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Made in gb
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






How do!

So this is something that’s been irking me.

On one hand, Special Characters add a certain permanence to the background. They’re storied heroes with legacies of awesome behind them.

On the other? They feel too permanent. For instance, we know once introduced, they’re clad in the best plot armour ever. Even when they fail in a given endeavour, we know they’ll live to fight another day. And only very rarely having been changed by their experience.

If 40K was a purely written background, ala Game of Thrones or Walking Dead, their lives could be at risk.

But when there are physical models to sell? Not so much. Given special characters attract a premium price (mostly because peeps will only buy one of each), it would genuinely and understandably irritate folks to have something they just spent a decent slice of money on, and time painting, snuff it.

And so they’re Plot Armoured to a crazy degree. Which kind of seriously limits plot development. For instance, should Guilliman get his hands on Abaddon? We know that ultimately there’ll be No Harm Done, despite the likelihood of Abaddon getting horrifically murdered and fisted to death until he’s so killed he’s not alive anymore by The Avenging Son, who would in turn take some hefty wounds in the process.

Some it kinda makes sense with. You can only ever really banish a Daemon Prince or Primarch. Others? Such as Yarrick? Just….let them die. By all means make it a heroic and influential death, but let them meet a final day.

The same for Astartes Chapter Masters, Sororitas Canoness’ and so on and so forth. Make the battles we read about carry serious weight. Explore the narrative possibilities of Abaddon snuffing it, and The Imperium having to deal with the ramifications of Chaos forces suddenly fragmenting, making it harder to engage them in any meaningful way.

Because right now, they might be fun to field in a game (and I’m happy for them to exist in Codexes), but in the ongoing narrative, they’re too much of an anchor.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/25 22:11:06


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Imo this named character stuff worked so much better when:
A: They were used "with opponents permission" only.
B: When GW didn't really advance the setting.
and
C: When you had more freedom to build your own characters.

I dislike the importance given to named characters these days, both on and off the tabletop. This makes the game less about "your dudes" and more about "GWs dudes TM", which is sad.

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Lisbon, Portugal

Aun'Va has a model and was killed

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 Vector Strike wrote:
Aun'Va has a model and was killed


eldrad was killed back in 2003 as well, but that didn't stick.


The biggest issue for me is the shrinking of the limitless expanse of 40k down to the spheres of influence of a bunch of key named characters. all ork stuff has to hinge on thraka, all eldar stuff on eldrad, guilliman, silent king etc.

It goes from being a massive universe where individuals are machine cogs and can rise and fall without comment across a massive tapestry, to the battle of Bob and Jeff, the advance of Sophie, the triumph of Katherine, the loss and redemption of Steve.

My favourite named characters were all historical ones, because in history their names could be huge and their feats legendary. But they are dead now and the story doesn't have to hinge on them.

IMO the best way to deal with special characters is to have them all as historical - because only in hindsight do we see how amazing they were.


   
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Named characters also get weird when they advance the setting. Even with rejuvenation treatments humans only live so long, so if GW advanced the setting a thousand years what happens to those named characters.

If their beloved characters whose model sells like hot cakes it actually disincentivized GW to push the setting forwards which depending on your perspective is <good/bad>.

I like Named Characters, but I'd like it better if it was a simple system of "Here's how to build your character to be like <insert named character>". Instead we get named characters with unique rules which you can't always replicate with "Your Dudes" which is a shame.
   
Made in gb
Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Characters don't really die because for the longest time there has only been a focus on the events of M.41 for the whole "1 second to midnight" narrative. Its not the fault of the Characters but rather the setting itself.
   
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I remain confused by the assertion that special characters can't be killed, given that a rather large number of the special characters that GW have introduced over the years have been 'historical' characters who were already dead in the 'current' time.


I like Named Characters, but I'd like it better if it was a simple system of "Here's how to build your character to be like <insert named character>". Instead we get named characters with unique rules which you can't always replicate with "Your Dudes" which is a shame.

