Gathering Storm III: GW Puts The Brakes On

 

Starting with Wrath of Magnus, GW has done a great job of moving the 40K story line forward…until now.

Overall, three of the four the recent books have been welcome progression to an otherwise stagnant story line.  Wrath of Magnus, Fall of Cadia, and Fracture of Biel-Tan all did a wonderful job of not only adding interesting characters to 40K lore, but moving the 40K universe forward with compelling and significant changes as well.  Then Rise of the Primarch arrived…

 

(SPOILER ALERT) I am going to be talking details regarding the Wrath of Magnus/Gathering Storm story line (SPOILER ALERT).

 

I speak here as a person who enjoys the 40K (and 30K) story at least as much (probably more) than I do the hobby/play aspect of the game.  I would consider myself fairly knowledgeable regarding significant events, character backgrounds, character stories, etc.  This means that my commentary and “grading” of each book discussed is from the narrative, and not the rules, perspective.

Wrath of Magnus

When Wrath of Magnus arrived, I was ready for some more of the good stuff.  I was not disappointed.  Wrath of Magnus gave us a great mix of Space Marine chapters, Inqusition, daemonic foolishness, corruption, intrigue, suspicion and destruction.  Fenris itself, by most measures, has been rendered practically useless to the Space Wolves as a source of new meat popsicles.  One of the planets in the Fenris system was essentially destroyed.  Several heroes of the Imperium were actually killed.  A chilling connection between the genetic degeneracy of the Wulfen and the Thousand Sons mutations that lead Ahriman to his act of desperation with his Rubric was presented.  Most importantly, Magnus actually had a plan.  The assault on Fenris, although he was “defeated,” allowed him to move the Planet of the Sorcerers back into real space!  This book was all about moving the story line forward.  For me personally, it was the inspiration I needed to actually start a Thousand Sons/Daemon army.  Grade: A

Fall of Cadia

Gathering Storm I (Fall of Cadia) introduced a plethora of new characters, while also moving things forward.  We have Belisarius Cawl, an ArchMagos of the Adeptus Mechanicus.  He is crucial to several aspects of the story.  The Saint, Celestine, is now an active part of the 40K story.  Inquisitor Greyfax brings the Inquisition to the forefront.  That said, I am disappointed at how powerful she is in the story; not only here, but in Rise of the Primarch.  I know she is a main character.  However, the legendary Gregor Eisenhorn was also an inquisitor, and he regularly was shot, beaten, rendered unconscious, and had a myriad of other near-death experiences..  Greyfax just shrugs it all off, while still killing legions of daemons.  IMO, she is way too powerful in the storyline, especially given her rendering in the game of 40K itself.  Overall, though, the cast of characters that enter the story here are interesting and well designed.  We also see a Necron Lord poke his head in; he is crucial to the Greyfax story.  Another story mechanic introduced in this book is the intervention of the Eldar.  This was a pleasant surprise at first.  Unfortunately, as I will mention later, it becomes a convenient way to extricate our heroes from just about every unsolvable circumstance they find themselves in.  Most importantly, in the end, Cadia not only falls, it is literally destroyed, along with the critically important pylon network.  This allows the Eye of Terror to begin to expand, as the Cadian Gate (the pylon network) is now destroyed.  Talk about moving the story line…wow!  Grade: A-

Fracture of Biel Tan

Gathering Storm II (Fracture of Biel-Tan) is not a story I enjoyed as much, as I am not a big Eldar fan.  However, there are a few new characters, as well as a new Eldar faction, the Ynnari, introduced.  It starts with Eldrad, who in my opinion, is the Kairos Fateweaver of the Eldar.  He merely wants to enact a ritual that will bring forth the Eldar god of death in order to destroy Slaanesh.  A noble endeavor, no doubt.  The price however, is the death of 75% of the Imperium.  Not so fast say the Death Watch.  And our friend Eldrad is denied (sort of).  Next, we move to Commoragh, the city of the Dark Kin.  Here we are introduced to Yvraine, who is, unbeknownst to anyone at this point, the doom of the Eldar race (sort of).  She dies, but is resurrected by the Eldar Death God, who is not actually resurrected, but that is besides the point (remember Eldrad’s little ritual was cut short).  She moves about in the story, pretty much screwing up everything she touches, but at the same time, collecting more and more followers.  These followers include Wraith constructs and Harlequins.  In the end, three Eldar Craftworlds, which have survived 10,000 years of mayhem, are pretty much undone in this single book by the intervention of this one character.  She does, however, seem to have been granted the power of life and death by the Eldar Death God…good for her…and Guilliman.  Grade: B-

