Friday, September 17, 2021

40K Friday - Checking in on Warhammer+


This new service? Product? "Thing" started in late August and I gave my initial impressions here. Now it's been a few weeks  - how is it going?

I admit - I am a little disappointed. New material comes out on Wednesday so we've had the launch plus three release windows and it has been s-l-o-w - much slower than I expected. 

The high point: Angels of Death. This black and white and red CGI series is exactly the kind of thing I want from a Warhammer Animation Studio. It looks right, it sounds right - the voice acting is solid and the music is good too - and the developing story is interesting. The service released with the initial episode and a new chapter has dropped every Wednesday so far. 

Hammer and Bolter is the more traditional animated series with one-off stories from around the 40K universe. It released with 3 episodes and now has ... 3 episodes. Yes, the same 3. It makes no sense but that's where it stands. 

Battlereport is their channel for ... battle reports. There was one 40k battle and one Age of Sigmar battle at release and now we have three 40k batreps and one AoS batrep - yes, the same one.

They have added a new show "Loremasters" which talks about stories and backgrounds in the Warhammer universes. So far we've had one episode discussing Abaddon the Despoiler. 

They've added at least one painting guide. The 40k app has been updated regularly. They've released a beta of the AoS app which I have not tried yet. The vault has had some new material added like extra issues of White Dwarf.

So far it feels slow and underwhelming. Angels of Death is amazing but the rest of it is just ... intermittent. What was the plan here? Was there not enough in the can to sustain a steady release cycle for these other shows?

  • Where is the rest of Hammer and Bolter? I wasn't overwhelmed with the first 3 but I was hoping it would get better. So far we have almost a month of nothing. Great job!

  • It's GAMES F'ING WORKSHOP - How on earth can you not produce a battle report for at least one of your games every week? It's what you do! What a tremendous dropping of the ball.

  • What is the point of "Loremasters"? A game design type explanation from "outside" the universe might be cool, or hey, maybe this kind of stuff would make for a good animated series topic? More show, less tell? Nope! We get 18 minutes of a guy basically reading the Abaddon info from pretty much any of the Chaos Marine Codexes over the years. The first half of it is more about Horus anyway so we get to hear that story again. They intersperse a bunch of art that you've already seen if you're a chaos player but a lot of it is literally showing a man's face as he reads a bunch of well-known lore. It's like an incredibly dull audiobook which should not be something we have with the 40k universe. "Abaddon did this. Then he did this. There was a battle. He won. Then he went somewhere else. Then he destroyed Cadia." - it is incredible to me that they landed on the least interesting way to convey information about some of the biggest events in 40K . It drains all of the life and energy from them. 

  • I'm not giving up on it but I do feel like they are letting the opportunity get away form them. A steady, solid stream of content would make this thing look a lot better. The battle report thing especially seems like a missed opportunity. It's not that expensive to make, you have people on staff already, you have the models and the terrain, and it shows people what they are supposed to do with your game! I don't understand why they don't have one for every single game they currently produce  on there already!

    Anyway check back in a month or so when I touch on this again - hopefully with more positive things to report.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2021

    The New Deadlands Campaign


    So I started a new campaign a week or two back. RPG time has been pretty spotty around here since early 2020 for all the typical reasons but this is my effort to get things back on some kind of regular schedule. I rana lot of D&D 5E and some Pathfinder 2 prior to the pandemic so I wanted to do something different. After some debate I settled on Deadlands - with a shiny new batch of stuff released recently it feels like a good time. 

    We managed to figure out a day and a time that worked for almost everyone and I ended up with 5 players! My goal for the first session was to get characters made and get into some initial trouble with them - and we achieved that! Names and details will show up in future posts but we ended up with a shootist, a huckster, a mad scientist, an Indian shaman, and a Chinese martial artist.  So yeah ... covering a whole lot of the Deadlands character spectrum. 

    For various reasons this collection of unconnected souls finds themselves on a train station platform in Andover Kansas in 1879. It's a dusty, tiny outpost in the middle of nowhere with a small general store, a blacksmith, and a hotel that seems much larger than needed - probably due to a burst of hopeful optimism on the owners part.

    As our heroes and some others mill about on the platform a kid rushes down the one real street in the town, raising a cloud of dust, waving his arms, and shouting. "The Clampett gang! The Clampett gang is coming!"

    Yes, they are back again. A good opening is a good opening.

    As the rest of the waiting passengers look for a place to hide the five strangers step forward to assess the danger. A gunshot rings out and a bullet slams into the unfortunate huckster obvious professional gambler which helps speed the assessment right along. The shootist, gambler, and mad scientist inventor stay on the platform, readying weapons and aided by a wall of flame that conceals their position. The martial artist moves up onto the roof while the medicine man moves around to one side of the station - both are thinking "ambush".

    As the gang approaches shots continue to ring out along with curses and exclamations like "they done shot granny!" and "Uncle Jed - noooo!" and soon only Big Jethro and Dirty Jane Hathaway the well-known knife-fighter are left. No one among the station defenders is hit in the ongoing exchange and Jethro is the last to go down before any further harm is done. 

    The defiant ones exchange nods and discuss the fight and the other waiting passengers come out of hiding and thank them. Checking the bodies it is clear the Clampetts have been dead for some time so it's clear evidence of the rumored "walking dead" right here in Andover Station. The station agent mentions no one has seen them for months and word was that they had met their maker in a dust-up with the Rogers gang. "Maybe they did - but it looks like it didn't take."

    Soon enough the train pulls into the station and everyone boards, eager to get to their next stop.

    This was only the first part of the first session but I think it's long enough for one post. The goal here was to get everyone together, try out abilities and to shake off any rules-rust and it did exactly that.