|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|11-01-17 07:28 PM|
|Brother Dextus||I love his blog - its really quite fascinating!|
|10-31-17 02:25 PM|
The Rise of Ynnead from Gav Thorpe's blog
Subtitle – How I Made Up a Thing Sixteen Years Ago and Now it has Totally Reshaped the Warhammer 40,000 Cosmos!
One of the early lessons in background-writing was that a mystery is worth ten facts when it comes to describing the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The lore has always been intended as small spotlights in the darkness, illuminating just a tiny portion of the shadowed whole. The parts we show serve to hint at what lies in the gloom beyond, perhaps even guide players and readers and painters into their own explorations, but never fully reveal the workings of the universe.
For the longest time, the idea of an ongoing narrative was anathema to the background of 40K. Things changed, were added in, but it was very much a SETTING. Its purpose was not to tell a story, but to enable players of the game to tell stories with their miniature armies.
I still strongly support this idea. I think that when the power of narrative is invoked too heavily by designers and authors, it robs that power from hobbyists and readers. If too much story is generated from the centre – in terms of actual ongoing plots and timelines – then it leaves less room for others to add their own stories, rather than generate more.
The purpose is to shape the sandpit that others can use, not to define and manage every grain of sand.
Anyway, that’s a slightly different topic I shall go into soon. The short version is that I like the idea of a meta-story…
One of the ways that we give context to the battles of the 41st millennium is to leave hooks that hint at untold stories, or ongoing narratives not yet resolved. One great line from the Codex Imperialis for 2nd Edition springs to mind.
“Even today the planets of Saharduin remain dark and unexplored, whilst Imperial armies guard the Gates of Varl from the quiescent perils of the C’Tan.”From this one line later sprang forth the C’tan star-eaters, and with them a whole new swathe of 40K lore regarding the Necrons, the Old Ones and the ancient wars that took place sixty million years before the present day.
Sometimes a hint goes a long way.
When we were creating the Codex supplements for the third edition of Warhammer 40,000 we were under very tight constraints in terms of page count.
We could not have page after page of ‘word of god’ background text and so have to lean heavily on evoking the image and idea of the armies and cultures rather more than explaining them. It was not great for conveying the depth of information we needed to, but it did generate a lot of ways to hint at much larger topics in a characterful way.
So it was that when I was putting together the Codex: Craftworld Eldar supplement – a tome of army lists and information regarding named Craftworlds that could not be fitted into the main Codex: Eldar – I had a page to talk about the cosmology of the eldar. Part of this I gave over to an exploration of the war god Khaine, it being a book about the armies of the Craftworlds after all. The other part I wanted to use to flesh out the character of the greatest farseer of the craftworlds, Eldrad Ulthran, and perhaps hint at something bigger.
I had spent a lot of time thinking about the eldar and their spirit technology, and talking over ideas with the likes of Jes Goodwin. It occurred to us that while the craftworlds were storing the souls of their dead in their infinity circuits, there might be some other effect of all that concentrated psychic energy. Just as the burgeoning hedonism of the eldar psyche had created their destroyer in the form of the Chaos god Slaanesh, perhaps the souls of their dead might prove their salvation.
So I wrote what is called colour text – a short vignette of prose – that described Eldrad sensing this build up of collective psychic potential. He feels the interconnectedness of the eldar infinity circuits, joined through the webway in what I called the eternal matrix. The piece ends with a line that has now echoed forward to the present day.
“This was Ynnead, god of the dead. Ynnead, last hope of the Eldar.”