I've been hearing a lot of rumours about the next chaos book, some good, some that make me worry about the future of my favourite race. With that in mind, instead of posting up my wishlisting, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on what I hope doesn't go in there, for various reasons.
So here we go...
Under the current rules, those units that are dedicated enough to their patron to carry an Icon into battle proclaiming their glory are rewarded with bonuses in battle, such as +1 toughness for Nurgle. That is until Bob the Icon Bearer is unlucky enough to be taken out (a much more common occurence under the new wound allocation rules), at which point apparently the unit stops being dedicated to their god and loses their bonuses.
In background terms, this apparently means a unit of Nurgle Terminators are apparently cured of all their infections, making them just as tough as any other marine, those dedicated to Khorne lose their lust for battle and those Slanneshi-fuelled madmen lose their speed and lust for sensation that has driven them for the last 10,000 years. Tzeentch, I can see the background justification for, as the Changer of Way likes to screw over his own followers on a whim, but all the while you've got to ask yourself, why don't one of the others pick up the fallen icon?
I can see the justification in losing weapons in the heat of battle.. The survivors may not have the training to use the weapons of their fallen comrade and many weapons are hardwired onto their bodies, like powerfists or Terminator heavy weapons, but come on, all they have to do is lift the icon of their god, the symbol of their devotion, off the ground and wave it around a bit.
Please GW, sort this out and don't give us this awful system under the new 'Dex, especially with so many precision shots and closest-man-dies wound allocation shenanigans going
2, 'Dragon Flier'
One of the biggest rumours going round is that Chaos Marines are going to be given a Dragon-like construct/ MC that's going to be amazing at taking out flyers
While I have no issue with the idea of a biomechanical 'anti-flyer' unit in itself, I hope they don't include it in there as an alternative to giving us a new flyer of our own. There's a lot of Chaos aircraft in the fluff, ranging from the Helltalon and Hellblade to stuff like captured gunships and Harbinger Bombers, Locusts and the other smaller aircraft.
It's not like Chaos never field aircraft and just giving us the Dragon as our only anti flyer option will just result in more or less every single list including one, two, or even three of these things, making a CSM army under the new 'dex just as boring as the Lash Princes and Obliterators tag team we see at the moment.
Fluff-wise it'll hurt people who play those Warbands/Legions that don't use the overly deamonic elements of the list so much, like Night Lords, Alpha Legion and a great many homebrew warbands, such as my own. Please GW, don't do this to us.
3. Special Characters and Legions
This is an interesting one, as it's one of my most fierce hopes and also the one most likely to be dashed: I really hope you don't need to field a special character to field a legion-specific army, ie. Kharn for World Eaters, Typhus for Death Guard, etc.
I can see why it works under the codices brought out under 5th ed. With marines, each chapter represents a unified, tight-knit group of warriors, operating under the same banner and way of warfare. There are no splinter factions of each roaming the galaxy, for example, there aren't say a dozen different White Scars warbands running around, each completely autonamous from the others and full of hate for the warbands who claim to be White Scars too. Instead you've got 10 companies, each probably lead by someone similar to Korsarro Khan, with a lot of chopping and changing of units between companies, so it's entirely possible that Khan would be leading any White Scars force at any time
But with Chaos, it's different. The legions have fragmented into tiny warbands, each doing their own thing. Many of the Chaos SC's are actually outcasts from their own legion. For example. Typhus turned his back on the bulk of the Death Guard in disgust, Ahriman was cast out of the Thousand Sons after the Rubric and Kharn actually caused the splintering of the World Eaters, therefore, without a massive retcon (that would actually involve rewriting many of the HH books to boot), GW can't really say that 'Every Thousand Sons force is led by Ahriman', for example, as he commands a tiny, tiny proportion of the legions assets and he wouldn't be welcomed back into the fold under any circumstances.
Instead, I like the rumour that whatever mark your Warlord has will allow that gods cult troops to be troops, while the rest are elite, putting a stop to cherry picking the best marks for units that are extremely unlikely to happen in the fluff, such as Double Slanneshi Deamon Prince HQ, leading Plague Marines and Khorne Beserkers for troops, supported by Obliterators
To be honest, as elegant a system as that rumour is, I don't care how GW does it, as long as they deal with cheesemongering-fluff-destroying crap like that. If you want a mixed army, play pure Black Legion, then you can do something like that and still play by the fluff.
Chaos is one of the few forces where a generic build-it-yourself Warlord makes far more sense that having named characters. Yes, you can rename them, but it's just not the same and suddenly having every khorne-aligned chaos lord in the galaxy wielding a huge axe and a plasma pistol, with a chance to hit your own side is a wee bit silly, just like having every slanneshi-aligned one wielding a whip, a sword and a magic suit of armour that eats souls is just as bad.
4. 'Eye of the Gods'
And finally, seeing as I could go on more or less forever with his post, one thing I really, really, praying to a god i don't believe in, hope does not happen is the rumoured fantasy-esque eye of the gods table that's heavily rumoured, giving you upgrades across the game as you win challenges and slay Monstrous Creatures, ranging from small mutations to full blown deamonhood.
Now i'm not against random mutations in chaos. To be honest it's what i've been hoping for the return of for years. What gets me is the final point: Deamonhood.
At it's heart 40k is a narrative game, despite the sheer amount of cheesy tournament players out there. At the end of the day, you play the game for it's story - the heroic exploits of a character of your choosing. You follow their career game by game. The chance of spontaneously rising to deamonhood ruins that, as next game, unless you're playing a campaign and have a house rule in place, your lord will be mortal again, breaking a big piece of background, which is once the gods have seen fit to raise you to deamonhood, you shed your mortal form forever.
And what about characters who refuse deamonhood, like Abaddon? Does that mean they don't roll on the table? How about the other, mortal special characters (btw, there are no deamonic SC's)? Asie from breaking the rules of the 40k universe, it'd be a big change in their fluff to have them flitting back and forth from deamonhood. Or, again, how about the legions who don't embrace chaos in its entirety, like the Night Lords and Alpha Legion?
Give us the table but leave deamonhood out of it.
So there you have it. Of course, it's just my opinions, so feel free to comment and disagree (in fact, i actively encourage it). Let me know what you think and what your thoughts on the new chaos codex are, whenever it may reach us.
Until next time, happy gaming!