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Necron Lord as playable career?

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 For those not keeping tabs, new Necrons are out, and they're not mindless automatons bent on harvesting all life in the galaxy anymore. Rather, they are the dormant remnants of a once great empire, broken up into countless fractions. As spoilers and sneak peeks hint, some of those fractions don't mind trading with other races, and one is even said to hire out Necron mercenaries.

So, do you think a mercenary Necron Lord could join forces with a human Rogue Trader as a playable character? I'd really love it as an option. I was thinking such a character could start as a higher Rank, say at the level of Deathwatch Marines, as I hardly imagine statting up a giant husk of regenerating metal at the level of other RT careers while keeping him balanced and doing the fluff justice.

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 As far as I've seen the stats of a Necron Warrior (Black Crusade) they would have at least:
* Unnatural Strength & Toughness
* Regeneration
* Machine 6 (an Immortal 8, a Lord would have even more)

Lords would have extreme (Unnatural) Intelligence and low Agility

So all in all too much for a PC, the basic splat would be atleast 14k to 20k in XP

Though what I might allow is a member of the Necrontyr before they were downloaded. 
He or she could have been discovered in an ancient Hibornation Crypt or something by the dynasty.

In this case I would use the normal human track, lower Toughness a bit (they were sickly) and give it Unnatural Intelligence (count ass Cybernetic Intelligence Upgrade). Forbidden Lore Xenos and a Gauss Pistol or something.

Gauss Pistol: Range 30, S/2/-, 1d10+6 E, Pen 3, Clip: -, Rld: -, Special Gauss (Rightious Fury on a 9 and 10)
The weapon feeds of the bio energy of the Necrontyre wielder.

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Santiago said:

 As far as I've seen the stats of a Necron Warrior (Black Crusade) they would have at least:
* Unnatural Strength & Toughness
* Regeneration
* Machine 6 (an Immortal 8, a Lord would have even more)

Lords would have extreme (Unnatural) Intelligence and low Agility

So all in all too much for a PC, the basic splat would be atleast 14k to 20k in XP

Like I said, I'd definitely see it as a high level option, on par with playing a DW Kill-Marine in RT campaign. At this level, it shouldn't be so much overpowered, especially if all those awesome traits were upgradable, just like the Kroot and the Ork in RT don't get all their goodies at once. 

I'm not really that interested in a playable live Necrontyr, because he wouldn't be the awesome alien Terminator that I've grown to love so much.

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 Lets analyse:

Unnatural Strength and Toughness --> yes on par with the Kill Team Marine
Machine 8 --> On par with special organs AND power armour
Regenration 5 --> This one is tricky, regenrating 5 wound each round is alot, you might want to reduce this to 2

Starting Skills: 
Forbidden Lore (Xenos, Archeotech) +10, Intimidate +10, Logic +20, Tech Use +20, Speak Language (Necron, Low Gothic)

Talents:
Weapon Training (Primitive, Power), Basic Weapon Training (Universal)

Wounds: 20 starting (no mod)


WS 20+2d10
BS 30+2d10
S 35+2d10
T 35+2d10
Ag 15+2d10
Int 30+2d10
WP 25+2d10
Fel 10+2d10


I would say with Regeneration 2 about 13-14k

I would make a special career (like Kroot and Ork) and start a Rank 4 (13k)

Things to add in the career:
-Unnatural Intelligence x2 & x3 (2000xp min.)
- Explorator type skills and talents

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One way I think it could work even better (although I think Santiago's ideas are indeed very good) is to argue that the long sleep has damaged some of the Necron Lord's "systems" and use that as an easy explanation why he starts a lot weaker than a Lord should and why he needs to ally himself to a Rogue Trader in the first place.

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The Necrons might have overgone a serious rewrite in their theme, but I still think that this isn't just like having a stray Kroot or Ork on your ship. If an Inquisitor knew you had a Necron--a Necron Lord, even--he'd throw a huge fit and odds are it would end really badly. They aren't just aliens, you see, they're sentient machines, too. It's like someone took a bunch of heresies and threw them into a blender, and out came the Necrons. And, no, getting them sanctioned probably wouldn't cut it.

