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Warmachine Intro (for budding warcasters)
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Old 12 Sep 2009, 11:23   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Warmachine Intro (for budding warcasters)

I wrote this for my college gaming group a while back. I think its a pretty good piece of writing for introducing people to the awesomeness that is warmachine, with a uniquely drunken irish twist. have a read, and see what you think. pass it on to people if you like it.

Warmachine and Hordes are 2 different sides of the same coin of wargaming. And the writers of the game would say something along the lines of that coin being an armour plated, serrated pice of whoop-dyi. or something. i dunno.

OK, so both games are set in the Iron Kingdoms, on the continent of Immoren.
Warmachine focuses on the human kingdoms of Cygnar, (america), Khador (imperialist russia), the Protectorate of Menoth (the Taliban) and the island nation of Cryx (blighted undead horde of doom, courtesy of toruk, the dragonfather). There are other nations involved as well. You have the Dwarven Kingdom of Rhul, the elven kingdom of Ios, and 2 other human kingdoms of Ord and Llael, both of whom are allied to Cygnar, but Llael is, as of now, occupied by the Soviets...er...Khadorians in their quest to reclaim all of the iron Kingdoms. some characters from these nations are playable, but only as mercenaries. (it is possible to have a dwarven army for those who are interested )
Hordes focuses not on kingdoms, but on factions between the cracks, if you will. It focuses on the Trolls, the Skorne (dark elfy type things with a japanese look, and a liking for torture), the Legion of Everblight (blighted frost elf horde, courtesy of another dragon) and the Druids of Orboros (hippies who worship the apocalypse). Aside from Skorne who claim an empire, the other factions live within the borders of the 4 iron kingdoms in warmachine.

Both games have very similar systems. If you know Warmachine, you can pick up Hordes, and vice versa. Main differences between the two games are that Warmachine focuses on warcasters (battlemages) and telepathically controlled mechs called warjacks, whilst Hordes focuses on warlocks (battlemages) and their telepathically controlled warbeasts. its interesting how the two games come together. a lot of the mysteries in Warmachine are revealed through the Hordes books. For example, the deposed King Raelthorne ran off and disappeared in Warmachine Prime, whilst in the Hordes book, you find out he is in league with the Skorne Empire. THere are other examples of both systems coming together as well.

I'll concentrate from here on in on Warmachine.
OK, so you have Immoren. you're talking about a setting thats about the size of france and a bit of spain divided into 4 kingdoms. In terms of technology, it is 19th century for the most part. Trains, and rail travel is the new thing, whilst the most advanced country-cygnar-have just invented the telegraph. However, unlike our 19th century technolgy, these guys in immoren have lots of magicky wotzits and gubbinz. for example, the warjacks, and civilian labourjacks. they are steam driven coal burning smoke belching machines with a limited intelligence that can be directed to do stuff. you have other magic, like storm lances and other kinds of alchemy.
You have 4 nations. the iron Kingdoms. they are forged out of a great war. Once upon a time, the whole place was conquered by a crowd called the orgoth, but over a 400 year period, lots of rebellions happened, and they invented lots of new fighting technologies like collosals (40k titan-type things apparently, and these were the forerunners of the current warjacks) and the Orgoth were forced to flee. The Dragonfather Toruk, then just creating his blighted islands of Cryx did not like these fellows, so he had his lads kill them all. THe other nations do not know of these and fear the time the orgoth return. So all the victorious parties sat down and figured out where the borders would lie.
Cygnar is to the south basically, and got all the best land and resources. Khador was left out in the cold. they have the largest territory but its icy and rocky and uninhabitable for the most part. Ord and Llael were created too. Now Khador were annoyed, but they had taken the lions share of casualties during the wars of independance and could not do much. so they watched and waited, and a while later had a little war to expand their borders. they won. and they have not stopped being aggressive and imperialistic. (apparently before the orgoth came there was the Khardic empire which was most of the Iron Kingdoms, and they feel its their birthright to get it all back)
So Cygnar carries on happily enough. Basically they're americans for all the stuff they do. they had a civil war a while back based on religion. Menoth is the old religion, and Morrowan is the current one. Menoth was all fire and brimstone, and your duty was to him and his priests. So you lived hard, died young, and had nothing to show for it. So Morrow came along, and showed people they could better themselves with hard work, ingeneuity, and so on. So most people preferred Morrow. Except the lads of Menoth. They did not like having their power slip away and Aulma'd on everyones shoes to make a point of it. In the end it came to a war and the end result was a stalemate. So to get rid of them and shut them up, the Cygnarian king created a place within his borders for the Menoth worshippers. Its called - you guessed it - the Protectorate of Menoth. Its a nasty rough deserty type place and a nice place to dump your rubbish. so all the menoth worshippers went there, and have been quietly fuming since. Now lately, there is a prophet of Menoth called the Harbinger, and she, and the high priests are gagging for a nice little crusade to burn, torture and cleanse the impure and the heretical morrrowan worshippers. so thats where Menoth comes into it.
As for Cryx, cryx is a tool of the dragonfather. dragons are big nasty guys. toruk was the first. and just cos he was curious he split his heartstone into a load of pieces, and each piece became a new dragon. and they all hate each other. so toruk spends his time hutning down his progeny to kill them and reabsorb them into himself. cryx is his tool for doing so. he plans on enslaving humanity through undeath to force his children out of hiding so he can eat them all. charming fellow, really... so the islands of the cryxian empire are your usual place of scumbags, pirates, thugs and all manner of unsavoury things. it also is the realm of necromancers and other evildoers who serve the dragonfather. and they all constantry raid and plunder the iron kingdoms. it seems haphazard to the eyes of the mortals, but to the dragonfather, who thinks in terms of millenia instead of years, time is nothing...

