Thursday 9 April 2015

My Hopes for Warhammer 9th

As I'm sure many of you are aware, the Warhammer world has been exploded. Pretty dramatically at that. In what has been a fairly exciting six months, the fantasy world that many of us have grown up with has finally been pushed over the brink. Lizardmen have absconded in their pyramid-spaceships, Skaven have got fed up and left, the Estalians have been wiped out and all the elves are best buddies again (kind of).

What comes next is anybodies guess.

There are various rumours whizzing around of self contained chunks of land contained in warp-protecting bubbles that occasionally crash into each other and spawn conflict, complete reboots of the setting with a new genesis or even the survivors of the forces of good sheltering in a haven while chaos marauds all around. (I don't think I've ever written the word "marauds" before, and it looks really weird for some reason!)

I'd like to tell you what I'm hoping for though. A return to the Realms of Chaos.

Boom! - Image taken from RareWallpapers

One persistent rumour is that the game will be split into three distinct sizes in order to keep everyone happy. The aim, presumably, would be to be able to progress the storyline, allow everyone to keep playing their old armies and have a way to ease new players into the game. This is what I'm expecting:

  • End-Times-Hammer - Complete with all the races we know and love, and presumably ever on the precipice of destruction. The good old days.
  • Post-Apocalypse-Hammer - The 'New World Order' reboot of the setting with multiple races allied together under a single banner.
  • Skirmish-Hammer - Small scale battles set in the new world and designed to have a low barrier of entry.

The last of these is the one I have the most hope for as, with a little luck and the will of the game designers, it could easily become a spiritual successor to the Realms of Chaos style games. Supposedly there is a new starter box out for pre-order on 24th April (So much for that bit of the rumour!) that has a Good vs. Evil theme to it so I don't think any of this is too far fetched.

Imagine, if you will, a simple system that begins with choosing your champion. The champion would have to be aligned either towards Law or Chaos and would be pledged to one of the deities of that alignment. Yes, that would mean a revival for the Gods of Law - check out the Oldhammer forum thread where people have been piecing lots of wonderful old fluff together.

The champion would begin with a fixed amount of renown, (used as a points system) that you can spend on an accompanying retinue. You'd have access to all the troops from your alignment as well as those who are undivided, and you can buy extra equipment, rolls on attribute charts, gifts, daemonic intervention and so on.

I would imagine the alignments to be broken down something like this. Note that Dwarves and Elves would include their Chaos and Dark relatives respectively, hence their neutral nature.

  • Law - Angels, Blessed and Lizardmen
  • Undivided - Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Undead, Greenskins and Ogres
  • Chaos - Daemons, Beastmen and Skaven

There are a couple of new things on there, namely the Angels and Blessed. I would imagine these to be the Law equivalents to Daemons and Beastmen of Chaos. Angels are merely daemonic entities subservient to the Gods of Law and Blessed are those who are changed and altered by the stuff of Law. A lot of the attributes would be the same as for Chaos forces but with a more stereotypically 'good' look to them. Imagine lots of wings, haloes, beautifully serene faces and so on.

There could be various scenarios under which warbands could meet. Destroying shrines of rivals, converting important characters, feuding over territory, capturing resources or just revenge could all be good motivators. Plenty of scope for (fleeting) alliances and multi-player goodness too.

Over the course of a campaign you'll build up grudges, your troops will die or disband and champions perish. In return new fighters will join your cause, Lieutenants will take command and renown will be earned. Gifts would be bestowed from deities and eventually a true hero may ascend and become a paragon of their faith - a Daemon Prince or Archangel.

This could be a great way of getting new gamers playing the small-scale, narrative driven campaigns that we love. Even if they don't go as far as the ludicrous random D1000 tables, this could be a great thing.

Hopefully I'm not expecting too much, although I suspect I might be. What I do know is that if people started playing this, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat!

Are you looking forward to the new edition, if so then what do you think it will be like?


  1. Hey, this sounds great!! I suddenly feel very excited! Now I can't wait for April 24! Bring on 9th!

    1. I'm super curious about the new starter box, I think it'll tell us a lot about what they have planned.

  2. Hi!

    I must admit I am awaiting developments in Warhammer fantasy with great interest as the sort of game you are hoping for is just what I too am looking for in a game!

    Whether we see it become a reality, I'm not sure but I'm looking forward to the 24th so we can finally see what all the fuss is about!

    All the best!

    1. I think there's a lot of us who feel the same way. Let's hope the new rules meet our expectations. :)

  3. Good article Peter and I too feel there's to be some similarity between new hammer and RoC. A slight merging of WFB and 40k? Check. Skirmish style games, focus on heroes and retinues, can also be expanded into a bigger battle? All ticks. I honestly think they could revisit the successes of RoC with this new edition, exciting (but probably optimistic!)

    1. Possibly too optimistic, but I'd rather live in hope than just grumble.

      I'd love to see GW take this opportunity to go back tot their roots a bit, and given how much they've been pressing the idea of "forging the narrative" in 40k, I think that 9th could genuinely be a good thing.