PDA

View Full Version : Cult Mechanics codex (thoughts)



Gorthaur
03-06-2015, 21:47
I got my Cult Mechanicus book in the mail today and gave it a good flip through. This isn't so much a post about he rules as much as it is the layout, cost, and design of the book. I have some issues with the book, lets just say that for a start. First thing I found annoying was with the first real page of the book (titled Priesthood of Mars) we have four paraghraphs here that are pretty much worthless. And can be summed up as "basically, the Cult Mechanicus is pretty bad@ss and will destroy anything it feels like". The fluff here is kind of nonexistent. And the fluff remains a bit undetailed and a bit bland throughout. But the real offender I found started on page 42 to 50 which was simply full spread pages and pages of just models set up in scenery to look cool. (keeping in mind the book is about 80 pages and expensive) Not to mention a lack of any blanche artwork, (all of the artwork was digital freelance art via photoshop, some looked alright, alot looked awfully cartoony and it seems all the good artists have left GW). The book is loaded with padding to bring it up to a length where they find it acceptable to charge you a high cost.

And yet, the book is about as good as I expected it to be because I had the Skitarii one first. I haven't been too happy with any of the GW codexes in a long time, but I like the mechanicus models a lot so meh.

So how did you all feel about this book in particular? How does it compare to the Skitarii one? (I found them to be about the same in terms of fluff and art).

Aluinn
04-06-2015, 06:46
Unfortunately I have to agree about the fluff and art, and would add that it just really should have been one book: We don't need to deal with both Canticles of the Omnissiah and Doctrina Imperatives, for example, and they would have benefited in a ton of other ways from being a unified faction (Skitarii would have an HQ; Cult would have basic infantry in Troops as every army should, IMO; Cult would have actual vehicles). Really they could have just tagged all the units from both with "Faction: Adeptus Mechanicus" to solve a lot of the problems, and I have no idea why the factions were made distinct, even if GW had some decent reason for splitting them into separate books.

I really like the Techpriest Dominus model but probably won't be getting one because, honestly, I have no desire to use Cult Mechanicus as a faction, even a small allied detachment, and will just stick with Skitarii.

But I'm veering into rules territory: Anyway, yeah, the art and fluff were lackluster, and the lack of Blanche art, considering Mechanicus is one of his things and amongst the Blanche-iest of subjects, was surprising and disappointing. I would honestly have preferred they just reprinted old Blanche art to the bland digital art that seems to simply use models as ... well, models.

On the plus side there's an enormous amount of Blanche art and great fiction about the AdMech out there in other places, so I don't think the lameness of the codices in those terms hurts the concept of the Mechanicus nor makes me, personally, like the army/armies any less.

MajorWesJanson
04-06-2015, 10:23
I actually enjoy the newer art styles over most of the old blanche art. Best though is the stable of artists that FFG uses for their stuff.

Promethius
04-06-2015, 10:57
I, too have bought both books, almost entirely for the fluff as whilst I buy and paint the models I haven't played a game of 40k in over ten years (although I enjoy some aspects of the rules like weapon descriptions).

The high point for me in 40k writing were the 2nd and 3rd ed rulebooks, especially 2nd, which somehow conveyed the insane, terrifying and ludicrous aspects of 40k and were filled with fluff snippets and illustrations that were inspiring. Those Blanche pieces were part of that. These new books seem to have thrown away the scope of the 40k universe and settled on photoshop art of the models purely designed to enhance the appeal of the kits.

Now, I know that GW are not going to make models for biologis tech priests, artisans etc but the book should have spoken about these in some detail and explained something of the structure of the admech. Not only because it would be interesting, but also someone looking at the same kits with disinterest might read about biologis agents dissecting 'nids and come up with inspiration for a themed model collection (for example). When speaking of praetorian (sorry kataphracti) battle servitors, the description and pictures could be of a mixture of vat grown ogryns, tracked and spider legged horrors which might again inspire collectors who don't necessarily like the stock kit. I know gw are worried about other manufacturers but they have gone far too far the other way and reduced their immersive universe to the level of back story that comes with a computer game.

TheFang
04-06-2015, 11:59
I agree I'd like to see much more detailed background. It took me under an hour to read everything in the Cult Codex. I quite like the art style and mini pictures. At least there is a variety of Forgeworlds in the paint schemes. With John Blanche the man has been pretty ill over the last few years and his personal art output has dropped off quite a bit so it's hardly surprising there's less of his stuff in the newer codices.