Rise of the Primarch

Gathering Storm III (Rise of the Primarch) is where the story goes off the rails for me.  Belisarius Cawl, Celestine, Grey Knight Grand Master Voldus (a new character), some Eldar (including Yvraine) and the intrepid Inquisitor Greyfax, et. al., arrive at the stasis enshrined body of Guilliman after an arduous journey…which will become even more arduous.  Belisarius and Yvraine do their magic and Roboute is reborn!  For the next 60 pages, Roboute and the cast of characters travel the length of the galaxy, through the Warp, through the Webway, and God knows where else.  Roboute is captured, and saved by Cypher!  By the way, Cypher, after rescuing Guilliman, is rewarded by being turned over to the Custodes and imprisoned!  More Eldar interventions whenever needed because there was no other way to keep the story going.  Roboute finally arrives at the Imperial Palace, and walks into the presence of the Emperor.  Wait for it… (Grade D)

After all this, my dear readers…nothing!  Not a freakin’, bloody thing has changed!  Roboute comes back from a day long sit down with the Emperor and says that the Imperium is immersed in darkness and challenges.  Mankind must fight on…for the Emperor.  Holy How Long Have I Been Hearing This Batman!  Sure, we have a new plastic Primarch.  But it feels as though the first three books discussed here did nothing but introduce some new models and rules.  The Imperium is in danger.  Enemies approach from everywhere.  The Imperium will unite and battle the mutant, the alien and the heretic…yawn.

As a true fanboy of Grimdark lore, I was truly disappointed in the conclusion of this particular story line.  It was not the kind of disappointment I have felt when a favorite character dies, or a story doesn’t end the way I wish it would.  It is a disappointment with the lack of imagination on the part of the writing staff and the mechanics they used in Gathering Story III.  It is disappointment that the story line has once again circled back to the same old “humanity is in peril” theme.  I’m usually pretty positive on the things GDub has given us in the recent past; but a bit of honest assessment is needed here.  They had a great story moving forward the lore of the 41st millennium…and hit the brakes hard.  Sigh…

Have you read Rise of the Primarch and what is your reaction? Do you think GW has an ace up their sleeve to move the story forward?

 

 

  • This is a GATHERING STORM, not a full-blown hurricane yet. All three books are doing build up work for future events. This isn’t the end, it is the first phase.

    We’ll get more Black Crusade books, if rumors from yesteryear are to be believed, and the Devastation of Baal is already leaked via BL and Amazon.

    To expect a mighty conclusion right now is foolish. Guilliman’s return opens the door for sweeping changes, but Rise of the Primarch was about his journey, taking up the mantle of lord commander once more and getting that neat little sword. The WAR itself is something for the future, to be explored at greater length. And you know what? I’m happy with that. Give it time, let the storm grow and then unleash havoc when everything is in place.

    • Ross Allan

      Pretty much this. Opening gambit time, and quite possibly to Abaddon’s surprise (shock and has horror), it’s kinda looking like the Imperium is about to rally its near infinite resources and come out swinging harder than he ever anticipated.

      If you were writing this say, next January then fair enough.

      But we’re not done yet matey.

      • Exactly. The Gathering Storm was always supposed to run 3 volumes for now too, if I remember correctly, before switching to other warzones and events again. Baal will likely get a warzone next, along with further Black Crusade developments.

        • Spacefrisian

          Wouldnt be suprised if it involves Fenris , Russ Fulgrim and Isha.

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  • wong40k

    “Hope is the first step towards…. “

    • euansmith

      Hot Springs? Then on to becoming the 42nd President of the United States?

    • TheWanderingJewels

      Hope Is The First Step On The Road To Disappointment

    • Sparowl

      So, I’ve been using that saying for years, while in the military, the private sector, government work, whatever – there are a lot of people who either don’t get it, or just don’t think about it, and then there’s people who turn and look at you and go “wow…that might be the most depressing thing I’ve heard”.

      It’s an amazing saying.

    • pc11

      “Hope is the first sign of defeat.”, Friedrich Nietzsche

  • benn grimm

    And this is why they didn’t move ‘the story’ on before; some people always want more. Personally I’m glad they decided to turn everything back to status quo following this latest debacle. And what else did you expect to happen to Cypher? Group hug and all forgiven? I’m sure after the custodes have given him a good kicking the inquisition will want a word. For the next millennia or so…

    • Heh, “Forgiven”.
      Cypher will be out and about again soon. He’s escape artistry incarnate.

      I don’t think calling it the status quo is fair, honestly. A Primarch is back! The Eye will spread its influence further, the Eldar got a new god… The immediate game hasn’t changed, but the implications for the future of the franchise most assuredly has. Everything to come from this point on will have to account for these things.

