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Are Skaven original?

TotalWar78TotalWar78 Registered Users Posts: 620
We know that Warhammer is mix of Lord Of Rings and actual world history. Every race has been taken and copied from somewhere else, but i cant find any real match for the Skaven.

Ive seen ratmen in some fantasies, but nothing comes remotely close to complexity of Skaven society, so my question is, if someone knows, are Skaven only Warhammer original race?
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Comments

  • FossowayFossoway Registered Users Posts: 5,245
    I think they are. Or at the very least, Warhammer is probably the first to have popularized ratmen in a dark fantasy setting.
  • DraculasaurusDraculasaurus Registered Users Posts: 4,771
    I mean, the concept of evil ratmen isn't super original, D&D had evil wererats for ages. What makes them unique in WH is by combining that concept with Frankenstein monsters and insane World War I era weaponry. All of those concepts have popped up in other fantasy/sci-fi settings, but is this specific mix that makes the Skaven unique.

    So, more the sum of their parts than any one original idea.
  • SiWISiWI Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,998

    I mean, the concept of evil ratmen isn't super original, D&D had evil wererats for ages. What makes them unique in WH is by combining that concept with Frankenstein monsters and insane World War I era weaponry. All of those concepts have popped up in other fantasy/sci-fi settings, but is this specific mix that makes the Skaven unique.

    So, more the sum of their parts than any one original idea.

    well combining animal, and that means every animal, with human parts is the most basic definition of "Daemons" (in archaeology context) and itself thousands of years old.
    Ratling_Guns.gif?t=1554385892
  • sykallsykall Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 2,852
    edited June 2020

    We know that Warhammer is mix of Lord Of Rings and actual world history. Every race has been taken and copied from somewhere else, but i cant find any real match for the Skaven.

    Ive seen ratmen in some fantasies, but nothing comes remotely close to complexity of Skaven society, so my question is, if someone knows, are Skaven only Warhammer original race?

    I would say Warhammer combines the real world with almost any common fantasy tropes, e.g. D&D, LoTR, Elric of Melnibone etc. You will not find Dark Elves or Lizardpeople in Tolkiens scriptures. Well technically Tolkiens orcs are corrputed elves, but not as dark elves are protrayed in common fantasy apporaches.

    But in some drafts the orcs of Tolkien were supposed to represent the "evil" of industrialization with manufactoring plants, destruction and poisineng of the natural world etc. In some earlier drafts the orcs have access to something resembling tanks, a metal machine that moves through a inner fire. In this sense the skaven kinda resemble those earlier drafts of tolkien, as an evil, swarming, underground, highly technologius, evil race.

    But Tolkien distanced himself of this concept, and he had problems with a natural evil species to the very end, because due to his catholic faith he believed that every sentient soul could be redeemed and turn good/go to heaven.

    In the end their are myriads of stories, novels and fantasy settings. You will always have some overlapping tropes no matter what you come up with, even if the authors were unaware of those.
    Filling the white spots - 7 made-up factions to enrich the empty parts of the WFB setting
    https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/288418/filling-the-white-spots-7-made-up-factions-to-fill-out-the-wfb-setting
  • Qwerty55Qwerty55 Registered Users Posts: 728
    edited June 2020

    I mean, the concept of evil ratmen isn't super original, D&D had evil wererats for ages. What makes them unique in WH is by combining that concept with Frankenstein monsters and insane World War I era weaponry. All of those concepts have popped up in other fantasy/sci-fi settings, but is this specific mix that makes the Skaven unique.

    So, more the sum of their parts than any one original idea.

    'Original' ideas no longer exist, pretty much everything at this point has been done before. However even if Skaven are a 'mix of ideas' they are definitely an original Warhammer creation. There really is nothing like them (frankly I would even argue that Warhammer in general is quite unique. Even though Warhammer takes ideas from countless things, there really is nothing actually like it.) Even Age of Sigmar 'famed' for it's originality is made up of tons of existing concepts, ideas and tropes.
  • BrynjarKBrynjarK Registered Users Posts: 896
    edited June 2020
    If a concept gets to evolve and grow through 30-40 years managed by responable people, supportet by extremly commitive fans, well, behold the brain child they spawned.

    Nothing when talking fantasy is remotely close to Warhammer.Thats why its also important for you guys that migth not think the lore matters, well it does. Be repectful about the lore, cause without it the whole setting dies.

    And you lore nerds, well done not go full molotov' and rioting in the street when WC released!

    OP; no, noone has fleshed out ratmen near this magnitude
  • SubjectEighteenSubjectEighteen Registered Users Posts: 571
    The Lizardmen are pretty damn unique too. I've never seen anything like them in another fantasy setting.

