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Thread: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

  1. #21

    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Gav is brilliant isn't he. I think one of the biggest problems with GW is we don't get this kind of sophistication in White Dwarf anymore. Go back to an in depth monthly where we read about the sculptors and designers by name - bring back the 'games workshop' in Games Workshop'.

  2. #22
    Chapter Master Khaines Wrath's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    I was afraid this would be the response. Because whenever this subject comes up its always "lowly empire peasant probably doesn't know what an orc is thus WHF is low fantasy".

    That's a ridiculous notion.

    1% of a single factions population ie: oblivious Imperial citizens, does not discount the rest of the franchise.

    Especially from a narrative perspective people must see how disingenuous that is. Who here can honestly claim that the selling point for warhammer's ip was Joe the turnip farmer going about his daily work and then resting at the pub to talk with his friends about this conspiracy of a whole territory of the Empire being infested with ghosts and zombies?
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Khaines Wrath View Post
    I was afraid this would be the response. Because whenever this subject comes up its always "lowly empire peasant probably doesn't know what an orc is thus WHF is low fantasy".

    That's a ridiculous notion.

    1% of a single factions population ie: oblivious Imperial citizens, does not discount the rest of the franchise.

    Especially from a narrative perspective people must see how disingenuous that is. Who here can honestly claim that the selling point for warhammer's ip was Joe the turnip farmer going about his daily work and then resting at the pub to talk with his friends about this conspiracy of a whole territory of the Empire being infested with ghosts and zombies?
    It was pretty essential in order for me to care about the setting and make it feel believable and interesting. If there's nothing mundane and down to earth to contrast the spectacular stuff, nothing is special and everything is just bland.

    The WHF setting as a whole wasn't "low-fantasy" by most definitions since there were indeed loads of otherworldly stuff around. But the setting had a lot of low-fantasy elements in it. I do find it a bit weird that Game of thrones comes up a lot as an example of low-fantasy in these discussions. That setting has dragons, giants, undead, wizards, people being brought back from the dead etc. It's not very common for the general population to be involved with, but a large portion of the books is covering just those "high-fantasy" elements.
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zywus View Post
    It was pretty essential in order for me to care about the setting and make it feel believable and interesting. If there's nothing mundane and down to earth to contrast the spectacular stuff, nothing is special and everything is just bland.

    The WHF setting as a whole wasn't "low-fantasy" by most definitions since there were indeed loads of otherworldly stuff around. But the setting had a lot of low-fantasy elements in it. I do find it a bit weird that Game of thrones comes up a lot as an example of low-fantasy in these discussions. That setting has dragons, giants, undead, wizards, people being brought back from the dead etc. It's not very common for the general population to be involved with, but a large portion of the books is covering just those "high-fantasy" elements.
    I can completely understand that, don't get me wrong. I too enjoy the lower fantasy elements. Imperial troops in general are compelling because of their underdog nature as simple squishy humans fighting impossible horrors and warriors with supernatural abilities.

    I just don't agree those elements translate into the whole franchise being classed as low fantasy.

    Your not wrong about GoT, it does indeed have fantastical elements. It would have to, otherwise it wouldn't be classed as fantasy at all.

    How it differs though, aside from the White Walker aspect, is that most of the story has very little to do with magic or mythical beasts.

    Take the two main story archs, Westeros and Esteros.
    In Westeros there is definitely fantasy elements. Theres a handful of Red Priests with vague powers that occasionally manifests into genuine magic and of course there's the lands beyond the Wall which has giants, wargs and a horde of long forgotten undead hellbent on breaching the wall to ravage the kingdoms of men in the north.

    But that's about the extent of it. The rest is court intrigue, civil war, political machinations, assassination and religious uprisings without a drop of magic or mythical beasts. Bar one particular assassination of course.

    Now in Esteros, the major one there is dragons. But the focus of the story is an heir trying to maintain control of an ever fracturing and increasingly disobediant group of cities. The dragons are a symbol of her right to rule, nothing more and they become increasingly irrelevant as the show and book series goes on leaving us with the actual focus of the story.

