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Thread: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

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    Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    I'm sure this has been posted within existing threads since it popped up a few days ago, but it is interesting enough to warrant its own.

    Gav Thorpe writes an interesting blog posting about the genesis of AoS, and then offers some even more interesting responses while engaging with the community in the comments section:

    http://gavthorpe.co.uk/2016/03/06/wa...authors-notes/
    "... it no longer matters whether our dwarves clear out the small infestation of goblins in the neighbouring tunnel, or whether our scheming Bretonnian baron wins the heart of the neighbouring lord's daughter and gets his land, because a billion daemons have just charged through destroying everything and killing them all ..." - Athelassan

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    It certainly makes more an interesting read. I am impressed with Gav's ability to respond calmly to a user who literally defines himself by his negative feelings towards AOS. (His username).

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    Chapter Master Urgat's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    That specific user is rather tame. You can be sure there were loads of less... amiable ones that have been filtered out (and I'm not blaming him).

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    Commander veterannoob's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Yeah, props for dealing with and responding to all that, even the crappier ones. :confused:

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    Veteran Sergeant Cybtroll's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    I think that what Gave says here emphatizies exactly what's the problem with AoS:
    "If Warhammer was about anything (and if 40K has a central theme), it was about the struggle against Chaos representing our own fears and least desirable aspects destroying us from within. If Age of Sigmar represents anything, it is of our best traits straining to rise above our worst, the indomitable spirit to overcome (rather than stubborn refusal of the inevitable). Hope, not hopelessness"

    AoS is GW attempt to create a PG-13 IP.

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    Chapter Master Bloodknight's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    AoS is GW attempt to create a PG-13 IP.
    Since when is hope PG-13? Most people prefer playing the good guys and seeing them win (not my personal cup of tea, because I usually root for the bad guys as long as they're not dumb, but if you look around, most players tend to collect the forces of good or play them in PC games and whatnot). 40K is basically an outlier in that regard because it doesn't really have good guys.
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    Commander veterannoob's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Maybe the violence but lack of cuss words that come with it?

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cybtroll View Post
    I think that what Gave says here emphatizies exactly what's the problem with AoS:
    "If Warhammer was about anything (and if 40K has a central theme), it was about the struggle against Chaos representing our own fears and least desirable aspects destroying us from within. If Age of Sigmar represents anything, it is of our best traits straining to rise above our worst, the indomitable spirit to overcome (rather than stubborn refusal of the inevitable). Hope, not hopelessness"

    AoS is GW attempt to create a PG-13 IP.
    Reminds me of the way WWE has its "Rise Above Hate" John Cena nonsense, while continuing to have everyone pretend to beat each other up in a wrestling ring.

    The grumpy Generation-X are no longer the market for anything, with their WWF Attitude, WHFB and Nu-Metal (Generation-Y were transitional). Today is all about millennials, who have been programmed to show a happy/positive front - even if they spend their "secret" time cyber-bullying all-and-sundry. In short, youth culture seems "nicer" and more positive now - which I guess is a good thing - but there's a certain insincerity about it.

    "When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children?" - Bill Hicks
    Last edited by Kyriakin; 11-03-2016 at 15:48.
    "... it no longer matters whether our dwarves clear out the small infestation of goblins in the neighbouring tunnel, or whether our scheming Bretonnian baron wins the heart of the neighbouring lord's daughter and gets his land, because a billion daemons have just charged through destroying everything and killing them all ..." - Athelassan

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    Chapter Master Gdolkin's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Very interesting to read a reasonable, mature discussion of AoS and to get Gav's position.. I am also disgruntled, disappointed and 'bereaved', I am a painting and modelling rather than gaming fan, heavily inspired by the background, identity and motivations of the characters, and have been in love with Warhammer and 40k since 1993. I loved the Druchii of Naggaroth, the Tomb Kings of Nehekara, Skavenblight, Karak Eight Peaks, Zharr Naggrund etc. In my opinion, the place a race comes from defines who, why, what they are, and one of the participants in this discussion nailed it for me when he said something like the new setting feels too 'fictional', i.e Warhammer is not now a believable setting, everything's made of magic, no-one really dies, space and time are no longer meaningful constraints upon existence, where are the actual living populations and market places etc.. Of course, the stock response is 'wait and see', the new setting needs time to fill out and acquire depth.. Which does not satisfy or reassure me. I'm inclined to agree that as technology has allowed the production of more massive, overblown apocalyptic models like Nagash and Archaon they can sell, they felt they needed a bigger sandpit for such monsters, in which such apocalyptic creatures and events cannot break the setting's believability as there is none to start with. Anyway, before I start on the Stormcast, it's just nice to know Gav still talks sense and cares about all this, respect for the veterans eh.
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    Chapter Master Zywus's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyriakin View Post
    Reminds me of the way WWE has its "Rise Above Hate" John Cena nonsense, while continuing to have everyone pretend to beat each other up in a wrestling ring.
    I think there is indeed a very interesting parallel to be drawn between the WWE and GW. Not least , their complete tone-deafness of what their fans want.

