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 Post subject: Elven war constructs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:09 am 
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Pendragon
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This has always bothered me somwhat: The elves are a dying race, beset by foes. Their greatest natural allies (dragons) are slumbering and have for centuries. Even before this, they have waged wars against Chaos, Dwarfs, and each other. How is it, that with their powerful magics the elves have not made war constructs? This goes under the umbrella category of "Why do elves have such inferior ships/warmachines/bows when they should have by all logic surpassed these designs by now (as the DE have done with the RXB)", but it's a little more pressing than that, IMHO.

In some other games, elves DO use magical constucts (Confrontation comes to mind as the first choice with Nova Constructs, Pulsars, and Construct Warriors), or elementals to aid them. I feel like these would be well in keeping with the Asur mindset as well, and should be well within their power. After all, if some two-bit necromancer can create unholy life, the Asur should be able to use the Chamon and Ghyran to make war constructs to supplement their diminishing military strength.

We know that there are references to golems (and specifically warrior golems) in WFRP, which further begs the question, why are the Asur dumb :P

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 Post subject: Re: Elven war constructs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:14 pm 
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I think the quick answer is because GW didn't care to make them! :lol:

Although actually the only army with proper animated Constructs is the Tomb Kings of Khemri, perhaps they wanted to keep it as a unique thing for them.
They for sure didn't have a problem with Eldar using the souls of their dead to have extra soldiers in 40k, I imagine for Fantasy it could have worked.

However there is an interesting comparison here between the Craftworld Eldar and the Asur. The empire of the Eldar had already fallen very long ago (in the 40k timeline), while the Asur are a declining force, but in a much better condition. This leads me to conclude that the Asur have not been pressed that hard for survival to consider building magical Constructs, either using soulgems or otherwise.

Another thing, regarding both war constructs, gunpowder, etc; is that the Asur value their traditions a lot. Actually all Elves are very traditional, and I imagine this is related to their long lifespan. Sure they could learn how to use gunpowder, how to reanimate the dead, how to build golems, but they probably think it is
a) Wrong for moral reasons,
and/or
b) Not necessary as their own art of war is better once it is perfected enough (and many Asur are proud to a fault).

I can perfectly imagine High Elves being absolutely horrified by the perspective of their own war machines exploding in their face and killing them, like the Human/Dwarf/Skaven weapons, and same with disturbing the dead like Vampires, Tomg Kings and Necromancers do.
A similar thing happens with magic, the Asur value control and restrain and using the Winds of Magic in a balanced (but powerful) manner.

I personally think the war construct idea fits them, but I can understand why they don't have them.

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 Post subject: Re: Elven war constructs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:37 pm 
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The Asur of the Warhammer Old World were always more subtle with their magics, using magics in the creation process and infusing them into the traditional weapons, or using magic to create regular weapons and armor with unusual materials. They seemed to be more concerned with perfecting a proven item than creating something new (at least until the skycutters came about)and it's one of their intentional faults: stubbornly traditional and slow to adapt. Elves live for thousands of years in Warhammer, they have a mind-boggling amount of time on their hands to practise their archery or swordsmanship or perfect their craftsmanship, they don't NEED to create shortcut like the shorter lived races do

I do still like the idea of High Elves using arcane constructs, so much so that my Vanguard army uses an arcane construct instead of a treeman. It's especially odd that HE don't have them considering how long Eldar have had wraith-constructs. Hopefully when GW gets back around to the HE in AoS they add in some crazy constructs or war golems or something befitting a highly magical society. One of my favorite settings for elves is the High Elves/Blood Elves from World of Warcraft, who use arcane constructs regularly as guards and also just have floating magical planters and paintings and animated brooms. The last expansion with the Nightborne city/society was really incredible and while I'm not the biggest fan of the drow aesthetic, the experience of wandering through their enormous city that is just infused with magic from top to bottom is something I recommend to any elf fan

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 Post subject: Re: Elven war constructs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:13 am 
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elendor_f wrote:
I think the quick answer is because GW didn't care to make them! :lol:

Well obviously, but I'm talking more "in-universe" here :P

elendor_f wrote:
Although actually the only army with proper animated Constructs is the Tomb Kings of Khemri, perhaps they wanted to keep it as a unique thing for them.
They for sure didn't have a problem with Eldar using the souls of their dead to have extra soldiers in 40k, I imagine for Fantasy it could have worked.

That's a good point, I didn't even think of the TK! Yet another in-universe reason why the Asur should have been able to make them. It would fit the GW conception of elves with the Eldar having constructs as well, however the 40k constructs are a specific bi-product of the soulstone system the Craftworld Eldar use. As far as I'm aware, the WHFB High Elves don't have that.

elendor_f wrote:
However there is an interesting comparison here between the Craftworld Eldar and the Asur. The empire of the Eldar had already fallen very long ago (in the 40k timeline), while the Asur are a declining force, but in a much better condition. This leads me to conclude that the Asur have not been pressed that hard for survival to consider building magical Constructs, either using soulgems or otherwise.

