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Dan_of_Hats

Age of Sigmar: Can it work as a setting?

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OK, dirty confession time. I don't hate Age of Sigmar.

 

*Ducks what is likely a hail of projectiles of varying sorts hurled in my general direction*

 

In all seriousness, I was never that invested in the tabletop game, so while I do have sympathy that a lot of people who were felt more than a little cheated, it never hit me in the same way. I enjoyed a lot of the ideas that came out of the End Times, I liked the idea of focusing on a setting where the supposed Gods of Order are actually being as proactive as the Chaos gods for once, and it shook up what had been a pretty tired "World tumbling into anarchy at the eleventh hour" stalemate where no one faction could actually enjoy a lasting victory without being put immediately into checkmate again. Even the rules I can't dig on too harshly, because several of my friends who do play it very much enjoy it (although even they believe the way they were introduced was a bit pants-on-head stupid), and the models are pretty awesome, if a little overcompensating at times.

 

So yeah, I don't hate Age of Sigmar as a tabletop game. But I HAAAAAATE the books released so far.

 

In AoS, they had an opportunity to put their best foot forward, to really sell us on the mythic setting where seemingly infinite planes of existence drawn from the very Winds of Magic play host to battles that would have shook the entire Old World that came before it to its very core. They have a stable of some actually very talented writers working with Black Library, and its easy to forget that Dan Abnett really took off in the community after writing the first Eisenhorn book as essentially a tie-in to GW's Inquisitor skirmish game. Proof positive that tie-in fiction to promote your new IP doesn't need to be arse. Yet having read the first four or so books in the Realmgate War arc, I am left feeling very cold towards it.

 

But this isn't a rant about poor fiction. I think there's some honest potential for some epic adventuring to be had in the setting, and the recent Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower game release only makes me believe that all the more. What it lacks right now is context - the game screams at the top of its lungs how huge and awesome it is in scope, but gives us so little to form a sense of that scale that it comes across as horribly desperate to seem impressive, which rarely makes something actually seem impressive.

 

So, I wanted to start this thread mostly to bounce some ideas around as to how to make the game appealing, both in terms of fluff and how to perhaps mechanically represent these ideas, ideally using existing material for reference. I personally have not played WFRP 3E (although I've played a fair bit of the FFG Star Wars games), and I'm far more familiar with the 40K stuff, so my own experience would lead me towards a D100 system, but for now I'm just focusing on trying to figure out how to make the setting function properly in order to have a place to set games in it first, and save the mechanical debate for a later time.

 

I'd be very interested to hear other peoples suggestions, feedback and so on, although I do ask that if you choose to throw criticism at it because it's Age of Sigmar and you don't like it at all, please keep it brief, I'm not looking to start a flame war at all.

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Realmgates: How do they work?

 

So, lets talk about the Realms first and foremost, given that there have been few established rules presented to us thus far concerning how they operate. As near as I can tell, they are infinite in scope, being as they are planes formed from the mystical ideals of their respective wind of magic. That may sound very impressive, but in truth an infinite plane is horribly impractical to try and form a civilization on, let alone adventure in. Lets break it down a bit at a time for further analysis. Note that I'm writing this assuming the civilizations in question are those belonging to Order during the time it was establishing itself, before Chaos stormed in and wrecked everyones stuff.

 

Geography & Navigation

So you've got an infinite plane? Chances are it probably hasn't got a horizon like you and I might understand then. If the plane is truly infinite, then it would most likely be flat and not a sphere moving through a void like the Earth is, since if it curved around even slightly it would inevitably come back around on itself, and thus be finite in scope. The Realms are not planets, and that means things like how the horizon looks will also be different - chances are you can see a lot further (eyesight and lack of obstructions permitting) on the Planes than you can on Earth. You also likely won't have any sort of magnetic poles (or in the case of Chamon, too many to make much use out of), so deciding where North is requires an agreed central point to focus your maps on. That point in all likelihood would be the Realmgate, since there's apparently only one for each Realm (which again is horribly impractical to have only a singular conventional means of entry and exist from whatever Realm you happen to be in), and the vast majority of efforts to found communities will be focused as close to these Realmgates as possible; it'd probably be the rule that every Realms capitol would be founded directly around their respective gate.

 

Celestial motions and day/night cycles are also problematic to consider, when you have a plane literally dedicated to being that of the Heavens. Does that mean none of the other Realms get stars, moons and suns? If they do, what are they and how do they function? What of Realms that are seemingly entirely subterranian, like Chamon? I've seen artwork that suggests the various Realms border one another, and thus the heavens visible from one Realm are simply that of Azyr, but in that case the Realms aren't infinite, since if you have a border you're clearly delineating between somewhere that IS the Realm, and somewhere over there that IS NOT the Realm. It's entirely possible that the Realms need no suns, moon and stars to function; Ulgu is going to be wreathed in shadows and darkness with or without a sun, Chamon may have luminescent crystals that brighten and dim with enough regularity to function as a day/night cycle etc.