But, then again, what do I know. Individual GM's can run their campaigns how they like.

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I thought they were souls in a machine body, not sentient machines (aka AI)?  Not to nitpick as the inquisition is prolly to daft to see the difference, but there is a rather large one.

As to having it walk around on your ship: i see the exact same problems as with an eldar or a kroot.  In fact, i'd wager that the necron would likely cause less of a stir with the ratings then those two would.  

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Of course, you could always play a Necron Lord as a inflitrator, in that he/she/it would be fully clothed in false flesh and would try to avoid doing anything obviously beyond human potential when the crew could potentially witness it.

Alternatively, given the incredible science at their disposal and the massive inflitration of Imperial society implied in the events of Xenology, perhaps a Necron Lord could get a new body prepared, which aesthetically looks like the sort of cybernetic body an augumentist might go in for?

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I don't see why a Necron Lord would be considered more dangerous as an associate to a Rogue Trader than an Eldar or an Ork (the Kroot I see as much less controversial, as they have no expansionist tendencies, nor any inherent grudge against the Imperium). Any Rogue Trader openly associating with Xenos has to watch his steps and keep his heretical associates in line. True, I don't see a Necron getting Sanctioned easily, but the way I understand it, sanctioning Xenos is a shady business anyway, and I can imagine a Rogue Trader who's situated well enough and has good enough contacts in radical factions of the Inquisition to pull even that.

EDIT: Also, bear in mind that Lords have been essentially demoted from absolute rulers subservient only to the C'Tan to a rank describing any member of the Tomb's nobility. So it's not like a Rogue Trader is associating himself with an entire Tomb World necessarily.

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The distinction between an AI and a machine with a soul is not one most people would even to know to make, or worse, a rival Rogue Trader could dismiss the distinction altogether to convince the Ecclesiarchy, Adeptus Mechanicus, or Inquisition to pay his enemies a visit. And I'd say that Necron ally is a good deal worse than an Ork or Kroot ally. The distinction is that Necrons have an agenda that goes beyond just mercenary work and getting in fights. It's like hiring a street thug versus hiring a Nazi officer. Which one would make you more nervous to keep around?

On the other hand, a Necron posing as an Augmenticist sounds terrifyingly plausible. Of course, he might have some trouble explaining how his augmentations appear to heal on their own, but it sounds like the sort of thing that even the Rogue Trader himself might not find out about for a long time.

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Fabian Grax
said:

 

The distinction between an AI and a machine with a soul is not one most people would even to know to make, or worse, a rival Rogue Trader could dismiss the distinction altogether to convince the Ecclesiarchy, Adeptus Mechanicus, or Inquisition to pay his enemies a visit. And I'd say that Necron ally is a good deal worse than an Ork or Kroot ally. The distinction is that Necrons have an agenda that goes beyond just mercenary work and getting in fights. It's like hiring a street thug versus hiring a Nazi officer. Which one would make you more nervous to keep around?

 

You're joking, right? You're asking me whether I'd like to have a street-rat mercenary that is only loyal to whomever pays him and who likely has lived a life of violence, hate and gutterside murder; or an educated, honourable soldier with unwavering loyalty to his ideals and to those he has sworn fealty, willing to carry out almost any order in a professional and capable manner? How.. how is that even a question?

 

Fabian Grax said:

 

On the other hand, a Necron posing as an Augmenticist sounds terrifyingly plausible. Of course, he might have some trouble explaining how his augmentations appear to heal on their own, but it sounds like the sort of thing that even the Rogue Trader himself might not find out about for a long time.

 

Given the nature of Necrons, I think it would be hard to cart it off as an Augmenticist. It's so way beyond anything that the Imperium itself is capable of. Nevermind the fact that the lie wouldn't survive a five-minute meeting with any Imperial official with any basic education in either technology or xenos. Nevermind the Eldar, to which the Necrons are basically the arch-devil - and Kroot, Ork or Tau just wouldn't care if it's a Necron or an Augmenticist, in context.

But hey, don't let me rain on anyone's parade. I've already thrown "free-spirited necron lords with charming personality" on the great "Matt Ward ridiculousness I disregard for sake of my own sanity"-pile.

