Thursday, 22 January 2015

6 Warhammer 40,000 Xenos Factions Who Need Their Own Codex

Well, this is going to get some interesting reactions from people.

Even just looking at a list of the armies currently supported by Games Workshop, the average player will notice an unfortunate trend: The Imperium makes up roughly half the armies in the game. Even discounting the Space Marines, everything from the new Imperial Knights to the severely under-powered Sororitas count as their own individual armies.

Now to top all of this off we yet again have rumours of a full Mechanicum army potentially in the works, with all the gimmicks and firepower you would expect. It's an old rumour, repeated many times, but it's one which has been cropping up more and more lately. Now, in the interests of fairness it's a cool army with plenty of good lore, a justified massive military force, and one which would have good reasons to occasionally fight even other humans. Also in the interests of fairness though, it would be yet another Imperial army to add to the mix of an already over-saturated game. 
So, rather than giving the Imperium one more army to play with, or some Chaos variant of it, what about the many aliens who keep getting overlooked? Here's a short list of six factions, races and sub-sets of the universe who could offer a unique spin on things.

6. Tau Empire Auxiliaries

This is a blindingly obvious one and it remains astounding to this day that Games Workshop has offered so little support to this idea. Of all the factions present in modern 40K, what makes the Tau Empire truly unique is its variety. Rather than just being one race or a handful of survivors, they are a massive cluster of united species growing in strength over time. We have seen this with the main army itself, with constant mentions of the Gue'vesa, and the presence of kroot, vespid and various mercenaries allied or joined with the Empire. Honestly, if you count the idea of Gue'vesa manning Hammerheads or the like, kroot as troops and vespid as fast attack, there's already the starting point for a legitimate army in play here.

There's already enough of a framework here in terms of models to justify a new army, but imagine for a moment this was taken a step further. Imagine for a moment that the army itself took time to actually focus upon the minor races mentioned in the codex or otherwise ignored within the greater scheme of things. The codex lists a multitude of minor races who fulfill a variety of roles, and we've seen even more present in other books, especially Battlefleet Gothic. These have ranged from spider-like creatures to stand-ins for the Yeerks (hats off to anyone who gets that reference) and even a race of potentially psionic beings skilled at void faring. Any one of these could easily be adapted to a battlefield role in some way, with many being noted to carry out the role of light infantry or garrisons among the Empire's armies.

The variety of aliens on hand means they would be able to fulfill niche roles in a manner akin to the Craftworld Eldar and even cover areas which were missed in the main book. No psychics among the Fire Caste? Not a problem, the Empire itself is noted to have multiple psychic races and psykers in its employ, despite what Codex: Farsight Enclaves might claim. They wouldn't be limited purely to what was on offer in Codex: Tau Empire and many could bring a variety of unique and different vehicles, weapons and ideas into play. 

This is also before getting to an obvious point: With so many aliens on offer there is the opportunity for players to create their own races. Perhaps by adding a generator similar the stuff we used to see in fanatic or even the old Chapter Trait rules, players could be coerced to add a bit of individuality to their own forces. Just that little bit of a personal touch to make the army their's rather than the kind we've been getting over past years involving re-painting characters.

This is also before getting to the lore. Codex: Tau Empire had a starting point on many of these races, noting their role or even early interactions with tau emissaries, but it was just a start. If this was written with the page-count of a full codex, even a small one like that given to the Imperial Knights, it would be more than enough to fully expand upon them. Perhaps each would gain a page or two to expand upon their histories, role within the empire or even battlefield mentalities. Then there's the role of the army itself, which could emphasise how they exist within the Empire or coincide with the Fire Caste. Perhaps it could even outline the role they could play as a vanguard force, acting as bodyguards to emissaries trying to introduce new worlds into the Empire and show some form of unity.

There is a truly massive wealth of ideas and knowledge present here, and it's more than enough to build a new book off of. Let's just hope that Games Workshop realises that one day.

5. The Empire of the Severed

In past reviews, you might have noticed i've been especially hard on the remade necrons, often criticising many points when it came to their new direction and aspects. While I do personally stand by many of those points, especially the eldar comparison, i'm not about to say the army had no potential. The big problem more than anything else came from a lack of skill on the part of its writer and the complete unwillingness to retain anything of the old interpretation of the army. Fall of Orpheus has corrected that latter point somewhat, but prior to that we had The Empire of the Severed. 

While barely focused upon in the book save for some brief info, the Empire was originally seen as a token effort to appease fans, with some mixed results. While it was definitely mis-aimed in that regard and really failed to understand what many jaded players had a problem with, the Empire itself has a great deal of potential behind it. The idea is effectively that, while slumbering, a Tomb World suffered catastrophic damage which wiped the minds of those within and damaged the master computer. Now known as the Sarkoni Emperor, the computer began to send out warriors under its control to enforce its will upon as many worlds as possible.