 

So, upon entering a Realm through a Realmgate, you'd probably find a tight cluster of greater civilized centres, which will gradually thin out the further out you radiate from the gate, until you likely have only token settlements before hitting the wild, untamed mass of the plane. The area within and slightly beyond the civilized portion of the Realm would likely be well mapped, with things like "Here be Magmaroths" around the rest of it, and perhaps a few bold explorers will have gone further beyond to find things. This doesn't discount other civilized areas beyond those founded around the Realmgates, but they are likely native to the plane with less interest in exploring beyond it, or have alternate means of movement between Realms (such as the Skaven).

 

Resources & Sustainability

Regardless of which Realm you're on, living creatures need a few things; food, water, shelter from the elements etc. Most planes will have an array of native flora and fauna for local inhabitants to eat, although not all will be safe to consume (trying to butcher a Magmadroth is inherently difficult when they have fiery blood. Would the meat come already cooked though?). Assuming there's at least a few creatures and/or plants that be sustainably farmed on the Realm (or brought from other Realms and can survive their new conditions), sustained farming shouldn't be too problematic given there's no shortage of space. The real problems would likely come from keeping those crops and livestock safe from potential threats native to the Realm, which would vary dramatically in scope. Some Realms would likely have an easier time than others with providing food (Ghyran and Ghur being prime examples), but suffer predation from predators or dangerous forms of plantlife (Ghyran and Ghur being prime examples).

 

The natural resources of each Realm will differ tremendously, but most should have access to some form of stone, potentially metal and wood as well. This is part of why civilization would focus so closely on proximity of the Realmgates; the simple fact that resources lacking on one plane could be transported with relative ease from another plane. Aqshy probably doesn't have a whole lot of wood, so they ship some in from Ghyran. Ever-burning rubies are sold to Ulgu to act as a heat and light source, and in turn their famed shadow-ink (freshly milked from the Shadow-Beasts) is sold on. This simple economic structure of bartering, along with the fact that all these different races are technically supposed to be working together, would likely mean that there is no coinage needed, since who else are they trading with? Chaos? The forces of Destruction? Gold and other precious metals and stones are likely still desirable for their aesthetic quality, but given Chamon could flood the market with the stuff it seems doubtful the other Realms would agree to use it as the basis for a currency when it would give a horribly unfair advantage to one Realm over all others. Of course, this is assuming Sigmar doesn't just start minting coins with his likeness on them because he can, although he seems the kind to do that.

 

Culture & People

The Age of Sigmar spanned a looooong time, and even with frequent contact with one another through the Realmgates and their Gods, the various races living on these planes will have developed very different cultures. Humanity, being the most diverse of the races, will likely show the widest array of cultures, heavily influenced by the Realm they were raised in. Duardin, Aelfs, Orruks and others will likewise show some cultural differences, although likely to a much smaller degree than humans, as these races are already divided along much different lines of ideology and Gods. To go into detail on how these cultures might form would be better served as an individual set of posts, but sufficed to say that the Realms would have a big impact on a person's character and development.

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Could it work? 

 

Yes

 

Does it appeal to the hardcore fans of the grim and perilous?

 

No.

 

Who would like this as a setting?

 

People that like super high fantasy, fans of Dr. Strange, and fans of the metaphysical.

 

I think they need a little more time to build their setting and gain their audience before people decide if this is something that is forgotten or is a place that becomes like D&D settings (Ravenloft,Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms) that has it's own flavor and passionate fans.  

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I think it could work for games like Mage, Changeling the dreaming, or better yet: Exalted, where you play this kickass demi-god.

 

The AOS is no setting for mere humans. It's just to hyperspecialawesome and vast. It works for Silver tower because that basically reduces the setting to just this one dungeon.(even tough it could potentialy be limitles in size)

 

I like the realms (and the maps in the army books) because they apeal to my 6 year old Masters of the universe fanboy self. But the armies and the conflict? Djeeeez! Okay the ghouls believing they are Knights in shiny armor rather than filth encrusted cannibals are cool. I've been a chaos fan since day one. But those stormcast guys- gaah! What a bunch of boring invincible cybermen!

 

Now you might feel different, but I have no connection to anyone or any place in this setting. Altdorf, Marienburg and the old world were lovingly fleshed out with backstory and detail and history. What's azerheim to me? Euh a stupidly large city full of gold statues, blue lightning and astrolobes everywhere...

 

As Bruce Lee once said: "We need emotional content."

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So how would you roleplay in this setting? What sort of quest and adventures would you give the players?

 

This seems like the setting in wich, when the GM asks you what your character is doing, you sound like the Ultimate warrior:

 

GM: "The unending armies of Skull Bloodgood charge towards the ruins of castle Ratspike, intent upon capturing the Allgate in it's dungeon. As you stare over the battlements you spot Bloodgood himself, surrounded by his elite Varanguard, leading the charge!. Ok Bruce, what does your character, Marius Stormhammer do?"

 

Bruce: "I call upon the might of Holy Sigmar! I call upon the storm and twelve thousand lightning bolts crash down upon the hated fooooeeee! But they are not lightning! They are hypogryfs made of pure magic and they rend and tear the forces of chaos! Rend and tear! Rend an tear! I raise my sigmarite warhammer and unleash a wave of destruction! Magic hammers fly from my enchanted cloak and smash the foe asunder! I am a whirlwind of death! I am Sigmar's warth! And all who behold me know that I am their apocalypse! Hoak Hogan!"

