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Lord Squidar
02-04-2013, 06:58
So the term "forging a narrative" has been thrown around a lot since 6th edition came out, and probably well before then too, but I have been thinking about it a lot, in terms of army performance and the new style of the army books, and wanted to put down my ideas. This might be a bit long...

So a while ago I was an avid DnD 3.5th edition player, my friends and I would meet at least once a week, 3 times at our peak, to play out our adventures in the worlds of DnD. We had two or three dungeon masters because its not a job everyone can do well. The best dungeon master in terms of telling the narrative, was also the most harsh and cruel in combat, which was fine for when we played survival horror quests in Ravenloft, but terrible for the more heroic quests. Why?

Well the regular plain old DnD was about heroes chopping their way through various monsters, saving the princess and returning home with treasure and glory. This was the story, and the DM's job was to facilitate it as best as possible. While the descriptions of places were excellent, the monsters in combat were horrendous to beat, without having him drop prismatic dragons on us in our sleep (a really nasty dragon for non DnD peoples). To sum it up, the source of this inbalance was the game rules themselves. Some of our party made ridiculously overpowered characters and some were regular, but in order for fights to be a challenge, our DM had to go all out which involved him using the rules to the best of his ability too. A veritable arms race. An example:

When fighting trolls and other such unintelligent creatures, the DM would forgo the intelligence stat and make the monsters tactical geniuses, flanking, using 5 foot steps to get into combat safely, keeping people at maximum reach, not bull-rushing or tackling dwarfs etc etc. All things that in narrative terms, (to me at least) a stupid troll would never work out. In pure narrative terms, the troll should blunder forward and smash the nearest thing, be slow to react and not avoid attacks of oppurtunity or even go for the healer first. For the GM, playing the troll this way would not have been fun at all, and simply adding a second or third troll would have made it too difficult, in the end, due to our own arms race, it ruined the game a bit, but it serves as a good example of what I am trying to say.

So with 40k moving to a new ideal of forging a narrative, are GW telling us that certain armies are the heroes, and certain armies are the trolls waiting to be slaughtered all to make a good story? Marines and the imperial factions seem to be the heroes obviously, and chaos, orks etc etc are the DM supplied monsters. Now at the moment, those who play the monster races (myself included) are still stuck in the mindset of trying to win, hoping that there is some sort of balance to this game in the same manner as a complicated chess set, when GW is actually telling us, "Hey, just play for fun, balance is for ninnies". To flog the horse again, look at daemons and grey knights. Its a pure example of the above scenario, where the heroes are there to put down the villains, and every once in a while the villains have their 5 seconds, but thats it.

To labour the point, look at all the heroic armies versus the "evil" armies, one set of codices has virtually no random rules, whilst the other set (chaos, daemons, orks namely) have codices chock a block full of random charts and such. With the other random charts in 6th edition, the more stable the army is, the better it is, once again ensuring the forces of good triumph.

But what about the grim dark? Well its there, still, in the broader narrative. The heroes might throw back this army of orks gloriously on the battlefield, but there are millions or billions of orks still to come, it just sucks being the ork who gets thrown back, even though you are expected to imagine that its part of your horde.

But how does this benefit GW? Well naturally GW is out to make money, and this helps them greatly because it sort of forces people to have two armies or more, one good and one bad (both in alliance and game power, haha!). IF everything had perfect internal balance, there would be absolutely no reason to buy a second force other than if you liked the models, because you would win your games more consistently with your gaming skills.

So where does this leave tournament play? Well from all the changes and talks with GW staff in general, it seems that there is a general dislike of tournaments from the company side, despite them holding events quiet often. In terms of the broader meta, it means that the tournament scene will continue as it has, constantly refining lists in order to find a stable army that always performs in a certain way. Tournaments are therefore NOT for the weird evil armies, but for marines of various sorts, and the one or two genius players out there who can take the weird and make it work. When I go to tournaments, I am fully aware of this, and see it as an opportunity to play many new opponents rather than a chance to win.