      • Haighus

        Implications for Cadians are pretty huge too- their homeworld is gone. Perhaps they’ll set up a recruitment base on a new planet or something.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          They can change the main plastic guard to something more baroque I’d imagine.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            I’d prefer it if we just switched to Elysians or

          • Severius_Tolluck

            I as well. Although with Armageddon coming, wouldn’t mind a great coat kit with selction of heads to make Iron Legion, or Valhalans, Vostroyan, Krieg

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Krieg or Iron Legion would be cool.

          • Mike

            My bet/worry is that we’ll see them replaced with the ultramar defense force….

          • Severius_Tolluck

            probably so and what I meant by a baroque appearance. Something more like the scions.

      • benn grimm

        Yeah, kind of a deliberate pun there 🙂 And agreed on Cypher, they won’t hold onto him for long.

        Thing is, there have always been primarchs in 40k, and they really don’t have much impact on ‘the story’ (setting), which imo has always been a good thing. I hope this will continue. This recent poor comic book style focus on ‘big’ world(universe) shattering events and big name heroes only highlights a) how hard it is to sustain that type of narrative and b) how uninteresting and one dimensional these guys really are. Cypher is a fairly basic concept given miniature form, same for Gullyman (until recently and his treatment in the 30k series is mixed at best), just like most 40k characters; until they get a decent long form writer behind them, they are basically devoid of personality. Honsou is miles more interesting than pretty much any of the named special characters, as is Eisenhorn and Ciaphas Cain (imo).

        The influence/jeopardy of the eye has supposedly been growing ever since i started 40k in the early 90s and in game terms chaos has just gotten worse n worse, so yeah, no big change there. I’ll give you the Eldar thing, but how far will its effects be felt by anyone other than the pointy ears?

        I guess the point I’m trying to make is 40k storytelling is good when its at groundlevel, so that the vast scale can be glimpsed in a way we can relate to and be moved by. When supposedly godlike beings of perfection are running around having dragonball z style adventures and actual gods are interfering with their magic plot-hole filling god-glue, it all just becomes a bit meh… Gritty POV stuff doesn’t have to pay any attention to these big silly events, it doesn’t even need to be set in the same timeframe; what does a Tau fighting a waaagh on the other side of the galaxy care about a resurrected superman? Would most of the Imperium even be aware?

    • Hell-Nico

      Thb I don’t call “ruining everything and killing everyone” moving a story.
      They destroyed the Fenris, Cadia, the Eldars Craftwords, Guilliman will no doubt “reform” the Imperium, up next is the destruction of Baal… Yeah.

      • benn grimm

        Well, they aren’t a story company (or a game company), they’re a miniatures company, best in the world…;) Jokes aside, completely agree with you, my cousin’s five year old could write better hogwash than this.

  • AX_472

    I’m pretty sure in the death masque book it says nothing of Eldrad’s plan requiring the death of 75% of the imperium. That’s part of the reason its a good little story. The imperium could have let him do it and struck a blow against their mutual enemies but sadly Eldrad’s band came up against a particularly xenophobic member of the xeno killing team who says “screw you” and ruins it all in classic space nazi fashion.

    • NNextremNN

      Well Eldar are not really known for being honest and trustworthy. All xenophobic aside I would have stopped him too. It’s not like he explained it before not even to the majority of the eldar and also started a distraction war.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      You trust Eldar?

  • Painjunky

    It got my hopes up then dashed them on the rock of mediocrity and wasted opportunities

    Classic GW.

  • David Leimbach

    How can you say nothing happened?
    This is the cliffhanger. What will happen to Cypher? Guilliman is unhappy with the Imperium as it is – will it divide? Will the Lords of Terra lose their power or fight?
    Nothing is resolved and huge players enter the scene. Will everyone just fall in line and follow Guilliman? Will Dark Angels accept the fallen left in the hands of the custodes or will they demand the prisoners? What then???

    • orionburn

      Exactly. While I haven’t read the GS books yet you can’t really expect the Dark Angels to just sit back and not do anything. I think this opens up an intriguing avenue for the future story line, especially if in time they bring back the Lion. There’s nothing wrong with having some critique of the books, but come on…it’s like there’s nothing to be happy about. They’ve done more to move the story line forward in the past year than what…the last 10 years? GW isn’t perfect by a long shot, but for crying out loud it seems there’s always something to complain about.

    • And what of Luther and the Lion? We got serious hints when the changeling was running around the rock.

    • Muninwing

      but it’s basically the same cliffhanger as usual.

      i’m not one who cares about advancing the storyline — i’d rather see more fleshing out of other events and times, like the Age of Apostasy. but if it’s going to happen, then there should be changes from the norm.

  • Josh Sands

    My favorite part was when you said nothing happened after a Primarch took command of the Imperium, just like nothing happened when Magnus brought back his homeworld and nothing happened when a new Eldar god was born and nothing happened when Cadia was destroyed.