    Its about those quantities of elements that determines wether something is low or high fantasy.

    Warhammer Fantasy is high fantasy with low fantasy elements.

    A Song of Ice and Fire is low fantasy with high fantasy elements.
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Interestingly the warhammer world and the game of thrones are quite similar in a way.

    In game of thrones kings landing is extremely low fantasy, almost to the point that it need not be fantasy at all. The further north and east you go the more fantastical it gets. Similarly The Empire and Brettonia are a kind if medium low fantasy, but in North you have chaos exactly as it is in Aos. In the south it is undead, not so different from aos. In the West you have lush jungles and monsters are common place. The east is basically the realm of beasts. This is all very high fantasy.

    What Aos lacks then, is that somewhat grounded central region. This is potentially Azyr. I would love to see a novel set there, dealing with the tensions between the cohabiting humans, Aelves, Duradin and Stormcast. Imagine a detective novel about the hunt for muderous stormcast driven mad by his reforging. It could be amazing. The biggest problem so far is simply that it is a war game. The fiction has been designed to give you interesting battles to recreate, not to explore the political subtleties of life in the mortal realms.

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Interesting read and a sensible assessment of AoS. However, Gav's point that WFB started out "generic" just like AoS is hardly a justification for AoS. Firstly, it speaks poorly of AoS developers that their story is uninteresting when they had 30+ years of story development to learn from, utilize, and expand upon. Secondly, it only draws attention back to one of AoS's main criticisms - wiping out three decades of WFB lore development (and unnecessarily so). Thirdly, it suggests that it may take just as long for AoS to mature into something comparable to WFB's scope and depth. For AoS fans who are in it for the long haul, maybe this is an exciting prospect, but I am certainly not going to give GW the benefit of the doubt.

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by 1+ Ward View Post
    Interesting read and a sensible assessment of AoS. However, Gav's point that WFB started out "generic" just like AoS is hardly a justification for AoS. Firstly, it speaks poorly of AoS developers that their story is uninteresting when they had 30+ years of story development to learn from, utilize, and expand upon.
    I think it's a fair comment.
    AoS is a new setting that has yet to be fleshed out sufficiently, just like Fantasy was when it first appeared or 40k for that matter.
    You can't immediately have a couple of decades of developed fluff that the fans are all intimately acquainted with right of the bat, it takes time.

    Come back in 3 years time and maybe things will be much better.
    Or it'll be gone.
    Either way win win for the haters :P

    Note: I don't hate AoS.
    I just don't care for the lack of rules depth or the new currently undeveloped world that goes with it, so I'm waiting to see if things improve or not.
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by theunwantedbeing View Post
    I think it's a fair comment.
    AoS is a new setting that has yet to be fleshed out sufficiently, just like Fantasy was when it first appeared or 40k for that matter.
    You can't immediately have a couple of decades of developed fluff that the fans are all intimately acquainted with right of the bat, it takes time.

    Come back in 3 years time and maybe things will be much better.
    Or it'll be gone.
    Either way win win for the haters :P

    Note: I don't hate AoS.
    I just don't care for the lack of rules depth or the new currently undeveloped world that goes with it, so I'm waiting to see if things improve or not.
    I accept your point. Perhaps it was me who was being unfair, although it is still a painful reminder that the majority of WFB lore, a fine fictional vintage that was aged for 30 years, was reset.

  9. #29
    Chapter Master jtrowell's Avatar
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    A setting doesn't need 20-30+ years to feels interesing.

    I remember reading about the Warhammer world in what was the 2nd or 3rd edition (a box set with 3 books, one with the rules, one with the bestiary with all units in the game, and one with the background I thing ?), and I was immersed with this world that was both like ours and very different.