While not an opportunity to return to the Cthulhu style Lovecraftian horror of old books, it does none the less provide a few interesting concepts. Consider that the Sarkoni Emperor has no real value for the individual necrons, uses them as nothing but tools and weapons to help enforce its will further. It would be far more willing to mutilate and alter the bodies of its warriors into the weapons it needed and morph them into outright abominations when needed. Imagine it for a moment, siege weapons formed of the compacted, crushed and compressed bodies of countless necron warriors, wired to work as a single entity. Imagine new airborne units formed out of the galvanized bodies of Destroyers and Tomb Spyders, or even what sort of intentional terror weapons they might use to bring "order" to new worlds. And this is just what new units and models could be made by building upon the old ones.

There's also the idea of the army working to conquer and subjugate other worlds and species via the use of mindshackle scarabs which is particularly interesting. Now, on the one hand a writer could easily make this go wrong by having this be a poor Borg copy in many regards. On the other, it could be taken in a very different way if it were used to bring back certain ideas or take other influences. 
One of the big things a few players took issue with was the removal of Pariahs from the book. While never the most popular unit, people liked the idea and designs behind them enough to warrant some fondness. If the Sarkoni Emperor ended up in a war against Chaos or Warp entities, it would fit with its chilling intelligence to seek out and take blanks or the like for its own armies. Perhaps crafting them into generals or leaders of a very different kind. Perhaps this could also be taken to the other extreme, if it took psykers as weapons and used them to rip open reality in battle, heedless of what it would unleash.

Then of course we have the point of how the lore could be presented to the reader. Some of the most effective Necron lore has been depictions through the eyes of their enemies, written in a manner reminiscent of horror stories and data extracts. It adds a layer of the unknown, of unfamiliarity to the army, and would help to hit home just how different, just how wrong the Emperor's existence might be.

Whatever the case, there's clear potential for a true army here, one both returning to an older idea while trying something new.

4. Squats

Click here to view artwork

Yes, the Squats are on this list and really, after the Sixth Edition, why not? After so many years of giving them the non-person treatment, Games Workshop finally acknowledged that they were once part of the universe and hasn't changed their fate. As such there's still ten thousand years of history to work with when it comes to them, and many of the problems which caused them to be unpopular to arguably ill fitting with the setting could be easily remedied with a new spin on things. Also, yes, they're subhumans but they're the only one not rolled into the Astra Militarum Imperial Guard and occasionally treated as a separate species.

As daft as their old designs and look might have been, that was back in an era where just about everything emulated that same neon cartoonishly grimdark look. Space marines were more ape-like than their current selves, eldar were even more multicoloured than their modern selves and the guns were so huge that the venerable bolter looked tame by comparison. If you want a good example of how much things have changed, compare the old Imperial Knights with their modern redesign in recent years. There would be nothing to stop Games Workshop just throwing away the aesthetic they didn't think worked or radically altering them, perhaps as much for the army as a whole as its look.

One of the chief attempts to bring back the idea of Squats was via the Demiurg, a Tau Empire allied race of short miners who operated in brotherhoods. Unfortunately they were sadly sidelined and overlooked beyond Battlefleet Gothic and a couple of mentions in Xenology. This said those same ideas could easily be re-worked into this to some degree. Perhaps here the Squats could keep the nomadic idea, one of constantly being on the move rather than chained down to a handful of worlds and avoiding direct fighting. Perhaps many of their weapons and armour could be reverse-engineered mining equipment to give them a unique aesthetic. Beyond the obvious use of mining lasers, the armies themselves could consist of small numbers of actual Squats, augmented by countless drones and controlled purely mechanical units. It's territory which other armies have touched upon (Tau sniper teams etc) but never built an entire army out of.

That could be enough to start building the army in terms of giving them a more individual spin on things. In terms of lore though, the main priority would just really need to be emulating certain aspects of dwarves without going full bore into the Fantasy interpretation. As this was the problem which had them removed in the first place, and the whole "tradition, honour, grudges" angle has been absorbed into the average Space Marine chapter, focusing upon their role as miners and mechanics would be a better direction. If they were quietly invading Imperial space, that and their use of massed mechanical units would be enough of a reason to keep them separate from the Imperium. Humanity could see them as a slowly invading force and they could easily be set up as having a lengthy enmity with the Mechanicum, which would allow them to remain truly individual. What's more is that if they were mining precious metals from within humanity's realm and selling it to xenos races, there would be definite storytelling potential behind their activities.

