in the face of a very real Armageddon scenario? Or are you playing because you’re identifying with some of the more xenophobic and exclusive aspects of the story and characters within it?
Cos if you’re driving people off the gaming table and out of the hobby when everyone was supposed to be having fun? I got questions. And hopefully you do too. Confronted with that, I’d be concerned about my motivations at the very least. Being decidedly anti-fascist and anti-discriminatory, as well as very anti-toxic fandom and anti-incel, I’d like to think that might not be a problem for me ever. And I suppose it’s just as easy to dismiss my ranting as some kind of politically correct social-justice-warrior-ing. (SJW-ing?) But if the point’s to have fun. And you’re making it not fun for someone… You’ve got aught to answer for. Cos at that point, you’re the problem. But hopefully, a self-correcting one.
-Edward WinterRose is a 48th level geek from back in the day when saying you enjoyed playing RPG’s was a great way to get your ass kicked in grade school. He’s seen the pastime gain popularity and respect in the last 30 years. And would hate to see that progress squandered on a whiny exclusionary clique that doesn’t deserve the notoriety they’ve somehow accumulated at the rest of us’ expense.
It all got a bit old for Your Noobness at the turn of the century when I was out in Seattle. I was goth-ed out. I was much more into science and science fiction by then. Of the classic horror archetypes, I was more Mad Scientist than Creature of the Night. Several friends over time have tried to introduce me to White Wolf Games and Vampire: The Masquerade. And I will say I’ve given it an honest try a couple of times. White Wolf are a bunch of keen writers. And I trust they’ll let me know if they ever fit a ruleset into their books full of purple prose. I’d be more interested in Mage: The Ascension than Vampire though. I left all that blood-suckage behind about half a decade before I started seeing Twilight merch behind the windows of Hot Topic. I was pretty much done, but left with preconceptions about vampires all the same.
So. With the release of the new Mephiston mini, as well as the Blood of Baal volume, as well as two related novels from the Black Library, as WELL as having spoken about Mephiston in the Thanksgiving Podcast… well, it seems like the world is trying to tell me something. I can take a hint. So let’s me look into and read up on The Blood Angels.
So to start with… I’m seeing that they were one of the founding LEGIONS of the first founding. Not just a chapter that came after when Guilliman broke them up to prevent later tragic betrayals like Horus’ Heresy. (And if I say that these guys NEVER really recovered from that, you may also say that’s putting it lightly.) So these guys have ALWAYS been around. They’re the longest living, (imagine that.) on the order of living up to a thousand years. They’ve had, due to attrition, to get replenishment from their successor chapters of late… and there are a LOT of those. They’re also getting some Primaris troops from Guilliman and Cawl, as well as the tech to make more little Blood Angel Primaris marines of their own. And this… well may not be the best of things, considering their genetic… Well, let’s be kind and call them expressive pre-dispositions.
Ya see… when The Emprah (How’s it going Pyrrhus?!) made the original legions of Space Marines, it was still kind of an experimental thing. He was trying different ways to make them and make more from those original prototypes. And then they ALL got stolen and flung through the warp as infants to far off worlds and they had to be found again. But when they were found again later on, they all had genetic flaws due to their interaction with The Warp. This would become important much later.
Now the Primarchs, or these original templates for the modern chapters of the Space Marines created by the Emprah if you will, made one for the Blood Angels who came to be called Sanguinius… Again with the names. Literally: ‘Being like the color of blood red’… Or optimistic in horrible circumstances. Sanguinius was eventually found on the inhabited moon of Baal, Baal Secondus. If that sounds familiar in light of recent releases, it’s that Baal is pretty much the Blood Angels’ throneworld. Anyway, iitty-bitty Sang had itty bitty lil wings on after his time in the Warp. And the locals, or ‘THE FOLK OF PURE BLOOD‘ as they liked to call themselves, just about killed him as a mutant. But then they decided to raise him instead. Yay them! He grew. His wings grew. He was a product of superbeing technology after all. So of course he grew up to be a literal angelic paragon of the species. By the time he was fully grown (which wasn’t long) he was being worshiped as divine by the indigenous populace. And that’s how the Emprah found him.
He and the Emprah were immediately bros. Or perhaps father and son might be a better comparison. They didn’t even ‘Marvel Misunderstanding’ fight, like most of the primarchs did when He found them. Sanguinius just knelt and joined the imperium. The Emperor raised Sanguinius’ warriors up to Space Marines with his rediscovered son’s gene seed, and now you’ve got the 9th Legion. The Blood Angels.
And honestly, it would seem that Sang here was perhaps the closest genetic expression of their father, the Emprah there was. The Primarch and Warmaster Horus (with whom you are all familiar by now by his famous Heresy) was one of Sang’s bestest buds. And even Horus acknowledged the fact of Sang’s nobility and purity. I mean you’ve heard the term ‘Mary Sue‘. (Originally spawned in the Trek Fandom, but very much appropriated in the 21st century by the Twilight Saga.) Someone so perfect they are not to honestly be believed. Usually a self-inserted character by fanfic authors. The male version of this character trope has been referred to as a ‘Gary Stu‘. And I am SO getting this vibe off both the Emperor and Sanguinius here.
And you also may be thinking to yourself, “This is more about the Blood Angels’ Primarch than their chapter of the Space Marines.” And you’d be right about that so far. This Space Marines chapter is very much bound up in the origins and the tragedy of their Primarch in rather a big way. Who they are, why they are the way they are and how they got that way is part of that story too. Y’see, when ol’ Warmaster Horus (also Sanguinius’ brother and one of his bestest friends ever) was turned to Chaos and lost his grace, turning his legions upon the Emperor and his once-allies, he was pretty much, “Yeah. Sang’s not going to betray our dad with me and my legions. I mean this is Sanguinius the Perfect we’re talking about here.” Except Horus knew something that no-one else did about Mr. Winged Perfection here. His gene flaw. One Sanguinius had kept to himself alone. One Horus discovered when he literally found our blonde haired angel drinking the blood of one of his own men that he’d freshly murdered. The Red Thirst.
AHA! I hear you cry. Here’s the Vampirism! And you’d KINDA be right. It’s not any biological NEED to live some blasphemous anti-life in defiance of God or anything like the traditional kinda Vampire lore. (THE BLOOD IS THE LIFE! THE BLOOD IS THE LIFE!!) This is more of a slow but eventual mental degeneration into bloodlust and madness. But this is more just a self-destructive yearning that manifests itself in a thirst for blood. This isn’t your rosy-cheeked but somehow repulsively awful-ness of a fully fed vampire; though the blood angels are very pale with the elongated canine teeth you might expect. This is more like your Anne Rice or similarly inspired pale-but-beautiful anime vampires with a tragic but dark secret. (Cue: Sting – Moon Over Bourbon Street.) So this is KINDA Vampirism, but meaningfully divergent enough for copyright purposes.
But wait… it gets worse.
Putting a VERY long story of sad betrayal of Sanguinius by an increasingly insane and hateful Horus short; Sanguinius battled a Daemon Lord that knocked him unconscious with the psychic backlash of 500 of his battle brothers demise. And this kind of kick-started in Sanguinius the OTHER curse of the Blood Angels… The Black Rage. But more on that in a little. At this point in the story, Sanguinius has got a darkness opening up in him. He’s got a dark anger living in him that’s ready to wipe out any being of Chaos he sees. One that’s hungry for vengeance for his fallen brethren. Coming at this from a more literary point of view, I get the idea that here is where Sanguinius knows he must eventually go too. Cos while he’s not lost his grace yet… he knows it’s just a matter of time.
Anyway, on with Sang’s ‘Semi-Perfect’ life. After that battle, he gets to Ultramar, and Guilliman proclaims the guy to be the rightful heir to Emperor Pyrrhus, ( I AM STILL CALLING HIM THAT!) and Emperor of the Second Imperium. And much drama happens between him, Guilliman, Lion El’Johnson, Konrad Curze and the like, and then we move on to The Battle of Terra (capitalized on purpose). And near the end of that battle, Horus invites the Emperor aboard his flagship for a final confrontation between the two. (before loyalists who were already en route showed up to kick Horus to the cold concrete, that is.) Sanguinius went with him.
Sanguinius was, of course, psychically gifted like his dad. (cos of course he was.) And among his gifts was precognition. Prophecy, that is. He knew what was about to happen. So I’m guessing Sang was a bit of a fatalist, cos he went anyway. And while fighting through Horus’ flagship, he got separated from the group. And met his brother, Horus on his own. They fought, though Sang knew he was outmatched before the Chaos-Swole Horus. And Horus killed him in the most painful ways he possibly could, generating a psychic pain and anguish so profound it was projected through space and time. And it was heard in every Blood Angel thereafter. And here’s where the Black Rage comes in.