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  • Darvinho

    Totally missed the point and seemingly ignored a lot of the end story. Guilliman comes out of his chat with the Emperor and installs himself on the Council of Terra, removes a few of the High Lords, and is setting about putting everything to rights.

    But yes, of course the Imperium is still in danger, yes there are still aliens and heretics everywhere, what did you expect? That Guilliman would come back and instantly everything would be super awesome happy time in the galaxy?

    What we are left with and facing now, is a primarch returned, and who is not happy with the state of the Imperium, and primarch who is dead set on not just stemming the tide but pushing back. We are primed for a Guilliman-led second crusade. The possibilities and scope are immense and exciting.

    Liked the summaries of the previous books but the interpretation of Rise of the Primarch was weak and off the mark entirely.

  • Arthfael

    Three Craftworlds undone? Ulthwe only loses its crystal seers, Iyanden suffers minor damage, only Bieltan suffers major damage, and this is in the process of being slowly healed when the book moves on to other matters. They’ll be fine.
    I agree that there was too much deus ex machina. Also, the writing is really bad. Too much useless details, grandiloquent and ultimately empty phrases, neither a quick overview nor a real novel. All of these books really make for painful reads.

    • Karru

      That’s the new team for you. Just one of the many reasons I just ignore the fluff they come out with these days. They just don’t have the talent any more, which is sad since 40k has so much to offer.

      • Arthfael

        Too bad, because they are improving a lot on other stuff: releasing all the sub-factions everyone always wanted, moving the story a little forward but not too much. I can see the big improvements in the last year, but bad writing just constantly kills it for me.

        • Karru

          The problem with the sub-faction releases is the fact for each of them, one faction goes on longer without any update. Sisters are still waiting for their model updates and IG could use some modernising. Then you have to codices themselves. CSM is still using their very old 6th edition codex and no amount of supplements or campaign books can fix that.

          Currently I am more interested on product and rule releases than I am about lore. The current lore just feels like fanfic.

          • ZeeLobby

            Supposedly 8th is coming somewhere. Haha.

          • Karru

            Yeah, I just wish that they don’t pull AoS on it and continue ignoring entire factions “just cause”.

            In the perfect world, GW would release nothing but Codices for all the armies and nothing more until all of them are done. The reason for this is to make sure that ALL the armies are done in the same way.

            Unfortunately, looking at the current way of GW handling things, it will be something for the Imperium, maybe something khorne related for Chaos and then just Imperium, Imperium, Imperium, maybe Tau/Eldar somewhere and then back to Imperium.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. Which honestly is very similar to the way their cycles always been. Fanboys always defend with “they’re a business, duh”, but in the end they’re totally right. The only option is get off the public company train.

          • Arthfael

            Sisters… and we thought they were going to get a real update. Still, they got 4 good models ^^ But yeah, Sisters, CSM and Tyranids need some desperate love.

            Still, subfactions are good when done right. We did not need Iyanden or Crimson Slaughter, we however could have used Eldar Craftworlds (à la 2nd Edition) and Red Corsairs. GW has been improving recently on this issue, with subfaction releases that make more sense, e.g. GSC, Mechanicum and Harlies, Deathwatch, Traitor Legions, or even 10k Sons because they are radically different CSM. The disproportionate Khorne love from earlier also now makes sense after the recent Tzeentch releases, if the plan is to do each Dark God for ~1 year.

          • Karru

            I don’t mind them releasing subfactions, especially if they just did the smart thing and included them in the main codices like the SM do with their Chapter Tactics.

            My issue is with armies that are clearly meant to be purely allies and not independent armies, yet GW takes up an entire month of release space to release a book and a handful of kits for them. Harlequins for example, if I want to field them with my Eldar, I know have to buy the damn book first for one unit, unless I pirate it, which I do.

            Deathwatch is another great example of faction released done wrong. An entire book for a handful of units that could have been just added into the SM codex.

            GSC and Mechanicum both are good releases. The Mechanicum still unfortunately suffers from the split army disorder, but hopefully 8th fixes that. Both of those armies are real armies. They are meant to be played by themselves with no allies whatsoever. They have basically everything a standard army needs.

          • Muninwing

            qualify that “we”

            many people were skeptical on that one, and were trying to put the brakes on the hope train there.

