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The Song of Spears
08-12-2010, 20:30
Hey guys, i am looking to get into the background and fluff of WFB, what are the best books to get a whirlwind tour of the world and each of the races? Thanks!

genesis873
08-12-2010, 20:59
Felix and Gotrek series is good start, fun series and they tend to run into alot of the different races. As for a non empire perspective:

Skaven: "Grey Seer"
Dark Elves: "Malus Darkblade" series

SeaSwift
08-12-2010, 21:01
Hey guys, i am looking to get into the background and fluff of WFB, what are the best books to get a whirlwind tour of the world and each of the races? Thanks!

Any and all of the Time of Legends series.

This is not including the Army Books?

The Song of Spears
08-12-2010, 21:08
Actually I was going to ask - are the army books good for how things work in each empire? Like I have the Dark Elves army book, but it does not really mention how they runt heir day to day affairs, or deal with squabbles between their own powers...

BigbyWolf
09-12-2010, 00:45
Older armybooks tend to have more fluff, particularly the 4th edition ones.

For a decent insight into Empire/ Kislev vs Chaos, Riders of the Dead is a good book.

mrtn
09-12-2010, 02:27
For a crash course you could look for some of the short story collections.

Bubble Ghost
09-12-2010, 02:46
Actually I was going to ask - are the army books good for how things work in each empire? Like I have the Dark Elves army book, but it does not really mention how they runt heir day to day affairs, or deal with squabbles between their own powers...

Army books have never exactly been anthropological studies, but they have changed noticeably since they started out.

On balance, the 4th and 5th edition ranges contain both the best and the worst army books GW have ever produced, for fans of the background anyway. A few of them (Undead, Skaven, High Elves) were saved by some riveting background stories, mostly courtesy of Bill King, that should be required reading for anyone getting involved in Warhammer, as they work as great scene-setters not just for that race but the entire world. Some of the ones that weren't are agonisingly dull (Wood Elves, Lizardmen), extremely silly (Dogs of War*) or both (Bretonnians). The ones at neither extreme were OK but have been comfortably superceded, and you needn't worry about missing much for not seeing them.

The 6th edition books appeared during GW's "Word of God text is bad, m'kay?" phase; everything is cryptic and ambiguous, with much more in-character text. As such they're relatively unhelpful for actual information, at least compared to earlier books, but where almost all of them deliver is in getting over a race's character in terms of imagery. You may not get as many facts about a race, but you'll get a solid sense of what they're like just by absorbing all the snippets and art. A couple of the 6th edition books are still current (Wood Elves, Tomb Kings).

I've only read a couple of the 7th edition books, but they seem to follow a sort of "war, war, blood, war, death, war, blood, war, AWESOME!" repeated 3000 times kind of pattern. I'm sure focus group data has proved that this is the best approach for getting 13 year olds to buy toy soldiers but it's not as interesting as it used to be.

Your best best for a snapshot of each race's background as they stand would probably be its 6th edition army book, if you can find it. If you're serious about getting actual information, you might want to look out for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition material, though, especially the rulebook for an overview. It puts a much more cynical, human, and humorous perspective on things than the WFB army books do.


*I actually love the DoW book, it's genuinely funny and frighteningly historically literate. Just not much good as Warhammer background.

The Song of Spears
09-12-2010, 15:33
Alright, cool, thanks guys, I will check out some of the old army books too, cheers!

Tymell
10-12-2010, 11:06
There was also a book I got a while back called "The World of Warhammer". It's not going to have anything modern in it as I think it was published around 5th edition, but it's a good read and great for getting some core info on all the races. Might be tricky to get hold of, worth it if you can :)

shakedown47
10-12-2010, 17:09
As someone who has regrettably read 3 or 4 of the Black Library novels, take my advice and don't waste your time.

To get a rudimentary background on each race, the 8th hardbound is a good place to start. From there, as others have said, try picking up the older editions of the rules from fellow gamers. Between 3 or so editions of fluff, you should be relatively up to speed on the game world. Try to find copies of the summer campaigns as well, although the storylines contained in there are ancillary at best.

mrtn
10-12-2010, 21:08
There's some great stuff available in comic form as well, both the old Warhammer Monthly and other titles.

Wintermute
11-12-2010, 09:04
I'm moving this this thread to the Black Library General Discussion thread.

Wintermute

Alsharoth
11-12-2010, 17:26
Not Knowing anything about DE I can't comment on Malus Dark blade but.... it is a good book.