And if you want, consider someone in the throes of a really bad moment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Someone entirely lost in a moment of trauma in their past. Reliving it with all the pain, fear, anger and distress they felt at the time. Every one of the Blood Angels with Sanguinius’ gene-seed has this. They still feel this all-consuming moment of Sanguinius’ death. All the time. Every day. And they keep it at bay for the most part. But the ‘Black Rage’ Sanguinius felt while being murdered by his brother Horus is something that eventually consumes every Blood Angel in the end. It may be sooner. It may be in 1000 years. But eventually… That madness and the Red Thirst overcomes them. And they become irrevocably locked in that Black Rage.
This is why Sanguinius’ backstory is so tied up in this chapter of the Space Marines. Members of the Blood Angels that fall to the Thirst and the Rage are put in special units. NO they’re not still fighting alongside their former battle brothers. Like I said, they’re IRREVOCABLY insane with rage. So they basically put brothers like this in black armor and put em in the DEATH COMPANY. Essentially, they send companies or Black Enraged marines to enemy space. So they can burn themselves out in battle. Killing as many as they can in the armies of chaos until they’re spent in death. (I’ve actually seen this in Doctor Who.)
This is a growing problem. More and more of the Blood Angels are succumbing to their twin curses. They’re losing more troops than they’re making. And while it seemed the Primaris treatment had perhaps defeated the problem for a bit… it didn’t last. So as vaunted and admired as they are… It would seem that this is a chapter with an expiration date. Accelerated by the idea that these guys know exactly that. So they strive for a heroic death in service to the Emperor. Better to die in battle than to succumb to madness. But it’s diminishing their numbers faster than they can replenish them. So something’s gotta happen in their favor soon, or the Sons of Sanguinius will be a thing referred to in the past tense.
They are working on it… but it’s not going well. As they age, Blood Angel marines spend longer and longer between battles being transfused to scrub their blood of the curses that get ever more pronounced. But there’s not exactly a cure for it. The only brothers that seem to have come close are the Adeptus Mechanicus spawned Primaris and the successor chapter from the ‘cursed’ 21st founding, the Lamenters. Both exhibit the Blood Angel curses, but in delayed or reduced forms. And in the Lamenters, the pronounced lack seems to express itself in an equally pronounced melancholy and oddly… bad luck.
Now this is not to say that the Blood Angels aren’t entirely capable in battle. Putting it Pokemon terms, “THE EMPEROR USED ‘BLOOD ANGELS’, IT’S SUPER EFFECTIVE“. These guys are fierce and terrible in battle, as their curses would make them when they’re not busy being paragons of virtue. Most of them were uplifted when they were recruited from quite humble backgrounds, and were usually afflicted with some sort of disease or similarly awful circumstance. Therefore when raised up to that kind of angelic status, they’re still able to be as pious and virtuous as their brothers always have been. They don’t let it go to their heads. It puts me in mind of the Gray Wardens from Dragon Age to be honest, who had a similar blood rite of passage that eventually dooms them. That said, the 9th Legion here in the days of old were a whole order of magnitude fiercer than their fellows on the battle field before the Heresy. And that? That’s only gotten fiercer still.
Coupled with their curses, back in the day, the 9th Legion had another name on the battlefield… the ‘Eaters of the Dead’. But even this was more than just bloody-minded obeisance to the Red Thirst which they weren’t fully aware of in the days before the Heresy. They were just notably savage blood-shedders in the Emperor’s service. They actually have, LIKE ALL THE OTHER SPACE MARINES, the ability to absorb the skills and knowledge of their fallen foes by feasting on them. And the 9th gathered a lot of intelligence on their foes by doing just that. All space marines have a gland that allows this Omophagea, but in the 9th it was particularly robust and pronounced. (YA THINK?) The 9th Legion even practiced a form of cannabalism. Not from any grisly need to eat the dead. (much…) But to preserve the knowledge and skills of their fallen captains. They even took on the names of those they consumed that way to honor them.
Not that the legends of ‘The Immortal Ninth‘ did anything for their reputation back before Sanguinius was found in the days before the Heresy. Their single-minded dedication to battle, once committed, was to win it utterly. Their savagery and their… unique dining habits, made them a dark presence in the service of the Emperor. And one that was not just a little noticed by the other legions and chapters. And over time, an air of superstitious dread and revulsion has set in with those other chapters. The Imperial Fists wanted nothing to do with them back in the day. And the 9th Legion became more pariahs than paragons. It was all done in the name of brutal practicality. But done all the same.
It was when their Primarch, Sanguinius came to them that they found redemption from the violent monsterdom they were falling headlong into. Sanguinius reclaimed the 9th Legion and renamed them as the Blood Angels. He set them trials and directives to shed the animosity and dread they inspired. He brought strategy and the need for tempering wisdom to their bloodlust. He really reminded them of what they were meant to be in the first place. And he really turned the chapter around. Discipline and honor were added to the terrible fury they had in battle. And all the bad rumor and dread receded into legend. They still had the thirst, but the newly christened Blood Angels nobly kept that in check until they couldn’t, and then were ‘retired‘ honorably. And in the end, by the Great Crusade, the Blood Angels were storied and honorable paragons of the Emperor.
They’ve clung to that, despite all the breaks they’ve got going against them. They’re excited about the influx of Primaris, since they were pretty much resigned to flaming out and seeing their chapter extinguished by attrition. They figure they’ve got a fighting chance to fight once more. And even though the curses still resound in their newer recruits, they’re fighting with more dedication and zeal than ever.
And that’s Blood Angels. The Sons of Sanguinius. Beautiful and terrible. All shall behold them and despair. Paragons of virtue and brightness while at the same time humbled by the vilest and most terrible of curses. (In game-master terms, your stuff is so good I’mma give you two BIG flaws.) Seekers of perfection and beauty that they can never have.
I had a thought, as I was working on the podcast with Shane. Is there a place where peace happens in Warhammer 40K? I mean it is a big galaxy. And mankind, along with the other races, surely cannot have mapped or found them all. Suppose out in the Warhammer Milky Way Galaxy, there are several million undiscovered planets that harbor life. Ones in various stages of development. In the shows and movies, there’s lots of tropes where you happen on pre-historic, bronze or iron age societies. Or you could have advanced spacefaring civilizations that for whatever reasons, keep to themselves. And rarer still, you’d probably get societies on a par with our own, technologically speaking. Civilizations still in the Atomic Age; just on the verge of being Type 1 on the Kardashev scale. And even as far as we’re concerned, if you’re wondering why a sentient race hasn’t found us yet, we’re less than a needle in the proverbial haystack. Our radio band transmissions have only gone about 120 light years from the position Sol was in back in 1900. Putting that in contrast, the Milky way is about 105,700 light years across with two-hundred and fifty BILLION stars that comprise it. And that’s not taking into account all the natural phenomenon that would get in the way of our being detected by any race interested in finding us. (Have I mentioned my middle name is Sagan?)
The point is, even with the galaxy being as divided as it is and full of war and grimdark… One would think that there were planets out there that through no fault of their own, have been entirely missed by…. well, everyone. Who’s got time for first contact and exploration when you’ve got daemons or Necron or greenskins or great Terran cathedral fleets breathing down your neck? (or equivalent biology?)
The odds are quite likely there’d BE untouched civilizations out there. And the further out from Terra or the Great Rift you get, the better your chances are of a place being un-afflicted with the forever war.
So okay, I say to myself. There’d have to be some pretty interesting circumstances to generate a place like this one. First… how do you get to the back of beyond without running afoul of all manner of beasties, problems and hostile races? Well… wormholes, or the tried and true MacGuffin of all space opera… A Space Anomaly. Hell, in the Star Trek podcast I’m part of, Deep Space 3 is on the verge of a great anomalous nebula called the Pinchot Expanse. Commonly referred to as the Milky Way’s ‘Bermuda Triangle‘. Which is all kinds of great for doing weird and fascinating plot, from a writer’s point of view.
So you’ve got this anomaly in deep space. If people happen to run afoul of it, they get flung out to the end of the Outer Eastern Arm, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster. About as far as you get from Terra, period. I’ve got a place in mind. actually. If I were giving you directions, I’d say go WAY out on the eastern rim in the Exodite worlds til you get to Coralax, the homeworld of the Space Marines chapter, the Knights of the Raven. Then set course direct galactic east from the Mandragora Sector on an outward course til you’ve traveled about the distance you’d go if you were headed to Firestorm, homeworld of the Aurora Chapter. So far out that you see nothing but cosmic dust and intergalactic space unless you turn back and look at the rest of the Milky Way. There’s probably stars out there along with the occasional stellar nursery, but unless you knew where to look, they’d be entirely obscured. And maybe you’d find a white dwarf star, already done with all the major phases of its cycle. One that captured a rogue planet or two and shredded them with tidal forces as it traveled outward from galactic center.
But getting out there that way would be the dumb way to go. And no one would go out there deliberately. If you’re here, you probably got flung here by some anomaly or other back in the Galaxy proper. (“The weather started getting rough. The tiny ship was tossed!“) And the only thing you’d do normally is try to find a way BACK to regular galactic space. But what if you couldn’t? The warp’s a dangerous place. And if it flung you this far out, I’d say it probably treated your ship rough enough to strand you there. So unless you’re some great honking armored capital ship of the line, here you’re probably staying.
