PDA

View Full Version : When is 'canon' actually 'canon'? (E.g. 'fluff'?)



Kage2020
20-01-2006, 04:05
I've been a bad boy recently. I expressed my angst at the seeming inability of GW (in general) to write about the eldar. Unfortunately one of the authors (the one who was writing) picked this up and took it as a personal insult, which is reasonable in some regards and, in many others, inappropriate. (Speaking as an author who has been ripped to shreds by their 'peers', what does that mean!?), let alone some random person... In this case there was inappropriate choice of language, but at the same time almost a great deal of inappropriate protection. I await my copy, though. I purchased it in advance and for a great deal of money, after all...)

(Read: Authors need thicker skin.)

Anyway, in the opinions of posters here, what constitutes canon?

Kage

The Lobotomist
20-01-2006, 04:19
Refrase your question here? I'm quite confused, having little experience with the use of the word 'canon' Are you asking whether the author had a right to be mad? Depends on the details, how they were feeling, what they did, what they ate for breakfast, etc. Anyway, explain a little more clearly.

Shinzui
20-01-2006, 04:19
I don't considering anything not written by a game developer as official canon.

Khaine's Messenger
20-01-2006, 04:30
Anyway, in the opinions of posters here, what constitutes canon?

How do you mean? In terms of "what is fact," or in terms of some itemized list that seeks to resolve some of the inherent contradictions of close to twenty years of messy background? I mean, one could argue higher canon, overall continuity, some bizarre system where everything is canonical.... Personally, I consider "canon" to be anything that shows up in a Games Workshop or Black Library publication. Every last one of them, unless the "brass" make comments to the contrary. Yes, that means there are quite a few nasty bits of "background" (horrific BL stuff, retcons from the devs, etc.) that are basically still "canon" from my point of view...but I don't really subscribe all that well to this in practice, so I don't really tend to think about it all that often.

Sgt Biffo
20-01-2006, 04:34
A saint IMO.

The oxford dictionary discribes it as 1a a general law, principal or criterion ba church decreeor law. 2(fem. canoness) a member of a cathedral chapter. b member of certain religious order. 3 a a collection or list of sacred book etc accepted as genuine. b the recognised genuine works of a particular author; a list of these. 4 the part of the Roman Catholic mass containing the words of consecration. 5 Mus a piece with different parts taking up the same theme sucessivly, either at the same or different pitch.

Was the augement about the Eldars music? Or the Black liberary? I'm not sure the Eldar are religious enough to warrent context of the rest of the definitions.

The Lobotomist
20-01-2006, 04:47
Ah, ok. I don't think, because of Fluff inconsistencies, that there are official versions of anything. It would be too hard to accept some fluff- BT expacten, Benevolent Space Marines, Firewarrior, the Tau (all of them)- without going insane from contradictions and/or weakness of fluff. You must decide for yourself what fluff you choose to incorporate into your own version of 40k.

Ivan Stupidor
20-01-2006, 05:01
A saint IMO.

The oxford dictionary discribes it as 1a a general law, principal or criterion ba church decreeor law. 2(fem. canoness) a member of a cathedral chapter. b member of certain religious order. 3 a a collection or list of sacred book etc accepted as genuine. b the recognised genuine works of a particular author; a list of these. 4 the part of the Roman Catholic mass containing the words of consecration. 5 Mus a piece with different parts taking up the same theme sucessivly, either at the same or different pitch.


He is refering to a varient of Definition 3B; in this case the works published by the various arms of Games Workshop (Black Library, Forgeworld, Sabretooth, etc, as well as possibly some outside parties) over the years that are considered official.

In general, I tend to view what is canon and what's not in terms of a hierarchy:
Official GW publications (Codices, rulebooks, White Dwarf etc.) including outside materials (novels, etc) directly referenced therein
override
Everything else published (Black Library/Forgeworld/Sabretooth/etc).

In all cases, new takes precendence over old. I conisder everything that comes out of Games Workshop's various arms to be canon - generally "low-level" canon contradicted by higher-level canon is considered to be some sort of distorted version of the "actual" event. (Of course, this confusing scheme can be ignored if I don't like what the higher-level canon is saying!)

So, in short: everything. Kinda.

Sephiroth
20-01-2006, 05:20
I've been a bad boy recently. I expressed my angst at the seeming inability of GW (in general) to write about the eldar. Unfortunately one of the authors (the one who was writing) picked this up and took it as a personal insult, which is reasonable in some regards and, in many others, inappropriate. (Speaking as an author who has been ripped to shreds by their 'peers', what does that mean!?), let alone some random person... In this case there was inappropriate choice of language, but at the same time almost a great deal of inappropriate protection. I await my copy, though. I purchased it in advance and for a great deal of money, after all...)

(Read: Authors need thicker skin.)

As someone whom knows what your going on about, I must say I understand said authors anger if not condone it. I know your post was more from the fact that as a fan, you felt GW haven't released any satisfactory material concerning the Eldar. I know this because you’re quite the die-hard Eldarphile. ;)

The author in question however didn't. Yes, I suppose he should have a thicker skin, but you did refer to his upcoming work (however jokingly) as that of a 'hack'. I think it was a great misunderstanding.


Anyway, in the opinions of posters here, what constitutes canon?

Kage

Whatever I want. If I like one author's work over another's, I'll take that, and normally mix bits together from different sources.

Sgt Biffo
20-01-2006, 07:10
Ah, ok. I don't think, because of Fluff inconsistencies, that there are official versions of anything. It would be too hard to accept some fluff- BT expacten, Benevolent Space Marines, Firewarrior, the Tau (all of them)- without going insane from contradictions and/or weakness of fluff. You must decide for yourself what fluff you choose to incorporate into your own version of 40k.

Unfortunatly a large proportion of wargames in the 40k area are either a too unimaginative to make these decisions or b feel that codifying vast amounts of this crap validates their otherwise pointless live and gives them a weak feeling of superiority when them regurgitate it to those ignorant of the sewer of crappy sci-fi that constitutes most of GWs fluff.

Knightmare
20-01-2006, 08:42
Not knowing what is going on here in regards to this "writer situation",I'll glance by it and go on to your question.


Anyway, in the opinions of posters here, what constitutes canon?

Kage

To me,Canon means continuity and growth.
An evolution of the overall story.

I think GW has done a very good job of this in the past,and ironicly the Eldar Fluff comes to mind.

*gets ready to dodge the rocks thrown by Necron haters*

When the Necrons and the C'tan were fleshed out via the Codex and several WD articles,it was done in a way that added to Eldar(and other races)fluff.It raised interesting issues and shed more light on shady parts of the Pre-Fall Eldar history.

However when Fluff openly contradicts or clashes,there is the true problem.

I'll use the Eldar again as an example.

The Harlequin fluff set them uniquely apart from the rest of thier Kin in 2nd Edition by making them truely free.Thanks to Cegorach,they could stand at a distance and show all species the valuable lessons that could be learned from the Fall.In 2nd Edition,the Solitaire was an individual touched by Cegorach(or possibly Cegorach himself)and given his insight into the nature of the universe.
In new Fluff(and "Canon" in most young'uns eyes),the Solitaire is a doomed individual,and the Harlequins are all possibly tools of The Deciever,making them too slaves to thier fears.

Sometimes Canon changes in a way that is natural.The boring and mundane is dropped for something more fitting of such legendary times.A good example is the evolution of Leman Russ from an IG commander to Primarch,and the way the final battle of the Horus Heresy played out.

But it is when fluff openly clashes with what is broadly known that issues and arguements arrive.Look at the "Sabretooth Factor".
Horus with a mace.
Magnus with a missing eye.
Ferrus dead.
Fulgrim possessed.
Etc.

Technically,this can be considered "Canon",as it WAS created by GW.However,it leaves the majority of players and Fluff-nuts unhappy,as it not only clashes with what has been Canon for ages,but tells us,"Forget everything you've studied and relished and worked so hard to understand.We're flipping the script because we can.Accept this or be left behind as a fossil."

So,to me Canon is when a new piece of the picture comes to light,fits and compliments what we already know.

Iuris
20-01-2006, 09:41
Personally, I treat everything made by the copyright holder or by leave of the copyright holder canon. I also automatically edit out inconsistencies, even from things written by the studio. Things like depleted deuterium and similar.

Ophidicus
20-01-2006, 14:25
I'm sticking to my opinion in an earlier post (about the adult BT recruits, before it got a bit (spelt l-o-t) silly with the Chaplain). I don't think anything codified over the length of time by the number of different writers and illustrators as Games Workshop's worlds/galaxy can possibly have the level of consistency required to be considered objective or 'canon'.