So where does it leave casual pick up games? Well here is the bitter pill t swallow. As a player of the weird and wacky stuff, you have two options. 1 is to try prove games workshop wrong and play as if you have an equal chance of winning, and hats off to you if you manage to do it. If you chose this option, accept your losses with decorum, and it makes for a happier gaming environment, very much easily said but hard to do I will admit. Option 2 is to accept that your chosen pretties are there as a stunt extra in the greater movie of the game, and play as if you are in a narrative. I don't mean play stupidly no, I mean accept that there is an overwhelming chance that you are going to get your butt handed to you, and play like you know it. Here you are 100% required to take your losses with some sort of decorum, but here you are allowed to gloat over your wins, in fact its required. Its what I do to the grey knights in the 1/10 games that I beat them, goad them on to such extremes that they feel silly for bringing 20 men in shiny armour. Subsequently, I get kicked in the next game, but its all fun, and when I get beaten I can pull a scooby doo villain and claim, "I would have got away with it if it wasn't for those meddling vindicators/longfangs/librarians etc etc". Scooby doo is no fun if the whole cast gets eaten by a tentacled scrappy doo in the first 5 minutes :D

So yeah, comments, criticisms, contradictions, I am opening up the debate, and would love to hear the opinions of others.

Luffwaffle
02-04-2013, 08:21
I think you are a little off. You forget that the heroes side (imperium) contains what are considered to be the worst codices, sisters of battle and black templar. While the bad guys also include Necrons, who are only matched in power by grey knights and maybe Imp guard on a good day. I dont think there is any GW initiative to drive a narrative by making "hero" codices op.

As for your arguement about randomness in codices. It's the nature of the beast. What do you expect from something with chaos in its name and orks. It wouldn't make much sense to include a lot of random tables in imperium codices as the imperium represents order and stability while chaos represents well chaos. Random also doesn't mean something will be worse than something that's not random. It mean random. Sometimes you'll be weaker, sometimes you'll be stronger. The random tables are more for fluff reasons than to drive a narrative.

TheDoctor
02-04-2013, 10:30
As an Eldar player, I find my games against Marines (except Grey Knights) are generally my easiest games. I actually went to a 40-50 person tourney a couple of months ago, and came in 2nd overall. 3/4ths of my games were against marines, and I completely decimated them. My one loss was against extreme cheesy Chaos Daemons with token heretics to get a helldrake (and he ended up getting 1st overall).

So, even though I play with a more "neutral" faction, I still have fun slaughtering the good guys and forging a narrative. There are A LOT of dead space wolves littered on my bases.

zoggin-eck
02-04-2013, 10:45
While I enjoyed what you've written, and love hearing about people into both RPG's and wargaming, I just don't see this as being the case at all.

totgeboren
02-04-2013, 10:53
I really like the 'forging a narrative' approach that GW has adopted lately (being an old rpger myself), though it totally sucks that it only seems to apply to the 'good guys'. How am I supposed to forge a narrative when my characters (CSM) must always kill themselves in stupid challenges? Or that they get turned into spawns or Daemon Princes willy-nilly? How am I supposed to play a champaign with my Lord when he is destroyed by his own special rules every other battle?

Ok, lets play Daemons then. Oh, the abilities of my scheming daemon totally changes between every battle, I can't even model my characters properly. For all my factions, the psychic abilities they know changes between each battle, and my Warlord goes from being on fire to being a devious strategic genius battle to battle.

I can't forge a narrative at all, as I play the 'bad guys' and everything feels either random or the behaviour of my models is forced. I like w40k above warmachine because it allows me to create my own heroes and villains, but GW are slowly eroding their one winning aspect, which sucks.

Good thing for me my group has simply stopped using challenges at least. Makes the game 100% better.

Souleater
02-04-2013, 11:09
This isn't a new thing, IMO. I've had a vague sense that my Xeno Armies are there mainly to be 'villains' since ~4th Edition.

I've played against a number of people using 'good armies'...and I have to say it is generally Marine players...it's almost as if they expect to win against Xeno armies in a way. Not that they necessarily expect to win the game but oddly they expect to be superior in assault and shooting.