The Asur know they are in a decline, and one that can't be reversed unless they do something about it. They also view life (especially their own) as sacred, and although highly militarized by necessity, are not a martial society as such. The citizen levy is a fairly recent system and one that shows that the Asur are willing and capable of radical changes in order to ensure their survival. War constructs would fit this mentality perfectly, and would allow the Asur to lord their superiority over lesser races even more ("Oh, you have crude and ugly cannons that make loud noises and explode? Well, we have beautiful pieces of art that are more skilled than your finest warriors. How does it feel to be so bad that you can't even fight art?")

elendor_f wrote:
I can perfectly imagine High Elves being absolutely horrified by the perspective of their own war machines exploding in their face and killing them, like the Human/Dwarf/Skaven weapons, and same with disturbing the dead like Vampires, Tomg Kings and Necromancers do.
A similar thing happens with magic, the Asur value control and restrain and using the Winds of Magic in a balanced (but powerful) manner.

I'd also like to see elven magical warmachines, now that you mention it. Less devastating than the Warp Lightning Cannon, but ones that don't explode either. Kind of similar to how Tau plasma weapons are less powerful than Imperial designs in 40k, but don't overheat. Like a S7, d3 wound magical attack thing, or something similar (just off the top of my head, having nothing but RBTs is kind of repetitive)

Rhelyk wrote:
The Asur of the Warhammer Old World were always more subtle with their magics, using magics in the creation process and infusing them into the traditional weapons, or using magic to create regular weapons and armor with unusual materials. They seemed to be more concerned with perfecting a proven item than creating something new (at least until the skycutters came about)and it's one of their intentional faults: stubbornly traditional and slow to adapt. Elves live for thousands of years in Warhammer, they have a mind-boggling amount of time on their hands to practise their archery or swordsmanship or perfect their craftsmanship, they don't NEED to create shortcut like the shorter lived races do

While I agree that those are very valid points for not adopting gunpowder etc., it is IMHO less relevant to them not fielding war constructs. Asur ARE traditional and live for a long time, but their numbers are few and they are (and have been) at war almost their entire history (against the influence of Chaos, if nothing else). Crafting constructs and infusing them with magical life (not the unlife used in Necromancy, but rather just animation) would fit their sensibilities. Less elven lives risked in battle, they get to create something beautiful and practice their magic, which they are rightfully proud of. They can still be on a 1v1 level far superior to humans, for example, but they would have MORE free time, not less, to pursue their interests if they didn't have to prepare for defense of their home all their lives.

Rhelyk wrote:
I do still like the idea of High Elves using arcane constructs, so much so that my Vanguard army uses an arcane construct instead of a treeman.

That whole warband is really cool, and if I ever field Forest Shmablers or Awakened Guardians, I will use constructs as well :)

Rhelyk wrote:
It's especially odd that HE don't have them considering how long Eldar have had wraith-constructs. Hopefully when GW gets back around to the HE in AoS they add in some crazy constructs or war golems or something befitting a highly magical society.

That would be neat, although if only from a miniature perspective, since I don't play AoS. It's rather difficult to find any Nova Construct models for any reasonable price to use, as I'm not a huge fan of the Warmachine elven jacks

Rhelyk wrote:
One of my favorite settings for elves is the High Elves/Blood Elves from World of Warcraft, who use arcane constructs regularly as guards and also just have floating magical planters and paintings and animated brooms. The last expansion with the Nightborne city/society was really incredible and while I'm not the biggest fan of the drow aesthetic, the experience of wandering through their enormous city that is just infused with magic from top to bottom is something I recommend to any elf fan

Boo, World of Warcraft! Warcraft 3 for life :lol:

I do like the aesthetics though, so common ground there :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Elven war constructs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:56 am 
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Maybe you answered your own question already =>
Luna Guardian wrote:
why are the Asur dumb

Maybe they are just dumb...

A few other options are there as well:
- they watched "the Matrix" and realized the peril of artificial intelligence
- they don't actually know how to do so. Magic wise they know the BRB lores and high magic. There isn't really anything in these that lets you animate constructs. For that you need the Lore of Nehekar or perhaps necromancy. Which are very distinct tomb king lores. Of course, given the time they have available to them they could have learned how to do so. But maybe that didn't occur to them.
- they tried and actually failed. It could be that with the vortex so near, constructs don't last long enough or perhaps they end up being inhabited by chaos at some point.
- they don't want to. In the end all magic has a cost somewhere. Don't TK constructs require a priest to bind his soul to the construct (or someone else's)? It can be that this is a sacrifice that they don't want to make. Also if that is the case then HE might simply be physically incapable of creating something like that. I seem to remember that human souls are different from elf ones. Which means that perhaps they simply can't be used in such a way.