The reason the guys in the studios write GW fluff is because they like toy soldiers and they like heroes waving swords around (you can hear the air guitar as The Emperor's Champion charges). Realism is not something likely to be found, believable is about the best you can expect, consistency depends entirely on how much the author knows beforehand. You can't really expect a guy thousands of miles away in an office that's only been there a few years (enlighten me though, when did the American studio come to fruition?) to have access to books that went out of print years before. I don't expect it, again, because Games Workshop is about little plastic men. Everything else is very, very aptly named fluff. That's what it is, and it's the perfect word to describe it.

edited for overenthusiastic typing

Helicon_One
20-01-2006, 14:35
GW have, deliberately I believe, kept away from questions of which fluff should be considered gospel and which are more open to question. They've not gone down the Star Wars/Trek route of declaring certain background set in stone, partially because of their own habits of writing new fiction which conflicts with old RT era background, and a desire to keep their options open in case they want to re-interpret something later on. Which is fair enough from their point of view, but not terribly helpful for fluff fanatics.

Personally, I consider anything in a GW publication (including WD and the website) to be canon, but where this throws up clashes with other established fluff I'll do my best to mentally interpret in a way that doesn't exclude anything.

Tim

Puffin Magician
20-01-2006, 15:05
I don't considering anything not written by a game developer as official canon.Seconded. Codecies: Canon. WD: Canon. Website: Canon.

I also disregard most BL "fluff" I hear about since, in many cases, they don't seem to care about what the consensus is on certain things and make it up on the spot, seemingly without thinking of how well it fits into the established fluff or repurcussions it has on the timeline. Much of the annoyance has arisen out of Titan fluff... sure it sounds patriotic and scary to have skyscraper-sized war machines, but both fluff and models with reasonable dimensions have existed for decades.

As such, I typically regard the older fluff as superceding anything newer on the same topic, unless it's an evolution of the existing idea.

shutupSHUTUP!!!
20-01-2006, 15:20
I have my own version of the 40k universe that makes the most sense to me, when I read a new piece of background material, from whatever source, I accept it or reject it depending on whether it makes any sense in regards to everything else.

Sai-Lauren
20-01-2006, 15:28
I also disregard most BL "fluff" I hear about since, in many cases, they don't seem to care about what the consensus is on certain things and make it up on the spot, seemingly without thinking of how well it fits into the established fluff or repurcussions it has on the timeline. Much of the annoyance has arisen out of Titan fluff... sure it sounds patriotic and scary to have skyscraper-sized war machines, but both fluff and models with reasonable dimensions have existed for decades.

Hmm, like thousand tonne super-heavy tanks, that can fit in a Leviathan where the model is not actually that much bigger than they are and other, equally cool sounding ideas/cool looking models that make you wonder whether anyone's actually paying any attention what so ever.

IMO, BL books actually seem a little more consistent in some cases, mainly because they have to try and make some of this stuff work.

Puffin Magician
20-01-2006, 15:53
The Leviathan only ever carried 1 Infantry Company, didn't it? I can certainly see 100 infantry being carried inside, since it had both a larger footprint than a Superheavy Tank but was also more than twice as high.

It was the Capitol Imperialis that could carry Baneblades and such but I'll agree that the CI model was way too small to even think about that, and I'll chock that up to GW not wanting to make a giant model for it that would be comparable in size to two Thunderhawk Gunships.

I never said that models alone dictate what is canon to me, but they're more consistant than 200m-high titans and Obliterator-Virus bioships.

Kage2020
20-01-2006, 22:42
There was a point to my first post but it seems to have got lost in a haze of burgandy. I can also remember that there was more of it, but it looks like I accidentally highlighted and deleted text when posting it. Ah well. At least it's still gone in the direction that I was after, even if it is going to be (more than likely) short lived.

To make my personal approach clear, I consider canon to be... all material published by GW or their children corporations (i.e. BL, BI, etc.). I don't like this all the time, more so with the newer material as it gets harder to stick to the 'core' of the 40k universe, but there we go.

Why do I ask? In part because I wanted to see whether the normal approach of 'everything wargame orientated' or 'not BL novels', or 'BL novels more than wargames', etc., would be posted. That is, preferential selection of one piece or type of material over another. We all tend to do it (I know that I do) and this was reinforced with the comments about the eldar from Xenology where I have a knee jerk reaction to throw them in the bin...

In the back of my mind, I've got a sneaking suspicion that it also relates to the premise of 'canon' as rigidly inflexible. E.g. if you don't make an allusion to the new bit of 'fluff' you're "wrong". Also, the 'fear' of writing about a race because of a forthcoming codex, etc. While GW 'owns' the 40k universe they don't own the imagination, although sometimes it seems that way!


Refrase your question here? I'm quite confused...
After I read my post, so was I. My apologies. On the bright side, as above, it has kind of gone in the right direction!


Are you asking whether the author had a right to be mad?
Nope, he did. I was a complete a*se, though to be fair it was more due to the selection of word. I was meant to question what nightmare had been created of the eldar in a tongue in cheek fashion and, unfortunately, the author took it as a personal slight to their writing ability. Understandable all things considered, though the patronising and self-important reply was a bit out of place...


I don't considering anything not written by a game developer as official canon.
And it isn't. Another reason that GW "allows" fans to use their universe as long as they don't make claims that it is in any way official. Very kind of them! ;)


As someone whom knows what your going on about, I must say I understand said authors anger if not condone it.
Indeed, though see the above. I actually forget the meaning of that word, and was actually aiming for implications of 'dismemberment'. It did, however, remind me of some higher martial arts instructors who have a somewhat self-important attitude to themselves that is not contextualised. Everyone must grovel to them even though, in the real world, they're just a plumber. (Erm, not saying that there's anything wrong with being a plumber and, in fact, I wish I could do it! The point here, though, is that they're not out saving lives, winning the Noble Prize, etc. Just an every day Joe who just happens to be in a certain position...)

As to 'thick skin'? Anyone who has been on the business end of a viva voce knows the trauma of being ripped apart by an unfriendly review board! Every little grammatical error, premise that they consider flawed or that is against their own approach, etc., gets ripped to iddy-biddy shreds... <shudders>

Anyway, it was thinking about it that reminded me of the question of canonical material in an increasingly changing universe.

(To reiterate my oft mentioned thought about BL novels (you can find it dotted around various forms), they're normally well written and based around an interesting idea but 'lack teeth'. They have little scope because of the nature of the seeming approach to the universe, not the fault of the author, and the novel normally suffers for it. In my limited opinion. As I mentioned elsewhere, I don't get published, well for fiction writing anyway, and there are those that believe you can only be judged by your peers so, well, there you have it.)


Whatever I want. If I like one author's work over another's, I'll take that, and normally mix bits together from different sources.
Which is how I tend to approach it as well, even with the above statement, but then you get into the trouble that you're actually creating a separate universe. (This has been levvied, quite reasonably, at the Anargo Sector Project (http://wiki.anargo-sector.net/), where a desire to integrate the 'fluff' from the various editions.) As GW continues to publish material, some of it not really as good as it can be, this is becoming an increasing issue for me. The eldar (yes, eldarphilia!) are just one aspect of this that I'm more aware of...


I don't think, because of Fluff inconsistencies, that there are official versions of anything.
That's an interesting approach. As with Sephiroth, the solution seems to be view each piece of 'fluff' with scepticism.


...codifying vast amounts of this crap validates their otherwise pointless live and gives them a weak feeling of superiority when them regurgitate it to those ignorant of the sewer of crappy sci-fi that constitutes most of GWs fluff.
A spiritual 'ouch' for that one. Although one of the reasons that I personally prefer discussing the 40k universe, but there we go.


An evolution of the overall story.
Hmmn, fair enough. In some regards does this not make the BL novels non-canonical? They expand minorly upon the game universe in a 'dynamic' fashion, but ultimately do little to move the story forward. This, for me, is their greatest weakness and why the novels tend not to stack up to other pieces of literature. (Again, scope and results, not the ability of the authors!)


When the Necrons and the C'tan were fleshed out via the Codex and several WD articles,it was done in a way that added to Eldar(and other races)fluff.
Yet does it not do this peripherally in the normal way of GW? If you are to believe the 'fluff' from one of the recent novels, the implication is that the eldar are little more than "C'tan/Necron fighters".


The Harlequin fluff set them uniquely apart from the rest of thier Kin in 2nd Edition by making them truely free.
I like the reference to the evolution through the Editions. With respect to the 2E 'fluff', it seems that much of it was developed to move the 'fluff' away from a common criticism against the product of the day: that everything revolved around Chaos and in such an obvious way. The product, as a result, could be tedious and lack any form of originality. Thus, 'immunity' against Chaos was available to many of the races in one form or another.

