Hey everybody! Well, it feels like a long time since I’ve had the time for some rambling here on the old blog, but there seems to be so much going on right now, even considering the ongoing global pandemic, that I feel I just have to try and catch up with it all!
Of course, it was the Warhammer Preview again today, and we’ve seen a bunch new boxed games coming from the vaults of Nottingham, such as the new Blood Bowl, and the next season of Warhammer Underworlds:
Forget about the Lumineth – we’re getting Slaanesh cultists, even a Slaangor!
Look at these guys! They look amazing, so perfect and stuff. Exactly what I would want to see from Slaaneshi cultist models. Have we got all the flavours of Chaos cultists now? I really hope that this signifies the release of actual Slaanesh mortal cultist models – for years, all that we’ve had are the Hellstriders, we definitely need more. With these, and the upcoming boxset with Daughters of Khaine, it seems like Slaanesh is firmly back in the frame!
I still haven’t even tried Warhammer Underworlds, but I won’t let that stop me grabbing this for the Slaaneshi chaps!
So, I wasn’t expecting this. In truth, I don’t know what to make of it, either. Warcry is fast becoming Age of Sigmar: Skirmish, and it feels a bit wrong. I mean, one of the best things about the game is how much it is focused on the Chaos warbands in the Varanspire, vying for the attention of Archaon. Hm. At any rate, Warcry is getting battletomes, which seems to be an effort to combine what happened with the Tome of Champions and peppering in stuff like the Monsters and Mercenaries book, and the White Dwarf articles. Interesting.
And what’s more, there’s this! It seems there’s been a lot of talk about what is in store for Kill Team with the new edition of 40k out in the wild. Well, it hasn’t been forgotten, at least! But while we’re seemingly getting Marines vs Necrons, I’m hoping that we’re going to get something similar to the Rogue Trader box of yesteryear, with the Inquisition getting some amazing new plastics! Well, hope springs eternal…
The last adventure pack for Lord of the Rings LCG has been released, and I’m a bit sad by that fact! I mean, let’s talk about this for a moment; I haven’t played it for quite some time, and I certainly haven’t played some of the later cycles, so I certainly have a lot still to get through, regardless of the fact that it’s finished! I think the latest pack that I’ve played up to is the Haradrim cycle, although it’s all very patchy following the Ringmaker cycle… I’ve got plenty more years of this game left to me, anyway!
I’m really feeling in the mood to get into the Arkham Horror LCG again though, as it’s been well over twelve months since I had the run through the Dunwich Legacy cycle, and Innsmouth is of course a classic location for the mythos. I really need to get to grips with this game, as it’s such a great way to get my Lovecraft fix!
However, for the time being, I’ve been thinking about trying to actually accomplish something as we’re heading into Lockdown number two, and I’ve been thinking about finally getting some of the Ossiarch Bonereapers models that I was so excited about last year. I mean, sure, I’ve got plenty to be getting on with, but I thought it might be nice to get a bit of a special project going on – and it’ll give me something to focus my Arkhan the Black around! So stay tuned for that!
Well, this review is well overdue, but I’m finally getting my act together now that the nights are drawing in!
A kind of tie-in to Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn series, Ravenor is the first book in the eponymous trilogy, following the Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor. As you may know, Ravenor appeared for a brief time at the start of Malleus, the second novel in the earlier trilogy, where an attack left him at the brink of death. It’s actually been a fair few years since I read that book, though I feel like the novel left it a bit open as to whether Ravenor had in fact been killed.
Ravenor begins with a prologue that shows Ravenor and his crew pursuing the heretic leader Zygmunt Molotch as he investigates the Enuncia carvings (this isn’t very important to the novel in question, but comes to prominence later in the series). The main meat of the novel begins with the squad on the hive world of Eustis Majoris, the subcapital of the Angelus subsector. Ravenor and his team, comprising Carl Thonius, Patience Kys, Kara Swole, and Harlon Nayl. They are investigating the illegal Flect trade, a kind of narcotic glass that seems to be rife throughout the hive. During the course of their investigations, Nayl comes across the young Zael, an addict with psychic potential, while Patience and Carl attempt to inveigle themselves into the confidences of a local dignitary – both lines of inquiry leading to different dealer names, however during the course of their investigation the dignitary overdoses. The official Magistratum investigation into this death is observed psychically by Ravenor, but he is attacked on the astral plane by the Magistratum psyker Kinsky.