Several games I've played in recently I've seen Tyranid broods suffer horrendous casualties to shooting. This is okay with my opponents. Broods wiping out Marine Squads over several turns - even small ones such as Long Fangs - this is not okay with my opponents.

Against Necron, CSM, Daemon players I have never run into this.

I believe that telling a story should be optional. If a group or two players want to write a story that's great but it should be left to the players.

The rules should be written to be clear, tight and balanced. Then the player can add on all the background elements that they desire.

DeathGlam
02-04-2013, 11:30
I enjoyed reading your post but almost completly disagree with your view points, im very happy with GW seemingly not caring at all about competative gaming and enjoy the current rules.

The idea that GW is trying to make it so that the Chaos/Xenos races will struggle to win is silly IMO.

They are trying to showcase the more fun/variety of Xenos & Chaos armies even if they are failing at that in some peoples eyes, which i again disagree on.

Kamin_Majere
02-04-2013, 11:37
pshhhh, I play Eldar I don't care what the mon-keigh think "We" are the good guys in this story ;)

The narrative is all in what you make of it. Remember 2 people can play the same game and come out with completely different stories of what when down

conradtron
02-04-2013, 11:48
Enjoyed the read, But i to have to disagree.

I play guard and I have to say most games for me that are tough, and see me losing are games against Xeno armies.

Lord Squidar
02-04-2013, 12:18
Do you include orks in these xenos armies? maybe its weighted heavily in favour of the imperium when its them versus chaos, but can be neutral in other situations. 100% of my games fall along the Imperium versus Chaos lines, and my experiences from above are based on this.

How is it between orks and eldar, eldar and dark eldar etc etc?

Nubl0
02-04-2013, 12:34
I do often find however it is marine players that are slighty astounded when their 5 man combat squad gets gunned down by 20 or so gaunts, or fails to win in combat against them.

Klajorne
02-04-2013, 12:58
Gotta say I disagree with the OP. A good DM knows how to roll with what the players throw at him. A better DM knows when to beat them with a rolled up news paper when they're getting out of line.

If your encounters are turning into an arms race, and only half the players know how to optimize, it's time to take a step back and get everybody on the same page, whether it be to tone down the power level of the optimizers or bump up the power level of those that don't know how.

It's a collaborative game. Deal with your problems collaboratively. 40k is no different.

Or, to quote the great works of yesteryear: "You can talk to each other now."


Sent from the future via phonebooth.
Be excellent to each other.

Shadow Lord
02-04-2013, 13:07
As an old RPG-player myself, I understand what you are saying about the "arms-race". Once you go down that lane as a DM, you can never go back and it turns a "fun" evening into a stressfull survival of the fittest thing. That is both the blame of the players and the DM. The players should feel OK with mediocre stats and play their best and the DM should feel fine to let them get a break now and then...that said, though I feel that at the end of 5th edition GW were doing some kind of arms-race between different factions, with the good guys getting all the goodies and the bads guys ending up with zip, I do believe that they made a fresh start with 6th.
Nids, who had a terrible time during 5th, are given a second life. CSM (my army) and Daemons are both fun to play and play against (bar the Heldrake spam perhaps) and DA-players are apparently sitting in the same boat as Chaos and feel happy about that (well, I hope). Even the armies that were at their prime during 5th (GK's, SW and BA) got nerfed (more or less). The only real exception are the Necrons IMHO. As a bad guy myself, I do however feel that it's difficult to forge a narrative in the current setting. We get swamped by all those stories on how the good guys pulled off this amazing shizzle without breaking sweat against some poor idiotic bad guy and sometimes this shows through to the games played. A friend of mine lost with his GK's against the new daemons and he quit after turn 4. He was really really upset that his shiny knight of pure awesomeness were obliterated by his preferred enemy...daemons winning from GK's...in what kind of universe do you live?? Also, we are outnumbered codeci of all the different Space Marines chapters (SW/BA/GK/DA/Vanilla/Black Templar) and that gives a bit of a false feel to the whole "we are doomed" setting of 40k. They have 50 succesfull stories to 5 of Chaos/Daemons/Nids/Orcs/Necrons/DE...just my humble 2 cents ofc.