Furthermore, the example that you utilise seems to mention the problems with the GW introduction of a new race, i.e. their tendency to attribute all the woes of the universe at the door of that new race.

...

Kage2020
20-01-2006, 22:42
Sometimes Canon changes in a way that is natural.The boring and mundane is dropped for something more fitting of such legendary times.
Hmmn. Is this not a preference thing, again? That is, the adoption of an increasing amount of overt 'fantasy' approaches (as distinct from 'sci-fi'). The preponderance of myth-as-fact, such as represented by physical manifestation of deities, deification of the Primarchs in actuality through perception Edition Drift, etc.? (Personally, I'm not overtly fond of this move... just so you know! ;))


We're flipping the script because we can.Accept this or be left behind as a fossil.
Indeed.


You can't really expect a guy thousands of miles away in an office that's only been there a few years (enlighten me though, when did the American studio come to fruition?) to have access to books that went out of print years before.
Perhaps it just means that more "'fluff' nuts" should start to write the novels! Or that GW hires someone that knows their stuff...? (Not an original comment, to be fair!)


Everything else is very, very aptly named fluff. That's what it is, and it's the perfect word to describe it.
Please don't take this in a poor light, but do you consider yourself a wargamer?

As a 'roleplayer' (well, nominally anyway) who has little truck with the wargame I tend to view the 'fluff' more as background, hence my dislikes of inconsistencies, etc.


Seconded. Codecies: Canon. WD: Canon. Website: Canon.
Thank you for raising this point, Puffin Magician, since it confirms something that I mentioned earlier.


I also disregard most BL "fluff" I hear about since, in many cases, they don't seem to care about what the consensus is on certain things and make it up on the spot, seemingly without thinking of how well it fits into the established fluff or repurcussions it has on the timeline.
Is this not manifested in the wargame books as well, though. Reading through a copy of the 4E rulebook shows a number of divergences from previous material or, rather, a re-statement without much of the original information such that it is 'aspected' towards recent products?


Hmm, like thousand tonne super-heavy tanks, that can fit in a Leviathan where the model is not actually that much bigger than they are and other, equally cool sounding ideas/cool looking models that make you wonder whether anyone's actually paying any attention what so ever.
'Big stuff' is a long-standing feature of the Imagery of the 40k universe, no matter how ridiculous: titans, superheavy tanks and, of course, those wonderfully over-sized melee weapons! ;)


IMO, BL books actually seem a little more consistent in some cases, mainly because they have to try and make some of this stuff work.
When done well, yes.

Kage

Warden
20-01-2006, 23:59
In my view cannon is when it is published by the parent company, even under different trading names.

Kensai X
21-01-2006, 02:08
Umm well the only true cannon imo is Codex, WD, and most everything on the sight... (That BT Expetant thing just about gave me an anerurism...)

Although, their are some BL books strongly supported by GW, like for instance anything Dan Abnett... Also I believe the novels Angels of Darkness and Night Lords make changes in GW cannon for the better and should be supported...

Kage2020
21-01-2006, 04:25
I don't suppose the people who believe that the only canonical material derives from codices and WDs could post how they utilise the 40k universe. Wargaming? Roleplaying? 'Fluff' only? If a combination, estimate your relative interest.

Why do I ask? I merely hypothesise that those individuals that take the stance that the only canon derives from such sources are wargamers, or at least primarily so. (Feel free to prove me wrong, though that's kind of the point. My need to know...)

Although the above post does reinforce the 'select by preference' approach.

Kage

Shinzui
21-01-2006, 05:27
I'm hardly a wargamer, last time I played a game was nearly a year ago. Only reason I don't give up 40k is my love of the fluff (with the exception of space marine).

I personally consider BL publications nice stories (with a few really good ones) but they are by far majority nothing more than War porn with cliche heroes/villians. Considering that what I consider official leaves alot of holes which Authors makes up with their own ideas and opinions it is not surprising they contradict new fluff that comes out. Though some contradict established background.

Though it must be said I don't know of any attempt GW has to help authors keep their stories, So I don't blame them. I just don't consider them official fluff.

Though one wish was that the books were longer most BL books average around 300 pages, in comparison to many other si-fi books they are criminally short. :p

Edit: My way my leave alot of things unknown and unanswered but it's far easier than taking the written word of a BL publication, building up a view based on it then being unhappy when something (I consider official) comes out and it directly contradicts your view. The Tau as we will soon see will break alot of people's views about them.

Puffin Magician
21-01-2006, 17:29
I don't suppose the people who believe that the only canonical material derives from codices and WDs could post how they utilise the 40k universe.Well, 40k is a Wargame, but I'd have to say I enjoy the game itself because I'm enthralled by the Universe it exists in. I haven't played a game in years but I'm constantly thinking of conversions, armies, tactics, etc.

I merely hypothesise that those individuals that take the stance that the only canon derives from such sources are wargamers, or at least primarily so.I make the assumption that very few people even know of 40k fluff without being a Wargamer. The only alternative to that is people who pick up a BL publication just to see what it's about.

The reason I dislike BL as a fluffsource is because what I hear about them usually contradicts [seemingly blatantly] most of what is considered accepted in the background, or the "rule of cool" has obviously taken over and completely ludicrous ideas take fruition.

Fragmented memories of what I heard about the Fire Warrior video game remind me of further inconsistency; mainly the Tau character [Kais?] doing impossible tasks even for someone of hero-status.

I have no problem with these stories on their own - afterall they are stories, and should be exciting. Sarah Conner probably should've been killed by the Terminator, and Hans Gruber's henchmen were highly professional in every aspect except in the ability to kill a single New York police officer, but things need to be unrealistic otherwise it's not much of a story if the hero[ine] is killed and the bad guy wins within the first few minutes of the plot.

Knowing that stories contain varying degrees of fantasy, accepting them as "reality" would be a bit silly.

Kage2020
21-01-2006, 17:49
Thank you Shinzui and Puffin Magician for your replies. I feel that I must reiterate that no slight was meant by this, but one purely of interest. How one approaches the 40k universe, I believe, defines in essence the balance between the background-'fluff' continuum. As a nominal roleplayer or, at least 'fluff' lover, I have very little time for the assumptions and restrictions of the wargame. Obviously this is a limitation of my own approach, but one that I'm comfortable with. As mentioned previously it means that I tend to look at pure wargame sources - codices, the main rulebook as a distinct work, etc. - as suspect to the assumptions of the wargame, ergo the coined phrases of 'Rule of Cool', Image, 'Thematic Army' and 'Edition Drift'.

That doesn't mean that it is wrong or that I am right, just that my preference for utilisation of the universe skews my interpretation of canonical material or, rather, the use of said material. To reiterate, I believe that all published GW material, including sister companies, is canonical material even if I do not personally use it. I do, however, try and incorporate it.

So, again, no slight was intended and the above is by means of explanation of my own approach and, perhaps, explain any future comments.


I personally consider BL publications nice stories (with a few really good ones) but they are by far majority nothing more than War porn with cliche heroes/villians.
I did not really want to get into a discussion of the relative quality of the BL novels, feeling that would be more suitable for a separate thread. With that said, I agree. As mentioned previously, the BL novels are normally well written (editing can be a bit shakey) and suffer merely from what appears to be the over-arching policy of GW itself. That is, little furtherment of the universe can take place. Those novels that achieve that, which as you say are few on the ground, are considered the 'good' novels and, for the most part, people will agree on the titles of such. Those that are 'war porn' are similarly recogniseable.

Then again, that is my preference in novels: I prefer novels in which you find out some 'secret' of the universe. It is for this reason that out of two trilogies that I 'love' of the 40k universe - the Inqusition War and Eisenhorn - I would always select the former. While it gets a bit raggy towards the end, unlikely Eisenhorn (which also has a great set of characters), you learn more about the inner 'truths' of the universe in Watson's work.


Though it must be said I don't know of any attempt GW has to help authors keep their stories, So I don't blame them. I just don't consider them official fluff.
Indeed. Hence, in part, the question itself. Is canon merely anything that they publish - churn out, if you will - or is it a premise that keeps to a central core rather than anything that the imagination of an author can produce?

Has the 'fluff' gained enough of a following, people interested in the material for its own sake, for it to gain a life outside of the limitations and strictures of the wargame?


Though one wish was that the books were longer most BL books average around 300 pages, in comparison to many other si-fi books they are criminally short.
Although, again, getting into a topic for another thread I would say that it is once again not the length but the scope of the novels. I'm sure that we've all read short novels or short stories that have had profound implications for a given fictional universe above and beyond their short length.


