40k  through eight editions – (or my journey through the warp so far

It’s 1987, Blackadder the third was on telly for the first time (if you haven’t seen it go watch it), Grant Morrison had just started writing for 2000ad (if you haven’t read him then go do it) and Margaret Thatcher had just been voted in as PM for a second time (no comment), but more importantly than all that, I was at infant school and I had just got my hands on White dwarf Magazine and because of it the first edition of Warhammer 40k, which leads me nicely straight into part 1….Rogue Trader.

Part 1 – Warhammer 40k 1st edition aka Rogue Trader

The first edition of Games Workshops Science fiction alternative to its already existing Warhammer fantasy battle line had to make sure it carried a title that let players/buyers know it was a different product, so they went overboard and gave it two extra titles. The Warhammer brand name remained but the boys at GW tagged on the number 40,000 to let you know it was set in some ridiculously far future, but also gave it the sub-title Rogue Trader. (an element of the background they would keep through all these years). So anyway….what was first edition really like? I hear you ask. Well, to be honest it was confusing, but also exciting. Let me explain why. Rogue trader was a sandbox game, full of ideas and suggestions but never really telling you what you SHOULD do, more about what you could do. There were only really three factions back then, Imperial, Eldar and Orks. (yeah sure we got some info on Tyranids and Slann etc but the focus was heavily on the big three), Army Lists (or what passed for them back then) seemed to be written in a way that suggested you randomly create your force, which was really odd considering the choice of models was at the time pretty limited. Guidelines for creating your own vehicles, aliens and characters from scratch made the whole game seem like an exercise in DIY game design. The book oozed with flavour though and took its influence from three main sources. Warhammer Fantasy, Dune and 2000ad. From Warhammer fantasy it took the main races, elves became space elves (or Eldar), orCs became orKs, Dwarves became space Dwarves (squats…more on them in part 2) etc. From Frank Herbert’s Dune novels it took more than most people realise, the space marines are essentially the Sardaukar (or emperors imperial marines), the navigators are lifted pretty much straight from Dune, as are many pieces of tech including suspensor technology, force weapons, and vehicles such as the Ornithopter. 2000Ad had become a very popular comic by the late 80s and hugely influenced the feel of this first edition (go back and look at the early Adeptus Arbites models and tell me which well known comic character it reminds you of).

What is really interesting about the first edition however is what’s NOT there….no chaos and no Horus heresy. The Warp is mentioned and explained, but there is no talk of the chaos gods or daemons. The emperor is also mentioned as is his golden throne but there is no explanation of the events that placed him there. (they were to be dealt with extensively in the two most highly regarded books in 40ks history, the Realm of chaos books). The first edition couldn’t really be considered complete without a whole bunch of white dwarf articles (which had new rules almost every issue back then) and the aforementioned Realm of Chaos books.

As for how the game played, it was primarily designed as a skirmish game, although even back then it was designed to be played with squads of troops rather than single figures. Pictures of games seem to suggest they assumed you’d be playing with around twenty to fifty troops a side Max, with very little inclusion of vehicles. (mainly as the ability to produce vehicles at any reasonable cost just simply didn’t exist). Back then we played with around a dozen figures a side and had a great time. Armies tended to be comprised of mostly characters and it resembled a game of inquisitor (GW short lived 54mm skirmish game) more than a modern game of 40k. However EVERYTHING was about to change as the game approached its biggest change and the release of Second edition…..

Part 2 -2nd edition aka the introduction of the game in a box

Its 1993, and 40k has seen such huge growth over its first six years that it launches as boxed game (interestingly the only edition where a separate rulebook was not actually available- you bought the  box or you didn’t have rules and considering this is pre pdf era it was a smart/greedy move by GW). Two forces , Marines and Orks accompanied three softback rulebooks in the core box. The three core factions were joined by legitimate army concepts for three more forces, Tyranids, squats and chaos. And the imperial faction was split firmly into marines, army(now the imperial guard) and the Ad-Mech. (alongside a few other curios including rogue traders, assassins and inquisitors).

One of the most enduring elements of the game that started way back in second was the idea of the codex. Full army books detailing the background fluff and stat-lines for the force of your choice (and also ensuring every time you bought a new force you needed a new book to match). Those early codex’s are actually pretty familiar products to even new players as the format hasn’t changed much. Bit of background, descriptions of units, painting guide, pictures of models and then rules.