If this sounds a little more general than the previous ones, that's primarily because of what would be required to truly incorporate past ideas and interpretations. That said though, there's still enough potential and infamy behind the army to at least consider resurrecting them.

3. Rak'Gol

Of all those on this list, this is certainly going to be the one few mainstream 40K fans will have heard of. Having originated from the Rogue Trader RPG, the Rak'Gol are a surprisingly well fleshed out and creepy background race. If you want the full details they can be found here, but the short version is that they are a highly advanced race of psychotic marauders. Having recently emerged from the Halo Stars, the aliens have emerged indiscriminately killing all they see before retreating once again, their warriors appearing as horrifically warped and altered sub-species of their kind.

Now, already many will be pointing out the obvious: This sounds a lot like the Dark Eldar. Both the pirate, body horror and terror angles are areas which that army has already covered. What's more is that the Rak'Gol themselves are primarily set up to offer GMs plenty of freedom. Their lore never gives full answers so they might serve as a malleable enemy to be shaped into whatever the campaign requires. 

Now, in fairness there is a definite degree of truth to such accusations and it would take some reworking by a talented writer to really get the ball rolling here. At the same time though, a lot of the basic groundwork for this race is already there. The detail given by Fantasy Flight Games is far in advance of what's usually given by Games Workshop and does a lot to set the overall themes of the army. 

In addition to this, the Rak'Gol's overall aesthetic design and many of their elements actually more closely emulate Tyranid Swarms. They are seen to be some strange mixture of reptile, mammal, insect and other creatures, splitting off into various different sub-species but lack the Hive Mind element. They use technology, are driven by an insatiable hunger and hunt down others in a frantic rush. If anything they could be used to make a much darker take upon the old idea of the Zoats, some intelligent offshoot of the Tyranid Hive which has gone rogue. After all, the Zoats mainly failed due to having little real direction or unique presence behind them resulting in their unpopularity. By comparison, the Rak'Gol here have a distinct style, theme and enough here to make them unique from the get go.

Tactically the race seems to favour various swarm tactics or rapid sledgehammer strikes to instantly cripple and bring down their foes. Their lore so far emphasises the use of infantry and vessels over vehicles, favouring hunting parties more than anything else. This can be a hard sell, and means that much of their armour would have to originate from aircraft rather than true ground vehicles. At the same time though, it would fit the same sort of glass cannon archetype that many races beyond space marines fall into there's a lot to be said for the army's themes of bionic enhancement and sheer savagery. Given how surprisingly low tech they are, if added the faction could easily fall into a slot which could combine tactical elements of orks, dark eldar and tyranids, an interesting mix of points to be sure if given to the right designer. Oh, and they also happily carry nuclear powered lasers, axes and weapons into battle, so there could finally be some fun radiation related rules in the game with them.

I'll freely admit that the reason they have been picked out is largely thanks to the effective atmosphere and depth given to the race by Fantasy Flight Games, and they are written as a minor race. With all that said though, they are one of the few truly minor races who seems to retain the potential to be a full army in their own right.

2. Eldar Exodites

Yep, all of you saw this one coming, but really how could they not be on this list? This is an army of highly psychic survivalist elf ninjas who ride dinosaurs with laser cannons on their backs. Much as they might be used as a punching bag (a bad one even by eldar standards) there's everything here needed for a great new army if given the time and development. Better yet, rather than just being treated as another craftworld there are elements here which make them stand out on their own without being simple substitutes.

Now, some elements of the army could easily use bits and pieces from Codex: Eldar or Codex: Dark Eldar forces as inspiration. Their Dragon Knights for example do bare some distinct similarities in descriptions and the methods they strike to Shining Spear Aspect Warriors, and the main weapons found on their bigger beasts of war are often outlined as being variations of eldar weapons. As such, the main risk her would be supplanting too many elements from another army and effectively copying and pasting them into this one. Something which is sadly a definite potential issue given what we've seen in codices of past years, especially in terms of lore. This said though, there could be a good balance struck by emphasising upon their lower tech nature which would help them break away from the others a little.

Effectively 40K's equivalent of Fantasy's Wood Elves, the Exodites blend high tech firepower with a more peaceful nature attuned to their world. While voluntarily primitive, their odd mixture of rustic and advanced aspects of society could be an interesting angle to pursue. In the old kroot army list back when White Dwarf did more than advertise new products, the idea for such an army emphasised stealth, guerrilla tactics, traps and ambush points. These ideas could be taken a step further from what we know of the Exodites. While much more physically and psychically hardly than their Craftworld cousins, they would still be a glass cannon force. As such would probably favour any method which could weaken or slow down a foe, then swoop in for the kill. While perhaps not utilising punji traps, they could instead rely upon other methods: ghosts drawn up by the World Spirit to inflict terror or psychicly harm invaders, or have a World-Shaper repeatedly shift the terrain to cause an enemy force problems.