The reason I dislike BL as a fluffsource is because what I hear about them usually contradicts [seemingly blatantly] most of what is considered accepted in the background, or the "rule of cool" has obviously taken over and completely ludicrous ideas take fruition.
Hmmn, a reasonable statement. Of course, is not the term 'accepted' problematic in application to the 40k universe? It is, after all, mostly all Image. Consider the nature of the origins of the Chaos Gods and the original publication of the Lost and the Damned, or the origins of the adeptus mechanicus and the assumptions therein about the D/GAoT?


Well, 40k is a Wargame, but I'd have to say I enjoy the game itself because I'm enthralled by the Universe it exists in.
I dislike the wargame, despite the pretty miniatures, but share the same enjoyment of the universe. Just so you know where I'm coming from, again.


I make the assumption that very few people even know of 40k fluff without being a Wargamer. The only alternative to that is people who pick up a BL publication just to see what it's about.
Well, I'm not a wargamer although once, for a few games, I was. And BL didn't exist back in that time. Rather, I came to it through RPG first and foremost.


Knowing that stories contain varying degrees of fantasy, accepting them as "reality" would be a bit silly.
As a counter-question, does not that apply to the wargame itself? Does not it begger belief for the representation of the eldar in comparison to the other races unless one considers 'Wargame Balance'?

Kage

Puffin Magician
21-01-2006, 18:08
As a counter-question, does not that apply to the wargame itself? Does not it begger belief for the representation of the eldar in comparison to the other races unless one considers 'Wargame Balance'?I know that the Eldar should be able to mop the floor with anyone; even the Necrons, to a lesser degree. I know that Guardsmen outnumber Space Marines millions to one. I know that an Ork vehicle won't go faster simply because it's red.

It wouldn't be much of a wargame if it wasn't for balance and because of that I don't consider wargame stats and fluff to be congruent. The "Movie Marines" rules released in White Dwarf, despite being more realistic, were perceived by most to be more of a joke than anything else, or at least it seemed that way to me.

Kage2020
21-01-2006, 18:13
And, therefore, we return to another question in the previous post. Does not the 'fluff' have its own independent following to justify a separation from the wargame with its overriding concerns of Wargame Balance? Is this restriction just as telling as, say, the lack of coherence argued from in the BL novels?

Is it surprising that wargamers - the ones likely to have used the rules - would have been unimpressed by the "Movie Marines"? After all, it was as great a divergence from what they might have been expecting as, say, a 'realistic' (or 'fluff' conformance) attitude to the eldar?

Hmmn... I've lost where I'm going with this for the moment. It just seems that much, erm, discussion of the 40k universe arises out of the tension between wargame assumptions and 'fluff' assumptions. While likely that this is the goal, are they not solid now for independence? Indeed, if GW go the way of opening up 40k to an RPG, would many established, non-wargame roleplayers be willing to swallow the assumptions of the 40k universe? Or would GW have to begin to produce sourcebooks as independent 'fluff'. In which case, would these be considered 'canon' by wargamers... etc.

Kage

scwolf
21-01-2006, 22:39
The only alternative to that is people who pick up a BL publication just to see what it's about.

As an aside to this, the other day I saw a BL paperback on the rack at my local supermarket the other day. I had to stop and do a double take.

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 01:54
Indeed, that is surprising. I would not have thought that BL would have the kind of distribution to warrant that. You live and you learn, although once again one has to wonder at hobbyist statistics...

Kage

IncubiLord
22-01-2006, 02:57
I suggested this elsewhere, but I'll put it here since I don't think you were in that thread.

I like to view GW's works as =][= records. There's a certain amount of truth to them, but there's also a lot of propaganda and exaggeration.

Really, this makes sense when you consider how often GW likes to put something in the "official" Imperial message/record format. More importantly, it makes the players essentially members of the Imperium. You know what the Inquisitors want you to.

It also means that the information which is available changes as the Inquisitors in power shift. That leaves each player on his/her own to decide what information is fact and what is meant to paint the "Humanity is DOOMED!" picture.

This may stem in part from the fact that I refuse to buy and read every novel put out by GW or a child company for the couple of bits of information that they may let slip. I started in 2ed, and enjoyed the fluff in the codices, but the constant change has made me question if even GW knows what is canon.

I'd like to see some canon material, but I don't think there is actually any. I think that GW should take the time to compile their own work and make some books for the fluffists of actual, set-in-stone information on the races. If they do that however, I expect them to stick with it. Novels shouldn't contradict the official backgroud, and there shouldn't be a new, contradictory official fluff every 5 years.

For those interested in the previous post, it's #22 in this thread (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20896&page=3).

Hellebore
22-01-2006, 04:28
Well, I believe that anything GW has condoned/printed etc is canon.

If it says "GW Approved" or "Published by GW" then it IS canon, even if people don't want it to be.

I have gotten into 'discussions' with people over fan vs creator arguments (specifically regarding George Lucas) and it comes down to the fact that the CREATOR (or Creator COMPANY) invented the story and thus WHATEVER they say MUST be correct.

It is a religion because the creator is infalable by dint of BEING the creator.


Thus I take everything GW have officially PUBLISHED (Thus not on a website) as canon, and if there are inconsistencies I find ways to ally them, or explain them in the same way the bible has been 'reinterpreted' over the last thousand years.

Your mentioning of Xenology is funny, because I have advocated certain physical characteristics it attributes to them (the flexiskeleton being the most prominant).

hellebore

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 13:19
...even if people don't want it to be.
An approach that makes the fan entirely passive and 'dumb', but entirely correct.


It is a religion because the creator is infalable by dint of BEING the creator.
<grin> That's why I must have a general reaction against this approach. I do hate organised religions, even if I am a great advocate of personal faith.


...and if there are inconsistencies I find ways to ally them, or explain them in the same way the bible has been 'reinterpreted' over the last thousand years.
What about Edition Drift, where things have been misinterpreted and later canonised? Or Revisionism, where things are reinforced or altered to achieve a given effect? Are you entirely a child of the now? (As I, personally, am a child of the everywhen, or at least try to be: allying all those bits of 'fluff' but willing to forge new ground when the 'fluff' is non-sensical?)


Your mentioning of Xenology is funny, because I have advocated certain physical characteristics it attributes to them (the flexiskeleton being the most prominant).
The eldar? I'm already there since it is a good idea. Good ideas, when they are published, are automatically incorporated into my universe. It's just not unthinking introduction. Of course, I do not know the specifics of that particular 'quirk' of the eldar and, if it truly is wraithbone, I've got that covered as well. As you say, allying. I just won't include it in a non-thinking way because GW say that I must. In the same way I also tend not to say that BL novels are 'great' just because I love the 40k universe... ;)

IncubiLord... I didn't see that thread, or cannot remember it and if I did contribute to it (didn't check) I also didn't keep up with it. Your points seem to be similar to those that have been raised for many years, though. It's always good to see them since they argue to commonality of approach to the problems in hand...?

Kage

vforvenator
22-01-2006, 13:42
(Read: Authors need thicker skin.)
I agree with most of your points here, but where is this discussion? I'd really like to see it.

I have my own version of the 40k universe that makes the most sense to me, when I read a new piece of background material, from whatever source, I accept it or reject it depending on whether it makes any sense in regards to everything else.You should be writing for the Black Library. ;)

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 15:20
<grin> It sounds like more fans need to be writing for BL. If I had talent in fiction writing I would, perhaps, do it myself.

And, no, that particular discussion - from inappropriately phrased comments to patronising replies - has died the death. Also, for anyone wanting to be published I suggest attending an unfriendly PhD viva voce. That will squash the ego of almost anyone! :D

Kage

Xisor
22-01-2006, 15:48
Personally, canon comes in like so:

Warhammer 40k Rulebook
Codices & Supplement Books
White Dwarf 'Chapter Approved' Supporting Fluff
White Dwarf/Fanatic/'official' tagged articles in such mags(eg BFGmag)
Battlefleet Gothic & Supplement(Armada)
Epic: Armageddon & Supplement(Swordwind)
Necromunda: Underhive
Source Books(Armageddon, 13th Black Crusade, Sabbat Worlds, Xenology, Liber Chaotica, Index Astartes Compilations)

These are effectively the 'truths' of things, if an author needs to consult something they're not sure about, the answer primarily should come from one of the above.

I'm not as confident about the Forge World books simply because they seem, whilst in depth, slightly 'whimsical' with what they deal with. Perhaps they are indeed as worthy as the Sourcebooks, but I'll wait and see myself.

What I don't take as canon:

Graphic Novels
Novels
Fanfiction
Web Articles(ie Black Gobbo)
Computer Games

Why, though? Well, the above stuff is the stuff that ideally 'holds the 40k universe together', the rest are subdivisions of it and thus the need for coherency is waived. Technically it can be canon, in that it's sanctioned by GW. What it isn't(IMO) is as closely monitored, thus isn't as reliable. I think the first set I list for canon is pretty much it.