 

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What about the role-playing aspect? Do you really think that an average- or even above average- gamer would be able to do justice to the unknowable "alien-ness" of a multimillion-year-old servant of the terrible Lords of Order? Or would stating up a Necron and letting players have at it just produce D&D-style "demi-humans"- bascially humans with a couple advantages and disadvantages? Frankly, I'm sceptical that an rpg could do justice to a race as inscrutable as the Eldar, much less the ultra-mysterious, utterly inhuman Necrons...

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DarianBlood said:

Ugh, just who made this awful decision? This change to the Necrons is going to rob them of the terror they inspire.  Well in my campaign the Necrons are going to be oldschool all the way

Your choice. I can imagine that some people will find the new necrons more interesting, some will hate them and some will make plans to drown Mat Ward in a vat of mixed vegemite and bovril. 

And while they sure lost some of their "bowel-loosening terror" as Sandy Mitchell described them, they sure gained more personality and depth. Because let's face it, before they were really simple and bland. Now they are more "living" than before, they have aims and plans instead of just a simple minded desire to kill everything that moves. Before they were just a different type of steamroller, and that role was filled in a much better way by tyranids (who want to kill and eat everything that moves). And while I do not like the "space tomb kings" theme I sure appreciate the new minis.

 

To add my two cents to the current discussion. I really can't imagine a necron character being playable, but the new codex gives me some really terrifying ideas about using necrons in W40K games.

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DarianBlood said:

Ugh, just who made this awful decision? This change to the Necrons is going to rob them of the terror they inspire.  Well in my campaign the Necrons are going to be oldschool all the way

First, please let's not make it into Matt Ward hate thread, I get plenty of those on /tg/.

Second, it's only the nobility that maintains full awareness, so the iconic scene of rank after rank of Necron Warriors advancing in complete silence is still there. Plus, with the new fractious nature of the Necrons, you can have old C'tan loyalists as a subset of a greater whole.

Third, I'm not a TT player, and as a GM, I find the old Necrons extremely boring. The first time they appear, there's terror. Second time, they're a nuissance. Each next time, "hey guys, it's silent robo-zombies time again, roll initiative". With new Necrons, the possibilities for interaction are limitless.

Regarding the playability of a Necron character, I appreciate the feedback, but I think some people are overthinking it. The way I understand Rogue Trader, if it's alive, talking to me, not a daemon, not willing to offer my soul to a daemon, and if I can make a profit out of dealing with it, it's fair game. I know many people expected a playable Eldar career in Into the Storm, I've even seen talk of Dark Eldar in this context, and we're talking about an extremely deceptive, arrogant race with more than one grudge against humanity (not to mention the clinically insane BDSM slavers seeing other sentient beings as **** toys and soul-food to sate Slaanesh). New Necrons, in contrast, seem like perfectly reasonable beings to deal and associate with, and their tech is known to give Mechanicum a serious case of drool. 

As for problems with accurately portraying one, if a human could invent them and write fiction about them, I'm pretty sure other humans can have fun portraying it. It's not like it's easy to realistically portray a half-bestial, cannibalistic, humanoid semi-avian, or a crazy fungal being that can only think about violence.

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I think I have mentioned how much the board software sucks. It's refusing to post my post. Thankfully, this shittyness of the board software have made me fanatic about copying my stuff before posting. So.. yeah.

Testing.

Edit: It worked. Had to post that, before editing this into the post. Oh FFG, why your forum so horrible?

Ugh, just who made this awful decision? This change to the Necrons is going to rob them of the terror they inspire. Well in my campaign the Necrons are going to be oldschool all the way

Well for what it's worth, I agree entirely. But I am fairly sure that by now, Matt Ward is purposfully trying to mess over as much 40k lore as possible before his contract runs out, like a humongous troll, no matter how hard you facepalm - so it's not really worth whining about anymore. Besides, whether or not the Wardfluffing of the Necrons is idiotic or not (and it is) has no bearing on this thread. So just ignore it and move on.

Second, it's only the nobility that maintains full awareness, so the iconic scene of rank after rank of Necron Warriors advancing in complete silence is still there. Plus, with the new fractious nature of the Necrons, you can have old C'tan loyalists as a subset of a greater whole.

