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Author Topic: Am I alone on this?  (Read 2989 times)

Offline Johan

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Am I alone on this?
« on: June 08, 2007, 12:49:41 PM »
I've noticed pretty much everyone on these boards is all for finding the Nemesis Crown and giving it to the Dwarves to destroy/hide.  Does anyone else see the massive fluff opportunity we could be missing?

If anyone has ever played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (and you should, it's an excellent primer about the Warhammer World and about the Empire specifically), they will remember a darker, more seedy Empire.  In that game (particularly 1st Edition), Karl Franz was this feeble, ineffective ruler who sat in a corrupt, greedy and manipulative imperial court, far removed from the real problems that plagued the land.  The Empire was much more grim and dark, but that didn't mean it was being overrun by Undead or Orcs or Chaos.  Chaos had seeped into the cracks here and there, causing the occasional witch burning, but nevertheless the Empire still existed under the guidance of the (often petty and squabbling) Elector Counts.

It was cool.

The Empire we all seem to imagine on this board seems more like a kids' cartoon version of King Arthur, where the people always make the right choices and the leaders are always selfless heroes.  Now I know we are all far removed from the depravity of a medieval society, and we can always see the clearly goodie two shoes response ("destroy/hide the crown"), but what makes us think that the characters in the Empire would see (or even want) this response?

How cool would it be for Karl Franz to capture the crown for himself, try it on (like GW so graciously offers), and actually makes the next few years of Empire plot truly interesting?  It is NOT like GW would just say "Oh, the Empire collapses when KF wears the crown, we are removing the Empire miniature line from our shelves".  Heck, they wouldn't even kill KF off, so what is everyone afraid of?  In all likelihood, the Empire would take one step towards being like the Empire of Warhammer Roleplay, which I remind you was awesome x10.

Now don't be sheep-like and just shoot me down because this opinion is different from the herd.  Actually consider it as generously as you can.

Offline clausewitz

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2007, 01:16:24 PM »
No, I am sure you are not alone in thinking this.

However, as a community we have to make decisions and sometimes those decisions are not going to suit everyone.

In this case the decisions to conduct our diplomacy as we have done, and our attitude towards the crown, have been heavily discussed and are now, in the main, decided upon.

In short its "too late" for us to do a uturn and act in the way your suggest.

It is also my opinion that more people would not want to take the path you outline than would want to.  Thats just my opinion, but I spent a great deal of time reading peoples opinions in the various NC threads.

That said, there is nothing to stop YOU from having your troops in the NC campaign actively searching for the crown.  You could even hint that your commander had recieved some "secret communique" from KF asking you to seek the crown with "rich rewards for success" and all the trappings of a darker Imperial Court.
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Offline Hendrid

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 01:32:05 PM »
If I find it...I'm keepin' it!  :biggriin:

Offline FVC

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2007, 01:34:19 PM »
I can talk about this, right? Oh well, it's not as if I've been shy about expressing myself in other topics, and it looks like an interesting discussion.

If anyone has ever played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (and you should, it's an excellent primer about the Warhammer World and about the Empire specifically), they will remember a darker, more seedy Empire.

To be fair, that view does exist in the wargame as well. Storm of Chaos was a blow against it with its simple alliance of good versus alliance of evil structure, but once you take that out of the picture the Empire is still a rather dark place.

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In that game (particularly 1st Edition), Karl Franz was this feeble, ineffective ruler who sat in a corrupt, greedy and manipulative imperial court, far removed from the real problems that plagued the land.

I don't recall Karl Franz being a feeble and ineffective ruler. I remember his court consisting of sycophants and idiots, with most of the Elector Counts being dull fops, but as far as I can think Karl Franz himself has always been a reasonably canny ruler. The depiction in Drachenfels is a favourite of mine, as that book gets the dark and gruesome elements of the setting down very well while still containing the occasional positive element. There, it was really a struggle between Karl Franz, who seemed to genuinely want the best for the Empire, and the weight of bureaucratic convention. A strong Emperor could impose some degree of order and see the Empire flourish, but could never quite make it last after their death, while a weak Emperor would simply be a tool of the court and centralised power would weaken.