The ones I'm not sure about(in addition to FW stuff) is the Horus Heresy Artbooks. Though they deal specifically as 'new official fluff', I'm not sure of the claims as to 'this is how it happened' or if even GW themselves treat it as 'canon' or simply an 'interpretation'(unlike the mentioned sourcebooks, the HHCCG stuff is more artbook, not sourcebook).

Xisor

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 16:18
And, once more, personal intepretation and approach shows through. Here's another point, though: is the variability seen in the novels, for example, actually a lack of coherence or is it merely just another manifestation of the 'anything goes' approach of GW?

Personally I don't agree with you, though. You either have everything as canon or, well, nothing at all. Indeed, would it not be justifiable through following through the 'closely monitored' argument to suggest that only the RT rulebook is canon? After all, everything else is a variant and sub-division from that?

Kage

Xisor
22-01-2006, 16:29
With regards to the RT book 'by that argument', surely it has been superceded by 40k 2nd Edition, which is then superceded by 3rd Ed which is then replaced to now by 4th Ed.

Specifically to that, it *would* be justified (to a degree) to say that the only 'true' canon at this stage is Warhammer 40k 4th Edition.

I don't think mines is exactly a personal approach. The 'supplements' to the Core Part are essentially as follows:

Rulebook, Codicies, Chapter Approved.

Supplements also come through the other Game Systems, hence they seem 'auto-valid' in their latest editions(Eg Epic: Armageddon, Necromunda the Underhive etc).

It is easier to accept *some* cannon(ie not novels, graphic novels, games, fanfic, pure 'not marked canon' web articles, unnofficial Mag articles) than to simply have canon as 'anything goes'. In that regards they're almost mutually exclusive.

I don't think having a tiered canon system is that bad. It isn't say that the novels are automatically bad, simply that they aren't as useful as tomes of reference(like a novel vs encyclopedia for what's canon about the real world). Indeed, some books can hold *very* close to canon or simply appealing, so much so they're implications make it through(an example being some of Gaunt's Ghosts which have entered canon IMO through the Sabat Crusades book, that doesn't mean all the novels are canon though).

On the whole though, making a distinction between a pure work of fiction and something that is designed as a reference or source is not a problem. Rather to ascribe any sense of canon, you may as well treat it as an imperative that you should do so. If not, you may as well really throw out canon and talk of Jedi-Daemonhosts with as much validity as the notion that Tau are viewed to be in the relative east of the Galaxy.

:rolleyes:

Xisor

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 17:20
Yes, but Revisionism while the official stance of GW isn't the point. It was merely a reference to the fact that you argued that the lack of 'control' of the 'fluff' in the novels is arguably why they are less useful as 'fluff' sources. Hence the RT comment. The mention of 'Jedi-daemonhosts' doesn't really help, since it suggests that an approach that is not within a given interpretation is a fallacy, when this is in fact one of the defining features of the 40k universe: open-ended 'fluff' to allow for personal interpretation.

Similarly, why is it easier to justify one piece of canon - the 'core part' and 'supplements' - over any other? More so given the tendency of GW to publish contradictory text arguably to stimulate discussion of the product? For example, consider the Eisenhorn trilogy: it shows, for the most part, a functioning and viable Imperium rather than the Image-laden "accept it or die" setting of the wargame.

All arguably, of course. Even though I take the same tack of choosing what 'fluff' I believe in and will not believe in - except I think that the wargame is the least useful source of information given the obvious biases introduced to a game universe, rather than a wargame product which I'm not interested in - it seems strange to select on over the other. It has little to do with what is obvious, or 'consistency', more so given the Revisionism and Edition Drift that you make reference, or at least in the former case...

:cries: <--Random smilie at the end of the post. ;)

Kage

IncubiLord
22-01-2006, 17:27
I'd like to rule out novels being automatically cannon.
If GW wants to support a certain point, fine. It's official.
Otherwise, there's such a thing as artistic license.

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 18:15
Upon what is that based on? You can see 'aritistic license' in the wargame codices, as well, where the 'fluff' is remarkably superficial and based around some rather simplistic assumptions. Surely?

Again, I really don't care. I just find it interesting that people have an exclusive opinion that shades through everything. I know that I do! (I normally end up laughing my socks off thorugh most codices and, even, the rulebook. Though not for the reasons that you might think!)

Kage

IncubiLord
22-01-2006, 18:44
Each author is allowed to write stuff that may contradict the "official" 40K universe because it makes for a better story (in theory).

Nobody wants to read that Gaunt's Ghosts went to fight the Tyranids, couldn't kill a flying Hive Tyrant, and were eaten (unless the story's written from the bug perspective, in which case it might be interesting). It's true to the game, but not a great read.

In that vein though, the game doesn't represent the official fluff completely either. It wouldn't be fun for either player if every game involving the Tyranids was played on a deathworld style table using the terrain rules in codex Deathworld Veterans. Dark Eldar should never play a take and hold mission. The list goes on and on.

Like historical games, the tabletop game does not accurately portray the situations it represents, because that wouldn't be a fun, balanced game.

Thus, neither the game nor the novels is a true source of information on the 40K universe.

Like I said in the other thread, fluff needs to be vague.
It makes the fictional universe more real and allows people to create their own background (essentially making their own bit of the universe).

If I were more cynical, I'd say GW contradicts their own fluff on purpose, just so that the players may take what they like from the information given.

Hopefully that explains what I'm trying to say.

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 19:14
Don't worry, I actually agree with you, even if I do come to the point in discussion from another angle. With that said, does not the argument that Wargame Balance determines a greater skew because it creates a point of conformance where none should, or would exist, without the wargame itself. The greater disparity seen in the BL novels, for example, therefore shows a more 'realistic' approach?

Kage

Puffin Magician
22-01-2006, 19:44
Kage, you're very good at saying a whole lot but not really telling us anything. Plenty of verbose eruditeness [;)] but I'm not sure what your position is about your very own question.

Do you consider everything canon? If not, what not and why not? Surely there's things in the fluff that you view as "unnatural" or downright stupid in the 40k universe.

I agree that "What GW says is law" since it is their universe to create and shape, but there are many inconsistancies that are so "wrong" that it's difficult to accept as canon, and easily dismiss as artistic license. Again, my favourite and most popular example is writers giving Titans stupidly big dimensions when we've been told in the 80's that they are much smaller. That can't be explained as an "evolution" of the background as the arrival of the Tau and the extinction* of the Squats can.

*I still entertain the likely possibility that many Squats were away from their homeworlds then the Tyranids ate them, it makes sense and I think killing them off was 99% to do with the game and sales and 1% to do with actual background.

Hlokk
22-01-2006, 20:22
I think, as far as GW is concerned, there are 3 types of canon background:

1: Sourcebooks, codexes and "offical" stuff: These are indesputably offical, and have gone through the whole "Race branding" process from concept to official release.

2: Fluff that becomes canon. I feel that, in certain circumstances, some BL books are so popular, that they are adopted as "official" canon. A good example of this is anything by Dan Abnett. Dan has his own unique take on the background, and there are some areas where its obvious he has no idea what he's on about (Ghost maker: Having an Eldar farseer as an old one), however, most of his stuff has proven so popular that it has been integrated into the fluff. I would argue that the Eisenhorn trilogy are one of the driving factors behind being able to field inquisitorial henchmen, and the inclusion of the tanith in the IG codex pretty much confirms this. Bill King, Gav Thorpe (unfortunately) and Phil Kelly are good examples of this type of fluff.

3: Other BL stuff. I dont consider this canon as it were. Simply because most of it is fanboy crap. I remember reading one book about 10000 imperial cruisers flying into the eye of terror or something equally bizzare.

I would argue 1&2 are canon, 3 isnt.

As for your comment about the Eldar Kage, one comment I remember the BL making was that they recieved no decent stories about the eldar, or told from the eldar perspective. This to me is a complete load of rubbish. I think GW is sticking to the motto of "Write what you know", and, as no-one knows what its like to be an eldar, they dont accept stories like that.

However, if everyone stuck to that maxim, how would we ever get science fiction written in the first place? Asimov wasnt sticking to this maxim was he, nor was Tolkien. Steven King wrote that "you shouldnt write about what you know, you should just tell the truth". Doing that puts an emotional credance behind the story that isnt present otherwise. To that effect, I would surmise that it would actually be possible for someone to write a decent novel from an Eldar perspective, however, this would be dependent on them having more talent that the usual hacks the BL employs and them having read literally every shred of Eldar material in existance.

