Monday, 18 November 2013
Clan Raukaan - Warning Signs (Supplement Codex)
It might be a bit too early on to completely condemn the book, but some major warning signs have already emerged surrounding the next supplement codex. Games Workshop has released a good deal surrounding the overall direction of the chapter's new additions to the lore, and every mistake imaginable is present within them.
As most longtime readers will know, the vast majority of the books have suffered from having a minimal number of actual army rules and items for basic Warhammer 40,000 games. These tend to be devoted much more heavily to lore, with every book barring one exception thus far having failed spectacularly to deliver any significant degree of quality background to any army. It looks like Codex: Clan Raukaan is only going to repeat past mistakes and potentially be even worse than the supplement devoted to the Sentinels of Terra.
The first warning sign emerged with a blog post from Black Library which discussed elements of the chapter. Well, okay the first one was the fact this was going to heavily tie into Wrath of Iron but opinions vary upon how well that book portrayed the chapter. Anyway, the blog post advertised this as being "by far the most comprehensive look at the background of the whole Chapter we’ve made yet, covering their 10,000 year history of battle in the Emperor’s name." This is despite the fact the entire thing is focused upon one company, but would be an easy thing to do given how the last time they were really given an in-depth treatment all the way back in Index Astartes. Unfortunately for us, this was followed directly afterwards with this statement:
"The Iron Hands are famous for two things: their reliance on machines, and the fact their Primarch lost his head in the heat of battle (literally and figuratively)."
This is the only statement actually regarding the presentation in the book or content. Nothing is mentioned of their unique structure unlike those of Codex adherent chapters, their mental state, their approaches to war or even their ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus. No, it's just bionics and the fact Ferrus was angry prior to his death. The word "reliance" also does not suggest the that their use of bionics will be treated in the best light, making it sound like a crutch to them rather than an asset. Still, the post was more dedicated to making a sales pitch about the codex and its artwork (probably because the Iron Hands did not have enough to just recycle as with other books) and it was brief. The post was worthy of raising eyebrows at certainly, but not some massive point of concern.
Things still could turn out well.
But then the previews came out.
Image after image displayed getting even absolute basics wrong about the chapter. Can you guess what it is? They've chosen to specifically display an old Iron Hands initiation tradition of replacing one fist with a bionic implant, a long standing factoid in the chapter. Here's the problem: The artist did it to the wrong hand!
In that lovely close up of several marines, all of them are shown as having the right hand specifically removed with the left one apparently still being organic. The problem is every author prior to this has always had it the other way around. Still, it's one goof in one image even if it's a major one. It would be forgivable, were it not for two things:
Firstly, the fact every single last following image did the same.
Secondly, the fluff completely discards a vast amount of elements unique to the chapter.
The book's Youtube trailer displayed similar problems, one page revealing this to us:
This sounds fine at first. Somewhat exaggerated perhaps given what Furnous survived before being entombed within a dreadnought but what the hell. It's a decent example of what the driving force behind the chapter can achieve, forcing their marines to survive. That is, until you see the following passage:
"Once an Iron Chaplain within the ranks of Clan Company Raukaan, brother Furnous was mortally wounded amid the destruction of the traitor Titan Angron's Fist."
No, not Iron Father. Iron Chaplain. Yes, it seems that the Iron Hands suddenly have Chaplains now, causing no end of headaches as to what this means with Iron Fathers taking the dual role of Chaplain and Techmarine. One who apparently preaches heresy, referring to the Emperor and Omnissiah as separate figures. This might be something innocent, but it's a step towards making them more like Codex adherent forces. It's not the last time we would see this either. In fact this is just one of a good two or three we've had strongly suggesting the entire chapter has been shunted towards being adherent to the Codex Astartes.
Oh wait, no. The book doesn't even bother to just "suggest" that the Iron Hands are adherent to the Codex Astartes, it outright says it:
So yes, their whole decentralised structure? Their whole treatment of the chapter's individual Clan Companies as being demi-chapters who governed themselves, and had more than one hundred astartes? All gone, the last remnants being their names "Clans" which is put down entirely to a cosmetic attribute. Worse still, this completely destroys all previous depictions of the Iron Hands having had terminator suits reserved for sergeants, with a First Company now being present, or even staying in line with the Horus Heresy novels. Rather than having Morelocks as the elite, all of the terminators during the Heresy were supposedly fighting under the banner of "Clan Avernii".
Once again Games Workshop has displayed unyielding apathy when it comes to actually having authors who research what they are writing about. Or even cares about the army they are writing about. The book isn't even out yet and already what little we have seen has completely betrayed all previous incarnations and depictions of the chapter.