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The Empire was much more grim and dark, but that didn't mean it was being overrun by Undead or Orcs or Chaos.  Chaos had seeped into the cracks here and there, causing the occasional witch burning, but nevertheless the Empire still existed under the guidance of the (often petty and squabbling) Elector Counts.

I would think that's still there, really, though it's not being brought out in the posts here - because, I suspect, most players do want to see what is best for the Empire due to their OOC perspective. The Elector Counts are still pretty petty, though I notice they've shifted from apathy to a more belligerent state of jockeying for power with each other.

And we've got Boris Todbringer and Valmir von Raukov. They seem popular for some reason, though I think of them as rather bland warrior-counts. The likes of Marius Leitdorf or Emmanuelle von Liebewitz are far more interesting. Especially Leitdorf. Why, oh why did they have to kill him off in 6th ed.? He was the single best count in the Empire, seizing power in a mercenary coup, having sudden bouts of violent madness, starting wars by insulting Bretonnian noblemen's wives, and all around being fantastic. Ah Leitdorf, we shall not see your like again.

Where was I? Oh yes, internal strife in the Empire. The player base doesn't reflect that, no. In WFRP the Empire is pretty much the whole setting. There are supplements for the Border Princes, Bretonnia, the dwarf holds, and so on, but it is still based around the Empire. That, combined with the smaller scale of events, allows writers and players to focus much more on the inside of the Empire, play around with various factions there, fight against each other, and so on. In WHFB, the Empire is just one among many factions, and the number of Empire players is a minority. With the global scale there, players tend to feel committed to 'the Empire', as opposed to any particular province or character, simply because the competition is greater. All to do with perspective, you see.

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The Empire we all seem to imagine on this board seems more like a kids' cartoon version of King Arthur, where the people always make the right choices and the leaders are always selfless heroes.

Hey, that's our job! :icon_razz:

As someone who was argued for a darker approach to Bretonnia (which suffers far more from cartoon hero syndrome than the Empire, let's be honest), I get what you mean. From a purely narrative perspective, I would agree with you - having some downright corrupt leaders is a good thing to do. Bretonnia I tend to think of medieval backstabbing politics a la G. R. R. Martin (best fantasy author ever - if you have not read aSoIaF, you fail at life :laugh:), and while with the Empire you need a change in tone to fit the more Renaissance society that sort of politics is great and something there should be more of.

From a wargaming perspective, though, it doesn't work so well. The player base is not going to support a leader who will screw over their chosen faction. As interesting as it may be to have Karl Franz tempted by the Crown, with all the moral dilemmas and ambiguity that implies (er, I fall into the camp that says that the Crown could hypothetically be used for good, to be clear), it is not something Empire players will support because they don't want to see unpleasant things happen to the Empire, understandably enough.

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Now I know we are all far removed from the depravity of a medieval society, and we can always see the clearly goodie two shoes response ("destroy/hide the crown"), but what makes us think that the characters in the Empire would see (or even want) this response?

I would think it is mainly OOC concerns. To use Bretonnia as an example again, the idea of greedy nobles snatching what land they can fits into my personal vision of Bretonnia very well - I think an opportunistic land grab is something they would do. But, Bretonnian players tend to be attracted to Bretonnia because they like the Arthurian ideal and knightly honour, and the sort of person who likes that sort of thing is not the sort of person who likes land grabs. So the community doesn't support it, even though realistically Bretonnian characters would. The same in the Empire, except that the themes of the Empire aren't quite as clear-cut.

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How cool would it be for Karl Franz to capture the crown for himself, try it on (like GW so graciously offers), and actually makes the next few years of Empire plot truly interesting?