I do like this idea, though. More customisability for characters, and keeping 'special' characters within the bounds of that customisability would be nice.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/25 23:42:21


 
   
Made in gb
Executing Exarch






 Insectum7 wrote:
Imo this named character stuff worked so much better when:
A: They were used "with opponents permission" only.
B: When GW didn't really advance the setting.
and
C: When you had more freedom to build your own characters.

I dislike the importance given to named characters these days, both on and off the tabletop. This makes the game less about "your dudes" and more about "GWs dudes TM", which is sad.


This is an interesting topic. I hope I can articulate my thoughts..

Mostly agree with the above sentiment.

But also, I think there is no reason why a special character shouldn't be killed narratively.
Just because they are dead does not mean their model needs to vanish. I think that's a very dumb take on GWs part.

This ties in with insectums point about making it "your dudes". As in, there is nothing stopping me with either using the named character as a standard character or simply my army being from a specific time when this character was still alive....

The setting can be advanced and everyone getting killed... but I honestly don't see why it should ever stop minatures being sold...
I mean if eventualy you get too much bloat and essentialy a replacement is being made then that's fine.
But an Iconic character such as Calgar, Eldrad, Kharn or abbadon should be available to future, generations of gamers even if no longer relevant to the narrative setting. These are timeless pieces and part of the hobby IMO. I remember when my first army was nids, and getting old one eye and red terror on the field was just the greatest thing ever.
I didin't care that the red terror is perhaps not that great lol. But the hive tyrant customization was off the chart awesome back in that day (3rd ed?). The whole point was that these guys were very vague and they were rumours of rumours in the lore.

The trouble is, GW has really fleshed out the setting with HH and all the BL fiction to the point where we know what time a given primarch took a dump on a specific sunday @ 1pm in the 31st millenium... So muh of the veil has been pulled back its almost hard work trying to use your imagination and creativity to come up with "your army" rather then buy up whatever the latest GW starter army set in "warzone x" this month is..

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AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "


 Eonfuzz wrote:


I would much rather everyone have a half ass than no ass.


"A warrior does not seek fame and honour. They come to him as he humbly follows his path"  
   
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Not sure how it's the fault of 30k that named characters have prominence in 40k considering that a lot of these named characters have been around since like 3rd Edition and the Horus Heresy novels only started in 2006.
   
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Let's be real, if named characters with models didn't have plot armor then non-Imperium factions would be a constant mill of new character introduced -> new character killed by a Space Marine.
   
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Executing Exarch






 Gert wrote:
Not sure how it's the fault of 30k that named characters have prominence in 40k considering that a lot of these named characters have been around since like 3rd Edition and the Horus Heresy novels only started in 2006.


Only since 2006? You realise that's 15 years worth of lore content right ? and that's HH stuff alone not to mention the current crop of 40k stuff..
In that 15 years we've had a lot of gaps filled when it comes to the narrative driving IOM.
Culminating in an actual living breathing primarch being a unit available in the game.

This would be completely alien in OG 40k days circa 3rd/4th ed days.

Im not saying there's specifically fault of 30k but rather what is the end result of how things have been.. is that so much lore and cannon is explained there is increasingly less room for mystery and imagination which 40k used to be all about...

Nobody knew anything about anything and everyone was just fighting desperately to survive.
As a player it really isn't the case anymore IMO..


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Arachnofiend wrote:
Let's be real, if named characters with models didn't have plot armor then non-Imperium factions would be a constant mill of new character introduced -> new character killed by a Space Marine.


There is certainly that!

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/07/25 23:53:14


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AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "


 Eonfuzz wrote:


I would much rather everyone have a half ass than no ass.


"A warrior does not seek fame and honour. They come to him as he humbly follows his path"  
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

I sometimes feel this way with AoS, esp as a lot of the heroes we get tend to be immortal types (so that they can keep reappearing in the stories, even though GW hasn't really given us dates to easily see the timeflow). But also because they tend to be really really powerful so they take up 500-1000 points just to put on the table.

Yes you feel the epic impact of them, but at the same time its almost too epic an impact. They dominate their area of the game and whilst its balanced decently to avoid them simply sweeping all else away; they do leave little in the way of points free to give themselves an "army" to go along with them.