 

Gm: ...

 

Gm: "Okay, roll to hit.."

 

:)

Edited by Robin Graves

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I think it could work for games like Mage, Changeling the dreaming, or better yet: Exalted, where you play this kickass demi-god.

 

The AOS is no setting for mere humans. It's just to hyperspecialawesome and vast. It works for Silver tower because that basically reduces the setting to just this one dungeon.(even tough it could potentialy be limitles in size)

 

I like the realms (and the maps in the army books) because they apeal to my 6 year old Masters of the universe fanboy self. But the armies and the conflict? Djeeeez! Okay the ghouls believing they are Knights in shiny armor rather than filth encrusted cannibals are cool. I've been a chaos fan since day one. But those stormcast guys- gaah! What a bunch of boring invincible cybermen!

 

Now you might feel different, but I have no connection to anyone or any place in this setting. Altdorf, Marienburg and the old world were lovingly fleshed out with backstory and detail and history. What's azerheim to me? Euh a stupidly large city full of gold statues, blue lightning and astrolobes everywhere...

 

As Bruce Lee once said: "We need emotional content."

 

It's less that I feel a connection to the setting, and more that I think there's some potential to make is far more palatable if a few things could be established and elaborated upon. Yes, it might not be entirely reflective of the tabletop's representation, but neither was the 40K RPGs of that game, or WFRP before it; because it was a story about a handful of players rather than an army of hundred, or dozens of factions, those games could afford to explore things like how these societies function, how their civilians live their lives, and establish a loooot of information that didn't exist in the army books. I don't feel we'll ever get these kinds of details from Age of Sigmar unless we ourselves choose to answer them, and its world begs a lot of questions. How did human society differ between the empires established in Shysh over Aqshy? Did they consider themselves separate territories, or part of a unified empire under Sigmar? Was there ever any sort of rebellion against the rule of the Gods, and if so why would it have transpired? Did the Orruks, when Gorkamorka was loosely aligned with the Gods of Order, co-habitate settlements with the other races, and how did a race that feeds off conflict handle a period of relative peace?

 

I feel the most fun way to explore ideas like this is to frame them in terms of how I'd present them in a roleplay game, and consider how players might interact with these ideas. AoS may be horribly one-note and largely reviled, but its existence does make for some interesting ideas, if properly explored.

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First, I do not play AoS and have read little about it. So I'm no expert on the subjuect. I do think it can work as a setting, allthough I would probably not play in it.

 

But the first thing that come to mind is that if you want to use Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3ed rules to play in the AoS setting is that all players should probably start as at least rank 3. And you it might be a good idea to start the players off with 10 extra creation points and remove the restriction that you can start at 5 maximum in a characteristic when creating characters. The player characters could also start with a magic or special item each to give them some extra power. That way the characters will be more of an elite group with higher characteristics, trainings and good equipment. I think rank 1 basic characters might not cut it in AoS, so by starting with better characters you as a GM can throw harder enemies on the players from the start.

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First, I do not play AoS and have read little about it. So I'm no expert on the subjuect. I do think it can work as a setting, allthough I would probably not play in it.

 

But the first thing that come to mind is that if you want to use Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3ed rules to play in the AoS setting is that all players should probably start as at least rank 3. And you it might be a good idea to start the players off with 10 extra creation points and remove the restriction that you can start at 5 maximum in a characteristic when creating characters. The player characters could also start with a magic or special item each to give them some extra power. That way the characters will be more of an elite group with higher characteristics, trainings and good equipment. I think rank 1 basic characters might not cut it in AoS, so by starting with better characters you as a GM can throw harder enemies on the players from the start.

There seems to be a common notion that because the tabletop game is over the top and full of powerful beings that the players must start at a point, if not equal to, then at least somewhat comparable to them. I can't say I agree with this; Dark Heresy (both versions) has you starting out as capable people, but not so far beyond the scope of other men that your common man with a stub pistol isn't at least something of a threat, and the 40K universe is FULL of stuff that makes the beings in Age of Sigmar seem pretty weak in comparison. Even Rogue Trader, arguably the game where the "mundane" characters are at their most powerful, aren't going to duke it out with Space Marines right out the gate. Powering up character is certainly an option if a player group and GM wish to take it in that direction, but I do not consider it a necessity of the setting to make every player some demi-god from the word go.

 

When making pretty much all of their tabletop products based in either 40K or Warhammer, FFG used the tabletop wargame as a source of inspiration, not an absolute rule. Age of Sigmar is no different; even the Stormcast, who everyone seems to take the most umbrage with, are much closer in the scope of their powers to mundane humans than, say, Space Marines are to the common Imperium citizen. The Stormcast are potent beings, certainly, but they require far more in the way of sleep, food and other mundane necessities than the Astartes, and for all the finery of their wargear they lack the technological benefits that Space Marine wargear grants them.