The scene is there, but the implications are gone. It's just a scene and nothing else. As for having C'tan Loyalists (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth when I considered the implications of the word "C'tan Loyalists"; reducing godlike and uncaring forces of nature into psuedo-bureaucracy) as a subset of a greater whole only highlights the issue even more - the destruction of the ideal of necrons personifying monolithic entropy.

Third, I'm not a TT player, and as a GM, I find the old Necrons extremely boring. The first time they appear, there's terror. Second time, they're a nuissance. Each next time, "hey guys, it's silent robo-zombies time again, roll initiative". With new Necrons, the possibilities for interaction are limitless.

I am not a TT-player either; I have no idea what that has to do with anything. If that is the reaction from your players, you're doing it wrong. Seriously wrong. Even just a small number of necrons should be a serious pants-shitting event, as these completely silent, uncaring and extremely tough, super-advanced black symbols of personified death and mortality walks out of the shadows to rend the flesh from your bones.

This is the image that most of us are coming from, before it got Wardfluff'd. With that image in mind, even superimposed over the free-spirited butterfly necrons of gothic emo, it is hard to let go of necrons as fundamentally evil and extremely alien, let alone letting a player - or anyone - actually roleplay such a fundamentally different character. Roleplaying a Ork is easy. Roleplaying an Eldar is easy.

Telling someone to roleplay a necron is, to me, like telling them to roleplay the emotional life of a flower as interpreted by an elephant. Or a brick. Or a star. Or rather, anything that is so fundamentally alien to us that I cannot even imagine it, because if I could, it wouldn't be alien anymore.

Regarding the playability of a Necron character, I appreciate the feedback, but I think some people are overthinking it. The way I understand Rogue Trader, if it's alive, talking to me, not a daemon, not willing to offer my soul to a daemon, and if I can make a profit out of dealing with it, it's fair game. I know many people expected a playable Eldar career in Into the Storm, I've even seen talk of Dark Eldar in this context, and we're talking about an extremely deceptive, arrogant race with more than one grudge against humanity (not to mention the clinically insane BDSM slavers seeing other sentient beings as **** toys and soul-food to sate Slaanesh). New Necrons, in contrast, seem like perfectly reasonable beings to deal and associate with, and their tech is known to give Mechanicum a serious case of drool.

Except that the Eldar have a long history of interaction with the Imperium, all the way back to the original WH40k, when there were even Half-Eldar Imperials. Young Eldar are well known to take on mercenary jobs or become pirates for, in terms of the eldar lifespan, a short duration of their lives. They are also very relate-able, personifying stories and situations that we have heard and read about countless of times throughout our own history and our own myths. Less so for the Dark Eldar, of course, but the Dark Eldar are just the Eldar with a mean wrapping that needs torture to live - perfectly doable for those rogue traders that are fundamentally psychotic. The only caveat when it comes to eldar is the fact that they value other eldar so much higher than humans - understandably and with good reason; but not a problem, unless you plan to kill eldar for any reason whatsoever (so yes, it will be a problem, but in no way an insurmountable one).

As for problems with accurately portraying one, if a human could invent them and write fiction about them, I'm pretty sure other humans can have fun portraying it. It's not like it's easy to realistically portray a half-bestial, cannibalistic, humanoid semi-avian, or a crazy fungal being that can only think about violence.

Yes. Yes it is. It's like saying it would be hard to realistically portray a dog. It wouldn't. Portraying a Kroot or an Ork realistically is even easier than portraying a human character.

Also, here is 50cents saying that the board software will screw up the quotes.

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Just for the record, I had no idea who Matt Ward was until i just googled him, I have never been a tabletop player and my interest in 40k came from reading Eisenhorn and Gaunts Ghosts (call me a Dan Abnett fanboy if you want, i wont deny it).  I honestly dont care who made the changes and i'm not whining about them, just pointing out i think they are a bad idea and will dilute the terror power of Necrons.

 

Beyond that i guess i must admit my comment was hardly helpful to the OP.