AoS heroes certainly often feel like they'd be better placed in Warmaster; where you'd have way more units and the super powered hero has impact, but far reduced in terms of how much table they could command and how much of the percentage of army points they'd dominate.



I too remember the "with opponents permission" days;but I can also see why GW would turn away from that. Because asking your opponent makes something feel more powerful. So you're asking them if its ok for you to play with an advantage in the game (unless they bring their hero too); even if mechanically there is no net advantage. It also makes them far more niche in when you might get to play with them and some groups might never let you play with them. So suddenly those big fancy models of heroes become collectors only and that means far less sales for GW.

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Made in gb
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I would say the imagination is still there and there are certainly still mysteries.
I've found that the opening up of the Horus Heresy can allow for better construction of narrative for hobbyists and offers some explanations for some large empty gaps. I find the whole Dorn VS Guilliman regarding the Codex to be a really neat story and as a result we got the Fists Exemplar and Maximus Thane, all round cool dude.
For personal narrative I can craft a better story of why certain characters are where they are or why my friends character hates my character.
In the end its all just opinion but I much prefer homebrew characters (narrative wise not rules wise) to named ones.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/26 00:05:51


 
   
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**double post madness*

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/26 00:08:43


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I dont play AOS so could be wrong - but AOS looks more hero hamer than 40k.

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AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "


 Eonfuzz wrote:


I would much rather everyone have a half ass than no ass.


"A warrior does not seek fame and honour. They come to him as he humbly follows his path"  
   
Made in se
Dakka Veteran




Sweden

They work when the setting is static. They are potentially problematic when the setting is moving forward, although the Imperial Space Marine bias already mentioned is a an actual risk if named characters can be killed off.

The concept of special characters worked fine when the setting was static. Mostly, they were more of an example of the kinds of characters to be found in the bonkers future, with stories to inspire others to write their own, than central characters around which large events took place. Not unlike Rogue Trader era character profiles, but usually less grimdark and with more importance ascribed to the characters (Fabius Bile, Abaddon, Cypher, Eldrad and so on) than in Rogue Trader character profiles.

For the record, I've never played Lotr with special characters, only Dwarf captains and kings. I prefer to make up my own background and name all my own characters and give them life and ongoing stories in games, rather than piggybacking on named ones seen in Tolkien's writings, movies or GW supplements. The same is true for 40k, though I have nothing against collecting and painting the named characters. They're often cool.

Named characters are a potential problem for a story-driven setting.

However, a dead character need not disappear as a model and playable profile. The game can be played in eras. For instance, most 30k characters are dead by 40k, and still people play with them in Horus Heresy games. One example from Games Workshop's early days are their Regiments of Renown background. Many of them sport backstories where the famous leader of the unit, or the company itself is killed off. There is an end point to some of those regiments' stories, including that of Josef Bugman. They were written tragic from the start.

But such a historical approach could potentially cost sales, especially if too many people don't think for themselves and always slavishly follow the company line with mindless zeal, always hounding the newest shiny thing and latest story development. Like some shoal of fish or sheep flock.

Given the silly resentment of a silly amount of Ninth Age players toward Games Workshop as being something explicitly akin to an ex-girlfriend, I fear that all too many hobbyists like being led by an official company, and conversely will hate that company if it leads them astray. Making up their own mind according to their own tastes and thinking for themselves all along the way was apparently not much of an option. This state of affairs is not Games Workshop's fault: Game designers have repeatedly tried to re-inject narrative play, houseruling tricky situations and so on, and likewise they have repeatedly tried to recapture freewheeling creativity into their own projects (Specialist Games, Dreadfleet, Space Hulk and so on) in a time when they have inevitably been forced into a straitjacket of codex treadmill.

More people should see 40k for the sandbox it was always meant to be. That would make it more feasible to kill off characters when advancing the plot.

This message was edited 18 times. Last update was at 2021/07/26 00:53:51


   
Made in ca
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Canada

 Insectum7 wrote:
Imo this named character stuff worked so much better when:
A: They were used "with opponents permission" only.
B: When GW didn't really advance the setting.
and
C: When you had more freedom to build your own characters.