there are other nations but they are minor players. elves are nasty guys who hide in Ios. all their gods are dying and so is the elven race so they take out their anger on everyone else. they're like the feudal japanse as their borders are closed to everyone. occasionally you will see one outside his homeland but they are few and far between.
the dwarves are like dwarves everywhere. they are miners and traders. and they happily deal with anyone. they are being dragged into the conflicts more and more as their trade routes are cut and convoys attacked, but they generally stay out of the affairs of the humans.

UPDATE: there is a new enemy on the horizon. The elves have come to play, and they have brought their warmages and myrmidons They're called the retribution of Skyrah. Now remember that bit where all the elven gods are dying? well, they are, and boy, are the elves annoyed about it! you've got some defeatists who just carry on, you've some who say "screw it, lets party", and then there are those who blame every other race for their own plight. and they're the guys with the warjacks, troops and warmages. and they're out there now, trying to take on the world.
In fairness though, the retribution is new and not much is known about what they're going to bring to the table yet. watch this space.


Now onto the game itself, and the niches each faction occupies.

Cygnar (blue guys) are the most balanced faction. They have the most/best ranged capability in the game. but that is not saying much as most guns have a 12"-14" range and are all less powerful than melee weapons. they like ranged combat anyway with Long GUnners (fire warriors) and Trenchers (guardsmen), and lightning weapons. Now they are pretty well able to dish it out in melee as well so dont go thinking they are tau! you've got sword knights, stormblades, storm knights and so on. and decent cavalry and scouts.
Their warjacks are very balanced. they're fast, but not the fastest. they're tough, but not the toughest. they are middle of the road. they have lots of light warjacks like the excellent Lancer, as well as Chargers and Hunters (former two are in the newbie battleforce). And they have heavy warjacks like ironclads (also in newbie battleforce) defenders, hammersmiths et al. and they have one really big mutha called the centurion which is their er..."attempt"... to do what the Khadorans do with their warjacks.
As for cygnaran warcasters, they're pretty good. Dominic Darius (not in the main rulebook unfortunately) is diabolical in his awesomeness. model sucks though if you ask me. And styker, whilst not very imaginative is a very balanced and dependable warcaster. he's just a bit...you know...generic. Haley is pretty good too. She has some really mean spells.

Khador (red guys and my faction) are the russians. they have the strongest and toughest warjacks in the game. it comes at a price through. They are painfully slow. Khador are primarily a melee force. THey have 3 excellent warcasters with the Butcher of Khardov (this guy makes Kharn the Betrayer look like a wuss), the Dark Prince Vladimir, and Forward Kommander Kratikovv (generally regarded as the most broken character in the game). They have really good heavy warjacks. (Khador dont do light warjacks!)Destroyers, Berzerkers, Kodiaks and Juggernauts are brilliant for causing carnage. Their "light warjacks" are called man 'o' wars and are actually steampunk power armoured troops. THey back up the warjacks with a conscript army of winter guard (40k conscripts) with elite units giving them a backbone like Iron Fang Pikemen, Lancers and Kommandos. They also have sniper units like Widowmakers and expendable assault units like Doom Reavers that fill the gaps.