Being survivors of The Fall, and with Eldar Empire technology being as diverse and fragmented as it is, there's also no telling what the Exodites might have brought with them to help defend the planet. The last update they received had the Exodites as the sole groups still retaining access to Eldar Knights (eldar versions of Imperial Knights) and artwork has often featured the race wielding strange and previously unknown weapons. This would leave the door open to entirely new ideas and would help create some story ideas, perhaps with the Mechanicum or even dark eldar seeking to steal any items of value for their own research. The very fact they have access to the Webway, are frequently in contact with multiple craftworlds like Alaitoc and Biel-Tan, and are more frequently met up troupes of Harlequins are all threads which could be developed for narrative appeal.

Going further into ideas which could help bolster the army's lore, there are a few distinctly unique aspects which remain interesting but unexplored. While the basics of their society has been outlined, enough to make them a very stable and detailed civilisation, little has been done to cover a few interesting points. Chief among these has been the presence of the World Spirit, an alternate version of the Infinity Circuit found within Craftworlds. It's been seen to act very differently in a manner to them, ranging from drawing up ghosts of the departed to outright melding them into one entity. A few people have even suggested that the destruction of several prominent Exodite worlds might have resulted in the creation of mini-Ynneads. Then of course we have the way in which each one has adapted to their new world, potentially allowing for some variation and individuality between player armies and just what each one might value as opposed to others.

Really, of all the ones listed on here, the Exodites remain one of the easiest ones to adapt and get right.

1. Hrud

Yeah, much as people might love the Exodites there's one more which has a few very interesting traits to help them stand out: The Hrud. Initially an attempt to build up a 40K version of the Skaven, the Hrud are a massive race lurking in the dark deep places of the universe. Staying constantly out of sight, they remain hidden and avoid outright conflict, yet are an extremely dangerous race, one which could easily be adapted to a full army.

While initially only kept to the background, a few stories over the past years have seriously helped make them stand out. Chief among these was Xenology, which gave a highly detailed account of their biology, society and a few hints of their true nature. This showed them taking humans as slaves and managing to build warrens beneath heavily populated worlds, remaining hidden beyond sight yet managing to build massive city-sized underground labyrinths. It gave the impression of an alien force capable of nestling away within the Imperium's heartland effectively unseen, capable of infiltrating and hiding away to a degree only matched by Genestealer Cults.

However, while high numbers and infiltration make them effective, what allows them to remain truly deadly is their biological traits and technology. Hrud thrive amid toxins which would outright kill most humans and actively refine it, making directly attacking their warrens a dangerous task but more threatening by far is the entropic field they can generate. The reverse of a stasis field, it can accelerate decay, aging and entropy at an astounding rate, to a point where even the greatest of the Imperium's warriors can fall before them. These are usually best displayed during the race's migrations from world to world, with particularly large ones being responsible for both the near destruction of the Star Phantoms chapter and a Crusade era Iron Warriors taskforce. Oh, and if that wasn't enough they also have guns which fire raw Warp energy at people.

Much like the Rak'Gol, these seem to lean much more towards a massed infantry assault army, but there's enough here on the tabletop for it to be adapted into a variety of roles. The few direct confrontations with the Hrud have been sketchily detailed at best, but each and every time has required a massive response from the Imperium. These have ranged from either from the astartes themselves or multiple entire regiments of Imperial Guard. As such, despite their superior numbers and design, Games Workshop could easily turn this into a tank race, with heavy armour and firepower but few real numbers. They have details, but they are extremely malleable as a concept.

In terms of lore there is distinctively less to go on than the Exodites or others here, but what little is given is very interesting indeed. Foremost among these is their religion, which has the race retaining some link to the Old Ones, worshiping Qah and having fought against the C'Tan armies during the War in Heaven. Atop of this, Qah is supposedly one of the few to survive to any degree, splintering into shadowy beings known as the Umbra and prophesied to return upon facing a mysterious foe.

So, what game designers are left with is this: An unused race with access to superior firepower and numbers, linked back to the War in Heaven itself, with connections to the future, yet are still a relatively blank slate. Yeah, if any one on here was going to be created here and now, it seems like this one would be one of the best choices to flesh out into a full blown faction. They're more widespread than the Tau Empire or Rak'Gol, more numerous than the Squats or Exodites and have a long history to play about with. If anything they're really set up to be the perfect faction to fit into whatever future Games Workshop has planned for the franchise.