So… now we have a location. And a way that people got out here. With anomalies all over the Milky Way nowadays, you’d get all types of sentients with the ill luck to get thrown to the back of beyond. Given that there’d be plenty of materials for it, maybe there’s an ancient Dyson sphere or ring around the Dwarf. One whose builders are long gone. (The anomaly’s been throwin’ people out here a while it’d seem.) Plenty of space for everyone. Plenty of solar energy to harness for survival. Lots of dust, minerals and organic materials in local space to make resources from. There’d probably even be water from the place’s interactions with the odd spaceberg or comet over the eons. And out here… survival is more the order of the day than making sure one another are slain in the name of people so far away, they scarcely matter.
It’d be a problem if the people that ended up there were warriors or dedicated marines of any sort. People who live on the order of thousands of years in single-minded dedication to battle. So matters would have to be such that warrior types don’t make it out here all that much. Maybe the anomalies are all on civilian navigational routes. Trade and shipping routes and the like. (“Marshall, Will & Holly… on a routine expedition…“) So the people that ended up out here on… well, it’s gotta be named something. Let’s call it the Yendapeer System. (Ya end up here. Get it?) Anyway. The people that end up in the Yendapeer system would by and large be civilians and traders. People in freighters who’d likely have at least some of the resources necessary for survival. And more importantly, people who wouldn’t immediately feel the need to try and annihilate anyone else they found there. The odds are you’d get the occasional warrior type who was aboard for whatever reason. But they’re going to be the exception, not the rule.
So… you’ve got all the space you need, a thing that irregularly populates the place. A reason they’re not all at war with one another when you get there. And it’s inconvenient enough to get to that no one goes there deliberately. Like to quell or exterminate this blasphemous conclave of races who are living… more or less peacefully with one another communally. Enjoying what they can of the society they can make. I mean it’s certainly still a dangerous place. Full of intrigues and frontier dangers. No-one is coming to help. There is no backup or reinforcement. Anyone out here is on their own unless they take it upon themselves to coexist with anyone else who’d the ill-fortune to end up there.
If you call that ill-fortune.
I figure the culture here would be one that probably lives on salvage. There’d be lots of space hulks in a kind of Sargasso sea around the ring. It’d be in the interest of the populace to salvage the ships they could for local travel and inter-system maintenance. Salvaging crews would be just as important. New minds and ideas would always be necessary if the settlement were to survive. If they weren’t killed getting here, your average ring folk are going to be hard workers, probably engineers to some degree who have to know how to do maintenance on a civilian ship. So some degree of scientists and engineers are going to exist. And all of us know that the Orruks know how to slap anything together and make it work. Any of the Tau out here are going to work toward the greater good. Humans would probably be the ones with the big crazy ideas to make it all work as a society. Any Aeldari that make it out here may be something of an organizing principle, working from the vantage point of long-lived wisdom.
You might get the odd encroaching chaos ship coming down. Maybe the occasional Necron. And without the armies of the inner galaxy, the people would have to come together to deal with mutual threats like that, tightening interdependence and alliances. Maybe you’d get the odd marine or inquisitor. And you’d have to give the more dogmatic ones like that ‘The Explanation.’
“So here’s how it is, huge boi. Unless you got a ship that can get you back to the galaxy and all, you’re stuck here with all of us. And I know your first instinct is to kill anything that moves that isn’t human. That’s got two possible outcomes. You fail at that and all of us, including the humans, end you. Or you succeed in that and end everyone on the ring. And we know you can probably do that. It might take centuries to find every person on a ringworld and kill em, but I’m sure you could. And then you would be alone. Stranded beyond known space all by yourself. Which might be worse still than all of us killing you. That’s your choice if you want to use that bolter there.
“If you don’t… things get a bit more interesting, savvy? You can choose to live with us instead of die with us. There’s all kinds of things a fella like you could help do out here. Lots to protect the rest of us from. Lots to explore. We don’t know who built this place. Or how they left. If they left. We ain’t found any, so we don’t know. There could be a way back, sure. But most of us ain’t interested in that. All that’s back in the galaxy is blood and killing. We’ve found something that ain’t that. Or mebbe it found us. But we got something here on Pax Unio. Join us or don’t. We only got a problem with you if you make yourself one. Your call.“
In my head… the scenario’s not all that infeasible. Hell, they may be so far out, that the expansion of the Rift in more recent centuries might not really have that much in the way of psychic turbulence all the way out here in Yendapeer. But the Psychic Awakening is an evolving situation at the moment, so we can’t really say, can we?
It’d seem to me to be an opportunity for a whole game or campaign setting within Warhammer. (Copyright: Edward WinterRose 2019. All rights reserved.) Or at least it’d be something to do in a Rogue Trader game. The place you end up is your classic adventure setting. You’ve essentially got the endless resources and space of a ringworld to explore. You’ve got reasonably friendly neighbors. Frontier mysteries and challenges. Alien flora and fauna. Space enough that there’d likely be variance in society. So every place you went would be a taste of something new or strange. The potential for science fiction and fantasy trope exploitation would be pretty high.
It doesn’t even have to be as hope-punk as all that, if the idea of a more peaceful Warhammer setting bothers ya. The castaways out there could be fractured and uncivilized. Un-trusting of one another. Different peoples who’ve just escaped 40 millennia of war aren’t going to be all hand-hold-y as that right away. A society like that would have to evolve over thousands of years. Maybe your characters arrive and can be great unifiers. Or if they want, they could be conquerers. It all depends on how you’d want to play a game like that. But I know one thing it might not be.
40 millennia of war without hope or change? That might be boring. The idea of being an exception to that and forging out on a different path? Now you’ve got my attention.
-Edward WinterRose is a 48th level gaming geek that has always prided himself more on coming up with settings and characters and playing with them than running games. And he’s a big softie. You can tell can’t ya?Oh yeah… speaking of castaways… A THREE HOUR TOUR.
The Boss nudged me and mentioned perhaps he could use 2000 words on the chapters of the Space Marines that maybe should never be infused with companies of Primaris Marines. Ones that should, to use his words… never grow up. Sure! And the first thing I think is… What’s a Primaris Marine? My noobness is showing again. So time to delve into backstory once more!
And the first thing I find is that while Space Marines come in what I consider to be several different models, IE: Salamanders, Imperial Fists, Raven Guard, Gray Templars, etc… I didn’t know they came in different MAKES as well. Cos while the original Astartes space marines were biologically implanted with something like 19 gene seed organs. these more robust Primaris space marines had 22. This was to make them a lot more resilient against mutation, and of course harder faster stronger like the song goes.
Ohhhhh, I thought. Well, that explains the big hoo-hah about the new Vanguard Space Marines I saw in the last month in the Warhammer Community pages. They’re the ‘brand new 41k Space Marine, now with extra organs for toughness!‘ hotness. It turns out that in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, before the Primarch Roboute Guilliman died, he set Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl to work on improving the design of the Emperor’s Space Marines on Mars. Well, fast forward ten-thousand years to 41K and you have the result of these Martian-developed Marines: the Primaris.
To match these upgraded versions of already upgraded human warriors, they were given bigger badder armor. They got mo’ betta’ guns and vehicles to go after the forces of chaos with. And a bunch of newer chapters of Space Marines were created that were JUST these newer tougher Primaris Marines. However, the Primaris were also seeded in the existing chapters and ranks of the Astartes. And a lot of those guys were like, “NEW HOTNESS BATTLE BROTHERS! AWESOMES! WELCOME-WELCOME! LET’S GO CELEBRATE WITH SOME CRUSADING!”
And there were others… that were not so much about the new hotness. And that’s human. No one likes being out-evolved or replaced in the evolutionary sense. (SEE: The X-Men vs. Humanity.) But emissaries of Emperor Pyrrhus (whom I will keep calling that) essentially asked these reluctant chapters, “Are you actually refusing the Emperor’s will?” Which for the most part put an end to that.
The new chapters went out to the lines at the rift and much kicking of daemonic ass commenced. Chapters like the Ultramarines and the Crimson Fists were pretty much, “BROTHERS! WELCOME TO THE PARTY!” and there was much rejoicing. (yaaaay.) And at this point, Cawl goes back to Mars to work on even more Primaris improvements and new chapters. He’s also working on the idea of upgrading EXISTING Astartes to the new Primaris standard. And the Astartes are a bit divided and iffy about that too. The Chapter Master of the Ultramarines volunteered himself for that and died for a bit in the process, but ultimately survived.
So while all the original Astartes might eventually be destined for replacement by attrition, it may be that upgrades eventually sunset the Astartes project if the Primaris work out. And they do seem to be working out. More and more of the ‘firstborn‘ Astartes are ‘Crossing the Primaris Rubicon‘ and undergoing the traumatic upgrade process. Some I wouldn’t even expect. I’d’ve thought the Raven Guard wouldn’t have wanted to try upgrades at all, given their last failure with accelerated replenishment programs. And I certainly wouldn’t have thought the Iron Hands would have gone in for it given their disdain for the weaknesses of the flesh. But here’s the Chapter Master of the Ravens and the Iron Father of the Iron Hands, both successfully ascended to Primaris.