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Fgdsfg said:

 

I am not a TT-player either; I have no idea what that has to do with anything. If that is the reaction from your players, you're doing it wrong. Seriously wrong. Even just a small number of necrons should be a serious pants-shitting event, as these completely silent, uncaring and extremely tough, super-advanced black symbols of personified death and mortality walks out of the shadows to rend the flesh from your bones.

This is the image that most of us are coming from, before it got Wardfluff'd. With that image in mind, even superimposed over the free-spirited butterfly necrons of gothic emo, it is hard to let go of necrons as fundamentally evil and extremely alien, let alone letting a player - or anyone - actually roleplay such a fundamentally different character. Roleplaying a Ork is easy. Roleplaying an Eldar is easy.

Telling someone to roleplay a necron is, to me, like telling them to roleplay the emotional life of a flower as interpreted by an elephant. Or a brick. Or a star. Or rather, anything that is so fundamentally alien to us that I cannot even imagine it, because if I could, it wouldn't be alien anymore.

Maybe you're much better at conveying terror than I am, but my players aren't scared easily, and are prone to use creative tactics to win over things they can't kill conventionally. The first time they encounter mindless, silent kill-bots, they will be on their toes all the time, trying to figure out how to off them with minimal losses. The second time, they will comfortably fall onto proven tactics, at best I can start over by providing a dramatically different enemy subtype (say, Flayed Ones when I first gave them Warriors only). But after I go through the whole roster of enemies, there will be no excitement, let alone fear, anymore, just routine. They can roleplay being scared shitless alright, but they will never truly be into it.

At this point with old 'Cronz, I am done. All I could do would be upping the numbers until they are finally overwhelmed, but this I can do with any opponent in the game (it's not hard to outgun a 4 person posse). There is literally nothing else left to explore, so I either push until they're dead (and probably bored to death as well), or abandon Necrons as adversaries.

Now, with new 'Cronz, I can keep them interested a lot longer, because I can have Necrons as silent adversaries, talkative adversaries, allies, quest givers etc. I can run the PCs through political intrigues between aeons old overlords and watch them stay on their toes not just to survive, but to profit from the deal.

Regarding being able to play a Necron, you're clearly prejudiced against the concept, so I'm not going to argue with you.

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I agree that new necrons are more interesting.  Both as a player and as a gm i'd have more options in handling them, much like the eldar they are now a distinct race that isn't just there to be shot.  Besides, it's quite possible to keep the old necrons around, just think of the new ones as the ones that "got away" while the C'tan themselves are slumbering (or due to so many of them being killed).  Till they are dominated again as they used to be, they are free to pursue their goals.

In fact, might even be the masterplan of the C'tan all along to allow them to do so in order to learn about their enemies and food.

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Bleh. Formatting's screwed up. Quoted text will be in italics.

Fgdsfg said:

You're joking, right? You're asking me whether I'd like to have a street-rat mercenary that is only loyal to whomever pays him and who likely has lived a life of violence, hate and gutterside murder; or an educated, honourable soldier with unwavering loyalty to his ideals and to those he has sworn fealty, willing to carry out almost any order in a professional and capable manner? How.. how is that even a question?

Well, it's no wonder you don't understand how that's a question... given that you completely misunderstood it. The issue is this: Should you trust someone that's loyal to your coin, or someone that's not loyal to you at all, but rather, their own side? And a particularly nasty side, at that? The Nazi officer being educated only makes him more dangerous to you, and "honourable" would depend heavily on the officer in question (I wouldn't bet my life on it, honestly). Likewise, a Rogue Trader choosing between an Ork and a Necron ally faces a similar dilemma. Yes, Orks are treacherous, but kind of simple-minded and generally content so long as they get plenty of teef, trinkets, and fights to pay them off. They also have no qualms about killing their own kind whatsoever. I have trouble imagining a Necron, a Lord even, being placated so easily, or taking action against other Necrons. A betrayal would be inevitable in any case, because unless this particular Necron has a really messed-up backstory, he's never really going to be on "your" side.

Given the nature of Necrons, I think it would be hard to cart it off as an Augmenticist. It's so way beyond anything that the Imperium itself is capable of. Nevermind the fact that the lie wouldn't survive a five-minute meeting with any Imperial official with any basic education in either technology or xenos. Nevermind the Eldar, to which the Necrons are basically the arch-devil - and Kroot, Ork or Tau just wouldn't care if it's a Necron or an Augmenticist, in context. 