So, there's a few suggestions. This isn't a top six list so please don't think that one is being ranked atop the other, but it does show how vast a universe designers have to work with and how much they could alter or adapt things to focus more upon aliens. These are just a few examples after all, some of the more prominent ones, and many more could easily be made to fit in with the setting without disrupting any existing canon. Let's just hope Games Workshop realises this enough to start focusing upon more aliens and less space marines.

If you have a few suggestions of your own, or even objections to those listed here, please feel free to add them in the comments. There's probably a few good ones i've missed.


  1. Hmmm... I dunno, since you state at the very top of this article that you feel there's too much Imperium in the game, and I certainly agree, I doubt that adding more Tau, Necrons and Eldar to the game will be an improvement.

    Your ideas about the Squats/Demiurg, Rak'Gol and Hrud, however, I'm very keen on. I especially like the idea of the former using repurposed mining equipment as weaponry, though that might be my love of Warmachine's Rhul rearing its head. Still, having space dwarfs as a playable race (again) seems like it'd be pretty nifty.

    The Hrud seem like it'd be a pretty cool cross between the Skaven and the X-Files. The Rak'Gol is the only species I'm not so certain of, but that's mostly because I don't particularly care for their centauroid appearance.

    Unrelated to the rest of the article, have you considered writing a review/opinion piece on the "The End Times" series? It seems, to me at least, as if it'll end up with GW consolidating all of the factions into broader groups (Bretonnia, Empire and the Dwarfs just becoming The Empire, Dark-, High- and Wood Elves just becoming Elves, etc), Before inevitably selling the Dark Elves as a supplement to the elves armybook, for instance.

    1. Well, the addition of a few proper armies (perhaps just one or two to certain forces) would be enough to make them feel like actual factions. The issue with the Imperium-centric game as it stands is that it makes too many xenos races seem like side factions. Rather than genuine threats or galactic powers in their own right, it makes them seem as if they are secondary, forces only large enough to warrant a single book at most. While this might be somewhat true of certain armies, even the small ones like the Tau Empire or remnants like the Eldar are a lot bigger and more powerful than people give them credit for. That addition, plus the variety on offer, might really help the viewpoint of people starting the game.

      Oddly enough though, it was actually the Rhul I ended up looking at the most when thinking up of how the Squats could possibly be taken in a new direction. Along with Infinity and Firestorm Armada, it's one of those i've been looking to get into as an alternative to 40K and Fantasy. There's plenty of generally god ideas in both after all, and taking a few as inspiration for 40K seemed like a way to offer some fresh blood to the setting.

      To answer your point about The End Times though, personally i'm on the fence. There's been no opportunity to actually read the books so i'm trying to hold off on saying anything until then, but a lot of things sound like really bad ideas. The many factions of the game are so directly opposed to one another that it really seems that they'd be stretching it to add them together. For example, turning Elves into a single faction just wouldn't work. The Wood Elves have no love for either side and it's been long established that they consider both other factions to be lost, and want nothing to do with them. The High Elves and Dark Elves are bitter enemies, and their joining up would only make sense if they made some really, truly brain-dead retcons like claiming the Dark Elves actually worshiped the Elven Pantheon and were not influenced in the slightest by Chaos.

      The other problem is that, along with most of the supplements being generally quite badly written as a rule leaving that problem in question, diversity has always been Warhammer's greatest strength. It offers a massive number of armies both in Fantasy an 40K, and as a result it makes the setting seem huge. Narrowing them down like this just makes it seem far smaller, and it's not helped by the fact they've overlooked many obvious alliances. Empire and Dwarves mostly works, but Bretonnia would likely be more closely allied with the Wood Elves if anyone. They're one of the very few armies they're on occasionally good terms with, and one of the few they'd team up with out of sheer desperation.

      Still, that's just my personal opinion without having actually read the books, so please take this as such.

    2. To be fair with The End Times, I can say that I like the explanation for why the elves all join forces, they handle the Wood Elves fairly quickly and in a way that makes the most sense since if their leaders say something they'll do it since they love them so much, (though how they get their leaders to change their opinion is a bit iffier), now why the High Elves join with the Dark Elves is a bit questionable, they have an explanation I liked but some people don't quite buy it.

      They actually do bring up how some of the Dark Elves make deals with Slaanesh and his Daemons (and that a number of them are affected by Chaos in different ways), and these ones are one of the groups that end up being the books antagonists since not all of the Dark Elves join up with Malekith, who I'm not sure ever had any direct deals or influence with Daemons aside from a stroll in the Realm of Chaos, though since this is Fantasy the Realm of Chaos is mostly just mildly unpleasant if you just stay in the wastes. Not all the High Elves follow Malekith either and most of the book is set with Malekith trying to deal with the elves still against him. One more thing too is that Khaine actually is part of the Elven Pantheon (which is why the High Elves have used the Widowmaker already), even though he's one that the High Elves don't like..