    AoS is GW trying to push the game the brass want to play. Remove points and balancing mechanisms, push the game as a "narrative" experience where having a good and friendly experience isn't just the main consideration, but the only one.

    WWE has similarly a out-of touch old owner who push his superman fantasy wrestlers (Cena, Reigns) with their stale characters despite massive resentment from fans. GW even has their version of NXT in FW. (a smaller sub-section of the company with far less resources but one who get what their fans is interested in and tries to appease them, instead of creating what they want and then tell the customers they should like it).


    Wargaming is similar to wrestling in that wins and losses don't really count, certainly not in the way they do in real sports, it's more about the experience and the story told. Still, having wins and losses matter 'in-universe' and to acknowledge them 'out-of-universe' (by attempting to create a balanced rulesystem for example) is very important to make people invested and to help them suspend their disbelief.
    Last edited by Zywus; 11-03-2016 at 16:32.
    Quote Originally Posted by Holier Than Thou View Post
    Is it a good game design feature that a goblin is considered equal to a Dragon?
    Quote Originally Posted by Xaric View Post
    Yes under the circumstance the tribe could be of dragon hunters is a device capture/bring down a dragon a impossibility?
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    Veteran Sergeant Cybtroll's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    My parallel with PG-13 was (in my mind) related to Marvel superhero movie specifically. There are a lot of movie where people shoot, use bow, sword and destroy entire cities without a single drop of blood on the screen.
    And they sold, a lot.

    Then, comes Deadpool, that differs mostly from other superhero movie for this exact issue: if someone shoot, there is blood. And, all of the sudden, the "standard PG-13 recipe for success" isn't so appealing anymore...

    My guts tell me that GW moved too late to intercept a segment of the population that is ALREADY shifting preferences and behaviours...
    The real issue here is that they take any possible shortcut, and so alienated their existing player base. With more effort, they could have pursued their target within alienating ex-customers (like me) that was expecting a shake (exactly like AoS) but nothereless has been sacrificed in order to follow one of the most elusive demographic in the market (and without a *********** market research, for god's sake!).

    It's the missed opportunity what really bother me...

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    Chapter Master Rogue Star's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Don't see anything new here, unless I missed something. Gav does nicely talk about the idea behind the AoS, but really it's basically obvious stuff: fresh new setting they can do anything they want with, and that GW wanted to take the Space Marine archetype and transplant it to fantasy setting. Really, AoS isn't any more childish or friendly than WHF was. The difference is AoS is a high fantasy setting, while WHF was very low.

    That said, I'm not sure they're going about recreating the aspects that make Space Marines so appealing in 40K well, or if you can even 'force' it by just transplanting it.
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    Chapter Master Lars Porsenna's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Star View Post
    The difference is AoS is a high fantasy setting, while WHF was very low.
    I would argue that both are High Fantasy, and that WHFB was never low fantasy. Dark fantasy (at times) but that is not the same as low fantasy. GoT is low fantasy. Aos, OTOH, is High Fantasy turned up to 11.

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    Chapter Master de Selby's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Cucumber eh? Not pancake...

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing.

    It's very hard to work on a project if you fundamentally can't like it. We are able to accept all sorts of things.
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    Chapter Master Khaines Wrath's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Porsenna View Post
    I would argue that both are High Fantasy, and that WHFB was never low fantasy. Dark fantasy (at times) but that is not the same as low fantasy. GoT is low fantasy. Aos, OTOH, is High Fantasy turned up to 11.

    Damon.
    Agreed, WHF was never "low fantasy" and of all the very good reasons to not like AoS that false transition is not one of them.

    Warhammer had fantastical beast riding knights, wizards that could cast apocalyptic spells, gods incarnate, real divine responses to prayers and appeals...for goodness sake The Foot of Gork spell has the literal foot of Gork come down from the heavens to stamp his warriors enemies.

    Lord of the Rings, the proverbial poster child of high fantasy is lower fantasy by comparison.

    True low fantasy is something like The Song of Ice and Fire series where things like magic and mythical beasts are a factor but neither central to the plot or inherently widespread.

    The Empire, in comparison to Westeros, is fantastically vast in scale, swarming with beastmen, monsters, greenskins and the undead. Wizards of incredible power are everywhere, Priests can literally call on Sigmar for help, its armies have divisions of cavalry that ride on monsters, not horses etc.
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    Chapter Master Zywus's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Khaines Wrath View Post
    Agreed, WHF was never "low fantasy" and of all the very good reasons to not like AoS that false transition is not one of them.

    Warhammer had fantastical beast riding knights, wizards that could cast apocalyptic spells, gods incarnate, real divine responses to prayers and appeals...for goodness sake The Foot of Gork spell has the literal foot of Gork come down from the heavens to stamp his warriors enemies.

    Lord of the Rings, the proverbial poster child of high fantasy is lower fantasy by comparison.

    True low fantasy is something like The Song of Ice and Fire series where things like magic and mythical beasts are a factor but neither central to the plot or inherently widespread.