    One for one, they exist in another settings. But in their hierarchy and backstory, that's unique as far as I cant tell.
  • BrynjarKBrynjarK Registered Users Posts: 896
    edited June 2020
    sykall said:

    We know that Warhammer is mix of Lord Of Rings and actual world history. Every race has been taken and copied from somewhere else, but i cant find any real match for the Skaven.

    Ive seen ratmen in some fantasies, but nothing comes remotely close to complexity of Skaven society, so my question is, if someone knows, are Skaven only Warhammer original race?

    I would say Warhammer combines the real world with almost any common fantasy tropes, e.g. D&D, LoTR, Elric of Melnibone etc. You will not find Dark Elves or Lizardpeople in Tolkiens scriptures. Well technically Tolkiens orcs are corrputed elves, but not as dark elves are protrayed in common fantasy apporaches.

    But in some drafts the orcs of Tolkien were supposed to represent the "evil" of industrialization with manufactoring plants, destruction and poisineng of the natural world etc. In some earlier drafts the orcs have access to something resembling tanks, a metal machine that moves through a inner fire. In this sense the skaven kinda resemble those earlier drafts of tolkien, as an evil, swarming, underground, highly technologius, evil race.

    But Tolkien distanced himself of this concept, and he had problems with a natural evil species to the very end, because due to his catholic faith he believed that every sentient soul could be redeemed and turn good/go to heaven.

    In the end their are myriads of stories, novels and fantasy settings. You will always have some overlapping tropes no matter what you come up with, even if the authors were unaware of those.
    Isengard became the metafor for industrialization. Uruk Hais, as the cloned perfected warrior, the scorced lands around isenganrd and the deep forges round Orthanc wass Tolkiens final fleshed take on this matter. Even Saruman, got corruptet, a fate thats heard of when men gain power

    Mordor and its inhabitants, was more like hell on earth

    He did a damn good job, both places
  • ArtfactialArtfactial Registered Users Posts: 265
    Yeah, both Skaven and Lizardmen are the most original concepts in the franchise.

    Besides the mentioned WW1 themes and aesthetics and the dark reflection of human society a mayor influence to their theme, I think, is the Rat-led group of badguys from the Redwall stories. The first novel was released in '86, the year the Skaven were first introduced to the WH universe.

    While the Druchii are definitely not original (Jack Vance and D&D had more sinister and nasty elvish types before), the amalgamation of cultures and ideologies in an elvish race was pretty new at the time, where the HE and WE are far more Tolkienesque.
  • ArsenicArsenic Registered Users Posts: 7,349


    While the Druchii are definitely not original (Jack Vance and D&D had more sinister and nasty elvish types before), the amalgamation of cultures and ideologies in an elvish race was pretty new at the time, where the HE and WE are far more Tolkienesque.


    The Druchii are Melniboneans.

    Games Workshop worked with Michael Moorcock, author of the Elric stories to create miniatures based on his Eternal Champion franchise. You can find the original miniatures for Elric and the Melnibonean soldiers online, and they look awfully familiar.




    There's a reason Moorcock refers to the company in interviews as "intellectual thieves".
    For in spite of all temptations. To belong to other nations. He remains an Englishman.
  • ArtfactialArtfactial Registered Users Posts: 265
    Arsenic said:


    The Druchii are Melniboneans.


    There's a reason Moorcock refers to the company in interviews as "intellectual thieves".

    I had never heard of him or the setting but I'm very much intrigued.:) Thanks!
    The visuals similarities are very obvious indeed.

    Vance was writing about Deodants in the Dying Earth setting in 1950, so that side of things predates Melniboné.
    And yes, Warhammer being mainly glued together with copyrighted or happily borrowed characters/ideas is one of the main reasons it had to be nuked from orbit for it to be financially viable to GW.:p
  • WyvaxWyvax Registered Users Posts: 5,693
    For me personally, the most original race I see in Warhammer has got to be the Daw Zhar. Evil dwarves that are equal half heavy metal album cover and ancient pagan Mesopotamians is a far cry from any iteration of dwarfs I've seen in fiction before. Of course that probably speaks more to the unoriginality of most dwarfs in pop culture.
    Tomes read: The Great Betrayal, Master of Dragons, Curse of the Phoenix Crown, Trollslayer, Skavenslayer, Daemonslayer, Dragonslayer, Beastslayer, Vampireslayer, Malekith, The Bloody Handed, Shadow King
    Me when I see a LL character implemented as a LH.