    It was a fantasy world with early gunpowder (a revolution at the time), giving humans some chance against the mystical forces aligned against them.
    It had an age of exploration that was beginning, with explorators having found the new continent of Lustria
    It had a Science fantasy feel with the slanns, at the time degenerated descendants of the original Old Ones (beforce being retconned as servants of the old ones) and the story of the gates at the poles

    By being a deformed fantasy mirror of our own world, it had many elements that made me dream with the potential for countless stories.

    In a similar way, when the Eberron setting for D&D was released during 3rd edition, I was in a similar way immersed since day one : intelligent humanoid golems ? They have been created to serve as soldiers in a civil war, and the war is just now over, leaving them emancipated ? They can learn magic and be wizards !! YOU CAN PLAY AS ONE ?!!! (and this is just one aspect of Eberron, my attention was in fact drawn to it by the D&D miniature of the Warforged wizard, later I learned to love the rest of the setting too)

    The Eberron book was probably not much bigger that anyone of the AoS "fluff" books, but with only this first book I was already sold on the universe, the following Eberron books where simply a bonus, the core setting was already more solid with one book that AoS is with how many ?

  10. #30

    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chikout View Post
    In game of thrones kings landing is extremely low fantasy, almost to the point that it need not be fantasy at all. The further north and east you go the more fantastical it gets.
    Just a quick comment re A Song of Ice and Fire (titles for the titles god )...

    GRR Martin's world seems to be an unusual case in that it's a low fantasy world that used to be a high fantasy one, and which is slowly turning back into high fantasy. The past was much more fantastical, but the magic and weird creatures apparently dried up (it's hinted this might be because the dragons died out, or maybe vice versa). Now the old crazy stuff is coming back, with the resurrection of the dead and prayers suddenly working and whatnot.

    Incidentally Martin has pointed out in interviews that magic in The Lord of the Rings (usually seen as high fantasy) is quite low-key. Gandalf doesn't fling fireballs around--he does one or two tricks with light and sometimes strives mind-to-mind with opponents, but mostly his power is more subtle, to do with inspiration and hope. As Martin says, he pretty much fights with his sword like everyone else.

    Martin also reckons magic should be inherently unscientific and unpredictable, so everyone patiently waiting for the underlying magical rules of A Song of Ice and Fire to be revealed are probably out of luck. 'Weird stuff happens when the plot demands it' seems to be his approach.
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    I think the low fantasy/high fantasy/epic fantasy debate is slightly off-target but the basic idea is right.

    In WFB, a battle between a regiment of Empire border guards trying to hold off an encroaching band of orcs felt like it had importance, because we were aware that there were normal people within the Empire who couldn't defend themselves, so the game felt as if it had consequences. If the border guard fail, a village gets burned down, people get killed. Even as a peripheral idea, that lends weight to a battle between your tiny plastic men and the slightly larger plastic uglies.

    In AoS, everyone seems to be a super-powered killing machine - and if any of the killing machines die, they can just be rebuilt by Mr.Golden Throne. There doesn't seem to be any consequence to the games' results. That's not a problem of how high the fantasy is, though high fantasy can be a bit more prone to it - the problem is that when there's no stake in the fight, nothing to protect or die for, your wargame has to stand on it's rules, and frankly...well, AoS is never going to stand on it's rules.

  12. #32

    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeil View Post
    I think the low fantasy/high fantasy/epic fantasy debate is slightly off-target but the basic idea is right.

    In WFB, a battle between a regiment of Empire border guards trying to hold off an encroaching band of orcs felt like it had importance, because we were aware that there were normal people within the Empire who couldn't defend themselves, so the game felt as if it had consequences. If the border guard fail, a village gets burned down, people get killed. Even as a peripheral idea, that lends weight to a battle between your tiny plastic men and the slightly larger plastic uglies.