      As for narrowing the armies, I can agree that they should keep the books diverse, but I do not think they need as many separate books as they have, for example in the Wood Elves army book, it's (ironically) possible to field a force that has no Wood Elves whatsoever and it has items that help such armies, as well as having a character that used to require such an army before they can be fielded. If they keep the books like that, where it's still possible to field the separate forces and you'd receive special advantages for doing so (and maybe make it so that you could only have certain alliances if you field a certain army), then I think that could keep the diversity as well as cut down on the amount of books and individual armies around.

    3. ... eh... hehehe... funny you should mention brain-dead retcons... um... turns out that Malekith wasn't rejected by the Flame of Asuryan when he stepped into it to become king of the Elves, he just stepped out too soon, and everyone just sort of assumed that he'd been rejected. So he and his mum traveled to Naggaroth, where his mother set up a cult to Atharti, which everyone assumed was a Slaanesh cult.

      Then Naggaroth gets invaded by Chaos from the North, so Malekith leaves for Ulthuan.

      The next part is quoted directly from 1d4chan: "Malekith and Teclis reveal that Malekith was the chosen Eternity King of Asuryan, destined to take the throne after his father. By allowing a vote for king he defied Asuryan's will, and the corruption of the Chaos Gods made them not choose the cousin of the queen to sire her heir (seriously not making this shit up). Malekith was supposed to kill Bel-Shanaar and test himself in the Pyre. But he was unable to withstand the pain, and failed Asuryan's test. Asuryan cursed every Phoenix King (a position not intended to have ever existed) with madness, and used what little remained of his strength to undo each of them and bring their achievements to woe. He then awaited the true chosen king to return to Ulthuan and test himself again.

      "Malekith walks through the Pyre of Asuryan a second time. The last of Asuryan's strength enters him. The Shrine of Asuryan sinks beneath the waves, Asuryan dies forever, and Malekith awakens a demigod.

      "Malekith sets up court in Athel Loren and is crowned "Eternity King".

      "The three races of Elves are forbidden from fighting each other. To satiate their murder-lust (which is lessened since most of the Khainites are now dead or were disappeared shortly after Malekith took the throne) the Dark Elves have taken to raiding Bretonnia.

      "All three races of Elves all but wipe out Beastmen in Athel Loren, mostly at the direction of the Sisters of Twilight. "

      I wish I was making all of that up.

    4. You know, I will still reserve judgement until I read it, but Jesus titty fucking Christ that sounds horrific!

    5. @Buzzkill I completely forgot about the Morathi retcon, but she does still make deals with Slaanesh daemons (and summon them too as well as have priestesses that do the same) in the book so I guess it just slipped my mind.

      1d4chan isn't exactly a great resource, think of it as more of a more reactionary wikipedia without sources (though most of the users on the wiki are very reasonable).

      I don't remember that first paragraph at all, flicking through my book I cannot find it, and since Teclis lies more than a 40K Lord of Change I'm not sure how honest it is anyway (he also claims that at several points Asuryan was worse than Khaine who used to be a good God, all the while trying to think of how to trick everyone into believing his lies) since in the book he's a really unreliable narrator. I suppose once everyone has read the book we could have a really good interesting discussion about how much Teclis is telling the truth about (if any) and how much he is lying about.

      Actually Asuryan's shrine sinks because the Lothern Sea Guard were laying siege to it and trying to sink it before Malekith could get to the flame (as well as trying to kill the Phoenix Guard who they thought had betrayed them). Malekith walks out with Asuryan's blessing but isn't that any stronger than he was before he walked in, Teclis convinced him to do it more for political power than any other reason.

      The reason he sets up court in Athel Loren is part of a spoiler I cannot talk about until everyone has read the book, it's pretty major, though given what happens it does make sense.

      While I dislike the Dark Elves raiding Bretonnia, the Wood Elves are no longer raiding Bretonnia any more so it breaks even in the long run (though given what happens later I'm very curious what they're going to do with this).

      They push the Beastmen back, not quite wiping them out they just retreat.

      I think after this though we should hold back on discussing The End Times until everyone has read it, if you're just interested in the Elves though Bellarius then they're only mentioned in a few pages in Nagash, and as such you can read Khaine without the previous books (it also does a decent job on catching you up if you skipped Nagash).