So ‘Torchbearer‘ ships were sent out to the homeworlds of the marine chapters that Cawl upgraded with their primarch’s upgraded gene seed. “Here guys! Here’s all the machinery we need to install so your new recruits can be Primaris from the get go. Here’s examples of some of your upgraded model we made on Mars. If you want to hop on the slab and try to see if you can survive the upgrade, we can do that for ya too! Here’s yer future folks! EMBRACE IT!”
However… some of the more UNUSUAL chapters did not get the Primaris upgrade/influx.
And I suppose that makes sense. Your Noobness here is learning about how the flaws in different chapters’ gene seeds kind of individualize these chapters and how they participate in the forever war. And I haven’t looked into the ALL flaws of some of these chapters. Up until now, I’ve been seeing chapters like the Salamanders, and the Ravens and generally, chapters that seemed to mostly benefit from the quirks of their gene seeds. But some of the flaws in some chapters… you don’t really want to see those communicated to bigger nastier versions of themselves?
So now that I’ve got that part under my belt, and can consider the matter with context, let’s look into some of the chapters you might never want to get the hot Primaris injection.
THE CURSED 21st FOUNDING
This is a thing I’m also not entirely familiar with, but the internet is a wonderful thing, innit folks? So… as it turns out in the 36th Millennium, the Adeptus Mechanicus was trying to do what the folks on Mars were doing in creating an improved gene seed. One without the flaws. And… they went up something of an evolutionary blind alley. Ohh, this did not work out well for them. And it resulted in some SERIOUSLY genetically flawed Marine chapters. And these chapters are kind of looked down on by other chapters. Shunned even; which is a shame since these fellas are no less loyal or worthy of the Space Marine title. More or less… I mean, okay. TWO of these chapters went straight up chaotic traitor. But the rest were quite loyal despite their disfiguring mutations.
You’ve got chapters like the Black Dragons, who grow great big bone blades on their arms and heads, and they’ve got poisonous fangs. (I guess they take their helmets off to bite folk.) Then you’ve got the Minotaurs, who make the more well-known xenophobia of better known chapters seem TAME by comparison. These guys are prone to berserker rages and enjoy hunting down renegade marine chapters just a bit TOO MUCH, since they’re always after worthy foes… like other Space Marines. These fellas are the equivalent of genetically berserk Spartans with zealously radical loyalty only to the High Lords of Terra. So no. Let’s not make Super-Minotaurs, thank you.
You’ve also got the Blood Angel-descended Lamenters who just have… obscenely bad luck? To the degree that they were shunned by most as “CURSED”. To the degree that other chapters kind of turned up their noses at their brothers. (Superstitious much, Astartes?) This eventually caused the Lamenters to side with a traitor legion that had afforded them respect in the past. Which the Lamenters were NOT used to. The Lamenters were cleared, but they’re haven’t been replenished with new recruits until recently, and are down to about 400 left. Which were sent on a Penitent’s Crusade to make up for their bad judgement. Which is too bad since to a LARGE degree they’re more resistant to the Blood Angels’ ‘Red Thirst‘ and ‘Black Rage‘ problems. They are a bit more emo than most. And given their track record, you’d be melancholy too! Anyway, if the Blood Angels are worthy of the Primaris program, then so are the Lamenters. Hell, they’ll probably jump at the chance, if only to replenish their diminished numbers. And a Torchbearer ship was sent out to em. So we’ll see.
And then I’m seeing the Sons of Antaeus… (NO IMAGE FOUND??) and honestly… they’re just big-boned. No, really. The only thing ‘wrong‘ with these fellas is that they seem a bit too big, robust and indestructable. And it reminds other chapters too much of the traitor Death Guard legion, I guess? So if anyone’s going to get the Primaris upgrade in the less popular chapters, I’d think the Sons might be pretty nicely worthy. You could call em the Un-numbered Sons of Antaeus! Hah! Lookit me. The noob knows enough to make a punny portmanteau! But really, I always have a soft spot for the underdog. And these guys seem like they could use a little love. THEY certainly don’t see themsleves as cursed. I’d imagine they’d welcome more marines as big an stronk as they are.
THE 13th COMPANY
It was also suggested to me these folks aren’t the best candidates for the Primaris program. But this one also includes the Space Wolves chapter, which I had the impression was a well-known and well-liked chapter. So let’s me read up and see why that might be a bad idea…
FREAKING SPACE WEREWOLVES!!
Well, they’re POTENTIAL and later still EVENTUAL Space Werewolves. This is a whole chapter with a genetic predisposition to hyper-acute senses, but are prone to succumbing to a this lupine predisposition to mutate into Wulfen. (TM GW Misspelling 2019.) Add to that, the 13th company of the Wolves disappeared into the warp for a bit and came back. And one of the big rules about the 13th company among the Wolves is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE 13th COMPANY’S REASONS. That… and the 13th company are essentially a company that have become mostly Wulfen. So… SPACE WEREWOLVES who’ve had prolonged exposure to The Warp.
I can see why you would not want to make Space Werewolves MUCH BIGGER AND MORE DANGEROUS with the Primaris treatment.
THE LEGION OF THE DAMNED
So wait… I thought these guys were the Fire Hawks. What’s the matter with them that- GREAT EMPEROR’S GHOST!!!
Okay. Well, first, how would you even SEND a Torchbearer ship out to these fellas… they live in some kind of weirdspace between Normal Space and The Warp. These fellas just SHOW UP in the most hopeless situations out of literal Limbo, and save people in the direst straights. Allegedly these are successors of the Ultramarine chapter who disappeared into the Warp and never came back. But still show up and fight for the Emperor, despite being mutated by The Warp out of all recognition.
I mean these guys are the space marine equivalent of a direct cross of the Crew of the Flying Dutchman, maybe a bit of the Nazgul and Ghost Rider. Straight up should be dead, but they’re not. Should be possessed by Chaos, but they’re not. Should totally be way insane and not Imperial Loyalists. Well… the sanity’s debatable, but TOTALLY LOYAL! As a matter of fact, the more they fight, the more suicidally insane they get. So attrition will eventually end the haunted legend of the Legion of the Damned. But for the moment, it’s a spook story space marines MIGHT tell their cadets. One that happens to be real.
These fellows USED to be the Fire Hawks, who were yet another chapter of that ‘cursed‘ 21st founding in the 36th Millennium.
But whether these guys are ghosts, mutated survivors of the Fire Hawks after their ship was claimed by the Warp, or maybe even just an ectoplasmic extensions of the Emperor’s will, there’s corroborated record of their interventions. In any case, this is a moot point when it comes to the Primaris Program. How do you put a mutant ghost on the upgrade table?
HORUS HERESY MARINES
And finally, we get to some of the first marines. Ones from before they were broken up into chapters by Guilliman. Ones that would remember the Emperor and his works personally. These would be Chapters with EXTREMELY old Marines in them who’d be very, very traditionalist in their views. You’re talking about indoctrinated soldiers who’ve been alive and fighting a war 5 times longer than the 20 centuries worth of history we’ve been keeping in western society. They’re gonna have way past fanatical ideas about what should and should not be. And they’re especially going to have ideas about what a Space Marine should and should not be.
And they’re going to be awfully suspicious of ANYTHING coming out of Mars like the Primaris. THEY would remember all the stuff that went down in the 36th Millennium with the 21st founding. And they’re going to be the first ones who are going to point at the Primaris and go, “These creatures are a PERVERSION of the Emperor’s work by rogue Techmarines who should know their place. And hey, they very much didn’t have all the Emperor’s notes to work from when they were coming up with these new organs they’re putting in the space marines these days.”
There’s the upgrade program that some of the chapter and company leaders are going through to show their marines they’re willing to do it for the Emperor, and that it should be done. But older traditionalist marines are gonna be strategically leery of that too. The upgrade process is far from perfect, and might kill more than it upgrades just at a time when the Imperium can’t afford to lose any. Much less a success rate of slightly less than 40%. I read something like a 61% failure rate when they converted the head of the Ultramarines.
So this may be a move that’s considered rash, disrespectful, or downright heretical by the older more traditionalist chapters who cannot evolve with the needs of the Imperium. And that’s human too. As many people that are going to say “STICK THE ORGANS IN ME MAN!” there’s going to be as many who point, cross themselves and start chanting ‘HER-E-TIC! HER-E-TIC!‘ It’s a sad commentary on the species… but the whole game setting is pretty sad in theme and thesis. The idea of the Primaris to me is a hopeful one. One that shows the continued evolution of the story and the concept and the people within it. And if things can still change… I can hope that things can still change for the better.
-Edward WinterRose is a 48th Level Geek, who finds nothing more useless than a plot that goes nowhere. And given the opportunity would upgrade out of the meat he was born into in a heartbeat.
