Kharadron Overlords have me Excited for 8th Edition

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Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dwarves…

So as has been foretold, 8th edition for 40K is around the corner. The official announcement’s hit, followed quickly by a FAQ that provides helpful answers to all life’s burning questions. It’ll be a new edition with new rules, new organizations, and almost certainly, new models.

And sure, Games Workshop spells out very clearly in that FAQ of theirs that they aren’t blowing up the setting, nor are they invalidating whole faction’s worth of models whole cloth. So it doesn’t seem like they’re going to go full Age of Sigmar on this new edition….BUT… I do think we’re going to see some new minis–and the new grouping of factions into Imperial, Chaos, and Xenos has me wondering if we’ll see anything new (or at least a return to/revision of some old favorites).

8th Edition…all Hrud all the time…

And while we can’t say for sure, I think after the recent release of the Kharadron Overlords, it’d be really neat to see how they reinterpret one of the classic factions. It could be just the shot in the arm one of the flagging factions needs–after all, the Kharadron Overlords breathed new life into the Dwarves.

That faction didn’t just change what they were called, or how they look–they changed the way the faction played out. Where before the dwarves were a sort of big clunky gunline, the Overlords are a lot more mobile.

Their fluff has clearly been through the wringer as well. But what’s come out has been one of the most original takes on Dwarves that I’ve seen in quite some time. I mean compare them to other dwarves:

Tolkien Dwarves

Arguably the classic ur-example (well, okay not really, for that we have to get super mythological, but I’m not sure how far I want to lean in to Wagnerian operas and germanic/nordic folklore for semantic accuracy). These dwarves are the ones you’re almost certainly picturing right now because you came across the word Dwarf.

They live under the ground (or in big mountain halls) and they dig for treasure and are great at metalcrafting. At least, they have giant forges and make Mithril, so that’s pretty indicative of smithing aptitude.

D&D Dwarves

These guys are basically the same as Tolkien Dwarves, only with their dials turned up to 11. You tend to have a few different varieties of D&D Dwarves, including hill and mountain dwarves, which are either stronger or hardier, depending.

But even with the extra embellishments that came from the RPG, they very much resemble the ur-text above. Their society and culture are almost exactly the same–they’re great underground or working with stone. Wheee.

Dragon Age Dwarves

Here we start to see some difference. Sure, they still mostly live underground–but their vaguely Scottish accents have been traded for cruder, brusquer dialects. Much more like if Americans were to tackle the material in Game of Thrones–these Dwarves are scheming, multiplicitous, and, owing to their shared ancestor, they are obsessed with treasure or tradition (depending on how much of the former they have because of the latter).

I like this version–they’re different. They have a little more personality. Plus any species that claims responsibility for Varric is basically given a free pass to do whatever they want forever.

Fantasy Dwarves

Grudges and Guns and g…runecrafting. This variety of dwarves is similarly bound by tradition (and also by the need for revenge), and they prefer to keep to themselves in their secretive mountain halls with chambers buried deep beneath the earth where they continue to perfect their crafts, scribing new runes and grudges as need dictates.

Kharadron Overlords

But then coming back to the latest iteration we see some pretty wild differences. The biggest one is that they’re not super isolationist anymore. They’re merchants and explorers, who set sail amid the skies of a tattered, broken realm. They are still great craftsmen, but their societies have a little bit more than just “build things, hold grudges, shoot stuff.” There’s a Kharadron Code (well, really more like guidelines) and they live in massive, moving skyships that frequently bring them into contact with other people.

That’s a big part of the appeal here. These dwarves are vastly different from the others. They wear space suits (basically), they fly around in airships. They’re just cool. And I think that there are a few factions in 40K that could benefit from a revitalizing shot in the arm, like the Kharadron Overlords.

My money’d be on seeing something like a new Xenos (maybe just a severe reimagining of a current one) to try it out. I mean imagine what the Necrons might look like if their fluff were given a little of an overhaul, and a new subfaction of like Tomb Spiders or something kind of just re-envisioning everything you thought you knew about Necrons.

Which, sure, sounds like change for the sake of change–but looking at how much the Kharadron Overlords have pumped up the general idea of “dwarves” and how they’ve helped make that faction cool again/in the first place and I can’t help but see a lot of potential.

What do you think, how would you overhaul/reimagine one of the extant 40K factions for 8th Edition?

  • Laurence J Sinclair

    What I’m taking away from this article is that Necrons need more steam-powered top hats.