          • Arthfael

            At least this was a case where someone from GW did say “plastic sisters”… but I’d have to rewatch the video to see if he added “of battle”. If he did… that’s really stupid of him. Well, I play Eldar, and not Bieltan, so can’t complain at the moment 😛

          • Muninwing

            yeah… i automatically took that as a joke.

            they were in the trash. finding plastic sisters in the trash is anything but a teaser that they were an active idea. they were trashed!

            i say “joke” because it’s a running ridiculousness. like he found a half eaten burrito down there and was excited for lunch.

            i’m of the unpopular idea that GW should use Kickstarter etc to prove that there is demand… that they should create a campaign that would fund production of the whole line, with some stretch goals of characters and/or extra unit options (including ones that do not currently exist, a la other redos).

            i’d drop $100 easy on it tomorrow, and i bet we each know a dozen people who would do the same. they wouldn’t have to estimate the demand; the campaign would succeed or fail depending on that demand without any need to risk on their part.

          • Arthfael

            If you have nothing against buying from non-GW sources (I personally don’t), there are very good resin Sister minis out there… This won’t buy you good rules though.

        • ZeeLobby

          Having read two of the three books, it is quite the slog. I just don’t know if I have the heart to also read ode to Ultramarines.

          • Arthfael

            I like Ultrasmurfs and Guilliman, as the less superhuman of the primarchs. Reading it at the moment, it’s like the others, slow and muddied in useless expletives.

          • Arthfael

            (Although, since English is not my native language, I am not claiming that my own writing is superior 😛 )

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. It’s not like it’s the sentence structure or anything. It’s more so the way everything just seems slapped together. It’s like they have point A, where they are now, and point B, the justification for new model releases, and they don’t really care how they get there, lol.

          • Muninwing

            you just described most of what’s been written for AoS outside of the novels…

      • wibbling

        If you could do better why aren’t you working for them?

        • cudgel

          A mix of cronyism and fans that will buy anything, for another current example look to the WWE.

        • Karru

          Well, two simple reasons. First of all, basically any position that involves writing their main fluff, i.e not Black Library but the campaign books and codices for example, require you to be located within England and/or Nottingham. This is problem as I live in Finland.

          Secondly, as Cudgel pointed out, they refuse to hire better writers. For what reason exactly, I do not know. It could be the salary that the experienced writers require or they simply don’t care.

          If you actually look into the current fluff, you start to see a trend going on. It’s like a record playing on repeat. They just switch some characters around, throw in some completely lore-breaking stuff for the sake of it and finish it off with fanfic for their own faction. The current fluff is basically the exact same bs as Ward wrote. It makes no sense and makes the army or characters in question seem god-like with no imperfections.

          But then again, with you there is no arguing. You are just one of the BoLS trolls and talking with you is a waste of time.

          • Koen Diepen Van

            I think the reason the fluff always returns back to it´s starting point is simple. It´s a setting not a story. It´s not supposed to have a real arc. It´s made to be a interesting universe to place your own stories in.

          • Karru

            The setting is supposed to have certain rules that keep it in check. Something that makes it so someone can’t just pull off some magical “mega fix” to everything. That is the key to a good setting, a rich world with just the right amount of restrictions to make sure why everything isn’t fine and dandy.

          • cudgel

            I think your on to something @Karru with them not wanting to pay for better writers, but hiring two or three good writers would be better for them in the long run.

            As it stands Dan Abnett is the only writer I like.

        • frankelee

          When you make the petulant arguments of a teenager, you reveal yourself to have the mind of a petulant teenager. I’d ease it back.

        • Not everybody sees working for GW as the pinnacle of existence.

          • Muninwing

            it’d be neat. but most people imagine being the new lead writer who gets credit for the whole book, not one of the subcontractors who work on a chunk and have their name buried in the credits.

            if i could work from home and they offered, i’d take a year sabbatical from my job to write for them if they paid enough. i just doubt they’d pay enough. then again, i don’t have the resume they’d want to jump the line and get that kind of job.

        • ReverendTiberiusJackhammer

          So what you’re saying is that all criticism is invalid?

        • Muninwing

          they couldn’t afford me.

          rather, they wouldn’t pay me enough. they’ve fallen for the short-change business model instead of the worker-retention one. go reagan 80s. it’s not sustainable, but that doesn’t matter if you just pull a new trick to create the semblance of increase.

          when some new genius pulls this, all that happens is that they gamble on their good name by neglecting the quality of their product. and that’s a good summary of a number of their bad decisions over the last couple years…

    • wibbling

      Well, that’s easily resolved, write your own, create a £12m profit company and publish your own writing.

      • euansmith

        Criticism is simply an expression of opinion. That opinion might range from well informed, intelligent, and balanced, to partisan, parochial and subliterate.

        I don’t think you don’t need to be able to do something in order to decide whether it worked for you or not.

        I couldn’t, for example, make a film; but that doesn’t stop me realizing that Michael Bay and Zach Snyder don’t make films that appeal to me.