I dislike the importance given to named characters these days, both on and off the tabletop. This makes the game less about "your dudes" and more about "GWs dudes TM", which is sad.


This 100x. I would add Forgeworld style models/centerpieces to the list. Just avoid playing in public and stick to close friends/family only, many were told to shut up years ago when these changes started happening.

This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2021/07/26 05:34:25


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Longtime Dakkanaut




I favor limitation of special characters as well. I don't like the whole "But you can use the rules and things for your own custom character and just say in rules it counts as this special character." The whole point about special characters is they are meant to be special, and perhaps just a bit better or more unique in a different way from your average generic make your own character.

Ghaz is meant to be the prophet of all the Orks. It diminishes him if every single other warlord out there is claiming the same thing and effectively has the same rules. Likewise, Eldrad is supposedly one of the best Farseers ever, which wouldn't be the case if the head Farseer of every Craftworld was his equal.

I can already see one argument advanced by others: "Maybe all those reputations are false and they are no better." Ok, then how about someone counts their Chapter Master as Calgar or better yet, Guilliman? Maybe Guilliman's reputation was overblown.


I personally prefer special characters remain for special occasions and stay rare because as others have mentioned, it shrinks the scale of 40K if it only becomes about what these unkillable special characters are doing, as if nothing else matters in the universe. It also means narratively unsatisfying conclusions to virtually every campaign or conflicts since these characters are bubble wrapped in Plot Armor, so you know it will be inconclusive with nobody dead or significantly changed.
   
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It helps to realize that most of the 'named characters' were just various GW dev's personal captains/generals/whatever. They named people in their army lists, and most (like Ghaz) were one-off jokes.

Part of the point of the setting was that individuals don't matter- they just end up as fodder in the never-ending war.

I still think the player-base who are obsessed with SCs care far more about them than GW does. But the player/bean-counter alliance matters more than the devs.

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The special characters matter when their entire faction starts to be about what they are doing. Eldrad seems to be involved any time GW mentions the Craftworlders. Vect for the Dark Eldar, Ghaz for the Orks, and so on... That's a bad thing IMO because it overshadows all other characters in that faction and their actions.
   
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Iracundus wrote:
The special characters matter when their entire faction starts to be about what they are doing.

Or worse, where you are forced to take that character in order to use a given army in the first place, as has happened with Red Corsairs and Deathwing in the past.

 
   
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 insaniak wrote:
Iracundus wrote:
The special characters matter when their entire faction starts to be about what they are doing.

Or worse, where you are forced to take that character in order to use a given army in the first place, as has happened with Red Corsairs and Deathwing in the past.


I have always loathed that kind of requirement. As if the big honcho of a faction would always personally show up to every skirmish or that his minions were incapable of doing anything without their boss's presence.

However even without that kind of rules based game requirement, it is still an issue in the background if in terms of story nothing of any consequence happens unless that character is somehow involved, even if in the background as mastermind. That's why for example I dislike Vect's endless "just as planned" moments, which also incidentally serve to basically keep the Dark Eldar at a static status quo.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/26 03:31:37


 
   
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It might have been better if you didn’t have models for special characters but the player take on the persona of a character when playing the game with a few strategic benefits.

So if you played Blood Angels, you might be Dante and in game that give you a few cards up your sleeve. But in the table top are your troops from general down to grunt
   
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Les Etats Unis

It's been said before, but it just doesn't make sense that GW prevents named characters from dying in the story.

I can play a game of Magic: The Gathering in which I cast a Planeswalker card, and my opponent follows up with a Planeswalker who canonically died centuries earlier.

I can run a D&D campaign in which my players' characters fight against a canonically-murdered Forgotten Realms deity, complete with official stats.

Why can't Warhammer 40k be the same?


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 Flipsiders wrote:
It's been said before, but it just doesn't make sense that GW prevents named characters from dying in the story.

I can play a game of Magic: The Gathering in which I cast a Planeswalker card, and my opponent follows up with a Planeswalker who canonically died centuries earlier.

