Fall of Cadia and 8th Edition
So currently there’s a lot of chatter about two things upcoming in the 40k universe. The fall of Cadia and the upcoming 8th edition. The fall of Cadia is coming hard on the heels of the Siege of Fenris and continues that story. Magnus has patched things up with Ahriman, sort of, and the word of the sorcerers was teleported in toto to Prospero. Abaddon the Armless is attacking Cadia and I have a feeling it might actually work this time, what with the campaign being called the Fall of Cadia and all. Living saints are showing up with the Imperium getting its own “Party Float” model. Seriously. She’s this close to being a Protectorate Warcaster. Guilliman is on his way back, just to piss off everyone who doesn’t like the Ultrasmurfs, even though he’s mortally wounded and “slowly healing” in stasis while the Lion is just napping. For ten thousand years. What can I say he naps like a pro.
So the grimdark story is moving forward. GW hasn’t called it the “end times” because, well, that would trigger everyone who liked Warhammer Fantasy before
GW RUINED IT FOREVER reimagined it in a new format. This is especially key with a new edition looming on the horizon. First let’s do some accounting. 20 Primarchs. 2 lost and expunged. The Lion is napping (LIKE A BOSS), Fulgrim and Perturabo are demon princes, Khan and Russ are taking extended tours of Chaos-affiliated architecture, Dorn and Ferrus Manus are dead (ish. more on this in a bit) Konrad Curze and Sangy are dead, dead, dead. Angron is a demon prince, Guilliman is apparently already on his way back (unenthusiastic yay) Mortarion and Magnus are Demon Princes as well, Horus is as completely destroyed as you can be, Lorgar is an especially whiny demon prince, Vulkan is a Perpetual, supposedly he’s dead but the guy has plot armor like whoah, Corvus Corax is MIA but with a HUGE asterisk, and I am Alpharius. Or Omegon.
So the Imperium can expect to see the Lion, and Guilliman for sure, and Russ, Vulkan, Khan, and Corax wouldn’t be a stretch. Dorn and Manus would be a stretch but Dorn is in that “Have you seen a body?” “Well, we have a hand, sir” category. If they want him back he’s back. Manus would be more of a stretch but also is a huge opportunity. First off he’s a very popular Primarch for not being one of the “major” legions/chapters. He’s boosted by having THE best model among the Forgeworld Primarchs (Seriously, check it out) and the stories of what has happened to his head lead to the potential of a Robot Nixon style return. What would make this delicious is the fact that he actually abhors the replacement of flesh with steel, which seems the kind of suffering GW loves to inflict on its tragic heroes.
Corvus Corax is much more likely to come back, and he’s an interesting one. Last seen headed for the Eye of Terror he hasn’t been confirmed dead, and while his last action seems suicidal, he’s very much not. He’s an extremely dedicated servant of the Emperor, in fact he’s a bit of an ideologue, much like Lorgar in his blind faith. He also has an amazing wealth of knowledge of gene-seed and space marine creation, thanks to his efforts rebuilding his chapter. He could be a huge piece of rebuilding the Imperium after the coming apocalypse.
Chaos can bring Fulgrim, Lorgar, Mortarion, Angron, Magnus, Perturabo, and possibly half of Alpharius Omegon. Most of them don’t need much introduction, they are Demon Princes and if GW wants them in, they will be in. Alpharius Omegon was supposedly killed, half by Dorn, half by Guilliman. I don’t believe it for a second. I do believe that they have the potential to be the second largest spoiler in the whole shebang. Who is the biggest? Magnus the Red.
No. Really. I’ll explain. Here’s what I see happening, Cadia falls, the Black Crusade spills out headed all across the galaxy. As Abby’s ships approach Terra the Golden Throne fails and the Emperor dies, coincidentally banishing Abby’s ships to the Eye for a time, and possibly even creating a mini eye of terror (the Eye of Terra if you will.) The Demon Primarchs have fanned out, many taking over their own kingdoms and the regular Space Marines are on their back foot. Guilliman is building another Empire. He’s done it before. Vulkan shows up to help with War machines, Corvus Corax shows up to help create more marines, Russ shows up to help kill everything, and shortly before Terra get whomped, The Rock shows up to try to defend Terra. And intercept a certain Fallen. Cypher shows up not on Terra’s walls, but at the Rock. Walking in as if he owns the place he hands his pistols over and carrying the Lion’s Blade he waits while every Inquisitor Chaplain descends on him, only to be stopped by the Watchers in the Dark. The Watchers lead everyone to the depths of the Rock, past even Luther’s chamber, to where the Lion lays sleeping. Cypher lays the Lion’s sword on his Primarch’s chest and asks “Father, why did you abandon us.”
To which the Lion awakes and responds “I left you to defend our homeworld, to safeguard the future of our legion. Why did you fail in your charge.” A few seconds later the scene is re-enacted a few rooms over in Luther’s chamber, with much of the last 10,000 years of Dark Angels history being revealed as, literally, the Lion gave a shitty mission brief, leading Luther and the Fallen to believe they had been abandoned, when they had, in fact, been trusted with the most important mission they could be given. Coincidentally this leaves the Dark Angels and the other Unforgiven as a highly unified force, which the Lion absolutely would not hesitate to wield in the tradition of the Space Marine Legions of the Crusade era.
This is a band aid on a sucking chest wound though. The Imperium has basically fallen. The Emperor is dead, Primarchs are empire building in the rubble. Chaos is expanding and all of reality hangs by a thread. The loyalist Primarchs, Guilliman, The Lion, Russ, CC, and Vulkan, all gather on Ultramar. Discussions go round and round on how to proceed. The Lion is the new Warmaster. Guilliman is the Emperor-regent, CC and Vulkan are helping rebuild the armies, and Russ spearheads the charge. However while they can try to patch the sinking ship they find themselves stuck at a dead end.