    The Empire, in comparison to Westeros, is fantastically vast in scale, swarming with beastmen, monsters, greenskins and the undead. Wizards of incredible power are everywhere, Priests can literally call on Sigmar for help, its armies have divisions of cavalry that ride on monsters, not horses etc.
    I think you overestimate how widespread the fantastical elements were in the Warhammer setting. Just because something was included in a WHFB armylist don't mean that it's something ordinarily people regularly encountered in their daily lives. In my impression, especially in the older background, for most people, these things were distant and could as well just be folktales to scare children and adults. Similar to the real-world tales of trolls and goblins a few hundred years ago. The difference being that in the Warhammer world suddenly that necromancer might actually appear during the night, raise the local graveyard and slaughter the village.

    I posted this in the News & Rumours forum, but it fit's better here I think:

    Quote Originally Posted by Teurastaja View Post
    Well, it really depends - I just started reading A Murder in Marienburg. It's about Kurt Schnell, captain of the watch 'in the worst part of town'. A big part of Warhammer setting wasn't about huge armies etc.
    The discussion of Wharhammer as a low/high/dark fantasy setting is quite dependent on what people put into the definitions.
    I'd say also that the feel of Warhammer has been quite shifting between different editions. In the latter days, shifting more to the high/epic part and neglecting to also focus on the low/dark part.

    While Warhammer has always contained a lot of components normally deemed high-fantasy, in the older background especially I never got the impression that those things had much of an impact on the common man. Sure, the world as such always contained Dragons, Elves, Necromancers and magic up the wazoo, but most common men could probably go their entire life without even laying their eyes on a elf or a dwarf.

    I think the strength of the Warhammer world was that it contained a very down to earth low/dark fantasy world, but still had place for the more high/epic fantasy stuff.
    Last edited by Zywus; 12-03-2016 at 14:20.
    Quote Originally Posted by Holier Than Thou View Post
    Is it a good game design feature that a goblin is considered equal to a Dragon?
    Quote Originally Posted by Xaric View Post
    Yes under the circumstance the tribe could be of dragon hunters is a device capture/bring down a dragon a impossibility?
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    Chapter Master Rogue Star's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Got to second Zywus. While yes, WHF had fantastical creatures like the demigryph and Imperial Griffon... they weren't an everyday thing. You wouldn't see a farmer in the Reikland hitching up his farm-plow to a Demigryph to plant his crops for harvest, and likewise the average means of travel in the Empire was a horse-drawn stagecoach, not flying around on an Imperial Griffon. Not every town had a wizard, they had someone who likely dabbled, that was the idea of witch-hunters, to hunt down anyone that practised 'unapproved' magic - an Imperial Wizard needed to attend a college, for who knows how many years, pass tests, etc. There was certainly not one on every corner.

    As Zywus notes, there were extreme elements, especially in later additions, but that was as increasingly strange creatures were added to the army books - the WHFRP provided the greatest amount of information on the day-to-day life of Imperial citizens and the lifestyle of the Empire - and even encountering a Beastman or Skaven in the sewers was a rare, noteworthy thing, it was mostly Chaos Cultists - rival human factions, etc.
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    Chapter Master Urgat's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Khaines Wrath View Post
    Agreed, WHF was never "low fantasy"
    Depends on the point of view, as Obiwan would say. Until 7th ed, the background made it quite clear that for your average Empire citizen (and let's be honest, WFB was really Empire-centered, if you had to turn WFB nations into characters of a movie, the Empire would be the MC), stuff like orcs, magics, dragons, monsters were very rare occurences. Things got weirder as you went farther from civilisatio, suddenly you have more mutants, and then you have beastmen in the woods, and undead, and when you get very far you'll have goblin tribes, orcs, etc etc, and very, very far in the north there's these loonies. But the Altdorf citizen, the Nuln one? He's never seen a greenskins, probably doubts dragons exist, and so on. That's how the fluff has served it ever since 4th ed, yes, until 7th ed hit the shelves. It made a point of telling that wizards were rare, and dragons even more so.The army lists have never reflected accurately how the fluff described the armies (certainly not all armies had a wizard, much less a lord level one).

  20. #20

    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    I might be going out in a limb and into the realm of subjectivity but the warhammer universe is very typical of the high fantasy novels that I have read. There is always a pseudo reality that the author creates to make the situations therein more believable and relatable but keep a strong degree of separation from reality. The age of sigmar setting is so beyond high fantasy in its degree of separation that it is an atypical example of epic fantasy. The characters are set in a place where the day to day is part of a long gone past seen through flashbacks and reminisces after the ravages of the age of chaos. In trying to pigeonhole settings into genres and subgenres really undermines the content therein. Authors make an effort to build on what they inherit with their own twists to be unique in an otherwise crowded room. The way in which any culture develops is by compounding upon the past to try and garner notoriety in each individual's case to try to be rememebered.
    I know it's off topic but I believe that we should remember that literature grows progressively as with any other facet of culture. Warhammer has grown progressively just as any other long running series. If it weren't for WHR we wouldn't think of the everyday lives of the farmers and cobblers in the towns of Wessenland. The new setting hasn't been out for 30 years and to expect the same kind of treatment for a setting at is so radically different is asking too much too soon. In a way the apple of warhammer fantasy has become the orange of age of sigmar.

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