Hammer and Bolter 3

Old Bale Eye

settings scifi warhammer

I've been watching the Hammer and Bolter animated series on Warhammer+, and I'm reviewing each episode as I watch it. There may be very minor spoilers, but ideally no more than you'd get from the episode description.

Old Bale Eye

One of the advantages of having a setting consisting of millions of worlds with billions of people on each one is that its stories tend to shift perspective. I've often felt that a lot of sci fi settings forget that. You don't have that problem in Warhammer books, and happily Hammer and Bolter doesn't make that mistake, either. This episode is told as a series of flashbacks, and from an ork's perspective.

This planet is green.

It's stylish, bombastic, violent, gory, and a lot of fun. Dursnang, an ork Runtherd, regales an tale to two ork boyz of his clan. It's sort of a cross between an inspirational and a cautionary tale. The point of the story is to tell the orks how to become stronger, but the story's about a frankly terrifying Commissar Yarrick.

The wrath of an Imperial Commissar.

The story follows the ork Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka and Commissar Yarrick through the War for Armageddon. This was a major war in the Warhammer universe, and it's well documented in the Black Library book War for Armageddon, and in Codex: Armageddon. In short, the Armageddon system became the centre of a massive ork invasion. It was dismissed at first, but after the orks took the hive city of Helsreach it became apparent that they were a serious threat not only to Amargeddon but potentially to the Imperium and Terra itself. Overlord Herman von Strab controlled Armageddon at the time, but the Imperial resistance to the ork forces was all down to Commissar Yarrick. There were many other Imperial commanders (such as Kurov, Helbrecht, and Parol) who would clash with the orks in the Armaggen system, but it was Commissar Yarrick who proved the most formidable.

Commissar Yarrick is brutal, impossibly resilient, determined, and he's still out there. He's the nemesis of Ghazghkull, a representation of everything that the Imperium can be at its best. Er, worst.

This episode is additionally a great glimpse into ork culture. You get to see inside an ork encampment, you see the social structure of ork, um, society. You see orks in battle, in their war machines, at their wildest and, interestingly and surprisingly, at their noblest.

This episode's tone and attitude is different than the previous two, which in itself lends to its subject matter. It's the most orky of episodes, and that's completely appropriate. This is a truly great episode.

Good sci fi

This episode is good sci fi. There's a little bit of augmetics combined with interplanetary war. It feels uniquely Warhammer 40K for the orks and Imperial ranks.

Good Warhammer

This episode is great Warhammer 40,000. Conceptually, the story could work in another setting, but it wouldn't be the same. And anyway, everybody loves a good ork story, and this simple non-story is one of the best.

All images in this post copyright Games Workshop.

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