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 21:16
Kage, you're very good at saying a whole lot but not really telling us anything.
Well, we should all be familiar with that reading GW material. With that said, I have been very clear on my position. For me it is all canon, a statement that you can find numerous times in the above. With that said, I am also be entirely open in saying that I personally select what bits of the 'fluff' I chose to believe or, more importantly, chose to interpret them.

To break it down so that I can be even more specific...


Do you consider everything canon?
Yes. Anything that is published by GW or one of their daughter (or whatever the business term is) companies is canonical: BL, BI, FW, etc. Indeed, any material that has their logo on is, technically, canon. That includes the HH CCG and whomever produced Fire Warrior, Dawn of War etc.


If not, what not and why not? Surely there's things in the fluff that you view as "unnatural" or downright stupid in the 40k universe.
This gets into my preference, not what I view canonical material. My preference tends to view any wargame material as overtly simplistic, reflective of a requirement to keep Wargame Balance more than anything else. This shades into 'fluff' inappropriately and is compounded in Edition Drift, a feature which Hlokk uses to define (in part!) canon, i.e. the fact that some of the BL novels include material that is subsequently published as part of the wargame.

Thus, codices must be viewed with scepticism since they're little more than aspected 'colour' or 'flavour' text. The main rulebook is nothing more than creating a superficial, if evocative, setting, etc., etc.

So, in many ways an inverse of what is being said here. BL novels are more interesting than the wargame stuff. Of course, both are canon.


I agree that "What GW says is law" since it is their universe to create and shape...
And I disagree, but once more in preference. It's kind of like martial arts. I do not accept the way that a 'master' tells me merely because that is what they tell me, more so in the western fashion when the 'master' might be a trumped up plumber... or lawyer... businessman... archaeologist... whatever career you would like to put in there. It's useful when it is integrated and makes sense, not because they happen to be employed!


...but there are many inconsistancies that are so "wrong" that it's difficult to accept as canon, and easily dismiss as artistic license.
Interesting. In my preferential treatment of the 40k universe - not that which is canonical - I tend to throw out much of the logic of the wargame as 'artistic license' or, rather, mechanical licenses hidden behind a veneer of Wargame Balance, Edition Drift, Revision and Thematic Armies. (Lots of silly use terms, there, so my apologies...)


Again, my favourite and most popular example is writers giving Titans stupidly big dimensions when we've been told in the 80's that they are much smaller.
Why stop at a matter of size, though? Are they not a bit daft in premise, since they are described as 'superior transportation' (or something like that)?


Ghost maker: Having an Eldar farseer as an old one)...
Sounds like preference kicking in? Is this not merely a reference to the fact that the Path of the Seer is something that only tends to be walked towards the end of the eldar's life, when they are comfortable with the other aspects of their 'personality'? In which case it is a reasonable term. Or do you prefer the other 'fluff' that implies that the Farseers are, essentially, born? Or the other stuff that implies that they are, in essence, an autocracy?

Incidentally, what you refer to is Edition Drift coupled with a bit of Revisionism.


Bill King, Gav Thorpe (unfortunately) and Phil Kelly are good examples of this type of fluff.
I feel that I'm one of the few people that defend Gav Thorpe. He's produced at least two books that I like on two different topics. That's 100% more than any other author in the BL 'team'. That's my opion (preference!), of course. It doesn't mean that the other authors are not talented, though. The seeming limitations of the BL novels are policy.


Other BL stuff. I dont consider this canon as it were. Simply because most of it is fanboy crap. I remember reading one book about 10000 imperial cruisers flying into the eye of terror or something equally bizzare.
Wow. And I got in trouble for one word which wasn't as explicit! ;) (I'm being tongue-in-cheek here, Hlokk.) With that said, if they had more fanboys writing the material they probably wouldn't have the troubles that they do!


As for your comment about the Eldar Kage, one comment I remember the BL making was that they recieved no decent stories about the eldar, or told from the eldar perspective.
Although it is entirely my opinion and therefore subject to bias, one could point out that they have allowed poor approaches to the eldar to be published. That doesn't mean that it wasn't done well, just that the lack of vision behind the race was the greater flaw. That is something that is laid at the door of GW, not the authors.


This to me is a complete load of rubbish. I think GW is sticking to the motto of "Write what you know", and, as no-one knows what its like to be an eldar, they dont accept stories like that.
Hmmn, if one is take the common interpretation of the Imperium, especially that espoused by the creative team, how many of us know what it is like to be a 'medieval citizen'? Or, in so doing, are we 'roleplaying'? Adopting the role of an individual based in a medieval mind-set and extrapolating it to the 40k universe? In which case is the premise of 'writing what you know' an obfuscation?


However, if everyone stuck to that maxim, how would we ever get science fiction written in the first place?
Okay, you beat me to it. ;)


To that effect, I would surmise that it would actually be possible for someone to write a decent novel from an Eldar perspective, however, this would be dependent on them having more talent that the usual hacks the BL employs and them having read literally every shred of Eldar material in existance.
Yowzers. You used the 'h***' world deliberately. Don't let Swallow hear you say that. I would forward that it needs a substantial expansion of the background of the eldar, but there we go. The reason that the material stands out normally is that it lacks a context.

Kage

Dark Muse
22-01-2006, 22:26
I consider it all canon if printed by GW/BL. I do not read the Black Library books however so my view on the 40K universe is just through the Codices and WD.

Really it is a pot luck. You have enormous amounts of fluff. Take what you like and leave the rest for others. The stuff I don't like I will bend a bit, but not ignore.

Eldar in particular are an interesting example. I am firmly entrenched in the image of the Eldar from the 2d Ed fluff. Anything newer I interpret based upon the foundation of 2d Ed.

The question is, do you have to take the newer fluff as canon above the older? I feel not, but some do. Especially newer players who have never even seen RT and 2d ed much less read/played them.

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 22:29
Technically speaking, Dark Muse, GW advocates a Revisionist policy in their approach to canon. In other words, "New is true".

Kage

Hlokk
22-01-2006, 23:01
Sounds like preference kicking in? Is this not merely a reference to the fact that the Path of the Seer is something that only tends to be walked towards the end of the eldar's life, when they are comfortable with the other aspects of their 'personality'? In which case it is a reasonable term. Or do you prefer the other 'fluff' that implies that the Farseers are, essentially, born? Or the other stuff that implies that they are, in essence, an autocracy?

Incidentally, what you refer to is Edition Drift coupled with a bit of Revisionism.

When he says old one, i think of the slaan, who are refered to as "old ones" in the necron codex. I accept that the eldar fought in the war in heaven, but i think its strange he thought of them as the old ones. Were they technically the old ones in a previous edition Kage?

As for the farseer thing, i think they have always been presented as an autocracy, similar to a leadership caste in eldar society. There isnt much of an indication that a guardian could walk the path of the warlock.


I feel that I'm one of the few people that defend Gav Thorpe. He's produced at least two books that I like on two different topics. That's 100% more than any other author in the BL 'team'. That's my opion (preference!), of course. It doesn't mean that the other authors are not talented, though. The seeming limitations of the BL novels are policy.
Fair play Kage. I just dont rate him as a writer and he seems to get preferential treatment because he's a games designer. Plus the background of the last chancers was changed on the basis of his novels.


Wow. And I got in trouble for one word which wasn't as explicit! ;) (I'm being tongue-in-cheek here, Hlokk.) With that said, if they had more fanboys writing the material they probably wouldn't have the troubles that they do!
Agreed. I think there needs to be either far more BL/Studio integration or there needs to be an uber fluff overseer to make sure all the background fits together in a coherant fashion.


Although it is entirely my opinion and therefore subject to bias, one could point out that they have allowed poor approaches to the eldar to be published. That doesn't mean that it wasn't done well, just that the lack of vision behind the race was the greater flaw. That is something that is laid at the door of GW, not the authors.
Again, this supports the case for a background overseer doesnt it? I guess you'd be the first to volunteer?


Hmmn, if one is take the common interpretation of the Imperium, especially that espoused by the creative team, how many of us know what it is like to be a 'medieval citizen'? Or, in so doing, are we 'roleplaying'? Adopting the role of an individual based in a medieval mind-set and extrapolating it to the 40k universe? In which case is the premise of 'writing what you know' an obfuscation?
Again, the description of imperial planets is very different. the BBB says that most planets are at least to today's level of tech, and in many cases advanced. This is supported by books such as lord of the night and eisenhorn

Xisor
22-01-2006, 23:11
I fear I was giving a slightly skewed impression in my list. Where I say the Rulebook, Codices and Supplements should be considered canon I don't mean the stats and rules themselves. To clarify, it is rather that the fluff is 'canon'. Whether a story told by a Daemon to a roadsweep is true or not is different, if it's in a codex it's a canon 'piece' of fluff(by my suggestion).