 

It's also important to note that there's a whole lot of regular human, Duardin, Aelf and other races out there who produce far more common threats for players to face - in WFRP, you don't throw players up against Chaos Knights on session one, so why do it in Age of Sigmar? The journey to reach the point where they CAN take on beings like that is part of the fun, and will feel far more rewarding for them having earned it.

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There seems to be a common notion that because the tabletop game is over the top and full of powerful beings that the players must start at a point, if not equal to, then at least somewhat comparable to them. I can't say I agree with this; Dark Heresy (both versions) has you starting out as capable people, but not so far beyond the scope of other men that your common man with a stub pistol isn't at least something of a threat, and the 40K universe is FULL of stuff that makes the beings in Age of Sigmar seem pretty weak in comparison. Even Rogue Trader, arguably the game where the "mundane" characters are at their most powerful, aren't going to duke it out with Space Marines right out the gate. Powering up character is certainly an option if a player group and GM wish to take it in that direction, but I do not consider it a necessity of the setting to make every player some demi-god from the word go.

 

But the first thing that come to mind is that if you want to use Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3ed rules to play in the AoS setting is that all players should probably start as at least rank 3. And you it might be a good idea to start the players off with 10 extra creation points and remove the restriction that you can start at 5 maximum in a characteristic when creating characters. The player characters could also start with a magic or special item each to give them some extra power. That way the characters will be more of an elite group with higher characteristics, trainings and good equipment. I think rank 1 basic characters might not cut it in AoS, so by starting with better characters you as a GM can throw harder enemies on the players from the start.

 

When making pretty much all of their tabletop products based in either 40K or Warhammer, FFG used the tabletop wargame as a source of inspiration, not an absolute rule. Age of Sigmar is no different; even the Stormcast, who everyone seems to take the most umbrage with, are much closer in the scope of their powers to mundane humans than, say, Space Marines are to the common Imperium citizen. The Stormcast are potent beings, certainly, but they require far more in the way of sleep, food and other mundane necessities than the Astartes, and for all the finery of their wargear they lack the technological benefits that Space Marine wargear grants them.

 

It's also important to note that there's a whole lot of regular human, Duardin, Aelf and other races out there who produce far more common threats for players to face - in WFRP, you don't throw players up against Chaos Knights on session one, so why do it in Age of Sigmar? The journey to reach the point where they CAN take on beings like that is part of the fun, and will feel far more rewarding for them having earned it.

 

 

Probably because all I heard from AoS players is how powered up everything is. At least from what I've heard/seen there's much less focus on mundane troops on the battlefields in AoS. In Fantasy Battles most of the armies were made up of mundane soldiers such as militia, flagelants, spearmen, huntsmen, crossbowmen and cannon crews. Even the elite troops such as pistolieers, greatswords and knights feels more like "common men". To take the empire as an example (as most WFRP-games are empire centric). Making it feel more like the common man was the norm.

 

At least from the casual interest I've shown AoS it seems to focus more on über cool elite troops. But I can be totally in the wrong here. As I said, I've not played, or read, much of AoS. That's just the general feel I (and obviously many others) have gotten of the game.

 

Granted, the WFRP-world has been very well explored in 3 editions of RPGs, loads of Warhammer Fantasy Battles editions, tons of novels and a whole bunch of other stuff. So it would make sense that the AoS universe is less fleshed out. :)

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I'll add my voice to the others, and say that the big problem I have with Age of Sigmar is that it's like the Epic level campaign setting... all the time. You're not creating a low-level character and watching them interact with the world around them and grow, you have to start out as some sort of badass something and only get more ass-kicking as time goes on. There's no time for humans, or even for curious dwarves, or outcast elves (especially since those words don't exist anymore). You don't have moral ambiguity or strange political intrigue. The threat is extremely real and present, and not hidden behind a veneer of civilization which is what makes Warhammer interesting.

 

Age of Sigmar could work as an afterlife where people in the main world go when they die, but it loses all the connection that make it interesting from a roleplay perspective to me. If I were to bring it in to my game, it would be a horrible vision of the future which happens should the Old World fall.

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I'll add my voice to the others, and say that the big problem I have with Age of Sigmar is that it's like the Epic level campaign setting... all the time. You're not creating a low-level character and watching them interact with the world around them and grow, you have to start out as some sort of badass something and only get more ass-kicking as time goes on. There's no time for humans, or even for curious dwarves, or outcast elves (especially since those words don't exist anymore). You don't have moral ambiguity or strange political intrigue. The threat is extremely real and present, and not hidden behind a veneer of civilization which is what makes Warhammer interesting.

 

Age of Sigmar could work as an afterlife where people in the main world go when they die, but it loses all the connection that make it interesting from a roleplay perspective to me. If I were to bring it in to my game, it would be a horrible vision of the future which happens should the Old World fall.

 

Again I feel the need to ask, what compels you to feel you have to be a demi-god for this setting? What reason exists that you must be super powered beings to exist within its world? The existence of the Stormcast Eternal? You could argue the same of the Astartes in 40K, and yet it has a whole series of games dedicated to playing lesser, "mundane" characters. Political intrigue and moral ambiguity can absolutely exist in the setting of Age of Sigmar, is just hasn't received any focus in the tabletop game, and even when politics was covered in the wargame of Warhammer or 40K it tended to be used as justification for why a war was happening.