Ravenor himself makes planetfall, now confined to a life-preserving suspension chair, along with further members of his team, Mathuin and Frauka, the latter a psychic blank along the lines of Bequin. The trail leads to the Carnivora (CAR-CAR-CARNIVORA!) and the team infiltrate the spectacle in an effort to find Duboe, the man implicated in the Flect trade. They apprehend Duboe, but then are themselves taken to Lord Govenor Barazan’s palace, where they meet with Jader Trice, head of the Ministry for Subsector Trade. He offers them the information that has been officially gathered on Duboe and the Flect trade, which seems to lead into Lucky Space – so-named because you’d be lucky to survive a trip into the area. They are also given Magistratum liaisons, including Kinsky.
Things begin to unravel in Lucky Space, and the team learns that the Flects are brought in by a cartel of Rogue Traders (calling themselves Contract Thirteen) from the interdicted Mergent Worlds, planets that had disappeared in a Warp Storm, but have since recently reappeared with the irrevocable taint of Chaos. The Flects are basically Warp-soaked shards of glass that shattered from the windows of the hive world of Spica Maximal. Kinsky inevitably turns on Ravenor and his retinue, but the Inquisitor is able to overpower the Magistratum officials and the team defeats the Rogue Trader Kizary Thekla, who had been operating under the Magisterum’s authority to recover logic engines and cogitators from the Mergent Worlds, revealing a level of corruption that leads back to Trice. While the authorities believe Ravenor and his team to have been killed out in Lucky Space, the Inquisitor arranges for passage back to Eustis Majoris. In secret, Carl Thonius tries a Flect…
Ravenor is excellent. It’s one of those books that just screams to me with everything that I love about the Warhammer 40k universe. The first part of the novel takes place on the hive world, where the claustrophobic feel of the place comes across just so well, it really feels like a grey and miserable, heavy place, from the acid rain to the hive scum. In very short order, we really feel the oppression of the place, it’s really quite remarkable. I suppose around the same time that I was reading this in July, I was deep into Necromunda again, trying to get my head around the rules, and so on, so that was a real bonus for me as I was really in the mood for that kind of story. As the story moves on, it doesn’t give much opportunity for rest, as the conspiracy continues and the mystery deepens. Things are a bit cramped on the journey to Lucky Space, but the action never lets up, and things get pretty explosive at the end.
I just can’t recommend this book enough. It definitely ticks the boxes for me as a fan of the wider lore of the 40k universe and, while there may not be a space marine in sight, it’s just fascinating to see the story of an Inquisitor and his retinue unfold with the “little people” of 40k along for the ride. It certainly has that Necromunda feel to it, although of course that’s not really the point of the book, but it will definitely appeal to those sensibilities. I’ve recently started to read the second in the trilogy, Ravenor Returned, and it’s interesting to see how, only a short way into the novel, some of the things that were set up earlier are being developed, in a much more tight-knit manner than the earlier Eisenhorn trilogy. I feel like the Ravenor books might prove to be more akin to the one-long-story type of trilogy, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Wow. The amount of new stuff Necrons are getting right now is crazy. It’s taken me a while to get round to this blog because it has felt a bit like the landscape has been changing continually over the last few weeks (and I’ve also been on holiday, and life has been taken up with real stuff). But here we are! With the exciting new world of Necrons for 9th Edition coming our way!
Yes, Reanimation Protocols are changed, and it’s quite the lengthy wall of text there! There are some good bits and some bad bits, so let’s take a look at this step by step. First of all, Reanimation Protocols are rolls immediately after an attack ends. So that is a hell of a buff, right there – your opponent is going to have to really double down and hope that their shooting or melee attacks will take out the unit in one single attack. No more getting two or three units to each have a shot at eliminating a unit! Excellent! Next, you roll a number of dice equal to the number of wounds each model lost has. So if three Lychguard die, you’re rolling six dice. The sad thing here is that you’re only rolling dice for the models lost there and then. I guess Necrons probably needed some kind of cap or limit here, because being able to still attempt to bring a unit back in turn four or five when the models were lost in turn one is a bit too much – I only hope that the new points we’re expecting will reflect the fact that we’re now only buying a model potentially once, rather than assuming you’ll at least be able to use each model twice in the army, as was the case for most of 8th edition.