It would be cool, I admit. It's just not practical. That would work very well if the plot was not player-driven. But, it is. There's also the problem of the many other factions. In WFRP the designers can focus on the Empire almost exclusively - in WHFB they have to juggle it with every other faction out there. I think this is a shame, especially because from where I'm standing the really interesting Nemesis Crown plotline is Empire versus Dwarfs (with Bretonnia, High Elves, and to a lesser extent Wood Elves, Lizardmen and Ogre Kingdoms) floating around the edges taking sides. The whole Orc and Goblin plot is tedious, as are most of the other evil plots.

(Is it just me, or are O&G plotlines always tedious? Every single time it comes down to 'grand warlord [orc name here] has smashed some heads and da boyz are gonna go on a Waaagh!'. Chaos, Skaven and Vampire Counts have untapped plot potential, Tomb Kings are boring, Dark Elves are boring. Evil really needs to do something to reinvigorate itself.)

Oh, I seem to have forgotten the point I was making. Oh yes, that was it. The campaign is not being run by authors. If it were being run by half a dozen authors (good authors, which disqualifies most BL writers I'm sad to say) then what you say could happen and it would be great. However, this is a wargame, and it doesn't work like that.

Offline Johan

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 01:38:00 PM »
Maybe I've just been reading too many Jack Vance novels!  Well, the Nemesis Crown Campaign hasn't actually started yet, so this discussion could certainly influence other Empire players (even if it doesn't change the "official forum position" on the campaign)

Instead of calling for a full change of the forum's position, we could still debate the pros and cons of a dark, grim Empire though, and what cool plot twists could occur if Karl Franz got his inept hands on the dangerous artefact.  One pro, for instance, would be that if the Empire's figurehead lost influence, the Empire itself would feel much less like a modern nation-state and more like a medieval confederation of smaller kingdoms (think Germany in the 1400's).  The Holy Roman Empire "lacked the central authority of a modern state and was more akin to a loose religious confederation, divided into numerous territories ruled by hereditary nobles, prince-bishops, knightly orders, and free cities." (Wikipedia).  I think that's a good example to go by.

A con might be that GW would have to make up a very clever reason for the Dwarfs to not all-out hate the Empire for the rest of eternity.

Edit:
@Hendrid: Awesome.

@FVC: Wow, that's a lot of text.  If you have ever played Legend of the Five Rings CCG, you will know they have a great setup for player-to-story interaction.  Basically, major sanctioned tournaments determine the rough outline of the next plot twist, and then official authors fill in the outline with free online stories.  The effect is that players have a big influence on the story *and* the L5r story team can keep things balanced (aka no "Ulthuan sinks into the ocean" because High Elves lost a tournament).  I'm not positive, but I am pretty sure GW uses the same basic model, with players having an influence during the campaign, then Gav Thorpe or someone telling us what our victories meant after the campaign is through.  Thus this kind of story change WOULD be possible.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2007, 01:46:22 PM by Johan »

Offline wissenlander

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 01:43:23 PM »
Man, I bring up the convo we had a month or two ago.  It started out talking about the Summer Campaign but we got wrapped in politics and intrigue really quick.

I think a darker Empire would be interesting, and realistic.  But if people wanted a dark army, they would've picked an evil one.  My opinion, but I know I picked Empire because it was a good army.  My characters aren't perfect, but they're not evil either.  There is a lot of flexibility for power play, greedy, corrupt characters, and that's awesome.

In this campaign the way it's set up, it's very us vs. them, so to have all of this back stabbing is pushed to the back.  Point in case.  Veldemere and I have a nice friendly rivalry going on.  Wissenland vs. Solland.  We put those 'differences' aside because every army in the known world (and more) are going to be bouncing about the Empire.  If we get our butts kicked we won't be able to inner fight later on.
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Offline Sir Seigfried

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2007, 01:57:00 PM »
I'm all for if we get the crown, we wait until the very last moment .. and decide to keep it.

Though, as GW as proved on numerous instances ... they can and WILL turn a story line against or toward an end that they deem fitting.

