By Kieron Gillen on September 19th, 2008 at 4:00 pm.
RPS is not unreasonable. We grasp why the starting races of Warhammer were chosen – three matched pairs of dark mirrors who have every reason to be at each others throats forever. We also know that Mythic’s next step will be reintegrating the cut cities and classes, which we’re pleased to hear will be totally free. We’re fine with that. We understand. However, when all that’s done, we’re going to tell you what you’re going to do next.
You’re going to let us play Skaven. Because otherwise, we’re going to cut you up with knives.
To some, being the first full day of release, this may be a little early to actually start campaigning for an add-on pack. It can never be too soon. Because if we wait, it risks someone over at Mythic having already decided something like “You know – I think the next step should be Vampire Counts versus The Moot” or something booze-addled. By starting now, we can campaign, and make them see sense.
(When we say “see sense” we mean “obey our random whims”.)
If you don’t know anything about Warhammer, you won’t understand or craving for Skaven thus wondering why we should be so het up about them rather than those guys from The Moot we mentioned earlier. Let me explain.
Skaven are a race of subterranean chaos-rat sadistic cowards who amass enormous slave armies, throw them en masse at their foes then nuke everyone with warpstone weaponry – the slaves being just something to make sure their foes stay still for a bit. Alternatively, the warpstone weaponry malfunctions and disintegrates its operators, anyone standing near the operators and anyone who the operators have met on the way to the battlefield. Either way, hi-jinks and death ensue.
They also have a habit of adorably doubling up their word-words before slicing someone up in a right nasty way.
Putting aside our enormous affection for the children of the Underempire, the main reason why they’ll be the ideal race to add for player characters is actually to do with their culture. You see, they actually have a culture. Anyone else half as infected with Chaos as they are spend their time eating their own limbs, but these industrious rodents have built a proper hierarchical structure, with the Lords of Decay at the top, Countless slaves in the bottom and a mass of varying degrees of suffering in the middle.
But Skaven society is run by clans. There’s a dominant four, each with highly distinctive characteristics. Think on that. Four. As in, the four character classes you’d ideally need for a new race. They’re the Clans Skryre, Eshin, Pestilens and Moulder. Or Rats with crazy mechanical bits and bobs, ninja rats, Plague-ridden rats and rats who try to crossbreed a rat with a tank.
The class-types write themselves. Eshin’s is your DPS fighter stealth sort. Pestilens, who have a habit of using censers leaking poisonous fumes as flails, would be some manner of tanky sort. The Skryre’s array of mechanical oddbits would make him a ranged-damage guy. And the Moulder would be a pet class with a splash of hyperdrug warpstone healing.
But with pets that look like this:
We repeat: Ninja-rats! It’s like a ninja… but is also a rat. The guy at Games Workshop who made ‘em up probably killed himself on the way home that day, knowing that his entire life was downhill from that great apex. Hell, we wish we were rat ninjas. And since that’s unlikely, clearly we charge Mythic with letting us pretend to be one in a videogame. We don’t even mind that it makes us sound as if we want to be Furries. We want to be ninja rats.
(Actually, Kieron would go for the Skryre, Alec the Moulder and Jim would continue to pretend to be a spaceship in Eve, but that’s beside the point)
This leaves one problem for Mythic to overcome before releasing the greatest MMO-expansion pack featuring skaven ever. Who will they rodents be paired up against? The Skaven have had a fight with just about everyone, from the Tomb Kings of Northern Arabia to the Knights of Middenheim. They’re even the Chaos race who have no truck with the four great Chaos Powers, instead worshiping their own God, The Horned Rat. But while no-one really likes them, it’s also true they have no natural enemy, in a High Elf/Dark Elf, Dwarf/Goblin and Empire/Chaos way. As far as the Skaven are concerned, the whole world is looking at their bit of cheese funny. They don’t have a nemesis.
But this is Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. We need a partner. This problem is, we’re sure, why Mythic haven’t already announced WARHAMMER: AGE OF RECKONING: GET YOUR SKAVEN HERE. Who’s their mortal enemy?
Luckily, we’ve done some thinking. Here’s a handy map of the Old World. Skavenblight – the Skaven’s Capital – is marked with a handy red dot. There’s other Skaven cities we could use, but Skavenblight has the best name. These things count.
Now, here’s the pros and cons of all the nearby options:
Pros: Land of Chivalry and excelling in a variety of hard-hitting Knights. With the Empire’s heavy-armoured guys being left out of the game, there’s room for the guys in the Plate Armour.
Cons: They’re the French.
Pros: They’re really very near. They’re an unexplored part of the Warhammer world.
Cons: There’s no bloody source material to base it off.
Pros: Unexplored part of the Warhammer world but with slightly more material than the Estalians.
Cons: But still nowhere near enough to base a race off.
Pros: Yes, I know – they’re in the game already. But there’s a lot of Empire-originated characters who’ve yet to be integrated into the game, and this would give a chance to lob in a few more agreeably puritanical humans with dirty-great SIGMAR tats. Also, rather than having to invent a second capital city, you could have Altdorf exist on two battlefronts. Having it pincered between Chaos and the Skaven would certainly capture the perpetual sense of imminent disaster. Alternative, you could implement one of the large cities in the south of the Empire, like Nuln.
Cons: We’ve already done the bloody Empire.
THE WOOD ELVES:
Pros: While not a natural Skaven enemy, this – on the quiet – makes a lot of sense. The Skaven are corrupted nature, while the Wood Elves are about integration with the lands. Based in the Loren Forests, they’re in the right area. Plus, they’ve got quite the variety of entertaining troops – the Wardancer is the most fun an Elf can have short of waiting for the 41st millennium and joining the Harlequins. Not that Eldar and Elves are anything at all like each other.
Cons: They’ve done Elves already.
Our personal preference would be the Wood Elves, but really, it’s all secondary to getting to “be” the Skaven. Do whatever, Mythic. Just do something. Hell, Skaven versus the Moot sounds better and better the more we think about it.
Hence, our campaign starts here. Rock Paper Shotgun will be bringing you updates as we march towards inevitable victory. To show your support, we’ve a banners you can use to show your allegiance to the underempire and publicise this noble cause. Just cut and post the code, and display it with pride on your blog or similar places…
CUT THIS CODE:
<a HREF=”http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/?p=3031″><img SRC=”http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/ratbanner.jpg”/></a>
Oh – anyone else fancy making some agitprop, put the link to your banner in the thread.
Go forth, brothers. Change the world!
(The world in question being the world of Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. Not the real world. We don’t want Skaven in the real world, unless we can be one. And a high up one. Not a slave. Yes.)