Sadly a few forces detailed in the core product never saw a codex release, notably Ad-Mech (who would have to wait until seventh edition) and squats (who are still waiting). The marines settled into their individual natures with the major chapters , dark angels,space wolves and blood angels being given their own books ever since and ultramarines being the default on which players could base their own chapters.

Play wise the game had gotten bigger,  vehicle kits were now available for most forces and the idea of a game that needed the 6ft by 4ft board with dozens and dozens of figures aside was born. The second edition is often criticized for the fact its characters were too powerful, and to a degree its a fair comment, but the points sink was huge for them, and to be honest it was a time when the great heroes and villains of the universe were being born to the game, characters who still adorn tables to this day, including Bjorn the fell handed, the Ork warlord Ghazghkull Thracka,  commissar Yarrick, Captain Tycho, Marneus Calgar, Abaddon the Despoiler, Kharn the betrayer and Eldrad Ulthran amongst many others. So its no surprise that this edition had a tendency to feel like a game where these characters squared off against each other with their armies “in attendance”.   (as an interesting aside, this is how Horus Heresy/30k games can feel these days when Primarch’s or other major characters are involved on both sides…funny how things go round in circles).

The rules had been streamlined as GW understood their target audience was pretty young and had probably never played a tabletop war game before and it allowed even big games to be resolved in an afternoon.

The aesthetic in these days was bright and heroic , and the idea of the grim dark of the 41st millennium was yet to be fully realised. Figures were now predominantly plastic, or a mix of metal and plastic, which helped players amass larger armies than the skirmish feel of rogue trader.

The balance between forces was actually pretty good and its hard to say which “codex” was better than any other. All the armies had big hitting characters and managed to maintain an individual feel from each other. Sisters of battle ended up with their own codex back in second edition and have not genuinely got a real codex since (although at the writing of this, we have been informed one is forthcoming). All chaos forces shared a single codex, but the separate feel of the powers was in full effect (and had been even in first edition).

For a game that was doing so well it was a brave move that GW would only five years later make all published rules, including all codex’s entirely redundant with the introduction of third edition in 1998.

Part 3 – 3rd edition – aka all you need is this book and the figures you already have aka here come the dark elves aka codex purge 1

Forgive me for a little nostalgic aside here for a moment, its 1998 and I am working one of my first bar jobs in Sunderland, north east England (for anyone who hasn’t been…it really is grim up north) and I am working late nights in some rough shithole , partying afterwards and trying to get my arse up for college the next day. Anyway as part of some random drunken conversation I get talking to a workmate about how we both used to be into that “ Warhammer thing” and wouldn’t it be cool to get back into it. It was around 3am and instead of going home and approaching the subject the next day, we thought it smarter to keep drinking and then go sit outside the local GW until it opened and go get some stuff. So we did just that…and the weirdest thing happened…..People kept turning up as it got closer to opening time and before we knew it we had unintentionally become the front two in a huge queue of super keen geeks. Little had we realised that today was a huge sale day where GW were to sell off all its second edition products at crazy low prices to make room for the imminent third edition release. Not caring which edition we played and having played a little second edition a few years back, me and my mate both left with a core box each, every codex each and a shit load of miniatures. We were set. We had a great summer delving back into the universe and painting and gaming,

So what was with the sale, that’s not normal for GW is it? No it isn’t and here is why they did it. The third edition scrapped everything and made every codex redundant, sure you could use the same models, but the rules had changed.  In some form of recompense to players, GW did something they hadn’t done since rogue trader and have not done since…included stats and de facto army lists all in the core rulebook. Get you by, army lists for every force , including the new faction…Dark Eldar…

The game was made available in a core box , this time containing the marines (again) and the new kids on the block, the sexy dark Eldar (who actually hadn’t even really been mentioned before then)  and as a separate book.

Rules wise the game had matured, third edition 40k was the first edition of what I would call modern 40k, and the game hasn’t really radically changed since then, anyone playing Eighth right now, would see much that is familiar. The powerful heroes of second edition were put in check by making them available mostly only in games of 2000 points (that was a seriously big game back then) and even then only with your opponents permission. The days of Calgar or Typhus strolling across the table destroying your entire force squad by squad were gone. Third edition was the first time we saw concepts such as cityfight and thematic codex’s based around war zones (Armageddon and black crusade) as well as spin-off codex’s to highlight popular sub armies and models such as Catachans, assassins and craft world Eldar

Plastic technology was continuing to improve and vehicles and walkers and big monsters were available for every army which made them a much more regular part of games in general.

Third edition suffered from an almost continuous FAQ in the form of chapter approved articles and books which slowly morphed it into fourth edition.

