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View Full Version : Did GW release a Wood Elves Army Book for 4th Edition?



Galadrin
16-06-2016, 20:59
This has been bugging me for a while and I was hoping some of the vets could help me out. I've always had the impression that the 1996 Wood Elves army book (with the yellow cover) was released for 4th Edition. Indeed, White Dwarf has its release date as May 1996, months before the WFB 5th Edition box set released in October later that year.

But the thing is, my hard copy (copyright date 1996) doesn't seem to be fully compatible with WFB 4th Edition. It gives the special characters like Naieth and Thalandor as "battle mages" (something which only existed in WFB 5th Edition). Since it doesn't tell me what lore they use, I seemingly cannot use them in a 4th Edition game.

Does anyone know the answer to this? Did GW do a May 1996 print run with the correct magic colours and then a later October 1996 print run with WFB 5th Edition magic information? Was the book designed from the start with WFB 5th Edition in mind, and if so, how on earth did people use the book until Warhammer Magic came out in December 1996? Was there ever a true 4th Edition release for Wood Elves?

Mithrilherz
16-06-2016, 21:19
It is known for example in the 6th edition, repronts of armybooks have been made.
The introduction of the "brown cover frame" is a good example for this, which had been introduced later in the 6th edition and reprints have been made, also incorporating some error corrections.
This was also stated in older FAQ, that later reprints might have already some corrections incorporated.

The 4th edition Wood Elf book was definitely a true 4th edition book.
The 4th edition magic book is in a cupboard now with many other stuff I can not take out now to check.

Another point to make is that the wood elves was the last book of the 4th edition.
It is known that for the example the beast men as the last book of the 7th edition had already some rules made with the 8th edition in mind.
Maybe they did something else back then.

Anyway, just my two cents.

StygianBeach
16-06-2016, 21:56
So looking at the 4th ed Magic book there is a Wizard Summaries page at the back with all the types of Mages and what lores they can use.

Wood Elves.

Wood Elf Mage - LV1: Jade or Amber.
Mage Champion - LV2: Jade and Amber.
Master Mage - LV3: Jade, Amber and 1 colour (Light, Gold,Celestial, Grey, Amethyst, Bright).
Mage Lord - LV4: High Magic and any colour.

Galadrin
17-06-2016, 09:59
That's great information, thank you! I guess my question is then, was there ever a printing of the Wood Elves book that (for example) described Thalandor as a "Master Mage. He may use spells from Amber, Jade and one other colour of your choice." ? The copy I have says he can use Battle Magic but doesn't say anything else...

StygianBeach
17-06-2016, 16:34
That's great information, thank you! I guess my question is then, was there ever a printing of the Wood Elves book that (for example) described Thalandor as a "Master Mage. He may use spells from Amber, Jade and one other colour of your choice." ? The copy I have says he can use Battle Magic but doesn't say anything else...

The 8 Colours of Magic are Battle Magic (Jade, Amber, Light, Gold, Celestial, Grey, Amethyst and Bright).

I edited my earlier post to include the names given for the different levels of Wood Elf Mages.

Thommy H
17-06-2016, 19:31
I can't speak for 4th Edition, but certainly the 5th Edition Warhammer Magic supplement treated the 'college' magic decks as an optional extra for any wizard able to select Battle Magic spells. They weren't assumed to be part of the default game and weren't mentioned in the Armies books in that edition. I would guess that the Wood Elf book was made in anticipation of this standard.

I'm, like, 90% sure that 4th Edition also featured a generic Battle Magic deck though, didn't it? I started playing some time after 5th came in, but I have White Dwarfs from that period that summarise the changes made to the game, and it doesn't mention anything as radical as replacing the colour decks altogether.

Galadrin
18-06-2016, 02:55
The 8 Colours of Magic are Battle Magic (Jade, Amber, Light, Gold, Celestial, Grey, Amethyst and Bright).

I edited my earlier post to include the names given for the different levels of Wood Elf Mages.

Fair enough, but earlier 4th Edition army books say (for example) that Thyrus Gormann is a "Level 4 Bright Wizard". In fact, that would make the Wood Elves book the only armies book to phrase wizards as casting "battle magic" spells (instead of, e.g., Light or Gold or Grey spells).

It certainly is easy enough to look at the Battle Magic rulebook and figure out the colours, so I will do just that. It just strikes me that the language used is closer to 5th Edition army books than to (other) 4th Edition ones.

morvaeldd
18-06-2016, 22:00
I have both expansions. In my understanding it was Battle Magic expansion for 4th edition, and Arcane Magic expansion for 5th edition. I think Arcane had generic Battle Magic spell deck, in addition to color decks, while in older expansion there were only colors and no generic Battle Magic spells.

I might be mistaken, but I always believed the 1996 Wood Elf book to be geared towards 5th edition, not 4th. Maybe they were published late in 4th, already compatible with upcoming 5th.

Edit: if you look at dates listed here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warhammer_Army_Book you'll also notice how Wood Elves appeared just before 5th, IMHO they should be treated as 5th edition book.

Edit 2: I checked it and all is as written, except I have Battle Magic, and Warhammer Magic, not Arcane Magic expansion. Warhammer Magic was 5th, Battle and Arcane were both from 4th edition.

snyggejygge
20-06-2016, 15:46
I got arcane magic instead of battle magic back in 4th edition, when I compared it to my friends b magic box it's basically the same but slimmer & without cards for the 8 base lores & the common magic items, but with the race specific magic decks which had been released later.
The book itself was a shorter version of the battle magic book (all magic items were just summarised in a few lines) & in it the 8 lores is also mentioned as being battle magic.