IcedCrow
02-04-2013, 13:16
I am quite happy with the direction that GW has taken with their games currently. I feel there are enough crush your balls tournament games out there that this fills a niche in the wargaming world that is not really looked at.

Lately in our events, the imperium have been fighting a very uphill battle against the forces of chaos and the xenos.

RandomThoughts
02-04-2013, 15:25
I find the comparison between RPGs and tabletop games fascinating, and must say I really started to use the two for different things more and more.

Tabletop games are all about tactical combat to me, roleplaying games about forging a narrative. While I still tend to frame tabletop games in a small story that explains who's fighting, where they are fighting and what they are fighting over, these things have no impact on army selection or gameplay these days.

Meanwhile, I've reduced combat in RPGs to a bare minimum, and generally use it only to set a mood or further a story, never as something that's important in its own right.

The example given by the OP regarding tactical genius trolls (not entirely impossible, though, there might well be some awesome tactical savants among trolls!) appears to me as a confucion between the two, a situation where the DM treats the game as a tactical challenge form himself.

Hengist
02-04-2013, 17:10
Well, somebody has to say, so it might as well be me: so far as it has been implemented in 40k 6th, "forging a narrative" is a fig-leaf for sloppy game design.

If GW were serious about 'narrative', they would have given us a decent campaign system and a steady supply of thematic scenarios, not add a few random tables and call it a day. Moreover, there's something fundamentally wrong-headed about the designers' present approach: for game events to be exciting (or 'epic' and 'cinematic' as GW would prefer to call them) they should be emergent, the consequence of gameplay created by the players, not imposed by the rules. There is nothing (at least to me) cinematic about randomly exploding objectives or man-eating trees, and still less about a 'narrative' in which both sides hide behind Aegis lines until the side who brought the most mortars/Razorbacks/Vendettas wins because the game is still hideously ill-balanced.

It is possible to create a wargame which generates a memorable, compelling narrative - Malifaux and Dark Age (and even Space Hulk and Necromunda, in their own ways) achieve it - Ward and friends have not done so.

Brother Alexos
02-04-2013, 17:32
I can understand completely what the OP has to say, but sometimes i just love being the wacky stunt-double badguy that dies. I mean, I don't mind having my Orks slaughtered to a man every game. I like to think of myself as the Dungeonmaster (or Hulkmaster, in this universe), giving the good guys an opponent to face. So what if Warboss Grimgit gets slaughtered? The background I have running is that when Grimgit went through the Warp for the first time, his Hulk (and every Ork on it) was cloned around 1,000+ times and sent in different directions. Therefore, if one Grimgit dies, there are still another few hundred out there smacking one of the weedier races in their hurty bits.

Really, its just a matter of using the Universe's background, and not its gaming, to forge the narrative. I mean, its not like the Space Marines in the books match up to their Tabletop brothers, right??

Chapters Unwritten
02-04-2013, 17:39
While I enjoyed what you've written, and love hearing about people into both RPG's and wargaming, I just don't see this as being the case at all.I agree. But you've touched on a pretty sizable earmark in GW's awkward handling of things - the tools they give to forge the narrative really don't do that. They reinforce their narrative, not let us forge our own.

I have a million stories of great games that then led to legendary self-creating tales of the feats an army or model has been through. GW's rules don't really do that. If you have a Daemon Prince who has been crippling your enemies he becomes a bit of a legend amongst your playgroup, for example. He is a fiercer than average daemon who your mates will rightfully fear. This can all come about because of something as simple as a hot dice streak with that model. Giving the Grey Knight who attacks him the ability to one-shot him is just a cheap shortcut to the same (GW fluff-centric) sort of conclusion.

conradtron
02-04-2013, 20:21
Do you include orks in these xenos armies? maybe its weighted heavily in favour of the imperium when its them versus chaos, but can be neutral in other situations. 100% of my games fall along the Imperium versus Chaos lines, and my experiences from above are based on this.

How is it between orks and eldar, eldar and dark eldar etc etc?

When I fight chaos never do I feel a slight advantage.

Orks, Tau, Eldar and Dark eldar. The same as Chaos no advantages, Orks tend to beat my guard up Like they should. Tau will out shoot me every time, Eldar and Dark eldar will dance around my guardsmen shooting and beating them up.

