Tag Archive | fishmen

Oh no. More fishmen?


This image seems to be doing the rounds. The hype is that it is some leaked image from Games Workshop, but I am dubious. Apparently it was on Warseer, but then was mysteriously taken down. A lot of what I have read is people saying it relates to ‘the big shock this summer’ or some such thing. Personally, I haven’t heard about any imminent shocking revelation or inclusion into the Warhammer world.

They could release a totally balanced and sensible army list. Now that would be shocking!

Even if it is of Games Workshop origin, we have no frame of reference for it. Not only that, but it looks like the top left part of the image is cut off. This part probably reveals the whole thing for the hoax it is. Probably a Flying Spaghetti Monster up in that corner, or something like that.

Anyway. The image is included here for completeness of this years Warhammer, nothing more. If I get some kind of cease-and-desist mail from Games Workshop, I’ll let you know.

Fishmen and chips

Last post I made an offhand ‘punchline’ comment about fishmen. Offhand, but accurately reflecting my opinion. Sigmar replied wanting to know what was wrong with fishmen, and letting me know that he had been working on his own ‘fishmen’ project. I’m all about bringing the truth, especially where Warhammer and this blog is concerned, so his “Let me know what you think” response has yielded my honest opinion.

Firstly, thanks go to Sigmar for commenting. I appreciate it a lot, as I have seen my readship stats climb, but no one (bar a couple of people) leave any comments. It’s nice to know that someone outside of my immediate circle of friends is reading this. In fact, I thank everyone who has been reading this. It’s good to know that my random spouts and miniature photos are digestible to the mainstay of the community.

Lets start with the general fishmen concept. As I tried to summarise in my initial reply, fishmen, as a concept generally presented by the fan community, is a very poor one. Whenever you read about fans going on about “Do fishmen next” and “You should totally do fishmen” it is almost guaranteed that the statement will be followed by a fountain of half-arsed, unoriginal and stereotyped cliches. Especially in this time of human learning, this is bad. No real thought past dozen of lame ideas that haven’t been fully been weighed are presented.

To be fair, these expressions of interest are just that. Fans expressing interest in the pursuit of an idea. But the fans are either sinking the idea they are promoting by recycling generic concepts, or just not contributing at all. Either way, they are harming the chances of anyone at GW taking notice, especially since the Games Developers are trying to take Warhammer in a direction away from generic fantasy.

On to Sigmar’s project. Like I have said before, I support fan projects of all kinds, and I applaud his enthusiasm and drive to pursue this project. However, where slotting new content into an established setting is concerned, I am a task master.  It is worth noting that my target is Sigmar’s army concept and execution, and not the army list itself. I understand that the list is a work in progress, and that work will continue to make it fair and balanced.

Where should I start?

My major problem is that it seems only 5% of the true potential of this idea has been explored. When it comes to creating a new race, army, whatever, I firmly believe that if you get down the particulars of the concept and background first, the rules should easily follow. It is easier to create the army list content from sensible background than shoehorning scattershot rules and units into an army concept and making it all fit together nicely.

Initially, my thoughts about the Nauticans turns to their motivations and means. From what I gather, they hate Daemons (incidentally, if they hate Chaos and Daemons and have existed on the Warhammer world since the beginning of time, how could they have access to magic to banish the Daemons? Isn’t magic derived from Chaos?), but what is their motivation to come up out of the deep oceans and wage war on land? I’m afraid pure hatred isn’t going to cut it. No one in Warhammer is that black and white.

Whats more, by what means do they come out onto land? They live in the Ocean. Land dwellers can’t just slip into the water and run about fighting battles, how do the Nauticans do it? Magic? If so, concievably a powerful spellcaster could just dispell their magical breathing apparatus. Given that their major enemy is the Daemons, they are coming against a slew of mighty spellcasters. Can they breath on land and in the water? How can that be? That seems a little fortuious doesn’t it? A little deus ex machina? Magic is a lazy way of explaining things, and your opening yourself up to a bunch of other problems.

Add to this mix the armies odd land based troop choices. A mermaid? A leviathan? Aren’t these swimming animals? Magic again? There’s a manta ray there too. Oh, it flies. Of course. I’ve often seen manta rays out there, gliding along with the seagulls. Where the troops are concerned, the problem is arising because a collection of generic archetypes (mermaids, leviathans) and poorly realised substitutes (manta rays = Screamers of Tzeentch, Crest Riders = Skinks, for instance) are being pushed together, they just aren’t gelling. Instead what is appearing is a hopeless mish-mash.

What saddens me most is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We are talking about the deep ocean here, a place that in our world is already inhabited by bizarre and shocking offshoots of natural selection. Things like Horseshoe Crabs, Angler Fish, Giant Isopod and the many other creatures down there. These are all things you can draw inspiration from. Your job is not to just rip off stereotypes and nature and transplant them into a game, but select attributes and characteristics and build a story around these that is interesting and functional.

Clearly the inspiration for Nauticans comes mainly from old sea tales and Disney cartoons. This is fine, but they shouldn’t be the only source. Nature, other cultures beliefs of the sea, and logical thinking are all things that should play their part.

So basically, to summarise. At the moment, the Nauticans as they currently stand is a very basic start. They are just a transplant of standard Western culture about sea monsters. They need to go far beyond this, assimilating into the Warhammer world and slipping into the current history so that when they strike from the sea and butcher the land races, they are rightly feared.