Like fo example .. what happens if Mr KF decides the crown would make a very nice Imperial crown .. and then is taken under control of some evil/good entity
that was in the crown ... and decided that the the world needs to be cleansed/destoyed and goes on a massive "Slaughter run" ... and brings the empire to near distruction .. and makes things a whole lot harder for the empire forces.

OR

The HE or Dwarfs OR both .. deem KF and the empire as a significant threat ... and kills KF and wipes out more of our provinces.

Offline clausewitz

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2007, 02:05:06 PM »
In this campaign the way it's set up, it's very us vs. them, so to have all of this back stabbing is pushed to the back.  Point in case.  Veldemere and I have a nice friendly rivalry going on.  Wissenland vs. Solland.  We put those 'differences' aside because every army in the known world (and more) are going to be bouncing about the Empire.  If we get our butts kicked we won't be able to inner fight later on.

Quite true.  If the campaign did not revovle around most of the world "invading" the Empire there would be much more room for the various political intrigues being talked about.

Maybe for 8th Ed there will be no Emperor and an army list for each province? :-o
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Offline wissenlander

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2007, 03:08:23 PM »
I like the provincial list thing.  I think that would be really cool.  The no emperor would be interesting as well, but I'd hate to see another decent into civil war.

I am interested to see how GW will take it, eventually.  Will we always be under a strong ruler?
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Offline Rufas the Eccentric

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2007, 03:30:48 PM »
For me, the entire campaign is about ambivalence.  The armies scouring the Drakwald are there on behalf of the Emperor.  Regardless of our fears about the nature of the crown, open defiance of his wishes could lead to a permanently shortened stature.  Even if a general wants to turn the crown over to the Dwarves, he will be hard pressed to get the chance.  Nor is he likely to communicate his misgivings to others, because how does he know whom to trust?  So the general who finds the crown, can give it to KF, secretly deliver it to Thorgrim, or most interesting of all claim the crown for his own. 
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Offline HeraldOfTheFree

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2007, 04:50:22 PM »
I want us to use the crown... but more because I want to spite the Elf and Dwarf players  :icon_mrgreen:
No, seriously, I think it would be much better to have a darker Empire, and Karl Franz taking the crown is a good start. I personally hate the 'Karl Franz mania' the new Empire have. Look at the plastic hero box- the shields and the horse have Karl Franz written on them! Why?
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Offline clausewitz

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2007, 06:29:31 PM »
For me, the entire campaign is about ambivalence.  The armies scouring the Drakwald are there on behalf of the Emperor.  Regardless of our fears about the nature of the crown, open defiance of his wishes could lead to a permanently shortened stature.  Even if a general wants to turn the crown over to the Dwarves, he will be hard pressed to get the chance.  Nor is he likely to communicate his misgivings to others, because how does he know whom to trust?  So the general who finds the crown, can give it to KF, secretly deliver it to Thorgrim, or most interesting of all claim the crown for his own. 

To paraphrase my historical namesake, even if a war starts not as a result of hostile intentions once combat ensues hostile feelings will result.

And to that the fact that the Empire armies are defending their "homeland"* there will be a fair amount of hostile feelings building in Empire armies. (*ok, so some are from other provinces etc)

Individual generals will be concerned with mainly the preservation of their troops and the success of their individual actions.  The stress of command and combat combined with the developing hostile feelings should outweight ambivalence in all but the most cynical generals*. (*even if there are quite a few of them around here)
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Offline srpelicano

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2007, 06:53:18 PM »
What I like about this campaign is the different ways that the empire could go.  A general who finds it may just want to give it to the dwarfs and have them destroy it because he has heard of its evil and fears the KF is just trying to use it to further his own ends.  You could get the general who has heard about its power and wants to keep it for himself and create a sort of rogue state in the empire that he is the sole power in.  You could have the lapdog who gives the crown to the emperor and does everything he is told.  This is what I love about the empire.  It is not solely good or evil.  It is every man for himself and everything done in preservation of the province/nation.  The political intrigue set up by a general from a province that was hit hard during the SoC may want to keep the crown to help him defend his lands against Chaos, or just as a way to pay the Empire back for helping them during the dark times.  All fun in the sun I say!