But third edition was not just content with giving us one new race with the introduction of the craftworld Eldar’s dark kin, it gave us two other brand new races, in the form of the zombie like Necrons and the Mecha influenced tau. An undead style army was something 40k had been missing since its inception and I am surprised looking back that it took them so long to introduce a race such as the Necrons. To be fair the first Necron codex was very limited but players took to them in droves and the faction has grown ever since. (GW students will know that Necrons were first introduced to  us through the Orky version of Necromunda that was Gorkamorka, but that discussion is beyond the scope of this essay) . The Tau also filled a gap by being a technologically advanced race, but one that was in its infancy rather than in its decline. Heavily inspired by Japanese manga and anime the tau were something completely brand new. (as a second student footnote, tau were hinted at in Necromunda, with the names of the Spyrer suits and their mysterious back story)

Other new armies included the forces of the Daemon hunters and the witch hunters. The two new inquisitorial codex’s for the first time meant these warriors of the Imperium and their chambers militant were now playable . (sure sisters had a second ed codex but their codex in third ed made them a part of the witch hunters faction rather than an army of their own…even tough it was possible to run both pure sisters and grey knights armies) The grey knights had also been a part of the background since day one, but now were given power armour and became a faction that would make enough of a mark to cement itself in every edition since)

all of this results in the One thing I can say for third edition (which it shares with fantasy 6th edition as footnote) is that the variety of armies was extremely wide. Back in third not only did you have multiple armies that didn’t exist before to choose from , you also didn’t have to just have an Ork army, you could have a speed freak army, or a savage Ork army, you didn’t just run Tau, you could run Kroot mercenary forces. No  two armies, even from the same codex had to look the same which was great for breathing life into the tabletop. It was another six years will they would bring out 4th edition……

Part 4 – Fourth edition aka 3.5 aka the game you’ve been playing for six years

Its now 2004, I’ve moved on from working shit bar jobs and am running a comic book store in Newcastle, but 40k hasn’t really moved on at all. The amount of new ground broken in third edition meant fourth edition had its work cut out to provide anything truly innovative and new. The constant tweaking of the rules since the release of  third meant most people were already playing fourth before it came out. Minor changes to assault rules and vehicles rules did little to change the way the game was played, and to be fair, the game was in a good place, and I don’t blame GW for having a “if it aint broke then don’t fix it” attitude about it. Rather than making codex’s redundant in one foul swoop (which is something GW would never do again until the release of eighth edition) they went through a gradual process of revising and re-releasing them over time,

In terms of army choice there wasn’t  much to  speak of that had changed. Daemon hunters and witch hunters got dropped and a pure grey knight codex was to released instead 9finally came along in fifth edition). (sisters were relegated to having to exist purely on a white dwarf codex bless them). Tau became the tau empire(with little change aside from the introduction of a second servitor race the Vespid to mark the codex as any different form its predecessor). Chaos Daemons were given their own codex as an allied book to chaos space marine. Some armies didn’t even get a codex revision in fourth and would have to wait until fifth.

Two of the most interesting elements of fourth edition in my opinion and both things I enjoyed back in the day were combat patrol and kill team. Combat patrol pushed the idea of a “lunch break” style game that can be played in less than an hour, limiting the army selection to 400 points and with a ton of restrictions that made for a quick game as an alternative to the 1500/2000 point games that had become the norm, and not everyone always had 4+ hours to spare to play a game. The idea was great and it p[played really well, and confusingly, combat patrol back then is what kill team is now, and kill team back then was something else entirely.

The original kill team as introduced in fourth edition was an asymmetrical warfare experience that had one player design a team of bad ass individuals who would go  up against a horde of bog standard bad guys, in a kellys heroes style affair. All I can say is that why anyone on earth would WANT to play the horde of boring bad guys rather that the bespoke bunch of characters which were the eponymous kill team is beyond me and maybe that’s why modern kill team is combat patrol and kill team really isn’t played any more (and probably wasn’t much even back then).

The idea of the full colour hardback 40k rulebook was born in this edition though and set the standard that has been maintained since. For anyone wanting to get into “old-hammer” then fourth is  a really good version to go and buy, as it can be found pretty cheap and most modern figures transition seamlessly into a fourth ed army.