If anything as a guard player, i feel like the "stunt double" standing in the way of the on coming, necron force, of a raging nid hive fleet.

Inquisitor Kallus
02-04-2013, 20:48
Well, somebody has to say, so it might as well be me: so far as it has been implemented in 40k 6th, "forging a narrative" is a fig-leaf for sloppy game design.

If GW were serious about 'narrative', they would have given us a decent campaign system and a steady supply of thematic scenarios, not add a few random tables and call it a day. Moreover, there's something fundamentally wrong-headed about the designers' present approach: for game events to be exciting (or 'epic' and 'cinematic' as GW would prefer to call them) they should be emergent, the consequence of gameplay created by the players, not imposed by the rules. There is nothing (at least to me) cinematic about randomly exploding objectives or man-eating trees, and still less about a 'narrative' in which both sides hide behind Aegis lines until the side who brought the most mortars/Razorbacks/Vendettas wins because the game is still hideously ill-balanced.

It is possible to create a wargame which generates a memorable, compelling narrative - Malifaux and Dark Age (and even Space Hulk and Necromunda, in their own ways) achieve it - Ward and friends have not done so.

GW used to, not so much now though

Gorbad Ironclaw
03-04-2013, 06:47
Interesting idea, although I have to say I don't agree with the premise. GW might use the term cinematic and similar over and over about their games, but saying it doesn't make it so and like Hengist I don't find their rules particular well suited to creating a story on the table. The actions the rules make happen in a game doesn't feel particularly close to the published background and while a bunch of the random stuff can be very entertaining they are mainly just stuff that happens, not 'cool story moments'.

If you want to tell a story you should set out to do that from then start and pick a game to do that. You can do it with a miniatures combat game (even if it isn't ideal a lot of the time) but you need to plan for it, expecting to play the game and getting a story usually doesn't work out, at least not unless that's what both players want to do in the first place.

And as for designing 'hero' and 'stunt-double' books, that would require more fine control than what I've seen and I think would be a bad marketing decision.

Geep
03-04-2013, 08:02
The 'forging a narrative' speil gets on my nerves. As others have said already, the current 40k rules don't help to forge a narrative- if anything all of the stupidly random and wacky elements detract from the narrative. The narrative is something made by the players themselves. Some players will not try and make narrative driven games- that's fine, everyone has their own playstyle- and no random elements will change the way these people view the game.

Random terrain and objectives really kill the narrative for me. The Eldar have arrived to take back artifacts lost to them on this now-imperial controlled planet- artifacts so important that we don't actually know what they do, and neither do the imperials. Just like the imperials somehow forgot that river, supplying a nearby town, is actually lava, and that troops can't work this detail out without first wading groin-deep into the 'river'. And should an objective explode- who cares? we'll still lug it back to our craftworld where it can continue to explode, causing a loss of Eldar lives in a more convenient location. Yep, that's some good, sensible narrative right there.

A narrative game I and a regular opponent played included a numberless horde of Tyranids trying to break through heavily fortified IG defence lines to reach an objective. That game was great fun. The closest GW has ever come was the old scenarios in 4th ed (I think it was 4th ed), with missions like linebreaker, or capture the bunker. I really wish they'd bring those back into the main book (I'm still happy to play them now, but for some reason many people refuse to look for ideas outside of the current main book).

RandomThoughts
03-04-2013, 08:52
Well, somebody has to say, so it might as well be me: so far as it has been implemented in 40k 6th, "forging a narrative" is a fig-leaf for sloppy game design.

If GW were serious about 'narrative', they would have given us a decent campaign system and a steady supply of thematic scenarios, not add a few random tables and call it a day. Moreover, there's something fundamentally wrong-headed about the designers' present approach: for game events to be exciting (or 'epic' and 'cinematic' as GW would prefer to call them) they should be emergent, the consequence of gameplay created by the players, not imposed by the rules. There is nothing (at least to me) cinematic about randomly exploding objectives or man-eating trees, and still less about a 'narrative' in which both sides hide behind Aegis lines until the side who brought the most mortars/Razorbacks/Vendettas wins because the game is still hideously ill-balanced.

