Branching out

Inspired by all the recent hype about AOS28 and, well our own taste for regular old fashioned Warhammer, we have decided to expand our blog to also feature Fantasy; Age of Sigmar, Warhammer Fantasy Battle and AOS28.

Both Lazar and I have played regular Warhammer Fantasy Battle for years, we also collect all manner of other miniatures than 40K, a lot of fantasy and oldhammer in there as well. We are both quite nostalgically inspired by the older editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and enjoy seeking inspiration in such books as Realm of Chaos.

Since we really enjoy playing narrative games of Inquisitor and making up our own gaming worlds and environments, AOS28 sort of fills a gap and comes in real handy, to enable us to do the same thing in a fantasy setting.

So here goes…My first post about AOS28:

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Old treasures showed up

I must admit, to begin with I didn’t care much for Age of Sigmar, the great godbattles and stuff like that did not appeal to my tastes of games and the aesthetics of the game and artwork did not fall into my taste either. I am not one of those who cried or got angry just because GW stopped supporting Warhammer Fantasy Battle, having played Warhammer for almost 20 years I more than agreed that it needed renewal in some way or another. I totally realize that I don’t need GW to support Warhammer in order for me to continue playing regular Warhammer and collect and convert miniatures for it and make up stories for my armies and my games. In that regard the change to AOS have changed nothing for me and my hobby, so there was nothing to whine about in my opinion. One do not have to stop doing the old stuff, just because something else showed up.

On the other hand there was a growing problem with the old Warhammer, it had grown kind of stale, it had stagnated for years. Everything was confined to this one world that looked quite a lot like our own world. There had come so much input and storylines into that Warhammer world, most of it quite innovative actually and some of it not so much, it was being filled up. It grew increasingly difficult to make up new stuff and put into the gaming world because everything was so defined; in the Empire it had to be empire stuff in Brettonia it had to be brettonian to fit in… You could go a little crazy in the Borderlands, but it was still just these little southern european nations. You could do exotic stuff in Lustria, but you could not escape a certain new World explorer kind of feel. Of course there was a lot of room for inventing stories that fit in with all the fluff there already were and there still is if one wants to. But where do I put that new nation? Where do I put that other pseudo european culture I wrote a story about? Where do I put that cult of daemon worshipping wizards in floating citadels and their nation of thralls? And I could carry on and on… It ran out of room. I could and do still make up stories, minis and fluff to go with the existing stuff, but there was just not enough room left for crazy new big things.

Now here Age Of Sigmar gets interesting, whether or not you care for the game rules (though I find such a small streamlined rules set rather refreshing) or the aesthetics. You get nine worlds; 8 mortal realms and a realm of chaos… Everything is quite new since we’ve only had for about a year and a half. They are spamming us withe background stuff, books and games, but 9 realms is A LOT!! There is literally room to go crazy. I feel I can invent any kind of nation, race or story and find a place in AOS to make it fit in.

That’s quite a luxury after Warhammer.

Now with the two Warhammer quest games especially Shadows over Hammerhal, things are scaling down to some  down to earth adventurous roleplaying games as opposed to the grand godbattles it all started with. This sort of more human, I daresay more realistic approach to games and stories is right up my alley. You can also think of it this way: If you are a big Stormcast eternal or a spacemarine and encounter the big bad dragon, sorcerer or daemon, they are not all that terrifying, they can be dealt with because you are powerful yourself. If on the other hand you are just a mortal human being, the stormcast or spacemarine are terrible foes, you can’t just slap ’em around and how bad will the dragon or daemon be then? This creates the opportunity to create some serious suspense and wild stories. It makes for a great perspective.

Inspired by all that I read about this new AOS28 movement and the Hinterland rules, which is a community based rules set for playing more detailed games of AOS with smaller warbands, I started noodling around with my own warband. In one of my many boxes of more or less unfinished minis I found the beginnings of a warband. These were a band of followers of Tzeentch I rolled randomly for a Realm of Chaos project about 5 years ago. It was one of those projects that didn’t get anywhere and on the above picture you can see how far they got after about one or two building sessions. I found them quite inspiring though.

I dusted my Tzeentch warband of and started work on them again. It has been rather slow going for me since I’ve felt rather burnt out after the big Axxos project: Gallery of the Swamps and had a lot of other things in life I needed to catch up with after having immersed myself so much in a creative project. I do that from time to time, I sort of go like a pendulum between full immersion in creative stuff and catching up on other things, not always too practical but that is how I function. Now after what 2 or 3 weeks I have finally finished the first of the warband, continued on the others, built and started on a few new ones.