I once wrote a thing about the ‘Democratization of Things‘. Or in this case, the coming of 3d printers to a more accessible mainstream. This will change the gaming miniature industry the same way a 4 mile asteroid might change our planet. “How so?” says Shane, who I was bouncing the idea off of for a post here.
Now there’s some setup to this to make my point. Trust me. I’ll get back to our Space Marines.
Consider first the idea that for a 3d printer to be useful, you have to have something to print. Otherwise it’s a pretty expensive paperweight. And there’s places you can go online to buy 3d models of things to print. As the technology emerged, sites like Thingiverse had basic primitive shapes to use. Stuff that was really mass produce-able bits and bobs for craft projects that were more for 3d Printing enthusiasts than useful utility. (For that matter, we’ve got our own Shapeways store here at White Metal Games for useful bits and bobs.) But things have come along a way since then. And they’re coming on fast.
Another example might be how when I go to DragonCon every year, I get myself a resin replica of a famous, or not as famous blaster or sci-fi gun. The vendor of choice, whom I will not name here… their materials are okay. They’ve very obviously kitbashed themselves a model or replica together and have made molds. There’s even times when they’ve ‘poured’ the models they’re selling up in their rooms so they can cure overnight. There’s air bubbles in them. You need to sand the releasing agent off them before you can start working on them. And honestly, the product, while good to a cursory inspection, is about as good as a hero replica for action work. In other words, they don’t bear close scrutiny.
But in more recent years… I’m seeing sci-fi weapon replicas that were obviously assembled in computer programs like Maya and 3d Studio. Prototyped virtually and 3d printed to make their molds or pieces with. And this newer echelon of replicas are MUCH more professional looking. The feeling of authenticity is palpable. Like some executive might say, there’s a lot more THERE there.
Now take that concept and imagine every obscure blaster from Sabine Wren’s Westar 35’s in SW: Rebels to Dr. Soren’s El-Aurian Disruptor from Star Trek: Generations. And imagine a Thingiverse type website where you can just download the 3d model for a modest fee for the 3D Artist, and you can print your own model kits of whatever blaster, or starship, or . Not only that, but now you can print as many as you have the raw plastic to print. Did something awful happen to your build? Run yourself off another copy and build it again. Want to do variations on a paint scheme and have a whole fleet of differently colored Klingon Birds of Prey? Print yourself up a task force of them. Or a whole squadron of Star League Havoc Gunstars. Or original flavor 1979 model Colonial Vipers. Get the idea?
That’s already happened.
Hell, there’s Etsy stores that make stuff that way that SPECIALIZE in this kind of genre object market.
Take that idea a step further. You’ve got 3d ideas of your own of popular genre starships or guns, or things you’d like to create where you kitbash fan variants of those same ideas. You can make yourself a Federation Jester class gunboat, or any number of variant Corellian YT-series light freighters. Get yourself the models or the PIECES of models online and put them together as you see fit in the 3d software of your choice. Once you’ve got your virtual model… print that out.
There’s even specialized software you can download for your phone wherein you can 3d scan whatever object you feel like scanning. The middleman of 3d assembly skills in modelling software is entirely bypassed when you just set up the 3 dimensional object of your choice on a rotating platform. Point your smartphone at it and boot up the app, which takes many pictures of said object. The program then AI’s all those pictures together into a 3d model you can import into your 3d software. You can then alter that, or just straight up run off copies of the 3d object you just scanned. What you essentially have is a copy machine for objects. A replicator.
Now back to our Space Marines.
So I’m watching Shane unbox these guys. Commenting on which one’s he’s got, and eventually which ones he didn’t get. He’s looking at the sprues and the different arm and leg variants that came on them. The weapons they came with. And I’m thinking to myself how the coolest ones there… the ones you wanted 8 more of? You could do that with current tech. It’s not even that inaccessible. You could 3d scan all the bits and make as many of those as you liked. Thing piracy. On the scale that ye olde Napster was for music. How long before people do scans of complete sets of squads like these and just put them up on Bit-Torrent sites? “I just got a download of some Space Marines Heroes.” “There’s a new videogame?” “NO. THE MINIS. They’ll be done printing this weekend.”
You think your ISP is going to be looking for that kind of thing when they snoop your packets? Or are they going to dismiss that as 3d models and not worth their time when they have movie and music pirates to catch?
You can tell me that’s not coming, but smile when you say it.
Now… in the case of Warhammer, and other miniature-based games where the make, model and configuration of the miniature is attached to lore and backstory as deeply as it is. It becomes a bit more difficult to just run copies off and kick ass with. You can’t just stroll in with 30 high-octane 3d-printed replicas of that one specific guy and expect to be allowed on the table. But they can surely show up with a chapter of the Adeptus Astartes of their choice. (Wanna play the Sons of Antaeus? Or some other obscure chapter? You can do that.) It certainly becomes easier to get the models and print them up yourself. And as the cost of 3d-printing and the materials to do it with plummets, it becomes more economical as well.
Because with the democratization of the technology to make your own things, and the more accessible it becomes, the more interesting and incendiary this debate is going to become. Ask a professional photographer what business is like now that everyone is walking around with a camera in their phones that make most DSLR’s from 10 to 15 years ago seem like pre-historic junk. I imagine they’ll tell you. Ask voice actors how threatened they feel by the Photoshop for Voice Adobe’s working on. And the tech and materials for 3d-printing are only going to get cheaper. Have a look at how cheap you can get blank DVD’s nowadays. Especially now that Blu-Ray DVD read/write drives are no longer only priced for rich folk that want to impress other rich folk. You think 3d Printing won’t go the same way?
Again, smile when you say it.
It becomes a question of how the gaming industry responds to the dilemma that it will almost certainly face. Do they embrace it or fight it? There’s already sites out there like Hero Forge where you can assemble custom minis of your own from select-able 3d pieces in a browser window and save it to a cart to have them print for you. That nicely removes the idea of not having a nice enough 3d printer for now. So far, the quality of a 3d print is still something of a barrier to widespread exploitation. Right now it’s too expensive for most to get into only to print something that’s going to have striations or ‘print lines’ in it. If you’ve got an extra 10 to 20 grand lying around, you can get a nice printer. But people who can afford those could afford pretty much any object they’d want to print already, so the problem negates itself. The Hero Forge people are essentially selling quality and versatility, in that they do them in plastics as well as metals.
How long that lasts really depends on how quickly the technology improves and how cheap it is to acquire. People paid photographers to produce quality prints when I was a kid. Nowadays we all have a professional photography studio in our pockets. Usually with in-application buttons to send your pics right to a printer of your choice online. How long until an equivalent of the same exists for miniatures? Probably not long.
An idea I’d had this week was for things my White Metal Guys could do at conventions in the future. One thing that occurred to me was something I got some years back. I got a 3d scanned miniature of my wife printed for 100 bucks. One of her in a nice dress. What if you 3d scanned people at conventions in cosplay and printed them as minis? More to the point, what if you scanned, printed and had our artists like Preston or Brian paint them? I think that’d be a pretty killer app for us to have in our arsenal. I may campaign for it. We’ll see.
Like all things, this could be used for good too. If you’ve ever had to order a replacement part for a model you bought or broke, you could always just go to the company that made the model and download the part you need. Print it right up and get back to building or repairing your piece. And that’s if you didn’t just buy the model to start with. Just call it up and print it right there. Or if you liked, I think I remember reading about how there’s good 3d scans out there of all those old Ral Partha minis from old D&D miniature lines available for download and reprint. Hey. If they were good enough for WizKids to make HeroClix out of, they’re probably good enough for your game table.
This is a debate that is coming. And it will have deeper implications and effects than anyone currently seems to be planning for. The democratization of things isn’t just a niche gaming miniature market issue. This comes down to machine parts. Replacement parts. Free Market. The definition of ownership. What can and can’t be copyrighted. What happens when everyone can make everything they want? Do they only buy raw materals and things they cannot make themselves instead? What happens when you functionally have a replicator to make whatever little object you desire?
We’ll see. I’m pretty certain we’ll see.
-Edward WinterRose is a gaming and technology geek who is pretty sure he’s looking forward to the technological singularity. And hopes it will happen in his lifetime. NERRRRD!!
Coming at this from the noob-ish vantage point, I’ll preface this longer item with a bit of background, which I’ll do to underline why I see it the way I do. In some of the first D&D games I played, I was playing female characters. I’m not dysphoric as far as I’m aware, nor latent-ly looking to transfer. I just like playing female characters. There’s a whole storyline in Rich Burlew’s long-running comic, The Order of the Stick, about how the fighter accidentally got hold of a cursed item that left him gender-swapped. He eventually got it off and reclaimed his masculinity… and all the characters exited the scene. … And then the bard, whom I’ve voiced in a fan production leans back in and yoinks it. I suppose you never know when a thing like that will be useful. But I suppose Elan the Bard will find some hilarious use for it.