Part 5 – fifth edition aka its been four years can you buy another book please

Sadly the most interesting thing I can think to say about fifth edition is they moved the copyright information to the back of the book rather than the front (its true…go and check). But seriously though,even now with both books in front of me and the desire to make some astute observation about  the difference between fourth and fifth I am at a loss. Gone is combat patrol (sad), gone is kill – team (good riddance), the quality of the book remains at least but it all seems a little deja vu. If you are looking for some sort of discussion of the rules changes between fourth and fifth and how they “nerfed” some armies and made others “ way too powerful” then your in the wrong place. To put it simply the game hadn’t really changed. The rules change were incidental on the whole and although the book is written well and is clear for new players , no new ground was broken.

The biggest and best thing about fifth edition was the entire revision of the dark Eldar with some of the best new miniatures we had been treated to in years by the ever talented Jess Goodwin.

The game on the tabletop remained the same, new softback codex’s continued to be released for some armies and not for others, behind the scenes forgeworld models were becoming ever more popular so the inclusion of crazy powerful tanks or the like became the new “in” thing, feeling a little like the heroes of second edition dominating tables and even though they were given huge points values, they broke the game almost everywhere they were played. (the production of imperial armour books is a subject that isn’t really within the scope of this essay – needles to say the game had sadly reached a point where you could beat anyone if you paid enough real cash for the big guns).

Battle reports from this era showed bigger and bigger games (probably to justify the ridiculously expensive , in both points and cash, models being released in both plastic and resin) and infantry almost became redundant as armies made entirely of vehicles became possible.

Not the hobbies finest hour in my opinion and the game had become stale, which meant there was a need for a fresh approach more than ever….and what we got was sixth….

Part 6 – sixth edition aka the rot sets in

Its 2012 and according to the Mayans the worlds about to end (and don’t worry I know that’s not what they thought) and its only been four years since the release of fifth edition but GW treat us with a fancy new rulebook. In all honesty the sixth edition rulebook is probably the most aesthetically impressive, its a thick, glorious tome which looks more like a role-playing game than a rulebook for a tabletop game, which makes it a real shame it wasn’t really much different from fifth or even fourth. The change in the psychic rules was  much needed, and the production of psychic power cards was a very cool addition but not much else had changed.

Codex’s went from softback to hardback in this edition, which personally I thought was a great move and the overall quality of those books improved.

Imperial knights were a new faction (if you can call them that back then) and the Militarum Tempestus were given some love as a new kit came out to replace the old storm troopers.

The game was in a place where things hadn’t really changed much in the last 8 years, and other companies were starting to seriously compete with games workshop. Fantasy was in an even worse state than 40k (which was to result in age of Sigmar) and the company had dumped every specialist game in order to focus on big, no HUGE games of 40k and fantasy. I remember costing playable armies back then when I decided to play the game in a more serious way again and it was hard to put something together for less than £300 which is a massive investment for anyone.

Sadly this section , like the last is sparse as not much was happening at all. Which is probably why it only took two years for seventh to be released.

Part 7 – Seventh edition aka 6.5 aka the slipcase edition

in 2014, the new seventh edition rules wise is merely a minor revision of sixth, but I applaud the release. Its like someone had lit a fire under GWs arse and they suddenly sat up and released if they didn’t do something soon 40k was going to get replaced by the other kids on the block. The rulebook ( now published in a fancy three book slipcase) was the clearest and most cleanly presented rules manual to date and the art direction was above criticism. Its a shame in a way they didn’t stick to just a book, rather than a slipcase , which means the old sixth ed book is a more impressive product in terms of production. All that said, credit where credit is due, the seventh edition rulebook set is a good book.

Rules wise the minor niggles were ironed out and the game became the smoothest it had been since fourth. The release of the kill team box set showed GW was interested in providing scope for smaller games again and the game was back in a good place. (oh and they’d moved the copyright info back to the front of the book in case anyone was interested)

As an aside the starter box for seventh , titled dark vengeance was the best yet, with the dark angel and chaos models all being amazing. And in my opinion will be the starter box set that increases in secondary market value the best in coming years.

Part 8 – Eighth edition aka codex purge 2

last year (2017) In a bold move the likes of which 40k players hadn’t seen since 1998 (see part 3 above) GW decided to make EVERY codex redundant and revise the rules for a brand new edition. To soften the blow, they released the INDEXS , which for a reasonably cheap price, gave people the chance to run their army whilst waiting for their particular codex to be released. People didn’t need to wait long as the codex’s came thick and fast, and at the time of writing there are not many left to release and its been less than two years.

