What's worse?

What could be worse than a Space Marine Legion that fell to the Chaos powers and rebelled against everything they once respected? We don't know, but it was probably pretty bad.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Inserted Into Imperial Records

AKA "The Stormraven Retcon"
I got the Blood Angel book over the weekend. It's all sorts of crazy. As fellow DFIR poster MJ did with the missions book, I'm going to avoid reviewing it since you can find reviews all over the web.
What I would like to talk about is the background.
I want to start this off by talking about the Stormraven. Here's this brand-new invention so new that there isn't even a sketch of it in the book, yet it is pretty much shoved down our throats in the background sections. The poor Thunderhawk is mentioned about 10% as often as this new flyer. Nearly every story in the book talks about the Stormraven. The Land Raider, which the book mentions that the Blood Angels have in excess, is hardly ever used in a story. Their Land Raiders CAN DEEP STRIKE and yet there was no noteworthy occurrence of this maneuver ever being performed.
"Maybe I'm just being forgetful," I thought. I grabbed my 1996 "Angels of Death" codex off of the shelf. This is the book that first really introduced us to the Blood Angels and Dark Angels as we know them now. The above Dante miniature was put out for this book as were Mephiston and most of the other special characters. I read through the BA section and you know what? No mention of the Stormraven anywhere.
So it's obvious that the new flyer is so exciting that every story written for this book is going to include it as the transport mode of choice. I was feeling quite frustrated about this until I thought about the timeline that is in the codex. It starts at 746.M41 and goes until 999.M41. That's 253 years. Dante probably has t-shirts older than that. I like to read these time lines to get a sense of the history of a chapter, but 253 years is more like current events. Yes, in that time there have been two Armageddon wars and the whole Cadian Gate-Eye of Terror conflict but the chapter has been a codex chapter for almost 10,000 years. Nothing else exciting happened before then?
Now I feel less disappointed about the Stormraven being shoved into the background (it truly is the newest and fanciest thing that the chapter has had for the past 250 years) and am feeling the loss of the depth of the background of the chapter as a whole.
What do you guys think?
For the codex itself, it reads a lot like a fan-made codex. There are so many exceptions to the rule(s). They've got their own avatar (without the Daemon special rule). Their Jump Pack squads don't scatter like everyone else's. Their Land Raiders can Deep Strike. All Rhino-chassis tanks are Fast. It's seriously powerful. I'm just glad that they didn't go the extra step and give the Land Raiders and Stormravens the Drop Pod "adjusted scatter" rule for Deep Striking.
Here's going to be a fun argument: The Stormraven's ability to drop units off while moving says that they don't have to roll for Dangerous Terrain unless they actually land in Dangerous Terrain. The trick is that they should roll Dangerous Terrain if they land in Difficult Terrain, since it is a Deep Strike. How many players are going to tell you that they are immune to that test?


  1. I've got to agree with you - when all the stormraven rumours were kicking around I noted on a number of blogs that my major concern was that it simply does not fit into the fluff.

    Had they botched it togeher for a specific reason and kept it as it worked (Redeemer) or found the information during a mission, sent it to mars (to appease the Mech) and made it availiable to the 'major' chapters then I'd have believed it.

    My final 'concern' is the model - I've seen lots of different conversions/scratchbuilds for it and don't really like any of them - I hope GW pull something special out of the bag for this sculpt!

    Nice article btw!

  2. I usually give the fluff enough "breathing room" to account for previously unheard of units and vehicles. For example, Sternguard/Vanguard Veterans, Ironclad Dread.

    I wasn't too keen on the IG Valkyrie, but I'm not all that up on IG background, so maybe it fits their background well in some ways?

    As for the Stormraven, it seems like during the Rumor Mill period, that was most of what everyone was talking about.

    Now I learn that Blood Angels can DEEP STRIKE Land Raiders, AND they come at a reduced cost too?!? SERIOUSLY?!? Why didn't *that* come up in the rumor mill?

    I think the Eldar will finally get their Rending Ponies when their new codex comes out in a few years... ;-)

    ps. agree that I don't like any of the kit-bashed Stormravens I've seen on the 'Net.

  3. I found the Blood Angels concerning on a number of levels.

    While the pound puppies got a number of very cool specialist units and stuff in accordance with their fluff, they also lost access to a large number of units from the base SM codex. Many of these units aren't all that popular (thunderfire cannon) but they at least indicated that the specialist nature of the chapter was limiting as well as broadening. the BAs lost virtually nothing and gained a whole slew of new items.

    The fluff also seemed to fight with itself. The Mechanicus hates them because of the Baal Predator, but they have such close relations with the Mechanicus they have more land raiders (no where is this clearer than in the fluff for the techmarine)?

    Similarly, They are arranged according to a traditional codex because it provides structure... Except for apothecaries, the death company, the sanquinary guard, having a deamon they can summon, using unauthorized predator patterns, modifying their Rhinos...

    Personally, I think the problem here is ultimately a business one. GW wants the storm raven for SMs after the Valkyrie did so well for the IG. Thus, they need to release the kit for the SMs. However, the SM codex isn't due to be updated and giving it just to the Grey knights will cut down on sales. Thus, I suspect that all the new SM codexes will have it.

    From a pure fluff point of view, my biggest problem with the storm raven is that its out of place with the BAs. The BAs are the 40K equivalent of VAMPIRES and that has meant jump packs (e.g. Sanguinous' wings). Now they're "Top Gun."

    Also, I have this little tickle in the back of my brain when they talk about the dreadnought being "grappled" on the back.

    Wasn't there some very old fluff involving this with a thunderhawk? I remember the EPIC thunderhawk got its shape modified because the raised section on the back was supposed to allow for a rhino to be underslung (yea, like anybody remembers that), but does anybody else remember something to do with a carried dreadnought being somewhere?