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Titandeath Facepalm

Titandeath Horus Heresy

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#1
MetalMammoth

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About a week ago I managed to get the last three main Horus Heresy books I was still missing.
Lo, somewhere in the early chapters of Titandeath (by Guy Haley), I've come across a line that I'd like to vent about a little:
 
"Solid munitions peppered the incoming fleet in an effort to collapse their shields for the torpedoes coming behind."
 
And once again, I wonder why can an author forget how certain things work in the universe he regularly writes about, and why isn't there anyone to remind him? Like a friendly leather coated comissar standing behind him with a gun drawn at all times wile he writes. He doesn't have to be shot right away, just regularly pistol whipped.
 
Last I checked, torpedos were the longest range weapons, so generally they'd hit the target way before anything else, and most importantly, since they fly relatively slowly, they can pass through shields, much like attack craft. That feels like a pretty serious detail, and that author is no doubt paid well to do his job...
 
Edit:
 
Yyyep.... not 10 pages later, attack craft crash and explode against ship shields.... In some other universe, I'm sure, but NOT in WH40K......
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#2
Rob P

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It's never even entered me head as an issue. After doing a bit of BFG research I recognise your complaint, but didn't blink or think there was an issue when I read the book a couple of weeks ago (in the sense I had given no thought to the way any of these things work).

 

Only recently have I realised how particular people are about the consistency of portrayal of the fantasy physics/tech etc - which is, of course, fine. It's just never been a bother to me.

 

I'd be bothered if gravity worked differently or if the Eldar were equipped with standard issue boltguns. Equally, i'd be bothered if a character was in a different space marine chapter between books.

 

Where are you drawing your knowledge of 40k tech from to say this is wrong and the other is right? And what is the fundamental bother? Like does it pull you out of the immersion? Does it feel like the work is pulp with a hired gun not appreciating the setting enough to care?

 

I know tone is lost in text, so assume i'm commenting and asking with good faith and not just attacking your criticism.


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#3
MetalMammoth

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You've got a point; Considering the whole story, it's a relatively minor thing amidst the bigger picture; just a few sentences that could be changed easily without consequence.
At the same time, where do you draw the line?
Void shields can now stop slow moving objects? Bolters fire energy beams? The Emperor of Mankind summons a pony stampede?

You've also pretty much nailed why is this a problem; Immersion breaking material, uncaring author. Which is weird because Haley wrote a lot of HH books.

As for the source, void shield mechanics are well known from tabletop BFG, and later from the videogame adoption, as well as thoroughly described in any number of warhammer wikis, with which every 40k book I've read seems to have conformed. It's a pretty huge deal because it makes even shielded ships vulnerable to torpedos and attack craft, (as well as collision with debree or other ships) and this is the reason why ships are studded with small defence turrets and carry interceptors if they can. Otherwise a torpedo, a bomber group, or boarders would not be a scary thing; Let them come, they'll just pop and fizz against the shields...

Edited by MetalMammoth, 07 June 2020 - 04:00 PM.

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#4
JH79

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The book was a very late notice rush job (quality planning from BL as per) to fill the gap of Beta Garmen... Guy loves rush jobs, sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad, here it's a blessing we got anything at all so we probably should be thankful, warts and all.

 

That being said, I struggled immensely with the whole book, from the initial Titan battles feeling more like a scene from Power Rangers to the gender extremes and constant hammering home of how bad the men of house stereotype were. So many points of the story ground my gears to the exclusion of all other positives that could have been taken from it.

 

It's a strange one as i really wanted to enjoy the story, maybe I'll try again in a year or so but right now I'm more likely to re-visit The Furious Abyss or Vulkan Lives than Titandeath.


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#5
Beren

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This is something I noticed when I read the book, and I believe I noticed something simillar in Solar War as well. For those familliar with the Battlefleet Gothic boardgame, that void shield/ordance relation is baked into the mechanics and therefore part of the core understanding of how weapons in the game and universe work, especially as the ability to bypass shields is one of the main reasons you would use those weapons, hence it being so jarring when you read the contradiction in text.

 

That said, it's only a very minor part of each book, and only jars if you are familiar with an admittedly Out of Production Board Game or the associated novels.


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#6
Umbros

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This is really an editing issue as much as anything. 


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#7
Petitioner's City

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It's also worth considering that while in one iteration of a particular game in the setting, rules worked one way; but rules aren't a specific guide to how the setting might actually work, since rules change too.