I can run a D&D campaign in which my players' characters fight against a canonically-murdered Forgotten Realms deity, complete with official stats.

Why can't Warhammer 40k be the same?



In either of those 2 examples, it's not clear what the time is so it might be set in the past.

The same would have to hold true if you play 40K featuring characters from the past. However there are also some matchups that could never happen at least if attempting to keep it vaguely in universe. Macharius could never face off against Aun'va for example.

Sure you can have completely anachronistic games with such impossible matchups. However it seems many 40K players want to play in the present and have games with living characters.
   
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 Flipsiders wrote:
It's been said before, but it just doesn't make sense that GW prevents named characters from dying in the story.

I can play a game of Magic: The Gathering in which I cast a Planeswalker card, and my opponent follows up with a Planeswalker who canonically died centuries earlier.

I can run a D&D campaign in which my players' characters fight against a canonically-murdered Forgotten Realms deity, complete with official stats.

Why can't Warhammer 40k be the same?







yup GW neeeeever kills off people with a mini. nope NEEEEVER

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/26 09:26:17


Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
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Off the top of my head there's Kell, Creed (sort of), Tycho, Macharius had a model at one point IIRC and he died in like M.37 or something.
Of course, that doesn't even consider characters like Nagash *wink*.
   
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Neither of which were exactly top level command.

Sure, Aun’Va snuffed it, and that was a welcome surprise. But as I said, when it comes to Guilliman vs Abaddon, we know both are going to survive the encounter - despite the deaths of either/both being a far more interesting event.

The models themselves could still easily be used, as most of our games are defacto historical affairs, as we the players have no influence or impact on the ongoing narrative or background,

Likewise, we’re seemingly never going to see Ahriman, Typhus, Lucius or Kharn achieve Daemonhood - which is one of only two ways service to the Dark Gods ends. Well. Three I suppose if you include turning into a gribbly Chaos Spawn.

And so the background is incapable of surprise and consequence. No Astartes Chapter can be wiped out. No Traitor Legion can suffer truly catastrophic losses. The Sol System will never truly fall. No Craftworld will be lost.

Imagine the galactic mess that could occur should Ghaz get perished. All those concentrated Orky Warbands suddenly fragmenting, heading out on ever more violent crusades to prove who’s next to lead the biggest Waaagh! ever seen.

So on and so forth,

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ahhh so now it only counts when they're top command level eh?



seriously though, Creed was the supreme commander of Cadia.
and forge world metallica was also basicly wrecked.

Now I agree, gulliman vs abaddon as a fight would be kinda dull, which is why frankly I hope we don't ever see it (the Calgar vs Abaddon fight was aweful and I hope we never see it's like again)
but there's plenty of room for a galaxy with special characters in it.

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Well...I admit Ghaz's death wouldn't be totally disastrous for the Orks as they would still fight, and maybe eventually a new one would rise as the new self declared prophet of the Ork gods.

However basically by 9th edition, basically it seems any character that has not yet made the transition from Finecast (or that GW seemingly has no plans to transition) could be killed off, whereas those that have already received a new model are safe for the foreseeable future.

I would point to Tycho though as an example of the kind of character change we don't see much of now if at all. Tycho just started out as a generic captain that got "killed" by an Ork psychic power in a battle report between Jervis Johnson and Andy Chambers. They rolled with that and made a model of him with the Phantom of the Opera style mask and half paralyzed face. Then they killed him off in Armageddon 3. That's the kind of change that can happen with an advancing timeline.

Granted death of characters is not the only way to advance a timeline. The old worldwide campaigns such as the old Eye of Terror was a way to generate new ideas and results, some of which still persist today such as the Ork occupied forge world of More Dakka (formerly Mordax). It also generated a little surprise or deviation from the templated storyline as in that campaign the Imperials did not swoop in to save the day in the end, or rather they tried and still failed, while the Eldar decided to not play second banana to the Imperium and went off to do their own Webway war.

Those kinds of things I think are more fertile ground for new background development then a predictably inconclusive clash of special characters.
   
 
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