That’s pretty much me. I GOTthat item in a roleplay once. I didn’t consider it a cursed item, and had the character keep it, since I’d come up with a translation of an older Battletech character I wanted to make work in D&D. That character had been from a matriarchal society due south of galactic center called the Magistracy of Canopus. Rook was a mech technician. She didn’t pilot the huge battlemechs into the theater of operations. But she’d make them work better than most. I was in my late teens then in the late 80’s or early 90’s. It wasn’t that I didn’t think she could pilot them or wage war with them. I just liked geeky mechanic classes more. Hell, her name was cribbed from the much-disdained Harmony Gold adaptation of Genesis Climber Mospaeda as their third season of Robotech. Fans of those animated series will remember the American Alpha Variable Fighter Pilot, Rook Bartley.
Since then, there’s been three or four of my favorite non-male characters, or variations thereof, that seem to wend their way through different RPG’s, campaign settings, videogames and MMO’s I’ve played. After nearly 30 years, Rook’s an old friend. Hell, I’m using that one again in The Outer Worlds right now. My last name is actually, legally WinterRose. I got it changed back in 2012, has its roots in a name mashup of another recurring character. That of the AI, WinterMute from William Gibson‘s ‘Neuromancer‘ and Rose, an ex-mafioso assassin from Shadowrun. There’s Terry Reese, who had her roots in Geena Davis‘ character from the movie ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight‘ hybridized with that of Teri Span from the never picked up Stephen King series, ‘Golden Years‘. Teri is considered by some, certainly me, to have been a prototype for characters like Dana Scully later on in ‘The X-Files‘. The actress (whom I will not name here due to recent current events) even guest starred alongside Gillian Anderson in an episode. King even wrote an X-Files episode later. And of course, it was a Scully ep.
The long-winded geeky point is, I’m a big advocate of female characters in my gaming. Especially in my roleplaying gaming. I will straight up not play a videogame where there’s not an option for the PC’s gender 9 times out of 10. (FEMSHEP ALL THE WAY!) And maybe that’s one reason I’ve not really gotten into Warhammer before now… It wasn’t a conscious decision not to. But given that the game is so reliant on playing units with miniatures created for existing characters in the official lore and backstories… It’s kind of not all that inclusive of women? And when I say kind-of. I mean REALLY noticeably. Even for a noob like me. Maybe I’m missing something. Though in my initial research for this article, I’m not seeing the representation.
Now I suppose that’s not true for the more purely
dice and paper games. The actual RPG’s
like Rogue Trader where you can come up with whatever characters you wanna and
roleplay them to your heart’s content. I
actually have come up with a character or two for that one. And one of them was certainly a woman. The other was a tech-priest cos I’ve other
abiding interests in that direction. But
Euphrates Belasco was someone I wish I’d been able to develop further before
that game fell on the sword of scheduling conflicts and wasn’t followed
up. I don’t even remember where we were
going with that. But I remember her.
Now it has been suggested to me in the past that the dearth of opportunities to play women in Warhammer may have been a politic decision. A kind of lesser of two evils decision in what may have been a lose-lose situation. A choice between making it okay in a game to kill women in battle or dealing with claims of baked-in sexism in the game’s design. And it would seem they went with the latter. I disagree with the decision, honestly. Women are every bit as capable as warriors, and as it turns out, in recent viking archaeological discoveries, always have been. In my own view, I’m not killing WOMEN on the battlefield if I’m faced with one. I’m vanquishing a foe. How her plumbing is arranged is of supreme disinterest to me if she’s firing a plasma rifle at me.
Mine is likely not the arguably popular view, however. There is this perception of Warhammer players being something of a boys club. I’m told that they’re not on the level of the ‘He-Man Woman Haters Club‘ from the early 20th century Little Rascals films. But given the incel and the toxic-masculine presence in fandoms nowadays, I cannot imagine that there’s not a bastion here. In the threads I found for background here, there were the most exclusionary comments. There was sentiment tantamount to the idea of women being included as powerful characters and squads being something that would the lore. And that if you didn’t agree with it, maybe Warhammer wasn’t for you. Even the positive commentary seemed a bit privileged, where people commented as to how ‘they wouldn’t mind‘ if certain factions got to field women in certain roles. Gosh… how inclusive… As though the new lore post end-times in Warhammer fantasy couldn’t be altered to be more inclusive if GW wanted to. Or perhaps with the great psychic awakening happening in the 40K Imperium of Man. It’s not like canonically the Chaos folks are gonna have a problem with it.
There is also another specious reason given for the idea of not opening up gender-inclusivity in game, in that the folks at GW may not want to just push a sudden influx of women in the lore and be perceived as hopping into that inclusivity as a fad. Something like the glut of comments you see in any toxic thread about modern superhero movies or Star Wars movies. Comments along the lines of “Why do we have to have this character be a woman?” “Why do we have to have so many women as superheroes now?” (Watch this blow up again with the next Thor movie in the coming year or so.) As though the superhero genre weren’t glutted with male characters for nearly a century. As though in Star Wars, women hadn’t been relegated to damsels in distress, romantic interests, or brood mares in the on-screen canon. This is a whole rant, and I’ll stop there before my mouth is flecked with foam. But as long as we’re talking other media a moment as relevant examples, will there be no women in the upcoming Eisenhorn TV series? (Well… beyond the occasional Battle Sister anyway. Given their devotion Emperor Pyrrhus, can they actually be said to pass the Bechdel Test?)
It’s been my own philosophy in life that incrementalism is merely procrastination in safe-for-work terms.. And while swatting a mosquito with an orbital nuke may be overkill, the problem said insect is more than effectively solved. And the same may be said of many other problems in the world that incrementalism merely prolongs instead of resolving. I won’t drop into an activism rant here either. But honestly, what’s the harm in going all-in? Who does it hurt? What part of the lore does it hurt? What part of the lore would not be enhanced and made more enticing to a game whose perception is that of being overwhelmingly male? For my own part, anyone whose fee-fee’s are hurt by sudden gender equality didn’t really rate all that high on my consideration list anyway.
This is not to say that there aren’t all-female groups out there. The most famous of which is getting its first plastic release in 20 years in the form of the Adepta Sororitas, or Sisters of Battle. But there are others. The Sisters of Silence were an all-female group of rogue-psyker hunters as part of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica as the Departmento Investigates. I’m given to understand there’s a whole contingent of Dark Eldar Witches as well. My own perception is that women ought to be ubiquitous enough that you don’t have to search for examples to point at and say. “See? We have women too!”
Of course another reason still, and honestly not an entirely bad one is how so much of the game is tied to iconographic miniatures. And unless your characters or units are specifically anthropomorhic human/demihumans, straight up genderless or hermaphroditic like Necrons or more bestial units… (And that’s not even getting into the more demonic or chaos-based factions.) …then there’s going to be R-rated bits of anatomy flopping about in the most visually disturbing configurations. And as much as I disagree with the double-standard of half the human race’s anatomy being R-rated, I can understand it not something you’d want to have little Jenny or Billy painting in their formative years if your kids are getting into wargaming. I get it. Okay?
But even that, to some degree, can be worked around with practical armor and clothing in your sculpts. (See the difference between the full chaos marine armor above, and the ‘bikini’ armor later in the post.) It’s already been shown that GW can do a whole overtly female designed army without sexualizing them and still have their armor be fearsome, awesome and practical. And when it comes to overtly humanoid miniatures, who’s it going to hurt to include a woman’s head to stick into the collar space of a Space Marine model? How much extra plastic do you need to make a woman-inclusive option or two on a sprue of bits you’re putting together? Hell, in Warhammer Fantasy, I should think that after the end times, the non-chaotic factions would take who they can get. It would seem to me to be the perfect opportunity to start integrating one’s forces.
40k would seem to have a more difficult issue, in that no end-times equivalent, universe-shaking event has made change to such hidebound (armorbound?) policy necessary. This is not to say that such a necessity couldn’t be introduced. But it has to be said… 40k’s lore is is very, very patriarchal. More to the point, it would seem to have been so on the order of THOUSANDS of years. How does that suddenly change? The sudden and seemingly inevitable advance of the Necron? The final and proper death of the Emperor of Mankind, and the sudden war to fill the vacuum left in his wake? And the requisite advance of chaos in his absence?
I didn’t say it’d be easy. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be. But I don’t see this so much as a problem. I see it more as an opportunity to tell a compelling story of interstellar conflict born of sudden need and desperation. And in the face of such odds, why wouldn’t you confront the sudden danger and strife as a whole race instead of just half?
Now Mr. WinterRose, Your Noobness here will be the first to tell you he doesn’t like being advertised at. It’s something I keep out of my blog posts to a large degree. But I write and podcast for a gaming store and commission gaming paint service. And as much as I’d like to go full-time geek and write to my heart’s content about gaming all the time, I got hungry kitties with expensive tastes in cat food, so let’s do this thing.