 

Overall, I'd say not to let it get in the way - it's a small concern based on a specific moment in games development history, for ultimately a make-believe world. For me, my pet peeve is scale and speed in the universe. For void war, authors present things happening at vastly different speeds. Sometimes this includes close-to-FTL capacities without the warp being involved, nor any relativistic effects being observed in a given combat. For example, sometimes authors take into time how long it takes to move (and thus fight) in space, for example (including Gav Thorpe and John French), others have it occurring in a much smaller space of time (Dan Abnett, for example, for fights between starships in Know No Fear, Salvation's Reach, Warmaster, etc., but he has a more realistic approach to the many months or sometimes years it takes to travel between solar systems in the Sabbat Crusade, Eisenhorn books, etc.). I realise it's unlikely to be addressed by many authors as what matters is the story they want to tell, or the scene, or the cinematic effect. C'est la vie.


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#8
Marshal Rohr

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Missiles don’t bypass void shields, torpedos do. Got them mixed up more than likely.

Your opinion is important, and someone posting here probably does care what you think. You should go tell them. Remember that it really hurts to come up with an idea you care about and have no one else care. Go care about something and tell them what you think. Now. Think of what it would have meant to you when you were young.

 

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#9
bluntblade

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(Shrugs) Sounds like the sort of thing can easily happen, particularly when the author is under time constraints and also wrestling with theme, character etc.


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#10
aa.logan

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If it’s *that* important (I don’t think it is, FWIW), blame the editors, not the author. Guy didn’t just chuck his manuscript through the printer’s window and run off screaming, it went through many pairs of hands.
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#11
byrd9999

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I tend to skim battle scenes if they go on for longer than a couple of pages. I find them dreadfully dull. I don't care much about the 40k technicalities, only, as someone pointed out earlier, if say the Eldar were firing bolters would I notice.

 

Usually plot armour is enough to know who is going to survive and who isn't before the battle gets underway. If anything important happens, it is covered afterwards by plot.

 

The same is true in movies. I can't stand superhero films, and Return of the King is my least favourite LotR film.


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#12
Noserenda

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GW have never been particularly bothered about having a strict canon tbh there are much MUCH worse things out there :/ 

*Distant Braying*


Edited by Noserenda, 08 June 2020 - 10:59 PM.

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#13
Sandlemad

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This is something I noticed when I read the book, and I believe I noticed something simillar in Solar War as well. For those familliar with the Battlefleet Gothic boardgame, that void shield/ordance relation is baked into the mechanics and therefore part of the core understanding of how weapons in the game and universe work, especially as the ability to bypass shields is one of the main reasons you would use those weapons, hence it being so jarring when you read the contradiction in text.

 

That said, it's only a very minor part of each book, and only jars if you are familiar with an admittedly Out of Production Board Game or the associated novels.

 

 

Interestingly Jamie Hewitt was talking about (titan) void shields on the Full Stride podcast. He went through all the references to titan void shields in BL he could find while working on how to update the rules for Adeptus Titanicus and found that (i) many were only vaguely similar to other portrayals and (ii) none really matched the older AT's idea of lots of overlapping shields collapsing. Largely they were closer to a gradient of "voids holding", "voids at 40%", "voids lost!", so he in turn took that sort of approach while trying to keep the idea that it's weight of fire they can succumb to.

 

It's sort of orthogonal to this specific question but I thought it was an interesting case of the rules having some impact on the background which then in turn had further impact on the rules.


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#14
Rob P

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The thing with the BFG rules is that the mechanics of torpedoes are not just dealt with in a tabletop way, but also in a lore way in the manual. So it's not quite the same as how something works on the table top versus 'reality'. I suppose further up, I was just saying that the lore on torpedoes came from an old, fairly obscure source - doesn't mean it's not true.

 

I also get the 'where does the disintegration of lore end?' argument.

 

To me, the most recognizable similar thing to torpedoes is boarding torpedoes and we've had some many examples of how they work in the lore (even if the exact mechanics aren't rehearsed each time) that it's a good to go comparison.

 

Somewhat similarly, i've just seen a post on FB about Battle of the Fang where once of the space wolves says something about not having/taking a ranged weapon and then having an autocannon in the next scene. Funnily enough, I didn't spot that either! but I wonder if that internal inconsistency would be more annoying (or, indeed, less annoying).


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#15
MetalMammoth

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Whew. Done. I've read the whole book now.

Honestly, I viewed it as little more than an obstacle to cross before I can start reading The Buried Dagger, and at times it wasn't a pleasant read at all.
Oddly enough, I thought the antagonist princeps' parts were among the best of the book.
However, what really redeemed the novel and made it worth the time, is the conclusion of the two titan's fates in chapter 32, especially the loyalist one.