I though IOB novelette went quite well into the story of the box set.

asphodel
12-12-2010, 02:52
I'm just going to second the support for Malus Darkblade and Gotrek & Felix. Although only the first MD omnibus is actually worth it, the second is just a big disappointment.

The Florin and Lorenzo books were also kind of neat to look at races that aren't otherwise really explored outside of the GW material. But, if you're sticking to GW stuff the 5th ed. is really interesting but keep in mind a bunch of details have been retconned (DE sorcerors stand out on this point).

The trouble with BL books is, IMO, mostly one of style. Some authors are actually quite talented at putting together a story that's easy and pleasant to read (Dan Abnett, Nathan Long) and others are absolutely horrible writers that should stay as far away from pens/computers/typewriters as humanly possible (Gav Thorpe, C.L. Werner). So, I'd try and find some at the library or something before throwing the $10-20 for each one.

EDIT: switched "Nigel" to "Nathan" - oops!

And @SeaSwift - Yes, PotW was written by Gav Thorpe. I haven't read it, but I wouldn't either. His prose is just awful to read.

Torpedo Vegas
12-12-2010, 04:08
The Empire armies series does a pretty good job in showing how much it sucks to actually live in the Empire.

Hammer49
12-12-2010, 11:44
You could try the Gotrek & felix books. Nearly every book includes a different race. I personally consider the earliest books in the series to be some of the best WH books published.

SeaSwift
12-12-2010, 17:26
others are absolutely horrible writers that should stay as far away from pens/computers/typewriters as humanly possible (Gav Thorpe

:wtf:

Wasn't Path of the Warrior written by Gav?

narrativium
12-12-2010, 21:47
Who's Nigel Long?

BobtheInquisitor
12-12-2010, 22:06
The World of Warhammer (http://www.amazon.com/World-Warhammer-Official-Encyclopedia-Best-Selling/dp/1560251719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1292194283&sr=8-1) is probably the best starting point for background around. A used copy off of Amazon is cheaper than a single current codex, and it includes a timeline and overview of major events, as well as a background for all the major races except the Tomb Kings, who hadn't been invented yet.

If you want some great stories set in the Warhammer world, I would recommend the first Gotrek and Felix omnibus. Not only does it cover many of the major races, but it is chock full of humor and..."badhattery" (I don't know if I can use the word I want to use). If you want an intro to Bretonnia, check out Knight Errant or Guardians of the Forest. For High elves, check out Defenders of Ulthuan or Malekith. If you like Chaos (and gory action), I recommend Blood for the Blood God and The Blackhearts.

I personally enjoy the works of Gav Thorpe (except for Grudgebearer) and C. L. Werner. They don't tend to write in the style of prose that's popular at the moment, but they can tell a good tale. C. L. Werner is quite open about his influences: H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Howard, both writers from the Great Depression era whom he manages to capture very well. I'm not quite sure exactly what to call Gav's style, but it reminds me a lot of the narration in the Silmarillion, which can be tedious for people who are used to a more terse, emotionally charged, modern approach.

Oh, and as always, the collections of short stories are a great way to enter the Warhammer world.


Who's Nigel Long?

I think he meant Nathan Long, author of The Blackhearts, Bloodborn and the latest Gotrekesque and Felixish books.

The Song of Spears
14-12-2010, 21:22
Ok, So I started with the Reiksgaurd books by Richard Williams. So far its good stuff.

I was going to do the goatrek and felix series but i cant find books 1-5 very easy for cheap...

Is the World of Warhammer a encyclopedia or a novel? If its an encyclopedia, does it offer more than the Lexicanum online?

P.S.
I am trying to buy as many of these on PDF as possible, i read them on my PSP mostly...

narrativium
14-12-2010, 22:47
I don't remember that particular product, and I'm not familiar with the author at all. It's not as comprehensive an encyclopedia as Lexicanum, on inspection; it's definitely not a novel (it predates Black Library's novels by about a year).

mrtn
15-12-2010, 02:29
You can read some pages (don't know how many) as preview on the amazon site, and as far as I read it I wouldn't recommend it, the creature entries are very short, and include a lot of creatures retconned out of the setting, or at least severely diminished. Something that's not older than 10 years would probably be preferable.

As you want pdf's you can find a lot of stuff, like the older armybooks, "available on the internet", if you catch my drift.