We, like most places that sell stuff online, are doing our own Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on the things we make, and the things we sell in the store. You’re going to want to have a look on our White Metal Games store page and see the kinds of things you want there. Cos the codes you’re going to want to use for Black Friday (11-29-19) and Cyber Monday (12-02-19) are:
And because we are gamers with an appreciation for making the rules work for us, let’s make a clarification. This isn’t gonna stack. Say you get a 10% off deal by entering ye code up there. And you buy a membership that gives you ANOTHER 10% off something in the WMG store. Does that mean the 10% off you got on that membership level in your cart stack with the 10% off you got with the promo code above on your final purchase price for that membership?
Well, I’m a player, not a GM. I don’t rulemonger cos no-one likes a rulemonger. In the shopping sense, a rulemonger translates as an ‘extreme coupon-er‘. And if any of you have been on the cash-register end of a conversation with a ‘Karen‘… in full possession of a spring-colored, daisy-patterned nylon coupon pouch and a ‘let me speak to your manager‘ hairstyle? Someone looking to game a $600.00 gift purchase down to 30 bucks on December 20th? We all know how much that person sucks. This is what I mean when I say no-one likes a rulemonger.
So your noobness is gonna say no. In the above example, until you’ve paid for the membership, the only discount that applies is the 10% Promo code cos you don’t actually HAVE the other one yet. That’s the example I’m working with right now and fading, Homer-Simpson-like into the bushes.
This here post is to let you know the White Metal Games discount codes for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We hope you’ll use em to get yourself something nice, or something nice for the people you care for. Or better still something they can use to create something really noteworthy, and rule the tabletop with some professional quality painted shock and awe. And we can do that for ya without all the requisite smells of pumpkin spice and gingerbread. (Mini-paint smells better anyway.) Without some oppressive tinkly variation on the same christmas carols you were good and tired of by the age of 6…. (Or was that just me?) Without the ‘REALLY-EXCITED, CAFFEINE AND MDMA-INJECTED. “WE’RE CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS!!“‘ TV commercial 6 times in a 60 minute broadcast block voice. No jingle bells, no carol of the bells, no bells and whistles at all really. None of that holiday hokum and hoo-hah coming out of your monitor at you with the pounds per square inch of an out of control fire hose.
Yeah, Your Noobness has issues with holiday advertising. I am the Grinch when it comes to this.. THE CHUCK JONES AND KARLOFF ONE, THANK YOU! I am not entirely tasteless.
But I do hope you find something you’d like in our store and get a good deal on it. In that, you have your noobness’ good will and well-wishings for a great month to come. I’ll leave you with an image of dis holiday gobbo. Cos he’s on topic, and dammit, he’s adorable. (I did mention I had issues. Or at the very least, a warped sense of humor. Warped like The Warp, that is. ^_^)
-Edward WinterRose actually enjoys the holiday season as long as he stays away from an actual television set or radio in November or December. And is a 2-time survivor of Whamageddon so far. He actually does wish you some happy holidays despite his Grinchy demeanor.
So… I’ve seen the occasional Sister of Battlecosplay while cruising about the nets and social sites. My general impression was that they seemed a more pious sect of all-female Space Marines. That and they tended to look pretty cool. They usually had purity seals all down their fronts; or they had them trailing out like some kind of frayed cloak on one side or behind them. Given that I learned about those from another article, I now have the impression that these warriors of the Ecclesiarchy are quite free of the taint of Chaos indeed. And finally, I know they’re also a kind of inquisitorial guard… And honestly, that’s about it. Okay. Since the Games Workshop people have just come out with their first Sisters of Battle miniatures for nearly TWENTY years, I think it’s probably time for me to introduce myself to this order and see what it’s all about. (With the obligatory Python references along the way.)
“NO ONE EXPECTS THE ADEPTA SORORITAS! Our chief weapons are surprise, hideously large weapons, unmatched purity… and an almost fanatical devotion to the Emperor of Mankind- Look, I’ll start again.” —Monty Python’s Flying Circus (very paraphrased)
Yeah… it’s not like that at all. I’m thinking that’s a bit more like the Officio Assassinorum. (Because honestly, would could be more surprising than waking up dead?) This would seem to be THE only military force that the Adepta Sororitas gets to field. Looks like the Ecclesiarch Sebastian Thor said the Ecclesiarchy doesn’t get to maintain men under arms. Boy did THEY find a loophole!
Now… that said, the fanatical devotion to the Emperor? Yeah, THAT’S totally a thing. Raised to worship and adore the Emperor from birth. (Ummmm, nothing disturbing about that… I guess? Ew.) What I’m getting here is essentially the elite-est leets that ever leet-ed equivalent of Imperial War Nuns. Except they’re not married to the concept of any deity except the Emperor of Mankind. Yow. Okay. This is the same mostly dead fella that needs 1000 souls pumped into him every day? I’m starting to form opinions about Emprah Pyrrhus. (Still calling him that.) But perhaps I should hold off on that til I’m more well read on the subject. (Update: I’ve read more on the subject. Still calling him that.)
I’m getting the Amazonian vibe here. How could I not? Although, I get a bit of a different vibe from the idea that the source of their indomitable will and power is their penitence and devout-ness. I don’t know how many of you remember the X-Man, ‘Longshot‘ from Marvel’s mutant books, but this was a character whose power (aside from agility and healing) was extreme lucky-ness. But it only worked if his motives were pure. By what yardstick were his motives proven pure? Eventually he found that he defined who he was and what was good for him and the world around him, (Like ya do.) and therefore his luck was only answerable to his own moral compass. (NOW THERE’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE, INNIT??)
The same would seem to apply to the Sisters of Battle. Their faith is at times literally their armor. It dispels fear, weakness and sometimes wounds. The morality of their Emperor isn’t so much the issue here, as the purity of their faith in Him. The singleminded strength of their faith is the point. Of course it occurs to me to perhaps read up on the idea and maybe do a story or sketch about a Sister who loses her faith. Except I get the idea that this doesn’t happen. And that the only way one of the Emperor’s Battle Nuns leave the Ecclesiarchy’s ranks is feet first with a bunch of extra holes in em. Remind me to look into what happens to ones that escape or go on the run. That probably brings us back to the Assassinorum again. But it’s worth pursuing.
Oddly… the Sisters of Battle didn’t so much have this imposed upon them. It looks like during the waning times of a huge and violently turbulent Ecclesiarchy ruling period referred to as the ‘Reign of Blood‘, the fellow that took control of said Ecclesiarchy found this sect of warrior-women on a world called San Leor. I suppose that’s a little less Handmaid-ey given that they sort of chose this for themselves. Even if in the process of weaponizing the Sisters, this religious demagogue Vandire kinda conned em into his service.
As Vandire’s cheese started to fall entirely off its cracker, the Space Marines and the Adeptus Mechanicus went against him and came in on the side of another Ecclesiarch, one Sebastian Thor. And hey, apparently one of their chief weapons WAS actually surprise. I think the one thing the Marines and Adepts were NOT expecting was an order of fanatically elite Battle Sisters generally kicking their asses in their own (Dishonest as hell) leader’s name. (NO ONE EXPECTS THE- What? We already did that bit? Okay…) I suppose it wasn’t entirely their fault. They were still under the impression that Vandire spoke for the emperor. Despite the whole FIGHTING the Emperor’s forces thing… (High Will, Low Int?) At least til the head of the Emperor’s Praetorian Guard met with the Sisters’ Leader and was all, “Hey look. I’ll TAKE you to the Emperor himself and he can set you straight on this. Okay?“
So they went and had a nice chat with the Emperor and his guards… Then the head Battle Sister goes straight back to Vandire and whacks his lunatic head off his shoulders for his betrayal. And there was much rejoicing. **yaaaaayyyy** (See? I wasn’t going to leave Python for long.) And even though Thor decreed the Ecclesiarchy doesn’t get to have men as an army anymore, the Minostorum snapped up the sisters, who became the Orders Militant of the Adeptus Sororitas, and later the Ordo Hereticus.
And then they lived, about has happy as they ever get, personally serving their Emperor the way they always wanted to anyway. And got to prosecute many, many battles and wars in his name against xenos and heretics. So they’ve got that going for them.
I will say that I am a miserly Scrooge when it comes to my gaming.
Now of course, nowadays, that’s no awful thing. The world is an expensive place. More expensive than usual of late. And lots of us have had to cut corners when it comes to the luxuries, or hobby pastimes. It happens. Things get tight and suddenly you just don’t have the money to drop on the latest Rules Codex or 3rd Party Splatbook. You may be forced to forego that one miniature and the paints you need to do it up right, oh and you’re out of primer too. You need gas and groceries. And a very different kind of war is pushing both of those prices up. Not the fun tabletop kind either.
What’s a gamer to do?
Something that kept me from getting into Warhammer to a large degree was the price of entry. It wasn’t really my thing ANYWAY unless we’re dice and paper-ing with characters who had backstories, with no hex-map necessary unless we wanted to tabletop an encounter. Read: An RPG instead of a Wargame was my requirement. But honestly, the way Warhammer is set up, it kind of requires the miniatures and the tabletop accessories to field them on like maps and counters and whatever ginchy cards or accessories those guys have. I had the painting expertise cos I am an artist when I’m not writing or acting. But my paints were inherited from someone else for the most part. And the cost of paint and minis and the like was much more than I was willing to commit. I got a wife, 2 kitties and an ever-changing amount of domesticated rats to feed, as well as a car and rent to maintain.
