A recent news post on the Fantasy Flight website announced that a new expansion is in development of Dark Heresy Second Edition. The Expansion, Enemies Beyond looks to add more background and options to the Ordo Malleus. This will be the fourth expansion in the Second Edition after the campaign Forgotten Gods, Enemies Within which is a background book for the Ordo Hereticus and the completed (and on route to stores) Enemies Beyond focussing on the Ordo Xenos.
Information on Dark Heresy Second Edition can be found here:
I have the books released to date in addition to some of the Rogue Trader books. This speaks to the quality of Fantasy Flight games’ work because I have never played a tabletop/paper and pencil RPG! Would I? Most certainly but the option has not presented itself as of yet.
This news from Fantasy Flight started me on thinking about one of the most important aspects of the Games Workshop intellectual property; their canon.
When it comes to 40K ‘Fluff’ (and this is targeted towards 40K because of my lack of knowledge of WFB), there are many options; core Games Workshop 40K publications, Forge World publications, Black Library publications and of course the aforementioned Fantasy Flight licenced publications. But what amongst those represents the best?
For me Black Library, despite its role being solely dedicated to the ‘fluff’, to mean represents a combination of the best and the worst. The Horus Heresy Art Book, The Sabbat Worlds books, Guardsman’s Uplifting Primer and Munitorum Handbook represent some rare gems. There are also some passable novels and other literary works, but overall my experiences with Black Library have been underwhelming. It seems to me to be pulp writing at premium prices. A few of the novels and anthologies have grabbed enough of my attention to warrant completing reading them once, but overall I have discovered my money is better given to the other sources.
The Games Workshop entrances, an in this I include the Codices, Supplements, Expansions and War Zones represent the core of the canon. An accessible primary source of the 40K universe that has kept my interest for decades. I have collected numerous volumes for numerous armies over the years. Currently my Codex Astra Militarum, Codex Cult Mechanicus and Codex Skitarii are seldom out of reach.
If Games Workshop presents the core basis of canon, then it is Fantasy Flight that gives it depth and life. RPGer or not, these books are a fantastic source to see the universe, its factions, worlds, organizations and inhabitants expected to great depth. Furthermore, it provides great insight in the very day life of the Imperial Citizens and even the servants of Chaos (see Black Crusade).
Finally, my go-to source and longstanding favourite, the works of Forge World. Forge World make wonderful models, but their books too represent some of the best the 40K universe has to offer. It’s specialty seemingly being the ‘spin-offs’. They brought to life the 30K Horus Heresy with a plethora of in depth books to compliment the 30K-era Legions of the Adeptus Astartes. For me however it was the new flavours of 40K flavours they added. Of particular interest to me Imperial Armour Siege of Vraks books detailing the Death Korps of Krieg and the Renegades & Heretics (Chaos Imperial Guards), as well as The Taros Campaign, The Anphelion Project and The Raid of Kastorel Novem for providing the background on the Elysian Drop Troopers. Finally, there was the Mymeara book providing some new options for Cadian and Elysia-based Imperial Guard forces as well as Eldar Corsairs! Of course some of those books detail factions of the Space Wolves and Raven Guard which too are interesting. I am confident is suggesting the Badab Wars books are likely must haves for the Space Marine fans second only to the Horus Heresy Books.
So if I were to conclude with ranks, I would rank them as follows:
4) Black Library
3) Games Workshop
2) Fantasy Flight Games Licensed Warhammer Products
1) Forge World
Although unofficial I certainly recommend http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Main_Page and http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Warhammer_40k_Wiki .
What do you think? What sources have I missed? What other gems from Black Library did I miss?
As always, thanks for reading.