Using illustrations of things not released as miniatures isn't going to happen now as it's just doing Chapterhouse's design work for them. The US court case means that if GW did an Ogryn Praetorian battle servitor illustration and Company X made an Ogre Bodyguard Battle Servant based on the illustration GW would find it difficult to sue over it. Company X would also have the miniature legally protected leading to difficulty in Games Workshop producing their own Ogryn Praetorian battle servitor mini. Look at the way the Mycetic spore vanished from the Nid codex.

Starchild
04-06-2015, 18:26
My biggest problem with Codex Cult Mechanicus is the unfettered nihilism.

Codex Skitarii was at least a bit inspiring in the way it describes "holy warriors" of Mars and what makes them tick. Contrast that with Cult Mechanicus which over-emphasizes the point, in unflattering ways, that Tech Priests are a bunch of insane psychopathic cyborgs who want nothing more than to raze the entire galaxy so they have more trophies to add to their personal archeotech collections.

The way they describe Tech Priests sounds like they belong in the Eye of Terror with the Traitor Legions. So.... if you're looking for an evil Imperial faction, here it is.

AngryAngel
04-06-2015, 20:02
I don't think the cult mechanicus is all evil, those electro priests seem a bit overly insane however, kind of give me a real big hellboy vibe.

TheFang
04-06-2015, 20:07
The way they describe Tech Priests sounds like they belong in the Eye of Terror with the Traitor Legions. So.... if you're looking for an evil Imperial faction, here it is.

Cult Mechanicus are the good guys. Dark Mechanicus are the Hellboy villains. They seem to be the supplying power behind a lot of Chaos Marines as well. Defilers, Helldrakes and other weirdness all from you local Mechanicus forge.

Starchild
05-06-2015, 01:46
Cult Mechanicus are the good guys. Dark Mechanicus are the Hellboy villains. They seem to be the supplying power behind a lot of Chaos Marines as well. Defilers, Helldrakes and other weirdness all from you local Mechanicus forge.

That's the thing though. They both seem evil. Different clients and different methods, yes, but still of the same diabolical ilk.

Aluinn
05-06-2015, 06:04
I'm not opposed to the Mechanicus looking "evil", in the sense that all major Imperial organizations are of "grey" morality at best, but what disappointed me was the one-dimensionality of it and the lack of detail, as Promethius mentioned.

Also, I always feel like both sides of the story should be told for every faction. In other words, I like the 40K universe because there are no "good guys", but not because everyone is evil -- they aren't, not even Dark Eldar, IMO. So for all it should be said that the Mechanicus are willing to destroy just about anything if it gains them knowledge, it should also be said how much the Imperium needs and relies upon the knowledge obtained in that manner.

Also more about how the Cult of the Omnissiah regards the Emperor and how they have conflicts with the Ecclesiarchy re. that, and more about how they're dogmatic and religiosified in one sense, but also the "voice of reason" in the Imperium at the same time, would've been good. It's amusingly self-contradictory and points to the irrationality of the whole thing, which is interesting because the Mechanicus in part is supposed to seek pure reason. Just that whole dynamic is fun to mess with and the fluff is rich for that reason but I think these codices didn't get it.

Hendarion
05-06-2015, 06:25
I have to agree with the "cartoony" comment. The same we've seen with Harlequins and I think it really sucks. I don't want to see bad cartoon sketches of paint schemes in books. Forge World does also display paint schemes, but in FW books these at least look good and not just like a rough cartoon. Especially the Castellans made me feel like looking at a toy-order-form for 3-year-olds.
What happened to the glorious 'Eavy Metal photos of various paint schemes?
I don't mind large photos of battle-scenes or so, that's actually what made me come to 40k in the first place - photos of awesome tables with awesome models on them.

Aluinn
05-06-2015, 06:39
Yeah sadly awesome custom-made scenery was replaced with mandatory GW-only scenery for those photos so even they've lost a lot of their charm to me. Not to be a jaded bastard; the Mechanicus and especially the Skitarii models are amazing enough to warrant some lovin' photographs IMO.

Gorthaur
05-06-2015, 07:18
I have to agree with the "cartoony" comment. The same we've seen with Harlequins and I think it really sucks. I don't want to see bad cartoon sketches of paint schemes in books. Forge World does also display paint schemes, but in FW books these at least look good and not just like a rough cartoon. Especially the Castellans made me feel like looking at a toy-order-form for 3-year-olds.
What happened to the glorious 'Eavy Metal photos of various paint schemes?
I don't mind large photos of battle-scenes or so, that's actually what made me come to 40k in the first place - photos of awesome tables with awesome models on them.