In short, I decided pretty early on that tabletop wargaming was a rich kid’s game. Or at least someone with more time and disposable income than myself. I got more into videogames on my PC, or digital hobbies with little to no costly overhead in materials or reference books. And I really hadn’t had to think of painting or Warhammer again until the last few months.
So I went looking for how one would get the minis to start with. When I inherited the venerable paints I got, I also inherited a bunch of older RPG miniatures. Old blood bowl minis, lots of old Ral Partha stuff, some Reapers Minis. But on the whole, a box that’s really full of interesting bits and bobs. And I did pull out a few to use for character work. However, most of that is still in its box unused. I’ve wondered if I ought to get rid of it at times. And I know I’ve seen Caleb and Hunter here going through boxes just like that. They’ll have a look on e-Bay, Facebook trading groups, or other places for people going through a purge stage.
Maybe it’s someone trying to recoup after giving the hobby a try and not finding it was for them, so they’re selling off what they bought. Maybe it’s something they no longer have time for. Maybe it’s something they lost interest in, or never finished that’s just taking up space. You don’t really move that in a yard sale, but an interested party on an online site? They’ll take it off your hands. And an interested buyer can find some fantastic bargains online, on the order of maybe paying 10% of what the mini or group might have originally cost.
That however doesn’t cover the costs of paint, brushes, transfers, other materials if you want to get really fancy. I myself have an airbrush from art school, but I don’t have a compressor of my own to use it. I will say if you want to do the painting yourself and you have the time, it’s a rewarding hobby and a really relaxing one, I find. You don’t have to enroll in expensive classes or get all manner of how to books. Not if you’ve got an internet connection, anyway.
You may be as astounded as I was to find that there’s twitch streamers (White Metal Games included) as well as video bloggers (us included again) who have scads and loads of livestreams and youtube tutorials about how to paint miniatures like a pro. And these are people like you and me. They’ve got bills too. So while there are some who have dedicated workshops and shows they make their living from, there’s also people with your budget and materials turning out work just as good as those same professionals.
When it comes to the materials, it can be a bit more expensive. Just hopping down to your local art supply store and picking up a bunch of tempera paints, or acrylics is going to get you some pretty bad results. Paint itself isn’t something you can really skimp on. In this case, it really is a Garbage In / Garbage Out situation. Any artist will tell you that 9 times out of 10, the end product of your creativity is always going to reflect the creativity, talent, and materials that went into it. Read some reviews of different paints and see what your price range will bear. But there’s thrifty solutions to apply here too.
One example that’ll save you some taco money for example is primer. There’s cans of ‘miniature grade‘ primer sprays out there going for 15 bucks a can and up. Nah, man. Just go get you a can of flat primer good for the material you’re spraying it on from your local Home Despot or hardware store. (Locally owned is always better tho!) Literally the result is no different from those ‘gaming’ sprays. But the pigments and paints, and maybe the brushes too, you don’t want to skimp there. Remember. Garbage In / Garbage Out. There’s even a blog or two out there that shows the results of a Garbage In situation. This said… once you build up a nice color palette of decent quality paints, a little goes a long way. And if you’re just doing individual minis instead of armies, some of these paints might last you years.
I know I read one guide that put it this way. If you’re paying 4 dollars a pot for a small bottle of pigment, the idea of buying a crayola box of colors at 4 bucks a crayon may make you short of breath and cash. But you can go about this strategically. Say you’ve got yourself a group of minis who you know are going to be predominantly one color. I know when I was playing Underworlds with Hunter, my research showed that the Orruk group, Ironskull’s Boyz were clad in mostly gold/yellow tones. Well, if you know you’re going to need mostly that, get you just three paint pots. A darker yellow for shade, a mid-tone and a brighter tone for highlights. And once you’ve budgeted the time and effort into primer-ing and painting or spraying that primary color on your dudes, then get the dark, mid, and light greens for the skin tones you need. And eventually you will have built yourself a respectable rack of paints you may only occasionally need to replace a pot of. 12 bucks for 3 shades is a whole lot better than 84 bucks for 21 colors all at once.
Now this may still be too high an entry cost for you. For that matter, you might even be surprised that they don’t come painted in the first place. Here’s where your online services, traiding and auction sites come in. There’s all manner of pre-fabricated and pre-colored collectable miniature games out there. I know that I used to play HeroClix/Mage Knight. Nowadays, when I’m playing Betrayal at House on the Hill, I have a whole shopping bag full of mooks, monsters, mobs and malefactors for when the haunt finally happens and monsters start popping up on the game board. So that’s a solution too. But some games, like Warhammer aren’t going to be all that friendly to proxies meant to represent Space Marines, or all that copyrighted character IP that Games Workshop provides. For games between friends? Sure! If you mean to go to shops or tournaments later on to play with your dudes… Not so much.
So you’re not a painter. Or you don’t want to get into learning to paint. Or you don’t have the bread to REALLY get into amassing a studio table’s worth of paints. You just wanted to get some minis and play. And that’s cool too. I’m not judging. That’s a trap artists can get into. Judging others for their perceived lack of creativity and talent. There’s a word for artists like that. The word is profane, and like the man said, it’s one “which I will not utter here.” In short, there ain’t nothing wrong with not being able to manhandle a paintbrush and wanting to play the game you want to play. (And here’s the pitch. A little bit anyway.) There’s commission services that will paint what you have in mind for the plastic, or even pewter or tin miniatures you managed to get at the bargain you got. These services tend to have artists on tap who are talented enough to be doing this for a living. Some have a network of artists they farm the work out to. Others have a brick and mortar studio those artists come to and work at with all the materials and parts and expertise you might expect, White Metal Games included. (End of plug.) It’s worth looking into what they do. If you just want them painted and you’re not looking for a crash course in learning to make them look like you want them to look, it’s a place to start.
Or maybe you’re looking into this with pals you want to play with. And hitting up a commission service is still a bit steep. There are services out there looking into offering their services on a subscription model. The idea being you pay a certain amount for this many hours of an artist on tap’s time and effort per month. That way, you could over time, get that army painted for a flat recurring fee, or go in on a membership with your gaming group and spread the cost of that over all of you. Sort of like a time-shared artist you can all take turns with. And eventually you’ve all got professional level paints on minis you scored on the internet at nickels and dimes on the dollar. (Again… end of plug.)
One little thing by the way. If you are going to paint them yourself. There’s all manner of costly accessories out there for holding the things while you’re painting them, or magnifiers to blow them up in your field of vision enough to be able to paint all those fine details on the cheap. Honestly, you can kit-bash the holders yourself with a cork, a bit of clothes hanger and a 50 cent alligator clip. While you’re at the hardware store getting a clip, you can get some nice ferrous washers to glue on the underside of your mini’s base. That way they’re weighted down, or will even stick to a display board or playing mat if they’re magnetized. And the magnifiers? Just get you a 10 dollar pair of reading glasses from your local drug store. THERE’S your magnifier.
And finally… I will say that I am learning the release schedule from Games Workshop, Reaper Miniatures, and a bunch of other miniature production houses is relentless. It’s easy to get caught up in the mania of procuring more minis than you will ever have the time or resources to paint. That’s probably why you were able to find some unpainted dudes on the cheap. People who had eyes bigger than their worktop. You’ll want to show some self control or restraint. You don’t have to get every new army or mini as they’re released. As much as stores like my boss runs might appreciate that, the idea is to have fun. Not stress yourself out or break your budget on something you’ll never have the time or resources to enjoy. Caleb called this “Stemming the Gray Tide“. (Which I will say sounded to me like a nanotech gray goo apocalyse scenario. It’s actually more like a wave of unpainted plastic coming at you.) I call this having good sense. The minis you want will always be there for the most part. If not on the shelves then on some auction or trading site where someone less sensible or MUCH busier than you is selling what they don’t have the time or space to keep anymore. Ya get me?
All in all, there’s strategies and resources aplenty for someone who wants to get into miniature painting on the cheap. And this is for wargaming, or just straight up RPG single character paints like I tend to do for my personal games. It can be daunting. But it’s doable with thrifty patience and self-control. And if you’re looking to play a strategy tabletop wargame or mini-enhanced role-playing game, I’m thinking you’ve got the strategic mindset to make that happen already. Any guide to strategy, and I prefer ‘A Book of Five Rings’ by Miyamoto Musashi myself, will tell you to choose your battles and your battleground. The same could be applied here. Wait til they’re discounted or available on the cheap. Strike fast when you find a bargain. Don’t overextend yourself, time or money-wise. … and you will always be victorious.
…or something like that. Cheers!
-Edward WinterRose cannot rightly say he’s just a poor boy and nobody loves him. Half of that would be a filthy lie. But he’s had a lifetime of having to bargain hunt and be creative on the cheap. And his wife told him she loves him very much through a sleep muddled haze before he went to work this morning.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.