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Eafraim Taim exalted Champion of Tzeentch

The story behind my minis is always important to me, that is why I love to play games like Inq28, that is also why I do showcase and competition painting, you get the opportunity to tell stories through the miniatures. When I was younger and had all the time in the world I played a lot of roleplaying games, mostly Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I used minis for that, to represent the characters, the monsters, the NPC’s etc. That was where I started painting miniatures, for me Warhammer came a little bit later. Come to think about it now, those minis back then were telling stories. Though I have been through all sort of different periods of life, among them a hiatus of 8 years where I didn’t paint at all and later on many very different sorts of miniatures projects, it all boils down to the same thing. Storytelling. The bare bones of my personal hobby is storytelling through miniature, I just realised that it has always been that way.

In various Facebook groups and fora, I often stumble on the question what do people do first? The story or the miniature? Do you  write a story and then make a miniature to fit? or do you make a miniature and then write a story about it? It doesn’t work like that! Stories are living organic things, you can’t just make them fit… you can’t just force them either, they just kind of emerge. When I make a miniature I keep an open mind and really just let my imagination wander around, maybe asking myself questions like why does he look like that, why does he have a goat growing out of his back? What happened to him? When you start to answer the why’s and how’s of your miniature, the story just emerges all by itself and the two just grow together. Working on my old Tzeentch warband, it was almost like the minis started to tell me their story all by themselves. Maybe it felt that way because the had been lying in a box and matured for 5 years, I don’t know.

Here are some more angles of Eafraim Taim. In his own opinion he is a warrior, a scholar and a gentleman. He is the protector of the sorcerers Aran’gar and Fiel-Thas as they travel all over the nine realms in search of lost and forbidden knowledge. Eafraim Taim has been traveling for quite some time in the company of the sorcerers and he has been let in on many of their secrets and knows himself a lot of the arcane lore they have unearthed, thusly he has mutated and changed a lot. He did have legs once, but that he tends to forget.

The warband in its entirety already has a story, but that will have to wait until I finish the minis. 😉

I do not normally post pictures of my unfinished miniatures, but since I already have shown the minis as I found them, here they are as they look now:

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Eafraim and his merry travelling companions

I remember that I also rolled a chaos knight when I started this thing 5 years ago. I shall make one and add to the warband. He will be a heavily mutated avian looking fellow being very impractical sitting on a horse. I remember an old drawing in one of the old warhammer books, maybe the lost and the damned, of a knight of Tzeentch with birds feet, wings and a beak, my knight will be like that. There shall be 9 members of my warband when it is finished, as that is the sacred number of Tzeentch. I think there shall be a pink horror, maybe a tzaangor and definitely a thrall, to do all the menial work these lofty thinkers wouldn’t waste their time on. They really need somebody with normal looks to infiltrate “normal” civilizations.

See? the stories kind of just pop up as soon as you start to think about the characters behind the miniatures; the how’s and why’s.

That is what I can use AOS28 for. A new opportunity for storytelling in miniature.

Here you can see what AOS28 is all about and some really beautiful and inspiring miniatures made specifically for it:http://www.exprofundis.com/age-of-sigmar-and-the-death-of-high-fantasy/

 

Thanks for reading, I hope to be back soon with more progress on this new project.

-Kristian

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5 thoughts on “Branching out

  1. Brilliant post – great to hear your thoughts on AoS and learn a bit about your creative approach. The nine realms certainly do offer the creative space that the old world seemed to lack towards the end. Exciting times!

    Eafraim is superb, and the whole warband to date has that delicious RoC vibe that just can’t be beaten… watching with interest 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your Swamp of Axxos project was incredible (and I can quite imagine how exhausting it must have been). I partially created AoS28 so we could see things like the Swamp of Axxos in AoS, but also as a way to have a bit of a break from giant projects myself.

    Your thoughts on the Old World are very similar to my own, the freedom of AoS is really liberating in comparison, and my own take on AoS is that it is really quite a respectful nod to the original Realm of Chaos side of Fantasy, which I love: but without so much of the typical High Fantasy good guys – which I was quite bored of anyway.

    Eafraim is looking spectacular. I particularly like the way he blends into his base – great idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It is very nice to see others out there with similar thoughts on this. That is probably why this community is growing so fast. Right now I feel a great surge of nostalgia because I can make things very similar to the old Realm of Chaos stuff which was what attracted me to Warhammer originally even though that stuff already was a little outdated at the time. Things are kind of coming full circle now.

      Like

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