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 Post subject: Re: Elven war constructs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:20 am 
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Prince of Spires wrote:
Maybe you answered your own question already =>
Luna Guardian wrote:
why are the Asur dumb

Maybe they are just dumb...

That was more a joke, but given some of the things the Asur have been doing through their history, "dumb" might actually be applicable :wink:

Prince of Spires wrote:
A few other options are there as well:
- they watched "the Matrix" and realized the peril of artificial intelligence

Also legit, but the constructs could be created without any form of real sentience, I'm sure. Warhammer magic (or fluff as a whole) doesn't have any hard and fast rules, really, so one could argue either way. Hence why I enjoy the conversation :)
Prince of Spires wrote:
- they don't actually know how to do so. Magic wise they know the BRB lores and high magic. There isn't really anything in these that lets you animate constructs. For that you need the Lore of Nehekar or perhaps necromancy. Which are very distinct tomb king lores. Of course, given the time they have available to them they could have learned how to do so. But maybe that didn't occur to them.

This is in my opinion the most likely reason, if it weren't for the existence of golems in WFRP (admittedly though, not the absolutely best source). But maybe even these golems were created with dark magic, that the Asur don't want to utilize?
Prince of Spires wrote:
- they tried and actually failed. It could be that with the vortex so near, constructs don't last long enough or perhaps they end up being inhabited by chaos at some point.

This seems somewhat unlikely, given how Ulthuan seems to have magic out the wazoo with every two bit champion having access to magic items and every family likely having a magic set of cutlery (not to mention the Sky-Cutters having to be borne aloft by magic).
Prince of Spires wrote:
- they don't want to. In the end all magic has a cost somewhere. Don't TK constructs require a priest to bind his soul to the construct (or someone else's)? It can be that this is a sacrifice that they don't want to make. Also if that is the case then HE might simply be physically incapable of creating something like that. I seem to remember that human souls are different from elf ones. Which means that perhaps they simply can't be used in such a way.

I admit, I'm not an expert on the TK, but it might be a valid reason, and links nicely with reason 2. It might be however, that particularly old or injured Asur might want to remain and guard their kin past their physical death, tying their souls to these constructs. It would work well with the Wraithguard/Wraithlord tie-in idea by elendor_f, and also explain why Ulthuan's armies are not purely made up of constructs (relatively few elves willing to make the sacrifice at the moment of death, rather than going to the afterlife which still exists in WHFB).

Thanks all for your thoughts so far, lets keep the conversation going! We all know that the real reason is "Because GW", but I find that its a shame. It would work well with contrasting the more bestial Dark Elves and natural Wood Elves with the civilized High Elves, (beast/nature/civilization triangle) and would have been a great way to add a little more options to the High Elf armylist.

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 Post subject: Re: Elven war constructs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:00 am 
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I think it's entirely possible that even giving a construct 'magical' life would be viewed as a little too close to undead and therefore not wanted in elven society. The wood elves have treemen sure but they are sentient and aware of themselves. Pride surely play a huge part of it, despite the fact they are a dying race. Using constructs is like admitting defeat, like being in the old people's home etc.
Unlike the elves in Warcraft, there doesn't seem to be that expansive use of magic in the Warhammer lore, it's not used for mundane actions like cleaning as such, elves still do all those roles. The winds of magic seem too fickle, particularly with a massive swirling vortex holding up the island, to keep constructs going in the heat of battle.
And also it just doesn't fit into their historical characterisation. Fantasy is a mix of the usual high fantasy but also historical, which to my mind is what made it so popular. High Elves are a mix of several ancient civilisations and the constructs idea doesn't fit closely to that, whereas mythical creatures does. In a way I like what they did with the later generations adding more creatures to their army lists, although I'm not entirely sure what the eagle chariot was about..

I think elementals perhaps would make more sense and be more fitting, but again don't really fit with their lore.

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 Post subject: Re: Elven war constructs
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:56 pm 
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I don’t think there’s any overwhelming reason HE’s should not have constructs. Perhaps it could be argued that their nature is less suited to this than say, Chaos Dwarfs? The small arms argument is interesting. Welsh and English infantry used Longbows with success deep into the 16th century, arguably the loss of traditional skills was a factor in switching to firearms. There’s maybe a bigger space in the game for Elementals, given their limited appearance elsewhere and as mentioned the TK use of constructs. The artillery point is a good one, torsion stone throwers make a lot of sense IMHO.

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