    Warhammer Deserves Naval Battles

  • ColdWaterFlatColdWaterFlat Registered Users Posts: 114
    WFB Chaos is pretty much a straight steal from Moorcocks Elric novels, Moorcock invented the eight pointed chaos star.

    Except the Beastmen of course. They're a straight steal from Runequest…
  • LevicariumLevicarium Registered Users Posts: 689
    I find it funny that Warhammer borrowed a lot from classic fantasy sources, but later on some suspiciously similar concepts to Warhammer emerged in the fantasy literature:

    1. Lizardmen: K'Chain Che'Malle from Malazan Book of the Fallen are somewhat similar to LM (in my mind at least). An ancient race of hive-like reptiles.

    2. Skaven: The Shanka from Joe Abercrombie's books (First Law Trilogy and the sequels) seems to be heavily inspired by the Skaven.


    Back to OP's topic- an interesting theory that was suggested here on the forums was that the Skaven were an embodiment of anti-semitic, medieval sentiment. As a Jew and a Skaven main, I found it quite ironic.


    Disclaimer: all I know about Warhammer is through these forums and the game. Those assumed similarities are all in retrospect (and in my head).
  • ArtfactialArtfactial Registered Users Posts: 265
    While there were Dwarves fighting on Morgoth and Sauron's side in Middle Earth, the Mesopotamian/Persian aesthetic applied to them is very unique and interesting.
    I really like how WH applies visuals and tropes of ancient cultures to the different races in general.
  • ArtfactialArtfactial Registered Users Posts: 265


    Back to OP's topic- an interesting theory that was suggested here on the forums was that the Skaven were an embodiment of anti-semitic, medieval sentiment. As a Jew and a Skaven main, I found it quite ironic.


    Disclaimer: all I know about Warhammer is through these forums and the game. Those assumed similarities are all in retrospect (and in my head).

    Huh, that's an interesting concept.
    The fear of rats from medieval times had many sources of course. But I'd say that, at least in part, the Skaven could indeed be a manifestation of the fear of the unseen/outcast(as Jews were in those times) and xenophobia in general.
    It would very much fit with the powers of chaos to manifest the ratmen out of the sheer fear and paranoia of humanity.
  • LevicariumLevicarium Registered Users Posts: 689


    Back to OP's topic- an interesting theory that was suggested here on the forums was that the Skaven were an embodiment of anti-semitic, medieval sentiment. As a Jew and a Skaven main, I found it quite ironic.


    Disclaimer: all I know about Warhammer is through these forums and the game. Those assumed similarities are all in retrospect (and in my head).

    Huh, that's an interesting concept.
    The fear of rats from medieval times had many sources of course. But I'd say that, at least in part, the Skaven could indeed be a manifestation of the fear of the unseen/outcast(as Jews were in those times) and xenophobia in general.
    It would very much fit with the powers of chaos to manifest the ratmen out of the sheer fear and paranoia of humanity.
    You can plug-in Plague Priests fairly easily in there- the fear of Black Death and blaming the Jews on it.

    Also, the apparent greed of the Skaven resonates quite well with the stereotype.

    But we should probably leave it at that before we hijack and derail this thread.
  • TheGuardianOfMetalTheGuardianOfMetal Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 14,701

    I find it funny that Warhammer borrowed a lot from classic fantasy sources, but later on some suspiciously similar concepts to Warhammer emerged in the fantasy literature:

    1. Lizardmen: K'Chain Che'Malle from Malazan Book of the Fallen are somewhat similar to LM (in my mind at least). An ancient race of hive-like reptiles.

    2. Skaven: The Shanka from Joe Abercrombie's books (First Law Trilogy and the sequels) seems to be heavily inspired by the Skaven.


    Back to OP's topic- an interesting theory that was suggested here on the forums was that the Skaven were an embodiment of anti-semitic, medieval sentiment. As a Jew and a Skaven main, I found it quite ironic.


    Disclaimer: all I know about Warhammer is through these forums and the game. Those assumed similarities are all in retrospect (and in my head).

    yeah, it's funny. GW stole so much and used it with slight adaptions that, even when they were trademarked, they couldn't really sue for infringements (ahppend at some point and the judge said it)... this is one of the reasons for the renaming of Dark Eldar etc.

    and the Squatting of WH FB and renaming the Dwarfs to Duardin, the Elves to Aelves, the Orcs to Orruks... Imperial Guard to Astra Militarum etc.
    The Empire still hasn't gotten their FLC LL. We need Marius Leitdorf of Averland!

    Where is Boris Todbringer? Have you seen him? For a Middenland DLC with Boris and the Ar-Ulric!