    • Mr.Gold

      just need to ask Pimpcron if he has his…

    • Vicent Martín Bonet

      Only the Lord-Magnates of the Dinasties will get them, though.

  • Farseerer

    My guess is that the Ynnari will very shortly be getting their own units (possibly new Wraith units in a darker style) and will see a big restriction in terms of what CE/DE/EH they can take. It would make sense for Aspect Warriors to be CE only and we might see DE pushed further down the style of the Covens with the more ‘normal’ DE making up the rest of the Ynnari. (Look at the style of the Visarch – seems closer to DE than Eldar right now).

    I’m just spitballing here but the Eldar Corsair upgrade kits have been out of stock for well over a year and a half now. What if that more piratey theme sees them either getting merged with the Ynnari?

    Obviously an entirely new faction like the Hrud would be awesome but this seems more likely to me. At least in the short term

  • memitchell

    Overhaul/reimagine? Isn’t that already happening?…Adeptus Custodes, Sisters of Silence, Thousand Suns, Death Guard.

    Now, Steampunk Sisters of Battle…Who’s with me!?

    • Akorav

      Seriously? But go on destroy setting for some steampunk chicks….realy guys you dont think about future of the universe only about LOOOOOKS COOOOOOL MAN factor. Its kinda sad.

      • thereturnofsuppuppers

        So what is it about fetish battle nuns that isn’t shallow?

    • Thomas

      I swear to god, if they introduce steampunk to 40k, I’m done. I like 40k for its gothic flavour and steampunk’s aesthetic is just garbage to me.

      • VanosOfManos

        To be fair: Skitarii and AdMech definitely sit on the cusp of having a steampunk vibe, especially in the art for their weapons. While building my Vanguard and Rangers, I’ve had a bunch of people unfamiliar with 40K ask what steampunk game they were for.

        • ZeeLobby

          Hmm. Yeah, they get close. Lack of boilers helps distinguish them in most cases. But I could see the confusion for anyone looking from the outside.

          • Shawn

            I never would have come to that conclusion. I would have though sci-fi. I’m guessing that, for whatever reason, steampunk is on the rise in popularity and that’s why it’s so familiar to many folks.

          • ZeeLobby

            It’s more the younger crowd. For them steampunk = machines.

          • VanosOfManos

            Yep, a few more boilers and they’d be all set. Just made me think that I should steal some of those boiler looking backpacks from the Kharadron Arkanauts for my Skitarii sometime. For me it’s definitely the weapons that seem very steampunk to me: the rifles especially seem like something a steampunk sniper or soldier would use. Even the glowy parts would fit in a steampunk world where magic is melded with technology.

      • Andy Wise

        I don’t think the aesthetic of steampunk and 40k are a million miles away from each other. Both are kind of informed by regressive sci fi. I’ll grant you they’re not the same but to the uninformed they could be confused.

  • Luca Lacchini

    No rebooting existing races please. Add some to them, remove some from them, introduce new stuff. That’s great to give new directions and themes: the galaxy is vast, not everything is known, etc.
    Stop messing with the already accepted guideline material. Just stop.

    I’m talking to you, egyptian-necrons.

    • ZeeLobby

      I miss my mindless killing machines 🙁

      • Dennis J. Pechavar

        But now they are “chatty”! Isn’t that new and exciting?!? If they had started this way I would probably like them as they have been retconned. Sadly for the few that liked the mindless killing machines that era is gone.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, it’s not even so much the change in fluff, it’s the removal of the unknown. Who ARE these mindless killing machines?
          What’s their purpose? Who made them? Well we have answers and more to all that now. It’s one of the things I don’t like as much on the current fluff. There are unknowns, but they’re answered in the next chapter.

          • Dennis J. Pechavar

            Well the fact that there are times that you can make deals and barter with them now is why I’m annoyed. Before it was the silent horror. Unstoppable and unrelenting in their advance. I liked them mysterious. Yeah now we get to look behind the curtain and it is too bad. I’m surprised they inflict this on the tyranids.

          • ZeeLobby

            LoL. Just wait, pretty soon Tyranids and Tau will ally to distribute greater good pamphlets across the galaxy.

        • Drpx

          There’s a few Necron factions that still fit that role. Empire of the Severed is a bunch of mindwiped Necrons whose Tomb World AI took over.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I guess the fact that they’re a mistake and not a real threat just doesn’t make them scary anymore, haha. Like: Whoops, we’re killer robots.