At this point they are joined by three more Primarchs. Dorn, Khan, and Magnus. No, I’m not kidding. In my vision of 40k, Dorn was rescued/captured by Magnus, who has no great love for Tzeentch or Chaos, and might very well be open to returning to the Imperium on his own terms. Dorn has intimate knowledge of the Golden Throne, from his time as guardian of the Imperial Palace, and Khan is intimately familiar with the Webway, which was a large part of the development of the throne. Magnus is willing to fulfill the Emperor’s role for him, as, basically, the ass in the throne, provided the other Primarchs work to restore his legion.
Most of the Primarchs are more than willing to participate, but one of them, Russ, is absolutely incoherent with rage at the thought. He has just returned to find Fenris shattered, by Magnus, and even were that not the case he would not countenance letting the traitor return to the fold. However, Russ has few friends at the table, and his Chapter has been shattered leaving him with even less power than that. Magnus pours oil on the waters by asking that Russ be his guardian, and, if he shows any moment of disloyalty, his executioner. The Wolves and the Sons were always the smallest of legions, and while their hate for each other is legendary, they have both always been utterly loyal to their leaders.
This gives the Imperium a rudder. With a new leader, Big Papa Smurf, a new Warmaster, the Lion, a cabal of technicians, and a new guiding light in Magnus, as well as flipping two of the most devious cards in the Chaos deck (Cypher and Magnus) the Imperium has the initiative. Just in time for the return of the Emperor.
Of course Chaos won’t take this lying down. Alpharius Omegon may or may not be loyal to Chaos, or the new Empire, or anything else at this point, but the rest of the Primarchs are in it to win it, and their power is terrible to behold. While I don’t doubt that any of the Primarchs could have taken down Primarch Lorgar back in the Heresy era (a wounded and exhausted Corvus Corax nearly did it during the drop site massacre) I doubt any of them would be quite so succesful about taking on Demon Prince Lorgar, and Lorgar lagged far behind his brothers in martial skill. I shudder to think of the power that Perturabo has picked up, even as a “undeclared” champion of chaos. Now imagine the power of a Mortarion, Angron, or Fulgrim, all martial masters with the backing of their own Chaos God. Yeah I’ll pass on that, thanks. Added to that, the Marines will be stretched very thin, and the resources of the Imperial Guard will be taxed to the limit without the web of trade, resources, and administratum support the Imperium had. Guilliman will likely be occupied full time just re-connecting the Ultramar sector.
So here’s how I see it. Chaos will establish lodgements all over the fallen Imperium, with bickering warlords squatting in the ruins of humanity’s greatest empire. At this point the loyalist Primarchs reunite and play all their cards to build the Ultramar Empire, with the ability to strike hard, but not widely, and not often. Chaos has won incredible gains, but now faces a foe far more focused, and more driven, at a time when its own power is badly divided.
But enough lore.
My first thought is “Please don’t fuck this up”
My next thought is “You know, they keep talking streamlining. Do they mean streamlining or do they mean abstracting?”
Currently there’s a couple hundred “USRs” between the BRB, the codexes, the campaign books… yeah there’s a lot of special rules. That list needs to be pared down. Preferably to a couple dozen. This alone would accomplish a lot.
There needs to be some balance changes as well. Right now vehicles are usually not taken unless they are free, or deployed en masse by specific armies. Vehicles should be key factors. You need a balance between them dominating the field, and being too dominant, but it shouldn’t be a “how can I get free transports for my troops” games with formations. On that topic, WTB Rhinos/Razorbacks.
Now let me talk about something I would LOVE to see. Something that would make the game a lot faster, and help balance melee vs. ranged combat. I’m stealing this idea from Epic 40k, which is still GWs best ruleset. Firepower. That’s right, Firepower. Instead of rolling to hit, to wound, and then dealing with a myriad of saves, it will not die, and regenerating, we abstract all of that. Every weapon gets a firepower rating. Better yet every model gets a firepower rating. An ork gets a 1. A guardsman a 2. A tactical marine a 3. Add together a whole unit’s firepower and look at a chart to see how many dice you roll, modified by the targets cover and concealment. Then you roll against the target’s defensive value. Terminators would have a defensive value of 6, marines might have a defensive value of 5, an ork, aspect warrior or tau a 4, a guardsman or guardian a 3, and a gretchin or swarm creature a 2. For example a marine tactical squad with 10 bolters has a firepower of 30. The chart gives them a rating of 15/11/8 against targets in the open/soft cover/hard cover. So against a guardsman squad in the open they roll 20 dice, with a fair chance of blasting them off the table. Against a squad in hard cover they inflict a handful of casualties, and all this is done in seconds. Special weapons might add a special rule to the attack, for example a fixed number of dice regardless of cover (flamers) or additional dice against certain targets (lascannon against heavily armored targets for example)
I doubt GW will do this, but I’d absolutely love to see it. It much better captures firefights as troops blasting away at targets of opportunity rather than single, aimed shots.
Melee needs love too. Badly. Delivering enough troops to melee and having enough left to do anything is very hard in 7th edition. Go ahead, charge a Dark Angel or Tau force and see how many dice your opponent brought with him. In addition it’s just not that deadly. Getting rid of toughness/armor and just giving a defense score helps, and if my firepower suggestion is taken, it’s relatively easy to tune the firepower/dice chart to set whatever balance you want. Need more melee? Firepower generates fewer dice. Think melee in the year 41,000 is silly? DICE FOR THE DICE GODS!
Ok this post is up over 2200 words.