 

Don't get me wrong, I respect that it doesn't endear itself to people, and it has oh-so-many flaws people can rightly critique it for, but I don't feel the fact that you "must" play supreme badasses is a particularly fair one. By all means, dislike it for whatever personal reasons you have, I'm not here to convert anyone, but I think it has as much potential to be the setting for an interesting, involved game as WFRP and the 40K games, it just requires people to overcome the perception the tabletop wargame has left with people. And lets face it, all of the RPG games FFG have done in these settings have largely introduced the more civilian elements that were never explored by the games themselves - hell, Dark Heresy 1st Ed was set in the sector Dan Abnett pretty much made up for the Eisenhorn books, and takes about as much from his work than the wargame.

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This may be due to AoS still not having a clear layout for how the world works, but let's say I'm playing a normal human. Do I have a city to live in? Are there farms, tradesmen, merchants? A world I can interact with and an option to not be at war if I choose? The classic Warhammer adventurer is drawn into the horror of the world that they are not prepared for, but with the idea that they could choose to go back to the world and ignore what is happening - as most of the people are. Can my players spend half an hour debating if they want to pool their gear to buy a Hochland Long Rifle, and then embark on an elaborate con to convince their patron that they need to get one in exchange for a lucrative marketing deal? If people aren't fighting, what do they do? 

 

What are the politics of Age of Sigmar? I know that Nagash went off to do his own thing, but he did so by owning his own realm. The Orcs split off into their own realm too. The Dwarves are in their own realm, the Elves are in their own realm... how do races interact? Is there trade? Immigration? Cross-cultural arts festivals? Do Halflings throw a giant celebration where Ogres and Dwarves gather to see who has brewed the finest beer that year? How do nobility plot shadow wars of politeness against each other in order to further their standing in society's eyes?

 

Warhammer was built as a miniatures game, and as a miniatures game Age of Sigmar has a lot to recommend it. As a roleplaying game though, I find it severely lacking. I would put this more in line with Deathwatch. We could spend a lot of time trying to answer some of the questions above if we don't want to play Ground Marines, but then our intricate world that explains unexplained portions can be ruined by a single line.

 

For roleplaying, there are years of existing content, existing campaigns, and relatable characters for us to roleplay with in the Old World. If the best that Age of Sigmar can offer is a blank canvas, then we may as well homebrew our own RPG setting.

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This may be due to AoS still not having a clear layout for how the world works, but let's say I'm playing a normal human. Do I have a city to live in? Are there farms, tradesmen, merchants? A world I can interact with and an option to not be at war if I choose? The classic Warhammer adventurer is drawn into the horror of the world that they are not prepared for, but with the idea that they could choose to go back to the world and ignore what is happening - as most of the people are. Can my players spend half an hour debating if they want to pool their gear to buy a Hochland Long Rifle, and then embark on an elaborate con to convince their patron that they need to get one in exchange for a lucrative marketing deal? If people aren't fighting, what do they do? 

 

What are the politics of Age of Sigmar? I know that Nagash went off to do his own thing, but he did so by owning his own realm. The Orcs split off into their own realm too. The Dwarves are in their own realm, the Elves are in their own realm... how do races interact? Is there trade? Immigration? Cross-cultural arts festivals? Do Halflings throw a giant celebration where Ogres and Dwarves gather to see who has brewed the finest beer that year? How do nobility plot shadow wars of politeness against each other in order to further their standing in society's eyes?

 

Warhammer was built as a miniatures game, and as a miniatures game Age of Sigmar has a lot to recommend it. As a roleplaying game though, I find it severely lacking. I would put this more in line with Deathwatch. We could spend a lot of time trying to answer some of the questions above if we don't want to play Ground Marines, but then our intricate world that explains unexplained portions can be ruined by a single line.

 

For roleplaying, there are years of existing content, existing campaigns, and relatable characters for us to roleplay with in the Old World. If the best that Age of Sigmar can offer is a blank canvas, then we may as well homebrew our own RPG setting.

 

OK, lets unpack this piece by piece. Yes, there are cities in all of the Realms, many of them in ruins at this point due to Chaos rolling in and being, well, Chaos, but there are and have been civilizations beyond Azyrheim, although their cultural identities are thus far not established (which is, in part, what I'm looking to figure out what they might be like with this thread). By necessity, there are common folk who are not soldiers, be they merchants or farmers of dye makers or butchers, etc. Even if it were just Azyrheim, people still need the things that necessitates the existence of a common non-militarized class that far, FAR outnumbers the number of soldiers it supports - if everyone is a soldier, who has time to grow crops or sew clothes? Chances are if you live in Azyrheim, you can pretty much go your entire life without seeing a war since Sigmar keeps his home turf pretty clear, although you'd likely be used to a high level of military presence. In fact, Azyrheim is probably a whole lot more peaceful and free from war than the Empire ever was, as it doesn't have huge swathes of woodland infested with cultists, beastmen and other nasty creatures to worry the populace with, nor do they have any real borders to defend against enemies since the Realms are each distinct planes of existence - barring some Skaven-gnawed wormholes and threat of invasion through the Realmgate itself, Azyrheim is pretty much as secure as you can get.