      • Hot_Dog_Heretic

        Bruh do you even Maynarkh?

        They’re your dudes. Make your dynasty made up of mindless killing machines.

        • ZeeLobby

          As I responded below, they just killed the fluff for them for me. Just not a fan of KNOWING everything that happens. I liked the mystery. Now I have to explain to everyone why my robots don’t have feelings, just sounds stupid, lol.

          • Shawn

            No you don’t. Robots never had feelings, unless your Data, but that was over done and over exaggerated plot line. Just tell them robots don’t have feelings unless their mad, and then their mad, but that’s it.

          • ZeeLobby

            lol, I will take it into consideration.

      • thereturnofsuppuppers

        I miss my androids

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        They were much scarier when they were lethal but unaware, tragic figures manipulated by a selfish Godling. Now they are just Dynastic Egyptian Robots in space. They even have personalities now, which somehow diminishes them massively. Before they were like some elemental force. Now they are just…. Boring.

        • ZeeLobby

          Exactly! Way to say it much better than I ever could. Haha.

        • Dennis J. Pechavar

          Tomb Kings in spacccccce! Except TK no longer exist.

  • Karru

    When it comes to re-imagining things and doing overhauls, I do not welcome it on existing factions. For example, if they suddenly decided to discontinue the entire Cadian line and replaced it with a design similar to Scions, I will cry and not out of joy.

    I am already worried about the “true-scale” marines that we got a peak yesterday (If you haven’t seen the pic, it’s in the BREAKING GW: Big Announcement: 8th Edition & More! – article in the comment section. The comment by Krizzab). If they decide to replace the entire SM line with “true-scale” marines, I’ll be having extremely hard time finishing my 5th Company as I would have to replace every single Marine I already have.

    As for the current way AoS handles things, I don’t mind that. They take an old faction and make a splinter faction out of it which they then give new design. That’s how they should do it in my opinion. Also, there is really no need to go and change the design drastically. They have plenty of factions to work with. Adeptus Mechanicus is still very young and can have many new kits with varied looks. Same thing with GSC or even Scion.

    • euansmith

      It could be cool if Guilliman creates a new Chapter of Ubermarines who happen to be bigger and badder than their standard pattern bros. The could be something along the lines of a more refined version of the Thunder Warriors; an unstoppable hammer for a Galaxy that has suddenly turned in to nails. So “tru-scale” could be a sub-faction of Space Marines (after all the Space Marines could do with another sub-faction 😉 ).

      • Thomas

        One day, GW will release a Marine-inside-a-marine-inside-a-marine-inside… that’s the size of a Wraithknight.

        They are my “Adeptus Astartes Giganticus” and they shall know no limit to their gold armour trim.

        • euansmith

          “… well that is the dream, Battlebrother Bobulus, but first, we just need you to bend over so we can insert this small suit of armour inside you.”

      • ZeeLobby

        I mean lets be honest, they sat down and were like:

        “Well, 50% of our players play space marines, and the average army size they already own is around 5000 points. On top of that eBay is flooded with space marine models, there’s little incentive for them to buy new from us. How do we get them to buy more?”

        “Lets make a ridiculous plot where primarchs come back and make bigger space marines, and then slowly phase out the old line, and encourage all those players to pick up the new ones.”

        “Brilliant!”

        • euansmith

          Ba-da-bing ba-da-boom! Its cash in the bank.

        • Drpx

          Sad part they’ve probably had that discussion.

        • thereturnofsuppuppers

          I think it might just be the designers wanting to make true scale spacemarines without pissing of the people with huge collections.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah… How does that financially make sense? Why invest in an elite sect of an elite faction? (well, ignoring custodes, grey knights, and every other elite space marine). I mean it’s not even like they’re “designing” full scale space marines. They’re just taking the current space marine CAD designs and extending the legs and making the proportions accurate, lol.

            I know what I said above sounds crazy, but every other justification given for why else they might be doing this sounds even crazier. Occam’s Razor is on my side, haha.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            I would ask, why now, when they had ample opportunities to do the same thing under an even more grubbin management?

          • ZeeLobby

            Because they had no fluff mechanisms to do so, and as
            you mentioned, that grubbin management had no interest in advancing the story line or plot. They were a “model company” remember. Also 40K didn’t start struggling financially until a year or two ago. Or at least they attributed to lack of fantasy sales. Supposedly AoS did much better while sales still fell for the past year, so clearly they came from somewhere.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            What is the fluff mechanism now?

