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Necron Lord as playable career?

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Point taken. I could be overreacting based upon very little actual information! I seem to recall hearing terrible things about the blood Angels Codex based upon internet rumour and hearsay, and then actually really enjoying the finished article. Hopefully it'll be the same here!

(Although I still think Trazyn the Infinite has a fine future ahead of him as the villain for a line of children's breakfast cereals:- "Your Frozen Godling is an old friend, and I rather think he'd be better served in my company than yours. Bwa-ha, mu ha ha ha ha haaaaa! Don't forget, kids, eat your 'Cronflakes." )gui%C3%B1o.gif

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Lightbringer said:

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....           


You make some valid and interesting points.  Having had some time to think about it (and to thoroughly read through an old 'Codex Necrons' i got hold of) i think i may end up combining some elements of the new along with the background of the old.  In Rogue Trader campaigns we have the advantage that the setting is before official contact with the Necrons so no character in the campaign  should have any preconceptions about them.  I sort of like the idea of the odd Necron lord who was able to keep enough of his personality to retain free will...at the very least that would make him a memorable opponent, depending on his motivations he might even potentially become more than that, while at the same time the bulk of Necrons would be the same merciless killers as written in the fluff.

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Worth mentioning that the whole 'crons can be smart and aren't all zombie robots bit isn't a new invention. Unless you count Xenology as 'new' and even then it wasn't written by anyone who's had a hand in the current codices. There're also hints of the necrons hierarchal system of increasing self awareness scattered throughout bits both game books and novels with the most obvious example being the 40k Apocalypse book. Also  the slowly dawning horror aspect of their growing might was in their very first write ups as a chapter approved raiding force.


That being said I would think that a Necron Lord that interacts with people is more along the lines of a daemon prince. Keep in mind the necrons and c'tan were one (Arguably the primary) of the reasons the Deathwatch was formed and are a relatively unknown faction in the grim dark future. THere's also the tiny matter of them wanting to swallow everyone's souls and maybe suck the stars dry while doing it. So they faction as a whole is better left at the same tier as galactic scale horrors such as tyrannids and chaos incursions.

So, it's unlikely that a 'mere' rogue trader would know what a necron is beyond rumors and less likely that his new robot buddy would actually inform him. There's also the matter that those who know what a necron is are not likely to just turn a blind eye to this new friendship either...it'd be comparable to letting the Trader transport genestealers around for use in pacifying rebellious planets.

So were I to permit someone to have such a special background for their character I'd insist on them trying to first do so within the rules of creating a human. Perhaps using the false man background from Into the Storm layered over an Explorator career with acess to the augmentist advanced career. From there It's a matter of adjusting a few XP costs and rewriting the fluff of the implants to say they're less obvious than typical imperial augmentations. After rank 4 or 5 I'd try to provide an more lordly advanced career to represent the necron diverging from the mundane and moving on to a more eldrtich set of abilities.

There'd also have to be an effort made to not reveal the lord's true nature to not just NPCs but the party itself. Also might be a good idea to figure out why the lord is even bothering with these young yokel races instead of just directing them to the nearest tomb ship for soul harvesting.

However I really  would have to ask what is to be gained from all of this. It'd require such a level of interaction between player and GM that the rest of the group might feel left out, especially if there's extra care taken to keep the necron's origins a true secret from the other players.

In the end I'd find it easier to let someone play a minor daemon prince or pilot a titan...but YMMV.

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