In this way *only* the intended 'core' fluff is canon, the things that actually get sifted for errors(or at least really should) when published.

Sifting an entire novel for minor continuity errors is alot more difficult than ensuring a 700 word insert or half-page note is true to the rest of the accepted universe is entirely different.

To that, obviously the 'Specialist Games' should come in close to this too, with the BFG Book being an official source on the Gothic War. Armada clarifying alot of the space elements of Armageddon, the Tau Empire and the Thirteenth Black Crusade, but the official BL Books on Armageddon and the 13th BC(and also Epic Armageddon for Armageddon) also being official 'canon'. These ideally should be relatively 'hole free', and they *should* fit together without people saying ':wtf:, is this even the same Universe?'(like what happens from reading the 40k opening text then swiftly reading Eisenhorn)

Novels have a bit too much artistic license to really be canon. They need it to tell a good story. A good story isn't really an excellent reference point though.

I still stand by my original list.

Hlokk's '2'-Fluff that becomes cannon:

Well, in a sense yes. It's more that some of it does add to the canon, but by validating it's existance, it doesn't mean(IMO) the entire story of Gaunts Ghosts is total truth. Rather it's a story about something that did happen. Like a film based on a 'true story'.

Kage2020
22-01-2006, 23:41
When he says old one, i think of the slaan, who are refered to as "old ones" in the necron codex. I accept that the eldar fought in the war in heaven, but i think its strange he thought of them as the old ones. Were they technically the old ones in a previous edition Kage?
All of which I know about, but in this case is this not merely a term being read into? Old One can mean 'one is aged' or, alternatively might refer to the Old Ones. In this case it always seemed fairly clear that it was the former. Is this a case of 'fanboy crap', or the preferred interpretation of the fan?

(Nothing bad meant by this, just using it as an illustration.)


As for the farseer thing, i think they have always been presented as an autocracy, similar to a leadership caste in eldar society.
No, they haven't. In the first regard they were represented as 'guides', offering up their prophetic advice that was normally followed. Edition Drift has led to something else, and this is being reinforced by novel authors and GW alike.


There isnt much of an indication that a guardian could walk the path of the warlock.
Yes, there is... Guardian merely refers to someone that is not on the Path of the Warrior, which in this case includes the Way of the Warlock, that shows up to battle. Oh, and for those 'rare' occasions, Farseers as well.

Well, according to the 'fluff'. Is it canon though? (Sorry, couldn't resist... ;))


Fair play Kage. I just dont rate him as a writer and he seems to get preferential treatment because he's a games designer.
<grin> It's actually for his game design that I would criticise him: 40k wargame and Inquisitor! ;) That's a preference gig, though, so nothing really bad meant by it since it is my preference.


Agreed. I think there needs to be either far more BL/Studio integration or there needs to be an uber fluff overseer to make sure all the background fits together in a coherant fashion.
Or perhaps the 'fluff' has reached a point where it can be separated. No dictation of the 'fluff' through the wargame?


Again, this supports the case for a background overseer doesnt it? I guess you'd be the first to volunteer?
Actually, probably not. There are people who know far more about the 'fluff' than me. I just tend to use it in what I consider to be interesting ways. That and they wouldn't pay me enough! :D


Again, the description of imperial planets is very different. the BBB says that most planets are at least to today's level of tech, and in many cases advanced.
That's just a 'tech level' thing, and has little to do with society, though.


In this way *only* the intended 'core' fluff is canon, the things that actually get sifted for errors(or at least really should) when published.
Is that really possible, though? The errors in the 'fluff' show up in the codices... Again, Edition Drift and Wargame Balance and the representations of such in the codices.


Sifting an entire novel for minor continuity errors is alot more difficult than ensuring a 700 word insert or half-page note is true to the rest of the accepted universe is entirely different.
Fair enough. Maybe that's where Hlokk's "person that knows what they're doing" comes in?


Novels have a bit too much artistic license to really be canon. They need it to tell a good story. A good story isn't really an excellent reference point though.
Why are the codices different? The 'stories' within them are merely colour in the same way that the novels are colour. The difference is merely in length, though both tend not to advance the universe (i.e. the lack of 'scope' in BL novels).

Are codices checked for continuity errors more than BL novels? It's hard to say, in my mind, since they are present in both. It's just that the two letter/A4 pages that you get from a codex is remarkably small and less likely to show up (even though they do, I would imagine) than in a novel ('war porn', still love that term).

Kage

Puffin Magician
22-01-2006, 23:53
I personally select what bits of the 'fluff' I chose to believe or, more importantly, chose to interpret them.I consider that to be a component in deciding what I view as canon or not. Disregard the stupid bits, embrace the coherent and well-thought-out stuff.

Yes. Anything that is published by GW or one of their daughter companies is canonical. Indeed, any material that has their logo on is, technically, canon.What of instances where fluff is contradictory? Obviously how do you decide which is prescedent comes from some sort of bias.

This gets into my preference, not what I view canonical material. My preference tends to view any wargame material as overtly simplistic, reflective of a requirement to keep Wargame Balance more than anything else.Wait, there's a difference between your preference and what you view as canon? Where do you draw the line then? And again, that doesn't really explain your opinion very well. Fluff less related to the wargame is more accurate to the "true", since it isn't altered and reshaped to fit the guidelines of a workable wargame? What do you consider "wargame fluff"? To me it's not exactly how the weapons work in-game since that is an obviously purposeful misrepresentation in order to "balance" the game. I'm simply talking about fluff exerpts and references in 40k rulebooks.

So, in many ways an inverse of what is being said here. BL novels are more interesting than the wargame stuff. Of course, both are canon.That's not all. Codex Titanicus says Titans are a certain height; some novels claim they are a different height. Which is "correct"?

I disagree [that what GW says is law], but once more in preference.So, "what GW says and what I like is law"? Or rather what you want to interpret it as is the way it goes? That sounds like a bias towards certain types of fluff, some of which contradicting other publications - which means not all fluff could be acceptable.

Interesting. In my preferential treatment of the 40k universe I tend to throw out much of the logic of the wargame...I'm talking about non-wargame related fluff contradicting with newer non-related wargame fluff. Unless of course your interpretation is that older fluff was somewhat "restricted" or at least based around how the wargames* worked at the time, and that newer fluff has a greater degree of freedom and flexibility, allowing it to be "more true".

*Wargames being Space Hulk, Adeptus Titanicus, Rogue Trader, Epic 40,000 and Wh40k 2nd Edition.

Why stop at a matter of size, though? Are Titans not a bit daft in premise?Conflicting background is one thing, but comparing background to our current understanding of the universe and our way of life on this planet thousands of years in the "past"? Nulling the validity of certain things in 40k based on their unlikeliness is just as blasphemous as Star Wars without the Force or Star Trek without Warp travel. They're the commandments of their own scifi universe and cornerstones of their background.

If I sound intensely serious - I'm not, this is all light-hearted. Afterall, we're arguing about how much we accept as the truth from people who write rules and stories based on plastic soldiers enacting battles that take place thirty-eight thousand years from now, slapping each other with electrified swords in a completely hypothetical alternate universe.

Kage2020
23-01-2006, 00:18
I consider that to be a component in deciding what I view as canon or not.
Ah, what you 'view' as canon is what I consider a question of 'preference', i.e. you prefer it to be considered canon over something else. To me it is all canon, whether I prefer it or not. In the case where I do not prefer it - like it or whatever - I ignore it.


Disregard the stupid bits, embrace the coherent and well-thought-out stuff.
Indeed. This just happens to be most of the 'fluff' and assumptions that is derivative of the wargame. For me, that is.


What of instances where fluff is contradictory? Obviously how do you decide which is prescedent comes from some sort of bias.
According to GW and, therefore, canon? The newest material is true.

I don't agree with it, but it is interesting to see how people chop and change the definition of canonical material. Again, nothing bad is meant by this!


Wait, there's a difference between your preference and what you view as canon?
My preference determines which bits of 'fluff' I integrate into my conceptualisation of the universe, just as it does with many others. It includes what bits I can suspend disbelief on (i.e. 'swallow') and what bits I find completely ludicrous.

The general implication? My universe, as with everyone elses, is technically non-canonical.


Where do you draw the line then?
Interpretation. All GW (etc.) published material is canon, but it doesn't mean that I have to swallow it.


And again, that doesn't really explain your opinion very well. Fluff less related to the wargame is more accurate to the "true", since it isn't altered and reshaped to fit the guidelines of a workable wargame?
I thought the 'It is all canon' pretty much explained it. Do you not? So, by definition, every little bit is canon. I just do what everyone else does and chop and change those bits that I don't agree with this. For the most part this is many of the assumptions that are derivative of the wargame.