    Every wrong is recorded. Every slight against us, page after page, ETCHED IN BLOOD!

    Queek could smell their hatred, ratcheted to a degree that even he could not evoke in their simple hearts. He stepped over the old orange-fur’s body, eager to see for himself what it was they saw. But he heard it first.
    'Waaaaaaaggh! Gorfang!'
  • ArsenicArsenic Registered Users Posts: 7,349
    Attercop said:

    WFB Chaos is pretty much a straight steal from Moorcocks Elric novels, Moorcock invented the eight pointed chaos star.


    I read somewhere, a long while ago, that although he invented it, he doesn't have the rights to the image. GW made a copyright claim, and Moorcock didn't contest it, so now it rests with them. Bit like how the police lost the image rights to the blue police box to the BBC, and Andrew Lloyd-Webber can claim copyright over the Phantom of the Opera tune he pinched from Pink Floyd.
    For in spite of all temptations. To belong to other nations. He remains an Englishman.
  • LevicariumLevicarium Registered Users Posts: 689

    I find it funny that Warhammer borrowed a lot from classic fantasy sources, but later on some suspiciously similar concepts to Warhammer emerged in the fantasy literature:

    1. Lizardmen: K'Chain Che'Malle from Malazan Book of the Fallen are somewhat similar to LM (in my mind at least). An ancient race of hive-like reptiles.

    2. Skaven: The Shanka from Joe Abercrombie's books (First Law Trilogy and the sequels) seems to be heavily inspired by the Skaven.


    Back to OP's topic- an interesting theory that was suggested here on the forums was that the Skaven were an embodiment of anti-semitic, medieval sentiment. As a Jew and a Skaven main, I found it quite ironic.


    Disclaimer: all I know about Warhammer is through these forums and the game. Those assumed similarities are all in retrospect (and in my head).

    yeah, it's funny. GW stole so much and used it with slight adaptions that, even when they were trademarked, they couldn't really sue for infringements (ahppend at some point and the judge said it)... this is one of the reasons for the renaming of Dark Eldar etc.

    and the Squatting of WH FB and renaming the Dwarfs to Duardin, the Elves to Aelves, the Orcs to Orruks... Imperial Guard to Astra Militarum etc.
    Well, yeah.. but what I meant was that it became such a big cultural thing that fantasy authors started to be inspired from it and not the other way around.

    And of course, I understand your point about their shady practices
  • Esus51Esus51 Registered Users Posts: 28
    The Swords of Lankhmar by Fritz Lieber
  • KuikixpresKuikixpres Registered Users Posts: 30
    in asian fantasy,the rat-men exist.But the concep of the skaven,are unique and iconic in GW .Probably they are the real thing,GW have unique.
  • saweendrasaweendra Registered Users Posts: 17,625
    Skaven have no rights.

    #givemoreunitsforbrettonia, my bret dlc


  • Mogwai_ManMogwai_Man Registered Users Posts: 5,629
    edited June 2020
    Nothings really original in WHFB. It's entertaining, but it isn't exactly a famous literary work that belongs in a national library.
  • LordCommanderLordCommander Registered Users Posts: 2,807

    Nothings really original in WHFB. It's entertaining, but it isn't exactly a famous literary work that belongs in a national library.

    Exactly. Same with 40k. Very enjoyable for what it is, though.
    Observe the power of the edgy internet axegrinders and how quickly some have changed their tune- https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/300358/what-would-make-you-buy-the-game/p1

    Just as a warning against making predictions- https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/290416/time-to-admit-there-will-be-no-new-dlc-for-twwh-2#latest

  • GreenColouredGreenColoured Registered Users Posts: 5,981
    sykall said:

    We know that Warhammer is mix of Lord Of Rings and actual world history. Every race has been taken and copied from somewhere else, but i cant find any real match for the Skaven.

    Ive seen ratmen in some fantasies, but nothing comes remotely close to complexity of Skaven society, so my question is, if someone knows, are Skaven only Warhammer original race?

    I would say Warhammer combines the real world with almost any common fantasy tropes, e.g. D&D, LoTR, Elric of Melnibone etc. You will not find Dark Elves or Lizardpeople in Tolkiens scriptures. Well technically Tolkiens orcs are corrputed elves, but not as dark elves are protrayed in common fantasy apporaches.

    But in some drafts the orcs of Tolkien were supposed to represent the "evil" of industrialization with manufactoring plants, destruction and poisineng of the natural world etc. In some earlier drafts the orcs have access to something resembling tanks, a metal machine that moves through a inner fire. In this sense the skaven kinda resemble those earlier drafts of tolkien, as an evil, swarming, underground, highly technologius, evil race.