There has been a lot of bile and vitriol in the Necrons Facebook group, but I think this is based on the idea of still having units costed as expensively as they are right now. There are also elements of the fact we’re looking at character models or others with multiple wounds that won’t all successfully reanimate each time, and so on, but I think we need to be serious here: Necrons could play really powerfully well if your opponent is unlucky. I’ve had some games where my destroyed models are maybe 2-3 by the game’s end, because units keep coming back. I may have started the game with three units of Immortals, but over the course of that game, I’ve probably used the equivalent of five units of Immortals, compared with how many were destroyed and have come back.
I’ll get off the soapbox now, but suffice it to say, a lot of people are upset at the wording of the new RP rules, but personally I think that we just need to look at different build options for the new edition.
The preview that went up earlier this week with the new RP rules also confirmed that we’ll be getting our own version of combat doctrines, called command protocols. These sound like they might be good – assign one to each of the five rounds of combat, and each one has two effects. When that round begins, pick an effect to use. (There is at least one way that I’ve seen for us to use both effects, as well, so that’s pretty good!) A lot of folks were a bit disappointed with the Psychic Awakening book for Necrons, as it didn’t actually have anything for us in beyond the rules for the new Illuminor Szeras model, but at least it’s not been too long to wait for the new book (although that is probably a whole other story!)
It seems that everything that had come with those green rods – so every unit released before the 2011 re-design of Necrons – is being re-jigged to some extent, and I think the one people are perhaps overlooking the most (given the sheer amount of new stuff coming out!) is the Monolith. This is a pretty nice new model, let’s be honest, and I think I’ll definitely be getting one as a nice centrepiece for the force (until I eventually cave and buy the Silent King!) I just hope they still have the rules to allow them to work as a transport, as well!
Speaking of new models, we’ve got so many more of them on the way!
There are a couple more Crypteks coming out, the Chronomancer and the Pscychomancer – which, together with the Plasmancer from the Indomitus box means we’re still two short of the full suite of five from the hallowed book from 5th edition! Geomancers and Ethermancers would complete the set, but those don’t seem to have been previewed yet – they’re either a surprise, or have been forgotten about.
With so many new HQs coming our way, people have been postulating whether we’ll be seeing a return of the Royal Court, where you can take a group of HQs in the configuration of 0-5 Crypteks, and 0-5 Lords. It’s an interesting idea, given that we’ve already seen the return of the different style of Crypteks, so I guess we’ll see what the Codex brings. (I’m thinking, though, that if it were possible we’d have seen it previewed already).
Now, something very interesting is happening with Necrons in 9th edition, and that’s the fact the lore is somewhat being reimagined to incorporate more of these ideas of a failing in the technology that has kept the Necrons going for so long. No longer is their tech beyond the understanding of many of us, but rather we’re seeing warriors that look more like metallic zombies, with parts of their armour falling off and failing following the aeons of slumber, and the Destroyer cults are being more fully explored, as we see various types of these crazed killers realised in plastic. The regular Destroyers that we’ve previously enjoyed are potentially having a rebrand as Lokhurst Destroyers, using the floating platforms of doom to get about, while we have the Skorpekh models that were seen in Indomitus, and now these Ophydian monsters who are taking as a design cue the original Wraiths models. It’s kinda funky to see this sort of design return to the army after so long!
For me, however, the absolute crowning glory of these new releases has got to be the plastic Flayed Ones!
So, okay, they’re not dragging along flayed corpses, or wearing them like crowns anymore, but we’ve got actual plastic Flayed Ones now, and I can’t wait to get myself a set! Lychguard are great, but they’re 150 points for a unit of 5. Flayed Ones clock in around half that amount, so we’re already on to a winner! We definitely need more melee potential, given the shorter range of auras and smaller playing field of 9th edition, so I’m really pleased we’re getting these models – although I had literally just resigned myself to wanting to use the finecast models after all when the announcement came! Typical!
I was really quite disappointed with the Necron stratagems we had to play with during 8th edition, but we’ve had a preview of the new ones that are coming, and it looks like we shall be seeing some very nice effects and abilities taking shape across the table in 9th – if I can remember to use them, of course! I really like the idea of tesla shots arcing across units in battle – hopefully that’ll allow for those units screening important HQs to become vectors for damage!
I’m quite excited to see what’s in store for the new Necrons as the Codex is imminently on the horizon, so hopefully the pandemic won’t get in the way of some exciting games once I have the book in hand!