    In AoS, everyone seems to be a super-powered killing machine - and if any of the killing machines die, they can just be rebuilt by Mr.Golden Throne. There doesn't seem to be any consequence to the games' results. That's not a problem of how high the fantasy is, though high fantasy can be a bit more prone to it - the problem is that when there's no stake in the fight, nothing to protect or die for, your wargame has to stand on it's rules, and frankly...well, AoS is never going to stand on it's rules.
    Most of this though is due to the current releases - there are the "Angels" (Stormcasts), "Demons" (Chaos), and "Fighters" (Fyreslayers), but not even artwork of a settlement, a city, or a fortress except for those inhabitated by the aforementioned factions. Once there's more than just stories about the humans of the realms, there will be a feeling that something will be at stake - the lives of those who are threatened by Chaos, Orruks, Undead, and so on.

    But right now, there's stories already - and "A Picture tells more than a thousand Words", so nothing sticks around for those who haven't read them.
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    I was going to said my opinion on the interview, but right now I will focus in this "high fantasy/low fantasy" thing going on

    First: Warhammer fantasy was what I like to call the "fantasy buffet" that means you could find EVERYTHING under the sun, you want a high fantasy? look the asur and their strugle because their founder(Anerion aka: elf kratos) comit a huge mistake that split their people in two, the codex where always about huge clash in armies and epic battiles that range for epic(Dwarft,Elves and men) to dark(chaos winning, skaven running things,etc)

    Low fantasy?: the roleplay game where the focus is low chararter, where facing a chaos knight where deadly and skaven instead of a swarn where thatn "thing" in the name that control things and their gone in their way to find to most basic job your chararter will be

    you want a conan? there is the norse, or play a chaos maruder, you want to play like Elric? been a Elves, and so on.

    The same happen with his grimdark counterpart WH4OK who have almost everything in sci fi: precursos(the c´tan,old ones) the "tech so powerfull is magic"(necrons) psykers(eldar) and so own

    Now where AoS fit here?...it dosent, it something is what I like to call:Methaphycal Fantasy, that means fantasy that goes even more into the who the cosmologic works and magic and the weirdness is crack up to eleven, good examples are planescape,spelljammer, exalted sometimes, nobilities, angel the torment, the more focus is to weird stuff and less to the mundane the better, AoS dosent even pretend is happen in a pseudo earth but stranges dimension where weird **** IS the norm

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by jtrowell View Post
    A setting doesn't need 20-30+ years to feels interesing.

    I remember reading about the Warhammer world in what was the 2nd or 3rd edition (a box set with 3 books, one with the rules, one with the bestiary with all units in the game, and one with the background I thing ?), and I was immersed with this world that was both like ours and very different.

    It was a fantasy world with early gunpowder (a revolution at the time), giving humans some chance against the mystical forces aligned against them.
    It had an age of exploration that was beginning, with explorators having found the new continent of Lustria
    It had a Science fantasy feel with the slanns, at the time degenerated descendants of the original Old Ones (beforce being retconned as servants of the old ones) and the story of the gates at the poles

    By being a deformed fantasy mirror of our own world, it had many elements that made me dream with the potential for countless stories.

    In a similar way, when the Eberron setting for D&D was released during 3rd edition, I was in a similar way immersed since day one : intelligent humanoid golems ? They have been created to serve as soldiers in a civil war, and the war is just now over, leaving them emancipated ? They can learn magic and be wizards !! YOU CAN PLAY AS ONE ?!!! (and this is just one aspect of Eberron, my attention was in fact drawn to it by the D&D miniature of the Warforged wizard, later I learned to love the rest of the setting too)

    The Eberron book was probably not much bigger that anyone of the AoS "fluff" books, but with only this first book I was already sold on the universe, the following Eberron books where simply a bonus, the core setting was already more solid with one book that AoS is with how many ?
    This. 30 years added individual stories and fleshed out details, but most of the framework, ie the setting, was there right at the beginning. Also, everone else seems to get it right! Read the first stories in Wyrd Chronicles about Malifaux. Much is missing, and the writing quality sometimes questionable, but the setting immediately draws you in. The setting for Freebooter's Fate was good out of the starting block, and several kickstarters have more engaging background blurbs in the kickstarter description than the fluff freely available for AoS. If a small operation can do a better job for a kickstarter campaign than the industry juggernaught can with several years' lead time there's no excuse. It's simply not good enough!