It is possible to create a wargame which generates a memorable, compelling narrative - Malifaux and Dark Age (and even Space Hulk and Necromunda, in their own ways) achieve it - Ward and friends have not done so.

I absolutely have to agree. In my opinion, GW confused "forging a narrative" with "forcing a narrative"!

Narrative gets created by players giving their battles and their models background story. We do that anyway. Before each game, we always discuss where the battle takes place, why it takes place, and what every single objective means in game turns. For that to work, we need a certain freedom to make our own decissions, being spoonfed random objectives, warlock powers, abilities usually gets in the way of that.

Perhaps they mean something else when they say "narrative" than we do. Last night two of my pals played a small sized game of Warmachine to get the one pal reaclimated into the game. Didn't stop us from visualizing and describing in great detail what happened when the two generals ended up face two face as the last surviving models. That's what I call "forging a narrative", ans it happens through player creativity, not rules.

Ulthwe's Tears
03-04-2013, 10:50
The 'forging a narrative' speil gets on my nerves. As others have said already, the current 40k rules don't help to forge a narrative- if anything all of the stupidly random and wacky elements detract from the narrative. The narrative is something made by the players themselves. Some players will not try and make narrative driven games- that's fine, everyone has their own playstyle- and no random elements will change the way these people view the game.

Random terrain and objectives really kill the narrative for me. The Eldar have arrived to take back artifacts lost to them on this now-imperial controlled planet- artifacts so important that we don't actually know what they do, and neither do the imperials. Just like the imperials somehow forgot that river, supplying a nearby town, is actually lava, and that troops can't work this detail out without first wading groin-deep into the 'river'. And should an objective explode- who cares? we'll still lug it back to our craftworld where it can continue to explode, causing a loss of Eldar lives in a more convenient location. Yep, that's some good, sensible narrative right there.

A narrative game I and a regular opponent played included a numberless horde of Tyranids trying to break through heavily fortified IG defence lines to reach an objective. That game was great fun. The closest GW has ever come was the old scenarios in 4th ed (I think it was 4th ed), with missions like linebreaker, or capture the bunker. I really wish they'd bring those back into the main book (I'm still happy to play them now, but for some reason many people refuse to look for ideas outside of the current main book).

Pick and choose the parts you like. I don't think I've ever played with random objectives or random terrain.

The game in 6th definitely supports narrative more than it has done. The rules now allow for a greater degree of interaction by units - throwing grenades, always being able to wound (or fleeing if you can't damage a vehicle), precision shots etc. I feel like I can do something in most situations.

Oboc
03-04-2013, 12:12
6 th ed makes for less idiotic situations like being stuck to die in combat with a dreadnought.
At the end of the day, you can play competitive and play the rules, or play for fun and just use he rules you want, or just invent a rule!
In a game i played with my DE, a frag missile deviated n my webway portal, and i decided that on a 6, my reserves would be hit and.lo and behold, half my wyches died and i lost the game, but had epic fun.
The randomness is just there to enable you as a player. Who cares about matt ward? If he's not playing with me, im sure he does not care how i play the game.
Forging a narrative is just about bearing in mind that at the end of the day its your game, and making it about how the game you are playing is going to unfold.

Cloud Runner
03-04-2013, 13:31
Pick and choose the parts you like. I don't think I've ever played with random objectives or random terrain.

The game in 6th definitely supports narrative more than it has done. The rules now allow for a greater degree of interaction by units - throwing grenades, always being able to wound (or fleeing if you can't damage a vehicle), precision shots etc. I feel like I can do something in most situations.



I agree, there is a lot more story driven gaming in 6th and you can always do something no matter the situation. Some of the random elements can be fun, but as with everything in life, it's best to take it all in moderation.

The thing I think that breaks down the current 40k scene (both gaming and the general hobby), is much like everryday life - the lack of communication between players/hobbyists. There are a number of times Ive seen people get bogged down in issues where a quick conversation would help sort things out - looking from other peoples perspectives also helps alot too. This can be true of games, advice and even trades.