THe Protectorate (white guys) are the Taliban. they are an army of religious extremists. So going with the religion theme, they have a flame fetish (like cygnar and lighting). Their warcasters are generally not as well armed or armoured as those of other factions but they have some really badass fighters all the same like Feora, and Reznik. Their warjacks are similar to those of Cygnar in terms of speed and suck, though they are probably a bit heavier in terms of armour. their infantry is very synergistic. everything buffs everything else. that said, their infantry is more along the lines of "expendable horde of conscripts", rather than "elite infantry". You have flameguard, temple zealots, dudes with rockets, and so on, as well as some elite units of knights and templar-like units. its an interesting army.

The forces of Cryx (greeny guys) are the undead horde. They have the niche of "weakest and fastest". you are talking about a numbers heavy, blindingly fast army of fairly expendible infantry. their heavy warjacks are quite heavy, and mean, whilst their light "bonejacks" are cheap as dirt, fast, mean enough and very very squishy. Khador jacks will smash them with a single strike . Cryx are the "dirty tricks" army with things like machine wraiths (take over enemy warjacks) and lots of spells that screw around with how the enemy's units work. Being undead, they are also quite fearless. In terms of infantry, you get the typical undead horde of mechanithralls, and bloat thralls as well as expensable assault units like the sattayix (i think thats how they are spelled) who are amazon warrior women with a really dark twist. THey have good warcasters. Skarre is insanely brilliant. Generally though, you dont want to get them into melee. Its not that they are bad there, but they are better off standing at a distance, and casting spells than simply charging into the fray. What they get though are soul tokens. everyone you kill gives a warcaster a soul token which is exchanged for a focus point next turn. meaning they are casting tonnes and tonnes of spells.

Last force to mention are mercenaries. you have mercenary warcasters, mercenary units, and mercenary warjacks. generally speaking they cost more than, and have lower stats than similar units. an example is steelhand halberdiers and Khadoran pikemen. there is no reason a khadoran player will want the former if he has the latter, but a cygnaran player with no pikemen might wish to have some.... best of the mercenaries is Magnus the traitor. he has custom warjacks that only he has access to. you can have a mercenary army on its own, or mercenary units alongside your regular army. however some mercenary units or characters will not work with certain factions. Magnus the traitor will not work for his old kingdom of cygnar whilst others will not work for khador, cryx, or the

Now i'll compare warmachine to 40k. because it will be compared, as 40k is its main competititon.

Which do i prefer then? "I can't say" is my honest answer. I have no favourites amongst the two, for various reasons.

The first is game balance. 40k is not balanced. By a long shot. Lets face it, you've got 10 year old codices like dark eldar and space wolves, and other codices desperately in need of a rewrite like necrons, tau and daemonhunters all singing off the same hymn sheet. you have several different eras of design philosophy all running with the one rulebook. its all a bit haphazard. And some stuff is obviously better than other stuff. why would i take skyrays, when i can take hammerheads, for example? SOme armies are simply better than others. especailly the new stuff. orks, marines and guard are awesome. Now im not complaining because the rest of it will some day be brought up to standard but in the meantime? half the armies are playing with the decks stacked against them.
Now compare this to warmachine. the designers solved the problem by making everything broken. everything can kill everything else. i like this. even if it comes at a price (nerfing ranged combat).

I think the game mechanics behind warmachine are far superior to 40k. 40k is a relic. move/shoot/assault. roll to hit, wound and armour save. i just prefer how warmachine does it with the armour value integrated into the damage roll. i prfer the feel, and the flow of warmachine games. its more fun. and it has far more depth. and you can do far cooler stuff with it. i prefer the models. i prefer the type of combat. it is more free flowing. its not static. and steam powered fantasy warmechs are awesome!

Now thats not to say warmachine is perfect. Far from it! It has its faults. Whilst everything is broken, some warcasters, units and warjacks will be taken in preference to others. it will always be this way. you will always see the Butcher, Sorcha and Vlad in a Khadoran army. Destroyers and Kodiaks will always be taken in abundance. And iron fangs and widdowmakers will be the backbone of your infantry. Its not just Khador. Cygnar will always have Darius to be competitive. They will always have lancers and centurions, and to a lesser extent, ironclads. and you will always see a tonne of trenchers.
But while this is the case, your force selection is less obvious, and less relevant than in 40k. a Khador Spriggan, or a Cygnar Defender are still awesome warjacks. they will happily kill stuff.