          • ZeeLobby

            Guilliman is making Super Spacemarines. Supposedly.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            Does this have any base in fact? I’ve not heard hastings mention anything.

          • ZeeLobby

            Short Google away! There’s been several other rumor mongers and articles as well.

            http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2017/03/40k-rumors-guilliman-planning-new-space-marines.html

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            Ah cool. Hastings is usually on the money

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. No doubt. He’s an old guard. But man. What a silly way to get new space marines in

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            I feel people take things too seriously. Its just funny space knights, 80s brit comics in space.

            Spacemarines are intrinsically pretty silly, with their cute pig snouts, and clompy flairs. I think they could do with a entertainingly camp orign to go with all the violence.

          • ZeeLobby

            Diffuse it how ever you want, haha.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            I think all this community needs sometimes is a bit of diffusion.

            Look at how apoplectic with fury a chap is getting with the mis-measurement of warp storms over on the map.

          • ZeeLobby

            Eh. I think like in all things in life, there’s different justifiable magnitudes of being upset. You’re right, getting upset over a map illustration is pretty silly. Introducing Sigmarines into 40K for eventual replacement of space Marines to generate sales is just lazy imo. And it just makes me care even less about the fluff. There were so many cooler things they could have done.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            I hope the new spacemarines can now include women. I think as rubbish the fluff, it would be good for the game as a whole.

          • ZeeLobby

            Imperial guardsmen as well. They definitely have an opportunity to make that change at this point. Im kind of disappointed the new marines look like just scaled up versions of the old ones. I mean I know their iconic, but it would have been cool to switch them up a little. Their identical nature really makes it seem like they’ll be an eventual replacement.

        • David Leimbach

          The Emperor is going to die. It’s on the website even.

          • ZeeLobby

            Cool with me. He doesn’t do anything now anyway, haha.

      • Sonic tooth

        didnt corax do this exact thing already with original raptors (and then alpha legion messesd it up)

        • ZeeLobby

          If I remember that book correctly he ended up turning them into like red-skinned mutants. I thought the raptors were a completely different thing that happened later with the Raven Guard geneseed? I could be completely misremembering.

        • euansmith

          Thanks, I’ve just nipped off and read up on the potted history of the Raptors on Lexicanum. “Ravendelve” 😀 😀 😀 Sometimes the grim darkness is beyond parody.

          Now the Imperium has access to Guilliman’s pure, fresh gene-seed (eeeuh!); so maybe some new version of the Raptors may be on the horizon. Or, maybe, it will turn out the “Guilliman” is actually a faux-primach grown by the Alpha Legion for their own secretive purposes?

          • Dennis J. Pechavar

            I really want Girlie man to end up being an Alpha Legion plot. It would make this Alpharius so very happy.

      • Shawn

        Stormcast Eternals, yeah?

        • euansmith

          Stormcast Perpetuals! This is 40k, after all 😉

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        No, it would not be cool. It would be the sh1ttest thing ever! I love you deeply EuanSmith, but now we must never like each others comments again 😉

    • euansmith
      • ZeeLobby

        yeah.

      • Karru

        That would be the one, yeah.

    • Shawn

      Could you send a link. I haven’t seen any mention of a “true-scale” marine.

  • Thomas

    Everyone seems to love these new Dorfs except me. Fair play if you like them, but they are the dumbest, goofiest thing I’ve seen from GW in about 20 years. I literally laughed out loud when I first saw them.

    I don’t even know if they’re that original. They’re just standard Dwarfs with steampunk, “Sky Captain” stuff smooshed in.

    • Karru

      The infantry looks nice, everything that is in any way off the ground look ugly af to me.

      • Thomas

        I just… Top hats? Monocles!? Chainsaws and space suits!?!

        I knew AoS had a less gothic aesthetic than fantasy, but that goes right into the realms of goofy and derpy imo. I know I’ll be called a “hater” or some such, but I just don’t get these dudes I’m afraid. They look they don’t even belong to the same IP as Sylvaneth or Stormcast.

        • Cameron Chapman

          They honestly look like a mercenary sub-faction for Warmachine instead of a GW product.

          • Thomas

            Exactly!

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha, yup!

        • Shawn

          The don’t. If anything, they’re closer to 40k than anything else.

    • Seienchin

      THANK YOU. They are also not really original. They look like something straight out of the Runescape universe mixed with warmachines. I hate them… awful.