OT - I wonder if Ulthwe's Tears (http://www.warseer.com/forums/member.php?85427-Ulthwe-s-Tears) would care to read & reply to the PM's and emails I've sent concerning our trade that he/she has yet to fulfill and neglected to respond to various attempts at communication, despite having had the money for the past three weeks?



@Oboc - that sounds like an awesome situation, and I'll bet that single spark of genius will be remembered for years - and that it'll see more use in yours and others' games :)

Brother Alexos
03-04-2013, 21:50
Why are you using these wacky rules and tables that don't help your narrative, then? Im not trying to be mean, or snobbish here, but I recently played two very fun games with a friend where we used none of the random tables provided in the Rulebook (Well, I used the random table for my Chaos Dreadnought, but thats because the story was he's a psycho.). If there was something on a random table that we had to use, we would both sit down and just point out what we decided we wanted.

For example, Warlord traits. Instead of randomly rolling, we decided it would be more fun to just pick one that fit our characters. We did the same thing with the Terrain Tables. We were fighting over a Chaos Temple, so we just went through, placed terrain, and then decided what rules we would use. I think that this is what they meant by Forging a Narrative.

Just my opinion here, but I think that when they introduced the random tables, it was for tournament play. It would actually mix up the otherwise predictable battlefield. Nobody can predict if you get a lavariver or a regular river, therefore you have to weigh the decisions a bit more.

But again, my opinion. Try playing a game or two where you just pick stuff, instead of just using the tables as-is.

theJ
03-04-2013, 22:11
Brother Alexos speaks the truth.
Not sure about the part where GW intended us to ignore the rules as written, but it does get a lot better when we do.
Especially the Warlord Traits. Whoever thought randomizing those would be a good idea needs to think his/her ideas through better.

@OP: Narrative is about more than who is winning, buddy. Don't confuse sloppy writing with some deeper narrative reasoning.

YourChapterMaster
03-04-2013, 22:27
Was a good read for sure! I definately see what your saying, my only problem is for it to be balanced as most people clamor for you have to ignore the rich story element that draw alot of people to the game. Demons and Chaos serve fickle gods who in their eyes are objects to be exalted or discarded. I would argue that the game system can barely contain the story elements also. For example: maybe alpha legion stiring an imperial world to revolt with a small contingent seems fine, but when you break out the black legion we are talking numbers to bring systems to their knees in short order. The fluff of the randomness that is brought to the game seems out of balace becasuse you would need to play an apocalypse size game to properly mitigate bad rolls on random charts to fit the lore. Demonic incursions are also Huge with thousands of demons pouring out which I feel can't be properly implemented in the game. At the same time Space marines should be more epic, a while back there were true scale marine conversions for a tactical squad of 10 with rules to make them match the fluff coming in at a whopping 1500 points which was very cool but that doesnt sell models(non official models). For all the holes that I just mentioned I feel that things are implemented as well as they can be, maybe with a few tweaks here and there to fit the narative of 40k as a whole. 40k is not chess, chess is boring becasue there are already established best moves and you would have to learn for a lifetime before ever being able to innovate if you even get that far. So I dont think its geared for one army to be another intentinally, I think they try to make it the flavor of the story without actually being able to implement it properly. My 2 cents.

RandomThoughts
04-04-2013, 08:15
Why are you using these wacky rules and tables that don't help your narrative, then?

Because there are always people resistent to any proposed changes to the rules and homebrewed rules perhaps?

Ozendorph
04-04-2013, 16:35
Because there are always people resistent to any proposed changes to the rules and homebrewed rules perhaps?

Indeed. House rules are fine, but it helps if you're in *your house* and playing with your friends. If you happen to play at a local shop or in organized events, ignoring rules-as-written and substituting your own may not be an option.

Hengist
04-04-2013, 18:01
Indeed. House rules are fine, but it helps if you're in *your house* and playing with your friends. If you happen to play at a local shop or in organized events, ignoring rules-as-written and substituting your own may not be an option.

This - and it's particularly relevant when discussing 40k, because a significant part of the game's perceived value - and justification of its hefty prices - lies in the fact the it's popular, and we can all find an opponent easily enough at the local club, shop or wherever.