That assumes that the Necrons don't specifically modify the infiltrator so that it appears that his body is purely Imperial technology. Pretty big assumption, don't you think? It would hardly be the first time an alien changed its appearance so it could infiltrate the Imperium. Yes, the Inquisition may find the alien eventually, but that sort of thing happens. And, what, another alien is going to point him out? Yes, trust the pointy-eared bastards who are infamous tricksters. That'll happen.

Side note--I like the fact that the C'tan have been relegated to being just Shards trotted out to do the Necrons' bidding, because it resolves a problem that's always bothered me. And that problem is, if the C'tan can swallow up stars and consume the souls of countless millions, then why exactly are they ONLY powerful enough to manifest themselves as a small, physical being that can blow up a few tanks or wipe out a couple squads of Space Marines? Shouldn't they be able to wipe out entire worlds with a wave of their hands? But now that they're Shards, their power level is more believable, and the Necrons get to emerge from under their shadow as having a personality and theme of their own.

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DarianBlood said:

 

Wow, just got through reading a tiny fraction of the hate-pages about Matt Ward...i dont think i would have stepped into this discussion had i known the ire that follows him...

 

 

Yes, he seems to have become  bit of a hate figure, which no-one deserves. It's just a game, after all!  I actually thought his Blood Angels Codex was pretty good, though I'm not a big fan of the Grey Knight Codex. A lot of his new Grey Knight background additions were just...well...not very good, in my opinion. Particularly the stuff about killing Sororitas for their blood.

I'm usually supportive of a big new GW writer who's not afraid to sweep in and make changes to the setting. After all, Andy Chambers did that with the old Codex Necrons. That book was met with howls of protest at the time: "Ugh, the Necrons are behind everything, it's stupid!" But I personally thought that book was a triumph, one of the best 40k books ever.

I admit, I haven't read the new Necron Codex yet, but I've obviously read the new White Dwarf and a few internet articles floating around about the Matt Ward Necron re-imagining. 

My view is that the whole Necron background did need to be re-ordered somewhat, and that it is completely logical to now place a higher emphasis on individual Necron Lords with strong personalities. The major flaw with the old Codex (which, as I say, I still love) was that it only really created 4 major characters with any actual personality (the C'Tan), and only provided proper details of two of them. Given that the whole charm of the 40k setting is the ability to create your own armies led by colourful villains and heroes of your own invention, this was arguably a major misstep. "Old" Necron Lords were total ciphers. Yes, the old Codex said they had greater personality than the basic Necron warrior, but the overall inference of the Codex was that they were all petty much mindless slaves of the four C'Tan. Later writers (sensibly) retreated from this position, with more interesting Necron Lords popping up in Xenology and the most recent edition of 40k. So the new Necron Dynasties system is in my view something to be welcomed. More indvidualistic Necron Lords with their own personalities and motivations bring something new and vital to the setting, and will also make player armies infinitely more interesting on the tabletop.

I also love the new miniatures. They are genuinely beautiful pieces, staying true to the original design but riffing on it extensively. The vehicles are good, the Elite Infantry outstanding, and the HQ models are top notch. I haven't played the TT game for years, but the new Necron miniatures have lured me back more than anything GW's done in a long time. 

However, there are a lot of things about the new Codex that I have some reservations about.

Firstly, I don't like the suggestion that the C'Tan menace has been de-emphasised. All this stuff about C'Tan "shards" seems to suggest that the C'Tan have been successfully overthrown by the Necrons and imprisoned by them in constructs which can be used by any Necron army. I don't like this idea. The C'Tan were always, in my view, a brilliant creation, utterly malignant and alien creatures, the "Great Old Ones" (in a Lovecraft sense)  of the 40k setting. To make them effectively genies in bottles or Daemons which can be summoned seems to be a real downgrading of a key group of 40k villains. Like demoting Darth Vader to a Stormtrooper. It also potentially downgrades the importance of the "War in Heaven,"  defeating the dramatic majesty of some of the neatest and most intelligent deep 40k background in the whole setting. (OK, that's a bit overblown perhaps, but you get my drift.)

