Monday, February 28, 2011

Warhammer Magic Items - why less items in the army books might be good thing

So Bell of Lost Souls posted a review of the mere 8 magic items to found in the new Orc & Goblin army book, and much griping ensued.  Why just 8 expensive items?  Its quite obvious if you look back at 5th edition Warhammer Fantasy.  Back then magic and magic items were a separate supplement from the main game. Army books did not contain any spells or items, unless they were attached to a special character.  The magic supplement had tons of magic item that each came printed on their own nifty card.  The majority of the items could be used by any army, but there where some that restricted to a single army. Some armies did not even have their own items for certain categories.

Just as percentages for army selection has made a comeback, this appears to be the direction that GW is taking magic items for 8th edition.  The main rule book is full of items that can be used by any army and the Orc & Goblin book has just a few items unique to them.  Not much of a shock, it's just like 5th edition. The only question that remains to be answered is what will become of pseudo-magic items - dwarf runes, Chaos gifts, Brettonia vows and the like.

That unknown aside, I actually see a benefit here.  With GW's decision to print the new army books in full color hard back and jump the price up to $37.50 a book*, the centralized source of magic items in the BRB means that the frugal and crafty Warhammer player need only take mental note of the items from the new army books most likely to pop up on the battlefield, instead having to amass a stack of books in order to sift through the pages of items that have appeared in the 6th & 7th edition army books (most of those items being useless anyways).  I'm fine with the new structure of magic items in 8th Edition, as Martha Stewart would say, it's a good thing.

*I'll do the math for you: $37.50 a book multiplied by 14 armies equals $525.00 - ouch.