        Well that’s just like my opinion, man.

        http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/39d3254041ba20a4ca18f973473c012a238890e1d0452c6346d1a916f9b55640.jpg

      • Muninwing

        this is not only an unhelpful comment, it’s also a logical fallacy

  • Karru

    I highly doubt that they’ll have anything great going on. They will just come up with another completely lore-breaking excuse to introduce yet another Imperial faction into the game to promote sales. That’s the biggest issue I have with their current team. They make this new lore in order to introduce more and more armies and factions. The problem is that since they lack the talent, the lore is just the same “super hero” nonsense over and over again.

    They are just patting the playground in order to introduce more of their new factions they have most likely planned. It’s the End Times effect, they start removing the old rules set by the old writers so they can start placing their own stuff into the game without upsetting lore nerds.

  • Prof. Voland

    chill…we are standing just in front of the 8th edition. they had to slow the story down to give some story aspect to the new edition.

  • Nyyppä

    It’s like if they realized that if they continue they will eventually have to give something to factions other than imperials or eldar. That would be awful.

  • Darth Bumbles

    In effect, the seeds of change have been laid.
    Primarch Bob sees the Imperium as dark. He laments its darkness and outright asks why is he alive in the darkness.
    And then he sees his Ultramarines standing against the Darkness, he sees them being beacons of if not hope but at least as resolute humanity.
    He’s been anointed as the Genuine Article and literally has the Emperor’s backing. But he also sees that small steps needs to be taken to change things otherwise there’d be chaos.

    So Seeds, but immediate change?
    No. Not at all. It’ll take a purge of the High Lords for there to be a proper change, and more than that the Ecclesiarchy itself needs to change. That’ll take more than even a Primarch can achieve.
    There are seeds.

    But now it’s time for stories to be told, for games to be played.
    , and for seeds to grow.

  • Andrew Sebastian Suryali Tung

    Is Guilliman now 40k’s Karl Franz?

  • Aezeal

    Not read the book.. but even only the leaks on BOLS make me think this is an odd way of seeing things.

  • Chuck

    “The Imperium is in danger. Enemies approach from everywhere. The Imperium will unite and battle the mutant, the alien and the heretic.”

    That pretty much describes 40k. Changing any of those things (except maybe the mutant part) would be seen by fans as a fundamental change to 40k… which they probably wouldn’t like.

    It’s standard fare that long-running narratives don’t change that much. I can’t count the number of times the X-Men “died” or that Wolverine “went evil,” but it generally all goes back to normal. Even when Marvel killed Wolverine and X-23 took over that title, Old Man Logan stepped in to basically be the Wolverine we were used to.

    The Warhammer 40k fluff ain’t Game of Thrones (for good reasons), and I don’t want it to be. Magnus and Guilliman wrasslin’ on the moon? That was **awesome** and I didn’t expect to see it. I certainly didn’t need a Primarch or the Emperor dying to feel like it was a dramatic and exciting book.

  • Peter Laszlo

    i understand the feeling about the last book. it was going to fast and with bad(boring, unimaginable, uninspiring) solutions.

    but over all, im still hyped as ever and GW still have 9 months left of the 30 year of 40k celebration!

    BRING IT ON! 😀

  • The prelude story didn’t conclude? Color me shocked, it’s almost like they telegraphed it in the title 🤔

  • Defenestratus

    I guess the author of this story must have missed the parts where GW said that Gathering Storm is a prelude to further changes in the 40k universe – likely introduced with the new edition.

    Thats likely why the series is called “Gathering storm” and not “Storm Unleashed” or “Storm of Doom, Death, and Plague” or somesuch.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Yep, we already have a 13th Black Crusade series, which started with Traitors hate, and followed by Angel’s Blade?

  • Jonathan B.

    The biggest problem with all of these books is that they aren’t novels. You don’t get the real sense of what the characters are feeling, except in snippets. You don’t read the full interplay between the characters as events occur. It’s half the story. The Gathering Storm would have been better served with an accompanying set of novels. Those who want the rules and some background fluff could just get the rule books, but those who want more could also get the associated novels.

  • SacTownBrian

    I don’t feel disappointment with the end of GSIII. I’d call it frustration since they are clearly taking a pause that will be continued in other books. I do think they missed an opportunity. I would have liked to seen a novel accompany each book just like they did with end times, to really get focused on a few characters and events more in depth. Now the new mystery will be what went on behind they doors with the emperor. GW does like their mysteries.

    • Novels will be coming, but Black Library is taking a deliberate step back from tying everything to the studio schedule. The break between the two has been happening fairly recently (Curse of the Wulfen and Legacy of Russ still happened, Wrath of Magnus was scheduled for a novel but put off in the end).