    But Tolkien distanced himself of this concept, and he had problems with a natural evil species to the very end, because due to his catholic faith he believed that every sentient soul could be redeemed and turn good/go to heaven.

    In the end their are myriads of stories, novels and fantasy settings. You will always have some overlapping tropes no matter what you come up with, even if the authors were unaware of those.
    Not Tolkien, but Dark Elves are clearly just drowsy from DnD.


    And also DnD, Lizardmen is there too
  • BrynjarKBrynjarK Registered Users Posts: 896
    edited June 2020

    I find it funny that Warhammer borrowed a lot from classic fantasy sources, but later on some suspiciously similar concepts to Warhammer emerged in the fantasy literature:

    1. Lizardmen: K'Chain Che'Malle from Malazan Book of the Fallen are somewhat similar to LM (in my mind at least). An ancient race of hive-like reptiles.

    2. Skaven: The Shanka from Joe Abercrombie's books (First Law Trilogy and the sequels) seems to be heavily inspired by the Skaven.


    Back to OP's topic- an interesting theory that was suggested here on the forums was that the Skaven were an embodiment of anti-semitic, medieval sentiment. As a Jew and a Skaven main, I found it quite ironic.


    Disclaimer: all I know about Warhammer is through these forums and the game. Those assumed similarities are all in retrospect (and in my head).

    yeah, it's funny. GW stole so much and used it with slight adaptions that, even when they were trademarked, they couldn't really sue for infringements (ahppend at some point and the judge said it)... this is one of the reasons for the renaming of Dark Eldar etc.

    and the Squatting of WH FB and renaming the Dwarfs to Duardin, the Elves to Aelves, the Orcs to Orruks... Imperial Guard to Astra Militarum etc.
    Guys what the hell; stop pulling fact out of the bun hole, now look me in the eye and tell me what skaven has to do with this.. i dont even know what it is:

    : The Shanka from Joe Abercrombie's books
    https://firstlaw.fandom.com/wiki/Shanka

    If thats the inspiration for skaven, well then it was gamling than inspired me to become a butcher
  • LordCommanderLordCommander Registered Users Posts: 2,807
    The basis for Skaven are taken from The Swords Of Lankhmar(1968) that bear considerable semblence to Skaven.

    “Thirteen rats with the minds of men rule the whole rat race. That's ancient wisdom from Lankhmar's wisest seers."

    I think the sense of humour and padding out of their culture is what GW added, and made them such a fan favourite.
    Observe the power of the edgy internet axegrinders and how quickly some have changed their tune- https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/300358/what-would-make-you-buy-the-game/p1

    Just as a warning against making predictions- https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/290416/time-to-admit-there-will-be-no-new-dlc-for-twwh-2#latest

  • KillTheWorldKillTheWorld Registered Users Posts: 423
    Nothing is ever original. Everything is a patchwork of pre-existing ideas, recombinations of existing themes, etc. Creativity is just an illusion. That's not to say some ideas don't SEEM more creative than others, they do, but it's wise to note that this is only an appearance, not the fact of the matter.
  • BrynjarKBrynjarK Registered Users Posts: 896
    edited June 2020

    The basis for Skaven are taken from The Swords Of Lankhmar(1968) that bear considerable semblence to Skaven.

    “Thirteen rats with the minds of men rule the whole rat race. That's ancient wisdom from Lankhmar's wisest seers."

    I think the sense of humour and padding out of their culture is what GW added, and made them such a fan favourite.


    I can find no quotes to the 13 you mention, but this sense of humor and padding is not to be brushed away so easely. These skaven misfits in these weird heroes "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories" are just like any other fiction rat race. Rats that live in communitys underground. Witch they do.

    GW could have drawn inspiration from this particual fiction, apparently created in the 1930 in the US by the way, or just normal rats dwellin in the basement back in england, DnD players or the real ones ;)

    Fact is skaven is truly uniqe to games workshop. Many of the latter races are. The guys (lets face it, they were) got better, after drafting the generic ones that copied the meta existing in novels and the genre at the time,

    GW burst out, created a world, took the front lead and dominated, in progress, creativity, buissness practice and solid content. GW Shops were not just shops, but battle arenas(ladder) as well for your gaming, and paint shops as well where you customizised your army(mods). And the cashier, well he was your google, effectivly a one man forum.

    And people were polite and nice and had a little acne and that was cool

    EDIT; to see what the total war guys and girls (yeah, we've seen em) do that for the digitalisation of this, well its MELTIN' me heart <3

    Post edited by BrynjarK on
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