 

While the Duardin and various Aelfs have strong associations with certain Realms, they do not wholly occupy those Realms to the exclusion of all others; the Fyreslayers have lodges spread across all the Realms, each with different traditions, and given Grungni is the last God of Order still hanging out with Sigmar you can bet there's a huge population of Duardin in Azyrheim, along with a likely smaller number of the various Aelfs, and probably a few undead and orruks too. The races may largely be divided along specific factional lines, but these varied peoples existed for millennia of peace before the whole Chaos invading bit, long enough that there would be at least some small fraction amongst their respective numbers that willing choose to run counter to typical expectations. Again, this isn't likely to ever be represented in the tabletop wargame for the sake of keeping the factions clearly delineated, but from the perspective of a roleplay game, it probably wouldn't be surprising to see some of these races walking the streets of Azyrheim or other cities in different Realms.

 

Setting aside the whole Nagash / Gorkamorka thing, as they have become distinct factions in their own right, lets focus more on the loosely aligned forces of Order. Politically speaking, it's pretty clear whose at the top - Sigmar is a literal God that exists alongside His people. Imagine is the Abrahamic God manifested in the flesh and declared to the world He was going to rule, before starting to sort out all the stuff he didn't like - how do you think humanity would respond? And Sigmar did it one better by not only leading a civilization, but founding it so he could sculpt it from the ground up to be what he designed it to be. As such, politics is largely going to be in the hands of a very, very few people, chiefly Sigmar and the other Gods, but also notable heroes, generals etc. While Sigmar is a God, he does seem to be constrained to a singular location and thus can't be everywhere at once, so he likely has people endorsed to speak on his behalf in certain regards - most likely His Church and its priesthood. It's a safe bet to assume there are similar priesthoods for the other Order gods, with their own customs and duties, and each with likely be a formidable organization - church attendance is high when you know the Gods are real. That's not to say that political intrigue and backstabbing doesn't occur - in the Realm of Ulgu I'm willing to bet its the norm - but certainly in Azyrheim the presence of Sigmar will likely keep a tight leash on the ambitions of mortal men.

 

Whether thereares things like trade, currency, festivals etc. are all questions this thread is meant to try and establish, to form a logical idea of how a place like this functions. Yes, you can say at that point just make your own setting, but that's missing the point - WFRP didn't start with all this material readily available, someone had to go out and make it. Saying that it's not worth doing the same for Age of Sigmar just because it's new and hasn't covered it at all is pretty unfair when you consider that, at one point, someone was saying exactly the same thing about the old Warhammer world, and look what a fun game that turned out to be.

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Ok, lets say these infinity realms have actual normal folk... those farmers, commoners, tradesmen, merchants, nobility. Let's say they have politics, entertainment, intrigue, countries, rulers, own wars... WHEN DO WE GET THAT INFO? The realms could be working interesting worlds, but it just seems, that GW is not really interested of creating that. Age of Sigmars just seems more worlds of Infinity War. And this war is fought by epic-level characters/creatures. I kind of get the idea, that the realms were pretty nice places, until the war started. And now all these beings are fighting The-End-War again.

 

Truth is, that there is potential. There is possibility to create your own. But, really, when speaking about Warhammer - I would say most fans have started of playing Warhammer because of the rich setting. Old World. It is just so interesting fantasy world, with huge amount of details and history created by decades of real life and many writers. It has interesting nations, problems, wars, rulers, races, real-life feeling... If I wanted to create my own world, well I can do that, any day, without Age of Sigmar. If I wanted create my own world. But, I don't really want. I like Old Warhammer world.

 

I also think that the epic-level and higher fantasy-level of Age of Sigmar is just little too much for many Old Warhammer fans. Remember, that many of them argue about the level of former setting (is it low, moderate...).

Edited by jackdays

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Ok, lets say these infinity realms have actual normal folk... those farmers, commoners, tradesmen, merchants, nobility. Let's say they have politics, entertainment, intrigue, countries, rulers, own wars... WHEN DO WE GET THAT INFO? The realms could be working interesting worlds, but it just seems, that GW is not really interested of creating that. Age of Sigmars just seems more worlds of Infinity War. And this war is fought by epic-level characters/creatures. I kind of get the idea, that the realms were pretty nice places, until the war started. And now all these beings are fighting The-End-War again.

 

Truth is, that there is potential. There is possibility to create your own. But, really, when speaking about Warhammer - I would say most fans have started of playing Warhammer because of the rich setting. Old World. It is just so interesting fantasy world, with huge amount of details and history created by decades of real life and many writers. It has interesting nations, problems, wars, rulers, races, real-life feeling... If I wanted to create my own world, well I can do that, any day, without Age of Sigmar. If I wanted create my own world. But, I don't really want. I like Old Warhammer world.