Secondly, I have to admit that the writing of the interaction between Necron Lords in the most recent battle report in White Dwarf made me wince. These are supposed to be 65 million+ year old unknowably malign alien mechanical entities, and they're cackling away to each other like the villains on a saturday morning cartoon. It's like watching Skeletor talking to Beastman, it's genuinely painful to read. If Necron Lords are going to be portrayed in a one dimensional fashion like that, then it seems to be a real step back from the quality of the writing in Andy Chambers' brilliant first Codex.

Thirdly, the characterisation of the Necrons as "Tomb Kings in Space" has always been apt to a degree, but I do worry that the new Codex may push the metaphor too far. The Necrons are NOT Imhotep from the Mummy Returns, they are the remnants of a totally alien civilisation devoted to the destruction of all living things. GW background works best when it takes a key archetypal concept (the Mongol horde, the Catholic Church, the Praetorian Guard etc) and pushes it in a weird direction without slavishly following all aspects of the archetype. The new Codex seems to be worryingly similar to the Tomb Kings book, written with an eye to reproducing that concept without riffing on some of the other neat sci fi archetypes that the original book did. The original Codex gave sly winks to the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Terminator (original and T1000) and Von Daniken's "Chariots of the Gods." The new Codex gives worrying signs of  drawing its principle creative inspiration from another GW army book.          

Perhaps I'm an old 40k fart. Perhaps I'm not as open to new material as I used to be... and as I say, I haven't actually read the book I'm critiquing above, so perhaps I'm no better than the idiots who protested "The Life of Brian" without actually seeing it. If I've got so much to say before I've read the thing, I'm entirely open to legitimate criticism that I'm not approaching the new book with an open mind. 

 I genuinely hope Matt Ward knocks this one out the park, because I love the Necrons to bits. They have the room, given their enormous history, to go in virtually any direction, and there is, with the new Dynasties system, tremendous room for layers of nuance and intrigue.  But I do have concerns based on what I've seen so far....           

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 Here's the thing: each time you look at new Necrons and think "malicious machines bent on destroying the world shouldn't do that", you're actually thinking of the old Necrons, and thus feeling confused. Instead, you should ask yourself if whatever happens feels in character for a slightly demented god-king trapped in a metal body and bent on... whatever this particular demented god-king is supposed to be bent on doing. From this perspective, the fiction you reference is absolutely appropriate.

Seriously, new 'Cronz aren't here to turn the galaxy into one big dinner plate for the C'tan. They now have myriads of different motivations and personal goals, not all of them malicious. Sometimes, it feels like cartoonish villainy. Other times, it creates entirely new kinds of cosmic horror. Still keeping to that battle report fiction, Trazyn plans to invade Ultramar, not to harvest the lifeforce of the empire, not because he sees Ultramarines as a serious obstacle on his way to world domination, not to troll Calgar, not to take slaves, but because he thinks Guilliman would make a great piece for his collection of curious antiquities. For me, it really drives the point home regarding how much out of their league humans are among the stars when one of the greatest demigod heroes Imperium ever had can be considered a collectible prize.

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Morangias said:

 Here's the thing: each time you look at new Necrons and think "malicious machines bent on destroying the world shouldn't do that", you're actually thinking of the old Necrons, and thus feeling confused. Instead, you should ask yourself if whatever happens feels in character for a slightly demented god-king trapped in a metal body and bent on... whatever this particular demented god-king is supposed to be bent on doing. From this perspective, the fiction you reference is absolutely appropriate.

Seriously, new 'Cronz aren't here to turn the galaxy into one big dinner plate for the C'tan. They now have myriads of different motivations and personal goals, not all of them malicious. Sometimes, it feels like cartoonish villainy. Other times, it creates entirely new kinds of cosmic horror. Still keeping to that battle report fiction, Trazyn plans to invade Ultramar, not to harvest the lifeforce of the empire, not because he sees Ultramarines as a serious obstacle on his way to world domination, not to troll Calgar, not to take slaves, but because he thinks Guilliman would make a great piece for his collection of curious antiquities. For me, it really drives the point home regarding how much out of their league humans are among the stars when one of the greatest demigod heroes Imperium ever had can be considered a collectible prize.

