End Times: Nagash - the 'Good'

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Toby Pilling
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Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:02 am

SPOILER ALERT: The Return of Nagash novel

Given that it chronicles the extinction of the Warhammer world we all know and love - 'the world that was' as GW term it now - there has long seemed litle point reading the End Times stories, as the events in them will not come to fruition in most WFRP games. However, I have decided to plough through them to divine what nuggets, if any, can be utilised in my future games. If Warpstone magazine were still running, I'd put my thoughts into an article, but for the time being this forum will suffice. I'll split my observation into the useful and thought-provoking (the 'Good'), the stuff I loathe (the 'Bad') and the funny or quirky bits (the 'Ugly'). This was the first novel of the End Times series and sees Manfred von Carstein and Arkhan the Black join forces to summon Nagash back from the dead.

Here are the 'Good' bits:

1. 'Named' characters die
Games Workshop should have done this years ago, I believe. If they had done so, the setting would have seemed more dynamic and less frozen in aspic - indeed, it might still exist! The Fay Enchantress gets turned into a vampire then she and Aliathra (High Elf Princess) are sacrificed. Eltharion (High Elf Prince) is killed in battle and Grand Theogonist Volkmar gets possessed and mutates into the reborn Nagash.
For WFRP, I think some of this stuff can be modified or utilised. Could the Thousand Thrones prophecy be worked into this?

2. Undead vs Chaos
The Gods of Law barely feature in the End Times but their effective proxy is the undead. Basically, the credible case is made that Nagash and his world of the dead are the true opposite of the Ruinous Powers - unchanging and permanent, if Nagash destoys all life, then the Chaos Gods will die. This is an interesting take on matters and provides plenty of food for thought for enterprising GMs, where alliances of convenience can be forged.

3. Flesh vs Bone
Another interesting conflict that is outlined is that between the Vampires (flesh) and the Tomb King Liche (bone). Basically, it is acknowledged that Nagash's plan would also lead to the true death of all vampires, as they would lose access to the blood they require for maintaining unlife. This leaves the vampire faction in a delicious quandary, as they basically require the status quo secured, so their parasitic existence can continue.
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Jackdays
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Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:12 pm

I liked The Return of Nagash. I think the entire plot was pretty good and grim (novel itself was, well good, not great). Story is off course more than the novel - GW sourcebook gives much more details. But, even it was beginning of the end, it was interesting. And it would work as part of history, were world doesn't end pretty well - just as return of Nagash (again). Well, with some changes...
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Sword of Solkan
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Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:58 am

Toby Pilling wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:02 am
The Gods of Law barely feature in the End Times but their effective proxy is the undead. Basically, the credible case is made that Nagash and his world of the dead are the true opposite of the Ruinous Powers - unchanging and permanent, if Nagash destoys all life, then the Chaos Gods will die. This is an interesting take on matters and provides plenty of food for thought for enterprising GMs, where alliances of convenience can be forged.
Sounds like heresy to me! 🙂

I’ve always found the Gods of Law, and their ultimate defeat at the hands of Chaos, interesting because of what it says about human nature.

The destruction of the Old World by the forces of Chaos is inevitable, but it is inevitable because human beings are ultimately incapable of tempering the baser and more animalistic desires from which Chaos draws its power. And because mankind’s “civilising” influences - those parts of the human spirit that cherish order, permanence and stability - are ultimately weaker. The triumph of Chaos therefore becomes a very human tragedy, and one in which every human being is to some degree complicit.

“Lawful” characters - whether they’re followers of the Gods of Law or of the Old World Pantheon - are often those few wise and unlucky individuals who to some degree recognise this. And they’re driven to desperate, and frequently horrific, lengths as they struggle to told back the tide. How could they do otherwise when the survival of the entire world is at stake?

Saying that the triumph of Chaos could be prevented if everyone died and became undead doesn’t really feel as satisfying. I’m also not sure that it really makes much sense? After all, why wouldn’t the Ruinous Powers gain strength from a Liche’s emotional energies, or from the animalistic passions of a pack of ghouls?
Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.
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skerrigan
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Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:58 am

I read the Nagash books (the gamebook and the novel) for the Quenelles project I was working on and there is a surprising amount of wordbuilding in it (especially given it was designed to destroy the world), especially for the Bretonnians. There's the Dowager of Charnote, who crops up in a Bretonnian adventure I should get round to finishing, various new locations and 'interesting' stuff - like Tancred's heir is Jerrod (a character not mentioned in the WFRP2 sourcebook).
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