 

I also think that the epic-level and higher fantasy-level of Age of Sigmar is just little too much for many Old Warhammer fans. Remember, that many of them argue about the level of former setting (is it low, moderate...).

 

I think this topic is developing less into a "How would you make the Age of Sigmar workable as a tabletop setting?" thread and more of a "This is why I don't like Age of Sigmar" one. The intention is not to tell people they're wrong for disliking Age of Sigmar, or to assert that it is a superior setting to the Old World, or to change people's minds about their existing thoughts and feelings. I agree that the Old World is a richer, more nuanced and lore-rich environment....it also has, what, twenty plus years on Age of Sigmar to have worked out those details? Not to mention that it is easy to forget that for a good portion of that time, Warhammer didn't cover any of those details in any depth either, and was as generic a fantasy setting during a time rife with generic fantasy. But people accepted that it wasn't going to go away, they stuck with it, and over time the setting grew richer and more nuanced as people contributed to it. I can't say when Age of Sigmar will cover these details, or if they ever will, but to dismiss it out of hand for not starting with the same level of detail as game that had a twenty-plus year head start is a little unfair. By all means, dislike the higher fantasy styling, the aesthetics, the naming conventions, those are all valid, all I'm trying to do is provide a place for people who ARE interested in the setting to brainstorm those very details you would have liked to see present.

 

And for everyone whose been saying "I can make my own setting anytime I like", try it sometime. You'll find yourself asking these exact same questions and hitting these exact same conundrums, so even if you don't happen to like Age of Sigmar, consider it an interesting mental exercise should you ever want to do a little world-building.

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Ok, dirty confession time of my own. I haven't read the Age of Sigmar. I didn't like the sound of it so was in no rush to do so, and the more I hear from others the less I like it and the less likely I am to rush to do so. But setting all of that aside for a minute. 

 

The biggest issue i've got with almost every part of it is it's 'irrelevence' to me. As a huge fan of Warhammer Roleplay for the longest time  almost nothing that i've heard about it is culturally relevant to me. Chaotic Planes of Existence? Imagine? Ulgu? That's not why most of us love Warhammer. As Jackdays and Erathia have mentioned the devil of the warhammer world is in the details and those details matter to those of us who've enjoyed it for decades. Devoid of those details this could be any RPG setting and system. What is left that still makes it warhammer? It sounds like precious little at all. You may as well be talking about another non warhammer game entirely. And sure people could fill in the gaps for this fragmented, fractured universe that GW seemingly couldn't be bothered to do, but why would they? That's such a lot of work that most people are likely to save that world shaping stuff for their own homebrew. 

 

Given the right inspirational core source material the warhammer community has proved time and time again that it's capable of producing the most wonderful fanmade resources, but this? Not only does what I'm hearing about Age of Sigmar not inspire me. In fact it disappoints me immensely. Because if that's their vision of warhammer it really means that the people in charge never really got Warhammer in the first place. 

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The problem I'm hitting with Age of Sigmar isn't that these aren't questions that don't need answering, but that from what I know of the setting - and from what you've discussed - I'm in the same boat as Noelyuk and jackdays. I'm not interested in exploring what has been presented of the setting because what I know about it does not interest me from a roleplaying perspective. So let's break down why. I'll discuss that from the perspective that I think Age of Sigmar works great for a miniatures setting, but terrible for a roleplaying setting. I'll even try to use the proper names for things for the setting for consistency.

 

Let's start with the character's humble origins. Be it a thriving hub of culture, or the beloved peasant village due to be burned down 20 minutes into your first session, characters have to start from somewhere. Let's say they start from Azyrheim. You've made a lot of assumptions about how it might work, and let's go with that. There is a thriving population of humans and loyalist Aelfs and Duardin who live there. But then what? You're right that people need to eat, and they need to be clothed, but what's their goal in life? Maybe people are poor, and aim for social mobility, but is there a thriving mutant underbelly? It seems unlikely because Sigmar keeps out corrupting influence and people are a lot more aware and onboard with Chaos. Azyrheim, from what has been presented, is a non-starter. So they're going to have to go to other Realms for adventure.

 

So, we're not going to be fighting with the Stormhost because that's ridiculous. But you could still get up to some political intrigue with other Realms if there are other civilizations or colonies there of uncorrupted people. I mean there shouldn't be based on all of the background material - but maybe this is set a little bit after Sigmar starts trying to retake the Realms. So now you could be ambassadors, or diplomats, or thieves plundering the world of relics, or trying to locate a runaway or something. There are stories you can tell, but they don't answer the question of how does Realm travel actually work. Do we Stargate from place to place without question? The nature of the setting means you need to ask these questions, because this is what makes the setting distinct. A simple question like immigration is important when you remember that immigration involves a dimensional shift between completely different planes of existence, and I'd be leaving a city of order and perfection (from my standpoint) to venture into Hell. 

 

So you're right, it can work as a setting because anything can work as a setting, but it's set up as a miniatures wargame setting right now. It's a good wargame setting because you can tell great stories of battle with your friends in shifting environments and dynamically track the allegiance of various Realms, and build up your own story. But if you're not doing that, and there's no sign from GW that they're interested in doing anything else, then it's left to your own imagination. And here's the real problem why it doesn't work as a setting for me, and why I think it's not going to work as a setting for a lot of people.

