• Francois DesRochers

The Bazaar #4 - Astartes Youtube Series


General. I’m not necessarily promoting another gaming platform on this site, particularly one that makes the leap from paper-and-pen RPG over to tabletop gaming (in this case, Warhammer 40k). That said, I can’t praise enough the efforts of one individual and his 5 part animation series, Astartes.


Adeptus Astartes (Warhammer 40k). For anyone unaware of the lore, a very brief primer: The Adeptus Astartes (aka Space Marines) are your super soldiers of Humanity. Serving the God Emperor of Man for thousands of years, these warrior elites are recruited in early adulthood and go through a gruelling process of genetic manipulation, organ enhancement, psychological indoctrination and training to become the best of the best. They are armoured in power armour (a stretch, but a connection to Rifts) and armed with bolt guns that fire explosive rounds the size of your fist.


Astartes Youtube. Apparently these fan made videos are the production of one guy. I am not in the field of animation, but I have watched a couple of reaction videos made by animators, and they gave high praise. In their words, this is Hollywood level, professional grade animation; the details in the shots, the rendering, setting the scenes, control of movement, audio, score, the works. From a Luddite’s perspective, and in my opinion, you are in for a treat.


The purpose of this post is neither of two things:


  1. This is not a promotion of the 40k setting. This is a Rifts blog, however, I feel this video makes a solid point in terms of setting the scene and/or campaign design.

  2. This is not a promotion of the animator. These videos have wracked up millions on views, so safe to say it has its own traction. In my humble opinion, he deserves every one of them


STORYTELLING


Violence. I have to lead with this. Consider it a family-friendly warning. Neither the 40k nor the Rifts settings are very uplifting; both are a level of grimdark. One of the reasons I decided to speak on this is the escalating amount of violence from Episode 1 through to 5. ‘Nuff said. I strongly suggest headphones and ramping up the volume, keeping a finger close to the volume control. Perhaps NSFW.


Plotline. We have two parallel plot lines. The first is the breaching of one ship and the battle of the five Space Marines as they work their way deeper, towards their ultimate objective. In episode 5, it culminates and gives us the second perspective and ties them together beautifully.


Show Don’t Tell. Something aspiring authors hear time and again, yet a nebulous piece of the craft. One of the great aspects of these clips is the atmospherics reinforcing the story, through action, nuanced lighting and audio. The first four clips have zero words spoken, but you get an idea of the scale of the Astartes; catch how big they are next to a deckhand walking by in Episode 1. The sound of their boots hitting the decking implies their weight, and their movement gives a sense of mass. The audio also gives a great sense of impending action and doom. The battle scenes are chaotic and grizzly. Without knowing a thing about Adeptus Astartes or the lore in general, the presentation is astounding. You get swept up in the action, and I’ll chance the assumption, forego any possible unfamiliarity of the lore.

Plot Devices. The idea isn’t that you have to emulate this style, copy-and-paste it into your campaign, or the telling of your story (through gaming, or your own work of fiction). The aim is to reinforce an ability to provide satisfying plot devices and settings for players or readers to work through. Sometimes the players overlook the background information, but if you strive to provide the kind of cinematic experience presented in these videos, players and readers alike will dive into it. They may not necessarily interact with the macabre descriptors you are feeding them, but it will definitely give them a more immersive experience. And that, I believe, is the general aim of a GM (as a campaign designer) or a writer of any fan fiction or prospective author. I am pretty sure we can all agree this guy does so in spades.


ASTARTES YOUTUBE


General. Without further ado, I present the Astartes channel. Do yourself the pleasure of starting from Part 1 and follow from there. Each clip runs about 2 mins, with Part 5 running over 7 mins. For your viewing pleasure:


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFMtdiQILuTZr22sKUeAOOA/videos

For those that clicked the link watched it through, what did you think?

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