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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Warhammer's fantasy 'level' has fluctuated considerably over the years. WFRP was definitely low fantasy; the End Times were nearer to high fantasy.

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Khaines Wrath View Post
    I was afraid this would be the response. Because whenever this subject comes up its always "lowly empire peasant probably doesn't know what an orc is thus WHF is low fantasy".

    That's a ridiculous notion.

    1% of a single factions population ie: oblivious Imperial citizens, does not discount the rest of the franchise.
    Exaggerating much? If the empire consisted only of 1% oblivious peasants, it wouldn't have the resources to field armies, support the nobility or function as a state. If anything the vast majority of the empire's population falls into the oblivious peasant category.

    Especially from a narrative perspective people must see how disingenuous that is. Who here can honestly claim that the selling point for warhammer's ip was Joe the turnip farmer going about his daily work and then resting at the pub to talk with his friends about this conspiracy of a whole territory of the Empire being infested with ghosts and zombies?
    Some of the must fun I had were exactly in those types of situations in WFRP, where playing a literate knight and producing a piece of paper with a few seals on it was almost like magic as far as the typical bumkpins I was dealing with were concerned.
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Warhammer's fantasy 'level' has fluctuated considerably over the years. WFRP was definitely low fantasy; the End Times were nearer to high fantasy.

    Is less about when and more about why, mordheim is dark-low fantasy so depression it makes Game of throne look cheerfull, storm of magic is SUPER high fantasy with magic everywhere, a bestary full of magical beast(even some returns like zoat and fimir) the roleplay is more grimm than dark while codex are standar high fantasy(more the elves than everything else)

    Now that we said that, my review of this interview:

    First:

    For example, the Stormcast Eternals. Even when I had been working in the Design Studio the idea of being able to translate the appeal of Space Marines into the fantasy setting had been something of an ambition, if not a specific objective. (Ironic considering Space Marines were partly created to capture some of the appeal that Chaos Warriors had in Warhammer Fantasy Battles at that time!)
    Is good to see Gav being honest here, I mean we all know the space marine apeal in fantasy GW want to make but it haven for a lot of time a not writing thing going on.

    irstly, I wanted to ensure that I didn’t approach the Stormcast Eternals in the same way as I do Space Marines. While they have similarities in image and archetype there are significant differences between them, particularly in terms of their self-identity and how they fit into the cosmology.
    This is something it have to be done A LOT, as the idea they are just fantasy version of space marines feels bland and poorly thought, so is now the work of BL to make something here

    I wanted to explore the cosmic nature of the background. This is a war between gods and great powers as much as mortal warriors. And thirdly, I wanted to explore the nature of the Mortal Realms, and in particular one we haven’t seen an awful lot of up until now.
    As I said, this is methaphysical fantasy(or cosmologic fantasy if you want it) is less forgoten realms and more planescape or spelljammer, the weirdes and bigger, the better

    Now about this comment

    I think that many people forget what such lowly beginnings gave birth to the Warhammer World. In its first incarnation it was bland, generic fantasy with a skirmish system attached. As it developed it pillaged pretty much every fantasy trope and setting available, as well as plundering the medieval historical period. The background most closely associated with it, that of the Empire and the Old World, mostly came about through the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game. Throughout its permutations there have been fans and detractors of the Warhammer world and the prevalent tone at any given time, from those that preferred the effete snobs of the Bretonnians to those that loved the shiny Arthurian heroes take in 5th edition and back to the darker edge we gave to them post-6th edition. Orcs? Slapstick comedy for some, brutal barbarian horde to others. The Empire, sliding on a scale from dull Holy Roman Empire with the names filed off, to over-the-top magic and whacky engineering depending on who you listen to and when in its development. A worthless pastiche of seventies and eighties creation, or a genius blend of the best archetypes of fantasy and history? Everyone gets to decide for themselves.
    I put this because I have argue A LOT here agasint the romantized idea of warhammer before being some pure creative endevour that come from greatest mind and know is lost because they didnt care anymore: the same exact thing people said about the lore waaaaaay before, and usually people excuse in "but before it have chararter/charm/whatever" it feel ike the D&D syndrome:everything that is new is horrible and sign they dont care, everything that come before is awsome, intersting and lost golden age....until something else come and the cycle repeat again.