There's a deeper problem brought up by the "if you don't like it, change it" argument too. Of course we can all ignore or rewrite rules we don't think beneficial to the game we want - if we're fortunate, we can play with others with whom a consensus can be reached on what should be changed and how. But that does not exempt GW's rules from scrutiny or from criticism - we pay impressive sums to (supposed) professionals for a system of rules in order to enjoy (to use a ghastly term) the '40k hobby', not in order to spend our own time accommodating their quirks and failings. Moreover, when we're discussing the game with strangers over the internet, it's the rules as written that are our common ground, not whatever fixes we've made at home; just saying ~houserule~ is intellectually lazy, and not conducive to useful discussion.

Chapters Unwritten
05-04-2013, 13:19
Interesting idea, although I have to say I don't agree with the premise. GW might use the term cinematic and similar over and over about their games, but saying it doesn't make it so and like Hengist I don't find their rules particular well suited to creating a story on the table. The actions the rules make happen in a game doesn't feel particularly close to the published background and while a bunch of the random stuff can be very entertaining they are mainly just stuff that happens, not 'cool story moments'.

If you want to tell a story you should set out to do that from then start and pick a game to do that. You can do it with a miniatures combat game (even if it isn't ideal a lot of the time) but you need to plan for it, expecting to play the game and getting a story usually doesn't work out, at least not unless that's what both players want to do in the first place.

And as for designing 'hero' and 'stunt-double' books, that would require more fine control than what I've seen and I think would be a bad marketing decision.

My experience has been the total opposite, the in game happenings become the stuff of legend around the club. People talk about those things for sometimes years. As an example I have a lone Wolf in my SW army that, after going on a big streak of killing big stuff, garnered a whole new reputation, to the point where if I use him people around the club are irrationally terrified of him.

Another good example is a time I lost an assault against a single tau with two WG Terminators. This story is known by many in the club, and told constantly - much to my chagrin.

The chain of events in the game universe that could lead to these situations becomes interesting only if you are willing to make it interesting. My Lone Wolf eventually got made into a Wolf Lord in my later lists with the same load out after seeing take charge in so many battles. In events where the background is required, this is the story I tell - of a Lone Wolf on suicide mission after suicide mission who achieved such great victories that the company unanimously selected him to replace their fallen commander. My army is known for this guy now. All because he had a few weeks of hot dice. And the story I tell is literally what happened in my games.

Now, I could have chose to look at that and just go, hmm my dice are killer with this guy this month, and been done with it. It is 100 percent player enthusiasm that makes forging the narrative have any value. If you don't, it's... just like any other board game, really.

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Zustiur
05-04-2013, 13:21
Gah, genre cross over :(
I find the over-the-top-in-your-face tactical DnD 4th edition focus irritating. I'm no more fond of having narrative in my 40k.
I play 40k to get my strategy and tactics fix. I play DnD to get my roleplay fix. I don't ask DnD to be overly strategic, and I definitely don't ask 40k to be a story.
40k for me is about the competition really. Narrative and competition don't really fit together.

IcedCrow
05-04-2013, 13:41
Gah, genre cross over :(
I find the over-the-top-in-your-face tactical DnD 4th edition focus irritating. I'm no more fond of having narrative in my 40k.
I play 40k to get my strategy and tactics fix. I play DnD to get my roleplay fix. I don't ask DnD to be overly strategic, and I definitely don't ask 40k to be a story.
40k for me is about the competition really. Narrative and competition don't really fit together.

All depends on your mindset. I play 40k for a strategic wargame at a company (not a skirmish) level and to help tell narrative stories at the same time. It does both for me. If I want to be competitive, I woudl go play a game designed for that, pick up my chess set and go down to the weekly tournament, or pick up the soccer ball and hit the field.

Chapters Unwritten
06-04-2013, 17:42
Yes. I really never got complaints about forging the narrative as that takes place entirely in your mind regardless of the mechanics of the game. In fact I think a lot of rules people currently bitch about might be received totally differently if the suggestion of what they represent was altered.

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