But this is not my big problem with warmachine.

my biggest (even if its a small thing!) gripe with the game is the story, and the warcasters. In 40k, there is scale. there is nothing stopping me from having colonel du galle of the 521st cadian airborne. there is nothing stopping me from having my scions of antioch space marines led by high chaplain Arnold. I can do what i want, and the universe is big enough that it can support that. its what i love about 40k. but with warmachine, your whole world is the size of france. and the same warcaster characters do everything and everything else is just part of the body count. its just a bit... blase and one dimensional, if you get me. I would love to have a generic unnamed warcaster with generic spells and generic weapons (there is a limited ability to do this though with cygnaran journeymen warcasters, but they are a horrible unit) but i have to settle for the special character. it sucks! its like asking marneus calgar to be at the forefront of every single space marine battle. and it will be the same warcasters fighting the same foes every time. that is my big issue. and yes, while i can paint them a bit different, and give them a different name, the world is not big enough that i can just put them in there. its something you just have to get used to, i suppose.

i suppose my second minor gripe with the game is the difficulty in converting the models. it can be done! i've a few small basic conversions on my destroyer so far, and i've totally torn apart and remodelled vlad, but it is nowhere near as easy as customising my 40k stuff.

i know what i wrote above comes across as a huge critisism, but on the whole it is a very minor thing. the game more than makes up for it.
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"What warriors of men can stand beside the Space Wolves! The Sons of Fenris they are, hardened in the forge of their harsh world, eager for battle and honour. They are the grey warriors, ashen like the wolf, whose greatest joy is to hear the clamour of steel amidst the din of war. None can step before them, they are the first, proud in their strength and jealous of their renown. Through the storms of the warp they come, upon the very tides of terror, but of such dangers they are uncaring. They are the Space Wolves, the Undefeated, the bane of the Emperor's foes."
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Old 12 Sep 2009, 12:12   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Warmachine Intro (for budding warcasters)

I just spotted a rather rude word whilst skimming through your Warmachine Intro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadnight
...and they have one really big motherf*****r called the centurion which is their er..."attempt"... to do what the Khadorans do with their warjacks.
I know (and hope) it wasn't intentional. But I thought I'd let you know.
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Old 12 Sep 2009, 13:36   #3 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Warmachine Intro (for budding warcasters)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakashi Sensei
I just spotted a rather rude word whilst skimming through your Warmachine Intro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadnight
...and they have one really big motherf*****r called the centurion which is their er..."attempt"... to do what the Khadorans do with their warjacks.
I know (and hope) it wasn't intentional. But I thought I'd let you know.
cheers. computer gremlins were responsible. the offending critters have been fed to my pet helljack.
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"What warriors of men can stand beside the Space Wolves! The Sons of Fenris they are, hardened in the forge of their harsh world, eager for battle and honour. They are the grey warriors, ashen like the wolf, whose greatest joy is to hear the clamour of steel amidst the din of war. None can step before them, they are the first, proud in their strength and jealous of their renown. Through the storms of the warp they come, upon the very tides of terror, but of such dangers they are uncaring. They are the Space Wolves, the Undefeated, the bane of the Emperor's foes."
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Old 12 Sep 2009, 19:36   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warmachine Intro (for budding warcasters)

I hear to compete with prices you will be able to buy multiple jacks for the price of one, but made out of plastic. I hope this does happen because it would open up a world of converting options that are rather difficult right now.
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Old 13 Sep 2009, 15:50   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Warmachine Intro (for budding warcasters)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTD
I hear to compete with prices you will be able to buy multiple jacks for the price of one, but made out of plastic. I hope this does happen because it would open up a world of converting options that are rather difficult right now.
The newest No Quarter has a section on the Retibution heavy 'jack box. It does have the options for all three different versions, but it is plastic. However, IMO, the Retributions 'jacks lend themselves well to plastic. They are all smooth lines and curves, without a lot of inticate details. Though, I've heard that eventually the entire range will go plastic. For that, I'm not excited.
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Old 16 Sep 2009, 19:30   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Warmachine Intro (for budding warcasters)

What do they plan to do, run tournaments on a larger scale? If they loose their quality, model wise they better be competing with the prices. I hop it develops into the type of game where its cheaper to field huge armies.

That would help balance not having a generic warcaster type you can field. Flexibility with characters is something warhammer does better.
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