Offline Badwolf

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2007, 07:11:41 PM »
Keep the Crown and buy some black full-plate armour. Hail Emperor Darth Franz! Huzzah!  :icon_biggrin:

Offline FVC

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2007, 12:21:22 AM »
@FVC: Wow, that's a lot of text.  If you have ever played Legend of the Five Rings CCG, you will know they have a great setup for player-to-story interaction.  Basically, major sanctioned tournaments determine the rough outline of the next plot twist, and then official authors fill in the outline with free online stories.  The effect is that players have a big influence on the story *and* the L5r story team can keep things balanced (aka no "Ulthuan sinks into the ocean" because High Elves lost a tournament).  I'm not positive, but I am pretty sure GW uses the same basic model, with players having an influence during the campaign, then Gav Thorpe or someone telling us what our victories meant after the campaign is through.  Thus this kind of story change WOULD be possible.

I'm thinking more of BattleTech, actually, where the plot is worked out beforehand and slowly revealed to the players through books. Player-driven events can affect minor things, but not the outcome as a whole (e.g. Vengeance Gambit), and everybody gets weak rulers from time to time as well as the stong. BT does have problems of its own, but in terms of storytelling I think they've got it right.

Offline Ernst Brauer

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2007, 04:14:20 PM »
As a long time fan of WFRP, I tend to agree that the WFB Empire is portrayed as much more unified and "good" than its WFRP counterpart. As has been stated before, this is mainly due to the constant outside threat of other races that simply does not exist in WFRP.

I mean in the WFB world, there are constant battles and wars. If that were true, then the world's adult population would be completely devastated by now. But again, this is WFB and suspension of disbelief is necessary to a degree.

This is also where the consideration for all armies falls in. As FVC has mentioned, the Empire is not the "mainstream" or central focus for Warhammer, as opposed to WFRP where it is. The details just simply aren't there for WFB.

And as Wiss said earlier he chose Empire because they were good. I'm sure most people who don't roleplay do the same. How much fun would it be to start a fantasy wargame and use an army that can't get their crap together and are constantly at war with themselves or bickering amongst themselves constantly? While some may enjoy that, including me, it wouldn't work on a global wargame model, especially when all the other good armies seem to be relatively organized.

I'm also not sure with modern social constructs that people would be able to accept the main human nation in the game is not good. Humans in general like to think of themselves as, on a whole, good. So making the Empire a disfunctional self-serving entity would conflict in that respect.

At any rate, as a fan of the Empire in both WFB as well as WFRP, I have to gloss over much of the "truth" of the Empire to play WFB, which is fine, as those aspects are not needed as much as in an intimate roleplay session. I would urge others to do the same.

As it stands diplomatically, we are where we are. In the words of a famous sailor/scholar:

"I yam what I yam."
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 04:16:43 PM by Ernst Brauer »

Offline Sherminator1

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2007, 06:11:14 PM »
I do like the darker version of the empire, and I try and stick to that with my fluff. It just sounds cooler.
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Offline dWhisper

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2007, 12:39:22 AM »
If I find the crown, it's going on my mantle as a fruit bowl!

Anyway, I have no intentions of siding with the dwarves during this campaign, even in light of their more treacherous actions recently. The fluff laid out by GW and WD pretty much said the dwarves were willing to cut down the Empire if we stood in their ways, and I plan to show the little footstools how bad it is to fight an enemy that has weapons that can stick you outside of your arm's reach.
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Offline Jerok

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Re: Am I alone on this?
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2007, 09:06:27 PM »
I'm locking this as it doesn't have much to do with what we need. While interesting, we need to focus on what we are actually doing, not theories.
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