I don't feel I'm confused...I feel I understand the premise. And I agree that the new emphasis upon multiple different motivations for multiple Necron Lords is a good thing, opening the way for many different styles of gaming and storytelling involving the Necrons.

What I have reservation about is the quality of the execution of this concept, based on what we've seen so far. "Cartoonish villany," whether intentional or not, is never a good note to strike. Moustache-twirling, hand rubbing cartoonish villany is a shorthand for lack of depth, one dimensional characterisation and lack of originality. And there's no way you can read the WD battle report and conclude that the presentation of the necrons there is anything other than lame cartoonish villany. 

And I also have a bit of a problem with "New 'Cronz." There shouldn't be "Old 'Cronz" or "New 'Cronz" there should just be Necrons. It is possible to elegantly retcon and update a codex without shoehorning in a complete rewrite of the backstory to the extent that everything that predates it is "old canon" and everything after it is "new canon." There shouldn't be such a dividing line: it should just be a seamless, respectful and organic development of what has gone before.

Look at the Dark Eldar Codex:it elegantly and carefully introduced new troop types, and created a coherent backstory which accomodated everything that had gone before it, staying true to the DE themes and avoiding both canon conflicts and tonal shifts. Or the Badab War books, another good example. Or the Into the Storm Ork section, which provided a perfect summary of the Orks based on 20+ years of 40k background.

An updated Ork Codex shouldn't require GW to come up with "New Orkz," (by which I mean a totally new concept for the Orks) just because a new writer's on boad. By all means, take Orks in an interesting direction, but don't make them suddenly become what they're not, or change for the sake of change.

You see, based upon Matt Ward's handling of the Grey Knights, while he doesn't deserve the bile hurled at him in some corners, I do somewhat get the impression that he doesn't respect previous interpretations of 40k, interpretations created by some genuinely excellent writers. 

Look at the Orks again: I don't, for example, have a great love for a lot of Orky slapstick. However, if I was called to write an Ork Codex, I would put it in, because it's part of the setting. I would not attempt to make Orks into tragically flawed heroes in trenchcoats and shades. I would not have them conducting doomed romances with Eldar Farseers. I would work hard to avoid people saying the new Codex marked the dividing line between "New Orks" and "Old Orks." What worries me is that this seems to be what's hapening with the Necrons...           

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Lightbringer said:

And I also have a bit of a problem with "New 'Cronz." There shouldn't be "Old 'Cronz" or "New 'Cronz" there should just be Necrons.

At this stage, with only relatively few people having actually seen more than a small amount of the new material, a lot of the rumour mill will be focussed on the changes first and foremost, which always leads to an exaggerated appearance of "radical changes".

With the Orks, the Eldar, the Imperium, so much is already defined that big sweeping changes would be ill-placed and ill-regarded. However, with the Tau, Necrons and Dark Eldar, about whom less is written, greater amounts of new material can be introduced. With the Dark Eldar it was a matter of fleshing out what had come before. With the Tau, in-setting technological developments can be used to justify new units and weapons. With the Necrons, there's still plenty of room to move without invalidating the previous material, because what is known about the Necrons is comparatively little, and limited further by the transition from isolated inexplicable raids (end of 2nd edition 40k, mid-1998) to the barely-developed concepts in the first Codex Necrons (which had lots of info on ancient legends of ancient wars, and lots on how incomprehensibily advanced the Necrons' technology is, but very little on the Necrons themselves), to the expanded concepts in the new book.

It's a much smaller step than it seems from the Omnicidal Machine Legions of the previous book to the more diverse and interesting Ancient Robot God-Kings and their hosts of immortal slave-warrior-machines. The previous book, and the little we had before that, is the Necrons waking up, only a hint of their true power revealed and mostly ruled by autonomous programming and aeons-corrupted instincts, led by lesser Lords (many Necrons are omnicidal; in fact, it's a defining trait of Destroyers)... but now they're awake, and they are far from as uniform and unified as it might previously have seemed, with the more powerful Overlords awakening and exerting their will and their personalities upon the hosts at their command.

 

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