Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Literary Influences on Warhammer 40k

Here's a selection of books that have greatly influenced the Warhammer universe that we know and love.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien:  This influence is more evident in the Fantasy universe, but 40k still has the archetypical Men, Elves, Dwarves and Orcs in space.

Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe:  This series of 4 books (and its coda, Urth of the New Sun) is set in the far future.  Technology is stagnated in this series and the world is dying.  The similarities seem superficial, but the terms Wolfe used were borrowed heavily by 40k.  Though none of the terms are coined words (Wolfe likes to use archaic terms for things), it's no coincidence that many of them appear in the 40k universe.  They include Carnifex, Lictor, Autarch, Zoanthrope and Terminus Est (the name of Typhus's flagship).  There's even mention of a weapon which suspiciously seems like a power weapon.

Dune by Frank Herbert:  Now we're getting into the heavy influence.  There's enough here for a whole post dedicated to this book alone.  To begin, there is a guild of Navigators who guide ships through interstellar flight.  The word lasgun comes from this book.  Later on there is a God-Emperor.  Thinking machines are prohibited.  At one point, technology and mankind become stagnated.  I haven't read this series in a while so I've probably missed many similarities, this is merely what I can remember.

Honorable mention goes to Starship Troopers.  I haven't read it but from what I hear it's got some similarities.

So what are some other books that have obviously influenced the game that I need to put on my reading list?

All images from

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wishlist for 40k 6th Edition

So we're probably a year and a half away from a new edition of Warhammer 40k.  I know it seems a bit early to start wishlisting but I have to do it before all the rumors start kicking around, which I recall the 5th edition rumors starting about a year before it came out.  Besides, political pundits are already discussing who's going to run for president in 2012 (and have been since November of 2008), so I'm not really all that ahead of myself.  I haven't really considered the ramifications of some of these things, that's why I'm putting it out there; to get some ideas on whether these things are good ideas or not.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still enjoying 5th edition but there are a few changes I'd like to see in the upcoming years.  In no particular order:

1.  Bring back the Move stat.  I really don't think a lithe athletic Eldar should move at the same speed as a Necron Warrior.  I think they should keep running the way it is but one of my biggest pet peeves from the 2nd to 3rd edition transition was ditching the M stat.

2.  Shooting at multiple targets.  Vehicles should be able to shoot at multiple targets.  It's always bugged me that a Leman Russ with anti-personel sponsons has to fire the sponsons at the same target as the anti-armor turret.  On that same note, a squad with a heavy weapon shouldn't have to fire its small arms at the same target as the lone heavy weapons specialist.  Give them a -1 to hit or something, but let differently armed models split their fire.  Under the current rules, artillery crewmembers can shoot at a different target, why can no one else do the same?

3.  Transports.  I'm not making any wishlisting here but several Internet personalities have suggested that transports will not be quite as kingly as they are now.  We shall see if they are right.

4.  Vehicles.  Back in the old days there were all kinds of crazy charts for each vehicle and even a clear template that you held over a vehicle and rolled to see which part was affected and stuff like that.  I don't want to see a return to that but I think I'd like to see structure points on certain vehicles, or perhaps a modified damage chart.  I haven't really thought this one through, so it might be a really bad idea.

5.  Building rules.  Nobody uses the rules properly these days.  Some people treat them as impassible, tourneys like the Nova treated them as just LOS blocking objects, you could move freely through them.  There's a reason for that.  A building can really break the game.  With a bastion in the enemy's deployment zone suddenly those Long Fangs are now in an AV 14 transport and can fire at will while you have to crack their transport first.  In 4th edition the buildings had an AV but you could shoot at the occupants, who recieved a 3+ cover save.  Weapons of S8 or more would strike an occupant as well as cause a hit on the building.  Back in 4th, cover saves were a bit harder to come by so this was really good.  A proposed idea would be that you could shoot at the occupants with a -1 to hit penalty, as well as they get a 3+ cover save.  This gives the occupants some benefit so buildings aren't just a fancy terrain piece, but also limits their power.  You should also be able to assault the occupants of buildings, like in Fantasy.

That's all I can think of now.  Let the speculation begin!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stormvermin with Converted Standard Bearer

I finished this unit up the other day.  I converted the standard bearer to hold the standard from the Island of Blood guy's back.  I just cut out the handle on the old one and replaced it with a matching cut on the new.  It's not perfect but it was quick and I think it looks pretty good.

Look, the drum is a ginger!

I decided not to rust their weapons because I figured Stormvermin would be more likely to take care of them.

Getting these guys to rank up is a challenge.  They've got shields, tails and halberds.  My solution is to use my ersatz Stormvermin to help not take up so much space.  I took the Island of Blood clanrats that have helmets and armor and am painting them up like Stormvermin.  They're considerably smaller and far less detailed but the idea is to intersperse them in a normal Stormvermin unit so they help it rank up.  Plus a Stormvermin box is like $50 and IoB clanrats are cheap.  I'm going to use some plasticard to beef up their spears so they look more like halberds (though in WHFB the aesthetic difference between spears and halberds is not entirely clear).  If anyone raises an issue I'll just say that they're juvenile Stormvermin that are replacing previous casualties.

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