    6. Sorry, but this still sounds really badly put together and consists of some of the worst retcons I have seen since the Star Wars prequels were first screened. Most of this doesn't even make a shred of sense and the rest is either complete character assassination or the kind of storytelling which comes from putting someone who doesn't care or know about thing about the setting in charge of a tale.

      I'm honestly not sure I want to touch the End Times with a ten foot pole after "lol actually phoenix king lol" has been retconned into the story.

    7. Again, I'm not sure how much I trust Teclis, I was having a discussion with a friend about this (who really likes the all three of the Elves) and we ended up debating about whether Asuryan burned him because of what he did and only later made him Phoenix King because there wasn't any other candidate the surviving Elves would get behind given the time left, or whether Teclis was telling the truth (I favoured the former and he favoured the latter). The book itself doesn't concretely say if Teclis is telling the truth on this or not and all we've got is Teclis' word that he isn't lying. Both Malekith and Imrik actually call BS on this too when Teclis tells them and Malekith had no intention of walking into the flame again. It was only later when he wasn't really left with a choice that he walked into the fire (as at the time he could either walk into the fire and hope Asuryan saved his life or die).

      To be fair too, even after he is crowned the Phoenix King the High Elves don't automatically follow him (part of this too has to deal with the fact that his personality doesn't change, meaning he's a really horrible Pheonix King compared to everyone else), the majority of provinces he didn't already control flat out refuse his rule (including the Tower of Hoeth), he becomes Phoenix King a little over halfway into the book and others were so horrified by this they immediately went to join the ones opposing him.

      I was also looking through the older books with my friend while having that debate and found that Morathi's retcon actually happened in 7th edition, well before The End Times. She was changed by Gav Thorpe to worshipping "Dark Gods" and in her character page it says she worships the Dark Gods of the Elf Pantheon and doesn't directly mention Slaanesh at all.

      In case you're wondering why Teclis is doing what he's doing, it's because he thinks The End Times will be the death of the Elves, so he's doing everything he possibly can to stop that from happening, (which is why he's favouring Malekith since no Dark Elf would follow a High Elf), he thinks Malekith can bring the High Elves to heel, and he's relying on The Everqueen to get the Wood Elves on their side (how she does that is one of the things I find questionable though). His main hope is that with all three races united in Athel Loren they can weather The End Times without going extinct.

      At the very least I'd say it's worth reading, as even at its worst it Khaine is nowhere near as painful as some of the Codex's you've gone through or any of the 40K supplements (barring Black Legion).

  2. I didn't see this article coming, but I enjoyed it, as far as the armies go though I'm not sure the Tau Auxiliaries are needed as it seems you can do those just fine by allying in some Vespid and Kroot to an Imperial Guard army, though in the same vein it would be easy to make that army in the same way as the Storm of Chaos armies or the current End Times armies (just list what you can take and where).

    I'll admit I've never heard of The Empire of The Severed, though a while ago I recommended making it possible to have an army of nothing but Canoptek creatures because of the whole mindless beings following programmed orders, and this seems like it's going by the same concept, so I'm going to look it up some more.

    I'm not sure the Squats could be interesting, but I'm not sure what they'd give them that they couldn't do with the other factions, maybe if they did something like what they're doing with the Death Korps of Krieg (like being able to dig underground and pop out for example) the could be neat.

    I agree with the Rak'Gol and the Exodites, and don't have anything else to add to them.

    The Hrud I was surprised to see on here, they always seemed kind of limited to me, but reading about that entropic field makes it clear I need to read up on them some more because I didn't know they could do that.

    As for armies that aren't on here, two I'd like to see done are firstly the Dark Mechanicus, and the Enslavers:

    The Dark Mechanicus because there's near limitless amounts of Daemon possessed mechanical abominations that could be made, the Horus Heresy books show that they can even use dead bodies linked together to form a squad of almost aware creatures they can control, and the Grey Knight books make it clear there's fleshing out that could be done there, and maybe just by adding rules onto the current Mechanicus rules that are in the Horus Heresy FW books.

    The Enslavers because they were at one point capable of running an army, and the game focussed on trying to keep control of everything which gave the army a unique way of playing the game, and considering how widespread they can get and the creatures they can control they are ones that can become very diverse too.

    1. well, to answer your own suggestions first, this was actually going to be a much broader article covering basic sub-factions. The Dark Mechanicus were actually going to be a primary example, citing a lot of the stuff seen in the book you reference and even some parts of the Horus Heresy. The problem was that in trying to write it, I started to realise that just about all of them were human based in some way. The Adeptus Arbites, Mechanicum and many others were all either found within the Imperium or human traitors, and it made me realise just how slanted the focus of the universe really was in terms of its overall armies. Hence, along with the rumours, why it became completely alien focused.

      This said though, there will probably be a human focused article at a later date, just not right now.