I personally feel digital art loses alot of the grit and atmosphere of the older stuff, (such as alot of Adrian Smiths art, his 40k and fantasy stuff for warhammer is inspiring to me. IMO there is a certain harshness and brutality in his art and I am not sure he works for gamesworkshop anymore sadly.)

Some digital artists have that extra talent level to push the detail and make it work, but that takes alot more time. And time=money, so its clear GW is taking the cheaper route with the freelance artists who spend less time and passion into providing atmosphere with these works. The older Warhammer books had a ridiculous amount of atmosphere, these newer ones are full of flash and color, but no substance. I only noticed this getting worse when they switched to hardback to be honest.

There is nothing wrong with have a section of the book dedicated to showcasing the models and units, but if you ask me they went too far with the Cult Mechanicus book. The images are so big and blown up you almost have to push the book back to get a full view of whats even going on.

lordbeefy
05-06-2015, 08:05
I haven't gone through it in detail yet but it appears of a similar standard/value as skitarii. Personally I think it would ha e been better as one big fat codex but I wouldn't say it was bad as two.

The dominus is simply stunning and the codex gives a couple of very reasonable formations involving him so that it can be added to a skitarii army to provide a good well rounded and fluff driven army.

ArtificerArmour
05-06-2015, 08:08
it seemed to be lots of artwork of the same new dominis model over and over again.

itcamefromthedeep
05-06-2015, 19:08
A question about the background... do they come off as a joke at the expense of technocratic utopianism?

Every good set of bqckground for a faction portrays them in four ways: cool, terrifying, absurd, and hilarious. Perhaps not all at once, but it's all there depending on how you want to see it. They're also all examples of some utopian vision gone disastrously wrong, becoming a parody of itself.

Does that hold up with this release?

librerian_samae
05-06-2015, 20:10
A question about the background... do they come off as a joke at the expense of technocratic utopianism?

Every good set of bqckground for a faction portrays them in four ways: cool, terrifying, absurd, and hilarious. Perhaps not all at once, but it's all there depending on how you want to see it. They're also all examples of some utopian vision gone disastrously wrong, becoming a parody of itself.

Does that hold up with this release?

Yes (in my opinion obviously) there is one part where they fight impossible odds for an obscene amount of time and almost destroy a planet to retrieve 3 STC's, one is a new type of bolt shell, which they are ecstatic at.
The other two are a self heating and cooking cookpot, the other a kind of auto scriber, these they chuck out for being worthless!

Basicly they are the sole body of who decides which bit of technology is 'worth using' and which just gets indefinitely filed away.

I mean who knows what marvelous things they have left to rot just because they cannot see a use in war for it?

Also the constant internal strife amongst themselves and with the wider imperium that often escalates into serious conflicts all over tech and tech use is in their too.

Starchild
05-06-2015, 20:33
A question about the background... do they come off as a joke at the expense of technocratic utopianism?

Every good set of bqckground for a faction portrays them in four ways: cool, terrifying, absurd, and hilarious. Perhaps not all at once, but it's all there depending on how you want to see it. They're also all examples of some utopian vision gone disastrously wrong, becoming a parody of itself.

Does that hold up with this release?

There was some utopianism in Codex Skitarii with the emphasis on the pre-programmed worship of the Omnissiah and the Quest for Knowledge. The Skitarii certainly have some utopian ideals to fight for, even if it's all in vain.

This Codex sacks all of that for pure nihilism. Judging by what is presented there is no redeeming quality to the Cult Mechanicus at all, other than providing arms, aircraft, vehicles, and space craft to the Imperium. In fact it seems the Cult Mechanicus uses the wider Imperium for their own selfish ends.

The point is, with all the negative attributes, they could have pointed out something positive to make them more appealing as a faction (as mentioned above).

I also agree about the lack of detail. There's just something missing here from the old books. It feels about as content-void as Codex Harlequins, almost like a 3rd edition codex with more colour and filler pages.

Tyberos
06-06-2015, 15:47
Photos are cheaper and quicker than actual art and decent writing. About half of the Imperial Knights Codex feels like an issue of Warhammer Visions. The fluff also seems worse as it doesn't go into much detail at all and seems to repeat the same things over and over, so much so that it too feels like padding. Shows a clear lack of imagination on the Drsign Team's part. I've also seen Skitarii and Cult Mechancus that have had the same treatment. I hope the Space Marine codex isn't as poorly done.