The rule set sees its biggest revision in two decades and really makes for a simpler rule set (borrowing some concepts from age of Sigmar), reading the rules it becomes evidently clear why they needed to dump the existing codex’s wholesale as so many things had changed. Game balance is restored between armies , (and for all those competitive tournament players who disagree – this essay is really really not for you) and GW have even gone so far as to provide a fast and easy way to points cost armies (power rather than points) and encourages players to play with whatever models they want, and even to play unmatched games (shock horror).

Play wise, some brand new concepts have really changed the face of the game. The idea of tactical objective cards that can change the focus of the game from turn to turn, removes some of the static feel of the previous editions. The use of stratagems (army specific one off  rules that can be used a very limited number of times in a game) adds to the strategy element , and makes playing eighth edition a very different play experience. The rules set works for games from 500 points to 2500 points without any major issues.

So in conclusion I guess this is where I should declare which edition , in my wisdom is the best. But I don’t think I can do that. Speaking to a few people on instagram a few weeks ago (the spark to me writing this piece), I made the point that we are all probably going to enjoy most, the edition we had most fun with. 40K, can be many things but at its heart it should be about getting together with your mates and having a game. Whichever edition you had most fun with, will be the “best” edition, but don’t kid yourself its got anything to do with that rules-set being better than any other, or your codex being in a strong position at that time, it was about the fact you were playing with people who wanted the same out of the game as you did at the time. That being said I am happy to share what edition is “my” best based on the above criteria. For me Third edition gave me everything I wanted out of the hobby, a clear set of rules, it wiped the slate clean from the hero-fest that was second edition and the choice of armies was incredible. The flexibility within those codex’s to make a bespoke force that suited your ideas was one of the editions greatest strengths. I would happily play third edition any day (and if anyone fancies a third ed get together down at Warhammer World sometime then get at me via instagram @colosseumrex).

40k has had its up and downs, and I am certain its journey isn’t over yet by a long shot. If this essay achieves anything I hope it makes you dust off or seek out an old rulebook and give a different edition a try, especially if you one you played “back in the day”.

Here’s looking forward to ninth edition (but hopefully not too soon).



Tale of Corelords – the Beginning

Last year, as we came up on the 6-month anniversary of 8th Edition 40K, and following some discussion on the CH Facebook group, some of us decided it would be good to have some sort of means of focusing our attention on getting a new army sorted for 2018. After taking a bit of time to get going, here we go with a new, totally-non-derivative feature, A Tale of Corelords.

The plan:

Over the next six months, our [11] Corelords will paint up a 40K army, and post up regular progress updates so everyone can keep track of how they’re getting along. The focus is on getting whole units finished, rather than a load of partially-completed stuff – as well as being better for getting stuff onto the tabletop, it makes for more interesting photos in the updates; I think we all know what a mountain of half-painted figures looks like, thanks.

<Image – mountain of half-painted figures>

<Caption – this is just one box of many like it that haunts my dreams>

In this first part of the series, we’ll be introducing our participants, their choice of armies, any initial work they’ve done towards it, and getting them to outline what they want to achieve over the course of AToC. After this, we’ll be staggering the updates to make them pop out more regularly. Continue reading

Denizens of the Garden of Nurgle: a Dark Age of Sigmar project

About two years back (probably at a similar time to when I actually bothered to write something for Corehammer, funnily enough), some friends and I were talking.  We’d just been playing a game of Inquisimunda (also known as INQ28). Bit of background for those that don’t know what it is: it’s a narrative style of skirmish gaming at 28mm scale with an element of RPG, and typically revolves around inquisitors and their retinues investigating nefarious happenings in the grim darkness of the far future, with special emphasis on the “grimdark” element. Depending how you want to play, you can utilise a GM, which our little group does on a rotating basis. The system is community created and is largely based on the classic Necromunda rule set (although some people use the 54mm scale Inquisitor rules and perform some really specific technical calculations that make it sound overly cumbersome and doubtless dry as fuck – I mean could they not just divide by 2 and sacrifice a single millimetre?  Some people like to take their chosen level of dunce-nerdery to ludicrous extremes, I suppose) with character stats ported over from Warhammer 40k, adapting where necessary in order to ensure characters and weapons are not over or underpowered, for like “balance” purposes and shit.  You’ve seen Blanchitsu in White Dwarf, right? Well that’s basically the visual vibe atmosphere we’re talking. Continue reading

Keep Rollin, Rollin, Rollin your bases out of green stuff

Things have come a long way since the days of sand painted goblin green when it comes to bases, and every man and his dog are in the scenic bases game these days.

But can you be arsed buying scenic bases for a full Necromunda gang? Probably. A 40k army, a Fantasy Battle army….? Perhaps not.