What do you consider "wargame fluff"?
That's the point. It is also a question of what is 'fluff' and what is not. The restriction to wargame books - rulebooks, etc. - seems non-sensical.


That's not all. Codex Titanicus says Titans are a certain height; some novels claim they are a different height. Which is "correct"?
According to GW, which was published last?


So, "what GW says and what I like is law"? Or rather what you want to interpret it as is the way it goes?
No, that's just how your selecting to interpret what I'm saying. Despite the use of the term 'canon', I'm not saying that any of it is law. Rather, what I'm suggesting is that your preferential selection of 'fluff' is interesting, i.e. the disregarding of the BL novels because it contradicts the rulesbooks (despite period of publication), rather than one rulebook over another. It all seems rather... strange.


I'm talking about non-wargame related fluff contradicting with newer non-related wargame fluff.
That's just GW, surely?


Conflicting background is one thing, but comparing background to our current understanding of the universe and our way of life on this planet thousands of years in the "past"?
There are indeed some things that are considered a 'given'. This is indeed related to the point of the thread. What you are considered acceptable or not, and therefore what sources you consider canon, is a part of the problem. It's all technically canon... How you approach it seems more important.


They're the commandments of their own scifi universe and cornerstones of their background.
Although, to be fair, why the height of a Titan is that heart-stopping I don't know. That's probably because I view them as ridiculous, if necessary.


If I sound intensely serious - I'm not...
Exactly. I just find it interesting how people go around defining canon! In some regards 'anything that I (the generic I) don't agree with' is basically what ends up as canon, at least based on this discussion... ;)

Kage

Sikkukkut
23-01-2006, 06:59
Interesting question. While there are a lot of takes on the idea of canon, many of them with merit, mine is derived from roleplaying and the development of RP canon and universes. It seems to me that RP canon is designed with the assumption far more in mind that players are going to interact with and modify the setting, rather than fiction series such as Star Wars or, to a lesser extend, wargames, where the settings have not been designed with interactivity as a high priority.

Let's take a canonical, company-provided character in an RPG - say, Card Shark in Champions. Two GMs both decide to use him as a major antagonist in their campaigns. Six months down the track, the Card Shark in one campaign might be on the defensive, injured and hiding out and with several henchmen dead, frantically trying to keep his hold on the underworld. The other could be only just emerging as the secret manipulator who's been tricking the players into eliminating his rivals, and is a step away from ruling the entire criminal scene.

Neither of these is the canonical Card Shark any more, but that's cool - the canon was supplied so that it could be developed in this way, and if the two GMs ever meet and swap anecdotes the canonical Card Shark in the book is there as a touchstone so they both have a rough idea of what "my players really struggled to turn the tide on Card Shark in the early adventures" means. Meanwhile, if I'd used CS in my own campaign but rewritten him as a barely-competent joke villain to make room for my own Big Bad, then that would be cool, but it would be up to me to remember that I'd need to make that clear to anyone I was swapping stories with, or who joined the campaign.

That's how I view GWverse canon. Players come up with their own theories about things, their own version of how Ork tribes work, what the Harlequins want, how the Space Marines think, what's going on with the Necrons and so on. Tnat's all part of the game. The canonical background is there to provide a point of departure, but also a reference point so that players or player groups can have some way of meeting in the middle when they're talking background.

Taking that approach means it's a lot easier to be relaxed about allowing, well, pretty much all GW-published stuff to be canon. If parts of it are contradictory, well, that just means that you might pick version A out of the background bitz box, and I choose version B, and each of us has a version that we're happy with, and each of us can look at the other's and say "oh, okay, I see the direction you went in with that. Cool." The background is there as a springboard, not a brick wall.

Saying this, I accept that not a lot of people may share my approach. I like it because it's relaxed and inclusive and lets people play around and do their own thing, rather than get into squabbles of the "my version is RIGHT and your version is WRONG!" sort. I got fed up of that pretty quickly, but then maybe, to coin a phrase, that's just me.

Oh, and...


Also, for anyone wanting to be published I suggest attending an unfriendly PhD viva voce. That will squash the ego of almost anyone!

I don't doubt it, but I'd also think that you could legitimately expect that whatever flak came your way would come from someone who'd actually read your work and found demonstrable things to criticise. I think the author's main gripe was that you were taking shots at his work sight unseen.

Anyway, as you say, that discussion's died the death now.

IncubiLord
23-01-2006, 19:15
It would really help if there were something along the lines of a paraphrased fluff bible with references.

I've never seen this infamous document myself, but I would like to see a reference book with content like the following:

Dark Eldar (commonly DE)
The DE are a subrace of Eldar that eat souls to ward of Slaanesh. Blah, blah, blah, etc... (Note: a summary of the race that is not lifted from other sources)

References:

DE eat souls:
-DE codex - 3ed v1.2, P46, paragraph #X
-A Torturer's Tale (GW website) paragraph #XX

Haemonculi bio-engineer diseases - some such diseases even prolong life while torturing their host, this is assumed to be done for a psychological warfare effect:
-DE codex - 3ed ver1.2, P48, (implicit)

Points of Debate:

Mandrakes are daemonic:
-Supporting Evidence:
--Book, Page, Paragraph
-Conflicting Evidence:
--Book, Page, Paragraph


This could be very detailed, but it should include everything. Ideally, it should be on the GW website so that it can be kept current. Since I started in 2ed, I don't have all the fluff either, and I would assume that this would be a collaberative effort, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask for such a document.

I think that people tend to stick with the ideas they read first or are told first. This means that everybody's take on the 40K universe is a bit different, and without a reference book of some kind one is sometimes left to wonder "what in the world made him think that?"

Helicon_One
23-01-2006, 20:01
Technically speaking, Dark Muse, GW advocates a Revisionist policy in their approach to canon. In other words, "New is true".

Have GW ever made any statement on where they draw the line on this subject? I've never seen any official word on what they consider canon or not, and that would be extremely helpful.

Tim

Wintermute
23-01-2006, 20:10
Have GW ever made any statement on where they draw the line on this subject? I've never seen any official word on what they consider canon or not, and that would be extremely helpful.

Tim

Not really.

However BL refuses to reprint Space Marine by Ian Watson because it doesn't fit with the current fluff.

Robot 2000
23-01-2006, 20:19
Given the vast number of changes and revisions that have been made in the fluff since the inception of the universe I don't think it's possible to have a satisfactory, set in stone "canon" at all. Thus I just allow my imagination to play with what I think is cool and discard the rest.

Kage2020
23-01-2006, 21:17
I wasn't actually going to reply to this, but there we go.

It seems that some differentiation is needed between canonical material (that which has been published by GW or sister companies) and that which the individual prefers to interpret as canon (i.e. preferred canonical material). I knew this is the case, but it's nice to see that people are open about it.


I think the author's main gripe was that you were taking shots at his work sight unseen.
And as explained above, it was rather a incorrect term: instead of 'mangle' something else came out. Of course, it was over-reaction on his behalf but understandeable. Again, though, I've got it pre-ordered and have done for over a month now, which is saying something.

As to my work? Yep. Entirely so. On the other hand, I can say with hand to heart if many (not all) of the BL novels went through the same process, the release rate would not be as fast nor would as many consistency errors, etc., crop up. There is a quantum leap of different between the two and that in itself makes a huge difference over peer review journal, and that over normal publication. (From discussions held elsewhere.) In short, thick skin is always required as well as an openess to criticism. And, yes, that includes even worse things being said deliberately[/i].

In short, one has to wonder at the nature of the editting process in this regard when coupled with company policy.


I've never seen this infamous document myself, but I would like to see a reference book with content like the following:
1,000 pages without references, for the most part. With some work, an offiicial 'fluff' bible (by current edition) could be produced without stimmying creativity too much. Indeed, that doesn't seem a problem in general for 40k publications...


Dark Eldar (commonly DE)
The DE are a subrace of Eldar that eat souls to ward of Slaanesh. Blah, blah, blah, etc... (Note: a summary of the race that is not lifted from other sources)
Although that would kind of be self-defeating since it would point people to many out of publication documents, and therefore annoy the heck out of them. Best to copy/paste information together in the same way that, say, Rennie (was it him or McNeill) did for the Navigator article appended to the Specialist Games website and the Inquisitor wargame...?


Points of Debate...
Now that's something that I suggested was included on another boards 'Wiki' for something that they're attempting, but to no avail.


...and I would assume that this would be a collaberative effort, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask for such a document.
Given that multiple 'books' would be required? Yes.


I think that people tend to stick with the ideas they read first or are told first.
I'm not sure that is entirely true, although it might be a tendency. An interesting one at that.

[b]Kage