 

They might blow up the world. Again.

 

A roleplaying game is about the characters who you grow attached to, not an army of 4 disposable bodyguards around your high point character. I get attached to them, I think most people do the same way. The setting was always meant to support your story, told the way you want it. Except now we've been told that no matter what we do, the world gets destroyed on this year at this time and there's nothing we can do about it. And they might do it again! They can never convince us that Age of Sigmar won't suddenly make sweeping changes to how the setting works and suddenly invalidate a huge swath of stories we've built up for ourselves. Why should we put all this work into creating rules and culture and interaction for this setting when it might all be swept away at an editorial whim without warning? I was 100% on board with the End Times right until Manfred plot armoured his way into ending the setting, because I was already thinking about the next stories I could tell from trying to rebuild alliances and questing out to find lost family members or suppressing infighting... and then the world ended. All of our stories finish with "And then the world ended". And it can happen again.

 

And that's the appealing thing about continuing with WFRP. They have blown up the world, but we can just say "Nope", and they can't blow it up again because they've washed their hands of the world. All of a sudden all of the stories we want to tell will never be contradicted by anything that Games Workshop does. We have a strong foundation that we can build on, and we won't be editorially screwed over any more.

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I think this topic is developing less into a "How would you make the Age of Sigmar workable as a tabletop setting?" thread and more of a "This is why I don't like Age of Sigmar" one. The intention is not to tell people they're wrong for disliking Age of Sigmar, or to assert that it is a superior setting to the Old World, or to change people's minds about their existing thoughts and feelings. I agree that the Old World is a richer, more nuanced and lore-rich environment....it also has, what, twenty plus years on Age of Sigmar to have worked out those details? Not to mention that it is easy to forget that for a good portion of that time, Warhammer didn't cover any of those details in any depth either, and was as generic a fantasy setting during a time rife with generic fantasy. But people accepted that it wasn't going to go away, they stuck with it, and over time the setting grew richer and more nuanced as people contributed to it. I can't say when Age of Sigmar will cover these details, or if they ever will, but to dismiss it out of hand for not starting with the same level of detail as game that had a twenty-plus year head start is a little unfair. By all means, dislike the higher fantasy styling, the aesthetics, the naming conventions, those are all valid, all I'm trying to do is provide a place for people who ARE interested in the setting to brainstorm those very details you would have liked to see present.

 

And for everyone whose been saying "I can make my own setting anytime I like", try it sometime. You'll find yourself asking these exact same questions and hitting these exact same conundrums, so even if you don't happen to like Age of Sigmar, consider it an interesting mental exercise should you ever want to do a little world-building.

 

I do get your point. "Give some ideas, not just reasons why you don't like it". Please understand, that we are not tryin here to weaken your creativity about Age of Sigmar. Like I said - there is possibility. But, I think people here are making valid points, why it's not so interesting.

I think everyones mind, who playes RPGs, is somewhat creative. I think we could easily create Age of Sigmar more better setting, if we really put our minds into it. But, is it really worth spending time? That's the problem. If it survives next 20 years, gets 100 more novels and probably 10 versions, it could be much more richer setting. But, will it survive? Will it last? How long will it take to develope that? If we create rich setting fan-based, will it be just crushed by official background in the next version?

It would really help if there would some official stuff to support this. Some detailed maps and information about some "world" and it's people. Something to start with. Again, I still don't know will anything make it as interesting as the old one. I mean dimensional travel, Sigmarines teleporting to world to save it from Greenskins... Well, it is not really same as Bretonnian knights charging from the hills to help their peasant (who do not even like them).

One idea - Strike to Stun forum. You could ask, if the forum would create permanent Age of Sigmar topic. Try to get more ideas there. I know there are alot of old school WFRP people there, who do not like AoS (like me). But, still... If this is just one topic here, eventually it disappears.

P.S. And yes - I have tried to create new fantasy settings. Actually many times. Some I have worked longer, others not so long. I always taught I had some good idea, to carry the setting. But everytime, after tiring process, I have abandoned those worlds, because they were just not that good. And returned to something that is already ready - Like Warhammer.

Edited by jackdays

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Wrote a reply, but it disapeared. So short version follows:

 

As I said earlier I'm no AoS expert. Haven't read that much but:

  • Inpiration for the realms could be found in DnD, the planes of existence in DnD are similar and there's a lot of interesting material for adventure there.
  • Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower seems like a good inspiration for adventuring in AoS.
  • The suggestion from jackadays about the strike-to-stun forum is a good one, that way you could probably get replies from people more interested in AoS (rather than here, where most like the old Warhammer editions).

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Age of Sigmar's setting isn't my cup of tea, because it jettisoned the things I found interesting about the Old World: grim adventures in a perilous universe with uncertain outcomes. If it had more of a gritty Planescape appeal, I think it would resonate stronger with me.

Edited by GrimAndPerilous.com

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