      As for the Enslavers, yes and no. Personally I think the major advantage of the Enslavers is that they are one of the few real threats which cannot be just killed, banished or brought down with a bolter. The few times they've shown up, the Imperium has practically run from them, to the point where the Storm Wardens were willing to abandon an entire fortress. They certainly have the power and abilities to really be a major contender, but I personally think they should be treated like a Greater Daemon or C'Tan: Have them only show up very few in number, but make them almost unstoppable. Perhaps also make them a part of a wider focus, an army based upon the Warp entities and creatures not allied with the Ruinous Powers. There's certainly a few out there not directly influenced by Chaos.

      Answering your other points though, the Tau Auxiliaries i'm talking about are less about just the ones we know and instead all of the Auxiliaries. The humans, kroot and vespid are just the ones with models and there are actually well over a dozen other races which have been mentioned in lore which serve as troops in some way. While the above three might be a major part, the idea of the codex would be to take advantage of that diversity and make better use of the variety of aliens there are on hand. It's a long shot to get Games Workshop aboard with it, but there's plenty of good opportunities to be found with the established facts we know of.

      The Empire of the Severed are a good idea, the problem is that little to nothing has yet been done with them. There was about a paragraph of generic info covering a Tomb World gone rogue and that was sadly about it. Personally i'm really hoping that someone stumbles across it at some point, perhaps an expedition by a recently awakened Dynasty or other force.

      Well, the main thing which would be of benefit to the Squats would be focusing upon an area barely looked into by other armies. Drones were one suggested before because, beyond a few examples by the Tau, fast moving purely mechanical creations of that size are often kept to supporting roles rather than primary ones. It does need a little fleshing out admittedly and a few unique angles, your example being a good one, but personally I really do think they could be made to work.

      Well, the Hrud have only really started to get some respect in recent years, and a lot of the info comes from Xenology. That said there are a lot of interesting ideas surrounding them which could make them a truly viable army.

    2. That's fair enough regarding the Dark Mechanicus, Enslavers, and the Tau Auxiliaries, as for armies that aren't quite human factions I think we can look to the old Witch Hunters/Daemonhunters for some interesting ideas, here are a few:

      "A group of Humans are fighting on the side of the Necrons, perhaps they are simply enslaved, but perhaps they are some form of 'proto-pariah', a new troop whose transformation is not yet complete." This could be tied into either the new Necrons trying to get organic bodies back (by studying the transference process more) or could be tied into the Empire of the Severed Hand trying to bring more worlds under its control, and it doesn't have to be just humans they are doing this to either.

      "A hive ship was sucked into the Warp and what emerged was corrupted beyond all reason." Now I found out only recently that this used to be a thing, though before it was corrupted Genestealer Cults that were worshipping Chaos, and as such had several mutants to set them apart from the other armies (like Daemonic Tyranids).

      "A possessed captive or dangerous psychic has escaped the Daemonhunters custody and has taken refuge with the Tau." One of the things I find the most interesting about the Tau are how they know very little about Chaos or Psykers in general, having a rogue possessed infiltrate and maybe take control of a group of auxiliaries could be interesting.

      There are several more examples but those are the ones I thought had the most promise.

    3. The first two do actually sound like quite promising examples and ones which would be worth pursuing, ones which are quite interesting on the whole. The third unfortunately is based upon a misnomer. The Tau Empire actually knows a hell of a lot about the Warp and psykers, and the only thing saying otherwise is the horrifically badly written Farsight Enclaves. It's actually noted that one of the very first races to join them were an entire species of psykers who drove their ships purely by telekinesis, and they associate Chaos as being an aspect of pure destruction and the complete antithesis of all they believe in. It's just a shame however wrote that codex opted to do no research on the subject.

    4. I didn't know about that, if the Tau really do have races like that on their side then the Tau Auxiliaries would definitely get my interest as far as what they could do in a Codex. The only thing about that is I'd hope they move away from Farsight Enclave's version of the Etherals if they mention or for some reason have them in the Auxiliaries.

    5. Looking at GW recently, and out of all the available factions I didn't remember the Eldar Harlequins, it seems GW did though and it looks like they might be getting their own book (though it appears it's just a normal novel coming alongside the new models). I think they'd be a good idea since there's a lot you an expand upon with them and it would help expand the Eldar race as a faction alongside the Exodites.

    6. Yeah, i've got to admit in retrospect the Harlequins are an army I really should have added to this list. Due to their small numbers and how the unit worked I honestly thought they were going to just be kept to a small unit you could attach to another army, but with more models showing up we might actually be in with a shot at a proper codex again hopefully. Probably not soon but sometime in the future.