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Drasanil View Post
    Exaggerating much? If the empire consisted only of 1% oblivious peasants, it wouldn't have the resources to field armies, support the nobility or function as a state. If anything the vast majority of the empire's population falls into the oblivious peasant category.



    Some of the must fun I had were exactly in those types of situations in WFRP, where playing a literate knight and producing a piece of paper with a few seals on it was almost like magic as far as the typical bumkpins I was dealing with were concerned.
    I reiterate the points of my earlier post.

    1. A percentage of the population of a single faction that does consist of wizards, monstrous cavalry, an active god that responds to prayers and arcane warmachines does not make WHF low fantasy.

    2. Peasants of the Empire are neither the focus of the game, the novels of black library or even the setting as a whole. You can make them so by all means but that doesn't change the fact that Elves roam the western seas, greenskins attack frequently, a territory of the Empire is overrun with the undead, theres a continent of lizardmen and theres a race of rat people living below the Empire plotting its destruction.

    3. A fantasy setting having low fantasy elements does not make it low fantasy. Your attraction to the low fantasy elements does not make it a low fantasy setting. It is a high fantasy setting with low fantasy elements. AoS simply did away with the low fantasy elements which was a stupid mistake because it lost any sense of grounding it had.
    Last edited by Khaines Wrath; 16-03-2016 at 02:18.
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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Can a setting really be low or high fantasy by itself? I feel like it depends more on the actual stories told - obviously the Old World being destroyed and Sigmar hurting through space on a rock is about as high fantasy as it gets, while a mercenary warband exploring Mordheim is pretty damn low. To me, it's all about the scale of the story being told. I'm much more intrigued by a band of humans defending a village from beastmen than by some golden god engaged in a massive struggle with evil powers trying to take over the world. I find these massive, over the top stories to be dull and uninspiring, clearly conceived by a marketing team, not a creative team. What are these mortal realms all about? Who lives in them? What problems do they struggle with? Until I know that, I couldn't care less about the Sigmarines and their struggle with chaos. I like the idea that the new setting has limitless potential just like 40k's infinite universe, but it remains to be seen if GW is going to actually do anything compelling with it.

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    Re: Gav Thorpe Author Notes (AoS)

    Quote Originally Posted by GMillar View Post
    Can a setting really be low or high fantasy by itself? I feel like it depends more on the actual stories told - obviously the Old World being destroyed and Sigmar hurting through space on a rock is about as high fantasy as it gets, while a mercenary warband exploring Mordheim is pretty damn low. To me, it's all about the scale of the story being told. I

    That depend is the setting allow that kind of thing, for example in warhammer gods aren like D&D so you cant have things like gods usurping other domains, Warhammer allow diferent ways of fantasy to play out, so is game of thrones(for example, Bran arc or Dany in the second book)

    'm much more intrigued by a band of humans defending a village from beastmen than by some golden god engaged in a massive struggle with evil powers trying to take over the world. I find these massive, over the top stories to be dull and uninspiring, clearly conceived by a marketing team, not a creative team. What are these mortal realms all about? Who lives in them? What problems do they struggle with? Until I know that, I couldn't care less about the Sigmarines and their struggle with chaos. I like the idea that the new setting has limitless potential just like 40k's infinite universe, but it remains to be seen if GW is going to actually do anything compelling with it.
    I disagree here, why I see the apeal of the small folk, the big thing in the setting is what they are trying to sell, Warmachine is jacks, Warhammer is the grimdark apeal, AoS is the huge,titanic conflict between gods, while I understand the need to be grounded a lit bit, it can become a derailing if we focus in a bunch of nobodies doing stuff.

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