So what do you do? Make your own.

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Harder They Fall #4: Pre-Orders Up Now

Line Of Sight: Pic by Jeff Laisch

In a break from our scheduled programming, just a quick announcement that the latest issue of my very occasional punk fanzine Harder They Fall is now available for pre-order.  Issue 4 weighs in at 44 solid pages of content. No adverts, no filler. Interviews with Rancour from Wales, Ill Natured from Australia, Guilt Ritual from New England, xServitudex, Dan Duggan of Unholy Majesty/The Break In/Santa Carla and The Monster Merchants, Tom Pimlott of Arms Race/ Violent Reaction/Standpoint/ Marco Abiatello of Payday, Dan Capman from Firm Standing Law and Peter Falkous of Thirty Seconds Until Armageddon/ Grace/Vengeance Of Gaia/ Break It Up/ Jinn etc. Phew!

Alongside all that there’s the usual daft anecdotes and articles along with a slick layout courtesy of Falkous. This ones coming out via Static Age publishing so check it out HERE if you want to grab one!

Trial By Dice: The Unholy Rite

So you think you’re the greatest Dungeon Master to gaze upon the Altars Of Madness and come away unscathed?

Or maybe you fancy yourself a legendary Dungeons & Dragons player, who walked into the fires of Gethsemane and strolled out the other side laughing?

If that’s the case then Trial By Dice: The Unholy Rite is the event for you……….

It’s been a bit quiet in terms of big events for Corehammer so far this year – but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. This one required a little more organisation than our usual chaotic gatherings but we’re pretty sure it’s going to be the best thing since Entombed’s guitar tone. Continue reading

March Of the Damned – This months demo round up

Well it’s been a while. Despite my best intentions of keeping the blog updated weekly, they stumbled and expired on the side of the highway like some knackered old tramp on a hot day when confronted with the greater evil of  an academic deadline looming on the horizon. Consider this update a palate cleanser for me then rather than an omen of things to come. I don’t know if or when I’ll be resuming regular posting/editing here. I don’t plan on leaving it entirely in abandons care but there’s a fallow season upon us.

To business then, first up is the demo from  World Of Difference. They are a new straight edge band that, if memory serves me correctly, contains former members of the Dublin group Bang Bros amongst others…. Continue reading

Weaving a story out of a legend.

Looks quite homely now but back in November 1974… Let me tell you.

It wasn’t an easy ride working the real world Richard Bingham in to a character for an RPG but given the scope allowed within the GURPS system and the (almost) anything goes vibe of the Hellboy universe, I managed to get him to look and feel how I wanted with a bit of help from Boardie and Agers giant metallic bats. Couldn’t have done it without them.

So first up, how does he look? Well, pretty much like he did when he dissapeared on 7th November 1974, sharp suit, strong moustache game, expensive shoes, you see, in this game Binghams immortal, another throw back to Dexter Ward or even Dorian Grey. So how?

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At The Gates of Madness – Lord Lucan aka Richard Bingham

How does a member of the British aristocracy end up in Buckden Yorkshire chasing giant dogs and gods?

For anyone whose checked out the podcast lately, you’ll no doubt be aware we are running a new campaign based in  the BPRD/Hellboy universe, told by our storyteller Ager.

What you might not be aware of is this will be my first RPG campaign, having only played one RPG before, for 3 hours. That and I’d never read a BPRD/Hellboy comic, you might be asking yourself what I’d get out of this scenario. A fair bit it seems on reflection but that’s not what this is about, this is about character creation. Why did I choose do play as the character I did?

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Marked For Justice – The Sermon

First of all in the name of full disclosure I’m a thrawn Scotswummin who doesn’t venture south of Hadrian’s Wall very often. Our current political situation and a steady diet of British sci-fi and horror from a young age has me convinced me that England is a Very Strange Place. J.G. Ballard may as well have written the towns into existence and the countryside? Well yous have zombies in your tin mines and all manner of sinister goings on behind your hedgerows. I have a real fondness for the weird vision of England conjured by classic horror though and I was genuinely excited to get a new English folk horror to take a look at.

The Sermon is a short film set in a small religious community deep in the English countryside. The village patriarch described in the films logline as a powerful hate preacher prepares to deliver a sermon however his daughter Ella has a secret which could destroy them all – her love affair with a mysterious older woman. Her secret is uncovered by one of the preachers lackeys who desires Ella for himself and an inevitable chain of events featuring a baying mob, a forced betrayal and a final act of “desperate act of ecstatic violence’’ is set into motion.

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