  • Cameron Chapman

    I still hate the decision to group everything into Imperium/Chaos/Xenos. Because the Tau are totally capable of being in the same faction as Tyranids, right? God, I hope it’s not as simple as they’re implying, because that’s just stupid.

    • Nilok

      Not the same faction, just the same general group. Just like how Tzcheench and Nurgle hate each other but are still in the same book.

    • TenDM

      They didn’t group everything together as allies. Go to the Explore the Factions page on the 40k website that supposedly shows them as alliances. It’s clearly just the way they’ve ordered the links. They’re all still marked as separate factions with no relation.

      It’s like saying Tyranids and Space Marines must ally because a GW employee put them on the same shelf. GW aren’t implying anything, BOLS is running with a very silly idea.

  • Nero Hairetikos

    I Dont play AoS but these new Sky Pirate Dwarves… I Have to at least build and paint a few of these. But in 40k I NEED to see the Hruud given more than a few conflicting drawings.

  • kremmet

    So WHFB dwarfs were never isolationists. Sure a bunch of them lived behind “closed doors” in mountain strongholds, but that was because they were constantly under attack by both greenskins and ratkin in those areas. Quite a few dwarfs lived in human-centric areas and are known as traders, inventors, and brewers with skills honed over centuries. Hell, before the War of the Beard, dwarfs and elves traded constantly with notable stories about dwarven clockwork inventions being a prime curio among the elves.

    The fluff for the new sky dwarfs is closer to what WHFB dwarfs were before Chaos decided to Make Old World Great Again and reduced everything to constant infighting. Even then, the dwarfs of the setting were not isolationists, but instead a kingdom in decline hellbent on reclaiming their lost lands.

    • Jasko

      “Make Old World Great Again” wins the internet today

  • Sonic tooth

    new 40k will be more about space marines then ever, ultramarines are everywhere all of a sudden. xenos seem like an afterthought on the new website (grouping them all together)? meanwhile some of us old farts still shed a tear for tomb kings and bretonnia while everyone else is blinded by sci fi bling dwarves……sob sob

    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      Sadly I agree with you. It doesn’t hurt that I have over 5000pts of TK and Brets… Both fun armies.

      • Drpx

        Ouch, having both of those must have stung. Ironically I was considering starting TK as a second myself right when the bomb dropped. Thank God for procrastination.

        • Dennis J. Pechavar

          TK were my starting army in 7th Ed fantasy. I ended up collecting most of the fantasy armies, we had a really good group and I was able to trade painting and building for others into models for me. Sadly as 8th came around people started to dislike the game(I liked most of it) and moved to Flames of War and other games. This was sort of good as I picked up a large amount of models for even less money, it was also really bad as there was less and less people who wanted to play. Now Fantasy is dead in my area as AoS is almost universally disliked and Fantasy is dead. AoS isn’t a bad game but it’s not my cup of tea.

  • Rob brown

    The problem arrives if you are one of the unlucky few who liked the grudgebearing, traditionalist fantasy dwarves and yet also want to play Warhammer. In which case you’re a bit screwed.

    People who stopped playing dwarves did so because the rules forced them into one play style – not because tdidn’t like the style or fluff. Destroying the old faction and replacing it with jet pack space dwarves is a metaphor for what the whole AOS project has done.

    In this regard I am neither surprised nor impressed with the cartoonish-world of Warcraft-steampunk incarnation of the game that has replaced a once gritty-gothic-insurgent game world that stood against the mainstream fantasy that was being released at the time.

    • Vicent Martín Bonet

      Oh god, just play Barak Thryng and call it a day, those are the same as always.

  • Nilok

    One word, Demiurg.

  • Shawn

    I’m glad you like the Kharadon Overlords so much. As much as I recognize that authors can create their own worlds with their own take on fantasy/sci-f, I just prefer the grounded and familiar Tolkien-ish dwarves for fantasy. However, given the right background, story, and characters I can get behind some differences. As Eldar and Dark Eldar are really just space elves and space dark elves, Squats (Kharadans?) could make a good 40k faction. For me at least, the Kharadon Overlords are out of place in AoS and better suited for 40k.

    • Sonic tooth

      its obviously “uncool” to like traditional fantasy tropes these days. i like them tho so i dont care.

      • Thomas

        There’s probably a good market for an up and coming fantasy author to go back to the tried-and-true fantasy archetypes. Surely everyone’s sick of flashy comic book-esque fantasy or GoT rip-offs that try to be excessively “gritty?”