      Tie-ins will happen eventually, but right now it seems like BL and the authors value their creative freedom to write and pitch what they like more than being restrained to studio release tie-ins.

  • Niraco

    Fall of cadia story was full of logic loopholes. and that is A-? lol

  • Private Skittles

    I agree that the Eldar/Harlequin parts were a bit of a cop-out.

    My nerd lust would been more sated if there were a legitimate teaser..or even the slightest hint of what happened in the Emperor’s throne room.

    Like if the Emperor wiggled his big toe or it ended in a grimdark threat or teaser…more fleshed out that Cawl’s “2nd promise” anyway.

    After reading about the “2nd promise” I see not the slightest hint of Guilliman creating V2 space marines…was that just a wild revenue-generating rumour started by BOLS?

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    These books set up the new status quo, they are not reinventing the wheel here.

  • GiftoftheMagi

    I know that many want the story to progress. I do too. I also want stories of quality, of progression that builds on what we have and makes sense, evolving the universe.

    Gathering Storm failed on this account.

    The writing has been at best sparse and functional if not exactly competent, and at worse rushed and gimmicky. Nearly every single book required the destruction of at least one world (or Craftworld) to sell the ‘threat’, as if this was the only way to tell us Bad Things Happened. Random and rather easy character deaths, a remake of the failed 13th Black Crusade by Failbaddon, a god introduced despite the ritual to summon him failing and a character that can ignore any and all deaths for anyone.

    All in a few book over about 2 months. It feels rushed, bare of detail, there is a near total lack of character investment. Planets are wiped out for…reasons despite being nigh-invulnerable for 10,000+ years before a single, thin story is finished. Each one these stories should have been part of a summer campaign by themselves. Instead, we got years worth of story in just a few months. All because they want to reset before the next rule set.

    Overall, I fought the writing for these books to be below the standard. Below C.S. Goto standards. The level you expect in the booklet included in a video game case.

    So yeah. Disappointing.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Gathering Storm I was fine. The ship that killed Cadia was clearly explained and has been sitting around in fluff for a long time.

    • The 13th Black Crusade never “failed”. That Failbaddon meme really needs to die and be devoured by Slaanesh, with how deeply rooted it is in ignorance and chan culture…

      The Gathering Storm picks up right after the Eye of Terror campaign. The 13th Black Crusade never halted, it is continuing here straight on from where we left off over a decade ago.

      Leave it to Black Library to actually tackle the events in detail. It was never going to happen in the fluff books. They’re top-down narratives, whereas the novels take things to a personal level. The End Times books for WHFB were good, but it is the novels that brought the fleshing out of events. Shield of Baal, Sanctus Reach, Curse of the Wulfen, they all had coverage from Black Library to elevate them from “this happened” tellings to stories of heroism and tragedy.

      The simple fact is that Black Library is undergoing changes still, and they’re moving back from directly tying all/most of their output to studio releases. They’re taking a step back to consider what they commission and accept as pitches. We *will* see Gathering Storm stories before long – Guy Haley’s The Devastation of Baal is a tie-in to current events, for example, and we’re bound to see more.

  • Calgar

    I got pretty much the exact opposite impression from the Gathering Storm story. For years things have been circling the drain, the imperium is beset on all sides by enemies. The eldar are slowly withering away, with no real help in sight.

    Now with the appearance of a primarch, and the potential birth of a new eldar god, both factions have something they haven’t had in ages…. hope.

    • benn grimm

      One primarch? When they couldn’t get the job done with twenty(eighteen)? Im sure he’ll make a massive difference…And this is an Eldar god of death; I think when your best hope is death, you got problems (by you i mean them, as in the Eldar, not you Calgar) Slaanesh will take her/his/it’s due! 😉

      • To be fair, the Eldar *couldn’t even hope for death* before, because their souls would immediately be snatched up by Slaanesh. If they can die in peace now (or be reborn with their souls more or less intact), then that spells a big win for them, as opposed to suffering eternal torture and gloryholing.

        And Guilliman has basically refounded the Imperium after the Emperor’s “death”. He set things up to last for ages to come. If his past actions are anything to go by, him coming back to readjust the Imperium, especially without the meddling of Russ, Dorn and co, is a game changer.

        When the Primarchs were united, they got things done! It is a pity that they were squabbling the rest of the time, or waging war upon another before the end. Guilliman on his own, though? With no true equals in the Imperium? Taking things in his own hands and being supposedly backed by the Emperor? That’s a statement to the entire Imperium. It could lead to civil wars, or it could lead to a new golden age. And let’s be honest here: The Imperium *was* living in a golden age of peace after the Scouring, and it took almost 1500 years for that to crumble away again.

        • benn grimm

          The avoidance of Slaanesh basically defined them as a race, without that, I’m not really sure what they are anymore.