Galadrin
18-12-2016, 23:50
I might be mistaken, but I always believed the 1996 Wood Elf book to be geared towards 5th edition, not 4th. Maybe they were published late in 4th, already compatible with upcoming 5th.

That is basically the same conclusion that I have come to. The Wood Elves book IS a 4th Edition book, and it was also clearly written with 5th Edition in mind, which has actually happened a lot in the history of Warhammer army book publications. It was also never reprinted in 5th edition, meaning you had to find the 1996 printing to play Wood Elves in 5th. The effect was that the Wood Elves never officially received a 5th edition army book!

I prefer to play straight 4th Edition at my table, as I hate-hate-hate what GW did to the Undead and High Elves in 5th (and I am not a big fan of the Bretonnian or Lizardman army lists, although I find them a lot more tolerable than the awful Vampire Counts). My 4th Edition Undead are a wonderfully eclectic army, with demonic spirits riding atop undead giant eagles, mummies alongside zombies, vampires, wights, liches and necromancers, skeleton chariots and bowmen, big block formations of wraiths, ghouls and ghosts... it is just such a cool army and fun to play. Easily one of my favorites, whenever I get them onto the table.

lorelorn
23-12-2016, 07:38
IIRC the Wood Elves book was a 4th edition release, but came out only a few months before 5th edition was released. As I recall there was a line in there referencing "the new Battle Magic" which was a feature introduced with 5th edition. Since the 5th ed book was a tidy up of 4th (with some great cartoons!) there wasn't any compatibility issues.

WesleyfuhPP
25-12-2016, 20:04
I like the fact that they have access to all those lores, it just smacks of laziness in the writting that Wood Elves cant have their own lore. I could write a lore of the forests in 10 minutes, why cant GW?

Kakapo42
25-12-2016, 22:17
I like the fact that they have access to all those lores, it just smacks of laziness in the writting that Wood Elves cant have their own lore. I could write a lore of the forests in 10 minutes, why cant GW?

They did with the 6th edition book, the Lore of Athel Loren. It was AWESOME, and one of the major reasons why I never adopted the 8th edition book for using Wood Elf armies.

Galadrin
25-12-2016, 23:15
You know, that is exactly what I didn't like about Warhammer after 4th Edition. I mean, 5th Edition was good, but it started the problem that was only made much, much worse in 6th, 7th and 8th: every damn army has a million special rules that are completely unique to that army alone. First of all, it is IMPOSSIBLE to balance that, so you end up with ridiculous power creep. Second of all, you need to buy every army book just to know what you are up against. Third of all, it's just poor game design.

In WFB 4e, there were nineteen (nineteen!) schools of magic (198 spells in total) and they were mostly shared between the factions. There was more variety than 6e (and yes, the 6e Wood Elf lore was largely based on these spells). But the fact that they were (for the most part) shared meant that they were inherently much more balanced, allowing the designers to focus on making the core game work. The same is true for magic items... most magic items could be taken by every army (and with 238 to choose from, you always could think up new combinations)

Zenithfleet
11-02-2017, 12:51
I always thought the Wood Elf book was from the start of 5e (and kept describing it in trades that way when trying to get hold of it). Was startled when I checked my old White Dwarfs and discovered that it came out just before.

I have noticed, though--and bear in mind that I only started collecting WFB books a couple of years ago--that the 4th/5th ed army books seemed to go through a few revisions with each print run without any obvious indication, like fixing the discrepancy between the bolt thrower points costs in the Dark Elf and High Elf books. (Erm, did that happen? White Dwarf said they were going to do it...)

When I was trying to track down a copy of the 4e Undead book--which was by far the hardest to find because trades kept falling through for some reason; I felt like a Necromancer constantly thwarted by false leads in his pursuit of a forbidden tome--one prospective trader said his copy included the Circle of Blood characters like the Red Duke. If true, it must have been a much later printing in 5e, before Vampire Counts. (He decided to hang onto it for precisely that reason.)

By comparison, 6e did things like putting the gold-brown border around the later print runs... and in the case of 3rd ed 40K, slapping a big fat 'Second Edition' sticker on the front of the Dark Eldar codex :)


You know, that is exactly what I didn't like about Warhammer after 4th Edition. I mean, 5th Edition was good, but it started the problem that was only made much, much worse in 6th, 7th and 8th: every damn army has a million special rules that are completely unique to that army alone. First of all, it is IMPOSSIBLE to balance that, so you end up with ridiculous power creep. Second of all, you need to buy every army book just to know what you are up against. Third of all, it's just poor game design.

In WFB 4e, there were nineteen (nineteen!) schools of magic (198 spells in total) and they were mostly shared between the factions. There was more variety than 6e (and yes, the 6e Wood Elf lore was largely based on these spells). But the fact that they were (for the most part) shared meant that they were inherently much more balanced, allowing the designers to focus on making the core game work. The same is true for magic items... most magic items could be taken by every army (and with 238 to choose from, you always could think up new combinations)

Although this is getting off topic, I'm pretty sure that giving each army its own powers was intended to limit the possible combinations of magic items. With a shared-card system, the designers couldn't predict all the gazillions of possible killer combos players could come up with. (The cards also made international translations a headache.)

Having never played WFB, I wouldn't know, but I get the impression 4e and 5e assumed a certain amount of gentlemanly agreement ("no, let's not allow that item, it's silly, and I'm warning this game not to be silly again") as per usual among veteran wargamers who sensibly wanted to maximise the fun. Unfortunately GW was marketing to a younger audience who tended to be more interested in winning at all costs, so the screws, er, I mean rules had to be tightened in 6e. There certainly seemed to be a lot of pleading for common sense and agreed limits on troublesome items in White Dwarf during 5e...