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#16
Xisor

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If I scaled what I thought of Titandeath as 'an obstacle to cross' next to The Buried Dagger, and I typed out what I thought of The Buried Dagger...

 

I'd probably be banned from B&C and referred to the international court of human rights.

 

---

 

On torpedoes, they're slow moving, so they hit last. But they're long ranged, so they're fired first.

 

Because they need extra time to get there.

 

But practically, if you've fired torpedoes at range, ships have a chance to react.

 

That's why torpedoes at a distance aren't effective weapons - nova cannons are.

 

Torpedoes at a distance can be avoided or intercepted; but they do force an opponent to account for them.

 

At least in BFG terms.

 

Up close, torpedoes are more like a shotgun. If someone's stabbing you, the shotgun might be a liability. But if you hit them with shot from it that close...


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#17
Lord_Caerolion

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Whew. Done. I've read the whole book now.

Honestly, I viewed it as little more than an obstacle to cross before I can start reading The Buried Dagger, and at times it wasn't a pleasant read at all.
Oddly enough, I thought the antagonist princeps' parts were among the best of the book.
However, what really redeemed the novel and made it worth the time, is the conclusion of the two titan's fates in chapter 32, especially the loyalist one.

 

Dude, turn back. Turn back now. Buried Dagger was categorically Not A Good Book ™.


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#18
MegaVolt87

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Whew. Done. I've read the whole book now.

Honestly, I viewed it as little more than an obstacle to cross before I can start reading The Buried Dagger, and at times it wasn't a pleasant read at all.
Oddly enough, I thought the antagonist princeps' parts were among the best of the book.
However, what really redeemed the novel and made it worth the time, is the conclusion of the two titan's fates in chapter 32, especially the loyalist one.

 

Dude, turn back. Turn back now. Buried Dagger was categorically Not A Good Book ™.

 

 

Was worth it in the end for me with Garro's and one of the big cheeses interactions  though. Long time coming. 


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#19
MetalMammoth

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You really think so?

 

Dunno, maybe it's been too long since I've read the really good ones in the series (Prospero Burns and, surprisingly, Know No Fear - man, my process with that one was "Meh, Ultrasmu....hold on, this is good!")

 

I've finished The Buried Dagger. I would have rated it better than Titandeath, though it didn't really have it's "strong moment" like the previous one.

Morty's youth was, well, something, I guess, but nothing shocking.

 

I'd say the worst flaws of it was;

 

A- How can't a primarch tell he's being duped, and why is he content to go along with it for so long after finding out?

 

B- The end reveals nothing new; They travel in the warp, they get infected, Morty sees Nurgle, and his reaction to the whole affair is; "Ok."

 

I hoped the acceptance of Nurgle would be more conflicting, and only done bitterly, after much horror (we've got one description on the first victim and a few passing mentions of others being sick, with the primarch being mostly unaffected); There's no despair, there's no dilemma over saving his sons, just a "Why not, I've planned nothing better for this Wednesday."

 

Bonus:

 

Scrounging a giant hand-held schyte from a harvesting machine.

 

Second bonus:

 

Typhon being gene-seed compatible despite being half dark-eldar. (His background was established before the "scientific" aspects of space marine creation; I thought we'd see some kind of retcon here.) Next thing you know well'be implanting tamed gretchin.



#20
Rob P

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Overlords =/= Dark Eldar

 

More likely to be a variant of humans in the same way that Ogryn or Halflings or whatever those things on cadia were


Edited by Rob P, 05 July 2020 - 09:37 PM.

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#21
MetalMammoth

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Huh. I was rather undecided about them. Okay, abhuman hybrid makes more sense than xenos.


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#22
bluntblade

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I'm still cross about that, because Alan Bligh's alien necromancers, "thrice the height of a man" and who could never die unless by great violence, just felt a lot cooler to me.


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Humble scrivener - alternate Episode IX attempt now complete!

 

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#23
Lucerne

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Buried dagger is best dismissed as "broad strokes", or "one account of what happened".


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#24
Morovir

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Guy Haley writes the Pale Kings as being explicitly xenos. Chris Wraight is more ambigous, though his descriptions of them in Unification are utterly inhuman and monstrous.


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#25
Lord_Caerolion

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It's been in Typhus' background when he was initially created way back in 3.5, despite the occasional slip-ups since.

Although, I'm not convinced that Typhus saying he's Terran in Lords of Silence is a slip-up, and not just Typhus screwing with the new guy.


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