          Gully man did what he could, but he was reacting to the actions of the traitors (as he always did) the strength of legions was far more than the current disparate chapter system (deliberately). I’m not sure that without his brothers he’d do better, but I guess we’ll see in time.

          As I understand it the ‘golden era’ of the imperium lasted until Istvaan, and has never been recaptured, maybe they had peace for a little while after the scouring, but a golden age? Not to belittle Gully’s (and Dorn’s efforts) but in a galaxy of untold billions, there’s only so much one man(no matter how godly) can do.

  • Mike Salamandrin

    A title like, “GW Puts The Breaks On”, I clicked assuming news that GW was going to stop all story progress; instead it’s an opinion piece about how the trilogy didn’t end with Gulliman riding a comet to the “new imperium” to created an immortal army of mega-ultra marines 😀
    The thing that annoys me is the narrative is rendered to as “comic book” like, as if 40k is the hardest Scif series ever. Yeah, from what I’ve seen the fluff basically is there to fill pages, but it’s a campaign book. Let’s be honest here, the story is only “bad” is because it’s compared to HH, and the only reason HH is “good” is because of a book series dedicated to fleshing it out; because their was a demand to flesh out the “comic book” story of the modern imperium’s founding . Most of that fleshing out involved taking pre-existing 40k factions and making more powerful precursors from a glorious age.

  • Christopher Witecki

    Oh no. You mean that turning a classic setting into a super story that needs to keep putting new installments is starting to look like a soap opera? That’s completely… expected. You millennial folks wanted to take a classic setting and make it another Netflix binge show about teh heeros. Well, good show, you got it. Enjoy the universe of 40k never quite being the same as the plot demands more and more statistically impossible events occur to satisfy the plot and hope and happy endings about. In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, there is only Deus Ex Machina.

  • Hell-Nico

    That moment when you realize that Matt Ward plan succeed and Guilliman is the new Emperor…

    That said, yeah as other have already pointed out this is a “Gathering Storm” up next is the “End Times”, ho I mean “The Storm of Chaos”…”Age of Guilliman” ?

    Well you get the idea. Brace yourself because 40k gona have its soft reboot, and a good there’s 2+ (no reroll) chance that’s gona be an epic fail on the scale of OAS.

  • Mike

    To be honest, I feel like this was pretty much the point?If they’d changed everything dramatically after this everyone would be crying Age of the Emperor. Taking it slow and opening up space for new side stories WITHOUT hurting everyone else’s own head canon was pretty much the aim right?

  • Random Name

    Wrath of Magnus was not a ‘Grade A’ story at all. I have been a fanatic Thousands Sons fan for well over a decade and this is by far the worst story involving the Thousand Sons.

    Curse of the Wulfen was a much better story than Wrath of Magnus despite some flaws (but what story doesn’t). It involved dealing with the narrow minded and paranoid inquistion, the reemergence of their cursed brethren, a large scale daemonic incursion and the shock finale of their long time rivals bringing the rock into the fray. That story was great.

    When I heard about Wrath of Magnus I became very excited to think that after 10,000 years of planning Magnus would finally have his revenge. Then when I saw those fantastic models leaked online I was dying with anticipation. Needless to say I was sorely disappointed.

    Wrath of Magnus fell into the old Games Workshop story telling trap I thought they grew out of when they got rid of Matt Ward. What I mean by that is the thought that Space Marines can defeat anything no matter how unrealistic it may seem due to the fact they are Space Marines.

    Throughout the entire book it shows how the Space Wolves are slaughtering the Thousand Sons invaders whether it be Sven Bloodhowl carving through Rubrics like butter with his power axe or Arjac Rockfist throwing his hammer to hit an oblivious Ahriman despite being a master of the Divination cult.

    Magnus created a brief turning point for the Thousand Sons when he demonstrated psychic might far more powerful than even the emperor. Despite this impressive and unrealistic psychic feat Magnus was defeated by a Space Wolf with a axe taken from a regular Khorne lord implying that Magnus’ weakness is any weapon of Khorne.

    Magnus’ “master plan” that he had been planing for 10,000 years resulted in some damaged worlds in the Fenris system that we have never heard of before this campaign. He also managed to move the planet of the sorcerers back into real space making it vulnerable to exterminatus and planetary assaults.

    This story falls into writing trap we learnt about in primary school which is; “show don’t tell”. Throughout this book we see the Space Wolves crushing the Thousand Sons at every turn and only a single wolf lord dies while scores of sorcerers are slaughtered. Yet despite this we are told that is was a victory for the Thousand Sons.

    If we are using the same grading system I would grade this a D- or a E+. This is by far the worst Thousand Sons story ever written and arguably the worst campaign story.